Welcome to Totally Home Improvement
is your guide
to every topic about
looking after and improving your home.
You'll find heaps of articles and advice relevant to both
home owners and renters, and a few tips for landlords as well.
From renovations to removals, interior design to decor, gardens
to lawns, appliances to tools, we do our best to cover it all here.
I write some of the articles myself, and I also find experts willing
to share their knowledge and advice. If you can't find something
you'd like to see here, then please use the contact form to let me
know about it and I'll see what I can do. Do enjoy your stay here!
You may have seen it in the news. Home buying numbers in the United States continuing to rise after a shaky recession that turned many potential homeowners into renters. The last U.S. Census data showed home buying is up 17.0% in September 2014 from what it was a year earlier, with over 467,000 new single family residential sales in September of 2014 alone! (U.S. Census Bureau)
When you think about the folks who work in Home Improvements you probably conjure up images of people with safety goggles on, hammer in hand and a cordless drill lodged in a utility belt giving them the look of modern day Lone Ranger ready to bring those rusting gutters to justice!
Or perhaps you think about the millions of people who work in hardware stores who have to explain to customers the difference between a self-tapping screw and a nail, or maybe even all those folks who work for manufactures who make all the things that go into constructing, fixing and finishing the homes we live in.
Does your yard showcase well in the fall, or is it only beautiful in the spring? With the right planning, you can have a garden that brims with color all autumn long. When the temperatures start to drop at the end of a hot summer, you will love having an autumn oasis for your family to enjoy.
I grow a few vegetables and herbs just for my own consumption, unlike my brother who's doing it on a larger scale, but I've learned quite a bit from him - not just the basics of how to do it, but also just how much better fresh food tastes when it's home-grown. And unlike his organic farm down under which is now coming into the summer season, where most of my readers live in North America and the U.K. it's starting to get quite cold out in the garden.
My brother Daniel lives in the countryside in Queensland, Australia. The picture on the left is now a bit out of date, but it gives you a good idea of the surroundings.
It's 40 acres of tree covered land. It starts at the top of the hill where the picture is taken from - goes down through a valley which turns into a river during the rainy season - and goes all the way up to the hill on the other side.
He's invited me to come and spend some time there this Christmas like I did last year - it's a long way to travel, but it's certainly a welcome change of pace, so I'll probably do it again this year.
It may seem strange at first glance, but having plants in your home can be quite beneficial if you have young children.
Plants are very effective in removing chemicals such as formaldehyde from the air. These chemicals can have a harmful effect on children so removing them from the atmosphere can only be a good thing.
So why are these chemicals such a problem? It has long been suspected that they are at the root of some of the childhood allergies and asthma occurrences that are so prevalent today.
By keeping an eye on what can go wrong, you’ll be prepared for your renovation.
Renovating your home is a tough job, whether you’re doing it yourself or calling in the professionals. Homeowners can make plenty of mistakes, particularly if they’re tackling a renovation for the first time or generally unsure of the steps they need to take to get the job done. To assist homeowners and steer them away from future issues, it is vital they know the 10 biggest mistakes renovators tend to make. You know what they say, those who don’t pay attention to history are condemned to repeat it. So make sure you know what can go wrong!
With the discovery that your garage is actually part of your home and can be used for more than storing things you don’t want, the concept of the ‘garage makeover’ has become popular. Just like making over a kitchen or a basement, the garage makeover is designed to enhance the look, function and value of your home.
1. What’s My Overall Goal?
The first thing you want to figure out before you makeover your garage is what you want to accomplish by doing the work. What do you envision when you see the completed garage? Get even more specific by asking questions like:
If you're a regular reader, then you'll know I've been talking about doors a bit recently - fixing sliding doors and drooling over frameless glass doors, and all this got me to thinking about replacing any of the entry doors to your home - both the front and garage doors - and what kind of Return on Investment (ROI) you can expect from taking on a project like this.
I'm not going to kid you - all the best data suggests that on average there are no remodeling projects that turn an instant profit - in fact any time they immediately increase your resale value by more than 70% of their cost, you're doing well. Of course, this assumes you pay a contractor to do all the work - DIY projects have a much better ROI (except when they go wrong and you have to bring in a contractor to fix it up).
My brother and I were watching one of those reality TV home improvement shows when a couple competing to see who could do the best remodel had to decide on the type of lighting they were going to select. They were arguing over whether they should go with a modern contemporary style or more of a retro look in the living room.
This started a discussion between myself and my brother about what really constitutes the difference between modern and retro, after-all there are many 'modern' styles which are revamped from previous eras, and even contemporary designs which borrow from times long ago.
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