20 February 2015

How much should you spend on redesigning your kitchen?



The past few years have seen the kitchen grow in importance, in comparison with the rest of the house. Today, people eat, gather, and even have parties in the kitchen. Larger kitchens have replaced the small, basic ones with conveniences such as larger sinks, islands, fancy lighting, beautiful refrigerators, cookers, and so on. Most homes have picked up on the cozy, social kitchen trend. But how much should you spend on redesigning your kitchen?

Creating A Budget

After conducting thorough research on the re-designing options for your kitchen, it is time to consider your budget. The following tips will help you estimate more accurately.
When planning, decide what exactly needs to be done. Your decision will place your project in one of two remodeling categories:

Minor Remodels

Minor remodels average at around $17,000 to $25,000. These are usually done when a  kitchen has a good layout, or its plumbing and electrical systems meet the current building standards. However, the finish may be outdated and needs revamping. The design, in this case, will remain identical to the original, and it will mean you change the cabinets, flooring, ceiling colour and worktops.

Major remodels

Major remodels are far more costly. Mid-range projects in this category average at around $50,900 to $59,700 while high-end projects average at around $103,500 to $115,500. Due to poor planning during construction, some kitchens require significant updates or repairs, and expansion in size, hence the sharp difference in cost between the minor and major remodels.

After determining what your kitchen needs, coming up with a budget that will cover your expenses becomes less daunting.

Break down the Costs

Come up with an easily comprehensible way of breaking your budget. On average, you can break down your budget – as a percentage of the total amount – as follows:


  • Cabinets: 35 percent,
  • Appliances: 20 percent,
  • Labour: 20 percent,
  • Windows: 10 percent,
  • Fixtures: 5 percent,
  • Fittings: 3 percent,


Prepare for the Unexpected

Something unexpected always happens during construction – especially in older residences. For example, on ripping out your walls, you may realize that the electrical wiring is outdated, or that your floor has rotted after pulling out your dishwasher. Leaving about 20% of your budget to cover the unexpected is practical.

List what You Consider most Important

List what you feel needs revamping the most. If you feel that new appliances will give your kitchen the most pleasing restoration, ensure that they are at the top of your list. This way, even if the cost supersedes your budget, you will have taken care of what is most important to you.

Acquaint Yourself with the Charges Design Professionals Demand

Design professionals can take your project from conceptualization to selecting the finish materials for your construction.


  • Architects charge, on average, $150 per hour and above, or a flat fee of about $500 to $5,000,
  • Interior designers charge an average of $100 to $150 per hour or a flat fee of $500 to $10,000, and
  • Kitchen designers charge $50 per hour.

Of course you should shop around for this. Some kitchen builders in Melbourne offer free design consultations along with their services.

You should also acquaint yourself with the charges that your local buildings permit office requires for such a demolition. Some areas determine their fees basing on the planned work while others require you to pay a percentage of the total project.

Your kitchen reflects your lifestyle, and spending money on it gives you the chance to get a kitchen you’ll love to be in, whether to cook, socialize or relax. Since a cozy, social kitchen is the new trend, revamping your kitchen should be among your top priorities if you've the budget to spare.

13 February 2015

Tips for making a kitchen renovation less stressful

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Let’s face it – redoing the kitchen is not a fun job, and it can be so stressful in fact that many of us choose to put it off for years, and instead endure a kitchen we hate rather than putting up with the hassle.

However, if you take some steps you can make the task considerably easier and a lot more stress free. Here are some tips for doing just that.

Preparation is key

From things like setting a budget early on and having a time frame in mind, getting prepared will be really useful when it comes to keeping things organised (and keeping calm!). As well as thinking about these sorts of things, also get the actual room and the rest of your house prepared. This will include doing things like totally clearing out the existing kitchen of things you no longer want in there, and ensuring work people can have easy access to the space when it comes to things like bringing in your large, new appliances.

Consider your new appliances as wise investments

Renovating a kitchen is rarely a cheap venture, but it’s such a good idea to not skimp on your new appliances, as treating them more as an investment is a much better idea in terms of getting more for your money. If you go for cheaper options from the beginning, you may end up replacing them sooner than you’d wish which will end up costing you more anyway.

...and get rid of your old ones easily

Getting rid of your old, existing appliances to make room for your brand new ones can feel like a bit of a mammoth task. However, there are a number of options out there that will take away the hassle (literally). From companies taking away your old ones in return for discounted new ones, to companies offering to recycle them for you, there are lots of things to look into. You can check out this website - http://www.serviceforce.co.uk/services/recycling/recycle-electronics/ – for more info on the latter option.

Get your agreements in writing

Finding trusted trades people isn’t always easy, though when you do find someone, it’s recommended that you get all of your agreements in writing for the jobs that they’re going to do. That way, you’ve got written, physical proof of what you were expecting, should there be any issues that you need resolving along the way.

Install plenty of power points

This isn’t generally something that people forget, but it may be something that we rarely install enough of. Your kitchen will be one of the main rooms in your house when it comes to electrical usage, so it’s a really good idea to ensure you’ve got loads of plug sockets installed so that you have more than enough for when it comes to using your new kitchen.

Go green where possible

Being environmentally friendly is a goal that many of us want to achieve, and if you’re redoing your kitchen, you may want to look into ways in which your renovation can do this. Here are some tips for going green in the kitchen.

Is it safe to be in a property while it is being treated for pests?

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Pesticides can be dangerous if you use them the wrong way, so it’s often necessary to call in the experts if you have a problem with pests in your home, or of you want to prevent a problem from occurring.

Pest control experts know what they are doing, and they know what extermination processes and methods to use for different situations. As long as you take the necessary actions before, during and after the treatment process, you and your family will be perfectly safe.

What should you do before your home is treated for pests?

The most important thing is to make sure that the professional you hire is licensed. This means that they will be able to complete a safe and effective job, and will be able to advise you correctly on precautions to take. States have their own individual licensing procedures, with the Environmental Protection Agency, providing training in the handling of certain pesticides. Once you have made an appointment it’s important to make sure that the area to be treated is ready for when the pest control experts arrive.

If you are having a routine treatment completed then, most of the time, this is concentrated on the exterior of your home to prevent pests from getting inside the premises. Interior pest control is usually used when pests have actually been encountered indoors. If the exterior of your home is being treated then you need to make sure that the area is cleared, that grass is cut if necessary and that children and pets are removed from the area.

Similarly, if the interior of your home is being treated, you need to clear any small items from the floor and put away any food items; you should also cover any fish tanks and either cover or switch off the pump. When the Long Island pest control experts arrive you will often need to vacate your home, depending on what pests are being dealt with.  Children should always be out of the premises while the work is being undertaken, and it’s a good idea to make sure pets are too.

What happens during the treatment?

When your home is being treated for pests low levels of pesticide are used which are lethal to pests while not threatening the health of you or your pets, once they are dry. There are different treatments available depending on the pest involved. For instance, aerosols and dusts can be used for applying to cracks. This means that the pests can be killed, but there is no harmful reside.

When a pesticide has to be applied to a surface that’s exposed the experts follow very specific procedures to ensure that the right quantities are used in the correct manner. Application of these pesticides also dictates that all animals and humans must stay away from the surfaces until they are dry.

What happens after the treatment?

Recommendations vary as to the length of time you should stay out of a home that has been treated, except to say that you should not touch any treated surfaces until they are dry. You should ask the experts undertaking the job whether it is necessary to stay out of your home, as this can depend on the type of treatment undertaken.

If you have any concerns about re-entering your home then a period of 2-3 hours is definitely sufficient for any treated areas to have dried out. After this time you can enter your home with complete ease of mind, and no pests to worry about.

09 February 2015

The benefits of outdoor gas heaters



Do you want to throw an outdoor party during the winter season? Whether it’s for a birthday, or special event, you may be worried about your guests feeling cold and leaving the party early. This is a pretty good consideration to look at, particularly for the benefit of your guests, but you don’t have to move the party indoors. You could still use your back yard to enjoy an ambient, warm setting with your family and friends without restricting your outdoor fun to parties alone. Maybe you just love spending some time with them in the cool of the cold season, or even at night, when temperatures have dropped.

The Benefits of Outdoor Gas Heaters

Outdoor gas heaters use radiant heat to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere long after the outdoor fun is over. They come with a vast array of benefits that are able to offer you a warm welcoming place in your garden, or on your patio, that you can relax in. They also come in a variety of shapes, sizes or even styles to suit your individual heating requirements.  Below, we look at the benefits that outdoor gas heaters can have for your home.

They’re convenient
Whether you choose natural gas or liquid propane for your outdoor heating, you'll find that these appliances give you some degree of convenience. For the natural gas option, you can hook it up to your home's natural gas supply, so refueling doesn't become an issue. Simply turn it on, and let it warm your outdoor space.


They’re safe
Natural gas, when used in these heaters, won't harm the environment or pollute the atmosphere as the gas is contained within canisters. As a safety feature, natural gas is blended with an identifying odour to ensure that it is easily detectable in the event of a leakage. Essentially, when this source of fuel is used with an outdoor gas heater, you’ll get nothing less than instant heat, ambiance and peace of mind.

They’re quick
Outdoor gas heaters are one of the quickest ways to heat up a space. You don’t have to worry about shivering away whilst the element heats up, and you’re likely to be able to enjoy instant heat, meaning the party can go on for longer!


They’re customizable
Your patio can accommodate outdoor gas heaters, which are specifically meant for that purpose. With a vast array of designs available, you should expect a diverse range of features on these appliances. The market is currently geared towards heaters that are slim, stylish and minimalistic in all dimensions. The average Australian consumer is no longer interested in bottled gas, since this technique is not cost-effective where gas consumption is concerned. They want something that looks good, or that you can’t really see at all. Something that warms the space without making a show of itself is one of the most requested types of outdoor heating at the moment. In addition to this, Australian consumers want quality products, which have been manufactured by local companies, since local manufacturers are able to guarantee quality as per the country's standards.


Providers in Australia, such as Heatstrip, specialize in dealing with a range of innovative outdoor heating solutions. If you’re looking for gas outdoor heaters, you want to go for some that are high performance, low on the use of space and cost, and easy to set up and use. Choosing appliances that are low-glow electric radiant heaters, contributes to low outdoor heating costs at the end of the day. Everyone is looking at reducing heating bulls, especially where a lot of heating is involved for prolonged periods of time.

Unlike traditional heaters, modern heaters sold in Australia are stylish, minimalistic, high performance and result-oriented. So whether you are throwing a party, or simply relaxing in your own back yard, outdoor gas heaters will suit your purpose well.

05 January 2015

Apple Juice… Without a Juicer?


That’s right, if you’re getting a cold weather craving for some delicious apple juice but don’t yet have a dedicated juicer, you’re in luck. Making apple juice in your own kitchen is not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. With a few basic supplies and a bit of patience, it’s relatively easy to churn out fresh, homemade apple juice unrivaled by anything you get at the store.

Choosing Apples
The apples you pick for your juice have a tremendous effect on the finished product. In fact, if you choose your apples carefully, there will be little or no need for added sweeteners due to the high levels of natural sugar in the fruit. When making apple juice, a variety of red apples such as Red Delicious and Fuji should be used to create complex flavors. Bruised or otherwise imperfect fruits can also be used for juice making, as their full flavor is intact.

If possible, fresh apples should be obtained from a local farmers’ market instead of a supermarket or other store for maximum flavor and freshness. Each bushel of apples yields about sixteen quarts of apple juice, so keep this ratio in mind when determining the amount of apples you will need for your juice making project.

Be sure to get an appropriate number of glass mason jars to store your juice in.

Preparation
When you have decided on a suitable blend of apples for your juice, it’s time to start the process. Begin by thoroughly washing out the jars in hot, soapy water, then boil the jars for ten minutes to completely sanitize them. Keep the jars and lids submerged in the hot water until it’s time to use them to prevent them from breaking when you fill them with the heated apple juice.

Next, wash the apples in plain cold water and remove the cores with a corer or paring knife. Transfer the apples to a large, thick-bottomed pot filled with four inches of boiling water and put the lid on the pot to steam them. When the apples have softened, place them into a colander lined with layers of cheesecloth and allow the juice to drip into a large pot for an hour or until the apples are dry.

Juice Making
When the pot is full, add cinnamon to taste and bring the mixture to a low, simmering boil. Transfer the juice to quart-size canning jars, screw on the lid and tighten the ring around the jar. Place the jars in a water bath submerged in two inches of water for five minutes then remove them from the water with a pair of canning tongs, loosen the rings slightly, and leave them to cool slowly in a draft-free area overnight.

After the jars are cool, check them for a tight seal by pressing the center of the lid down. If it stays down, the jar is sealed and ready for storage. If the center makes a popping sound and pops back up, there is no seal and the jar should be placed in the refrigerator right away to prevent spoilage.

Homemade apple juice is both superior to store bought juice and simple to make in your own kitchen. This apple juice will stay fresh in the jar with no special attention for up to two years, so one batch will allow you to enjoy delicious apple juice all winter and beyond.
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