13 March 2019

Creating a Comfortable Home Office


Working from home has its perks. You’ll never have to worry about office politics, a dress code, or someone heating fish in the office microwave. But you’ll have challenges, too. It can be tough to be productive when we work from home, and it can be difficult to cultivate the right kind of work-from-home environment. To really be effective at working from home, you’ll need a great home office that will encourage you to work hard and be productive.

That’s easier said than done, but we have some tips that could help you out. Here are a few things that could help you create the ultimate home office.

Carve out a separate space

Our minds are fickle things, and they can often work against us. One of the tough things about working from home is that it can confuse your body and mind, making it tough for you to designate work time from playtime. If you’re staring at your work desk as you fall asleep, you may find it hard to get restful sleep. If you’re seeing your PlayStation 4 out of the corner of your eye as you work on a project, you may get distracted.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself as a work-from-home professional is to carve out a designated space for your work. A separate room is ideal, but that’s not your only option — you could create a zone within a room for work. The important thing is to set your work area apart in your space so that you can set it apart in your mind, too.

Make sure friends and family know you’re “at the office”

When you’re home all day, it’s easy for others to forget that you’re at work. If you have family around, they may try to strike up a conversation. Friends may want to stop by. And others that you live with may ask you to run errands.

Be sure to let people know that you are “at work,” even if you’re right there in the next room. Set boundaries with friends and family, and don’t let them disrupt your busy work schedule.

Get your morning routine right

As a work-from-home professional, you’ll no longer have to commute. That’s great! But you will need some kind of morning routine that tells your body and your mind that it’s time to work.

Make sure that you get up and run through a full morning routine each morning. Take a shower and get dressed. You may even want to talk a walk around the block to get some air — a virtual “commute.” Wear clothes that make you feel like you’re “at work,” because you are!

Then grab a coffee and get down to work. You can save a lot of money on your “office” coffee, by the way, by joining a subscription coffee club that will send fresh coffee to your doorstep on a regular basis. You may also want to program your coffee maker to start brewing a fresh batch every morning as you get up.

Keep your property comfortable and functional

When commercial office spaces are run down and working poorly, they affect the productivity of the professionals who occupy them. The same is true of your working space, which is also your home.

Stay on top of things like plumbing, electrical repairs and maintenance. The right temperature can be key to productivity, say the experts at ac repair Cape Coral. And being proactive about maintenance and repairs to vital systems like your home’s HVAC or plumbing system will save you money in the long run, because preventative maintenance is virtually always cheaper than sudden emergency repairs to broken things. By keeping your home comfortable and functional, you’ll ensure that your home office is in tip-top shape for your workday.

08 March 2019

Interior Design Do’s and Don’ts for Every Beginner


It goes without saying that a home’s interior design is what really makes it come alive. A good interior design can make or break a home; it can make a home feel inviting or stale, lived-in or sterile.

However, before you take the plunge to completely redo your home, you should educate yourself on some proper do’s and don’ts that come with interior design. After all, these small little hacks can help transform your space.

Don’t: rush out and completely redecorate an entire room all at once

Decorating takes time. You don’t have to settle when it comes to decorating, and if you don’t find anything you like right now, consider taking a break to figure out what you really need in the room.

Questions to consider: How do you live in the space? What do you need to make it functional? Is what you have right now sufficient? You may not actually need much more than what you currently have.

Do: pick what you like, and only what you like

You don’t have to go out and paint a room in a trendy print or color if you aren’t a big fan. This is your home, after all, and it should have everything you want in it, and nothing else.

Don’t: choose your paint first

Your paint should always be chosen last, as it is the backdrop to your room and is meant to enhance everything else that is in it.

Do: choose your fabrics first

The fabrics in the room (such as the curtain, rug, and furniture) should all be chosen first as they are the room’s focal points. They will be the items that set the mood you’ll get from the room. Don’t know where to start? Try choosing the rug first, because it’s essentially the foundation of the room.

Don’t: go overboard with framed pictures

While yes, framed pictures are great for adding personality to your room, they can look cluttered if you have too many in one area.

Do: choose canvas prints instead

Canvas prints are great for adding unique memories all around your home. You can pick any picture you’d like and it will be blown up and printed on a canvas board in any size of your choosing. Not only are canvas prints interesting to look at, they easily add texture to your walls as well.

Don’t: skimp on your curtains

It may be hard to believe, but wider and longer curtains can easily make any small room look large and breezy. A good size curtain will pool on the floor, so as a rule of thumb: the longer the drapes, the better.

Do: stay away from white

The color white can look incredibly stark, and it’s the easiest way to make any home look unlived in and sterile. Create a comfier space while adding light into the room by choosing a muted ivory or cream.

Don’t: match furniture and the carpets exactly

There should only be one statement piece in each room. To bypass this, avoid matching furniture and your carpets exactly. So this means if you are going for a patterned rug, everything else in the room should be a solid color, in a color that is seen on the rug.

Same goes if you are choosing a fancy chair or couch — you don’t want things to clash and seem to gaudy. Just stick with the tones of the large pattern for the rest of the room and you won’t have to worry about your room looking “too busy”.

With these tricks in mind, you’ll be well on your way to decorating up a storm in your home.

25 February 2019

5 Common Plumbing Repairs Every Homeowner Should Be Prepared For


Nothing lasts forever. That’s something most homeowners understand only too well. Whether it’s an appliance that suddenly decides to quit on you, or a pipe under your kitchen that bursts needing immediate attention, it is important to stay on top of those repairs. This is especially important when it comes to the kitchen or bathroom because those are the two areas every home must have in good working order.

If a ceiling fan should suddenly stop working in a bedroom, it’s no big deal. You can usually survive without that extra bit of circulation, but if the oven should suddenly quit a few days before Thanksgiving, or the element in the hot water heater burns out, those are things that need immediate attention. As a homeowner, it pays to be prepared for the most common plumbing repairs you may need to make. These are the repairs which usually can’t wait.

1. Water Heaters

When it comes to water heaters, the most common problems are elements that burn out. However, sometimes you need a whole new unit. This is something you may not be able to diagnose and/or repair yourself so it would necessitate a licensed plumber to make a house call. This could be problematic in huge metropolitan areas of the country such as heavily populated Southern California.

You may need to find a plumber with a service area that extends from Los Angeles to Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, especially if you need emergency repairs on weekends. Water heater installation and repairs are services that, as mentioned, usually take a licensed plumber, so this is why it pays to keep the number of a plumber like Edward’s Enterprises handy. You never know when that water heater might go on the blink.

2. Dripping Faucets

Is there anything more annoying than dripping faucets? Even so, as annoying as they might be, the cost of losing all that water can quickly add up on your next utility bill. While you might joke about the noise those dripping faucets make being like Chinese water torture, they are no joke when you see just how high your water bill is.

In fact, to see just how much those leaky faucets are costing you each year, check out the Drip Calculator provided by The American Water Works Association. It may be a quick fix like a washer and it may require a whole new faucet, but either way, that’s a whole lot cheaper than your water bill. You can count on that!

3. Leaking Pipes

Most often you will need a plumber to repair broken pipes. Unless the pipe is situated above ground or in the interior of the home such as the pipes running on a wall by a washer or water heater, it would be a job beyond what the average homeowner could handle.

This is one repair which can’t wait because of the danger of water damage to the home. Not only can severe leaks cause black mold, but the structural damage could be irreparable if left leaking for lengthy periods of time.

4. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can be easy to fix if the problem is in the pipes under the sink or tub. Usually something is simply caught in the elbow, but other times it isn’t the drain at all. Sometimes roots have busted through pipes which cause the actual pipes to become clogged and over time, that backs up into the basin.

If you can’t plunge or clear a clogged drain easily with a snake, plunger or chemical, and if there is nothing apparently blocking the elbow, it’s probably time to call in the plumber. Finding the clog may not be as easy as you think.

5. Toilets Constantly Running

Most people aren’t aware of just how much water is wasted with a toilet that constantly runs. By some estimates, a running toilet can waste up to, or even more than, 200 gallons in a single day. That’s a lot of water to waste! Not only will you be wasting one of our precious resources, but your water bill will be sky high. Typically, the problem is a faulty valve that simply wore out over time. They are easy to replace with a few tools, but if you are mechanically challenged, it might be time to call in the handyman or plumber.

When in Doubt – Call a Plumber

So, there you have five of the most common plumbing problems every homeowner should be prepared to deal with. Some can be quite easy and inexpensive to fix and others may be a bit costly requiring specialized equipment and skills. In any case, you can’t leave plumbing in ill repair for lengthy periods of time because those leaks, drips and clogs can end up costing you way more than you are prepared to pay. If in doubt, call a plumber.

27 December 2018

Changing Your Home When Aging

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As we get older our needs change. Our homes should change with us. Although many aging people want to hang on to the things that are near and dear to their heart, it is best to keep it simple. It is good to hang on to a few choice things, yet pare down to keep life light and simple. Aching bodies and lower energy can make life a little more difficult when we are older. It is best to keep life as simple as possible when older so we can deal with each challenge aging may throw at us. Simplifying your home and making it easier to get around as we get older is a must.

Clearing the Way

Open space to easily get around is important when getting older. This stops people from running into things. This also helps to have a clear mind and feel safe when getting around your home. If you or your spouse needs a walker to get around, having wide space and wood floors helps. You can do two things if you have a two-story home. You could remodel and just make a one story livable space and use the second story for storage. You can also install stair lifts to help you get up the stairs.

Accessible Kitchen

The kitchen is also another area where you can make your life simpler when aging. You can redesign the kitchen to adjust for maybe height differences. If you can have a sink where you do not have to bend your back, but is custom made for your size, this helps. This will help with any back problems over time. Also, having a wire dish rack at eye level can help with doing dishes. It may be harder for an elderly person to keep bending over to a dishwasher. By having a dish rack, you can place the dish neatly on the rack and have them air dry. By having the rack at eye level, you can transfer the dishes right to the cabinet. Working with a kitchen designer to make your kitchen easier to function in is great when aging.

Storing and Condensing

The hardest part of getting older is having to reduce the size of what you have. There are usually a lot of memories associated with stuff in your house that you can not part with. It is important to let go of some things and keep the most important things. You can have one room full of storage bins and that is it. You can utilize some of your memorabilia into the decorating of your house. Once you do that, and have one neatly organized room full of storage bins with lids, that is about all you should have. Anything more can become so burdensome to you. You want a clean slate throughout old age to be able to think freely and well. Aging itself is hard enough, make your home easy to live in.

The Bathroom

Balance becomes an issue as we age. The bathroom, and getting in and out of bathtubs and even showers, can be a potential hazard. It is important to have nonstick on the floor of all bathrooms and showers. Remodeling a bathroom so it can be a walk-in shower with enough room for a chair is ideal. This way, there is no harm in a person getting up and down from a bath. Also, a grab bar is essential to make sure you can hold on to something getting up and down from the chair. Many older people won't take as many showers as they should in fear of hurting themselves. This should be easily taken care of with a walk-in shower with the proper chair.

Getting older is inevitable, but you can stay in your home a lot longer than you think with a few changes. If you can foresee into the future a bit and adjust your house while you have more vigor and energy, that would be good. The easier you make your house to live in as you age, the longer you can stay in it.

18 December 2018

How to Keep Your Kitchen Humming Over Christmas


While we all tend to think that the lounge area is where it’s at over Christmas, that’s not usually right. The festive season is a time when family and guests alike tend to hover around the kitchen because that’s where all the food preparation is going on.

When people are in and out of the kitchen area preparing tasty bites for everyone to enjoy or refilling drinks once again, people tend to gravitate there too. That’s even more the case when there’s a table to sit down, talk and eat at. With that said, you want to make sure everything is organised before the chaos descends.

Here are a few tips to keep the kitchen humming along well this Christmas.

Check All Kitchen Appliances are Working

Having a failing oven, a grill that won’t get hot enough, or a hob that’s playing up is less than ideal at Christmas time when you don’t have good alternatives. Similarly, if your household relies on a decent coffee machine producing delicious mugs of hot coffee to wake everyone up on cold winter mornings, then that coffee machine better not fail on you now.

Check all the kitchen appliances that you’ll use over the holidays. Ensure they are functioning properly with zero problems. If the cooker or oven is playing up, get someone in to perform some maintenance on them to diagnose what the problem is. Hopefully, if the appointment is made early enough, they can still order in a part if one needs to be replaced and they don’t have it in stock presently.

Also, look at the kitchen, countertops, flooring and other areas. If you’re realising that your kitchen is struggling along on its last legs or parts of it need replacing, such as the floor, then consider visiting the Fishpools website for ideas on how to remodel the kitchen. Not only can you find great decoration and kitchen designs, but you can also find more ideas on fishpools.co.uk for Christmas preparations too.

Get Some Cooking Books to Impress with Christmas Food

Whether you’re an undying fan of Jamie Oliver, are partial to the sharp tongue of Gordon Ramsey or prefer Nigella Lawson for a bit of posh, it’s sensible to have some Christmas themed cookbooks to hand.

Get some inspiration for what to prepare this holiday season to surprise friends and family at every turn. Some of the best Christmas books include Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, The Great British Bake Off for some cakes and other delicious treats straight from the oven, and Nigella’s Christmas from Nigella Lawson which is still selling well after being released 3-4 years ago.

Try out a few different recipes to get the hang of them before serving them up to family or guests who are visiting. Put your best foot forward to impress everyone with your culinary skills.

Put Out Your Best Plates and Cutlery for the Holidays

If you’re like most British families, you tend to only put out your best plates, bowls, and cutlery for special occasions and keep them hidden away at other times. It’s an old-fashioned tradition that some families still enjoy following because it keeps their best cutlery and china preserved. When it’s an important day, they like to make it extra special by upping the mark on the presentation by using their best.

If that’s your family, don’t leave it until Christmas Day to bring out your finest because it gets too little use that way. Enjoy using it through the month of December; you own it, why not enjoy it?!
Plan Out Meals to Ensure There’s Enough Fresh and Frozen Food

For times when you’re not going to be preparing new dishes or spending extensive time in the kitchen, it’s sensible to plan out the meals each week leading up to Christmas and beyond.
Doing so makes food shopping trips much less hectic because with a meal plan you know exactly what proteins and vegetables are required for the next seven days. The same goes for if you shop online for food now and get it delivered.

Be Ready in Case There’s a Power Cut

Make some plans in case there’s a short power cut at home. It can happen at the most inopportune moment. Consider whether some candles and candle holders would be a good move or present too much of a fire hazard with kids or pets running around. Know where the fuse box is and how to reset electric fuses. Use a smartphone for a temporary light source.

Check whether you have any usable blankets to keep warm in case the electricity cuts out for a couple of hours in the evening when it’s getting chilly. The loss of indoor heating will certainly be noticeable at that time.

Don’t forget to decorate the kitchen area, but do so carefully. Avoid any decorations hanging over or near the cooking area because Christmas decorations are flammable. Strategically hang the decorations in a safe manner to keep the seasonal feel but without creating safety concerns.

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