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Do you prefer a clean, uncluttered look? Do you like for your home to make a statement? Are you drawn toward bold yet sophisticated furnishings and spaces? Then contemporary style decorating may be for you.

Contemporary style interiors came into vogue in the late 20th century and derived its look from many influences. When sleek Italian-designed goods and other sophisticated European furnishings began making their way into the American market, the contemporary design style boomed overnight.

Contrary to popular belief, the contemporary style home is rarely stark or cold, but instead seeks to combine the ideas of comfort and sophistication. One of the most common design styles, the contemporary style is never fussy, but instead focuses on line, tone and texture.


Typical characteristics of a Contemporary style space: Neutral color palette with “pops” of bold color Clean lines and smooth surfaces Soft curves, but avoids the ornate or ornamental Reflective materials such as chrome, steel and glass Natural fabrics with a focus on texture and tone Use of black and/or white Geometric patterns or shapes Sleek cabinetry and lighting (built-ins, recessed)

The Contemporary design style is often confused with Modern but actually the two are very different styles, though both tend to favor simple, uncluttered spaces with smooth, clean lines. The Modern style is an older style that originated during the late 19th century, but from whom Contemporary design derived some of its ideas.

Knowing what your needs are and how best to approach them are the first steps in planning a home security system. A security system professional is helpful when you have questions, but his job is to sell you equipment and not necessarily to look out for your best interests. Consulting with a professional is useful, but write down a plan first that addresses what your concerns are and lists the essentials you need for your specific home.

What is the best way to start planning a home security system?


You always need door and window sensors, an alarm and a central control panel. Beyond that, you have options. Go through the house and count the number of doors and windows. Include the door leading to the garage and windows high off the ground. This gives you the number of sensors you need. Systems typically come with a set number of sensors, and then you pay a fee for additional ones.


You also need smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if you don’t already have them. Some states require apartment complexes to provide them in each unit. You need one near the kitchen, at least one on each floor of your home, and one in or near every bedroom.


Is additional lighting useful in a home security system?


Consider security lighting when planning your system. The lights are motion or light-activated. Place them near the main entrances to the house to keep those areas lit at night, especially when someone is approaching the house. The motion sensors are useful as a means of keeping thieves or vandals away, but set the sensitivity of the light carefully to make sure they don’t respond to wind or animal movement.


The lights also help prevent others from knowing if someone is home or not.


Should the surrounding neighborhood be considered when planning a security system?

Research the crime statistics in your city or town when planning your system by checking the website for your local police department. Talk to your neighbors as well. If car thefts are common in your area, pay more attention to your garage or where you park your vehicle. If vandalism is a problem in your neighborhood, consider security shutters on the windows. Research the rules of your neighborhood or your homeowner’s association to find out if a fence is allowed and a viable option for you.


Is a wireless system more effective than a wired one?


Older systems used to rely on the phone line when sending signals out to call centers. If the phone lines went down or were tampered with, the system was not effective. Modern wired systems are not as easily disabled, and they have the advantage of being plugged into the home’s main power. Wireless systems are battery-operated. The batteries need to be checked on each device regularly to make sure they are all working properly. Your control panel tells you when the power fails on a device as well. Both wired and wireless devices are effective if properly installed. Wireless installation tends to be simpler than rigging a new system into the existing wiring of the house, however.


What else should be considered when planning a security system?


If you have pets, verify that any motion sensors in the house won’t respond to pet movement. False alarms are a nuisance, and they are also expensive if they reoccur. Decide what the most important or valuable items in your house are. Consider placing additional security measures such as motion sensors or security cameras in those areas.


Write down your needs when planning your security system. This gives you something to share with professionals when you start shopping. This also assists you when budgeting because each company provides a pricing estimate based on the information you give them. Planning the system takes time, research and diligence, but the peace of mind is worth it once the system gets installed.

Funny how some things that are beautiful can also be damaging. For example, ice storms that coat tree limbs or more commonly, icicles which are born of a condition known as an ice dam. Ice dams are a winter roofing problem caused by poor roof ventilation and a warm attic space. Left untreated ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof, gutters, paint, insulation, drywall, structure and in some cases, even contribute to mold. Roof ice dams will form when snow is melted by a warm roof, creating water running between the snow and the warm roof surface. The water then freezes and turns to ice when it gets past the exterior wall and hits a cold unheated roof edge or gutter. As the bottom of the snow pack continues to melt by the warm roof surface, water continues to flow down the roof surface until it hits the cold ice, refreezes and winds up increasing the size of the ice dam. Heavy Snow Makes an Ice Dam Worse Why? Because snow is a great insulator. Snow that is in contact with your roof will melt because the attic is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit to the point that it warms the outside roof surface and melts the snow. The snow acts as an insulating blanket allowing the outside roof surface to warm up easier from the warm attic space, thereby melting the snow faster. Tips for Battling Ice Dams Although ice dams are best defeated in warm weather with proper roof ventilation, there are some things you can do to beat back the formation and prevent the damage of ice dams in winter. Use a Roof Rake: From the ground you can use a special tool called a roof rake. A roof rake is a long handled inverted shovel you use to pull snow off the roof toward you. The tool can be fixed length or telescopic and should be used to remove about 3-4 feet of snow from the roof edge. This does not solve the problem but just reduces the snow insulation layer at the roof edge which will slow down the formation of the ice dam. Use Calcium Chloride: If you want to try and bring the battle to the ice dam it will require getting on a ladder to apply calcium chloride or some similar ice melt product directly on the edge of the roof. Make sure to use the ladder safely. If you don’t want to use a ladder and fancy yourself good at tossing things, you may want to try a product called Roofmelt which is round calcium chloride tablets you toss up on the roof. Steam Removal of Ice Dams: OK, now you are calling in the big guns and opening up your check book. Of course you are also getting the job done while safely on the ground looking out from your window while drinking  a hot cup of coffee, so hey, it’s all a trade off, right? Steam removal is the most effective and safest way to completely remove your ice dam problem. I want to clarify, I am not recommending hot high pressure power washing which can damage your roof, but rather low pressure steam which is safe and effective. The downside is there are less roofing contractors that have this specialty steam equipment than have a power washer. But finding the right contractor will be worth the effort, even if you have to pay a bit more for the service. You can tell a steamer as it will have no trigger on the gun handle and the hose will be black. Just make sure you don’t get a contractor with a high pressure power washer up on your roof.
Yes, you have to clean your pillows. And if it’s been more than six months, they’re way overdue. DOWN AND FIBERFILL PILLOWS Good news! You can wash these kinds of pillows in your washer. For best results, we recommend washing two pillows at a time (to help keep the washer balanced) and using a front or top-loading machine without an agitator. If an agitator-style top loader is your only option, place the pillows in the tub vertically, so it’s less likely they’ll get wrapped around and damaged by the agitator. If your pillow has a care label, definitely read that and follow the directions. If not or you’ve clipped off the tag, use warm water and opt for the gentle cycle. It’s also a good idea to add on an extra cold-water rinse and spin. Tumble dry the pillows on low heat, fluffing and turning them often. In the Good Housekeeping Research Institute Home Appliances and Textiles Labs, we toss in a few rubber dryer balls, like Nellie’s, to help plump the filling and keep it from clumping as it dries. FOAM PILLOWS Unfortunately, you can’t put foam pillows in the washing machine, but if there’s a removable cover, you can wash that according to the care instructions on the tag. To remove dust from a foam pillow, vacuum both sides with your vacuum’s upholstery tool. If possible, dial down the suction level to make the job a bit easier to do. Or, tumble the pillow in the dryer on the no heat or air-only cycle for 20 minutes. Spot-clean any soiled areas with a cloth dipped in a mild sudsy solution. Rinse with a damp cloth. Allow the pillow to air dry completely before putting it back on the bed. Some foam pillows include instructions for hand washing. If you choose to follow them, be very gentle. Wet foam is heavy and tears easily. To help pillows stay cleaner longer, use liners under your pillowcases and wash them monthly. WHEN TO REPLACE THEM No matter how diligent you are about cleaning your pillows, you will need to buy new ones eventually. How do you know when it’s time to toss? If you fold the pillow in half, and it doesn’t spring back into shape, plan for a shopping trip. If you’re not sure if your pillow is still doing its job, ask yourself: Is the foam or batting inside the form lumpy or bumpy? Does your feather pillow have to be punched or fluffed up for support? If you fold the pillow in half, does it stay folded? If you answered yes to any of these, it’s time for a nice, new pillow. If you’d rather your old pillows didn’t end up in the garbage, consider how you can repurpose them. I give mine to my miniature schnauzer, for her bed — the ultimate in recycling!

Giving your kitchen a makeover doesn’t have to be a huge project. In fact, there are a number of low-budget ways to give your kitchen a brand new look without investing too much dough.


Here are just a couple of minor projects you can undertake that will breathe new life into your kitchen’s tired aesthetic:

Install New Light Fixtures

If your current kitchen is lit by one central fixture, you might have an off-balance ambiance. Consider adding a few more fixtures to break up glare and create a perfect blend of decorative and functional lighting. Bar lights, under-cabinet lights or other ambient lighting will help give a new feel to your kitchen.


Change the Colors

A fresh coat of paint or a bright accent wall can really make your kitchen pop! Alternatively, consider creating a mosaic tile backsplash or using vintage or colorful decorative accents for visual interest.


Upgrade the Countertops

Changing out countertops is a great way to give your kitchen an all-over new look without too much investment. You can choose stone materials, like marble, slate or granite or, if you’re really on a budget, just change out colors on your laminate counters and add a new color or pattern to the room


Revamp the Cabinets

In most kitchens, cabinets cover a large amount of real estate. Because of this, updating or changing them out can have a huge effect on the overall look of the room. If you can’t afford to completely replace your existing cabinets, try revamping your old ones. A popular trend lately is glass-front cabinets. Simply remove your cabinet doors, cut out the front panel (leaving a two- to three-inch border around it), and insert clear glass panes. This gives your kitchen an open and airy look.


If replacing cabinets is outside your budget, you can always repaint cabinets or stain a light wood darker for a whole new look and feel. Even updating the cabinet handles alone can make a big difference!

Add an Island

If you have the space, adding or upgrading an island not only transforms your room; it may also give you more space to cook, chop and serve up food. You can choose to get an island installed professionally – and have it match your countertops – or you could opt for a roll-away island, which you can typically find at any major furniture store or outlet. Most feature underside cabinets and drawers, giving you additional storage space.


Create a Bar

If part of your kitchen is blocked off by a wall, consider knocking half of it out and turning the lower half into a bar. This can open up space between rooms and create a better space for entertaining. You can even get bar stools to match your décor to really pull the room together.


You’ve been pre-approved and know what you can afford, so it’s time to start home shopping. But the hunt for your dream home will stall rapidly if you don’t know what that “dream” looks like.

It’s easy to talk in generalities about wanting a “big” house or an “older” home. But in order to better target your real estate search, you must think specifically about your dream dwelling. Will your “big” house be 2,400 square feet or 5,000? When you say “older” home, do you mean one built pre-1900, or pre-1980?

Before you visit another open house, sit down and make a list of your needs and wants — and yes, those are two different things. You may want a pool, but you probably could live without it. (Plus, it’s worth considering that having a pool could raise your home insurance costs.)

Understand that your requirements list will likely change as you learn more about your housing options. Proximity to the beach may start as a priority, for example, but once you see the size of ocean-front homes you can get in your price range, you may decide a short drive to the water is quite bearable. Unless you have an unlimited budget, it’s likely you’ll need to make compromises along the way.

Use these questions to help make your very own list of housing requirements.



Financial Are you pre-approved for a mortgage? What’s your price range? Are you willing to do extra renovation?

Location Suburban, urban or rural? What city do you want to live in? Do you want easy access to highways? Are there suitable schools nearby? How important is the view? Can you sleep easily with traffic noise?

Structure One-story, two-story, townhouse or condo? Could you live in a historic home? How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? Want a guest room? Hardwood or carpet floors? What a Architecture style do you like best



Do you need any special features for your pets? Do you need wheelchair access or limited stairs? Do you need a space for a car or is street parking sufficient? How important is walking to you?


Tile may look and feel impervious to harm, but don’t take chances. Test your stain-removal technique on an inconspicuous spot of both tile and grout before cleaning. A nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner or a tub-tile-sink product removes most stains. Try the following techniques for specific stains.


Blood: Dab the stain with hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach.


Coffee, tea, or juice: Wash the stain with detergent and hot water, then blot with hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach.


Gum, wax, or tar: Place ice cubes in a resealable plastic bag and lay the bag over the material you want to remove from the tile. Once the material solidifies, remove as much of it as possible with a crafts stick. Remove any remaining residue with nonflammable paint thinner.


Grease or fat-base stains: Wash the stain with club soda and water or with a nonabrasive floor cleaner.


Ink or dye: Soak a clean cloth with diluted bleach and lay it over the stain. Let the cloth stay in place until the stain disappears. Rinse well.


Iodine: Scrub the iodine stain with diluted ammonia and rinse well.

If you live in a home without electricity and few or no windows, it’s always incredibly dark inside, even at high noon a Liter of Light is a sustainable lighting project that is trying to help people overcome that problem with extremely simple technology


What is the Solar Bottle Bulb?

It is a simple bottle bulb, usually a 1 liter soda bottle that is filled with a solution of purified water and bleach. The bottle is inserted halfway through a hole drilled in the metal roof and its sides are sealed. The whole deal looks like a bulb through a sunroof and provides a good amount of light by deflecting sunlight into gloomy interiors.

The chlorine and bleach “poisons” the water to keep molds from developing so the solution can last up to five years. The clear and purified water helps disperse the light through refraction, so the light is not concentrated. It only costs $2-3 to make a solar bottle bulb that is bringing light to dark homes. This simple innovation is not perfect- the water needs to be replaced every five years and obviously without any provision for energy storage, the bulb will not work at night. But the advantages are overwhelming for communities that are deprived of daylight. It is surprisingly effective, using cheap and locally available materials that allows the poor in these settlements to use their homes more effectively. The bulb does not produce any harmful pollutants and also reduces the dangers from faulty and temporary electrical connections that cause devastating fires.

This project and its success is a great example of the ‘market-based’ solutions that should be pursued for socio-economic problems worldwide, strategies that are smart, effective & resourceful

Enjoy barbecue with friends and family when the evenings and weekends are free. So, if you also want to add a barbecue grill area to your home’s outdoor, take a look at these cool ideas below:



1. Give It a Vintage Look 

2. Place The Grill Inside a Corrugated Metal Shed

3. Accompany The Grill with a Built-In Bench

4. Build a Concrete Table 

5. Go for An All Stone Grilling Area 

6. Build a Two Level Island for The Grill to Combine Cooking and Serving

7. Install a TV Screen for Yet More Entertainment

8. Install The Grill On a Deck

9. Go For All White Appliances

10. Install The Grill in a Niche Enclosure


11. Design in a Rustic Way

12. Build a Pergola

13. Design with Moroccan Theme

14. Hang Strings of Lights for Making Everthing Magical

15. Get Inspiration from a Surf Shack for a Fun Outlook


Items needed:

1 cup of water

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 gram of yeast

1 2-liter bottle



Cut the plastic bottle in half. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are also drawn to the color black.)



Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.