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Create Your Own Antique-Style French Furniture

Posted by on Nov 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Create Your Own Antique-Style French Furniture

Antique French-style, timber furniture is a popular choice for home decor. This shabby-chic style can also be expensive and may be out of your budget. Fortunately, you can easily create the look yourself for a minimal amount of money. By sourcing a cheap, second-hand piece of timber furniture and treating it to a simple makeover using paint and materials from your local hardware store, you can have a beautiful, elegant, and unique piece of furniture in no time. Here are the steps you should take. Step 1. Prepare the piece of furniture Before you paint your piece of furniture, you’ll need to prepare the surface for painting. This will ensure that the paint job goes on evenly and adheres well to the surface. If the timber is varnished or lacquered, then you’ll need to use sandpaper to expose the bare timber. If the lacquer or varnish is very thick or the furniture is covered with thick, multiple layers of paint, then sanding may be an almost impossible task. In this case, then you can use a specialised primer which you can get from most hardware stores. This primer can be applied to the existing surface of the furniture, which will then allow you to paint over lacquer, varnish, or paint without the risk of the paint peeling away over time. Step 2. Apply a wax crayon One of the most appealing features of antique, French-style furniture is the areas in which the paint has been worn away to reveal bare wood or other layers of paint underneath. You can recreate this rustic, aged look by using a specially designed wax crayon. They are available from many paint suppliers and hardware stores. The wax crayon is easy to use. You simply rub it along the areas where you wish to create the effect, giving them a thick wax coating. Good spots to use the wax crayon on are places where natural wear and tear would occur, such as along the corners and edges and also over any ornate pieces such as carvings or mouldings. Once you have painted the piece of furniture and the paint is dry, then you simply rub the areas where you have applied the wax with a soft, lint-free cloth. The wax prevents the paint from adhering to the furniture and will rub off easily to show the timber or paint beneath. Step 3. Paint the furniture The final step is to paint the piece of furniture. The colour you choose is up to you but you may like to choose from a traditional French palette which usually means soft pastels in blue, aqua, and green. For the best results, you should use enamel paint. This gives a thicker and more even finish and is more durable than water based paints. To really achieve the antique look, avoid high gloss enamel paints that will look too shiny and modern. The best option is enamel paint in a matte finish, such as eggshell. If you can’t get hold of this type of paint, then you can use low gloss enamel paint, then give the finished product a very light sanding to create a matt finish. Once the paint is dry, all that’s left to do is replace any handles or knobs with new ones that will suit the...

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Furnishing an Outdoor Space

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Furnishing an Outdoor Space

Furnishing a home is a big task. You can spend a lot of time choosing pieces that fit your space well. You will also want to consider how your furniture pieces coordinate with each other. It can be an ongoing process to find things that work well in your home. In addition to interior decorating, your home design will not be complete without some attention to the exterior. Creating an attractive and welcoming outdoor space can be a great complement to your perfectly furnished home. Garden Design Garden design is an important part of building your outdoor space. For good garden design, you have to consider both types of plants and their placement. For example, certain plants pair well together. You can fill your flower beds with plants that coordinate well with one another. You will also want to consider the seasons in which each plant blooms, to ensure an attractive display year-round. Most gardeners strive to incorporate both flowering plants and evergreens. The evergreens can give some structure and provide a nice backdrop for the blooms that appear throughout the year. Another element to consider with your garden is plant containers. If you have a small space, you can enhance your garden by adding a few potted plants. If you have more room, you may want to add a border or construct a raised flower bed. Either option can provide a nice addition to your garden. Patio Furnishings Once you are settled on your garden design, you will likely want to add some patio furniture. After all, with the work you have done to plant your flowers, you will want a place to sit and enjoy them. Depending on how much space you have, you can create a seating area with chairs and tables. Patio furniture comes in a variety of materials such as wood or wicker. Both of these materials are treated to make them appropriate for outdoor use. Outdoor wicker furniture are a classic choice because they can withstand weather changes without becoming damaged. They can also help you create a quaint setting within your garden. Once you have chosen your furniture, you can even add some lighting such as lamps or candles so you can enjoy your garden at night. Both the plants and the furniture you select can impact the overall feel of an outdoor area. When you are making your selections, consider how you will use your garden and what will work best within the space you have...

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What You Need to Know about Choosing In-Floor Heating Options

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Need to Know about Choosing In-Floor Heating Options

Finding the right in-floor heating option for your home can be tricky. You may know the heating result you want to achieve, but choosing the type of heated flooring that is right for you can present some issues. Before you submit to the confusion and just go with the first option available, there are a few things you should consider. Here are just a few of those considerations and what you need to know about each one. Types of In-Floor Systems One of the first things you need to consider are the types of in-floor systems available for residential buildings. Your choices will be electric or hydronic heating systems. The electric system is the most common and uses coils under your current flooring that are heated through your home’s electrical system. The installation is fairly simple, since most electrical based in-floor heating systems come rolled up and just need to be placed and unrolled. You will need to choose a flooring cover such as tile, wood, or carpet. The flooring type will be put in place after the heating coils are rolled out and secured. The hydronic heating system use hot water that is cycled through the heating coils to keep the floor warm. The issue to consider with this type of heating system is a water leak in the heating coils. This could mean a repair that requires construction and floor replacement. This is something to consider especially if you have hardwood flooring where wood rot could become an issue if a leak is noticed later instead of sooner. Thermostat Styles Another consideration of in-floor heating options are the thermostat styles. Thermostats for heated floors will look and operate similarly to your traditional home air conditioning and heating thermostats. You can set the temperature for your floor at the thermostat and, if you have a digital model, you can even schedule times for warmer temperatures or colder temperatures. There are even some thermostats that allow you to use an app on your phone to adjust the temperature when you are away and may not be home for several hours or overnight. Energy Costs One of the considerations of an in-floor heating system is the energy cost. This is something that you may think is common knowledge to consider, but most homeowners don’t consider the true costs themselves. They instead focus on the idea of an energy savings instead of how much will actually be saved, when the savings will start, and what to expect over time. Considering all aspects of your energy costs will help you choose the best type of in-floor heating system for your home and your needs rather than just choosing an option that sounds nice. These are the three main considerations you should think about when choosing in-floor heating. If you are ready to make your choice and begin construction, contact your local dealer for pricing and...

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Quick Tips for Maintaining a Home’s Central Air Conditioning Unit

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Quick Tips for Maintaining a Home’s Central Air Conditioning Unit

Most central air conditioning units will run for years without major problems or breakdowns, but this doesn’t mean you can simply ignore air conditioning maintenance. A few simple tasks done every year before summertime or as recommended by the manufacturer can ensure that your unit lasts as long as possible with as few needed repairs as possible. Note a few quick tips you might consider for your home’s central unit. 1. Lubrication of the bearings Some units will have sealed bearings for the fan or motor, meaning that they are encased in their own housing and won’t need lubrication. However, some units may have exposed bearings that need lubrication every year or as recommended by the manufacturer. Check the owner’s manual you have for your unit and note if yours has exposed bearings and how often they should be lubricated. Usually just a few drops or quick sprays of the proper lubricating oil is all that’s needed to keep them running smoothly all year. 2. Clean and straighten the fins The fins make up the grate of the compressor unit that sits outside of your home. These should be cleaned every year and any that are crooked or warped should be straightened so that air can easily flow through the unit and keep it cool. After shutting off the power, unscrew the top of the housing and lift up the panel that holds the fan blades. This should give you room to wash down the fins from the inside; use a standard garden hose with a spray nozzle and hold it close to the fins as you spray water to the outside of the unit. Once the fins are clean, note any that may be crooked and use a simple butter knife or chisel to straighten them. Slide the blade of the knife or chisel between the fins and gently push the crooked one into place. 3. Level the unit Your outside unit should be placed on concrete to keep it level, but this concrete base can sink and shift over time, as the ground underneath it shifts. When the unit is not level, this puts added wear and tear on the fan blades inside as parts begin to rub against each other. Check the unit with a carpenter’s level and if you notice that it’s slightly sagging to one side, use rot-resistant shims under the concrete slab to brace up that...

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Tips for Making the Most of Small, Built In Wardrobes

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips for Making the Most of Small, Built In Wardrobes

Regardless of the size of the residence, a common complaint for homeowners tends to be storage space. You always seem to be looking for more ways to store your items. This is especially true when it comes to clothes as you gradually accumulate them over the years. Short of having to sell them at a garage sale or opt to donate them, you could look for ways to enhance the storage space that you already have. If you are dealing with a small, built in wardrobe, you could consider these tips for making the most of the space available to you. Experiment with shelving heights Conventional wardrobes will typically have shelves of similar height. This may not be convenient as clothes do come in all sorts of sizes. A good idea would be to opt for minor renovations to your wardrobe so as to incorporate shelves of different heights. This will make it easier to store your clothes in accordance to the amount of space that they take. For instance, shirts will almost always take up less space than dresses. Thus, a higher shelving height for your dresses could complement a shorter shelf for your shirts. Go crazy with hooks Hooks can be a great addition to your built in wardrobe when it comes to maximising on space. The good news is that since these tend to be cheap, you can purchase as many as you need. Hooks can be used to store a variety of items ranging from ties, scarves, belts and more. This enables you to make use of the dead space on the doors of the wardrobe rather than have these items take up the space in your closet. Invest in dividers Dividers work toward segmenting your drawers. This is a great way of maximising on the space in your drawers. When you store different items in your drawers such as socks, stockings, lingerie and more, they tend to look messy. In addition, since these items are folded differently, chances are it will be a snug fit. To bypass all this, the dividers give each category of items their own space. This not only makes the drawers more organised, but it also makes it easier for them to fit. Install a shoe carousel Built in wardrobes will typically come with a shoe rack on the floor. Although this may seem like a convenient mode of storing your shoes, the rack does take up valuable space that you could use for other items. Instead, you should opt to have this removed and install a shoe carousel instead. This still allows your shoes to be organised, while leaving you extra floor room and height to use as you see...

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Split System Aircon | 4 Smart Steps to Prepare Your Outdoor Unit for Winter

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Split System Aircon | 4 Smart Steps to Prepare Your Outdoor Unit for Winter

A split system aircon consists of both an indoor cooling unit and outdoor condenser unit, acting as a lifesaver as it cools the home during the blazing hot Australian summers. When the cold temperatures of winter set in, you will no longer need your split systems. Harsh winter elements like rain and ice can damage and rust the outdoor unit, so you must find a way to protect it until summer arrives once again. Follow these protective steps to prepare your outdoor unit for enduring winter. Turn Off the Air Conditioning Circuit Before undertaking anything else, be sure to turn off the air conditioning circuit located near the outdoor unit. This usually has a metal or plastic lid covering, which needs to be opened to flip the switch off. This will prevent the air conditioning unit from turning on when it isn’t needed and will ensure that water from a running air conditioner doesn’t collect in the unit and freeze up. Clean the Air Conditioning Unit The outdoor unit of a split system aircon is subject to all kinds of natural weather elements. Apart from that, bird droppings, grime, leaves, debris and dead bugs can also settle on the unit, which will damage it over time. Hose down the unit to remove all kinds of dirt and debris, and allow it to dry completely before covering it up. Remove all the debris thoroughly, because they will damage and rust the unit over time. Cover the Air Conditioning Unit Cover the exterior exposed pipes with foam pipe covers to protect them from damage during heavy winds and rain. The foam covers will also provide adequate insulation to the pipes to prevent ice formations around them. Once you’ve covered the pipes, cover the entire unit with a strong vinyl or plastic waterproof cover. Make sure that the cover sits properly over the outdoor unit. Wrap the cover with bungee cords to keep it secure against the air conditioner. You’ll have to wrap the cover tightly to prevent it from flying away with heavy winds. This protective measure ensures that heavy winds and rains, which are common occurrences in winter, don’t damage your unit when it isn’t in use. Undertake Periodic Checks Every fortnight, be sure to check your outdoor unit to ensure that the cover remains secure and undamaged. Brush any ice and water off the unit and remove branches, twigs and leaves that may have seeped in through a loosened cover. Secure the cover tightly if it has come undone. These protective steps during winter will prolong the life of your split system aircon.  For more information, contact a local air conditioning company like ACSIS Airconditioning...

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Features to Consider For a New Dual Occupancy Design and Construction

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Features to Consider For a New Dual Occupancy Design and Construction

A good way to make money from rental properties is to have a dual occupancy design, which would mean a townhouse or duplex with more than one person living in the structure. You can earn the rent of two occupants while only paying property taxes on one building, making it a good financial investment.  If you acquire a dual occupancy design townhouse that is currently under construction, note a few features you’ll want to discuss with your contractor to ensure you can charge the most rent and have the happiest tenants. 1. Separate access While your dual occupancy home may not be able to have two separate driveways if the garages are built in the middle of the home or city codes don’t allow it, consider what you can do to separate the access of the home for each occupant. This will ensure no one parks their car in the way of their neighbor’s access to the home. You might request that the contractor widen the driveway and then split it with a landscaping feature or other barrier so each occupant can stay on their own side of the access easily and not block their neighbor. 2. Separate outdoor space If the new construction you’re considering is a duplex, consider adding a privacy fence in the back to split the outdoor space and allow each tenant to enjoy their space separate from their neighbors. A chain link fence won’t allow for privacy and a good separation of space, so invest in something solid and that marks off each side of the property. If possible, build the outdoor patios and decks on separate sides of the home for added privacy and enjoyment for your tenants while they’re outside.  3. Sound barriers A home builder that specializes in dual occupancy buildings will have suggestions for how to increase sound insulation in each unit, and it’s good to invest in the best sound insulation choices you can. This can mean blown foam insulation rather than fiberglass, as the foam can fill in every crack behind the walls and absorb sound waves better than fiberglass. This also might include thicker drywall on the walls that connect the two areas of occupancy, and double or triple glazed windows that keep sound inside one space and block sound waves from entering from outside. The more sound insulation and barriers you include in your dual occupancy design, the happier your tenants will be...

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Common Causes of Air Conditioner Problems

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Causes of Air Conditioner Problems

The air conditioner is an essential module in a residential building because it allows cooling, ventilation and even heating. When the system is operating optimally, you will enjoy proper functionality and relatively low electricity bills. On the other hand, if the air conditioner malfunctions, it will result in poor operation and high costs in terms of repairs and energy bills. Therefore, it is important for you to understand the root of common problems such as unstable temperatures, failure to turn on, increased energy demands and even strange noises. Here are the primary causes of most air conditioner problems. Refrigerant Leaks The refrigerant is the compound that allows heat exchange in the air conditioning system. It absorbs heat from the interior spaces and dissipates it through the outdoor units. In addition, it cools the air flowing into the home and consequently regulates the temperatures. If the system is no longer cooling your building effectively, there might be a refrigerant leak. This is caused by a perforation or a tear in the tubes which allow the flow of the fluid. It is crucial to engage a serviceperson for repairs if your refrigerant-charged system is experiencing this type of problem. In a ducted central air conditioner, lack of cooling could also indicate a leak in the air ducts so ask the repair experts to scrutinise the system for other problems. Electric Control Failure The electrical system is responsible for powering the air conditioner; therefore, its failure will cause appliance malfunction. The fans and other moving components in the AC unit are susceptible to wearing out when the system is forced to shut down and turn on the power frequently. In simple terms, the air conditioner operates intermittently to keep the temperatures consistent. If the system is oversized, the electrical flow will have to be interrupted repeatedly, leading to a breakdown. Problems can also arise from the corrosion of wires and damage of terminals so check the condition of these elements if you suspect the issue is electrical. Poor Maintenance Maintenance is essential in promoting proper functionality of every air conditioning system. Unfortunately, most homeowners neglect important servicing tasks until the units finally break down. You can eliminate the need for extensive repairs by changing the filters to promote proper air flow. If these are clogged they will cause the system to work harder and strain. You should also wipe the AC coils to promote proper heat exchange between the air and refrigerant. Visit a site like to learn more about AC servicing. You should always engage a licensed repair professional for the repair tasks to avoid mediocre...

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How To Fit A Belfast Sink

Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Fit A Belfast Sink

A traditional, ceramic Belfast or butler sink can be a real aesthetic focal point in a newly renovated kitchen.  Belfast sinks look great in a country-style kitchen and can be bought new from kitchen retailers or picked up more cheaply from antique fairs or reclamation yards.  This is not a project for a beginner and would best suit those with some DIY and woodworking skills.  If you’re unsure of what you’re doing, you’re best advised to consult a professional installation contractor, such as Wallspan Kitchens & Wardrobes.  The whole job should take you a day to complete. Here’s how to fit and install your Belfast sink. What to do First of all, make sure that the existing pipework and plumbing will comfortably reach the site for your new sink.  You may find that you have to extend the hot and cold pipes and the waste disposal system pipework in order to comfortably accommodate the new sink.  Carry out any necessary alterations to the pipework before you begin the installation.   Because of its weight, a correctly-fitted Belfast sink should have an overhang to the front and rear of at least 10mm.  When making the cut-out in the work surface where the sink is to sit, ensure that it’s deep enough to allow the top of the front top edge of the sink to overhang by half the thickness of width of the sink wall.  This ensures that the sink is adequately supported and stable in the work surface.   The cut-out must be accurate.  Rather than using a jigsaw for this job, use jigs and a router to get a more precise result.  (Jigs and routers are electronically-powered woodworking tools used for cabinet-making tasks like hollowing out and planing).   When assembling the rails and supports, remember to allow at least a 5mm gap between the edges of the sink and end walls to allow for expansion.  It’s a good idea to have a trial run and fit everything together roughly before fixing it permanently into place.   When you’re happy that everything fits correctly, fit the under-sink rails and work surface supports beneath the cut-out, ensuring that all the incumbent fittings are in the correct position. Use beaded silicone to fix the sink to the base unit and allow the fixing to set.  It’s best to allow at least 24 hours for the silicone to completely ‘go off’.   Re-connect all the pipework, making sure that the cold and hot water pipes are connected to the correct taps.   Finally, take the aerator off the tap and flush the system by turning on the water at the shut off valves.  Allow the water to run for a few minutes then reconnect the...

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5 Options To Enhance the Privacy of Your Patio

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Options To Enhance the Privacy of Your Patio

In Australia an outdoor area such as a patio is the perfect way to entertain friends and family while providing the space to enjoy a flexible indoor/outdoor living lifestyle. Privacy is a key consideration when designing a liveable patio solution, especially as blocks are becoming smaller and new homes are built closer together. To prevent your patio being overlooked by neighbouring homes and those from the street, these five options all offer varying levels of privacy, with a number of different designs to suit different home styles.  1. Privacy Screens Privacy screens are among the most popular option to add privacy. Depending on the style of screen chosen they usually include timber or aluminium slats. These slats vary in width, but are usually between 3-5cm, with about the same size gap to allow light and air to pass through. There are also privacy screens with no gaps between slats but instead with adjustable louvres. These allow homeowners the flexibility of opening or closing slats, similar to Venetian style blinds. Bi-folding shutter-style solutions that can be pulled back or partially closed are another option. Privacy screens are available in a number of colours and often are used in modern properties. 2. Latticework Latticework is a crisscross pattern of timber strips in a diagonal pattern, but it may be also available from other materials. Lattices can suit many different styles of traditional homes, especially heritage or plantation style homes, raised Queenslander homes and workers cottages. Often latticework is heavy in its appearance, but it provides a high level of privacy and a natural look with pine being one of the most affordable types of timber to use. Be sure to use treated timber to prevent fungal growth when wet and to deter termites. One of the other benefits of latticework is that it can be used in conjunction with climbing plants such as jasmine or bougainvillea as a way to decorate and add additional privacy to a patio. 3. Privacy Sails Shade sails are one of the most inexpensive ways to provide a high level of privacy, while still allowing enough transparency for light to pass through. They are usually made from a tightly woven synthetic fabric. As well as being stretched across the side or front of the patio to add privacy from neighbours, sails can also be used as a roof to provide shade in uncovered patios but will not provide shelter from wet weather. 4. Trees and Shrubs Trees may take time to grow but can be a completely natural way to block unwanted views and also shield your home from prevailing winds. Trees and shrubs can also help to provide a natural shade and cooling solution for the patio area and other areas of the home. Be sure to consider roots, soil type and the adult size of the tree so there is sufficient room for growth. 5. Privacy Walls Of course if you want to block out neighbouring homes completely and ‘build in’ part of the patio, a custom constructed privacy wall may be the best permanent solution to enclose one end or section of the patio. These can be made from a number of materials, with masonry solutions such as retaining walls some of the most attractive, but also the most expensive. Brick walls may...

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