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.

hurricane disaster preparation

Homeowners who have recently moved to the gulf coast area may not yet be aware of the history of tropical storms and hurricanes in their particular area. It’s important to know the risk. Good sources of historical information are the local American Red Cross chapter and emergency management office.

hurricane disaster preparation checklist

Things to do Before the Threat of Natural Disaster

First, assess the replacement value of the home, not the market value. This will determine the amount of homeowners insurance needed. Update the policy if needed. In addition, flood insurance should be purchased if the property is in the flood plain or close enough to the coast to be affected by storm surge. A policy may be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

disaster emergency kit

Take time to assemble a disaster emergency kit. This should include standard first aid medical supplies, candles, matches, a flashlight, and a stock of batteries. It’s also a good idea to invest in a Leatherman multi-tool and a camping stove and lantern. Set in a stock of canned food and bottled water. A weather radio with a hand crank will help to stay up with changing weather conditions.

Things to do When a Hurricane is Threatening

The windows must be protected with storm shutters or plywood. Metal storm shutters are best, but more expensive. Roll-up motorized ones are the most convenient, especially for second story windows. If plywood is used, Plylox hurricane window clips make the job easy. Don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping at the home improvement store.

The gable ends of the roof should be properly braced to prevent collapse during high winds. This is usually done during construction to conform to the building code, but it doesn’t hurt to check. Hurricane straps offer an added degree of roof protection. These galvanized straps secure the roof trusses to the exterior walls.

Garage doors are often overlooked during disaster preparation. It’s important that they’re secure because if not, the storm may enter the home through the garage. If the doors are wood, inspect them for rot and repair as needed.

Although not a strict requirement, it’s nice to have an emergency back-up generator with plenty of fuel. When the power goes out, it sometimes takes weeks to restore it. Be sure to secure trash cans, patio furniture, and anything else that may blow around. One of the last things to do is fill your largest ice chest with ice. Finally, be sure to have a good supply of any prescription medications.

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.

kitchen counter scratches

After continued use, scratches can become apparent on a solid kitchen countertop. The damage is typically caused by regular use or cutting food directly on the counter or banging pots and pans or cups against it. This takes away from the attractiveness and appearance of the counters and can lower the value of your kitchen.

solid kitchen countertop

You can make these minor scratches disappear without spending a lot of money if you do the job yourself. However, If the damage is severe or the scratches are deep, then you may want to instill the help of a professional to repair the counter. It will take about an hour to repair the scratches and you will need a few materials and tools to complete this task.

Repairing the Laminate Countertop

repairing the laminate countertop

Dispense about 1 tbsp. of rubbing alcohol onto a clean paper towel to remove any dirt and debris prior to repair the counter. The laminate paste you will use to repair the counter will adhere better if the surface is clean. Wipe the paper towel on the entire surface of the kitchen countertop. Thoroughly dry the counter with a lint-free cloth so it does not leave any particles behind.

Spread laminate repair paste on the affected areas of the countertop with a putty knife. Try to match up the paste to the color of the countertop as closely as you can. This repair paste can be found at a local hardware store and is relatively inexpensive. This paste is specifically made to adhere to laminate surfaces. There are many colors to choose from and you can mix and match colors to create the color combination of your counters.

Carefully work the paste into the scratches and chips with the putty knife. Spread the paste out until it is even with the surface of the countertop so it blends in with the rest of the area.

Allow the repair paste to dry for 24 hours prior to using that section of the countertop. Keep the repair paste on hand or note the type or color you used for any future repairs.

Preventing Scratches

Some scratches and cut marks can be prevented on countertops by taking certain precautionary measures. Always use a cutting board when chopping up food and do not cut directly on the countertop surface. Avoid placing hot pans and plates directly on the countertop. Use trivets or hot pads to place hot pans on so it does not create stains or burn marks.

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).

Choosing a home design to meet your lifestyle and needs can be perplexing at times. But knowing what to look for can really help lead you to success when choosing a home design for your new home. When choosing a house plan, it is advisable to choose one that not only meets your individual needs, but also that of future generations.

Nowadays, people want to build homes with intention to sell them in future. In fact, most of the new home designs are not geared to individual tastes and preferences, but for the interests of the majority who might consider purchasing the same houses in future. Outlined in this piece are some tips to help you choose the best home design for your new home.

The first consideration is your living needs and family lifestyle. In fact, lifestyle and family needs differ from one person to another. This depends on the states, cycles and future plans for that new home they want to build. Before choosing any house design, it is advisable to ask yourself several questions about your lifestyle as well as your living needs. If for instance you are a newly married couple, you definitely want to start a family and that needs to be in your mind. So, you should determine the number of children you are planning to have. Thus, you have to consider a house plan whereby you can expand or extend the home in future when your kids grow up.

Other considerations in modern home designs are the space for overnight guests and additional living space to possibly shelter for elderly parents. Entertainment room is also a priority in today’s home designs. You may want to have a large room for entertainment. You should, therefore, study your home plan very well to see if it will be possible to expand the living space in future.

Secondly, people consider privacy when designing their homes. You should determine how much privacy you need and where to have it. Most new homeowners prefer home designs that have more privacy in the master bedroom. Others might need privacy in their personal living spaces and home office spaces. Also, you should consider how much privacy you need from other occupants and neighbors. If the privacy is so much important to you, then consider a home design with either a U or L shape. Such types of home plans usually provide you with more privacy, especially when erecting an urban lot. Remember to check your house design for placement of windows to ensure they will offer enough privacy from your neighbors’ yards and windows.

Again, you should consider how you intend to utilize your outdoor space. Check to see that your new house plan features things, such as patios, decks, pools or porches that will meet your needs. The way you do the landscaping also plays an important role in how much privacy your outdoor space will have.

It is also good to consider your furnishings and aesthetics. Make sure the floor plan of your new house is going to accommodate your existing pieces of furniture arrangements, as well as the style. When you are planning the sizes of rooms, you should carefully consider the seating areas and how furnishings will be placed. In fact, how the furniture will be placed will affect the overall feel of your rooms. You need to take the measurements of your current furniture in order to determine if there is going to be enough space for them to fit. Check also whether the height of the furniture will block the windows or will allow the doors to swing freely.

The landscaping and geographical features of your particular slot will definitely affect the style of your new home plan. Thus, when choosing your home design plan, you have to consider the space of your lot. Make sure the space is going to provide lawn area for sports and outdoor games. Also, if you want to reserve adequate space to include pools and garden then you have to plan very well.

It is good to visit display homes from different builders in order to see how your dream house will be. You really want to touch and feel the fixtures and features and determine the quality of the build. You also want to see how the spaces within the home will make you feel you are in that dream home. You have to get several new home designs and compare. Note that every builder adds different items in their designs. So, it is imperative that you get all the facts about what is included, as well as the base price

The principle question to consider when purchasing, introducing, or keeping up any door equipment is to ask: How will it be utilized? At the end of the day, what kind of door is it being joined to (outside, inside, front door, room door) and what is its general reason (wellbeing, style, and utility)?

Commonly when something turns out badly with a passage, property holders accuse the door itself. A door is just as tried and true as its segments and most issues happen when the inward workings don’t coordinate up to the outside capacity. So, when on the hunt down new door equipment, know about these five essential tips to help in your choice.

Security First:

Locksets are presumably a critical component of any door. If a bolt isn’t dependable, then it’s useless. Along these lines, regardless of the possibility that a thief breaks the glass, it’s still hard to pick up the passage.

The Lock:

Along with security, it’s always critical to consider your handle. Ordinarily, inside doors will utilize straightforward handle-locks. Keep in mind; a door is just as successful as its maintenance.

The Looks:

Make beyond any doubt to match all your door equipment all through the house. In spite of the fact that you need to put work in front of the frame, you additionally need to keep a portal looking great. An extremely famous pattern, for both the outside and inside, is to get retro.


It’s not just about hooks and pivots. Door equipment can go up to a broad range of parts. For added insurance to your dividers, put resources into some kick plates and spring door plugs. There are continually new designs being created.


If a door is to stay utilitarian, then you need to ensure all the inward workings are running easily. Never leave a bolt broken. Ensure your doors open and close easily. What’s more, if there is a squeak in your pivots, don’t utilize substance ointment as they may evacuate the quality complete or claim to fame covering.