1 day 15 hours ago

Clutter. We all have it, taking up valuable space in our homes and making our rooms feel untidy. It’s time to declutter and reclaim your home!

Decluttering can seem a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy ways to cut back on the clutter.

1.  Find the hotspots. Make a list of your ‘clutter hotspots’ to tackle. That pile of unopened post; an array of kicked-off shoes; that collection of ‘things that might come in useful’. Arrange the list in order of priority and aim to tackle one at a time – it’s less intimidating that way. Give yourself a deadline and meet it. You’ll be amazed how good it to sort out a messy wardrobe or hallway. This blog lists 13 clutter hotspots – how many are you aware of?

2.  The Three Box method. Label three boxes for each decluttering job: Keep, Bin and Store. Decide which box each item belongs in. Find a home for things in the Keep box, put the Store box in the loft or shed, and we’ll let you work out what to do with the other one!

3. Use your storage – or make more! Make the most of your cupboard and storage space. This not only clears clutter but helps prevent it building up again. So once that pesky cupboard has been cleared out, put it to good use and hide away items that would usually be on display. You know the sort of thing; handbags, shopping bags or jackets. Things not regularly in use can be hung up and stored out of sight. Introduce new storage solutions too – try adding a basket near the door for shoes, or even something like this, and make everyone use it.

4. Blitz the bathroom. Bathrooms are inevitably a clutter hotspot. All those lotions and potions… not to mention cleaning products. Throw away anything that’s expired or rarely used. For the items left over, vanity units are a godsend. Not only are they a good way to update your bathroom’s look, they give you great storage space for spare toilet rolls and items that aren’t in daily use. You’ll be impressed with how much more appealing it is to spend time in a clutter free bathroom.

Once you’ve achieved your clutter-free home, it’s easier to stop it building up again. Keep an eye on those hotspots and clear as you go. It will make your home feel bigger, more loved and a more relaxing place to be.

1 day 15 hours ago

The state of California is ideal for building your home from the ground up. With its warm sunny climate, stunning beaches and plenty of trendy things to do and places to eat, California has earned its name as the ‘sunshine state’ and it’s the perfect location for singles, couples, young families and older people whose children have flown the nest. Whether you’re looking to build a home in California to kick start your career, provide a lovely base for your young family to grow, or enjoy your retirement, there are many opportunities that you can take in order to build yourself a home that’s environmentally conscious. 

One of the biggest advantages of building your own home is that you can oversee the construction from the start and make sure that your home is better for the planet compared to older properties. And when building your home, you will also want to make sure that along with being better for the environment, it’s a building that is able to save you money and keep your monthly costs down in the future. If you’re not sure where to get started, check out these top tips we’ve put together to help you build an eco-friendly California property. 

#1. Solar Panel Installation:

Solar panels are growing in popularity not only in California but all over the U.S., and it’s easy to see why. And when you’re living in the sunshine state, it makes sense to take advantage of all that sunlight as much as you can. Solar panels generate energy from your home using the sun, and in addition to protecting and conserving energy resources on the planet, the energy that they generate for your home is also free of charge, meaning that they will start saving you a considerable amount of money on your monthly expenses from the moment that your home is built and ready to live in. 

And, getting your solar panels installed is easier than ever – with companies like sempersolaris.com offering the best solar power in Los Angeles, with a wide range of options to choose from including top brands like Panasonic, customers can choose from panels manufactured both inside and outside of the U.S., along with a range of design options to choose from. You can choose from traditional solar panels such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels that tend to be the most popular options, or if you want to save money on the initial installation, thin film solar panels can be an ideal alternative. They also offer a range of new solar technologies as the best solar company in Los Angeles and the bay area, including cutting-edge biohybrid solar cells. 

Incorporating solar panels into the build of your home is easier than ever with plenty of opportunities to save money with solar panel financing in Los Angeles, or earn money back with solar tax credit in Los Angeles, the bay area and many other areas of the sunshine state. You will even be able to sell the excess energy that your home generates back to the grid where it can be used to power homes and businesses in your area. 

#2. Invest in Good Windows and Doors:

When building your California home, investing more in high-quality windows and doors is a must that will help you save money in the future. Using cheaper sealants for your doors and windows now might seem like a good cost-saving exercise – but the truth is, over time, the problem with poorly sealed doors and windows is that they allow air to flow in and out of the home, leaving you struggling to keep it warm in the winter months and cool during the summer. As a result, your heating and cooling systems will have to work even harder to keep your home at the right temperature and you will end up using more energy than you need to, and your bank balance will suffer. And in terms of the environment, properly sealed windows and doors will keep your home’s heating and cooling systems working at the correct rate to get the right temperature for your home, so you are using less resources than is absolutely necessary. 

In addition to proper sealing, double or even triple-glazed windows are ideal for your home and the environment as they act as an even stronger shield against the elements. In addition, extra glazing for your windows will keep your home quieter inside, which is ideal if you are living in a busy area. 

#3. Insulation is Important:

Incorporating high quality insulation into your home when building it will ensure that your home is kept at the right temperature in the future and as a result uses up less in terms of renewable energy resources. Poor insulation can cause another heating and cooling issue in your home, and it’s not only important for keeping your property warm during the winter months – the right insulation can also protect your pipes and help to keep your home at the right temperature during the warmer summer months, too. 

Since the insulation that you use is going to be controlling the temperature in your home for years to come, it’s important to make sure that you’re initially investing in high-quality insulation options that you can rely on for a long time. Home builders can be very flexible with the type of products that you require for your home and you may even be able to design your home around the specific type of insulation that you want, so it’s a wise idea to let your contractors know which type of insulation you think will be best. 

#4. Conserve Water:

One of the biggest advantages of building your own home from the ground up is that you can design it in such a way that it uses water efficiently. Water wastage is becoming an increasingly bigger issue when it comes to the environment, and more and more homeowners are looking for ways in which they can use less water throughout the day without making drastic changes to their routine. Sure, you can use old-fashioned, traditional water conservation methods like collecting rainwater in buckets outside to use for gardening, or switching off the faucet when you don’t need it when doing tasks like washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. But when you’re building your home from scratch, you have the perfect opportunity to design it to conserve water from the start. 

According to the World Health Organization, one in three people across the world suffer from water scarcity, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find clean water for domestic use. Building an environmentally California home will ensure that you are only using the water that you need, and there are many features you can add to your new property to encourage this. Modern kitchen and bathroom fixtures are changing to be more environmentally friendly, so it’s worth investing in efficient energy and water saving faucets that allow for the water to only be running when it is needed, or a water-conserving shower head that’s designed to have the same amount of pressure. Dual-flush toilets are also a great option; coming with two flush options that adjust the amount of water needed based on the type of waste that is being flushed away.

#5. Opt for Energy Efficient Lighting:

Lighting is an important feature for your home, but it’s not just the aesthetic value or the amount of light that the fixtures put out that you will need to consider when designing this aspect of your property. Since you’re building your own California home, you have the perfect opportunity to light your home in a way that conserves energy, ensuring that your home is kinder to the environment with a lower carbon footprint – and helping you save money in the meantime. 

Just like many other modern fixtures for your home, there’s a wide range of energy efficient and environmentally friendly light fixtures that you can choose from, especially if you are opting for spot lights, under cupboard lighting and other modern lighting features for your home. 

And, the simplest way to save money and reduce your home’s impact on the environment in terms of lighting is to use energy efficient light bulbs. Energy efficient alternatives can use up to 75% less energy compared to traditional light bulb options while lasting up to 25 times as long. Energy efficient light bulbs can help you save up to $135 over the lifetime of the bulb, which quickly adds up when you are using them for all the light fixtures in your home. 

But, don’t just think about how you can make your lighting more energy efficient – when building your home, consider the way it is designed in terms of how much natural light it is letting in. Larger windows, skylights, and an open outdoor space that light can easily come through and into your home will help you take advantage of the natural light as often as possible, so you can use artificial lighting less and less. 

#6. Use Recycled Material:

When it comes to building your eco-friendly home in the state of California, you can get started with reducing your impact on the environment from the very beginning by giving some careful consideration to where the materials you are building your home are coming from. You can seriously reduce the impact that building your home has on the planet by opting for mainly or exclusively using recycled materials for building your home. 

The good news is that there are now several material options than you can consider for building your home rather than traditional, non-recycled products. Look for materials that are made from recycled products, or repurpose used materials that you can incorporate into the building of your home. Bear in mind that this doesn’t have to be exclusively for building the structure of your home, either – you can utilize a wide range of recycled and upcycled products and materials when it comes to adding features, furnishings and even décor to your new California property. 

Some good examples of recycled materials that you might want to consider for the building of your home include rubber roofing made from recycled products, paper-based kitchen counters made from tree pulp from sustainable forests, carpets and flooring that are made from recycled bottles and other plastic bottles and composite decking made from recycled paper or wood waste. Home builders can be very flexible with the materials that they use, so it’s worth instructing them to get recycled products as often as they can from the beginning. You can consider using eco-friendlier materials to help protect the environment and conserve resources when building your house from the very start by incorporating them into the building designs. 

#7. Grow a Green Garden:

Including space for a garden at your California home will help you make living choices that help and protect the environment. You can use compost for your garden made from food waste, scraps and other organic matter that you’d normally just throw in the trash like fruit and vegetable peelings, tea leaves and coffee grounds, egg shells, and other food waste – helping your garden to grow and avoiding these items ending up in landfills around the world. 

In addition to providing you with an at-home option for recycling, a garden at home will also help you become kinder to the environment by providing you with a suitable space for growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs which can not only be much cheaper than buying them from the store, but also much gentler to the environment as it does not contribute to mass production. When growing food or plants in your garden, be sure to use natural, organic fertilizing products – like the compost you make – and avoid any chemical-filled, toxic fertilizers and pesticides. 

California is the perfect state to build your own home from the ground up and create the property of your dreams, whether you’re moving there to start a family or enjoy your retirement. And when you’re building your home from scratch, you’re in the perfect position to make it as eco-friendly as possible.

1 day 15 hours ago

One of the most enjoyable games to play is, “What would you do if you won the lottery?” There are plenty of exciting answers, like buying a shark tank, traveling the world for six months or turning one room of your house into a room filled with trampolines.

Then there are the boring but practical answers like investing in a hedge fund or buying land and property.

Those that buy property are often looking to flip that property later. Even if you’re living in your own home now, chances are you won’t be living in that home for a very long time.

Eventually, you’re going to want to sell the house and hopefully get more money for it that what you originally paid. The house, in all likelihood, will increase in value over time but there are plenty of other, easy steps you can take to increase your home’s value.

Plant Some Trees

Planting trees is not only incredibly beneficial for the environment, but it’s also an added bonus to your home’s value. In fact, some estimates say that your home’s value could increase by seven percent with garden maintenance and tree planting. So, you can easily call it a win-win.

It will also help you save on energy costs. Plant the tree near a window to provide some shade during the summer months, meaning you won’t have to blast the AC on high the entire time.

Be Smart About It

With technology becoming more and more ingrained in our daily lives, it was only a matter of time before smart homes became as widely used as smart phones are now. Adding some smart features in your house will help you increase the property value almost overnight.

If you’re not sure where to start, the easiest place is a smart thermostat. These thermostats regulate your house’s temperatures, meaning you won’t be expending energy or your precious dollars to keep your house cool or warm. 

The majority of smart systems are easy to install and require just half of a day’s work.

Add a Deck

While it may not be an option for all homeowners, adding a wood-surfaced deck is a surefire way to increase your home’s value. Building a deck is a DIY project you can undertake if you’re handy enough and even if you’re not, it’s not as extravagant as other plans.

Just make sure you choose the right staining to keep it in good condition and regularly clean it. Spruce it up with some well-placed furniture and items to keep your neighbors and home buyers coming over for barbeques and open houses!

Upgrade the Bathroom

While definitely a much bigger project than any of the previous items, upgrading your bathroom will definitely up your home’s value. If you’re going to do just one, make sure you start in the master bathroom and work your way through the rest of the house. 

Try to give your bathroom a spa like feel, making it seem as relaxed an environment as possible. If you have space, a double vanity is always a popular option. If you’re looking to go super fancy, add heated floors to keep the visitors coming in. 

Adding onto the spa feel, see if you can change your shower to where you have water being sprayed out of the wall or all sides. People want to feel like royalty in their own homes, so why not give your house a royal makeover?

Take Regular Care of Your Home

Instead of one big project, one easy thing you can do is make sure you’re taking good care of all your appliances and regular maintenance of everything in your house.

Even though it may not give your house’s value a huge bump like remodeling a room or adding smart items to your home, it will definitely not take away from your home’s value when you decide to sell. Home inspectors look in every nook and corner possible to see what could be wrong with the house. If you’ve neglected certain items, that could come back to bite you and end up driving your home’s value down before you end up selling. 

1 day 16 hours ago

historic landmarks of river thames - the millennium, southwark, cannon street and london bridges - are lit up in the first phase of illuminated river.

The post first phase of illuminated river lights up the thames in london appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

1 day 16 hours ago

Is the exterior of your home quietly making you enemies around your neighbourhood?

Not everyone has the same decorative tastes. However, there are some things that are almost universally unpopular in most neighborhoods across North America.

Maybe something about your home istoo loud. Or maybe your décor is too modern or too outdated. In either case, neighbours love to gossip and nobody wants their home to be the subject of dubious conversation.

To keep you on everyone’s good side, here are 5 things you will want to avoid.

1. A Loud Garage Door

One of the easiest ways to alienate people is to wake them up at night. If you can’t leave for work early in the morning or get home late at night without waking people up when you pull into the garage, it’s time to make a change.

Today’s modern residential garage doors options and openers are far more silent than previous generations.

You can also add an insulated garage door to lower your utility bills, while you actually increase your home’s resale value.

2. Your Lawn or Garden

Not everyone has a green thumb. Nor does everyone have the time or inclination to take the best care of their lawn.

However, if you have the worst lawn in your neighbourhood, it can really stick out for all the wrong reasons. If you don’t have time to stay on top of it, feel free to outsource your landscaping to an area teen for a few dollars.

3. Overloaded Trash Cans

This is more of a behavioural habit than a decorative problem. We know a lot of neighbourhoods have bag/can limits on garbage day, but avoid the temptation to put an overflowing trashcan in front of your home.

This looks terrible, to begin with. Also, the slightest breeze can send your overflow all over the neighbourhood.

Avoid becoming(quite literally) the trashy neighbor. Buy bigger garbage cans that make a tight seal when you close them.

4. Tacky Lawn Decorations

Your neighbour may not know that you’re being ironic by adding plastic flamingos or palm trees to your yard. Nor will they care.

A gnome in your garden may be cute,but turning a toilet into a planter may be asking too much patience from your neighbours.

5. Your Christmas Decorations

We could write an entire blog on the etiquette of being a good neighbor over the holidays.

You can put your lights up too early, or take them down too late. You can be too loud or too bright. And of course, there is being too tacky and clashing with the rest of the tasteful neighborhood.

Your best bet is to take your cues from your neighbors. Never be the first, the brightest, the loudest, or the last.

The exterior of your home sends a message to your neighbors, and you don’t want that message to be, “I don’t care.”

Take a little bit more time to be mindful of how your home looks (and sounds) and you will be far more popular among your neighbors.