30 June 2018

6 Signs That Your Kitchen Needs Some Updating

Your kitchen is one of the most valued rooms in your house. It is the central place where people tend to gather, share meals, entertain, and catch up with family members. For many, a total remodel is financially out of the question. However, there are times when you really have no choice but to do some updating, especially when something is either broken or so out-of-date it is no longer serving its purpose. Below are six signs that your kitchen needs to be updated.

Leaking or Slow-to-Drain Kitchen Sink

When you turn off your kitchen sink and it doesn't turn off completely, besides getting annoyed, you realize that it needs to be repaired. It is important that you fix it correctly or you can end up in a worse situation. The most critical first step is to find out where the leak is coming from, be it the faucet or the handle.

Both of these could actually be signs of more serious underlying problems. These plumbers in Melbourne point out that “if your sink is slow to drain after doing the dishes, it could be a sign of a blocked drain as they are frequently attached to the overflow”. If you are hoping it will clear up on its own, the chances are very slim that it will. If the blockage is severe, it will become increasingly more difficult to clean it. It’s best to have a professional take a look at it and get it fixed.

Outdated Appliances

New appliances will make any kitchen look nicer. But there are other more practical reasons why updating your appliances is a good idea.

Usually older appliances use more energy than the newer models and can increase your utility bills. There is also a chance that old wiring can cause a fire. If your safety is in jeopardy, it is time to replace that older appliance.

Wear and Tear

Nothing stays new forever no matter how well it is maintained. Normal wear and tear is expected, but when the damage is more extensive, you need to do something. For instance, if your dishwasher or refrigerator is leaking, it can cause water damage. Water damage can cause your floor to peel or buckle and it can also lead to mold growth.

Chipped or cracked floors and countertops can cause dangerous bacteria to grow. When you replace them, not only will they look nicer, you will be protecting your family from mold and bacteria that can make you sick.

Your Cabinets are a Mess

It is not uncommon a cabinet doors to fall off its hinges. This is a simple fix as all you have to do is replace the hinge. Re-painting or staining your cabinets can go a long way in making something old look fresh and new. However, if your cabinets are literally falling apart and no longer useful, you should look into replacing them.

Not Enough Storage

Older homes were usually built with an insufficient amount of storage space in the kitchen to store all your pots, pans, dishes, and all the other modern things you use. This tends to lead to crowded countertops and cabinets and makes it difficult to find anything. You might want to consider investing in some updates like adding hidden storage areas, a pantry, or a movable island to add more storage space and improve your kitchen's functionality.

Increase the Value of Your Home

If you are looking to sell your home, the best investment you can make to get a competitive price for it and to sell it faster is to put some money into updating your kitchen. Kitchens that are dated (bathrooms too) are a significant barrier for resale. 

It isn’t necessary to completely remodel your kitchen to make it more marketable. As a matter of fact, homeowners who do minor kitchen remodels usually get an 81% return on their investment, while major high-end remodels only see a 59% return.The reason for this is that not every potential buyer likes the latest expensive trend. Many are only interested in shiny and new fixtures and appliances.

It is your kitchen and you know best when something old just isn't working for you anymore. It is good to know that there are many things beside a total and expensive remodel that can help your kitchen give you the look, feel, and functionality you want.

28 June 2018

Quick design tips to personalise your newly-bought home

Just bought a new home and finally realising your Australian dream? Congratulations!

Looking to personalise your new home but aren’t sure how to start or worried about your limited budget? This is the perfect article for you. We’re showing you a couple of design/decoration tips that are bound to add beauty and value to your new home.

The kitchen. As your home’s heart and soul, the kitchen deserves all the attention you can give when you first move into your spanking new home.

Adding colour coordinated pans and pans for starters are an easy way to create a great theme, especially if you want a kitchen with personal touches. You can also store your pots in a different way if you’re saving money and don’t want to replace them. Just hang them from a pot hanging rack to create a nice display that doubles as storage saver. Win-win!

Today’s homes are now beginning to pave the way to the garden plants back into the indoors. Adding a favourite leafy colour to the kitchen is a great way to enliven it and add a living decoration. Herbs and plants instantly freshen up a room and make a more natural environment that’s perfect for cooking.

Whether you like flowers, candles, vases or even fruit bowls, a centrepiece in your dining room can transform your table in a matter of seconds! The one thing to remember with centrepieces is to ensure that it isn’t too distracting. A piece too large or tall may get in the way of your conversations with people around the table or may minimise the space for your plates and cutlery.

The Hallway. Your hallway is where everyone traverses every day to go to different parts of the home, therefore it needs special care.

First off, adding mirrors can transform an area since it instantly brightens up space by reflecting any light, natural or from other sources. Choose mirrors that match your style and personality. Next, adding photos allow you to showcase your favourite family photos to visitors and family members as well.  If you want a modern look, try having your photos printed in back or white, or simply add a sepia filter to transform them into vintage wonders.

The living room. If your family loves lounging around the living room, or if you’re big on entertainment, then customising your home when you move in should be a priority as well.
Use rugs to either boost the floor space or the furniture you currently have. You’ll have a plethora of options to choose from that appropriately matches your taste and the other furniture in the room. In any case, don’t yourself to colour schemes. Experiment things and see what works in personalising the living room.

Adding throws and cushions can also add plenty of personality and style to the living room. Be creative on this one and have a go at putting your chosen designs/colours together and see how they look.

Moving into a brand-new home is an exciting event since you have a blank canvas ready to be transformed to a loving home complete with any mood or theme you like.
If you’re still on the process of purchasing a home or are considering to move from your current one, the Alkimos house and land packages in North Perth are perfect considerations as it lets you choose a home with just the right space and features your growing family needs. Simply choose from the many available home designs or even make changes once the property is turned over to you.

Best of luck with designing/decorating your new home!

27 June 2018

Popular RV Design Trends

Even if you aren’t in the RV industry, you may keep an eye on RV design trends for any number of reasons. One big reason is for RV owners who want to rent out their vehicle. There’s a huge and continuously growing market for RV rentals around the country, and many owners are finding that it’s a great income source for them.

Last year was record-breaking for the RV industries, and particularly the Thor and Winnebago companies. Winnebago’s sales went up more than 75 percent in 2017. Analysts have described the RV market as being “on fire,” and Millennials are a key demographic for RV companies.
With that popularity, comes increasing demand from renters but also growing competition. For example, according to Outdoorsy, they have more than 1,130 RV rentals available in San Diego alone.

Owners have to keep up with the design trends and know what discerning renters are looking for if they want to remain competitive.

The following are some popular RV design trends this year.


RV renters, and particularly the highly coveted Millennial group of renters, really tends to like minimalist design concepts. In fact, they often embrace minimalism in multiple areas of their life.
Minimalism works well in RV design concepts because it’s clean, fresh and uncluttered.
Keep the accessories to a minimum, color palettes light and airy, and decorate with the use of natural items, like a potted plant.


Another popular design trend that renters might like is the vintage style. This works especially well in a classic Airstream vehicle. You can provide renters with a throwback to days gone by.
Incorporate vintage style with items like quilts or antique accessories.

The idea of using a map as wallpaper on a feature wall is also a fun way to integrate a vintage sense of style into the interior design of an RV.

Luxury Elements

Something else that renters might like in an RV is the inclusion of some elements of luxury. For example, providing an espresso machine or a high-end coffee maker can be a perk that goes a long way in the eyes of your potential renters.

Another way to include some luxury is by splurging on more expensive bedding. There’s nothing more inviting for any traveler than a bed that looks clean, inviting and super comfortable.

You don’t have to go overboard, but do think about what a more high-end renter might appreciate.
You can also think about what your renters might enjoy when they’re actually in their destination and include some of those items. For example, what about portable hammocks and inflatable hammocks? They’re hugely popular and can be a great addition to a camping trip.

Finally, wherever you can try to add storage space. Even if renters are only going to be in the RV for two or three days, they’re going to want and need storage space. Look to all the tiny house shows and websites if you want some guidance on how to creatively incorporate additional storage.


18 June 2018

Saving money with DIY plumbing

As I got ready to write this post I went back to my portfolio on Houzz to see if I had any bathrooms posted there. Sure enough:

I'm a one-time kitchen and bath designer and although I don't ply that trade as a profession any more, my years in those particular trenches left me with an unshakeable sense of what I can and cannot do when it comes to working on my house. Iworked on many, many bathrooms over the years and three years ago I designed and managed the renovations of two baths in the home I share with my partner Frank.

I'm pretty handy and I did do some of the tile work in the master bath and I hooked up the new faucets in the hall bath. I'm capable of more than that of course, but I know that there's a profound difference between my swapping out a P trap under a lavatory sink and what would surely be a ruinous attempt of my trying to re-route water supply lines for a shower. I have a strong sense of my skill level and I wouldn't hesitate to swap out a shower fixture or a toilet. By the same toekn, I would never dream of trying anything having to do with rough plumbing.

Rough plumbing pretty much means plumbing behind the walls and fixtures are any part of a bathroom you can see.

I see the same programming on HGTV and DIY that every body else sees and a lot of those shows spread a message that with the right "can do" attitude anybody can tackle any household project. That's simply not true and as I say all the time, plumbing is a profession for a reason.

What just about anybody can do is make cosmetic changes and keep up with maintenance tasks. Painting a bathroom is a simple cosmetic change that just about anybody can take on. Changing out things like towel bars are relatively easy to take on too.

You really don't need to hire someone to do routine maintenance either. If your toilet's running all the time you just need to change the flap valve and provided you follow the instructions, you can complete that without the help of a plumber and save at least $150.

Clogged drains are another maintenance task that you shouldn't need to call a plumber over. I'm a brand ambassador for Roto-Rooter and their line of home plumbing products. Shower drains get clogged with hair and soap scum and when that happens, they slow down. If you're experiencing a slow drain, get some Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover or Hair Clog Remover and try that first before you call a plumber.

Follow the instructions on the bottle and the odds are pretty good that you'll fix your problem and save a bundle at the same time. I like these Roto-Rooter products more than the other brands that are out there. Roto-Rooter products are more concentrated and they just work better. Roto-Rooter products are readily available at retailers you already patronize, so give them a try.

Mean Green keeps my patio clean

Excuse the bad rhyme in the headline but sometimes I can't help myself.

This is my patio as it looked a couple of days ago.

It's a beautiful space and Frank and I are fortunate that the previous owners of our home put such a premium on outdoor living. In warmer months, our patio serves as a dining room, a kitchen and a living room and we spend as much time keeping it looking good as we do enjoying out time out there.

Since we live in Pennsylvania, we usually get full use of that outdoor space for less than six months out of the year. During the cold months, that patio becoes almost an afterthought. My birdfeeders are out there and other than keeping the snow away from the patio doors, it's the birds who spend the most time out there.

When the weather starts to turn at the end of April, cleaning up that patio becomes my job. Typically, that clean up is an onerous task that involves a pressure washer, buckets of soapy water, hand and deck brushes and a lot of cursing on my part. Of all the spring clean up projects that have to happen, getting the patio into shape is my least favorite.

This year however, I tried something different.

As I've mentioned earlier, I'm a brand ambassador for Mean Green and Mean Green Super Strength made my least-favorite task a lot less onerous.

I added Mean Green Super Strength directly to the reservoir of the hose end sprayer I normally use to apply liquid fertilizer to my plantings and it had the effect of spraying this amazing cleaning product with just the right amount of pressure to clear away an entire winter's grime without me having to use a brush or dust off my pressure washer.

All I did was spray everything down with my Mean Green Super Strength solution, let it sit for about five minutes and then spray everything off with clean water. Mean Green is biodegradeable so I didn't have to worry about what the runoff was going to do to my flower beds. It was a real breakthrough moment for me.

As the summer progresses, I'll use more Mean Green Super Strength out there to keep our outdoor space ship shape.

You really ought to give this stuff a try. The Mean Green line of products including Mean Green Super Strength are available at Lowe's. So what are you waiting for?

09 June 2018

Undiscovered Bahamas: Top Things to do in The Exumas


If you’re looking for an ultimate escape – a vacation in the Exumas located in the Bahamian paradise is what’s in store for you. You’re most likely swim with the charming pigs and gentle nurse sharks, see giant starfish, and even feed wild but friendly iguanas.

You may want to spend your entire year boating and floating through the 365 cays, as what locals say, one cay per day. Majority of the cays are uninhabited and some are under the ownership of celebrities. Don’t worry about the place where you’ll spend the rest of your dream escape. There are numerous vacation homes in the Exumas to choose from which will truly offer a one of a kind experience from a relaxing ambiance to waking up to the stunning views every day. 

Discover the paradise of the Exumas. Let’s make the most out of your stay in this undiscovered series of islands in the Bahamas.

Let the journey begin

You can start your adventure on Great Exuma’s northern shore which is the Barraterre. You may rend a boat together with a trusty captain and guide to show you the best spots in the area. Are you curious about the color of water? It seems like a gradient from sea green to sapphire. It will definitely be the beautiful water you’ll ever see in your entire journey.
The Starfish Reserve

Here, tons of starfish will welcome you as they are being seen almost covering the ocean floor. It may be your first time to them that big! It is fine to pick them up for as long as you don’t keep them out of the water for a long time. Since the water is too shallow, you can easily find them.

Conch shell diving

Not too far from the Starfish Reserve, your guide will dive into the water and come up with several conch shells. It will be later used to make tasty conch salad. It is the Bahamas’ version of ceviche. Its ingredients include the raw conch that will be pulled out from the shell, chopped onions, peppers, lime and orange juices and some spices that they want to add up to.

Little Farmer's Cay

Here is where you find a little civilization which comprises of around 70 people. Of all the cays, it is the said to be the first one to be inhabited. It is about 40 minutes if you’re coming from Great Exuma. You’ll find a restaurant and a small grocery in the island, a place where locals gather and play dominos.

Little Galliot Cay sandbar

It’ll definitely a one of a kind experience where you can step on a footprint-less stretch of pristine sand so be ready and make your first mark. It is ideal to visit in the morning during low tide. Spend a couple of hours to hang out here where complete solitude ambiance is just so perfect. 

Thunderball Grotto

As you cross the water from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, you’ll see the Thunderball Grotto. It is a marine cave which is a perfect place to explore the world down under for snorkelers and experienced scuba divers. It’s somehow a bit of work as you paddle inside but to tell you honestly, it’s work all the effort. This grotto was featured in one of James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again.

Staniel Cay

You’ve landed on the activity hub in the cays. It is also a favorite destination of yachters. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is the only full-service marina that can be found in the cays. The restaurant in the club is the best place to have your lunch, dinner and ever a place to be for the nightlife.

Big Major's Cay

Here’s one of the highlights of your Bahamian paradise getaway, swimming with the lovable pigs at the Big Major’s Cay. They are so friendly. As you come to the island they automatically dive right in and swim to welcome you. Don’t forget to bring some scraps to feed them. 

Allan's Cay

Another highlight of your dream escape is can be experienced in Allan’s Cay. Get ready with your grapes and stick. This destination is home to hundreds of wild but friendly iguanas. Just put a grape on your stick and they’ll crawl towards your position. It’s really an exciting experience!

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

This is a protected area and the first of its kind in the world. It boasts of some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the Bahamas. Since it’s rich with marine biodiversity and still unspoiled to the point that the water has essentially never been fished, you’ll definitely be amazed of the world down under. Other activities that you can engage yourself with when in the area are hiking and bird watching.

Compass Cay

It is notably known as an unspoiled deserted island boater’s paradise. The setting here seems to be tie up your boat and grab a Kalik Beer while hanging out with fellow boaters that came from the different part of the world. Here, you don’t need to be afraid to swim with the harmless and friendly nurse sharks. They are adorable.

Shroud Cay

If you go around at the back of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park by means of boating, it is possible for you to climb to one of its highest points. If you want to do it, you need to be prepared as you’ll wade through around shoulder deep water and be ready to climb a rocky path. Don’t worry, it may take much energy and effort, but it’s okay. The 360 degrees view is so stunning!

Norman's Cay

Be ready to taste the best cocktail and excellent Bahamian cooking in one of the best restaurant in the Norman’s Cay, the MacDuff.

04 June 2018

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Gutters


Are you a commercial business looking to replace your gutter system? You may not know, but when replacing your gutter system for the first time there are many different factors that you need to take into consideration to ensure that you choose the perfect system for your business. One of the big decisions that you will have to make is whether to opt for residential gutters or commercial gutters and this decision is normally based on the type of property that it is needed for. In this article, we will be taking you through the main differences between residential and commercial gutters, so you can choose the one that will be best for you.

 The Installation Process

One of the biggest differences between commercial and residential gutters is how they are installed. Residential gutters are designed to be installed in your home. They will be installed on the edge of the roof and this is normally a shed, gable, or hipped roof. With commercial guttering, these are normally installed in commercial properties which are often bigger and you will also often find that they have flat roofs.

The Size and Style of the Gutter 

Another big difference to consider when choosing between residential and commercial guttering Is the size and style. The size and style used for a residential property will not be the same as that of a commercial property. In a residential property, you will tend to find that U-shape or K-style gutters are used, however, in commercial properties the preferred choice is often commercial box gutters. When getting commercial box gutters, you will first get a quote for the cost of the job. If you are happy with this quote, the work can then begin. The first stage is to remove the previous gutters and they should be recycled if this is possible. If not, then they should be disposed of properly. The next stage is to have your new commercial box gutters installed. This is done with either steel or aluminium and they will be affixed to the building with industrial strength brackets for long term secure fastening. The final inspection will then be carried out to ensure that the new guttering system is performing to the best of its capabilities.

Negative Repercussions

It is vitally important that you understand the difference between residential and commercial gutters as choosing the wrong one can have disastrous consequences for your home or commercial property. If you do not have the proper coverage then you risk having your gutters not being able to do their job properly. This can then lead to leaks in the roof and your gutters becoming damaged. This can result in lots of time and money being wasted trying to correct this problem and changing the gutter system.

Laws and Regulations 

Depending on where you live, there can be different rules and regulations that you need to follow when you are having new guttering systems installed. Make sure that you check out what your local laws and regulations are. This is particularly important if you own a commercial property as it is likely that there could be regulations about the gutter size, how they are installed and where exactly the water drains out.

Don’t Always Opt for the Biggest Guttering System

A common mistake that many people can make it opting for the biggest guttering system that they can which is often true in residential properties. The thought behind this is normally that you can achieve better coverage and it will require less maintenance, however, the experts will tell you that this is not the case. Just because a guttering system is bigger, this does not necessarily mean that it will be a better fit for your particular property. It is also worth remembering that big gutters can also require more maintenance than small gutters as they can end up collecting more debris.

The Aesthetics 

As well as all of the practical advice above to take into consideration, it is also important that you think about the aesthetics of the guttering system that you are choosing. When you put a large commercial gutter system on a residential home it can appear bulky and take away from the lovely look of your home. What’s more, it will also cover the fascia board and trimming that you want to carry out to keep your home looking the way that you desire. Take a look at other houses that you like and see what gutters they have installed. This can give you a better idea of what exactly you should opt for, just make sure you are looking at places with a similar style of roof!