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This series of articles can help you establish a well run, comfortable home
with a minimum of stress. Your feedback is always welcome.

Time Saving Tips for Doing Your Own Home Repair

There is no shortage of homeowners today that are handy at fixing electrical problems and plumbing messes. But even if you fall into this category of skilled do-it-yourselfers, you may need some help planning and executing a plan to be efficient and cost-effective with your repairs - not to mention aware of safety issues that can effect you and your loved ones.

Have Clearly Defined Goals for the Completion of the Project

Have a clear vision of the desired outcome of the project. Much time can be saved by deciding on exactly what you want before commencing production on your project. For example, if you are remodeling a bathroom, you need to decide on whether or not you will be replacing the toilet, faucet and sink. Replacing any one or all of these can add significantly to the cost of the remodel. If the problem is plumbing then make sure you bring the same knowledge and training to a task that a professional plumber would. Tinkering with pipes, toilets and faucets as opposed to fixing them is a risk you really don't have time for. You should also know in advance if you will need to replace any fixtures, move a light switch or outlet, or do anything else that would require expertise in electrical. Unlike dealing with plumbing and wall restoration, which could be messy, tinkering with fixtures and electrical wiring could kill you. Know what you want and you can plan for what you need.

Make a Plan for Repairs and Get Help!

Even small projects can be made infinitely more efficient with some careful planning. Having a realistic idea of how long the project will take and how much it will cost is the result of putting pen to paper to plan out exactly what you want, what you think you will need and getting estimates for the time and costs. Seek input from friends and family that work in the building trades or are more experienced than you at remodeling and home repair. You would be surprised at how many people that know more than you about will offer helpful advice or even help you with the repairs when asked.

Spice up Your Bedroom with Tin Ceiling Panels

Faux Tin Ceiling Panels

The American Tin Ceiling Co. recommends that for any bedroom smaller than 12'x12' you should use 12" ceiling panels. Larger bedrooms can accommodate dramatic 24" patterns. Decorate your bedroom like a pro without going on a shopping frenzy. You may not yet know the value of antique tin ceiling panels. The pressed in panel pattern may dictate the accessories used. However, if you order a 6" or 12" pattern, the only accessory that is generally needed is crown molding.

Decorative Tin Ceiling Panels

Looking for a ceiling treatment that takes you back in time? Pressed tin is a handsome architectural accent from the late 1800's and early 1900's, and it makes any ceiling a masterpiece. Pressed tin ceiling tiles are a first-class alternative for problem ceilings and walls. Ceiling tiles are obtainable in a beautiful assortment of patterns that are characterized by elaborate swirling vines, pretty ropes, floral patterns, and more.

What Is The Price Of Tin Ceilings?

American Tin Ceilings has a cost estimator on its website, where you can complete each step of a wizard to get an accurate estimate of the costs. The estimator takes into account your room size, and the panel type, pattern, color, and options. Remember this is only an estimate and it does not account for sales/discounts or for complex bedroom shapes.

Victorian Tin Ceilings

Before installing your Victorian embossed tin tiles, you need to step back and consider other perspectives. Is your plan going to accomplish your goal? For each redecoration scheme there will always be secondary concerns you need to deal with before you lift a finger. The best position is to be conscious of these concerns and drawbacks at the beginning so you can avoid wasting time and dollars.

Painting A Tin Ceiling

Aluminum ceilings are painted before they get pressed to the ceiling, and painting them is easy. In truly harsh wear and tear areas it can be a good idea to consider powder coating. Brushes with a width of about 2-3 inches are the largest you should use when painting the base color of your panels. Keep in mind that the ceiling will always be quite a few feet over your head so exceedingly fine details may not be seen from that distance.

Water Damage Repairs - Prevent Harmful Mold From Forming

By: Adam O'Connor,

The harmful effects of mold span the immune system and respiratory system. Most molds grow on wood, fiber, or paper that has gotten wet for more than a few days. One of the main causes of household mold is water damage that is improperly repaired. Whenever these kinds of situations arise, it is essential not only to the vitality of the home, but to the health and well being of its occupants as well to repair the mold and damage from water whether you are in Houston or Hawaii. There are many methods that you can use to repair water damage in home depending on the location of the damage.

Knowing What to Repair

You can determine many of the repairs that need to be made by simply looking around the home for the places that water damaged. Sometimes basement water damage is easier to fix than water damage in other parts of the home because there is less furniture and other amenities in the basement. Once you have determined the places that need water damage, then you can start to make the repairs.

Completing the Repairs By Clearing The Air

When you have finished making the repairs, it might be difficult to know your indoor air quality has been affected because of the water damage. Sometimes there could be even the slightest amount of moisture in even the most remote locations of the home that can have a negative affect on the air. This is not desirable as it can lead to many health problems. At the very least, you need to get a good air purifier. Locating the right air purification equipment for you can be a challenge. You should also hire a professional to conduct an air quality lab report in order to determine if your air quality is safe for breathing. If the professional determines that pollutants are found at unsafe levels, then he or she will make recommendations as to what you can do to make sure the air is safe. For tips on selecting the air purifier that is right for you, click here .

Regardless of the location, water damage should be repaired so that mold does not grow inside the home and the air quality remains at a safe level.

Success Starts With an Online Interior Decoration Course

By Michelle O'Connor;
Event Ceiling Decor

Life consists of a series of choices from which one's decisions can affect not just himself or herself but a whole host of other people to whom one is connected through business, work, and family. One career that offers a person a chance to provide a unique and valuable service and effect extraordinarily positive change is Interior Decorating. Affording one the opportunity to realize one's creative aspirations, this career can also be very financially lucrative.

Why Interior Design Education Is a Great Career Move

Interior design is the art of creating a visual experience through the use of space and aesthetics.

A professional interior designer:
* Ascertains clients desires, objectives, and life safety requirements
* Prepares preliminary design concepts that are aesthetically pleasing, suitable, and practical, and in conformity with codes and standards
* Fleshes out and submits final decoration proposals through suitable presentation media such as MS Powerpoint
* Prepares working drawings and specifications for non-load bearing interior construction, reflected ceiling plans, lighting, interior detailing, materials, finishes, space planning, furnishings, fixtures, and equipment in compliance with universal accessibility compliance guidelines and all applicable codes
* Works together with professional services of other certified practitioners in the technical areas of mechanical, electrical and load-bearing design as necessary for regulatory approval
* Prepares and manages bids and other contract documents as the client's agent
* Appraises decoration solutions during implementation and upon completion

Plan to Start a Business in Interior Design Or Architecture

Being a business owner has nothing to do with age, gender, race or education - everybody has a bit of the entrepreneurial spirit in him or her. Once you complete your online courses in interior design, business ownership can become a way of life. You must believe in yourself and your ideas, and have the inner resources to go forward to meet and overcome challenges.

Where to Go From Here

You can launch your career with a degree from an online college for architecture or interior decoration such as the Art Institute Online, a division of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. If you're looking for interior decoration schools in West Palm Beach, Nassau, or anywhere else, the Internet is the place to start.

Top 7 Fireplace Decorating Tips

By: Michelle O'Connor

1. Whether buying one for the first time or replacing an existing one, installing a new fireplace mantel surround does not take as much work as you think. If you don't have a fireplace mantel, consider getting one, as it will give your fireplace a more finished, polished look. You can even use a mantel in areas you don't have a fireplace, as décor.

2. The grocery store can supply a wealth of ideas. Fruits are a low-cost way to add color and quality to a mantel. Pack empty flower vases or jugs with lemons or limes. Complete fruit exhibits with a flower arrangement. Another way to add some sparkle is by placing little votive candles around the bottom of the vessels.

3. A mantel should have its own focal point. Often, a single large painting or mirror is used. If you decide to go this route, be sure the picture is not hung too high. You can also just lean it against the wall. Use two or more coordinated pieces of art to create a grouping for a different look. If you don't have a fireplace, and don't want to have one built, consider an electric fireplace as a low-cost, portable option. You can move them into any room of your home, as you please!

4. Try these seasonal changes:
Winter - add potted evergreens, pinecones and sticks from the backyard
Spring - use paper-whites, tulips, or forsythia
Summer - place a flower in each of four or five identical vases, or use pots of identical orchids
Fall - try gourds and pumpkins

5. You can spiff up your mantel with functional collectibles, whether it is flowerpots, vases, or even cookie jars. Playing cards, matches, whatever little things you may use in that room can be used to fill the flowerpots. Fill the vases with flowers, real, silk or dried. If you live in an apartment or condo, or a house without a fireplace, consider a fake fireplace. They can be inexpensive, high quality, and open up many more decorating options for you.

6. Gourd groupings are a cheerful way to enliven a fireplace mantel. Group together white gourds and white pumpkins and set out a bunch of red grapes and grape leaves in between the gourds. Then intersperse silver and glass candlesticks in varying heights with tall white taper candles in between the gourds and grape clusters.

7. Display a grouping of floral plates on your mantel. Clean out the ashes in your fireplace and fill the firebox with a large artificial fern or a basket of colorful flowers. Place twigs in tall vases and place on each side of the fireplace mantel. Don't forget about what is below the mantel! The right glass fireplace door or screen can do wonders for your fireplace décor.

Fireplace Accessories and Fuel

Hardwood Floors The Different Types:
How They Can Add Value And Class To Your Home

By Adam O'Connor,
Lake Arrowhead Homes
Choosing Hardwood Flooring

Types of hardwood floors include:
Solid hardwood - generally made of one piece of wood either plain sawn, quarter sawn or rift sawn.
Engineered hardwood - this floor is more dimensionally stable and will fare better in areas that have high moisture content.
Long strip hardwood - this floor is engineered hardwood, with bigger and longer planks.

The warmth and beauty of wood flooring adds instant style and class to any home. Historic homes, with their attractively aged, wide-plank flooring are proof of wood's sturdiness. Unless you're lucky enough to have intact, old wood floors, you can buy antique "recycled" and "reclaimed" wood. Unfortunately, those on a budget may find recycled lumber to be out of their price range.

Generally hardwood floors come pre-finished, i.e. the manufacturer applies a finish at the factory. Choose a color that will accent your home and home furnishings. Lighter wood would be white ash, sugar maple or southern yellow pine. Darker colors are beech, birch, red oak, heart pine and mesquite. Of these, mesquite is the hardest and southern yellow pine the softest.

Hand scraped and distressed hardwood floors are becoming a popular choice in today's upscale homes and commercial buildings. Distressed hardwood flooring is done by machine or by hand. True hand scraped is exactly that - done by hand. Results vary widely based on the skill of the person or persons doing the scraping. Hand scraped flooring is not cheap. The cheaper machine made distressed hardwood flooring material can retail for around $10 per square foot. You will pay $15 and up per square foot for hand scraped. To wee what would work best in your area, real estate in Lake Arrowhead can show you what current homeowners have chosen.

Why Hardwood Flooring Is A Good Investment
Hardwood floors have adorned some of the most elite houses and estates in history and still exude a sense of durability and traditional superiority when compared to manufactured floors. Hardwood floors bring the natural outdoors inside, and do not contain man-made chemicals in the wood itself. Installing hardwood flooring in your home is a true investment that will keep its value. There is an ageless quality about the natural color of hardwoods that guarantees your house never becomes outmoded because of its flooring. They are easier to clean in the mountain settings of Lake Arrowhead, California - where you are sure to track in pine needles and mountain dirt.

Dirt and dust is your hardwood floor's worst enemy. Though there are many producers of hardwood floors to select from, and they all have their own rules for keeping your floor clean and grit-free, there are some basic rules you can follow to keep your floors looking good.

For Surface Finishes
Always use the manufacturer's suggested cleaning products. Wipe up spills immediately with a damp cloth. For stubborn stains, lightly dampen a cloth with the recommended cleaner and apply directly to the stain. When the floor loses its luster and shine, it's time to recoat.

For Wax Finishes
Dry mop regularly with an untreated dust mop. Follow the same instructions for spills. To remove water spots, use a fine steel wool and a small amount of mineral spirits. Floors should be cleaned, stripped and re-waxed once or twice a year depending on traffic.

Top 10 Fastest Ways to Organize
Your Living Room

By Michelle O'Connor
Big Bear Home For Sale

What a Mess!

Living rooms in homes probably receive the harshest treatment from any other room in the house, save the kitchen. This is where people who are visiting come to sit and talk. This is where your children run and play while you are trying to watch your favorite TV program. This may be where, in a smaller house, the diaper changing table for your baby may be kept. Living rooms are where most spend much of their time at home.

Some use it for a quiet place where friends can come to talk and they can read, and others use it for recreation, to watch TV, listen to music or just about anything else. But, there is one thing that all living room share- living. These rooms get a lot of use on a daily basis. This is why it is important to minimize the mess and clutter in these rooms where you spend much of your time.

Minimize Clutter

This article will make a list of tips that you can use to minimize the clutter in you living room and organize it so that it is livable.

1.) Try to keep toys out of the living room. If you are firm with this, it will assure that you keep it clutter -free. (If you must keep the toys in the living room, a wooden toy box might be just the thing to keep a classy, yet organized look).
2.) Have a place for everything. If you put things away in a regular spot, they are less likely to make your living room a 'catch all' for stuff that is without a home.
3.) Do not use the living room for dining. This will keep glasses, plates and other dining utensils out of it.
4.) Do not overcrowd your living room. If friends keep offering furniture, learn to say 'no!' Remember simple means less clutter and more space.
5.) No more projects done in the living room. Puzzles, knitting and such are fine. But, try not to build model airplanes, use a sewing machine and engage other activities that may leave large items right in your way.

Maximize Use

There are many ways you can maximize the use of your living room and ensure that is livable.

6.) Rearrange your furniture. If your love seat, sofa or couch is lopsided, then it may muss up the appearance.
7.) Don't leave large space between the walls and the furniture. This only minimizes your space and makes less room for enjoyment.
8.) Go with a theme. A theme often introduces and aesthetic feel makes your room seem more enjoyable, such as, classic, traditional, modern and so on.
9.) Hire an interior decorator. If you have the means, allow a professional to come in and make your living space the best it can be.
10.) Lastly, try some artwork. This always seems to make a room more cheery and bright.

20 Ways to Spruce Up Your Kitchen
and Add Value to Your Home On A Budget

By Adam O'Connor,
Lake Arrowhead Real Estate

The kitchen is one of the rooms that traditionally sells houses. Most experts agree that its not always practical to remodel a kitchen, but you can benefit in the long run if you spend time on minor improvements and general sprucing up.

  1. Consider painting your cabinets if they are in need of a full overhaul. Nothing changes the look of a kitchen faster!
  2. If you don't want the hard work that goes into total repainting, consider removing a cupboard door to make a display cabinet. Or, you can cut out the middle of the doors, leaving a two-inch space all around. Staple fabric panels to the backs of the doors. Cover the staples with fabric trim glued with a hot glue gun.
  3. To give your cabinets a special flair, use three different stains. Use one lighter stain on the upper cabinets, one slightly darker on the drawers and an even darker one on the bottom cabinets.
  4. Update your cabinets with special memories. Attach frames painted or stained to match the cabinets to the front of each door. Fill the frames with family photos or your children's artwork. Add mountain theme décor to the kitchen, a popular option in Big Bear real estate.
  5. One of the simplest ways to add flavor to your kitchen is to install new cabinet hardware. A popular shape is long and rectangular rather than simply round and traditional.
  6. Let molding add some flair. Panel or picture molding redefines the flat doors and drawers while elaborate crown molding, placed where cabinets meet the ceiling, creates a classic look, sure to draw attention.
  7. Expand space with drawer organizers.
  8. Take out a few drawers and insert low baskets in their place.
  9. Use a bead-board to update your backsplash. Have your local home improvement store cut it to length and attach with nails or adhesives.
  10. Pick up inexpensive plate hangers from the hardware store and hang the saucers from your good China around the backsplash, or as a border.
  11. Dress up your windows. Terry cloth tea towel café curtains are quick and easy to make and they will help to give your kitchen a new look. Also consider wood blinds and Roman shades to add style.
  12. Just adding one or two accessories or reorganization of some you already have will make a change in your kitchen.
  13. Mend leaky faucets and remove stains from the kitchen counter and sink.
  14. Get rid of old appliances. Many people are going for the heavy-duty, modern, efficient look of stainless steel.
  15. Get a double-basin sink to make separating and cleaning dishes and pots quick and easy.
  16. Pullout sink faucets are easy to use; provide greater flexibility when cleaning large pots, and make sink cleaning a breeze.
  17. Use bottom basin racks, wire rinse baskets, cutting boards and colanders to keep everything you need at your fingertips.
  18. Consider changing the tiles of your kitchen floor and walls.
  19. The proper lighting in your kitchen can make it or break it. A popular choice is track lighting.
  20. Grow plants from seed on your windowsills. Even grass seed has become very vogue.
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