Home Swimming Pool

Taking the Plunge – Invest in Your Very Own Home Swimming Pool

Transform Your Patch

Many people dream of having their own swimming pool but few actually think to do anything about it. Why? Maybe it’s because they think it’s too much hassle and costs too much money. Well, it’s really not as expensive or disruptive as you might think.

These days you don’t have to have won the lottery or be a Hollywood movie star to be able to afford one. Nor do you have to put your lives on hold and turn your house into a building site for months on end while it’s installed. Truth be told, pool construction is a surprisingly simple process.

All you really need is a decent sized ground floor room or vacant bit of land adjoining your property, a little guidance from the pros and a spare bit of cash from the rainy day jar. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a passion for construction, but don’t worry if you don’t – your involvement in the project is really down to you.

A Wise Investment

This may sound pretty obvious, but the advantages of having your very own swimming pool far outweigh the disadvantages. Although many people may disagree, installing a pool is a very wise investment. When you consider just how much value a swimming pool will add onto the price of your house, it’s practically paid for itself.

Home Swimming Pool

Another obvious benefit is the years of happiness and joy a pool will bring you and your family. We all know the kids will love it – that’s a given. The days of chauffeuring them to the overcrowded and overpriced local pool will be over. They can invite their friends round and have the time of their lives, all under your watchful eye.

Don’t be tricked into letting the kids hog all the fun though. Your own swimming pool gives you the perfect opportunity to stay fit and healthy all year round. After all, swimming has been proven to be one of the most effective forms of cardiovascular exercise there is.

It’s also a great way to relax – the soothing effect it has upon the body and mind has often been compared to yoga and meditation.

Things to Think About

It goes without saying that investing in a home swimming pool is a big decision and so there are a couple of things you might want to take into consideration before you grab your spade and start digging. You need to see what kind of budget do you have to work with and whether the pool will be indoor or outdoor.

Also you need to consider whether you have access to water, gas and electricity for it, whether the pool be used for health or recreational benefits, or both and do you need to get planning permission for the pool before construction begins?

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Perfect Conservatory

Inspiring Tips to Creative the Perfect Conservatory

You don’t need a fancy designer to create the perfect conservatory. All you need is a plan and a few tips to create the ideal space for dinner parties, gardening, and relaxation. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune either!

A conservatory really is a unique space, and with a little inspiration, it’s going to become your favourite room in the whole house.

Juxtapose Interior with Exterior

The exciting thing about a conservatory that makes it extra special is the meeting between two worlds: inside and outdoors. Take this as a fantastic opportunity to play with these two different zones by bringing the outside into your conservatory.

You can achieve this limbo by introducing potted plants or garden ornaments. Some people use garden furniture to great effect in their conservatory. If you are choosing artwork, pick paintings or photographs with a natural theme.

Choose Your Theme And Stick To It 

By no means do you have to overdo the nature theme, unless you are turning your conservatory into a garden room. There are many themes you can pursue – conservatories are versatile! Extra light will enhance any minimalist, modern look, whereas lamps and candles can lead to a more rustic style.

Go to a shop and raid their interior design catalogues – there is a lot of inspiration to be had by looking at what others have done with their conservatories. If you don’t want to fork out that much money, you can always explore themes online. Jot down any ideas on a large piece of paper.

Perfect Conservatory

Remember to Remain Practical 

Always keep in mind that the items in your conservatory will be heavily exposed to bright light. This can damage and fade certain furniture or artwork. Choose durable substances when selecting your furniture – spend some time absorbing some inspiration and ideas! Rattan and cane are traditional choices for conservatories, but if you dislike this basket look, wood and metal can fare pretty well too.

Make Good Use of Space 

Especially if you are planning to entertain guests in this area, make sure you utilise your space well. You want your conservatory to be light and airy, and you can’t achieve that if you have used your conservatory as a storage area. Check out some existing conservatory designs online to get an idea of how you can optimise your use of space.

Invest in Blinds 

Not only can a conservatory superheat in the summer, but it can freeze up in the winter, due to the glass walls! Shade yourself in August and stay toasty in December by installing blinds. They also have the added benefit of hiding any expensive items when you aren’t at home.

If your conservatory is still turning into an ice rink, buy a little heater. It should work well with the blinds, especially if you choose an energy efficient radiator. The last thing you want is a conservatory that doesn’t get used when the weather turns cold – make the most of it all year round.

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Kids room

Turn The Kids Room Into A Paradise With These Simple Design Ideas

The children’s bedroom is invariably the hardest room to design in a house, simply because of the fickle tastes of children. Adults can give clear, precise advice on what works and what doesn’t in their rooms (at least most of the times!), but children are prone to swing between love and dislike for things.

So the question is, how do you design a room for your child that will captivate his/her imagination (and allow plenty of room for it to grow)?

Here are some design ideas that can help you get started.

Get Inspired

Kids RoomThe internet is a treasure trove of inspiration on design projects. Remember: you’re not the only person in the world fretting over your child’s bedroom. People, many experienced interior designers, have been there, done that. Some even post their results online for everyone to see. The easiest way to find inspiration for your child’s bedroom project is to head online and borrow from others ideas.

Here’s an example: The “Go to Your Room!” group on Flickr regularly collects inspirational pictures and design ideas from around the web. The group has over 6,381 hand curated pictures, which can be an excellent starting point for any design project for children.

It’s All About the Kids

As an adult, it’s very easy to get carried away and design rooms as per your own specifications. But it’s important to step away from time to time and remember to arrange things for your children.

For example: make sure that all cupboards, drawers, and storage closets in your child’s bedroom are designed for their height. Children won’t stay organized for long if they can’t reach their storage spaces easily.

Kids room

Arrange everything in the room around your child’s interests. If he/she likes art, why not make a central ‘art area’ in the room with easy access to crayons, colouring sheets, pencils, etc.? Similarly, children interested in sports should have easy access to their favourite sports equipment.

Help Them With Their Hobbies

Kids RoomAdults have passions. Children have hobbies and pursuits. Hobbies are essential to developing a child’s intellectual, emotional and artistic abilities. Good thing is, children are naturally curious and will try out many things.

A parent’s responsibility is to ensure that your child’s room provides enough room and opportunities to practice his/her favourite hobbies. Does your child like collecting coins? Then make sure he has enough storage space to keep his entire collection. Does he like dabbling with craft? Then the room should have plenty of space to store his craft supplies.

Build the room around the child’s hobbies, and you’ll never be out of ideas.

Don’t be Afraid of Colour

As adults, we tend to limit our palette to a handful of colour selections. Children are not so picky. Children like playing with colours. Don’t stop at pastel shades for your child’s bedroom. Go crazy – include bright shades of pink and blue, blossoming orange and garden greens, royal purple and turquoise blue. The one thing that can make a room come alive is colour. Make sure your children’s room has plenty of it.

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Family Room Remodeling

Family Room Remodeling Ideas

Taking a family of four out for a dinner and a movie; or to see a live sporting event is anything but economical these days. By the time you’ve paid for gas, parking, snacks, and tickets, you may be looking at upwards of a couple hundred dollars.

For most families, that’s an expense they simply can’t afford to spare very often, so they’re looking to make the most of what they’ve got at home. That’s why remodeling family rooms, or just building them from scratch, is an option a lot of households are seriously considering.

After all, you can make some pretty significant improvements for the same price as two or three nights out at the movies.

If this is something your family is looking at, here are a few ideas you might want to consider.

Family Room Remodeling

Building a Home Theater

Over the last decade or so, the price of home electronics like big screen televisions and home theater systems have plummeted. On the other hand, prices of things like movie tickets and season tickets for professional sports teams have gone through the roof. That price differential has made building a home theater system a pretty good deal.

This deal is especially appealing if you love watching professional sports. According to a recent study, the average cost of taking a family of four to an NFL game is right around $465. With prices like that, a pretty sweet home theater system can pay for itself after just couple seasons.

Besides the money you’ll save watching sports and movies at home, there’s also a time dividend, too. All that time you used to spend driving around looking for a parking space, or sitting in that same parking lot after the game, is now time you spend sitting comfortably on your own couch. Now that’s a pretty good deal.

Table Games

One of the best aspects of remodeling your family room is that it increases the amount of quality time your family spends together. So it makes sense that the more activities you’ve got in your family room, the more fun you’re going to have. That’s why table games like ping-pong, pool tables and air hockey are must-haves for a family room makeover.

If you’ve never been shopping for in-home table games, you might be pleasantly surprised at how affordable they are. While there are plenty used games floating around on sites like Craigslist, they’re really not that much cheaper than their brand new counterparts.

Finally

Building a really great family room is an investment that pays off in several ways. Not only do you save time and money by avoiding jam-packed stadiums and movie theaters, you’re also going to get to spend more time with your own family. And when it comes time to sell your home, a big, upgraded family room can really add to your selling price.

There’s no two ways about it, a family room upgrade offers a pretty significant return on investment.

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Black Wool Rugs

Five Perfect Black Area Rugs for Your Home

With a lot of rug designs offered on the market these days, the area rug is among the most popular. Most probably, you already possess one or two rugs in your house. One color that never goes out of style is black. Black rugs can completely transform any room in your house from boring to beautiful, and dull to divine. If you want to try these black rugs for your house, below are five tips that you can begin with.

1. Black Wool Rugs

For high traffic areas such as the living room, the black wool area rug is recommended. Wool is a natural and a durable material that is tough and hard to wear out. It is also very comfortable and soft for the feet. Moreover, wool is an organic fiber which makes it safer as compared to artificial materials.

On top of that, wool is also flame resistant. This will make it an excellent rug to be used in living areas with hearths. A small spark that may land on your wool rug by accident will burn itself out.

Black Wool Rugs

When deciding on which black wool rug to buy, you’ll be able to choose from a lot of available sizes and shapes. A rectangular and a round black rug will look great on your living room area. Many people choose the 8×10 sized rugs but generally it would depend on the floor area that you want covered.

When it comes to design, you can choose between a modern design and a conventional design. You can select a solid black rug or a dominantly black one with other secondary colors. It is easy to find red and black colored rugs, white and black wool rugs, brown and black contemporary rugs, or even grey and black rugs.

2. Black Shag Rugs

The black shag area rugs can provide a fun and different texture to your home. Shag rugs are available in different styles, and you can choose one that is made from either synthetic materials or natural fibers. The priciest kind of shag rug that can be used in your home is the Flokati shag.
With black, these give a very comfortable and soft spot for you to walk on while adding a luxurious and classy look to your room that you’ll definitely love. Apart from the Flokati shag, you might also like to check out a cotton jersey shag rug, black leather shag rug, black synthetic acrylic shag rug, or even a black shaggy Aros rug.

3. Black Sheepskin Rugs

Black sheepskin area rugs create a nice accent for any area in your home. Sheepskin these days are available in many colors and black is one of them. Sheepskin rugs are produced from either artificial fibers or from real sheepskin so you can choose according to your personal taste.
You can make use of these rugs in the family area or in other rooms of your home. Many of these rugs are available in the normal shape of sheepskin rugs while others, like the artificial sheepskin rugs, are available in many shapes such as round and rectangular.

4. Black Silk Rugs

Black silk area rugs are among the high priced kinds of rugs on the market. They are expensive because silk is a high-class fabric which is more often than not pricey. However, you can also opt for synthetic silk rugs if you are looking for a budget-friendly alternative. Normally, black silk rugs can be obtained in Persian or Oriental designs.

These genuine silk area rugs are not ideal for high traffic areas, unless you decide on a synthetic silk rug. These types of black rug can easily make your home feel and look more opulent and luxurious.

5. Black Outdoor Rugs

Black outdoor area rugs are designed exclusively for outdoor use. With the aid of these black outdoor rugs, you can make one of your outdoor living room areas look more stylish and more comfortable. Try to find rugs that are simple and easy to maintain and clean as this will aid in extending the usability of your rugs and will give you more years of service. You can opt for geometrical shapes and design, zigzags and wavy lines, plant and flower motifs, and solid black colored area rugs.

Mentioned above are five forms of black area rugs that will help make your home comfortable and cozier. Not only that, these types of rugs will also add an aura of stylish luxury to your space. When you are searching for a simple rug to match any design and style in your home, then it is recommended for you to consider a black area rug.

These types of area rugs can be very stylish and beautiful. The best thing about these rugs is that they can be purchased everywhere from the Internet to your favorite local retail outlets. You can find many great discounts and deals on black area rugs on the retail and online world.

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Refurbishing the Exterior

A Great Guide To Refurbishing the Exterior of Your Home

Have you been thinking about making over the exterior of your home? If so, you may need a little help knowing where to begin. If this is to be an all-encompassing project, there are a lot of components to take into consideration.

It may seem like an overwhelming task to think things through to the degree necessary, but you really ought not make haste with any of this until you’ve at the very least thought about what each will entail, what should be accomplished in what order, and how cohesive the finished product will be.

Getting the Gestalt Picture

If you’re totally scrapping the current look of your house, you might want to draw upon reference material to help you get the gestalt picture of what you want the new house to look like. Keep in mind that unless you want your house looking generic or worse, like a concrete Jell-o mold, you’re best off conducting some thorough research on what constitutes design balance—that is, a good proportion of wood to stone, or wood to brick, or stone to earth plaster, or wood to stucco, etc.

Take a walk in your neighborhood and see the examples of both good and poor design, taking photos of the dos and don’ts. Then assemble a collage of the dos with other photo references from online. Once you determine your materials, you may see that those materials have a range for which time periods they may evoke.

If you’re going with many different wood textures and ironwork accents, you can easily go Victorian, as many houses of that era used these materials in this proportion. Consider color as well, as some Victorian houses are known for their quirky yet beautiful color combinations.

Refurbishing the Exterior

The Importance of Expertise

When you’ve arrived at a design aesthetic, consult a designer and contractor whose expertise is perhaps in the area of period-style homes. Even if you’re just going with a simple East Coast, Cape Cod-inspired home, there might be some amendments to the design you’ll want to make to accommodate the climate of your region.

If you live back east, by all means, base your house on the classic Cape Cod or Maine homes. However, if you choose this aesthetic but live in Southern California, it would make more sense for you to open the design up a bit, adding larger windows than you’d see on the classic houses. If you don’t, you might regret shutting your rooms off from the cheery sunshine.

The Final Details

When all your tweaks are made and tasteful colors are chosen, think about the finer details like finials, pediments, classic shingles, artisan-carved porch railing, ornamented eaves, and column covers. These will complete the look of your home exterior.

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Home Decorating Mistakes

9 Easy to Change Home Decorating Mistakes

Small changes that you can make in your home decorating can lead to a much more satisfying home environment. Almost everyone has been guilty of one or more of these at some point in their home decorating.

However, learning to recognize these “big” mistakes can lead to a much more put-together look.

1. Too Many Photos

You don’t need to display every family picture that you’ve taken for the world to see. Most people aren’t even interested in your pictures of the bird that visits your patio or every smile your baby makes. Consider framing just a few of your best and favorites for sitting or hanging and put the rest in a digital picture frame or photo albums that are organized and easy to access for those who love to show off their pictures.

Home Decorating Mistakes

2. The Infamous Toilet Rug

Even if you don’t own one now, the likelihood is that you did at one point or know someone who does. The cutout rug fits around the base of the toilet and is the harbinger of germs and yucky stuff. Get rid of it. Don’t give it away, throw it out. Instead, use a normal rectangular rug placed away from the base of the toilet.

3. Leaving Exposed Wires and Cables

It’s such an easy fix but so many of us leave the wires and cables to electronics, lamps and other devices laying out to be seen. Try tucking them behind the furniture or along the baseboards. If you can, lift the edge of the carpet or a rug and hide them under. Bunch wires neatly together and use electrical tap or small zip ties to hold them together in a bundle. Cord covers the same color as the wall or flooring is also another great way to cover up wires and cables.

4. Wrong Themes

Walking into a room that looks like it’s a scene from a beach home when you’re in the mountains or vise versus, just makes most of us cringe. It’s like instant shock to the senses because it’s so out of place. If you like a location but live in a different environment, don’t use the theme in your home. You can display a few items from the location on a shelf or bookcase, but don’t do the whole room or home.

5. Too Much Clutter

Clutter is a fault of almost everyone and it leads to stress because you feel pressured to get organized and to clean up. The best way to get rid of clutter is to find better ways to organize. Find tubs, baskets, chests and armoires to give you extra space to hold those items that seem to pile up. Learn to get rid of items that you don’t use or wear, including that jacket hanging in the back of your closet that you’ve been waiting to come back into style.

6. Large Collections

Collectibles can begin to look like clutter when not displayed correctly or they’ve taken over your home (this includes clothes and shoes). Go through the collection and get rid of ones you don’t really want or appreciate. If sizing down is not an option, then consider dividing the collection into smaller groupings and rotating the groups in and out of storage to make the collection more manageable.

7. Wrong Size Furniture

Buying furniture too large or small for the space is also a big decorating mistake. Measure your room and space before purchasing, including checking the doorframe sizes, to make sure the piece is the right size for the area. You also don’t want to overstuff or leave the room to sparse either.

8. Formal Rooms

No one uses formal rooms; they are too stiff and uncomfortable. Improve the comfort and relaxation of your home by getting rid of the formal dining or living room and creating a space where people want to live and enjoy.

9. Fake Flowers and Plants

Finally, get rid of the fake flowers and use real ones. If real flowers are not an option, consider bowls of fruit, veggies, branches from the garden or live plants instead. Fake flowers just collect dust and look crappy. Real stuff is better and you can change it out often to keep your home looking fresh.

All of these decorating mistakes work to create an awkward or less than easy to care for space. Improve your home by making these inexpensive and easy changes to your décor and enjoy your home that much more.

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Greener Homes

Greener Homes: Tips for Going Green

Nowadays, energy efficiency is at the forefront of the minds of many when it comes to buying home appliances. Whether you have just bought a new house, or are just looking to update your existing home with green friendly energy features, the following five energy efficient tips are ideal for any householder looking to do their part for the environment.

1. Roof insulation

Investing in the right roof insulation can prevent a significant amount of heat from entering your roof and as a result, your home can enjoy cooler temperatures in summer and warmer temperatures in winter. Aside from minimising your energy output, the benefits of going green also include reduced energy costs of the life time of your home, meaning you’ll be able to save money on other things – like home décor or a new swimming pool!

2. Window Glazing

In terms of energy saving, windows are often overlooked as the common energy-sapping culprits in your home. However, windows can be a significant source of heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. By opting for double glaze and insulating glass, you can dramatically cut your house’s energy costs during the summer and winter months.

Greener Homes

3. Hot water Systems

Opt for gas hot water system with a 5-star energy efficiency rating – in the long run this can save you approximately fifteen percent of running costs. An even better energy efficient option is to install a solar hot water system which is now even cheaper to install due to the federal government’s solar hot water rebate.

4. Dishwashers

When looking for a dishwasher be sure to select one which has an energy efficient rating of 3.5 stars  or above. Each star equates to a thirty percent reduction of running costs, not to mention a reduction in water bills. Also be on the look out  for energy saving features such as half-load settings and water economy options.

5. Lighting

Halogen and incandescent lights are huge energy sappers. For a better greener alternative, opt for fluorescent light bulbs. Not only do they last on average eight times longer than regular halogen lights, but they use only twenty percent of than the halogen equivalent. If you swapped all your lights with florescent lighting, you could effectively cut 80% off your lighting bills.

So, whether you’re looking to buy a new house, or upgrade your existing home, keep these green tips in mind to help save both the environment, and money on your energy bills!

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Hiring an Architect

How to Save Money by Hiring an Architect

So you’re thinking of building a new property, you’re thinking “I’ve got experience, I can do this.” Or maybe you’re considering adding an extension to your current home, and you say to yourself “This isn’t a big job, I don’t need an architect.” You’re thinking you can save money by simply not hiring one.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. You are almost guaranteed to save money on building your project if you hire an architect – and that’s including his or her fees!

Read on to find out how…

Hiring an Architect

The Costs

First and foremost, you’ll want to know how much you’re going to pay. Traditionally, an architect will charge a percentage – around 10 per cent if you want the full turnkey solution, or between 2 and 5 per cent if they’re only needed until the planning permission stage – of the total construction costs.

However, some architects charge an hourly rate; this usually falls within the £70-90 range. You can usually get the initial consultation for free though, so make sure to take advantage of this! You could even go to a few different firms and get a handful of “initial” consultations – use their advice to your benefit! Also, if you do hire an architect, this is a great way to decide which one is right for you.

If you’re employing the architect for the whole project, from start to finish, you can estimate a total construction cost by the area covered: for an extension you’ll be looking at an average of £1000 per square meter, whereas a new build would be slightly less at £900/m2. Obviously you have to add the cost of any new kitchen or bathroom fittings on top of this, but apart from that absolutely everything is covered, meaning you don’t have much else to do.

The Advantages

If you have neither the time nor the experience to deal with a complex job, get an architect to do it for you. An architect can do the design work, get planning permission sorted, meet with local planners and – most importantly – make sure your property is safe.

They can also advise you on any financial matters and fit the design around your budget, cutting a large chunk out of any possible expenses. In addition, they can make your property energy efficient, meaning you save money in the long run as well as the short. All this adds up to a property with a higher market value; you will get more money if and when you decide to sell.

By hiring from a trusted architecture firm – such as McCormick Architecture in Chester – you are guaranteed to receive the guidance of an experienced professional.

The Verdict

Basically, if you need plans drawing up at all, it is best to hire an architect. Unless, of course, you’re an architect yourself, but if you are – stop reading this article and get on with it!

If you decide you need the assistance of a trained professional, there are a few things you should do. Firstly, get the architect to establish the fees from the beginning, and get it in writing. This avoids any complications. Also, make sure to budget a bit more than you’re told – it’s always wise to have a contingency plan.

In the majority of cases, you’ll be better off hiring an architect to oversee your project. Ask friends and family to see if they have any recommendations as to who you should choose and this will increase your chances of getting an architect you get along with. Good luck!

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Future Kitchen

What The Future Kitchen Will Be Like?

With technology moving at such a fast pace within a multitude of spheres spanning nearly every area of everyday life, it wasn’t long before the digital age was reflected more within the appliances we use in the home.

This has prompted the question concerning the kitchen of the future and what we should be expecting in the next couple of years. well, for the more technologically persuaded it would seem the kitchen of the future is already here.

Network-ready appliances seem to be the ones causing the biggest stir, one of the biggest examples being the lg smart fridge. its cutting edge design will include features such as LCD touchscreen a digital camera and of course an internet connection.

Future Kitchen

  • The new generation of fridge freezers can also communicate with smart ovens when it comes to suggesting recipes based on the contents of the fridge.
  • If you, like many people are not so concerned about the gadget side of “smart” self-serviceable appliances and are more interested in what they can do for your utility bills.
  • Many of them come with an energy rating of a++ this is 40% more efficient than any standard ‘a’ rating appliance.
  • If you are really looking to replace the biggest culprits of energy wastage in your kitchen, maybe you should also consider a beko washing machine found at appliances direct.
  • With the digital display and temperature regulators known of energy efficient appliances you can be really certain you are getting the best possible value for the energy you use.
  • Energy ratings on offer match that of the fridge freezers and a bigger drum means you can be doing fewer loads.

The kitchen many people dream of as being that of the future may be arrayed with gadgets and applications, but the primary concern for many of us really should be that of energy conservation, for the sake of the planet and your utility bills.

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Add Space and Value to Your Home. A Home Improvement Guide