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Home & Interiors

5 Most Popular House Styles

When you click on that home value calculator to determine how much a house is worth, one of the factors is its architectural style. According to REALTOR Magazine, a Mediterranean-style home has the highest median list price at nearly $750,000. 

But what is Mediterranean style, and what are the other most popular home styles out there today?

Mediterranean

conservatory

Pic Credit: Pixabay

This style of home, as the name belies, is common in southern Italy, France, and Spain, and as mentioned, it tends to be worth the most in the U.S. today. Most in the country were inspired by Spanish and Mexican designed homes and frequently featured arched windows and doorways. There are usually few details on the exterior, with stucco walls that are often painted in pastel hues. The architecture focuses on extensions like patios and verandas as well as open floor plans with high ceilings, designed to let breezes flow through.

Craftsman

Craftsman-style homes are the result of the Arts and Crafts Movement from about 1880 through 1920, emphasizing natural materials like brick, stone, and wood. They have low-pitched roofs and wide front porches. The style was booming in the early 20th century before being replaced by mid-century modern architecture like the ranch home. But it’s been making a comeback, with many homebuyers favoring this style today. These homes also tend to be easy to build and economical, as the style utilizes readily available materials.

Ranch

Ranch-style homes have long-been popular, replacing the craftsman by the mid-20th-century, mostly built after the war for soldiers who were returning home. It was first used in America’s west and southwest before spreading to other areas, with style featuring a single-story that may be rectangular, U- or I-shaped. Floor plans are simple, with a front-facing garage attached to the rest of the house, a wide asymmetrical facade, and a low-pitched roof. The homes are built from natural materials, like a brick and wooden exterior along with oak floors.

Victorian

victorian house

Pic Credit:Pixabay

Victorian houses refer to those built during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and come with lots of character, including a romantic feel and lots of detail in everything from textures and colors to patterns. There are several styles within this category, like Queen Anne and Gothic. Still, typically, all Victorian homes have a dominant front-facing gable, a steeply pitched roof, patterned shingles, an asymmetrical facade, and cutaway bay windows. There are contemporary homes built in Victorian style today, allowing buyers to purchase the look along with desirable modern features.

Colonial 

Colonial-style homes date back to 1876, and typically come with two or three stories along with wood or brick facades and evenly spaced shuttered windows. The roof is usually steep and pointed at the top. A classic floor plan for this type of home has the bedrooms on the second floor with a family room and kitchen on the first floor. This style is commonly seen in the northeast region of the U.S., especially from Maine to Virginia.

Home & Interiors

5 Things You Need for Your Home Renovation Project

Whether you’re extending your house, converting the loft, or just giving it a bit of a spruce up, there are lots of things to consider when renovating a property. Home renovations projects can be overwhelming at times but they’re also extremely rewarding once complete and let you put your mark on your home. What’s more, if done well, a home renovation might even increase the value of your property. Here are five things you might need when doing up your home:

Storage

A renovation project is a great opportunity to install some of that storage space you might have been lacking. If cupboards won’t look right in the space, some simple shelving is another good option, especially if you have lots of books!

Lighting

light bulb

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Think about what you want to use the room for as this will help determine the type of lighting you install. For instance, if you plan to use the room for relaxation, an oversized floor lamp might be your best bet because it will create a warm, cosy glow. Bear in mind that LED bulbs are your most energy efficient option. 

Windows

If you are installing new windows, make sure they are double glazed as this is a more energy efficient option as it prevents heat from escaping and cold air coming in. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could work with a professional to design your own stained glass window pattern.

Flooring

Regardless of whether you’re laying a new carpet, laminate, tile or solid hardwood, it’s wise to install it once all of your other jobs (especially painting and decorating) have been done so that you don’t damage it.

Sockets & Switches

Upgrading your sockets and switches to something a little more modern will really tidy the place up. You might even want to consider a dimmer switch because that will allow you to alter the ambiance and set the mood. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Top Tips for Protecting the Foundations of Your Home

Not many of us give a second thought to the foundations of our home, which is easily done considering you can’t actually see them. However, if they become damaged for any reason, you will more than likely start to notice damage above ground, such as cracked walls and outdoor paving, as well as leaky roofs. Even the grandest of homes can start to fall apart if they are not built on a strong, solid foundation.

A foundation solutions company have put together some tips below to help you protect your property’s foundations and avoid damage. 

 

  1. Keep nearby trees and plants sufficiently watered. If you don’t, they will soak up all of the moisture in the soil which will cause it to shrink.
    man digging

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

    Your building’s foundations will then shift into the new gaps within the soil, causing cracks inside your home. This is a particularly important piece of advice to remember during summer when rain becomes less frequent.

  2. In fact, avoid planting trees to close to your house. Of course, they are lovely to look at but if they’re too close to your property the roots can start to wreak havoc below ground.
  3. Monitor changes in the area. Is there any planned construction work in the area? If so, consider how it could interfere with your own property and take necessary measures to counteract them.
  4. Ensure you have sufficient drainage. Too much water can be just as problematic as when there’s not enough. With that in mind, make sure to clean out your gutters every once in a while so that they don’t become blocked with leaves and other debris. If you do have pools of water appear on your property after bouts of heavy rain, be sure to clear it away.

If you require any further advice, don’t hesitate to speak to a professional.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

10 Signs That Indicate the Presence of Mold in Your Home

The presence of mold in your home is bad news whichever way you look at it especially if you happen to have one of the species that produces a substance known as mycotoxin, which is linked to breathing problems.

For an overview of treatment options view Helitech online for more details, in the meantime, here is a look at some of the clues to look for that could suggest you have a mold problem in your home that needs your attention.

Use your nose

One of the best methods of detection of mold in your home is to use your nose.

There is an odour associated with the presence of mold and one potential sign to look out for is if you notice an odd smell emanating from your air conditioning unit or heating system.

HVAC units are particularly prone to encouraging mold growth in damp or dark conditions.

Is your grout looking grotty?

If your shower tiles are displaying dark lines where white grout used to be it could be mold.

This type of mold is often harmless, although you should be aware that if the mold appears after you have had a leak in the room it could lead to a more toxic mold developing which needs a professional assessment and safe removal.

How’s your health?

We all get ill from time to time but if you have flu symptoms that seem to persist for longer than a typical cold you might want to check whether it is the cause of your health issues.

It doesn’t have to be black

You probably associate mold with black or grey spots developing but it can actually take on many different forms.  If you notice an unusual texture on your walls, even a bit of green slime, it could also be a mold problem.

Check the state of your wallpaper

Wallpaper doesn’t last forever and a bit of peeling and discoloration is to be expected over time, however, if the wallpaper seems to be bubbling or cracking that could be an indication that you have moisture in your wall.  That moisture normally serves as a warning that mold is developing.

Breathing problems

As well as looking for physical clues around your home you should note any physical changes you experience when it comes to your overall health.  If you already have asthma or some other pre-existing breathing problems your health profile could worsen if mold is developing in your home.  Keep an eye on your health and investigate the possibility of mold if you experience increased breathing problems.

Problems with allergies

Another health clue to watch out for is when seasonal allergies seem to continue beyond their normal timeframe.  Mold exposure can emulate seasonal allergies and cause them to persist, or even worsen over time.

When you can’t get rid of that musty smell

If you vacuum regularly and even steam clean your furniture but still can’t shift that musty odor around your home it would be worth investigating whether the problem is mold.

Mold can irritate your skin

Mold is quite keen on damp clothing and if mold infiltrates the fibers of your towels or any other item that is reasonably wet it could start to irritate your skin.

Don’t encourage mold

Finally, as well as getting any signs of mold checked out immediately by a qualified professional you might want to think about your humidifier use.  Constant use of a humidifier could encourage mold growth by introducing extra moisture into your home.   Check out these classic signs and warnings and take action immediately if you suspect that mold is present in your home.

Home & Interiors

Smart technology to keep your home secure

Pic Credit: Liberty Insurance

Liberty Insurance knows advances in technology mean that it’s never been easier or more affordable to secure your home, that’s why they’ve brought you these tips on how to use smart technology to improve home security. 

 The devices remain pretty much the same but now alarms, locks, sensors and cameras are connected by Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, can be monitored and controlled remotely by apps and any data like audio or video can be stored in the cloud to be viewed later. And now with the internet of things, they can all be controlled from an automated hub like Amazon Echo, Google Home or Hive. With a little DIY know-how, you can protect your home and not break the bank doing it.

Cameras

Camera technology has advanced at an unbridled pace since the introduction of the smartphone and that affordable tech can be found in the home security camera. Even some of the most basic camera kits come with High-Definition and night-vision capability and can record onto a hard drive or to the cloud via Wi-Fi. And with an app, you can even check in on your home when you’re lying on a beach in the Costas. 

Cameras can be mounted externally, internally and even on out buildings. However, there is one obvious weakness to a Wi-Fi only set up and that is your Wi-Fi itself. If the Wi-Fi goes down and the modem is not rebooted, then your cameras won’t have anywhere to send their video. Hard-wiring your cameras into a hard-drive is an obvious solution but would almost certainly require a professional to install the system.

Video Doorbells & Smart Locks

tablet media device

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Once the preserve of the very wealthy, video door-bells are becoming more and more commonplace as they become more affordable. With Wi-Fi and an app, you can now see who is calling at your front door without having to leave the comfort of your armchair. Indeed, you can instruct delivery drivers to leave parcels at your door while you are in work through the face-time function on the app. They come with HD and night vision and recording also.

Some video-doorbells connect to a smart lock which allows you to remotely open the lock so a child or workman can enter your house while you are not at home. 

Smart locks not connected to a video doorbell use a variety of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that connect with your phone to lock and unlock, but you can also choose from a wide range of touch screen and fingerprint locks also.

Window & Door Sensors

A smart window or door sensor will send a notification to your phone of when the window or door is opened. They also come with alarms and can be programmed to suit your needs and some even come with small tiny cameras.

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Home & Interiors

Tips for making your garden a safe and fun environment for kids

We have been renovating our house over the last number of years and while the inside is nearing completion, an equally challenging task is next on the agenda……the outside spaces.  Neither of us are green fingered and the thought of tackling the overgrown mess outside fills me with such dread.  We definitely need some expert intervention on this one even for some consultancy. One key proviso for me a safe and fun environment for the kids. I decided what better to do than to reach other so my fellow blogger to see what they have done with their gardens.

Garden Safety 

Garden Safety - locking shed

Garden Safety

First up some great tips around keeping the area itself safe and enclosed.  Elizabeth from The Homemakers Journal had some great suggestions in terms of basic safety, keeping the tools and equipment in separate storage areas.  Also crucially and a very important consideration, keep all sprays and fertilisers out of reach of little hands (and animals).  Jo from Cup of Toast also highlighted the importance of keeping hazards out the way, I love her suggestion of giving the kids their own shed that way they are contained and away from potential hazards or even escaping!

Pete who writes at Household Money Saving highlighted the importance of making sure the toys themselves are in good working condition.  This is a brilliant suggestion and probably one im guilty of not doing enough off particularly for the likes of trampolines and swings which could pose a risk if not installed or used correctly.

I love Natalie from Mummy and Moose suggestion of training the dog to do its business in one area and training the kids to avoid! Genius!! While we don’t have any pets one suggestion that ill definitely be implementing is from Sarah of A Few Favourite Things of keeping the wheelie bins separate. Safety aside we have 3 and they are so unsightly looking!

I also love Carolin of Mummy Alarm suggestion of  soft surfaces for playing on.  I have two boys and they just love playing rough, climbing and skipping around the place.  Hopefully a soft surface would lessen the cuts and scraps.  Having done my research (extensive research!) I have found ESP Play who amongst other products offer a great range of soft surfaces. I really like the artifical grass or the rubber mulch. I’m all about low maintenance but practical solutions.

Garden Fun

The bit the boys will love!! Both Stacey of One Small Human and Anoushka of Spitting Yarn mentioned mud kitchens!! I have never heard of this before but I suspect the boys would love it, quite literally, a sectioned off area with some kitchen utensils and some muck/mud. You can’t beat the messy play to keep them entertained for hours.  Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure suggested a sensory garden including a fruit and veg patch. I love the idea of growing some of our own vegetable so this is something im definitely looking into. Check out Emma’s gorgeous garden at the above lunch, that pergola is some serious garden goals!

Play equipment 

climbing frames

Pic Credit: espplay.co.uk

The boys really want a tree house or some kind of play equipment and the Dada Fairy has promised them that he would get them something when the garden is done! I always end up doing so much research im a total planner and need to know everything! But have a look a the tangled equipment from ESP Play .  Absolutely love the look of them and I know my kids would love them too and no doubt proving hours of fun out in the garden.  I do note it would need one of the above mentioned soft surfaces due to the inevitable fall risk but I really do love them and combined with the soft surface above I think it would be a fantastic investment in our garden.

Garden Fun in the sun

Garden Fun

One of the most interesting things I did come across while looking for children’s play equipment was the study on the aforementioned ESP Play site which showed as a result of extensive independent research commissioned by ESP and carried out by Liverpool John Moores University, they discovered that the average amount of physical activity taking place during PE lessons was remarkably low. This really shocked me and to my mind while the tangled equipment looks good it is doing far more than just that, it is actively encouraging physical activity. A really huge benefit in my mind.

Lots of  fantastic tips and inspiration above, however one thing I do know for sure is that ill definitely be enlisting the services of a gardener when its all done to keep on top of the routine maintenance. Left to myself and the Dada Fairy we wouldn’t have a clue where to start!!

Ill look forward to revealing the finished product over the next few months.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post 

 

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Home & Interiors

Why Beanbags are Redefining Comfort in 2019

If you are looking for a new way to revitalize your living room, then you need to think about getting yourself a beanbag. These products are defining comfort as they allow you to sit on them for hours without feeling tired or pain. If you are looking for reasons to get yourself a beanbag, then here are ways these products are redefining comfort this year.

Versatility

The versatility aspect of the beanbag is one element that helps to redefine its comfort. The beanbag chair allows you to relax on the outdoors, whether it’s in the pool or by the side of it. In any case, beanbag function much better compared to the traditional floating loungers and are even more comfortable as opposed to the mesh loungers.

As mentioned, these items come in a variety of sizes and the small ones can be stored pretty much anywhere including the attic and closet. For extra seating, these can be thrown around the living room to create additional room for your guests. Apart from that, you can place a small board across your medium-size beanbag for conversion to a coffee table. Other smaller beanbags can be turned into additional chairs for the guests to use along with your converted coffee table.

Large chairs of this design make the perfect chill out / watching a movie seats. What’s more, you don’t have to arrange the beanbag chairs in monotonous straight rows. You can move them around or shift their positions to get a setting that is most ideal for you.

Lastly, there are various ways you can adjust the beanbags so they can comfort with your sitting style. Even so, these products don’t limit you to just sitting. For the desired comfort, you can lie on your stomach or side, sit up, or even lean back. Therefore, the versatility aspect of the beanbags allows you to get cozy and comfortable.

Squishy Interior

woman sitting on beanbg

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Another aspect that adds to the comfort of the beanbags is their squishy interior. As mentioned earlier, their interior is composed of soft materials that allow for the beanbags to mold themselves to the body of the person sitting on them. For that reason, the beanbags are incredible comfort for sleeping and sitting. There are different ways you can sit on the beanbags and this is all made possible by their squishy interior. For pregnant women, the beanbag is not just any ordinary product but one that allows them to sit and sleep comfortably given the fact that the bags can accommodate their bumps and make it possible to even lie on their stomach. It is for this reason that beanbags have been highly ranked when it comes to ensuring comfort for pregnant women.

No Joint or Muscle Pain

Are you suffering from any kind of joint or muscle pain? Seating regularly is one of the causes of discomfort as it causes pain in joints and muscles. A lounge chair may look like the right solution, but this does not always provide comfort to a person’s body. With a beanbag, however, you do not need to worry about these pains and discomfort. Beanbags are made from different materials and the shredded memory foam is one of them. A bean bag chair that has been filled with memory foam that has been shredded comforts to your body, thus offering postural support.

The level of relaxation that is derived from using the beanbag chair also helps in alleviating shoulder and neck tension. With a beanbag chair, you are in a position to get a constant level of support which goes a long way in reducing pain. When you are relaxed, the possibilities of suffering from tension headaches are usually low.

In addition to that, beanbags are suitable for sitting on if you always spend a large proportion of your time behind the computer. What’s more, these items come in various sizes and shapes, so you are less likely to miss one that meets your needs.  Today, it is a requirement for offices to provide ergonomic furniture. Large beanbag chairs can be the ideal solution for meeting these kinds of demand. A large chair of this kind will offer postural support to eliminate your shoulder, back, and neck pains.

Since there are numerous options, it would be advantageous to make Lovesac comparisons so you can be certain you are choosing a product that best fits your needs.

Employee Comfort

The good thing about beanbags is that they can also be used in offices. Part of the reasons why beanbags are popular this year lies in the fact that they can be used to motivate employees to do better due to their comfort aspect. When employees feel comfortable at work, they are in a position to work productively and collaborate with others. Moreover, ensuring your employees are comfortable all the time allows them to feel relaxed and perform better at work. On the other hand, when employees are not comfortable, they could easily lose focus. Due to their structure and design, beanbags offer a level of comfort which they may not have expected to get while at work.

With beanbags, office workers can sit wherever they want and productively could occur spontaneously anywhere employees feel comfortable. Their comfort may inspire their creativity. That is because employees who feel comfortable in their spaces are usually free to express themselves. On the other hand, employees who are not comfortable may offer ideas and feedback which are not helpful to the organization.

The lightweight aspect of beanbags allows for adjustments and employees can move them around in case they need space that would allow them to concentrate on their work. If they need to hold a group meeting, beanbags allow for such to happen since they are flexible and portable.

Final Words

It is without a doubt that beanbags play a crucial role in ensuring the comfort of users. Their materials and design make it possible for these items to be adjusted in accordance with the preferences of the users. That way, beanbags can diminish body pain, ensure comfort, and promote productivity.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

Protecting Your Home: 4 Common Problems to Take Measures Against

The home is a place of peace, love and safety for all of us, shielding us and our children from everything that lies outside those beautiful walls, which you have spent a good deal of money and time decorating. Unfortunately, if you are not careful about protecting your home from some common problems that often creep up undetected, you are compromising your safe haven. Read on as we discuss a few common problems with most homes, and the measures you can take against them.

Plumbing Issues

plug

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Plumbing is a serious issue everywhere, but in regions of the country where it can get pretty cold, the pipes needs proper insulation as they can easily freeze over and crack.

Aside from that, there’s always the running toilet every now and then, leaking pipes and taps, etc. The key is to call in the plumber before the problem becomes serious, as most people ignore the groaning pipes until something bursts and the entire bathroom is flooded.

Damp and Mould

Most of the country suffers from damp, cold winters, so water damage and mould are not uncommon problems either. Infants, children and seniors are the most at risk if there is indeed water damage and consequent mould formation. As mould can go unchecked and even cause death in very rare cases, get it checked out if you notice water damage on your walls or the ceiling and suspect fungal infestations.

Boiler Breakdowns

Is there anything more terrifying than the idea of waking up shivering on a cold and freezing February night, only to find that the boiler is out of commission? Well, there probably are a few scenarios scarier than that, but it has to be one of the top five nonetheless!

As the freezing temperatures can make things very uncomfortable very fast, especially when you have children at home, consider signing up for boiler cover from a company like Certi and you won’t ever have to worry about boiler maintenance or breakdowns, even in the middle of a cold, winter night. In fact, Certi has a whole range of Home Plans and the top tier plan offers services across most of the major home safety problems that we are discussing here.

Electrical Problems

light bulb

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A good lot of us might be able to change a bulb or replace a fuse, but when the power shuts down and you can’t find anything wrong with the fuse, things are starting to look more serious.

Without power, almost everything from home security systems, to your boiler will be out for the count, but please do not attempt to try and solve the problem yourself, unless you are a professional electrician.

This is one of the major emergencies, which you can’t do much to prevent it, but what you can do is sign up with a home protection service that will send an electrician to your home at any hour of the day or night.

Being a homeowner always comes with a set of added responsibilities, and when you are a first time home owner, those responsibilities can overwhelm you quite easily in the beginning. Hopefully now you will at least be able to avoid the more serious issues and potential hazards that we discussed here.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Bathroom cleaning essentials

I’m still a little bemused by this cleaning frenzy that seems to be taking hold of social media. I clean the house out of necessity, I will never be an influencer in that respect! For me its a matter of getting the job done as efficiently as possible.  I have two little men and a husband and the bathroom is the bane of my life!! So what do I use to make that dreaded task that little bit easier:

  • Baking soda – this is fantastic when added to water or other cleaning solutions to add an abrasive element., very useful for cleaning the bathroom especially as it helps to eliminate odours
  • Apple cider /white vinegar – this has become a bit of a holy grail product with people using it for multiple different uses. In terms of cleaning it is great for the bathroom. Some of the ways I use it include: using a spray bottle with 50:50 vinegar and water to clean the mirror and shower doors; if you live in a hard water area like us, simply fill a ziplock bag and place under the tap and shower head to help dissolve the build up of limescale; similarly for blocked drains, add your vinegar with baking soda and boiling water and it really unclogs the drains.
  • Air – I know this sounds a bit mad but open windows frequently and use bathroom fan when showering if you have one. Circulating air really helps  discourage mildew
  • Grout cleaner – an absolute pet hate of mine is grubby grout or sealant, because the are usually porous they absorbs oils etc from the bath products causing mould. There are some useful products on the market like Rainbow Chalk Markers which literally operate like pen to trace the grout lines to refresh the look right away. They are really easy to use and very effective. Rainbow Chalk have produced a great infographic on how they work which I have reproduced with permission.
  • Epsom Salts – Again living in a hard water area means the sink, bath/ bath tray can get very stained necessitating using a mix of Epsom salts and liquid detergent and it really works wonders.

If anybody has any more tips/ tricks or wonder products id love to hear more – leave them in the comments below. Bonus points if they are eco friendly too.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

How we used glass as a feature

Our renovation project is well documented on the blog however one of the surprising features that attracts a lot of attention when people come to visit, is our glass feature panes above the doors in the bedrooms. When we first bought the house, I couldn’t wait to get rid of them. They were above each door upstairs apart from the bathroom. At the time I did some research on their purpose and I was intrigued!

They are actually known as “borrowed lights” and are used to let light in particularly for children’s rooms. However going back even further the thinking on them was that they are Georgian features used to let daylight into internal domestic spaces thereby saving on expensive candles for candlelight. Really fascinating.  Having debated at length about whether we keep or cover them up, my husband (who did most of the work!) was an ardent supporter of keeping them and turning them into a feature in the house. I caved in and they were kept.

Glass as a feature

Glass was one of those things that I hadn’t thought of using as a feature internally. However I was shocked by the various offering of places like Express Toughening.  There is everything from decorative glass to toughened glass to fire rated glass. I just love the look of both stained glass and what is known as satin glass. It is lovely to look at yet practical, durable and low maintenance. We also used in our newly constructed en-suite. Keeping with a clean minimalist look, I loved the look of a frosted stain glass shower door going  from floor to ceiling. It was just perfect for making the most of the space we had to work with.

Other ideas where glass makes a great feature include:

  • Splash backs
  • Stair balustrades ( I love love love this look)

    glass wall

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • Light features
  • Shower doors/ enclosures
  • Outdoor garden features
  • Table top – crackled glass look, also makes a nice splash back or counter top
  • Cladding on internal wall – creating cool clean looks
  • Press doors either kitchen or bathroom or easy wipe down for playrooms

My advice having been through this process is to buy from reputable sources and use qualified, insured trades/companies as given the material you want to make sure it is firstly the correct material for the particular project and secondly its fitted and secured as intended.

I recently came across Emma’s blog post where she suggests using glass to create an art deco vibe which just shows it versatility for use in the home for both functionality and design.

Note: This is a collaborative post