Turn on any real estate or home improvement show and you hear the phrase “the kitchen is the heart of the home”. It is always declared from a brand new, spanking clean kitchen with prepared food everywhere but not a dirty bowl or cooking pot in sight.
The fact is your kitchen can become a depressing point of your home because there is always something that needs doing, something that isn’t as clean as it could be and a dinner to be cooked. How can you get to the point where you put a meal on the table at dinner time without existing in a halo of chaos and jobs to be done that make relaxing impossible?
Invest in a few mod cons.
Some kitchen appliances are expensive and messy and contribute little to your home, fresh fruit juicer anyone? Others are vital time and energy savers. A hand held blender to make a quick soup or homemade sauce for pasta can be more useful. Think about what cuts out effort for you, not something for the sake of it that you then have to clean around all the time.
Change your old kitchenware around.
That grainy chopping board that’s so hard to clean. That tin opener or knife that takes an age to get the job done. That pan that always gets eggs stuck to it.
Pick out the top three items in your kitchen that are slowing you down and draining your energy and replace them.
Don’t stress about getting expensive replacements, just something that works better will free up your time and improve your kitchen.
Have a separate drink and snack area.
Nothing causes more aggravation in a kitchen than people messing the place up just to make a hot drink or a sandwich. Constantly wiping down and being distracted doesn’t help when you are trying to free up time for bigger jobs either.
Instead of this constant hassle get a large tray or board and put that out as a work surface for members of the household to make a mess of. At the end of the day, you can clean it up in one go. Also if you have guests come round, unexpectedly you can only move the tray rather than have to start cleaning up a whole day’s worth of mess.
Having a pool within your property can be a great thing and can provide hours of entertainment for friends and family. However, it is important to consider the dangers that a pool fence can bring, as a pool can be a risk for young children and for those that cannot swim.
In some areas of the world, a pool fence Is a legal requirement if you wish to have a pool. In this article, we will look some of the things to consider if you do want to use a pool with a pool fence in place.
The first thing to do is to choose a fence that will be safe and efficient. It means that the fence will need to be at least 1.2 meters in height and will need to contain no spaces that will allow the ability of a small toddler from getting through. The pool fence should also not have any foot holds on the sides that may allow an individual from climbing over.
A wide range of options
There are several different pool fence designs to invest in, and these vary in their ease of implementation. You may wish to invest in a simple but effective pool fence that is made from aluminium or steel, or you may want to spend more on glass panelling for your pool fence. The metal pool fence will have bars that keep it in place, and you will need to build it so that it is robust and sturdy.
It is also important to maintain the fence in good working order so that it is safe and effective and this means that you should check it on a regular basis, so as to make sure that it is functioning properly. Remember to check any loose sections that may be causing an opening or a way in which to get into the pool and make sure that there are no items left near the pool that a child may use to climb over the fence with.
You’ve probably heard about ‘a guy’ from a friend who did the renovations on their home and how wonderful and inexpensive he was. You’ve probably also heard about the horror stories of renovations gone horribly wrong and the homeowners left near bankrupt from a bad contractor. While you’re left with the question should I spend more money and hire a licensed contractor or should I try and save by hiring ‘the guy’?
This really shouldn’t even be a question, never work with an unlicensed contractor and here’s why.
Whenever there is an economic downturn the home construction industry is usually the first and hardest hit. During the last recession, there were more than 700,000 home construction workers laid off. All of these construction workers still have families to feed and some marketed themselves as contractors to earn a living. In fairness, most of these guys were probably very hard working and good at their jobs, but regardless of the trade they were in it doesn’t make them qualified to be a contractor. The complaints concerning unlicensed contractors arriving at local Department of Consumer Protection offices reflects that reality.
The Risks You Face as a Homeowner
Contractors are licensed for a reason, to protect the home owner. Most owners know very little about the building process nor do they realise that they alone are solely responsible for what happens on their property. Hiring a licensed contractor takes responsibility for the project being completed and the work being done according to local building codes. They also carry liability insurance that protects you in the event something goes wrong.
Here’s a scenario where an unlicensed contractor can get very expensive very quickly. If your local municipality finds you have an unlicensed contractor working on your property be it a plumber, roofer or what have you, they will initially issue a cease order. This means all work stops immediately. Now you will need to go through the entire permit process, and it will be more time and money for you than the normal process. Now comes the expensive part, you as the homeowner are on the hook for any unpaid bills from the unlicensed contractor, if work is not up to code it will be torn down. Building corrections, penalties or fines and contractor liability are all your responsibility.
Red Flags to Watch For
There are things you can do to protect yourself from being duped by an unlicensed contractor. Here are some things you need to be aware of when hiring someone to complete your renovations.
No state license number on paperwork, truck or business cards
Requesting a large upfront deposit to get started
Handshake agreements instead of a written contract
Only available to work evenings and weekends
No proof of insurance or licensing
Asks you to take care of getting construction permits.
If any of these pop up when you are negotiating with a contractor, it’s time to stop negotiations and look for a properly licensed contractor. Never work with an unlicensed contractor, it doesn’t matter how small or what type of job it is, you need to protect yourself.
Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses”, that is one of the reasons that a kitchen remodel is among the most popular renovations done to a home. If you’re an apartment dweller or live in a small urban condo renovating your kitchen is made more complicated by its size. Smaller kitchens limit your choices when it comes to selecting materials, but if you get a little creative, you can still have the kitchen of your dreams in a small space.
Here are some tips for making your small kitchen renovation turn out perfectly.
#1. Choose open cupboards
You’re going to spend roughly a third of your renovation budget on your kitchen cabinets so make sure they work with your room. Too many cabinets in too small space make the room feel claustrophobic, but at the same time, you can’t reduce the number of cupboards because you need the space. Open cupboards make a small kitchen work. The make the room airier and you can also use them as a decorative feature. Talk with the contractor you’ve hired; this is not the first small kitchen they’ve worked with, and they can offer some helpful advice about which styles work best.
#2. Add an island
Most kitchens don’t have near enough counter space, and an island can add additional workspace. However, the island will only work in the small kitchen if you have opted for a minimalist designs scheme. Choose a light coloured countertop for the island, preferably white or very close to it and leave the bottom open so it doesn’t feel as though it is taking up precious space.
#3. Work with lighting to create more space
Good lighting can work wonders in transforming your small space to make it feel roomier. Again this is where your kitchen remodelling contractor can offer up some suggestions. Try using incandescent lighting underneath the wall cupboards; it’s far warmer than the harsh fluorescent lighting usually found there. If you have a kitchen, some hanging light over the table makes the ceiling feel taller.
#4. Work with colour
Use colour strategically; a single brightly coloured accent feature will help the kitchen look bigger. It attracts your attention and gives you the illusion that the surrounding space is larger than it is. Your accent colour doesn’t have to be in the centre of the room, you can use a colourful backsplash on the wall above the sink, use a few smaller accent pieces that blend and complete the room.
#5. Install high-quality flooring
One of the perks of having a small kitchen is that you need less material so you can select some higher end finishes. The floor is one place where you should spend the money. Choose a checkered pattern; it can expand the space, and it’s eye-catching.
Renovating a small kitchen comes with its challenges, you often find yourself wishing your area was bigger or looking for inspiration, here’s a video to help with some ideas for renovating your kitchen.