Thursday, 2 August 2012

Open Kitchen Ideas

A kitchen is the most important place in a home it’s a place where with interplay of heat and other culinary techniques flavors come together to create a hearty meal for your family and friends. The introduction of the modern open kitchen has led to more flexibility in terms of the positioning of the sinks, the cooking area, and the cabinets and even allows for families to spend time together while preparing and sharing meals. 

Open Shelves
 Open Kitchen with open shelves gives the kitchen a simple uncluttered look and makes it easy it easy to locate your spices and cutlery.

Small open kitchen
Having a small kitchen does not change the functionality of a kitchen, you can make use of the small space that you have and make the best out of it. Having an open kitchen combining your dining and cooking area can really help you get a functional and comfortable kitchen. The open shelves also go a long way in saving space taken up by built-in shelves.

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Monday, 4 June 2012

Eco friendly kitchen tips and appliances

Using eco friendly kitchen appliances can help save much when it comes to paying your electricity bill. Choose appliances that save on energy as well as has no negative effect on the environment. Here are some tips and alternatives in saving energy:
·         Choose the right size of fridge that meets your needs, not too small not too big
·         Keep fridges away from source of heat to reduce the amount of energy it uses
·         Keep fridges a few centimeters away from the wall
·         Common of all; allow food to cool first before keeping it in the refrigerator
While electric and gas cookers have their pros and cons we can reduce the carbon foot print in the kitchen by following some simple tips.
·         Cover food when cooking to prevent heat loss therefore cooking your food faster.
·         After food has boiled keep your heat on low to avoid wasting energy
·         When cooking cereals, soak before hand to reduce cooking time.
·         Use the oven light to check the doneness of the food instead of opening the door each time.
·         If you have an outdoor garden where you do barbecues use energy saving jikos which use less coal but produces the same amount of energy required

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Modern living room design ideas

The living room has changed in its functionalities and design over the years. It is the most popular place in the house where; visitors are entertained, families meet at the end of every day to relax after a long day of activities. It is therefore essential to decide on the functionality of the room, incorporate that into the design and decoration to ensure a comfortable atmosphere.

Choose colours that bring out the right atmosphere in your living room. Remember, the living room gives the next impression for the whole house design. Here are some living room design ideas.
White living room design
Modern living room design
Design for small living rooms
Cosy living room design
Curvacious -retro living room


Buying a house to rent?

If planning to buy a house then rent it out to tenants you must know that it comes with a fair share of risks and complications. Foremost to consider is the location of the house you are buying and the kind of tenants you intend to have. Many prefer families rather than students who may not readily pay up the rent; while this is reasonable, you need to realize that a tenant with a family will incur high maintenance costs of the house as compared to students.

  Many landlords face problems with tenants when it comes to rent payment, so you need to have a contingency stash for the mortgage repayments lest the bank repossess the house and for regular repair of the house. Compare the mortgage repayment and the expected rental prices to see whether you will break even and make profit. The rent should however be ideally enough to pay the monthly mortgage to the bank.

You need a lease agreement which stipulates the terms that govern the owner of the house and the tenant relevant to the asset under lease. The lease should cover important points that may form part of a conflict between the parties during the lease period.

You should by now prepare the house for renting. Get it cleaned, repainted, fixtures repaired and all safety hazards corrected.
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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Affordable solution to housing problem

All African countries are facing the problem of housing because of unemployment and underemployment. To an average income person the prospect of owning a house is a remote possibility. You have to think of getting land and the extreme costs that you have to incur.
Another setback is the unavailability and high costs of building materials considering the low incomes of the prospective home owners. All these; make many to shy away from the idea of owning a home.
What we can do is think of how we can make use of the available building resources without having to import, to reduce the cost of obtaining building materials. Increasing the prospects of developing building-materials industry for increased production of housing materials at a cheaper rate could work well in solving the housing problem.
African governments should be committed to the development and training of a workforce to cope with new housing technologies that have been adopted in other parts of the world, and formulate ways to adapt to the relevant building codes and regulations.
We can all solve the housing problem if we are ready to embrace new trendy ideas that can help you achieve your ideal home condition at an affordable cost. Choose an architect and designer that can help you work within your limited budget, and shop around for ideas that can use available resources.
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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Why Eco Friendly Paint?

With the ever growing realization on the impact of our activities on the environment, there is need to consider how construction materials affect the environment. Use of eco-friendly paints helps reduce carbon foot prints and these ripples to you saving money. Eco-friendly paints are water-based and are available in three types; clay paint, lime wash and milk paint.
The recent environmental hazard associated with traditional paints has led manufacturers to produce paint with less volatile organiccompounds which release emissions years after painting. The eco-friendly paints are generally latex-based and have fewer odour which reduce both indoor air pollution and smog.
Though this eco-friendly paints are generally more expensive and is still undergoing improvement, the long term and short term benefits of the same supersedes the cons. But we have to contend with the fact that these paints are not mostly suitable for exteriors due to the weather conditions, its washable therefore not long lasting and the fact that it’s expensive; while manufacturers find ways of producing long lasting cheaply available eco-friendly paint; all these for a good course- to protect our environment.


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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Want to buy a house-Beware of inferior furnishings

Purchasing an already built and furnished house may seem the easiest thing to do considering the time and hustles of constructing a house. But before you purchase that house that may seem like everything you ever wanted, take some time to consider a few important things beyond size, style and price.

Remember that the model house in the showroom may not be the same house you are purchasing. Many unsuspecting buyers after inspecting the showroom house make a decision to buy a house, not knowing that most of the houses are constructed with similar but inferior materials which deteriorate after a few months.

Visit the house more than once and make sure you get a professional to inspect the house. Virtually all houses have defects, some of which are curable, so knowing this beforehand will help you negotiate for the best price considering what you will spend to cure the defects.

Get a detailed record of the past improvements and the furnishings used, this will help you be forewarned if cheaper furnishings were used, therefore the need to re-furnish sooner than later.

Quiz the sellers to make sure you have detailed information of all the faults of the house. Make sure you buy a house form a reputable agent.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Mahogany dining tables

Wood furniture can last long if taken care of properly. It is important to always be keen on the type of wood used in making your furniture if you want lasting results. Came across a young proprietor who specializes in making furniture with mahogany.

Mahogany is regarded by many as the world’s premier wood for fine and high class furniture, cabinets, trimming fine boats, pianos, sculptures, carvings. I was keenly impressed by some of her unique dining set carefully carved from mahogany.

Due to its high fine to medium texture with uniform interlocking grains, mahogany produces highly attractive figures with a high luster with elegant finishing characteristics.

If you are thinking of wood furniture, try mahogany which though expensive will give you the desired furniture styles with unique curves that will fit your interior specifications.

Check out some dining table designs by Mary Nasiali made form Mahogany.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

How to keep a clean garden

Maintaining a clean garden is no easy task because you need to maintain plants despite the seasonal changes in the environment; and the need to plan and organize the space in your garden.
The foremost tip is to have a passion for your garden. Walk through your garden daily and admire your work as you look out for diseases and pests attacking your plants.
It’s important to weed your garden to ensure you remove all unwanted plants and keep your garden fresh and clean. Fill in empty spots in the garden to keep away weeds.
To keep your always green year round, ensure you plant seasonal plants so that you have green and bloom all year round. Keep your garden looking good by pruning to remove spent blooms and dead leaves.
Keep your plants moistened by mulching to retain moisture in summer and warm winter; this also helps to suppress the weeds.
Add some brightness and dramatic effect to your garden by planting your flowers and plants in unique containers. This is very ideal because you can move your plants around the garden to the spot you want.
Get a camera get shots from your garden which you can enjoy even when the plants are out of season. Enjoy your gardening!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Painting your old furniture

Wood furniture can last long if taken care of properly. Imagine you have received vintage old furniture that was passed down from your great grandmother but the colour and shade does not blend with your décor yet you can’t just throw it. The easy solution is to paint it.
Don’t worry about looking for a professional painter to help you out; you can do it yourself by following some simple tips:
Preparation- Like any other painting job, you need proper preparation to avoid a marred-finished look on your furniture. Sand and clean your furniture then spread newspaper on the floor to avoid unwanted stains.
Apply primer- For best results in painting; you first need to apply an oil based primer before applying any paint.
Paint- You may opt to use a roller rather than a brush because rollers allow paint to stick better than a brush. Use a roller to apply paint, taking different coats until you get the desired colour ad effect.
Drying- Allow paint to dry before finding its place in your house. Don’t be discouraged if for the first time you do not get the desired effect, each time you do it you get better results.
Remember to always use large strokes for large flat surfaces in order to get a smooth glossy finish. Always paint in a well aired and ventilated area to avoid inhaling the toxins from the paint.
For best wood paint brands: Benjamin Moore® and Sherwin Williams®, Glidden®, Behr®, or Dutch Boy®,  GreenSure, by Sherwin Williams.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Eco-friendly construction blocks

With so many choices of building materials and house component parts today, it is important to know which is the best for remodeling and constructing your house. Cost safety, and durability are the most important aspects to consider. It is also important to look for materials which have less negative impact on the environment.
Looking for cheap construction materials? Meet the talented Kenyan entrepreneurs of Makiga Engineering Services in Kenya who have come up with low cost, ecofriendly and durable construction blocks which are 82% stronger than fired blocks. The production of the blocks rests on a unique manual machine which they invented that produces interlocking stabilized soil blocks.
The production and curing of the blocks is eco-friendly because the machine does not use any fuel therefore expect no carbon emissions.  The entrepreneurs offer aspiring home owners a cheap and durable building blocks option. They sell you the block producing machine and offer you training on how to make the produce and cure the blocks.

The blocks are produced in an interlocking manner and therefore reduce the amount of sand and cement needed in the construction of your house. The machines can also be used to produce tiles for your roofing.
Remember always plan ahead of your construction, do a survey on the available building materials in your locality, weigh your options and decide on the cheapest, durable and environmentally safe building materials.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Accessorize your house

You have painted your house and put furniture in it, but it is important to give your home a lot of personality with some unique decorative accessories. Make sure you select accessories that not only add colour, texture and style to your home’s décor but also serve several functionalities in the house.

1.  Skewer holder: You can accessorize your kitchen with unique skewer holders which serve a decorative purpose as well as storing your skewers.

2.  Mirrors: Mirrors are normally used to make the room bigger or focus on antiques which would have otherwise been invisible at different angles. A mirror’s reflection can also brighten a dark corner.

3.    Vases: Vases are a piece of art-work in itself but you can add to the vertical dimension of the room by throwing in flowers, dry reeds, or house plants.

4.    Bowls and Baskets: Brilliant-coloured bowls and baskets add to style of a space but also have functionality. You can do the cliché’ of organizing fresh fruit on a bowl or place your magazines in a basket to avoid clutter.

5.    Pillows: Pillows is one of the most common accessories for your house. Pillows can be used to add colour to a room filled with neutral colours or soften bright colours, they can also add character to a piece of furniture.

6.    Paintings and family photos: Mosaic art offer a therapeutic value while abstract painting creates a desired mood in the room. You have several forms of abstract painting for your choice; oil paintings, textured oil paintings and acrylic paintings.
Banana leaf mosaic

Abstract painting

7.    Candles and Candle holders:  Scented or unscented candles are used to affect the mood of a room even when they are not lit. The candles come in in different colours and shapes which are artistic.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

How to choose the right tile for your house

Choosing the right tile for your floor my sound easy but there are some factors to consider before you select a specific floor tile. You must first be aware of the different range of flooring materials available and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Linoleum: Available in tiles or sheets of different colours and style. The Advantage of this type of tile is that; it has low maintenance, durable and mildew-resistant and does not trap dust or bacteria. The only disadvantage is that it does not suit all decors.

Ceramic tile: Available in huge selection of colours and style. Ceramic tile is good because it can be easily coordinated to tile backsplash. Its disadvantages are that it can easily chip and crack, can cause discomfort to the legs and back after standing for long. Not all tiles are equally wear- resistant therefore it is important to choose stronger ceramic tiles.

Vinyl: Available in tiles or sheets of different colours and styles. Vinyl is available cheaply and has low maintenance. Double-thick vinyl is ideal for wet surfaces like bathrooms. Its disadvantage is that it easily tears, scratches, stains and wear.

After looking at the few types of tile with the different pros and cons it is now important to consider the following before choosing the tile to use:
Which floor or room are you tiling?
You should take into consideration the traffic of the room because this will peg on the durability of the tile. If it is a play room, choose a tile that can easily be cleaned. For a kitchen and bathroom you need to choose tiles that are water-resistant, scuff proof, non-slip.
What colour and pattern of tile do you want?
Not all types of tiles come in different patterns and colour. Ceramic tiles are available in solid colours and patterns while other types come only in patterns.
What size and amount of tile do you need?
Most tiles are available in a standard size of 12 by 12 inches but you can find other smaller tile sizes of 10 by 10 and 8 by 8 inches. Another important thing to note is to always buy tiles enough for one room to ensure uniformity, because at times when you go back to the supplier you might not get the right size or shade of colour of the tiles you bought earlier.
What is your budget?
The quality of the tile you choose should be in line with your budget. It is always advisable to shop around for deals and offers, sales or clearance of tiles. Work with your budget and get the best quality, colour and pattern of tile you want in your house.
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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

What to consider before choosing a house plan

Are you thinking of building your house and is wondering where to begin? Trust me you are not alone. Choosing the house plan for your dream house (you have always thought of having) that meets your lifestyle and family needs may seem time consuming and overwhelming. But, knowing what to look for can help you in deciding the house plan for your new house. Here is a little help:

What is your budget?

Before you even think of any house plan, ask yourself how much money do I have to spend on the new house? This will dictate on the architectural design to choose and what building materials to use in the construction. You can also do a survey of the costs of building materials and where you can get them at a fair price. It is also important to choose building materials which will last long and withstand weather conditions prevailing where you are constructing.

What is your family lifestyle and needs?

Lifestyle and family needs differ from families depending on their stage in life and future plans. A newlywed couple who plan to have two kids and another newlywed couple who plan not to have any kids have different architectural needs. You should also think of what features do you want in your house? Which room do you spend most of your time? And what activities do you enjoy doing in the house mostly? This will guide you in selecting the right design that suits such needs.

What furnishings and aesthetics do you like for your house?

Will the new floor design of your new home accommodate your furniture arrangements and style? You need to know the dimensions of your furniture and other furnishings in order to consider the size of the living room or kitchen and how much traffic you will have in these rooms.

How much privacy do you need and where do you need it?

Some home owners prefer plans with more privacy in the master bedroom with personal living spaces, while others may prefer to have privacy in the home office. Some prefer to have a separate living room to entertain visitors and a separate one for the family, while others prefer to one for both functionalities. Whatever your preference all this will determine the architectural plan to choose.

Once you have answered this questions you can seek advice of a qualified architecture and an interior designer who will be guided by the needs and preferences you have identified.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Your Family Room

A family room is a casual informal place where you and your family sit and read a book, watch your favourite movie, have a chat with friends and a place where you can play all your favourite indoor games. There has been a recent shift from living rooms to family room because it is less formal. A family room is where you can have indoor games for both kids and adults.
For those passionate about music make some room to throw in a piano, a pool table can be ideal for those who love the game. A family with small kids can consider having some space with toys and card games. It may at times be challenging to combine a family room and a playing area, an easy solution is to hide the playing area with a couch and use the sofa table as storage for the toys. You can also opt to have a separate storage area behind the couch which can also act as a photo area for the family.

Add some creativity by purchasing end tables that have drawers or shelves beneath or a custom built-in entertainment center with drawers and cabinets to keep your DVD and video games collection organized.
For the bookworms, have a book shelve to store all the interesting books you have in mind, or otherwise have an entertainment custom made with space for storing your books.

Make your family room a comfortable and functional place where you can sit, relax and enjoy family time together.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Wallpaper application tips!

Are you are artistic and do not like painting your house every now and then, think of wall paper. You can now find modern eclectic designs of wall paper which can bring out the style and mood you want for the room.

There are new designs of wall paper which bring out effects on your wall that would not be realized by using paint. Wallpaper not only adds colour to your room it also adds detail and can be used to solve decorating dilemmas. The beauty about wallpaper is that it can be used to manipulate space and can be applied on surfaces other than walls. Learn some few tips in wall paper application.

·         One basic tip in decorating your room is to build your décor around the wall paper. Chose the wallpaper you like and borrow the colour from the rest of the room.

·         When putting wallpaper in two different rooms, make sure the wallpapers flow. A tip is to use borders to coordinate the adjoining rooms.

·         You can use wallpaper to give visual importance to your mirror or window, when personalizing your lamp shades, pots…the list is endless.

·         You don’t have to use wood to create panels you can use wallpaper and contrasting borders to create the most decorative panels and add architectural detail to your flat wall.

·         Wallpaper can liven up your room and create an effect that you desire for your room.

·         You can raise or lower your ceiling by using different colour and effects of wallpaper.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Six things to consider before buying furniture in your living room

A living room is the central point of a house. This room contains comfortable, relaxing furniture where the family gathers to relax after meals and where visitors are welcomed. Therefore, before buying any furniture or accessories for the living room you need to consider; how you want your living room to look like, comfort upkeep and space.There are six things you can consider before buying furniture for the living room:

Budget. The most important thing to consider before making any purchase is how much you want to spend. It is also helpful to shop around for the best deals and compare it with your budget, then you will not have to restrict yourself to showroom furniture while you can get the same quality at a discounted rate.
Functionality and style. Evaluating the purpose of the room is important in deciding the furniture you are buying. Will you have a study area in the living room? Do you entertain friends and visitors in the living room?  Do you enjoy playing games as a family in the living room? Then you need to buy furniture that best and comfortably suits the needs of your family.

Size of your living room. The size of your living room will dictate on the size of furniture and the number of pieces you can purchase. Make sure the size of the furniture balances with the space and functionality of the living room. The furniture you purchase should allow to pull all furniture away from the wall and leave you with space for people to walk around.
Your style and colour. In choosing furniture consider the clolour and style of the existing décor. The wall, tiles and carpet colours are important to consider. Your theme on the existing décor may be contemporary, traditional, or modern, all this needs to be considered.
Up keep of the furniture. You need to consider the upkeep of the furniture if you have children or pests. Leather is hard to maintain and small tears can diminish the overall outlook of the furniture. Upholstered furniture is easier to clean, it can be brushed or steam cleaned to remove stains.
Your comfort. Your living room should be very comfortable and tailored to your needs. While looking out for the latest trends in furniture it is also important to consider comfort. Upholstered furniture is more comfortable and cheap than leather. Leather tends to get hot and sticky in summer and cold in winter.

Choosing furniture that suits your decorating style, comfort and size of your living room, will make you become a more informed consumer who will be confident when entering a furniture store. You will be sure to find the kind of furniture you love and will enjoy for many years if you take time to consider your needs and wants.