2014 Kitchen Design Trends

Last month, the International Design Week took place in Milan. From the Salone del mobile at Milan’s Fiera to hundreds of events as “Romeo and Juliet 2.0” (featuring Fontanot’s exterior spiral staircase) or “Baas in Town” by Maarten Baas, the city was definitely full of life. Working as a photo reporter for Mondadori the biggest publishing editor in Italy, I’ve grabbed my camera and went to the Salone del mobile to check the last kitchen trends. I will start with my favorite Italian brand. Toncelli combined in his latest kitchen designed by Studio Carlesi Design the modern with the simplicity, incorporating advanced home automation systems, made in fiber without grooves and handles. The shapes are simple and clean; the lacquered black color is elegant, giving a minimalist style and a contemporary atmosphere to the kitchen. It is of course equipped with high technology appliances with tactile surfaces facilitating the tasks of the modern housewives.  The large efficient hood is incorporating several soft lights and adds a real something to the overall look of this kitchen. Toncelli_01 Toncelli_03 My second favorite one but totally different is the design of the Elmar pavillon.  Especially the kitchen table designed by the studio C+S Architects Diego Collini, Alessandro Mimola, and Davide Testi made in titanium with a table in oak wood. Simple line but perfectly studied with its 6 feet and the hood enabled to play music, enlighten the cook’s work and of course aspired cooking smells. I like the clean and naturel wood.   Elmar_05 Finally the third brand that I would like to talk about is Ernestomeda and its line called “Soul” designed by Giuseppe Bavuso. Functional, compact, and traditional, the priority of his new line is to be practical. The main kitchen table is studied to have everything at your fingertips with a large sink, several extra-storage, and accessories to facilitate the use.   Soul by Ernestomeda_01   Soul by Ernestomeda_04 The kitchen trends of this last international exhibition it is not only about finding new ways to entertain the customers, it is also about trying to use materials of quality as wood, carbon, aluminum, marble and timber, made by dedicated teams of creative employees and craftsmen using new machinery and technology to get the best results.

Take Care of Termite Infestations Sooner than Later

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Also known as the silent destroyer, termites pose a constant threat to the structure and contents of your home. As wood boring insects, termites feed off of the material and breed in it as well. The termite colonies live and grow inside of wood walls, planks, floors, decks and other areas of the home. In fact, house foundations, furniture; even boxes and books are all possible food sources for a colony of hungry termites. Unfortunately, they are typically dormant for a period of time. As a result, it may be difficult for a homeowner to realize the presence of an infestation until the pests create more obvious damage.

 

Identifying Termites

Should you suspect a termite problem, you may initially choose to survey your home yourself. Some indicators to look for include cracked or bubbling paint, wood that sounds hollow when you knock on it, and mud tubes on the surfaces of walls or in crawl spaces. Another sign of a termite infestation is small wood shavings and chips close to where they may be residing.

Inexperienced homeowners frequently confuse termite damage with water damage as the two are similar and oftentimes related. A good way to tell the difference is to gently pull off the surface of an area of damaged wood and search for the tell-tale pencil-thick tunnels and droppings of termites.
 
Termite Treatment Options
Most termite problems are too large to be handled without experienced, professional help. Fortunately, many pest control companies will perform free termite inspections. Once termites are detected, the company will determine which termite control treatment to use. Two of the most popular treatment methods are the liquid method and baiting.
 
Liquid Method
The liquid method is the quicker and efficient option. This process involves drilling holes in and around the house to create a continuous liquid-treated zone around the foundation. The injected insecticide prevents more termites from entering the property and eliminates those already on the property as the insecticide is shared amongst the rest of the colony. The liquid insecticides available on today’s market are more effective than those available in the past. Now, not only are smaller amounts of poison are required, but a smaller amount of drilling inside the home is necessary when using the liquid method.
 
Baiting
A less intrusive, but often more costly, approach to a termite problem is baiting. This involves the installation of stations baited with a piece of wood around a home’s perimeter. The bait is routinely monitored until the presence of termites is detected. The wood is then replaced with a slow-acting insecticide to be taken and shared with the rest of the colony. Please note that baiting is not always entirely effective. Termites may find the station in a week, or sometimes it may take as long as six months or more. Even once distribution of the insecticide has begun, the baiting process needs to be repeated to insure that all the termites have been successfully wiped out.

 

Dealing with a termite problem can be costly and disruptive, but with regular monitoring and inspection of one’s property, termite damage can potentially be minimized or even avoided altogether. When in doubt, contact an experienced pest control company for inspection and control measures.

 

Robin Mountjoy is the general manager and president of Connor’s Termite & Pest Control.  She has over 25 years of experience in the pest control industry and frequently shares her knowledge and expertise on the Connor’s Blog. From getting rid of bed bugs to effective termite control treatments, you will find a wide variety of helpful posts on the Connor’s Blog.

 

Ideas for Creating a Functional, Fabulous Flat

condo-flat

Home design is a reflection of one’s personality.  While creating a functional, fabulous flat can be accomplished over time, basic design fundamentals like scale, proportion, balance, harmony, light and rhythm are the elements that reflect our design personality.  A home is where you go to relax, be inspired and find comfort.  Incorporating these design elements into your space can be done subconsciously and are as easy as bringing home that coffee table you fell in love with from the local charity shop.

 

Cosy Comfort

One’s home interior must be as comfortable as it is visually appealing.  Creating comfort is based very much on functionality.  If there are elements in your space that allow you to use the space effortlessly, you will be comfortable spending time there.  Accessorizing an already functional space is the icing on the sandwich-cake.  Layering and adding heavier textiles in the colder months and alternatively, using lighter colours and featuring fresh, contemporary elements when it is warmer out is the best approach. Knowing your style preference will allow you to easily use timeless furniture pieces and then blend in season-appropriate accessories throughout your home.

 

Functionally Fabulous

Whether you prefer cosy-casual, favouring warmth and comfort from traditional-styled rooms or are more modern-graphic and into colour, a functionally fabulous flat can be equally eclectic and contemporary at the same time.  Humans require and thrive in both large and small spaces and the most important design element of function in any room is lighting.  Light creates shadows, showcases colour and changes the mood of a room while also illuminating and adding length and visual dimension to our living spaces. Rhythm is what makes your space flow and is accomplished through functional furniture placement.

home-staging

Ten additional design tips

  1. Rearrange your furniture often.  This keeps your space interesting and allows you to incorporate seasonal accessories and display artwork throughout the year.
  2. Decorate your home with items you love.  Home design should be dynamic and reflect the current happenings in your life.
  3. If you enjoy seasonal activities and celebrate holidays, incorporate these touches into your home.
  4. Knowing how you live.  If you are a morning person and enjoy being awake in the early morning hours design your space with dim-able light and area rugs that will protect you from the cold morning floors.
  5. Look through magazines and create a sample board of fabric scraps, paint chips and even flooring samples that appeal to you.
  6. Use decorative dishes and cushions to express your style.
  7. Always create a feeling of unity in your living space and promote harmony by coordinating textiles and tchotchkes.
  8. Definitely include photographs from special occasions, or paintings that you like.
  9. Use symmetry in your rooms to promote balance. Mirrors are an excellent tool for creating balance in your living space.
  10. Lastly, maintain access to all utility closets and your boiler just in case power flushing or other essential maintenance is necessary.

 

Turning a house into a home is done by allowing style to come together on its own.  Spending time in your cosy home and sharing it with the ones you love will fill your home with fond memories and many happy times.  Finally, creating a living space that is as stylish as it is practical, can give you a continuous sense of rejuvenation and promote a positive outlook on life.

Crazy and Unusual Taxes Around the World

taxes around world

Every April, most Americans have to pull out their wallets and pay Uncle Sam. Likewise, countries across the world demand that their citizens pay up through different forms of taxation.

As frustrating as they may be, the taxes we know and don’t love are actually pretty reasonable compared to a handful of the absolutely absurd taxes that have been levied throughout history. From bricks to bagels, lawmakers have thought of some pretty crazy things to tax.

From 1746-1845, England taxed its people for glass. The glass tax hurt the economy as few could afford glass in their homes. This tax, along with the window tax, was blamed for unhealthy, dark living conditions throughout England.

Although not actually a tax, but a tax exemption, this one made our list because it’s so unique and humorous. In New Mexico, if you’re 100 years old or older you are tax exempt. That is, assuming you aren’t a dependent. This law, enacted in 2002, is still in effect today.

Check out the graphic below to learn more about the world’s most unbelievable taxes.

Crazy & Unusual Taxes Around the World

The Importance Of Proper Ventilation In Your Home

Well ventilated home

If you’re planning ventilation for a new home or simply taking care of the space you’re in now, proper airflow is something that should be practiced in any space. Without ventilation in a property there are a whole host of potentially dangerous incidents that can occur. Did you know that on average we spend 90% of our time indoors and actually draw in around 12,000 litres of air each day? That’s a lot of space for harmful pollutants and respiratory diseases to spread around!  Make sure that you’re not going to run in to any of these issues and protect your home at the same time by following our simple tips below…

 

The simple and free act of opening a window in your home can not only eliminate odours caused by things like cooking or dirty washing, but also allow for a much fresher quality of air. In an ideal world, your house should be aired out daily, providing ventilation throughout, banishing stale smells, pollens and bacteria. However, if you’re in a household where having a window open all day long just isn’t ideal, (perhaps if you have a curious house cat on an escape mission!) then there are options for you too. Companies like Rocburn Limited have a great selection of both manual and electric window openers that can really help with hard to reach areas or high up skylights. Not only do they offer a bespoke service for your ventilation issues, but they offer both electric and manual options. Whether you’re looking for a plug-in electric system that you set to a timer, allowing proper ventilation throughout the day, or you simply need traditional window openers, Rocburn cater to everyone. Check out the latest technology they offer including rain and wind sensors!

ventilating-home

Aside from small things such as cooking foods with the extractor fan on or switching on the bathroom fan when showering, there are a number of other changes you can make in your lifestyle to ensure a properly ventilated living space. If you’re home has an open fire or improperly fitted extractor fan or boiler, you could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Often referred to as ‘the silent killer’, carbon monoxide is extremely difficult to detect as it has to odour, taste or colour. Make sure all your home appliances are checked regularly and installed correctly. Practice proper ventilation and also get yourself an audible alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased from most hardware and DIY stores (make sure they are approved by the latest British or European standards) and will emit a high pitched sound when the gas is detected, great for a prompt and early warning.

 

Every home needs fresh air flowing through each day to remove stale, damp air, not only for the integrity of the building, but for your health too. This guide on proper ventilation for your home, taken from the book ‘Home Improvement for Dummies’ is simple to read and offers some fantastic additional advice, give it a read! Make sure you’re sticking to the tips mentioned above and you’re sure to have a much more pleasant, comfortable living space for you and the family.

 

Making a Profit Through Simple Renovation

house-cleaning-tips

Making a profit when it comes to buying and selling a property doesn’t have to be a massive job, in fact, there are some simple tips and tricks you can follow which will make a property seem like you’ve spent a lot of money on it when you won’t have spent much at all. Since property prices are currently on an all time high, a little renovation can go a long way, so have a look at the following revamps you can make to a property without breaking your bank.

 

Plan & Budget

When it comes to renovation, the last thing you want to do is walk in and start splashing money around without any kind of plan of action. You need to plan not only what you’re going to do for each section of the property, but you need to work out a budget.

 

You want to be making a profit for each time you spend, which means you need to research similar properties on the market and how much you can realistically sell yours for. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a better idea of how to budget on each area of the house, and how much profit  you’ll make.

 

Fundamental Features

Some of the fundamental things that people look for in a property can be a deciding point as to whether they want to live there or not. These are the features that you’ll definitely want to consider renovating.

 

Windows

One of these fundamental features are the windows. If a property has single glazing, this can leave a property feeling cold, but it also tends to get wet due to condensation. Installing double glazing, especially on downstairs windows for security reasons, can leave potential buyers feeling a lot happier about a property.

 

Safety

Fire or smoke alarms should be fitted and checked, as not having one near a kitchen can also put people off. Smoke ventilating systems on windows are also a good feature to install, as these air out a room without having to open windows fully, and this can also be a security issue. You can get these fitted professionally by companies such as LJ Pratley.

 

Floorboards

Something else to consider is installing floorboards where carpets may have been laid. Old carpets in a property can look dingy and leave a smell, however simply by fitting some affordable floorboards, you can easily bring a room back to life and make it look as good as new.

 

Cosmetics

Giving a room a touch of paint, a few cheap items to sell with the property and a good clean will make all the difference when it comes to potential buyers looking around. Painting a room a light colour will give it the feeling that it is bigger and lighter than it might actually be.

 

Painted

Giving a room a touch of paint may seem like a simple task that will not make a big difference when it comes to selling a place, but a lot of potential buyers will not look past the aesthetics of the property, meaning many will choose a well presented property over one that just needs a little bit of love and care. Paint the rooms a light colour, making them appear lighter, more spacious and cleaner.

 

Furnished

Purchase some affordable furniture sets so that you can offer to sell the property furnished. By putting in new furniture pieces, this also gives potential buyers coming to look around the opportunity to give them an idea of what it would look like if they move in. This also means choosing furniture that doesn’t cramp a room but compliments its size and colour.

 

Cleaned

After all the work and effort that has gone into the property, there is likely to be some dust and dirt lying around. Before showing around interested customers, the place should look as presentable as possible. In order to get the best results, you could hire a cleaning service such as OCD Cleaning to do the hard work for you and make your property as perfect as it can be. This means having a good clean and polish of a place to make sure it looks the best it can, to give you the best chance of making a profit out of your simple renovation.

 

 

How to Maintain and Care For Your Power Tools

power-tool-care

Whether you’re a regular DIY enthusiast or a complete beginner, it’s important to be aware of the basic maintenance and safety requirements for power tools. If you’re keen to complete simple repairs, fixes and decorating tasks around your home, you will need to use power tools at some point in the near future. In order to correctly maintain your tools, contact your nearest tool shop or a specialist retailer like the Anglia Tool Centre, and always keep the owner’s manual handy.

Storage and Transport of Power Tools

Make sure that you keep your power tools dry at all times. A great deal of wear and tear can occur when they are being transported or stored, if this is done incorrectly. When you’ve finished using a power tool, store it in a cool, dry space away from excessive temperature and sources of ignition. Remember that even a small amount of moisture can damage metal parts and electrical components, and if your drill or sander was supplied with a case, make sure that you use it. Cases are great for protecting your tools against scratches, bumps and water damage.

handyman

Regular Cleaning

All power tools require regular cleaning to ensure that they remain in good working order. Dust, grease and grime can degrade the performance of your tools by slowing down the inner workings. To prevent this from occurring, wipe your tools before you put them away. Wood particles and metal shavings are also bad for your power tools as they can clog up the motor. Use canned air to blow out vents, openings and exposed moving parts that can collect shavings and dust when you’ve finished using a particular tool. Controlling the build-up of dust, shavings and dirt will prolong the life of your power tools and prevent costly replacements.

Oiling and Sharpening Tools

If you have air tools, the moving mechanisms need to lubricated to work correctly. It’s important to look at the instructions or owner manual for individual tools, but a drop of oil usually lasts for thousands of movements. Too much oil may cause a sticky build-up, so don’t overdo it. It’s very important to maintain a sharp blade on power tools that are used for cutting. Dull blades on saws are more likely to slip and scratch your work, or even injure you. The tool’s motor will need to work harder to cut, and it will take longer for you to accomplish simple tasks.

 

How Reclaimed Furniture can Add a sense of Style and Substance to your Home

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 The Internet is full of pages offering innovative home design advice, for every single room from the kitchen and bathroom to your living area. The only issue with these pages is that they tend to promote the use of generic or mass-produced furniture, which can cause homes to look stale and become far-removed from the unique characteristics of their owners. With this in mind, anyone who aspires to remodel their property may be wise to conduct more thorough research and seek out more innovative design trends.

 

The Benefits of Using Reclaimed Furniture: How can It Add Style and Substance to your Home

One of the best ways to revitalise your home and add style to your living space is through the creative application reclaimed furniture. Consider the following benefits of this and how they can be applied to your home: –

 

1 – Reclaimed Wood has an Innovative and Unique Narrative
Reclaimed wood furnishings are essentially made from recycled materials, which affords them two key benefits for thoughtful and reflective home-owners. The first is that they tend to be one-of-a-kind items and entirely unique, meaning that they add genuine value to your home and remain far-removed from the mass produced furniture sold nationwide. Secondly, these products will also have an interesting narrative, which may provide a talking point for guests and enable you to create a wow factor within your home.

2 – Access Genuine Value for Money
While there is nothing necessarily wrong with purchasing mass-produced furniture manufactured from standard materials, these items do not always represent the best value for money. The same cannot be said about reclaimed furniture, however, as materials such as oak tend to be strong, stable and exceptionally durable for long-term use. Oak furniture also has a unique and extremely appealing visual style, meaning that it combines form and function within a single, cost-effective package. Suppliers such as the Trading Furniture Company sell a wide range of these furnishings, so they are easily accessible to consumers throughout the UK.
3 – Create a Rustic and Easy to Maintain Look
One of the most prominent design trends in 2014 has revolved around creating a rustic home, as this replicates the very best of Parisian style and also provides an easy to maintain interior for home-owners. The procurement and application of reclaimed furniture can play a significant role in such a drive, as it is usually simplistic and traditional in its appearance and lends itself to a rustic and rural design ethos. Whether you buy furniture that has been made from reclaimed oak or a similarly robust natural wood, you will have the opportunity to create a quaint and rustic home that serves a sanctuary from the demands of modern life.

Improving Your DIY Confidence: Jobs You Can Do in Time for Summer

sanding-wood-deck

For some, just the sheer mention of the term DIY sends shivers down their spine. The thought of all that drilling, cutting and measuring is just too much and, to be honest, it’s easy to see why. The DIY world is fraught with areas for potential error and, particularly if you’re undertaking a big task, the thought of doing it can be relatively daunting. Because of this, you need confidence when it comes to DIY. Commonly, we all have the skills, and most jobs where we pay for an engineer or a fitter could have actually been done at home, saving costs. Here are some great examples of how you can boost your DIY confidence, completing chores that need to be done in time for summer in the process.

Cleaning Out the Gutters

It may be a smelly and rather time-consuming task, but cleaning out the gutters is absolutely essential if you want to avoid larger structural problems at a later date. What’s more, it couldn’t be simpler – all you’ll need is a leaf blower, a pair of gloves, a ladder and a bin bag. It may be tempting to ring for someone to do it, but there really is no excuse not to (unless you’re scared of heights, of course).

Woodwork Rejuvenation Projects

No matter whether you’re sanding, sawing or cutting, woodwork is a laborious task, and there’s simply no way around it. However, in spite of this, sanding can actually be largely therapeutic, and it’s also a great workout. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to ruin your piece of wood by sanding it, so it’s a great way to build you DIY confidence, and no matter whether you’re sanding or staining, you’ll need relatively few tools – a sheet, some sandpaper and some varnish should suffice.

Re-grouting a Bathroom

Simple, quick and easy, re-grouting is a task that can be completed in a matter of minutes, making a world of difference to your bathroom in the process. The curing of the grout takes time, but other than that, the process is simple, and you’ll only require a couple of easy to use tools. This will make your bathroom look fresh and vibrant while most importantly keeping it leak free.

Changing a Door Handle 

Once you’ve got a bit of DIY confidence (and you’re certain that you’re not going to ruin the house), you can upscale your tasks to dealing with problems like dodgy door handles. Invest in an electric drill (like the ones from Elcocks) and set about changing it. As long as you’ve got the right screws and fittings, you’ll have no problems – you’ll be changing the whole door next!

So there we have it, 4 DIY jobs you can do at home to boost your confidence. Of course, these are only a select few of the tasks that you can undertake, and we haven’t even begun to discuss things like building flat pack furniture and putting up shelving. These types of task are far easier than you’d think, so go on, give it a try – you might find it easier than you’d think.

How Does Divorce Mediaton Work?

divorced-couple

Marriages can be wonderful and they can last for an eternity, but not always. Some people might find out after a few years of marriage that they don’t get along that great and they need to divorce for various reasons. However, a few issues come into play, especially if the couple who is divorcing now has kids.

The best way to cope with these problems is to go for divorce mediation. This is an alternative to the formal process of a divorce court and it basically involves finding solutions to problems such as spousal support and child custody, among many others.

The Mediation Process

During the mediation process both parties come with their attorneys as well as a third party. The latter is actually the mediator which assists the people who are now divorcing in finding a common ground and solving the matter at hand. What’s really important to know is that the mediator is an objective party. He won’t solve any agreement, instead he will make suggestion on how the whole problem can be solve without any issues, while also pointing the means of doing so.

One of the main issues that can be the target of mediation is surely the distribution of liabilities and assets. This can be a very important problems especially for those couples that bought a house, car and numerous other things together during their marriage. Using a mediator can easily help solve this problem a lot faster, especially since at the beginning both parties think that they can’t possibly get to an agreement.

The mediator provides all the help a divorcing couple needs, while also ensuring them that everything discussed during such a session is confidential. This is really important, as many people don’t tend to trust mediators for that reason alone.

It’s important to know that mediation is absolutely voluntary, as couples don’t need to undertake it. Most of them tend to do it because it involves much lower costs when compared to a litigated case, not to mention the fact that the results also come faster as well, so basically everybody wins.

Mediation Advantages

There are many advantages when it comes to mediation. First of all, it saves time and money by shortening the divorce process. In addition, it’s confidential and nobody will ever find out about what has been discussed during such a session.

What’s more, mediation is fair to both parties and objective as well, and its only reason of existing in the first place is to help both parties as fast as possible. Mediation provides a lot of benefits to a divorcing couple and it surely costs a lot less than other similar means. This is why undergoing a few mediation sessions can easily solve the problems brought up by the divorce, which is amazing, as a divorce can take quite a lot of time without it.