Thursday, 25 May 2017

Second Floor Addition: The Essentials

The latest trend of building large on small properties is caused by the increase of property prices. However, if you still want to add space to your home without sacrificing your beautiful garden, the only way to go is up. Adding another story can double the useful living space, and your family will love it. Still, there are a few things to consider before getting this remodelling project underway.

Second Floor Addition

Check the legal aspect

Talk to your chosen renovator if local zoning and health regulations interfere with your plans. There are rules and regulations like allowable floor area ratios, lot coverage and those considering the general building contractor (B100) that you need to study before you start designing and building.

Inspect the foundation and structure

As the case might be, your home’s foundation and framing might be designed to support only the weight of the ground and the first floor. Before you decide to increase the load, ask your contractor to examine the foundation and the current supporting structure and see if additional structural reinforcements need to be installed.

Determine the size of addition

You may add a full second story to your home or make just a partial addition, including another bedroom and a few dormers. What you will decide depends on your space needs, budget or both. If your current budget doesn’t cover the full story, and you expect that you will need more space in the future, build the second story area and finish only as much as you can. It is much easier and more affordable to make the structural work all at once and finish the rooms later.

Second Floor Addition

Discuss changes with the designer

When you add a second story to your home, it will unavoidably make changes to the main floor. You will probably move one or more bedrooms upstairs, so you need to plan what to do with the free space. You can even knock down some walls and create a larger space or extend an existing area like the kitchen. And then, there is a question of the added staircase and how it will impact the current arrangement. Ask your designer for advice if you aren’t sure what to do. Aside from adding more space, a second story makes you think about changes in the rest of the house.

Clean the house

Adding a second floor means that the builder will need to literally raise the roof in order to extend the supporting walls. That means that you need to clean out your attic as it will be fully exposed to the elements, dust, debris, etc. Give yourself enough time to sort through these items. If you lack room in your basement or a garage, you can always rent a storage unit during the construction. It will keep your possessions protected with no need to stuff the remainder of the house. On the other hand, this might be a good opportunity to discard a lot of items that would otherwise clutter the added space, too.

Know where you’ll stay

It depends on the scope of work that needs to be done, but parts of your house may not be habitable during the construction phase. Discuss with your renovator how long you will need to be away and find a place to stay. It is also good to know that certain extension builders can even complete the entire project with no need for you to move out or vacate the house.

Second Floor Addition

Upgrading your home with a second story is a major remodelling endeavour, and as such requires careful planning and preparing your home for such a big step. On the other hand, it is the cheapest and the most effective way of providing your family with additional living space.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Domestic Water Filtration System: Things to Know

People like to take matters into their own hands. In spite of that, we’ve relinquished control of our environment to the various corporate and federal structures and, as the development of civilization spins out of control, there’s an understandable longing to return to the old ways – to eat organic food cropped by your own soil-soaked hands and drink out of the nearby well you know you can trust.

Domestic Water Filtration System

The second bit is almost impossible to accomplish today, but water filters have emerged as the second-best thing. After all, there is not much to it – you buy the purifier and attach it to your sink as per instructions, right? There are a few basic things you need to know before you proceed with installation of a domestic filtration system.

Know your basics

To put it simply, domestic water purification is the process of removing harmful chemicals and contaminants from drinking water. There are many ways you can do this but, throughout history, it was mostly done on a large scale.

To this day, entire cities or regions are supplied with filtered water usually from a single water purification plant. However, as our environment becomes more polluted, so does our water, and general populace developed a need to bring the part of the process back home.

Therefore, in the beginning of the 21st century, the business of domestic water filtration systems began to thrive across the world. However, with each region comes its own set of geological and infrastructural parameters that determine the water composition. This brings us to our second subject.

Know your water

Typically, the knowledge of the most widespread contaminant in your area is easy to acquire, since it is usually spread by word of mouth. However, this superficial knowledge is not enough. You can have your water tested independently, by buying a test kit in your local home improvement store and doing it yourself.

Conveniently, in the most parts of the US, you can get a copy of your water quality report from the local water authority. It’s nearly impossible to find filters that can remove all contaminants, so you can use the information from the report to find the type of filter that suits you best.

Know your method

There are many types of water filters on the market. These days, it’s far from uncommon to find jugs with attached water filters on sale in every mall. However, this is a short-term solution, as it can only filter small amounts of water and cartridges have to be changed on a regular basis.

It’s far more convenient, not to mention practical, to install an under-sink water filter system, and it’s a breeze to order one online. They are usually more durable and, since they are concealed under the sink, there is no danger they will stick out as an eyesore in your kitchen.

There’s an additional factor people tend to overlook. In spite of durability, every filter will be spent after a while, so always remember to change it on a regular basis. Now, the time interval varies from filter to filter, but there’s usually a printed information on the packaged, or you can find out more about it from the retailer.

Know that you are safe

Knowledge is everything, and as an honest tax payer, you have every right to be informed and kept up-to-date with the information about the drinking water in your pipes. Thankfully, in the age of the Internet, there are many web pages concerned with the public health and safety that will give you all the supplementary information you might need.

Our body is made up of 70% water, so it’s crucial to make sure it’s as free of all the contaminants as possible before you drink it. Fortunately, domestic water filtration system is now an affordable precaution and one of the best solutions at the moment to keep your mind at ease.  

Monday, 15 May 2017

Affordable Ways to Burglar-Proof Your Home

We all know who Scrooge McDuck is – the famous Donald Duck’s uncle with piles and piles of shiny gold coins he likes to count and dive head-first into. You may not have his limitless riches, but you’ll still want to make sure all of your money and expensive stuff are protected as much as possible. But what to do when you can’t afford the latest alarm systems and other pricy equipment for protecting your home from unlawful entry? With this in mind, we have come up with five ways you can burglar-proof your home, no matter how tight the budget you’re working with is.

Introduce curtains and blinds

It’s no secret that burglars tend to “case” a home before they actually decide to break in. That way, they can determine what kind of goods they can take and whether breaking into your home will pay off. Therefore, a great way to start making your home burglar-unfriendly is to hang curtains or install blinds on each of the windows in your home. If a burglar can’t see into your home, chances are they’ll target another home. Just bear in mind that if you have kids, going for cordless blinds is always recommended.

Install a garage timer

Garage doors are one of the weak spots in home security that many homeowners tend to overlook. Still, after parking your car, you can easily forget to close your garage door and allow a burglar to enter your home in a matter of seconds. This can also easily happen if you have kids and they keep their bikes and other belongings in the garage. But if there’s a garage timer installed, even if you forget to close the garage door, it will close automatically after a preset period of time, leaving no chance for a burglar to come in.

Eliminate potential hiding spots

Your landscape can always serve as a burglar’s hiding spot. That’s why if you want to burglar-proof your home, trimming large bushes and trees is recommended. Also, eliminating the shrubbery around your home is a good idea. Of course, there’s no need to get rid of all the landscaping around your home. If your green thumb is itching to add some plants around your home, you can always go for something thorny. Greenery like this can prevent burglars from attempting to hide, making your home safer.

Deadbolt all of your doors

34% of all the burglars enter through the front door while 24% of them decide to enter through the backdoor. With this being said, making sure all of your doors are as secure as possible is always a good idea. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to do this is to install deadbolts. Just bear in mind that the cheapest deadbolts you come across aren’t guaranteed to keep your home safe. Instead, you should always go for the most quality deadbolts you can find and have professionals, such as this locksmith from Paramatta, install it for you.

Put up fake security signs

Yard signs that say your home is protected are a great way to deter burglars. And the great thing about them is that you can put them up even if you don’t have a security system installed. A lot of burglars won’t take the chance of being caught and will most likely move on to the next potential victim. Fake security signs are cheap and can be found online. It only takes a couple of minutes to stick the signs around your home, meaning that you will protect your home without actually breaking a sweat.

Follow all of the ways mentioned above and you’ll be guaranteed to make your home more burglar-unfriendly. Just remember that you can never do too much when it comes to safety and that’s why you should always keep looking for some new ways you can secure your home. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Smart Ways to Increase Home Office Storage

Regardless of how big your business is or how much space you have in your office, you have most certainly realized that having appropriate storage space can help you keep your office tidy and clutter-free. This becomes particularly important if you’re running your business from the comfort of your home.

Home Office Storage

An efficient storage space can allow you to organize better, which will help you avoid unnecessary stress when you cannot find what you are looking for. Luckily, there are now more options than ever and most of them have become even more affordable. So, let’s take a look at some options that you might want to consider when it comes to increasing your home office storage.

Bill binders

They are useful for keeping all your bills in one, easily accessible, place. You can also use them to store payment coupons and other relevant financial documents. After you have paid a bill, you can file the stubs away.

These binders are also useful for storing envelopes, which you can store in the inside front pocket of the binder. If you label the binders, you’ll have a neat and organized system of storing important documents.

Home Office Storage


Although you might think that boxes are not the most practical storage units, they are actually quite useful, especially if you don’t have many drawers. Again, you have to label them clearly and store them away in some convenient place. Even the smallest boxes can be used. For example, you can keep your duct tape, pencils or batteries in them.


The most traditional way of improving your storage space is installing more shelves. Contemporary shelving options have become much more versatile and affordable, which means you can get loads of extra space for storing whatever you need. Your choice of the number of shelves and their load capacity will depend on what you need to keep on them.

Home Office Storage

Less is more

Another way to increase your home office storage is actually not by installing any shelves or boxes, but by eliminating a number of things you need to keep. The easiest thing to eliminate is paper since many things can be scanned and kept on your hard drive, rather than on your desk or shelf.

Once you’ve scanned all the important documents, make sure you shred all those that contain some private or too personal information. For that purpose, you might want to consider buying a small shredder for your office.

Also, you can ask all the companies which send you bills to send them electronically, thus helping you go completely paperless. This will save you space and the company will not have to pay the postage, which is a win-win situation that should definitely be exploited.

Whichever of these suggestions you decide to implement, you’re bound to help your office stay tidy and organized, which is important from various aspects. Not only will it be easier for you to find exactly what you need in no time, but the overall appearance of your office will most certainly leave a great impression on every client that pays a visit to your home office.

So, first of all, try to get rid of everything you can do without in your home office, as in this way you will decrease the need for storage. Next, find the most efficient method of storing all the office essentials. Finally, enjoy your neat and tidy office.

Monday, 24 April 2017

How to Set Up And Ideal Game Room For Your Home

If you're passionate about gaming, then it's a must to get yourself a space and devote it in a gaming room, which should be both comfortable and packed with a variety of technology, from the latest consoles to the trendy and relaxing couch. If you have a spacious basement with untapped possibilities, you're definitely a step closer to achieving your very own home entertainment centre.

1. Game  Plan

Arcades, game consoles, pink-pong, pool table, poker table, board game nook for the kids etc., the possibilities are endless, but not all of the items you have in mind will not make it into the room. It will not always be about how much budget you have, but the selection of gaming equipment will depend heavily on how much space you have available. Keep in mind that most game tables requires a broad space around them. Before buying anything, make sure to decide beforehand what are the top gaming options on your and your family's priority list then create a layout to see if everything will fit perfectly in your space without over-packing the room. Having a balanced array of fun activities with comfort is what an ideal game room is all about.

2. Size

The first and the probably the most important to consider while setting up a gaming room is its size which will dictate a lot of your other choices, as well as have an impact on you and your family's experience and pleasure of the room. There are no rules about the dimensions of a gaming room but there are a few things to take into consideration. It should neither be too big or too small. If your room is too big, it will have a negative impact on immersion in the game, sound and overall comfort of the space, On the other hand, if it's too small, you'll feel overcrowded and restricted with your movements. The room should have ample space for the TV to be placed in a noise-free area, a suitable distance for the gaming console and the recliner or couch and an added space for your family and friends to sit around,

3. Lighting

Lighting is a crucial part of the gaming room, as it is the key to the overall look and feel of the room. Your gaming room should not be overly well-lit but should be such that the room's functionality and style will not suffer, so make sure to consider adding a few layers of light with different types of fixtures. To change mood and create an ambiance, use dimmable lights. For your valuable displays like trophies and sports memorabilia, installing a track light is best to highlight them, while a soft light such as floor lamps is something to consider if the room is really big. Also if you are going to have a projector setting, your room should get completely dark to get the best result and for a TV setup, the light should not be placed on the wall opposite to the TV. Lighting not only gives the room an incredibly cool look, but there are also studies showing that it can have an impact on people's mood and cognitive functioning.

4. Soundproofing

Sound level in a gaming room can go really high most of the time, especially if it is set up with a surround sound which could be a problem not just with other house members but with your neighbours as well, that's why soundproofing the gaming room should be one of your top priorities. Aside from this, it'll also help improve the quality of sound in your gaming room.

There are different ways to prevent noise from disturbing various areas of the house. It is a good idea to consult your contractor to help you choose the most appropriate solution for your space or you can also do some basic soundproofing yourself. Some popular choices includes frames added to ceiling and walls, neoprene sheeting, layers of insulating foam or drywalls designed especially for noise reduction in buildings. If a professional soundproofing project is not within your budget, you can try furnishing your room with materials that can absorb noise such as carpets, thick curtains or wall-mounted acoustic panels.

5. Ventilation

To keep the area dry, proper ventilation is essential. Your gaming room, especially if it's in the basement is prone to nasty odours and even mould growth, so taking into account both moisture content and air quality is a must. You can ask your contractor about the possible solution for it, or if you're doing the project yourself, you can add vents and fans aside from keeping the windows opened at regular intervals to improve the ventilation of your room. Ventilation will depend on the size of your area as well as the appliances and furniture you want to put in it. An exhaust fan on one side and a ventilation on the other end is enough for a modest sized room.

6. Tv or Projector

Playing games on a small screen is not as much fun as on a bigger screen, and generally it's fair to say that bigger is better. If budget permits it, invest in a large LED or OLED TV for a world of difference in your gaming experience. Or you can also opt for a projector onto a large, white wall, where you can change the distance and projection size. Keep in mind that whatever you choose, it should have enough options for connectivity for pairing it with speakers, consoles, etc.

 7. Speakers

Sound is a necessary part of the gaming room setup that should never be overlooked. Investing in quality speakers is a must to fully enjoy the gaming experience. Wireless speakers in 5.1 or 7.1 channels surround setup or a multiple speaker systems in 2.1 or 7.1 channels are an ideal option.

 8. Wiring

Setting up a gaming room means there will be a lot of gadgets and wires across the room that can make it look cluttered. String of cables that are left loose can pose danger, most specially to children. First and foremost, make sure that your installation fits the electrical needs of your gaming room. It is a good idea to hire an electrician than to have accidents that may arise from faulty firings. Aside from this, tangled cables can be a real eyesore and the best solution to hide them is to cover all the wires under the carpet, behind the shelves or tie them up so as not to spoil the overall look of the room. Another way to avoid running wires across the room for the power socket is by purchasing attractive and hg-quality extension cords.

Sarah Del Rosario is an aspiring interior designer and painter. When not working, she contributes articles at The Chicago Living.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Simple Steps for Attaining Optimal Thermal Comfort at Home

When you think of ‘thermal comfort at home’, the first thing that most likely comes to mind is retaining the heat during wintertime. However, attaining optimal thermal comfort at home means just that – making sure that the temperature is at its optimal level, regardless of the season, geographical position and your home type. The main benefit of keeping the temperature at the optimal level within your home isn’t only the fact that you’ll always feel comfortable – it’s also excellent for your utility bills.

The Reasons behind Uncomfortable Home Temperature

In order to achieve optimal thermal comfort at home, it’s important that you realise why your indoor temperature levels are undesirable. Solar heat gain, average temperature of nearby surfaces, humidity, air temperature, air velocity and radiant temperature or humidity are all well-known factors that might give you discomfort at home.

Often thermal discomfort is the result of a relatively simple problem, so you should start here. Checking your thermostat(s) should be the first step – if someone changes the settings, this can easily confuse the entire HVAC system. Next, check the dampers to see if they’re jammed. Finally, inspect the system’s diffusers.

HVAC Filter Replacement

If you still haven’t achieved an optimal thermal comfort inside your home, chances are that your HVAC filters need replacement. Consider installing high-performance HVAC filters – these might be pricier, but they will lower your general HVAC costs by more than 10 percent, in addition to improving your overall indoor air quality.

Think about Getting Displacement Ventilation

The main point behind this cooling concept is introducing low-velocity, cool air at the floor level into your home, which is especially beneficial if you own a house. In scientific terms, it utilises buoyancy forces generated by radiant heat sources, for the purpose of removing the heat to the ceiling level, as opposed to mixing it back into the space, which is what you get with regular ventilation systems.

Remove Sources of Radiant Heat

This aspect is especially important for households and rooms with a large number of devices, such as desktop computers, laptops and printers. If you possess any of these or all of them, these sources of radiant heat are likely to be the culprits for the unfavourable temperatures you have at hand. Think about removing these devices; not only will this improve your room temperature, but it will also make sure that the devices themselves don’t overheat.

Mind Your Location

The majority of tips with regards to optimal thermal comfort you can get online are quite legitimate, even though some might not really help you. If you’re still wondering how this is possible, it’s quite simple – everyone is talking about their own location. For instance, having double glazed windows installed in Perth will do you a world of good, but doing so in London won’t make that much of a difference. This is largely owing to the fact that the mentioned Australian city is located in the South-West of the continent, with dry, hot summers hot and wet winters - a climate very much unlike the Great Britain capital’s modest damp weather. This makes thermal comfort a considerably bigger concern for the former than for the latter.

Low-E Window Film

The low-e window film reduces solar heat gain during the warmer months, while keeping the radiant heat on the inside during the wintertime. Installing this into your home will definitely help you attain optimal thermal comfort. Additionally, it is said that low-e window film will help your household adapt to a wider range of thermal conditions, which is an extremely useful physical trait. Finally, this technology reduces glare, without obstructing the views to the outside!

As mentioned, there is more to ensuring that the thermal comfort at your home is at its optimal level – it will also secure that your bills remain within the necessary limits, without putting your comfort at risk. The above listed hints will help you achieve the temperature goals within your home.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

5 Best kitchen tools every home cook needs for Cooking Improvement

Want to Improve Cooking? Make sure you have these 5 important kitchen tools.

Blair French, New York life stylist, says having the proper kitchen gear can make your time in the kitchen more exciting and enhance your cooking abilities. Similarly to her way of professional understanding, French draws on her years of experience in catering to help customers remodel their kitchen right into a cooking haven that allows for scrumptious culinary creativity. Right here are the top five kitchen tools that French says no kitchen should be without for cooking improvement

Sharp high-quality knives

Every expert in cooking will let you know that sharp high-quality knives are kitchen essentials. "As a caterer, I've been stranded on many a 'kitchen island' in clients' homes with nothing more than a bunch of expensive, useless, often dull knives," says French. "As a result, I always bring my chef's knife – it's the most essential of them all." She also suggests a sharp paring knife and serrated knife.

High-quality would not always imply the maximum costly. French recommends stocking your knife collection with knives that experience balanced and cozy in your hand as well as have a first rate weight to them. Additionally, sharp knives will reduce higher and even prevent you from slicing yourself. French adds, "I've hurt myself more often working with dull knives by overcompensating with more muscle power to do the job the knife should be doing"

Hardwood cutting boards

Cutting boards are invaluable within the kitchen. They now not most effective protect your counter, they assist maintain knives sharper and permit you to effortlessly transport cut meals from one place to any other. French recommends reducing forums fabricated from hardwood that offer ok reducing space. She says, "I personally prefer hardwood cutting boards such as maple, mesquite or walnut. Bamboo is nice, too, and less expensive."

No matter the cutting board you pick, ensure that it's far huge enough to accommodate the quantity of food you will be cutting. "Adequate size and space are not only essential to your cooking enjoyment, but also for keeping your chopped goods from rolling [onto the counter or floor]," says French. Maintain a collection of reducing boards near the range so you always have a smooth cutting board within reach.

Mixing bowls

A durable (and even colorful) set of blending bowls can make your meal prep time less messy and extra efficient. French talks about blending bowls manufactured from stainless steel or another nonreactive material so "you needn't worry about your tomato sauces and lemon pepper marinades tasting like the bowl."

Buy a set (or two) of mixing bowls that nest; they'll without any problem be stored. additionally, the sizes of bowls can accomplish many special culinary makes use of, inclusive of mixing, whipping, keeping apart, combining and storing. Colorful bowls can even brighten up your kitchen.

Measuring cups and spoons

One set of measuring cups and spoons is critical, however two or greater units will let you measure special ingredients in similar amounts while not having to clean and rewash.

Measuring cups and spoons are mainly essential in baking, whilst specific quantities of ingredients are required, but that accessible equipment may be utilized in every recipe. As an advantage, a massive measuring cup can even double as a ladle.


A grater is the right device for shredding cheese; Huge hollow graters can shred potatoes, carrots, apples and different produce. Small hollow graters or micro planes can grate ginger, garlic, spices and citrus peel.

French says, "I have yet to find a better way to grate cheese, fresh nutmeg or make citrus zest. And trust me on this one – I've tried. A grater is the greatest!"