Kitchen Remodeling

kitchen Remodeling – Add Home Value

Kitchen Remodeling to Increase the Value of Your Home

When you are selling your home, you want to increase home value as much as possible without spending too much money. Realtors will tell you that a kitchen renovation will produce a 70% return for the amount you invest. To see this return, you must be smart about your investment. It is recommended to only spend about 6% to 10% of your total home value on kitchen remodeling to get a fair return. Make sure to choose materials that will appeal to the masses and not just to your tastes.

Increase home value by remembering to make smart choices when completing a kitchen renovation. Do not change cabinets if you can get the same results with a fresh coat of paint and new hinges. Make sure that the kitchen renovation continues to match the outside of the house. A potential buyer wants to look at the inside of a house because he or she liked what was on the outside.

You must also find a middle ground with kitchen remodeling. Do not cut corners to save money but also do not purchase expensive items when it is not necessary. Keeping things simple and opening up the kitchen space will still increase home value.

Before doing any major kitchen remodeling, consult with a real estate agent about what potential buyers are looking for in a kitchen. This discussion will help guide the renovation. The following tips, contributed by different real estate agents, are where you can get the most bang for your buck.

Tip #1: Open Up Space

If you are doing a total kitchen renovation, make sure to leave enough space between cabinets, islands, and peninsulas. When installing your granite countertop, tell your kitchen contractors you want at least 36-inch walkways between each stationary item. If there is room, it would be best to have at least 42-inch walkways for a single cook and 48-inch walkways for a two-cook kitchen. Any new owner will appreciate this extra space.

Tip #2: Provide Accessibility

When implementing a kitchen remodeling, make sure to place the stove out of high traffic areas. This idea will help prevent injuries to children from hot items on the stove. It will also keep kitchen visitors out of the way of the cook.

When installing your new appliances, two microwaves can help provide accessibility to everyone. You should install one microwave 15 inches above your granite countertop making it easy for any adult to use it. The second microwave should be placed below the countertop making it easy for a child to access it. It is also wise to put a mini refrigerator at the edge of the cooking area. In this fridge, place food for children like snacks and drinks, so the child can serve his or herself when the cook is busy. It will also keep the child out of the way of the cook.

Your cabinets can increase home value. If you plan to replace the cabinets, make sure to plan the placement carefully. If you put a cupboard into a corner, the door will not open all of the way because the wall will stop it. This lack of space can cause frustration when trying to store large items. It is also helpful to make all of the cabinet doors open in the same direction to avoid a similar issue with the doors banging together.

Another design idea is to have two different counter heights available in the kitchen. This variation will make it easy for children to help in the kitchen. It will also provide a space for children to eat or play without having to stand or kneel on a chair and without making a mess. This different countertop height will also make baking easy.

A total renovation will allow you to expand the space in your kitchen. Larger, roomier kitchens are a major attraction to the potential buyer. This expansion can happen by knocking down a wall. Knocking a wall down does not provide more room, but it will make the kitchen seem larger because of the open space.

Tip #3: Add Convenience to the Kitchen Remodeling

It is simple to install under the cabinet lights, and it will provide extra lighting making it easier to work on the granite countertop. When purchasing cabinets, you should add a recycling bin, a pull-out pantry, and extra drawers to also add convenience for the possible new owner. A message board with a chalkboard or a cork board will add a unique area to your renovated kitchen making it family friendly.

Enough countertop space is a necessity. Make sure to include at least 15 inches of countertop on both sides of the stove. This area will be helpful when preparing dinner. A drawer in one of the cabinets near the stove allows pot holders to be stored close to the oven. It would also be convenient to have countertop space next to both the microwaves and refrigerators. Homeowners who cook frequently will appreciate extra counter space between the stove and the sink, also.

The area around the stove top and oven should be planned wisely. It should include a place for a variety of spices to be stored. It would also be convenient to have a place for pots and pans which could include a hanging area or shelves. S hooks or pegs would be useful in keeping utensils organized and close at hand.

An incredible convenience is to install a swing-out tap or long hose attachment to the sink. These accessories will make filling a pot on the stove a breeze. It will also prevent the need to carry heavy pans filled with water from the sink to the stove. It will also make cleaning the floors stress-free.

Another unbelievable convenience is to create the perfect knife drawer. You can purchase an insert that will cover and sharpen the edges of a knife when it is stored. The insert can be placed directly into an empty drawer and will keep the knives out of the reach of any children. It will also help organize your knives, making it stress-free to find the correct one.

When remodeling your kitchen, extra plug-ins can be a game changer. Add multiple plug-ins to the backsplash to allow the countertop appliances to be placed anywhere on the counter. Various plug-ins set on the island or peninsulas allow for better access to electricity while cooking.

Tip #4: Add These Features

One of the most impressive kitchens is a chef’s kitchens. This kitchen has gas stoves, a double oven, and a variety of cooking modes on both. The chef’s kitchen can include modern form and function while still keeping to the original style of the house. Some realtors suggest adding the following to any newly remodeled kitchen along with a chef’s kitchen:

• Glass doors
• Display Shelving
• Wine Storage
• Windows
• Flush-set sinks
• Under mount sinks
• Glass Refrigerator
• Stainless steel range
• Stainless refrigerators
• Stainless cooktops
• Stainless dishwasher
• Granite Countertop

Tip #5 Avoid These Features

When starting the remodel for your kitchen, make sure to consider what will appeal to the masses. Your taste may not appeal to everyone. The following features cost a lot and may take value away from your home:

• Splashy tiles or backsplashes
• Fancy tiles
• Busy countertops
• Statement light fixtures
• Pizza Oven
• Built-in coffee maker
• Hibachi Grill
• Washer or dryer in the kitchen
• Latest trends
• Extremely carved molding

The tips above are just suggestions. It is possible to incorporate some or all of the suggestions in your kitchen remodel. The best recommendations will come from your real estate agent because he or she will be the expert about what a potential owner will want in a kitchen remodeling project.

Pollutants Water

5 Pollutants You Didn’t Know Existed in Your Tap Water

Pollutants Water. You wake up in the middle of the night and wander into the kitchen for a drink of water. Like most people, you give no thought to the water coming out of the tap or white might be hiding in it. The fact is your community’s water is probably supplied, at least in part, by streams, lakes and reservoirs that are open to the air or by groundwater that is susceptible to contamination from many sources. Here are a few things that you might not have known were in your last glass of water.

Hard Metals

Metals like magnesium and calcium can be dissolved in your water to give it that “hardness” that leaves stains on clothing and the kitchen and bath fixtures in your home. If it is left unchecked it can damage the waterlines and lead to flooding, mold and mildew damage.

Human and Animal Waste

This can be a problem for people that live in rural communities where farm runoff can get into the groundwater. The waste particulates can become suspended in the water and cause health problems for your family.

Heavy Metals

These differ from hard metals in that they can poison you and your family. Lead, arsenic and cadmium, among others, can get into your water by leaching from the surrounding rocks and soil and from old plumbing. Lead in particular was used for home plumbing through the mid-20th century. If your home has lead plumbing you need to have it replaced immediately.

Dissolved Gasses

Methane, radon and chlorine are the most common offenders, but oxygen and nitrogen can also cause health problems if dissolved in your water. These gasses can also pollute the soil and damage plants that you are watering.


Bacteria, algae and several forms of virus head the list for this type of pollution. They can cause a variety of ailments including gastroenteritis and dysentery. E-coli bacteria is often found in water supplies, as are cholera and giardia. The most common method of combating this is filtering using a devise with microscopic pores.

These are only a few of the things that can exist in your water. The best way to combat these and other pollutants is to have a water purification system, offered by companies like Anderson Water Systems, installed in your home. These companies will test your water to determine the perfect method to clear everything potentially harmful from your water.

Natural Light in Your Home

Make More of Natural Light in Your Home And Be Happier

Natural Light in Your Home. In general I would say that having more light in your home makes for a happier home, particularly if you work from home like I do.

It is known that sunlight plays a role in moderating melanin, serotonin, and vitamin D which again plays a role in maintaining serotonin levels – all this is connected to mood.

One simple solution for dark rooms or hallways is to go out and get more electric lighting, but that should be a last resort because it leads to more energy consumption and puts more pressure on the environment unless you have solar panels and are electrically self-sufficient which isn’t the case for most people.

So in light of that (pun intended), here are a few tips for brightening up your home broken down into two sections:

More Light With Renovating

In this section I’m going to talk about a range of projects from the very simple, such as a coat of paint, to the more complex such as installing skylights, and a few other ideas in between.

Making surfaces more reflective

Although mirrors are the obvious tool for increasing the amount of light in a space, they’re not the only reflective surfaces you can have. By painting your walls light colors you will increase the amount of reflected light. And don’t forget about the other major surface – your floors. Polished hardwood floors and bright tiles can also contribute substantially to the amount of reflected light. If carpet is your thing, then choose a light color.

New doors & windows

If you have solid exterior doors consider replacing them with ones which contain a window. You can have bars or a security grill over it to maintain security, and best of all door replacement is one of the few remodeling projects that can easily turn a profit.

If you really want to open up and let light in then consider the larger project of knocking a big hole in your back wall to install sliding glass doors leading out to your back yard, deck, or patio.

Similarly, if you have small windows in a space you want to bring more light into then consider replacing them with larger windows.

Install skylights

For example you can get tubular systems which can reflect light through a curved tube so that the light taken in doesn’t have to be immediately above the light outlet in your ceiling. And you don’t have to have a big gap in your ceiling going all the way up to the roof as my childhood house had, the light outlet can be installed in the ceiling to look just like a regular recessed light.When you don’t have the option of bringing in light from windows and doors, particularly in the middle of your home, then skylights are the way to go. The technology behind them has improved considerably over the years and while you can still get the old traditional ones there are much more advanced options available today.

The diagram on the right from C illustrates the concept well, in fact some systems utilizing fiber optics can channel the light over much larger distances quite efficiently.

More Light Without Renovating

There may be many reasons why undertaking a major renovation project doesn’t suit your circumstances such as when you’re renting, you don’t have the funds or the time, or in some cases because you live in a building where it’s either too difficult to get approval or you are simply not allowed such as in apartments or heritage listed buildings.


This one comes down to simple physics. The more photons that are reflected, the fewer are absorbed by a particular surface and therefore will be concentrated onto other surfaces where they will be absorbed and reflected. Basically, they light up other things in the room to a greater extent. Mirrors also have the psychological effect of making a space look bigger.

Careful use of furniture

You’re obviously not going to place a huge bookshelf in front of a window, but you might not have considered how placing one immediately beside a window can cut down on light because the sides of any furniture beside a window will absorb some light, and reflect some light back outside. So keep tall furniture away from the sides of windows where possible.The same applies to placing large pieces of dark furniture immediately below a window – avoid placing large dark sofas beneath a window as it will block too much precious light from coming in.

Careful use of curtains In general go for lighter colored furniture, arrange it carefully, and it will reflect more light and have a similar effect to mirrors.

At my previous house, I had two layers of curtains (similar to the picture on the right) – regular ones plus an additional layer of sheer curtains closest to the windows.

The benefit of sheer curtains is that you can leave these closed to let in some light while maintaining privacy. Consider whether or not you really need that privacy or if you’d benefit more from the additional light by opening both layers of curtains – particularly during winter or overcast days.

So let the light shine in, save money on your electric bills, and be happier!

Outdated Home Improvement

Tips to Avoid Outdated Home Improvement

Outdated Home Improvement. Let’s face it, no matter how much you would like your home to look like it is worth a million bucks, the sad reality is you most likely live on a budget. This being said though does not exempt you from being able to create an aesthetically beautiful home.

It seems too foolish to mention home improvement and be able to confidently say that you expertly know what to do. Honestly there are a lot of considerable ways to be able to recreate a wonderful home but you have to make sure to follow a path of creativity and at least have a pair of (or more) helpful hands ready to work with you.

Stick With the Basics

If you are unsure of what particular patterns and color combinations look good together go for furniture that are plain and have one general color. Keep the decorations and designs to a minimum and work your way to more detail once bigger pieces are set in place.There are a good number of people who tend to become overwhelmed with the idea of home improvement, so much so that they think the more design elements they work with the better looking their home turns out. Truth be told, the exact opposite which is to keep things simple, is what you really need to work with first.

Splash a Bit of Color

If there is one thing that is under rated when it comes to home improvement it would have to be adding in lively colors but make sure never to go overboard. Start things out as simple as you can through painting a particular color to the walls of your bedroom, choosing an accentuated color of throw pillow covers for your living room or placing a fun colored tablecloth on your dining table.

Remember that colors are there to make a room in your home come alive and look extra special, so avoid having just one color for everything inside the room. At the same time avoid having way too many colors popping out from every direction of the room after all you would not want to live like you were stuck inside a rainbow.

Learn to Redesign

As you go through home improvement, surely you would have your own point of view and style to consider, however it is best to learn a tip or two before starting out. Common personal mistakes reveal that those who redesign their homes based on just what they find appealing to them tend to end up with a home that looks like an unfinished classroom project.

Take the time to get a handful of inspiration from design magazines or the Internet and work your way to seeing what makes these particular designs stand out. Ask the point of view of others too if you find it difficult to select what particular designs look great together as for sure they can help prevent your home improvements from turning appalling.

Stay Away From Too Much Detail

Whether it is bizarre prints and patterns, way too many ruffles or feathers or even a ton of gold embellishes, steer clear of going overboard with way too many details unless you are aiming for a house from the past. Be reminded that home improvements are meant to turn your home to better quality and not the other way around.

Before braving through adding details to your home décor, establish a well planned and distinct design that work well together, for each of your living spaces. Also be certain that you are working on designs that are current and updated as it ensures that the additional details you will be adding to the furniture and fixtures are also up to date.

Bathroom Design Disaster

How To Recover From A Bathroom Design Disaster

Whether it’s a shady contractor, an accidental hole in the wall or even a shocking shade of pink – a design disaster can (and probably will) affect us all.

And a design disaster in the bathroom can mean serious trouble. Renovating a bathroom or kitchen are two of the most costly projects in the home so if it all goes wrong, you’ll need an escape plan. And quickly.

Problem 1: You don’t like something once it’s in place

If you’ve budgeted carefully then you may have enough money left over to purchase something else more to your taste. Obviously, this isn’t ideal but if you feel like you hate it so much that you absolutely, positively can’t live with it – it may be your only choice. It’s better to do it now than at a later stage.

Due to the large costs involved in fittings and furniture and if like, most, you don’t have enough spare cash to get something else then you will have to finish the job. If it’s the colour you dislike then paint the wall in a shade closely related to the tones of the furniture to compliment the look and add colourful accessories or introduce a feature colour to brighten it up.

There are plenty of virtual colour painters online where you can upload a snap of your bathroom and choose the most appropriate colour to go with it. It’s not perfect but it could give you some ideas of how to liven the room up.

Consider painting the walls or your vanity to match with the rest of the room. Experiment with some fresh patterned tile to lived it up. If you’re feeling extra brave, then why not consider a weekend DIY project and upcycle or purchase a second-hand dresser and transform into a custom-made vanity.

Play with the accessories in the room to create a focal point elsewhere. Look closely at your light fittings and fixtures, your mirror and your towels. Install a few sconces, frame your mirror, add some artwork and pick some really funky towels and shower curtain to match.

By playing around with the little things – it should, at least, make the room feel a little bit more of your own.

How to Avoid

Try to stick to neutral shades and colours when planning your bathroom renovation. Don’t go for anything too wacky – you might really want a toilet that doubles up as a sink – but when it comes to selling your home, funky gadgets and colours aren’t to everyone’s taste so it will mean more expenditure for a buyer and ultimately, a lower price for you.

Don’t buy products without seeing them in person. It could mean the difference between a perfect bathroom renovation and a design disaster.

Problem 2: You find mould

The bathroom renovator’s worst nightmare. Mould.

If It’s a small area of mould (less than three patches, each smaller than a metre each) you should be able to tackle it yourself. Grab your goggles and a dust mask and get to work. Clean and disinfect the area thoroughly – but don’t use bleach! Get rid of any materials which have mould damage, unfortunately these will have to be replaced. Once the area is clean and dry ensure that the cause of the mould i.e. a leaky pipe has also been addressed to prevent the problem reoccurring.

For larger mould patches, you will have to call someone out. You could call a floor contractor to repair water damaged floors, then contact a builder to repair the interior walls and then get a plumber to solve any leaks but this could mean waiting around for a long time for each stage of the work to be completed.

Alternatively, call a bathroom remodelling expert or an environmental consultant to assess what you need to do next.

Remember, mould damage can really harm the value of your home and some types of mould are highly toxic so don’t ignore it. There’s no quick fix for this one, regrettably.

How to Avoid

Inspect the bathroom thoroughly before undertaking a bathroom redesign. Check the shower, bath, toilet and vanity. Feel around for any soft or moist patches. Check for water stains. Use a flashlight to help you look closer and if you do find spots of moisture, then call in an expert to do further tests. They can check for mould, even when it is unclear if you have it, using specialist devices.

Take precautions after the mould has been removed. Ensure your bathroom is well ventilated and invest in a fan. When cleaning, clean your bathroom with mould-killing products.

Check your home insurance as some insurance companies will cover mould under certain circumstances.

Problem 3: You hired a shady contractor

If you’ve had some shoddy work done to your bathroom or your contractor has run off altogether, go to the police in the first instance. Give them as much information as possible as the poor work constitutes fraud so they could be subject to a legal case.

Next complain to Trading Standards or the Better Business Bureau and finally, you can try to take the cowboy builder to court in a small claims case. Be aware though, as this may take up a lot of time and depending on the amount of the claim – can cost a lot too.

How to Avoid

Don’t scrimp on workmanship. You can’t make a bad tradesman do a good job but in some instances, you can ensure cheap materials are made to look expensive through the work of a good contractor.

If it seems too good to be true (in terms of cost) – it usually is.

Shop around, get a minimum of three quotes on the work you require doing. Get recommendations from friends and work colleagues on who they have hired previously – what’s better than a word of mouth recommendation?! Do they have references? Do they have an office and a landline phone number as opposed to a van and a mobile phone? Be really sceptical of cash-in-hand jobs and ensure they give you written estimates for the cost and time frame of each stage of work.

Make sure you receive a remodelling contract and ensure you read it carefully. Address them with any discrepancies or things you are unsure of.

And finally…

  • Make sure you plan each stage of your bathroom remodel carefully.
  • Don’t try to rush any work. Expect that it will take a long time for your bathroom to be the superstar bathroom you desire.
  • Budget more than you need to allow for anything to go wrong.
  • Don’t attempt to do any plumbing or difficult tasks yourself. Save money by painting and undertaking cosmetic tasks.
  • Stick to mid-range fixtures and fittings – don’t cut corners in the wrong places.

Remember, if you’ve had a bathroom design disaster – it’s not the end of the world. Read up before you undertake any work and be sure to check out my list of common bathroom design mistakes so you are well equipped to have a smooth and painless bathroom remodel.

Home moving

10 Tips to Simplify the Big Move

Moving industry insiders have a secret they don’t want you to know. It’s called the “full-service move hack.”

It’s a way for you to afford whatever help you need to make your move easy – yes, easy. And you don’t even have to hire one of those really expensive full-service moving companies. While they do everything short of carrying you out on a couch, that means they’ll be charging an arm + a leg + rights to your future first born child.

Since you most likely want to keep your baby and some of your money, here’s how to hack your move so even though you’re “moving yourself” you don’t lift a thing – and, most importantly, you’re still keeping costs down:

1. Go hybrid.

It’s not what you think. Going hybrid means combining elements of DIY moving with the benefits of hiring professional movers. You gather your friends and family, who are willing to pitch in (DIY), and then hire moving labor just to do the heavy lifting (movers). Thanks to the beauty of the world-wide-web, you can now find and book move help online through a number of moving labor marketplaces. When the moving crew you hire arrives you can assign them to pack and load everything or just have them load the heavy stuff.

2. Pack yourself.

Sure, you can hire the professionals to put all your worldly belongings in boxes, but you are charged by the hour and that’s probably the longest task in the moving process. Instead, get family and friends to help you to do that. Have the professionals load and unload the boxes and furniture onto the truck or portable storage unit (you know, those PODS containers you see sitting in driveways around town. We’ll get to those). Besides, packing yourself will allow you to pack everything by room, so unpacking will be easier for you.

3. Pay someone for the delicate stuff.

While you should pack almost everything yourself, you should consider hiring professionals to pack up delicate or difficult-to-move items, such as a piano, family heirlooms, or fine art.

4. Play truck driver…or not.

Price out your options for moving truck rentals that will allow you to carry your entire life from one destination to another. You’re not limited to U-Haul, by the way. There are others, including Penske, Budget, Ryder, and Enterprise.

If driving one of these big boys sounds like torture, you might consider portable storage units (also called portable moving containers) or professional transportation. Companies, such as PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT will pick up your packed storage containers and transport them for you. And the likes of ABF UPack and Estes SureMove have professional drivers, who carry your load with other customers on their semi trailers and make deliveries along a specified route. Remember, these guys don’t offer any moving labor help, so you’ll still need someone for that.

5. Stick to a schedule.

Many of the additional costs surface because people take too long to load trucks or keep professional movers waiting. If you’ve hired professionals to pack the truck, make sure you have the boxes ready to be loaded when the movers arrive. Be ready to move – literally and figuratively – as soon as the clock starts ticking on your time with the rental truck, professional transportation, or portable storage units. If you stick with the schedule that you’ve agreed to with the rental services, you won’t end up paying extra. Everything will run more smoothly, too.

6. Learn the law.

Every city has its own rules and regulations about parking big trucks and storage containers. For example, Chicago and New York are notorious for their restrictions on dropping of portable storage containers on city streets – which means you may need to also rent a truck to shuttle your stuff from the container delivery headquarters to your new apartment.

Find out the policies both where you live and where you are moving. Follow the rules, or risk, at worst, paying fines and, at best, being inconvenienced on moving day.

7. Shop wisely for supplies.

Rental truck companies and other movers often offer the chance to buy boxes and other materials. You can save money by shopping around and looking for sales at office supply stores. Some stuff, such as packing tape, is often available at your local dollar store. What you might want to do is rent loading carts and furniture pads from the truck or moving container rental company.

8. Avoid supermarket boxes.

Free boxes sound like a good deal, and lots of people source their supermarket for them. But boxes that have carried food can be ripe with mold, mildew, and bugs. And you don’t want any of that getting into your stuff or your new place.

Rather, visit your local liquor store, book store, and/or coffee shop for free boxes.

9. Don’t forget the T.P.

Be sure to keep toilet paper on hand and in an easy-to-access place. Chances are someone will have to relieve him or herself before you take off or when you arrive at your new place.

10. Feed the help.

You’re saving hundreds, if not thousands, on the cost of your move by making a hybrid move, the least you can do is offer beverages and pizza to friends and family who are giving up their precious time to help you move. Besides, food and drink makes it seem more like a party and less like a job.

Moving to your new home, new job, or new life is exciting. It shouldn’t be stressful or expensive. Now you know how to hack your move to keep it cheap, without moving it all yourself.

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