Gourmet Kitchen Tips for the Ultimate Cooking Area

The kitchen is the one room that needs to function really well. After all, good food is one of the most basic needs of the family. The kitchen is the place where you rustle up those delicious meals and keep your family and friends entertained. Thus, the kitchen has to be clean, clutter free and convenient.

If you are the kind of person who cooks gourmet food, (or just likes the occasional ham sandwich), you know that you need the proper ambience in a gourmet kitchen. You need more utensils, more space, more tools and basically more control. A proper gourmet meal takes time to prepare. So, if you have to spend awhile in the kitchen, you need to make the place look good too. It should not only look good, but also be a convenient and comfortable place to work in.

Given below is a list of must haves for the ultra gourmet kitchen:

o The Food Prep Zone: Gourmet kitchens need to have knife drawers with special tools to keep the knives straight and sharp, cutting boards that come out and disappear into the cabinets when required and counters with lower height. Marble countertops help to retard the growth of bacteria.

o Cooking Zone: Many homeowners now prefer separate ovens instead of freestanding ranges, a selection of tall cabinets, base cabinets and ones with special pull out systems.

o Baking Zone: Cooks who are serious about baking like counters with less height, making them easier to knead bread on. Nowadays, you can also get pull out box cabinets, special tiered cabinets, cake decorating kits and various other items.

o Specific Storage Zone: Instead of having a pantry that stores everything in one spot, gourmet kitchens have work-specific storage areas. For example, there can be a 'breakfast center' where you can store cereals, syrups, bagels, mixes, and so on. Similarly, you can have lunch and dinner centers where you can store equipment appropriately.

o Dining Zone: Gourmet kitchens often have built-in cabinets that double as buffets, used to separate the kitchen from the dining space. With proper lighting and aesthetics, you can make this area look very luxurious.

o Wet Bar Service Zone: This area can be used as a transition area between the food preparation and serving zones. Wine racks can be built in and combined with under-the-counter wine coolers and beverage centers.

o Meal Planning Zone: You can have built in books or cabinets that can be a perfect corner for planning your meals, searching for new recipes, mulling over cookbooks and similar activities. You should have all the modern appliances required for cooking – starting from microwaves to ovens to dishwashers and similar. Having all of your appliances in Stainless Steel, or built into the cabinets gives your kitchen a clean, streamlined look.

In order to have a well-planned gourmet kitchen, you may want to use the services of an interior designer that specializes in kitchens. You can also visit special gourmet kitchen showrooms – they …

Some Tips On How To Get The Best From Your Residential Interior Design Endeavors

Hiring an interior designer to come up with the right residential interior
design is something that most people would consider as being a good option
although problems with what the design should consist of can often lead to
disagreements, and it is usually the case that the person that owns the home
sticks his or her nose into what is certainly not their business. They are
professionals who have made residential designs their full time occupation
and so must be allowed to make their ideas work which means that at the very
outset the role played by them should be clearly demarcated.

How Much Freedom To Give

You should agree to how much freedom is allowed to them regarding the decisions
to be made and also when they are to interact with contractors, and even though
most home owners can not help but butt into what is clearly not their business,
this should not in any way affect the method of working; otherwise, it
could cause distress all around.

What should be sorted out with regard to the residents, is a time
frame within which the work must have been completed and that the plan arrived
at should be properly laid out prior to conformity of actual work, and also
that budgetary amounts are defined at the very outset.

The budget should allow for emergency expenses and when the owner requests for
changes to be made the expenses so incurred should be added to the budget
especially when the changes are in addition to what the original residential
interior design included, and thus makes the responsibility of the home owner who must bear the cost.

The actual residential area must take into account how to make the best use of
space which must not be too large or too small which will hamper the effects. In
addition, the doors and also windows must be well planned for and not
unnecessarily covered or have new structures constructed which will use up time
and also increase the cost as well.

Most properly made residential designs will also require best use of
furniture and also fixtures which need to be selected and color as well as space
planning are important factors as too is plumbing and also electrical wiring
that must be properly addressed, and the best type could be arrived a only
when the house or room is empty, which is of course not the case in most
instances.

There is no doubt the fact that when you wish to get the best from your
project, it will only be a fulfilling experience as long as proper guidelines
are set out and followed, and you also will need to work closely with the
interior designer for even better results. …

Is It Better To Sell Your House To A Property Manager?

Property agents are what many people know and they help you with the selling process by handling interested buyers and handling the transactions all the way to closing after which you get your money for the sold property. In some cases this is a process that can take long because it means waiting until a buyer who is interested enough and likes what he sees comes along and is willing to go all the way. Depending on the location of the house and its current condition and other factors, it can take a considerable length of time to sell even though you eventually will sell.

Fortunately, apart from the property agents that can help you sell, there are property companies and managers that actually offer to buy the property directly from you easing up the process for you. Usually the condition of your home is not a factor because they buy it as it is and within a very short period of time so you can get your money fast and easy. This type of managers and property companies are becoming very popular and you might be wondering why it is better to sell your home to them. Here are some of the reasons why they might be the best path for you to take.

1. The property buyers close the deal as soon as you reach an agreement on the value of the house. This means if you do not have the luxury of time to wait until you find a willing buyer, you can still sell and go ahead with the other plans you have. They are the ultimate solution when you need money urgently or need to sell and relocate immediately.

2. They managers do not have any restrictions when it comes to the condition or location of the house. They simply value it according to the current state and give you the amount it really is worth without you having to make any renovations or repairs. They handle other property issues after the property is under them. This is nothing compared to individual buyers that want everything to be in top shape before they agree to buy the house, meaning you would need to do repairs and make all necessary changes within the property for sale.

3. The managers offer faster transactions. They are experienced in what they do and will therefore make the process as quick and easy as possible for you. You do not have to worry about long closing processes you might not have time for. Some are so good that they can do the survey, valuation and close the deal within a day and you will have your money to continue with any plans you have.

4. They offer very discreet services. Selling your home is sometimes not very pleasant, especially when you are forced by circumstances that are not very good to do so. The best thing about selling to the property managers is that the process remains short, discreet and …

Preparing for Times of Disaster

Whether you live in the western united states and have suffered fires and drought, or the eastern coast and endured hurricanes and flooding, chances are you may experience one or more natural disasters in your lifetime. Being prepared won’t take away the trial, but it will help you to recover as well as sustain you until damage can be restored again. There are three basic ways you can prepare for a disaster.

1. SECURE YOUR HOME. You may not necessarily notice the heavy vases stored above the kitchen cabinets, bookshelves packed with books in the den, or the glass mirror in the hallway as being potential hazards in your home, but during flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes, these items could cause injury. Securing heavy furniture to the walls could prevent them from tipping over onto someone. Strapping your water heater to the foundation of the house will keep it from falling and the pipes from breaking. If the water heater is damaged, gas could leak and valuable water could empty out. You can take inventory of every room in your home to see how to storm-proof and keep your family safe. Remove heavy items from upper shelves and place them on lower shelves. Install latches on cabinets containing glassware, and secure pictures, mirrors, and other wall hangings with earthquake-proof hooks. Keep shoes or slippers near your bed. If a disaster were to occur during the night, you may need to access them immediately to protect your feet from possible broken glass or sharp metal. Also, keep a flashlight in an accessible place in every room to utilize as a light source.

2. STORE FOOD, WATER, AND EMERGENCY SUPPLIES. If a disaster happens, it is likely that grocery stores will be out of commission for a while. You may have to rely, for a time, on the food you have within your home. Store the food your family likes and keep a few extra treats on hand to help bring comfort during a time of chaos or uncertainty. Store water in case your water supply becomes contaminated. Store enough for drinking as well as hygiene and cooking needs. Additionally, have first-aid supplies on hand as well as flashlights and batteries, extra blankets, cash, extra toiletries and feminine supplies, a manual can-opener, and any other basic needs you may have as you shelter-in-place. It would be a good idea to have a wrench to turn off any utilities such as power and gas.

3. HAVE A FAMILY PLAN. Whether you draw up a fire escape plan, or write out a strategy for evacuating, create a family plan for any type of disasters. Review with your family the possible scenarios in each case of an emergency. Establish well-thought-out solutions that will keep your family safe and help each other to make contact with one another in case you are ever to be separated. Have a meeting place to go, or a main contact person, such as grandparents or out-of-state family members to connect …

Easy To-Do Tips in Selling Your House

Selling your home can be tedious. Without having to spend too much in maintaining the beauty of your home once placed on the market, here are some simple tips you can easily do.

Preserve the beauty of what you already have

Inspect your house thoroughly and look at it objectively. Note all of the plus factors of your home – things like its warm feel, sturdy roof, well-build windows, its interiors, and the like. Once you placed your home for sale, make sure that no other damage will be made for the next couple of months. In short, keep anything that is perfect as it is.

Beautify your yard

Many times, the owners overlook the fact that people first see their front yards. Create a great impression by having them notice how beautiful and tidy that portion of your house that greets everyone first. Mowing your lawn will not cost you anything, just like pruning your plants or cleaning up grubby spots.

Keep a clutter-free home

It is now more than ever you would need removing the clutter of your home. Remove things that are unnecessary and put things in their proper places. You can also dedicate a hidden place where you can put all of these clutter just so the buyers will not see it but make sure that you keep your closets clutter-free as many prefer large storage spaces, and it could be a good selling point for your home.

De-scentisize your home

This means, you would need to keep an odor-free place. It is a big turn off for any prospective buyer pet smells or any other unpleasant household odor. It would also be best to hang some sweet-smelling fragrances in certain areas as it could create a good relaxing feeling for your prospective buyers.

Do some touch-ups

You might need to restore some vital portion of your house without spending too much. It is not hard to have a seemingly new, sparkling house – all you need is clean up or repaint walls. You can buy cheap warm-colored paints as you can do the painting yourself. Fix doors and windows and some nice plants here and there.

Hire a reputable real-estate agent

This is crucial as you would not want to wait endlessly for prospective buyers to come to you. Their experience can give you further advice as well and certainly their expertise would keep you from doing the dirty job of finding the best buyer for your home.

Set a reasonable price

Your agent can help you on this part but you can also ask trusted friends what they think is a reasonable price for your home. This way, you will not have to put a very low price just so you can sell the house immediately. …

Bathroom Lighting Ideas To Consider

Bathroom lighting can make the difference between one that is adequate and comfortable to one that is irritating and oftentimes not sufficient for your bathroom. This is why you need some bathroom lighting idea so your bathroom lighting will fall on the former category.

When looking around for the lighting to have on your bathroom, try to consider the manufacturer that offers fixture installation as well as the lighting. There are those that offer this kind of service. The best thing about getting them is that they are capable of considering the overall designs of your bathroom and will come up with the proper lighting to complete the whole bathroom design.

Furthermore, take into account the many purposes you and other members of the household are using the bathroom. It may be the area where you dress up and groom yourself. If this is the case, you probably would want the kind of lighting that does not reflect any shadows and shades.

If the prime purpose of the bathroom is for bathing and other related things, then having a centralized lighting fixture may be enough. You do not have to add more bulbs on the sides of a mirror. This is not the best option if you are also saving up on energy consumption.

Keep in mind also that there moist and moisture thrive inside the bathroom. Your lighting should be durable enough to withstand those things. If positioned improperly, it might even cause some serious problems to you and your home.

The bathroom is one part of the house where you and your family frequently come to. Having the right kind of lighting will ensure that all struggles in trying to look good are eliminated. It also means that you will not grope around just to find what you are looking for.

Look for some bathroom lighting idea that you think will suit your needs the most. With the variety of ideas out there, there is definitely one that will work for you and your bathroom. …

Benefits of an Exterior House Painting Contractor

With home improvement projects, homeowners would be wise to find all the help that they can get, especially if they do not know the first thing about home painting or home improvement in general. With a wealth of experience, professional painters can handle the exterior painting project with relative ease. This kind of professional approach to the project is just what the homeowner needs to ensure a successful home improvement endeavor.

With an exterior house painting contractor, homeowners will be able to move through their exterior painting projects very easily. They will be able to relaxing knowing that their work is in good hands and that professionals trained in the field of home painting are doing the project. An exterior house painting contractor will be able to handle problems as the arise as well. With the proper training or adequate experience, a professional contractor will be able to handle these problems so that they do not become larger issues later on in the remodel. This will ensure that things move along nicely and everyone experiences a hassle free remodeling project.

An exterior house painting contractor will make everything easier so long as the communication is given a top priority. With the homeowner and the contractor on the same page, the project will move along nicely. This means less stress and a more enjoyable experience for all. Painting has been given a bad wrap because of the problems that homeowners encounter when attempting the project. When a contractor is involved, and good communication is practiced, the problems are declined and the whole project looks to go much smoother. …

Home Fire Safety – Interior Stairway Design Fire Safety Guidelines

INTRODUCTION

This article is about custom home designing fire safety in an interior stairway.

As to home fire safety in home building plans, much codified ado is made of fire-blocking wall and floor structure, but not much at all on stairway design and stairway construction.

Comment: This codified ado even sort-of includes home fire safety in regard to stairway structure. See IRC 2003, R311.2.2 “Under stair protection. Enclosed accessible space under stairs shall have walls, under stair surface and any soffits protected on the enclosed side with ½-inch (12.7mm) gypsum board.” For fire safety in stairway design and stairway construction, it’s a beginning. Note, please, that there’s no mention of fire-rated gypsum board and heavier weight material as are referenced elsewhere – and have been for quite a long while – for garage wall and ceiling surfaces abutting habitable space.

IMPORTANT DIGRESSION

And there are the high-value references to smoke alarms in home fire safety building codes nationwide, references albeit at minimum levels of materials and methods, in the author’s opinion.

Comment: Minimums? That’s what this custom home designer thinks. Following are designer house plan set stipulations that may be written into smoke alarm methods and materials to extend home fire safety codified minimums. Each alarm shall run on both permanent 120V and replaceable battery, shall feature a combination of ionization and photoelectric sensors. None shall disconnect by wall switch. Each shall connect to a 120V line as first load on a frequently used lighting circuit with overcurrent protection at the panelboard suitable for a double tap. For sleeping areas, an alarm shall be installed according to manufacturer’s specifications on either side of any passage between a sleeping area and a path to egress

HOME FIRE SAFETY – STAIRWAY DESIGN AND STAIRWAY CONSTRUCTION PROLOGUE

So, what about the eminently more airflow-permissive stairwell itself?

In a house aflame, a residential interior stairway can occasion two events: the passage of both occupants to safety and firemen for the sake of safety and the passage of smoke and flame between interior floor levels.

Comment: It might seem as though interior stairway design and stairway construction, this key locus of interior structure in interior fire conditions – good (human transport) and bad (smoke and fire transport) – is at least largely forsaken by residential building authorities having jurisdiction.

WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO?

In regard to stairwells, that is stairwell design and stairwell construction, what’s at stake is fire-degraded stairway construction, wood stud walls and wood ceiling joists collapsing within the stairwell, engaging stairway and its contents, including people contents, and thereby precluding occupants’ easy physical movement between floor levels.

HOME FIRE SAFETY – INTERIOR STAIRWAY DESIGN FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES

A residential, interior stairway, other than a spiral stairway – below the stair stringer shall be sheathed from outer stair stringer to outer stair stringer including header cleat with not less than 1 layer of 5/8″ Type-X gypsum board glued, screwed, and taped. It shall be mudded not less than 3 coats, paying …

House Cat Training – Litter Box Rules

In order to achieve successful house cat training you need to follow some specific rules relating the cat's litter box. Cats do have a tendency to use a litter box. But you do not want your cat soiling the house right?

First you must make sure that the litter box is made of a washable material. Plastic would be fine. The sides of the box should be low enough for your cat to enter and high enough to contain the litter.

OK now let's point out some basic litter box rules for a successful house cat training:

1. Keep the box in a quiet and safe place but do not hide it! Your cat should be able to find the litter box easily.

2. When you notice your cat using it's litter box give it some kind of reward afterwards. Keep winning the cat until you're sure it uses the litter box regularly.

3. Another effective house cat training method is to keep the litter box reliably clean. Do not over do it! Scoop the box daily and wash it weekly.

4. If your catch your cat accidentally soiling your house do not punish your pet. The punishment method will not work with cats. It will only make them afraid of you. Try to find out why your cat did not make use of the litter box and try to figure out a solution. House cat training is not always easy.

5. Try not to change the brand of the litter. Cats do not like changes and may respond by soiling the house.

6. Try not to use spotted litter as many cats hate that. They prefer their own odors inside and around the litter box.

If you follow the rules above and your cat is still soiling your house then maybe there's a medical problem affecting the animal's behavior. Maybe your cat is displaying some kind of aggression that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Try to clean the soiled area as good as you can to show the cat that that area should remain clean.

You can also consult a professional veterinarian or you can buy a house cat training book to get some answers on cat training. …

Kitchen Colors That Work For You

A kitchen can be a fun room to decorate. You probably spend a lot of time in the kitchen so why not give it a little of your personality? Adding to your walls, counter-tops, floor and cabinets can make your kitchen an infinitely more enjoyable place to work. You can use a color scheme in your kitchen to really define the look and feel of your space, so go ahead and make it your own.

Modern Vibe – There is something a little wonderful about working in a kitchen that you love. You can create energy in your kitchen by bringing in colors like cobalt blue or a bright, sunny yellow. You may choose to saturate your appliances with color, or you may choose to leave them neutral, so that you can easily change your color scheme around them.

Warm and Wonderful – If you enjoy nothing more than entertaining in your kitchen, why not set it aglow with warm earth tones. This color palette creates an inviting and comfortable atmosphere throughout your space that is sure to make your guests feel right at home.

Laid Back – You can create a wonderful casual feel in your kitchen so that anyone who enters will enjoy the space. Green is a soothing color, and it will work well to create balance in your kitchen. It is also an organic color, so it works well when you combine it with an environment filled with food. Add some yellow accents and your kitchen will simply be delicious.

Industrial Lines – If you like a clean and clear space to work in, then you may prefer a more industrial vibe for your kitchen space. Stainless steel and white make a kitchen that exudes cleanliness, and it provides a great backdrop for any accessories or focal point that you want to display.

Romantic Response – If you would much rather cook your romantic dinner at home than go out to a restaurant, then this is the look for you. Use warm wood tones and dark colors to give your kitchen a rich and luxurious feel. As you light your candles to enjoy your romantic dinner the dark tones of the room will highlight the romance of the candle's glow.

As you are designing your perfect kitchen there are a few things that you want to keep in mind.

Continuity – Even when you are using color to create a strong mood in your kitchen, you will want to connect it to the rest of your home's decor to keep it feeling cohesive. One of the easiest ways to do this is to pull a color from an adjoining room and include it in your kitchen.

Coordinate – While counter-tops and flooring are pretty permanent fixtures in your home, you can use wall color to link your room to the rest of the house and to make it feel balanced. For example, if you have a granite counter-top, you can choose a color from the granite …