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Timber vs. uPVC in Doors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Timber vs. uPVC in Doors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Many would at times want to replace their doors. Sometimes they do replace it without giving it a thought, nor having a good choice. Despite the fact that the door is what is normally touched first when someone enters the house, it is often ignored and taken for granted. When it happens that it is not working, that is when most people notice it. At this point, most people do face a challenge on the choice to make for replacement. Which type of door? How much? What material? Can it fit? Is it durable? What manufacturer is most reputable?
The act of choosing a door to replace is a nightmare. It confuses and thus one needs to be careful in order to confidently make a choice. There are steps that one can follow.

Establishing an aim

Establish what you want the door to achieve before diving into the technical part of choosing a door. It may seem awkward because the front door only lets people in and out but in reality, it does many jobs. At this step, we must review the following questions before considering the choice to make.

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Garden shed design – Add a new room to your home without renovating

Garden shed design  – Add a new room to your home without renovating

The humble shed is no longer just a space to store gardening tools or anything that won’t fit in the house. Of course it has often doubled as a work space for home handymen but if you wander through backyards across the country these days you will find sheds being put to all sorts of creative uses.

Working in the shed

A huge trend is to convert the backyard shed into a stand-alone home office. This has a number of advantages.
    •    It separates the ‘work’ and ‘living’ areas if you work from home. If you have had an office inside the house you will most likely have been challenged by constant interruptions or distractions that affect your workflow. By physically removing yourself into a more quiet space you are more likely to be able to ‘shut out’ the rest of the world for a few hours each day.
    •    Sheds are usually surrounded by gardens so including windows that let in lots of natural light and give a pleasant view will help you to create a beautiful, harmonious environment to work in.
    •    The set up cost of converting a shed to a workplace is much less than leasing or building a new office and is often subject to fewer planning restrictions.

Who works in the shed?

Many home-based businesses can be set up in a converted shed with good planning and initiative. Most will need some re-wiring for computers and electrical equipment, adequate heating/cooling, quality lighting and appropriate flooring and insulation. If your business is more specialized you might need to add extra elements. For example if you are running a beauty salon, you will need plumbing for basins, extra power points and additional lighting.

Other businesses that lend themselves to a shed/office environment are:
    •    Artist and photography studios
    •    Hobby and craft studios and suppliers
    •    Professional consultancy services
    •    Small legal practices
    •    IT services and online shopping sites
    •    Professional writing or freelance services
    •    Sports and therapeutic massage clinics
    •    Home cleaning and DIY maintenance services

The possibilities are really endless and only limited by imagination or local regulations.

Other uses

The shed can also be seen as a low cost way to create an extra living space. If it is close to your house you could consider linking the two using a deck or paving and using the shed as an outdoor kitchen or dining area. Serve your meals through windows that open outwards or set up a mini-bar inside.

Install a hot tub or sauna in your shed alongside a pool and add some sun lounges and shade cloth for a home ‘resort’. Your friends won’t want to leave.

If you don’t have an existing shed, there are thousands of pre-fabricated and customized designs available. You can install them yourself or use a specialized supplier. Whatever your choice, remember that the shed is a continuation of your home’s exterior design and should blend well using similar lines and colors. If you use the best quality materials and workmanship you can afford you may also add significant value to your home.

So what will your shed’s new identity be?

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Using Feng Shui to design your home’s exterior

Using Feng Shui to design your home’s exterior

You’ve most likely heard of the traditional eastern practice of Feng Shui and its’ use in interior home design. However were you aware that it is just as important for exterior design?

Feng Shui is based on the concept that the life flow of energy (known as Chi or Qi) passes all around us and can be positive, negative or neutral. Our fortunes in life are greatly affected by how the Chi flows around us in our homes and all our environments.

You don’t need to be an expert to follow the basic guidelines of Feng Shui around your home.

Go outside and look at your whole external area. How does it make you feel? Make notes about what you observed and if you could determine the source of any positive or negative emotions. The negative energy could come from overhead powerlines, noisy traffic or a dirty environment.
To remove some of the negative sources always keep your home exterior clean and tidy. Trim old plant growth, re-paint exterior walls and remove all clutter. Create a barrier using natural fencing.
Chi flows best at a steady meandering pace so use curves to direct its flow, especially in the lead up to your front door. If it moves too fast it has no time to take hold. Too slow and it becomes stagnant.

Feng Shui uses energy maps called Baguas (or also Bag-ua or Pakua) to determine where the Chi needs to be guided in order for it to have the greatest benefit.

A Bagua map can be represented as an octagon with 8 equal portions around the edges plus a centre section or as a square or rectangle grid with 3 rows of 3 equal size sections. These 9 sections correspond to points of the compass as well as to life areas, colours and elements. The elements interact with each other to create a harmonious or disruptive effect depending on how they are positioned.

North / Bottom Center    Career and life direction
    Blue and Black
North East / Bottom Left    Spiritual growth / self development
    Beige. Sandy Earth, Light Yellow,
East / Middle Left    Health and Family
    Brown and Green
South East / Top Left    Money and Abundance
    Brown and Green
South / Top Center    Fame / Reputation
    Orange, Red. Pink, Purple, Bright Yellow
South West / Top Right    Love and Marriage
    Beige. Light Yellow, Sandy Earth
West / Middle Right    Creativity and Children
    White and Gray
North West / Bottom Right    Helpful People, Travel, Good Will
    White and Gray
Center    Center and Self
    Beige. Light Yellow, Sandy Earth

Place a Bagua grid over a plan of your garden. This can be the whole block or sections of the yard. See which sections are well balanced and peaceful and which are stagnant or full of negative Chi. If possible, remove these or at least balance them with items featuring the corresponding colors and elements. For example, add earthy tones to your Love and Marriage sector with plants and a timber garden seat.

By following these principals you will help to create more balance and harmony in your home. Why not give it a try?

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A space for your kids to grow

A space for your kids to grow

Designing a child friendly garden

All children need a space where they can spend time safely outdoors.
When designing your home, don’t just consider the decor and layout inside the home but also to plan your outdoor area for the maximum enjoyment of the whole family.

Younger children in particular benefit from a yard where they can play to their hearts’ content. Think back to your childhood and I’m sure the memories that stand out include things like splashing in a pool, making mud pies or climbing trees. Even if you have limited space, you still have many ways that you can create an environment for your children to build their own fun memories.

Ideas for the little people

Turn your yard into a sensory haven for young children by incorporating some of these simple ideas:

Use the garden itself to form an adventure playground. Position shrubs, hedges or tall potted plants in circles that have hidey holes in the center and place some small chairs or logs inside. Make an entrance tunnel from timber or large PVC pipe.
Add raised flower beds that children can help to plant and tend then use them as the borders of a play area. You can use anything from tyres, tables or even old baths as flower beds and paint them in assorted colors.
Place a timber frame sandpit or a modern plastic one in a shaded area and fill it with old kitchen utensils, and assorted containers. Surround it with sensory items such as moss, rocks, and interesting plants to touch or even a small water fountain.
Create a fairy garden around the base of a tree or in a special flower bed. Use miniature plants, old tiles as pavers and add sparkle with spray painted branches and twigs. Let your child’s imagination run free creating fairy homes and stories to go with them.
'For tweens and teens
Get them to design their ideal outdoor space. If you have the room you might like to include a lawn area for playing ball or a concreted corner with a basketball hoop.
Hang a rope swing from a tree branch and use an old tyre or timber for the seat. In a smaller area, choose a free-standing chair swing that is comfortable enough to curl up in (and maybe big enough to share with a friend).
Build a tree house together or install a pre-fabricated one. This should be a ‘parent-free’ zone so make it big enough for a teen to sit up there and read, play music or hang out with their friends.
A large deck area or balcony could be sectioned off to create a private ‘teen zone’ too. Use screens or hang dividers or curtains to create an extra ‘room’.

Parents, you don’t have to miss out on the fun. Set up some outdoor furniture where you can sit and read the paper or share a meal. Use your outdoor space to spend time with your children and show them how to enjoy the simple things in life.

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From farmhouse to penthouse

From farmhouse to penthouse

Whatever your personal tastes, the first view of your home is the exterior.  You will therefore want to make it as inviting as you possibly can.  A pleasing facade is therefore a must to accomplish that welcome home look.  This facade can take on a myriad of appearances, beginning with your curb. 

Ensuring that your curb is well groomed and pleasingly framed with greenery is a necessity. Continuing with that first impression requires stylish fencing and here you can select several options from brick or concrete walling to wrought iron fencing or a more rustic look, using a wood option or a combination of mediums.  From your roadway leading to your front door it is important to focus on the details. Do you want bright lighting framing your driveway to welcome you home at night, or do you prefer a more subdued approach? Are you into a more natural surface or do you want something a little more sophisticated?

Whatever your decision, make sure that you pay attention to the small things.  Many homeowners often forget about such items as that all important post box, the front door or welcome mat. These finer details should also reflect the overall style of your home.  Will you provide cover for your front doorway with an overhang to protect it from the elements or frame it with a beautiful molding or contrasting paint colors?  Will you select a carved wooden single or double door or another option?  What door knobs have you considered and will you select a stained or cut glass insert to make your door more elaborate?

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