Category Archives: House and Home

Common Pitfalls when Constructing a Home

Woman applying a new carpet

Poor planning and working with small budgets can lead to disastrous mistakes when constructing your home. Things to consider include your current and future lifestyle, the needs of your family and whether you will be expanding.

Below are some pitfalls homeowners make:

Purchasing an Insufficient HVAC system

Not taking the time to plan the construction properly means you might end up with mold growth, which can be hazardous to your family’s health. One must also pay attention to the size of the HVAC units, to make sure they are sufficient and not under performing. A very large unit may be consuming too much energy unnecessarily, and a smaller unit may not heat or cool your home efficiently.

Poor Space Planning

Design and space planning is as important as the construction itself. Special attention should be given to where the storage area is positioned. Too much storage space takes away living space, and they might not be necessary. Bickford Building Services recommends consulting a building contractor in Solihull to get it right. When planning, think about your family’s lifestyle as well as your future.

Having Underutilized Rooms

While having a home gym or a playroom might be an enticing idea, it is not worth it if the room will never be used. Often, the unused rooms become dumping ground for other items that are never used. If you plan on having an extra room, have one that can transition from one type to the next. An example is a home office that can transition to a guest room.

While building a home can be an exciting process, there are plenty of things to think about before going ahead with it. Go about the home building process properly and be proud of your house once it’s done.

Swimming Pool Guide: What’s the Best Type for Your Home

Find your perfect pool with Brisbane Pools & Landscapes Having a pool in your home greatly increases the value of your property. Having one installed, however, is not quite that easy. There are various factors you need to take into consideration. These factors include your budget, the people who are going to use it, landscape, space and design, says Brisbane Pools & Landscapes.

To give you an idea on what kind of pool you might like installed in your home, here are the three most popular types of in-ground pools:


Concrete, or most popularly known as Gunite or Shortcrete pools, are the best — and most expensive — when it comes to in-ground pools. However, it’s not costly for no reason at all. It is considered to be the most durable and strongest type of pool. It also offers total design flexibility, as it can be rebuilt, refinished, enlarged, updated and built into any shape for a truly custom pool. It may take longer to built this type of pool, between three and 12 weeks, but the outcome is truly rewarding.


Second to concrete in popularity is the vinyl-lined pools. Vinyl pools cost less than concrete, but they come in a limited number of sizes and shapes. Most vinyl pools come in rectangular shapes but there are also available L-shape and freeform liners. Installation is relatively quick in just one to three weeks. You typically need to replace the liner about every 10 years or so, but the biggest downside to this is if it gets punctured by a sharp object, you will need a professional to fix it.


Fibreglass pools are moulded in factories which are then transported and installed into the excavated hole by a crane. Although fibreglass pools have limited sizes and shapes, they are the most affordable type of pool and offers the quickest installation. They also have a more finished look than vinyl pools as they have a super-smooth gel-coat finish. They are also nonporous and durable like concrete but with fewer chemicals. Although this seems like a good choice, you need to have extra space in your backyard and it has to be free of any overhead cables or power lines for the crane to enter and manoeuvre.

Before making up your mind on a certain type of pool, it’s best to consult with a pool contractor in your area to find out what your choices are, as some types of a swimming pool may not be available in your location. Most importantly, for incredible pool designs and landscaping in Brisbane, you need to hire pool builders with a good track record.

3 Ways to Find the Best Mortgage Loan for You

Mortgage Companies in Salt Lake City

Finding a mortgage company to give you the best mortgage rates possible is one of the most important steps in buying a house. You need to exhaust your options and make sure your credit score and financial capacity are at their best to qualify for a loan with wonderful terms and conditions.

Here are some things you need to keep in mind when dealing with a mortgage:

Find Referrals

You can always inquire to different mortgage companies over the phone, but how would you know if the rates, fees, and points they tell you are accurate and feasible? That’s when referrals come in handy. Ask your friends, colleagues, relatives, neighbors, and real estate agent if they know any mortgage lender who has served them well. First-hand experiences of real people are better than phone conversations with strangers.

Ask the Right Questions

When you’ve trimmed down your choices to about five based on the referrals you get, it’s time to schedule a consultation to know more about the mortgage companies in Salt Lake City. Here are some questions you must ask for you to assess them well:

  • What types of loan programs can you offer?
  • Can I see the HUD-1 closing statements of your latest deals?
  • Can you give me a Good Faith Estimate now?
  • Can you explain your rates and fees?
  • Can you give me an estimate of closing costs?
  • How sure are you that I can get this loan before closing?

Compare the Rates

When you get offers from different mortgage lenders and companies, you must take the time to compare them. Don’t simply focus on the monthly mortgage payments, but also consider the extra expenses that come with the offer. Read the fine print and consult an expert if you want to make the best choice.

Follow these suggestions, so you can get the best mortgage plan for your home purchase.

How are Mortgage Rates Determined? The Must-Knows

Housing Loan

Anyone desires to have their own dream home. But, this is probably the largest purchase one will ever make. That is why applying for a mortgage makes sense to many people. Though no one wants to pay high mortgage rates. Therefore, knowing the factors that determine how much interest you pay is crucial, says

Credit Score

Your credit score helps your lender to determine how reliable you are in repaying your loan. The credit score is calculated from your credit report, which is a report that shows your loans repayment history. If you have low credit score, you get high-interest rates and vice versa. It is advisable to get your credit score before application for a loan so as to correct any mistakes.

Down Payment

When you make a higher down payment, your interest rates are likely to be lower.  This is because you have a lesser risk of failing to repay the loan since you have a higher stake in the property.

Loan Terms

Short term loans have lower interest rates while long-term loans have higher interest rates. The high-interest rates on long-term loans are because the lender will have to wait for long before they receive their money and this increases the risk. Additionally, short term loans have higher installments while long-term loans have lower installments thus higher rates.

Home Location

Different lenders charge different mortgage rates depending on the location of the state. For instance, building a house in rural areas can be more complicated than in the urban areas. The interest rates in the rural area are therefore likely to be higher than urban areas. When estimating your interest rates, it is important to consider the location as well as getting a loan from the local lenders.

It is important to determine the factors that determine your interest rates so that you can plan for the future.


3 Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Living Room

Spacious Living Room

Spacious Living RoomThe living room is the centre of your home. The family enjoys lounging in the space, and you also receive guests here. Clearly, it needs to look inviting and amazing.

Fortunately, you can do this without spending too much money. With a few simple, yet inspiring changes, your living room can be functional and gorgeous in no time at all. Here are three ideas to consider:

1. Add or Change Lighting Fixtures

Your living room’s lighting offers a goldmine of opportunities to improve the space. First, it enhances functionality. With task and ambient lighting, you can use the space to read books, do a bit of work, play videogames, entertain guests and have intimate talks. Second, lighting creates a focal point. Recessed lighting, for example, can highlight artwork or interesting souvenirs from your trips.

2. Change Window Dressing

Windows can enhance the beauty of your living room, and provide more natural light. What’s more, it doesn’t require much energy or money to improve them. And you have several options.

You can use a luxurious fabric for your curtains, to create a more stylish living room. You can replace your curtains with aluminium plantation shutters, to improve the privacy of the space without sacrificing its beauty. You can also consider switching to roller blinds, which offer light control and privacy.

3. Rethink Your Colour Schemes

Repaint your living room with a different palette. Sometimes, a vibrant, dramatic colour can make an old space come to life again. But keep in mind the colour schemes in the entire home. While change is a good thing for any space. It’s not the case when the design doesn’t complement the overall look of your property.

Your living room can improve without the big costs or effort. With a few clever ideas, you can make the space inviting and gorgeous.

Heat Up This Winter: Maximising Your Heating System

Heating System
In every household, saving as much as possible on monthly bills (i.e. electricity and water) is given importance. But, saving on energy bills need not be at the expense of you freezing, as you turned your central heating off.

Here are five ways to efficiently use your heating system without paying more this winter season:

  1. Properly use the thermostat

Setting your thermostat at a standard room temperature, between 18-21

  1. Turn your heater off

Turn your heater off whenever you would leave your house for a long period of time (i.e. going to work, going on a holiday).

  1. Use a timer

If the average room temperature is too warm for your comfort, using a timer to manage the amount of a time your heater is running more can surely be helpful in managing your bills as well.

  1. Selective heating

The good thing about central heating is that it heats the whole house up, so no need to meddle with the switch whenever you transfer from one room to another. But this can also be a cause of high power bills. Use selective heating and warm up your areas only when necessary. Turn the heat higher where you are (i.e. in your bedroom at night) and lower where there is no one (i.e. the kitchen).

  1. Dress appropriately

If you dress like it is summer when you are at home, then this would definitely lead you to needing more warmth and in turn more power. Dress for the weather and help warm yourself up despite the presence of a heater.

Follow these hacks and be surprised at how much your bills have decreased for the month, all without compromising the comfort of your life.


How You Can Help Your HVAC Unit Cool Your Home Effectively

HVAC System Summer can be problematic for people living in the US. The heat is strong, and it can be difficult for the air conditioning to effectively cool most homes’ interiors. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies to make the most of your HVAC’s cooling system.

Regulate the Thermostat

It’s tempting, especially during hot days in Draper, to just keep the temperature to the lowest setting that the cooling system is allowed. Doing that would make your HVAC Draper system work much more than it should, which ups your utility bills unnecessarily. Even if you do have an energy-efficient unit, one should never tax any appliance beyond its capacity. Keep the temperature to a comfortable level, while keeping it as close to room temperature as possible.

Keep the Cold Inside and Heat Outside

Cooling your home is useless when the cold air is free to go out and heat from the outside weather can seep in. Check for areas where air can pass through to the outside, such as windows sidings, door frames and leaky air ducts. Putting drapes on windows during the day can also greatly reduce the heat coming excessive sunlight.

Clean Regularly

Dirt tends to build up in the filters of your air conditioner. With extensive build up your air conditioner will have a harder time cooling the room. Cleaning the filter regularly not only keeps your house cooler, it also assists the air conditioner to spend less energy to cool the house. Aside from regularly cleaning the filters of the air conditioning unit, cleaning rooms regularly also help keep your home more comfortable, creating a “cooler” atmosphere.

It doesn’t take much to help your air conditioning unit cool your home better and keep you comfortable during hot days. Regulating temperature, sealing any leaks, and regular cleaning can do wonders for cooling and your energy bill. Finally, don’t forget to have your HVAC unit regularly checked by a trustworthy company or service.

Plantation Shutters: The History of the Interior Wood Covering

Plantation Shutters

The classic appeal of plantation shutters is the reason they are a more stylish substitute to blinds or curtains. Plantation shutters offer a presentable aspect to homeowners in Melbourne, which is why they would rather choose this type of interior covering. They can effectively shut out light and still look striking, according to industry experts at The Timbershades Group. But, when did this fascination and preference begin?

A Brief History

If the name is any indication, it reveals that plantation shutters entered the window treatment market in the mid-1800s. This was when the popularity of plantation houses grew in the southern part of the United States. But, historians revealed that the first to discover and construct plantation shutters were the Ancient Greeks.

The glass was only manufactured in 3000 B.C., which is why the Greeks had to create shutters. Just like its purpose today, they wanted to manage light, get more privacy and protection, as well as, prevent pests from entering their homes. They manufactured interior shutters made of marble that looks like the plantation shutters you have today. Those were durable and strong, but they could not move the louvres to adjust the light.

The Modern Features

In the 18th and 19th century, architects in the U.S. used the architecture of Greeks to develop their designs. It still served the same purpose centuries later, but it now performed its function better. It offers light management, are durable, enhance ventilation, offer insulation and are easy to clean. Plantation shutters can even lower energy bill by blocking out the heat of the sun during summer and insulating the home during winter.

Unlike before where only huge mansions can have access and afford this type of window treatment, any type of home can take advantage of its benefits and design.

The rich history of plantation shutters paved the way to the preference of the modern world. Guess you have to thank the Ancient Greeks for the beauty and function it provides.

From Good to Great: Minor Home Improvements that Boost Property Selling Price

Brokers in Queensland When selling your property, you do not get a second chance to make a first impression on prospective buyers. You want the people who drive up and inspect your home to think that it is a well-cared for and well-maintained home right from the start. To accomplish this goal, you need to make home improvements. Resort Brokers Australia says that small improvements can make a big difference to the overall appeal of a property. These home improvements can help you sell your house for top dollar.

Buff Up the Bathroom

One of the most important rooms to update in a home is the bathroom. Make a positive change to its overall appearance by installing simple accessories, such as a new pedestal sink or toilet seat. Another good suggestion would be to replace old, discoloured bathroom floor tiles with small pieces of vinyl sheets or easy-to-apply vinyl tiles.

Upgrade Your Storage

Old houses are particularly known for their lack of closet space. If you have a cramped storage area, add DIY wires and laminate closet systems to entry closets, pantries and bedrooms to create a functional closet. It will also give your home a customised look which will appeal to prospective buyers when you are ready to sell.

Spice Up Your Lights

Consider replacing any boring, recessed lights in your living and dining rooms with an eye-catching chandelier or light fixture. Nowadays, home stores are capable of offering a wide selection of nice-looking but reasonably priced ceiling fixtures. If you have a ceiling light and fan, consider updating its look by purchasing replacement fan blades.

Consider Curb Appeal

Before potential buyers can enter your home, the first thing they see is your front yard. To make a great first impression, put down fresh sod, replace old bushes with new ones and add some colour by planting potted flowers or flowerbeds.

These minor home improvements can make a big difference when done properly. You will be proud to showcase your home for selling when you know that every area is neat and beautiful.

Interior Decorating Ideas for a Mexican-Inspired Home

Mexican-Inspired Home

Mexican-Inspired HomeAre you reminiscing about a recent trip to Mexico? Do you want to pay homage to your Mexican heritage? Do you love the country’s laid-back and fun vibe? Bring Mexico right into your home with these simple, quick, and beautiful interior design ideas.

Bright Colors

Get as many bright hues as you can into your home. Start with your entrance, and buy doors painted in bright colors. Try a vivid red, deep blue or any shade that complements your home. You can also buy multi-colored tapestries to liven up a living room or bedroom.

Spanish Tiles

A Mexican-inspired home will never be one without using Spanish tiles. These tiles come with distinctive, intricate patterns and vivid colors. You can use them as kitchen backsplash, bathroom tiles, or detailing on exterior or interior flooring.


Create an Old-World-meets-New-World Mexican home with vintage accents for your living room. Try mixing antique knick-knacks, such as candelabras, silver or wooden crosses, chests and luggage (as coffee tables), and vibrant bowls.


Wooden elements create a beautiful contrast against the shiny Spanish tiles and strong solid colors found in your home. Complement brightly colored walls with wooden floors, or add wooden cabinetry for your tiled kitchen and bathroom.

Tropical Plants

Make your space feel airy and light with tropical plants, such as palm or orchids. Don’t have a green thumb? Try plants that are easy to maintain. Aloe is perfect for your Mexican-inspired home and peperomias can create a lively focal point.

Designed Windows

Mexican homes have unique windows: big, arched, and decorated with wrought iron grills. If you have a bigger budget, add some stained glass, too.


Bring warmth to your space with beautiful, ornate fabrics. You can hang them as curtains or as cover for your four-poster wooden bed. They also work as a striking addition to your sofa.

What better way to wake up each morning than to feel as though you’re always in Mexico. With a mix of complementary, bold colors and a few attractive pieces, your home will look and feel vibrant.