Great Reasons To Enhance Your Home With A Vinyl Window Shutter

Window covers are an essential part of every room in a home. Not only do they offer an element of privacy, but they can add an elegant aspect to every area. The choice to include a vinyl window shutter has many advantages that will be valued for years after the shutter is installed.

Firstly, a vinyl window shutter is extremely durable. It can accommodate windows of any shape, size and purpose. Vertical blinds, for example work best when applied to a horizontally shaped window such as sliding doors. These types of shutters can also be seen in a roll up style, which is most convenient for smaller windows, or ones that require the window covering to be rolled up and down to suit the needs of multiple users. In this varying economy, it is more important than ever to enhance a home's interior with accessories and features that will extremely add to its market value, and greatly benefit the owner if they ever decide to put the house up for sale. These types of window shutters are a great way to achieve this, especially since they are available in a wide variety of options. This allows users to find the perfect balance of function and style.

Homeowners who have children or pets will appreciate the extreme durability of a vinyl window shutter. Since they do not require painting, there is no need to worry about paint chips, and having to repaint the shutter as time goes on. In fact, many of these types of window coverings include a lifetime warranty. Furthermore, their surface area hides scratches and imperfections more easily than faux wood shutters, so even vinyl covers that get a tremendous amount of use can look for years to come.

Finally, a vinyl window shutter is more capable to withstand harsh environmental conditions than other types of shutters. This makes the material perfect for areas that must deal with high humidity. The shutters are easily cleaned and are immune to mold and mildew problems. For these reasons, they are popular in moist areas such as bathrooms. The amount of durability and convenience that this type of window covering can provide makes it the perfect choice for demanding households. …

How to Make Your House Look Bigger From the Street

As an Architect, in designing new homes for clients, they first come to me with standard tastes you would see on any house in any neighborhood. What I try to do is to expand their architectural vocabulary and be bold in what they’re trying to do, without spending a lot more money. Part of that is to make their house look bigger from the street and live bigger inside. You can get a lot of “wow” factor if you try some simple things in your home design.

1. Make your house longer, not square. Most people want to make their houses more square in design, in the preconceived notion of saving costs. While this may be overall true, it also makes your house very small looking (and boring). For a 2500 square foot house instead of designing it 50 foot by 50 foot, make your house longer like 75 foot long by 33 wide. You’d be surprised how much more elegant and more expensive it looks for not that much more money. It also gives you a bonus of giving windows into almost every room in your home, giving light and visual space to them.

2. Use the Split level home concept. The split level home was more prevalent in the 1960’s than it is today, but it has a lot of advantages if you modernize it. The Split Level pulls the basement out of the ground. In most of the northern part of the country (I’m from Indiana), you need at least a 30″ or deeper footing to get below the local frost line. Well, let that be the staring point of your basement (or as I like to call it, the Lower Level). That means the Lower Level is 2 feet below grade, which means you can have full size windows. The Lower Level foundation wall is 30″ tall, the rest of the wall height can be wood instead of concrete (whether 8′ or 9′ tall) which saves costs. If you use 8′ tall lower level (to reduce costs) there is a design I like to use to eliminate bulkheads for HVAC;…incorporate the ducts in a floor truss system. I love to use 16” high floor trusses, 24″ on center, and keeping the trusses in the same orientation throughout the house. It gives plenty of space for the HVAC ducts in the floor truss system, and no bulkheads, meaning less cost since you have flat ceilings and no extra framing for those bulkheads. If you need space for the HVAC to “step over” each other, do that in the mechanical room.

3. With the split level home, The 2nd Floor (or the “Main Level” as I like to call it) it anywhere from 7 to 9 feet above grade, not only giving it a commanding view of the property all around, it also looks like a 2 story building, for a 1 story price. You can leave windows open at night because the window sills are 10 feet …

Silk Hanging Plants

If you are not an interior designer, redesigning the inside of your house or your office is no easy task; But a way to liven up the room is to utilize the natural beauty of plants. The initial reaction for plant decorations to someone could have been the overwhelming responsibility that comes with having to maintain a balance of sunlight and water to these plants, or perhaps the threat of possible infestations from insects of different kind that might start inhabiting the plants. You may also think of the expense you might incur in having to replace the plants every time they start to wilt and die.

A solution to that apprehension is to use silk plants. Silk plants are artificially manufactured plants made of, as the name impressions, silk. These plants eliminate the responsibility of tedious and expensive maintenance. To keep these synthetic plants bright and beautiful, all you need to do is use a wet towel or a wet rag to wipe off the dust that they might occasionally catch. You can find different plants like ferns, cactus, floor plants, flowering plants and trees, greenery plants, greenery trees, hanging plants, outdoor plants, palm trees, topiaries, bonsais or wreaths, garlands, and swags.

Among the different silk plants mentioned, a particularly popular type is the artificial hanging silk plant. You can find Spider Plants, English Ivy Hanging Bush, Wandering Jew Hanging Bush, Mini Philodendron Hanging Bush, Mini Pothos Hanging Bush, Sage Ivy Hanging Bush, Purple Clematis Hanging Basket, Light Purple Wisteria Hanging Bush, Violet Wisteria Hanging Bush, Deluxe Bougainvillea Hanging Bush, and other different hanging plants.

Whichever type of silk plant you suits your taste and matches the decorations at your home or your office, you will find that silk plants are more affordable and less tedious to maintain as compared to the real thing. …

Kiev City Guide For Travelers

You are planning thoroughly your trip to Kiev, surfing the web for information on Kiev best sights, restaurants and night clubs, and thinking how to plan your stay the best, what to see and where to go to … You are packing your new Camera in order to make beautiful photos of golden domes, Khreschatik Street and Kiev parks … You are thinking what to wear and checking weather forecast for the days of your visit … In a few days or weeks you will get to another world With smiling people, ancient brick streets, monuments and cathedrals …

Quick facts:

Status: capital of Ukraine

Number of regions: 10

Date of foundation: fifth century AD

Area: 839 km2

Elevation: 179 m above sea level

Geographical coordinates: latitude 50 ° 27'N; Longitude 30 ° 30'E

Climate: moderate continental with mild winter and warm summer

Temperature: average Kiev temperature in January is 6 degrees below zero Celsius, average in June is 20 degrees above zero Celsius; Lowest temperature in winter is 25 degrees below zero Celsius; Highest temperature in summer is 32 degrees above zero Celsius.

Population: 2,6 million (2005)

Density: 3178 people / km2

Car code: AA

Phone code: +380 44

Kiev Mayor: Leonid Chernovetskiy (since 2006)

Kiev history

The legend says that there was a prince family of three brothers named Kiy, Schek and Khoryv and a sister Lybid. Kiy rule a powerful Slavic tribe and was looking for a place to settle a new home for his people. When they came to the beautiful hills upon Dnepr river and saw wonderful panorama of blue river and seven hills covered with chestnut trees, they liked that place very much and decided to settle there. They established a city and cave it the name Kiev in honor of their oldest brother Kiy more than 1500 years ago. Prince Kiy and his family lived on one hill, Schek settled on another hill which got the mane Schekavitsa, and Khoryv settled on the third hill called Khorevitsa.

Since 882 Kiev became the capital on ancient strong state called Kievan Rus. In 998 Kiev Prince Vladimir introduced Christianity in Kievan Rus by baptizing Kiev population in Dnepr river. In 1240 the city was destroyed by mongol-tatars who invaded Kievan Rus, and later it was rebuilt. Since 1362 Kiev and major part of Ukraine belonged to Lithuania and Poland and in 1654 it became part of Russian Empire and then USSR.

In 1991 Ukrainian people voted for independence of Ukraine and Kiev became its capital. Since that time it is the center of Ukraine's political, economic and cultural life.

In November 2004 Kiev was the central place of Orange Revolution when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian people protested against election falsification in the streets and later elected another ruling party and the President of Ukraine.

Kiev accommodation

Most visitors to Kiev prefer apartment or hotel accommodation. Kiev hotels provide security and a certain level of service according to their level (three star, four star, five …

Eliminate Interior Home Disasters

Hello and welcome to my design thoughts.

With thousands of websites, articles, newsletters and blogs on interior design, is it any wonder home design is confusing? As an artist and designer, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of fabulous information available for the curious and motivated homeowner. And Free to boot!

Keeping it simple is a little more difficult. I have visited many "designers" client homes, just to see the designers particular brand or style stamped all over the place. How do we keep our homes in the realm of our own personalities?

When you are searching for a design and or designer, first look at their product. Talk to past clients. Visualize the designers work in your private space. Does it work? Or could you have done a better job on your own and a whole lot less expensive?

I have designed many different styles. Each as individual as the client themselves. How is this done? First, you have to do the homework. A client who states: Do whatever you like, I trust you and I will be back from Bermuda in six weeks "might be a client I may choose to steer clear of.

I will not brand my personal style on a clients home. Your home should and must reflect your personality and uniqueness. With excitement and motivation, create something totally yours, you can learn how to build a really stunning environment all your own.

Magazines, websites other design information can be your very best friend. You have done it before, I just can see both of us searching magazines, ripping out the cool stuff and making piles … This is your start to discovering your personal style.

Build a book on these pictures. Study each picture. Circle the idea or picture which done your eye. Put you piles of pictures in categories. Ie living, bath, family, kitchen. Then go back and cull out the pictures which may not be as appealing. Only keep the very best. You will ever discover what you love, whether in color, shape, size or style name. My personal style is called European Recycled … No joke.

Keep your first trial and run simple. Paint is the least expensive re-do and has an amazing impact. A fresh coat of paint is magic. Interior design can be a simple act of re-arranging or de-cluttering.

Find your magic. Love where you live. Make it a peaceful and creative environment all your own.

SK Sartell …

Living With Breast Cancer and Beating It

Breast Cancer, to be informed that you have such a serious disease has to be a life altering point in a woman's life. No one can ever prepare themselves to receive bad news of that caliber. Even with the advances in treatment, support systems, and recovery statistics, fear of the unknown is omnipresent. Fear of the side effects of radiation therapy and chemo therapy can cause the stress level to increase substantially. It's a natural response to a serious situation

Extensive research has revealed the various ways people respond to their cancer has a direct impact on the course and intensity of the disease. Additional research has proven that intense negative emotions over time can impede the body's ability to combat the disease.

One thing we must be aware of, however, is short term stress can actually be a good thing because it stimulates the fight or flight response. Oftentimes the jolt of a serious diagnosis spurs some people to take a proactive attitude towards the new and challenging situation. This positive attitude frequently gives them the energy to do whatever it takes to defeat this cancerous foe.

We should also be aware of the consequences of a negative attitude. If one becomes consumed with fear, negative thoughts and attitudes, the results will be an immune system that is less efficient and vulnerable to an attack by an aggressive cancer. Doctors who practice a holistic approach to breast cancer agree that the mind-body approach like meditation, yoga, and Qi Gong can relax the mind, reduce stress, and make it easier for the patient to cope with the magnitude of the issues at hand.

Chemicals produced from long term stress shorten the telomeres found on the tips of the chromosomes. Telomeres are the end-caps that prevent our DNA from unraveling, thus preserving its strength and preventing damage that can extremely lead to chronic disease. Cells with shortened telomeres have a tendency to age prematurely. This premature aging process poses a potential risk for the development of new cancers. Stress, a pessimistic attitude, negative thoughts, and a negative attitude can affect your immune system by seriously damaging and often destroying critical immune cells. This, believe it or not, can result in the cancer intensifying. Some research strongly reports a cancer risk increases in women who experience long periods of stress.

Stress reduction is of primary importance in the fight against cancer. A good way to fight depression, fear, anxiety, and other stressful states of mind is by practicing meditation on a regular basis. All it takes is a few minutes of your time to sit quietly, focusing on deep slow breathing to decrease the intensity of your stress related hormones. Numerous studies have shown that meditation can significantly stimulate immune function, reduce pain, and improve ones quality of life.

There are additional mental-physical methods of reducing stress and improving immune function. They are called moving meditation because they combine deep mental concentration with slow methodical movement. Examples of moving meditation are Tai …

How to Build a Garage: Save Thousands Building DIY Garage Vs Hiring a Contractor

Learning how to build a garage is not as daunting as one would expect, well, for detached structures at least. Homeowners who build their own garage can save thousands over hiring a builder who, in many cases, will subcontract to the same construction crews that you can hire. Or if feeling adventurous, or just downright thrifty, one can invite friends over for a few beers over the weekend and put them to work.

There are many items to consider while in the early planning stage such as:

Garage size: One car, two car, or even a three car garages can be designed with various sizes, but the lot and homeowner’s budget are generally the limiting factors. Local building codes vary, but typically a structure must not encroach within eight feet of property lines in rural areas and from zero to four feet in city limits. Detached garages must also be set back from other buildings by a minimum of eight feet, but this must be confirmed with local building offices as bodes vary. One important consideration is roof overhang. Eave and gable end overhangs are typically 12″ – 24″ (although less than 12″ is common in windy areas) and must be considered when determining building size and placement.

One method of determining the perfect size is to add 12′ to 15′ of width for each vehicle. If planning to use the interior walls on the sides for storage this will require another two feet of width per side. The length should be a minimum of 22′ and add four to ten feet for a work bench and storage. A two car garage could be calculated as 2 x 12′ +4′ for storage along each wall = 28′ x 22′ long without a work bench. Common sizes include:

1. One car: Common garage sizes include 12′ x 24′, 14′ x 24′, and 16′ x 24′. A length of twenty four feet is pretty much the minimum if you have a full size truck and even with a small or mid-size car there will be little wiggle room at twenty or twenty two feet.

2. Two car: The most common garage size in many states and provinces is 24′ x 24′ because many building codes required an engineered drawing and two inspections by a structural engineer for concrete floating slabs (monolithic) larger than this size. If space is scarce and the two cars are small to mid-size a 20′ wide may adequate, but certainly not comfortable.

3. Three car: There are many three car garage sizes due to more room for numerous designs and homeowners often have larger budgets when considering these larger construction projects. Common sizes are 36′ – 42′ wide by 26′ – 30′ long.

Foundation: floating slab (monolithic) and slab with frostwall are the two most common foundation options. The floating slab is less expensive and easier to build, but often require an engineered drawing and two inspections for larger concrete slabs (i.e. 24′ x 24′). In cold weather …

Honda Accord Repair Car Maintenance

Chances are if you don’t own a Honda, you probably know someone who does. As the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer, Honda creates popular vehicles that are durable, zippy, and dependable. 

Some of the scheduled maintenance & services that your Honda car, truck or SUV may need include:

  • Oil Changes / Lube Service
  • Tune Ups
  • Radiator – Coolant / Antifreeze Change / Flush
  • Air Filter Replacement A/C – Air Conditioning
  • Wheel / Tire Alignment
  • Timing Belt Replacement / Inspection
  • Brake Inspection / Check / Repair /
  • Service Exhaust & Muffler Repair & Service
  • Honda Inspection Service
  • Transmission Service & Repair
  • Suspension and Shock Absorber repair service

The Honda Accord is one of the most beloved sedans ever. Excellent engineering, comfort, and reliability are reasons Accord owners often buy the same model again. However, every vehicle will have mechanical problems at some time or another.

Here are the top 5 most common Honda Accord repair problems.

#1: Vibration When Braking This problem typically is caused by warped front brake rotors. Some owners describe this as a rattling, shaking, or rubbing sensation. Accords with over 98,000 are more likely to experience this issue. In some cases, the rotors can be machined as a fix. If too thin, the rotors will require replacement. Brake pad and rotor replacement can cost up to $900, parts and labor.

#2: Transmission Failure Transmission slippage, poor shifting, skipping, or failure may occur in some Accords, usually at over 70,000 miles. Repair might require a transmission overhaul or complete replacement If your vehicle is under the factory warranty, the repairs should be covered. If not, costs for repairs can run you anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000.

#3: Compliance Bushing Cracking If you hear squealing or feel shuddering when turning, it could mean that a part of the steering/suspension mechanism is broken. The compliance bushing is typically the culprit, especially in Accords with 95,000 miles or more. In some cases, a cracked compliance bushing will be detected upon routine service or oil change. Typical repair cost for this problem is $500 to $600.

#4: Power Door Lock Failure Your Accord’s power door locks might activate intermittently on their own, usually on vehicles with over 105,000 miles. Also, the remote door lock control might not function properly. If your vehicle is equipped with an alarm, you might have problems with it going off due to a door lock malfunction. Each door has an actuator, and if one is faulty the entire system can be affected. It costs about $200 to have a door lock actuator replaced.

#5: Dashboard Display Dark For Accords with more than 109,000 miles, you might experience the dashboard display going dark, especially the radio and climate control. This problem is caused by a faulty circuit board which should be replaced. The total cost to repair, parts included, can be around $200 to $300.

Overall the Honda Accord has proven to a reliable and dependable vehicle and consistently garners high customer satisfaction reviews. So what new for the …

The Kremlin – Heart of Russia

For those of us who grew up during the “Cold War,” the word “Kremlin” has a particular connotation, not altogether warm and fuzzy. As far as I knew then, it was synonymous with the Soviet government, that cabal of mysterious leaders who, in Khrushchev’s words, would eventually “bury us.” Of course had I bothered, I could have discovered much more about the truth of the Kremlin, although its image probably would not have changed much in my imagination.

The word itself is more of a generic description than an actual name, somewhat the equivalent to the English word “citadel,” and as such is used to describe similar sites in other Russian cities such as Yaroslavl and Smolensk. It is the one in Moscow to which it almost invariably refers however, and it is that one that interests us now.

Recently I had the good fortune to visit Moscow and of course, could not have left without dedicating a good bit of time for a visit to the Kremlin. As I passed through the outer wall of the famous citadel, I couldn’t help but think that a few decades earlier I would have been immediately arrested and never seen again had I actually gotten this far. Times have changed, however, and the once forbidden Kremlin is now one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s not difficult at all to see why as soon as you pass through its mighty walls.

The first major attraction is found at the below street level entrance to the famous Kremlin Museum, and if not for the usually long line of visitors it could easily be missed and passed right by. What really draws the attention however, is the collection of cathedrals crowning the aptly named Cathedral Hill. There are three magnificent cathedrals there and two more churches to complete the set. If I had done my homework as a kid, I would have known that these religious structures not only existed in but dominated the Kremlin. But alas, I hadn’t done it so I was truly surprised to see such an imposing spiritual component of the heart of what President Reagan had called the “evil empire.”

If you can withstand the magnetic attraction of these beautiful buildings, it would be good to step over to the Kremlin Museum first and take advantage of the culture and history lessons it offers. Splendid examples of the enormous wealth of past empire are housed in its several sections and include items that you will likely never see outside its walls, ranging from the fur lined crowns of Russia’s first Tsars to the beautiful Faberge jeweled eggs of its last. You will leave the Museum with a much better sense of and feeling for the power and magnificence of Russia’s past empires and perhaps an insight into the psychology and character of today’s Russia.

After leaving the windowless galleries, stepping out into the fresh air to behold the architectural splendor of the Kremlin is a refreshing change. …

The Used BMW X5 Gains Favor

The BMW continues its dominance of luxury car markets the world over as more auto players enter the arena. Car technology has definitely changed exponentially in the last 50 years. With the entry of more auto manufacturers into the world market competition has intensified as each automaker attempts to prove themselves. While it is a true statement that most of these automakers have brought truly wondrous features to the cars they have produced, a few automakers continue to dominate the luxury divisions. One of them is the BMW. There are many brands of the BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ) but one brand that has stirred attention is the x5 sports utility version.

A new x5 is a technological marvel. BMW was somewhat late in joining the SUV market but when it did, it represented itself well. This statement was solidly sent out through the X5 which is a next generation sport utility vehicle.

A new x5 can run up to $55000.00. This may be a hefty amount and due to the tough economic times, many are looking for bargain prices and have therefore settled for looking for a used BMW x5. The used versions can be equally delightful depending on the actual condition and the dealership. Car dealerships like CarMax take particular care to ensure that a used model fits the actual standards of quality. This means that extensive tests are run on the actual model to ensure that everything is in shape. A used BMW x5 can run you anywhere between $20,000 and $45000 depending on the features installed.

The x5 is usually 4-door and comes with standard SUV features. It has a v8 32v 8-cylinder engine which is primarily powered by gasoline. Hybrid brands are still in the works. The exterior deviates a little from the standard “Big Three” SUV models in that is appears to be more compact. It comes with a 5 -speed or automatic transmission that boasts dynamic stability allowing the passengers to experience some of the smoothest rides ever in the motoring world.

The interior comes with climate-controlled AC which employs computerized temperature-monitoring. This means that the front of the car can have an entirely different temperature setting from the rear seats. Some models come equipped with additional accessories such as an auxiliary DVD player with a screen which flips open much like the one inside an airplane. The sound system is Bose, which offers customers an added layer of luxury. The speakers are optical surround which is ideal for very high quality orchestra sound.

Other features include heated seats, dual temperature controls, cruise control and tinted windows. It also comes with anti-lock ABS brakes and dual airbags. Newer models also sport side airbags. Most features which come preinstalled in most high-end vehicles are also found standard in the X5 such as power steering, power windows, front and back wiper blades, automatic side mirrors and the like.

The best place to buy a used BMW x5 is at the local dealership. This is …