How to Choose and Match Brick Veneer For New Construction and Additions

My neighbor spent well over $ 200,000 to add a beautiful addition to her traditional brick veneer Cape Cod home. But when the masonry contractor put up the brick he failed to even come close to matching the color of the mortar to the original part of the house. Even worse the new bright white mortar clashes with both the new brick and the old. The house now has a garish and jarring appearance and the cost of repair is prohibitive.

Brick veneer is the most durable and beautiful material that will protect your home from the elements. Brick is essentially maintenance free and will last for generations. Living in the Detroit area it is plain to see the brick in all the dilapidated buildings is still in beautiful condition and in most cases can be salvaged and reused. Brick veneer is more cost and you will have to live with your choice for as long as you own your home. If you're planning an addition or building a new home the money, time and effort invested in choosing the design, brick, mortar and most importantly the contractor will be returned many times over in long-term value.

These are some ideas to consider when choosing or matching brick veneer

• Cost: maybe it would be better to sacrifice square footage for quality and beauty

• Design: Long, high walls need to be broken up with a vertical course of brick, a ledge of stone or brick that varies in color and texture. Design in offset walls with interior or exterior corners to give vertical definition to the house.

• Use "offset" (brick that protrudes from the wall in patterns or randomly) of bricks to create interest

• Make the addition narrows or wider than the existing home for interior or exterior corners to make brick and mortar matching easier

• How does the house fit into the neighborhood? A traditional styled house needs darker reds and more texture with gray mortar. Fieldstone, granite or sandstone can be used carefully

• Contemporary houses can use whites, blushes or neutral colors and smooth to glazed brick. Mortar can be bright white

• A skilled and experienced mason will take the time to try out various mixtures to match the mortar. Remember it is the SAND in the mortar that must match. Ask to see other work the mason has done and will be prepared to pay a little more

• There are many sizes and profiles of brick available. We have a ranch house built on a slab in our neighborhood that used long, low profile brick with a mixture wavy texture. Along with a double-hip roof and deep eves this house would be the envy of Frank Lloyd Wright himself!

• Design the roof and gutters so the downspouts can be used to hide the seam between the old and new brick. There are many decorative gutter and downspout products available. Visit a local siding and gutter supply house

• A …

Know the Best House Positioning of Each Planet on the Birth Chart

In a birth chart, the houses play an important role in which characteristics of the planets will be highlighted. Each house has a specific nature and along with the appearance of the planets contribute to you individuality. Find out which house the planets are at it’s best in the following.

The most desirable house placement of each planet are the following: Sun – 1st house, Moon – 11th house, Mercury – 8th house, Venus – 7th house, Mars – 6th house, Jupiter – 5th house, Saturn – 3rd house, Uranus – 9th house, Neptune – 4th house, Pluto – 10th house.

Sun – first house

The presence of the Sun in the first house means a strong sense of identity, versatility and have high self confidence. You have the determination to be unique and use this quality to mingle with others. You are highly optimistic and enjoys a very happy disposition in life.

Moon – eleventh house

The placement of the moon in the eleventh house ensures a harmonious and productive relationships within a group, no matter how different their goals may be. You are highly popular and have a have a good relationship with people around you. You are aware of others feelings.

Mercury – eighth house

When Mercury is in the eighth house, it denotes a person’s resourcefulness. You tend to go deeper in every challenges and always come up with a comprehensive solution for each problem. You always strive to seek for the truth, and in relation to that people in this situation excels in professions that deal with investigations.

Venus – seventh house

The placement of Venus in the seventh house takes pride of his/her social skills and enjoys a satisfying married life. You take a great value on marriage and friendship to a point that you exert all that you can for the success of relationships.

Mars – sixth house

Mars in the sixth house denotes your productiveness and diligence to work. You have no room for idleness. You have a good drive and persistence that may influence the others around you. You strive for perfection and leave no minor details unnoticed.

Jupiter – fifth house

Jupiter on the fifth means nurturing your hidden abilities and along with strong character can aid you in walking though life leisurely. A very good fortune awaits you. Alongside with leisure, is the duty to make a great contribution to the society. People in this scenario, often excel in political and scholastic fields.

Saturn – third house

The presence of Saturn in the third house correlates to high intellectual discipline and practical ideals. You have a very cautious nature and have good sense of judgment and you always speak with veracity.

Uranus – ninth house

The placement of Uranus in the ninth house suggest a progressive and higher level philosophies in life. Your outlooks are insightful and sometimes grandiose. Your direction is not common, instead you look into other options and accepting new visions while enjoying the whole process.…

Plumbing: What Goes Into A Complete New House Installation?

If you are in the process of building a new home, congratulations! This can be an exciting time for you, and there is a lot that still has to be done before you can move in. You will need a lot of help to get everything in, and one of the most important moves you can make now, before things get too far, is to call in an experienced plumber to help you with the complete new house installation that you will need.

Laying the Groundwork

A complete new house installation of plumbing can be a tricky thing, and no matter how beautiful your dream home is, bad plumbing will sour the whole experience in no time. With the help of an experienced plumber, you can insure that what goes into your new home will be the best that money can buy, and be as reliable as you need it to be. The first job will be laying the groundwork for installation of all necessary products and pipes.

With the help of your plumbing consultant, work out a plan on paper, detailing every major and minor installation that will go into your new home. You can set it up, room by room, to help you keep track of everything that will be needed. For instance, the kitchen will have the dishwasher and the kitchen sink, while the bathroom will have the toilet and the bathroom sink. Be sure to include a layout of all connecting pipes, and do not forget outside faucet access, especially if you also have a septic tank in mind.

Remember the Inspector

All new construction must pass a county or state building inspection. To avoid pitfalls created by using plumbing not included in your area’s building code, be sure to double check every proposed installation against the local code authority’s guidelines. This is another aspect of plumbing installation where your plumber on retainer can be an invaluable resource.

Every area has its own local code requirements, as do state and national construction agencies. Your plumber can provide you with a list of applicable codes that your home falls under, and can walk you through them, step by step. This way, any potential problems can be spotted prior to installation, and you can alter your plumbing groundwork maps accordingly. No surprises for the inspector, and no headaches in the future for you.

Choose your Materials Wisely

Whenever someone works on building their own home, quality may be compromised in order to save on costs. Plumbing is one area where this should never happen. In order to get a fully functioning plumbing system the way you want, you have to spend a little more on quality materials, to make sure that it will not turn out to be a money pit later on.

No matter how well your home will be insulated, the area weather still needs to be taken into consideration when purchasing plumbing materials. Not all of your pipes will be under the protection of your …

Organic Interior Designs

Organic design of interiors uses natural elements for creating those designs by minimal usage of synthetic materials. An organic decorator should be aware of the type of natural elements available in the market and in nature which can be used to replace those synthetic decorators. It will be quite challenging for usual indoor decorators to turn to eco-friendly interior decorators.

Now a days green or organic interior decoration is not very much accepted by the people around the world. But more than 70% of the people around the world would like to live a life which is close to nature. The reason i am telling is because, when looking the travel statistics around the world people are choosing destinations which are close to nature for their holidays. People love nature and likes to have fresh intake of oxygen. Fresh air is not available in big cities and in artificially ventilated interiors. So people are traveling to those ecological and nature friendly places spend at least some days in a year. Which type of room would you love to live in through out your lifespan whether it is an artificially created room or in a room which is filled with natural light and with a breeze of natural air.

Many people think that green interior decorating is being utilized by those who don’t want to spend much money on their interiors. People who are willing to spend much money on their interiors think that their interior will feel unusual if their turn to organic interior decorating. It is a fact that people used to return to those indoors which are organically designed than those with synthetically designed indoors. Moreover people living inside organic designed interiors have got less friction and differences among them when compared to people living in synthetically designed interiors. Organic interior design can create that ambience inside a room which can create a sense of tranquility and serenity inside the rooms.With some simple measures and changes synthetically designed rooms can be changed to organic. Organically designed interiors are decorated in such a way that it should provide that much need calm and rejuvenation for mind and soul. After all what we need for our homes or office interiors is peace of mind.

Organic interior design has become relevant in today’s world because of the amount of pollution happening in our cities. Every day people are adding more air conditioners to their rooms. Many research have proved that emissions from these air conditioners is one of the reason for climate change. Organic interior decorators around the world are having the opinion that people are gradually thinking about organic interior designs for their rooms.

Inviting Mother Nature into the home through home design is an exceptional way to get back to basics while infusing a house with warmth, color, purpose and practicality. We were originally organic to begin with, so why not keep up the tradition of peace, harmony and health.

Allure the pacifying Mother Nature into your indoors through …

Roach Repellent – 5 Ways To Keep Cockroaches Out Of Your Home

Repelling cockroaches is one portion of an integrated pest management solution for ridding your home of cockroach infestations. If the roaches don’t like the environment of your home, they are less likely to enter and nest in the first place. If you can find roach repellents that don’t also repel all the humans you know – even better.

The following 5 roach repellents might just do the trick to make your home the last place a roach wants to live:

Pepper Spray – Roaches don’t like red pepper. So, if you spray surfaces in your kitchen and bath with a solution containing red pepper, the will avoid those surfaces. An easy recipe to whip up a batch of spray is to mix 2 tablespoons of Tobasco Sauce (the primary ingredients are red pepper and vinegar) with 1 quart of water. Pour it into a pump spray bottle and mist it onto surfaces. A word of caution, you will be misting pepper spray into the air. Until the mist settles, you are likely to sneeze more than a few times. Consider wearing a mask when you apply the spray.

Moth Balls – Roaches, like moths, don’t like the smell of moth balls. One common remedy is to drop a couple moth balls behind the stove to keep the bugs from hanging out back there. One or two in the cabinet under the sink can be helpful as well. Moth balls are not good for humans, so don’t place them near food or food prep areas.

Cedar Products – The oils in cedar wood are an effective natural deterrent for a host of bugs. There are many products available to take advantage of this fact. Look for thin cedar veneers that can be used to line drawers and cabinets, cedar balls, blocks, chips, etc to place in drawers and closets, and (of course) cedar boards and paneling to line closet walls for the ultimate protection.

Mint Oil – Mint oil is a primary ingredient in several non-toxic roach sprays. The roaches avoid it, and when coated with it, they suffocate. The sprays don’t kill as fast as typical poisons, but they are safe to use in the kitchen and around pets and children. It is possible to create a spray, like the pepper spray, by diluting some Dr. Brauner’s Peppermint Castile Soap in water and then applying with a spray bottle. I haven’t tried it, but you might be able to create your own roach spray this way if the soap concentration is high enough.

Bay Leaves – Bay leaves are another sent that roaches avoid. You can pick up a bunch of dry bay leaves in the spice section of any grocery. Place whole leaves or small sachets of crushed leaves in closets and cabinets. This is a good option for kitchen cupboards.

With the exception of moth balls, there are no hazardous chemicals in any of these roach repellents. Give them a try, in combination with baiting, sealing, and applications …

Advantages and Disadvantages of Building a Garden

If you own a home, you probably notice that the land your house is built on is not all house. There are some areas that are blank. These items are left to your imagination as to what purpose it will serve. It is a shame, really, because there is a lot of things you can do with these blank spaces.

Some of the most common things people create out of these blank spaces are concrete patios, pergolas, ponds just to name a few. However, one thing that is more often built than anything else is a garden full of lush greens and colorful flowers and ornaments.

If everybody is building a garden, it does not automatically mean that you have to build one for yourself in your house as well. Like anything else, it is still your decision and like any decision you must weigh the pros and cons of your decision.

Some people may think that a garden is the most obvious decisions but there are some real concerns that you need to think of when you want to convert that empty patch of dirt in your backyard.

One major concern that comes with building a garden is all of the responsibility that comes with it. A garden requires a lot of attention, especially, when you consider a concrete patio instead. A concrete patio only requires you to wash it from time to time, but a garden need you to water it, give it nutrients and, sometimes, replant and prune. Definitely hard work, if you consider that you are not getting paid to do it.

The cost of filling in the empty space in your home should also play a big part in your decision on what to use on that blank canvas you call your home. A garden can be less expensive to make if you choose the right kind of plants. Plants can cover more area cheaply compared to concrete but a garden requires continues maintenance and resources. If you want something that does not require you an immediate large payout and spreads out the costs through a longer period of time, then a garden is the way to go.

Another advantage to having a garden is having the opportunity to express your own sense of style. Landscaping is like any art form. You choose a media, in this case it is plants and the ground, and then you decide where to place the elements to create an overall design. If done correctly, you can create a beautiful garden that can rival any painting out there.

The disadvantage to building a garden as your means of self expression is that you are severely tied down by its horticultural needs. You cannot just place any plant anywhere. These plants have specific needs, such as amount of sun and drainage, and as such need to be placed in areas that will help fill those needs.

Planting a garden is also a great way to increase the value of your …

Horizontal and Vertical – Do You Know the Basic Elements of Interior Design?

A well-designed and appropriately decorated room demonstrates the basic elements of interior design, horizontal and vertical lines. Good design in all styles, traditional, neo-classic, modern or contemporary is confirmation to the interior design world that those simple elements are represented.

The two foundations of design are vertical and horizontal lines. If used correctly, these design elements position the focus in a room for the best visual balance. They are the design features that provide the essential support for the room design and serve to accent a specific interior space. More important than focal points, a design without properly used horizontal and vertical elements is a failed design.

For example, crown moulding on the ceiling is a strong horizontal element. The horizontal line takes your eyes around the perimeter of the room. This is why all home stagers emphasize the mouldings in homes that they prepare for resale. Commonly used vertical elements in interiors are floor lamps, lamps on tables, hutches and armoires, indoor plants, pedestals, and hanging chandeliers. In hotels, indoor fountains and water features provide vertical height. These vertical design elements direct the eye upward and emphasize the overall height of the space.

Vertical lines accentuate features, and create a focal point. Wall sconces in a foyer may frame a decorative mirror placed above a buffet or sideboard. A pair of tall candlesticks placed on a mantle accent the vertical element. At best, vertical lines serve as design markers to make a strong statement. In furnishings, a tall backed chair like a wing chair becomes a vertical element. Verticals facilitate the spatial story.

The horizontal equivalents of vertical elements are long dining tables, sofa backs or straight railings. Your eye moves from side to side. Interior design schemes that feature horizontal pieces, like sectionals, beds or mantles, suggest the idea of staying a while. A horizontal design element informs the eye that you have reached the end. It is time to stop and stay in a comfortable spot. A horizontal feature beckons you to stay. Think about bedrooms or spa baths which feature flat, horizontal surfaces. In public spaces like airports there are rows of seats, or in reception rooms chairs circle the room with the message, please sit and stay awhile.

These two complementary design elements – verticals and horizontals – are the anchors for a successful design concept. Highlight the vertical and horizontal to achieve an eye-catching interior design and make any room a stunning success. As you discuss your design with an interior designer give thought to what horizontal and vertical elements you want to feature.…

5 Major Home Renovation Projects That Offer The Best Return On Investment

When it comes to renovating your home for re-sale there are a few major renovations that top the list.

1. Major Kitchen Remodels. (ROI 75-85%)

The function of the kitchen has evolved over the years and now more than ever the kitchen must meet those needs.

  • Buyers want to envision themselves in a gorgeous newly renovated kitchen where they can actually see themselves – preparing meals for their friends and family -where the kids nestle into a cozy banquette doing their homework, or their guests mingling around that gorgeous island. Buyers want to see this in their minds eye and know that it’s attainable.
  • A major kitchen remodel may need to include a new floor plan to improve on a poorly designed work triangle.
  • If the kitchen is completely dated, isolated and compartmentalized with an inefficient floor plan and layout – don’t think that replacing the cabinets and appliances will camouflage the problem. It won’t!
  • If at all possible add an island into those plans. Everyone loves them!
  • Replacing all cabinetry, appliances, lighting, flooring, finishes and fixtures and new French doors and windows will grab the buyers’ attention.
  • Since kitchens and baths are the costliest rooms to renovate, the buyer will be thrilled that the work is already done for them.

2. Family Room Additions. (75% ROI)

The family room is the second most popular space in the home after the kitchen.

  • Adding 400 sq. ft. of bright and cheery living space (if your neighborhood will bare it), will definitely improve the value of the home
  • Increase the overall height of your space and introduce a vaulted ceiling. Creating a sense of volume instantly makes a room feel more spacious.
  • Consider the details and add beautiful French doors, floor to ceiling windows or even skylights to flood this new space with light and maximizes a view. Take it one step further and add the deck.

3. Deck Addition. (72-95% ROI)

Deck additions are quite possibly the best investments these days. They naturally transition the interior to the exterior – instantly expanding your living space.

And who doesn’t love that?

  • It’s a vacation-at-home experience, as it expands your living space and extends the summer season – forcing you to live more outdoors before the winter season sets in.
  • Its design can be as simple or elaborate as the home it’s attached to.
  • Multi-leveled or single, built in seating or casual seating areas, hot tubs, and outdoor kitchens – all of which add to the vacation home atmosphere.
  • Decks are more popular than pools and relatively easy to build.
  • Design the deck to compliment the character of your home’s exterior architecture. Give it some thought in planning – it should be proportionate to the size of your yard.
  • Incorporate energy efficient solar or led lighting.

4. Main Floor Master Bedroom Addition(73% ROI)

  • Adding a 400 sq.ft. master bedroom suite and spa-like bath provides a private retreat and appeals to many home buyers. Access to main floor is gaining in popularity.
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Flower Pots and Their Benefits

Flower pots have various uses, from starting new seeds, moving plants to new locations, indoor cultivation plants, beautifies garden, or charming your room with wonderful flowers. Flower pots have been used since ancient times, the Egyptians were among the first to use pots to move plants from one location to another, later the Romans brought potted plants inside during cold weather. In modern eras, they can be used as a personal gift, kitchen decoration, room beautification, and art object.

Plant pots can be easily found in garden supply stories, grocery stores, home improvement stores and online garden stores. There are different kinds of plant containers, from clay flower pots, plastic, ceramic, fiber glass, hanging pots, window box planters, sandstone urns, and many more; each of them has their own pros and cons. Out of all these, clay flower pot considered as one of the most popular type of pot. Its structure is suitable for maintaining the freshness almost all type of flowers, in addition clay pots are made from organic raw materials, thus these are eco-friendly products.

Before choosing which type of pot you want, you need to determine where do you want to place the pots. Would you like to lay the pot in your garden? Or do you prefer to place the inside your house? Whether in the living room, kitchen or as window decoration in private room, you must plan and decide the placement of your pots. With perfect placement and match with surroundings, it will enhance the splendor of home as well as your garden. Type of plants, sizes of flower, weight, qualities and prices also major considerations before picking the right pot for you. Growing your own flowers certainly bring ultimate pleasure, an interesting activity that enlighten your days.…

The Differences Between SodaStream Models

Many people want to get a SodaStream but have no idea which model is best for them. It can be difficult to choose, especially when the SodaStream company has no information highlighting the differences between the models. Here is a brief overview explaining which features are unique to the models.

There are currently eight SodaStream models available. They are The Revolution, The Source, The Fizz, The Crystal, The Pure, The Fountain Jet, The Dynamo and The Genesis. First, let’s address the similarities of all eight types. All of the eight models can make soda or sparkling water in the convenience of your home. All come with “stay fizzy” bottle closures that keep the carbonation in longer. All are compatible with the standard 14.5 ounce carbonation cylinder which is capable of carbonating up to sixty liters of soda or sparkling water.

There are four models which are capable of using either the 14.5 ounce carbonation cylinder or the larger 33 ounce cylinder, which is capable of carbonating up to 130 liters of soda or sparkling water. Those four models are The Revolution, The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet and The Fizz.

All eight models use the CO2 tank as a power source to carbonate. The Crystal, The Pure, The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet and The Genesis require no additional power source to operate. The Fizz and The Source do require a battery to operate the display components. That battery is included. The Revolution is the only model which requires electricity to work. Keep this in mind, as it will need to be near an outlet when used.

The Crystal comes with a dishwasher safe glass carafe. The other seven models come with BPA-free plastic bottles that are not dishwasher safe. You can buy dishwasher safe bottles separately that are compatible with those seven models, but you can not use the glass carafe with any model other than the Crystal.

The Dynamo, The Fountain Jet, The Pure, The Fizz and The Genesis all require the user to twist the bottle into place. The Crystal, The Revolution and The Source all lock the bottle into place without twisting, making them a little easier to use.

There is only one fully automated SodaStream available at this time. That is The Revolution. You simply press a button to tell it how carbonated you would like your drink and it does the rest for you. It also measures the CO2 levels to let you know how much is left in your carbonation cylinder. The Fizz is not automated but it does monitor and display the amount of carbonation in your drink as well as the level of CO2 in your cylinder. The Source has three LED lights to let you know how much carbonation is in your drink, but does not monitor the CO2 left in your cylinder.

I hope I have shed some light on what makes each SodaStream model unique. Click HERE for more information on SodaStreams and to see how the different models look. …