21 March 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Repair Your Oven by Yourself


Lots of us see ourselves as DIY (do it yourself) experts. Thanks to the internet, it has become a lot easier to fix things for yourself. You can find parts online for very cheap prices, and YouTube is filled with tutorial videos on how to fix any problem that you come across. Furthermore, many of us enjoy tinkering, seeing it as a weekend hobby.

However, there are certain things that you should only ask a specialist to repair. One of those is the electric oven. Very few of us know how ovens operate and are very familiar with electrical work at the same time. As a result, if your electric oven breaks down, it is important that you search for a qualified oven repair specialist. Doing it yourself and making even the smallest mistake could not only make things worse, it could actually be very dangerous to yourself and your property.

Always Hire a Professional

It cannot be emphasized enough that it is vital that you hire a professional. Working with electricity is very serious, and just because you have unplugged something, does not mean that the danger is gone. If you have an appliance, be that an oven or anything else, that runs on electricity, you need to leave it alone.

If you do decide to fix your oven yourself, you have a big chance of actually making the problem worse – if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you could electrocute yourself (yes, even if you have unplugged the appliance) and set your house on fire. If you were lucky, and all you did was make the problem worse, you will quickly find that the cost of repairing it is likely to exceed the cost of buying a new appliance altogether. Because you are dealing with electrical conduits and circuits, even putting a bit too much pressure on a certain element can completely destroy the entire machine. It simply isn’t worth it, no matter how easy the tutorial videos make it look.

Finding a Professional Service

Luckily for you, finding an oven repair specialist is very easy. Again, thanks to the internet, it should only take you a few minutes to find someone. Do make sure, however, that you perform a bit of research to make sure that the company you end up going with is professional, reputable, and guarantees their work.

A good repair specialist will have their own website with details about their qualifications, certifications, and insurance, as well as their prices. It is likely that they have also listed consumer reviews on their website. However, try to find external reviews as well, as these are more likely to be objective. There are various consumer review websites dedicated specifically to helping you find these types of professionals. Spend some time looking through these sites to see the experiences other people have had before booking in your own repair.

For the small expense of hiring a professional, which really isn’t much more expensive than paying for new parts, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that things will work properly again.

Which Material Is Best For Your Stone Patio DIY Project?

In the past, the options for a stone patio were limited to natural materials or whatever was mined in your area. Thanks to the modern marvels of technology and distribution, choosing the right stone for your patio can be both exciting and overwhelming. Whether it is a small project or one that will cover all your green space, making the right choice is about more than just aesthetics.

A stone patio is not just a weekend project; it can be a huge investment, and one that may affect things like your yard drainage, the value of your home and the maintenance that you’ll have to perform. It’s a big decision, so make sure you know which materials are best for your area, landscaping, and your climate, so you aren’t disappointed.


A natural stone, Flagstone is one of the most common types of stone patio materials. It comes in many colors including blue, red and slate. The appeal of a Flagstone patio is in its traditional and elegant appearance. Providing a very earthy feel, it makes any outdoor area look upscale.

Flagstone is an excellent material for someone who is looking for a more “natural”-looking patio. It doesn’t have a defined shape, so each stone comes in different shapes and colors, which adds variation and texture.

The biggest disadvantage to using Flagstone is that it is difficult to work with unless you are a professional, and it needs a little more expertise than a weekend do-it-yourselfer might possess. It is also more expensive than some other options. Being more susceptible to splitting and erosion makes it a more delicate material and less hardy for areas that experience freeze and thaw cycles or large amounts of precipitation.

When laying a flagstone patio, drainage is the key to ensuring that it lasts a long time. So, if you are going to use it, it’s best to have the help of a designer to ensure that you are laying it correctly to provide good water flow.

Another disadvantage of flagstone is that it absorbs heat from the sun. If you want to use it around pools or for areas that are primarily in the sun, it becomes hot to the touch and can cause headaches for both little and big feet.


Clay brick is one of the oldest and most traditional brick patios material there is. It is a highly malleable aesthetic material that matches almost any type of backyard and house, from traditional to contemporary.

One of the advantages of using brick is that it is highly resistant to fading and it’s easy to work with. Having straight edges and consistency in sizing, it makes an excellent patio material for the newbie do-it-yourselfer. If you want to get creative, it is also a great material to make different patterns and put your own personality and spin on your patio’s flair.

Cheaper than flagstone, you have the option of buying new brick clay or repurposing old. Ironically, recycled clay can be more expensive, but it has a greater color variation and more “old world” charm. The other advantage that brick clay has is that it is excellent for freeze-thaw locations and it provides excellent drainage, which keeps it looking beautiful over the long term.

Patio pavers

Patio pavers come in many varieties and materials. They can be made from clay, stone, recycled plastic, or even concrete. Made out of very hardy materials, they will last a long time in almost any climate if laid correctly.

The biggest advantage to patio pavers is that they’re an excellent option for beginner do-it-yourselfers. A cheaper alternative to many other patio materials, depending on which one you choose, they can also have a very aesthetically pleasant appearance.


Gravel is one of the most natural looks that you can have for a patio, and it’s also the easiest to install. Good for any climate, it provides excellent water drainage and requires little to no expertise. Coming in many shapes, sizes and colors, it is practically maintenance-free. With no need to worry about splitting, chipping or being misplaced, it also helps to stave off any weed growth. As it’s also a very inexpensive patio material, even a novice can’t go wrong.

The right type of patio material for your project depends on your level of expertise, the climate you live in and your own aesthetic taste. Whichever you choose, a nice patio gives you more space to enjoy the great outdoors.

Tricks To Dress Up Your Cabinets

Most people have cabinets strategically placed around their home to house things like knick knacks or for extra storage. Although they are utilitarian, there is no reason why your bookcase or cabinet can’t be an extension of a room's decor. If you have a bookcase, it is reasonable to dress it up to make it more like a piece of artwork than a series of shelves with stuff on it.

There are several ways that you can decorate a cabinet, but one critical thing to remember is that it has to have character and flow. Whether you decide to go with all white figures or you want to mix in some metal, the key is to have a pattern and a theme and stick to it. These are the best ways to dress up any cabinet in your home.

Mix it up

The first thing that a cabinet maker would tell you to consider when you are dressing up a cabinet is where it is located in your home, but don’t let that overtake its function. For example, if you have a cabinet that is in your pantry then you are going to want to put pantry items in it for function. But mixing in old advertising signs or  adding a mixer or other small appliances will break up the monotony and make it appealing to the eye.

In the same instance, if it is in a study, you are going to want to use it for books. But rows and rows of books are monotonous and unentertaining. Mix in some opera glasses, a mantle clock, or an old-fashioned radio to jazz it up and make it eye-catching. Otherwise, it is nothing but a sea of book titles without character.

Add some lighting

Every cabinet should have interesting pieces that “pop.” The way to make those things you treasure most meet someone’s eye is by spotlighting them -- literally. Using track lighting or lamps to showcase the most eye-catching things in your cabinet will add intrigue and depth. It will draw the viewer’s eye toward the essential components and then let them see the rest afterward.

Vary different heights and shapes

There is nothing more boring than a cabinet full of the same items. If you want to dress up a cabinet, make sure to vary the objects by height and shape. You would be surprised at how much moving things around and organizing them in varying patterns can make a difference on your cabinet decor.

Using vases, cylinders or even domes can add texture and make the eyes see more creativity in the cabinet. If you want to use it more functionally, then use different types of baskets and storage bins to hide those things that aren’t so magnificent. The key is to make it stylish, but you don’t want to lose its original purpose, which was to organize your home and give you extra space to store your things.

Add lighting

Nothing is outstanding or dressy about a cabinet that is so dark that it drowns out all the things contained within it. If you have a dark wood cabinet in an area of the house with very little light, illuminating the cabinet is an excellent way to add beauty to the things displayed.

Things like rope lights can adhere to the top of the shelves or even adhesive battery-powered lights can do the trick. The key is to dress it up and make sure that people can see it. Otherwise, it isn’t worth putting any time into something that no one can see anyway.

Vary colors

If you want your items to stand out, make sure to vary the color scheme. If you are going to use just one color, then stick to your resolve. But if you want to vary colors, then make sure not to set the same colors next to each other. Otherwise, it will look all blocky and disjointed.

Cabinets are very helpful  for storing your books, pantry items, or even your family heirlooms. But just because they are functional, that doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish too. Make sure that if a cabinet is taking up space in your house right out in the open, you take care to dress it up and make it part of the decor by hiding those things you don’t want people to see and showcasing the things that you do.

16 March 2017

How Selling your Home Via an Online Estate Agent Can Save You Time and Money


There are a lot of options available when it comes to selling your home. One particular method that’s becoming increasingly popular is the use of online estate agents. Their main selling point is their cost-saving benefits compared to traditional high-street estate agencies. So, how much could you save by going through an online agency and is it worthwhile?

Are online estate agents really cheaper?

When you sell your property, you obviously want to make sure you’re getting the best price. Traditional estate agents used to be the only option available and while they’ve always taken a cut of the final selling price, the costs used to be much more affordable than they are now.

The fees charged by estate agents have gradually increased over the years and now sellers face thousands of pounds’ worth of fees. So, it’s unsurprising sellers are looking for alternative, cheaper options and that’s where online estate agents come in.

Unlike offline agencies, online estate agents charge a set fee, rather than a percentage of the selling fee. This fee does usually need to be paid upfront, but it’s a fraction of the cost that offline estate agents charge.

There aren’t as many fees included with online estate agents either. So, if you’re looking to benefit from the expertise of an agent, without paying extortionate fees, an online agency is definitely recommended.

Helping you to sell your home quickly

Another advantage of choosing an online estate agent is they are typically more driven to sell the property quickly. So, if you’re looking to save time and want a quick sale, an online agent such as Hatched is the better option.

Traditional estate agencies aren’t concerned with selling the home quickly as the more they can get for the property, the more money they’ll make. This means they won’t necessarily get you the best price either and the home could be stuck on the market for months, if not years.

Overall, online estate agents do save time and money and sellers also have a lot more flexibility. For example, you can choose to do your own viewings if you’d prefer and you’re given a lot more control over the process than you are with a high-street agency. So, if you’re looking to sell your property, you might want to consider looking into an online estate agent.

08 March 2017

Five Ways to Renovate Your Home on the Outside


At first sight, your home might seem perfectly fine. It’s not perfect, but it keeps you warm and has enough room for the family and all your prized possessions. However, when looking at nearby homes and how well-kept they are, do you feel as though yours pales in comparison? If so, there are a few things you could do to change all that, turning a pile into a palace.

A Lick of Paint

To cover up tired brickwork or walls stained heavily by residue from passing traffic, it’s worth getting out that paint roller and making your home look just like new. To do that, wash the walls using a pressure washer. Then, cover the windows and doors and apply a first coat (in dry weather) using a large, telescopic roller whilst stood on a sturdy ladder. Leave a few days to dry afterwards.

Resplendent Roofs

Your roof does a lot more than keep the rest of your property dry. From an aesthetic point of view, it makes it look complete. To keep it looking sharp, check that all the tiles are in place and that no unsightly moss or mildew has built up. If it has, look at retiling, going to a supplier such as Burton Roofing for what you need.

Sowing Seeds

If your garden looks a little plain or is covered in weeds, tidying it up is useful. It will take getting the lawnmower out and removing some of the weeds, either by hand or with chemicals. Next, you should consider planting a few flowers, but this can take a bit of work. The easiest ones to plant are perennials, which just require planting once and occasional watering.

Not-so Crazy Paving

The paths that lead to the doors, garage and back lawn should, ideally, be even, straight and capable of standing up to all kinds of weather. If, however, some slabs are cracked or worn out, replacement isn’t too much of a problem. After buying some new paving, you need to make sure the ground underneath is even and that there’s enough room for each slab.

Keep it Clean

Before you perform any of the above tasks to completely revamp your home’s exterior, you must get cleaning. Working with dirty walls and weed-infested soil will make it difficult going on impossible to do all of that. We have already mentioned how to deal with walls, but for windows, a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water will do the trick, making them appear as new!
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