Don’t underestimate the style impact of your kitchen sink. It’s worth going beyond the basics for this kitchen workhorse. There are hundreds of design elements that can make your kitchen beautiful, but the sink can really set the stage. Consider one of these sink styles for your kitchen renovation — at least one should fit your space and budget.

Repurposed. If you’re on a tight budget, you don’t need to skimp on your sink’s style. Reusing a salvaged sink can add tons of character to your new kitchen.

Browse local thrift stores, salvage shops, Craigslist or the newspaper to find a hidden gem. While most nicks and scratches just enhance the sink’s character, they can often be easily repaired by a professional if you like.

Custom. Is your kitchen full of windows and lacking in wall space? Get creative and work with a designer to custom design a sink. The designer placed this floating sink directly in front of floor-to-ceiling windows.

Do your research and find a professional, artist or manufacturer who can build your sink within your budget. If you take the time to do your research, custom pieces can sometimes be more cost effective than store-bought ones.

Professional. Are you a professional chef? Or maybe you just like to cook like one. Either way, you may want a professional-grade sink to stand up to your heavy-duty cooking.

A heavy-gauge stainless steel freestanding sink like this one can take a beating and provide tons of washing space in the superdeep basin, making cleanup a cinch.

Fully integrated. There is no molding, caulking or sink edge to work with and clean around when you have a sink connected directly to the countertop. A fully integrated sink is made of same material as the countertop, connected with virtually invisible seams.

These made-to-order sinks mean you can choose the exact size and sink depth. However, this can get expensive with certain materials. If you’re set on this style but want to cut costs, look into fully integrated solid-surface sink options.

Apron. You don’t have to have a traditional-style kitchen to install an apron sink. These sinks have a decorative exposed front, called an apron. Contemporary colored cabinets contrast the old-world style of the apron farmhouse-style sink here.

If you’ve decided that your new kitchen design calls for an apron sink, make sure to tell your kitchen designer right away. The dedicated base cabinet for this sink has to be custom made.

Hand painted. Add some of your own personal flair to your kitchen by selecting a stunning hand-painted sink.

These one-of-a-kind sinks do have a hefty price tag, but depending on the manufacturer, you may be able to custom design yours in the color and style you like best.

Stone. A sturdy stone kitchen sink is classic. This particular sink is made of the same stone as the countertops, but if you’re looking for something bolder, choose a contrasting material.

Tile. Not everyone considers tile for the surface of their new sink — but these homeowners did. This metal mosaic-tile sink is fabulous!

Many spectacular tiled sinks can can be purchased as tile over stainless steel for extra durability, but they tend to be expensive. If you have your heart set on this look, contact a local tile worker who specializes in mosaics. His or her bid might end up surprising you.

You do the laundry, you get tired but it shouldn’t stop you to change the appearance of your laundry room. You can make it chic and make you enjoy being in the room itself.

 

Cleaning the house is a task that most people dread. Busy schedules leave little time for managing daily household chores and weekly cleaning schedules often fly out the window. Then the last minute phone call comes: in-laws are coming to town, someone important is coming over for dinner, the neighbors need a place to meet.

If there’s a house cleaning schedule already in place, last minute cleaning can be a simple task. Even if it hasn’t been followed, house cleaning with a focused plan can be quite effective.

Pick Up Clutter Before Cleaning

Removing clutter from the house can go a long way to making it look and feel clean. The biggest mistake most people make is to start cleaning before picking up messes. To remove clutter, start in bigger, high-traffic rooms like the family room, living room, den, kitchen and dining room. Use a large tub and place everything that doesn’t belong in the room into the tub. Toys, books, magazines and envelopes can pile up readily in these rooms. Removing these items opens up the surfaces to make cleaning the room easier.

Fill a Cleaning Caddy With the Right Supplies

Nothing causes delay like not having the right supplies. Fill a bucket or basket with several towels, window cleaner, sanitizing cleaner and dusting spray. Carry this caddy throughout the house during the cleaning process.

Assign Cleaning Tasks According to Skill and Ability

Children are wonderful helpers. Even kids as young as two or three can be responsible for putting toys or papers into a basket or wiping down baseboards. They require a bit of supervision to succeed, but this early investment can pay rich dividends in years to come. Older children can be asked to wash and put away dishes, sweep floors, run a vacuum, or even dust. When cleaning on a tight schedule assign simple tasks to the youngest and ask older children to pitch in on harder jobs. The saying that many hands make light work is very true in housework.

Start Cleaning Up High and Work Toward Lower Areas

When cleaning a house, don’t work against gravity. Clean counters and cabinets before moving to floors. Wipe table tops and desks before running a vacuum. By taking a logical, systematic approach to cleaning, the house will get cleaner faster.

Prioritize Areas to Clean

If the cleaning is being done in anticipation of a party, focus on high-traffic areas. If necessary, choose one room to be the closed door room and move everything that can’t be dealt with immediately into that room or closet. When prioritizing, consider safety and comfort first. Kitchens and bathrooms should be high on the list as these areas receive the greatest amount of traffic.

Start with the counters and major appliances. Save the deep cleaning for another time. This is not the time to take a toothpick and clean the grout. This time should be focused on making the house presentable for visitors. Wipe down cabinet fronts, chairs and table tops. Don’t forget to clean the sink. Sweep, then pass a mop over the floor and move on.

Do the same type of cleaning in bathrooms. Wipe mirrors and door handles. Make sure the room looks appealing. Once these rooms are clean, move to the sitting areas. Follow the top down approach with vacuuming being the last step. Finally, move to the bedrooms. Make beds, fluff pillows, dust furnishings and pass the vacuum.

Following these steps doesn’t eliminate the need for deep cleaning but it will allow for the house to be cleaned for guests.

home improvement project

There are a number of reasons to be frugal during times of high unemployment and less expansion of a business sector leery of proposed tax increases across the board. When it comes to home improvement, this translates into focusing on projects that add to home resale value and maximize return on investment. Here are 8 common ones to reconsider.

home remodeling

Don’t Add an Extra Room

Considering a room addition? An additional room is almost always a welcome remodeling project. After all, don’t real estate ads begin with x number of bedrooms, x number of baths? This just goes to show that it’s an essential part of the valuation of a home, both for resale value and homeowners’ insurance purposes.

But the bottom line is that it makes more economic sense to finish a basement, turn a garage into a home office, or convert an attic space into living quarters. Actually building an extension to a home is a much bigger financial investment because of foundations, exterior framing, the toll on the HVAC system, and roof extensions. Choose to improve what’s already existing.

Choose Practical Kitchen Makeovers

Upgrading to an overly-ornate kitchen. Since it’s common knowledge that the kitchen is one of the highest ROI areas of the home when it comes to a make-over, many homeowners go for “fancy” rather than functional. But when the dollars get tight, buyers would rather pay for comfort and function.

Avoid Costly Bathroom Fixtures

Whirlpool spa bathtubs are out. These may work for the idle rich, but with so many layoffs, people remaining on the payroll have fewer free hours because they are working more to take up the slack. So for one thing, there’s no time to use it, and secondly, it costs too much to fill, heat, and circulate the water.

Don’t Splurge on Home Elctronics

Dedicated home theaters don’t pay off in the long run. They’re fun and they certainly went through a period of popularity, but what a waste of space and a remodeling budget. It makes more sense to sink a fraction of the cost into a nice wide screen TV and a comfortable sofa.

Most Home Automation isn’t Thrifty

Science fiction-type home automation is just impractical. These upgrades really played well in futuristic science fiction novels and movies, but now that the technology has arrived, the convenience vs price factor is questionable. The exception? A 7-day programmable thermostat does make sense and will pay for itself rather quickly.

This is the Wrong Time to Install Hot Tubs and Pools

Hot tub sales are tepid. Hot tubs make more economic sense than putting in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, but like whirlpools, they don’t always get enough use to justify the cash outlay. Plus, there’s always the issue of maintenance cost.

So when considering adding a “treat” remodeling expense, building a deck may make more economic sense.

It is hard to notice your gutter until the rains start to pound and you realize that your ceiling is darkening which is a bad sign. Then you go outside and you notice that the gutters that you have neglected for a while are overflowing with leaves and debris leading to the leakage on the roof. Perhaps it has been raining for a few hours then you noticed that your basement is leaking or your foundation has suffered some damage. What if you had inspected these gutters early enough and fixed any hitch? Would you start dealing with leaky basements and eroding foundations?

Forget about cleaning gutters on your own

According to experts, you should never clean gutters o your own if you are not trained to do so. Cleaning the gutter is a dangerous task that requires safety precautions to be observed. First there is the balancing of the ladder trying to reach the slimy, smelly decomposing leaves and trying to make repairs to the roof or the gutters. You can decide to handle the cleaning yourself on a given weekend or hire a professional contractor. Whatever your choice is, leaving your gutters unattended will lead to leakages through winter.

You need to observe safety precautions if you choose to do it yourself.

First you must make sure that you use a sturdy ladder that stretches way up the roof to avoid stepping on the top rungs. You should have someone to spot you and make sure that the ladder seats securely at the bottom.

   Wearing sturdy gloves use your hands to clean the debris out carefully. A plastic gutter scoop can also do the work. It is safer to use a disposable tarp on the ground rather than a bucket.

Use a water hose to wash the gutter while making sure that the       water flows through the gutter and out of the downspout.

You can decide to place gutter guards on top of the gutters. They help to prevent debris from entering the gutter and allowing the water to pass through. You can use metal gutter guards that fit in perfectly into the gutters; use plastic ones that are held on the last shingles, or wide flexible wire mesh that also fit perfectly on top of the gutters.

If you aren’t sure of what to do when it comes to gutter cleaning, you would rather hire an expert rather than starting a task that can leave you with a broken leg (when you fall off the ladder).