Monthly Archives: February 2008

Feng Shui Friday: Cleanse your home 1

With spring on the way many people are thinking about spring cleaning. I was just reading a blog about spring cleaning, it was for your blog, but it got me thinking about home spring cleaning.

In fung shui a clean home is a huge advantage to a not so clean home, but when you do spring cleaning you can also help make your chi even better by doing a cleaning ritual. The one I have chosen to talk about today is the use of incense. After you have cleaned your home use incense to cleans the chi. You can do this by lighting the incense and walking around the room clockwise three times. This helps to burn off the bad chi. There are two more steps to this process, check back next week for the second one.

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Get a good nights rest

I wake up sometimes and feel like I just slept on a brick, usually it’s when I am at my sisters house and sleep on her 12 year old mattress she has in the guest room. I keep telling her she needs to buy a new mattress but she doesn’t see why.

When your mattress feels good and looks good, that makes you enjoy your home and life more. You get better sleep and are able to wake up easier. I know that sounds silly as a comfortable mattress makes me want to sleep more, but you tend to wake up ready for the world. There are many types of mattresses available. There are traditional mattresses, pillow top mattresses and the new foam mattress. I personally have a pillow top mattress as I tried the foam and I really didn’t like it. I do know many people who have the foam and love it so I still recommend it to people.

When you are looking for a mattress try it out for a while, sit on it, lay on it and roll around on it for at least 30 minuets before you buy. This makes sure that the fit is right for you, you don’t want to buy a mattress that when you get home you hate right?

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Almost time to move outdoors

If your tired of being inside all day it may be time to plan an outdoor remodel. Outdoor kitchens are a hot thing right now and they really come in handy for the outdoor lifestyle. Just think about it, you won’t have to be inside while everyone else is out enjoying the pool or the sunshine. You can be right out there with them cooking dinner or a lunch on the weekend.

A nice picture isn’t it? Outdoor kitchens do require some work and set up, but even a good do it yourselfer can handle setting one up. I usually recommend hiring someone to do this as it’s easer and they can really give you a nice set up. If you already have an interior designer you should talk to them to see if they do outdoor spaces, many do.

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Do it yourself bathroom

Many of you who read my blog are not designers, architects or in any type of construction business. I hope though that you have learned something from this blog and that is good design can be done by yourself. You just have to know where to get the right tips and ideas for your project and how to put all that information together into a good design.

Bathrooms are the most likely room to be remodeled by a do it yourself. Bathrooms can be easy to fix up because there is a lot of work, but if you have to you can usually keep the fixtures in the same place. Most people replace the shower, the toilet and the vanities.

Bathroom vanities come in many shapes colors and sizes. Some hold 2 sinks some just one. You can get them to match almost any shower you decide to use and of course they need to work with your lifestyle. If you have 5 kids you need 2 sinks in the kids bathroom. If you only have 2 one sink may work just fine. A good rule when doing a children’s bath is to take them along and let them pick out the shower and Bathroom vanity. This way they get something they like too. You will have to guide them but it should turn out okay. If you don’t want to take them shopping check out some websites online that have a huge selection of bathroom fixtures, one I like is Premeirvanities.com.

The biggest thing to remember when redoing a bathroom or any room in your home is to not do anything you can’t do. Really think before you start a project because most of the time a DIY ends up spending more doing a project then they would have if they had hired someone.

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Find cool products for your home

While checking out the shopping section of my Get paid to sites I found an interesting company that sells some great gadgets for your home. The company is called Smart Home and they have everything you could ever need to make your home secure, green and fun to be in.

I really like their energy saving section they have solar lights and remote control window coverings. I think though what I like the most is the power monitoring products. You can use these products to find out how much electricity you are using in areas of your home and cut back in those areas. I know my computer probably uses the most in my home as it’s on all day and a good amount of the night too. but I do work and homework so I really can’t cut back on that. But even right now as I’m typing this I have all of the lights in my room on. I think I need to turn those off!

If your looking to save money on more decorative items Smart Home has those too! I love the real wax candles that are actually lights inside of real wax. These are great for dorms or apartments where you really worry about setting something on fire. A more useful form of lighting would be there power out night light, it has rechargeable batteries that will power the night light if the electricity fails. Very helpful when you can’t find that flashlight.

I’m sure you will find something you like here. I’m still looking through the LED lights to find one for some lamps and ceiling fixtures I have. They just don’t sell these things near me so now that I have found a place to buy them I’m going to look into it.

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Room by Room Design

Many people when designing their home or even just redecorating their home seem to concentrate mostly on the living and dinning area. These areas are the kitchen, the dinning room and the living or family room. What many forget about is the bathroom, bedroom and other areas of the home. The reason is simple, most people don’t see those areas of your home or at least they don’t spend much time in there.

If your looking to make a good first impression on new neighbors or are trying to sell you home, you really do want to take a second look at these areas. You want to get some nice bedroom accessories including stylish bed linen. You want the bedrooms to feel relaxing and inviting this shows that you are a person that is more go with the flow then everything has to be perfect. Yes you would think having a good looking bedroom would do the opposite, but it doesn’t.

Bathroom accessories are also a must when selling or showing off your home. You want a wow factor when someone walks into your bathroom. Nice well designed and decorated bathrooms show class and wealth. This is just the way some people think, if you have the money to spend to make your bath look good then you are pretty well off. Yes the same goes for a kitchen too.

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Find the right table

Sometimes something as simple as a table can give the room the pop you are looking for. I have found some interesting pieces at Artful Home that are really beautiful and would look great in almost any room. I love looking around this site and have a nice long list of thing I will be buying once I move.

Tables come in all shapes and sizes, you can get some that are twisted into strange shapes to complement a more modern style or of course the more traditional tables that show how elegant and sophisticated you are.

I really believe that a well placed table can help with some design issues. They come in handy with fung shui which requires fountains and plants. I think a simple table with a lamp and a plant on it makes the room feel warm and cozy.

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Travel and find things for you home

One great way to get unique items for you home is to get them when you travel be it to another country or just another area of the country, you can find so many unique things that will have a story behind it.

My sister, for example has an amethyst that she got when we were kids on a trip to Arkansas. She keeps it in her living room as an accessory. Some people have asked her where she got it and then she can tell them the story of our trip and how she found it.

You can get some really great items just here in the United states we have so many different ethnic groups that you can find something unique and fun without leaving for a foreign land. When your traveling just remember to get travel insurance so that if anythings lost you can get something back for it. Trust me it happens a lot and I don’t do a ton of travel right now. But it seems that everyone I know has lost something when traveling and most of the time it’s expensive.

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Not just seating

With home theaters becoming more and more popular there has been an increased interest in furnishings and decor for those rooms. Things like home theater carpet and home theater seating are words that 10 years ago you only heard Hollywood elite saying. Now though everyone is into a home theater and I understand why.

Not only does it make entertaining your teens easier it’s also very easy to work from home and have people over for presentations. Think about it, usually a home theater is sound proof, has great seating and a large TV screen. what more do you need to do home presentations. So not only can a home theater add entertainment value to your home, but it could help you with business too.

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Furniture Friday: The history of the mirror

First of all I’m so sorry it’s late! I had all the research done, but didn’t have time to type it up. So here it is, a post all about our obsession with our own reflection.

There were Mirrors in ancient times, but they were not the same mirrors we know today. They were polished metal and really did not give off a good reflection. Still these primitive mirrors were used for all sorts of things in ancient times. Romans used them in secret orgy rooms of the wealthy. They were also used to keep people in places that the government or other wealthy people wanted them to be.

The mirror as we know it, made of silvered glass does not appear until the Early Renaissance period. Still it was costly to make and only available in small sizes, the frame is what make these mirrors appear huge and luxurious. They were carved and very ornate. It wasn’t until Louis XV that the mirrors assumed and irregular shape and lighter frames.

Modern mirrors come in all shapes sizes and even colors. We find mirror houses at carnivals that distort our shape and perception of ourselves and others. We have mirrors that are used for decoration only and at least one mirror in the bathroom. Some are heated so they don’t steam up while others you have to hope you can see into when you get out of that cold shower.

Mirrors are an important part of our lives, we look into them every morning and almost every night, they tell us how we look to the world. Isaac Newton’s intense experiments with sunlight on mirrors nearly blinded him. That tells you how important mirrors are in our lives.

If you would like to read about some interesting stories on mirrors check out this book.
Mirror Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with Reflection

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Upgrade your home for green design

Right now with the rising cost of energy and people looking to lower thier heating bills it is the perfect time to think about adding one or more fireplaces to your home. If you live in the north areas of the US or in Canada or Europe then you really want to start thinking about adding a fireplace if you don’t already have one.

Fireplaces are nice because they can be an very inexpensive form of heat, if you install a wood burning fireplace you can use it when the electricity goes out and not have to worry about heating your home. From a design perspective fireplaces make a great focal point and are considered a luxury to have. So they really will compliment any design.

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Fabric and the possablities

Today I am at school. I just spend some time going though the fabric in our fabric room. I found a good amount of fabric that I will probably use not just for the design boards I need to redo but for things like pillows and even a blanket for my neice, she’s a baby so she doesn’t need much.

Scrap fabric is a great way to get some new pillows or even a table cloth. Many fabric stores will put there scrap fabric on sale. You just have to go in and ask for it or you can call and ask them to save some for you. It may cost you a little but you can ususally get it at a discount price. Also check to see if they sell there discontinued fabric. Some places will. It doesn’t hurt to try, sometimes you can even get enough fabric to make a curten or a comforter.

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The Mortgage Mess

If your like me and have bad credit you are probably not going to be able to get a mortgage for a new home, but if you already have your home you may qualify for a bad credit mortgage refinance. I stress you doing this if you can because I want people to be able to stay in their homes and be able to spend there hard earned money on things they can enjoy, not just there home and heat.

Home refinance, bad credit and paying off bills are things that most people are looking at right now. So many have lived off credit and it’s all becoming such a disaster. There are many places you can get a refinance an online site you should check out is Refinance.com they offer bad credit home refinance and can give you all the information you need to start. The site itself is very easy to use and you can even use their loan calculator to find out if you can even afford the payments. Hopefully you will find you can.

If your one of the people with an adjustable rate mortgage check out your options, get your payments down if you can and try to get back on track. I know easier said then done, but with some hard work you should be able to do it.

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Spring is almost here

Good interior design only works if you have good exterior design. Now that spring is almost here and you are starting to think of your garden again it is the perfect time to Order Live Plants from a nursery. Many places will take custom orders right now or at least can direct you in the right direction for what you want.

Yes I know in many areas of the country there is still snow on the ground but you should start thinking about what flowers you are going to plant and where, not to mention you should think about planting a new tree or two if you have the room. Adding plants to the envirionment around your home can help clean the air and make you feel more comfortable. A good shade tree is a must if you like to be outdoors in the summer.

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Spa Design

I have always been interested in designing spa’s. Not the kind you sit in at home, but the ones you go to and relax and enjoy yourself. I love the idea of helping people to calm down and unstressed. I keep thinking I should try to design and open my own one day. I would love to and right now the area I live in could use one. It’s a small town, but people don’t have anywhere to go to really relax and get pampered.

I know I’m strange but I find myself planning it all out in my head, like where the ellipticals and weight benches will go or where I’m going to put the restaurant with the wonderfully tastey spa cuisine? I guess thats why I’m going to school for interior design I think about these things so much.

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Save money replace your water heater

Water heaters not only take up a lot of space, but they waste energy and money. It takes a lot of power to heat gallons of water and keep it heated. Now though you can get a tankless water heater that will heat your water instantly and save you money.

Tankless water heaters have been used in Europe for many many years. Why? Well they take up less space then our huge American type water heaters. In Europe they just don’t have room for a huge water heater. Now though Americans are starting to see that having instant hot water is much better and more energy efficient then our old water heaters, so check it out and set your self up to save some cash and make your home worth more.

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A hard week

I know I have not posted in a few days. It’s been a long hard week, my mother broke her leg so I have been taking care of her. I am going to try very hard to get a few things done this week as my niece has this week off from school and is over to help a little, she’s only 7 so she can’t do too much, but she can get water and help clean up a little. Things that take a lot of time to do.

I hope to have something this Friday for furniture Friday. It really just depends how this week goes. So I hope you all hang in there with me as I get my life in order. I would love to hear any questions about design you may have so leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer what I can.

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You are only as good as the desk you sit behind

An office desk can say a lot about a person. A good sturdy well built desk shows power and authority. If you have a flimsy looking desk people will not take you as seriously as you may want them to. That is where Inter County can help you. They have a wonderful selection of desk at really great prices. They were formed in 1986 as a family partnership. They started selling products over the Internet in 2006 and they have some of the best office furniture at great prices.

The most important aspect of these office desks are the design. They are 25mm thick and have 2 vertical supports. Most desk only have one support and are around 18mm thick. They also come with an 8 year guarantee. This is one of the best deals in the UK for this type of desk.

Another great fact about this company is that they are environmentally aware they strive to protect the environment and even have their suppliers fill out a form to prove they are also environmentally aware. I personally like this as it shows that they are trying to make sure the people they work with are helping the environment also.

The desks designs are stylish and you can find one that will fit your preferences very easily. They have just a standard desk with just the top or you can get one with drawers. You can also get a corner desk so there are many options available for your needs.

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Why you should think before going bigger

I was reading a very interesting article in Metropolitan home today about how there is a crisis in our cities. People have started to buy land, rip down the old homes that were there and build huge homes that do not fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.

Picture this. You have a small bungalow home and now your neighbor has decided to tear down there home and put up a 4 story home that has 5 times the square footage of yours, blocks out all of your sun and is done in a modern style that has nothing to do with the neighborhood. Personally I would find this home tacky and apparently I am not the only one. This is happening all over the country and it’s a real problem. People want huge homes, but they want to be in the city. There are many cities effected by this. Some of them are Chicago and Dallas. These places are losing there 100 year old homes to boxy modern homes that ruin the feel of the neighborhood.

Now I don’t have a problem with bigger homes, but if your moving into a new neighborhood and are planning on building a bigger home you need to think of a few things first.

Make sure you stick with the style of the neighborhood. You can still have a good size home. Maybe you build a huge basement and keep the home to one level or one level and a half.

Don’t take up the whole lot. Many people think if I don’t want a yard I should not have one. Thats nice but maybe you should move somewhere that doesn’t have a yard already. If most of the neighborhood has a good size yard you should really consider having something there.

I think the important thing to remember is that bigger is not always better. You have to heat or cool that huge home, you have to pay to light that home at night. You have to pay to build that home and the taxes on it.

From a green living perspective I just don’t see why you would want a huge home? Unless you have a lot of kids, then I understand.

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Keeping your cool

Right now everyone is still going crazy over the whole mortgage mess. There are people who can not afford to keep their homes, they can’t pay any of their bills and many are facing losing the home they worked hard to buy.

While now would seem the time to buy a home, you need to remember if you are in a home search keep your cool when it comes to putting in an offer. It’s no longer a buyers market so you will get a good home at a good price, but that doesn’t mean to make an offer that is way under a good price either.

Think of it this way, when you buy a home, you want that home to be worth something. If you buy a home dirt cheep then the one for sale down the block will also go for dirt cheep lowering the value of your home. So what price do you give? Figure out a price that you are willing to pay for the home if the economy was good and it was a split market, not a sellers or a buyers. Then go about 20,000 less and start there, depending on the price of the home to start with. If they are looking for at least 500,000 you could drop it by 50,000  and start there. mortgage lenders can also help you out with this so talk to them about it too.

If you can find a good deal go for it, but I would work on making improvements to the home after you move in to help increase the value of your home and the homes around you.

Good luck house hunting.

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