Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Welcoming 2019: ‘Bancha’ Green for the Home


Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

We can count the days of 2018 – the year is almost gone and hey has it been a whirlwind or what! Lots of amazing projects, trips, my new apartment, meeting cool people. But you know what: I am beyond excited to kick off 2019. Yes I know there is still Christmas coming and a few more days to New Year’s Eve. But my excitement grows with every day. Why? Because 2019 already bears the promise of adventures! To bid 2018 farewell and welcome a fresh new year I have decided to make a little change in my home. Last week I painted a part of my hallway wall in a deep, velvety green hue called ‘Bancha’ by Farrow & Ball. Why did I choose that color? Because 2019 will be a green year! And I can’t wait to tell you why – soon!

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

For quite a while I was envisioning a little change for this specific hallway corner. It is actually the brightest spot in the hallway as it gets some natural light through the kitchen door. Because of that I decided to put my vintage teak sideboard right there and hang the String Pocket shelf on the wall – for plants, crystals, ceramics. You know me! It looked nice but I felt all these little treasures deserved an even more exciting backdrop. I was basically just in time as Farrow & Ball recently launched a new collection of paints. And I quickly spotted a favorite hue among them: Bancha.

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha is a deep, velvety green. It is darker than the olive green hue and is also described as mid-century modern green – in a nutshell: it had my name written all over it. I imagined the dark green wall as a perfect background for the teak sideboard, the plants, the earthy ceramics. So the decision was quickly made – even though it took me a while to find time for painting and redecorating. But now that it is done, I am happy to share the result and some before and after shots with you.

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

With the help of my good friend Ben we repeated the painting pattern from my other rooms – a 5 cm rim from the edges sets the feature wall visually apart. Additionally, I decided to paint the little side wall on the left too for an alcove vibe. Two coats of paint and some drying time later, it was ready to be redecorated. The sideboard went back to its original place as did the String Pocket shelf. But then it was time to reshuffle and reorganize all the little decor items. An earthy mix of vintage ceramics, plants and crystals sets the tone against the ‘Bancha’ green backdrop. I really love how all the earthy elements perfectly match the deep green hue. And it is so amazing to observe the various shades of green depending on the light situation.

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Did you know that the name ‘Bancha’ is derived from Japanese tea leaves. After all, this color has a soothing, calming and comforting effect. Just like a cup of green tea. Here’s to more green adventures in 2019!

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

Bancha, Farrow and Ball, paint, green wall, urban jungle bloggers, hallway, interior styling, bohemian, boho interiors

This blog post has been brought to you in collaboration with Farrow & Ball. As always all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

The post Welcoming 2019: ‘Bancha’ Green for the Home appeared first on Happy Interior Blog.





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10 Benefits of Installing a Water Filtration System in Your Home


If you wish to take special precautions with the water you drink and use on a daily basis, then the water filtration system is your best bet.

According to research by the Water Quality Association, more than 4 out of 10 Americans use a home water treatment unit.

People all over the world spend billions of dollars each year on home water treatment systems because they care about their wellbeing.

What’s water filtration all about?

First, a water filtration system is a system that filters water to purify it. The water that is supplied by the public water provider in your state may or may not be safe for consumption.

t has chlorine added to it but it could still contain harmful contaminants picked on the way from the treatment plant to your home.

Having filters installed in your home is good because they work to purify the water further which means that the water you will have in your home will be clean and safe for drinking.

What are the benefits of installing a water filtration system in your home? Here we look at 10 of them.

1. Safe drinking water

When you drink water directly from your tap without having it filtered first, there are high chances that you’ll be taking in water that is unhealthy. Ideally, treated water should contain safe levels of chlorine and other chemicals used to treat water.

However, it’s not uncommon for the water to have high levels that are unsafe.

A home water filter will remove these high levels and ensure that the water you get in your home has the perfect levels of these water treatment chemicals.

Other contaminants like lead, bacteria, and others are all removed by the filters. The water that comes out of your taps is safe for consumption and will not cause any harmful effects to your health.

2. Tasty drinking water

Clean water is good for the human body. Since an adult’s body is made up of 70 to 80% water, according to HealthHub, it’s recommended enough of it would revitalize the body. But the water must not be tasty or unhealthy.

Contaminants tend to make the water taste and smell bad. Filtering the water and removing these contaminants will get rid of these contaminants and leave the water tasting and smelling great.

If you have noticed that your tap water has a weird taste or smell then you need to install filters.

Having tasty water coming from the taps in your home is encouraging and you will soon realize that everyone in the family is drinking more water.

Water is good for keeping the body well hydrated and this could even prevent problems associated with dehydration such as frequent headaches and kidney problems.

3. Healthier skin and hair

The water in your home is not just for drinking. It is also for bathing and personal hygiene. Hard water tends to dry out the skin and hair affecting the health of the body’s largest organ.

This is usually due to the high amounts of minerals in the water.

Having these removed using a filter will help you to have soft water that is safe for bathing. You will be able to get into the shower or tub without worrying about having dry skin or hair.

Your skin will be soft and smooth which is healthy and well, beautiful!

4. Prevent aggravation of skin conditions

If you already suffer from a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema, you need to ensure that it does not get any worse.

One way to do this is by using purified water that is gentle on the skin. Unfiltered water contains elements that irritate the skin worsening the condition.

If any member of your family has been diagnosed with a skin condition, you need to install a water filtration system soon.

5. Healthier and tastier food

Water is a major ingredient in the kitchen and is used in a wide variety of foods. Water is supposed to be a tasteless ingredient not adding any taste to your food. If it has minerals and other contaminants, it will surely add their taste to the food.

This may give the food an unpleasant taste. These contaminants also pose health risks to your family when taken in food.

Using filtered water to cook gives you tasty food that is healthy. You will have peace of mind knowing that the food you are eating is safe and so is the water you are drinking.

Stomachaches will be a thing of the past in your home so long as you maintain high standards of hygiene when preparing all foods.

6. Save on Soap

Get an advanced water filter and it will not only filter and purify your water but also soften it. As you know, soft water uses less soap to wash.

Whether it is the dishes or laundry, using less soap means you will save on the money used to buy soap. With just a little soap you can get a lot of cleaning done.

This may not seem like significant savings but with time you will notice just how helpful these savings are to your budget.

Cleaning with hard water usually leads to the formation of scum that rests on clothes and dishes. This will decolorize the utensils and clothes over time making them look ugly and may even render some of them unusable.

On the contrary, filtered water has the opposite effects.

It leaves dishes and clothes sparkling clean without any stains whatsoever. You can have confidence using this water knowing that your clothes and dishes will be clean and smell fresh at all times.

7. Cheaper than Bottled Water

Some people do not like drinking tap water and opt to buy bottled water. Buying bottled water year-in year-out can be very expensive.

A good example is to look at a home with four members each taking around 7 ounces of water per day. With a 24 bottles water pack costing $5, the annual expenditure on water is $700 per year.

This is very expensive comparing to the installation of water filters which will cost around $400 and thereafter annual purchase of a new filter will cost around 65. Which is more cost effective?

You do the calculations and make the right choice today.

8. Extended lifespan of plumbing fixtures and cheap maintenance

Chemicals contained in the water are not only harmful to you but your pipes and other plumbing fixtures as well.

Iron causes the fixtures to rust while other metals cause scaling and other forms of damage like erosion to the pipes.

It’s not only the pipes that are affected by the minerals but also other plumbing fixtures and equipment including your dishwasher, washing machine, water dispenser, toilets, bathtubs, and showerheads.

These can be clogged with scale from hard water and this can prevent effective water flow which usually necessitates replacement of the part. Using filtered water in your home will keep the pipes and fixtures safe from any damage that may be caused by hard water or any contaminants in the water.

This causes the pipes to last a long time and the need for repairs is reduced. Since plumbing repairs can be expensive when done often, not having to do this will save you money in the long run.

9. Ensures your water is always safe and toxic-free

Water coming directly from the treatment plant to your house can be affected on the way. There may be a pipe burst that leads to the water being contaminated with dirt, other contaminants, and even the sewerage.

It might take awhile before the water supplier notices this and takes action and you may have already used the dirty water which will definitely make you sick.

Having a water filtration system in your home will keep you safe even when this happens.

The water will not come directly to your taps but it will be filtered first so it is clean. So, even when dirty water makes its way to your house, it will not get to your family members in that way. You will always have clean water to use.

10. It’s good for the environment

Clean and healthy water if life to living organisms including man. It impacts plants and animals.

One of the most common alternatives to having a water filtration system is buying bottled water. We all know that plastic is not good for the environment yet this is what is used to pack this water.

There is always the option of recycling but only a few bottles are recycled every year. What happens to the rest that’s not recycled?

They make their way to landfills from where they eventually get into rivers and other water bodies. Plastic bottles affect the life of aquatic creatures and those that live on land equally.

They are a menace whose solution is simply not using them. A good alternative is installing a water filtration system in your home. For this, you do not need to use any plastic and the environment can remain safe.

Conclusion

Having a water filtration system in your home is a great choice. With it, you will have safe drinking water which has so many benefits.



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summer home and garden

5 Summer Jobs To Get Done Around The Home And Garden


Summer is the perfect time to be working on your home and garden, and rightly so. Whether it’s a significant renovation project, a minor task, or something that you’ve had on the back burner — summer gives you the opportunity to get back on track.

After all, the prolonged daylight will allow you to work extended hours and accomplish more. Although spring has been known as the ‘home renovation and building’ season, summer tends to be more favorable for homeowners. And that’s because, during summer, people don’t have to worry about snow, rain, strong winds, etc.

That said, here are five summer jobs to get done around the home and garden.

Clean or repair windows and gutters

Windows are an essential part of the house. Not only do they keep your home safe and secure, but they also make it energy-efficient. But over time, these things go through a lot like dust, dirt, oxidation, and other corrosive substances. Wear and tear are normal, however, cleaning your windows will help extend their lifespans and your energy bills lower.

Admittedly, gutters are also often overlooked when it comes to house maintenance. But what many don’t realize is that malfunctioning or clogged gutters can actually cause severe damage to a house. Gutters defend your home from running water, so if they’re not functioning well like they’re supposed to, it’s very likely that water will seep into your home.

Window cleaning can be an easy DIY project, but you may also want to hire a professional at least once or twice a year. You can also clean your house’s gutters yourself but be aware that working on the roof can be extremely dangerous. You might as well leave the gutters to a professional.

Consider installing artificial grass

Artificial grass can be beautiful and, in a way, it shows your love for your garden. After all, as far as inspirational garden quotes go, Gertrude Jekyll once said — “The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.”

For sure, people take pride in their green and healthy lawns. However, maintaining a garden is not an easy thing to do. Unless you are willing to spend money to have someone take care of your lawn, you’ll have to break a lot of sweat and put a lot of time into it.

If you are stuck between keeping your green lawn but don’t have the luxury of time to maintain it, you might want to consider installing artificial grass instead. It’s very easy to do so, and synthetic turf does a great job of keeping your lawn aesthetically pleasing under any kind of weather.

Besides, artificial grass is actually considered to be one of the methods to improve your garden the eco-friendly way. Pretty much, artificial turf can do most things that natural grass can, only better.

Attract wildlife into your garden

Having a garden is one way to live a green life but attracting wildlife into it takes it to the next level. Creating a wildlife garden provides many benefits that everyone needs to be aware of. At the same time, anyone will agree that a wildlife garden is a decoration project that will surely give your garden the extra flare.

Gardens that are able to attract wildlife make use of native plants. Since native plants are well-adapted to the growing conditions of the area, it’s implausible that you’ll have problems with pests and diseases. The result? You won’t have to use chemicals like pesticides and insecticides which is a good thing for the environment.

A butterfly garden, for instance, will be an excellent garden project this summer. Contrary to what many think, inviting these magnificent winged creatures into your garden is not very difficult at all. Start by knowing which butterflies are native to your area and grow the plants that they love. This, together with plenty of sunlight, should be enough to start attracting the first batches of guests into your garden.

Check on your air-conditioner

Everyone is not doing justice to their air conditioning units if they say that it’s not their most favorite appliance during summer. After all, it keeps you fresh and comfy especially when the sun outside is just too much to handle. That is why it only makes sense that your AC unit is in excellent shape to be able to serve you well.

Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t take notice of their air conditioners until they stop working — big mistake. You see, making sure that your AC gets some attention and regular maintenance is one way to make it last longer. As a bonus, it prevents you from having to hire a professional for repairs or buy a new unit altogether.

Here are a few things that you should do:

  • Take out and clean the air filter on your air conditioner (or call an HVAC installation specialist). Keep in mind, however, that some models have filters which are meant to be disposed of after some time. Your best bet is to check the instructions manual to know if it can be cleaned or not.
  • Regularly check your AC to make sure that its condensation hose is not clogged up.
  • Prevent the growth of mold and algae near your AC unit by removing the water near the condensation line drains.
  • If the cost of repairing your old AC unit is more than 50% of the price for getting a new one installed, it’s better to go with a new unit.

Remodel your kitchen

Obviously, summer is also the perfect time to cook and eat outside. You won’t be using your kitchen as much during this time because that’s what barbecues are for. This being the case, it presents the perfect opportunity to think about kitchen upgrades or better yet, remodel the whole kitchen.

Doing so will not only improve its aesthetics and efficiency, but it will also increase the overall value of your home should you plan to sell it in the future. If you are a little short on budget for a major kitchen upgrade, don’t worry. You can start with small jobs that cost very little to nothing, taking it one step at a time.

Instead of replacing your kitchen drawers, consider painting them especially if they’re still in excellent condition. If it has been a while since the last time you decluttered your kitchen space, now is the time to do so. You’ll be surprised at how even something as simple as this can go a long way.

Though, the drawback of remodelling your kitchen (or any part of a structure for that matter) is the clean-up that’s required right after it. A kitchen can, after all, get pretty messy in places you can and cannot reach.

You have options, though. You can do it yourself and invite your friends to share in the activity, or you may decide if you want to use grab or skip hire to clean up the mess. It is not as important on which options you choose, as it is imperative that it is tidied up afterwards!

See it through!

Summer or not, there are many home and garden improvement projects that you can do. It all boils down to whether or not you have the resources to start and finish the job. However, there are many advantages in working over the duration of summer.

For starters, family members can easily help you with DIY projects since they have lighter schedules (school vacation for kids). It also helps that there’s less disturbance while you do your thing if the other family members are on vacation somewhere.

If you are unsure of where to start, you can just walk around and inspect each area of the house. Pretty much, you would be able to find something that needs some fixing or replacing.

The post 5 Summer Jobs To Get Done Around The Home And Garden appeared first on Primetime.



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sell your home

Must Do Jobs When Getting Ready To Sell Your Home


Buying a house is generally one of the most significant investments any family will make. Once a family outgrows their home, they would have the option to either build extensions to add more living space or look to sell the house and move to a different neighborhood.

In this scenario it really does depend on the family’s needs, maybe the kids are off to college or have their own lives, and the parents want to buy a cozier house that they can manage better or maybe one of those futuristic houses for a nice change.

Selling the house becomes an option, and the idea of a considerable influx of cash is pleasant to think about. Whatever the case may be it is only natural that the family would want a good return on their real estate investment. There are several methods to ensure that the sale of the property goes smoothly and sells for top dollar.  

Prepare Funds

Granted that the reason you want to sell your house is to make some money and you will once the sale is completed. However before that takes place, you still need to prepare some funds to make that happen.

The old adage that you need to spend money to make money is even more true in the real estate business. Prepare enough money to pay for any repairs that need to be made to the home.

Funds for any other marketing you want to do to help sell the home faster personally. Then last but not least make yourself aware of the closing fees for the sale of your home and any realtor fees as well.

Hire an effective realtor

Once a family embarks on selling their home, hiring a realtor becomes an undeniable fact. An active realtor can make the process of selling a house almost painless.

Realtors provide professional guidance on real estate matters that families may not be aware of.

If you personally worked as a realtor in the past and have extensive experience in selling a home, then you may attempt to do a FSBO(For Sale By Owner).

If you haven’t worked in the real estate industry then hiring a competent realtor is advisable. Before finalizing your decision to do a FSBO, consider the benefits of hiring a realtor.

Realtors work with a vast network of other realtors and investors as well. Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Where do serious buyers go to search for a property? Some would look online sure, but then some might just be a window shopper.

Most serious buyers would call their local realtor and ask to be shown homes that fit their criteria. The key factor in choosing a competent realtor is through proper research and past results.

If you decide to hire a newbie realtor because they’re related to you, then you might be buying more frustrations than results.

Select a realtor that is an expert in their field and comes recommended by neighbors and satisfied clients. Read community newspapers and client reviews posted on websites or maybe even Facebook.  

Make Repairs

Let’s face it, a wise buyer would be willing to pay top dollar for properties that don’t require any repairs. Contact a chartered surveyor to perform a house survey and prepare a report on what repairs need to be done to the home.

If there are elements in the house that needs to be fixed up, then they may submit an offer that is on par to the appearance of the property.

Homeowners looking to sell their house at the maximum price range need to invest in making the necessary repairs to the property. It won’t break the bank to get your home looking like a million dollars. You can even D.I.Y it or hire some help.

The cost would depend on the extent of any damages or fixtures that need replacing. If the inner walls of the house look old or worn down, throw a fresh coat of paint on. Choose neutral colors to make space seem more substantial and cooler colors are more inviting for buyers.

Apply new caulking to all the windows. If the bathroom caulking looks old, then apply caulking to the bathroom tiles as well. It is a fantastic technique to make your bathrooms look new. Repair any cracks in the drywall.

Fix leaky faucets or if they look worn, replace them with new stainless steel faucets. The same goes for the carpeting throughout the house. If the carpet looks old and cannot be salvaged with a good steam cleaning then replace the carpeting in the house.

Changing the carpet and advertising that fact to the buyers is a plus on all fronts. Lastly, make sure to replace worn out light switched and change any burned out light bulbs.

Replacing and upgrading the necessary fixtures inside the house will make the property much more attractive to potential buyers.

Declutter

Since your family is most likely to be still living in the house until it is sold, you need to do your part to keep the house show ready. Buyers don’t need to get distracted by all your family photos and personal memorabilia.

It is best to pack up all your personal decorations and keep them in a storage unit. When staging a property to sell, the old saying that less is more is definitely much more appealing than a space that is cramped with personal memorabilia.

Give the buyers a blank canvas wherein they can imagine their own personal belongings in that same space. When clearing the house of personal decorations, make sure to include any boxes or clutter stored in closets.

When buyers look through a house they are interested in buying, no space is left unturned, so it is vital that every inch seems presentable. Clear kitchen counters as well as bathroom counters of any personal knick-knacks.

There will be a need to deep clean the house, and if you are not sure how to clean the house before moving out, you can look up in-depth guides online.

Keeping the house clean is also a top priority when hosting open houses or during showings of the home. Keep a steam cleaner or vacuum handy for quick cleaning once you get the notice from your realtor for a scheduled show of the property.

Enhance Curb Appeal

Buyers, in general, are discerning by nature, even more so when they are buying a whole house. In this regard, home buyers are somewhat superficial.

If the house does not look good from the street, then almost no one would want to take a look inside to see what the house has to offer.

However if the house looks like a well kept, inviting home that any buyer would be proud to own then you can bet that there will be interested buyers lining up to take a look inside the house. There quite a few methods to instantly enhance your home’s curb appeal.

Start at the main entrance to the house, the front door. Paint the front door if it needs it or if you have the funds replace the front door to a trendy new steel door.

Changing the front door is one of the best investments when renovating a home which can give a substantial return on your investment.

Make your walkway and driveway attractive by planting colorful plants and flowers. You can also install window boxes and plant a magnificent arrangement of flowers to impress any passerby.

If the external sections of the house have not been cleaned for a long time, use a pressure washer and hose down and build up of dirt or grime on the sidings of the house. The outdoor air-conditioning unit which houses the condenser needs to be cleaned.

Call an HVAC technician to service your HVAC system and have it cleaned or D.I.Y it. Keep your lawn and backyard looking pristine to make an excellent first impression to prospective buyers.  

Stunning Property Photos

If your realtor offers to take the pictures of your property themselves, you can certainly consider it but try taking pictures of your home yourself as well. Most likely you would know the perfect angles to capture the unique features of your property.

In case you have the budget hire a professional photographer to take the pictures that will be used for the listing of your property in the MLS(Multiple Listing Service) or on Zillow and any other real estate websites which your realtor will use.

Some realtors include this professional photography services in their real estate services for you. There is also real estate photography companies that can create virtual tours of your home. Great tool to target prospective buyers currently living in another location but looking to move to your area.  

Create a Plan for Showtime

During the time your house is for sale, your realtor will be meeting with potential buyers that would want to see the house. Let your realtor know that you would want a notice of 1-3 hours or even 24 hours to prepare your home adequately.

Creating a detailed plan which must be executed by the whole family is critical to prepare your property for showing easily.

There should be a family member that would be in charge of clearing the bathroom counter of personal effects, then another one assigned to vacuum and so on. Family teamwork where everyone pitches in is vital so parents won’t get too stressed out.

Price it right

If you price your property too high then you may be sitting on the sale for a long time. Price the house to sell. Your real estate broker should have generated a price for you based on a C.M.A (Comparative Market Analysis).

They will also give you their B.P.O(Broker’s Price Opinion). Homeowners can also have the house appraised by a licensed appraiser as well. The final say in pricing the home falls to you the homeowner.

Study the prices of comparable properties in your area, and if your home has more land or square footage plus more rooms or bathrooms, these are all factors in setting the right price for your home.

Conclusion:

Selling your home is one of the largest sales homeowners will ever make. Prepare adequate funds to sell your property. Contact a chartered surveyor and allow the professional to advise you about what repairs need to be made to your home.

Make the repairs, enhance your property’s curb appeal. Contact realtors and interview them and only contract a competent realtor. Take amazing pictures of your property to help market your property well.

Create a showing plan for the family to follow and price your house to sell. Completing these jobs to sell your home will allow you to make a more significant profit and make the sale go more smoothly.

 

The post Must Do Jobs When Getting Ready To Sell Your Home appeared first on Primetime.



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modern living room with smart home technology

DIY Home Automation Ideas From the Pros


For years, Hollywood films and television shows have imagined what the future of smart homes might look like. From the Jetsons, Back to the Future, and Wall-E, we’ve been fascinated by what the possibilities of technology, imagination and our ability to push the limits of human laziness could bring.

In 2017, we’re way past imagination. And with the combination of high-speed Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and the internet of things (IoT), you can live in a version that world, today.

The ultimate smart home optimizes our lives for comfort, convenience, and pleasure. It’s designed to make you feel like you’re floating through life with as little friction as possible. Not to mention, saving you time, energy, effort, and maybe even money in the long run.

And just for kicks, a few features to make your friends and family say “wow” at every turn.

But we don’t just want to imagine it, we’re going to show you how to build it. We’ll cover the essential smart home devices, useful apps and accessories, features to consider, and how to deck out each room for maximum comfort and convenience.

Step One: Selecting the Brain of Your Smart Home

One of the biggest challenges of building a smart home is keeping track of all of its elements. From the light switches, to the coffee pot, to turning on your holiday lights, to your home entertainment center, controlling each device through a separate app could be more of a hassle than it is useful.

That’s where the smart home automation hub comes in.

As described by PCMag’s Alex Colon, “Smart home automation hubs are a one-stop solution for unifying your connected gadgets and controlling them from one simple app.”

smart home brain google home mini

When it comes to choosing your automation hub, the choices are varied. Some of the best options on the market are the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Wink Hub 2, and Samsung SmartThings Hub. One of the perks being that all hubs come with an app that helps you connect the smart, Wi-Fi or bluetooth enabled devices in your home — all in one centralized place.

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home are voice activated and come with built-in speaker systems adding to their convenience, and serving as a constant reminder that we’ve  invited the robots into our homes.

However, not all hubs work with all devices, and not all devices are entirely compatible with one another. Although the hope is that one day they will be.

Step Two: Establish a Seamless Automated Experience

Having a strong and seamless internet connection throughout your home will be helpful with all these Wi-Fi connected products and appliances in your home. To help, you might want to consider something like the Eero Mesh Router System — especially if you have a larger home with multiple rooms.

”Mesh networks solve a particular problem: covering a relatively large area, more than about 1,000 square feet on a single floor, or a multi-floor dwelling or office, especially where there’s no ethernet already present to allow easier wired connections of non-mesh Wi-Fi routers and wireless access points,” says TechHive’s, Glenn Fleishman.

This will help alleviate the lag time that makes you feel like you could’ve just flip the lights on yourself in less time.

In addition, you’ll definitely want to sign up for IFTTT. IFTTT stands for “If This Then That”. IFTTT lets you create a series of applets or “recipes” that connect your services and devices to create automated experiences.

For example, if you have a Nest thermostat and Wink compatible lighting or door locks, you can create an IFTTT recipe that locks your doors and turns off the lights when your Nest is set to “away” mode.

Boom! You’re one step closer to living in the future.

Finally, you should probably definitely have a smartphone if you don’t already. Who are we kidding? There’s about a 53% chance you’re reading this on your phone anyways.

Step Three: Automating the Ambiance, Atmosphere, Energy, and Surveillance

Lighting

One of the most basic smart home features you can set up in your home is the lighting. It’s a feature that you’ll use everyday — and an easy one to show off when your friends or family drop by.

To get started, pick up a set of Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs. You can use these bulbs to set the mood for the evening, time your lights to turn on when you get home, and much more. The Hue White Starter kit comes with a bridge (which you’ll need to connect to the app), and four bulbs that you can connect to different rooms in your home.

You can also add automated features to your home’s natural lighting with smart shades and blinds. First you will need to decide between motorized and retrofit shades. As CNET’s David Priest explains, ”Motorized shades are expensive but they’re also self-contained, reliable and more likely to cooperate with other smart home tech.” Retrofit devices on the other hand are cheaper, and “usually work as simple app-connected motors that you can feed certain blind strings into to make the blinds “smart.”

bright smart home room

There are plenty of brands to choose from, too. Most of the major developers products will integrate with a smart hub of your choosing, but some will only work with proprietary systems. That’s worth factoring in if you’d like your hub to be a one-stop shop for all of your devices.

Naturally moderating your home’s temperature (and reducing your utility bill) by syncing it with Nest is a compelling feature. Being able to automate the opening and closing of your blinds like you’re living in a swanky Las Vegas hotel is just a bonus.

Temperature Control

Once you have your lighting system all set up, you’re going to want to regulate the temperature in your home. As we mentioned, the Nest Learning Thermostat is a great product for that.

Not only does the product look sleek, but it’s smart, too. Within a week’s time, it will automatically program itself based your temperature preferences. For example, Nest will learn to power down when you’re away to avoid heating or cooling an empty house, ultimately save you money.

And like many smart home technologies, you can control it from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet.

Security and Surveillance

Now that you’re capable of managing your home while you’re away, let’s get you set up with monitoring it. There are numerous ways to protect and secure your home providing you peace of mind just a few touches away.

With Ring, you can monitor your home from any internet-connected device. Their video-enabled doorbells, let you see, hear or speak to anyone on the premises of your home. When integrating Ring with IFTTT, you can automate sequences to provide additional security. For example, toggling the lights on your Ring Security cam when motion is detected at the door.

Other smart home technologies with home security benefits like SimpliSafe provide features like 24/7 professional monitoring and police dispatch — all fully controllable from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Cleaning

With a safe and secure, energy saving, adequately (and elegantly) lit home in the works, it only makes sense that you’ll want to keep it clean.

Smart home tech like the Roomba have been around since 2002 so it only makes sense to include a robot vacuum to keep your place tidy.

Robot vacuums have come a long way according to Consumer Reports review. The technology has only gotten better and more affordable. Depending on which product you select, you can set, schedule, start or pause a cleaning cycle right from your phone.

What’s more, this technology isn’t just for indoors either. With set-it-and-forget-it enabled technology, you can knock out your Sunday outdoor chores (like lawn mowing , power washing, and gutter cleaning) at the push of a button with robotic lawn mowers. As per Husqvarna, “Robotic lawn mowers aren’t just for tech geeks anymore – they’re for anybody who needs a little extra time on the weekend.”

And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention smart sprinkler systems that let you care for your freshly cut lawn from anywhere in the world.

Step Four: Putting the Finishing Touches on Your Smart Home — Room by Room

Now that you’ve got the foundational elements of your smart home all set up, let’s walk through some fun (albeit functional) accessories, appliances, and furniture for your smart home — room by room.

Bedroom

According to the National Sleep Foundation, regulating room temperature and sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillows can significantly contribute to a good night sleep. And a good night’s rest naturally leads to a higher quality of life, right?

The Sleep Number Bed is one of the best beds to serve that purpose. With it’s SleepIQ technology, it measures your breathing, heart rate, and automatically adjust to your movement while you sleep. The corresponding app will give you a sleep score to help you evaluate what changes you need to make in your sleep routine for a better night’s rest.

Bathroom

Showering is one of the more wasteful and inefficient activities we do in our homes. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the average American shower uses about 17 gallons of water and lasts about 8 minutes.

EvaDrop, the first smart shower and claims to save up to 50% of your water with its smart design. With the EvaDrop app, you can program a desired temperature before hand, saving water before you get in the shower, and even set a timer for the duration of your shower to keep you on track.

Kitchen / Dining Room

A 2015 study of household activities revealed that women and men spent 37% and 15% of time at home on food and drink preparation and kitchen and food clean-up. It goes without saying that we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

white kitchen with smart appliances

Outfitting your kitchen with smart or Wi-Fi-connected appliances can make that time more efficient and enjoyable.

For starters, you may want to pick up a Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew. You can start brewing a fresh cup of coffee before you get out of bed or schedule a pot the night before by powering your coffee maker with a WeMo smart plug and corresponding app.

For the other major kitchen appliances, you may want to consider LG’s series of smart, connected appliances, especially if you like consistency across your home appliances.

You can preheat your oven from the living room, check your dishwashing cycle without lifting a finger, or set your fridge to “vacation mode” when you’re away to save on energy costs. Each appliance is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Home, for the added benefit of the hands free assistance that’s always useful in the kitchen.

Living Room / Family Room

According to Nielsen’s national TV panel, about 29% of U.S. television homes have an enabled Smart TV. For your smart home, you have plenty of quality options to choose from.

Simply connect to the internet, log-in to your streaming service, and you should be all set.

If you want to add some truly high-quality sound to your tunes, TV, or movie experience, you might want to look into a Wi-Fi or bluetooth supported speaker system.

Being able to adjust the volume because you can’t find the remote is a thing of the past given our phones are almost always within arms reach.

amazon echo diy home automation with alexa

Laundry Room

The laundry room has traditionally been a pretty low-tech space in the house. There aren’t too many significant smart automations to the process of washing and drying clothes, but convenience and efficiency have gotten upgrades.

Wi-Fi connected appliances like GE’s Connected Washer and Dryer, or Whirlpool’s Wi-Fi appliances can tell you when a load is done for maximum timing and efficiency.

You can even integrate your washer and dryer with Nest to make energy efficient choices when you’re away.

And when you run out of detergent, fabric softener or lint filters, Amazon’s Dash Button has you covered. Simply connect it to your Amazon Prime account and re-order what you’ve just run out of with a click.

Ready to tackle DIY Home Automation for yourself?

We’d love to hear from you.

The post DIY Home Automation Ideas From the Pros appeared first on Primetime.



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HOW TO WINTERIZE YOUR HOME

Winterizing Your Home: DIY Tips for Plumbing, Windows, and Pipes


If you’re looking for tips on winterizing your home windows or winterizing your entire home, you’ll find what you need in this comprehensive guide. The materials needed to winterize a house can be found at a hardware store, and some winterizing services will require a professional. Our goal is to help you keep your home warm and comfortable all winter long. Let’s get started.

How to Winterize Your Home

Air Conditioning System

air conditioner ready for winter

Winterizing your home involves protecting your condensing unit against the winter. Condensing units collects debris and dirt from the summer and fall. Here’s what to do:

Protect the Condensing Unit

  • Clean the condensing unit using a water hose. Set the spray head to the highest pressure to wipe off any dirt from the fan blades and condensing coils.
  • Condensing units are made to endure all seasons, so contrary to popular belief, they don’t need to be covered. All you need to do is cover the fan guard (the top) to protect it from falling icicles. You can use a piece of plywood and hold it down with a few bricks.

Covering the entire condensing unit can cause it to rust, and also welcomes rodents in that are searching for somewhere warm to stay. These rodents can destroy the compressor wiring and insulation.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

ceiling fan in reverse for winter

Did you know you can turn on your fan on during the winter to keep your house warm? Reversing your ceiling fans, and setting the speed at low will produce a gentle updraft, which pushes the heat down instead of up.

Locate the direction switch in your ceiling fan, and then flip the switch. Turn on the ceiling fan, and you’ll notice the blades will start moving in the opposite direction.

Winterize Your Gutters, Clean Downspout and Check Roof

get gutters ready for winter

On your winterizing checklist should be cleaning gutters and downspouts. However, this job requires a lot more work. When you don’t clean your gutters and downspout, leaves and debris build up inside. They freeze and create ice dams. This can prevent your drainage systems from working properly. Home winterization companies that specialize in gutter and downspout cleaning can help you with this messy and time-consuming job.

Roof

The Center for Disease and Control Prevention website advises to:

  • Check for missing or damaged shingles, or and have them replaced to avoid leaks.
  • They also advise you cut away tree branches that can fall on your home during a storm.

Doors and Windows

winterize your doors

Winterizing home windows and doors is probably the most critical when it comes to lowering your utility bill. To make sure doors and windows are airtight during the winter, here are a few things you can do:

Doors

  • Cover openings with weatherstrips that are placed around entry doors. Among some are foam flanged or vinyl bulb.
  • You can also use a door sweep to seal the bottom of the door. You can find all of these items at a hardware store.

Windows

how to get old windows ready for winter

“You can improve the energy efficiency of existing windows by adding storm windows, caulking and weatherstripping, and using window treatments or coverings,” according to the Energy.gov website.

If your window panes and storm windows have major cracks they should no doubt be replaced. If you are dealing with cold drafts seeping in along the edges of your windows you can easily fix the problem.:

  • Insulating window film. These come in kits and cost between $10-$20.
  • Weatherstrips to close any openings along the edges.  
  • Caulking along the gaps of your windows will also help stop cold air leaks from entering.
  • Another option and the most conventional method is using plastic sheeting. You can use plastic sheeting in addition to window film for best results. A good way to put up this plastic is by using double-sided 3m tape, stretching the plastic and using a blow dryer to seal them shut.
  • Putting up thick drapery will improve the energy efficiency of your home. On sunny days, open your blinds or drapes to allow the sun to come in. This helps warm up any home.
  • But, having your windows cleaned professionally will produce the best results. Make sure your windows are cleaned properly by professional window cleaners with the right equipment. Climbing very high ladders can be dangerous. Prime Time Window Cleaning has a $40 off coupon for window washing services for your home.

Wood Burning Fireplace and Chimney

getting your fireplace ready for winter

Before you light up your fireplace, make sure that it is clean and ready to use. The National Fire Protection Association, (NFPA) says that “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.”

  • Clean up the fireplace especially if it’s been more than two years. It’s recommended you hire someone to clean it.
  • Look for any open mortar joints and cracks in the brick and have them repaired. Fire can spread through the openings into the stud walls which can cause a fire.
  • Another thing you can use is a fireplace insert insulation. They are easy to install.  Just make sure you remove it before starting a fire.

Heating System

thermostat for winter

CC Image courtesy of larsjuh on Flickr

There are a few basic things you can do to make sure your home will be heated properly for the winter.

Test Thermostat

  • Turn the thermostat on and set it about 80 or 90 degrees. If you hear the furnace kick in, it means your heat is running properly. Depending on what’s wrong, you may be able to fix it yourself, (if you know what the problem is) or you may need to call a qualified service technician.

Inspect the Furnace

  • You should also hire a technician to do a seasonal check up on your furnace. This is something you can also do yourself. The energy.org website offers additional tips on properly maintaining your furnace and boiler.

Replace the Airfilter

Replace the air filter every 90 days. Sooner than 90 days if you have pets. A good idea is to buy these in packs and have them stored in your basement all year round.

Insulate the Hot Water Tank

  • Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket. You can find these at hardware stores.

Inspect the Heating Vents

  • So that air flows freely through the vents, have a service technician come in and clean them every two years. Over time, heating vents can create build up from particles carried through the air.

Winterize Your Landscape and Outdoor Gear

aerate your lawn for winter

Remove any debris from your lawn. If you’ve noticed that the turf grass is not looking very good, or that water does not penetrate into your lawn, you should consider aerating your lawn. After this is done, you should applying fertilizer. This should ideally be done early fall.

Aerate and Fertilizing the Lawn

  • Water your lawn one or two days prior, or wait for a heavy rainfall.
  • Poke holes with a garden fork or a special aerator.
  • Use sand or peat moss to seat the holes. You can use a brush for this. This process prevents the holes from closing up, but still allowing air and water to pass freely into the root zone.
  • Apply fertilizer.

Protect Patio Furniture

  • Make sure you cover patio furniture with a waterproof material made of polyester.

Clean and Drain Lawn Mower

  • Clean the deck of your lawn mower to prevent rust and corrosion. You can do this with a water hose and a towel.
  • Stabilize the fuel. You can use a turkey baster or siphon to remove a lot of fuel left over, and use it for your car.

Drain Water Fountains and Hoses

  • Drain any water fountains to prevent them from freezing.
  • Drain, and store hoses.
  • Close the inside valves inside your home connected to the hose bibs outside, and open the outside hose bibs and let the water drain. Not doing so can cause the pipe to break.
  • If you have a pool, make sure you drain the water to avoid damage.

Winterizing Pipes and Plumbing

keep pipe from freezing in winter

As you ready your house for the colder months ahead, don’t forget about your water system.Look at the pipes in your home as you check off your winterizing checklist.

  • The American Red Cross advises that areas like basements, attics and crawl spaces where pipes are exposed, should be insulated.
  • Opening your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let heat flow in.
  • Let the water drip on severely cold nights.
  • Set the temperature to be the same in the day and at night
  • Leave the heat on to at least 50 degrees if you will be going on vacation.

Additional Tips For Winterizing Your Home

The energy.gov website offers additional many tips on how you can insulate your home for the Winter and save on energy costs too:

  • Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates with inexpensive foam sealing gasket.
  • For energy efficiency, set your refrigerator at 36 to 38 degrees F and the freezer at 0 to 5 degrees F. Setting your appliances any colder than this wastes energy.

Wrapping Things Up

Following these tips will ensure you that you stay warm, and comfortable during the cold months ahead. And don’t forget that home winterizing doesn’t have to be a burden. Many home winterizing companies are running deals and coupons to get your home ready for winter right now and offer quotes over the phone or online. Winterizing may take that extra effort, but in the long-run, you can save a lot of money and time when you invest in taking care of your home.

Note: Primetimewindowcleaning.com has been named a top 100 blog!

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The post Winterizing Your Home: DIY Tips for Plumbing, Windows, and Pipes appeared first on Primetime.



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Give a nod to Peaky Blinders chic in your own home with this new launch


Add some small screen style to your bathroom…

Peaky Blinders is the the hit 1920s gangland TV series that has taken viewers by storm. Returning for a fifth season on BBC Two this autumn, fans of the show can’t get enough of sumptuous scene settings featuring the era’s Art Deco style.

Bang-on-bathroom trends: Bathroom trends 2019 – the best new looks for your space

Thanks to a new launch from Tile Giant you can get the Peaky Blinders look in your own home.

The new collection featuring 50 new tiles varying in six different sizes and styles, all inspired by Victoria Baths.

Credit: Victoria Baths

Victoria Baths featured as a backdrop in Peaky Blinders as well as fellow Manchester-based series Cold Feet, and the range – which the brand has worked on in partnership with Johnsons Tiles – includes a palette of inky blues, deep greens, decorative motifs and more that captures the mood of this iconic building.

Credit: Peaky Blinders/BBC Two

Manchester’s listed Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish Baths complex first opened its doors in 1906 and now serves as a heritage visitor attraction, events venue and TV/film location.

‘Our designers spent time on site at Victoria Baths to soak in the very best in this classic British design.’ explains James Heese, managing director of Tile Giant. ‘Walking through the doors of the Baths, you are transported to another era of elegance.’

Victoria Baths tiles

Tile Giant Victoria Baths

‘The Edwardian design and architectural inspiration will allow homeowners to feel a sense of stepping into history, while maintaining high quality design for modern day living.

Prices start from £35 per m² and a percentage of each tile sold will contribute to Victoria Baths Trust – the charity who look after the building, with the long-term aim of full restoration.

Buy now: Victoria Baths Field Wall Tiles, from £35 a square metre, Tile Giant

Here are some of the highlights from the collection that brings the past thoroughly into the present.

Tile Giant Victoria Baths

The bevelled edge adds a lovely feeling of dimension while the cracks beneath the glazed surface add texture. And there’s no reason why this tile needs to be restricted to the bathroom – it would work well as a kitchen splashback or statement hallway border.

Buy Now: Victoria Baths Crackle Bevel Teal, from £56.00 per m², Tile Giant

Victoria Baths Ironworks Wall Decor 1

Tile Giant Victoria Baths

This intricately designed beige glazed tile has a matt finish making it a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms alike. The print will also complement your room’s existing period features.

Buy Now: Victoria Baths Ironworks Wall Decor 1, from £40.00 per m², Tile Giant

Victoria Baths Scroll Border Victoria Green

Tile Giant Victorian Baths

Add a decorative border to your bathroom with this stylish green glazed tile, with a raised profile texture. Pair it with a tile from the collection in a contrasting shade for a standout look.

Buy Now: Victoria Baths Scroll Border Victoria Green, £45.00 per m, Tile Giant

Soak in style: Dated ensuite bathroom is transformed into spa-like space

Which is your favourite tile from the collection?

The post Give a nod to Peaky Blinders chic in your own home with this new launch appeared first on Ideal Home.



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