Many gardeners feel the subtle pings of disappointment when winter comes around. They put away shovel and spade and wait, as patiently as possible, for the ground to thaw. There are a hardy few, however, that manage to maintain at least a small garden all year round in their greenhouses.
A greenhouse will certainly allow folks in even the more harsh climates to practice their trade despite the chill of winter. Unfortunately, greenhouses cost money to build and to maintain; and even small greenhouses require at least a plot of land. Or do they?The Mini Greenhouse
That modern marvel, the mini greenhouse, may be the answer you’ve been searching for! Mini greenhouses are designed to hold just a few plants and can be put almost anywhere. Space is no longer an issue for people who want to have at least a couple of plants growing throughout the year.Mini greenhouses are as diverse in style and design as their larger counterparts. The smallest ones look like umbrellas, though taller and more conical. They are perfect for covering single plants and are very easy to use and put up. If you
Window treatments always spruce up a room’s interior design. They add a little style and décor to an otherwise drab area of the home. Windows aren’t typically exciting and they only provide one clear function: to let the light in. Not only does this look boring (unless you live in a very scenic area), it isn’t very energy efficient either. So no matter how much you like the view, it’s always important to invest in some kind of window covering.
Window coverings add elegance and privacy to a home, but they also create big energy savings. Just like bundling up the kids for school, your home wears its own layers: siding, insulation, drywall, etc. But since glass isn’t the best insulator and any opening can become drafty, windows are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, they need their own kind of layering: window treatments. During the winter, these decorative items also add an extra barrier of insulation to protect your home’s thermostat. And they can also help cut out the harsh summer sun, which prevents furniture fading and rising temperatures.
From the Inside Out
Like layering your clothes in
You can use potpourri, aerosol sprays, candles, and any other imaginable ploy to remove that basement odor, but these topical treatments will not remedy the culprit. The problem is mold. And while it is possible to cover up its smell, its health effects will linger around until the mold is removed.
Home Health and Basement Odor
Mold emits toxins that are not particularly deadly on their own, but that can become serious health risks if people are exposed to them for an extended period of time. Basements are always suspect because they are typically the dampest room in a house. These toxins can cause headaches, dizziness, lethargy and other neurological ailments. Mold and other organic toxins can be a compound problem in a damp home, and the possible health risks to young children with vulnerable immune systems is serious, not to mention a notable cause of childhood asthma.
House Mold and Mold Tests
If you suspect that house mold is building in your home, you need to execute mold tests in the areas that are suspect. The results of these
Throughout history a solarium has been an area of a home or building that’s focused on harnessing natural light, be it a rooftop terrace or a windowed castle tower. Conservatories were originally built into garden areas and were used as much as greenhouses as extensions of a home. Today, however, both terms are used interchangeably with “sunroom,” and all three refer to glassed in home additions that provide an open, light, and relaxing living space for homeowners to enjoy. If you’re interested in having a sunroom built onto your home, the first thing you need to do is get familiar with solarium and conservatory construction.
Where to Build: Solarium and Conservatory Construction is all about Location
For starters, you’ll need to decide where to build your new sunroom addition. Three main considerations need to be taken into account when it comes to solarium location:
- Find an appropriate access point to the home. Sunrooms are best when added onto well used, open spaces, since they add light and spaciousness to any adjoining areas. Kitchens are a natural fit, as are living, family, and dining rooms.
- Choose landscaped and garden areas. Feeling like you’re out in nature is one of the biggest assets of passing
Want to add some extra living space to your home —just reclaim that unused space outside. Outdoor rooms are becoming very popular and not just in warm weather climates. Homeowners are remodeling their decks and patios into small—and full-scale—outdoor kitchens, dining and entertaining areas. They’re even upgrading their electrical and plumbing systems to accommodate outdoor lighting and outdoor showers and sinks.
While building and buying the necessary parts of an outdoor living area isn’t as involved as adding a new room to your house, it does require a fair amount of planning. Before you can begin picking out appliances or tile, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want to use this room for? Cooking? Entertaining? Relaxing?
- What is my budget?
- Do I need to build overhead protection in the form of a shade, a pergola, or even extending the roof from the GAF certified roofers, Meredith home improvement?
- Will my plan require additional plumbing?
- Will my plan require additional electrical circuits?
- Will I need a building permit?
Entertaining: Outdoor Kitchens, Outdoor Dining
Even with a small budget you can create an enjoyable outdoor room for dining and entertaining. The obvious first step is to add a deck or patio in your yard. But
The idea that a natural setting is good for the body isn’t a new one. To quote a WebMD article, “A landmark study by Roger S. Ulrich, published in the April 27, 1984, issue of Science magazine, found strong evidence that nature helps heal. Ulrich, a pioneer in the field of therapeutic environments at Texas A&M University, found that patients recovering from gallbladder surgery who looked out at a view of trees had significantly shorter hospital stays, fewer complaints, and took less pain medication, than those who looked out at a brick wall.”
Since then, other studies by scientists worldwide have bolstered the theory that scenes of nature and being outdoors has a positive effect on our health. However, not every American has the time or means to hit the wilderness whenever he or she wants. For most of us, getting our recommended intake of nature needs to occur much closer to home.
Get your Nature any Way you Can
One of the best things about the healing power of nature is that you don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere to reap the benefits. Creating a small indoor garden or keeping houseplants can make getting your daily dose of
You’d be surprised how many homeowners are in the market for an outdoor shed. These beauties are perfect for rural, suburban, and urban settings alike and can house anything from wood piles to lawn mowers to much needed storage space. The trick when choosing the right wood shed for your property is figuring out what you need it for. Once you determine that, there are more designs to choose from than you can shake a stick at.
Outdoor Wood Shed Uses
As has already been mentioned, the key to choosing the right shed design is determining what you plan to use it for. An outdoor wood shed is easily adapted for just about any purpose. They can be primitive lean-to shelters, barn sheds for storing everything from garden tools to household spillover, garden sheds that are comfortable for everyday use, and they can even serve as a primitive guest house in the right situations. In the end, your outdoor shed style should be determined by what you plan to use it for and how much money you have to spend.
Outdoor Wood Shed Designs
Because homeowners have such different visions of what the function of their outdoor shed should be, there are
To the layperson, a yurt can best be described as a combination between a gazebo and a tent. To the historian, architect, or engineer, the yurt is an important architectural milestone originally designed by the Mongols for steppes housing in the severe climate of the Asian interior. A yurt is a round dwelling, held together at the eaves by a tension band. It has a cone shaped roof with a central compression ring skylight at the roof’s center. Sturdy, durable, earthquake resistant, it’s an excellent shelter against the bitter winds and freezing temperatures of the steppes, Rocky Mountains, or any other harsh climate. It’s the oldest form of prefab indigenous architecture still in use today.
Build a Yurt to Contemporary Standards
You can employ the elements of building a yurt without living like the Mongols of several centuries ago. The main advantages of yurt buildings are the openness and immense feeling of spaciousness, the circular design which promotes discussion and community, and the economical and environmentally-friendly living space. You can build a yurt in a large backyard as a great venue for entertaining or as a guest home. Yurt buildings are also an increasingly popular choice for summer and vacation homes.
If you haven’t said it yourself, you’ve probably heard somebody talk about it. The summer becomes a dreaded time of year when seatbelts get so hot they can hardly be touched. The winter is a disastrous morning waiting to happen when, already late for work, you have to spend ten minutes scraping the ice off your car. This isn’t about the seasons. It’s about not having proper car storage. A metal carport will change that. Just because you don’t have a garage, doesn’t mean you have to leave your vehicle to Mother Nature’s whim.
While carports are available in vinyl, wood, and aluminum, steel carports are the most popular and usually the most sensible. Steel is the cheapest and most durable option. It’s termite-proof and is generally unattractive to all pests. Steel carports are fire resistant and require virtually no maintenance.
Some homeowners choose a wood carport installation simply because it’s more attractive. This becomes a bigger consideration if the carport is located near your house and the steel clashes with your home’s appearance. On the other hand, if you’re ready to invest in a wood carport and have the space near your house, you might want to consider an
Additions to the home are a great way to increase its financial value, square footage, and overall potential. However, it’s sometimes not possible to add a room directly to the home due to foundation dilemmas, property line limitations, or other obstructions in your preexisting construction. But if you still want to add space to your house, it may be time to think about investing in outbuilding plans. A detached outdoor structure that still compliments your main house is sometimes the best way to create extra storage area and expand the usability of your land. However, before you jump in and begin building, it’s smart to first consult an expert and create some preliminary blueprints.
Most people associate outdoor structures with country life. And it’s true that many farms and ranches require several additional buildings around their property. Whether it’s a chicken coop, horse stable, or a barn for tractors and other implements, these exterior edifices are a valuable asset to most acreage. However, outdoor storage has become a necessity amongst many city dwellers as well. A lot of suburban houses have large yards that aren’t being put to good use, allowing valuable square footage to go to waste. Plus,
Storage sheds are an invaluable storage area for your home. Frequently, an outdoor storage shed can make the difference in having a garage where you can park your car. This doesn’t mean your storage shed has to be an eye sore in your yard either. A shed with good wood design and quality can fit in with the rest of your backyard. Size is entirely up to you, a smaller shed might be appropriate for your yard or a bigger shed will allow for all the storage you might need.
Steel v. Wood
As with many areas of home improvement, metal, mostly stainless steel, is becoming an alternative for wood projects. People choose steel sheds because they’re cheaper, easier to install, generally require less maintenance, and their construction creates larger clear spans for storing large items.
On the other hand, not many people like a metal building in their backyard and a basic wood shed is still reasonably priced and usually meets the needs of the typical homeowner. More recently, vinyl and vinyl-coated steel sheds have become available. If you’re looking for an extremely durable shed, but don’t like the look of a steel building this might be the shed for you.
For many homeowners, spring means it’s time to lace up the garden gloves and get to planting. For a select few, however, gardening is a year round endeavor. For these avid plant enthusiasts, a greenhouse is an absolute must. The addition of one of these structures is a relatively easy and straightforward home improvement project, and the hours of enjoyment you’ll experience throughout the year make it one investment that is well worth the money.
Location, Location, Location
If you’re entertaining how to build a greenhouse on your property, the first thing you need to evaluate is where you’re going to put it. Because a greenhouse is reliant on getting a steady stream of direct sunlight throughout the day, and year round, it pays to take the time to make sure you put it in the optimal spot on your property. As mentioned, direct sunlight, day in and day out, from January to December, is by far the most important factor. Don’t forget that the sun’s position in the sky changes season to season, so make sure you put your green house in a place where it will receive an equal amount of sunlight at Christmas as it does in the
While few would claim that moats are the new fences, homeowners and contractors alike are finding that old technology can fit pretty well into the modern world.
There’s a Yurt on My Property!
A traditional yurt is a circular, tent-like structure that has been around since the 1200s. Today, we’re seeing modern, more permanent structures that take their design from the ancient blueprints popping up in many areas of the country. Why would someone opt to build a yurt instead of a conventional structure? If you can imagine a dwelling that can be put up in weeks (or even days), has been proven effective in climates from desert to tundra, is extremely efficient to heat or cool, and according to Yurtinfo.org can often be constructed for between $5,000 and $20,000, and even less for more modest and common Yurts. It’s easy to see why some folks have decided to build a yurt as a guest house, vacation home, or even a permanent residence!
The Resurgence of the Log Home
Another incredibly old form of home building that has made a big comeback in modern America is the log home. According to Buildingsystems.com, there are “currently more than 500,000 modern log homes
If you’re looking for a classic combination of traditional interior design and effective, functional window coverings, look no further. The plantation shutter is one of the most proven window coverings you’re ever going to find. It provides privacy, protection, great looks, and convenient use, all rolled up into one. For rock solid performance and reliability, you can’t beat the shutter that inspired them all: the plantation shutter.
What Is a Plantation Shutter?
Conjure up visions of interior window shutters, and in all likelihood, that’s a plantation shutter you’re looking at. Their standard makeup consists of multiple rows of horizontal wood slats with a single vertical bar running down the center. The center bar is attached to the slats so that moving it up or down allows you to open or close the shutters for privacy, and adjust the amount of light you let into the room.
Benefits of the Plantation Shutter
Most homeowners choose to install these interior shutters because of their classic, traditional appearance. Plantation shutters offer a number of other benefits, however, that are often overlooked by homeowners shopping for quality window coverings.
- Interior Design— Contrary to window shades, blinds, and other window coverings, window shutters can be painted to
Though the person who’d prefer to live without windows is next to impossible to find, there are times when everybody needs a bit of shade or privacy. There are several products on the market that will perform this task. However, for appearance, function, or both, many homeowners agree that blinds are the best choice when it comes time to keep light out and the household’s goings on to itself.
Vinyl blinds are the new standard in the blind world. They are easy to clean, unaffected by moisture, and do a good job of blocking light. They are also the least expensive type of blind. Metal blinds in the past did the jobs that vinyl blinds now perform. Vinyl is an improvement on its metal predecessor as it won’t rust or cut fingers.Vinyl blinds are cost effective and come in a wide variety of styles including mini-blinds and vertical blinds. They aren’t as durable or visually appealing as some other choices, but, functionally, they are very sound.Fabric Blinds
Fabric blinds are most often vertical. They have a sleek and modern look that goes well in both home and office. Because of their vertical construction, fabric blinds are ideal for very
Wood blinds are some of the most attractive and effective window treatment options on the market. For starters, they create a natural, warm feeling in any room they are installed. Add to that their availability in a wide variety of styles, stains, colors, sizes and even materials, and its clear why they have become a favorite of homeowners and interior decorators alike.
The Natural Beauty of Wood
As mentioned before, the primary reason these blinds have become such popular window treatments is their looks. Their appearance creates a sincere and relaxing feel to any room and they look great from both inside and outside the home. They can be stained almost any color to match your pre-existing trim or furniture or they can be painted to complement your home’s general color schemes. And it’s all complemented by the comforting look of their strong wood grain and texture. They truly are one of the most beautiful and eye turning products on the market.
All Without Sacrificing Functionality
The benefits don’t stop with their good looks, however. These blinds are excellent insulators against heat and cold because of their solid wood construction. For the same reason, they provide your home with unrivaled privacy and
Insulating systems are designed to control moisture, reduce the movement of heat, and assure proper ventilation. Among the most important home insulators is attic insulation. Whether you choose to add a barrier of foam insulation, fiberglass insulation, or a spray foam insulation, attic insulation will do wonders in helping control long term energy costs. The trick is knowing how much attic insulation you need and what material you should use, rather than whether or not you need it.
Do You Have Proper Attic Insulation?
If you or your attic insulation contractor are looking around and see minimal insulation, you might want to consider how much energy is being lost for little reason. Take a look. The first thing to do is head up those attic stairs, or up the attic ladder, and see what’s up there. Do you see fiberglass strips between the rafters and joists? Is your attic finished, or are the rafters open and exposed? Is the ceiling finished or similarly open and exposed? Even if your attic does have insulation, what kind is it and how much is there? Equally important, does it look water damaged? If it does, it is causing more problems than it fixes?
A suspended ceiling is an excellent option for just about any room, though it is particularly well suited to basements and their particulars. If you’re currently remodeling your basement, or are just looking for a way to spruce things up, installing a suspended ceiling can work wonders.
Suspended Ceiling 101
These ceilings are the type of ceiling common in offices, schools, and other structures. It consists of a metal framework that hangs from the ceiling joists, and suspended ceiling tiles that conveniently fit into the framework. It’s so common in larger buildings because it provides a space for plumbing, electrical wiring, and ductwork between the tiles and the actual ceiling, which is precisely why it’s such an excellent ceiling solution for basements as well.
Cover up Ugly Pipes and Ductwork
One of the main challenges when it comes to a basement finishing project is how to work around the infrastructure of your home. Basement ceilings often harbor unattractive pipes, ductwork, and electrical wiring that you’ve got to find some way to work around. A suspended style ceiling is the answer. With a suspended design, you can install your ceiling below the line of pipes, wires and ductwork. And because suspended ceiling tile
Mold and mildew problems in your home are no laughing matter. For starters, mold is an indicator of another serious problem: excess moisture. Whether it’s a roof leak, poor attic ventilation, or moisture problems in other areas of the home (basements are common problem areas), excess moisture can cause a large array of building materials to warp, stain, crack, fail, and rot. Furthermore, once mold sets in, serious health concerns come into play. Exposure to black mold and mold spores can cause a handful of health problems, including respiratory problems, allergic reactions, skin, eye, and throat irritation, immune system diseases, and even cancer.
Hire a Mold Remediation Contractor
If you have a mold problem in your home, be it black mold, green mold, white mold, or any other color, your first step is to pick up the phone and call a mold remediation contractor. These specialists are licensed by the state you live in and educated in the safest, most efficient ways to eliminate mold from your home. Never try to tackle a mold problem by your lonesome. Mold remediation is a science, not a weekend home improvement project. Failure to call in the pros not only reduces your chances of