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Author Archives: Michelle Farrington

How To Install Better Windows To Conserve Energy And Save Money

Your windows can help save you energy costs. Learn which ones are best to install!

Window maintenance is an essential part of home improvement: replacing old windows with energy efficient windows is a reliable way to conserve energy and save money. Moreover, older windows can be improved in such a way and manner that their energy-efficiency would be greatly improved. The following are ways in which you can install better windows in your home to conserve energy and save money.

1. Installation of storm windows

Storm windows are energy-efficient windows that are available for most type of windows. Storm windows can be installed at the interior or exterior of primary windows. Storm windows supplement the thermal performance of single-pane primary windows. Storm windows creates a dead airspace between the storm and primary windows, this provides more insulation that reduces heat loss in the home. Once heat loss is reduced, energy usage reduces.

2. Installation of energy-efficient windows

Another way to save money on energy use is to install energy-efficient windows. Installation of energy-efficient windows is gradually becoming the most popular home improvement. One of the most popular energy-efficient windows is the Triple Glazed Vinyl window. Triple Glazed Vinyl windows are superior energy-efficient windows. They offer passive solar energy to retain heat in the room during winter and to help the home cool during summer.

Gas-filled windows are another popular type of energy-efficient windows that are used in the home. These windows are filled with either xenon, argon or krypton gas. The gas is pumped in between the panes before sealing. This type of window offers the highest energy-efficiency. Another type of energy-efficient window is the Triple Glazed Wood Framed window. Window installation is done primarily from the inside.

3. Caulking windows

Caulking is another way to improve the energy-efficiency of windows. Applying caulks to window frames can prevent air leakage. Air leaks around windows are substantially responsible for heat loss in a home, which increases energy use. Caulking around windows is a reliable way to make your windows more energy efficient.

4. Weather-stripping windows

Weather-stripping windows is another way to make windows more energy-efficient. Weather-stripping can be used to seal air leaks around movable doors and windows. Weather-stripping enables a window to withstand friction and serves as insulation, which prevents the loss of hot air from the home during winter.

5. Using window treatments

Using window treatments on your windows is another way to make your windows energy-efficient. Carefully selected window treatments are capable of reducing heat loss during winter.

6. Installing window blinds

Window blinds are very efficient in reducing heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer. There are two types of window blinds, interior blinds and exterior blinds. Interior window blinds prevent heat gain during summer and exterior window blinds prevents heat loss during winter.

7. Installing window draperies

Installing window draperies is another innovative way to make windows energy-efficient. The extent to which a window drapery can improve the energy-efficiency of your windows depends on several factors among which include fabric type, thickness and size. When used during cold weather most draperies can reduce heat loss in a room by 10%. During summer days, draperies should be used on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain.

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How To Restore Antique Furnishing

Here are some practical tips on how to restore your antique furniture and add character to your home.

Antique furniture can add a unique character to your home, provided they are maintained properly. If you’ve been meaning to restore your antique furniture so you can display them again in all their glory, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Know The Value Of The Furniture

Antique restoration is something a professional should perform if your piece is valuable. You could have old dusty pieces of furnishing in your attic left to you by your parents or grandparents. Some could be valuable and should be restored to its old glory by a professional antique restorer.

If you are just restoring an old piece of furnishing that isn’t from the Ming Dynasty or the like, you could probably do it yourself. Restoring your old chair or table could make it useful and decorative for your home or office. It is a great way to furnish your home with interesting pieces without buying expensive, brand new furniture.

What You Need:

To restore your antique furniture, you will need the ff:

  • Safety eye-wear
  • Rubber gloves
  • Drop cloth
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Long pants or old sweats
  • A pair of old sneakers or any close-toed shoes
  • Semi-paste stripper
  • Paint brushes
  • Steel wool
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Old rags
  • 150 grit sander
  • Wood stain
  • Tack cloth
  • Polyurethane

Before doing anything or beginning your antique furniture restoration, open your windows to let fresh air in. It would be ideal to be able to work outdoors or in an open garage for better ventilation. The chemicals and solutions you will be using can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities in enclosed places.

Get your drop cloth and wear your gloves and eye protection. You can wear your long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and shoes to protect your skin from chemicals spills. Apply the stripper with a brush and use a little at a time because excess stripper will simply evaporate. Check the directions on the stripper’s label about guidelines on how long you should leave the stripper on the furniture.

After soaking your furniture in a stripper, take your steel wool and rub off the surface varnish. You can also use a putty knife to remove the varnish. Rub the surface in the direction of the wood grain. Wipe down the furniture and then apply the lacquer thinner on the antique furniture with a brush. The thinner will neutralise the stripper and remove residue on the surface.

Sand the surface gently to remove remaining stain or varnish. Wipe off the dust created by the sanding process. Apply a new layer of stain to the wood with a brush. Remove excess stain with a rag and allow your furniture to dry. Check the stain’s label for the recommended drying time.

After it dries, paint on 2 coats of polyurethane to seal the new finish. Let each layer dry completely before applying the second coat of polyurethane. Sand the first coat lightly before applying the second and final coat. Your antique furnishings restoration project should produce fresh looking antique furniture you can proudly display and use in your home.

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My Top Tips For Furnishing Your Outdoor Space

You can take your outdoor space to a whole new level by using some tricks that you can implement to create a gorgeous outdoor space today.

Monochromatic Palette

Stools and grey tables can give your outdoor space the fresh look that you have been looking for so long. This combination is quite awesome and you will not have to spend an arm and a leg to get the gorgeous look you want. You can give your outdoor space the tropical look that you love. And you can do this when you use modern prints such as stripes. But you can also use vibrant colours like yellow so you can take your outdoor space to the next level in no time as well.

Natural Beauty

You can give your outdoor space a piece of the natural world when you use the right materials. For instance, you can use a wicker sofa, a fire pit and a standing umbrella. If privacy is important to you, you can make your outdoor space do the right job. For this you can build a tall wooden fence. Think about the type of use that you are going to give to your space as well. If you want to entertain, you can use a grill and a table to achieve your goal.

Country Joy

If you want to create an outdoor space that is a far cry from your daily routine, you can start by separating the table and the chairs from your home. This will allow you to achieve the separation that you have been seeking for a long time. Want to take your outdoor space to a new level by adding a touch of red? This will allow you to have the modern look that you have been seeing in your mind for a long time. A slipcovered chair will allow you to get this effect in no time and you will love it.

The creation of a fantastic outdoor space don’t have to cost you a mint. Remember also that a touch of red will add the modern effect that you want to see in any outdoor space out there. So implement these tips today and have more fun. You can create an outstanding outdoor space if you take action now.

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Top 5 Best UK Markets For Vintage Furniture

Thanks to TV shows like Fix or Flop or investors like Rick Otton, refurbing your home has become trendy. And for some homeowners, they prefer refurbing their property to achieve a more classic look.

There is something to be said about vintage furniture. They just have character and style. The fact that they are from a past period gives them that unique look that is not easily replicated today.

Whether you are a collector or just someone looking to find stylistic pieces of vintage furniture for your home, antique and flea markets present the best opportunity for you to do so. Here is a list of some of the best UK markets for vintage furniture.

Old Spitalfields Antiques & Flea Market

In E1 on any given Thursday, you will find some of the most bizarre, yet weirdly wonderful collection of vintage furniture, art, clothing and other accessories at the Old Spitalfields Antiques & Flea Market. The best thing about this vast marketplace is that you can get lost in all the available possibilities and end up finding something quite spectacular…and affordable.

Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair

If you are looking for a place to find the best and most coveted antiques in London, there is a good chance that the Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair is that place. Held on select dates every year, this is one of the largest antique fairs in the UK. With over 200 stalls of artefacts, antiques and some of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery you will ever see, this fair is a definite ‘must attend’ for vintage lovers. You can haggle and get the best prices on the items you want.

Portobello Road

Unfortunately, the antique stalls on Portobello Road are getting pushed out by high rent. That, however, doesn’t mean that you will not find what you are looking for when you visit. Try going on a Saturday, this is the main market day, you will find vendors selling traditional English antique pieces that will most likely impress your taste. From vintage furniture to kitchenware and even old suitcases, this market has it all.

Covent Garden Antiques Market

This is the perfect spot to find antiques and collectables at the Jubilee Market. It is an authentic slice of ancient Covent Garden that was so popular before high-end flagship stores took over. The antique shops in this location are not only amazing as far as vintage artefacts are concerned, but because the wares found here give you a sense of England’s heritage. Here, you will find vintage furniture that is purely British and proud of it.

Alfies Antique Market

Opened in 1976, Alfies Antique Market has long been a favourite for many collectors. What makes this store stand out is the collection of handpicked antiques that it carries. This is the one place that you can go and fully expect to find vintage furniture that is not only one of a kind but also in great condition and at reasonable prices.

Buying vintage furniture is a wonderful way to give your home character and a unique sense of style. It can also double as a money making venture as there are collectors willing to pay good money for these furniture pieces.

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When To Say NO To A Renovation Job

Fix and Flip is one of the best ways to make good profit, if you can keep renovation costs down. Here are some renovation jobs that you should just avoid.

Becoming a successful property investor takes a great deal of skill, know-how and some courage. Despite the fact that all your calculations probably make sense on paper, there are still some outlying exceptions that could very well bring that house of cards tumbling down (pardon the pun). This is especially true if you are relying on the ‘fixer-upper’ model of business.

Yes, buying a home that is run down just so you can fix it up and sell is a wonderful strategy. For the most part, you could end up with a piece of property that has over 10% more equity value once it is all finished. That is if it all works out. But what if it doesn’t? How can you tell that a rundown property isn’t worth the time, effort and money? Here are renovation job red flags:

Electrical wiring is a mess

With any run down building, there are some basic facilities and amenities that will be at the very least, almost up to par. Things like electrical wirings will have a basic layout that might simply require some upgrading or ‘bring up to code’. For the most part, this will take an electrician a few days to look things over and make the necessary adjustments as per your requirement.

But when you find that the wiring in your new home is so far gone that it will have to be done afresh, then you might want to reconsider the purchase. Electrical work is not only expensive, it is dangerous, takes too much time and has too much red tape. It will cost too much money; money that you might not recover.

The roof has no integrity

Yet another part of the home that can completely ruin your budget: buying a house that needs an entirely new roof can be expensive. That, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy one just because the roof is not as solid as you would like it to be.

The best course of action here is to get a rough estimate from a reliable builder who can tell you how much the roof repairs are going to cost and what kind of extensive damage has already been done to the house as a result of the roof being in that dilapidated state. Once you have these figures at hand, you can make an educated guess whether or not the whole venture will be worthwhile.

When the neighbourhood isn’t worth the money spent

Let’s face it, the whole point of doing all this is so that you can make money once it is all done. If, for some reason, you realise that the ideal final price tag on the house will be much more than the neighbourhood can support (similar houses are going for much less) and there are no indications that the conditions will soon change, then maybe you should let that deal go.

It is all about taking calculated risks. For the most part, these repairs and renovations will be run on store credit or as part of your mortgage, unless they are scheduled to pay off in a big way sooner rather than later, think twice about taking them on.

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3 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Home

Smart homeowners know that regular home maintenance is a great way to save money in the long run. If you are constantly looking to see if there are cracks in the walls or leaks from the taps then you will not be taken by surprise when that wall comes down or your house gets flooded.

You will have, in fact, saved yourself from this fate by doing the necessary repairs in time thus avoiding a hefty maintenance bill when things get out of hand.

Upgrade your wall hangings

While giving your home a fresh coat of paint might be the ideal way to get started on your revamp journey, that process can be time-consuming and rather messy. If you are looking for easier, less messy ways to give your home a face lift, then you should consider upgrading your wall hangings. You will not believe what kind of impact your decorations have on the aesthetics of the room and home in general.

Instead of going out and buying thousand pound paintings, why not give your old wall hangings new frames and a bit of a wash? While you can invest in new art, try buying new frames first and see just how ‘new’ your old paintings look.

Upgrade appliances and de-clutter

The problem with most homes is that they often look stuffy and mouldy. This is because most of us keep items from twenty years ago that we do not even need. Why not take one weekend to simply clean out your home and get rid of all the things you do not need?

You will be surprised just home many pieces of electronics, items of clothing and furniture you have that you can get rid of by selling. This venture will accomplish two things:

  • It will help you get rid of all the stuff you do not need and help you de-clutter.
  • It will put some extra money in your pockets.

The money you make from this venture can be used to upgrade your home appliances. New electronics that are in line with energy saving efforts are not only shiny and sparkly, which gives your home a new look, but are also efficient and will help you save money by reducing your power bill.

Make stuff

You are more creative that you imagine. One of the best ways to release all that creative energy and bring that person to life is to take part in DIY projects. You can start small. Make a new picture frame or a flower vase. Whichever way you look at it, whatever you make for your home will be something new that adds to the aesthetics of the environment.

If you find that you are good with your hands, you could very well find yourself doing much more than just picture frames. You could be rebuilding patios, walls and backyard living spaces. It takes a bit of creative thinking and with just a little brainstorming, you will find many different ways to revamp your home without breaking the bank.

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How To Revamp Old Furniture

When a beloved piece of furniture gets old, you don’t have to throw it away. Here are tips on how to revamp old furniture and breathe new life into your home.

If you’re familiar with the investor Rick Otton, then you may have come across his fix and flip videos/podcast on low-costing refurbs while still improving the value of your house dramatically. Today’s article will be similar – in that we’ll look at how to update old furniture in order to breathe new value in them, and consequently your house.

There are various methods that we can all use to sort of ‘spruce up’ our, well, ancient furniture. While some would simply just go out and buy a new couch or a new table, for many of us, there is simply too much sentiment tied to some of our furniture pieces, which make it almost impossible to let them go.

If you have something like that in your life, you would be pleased to learn that you do not necessarily have to throw it out. Here are some things that you can do to revamp old furniture.

Stain old wood furniture

If you have a dining table or a chair that is made out of solid wood then maybe the best route to take is to stain it. This will tend to show off the wood grain in those pieces of furniture. To stain old wood furniture, you would have to strip it first and then sandpaper it down to a smooth finish then apply some wood conditioner that will help the even out the finish.

You can then finish it all off by rubbing wood stain on the piece of furniture using a piece of soft cloth. Be sure to apply multiple coats to give that beautiful look and finish it off with a coat of polyurethane.

Try reupholstering your antiques

If you want, you can take on upholstering projects yourself. You will, however, need a respectable degree of patience and some remarkable DIY skills. If you don’t think that is you, then you can simply hire someone to do it for you. But whichever way you choose to go, reupholstering your antiques is a wonderful way to breathe new lives into those old pieces that will retain most of its original structure and only take on a new face, so to speak.

How about milk painting your furniture?

Milk paint is actually made out of milk. You can mix it yourself because it comes in powder form. The best thing about it all is that you can customise it in a wide range of colours and use it on different types of wood surfaces. It is also non-toxic and easy to use. You can simply strip old pieces of furniture of its old paint and use milk paint to give them a facelift.

Spray paint your outdoor furniture

When it comes to your outdoor furniture, sometimes the simplest and most efficient way to revamp them is to spray paint them with new and exciting designs. This, of course, depends on how creative you are inately. The best thing about it is that we all probably have that one teenage nephew or niece who is very artistic and would be willing to do this for you in exchange for some money or permision to use your car (I would advise against the latter option; teenagers are not known for their responsible car driving traits).

These are just some ideas that will help you learn how to revamp old furniture and make them look as good as new while keeping that sentimental piece within the family.

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Best Ways To Increase Space In Your Home (Without Knocking Down Any Walls!)

Most of us relish the thought of having more space. Here are the best ways to increase space in your home (without knocking down any walls!).

As you can imagine, transforming a flat in London into a castle is no easy fit. In fact, we can go as far as saying it is quantifiably impossible. That, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t have the kind living space you want just because you are stuck paying rent for a puny flat. Although you will not be living like a King, with all that walking square footage, you can greatly expand what you already have into liveable space you can enjoy with your family. Here are some tips on the best ways to increase space in your home (without knocking down any walls!)

Create room outside

If you have a flat that has a balcony, or you live in a house that has a front and back yard, then you can greatly increase your living space by thinking outside the box. As things stand now, almost everything you have in your house has a counterpart that is designed to withstand the elements. You can get:

  • Patio furniture for your front yard.
  • Build an outdoor kitchen with some sitting space.
  • Build a bar in your back yard.

The options are quite numerous. You just need to be a little creative and ready to invest some money in the renovations as well as additions.

Get rid of clutter

You will be surprised at how much we have in our homes that we do not need. One of the best ways to clear out clutter from your home is to think in monetary terms. I can assure you that there is someone out there willing to buy most of your stuff. Take an inventory of all that you have and decide what need to go. Once you have a list of all the things you do not use on a daily basis, put them up for sale online or hold a yard sale. This helps you bring in some cash while you clear up some living space.

Repurpose your rooms

Do you really need that dining room? How about that entire kitchen or that storage space? In many cases, you will find that most rooms are not really made use of as per their designation. One of the best ways to create more living space in your house is to repurpose the rooms you hardly use into something useful. Make that dining room your home office or the garage a den for you and the boys.

Create new rooms

You can finish the attic or restructure your basement into an additional bedroom. Provided you get the required permits, you can convert any room in your house into liveable space that could either be rented out or used by family members in addition to what you already have within the house.
With all these options, you do not have to break down any walls. All you have to do is use a bit of imagination and some restructuring.

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How To Improve Your Home With Indoor Plants

You know that Fix and Flips have become a trend when investment gurus like Rick Otton cover such topics, either in their podcasts or in other media. The goal of any fix and flip is to refurb the property with the minimum costs possible in order to boost the value of the house.

But even if you are not flipping your home, it’s still great to do easy refurb projects that will help improve the value of your property. One project that often gets overlooked is the addition of indoor plants

Perhaps less talked about than their outdoor counterparts, indoor plants actually have an incredible amount of aesthetic and health values that they bring to your home. Unfortunately, not very many of us put as much effort in cultivating our indoor gardens as we do outdoor landscaping projects.

Even if you do not have any kind of interior decoration skills under your belt, you can easily buy a vase and fill it with some roses from the market or even your beautiful outdoor garden. This will not only beautify the inside of you home, but it will greatly improve the mental and physical health of the people within.

The aesthetic value of indoor plants:

We all know how beautiful rose bushes in bloom can be. Now imagine having a small part of that inside your house. Not only will this look stunning, but it will also make the place smell like roses and it will brighten up the room. A well-placed potted plant gives the home’s interior a ‘green’ feel.

It makes your home seem more nature-oriented and peaceful. This kind of look is inviting, that is why potted plants have forever featured in home staging pictures and settings. Instead of simply staging that for potential buyers, why not give your family the entire experience every day?

The value of indoor plants to your mental health:

There is a reason why we are told to take the time to ‘smell the roses’. There is just something about the fresh scent of something natural and green and beautiful. The psychological effects of having indoor plants include things like:

  • Increase feelings of control, happiness and optimism.
  • Improves your memory and concentration.
  • Boost your creativity.

So, if you are in the mood to ‘smell the roses’, why not have some in your house so that all your family members can smell them too?

It purifies the air in your home:

There was a study carried out by NASA dubbed the ‘Clean Air Study’; it determined that plants such as the ‘Spider Plant’ also known as Chlorophytum comosum can purify the air in a closed setting such as a room. Having specific potted plants such as the Spider Plant in your home will help save you money that could have gone towards buying air purifier machines. Plus, they look really good on that window seal.

They are natural air fresheners:

The ‘dwarf kaffir lime trees’ are examples of indoor plants that can make a room smell sweet and fresh. Using plants as a natural air freshener has several advantages including:

  • They are affordable.
  • They do not have artificial additives that could cause allergies.
  • You do not have to worry about disposing of the spray cans when you are finished with them.

The beauty of it all is that you can get different plants from a wide variety of species, many of which are colourful and exciting. These indoor plants not only increase the air quality within your home, but they add to the aesthetic value and accentuate that ‘homely’ feeling. This can be really helpful when you take potential buyers around on a tour of the house.

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Best Renovation Projects To Do To Add Value To Your Home

Here are the best renovation projects to do to add value to your home.

Have you ever thought of putting your ‘Ninja DIY skills’ to good use? There is a good chance that many homeowners have looked at their front porch and thought, ‘I can do better than that’! The truth of the matter is that there are many different sections of your home that could use an upgrade.

But just because you can clean out the attic and repaint the front door doesn’t mean that you should take on every single one of those tasks. Home renovations can be expensive. Why not make the most out of it by only taking on renovation projects that add the most value to your home as well?

Valuable home renovation projects

The roof and siding replacements:

People want to know that they are moving into a home that is not leaking and is well protected as far as the roof is concerned. These happen to be the most expensive repairs that new homeowners dread. So taking care of this will drive your home’s value up.

Kitchens and baths:

You can never go wrong with upgrading the kitchen and baths. People like that the kitchen has nice granite countertops and state-of-the-art appliances. It is a hallmark of luxury.

Curb appeal:

It doesn’t matter how well painted the house is if the rest of the front yard is in shambles. It will always take something away from that shine. Be sure to do some landscaping, some painting, maybe new windows and even some flowers coupled with nice outdoor lighting. Aesthetics matter.

Add extra space:

Transform the attic into an extra bedroom or make you garage a study room as well. As long as you do something to add extra space to the home, you can always include that in the house description as an added advantage over the neighbouring houses.

Why don’t you install a home theatre?

It is all about the little bells and whistle that make your home distinguishable from the rest of the lot. Very few homeowners would mind having a state-of-the-art home theatre room fully equipped with 12-foot wide screens and a top-of-the-range sound system.

These things tend to be expensive to buy and even more so to install. Having one already installed will give you the leeway you need to ask for more as far as the house price is concerned.

As wonderful as all this is, you need to bear a few things in mind. If you are making these renovations for the sole purpose of increasing your house value for sale, then you need to consider these factors before jumping in:

  • The actual value of the house itself.
  • The value of the houses in the neighbourhood.
  • The current state of the housing market.
  • How soon after the renovations you intend to sell.
  • The quality of the renovation project.

It is ill advised to install a £10,000 outdoor stove on a £250,000 house while it is the only one with a single bathroom in the entire neighbourhood. As awesome as the outdoor stove might be, these other factors might overshadow it when it is time to sell. Only take on these renovation projects if they make financial sense.

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