The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason (s) many states have fallen significantly short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicable demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you do not have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair ……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let's be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to "qualify" to do home improvement work, brings many a "character" to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, appeared to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consist of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that deal with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, "If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them !!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you'll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place. " As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works …

How to Start Your Own Art Collection For Your Home

1. DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOME – Before you begin you need to start with a ‘blank canvas’; I’m sure if you had booked an art consultant or interior designer to make their recommendations you’d tidy up, so make this your starting point. It is also a fundamental feng shui principle that de-cluttering your environment will de-clutter your mind. If you don’t have the time or the job is too big call in an expert.

2. THINK LIKE A GUEST – Now walk through your home imagining you’re a visitor or guest so you can understand the logistics of entering your home for the first time and what impression or atmosphere you wish to create. Important areas from a guest’s point of view are: the entrance (this is their first impression) the path from the entrance to the main living/entertaining area and an outdoor area if you have one. Look for what you think they would notice: as you enter your home, is it obvious where the kitchen/living areas are from the entrance; are private rooms or areas such as bedrooms ‘on show’ as guests walk through the house to the living area. Can any outdoor areas be seen from the main living area?

3. DETERMINE ZONES – This time, when you walk through your home again, think from your own perspective and classify it the following zones; entrance (front garden, path, front door, entry) traffic zones (hallways, gardens) formal entertaining (dining room) informal entertaining (family room, games room) function-specific zones (home theatre, kitchen) private zones (bathroom, toilet, bedrooms) business zone (home office, studio). This will assist you to think about where to place art plus what purpose or mood you wish to create in each zone.

4. MAP WHERE YOU WOULD LIKE ARTWORK – List each zone and room and table the atmosphere you wish to achieve and the number of artwork to suit the space.

5. DO SOME RESEARCH – Through your own research you will feel more confidence to make an informed decision when you discuss your needs or view art with an art consultant, interior designer, gallery manager or artist. Plus as you regularly go back to research you will gain an increased knowledge about art and therefore a deeper understanding which will only enhance your appreciation of your collection. To begin:

‘Google it’ search online about art buying advice and tips

Browse online art galleries

Look for articles in your local newspaper about local artists, exhibitions and galleries

Visit local Art Galleries

Talk to local gallery managers and artists as you meet them

6. LIST YOUR PREFERENCES (STYLE, SIZE, MEDIUM) – Return to your planning chart again after your research to put in your preferences of style, size and medium. Style refers to if the artwork is classified within a broad category such as Abstract, Traditional (landscape) or (figures), Surrealism, Pop Art, Impressionism, Digital Art, Still Life, Realism and many more.

Size mainly described as dimensions in centimetres. Also be aware if the dimensions include framing or …

An Easier Way to Contemporary Bathroom Design

If you are a homeowner grappling with the nuances of bathroom design, your intense experience is enough to tell you that these very functional and fashionable designs do not exactly fade off your radar that easily. While it's hard to resist the hypnotic power of a classic retro design, a country design too make sure that it gets the pound of flesh that it describes.

But if there is one singularly scintillating design that manages to win brownie points in every calculus it just has to be a contemporary bathroom design. Warm, inviting and blessed with a seductively intense passion, it has an aura that can not be dated with time. Needless to say, when it makes a stylish entry into your home, the resale value of your property is sure to zoom north.

Make A Style Statement

So what is a contemporary design for the bathroom all about? Does it bear allegiance to sleek, delectable contours or do geometric shapes burnish the enduring mystique of the design? Whatever it is, your insrutable affinity for it is really beyond reproach.

Here are a few more fascinating insights into this awe-inspiring design style:

  • Whether flooring, mirrors or storage cabinets, the presence of neat, straight and uncomplicated lines is unmistakable.
  • The soul-stirring combination of shimmering metallic tones like gold and silver and a glowing color scheme with a cauldron of both warm and subtle shades creates an air of peace and harmony.
  • Cabinets, fittings and fixtures are simple yet can not exactly be straitjacked in stereotypes.
  • There is an earnest attempt to embellish the space with accessories, but they act as only adjuncts to the place, and never really hog the limelight.

New Ways For That 'It' Look

If you are woefully starved for bright ideas to create a contemporary styled bathroom, here are a few simple tricks that could put your bathroom design firmly in the saddle:

  • Let dark and bold colors highlight the innate personality of the bathroom. Here, less is definitely more, so every minute detail is designed in a manner that elicits piquant reactions from onlookers.
  • This design also helps you make a departure from the norm and gives you the freedom to be as wild and whacky as possible. So vibrant colors, queer shapes and unique fixtures take center stage.
  • Intricately layered walls plastered with a plethora of patterns cause quite a stir.
  • Throw in a chic and trendy towel rack and drench the space in a new coat of paint, and watch the glam factor reach dizzying heights.

With a contemporary design it's easy for your bathroom to look exceptional in a very ordinary sort of way. …

Ideas For Interior Decorating Are Plentiful Online

There are so many ideas for interior decorating that it could be a bit overwhelming deciding which ones to implement. A good way to organize all the ideas is to use the Internet to find advice on what will work best in your home based on its style, room size, number of occupants and interests.

Putting ideas for interior decorating on paper helps to configure a budget and identify what you need to purchase and the quantities. It also enables you to determine what the focal point and mood will be in a particular room and design the remaining space with those in mind. It also gives you the opportunity to change the purpose of a room. For instance, you may decide to redesign an underutilized formal dining room into a much needed home office.

Ideas for interior decorating are developed once a room's use is determined. For example, a room you use everyday, such as the family room, would get greater attention and a larger portion of your budget than a guest bedroom, which is used infrequently. That's not to say you want to neglect these rooms. Rather, look at them as experimental opportunities and get creative with colors, design and furnishings.

Among the ideas are those that define how you want a particular room to look. The answer will help determine whether wallpaper instead of paint is the best option, or if furniture needs to be replaced or just rearranged. Having a vision helps to remove clutter from a room or other items that do not define the room's purpose.

When it comes to challenging areas of a home, the best place to turn is the Internet to gather ideas. Advice can be had for tough redesign areas, like a dark, narrow hallway, a small closet, or a bathroom with limited space.

There are many inexpensive ideas for interior decorating on a budget. For example, you can bring some color into a room without repainting by adding colorful accents. You can change the focal point of a room and rearrange the furniture accordingly to achie a new look or you can add points of interest to decorate a room.

For those who have never designed a room before, there are many resources with decorating ideas that cover the basics. These include an introduction to design principles, how to create a room, how to rearrange a room, how to choose the color and theme of a room, how to select window treatments, how to incorporate artwork, photos and accessories, and how to choose the best lighting.

Using downloadable e-books or looking at online photos of room styles helps formulate ideas for interior decorating for your home. The best sites are those that offer information on how balance furniture and accessories in a room, how to make the look of the home flow from room to room, and how to design a room to display your interests without going overboard. …

Bathroom Accessories Can Make Children's Bathrooms Manageable

As any new mother will soon find out, keeping up with a child's bathroom can be a difficult undertaking. Between the bath toys and the necessary soap, towels, shampoos, lotions and more, all the extras youngsters require in the bathroom can combine to create quite the mess. This is where smart bathroom accessories can be a real lifesaver.

Mothers of toddlers know, or will soon find out, the closer items are stored to the tub, the better it is at bath time. Having to get up and reach for things can pose problems, especially if the little one likes to squirm. With this in mind, there are some great bath accessories no child's bathroom should be without.

For storage, the accessories on the must have list include:

* Ample under sink or over the toilet tank storage for towels and wash clothes. Since having to run out to a linen closet while a toddler is in the tub is never a good idea, making sure plenty of fresh, clean linens are within arm's reach is a very good idea. The more sets that can be stored in the bathroom, the better, too.

* Toy storage. Tub toys can become a real pain in the neck (or foot) to keep up with. Many mothers purchase small tubs with a mesh type surface that enables bath toys to be easily stored and drained right within the tub itself. This not only makes storing the toys easier, but also cleaning them. Yes, bath toys will need baths, too. They will acquire a yucky layer of soap scum if they are not cleaned off on a frequent basis. Bleach solution works very well for cleaning and disinfecting toys.

* Shampoos, soaps and so on. One of the best ways to store these for a child's bathroom is by using a shower caddy. Whether it hangs on the towel rack inside the tub or it goes over a shower head does not really matter. What does is that these items are stored within your reach and not the child's.

Safety items that should be included in the mix include:

* Toilet locks. These little devices can be very smart to include on the bathroom accessory list. They simply keep little hands and heads from going where they do not belong.

* Cabinet locks. These are standard fare in the kitchen, but should also be included in the bathroom. Making sure little ones do not get into cleaning agents can be very important.

* Step stools. As children get older, they'll need to wash their hands, brush their teeth and so on. Straining to reach the sink is not smart, but rubberized step stools can be.

* Cordless phone. While this is not really a bathroom accessory, taking one of these in with you at bath time is not a bad idea. It beats leaving baby alone to catch the phone and can come in handy in an emergency.

Bathroom accessories for a child's bathroom can …

Keeping Your Home Safe Using Mold Remediation Techniques

Mold is something that is always present and it does not need to have a health hazard. However, large amounts of mold need to be prevented and eliminated as quickly as possible by applying mold remediation techniques. Many areas of homes are highly susceptible to mold buildup, especially in places like the kitchen, bathroom and basement. These areas are likely to attract moisture and moisture is the ideal breeding ground for mold spores. Ignoring mold is the worse thing you can do because it will actually spread and invade things like your furniture and carpeting.

The best thing you can do as a conscientious homeowner is to maintain your home well. Walk around and look for any signs of mold growth. This is a very important task to do during the wet season because water is likely to somehow find its way into your home during this time. Check everywhere and look into ever nook and cranny for signs of moisture. If you find any, get rid of the source as quickly as possible.

After you have found and eliminated excess moisture or mold in your home, keep it dry by using dehumidifiers, fans and / or air conditioners. Do not give moisture a chance to return because if it does, mold is sure to start growing again. Adding insulation to your walls, in your attic and under your floors is another way to keep your home warm and cozy and less likely to attract moisture.

There are other mold remediation techniques that work well also. If you find mold, use a HEPA vacuum to remove it from the surface. Then, use a stiff brush to thoroughly scrub off any remaining mold. Once this is done and you're confident that the surface is mold-free, clean the entire area with a solution of bleach and water. Let it set for a few minutes and then wipe it completely dry.

To keep mold off of your walls and floors, try one of the mold-resistant paints that are now available. There are a number of brands for you to select from and this is an excellent way to avoid mold problems in the future. If your furniture has been invaded by mold, you may have to discard it. However, you might try washing it gently with very hot water and a mild bleach solution. Then, air it out in the hot sun which should kill any remaining mold spores.

Mold remediation is not extremely difficult but it must be done if you want to keep your home relatively free of mold. The most important advice is that you should always keep your home a dry as possible by ventilating it well and keeping it as clean as possible. …

Bathroom Safety Tips

A Bathroom can be an unsafe environment for many reasons, there are potentially dangerous medicines or various chemicals stored in a bathroom, there is water and a non-porous floor. Potentially the young, the old and the unlucky can have a variety of accidents. Children can slip on the floor; adults can have difficulty getting in and out of the bath. Every year there are lots of fatal accidents including drowning, electric shocks, burns, scalds, poisonings and falls in the bathroom environment.

With the application of a little common sense many of these potential accidents can be avoided. The potential for falls in the shower and bath can be reduced by adding a textured surface; This does not involve a major DIY adjustment. Plastic fish, ducks or other shapes can be bought cheaply and stuck on with adhesive.

There are many different styles and shapes of "grab handles" these days they can be put on the wall next to the toilet or next to the bath. Elderly people can have accidents by stretching and yet there are lots of things that they can buy to make baby more comfortable. They can purchase a towel with two handles at the end to use as a sponge to help them clean their back. Replacing bathroom mats often is important because when they lose their plastic backing they do not adhere to the floor properly.

It is possible to buy a purpose built chair for the shower these are nonslip and water resistant which makes them a much better idea than just sticking a chair in the shower. As we age our hands and fingers are not as supple as they used to be and it is possible to buy taps that thermostatically control the water which means an elderly person, can not turn the hot tap on too far. Often older people do not think of these things until an accident actually occurs, prevention is always better than treatment.

The bathroom can also be a seriously hazardous place for young children the combination of children playing getting excited and a wet environment is not necessarily a good one. To prevent your children straying into the bathroom you may want to close the door with a hook and eye at certain times.

Keep all medicines, mouthwashes and cleaning agents out of the reach of children. However these are not the only hazards in the bathroom keep razors, scissors and electrical equipment locked away to. If you have a battery operated hair straightener or hair curler or anything that gets hot keep these out of reach or preferably in a locked cupboard.

Small children should never be left alone in the bathroom even for a second there are many hard objects and corners which are potentially dangerous. If the doorbell rings and you have to answer it scoop up your children and take them with you. It only takes a second for a child to be hurt. It is always a good idea to teach …

Common Kitchen Styles and Designs

If you are searching to install a brand-new kitchen into your house then you'll definitely find out you will discover a staggering array of absolutely free kitchen design and style inspiring ideas you are able to make a choice from in order to feed your very own new design plans and blueprints. Alongside the bathroom your kitchen is the most important room in your house for getting correct in design terms. Beside the corridor your kitchen joins the highest level of foot traffic in your own home. Most folks spend a large amount of time in the kitchen, in particular families and whenever some thing is simply not suitable it's going to bug you each time you look at it.

I recommend you invest reasonable time seeking out free kitchen layout creative ideas prior to when you approach a kitchen design shop. That way you'll have a substantially more targeted idea of ​​what you are looking for and are generally more likely to motivate the merchant to offer you an unique deal. They can see you as being a sincere prospective client who has spent time building a strong idea and is aware of what they have to have. Layout recommendations are located in numerous avenues like house and home journals, kitchen showrooms, build it yourself stores, kitchen internet websites not to mention friends' properties. Try to be able to configure at the very least two to three style concepts making use of these techniques. For now the following is several of the actual most fashionable kitchen models that you can look into to get you started off:

Country Style, This style can be labeled as early American or even colonial and creates a stunning quaint farm kitchen image. Usually the kitchen will certainly offer wide open shelves, pot racks plus a typical sense of being very well lived in, highlighted through the various color schemes of the actual cabinets.

Contemporary, This excellent design and style features clean and simple lines. Kitchen cabinets are usually futuristic in appearance without having carvings or even especially ornate features. Usually the stress is definitely on design coupled with practical class. Shaker, This is often a simple and practical design and style which includes flat panel doors, wooden kitchen countertops together with brass hardware.

French Country, They're warm welcoming kitchen areas made up of solid wood and also soft colors. Natural components feature highly just like huge furnishings with ornate carvings.

Arts and Crafts, Truly growing to be a common design and even features glass panels and also natural real wood tones which have been finished in a matte sheen. This particular fashion can be hugely artistic.

And lastly, look at the themes or templates you may have utilized in various other rooms in order that the kitchen style and design you finally pick harmonizes well within your general design. Let's hope our free charge kitchen style thoughts make it easier to get a good start in ones project. …

Can You Trust The Letting Agencies For Bangkok Real Estate?

Some Estate Agents double up as Letting Agencies too but there are also Letting Agencies that operate as nothing more. Like the Real Estate agents, the letting agencies of Bangkok and Thailand, do not focus too much on the lower priced dwellings due to the smaller commissions.

A lot of people stay clear of these agencies as they think the service will cost them more in the long run. This can actually be a bit of a misconception as their cut, commission, call it what you will, is not simply added to your monthly rent. Although they do make commission on their service, it's quite often at the expense of the landlords as opposed to the tenants. Let me explain further.

Often, a private owner, especially an inexperienced one, will attempt to rent out his property using his own resources in order to save on agency fees. He is quite often over ambitious with his expectations for rent. After a few months without any luck he reluctantly seeks out the services of a letting agency to see if they can do any better. Here, they often inform him that to make his property desirable, he needs to spend a few thousand Baht on a bit of fresh paint, wash away the mildew from the bathroom, get rid of any tacky or broken furniture, fix the broken window, and sling a bit of bleach in the toilet prior showing people around etc.

They may also inform him that he's asking well over the top for this property type. The greedy landlord may point out that he can not afford to let it go any cheaper. The agent may reply to this by highlighting the amount of months his vacant property has already lost him by sitting empty, and if he does not do something soon, it could remain in this unoccupied state indefinitely.

A plan is then drawn up, the agent takes over the management of his apartment, and the property soon reappears back on the market cleaner, smarter and cheaper than before.

As with the Real Estate Agencies, there are a minority of bad Letting Agencies among the good, and it's always advisable to be mindful of this. Apart from personal recommendations there are no easy answers.

To summarize then, a letting agency acts on behalf of landlords, not tenants. In most cases they are paid by the landlord. There are various different types of letting agencies too. Some just find tenants for properties (sometimes referred to as accommodation agencies). Others manage properties on behalf of landlords and the tenants may never have any direct contact with the landlord.

First tip: When renting a private home whether it's through an Estate Agent, a Letting Agency, or a private owner, never be afraid to negotiate the price. Be prepared to walk away and you could have surprised at the discounts available.

Second tip: If you definitely want the viewed property and you're OK with the asking price generally, do not push …

Choosing the Right Length in Towel Bars

When it comes to essential accessories in the bathroom, towel bars are up towards the top of the list. While you may not think about it upfront, once you start using a bathroom regularly you’re going to realize how much you really want towel bars by the sink so you can easily dry your hands and other towel bars near the shower or tub so you can have a towel at the ready when you get out. But there is more to outfitting your bathroom than just knowing that you want towel bars.

Now you have to figure out what size is best suited to your needs. Towel bars come in a number of sizes. Directly off the rack at the store you may be able to find them in widths such a 7-inch, 12-inch, 18-inch and 24-inch. Beyond that, some will let you customize the length of the rack to exactly what you need. So how do you know what you need?

What Is It For?

The first question you have to ask yourself is what kind of work you need these towel bars to be doing. Essentially, how many towels do they need the hold? And how wide are those towels?

When it comes to putting bars by the sink, for a hand towel, generally you only need something that will hold one or two hand towels. Usually these hand towels will be folded so they don’t take up a huge amount of space. If you’re just using one hand towel, a 7-inch rack will be plenty of space. If you like the look of two hand towels, and maybe even one of those decorative washcloths on top of those, you probably should shoot for 12-inch towel bars.

On the other hand, near the tub, usually you don’t want to do with anything less than something that will hold two adult towels. Quite often, there are also decorative towels to put on these bars. If you use smaller body towels you may be able to get away with an 18-inch towel rack. However, if you have the space, you may want to go with a 24-inch towel rack so the towels don’t seem so cramped when they’re lying on the bar.

How Much Space Do You Have?

A major consideration when deciding what type of towel bar you want in your bathroom is just how much space you have to put a towel bar. If you have very little wall space or just have a very small bathroom, you may have to figure out how to make do with smaller bars. This can be done. For example, if you’re limited to a 7-inch towel rack by the sink and only a 12-18 inch towel rack by the shower or tub, the simple answer is that you can only hang one towel at a time.

Before you ever go shopping, you should carefully measure the amount of space you have in your bathroom to install towel bars. You also …