10 Smart Ideas to Heat Your Home for Less

23547343_original(BPT) – As cooler temperatures begin to sweep the nation, homeowners are turning on their heat for the first time in months. With every degree increase on the thermostat, utility bills follow suit.

A warm, comfortable home shouldn’t cost you a small fortune. Luckily, there are some simple strategies for combating the chill while lowering heating costs at the same time.


Change the Filters

The summer and fall months are a prime time for airborne allergens and microbes, which can clog furnace filters and inhibit airflow. This makes your furnace work harder and in turn, costs you more. Change your filters monthly to help open airflow and save money.


Embrace the Sun

Want to help heat your home for free during the winter? Pay attention to the sun. Try opening curtains on south-facing windows and the radiant heat from the sun will help naturally heat your home. Just remember to close them at night to keep out the evening chill.


Use a Programmable Thermostat

You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Use a programmable thermostat to change the temperature for time periods you are sleeping or away from home. Some air conditioning systems can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app like “Smart AC,” which works seamlessly with LG duct-free systems, allowing the homeowners to wirelessly connect, control and monitor the temperature through an easy-to-use smartphone app.


Consider Installing a Duct-Free Mini-Split System to Provide Zoned Heating

Instead of moving air through ductwork as central heating and air conditioning systems do, duct-free systems deliver warm conditioned air directly into a room. Duct-free systems like those from LG provide high-performance zone heating, allowing homeowners to keep their bedrooms toasty warm at night when it’s frigid outside, while turning the heat down (or off!) in the rest of the home to help save energy.


Clear Heat Registers

One common mistake homeowners make is covering heat registers with furniture, toys or other items that block the heat flow. To improve heating efficiency, inspect all heat registers in your home and remove anything that’s blocking them.


Seal Leaks and Lock Windows

Phantom heat loss is a huge energy drain. Test for leaks by using a flashlight to see if light filters through cracks or try pulling a dollar bill through. Then, seal air leaks around utility cut-throughs, chimneys and recessed lights with spray foam. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal windows and doorway drafts. Don’t forget to close and lock windows and doors. Locking pulls the components tight against the weather-stripping to block cold air from entering the home.


Consider Installing an Energy Star Certified Heating System

Energy Star certified energy-efficient products provide superior performance while saving energy to help lessen the impact on the world around us. The EPA Energy Star program identifies heating and cooling products that are energy efficient and can save you money.


Use Your Fireplace Wisely

The warmth and ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace are hard to beat on a chilly day. But to ensure you don’t lose valuable heat when the fireplace is not in use, always remember to close the damper when the fire is completely out.


Fill Attic Insulation

When was the last time you checked your attic’s insulation? Heat rises – so if you don’t have proper insulation in your attic, you’re losing money. Start by checking to make sure insulation is evenly spread throughout your attic. Then, visit energy.gov/energysaver/insulation to learn recommended insulation amounts for your region.


Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of the energy consumed in your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Consider setting your water heater to a lower setting of 120 Fahrenheit and you’ll still enjoy hot showers without a utility bill that will scald you.

Refresh Your Home with 6 Easy DIY Paint Projects

23753150_original(BPT) – Few things are as satisfying as pulling off a DIY project, especially when the results are successful. Whether you’re looking to refresh something old or create something new, there’s no need to hire a professional. Updating your home both indoors and out can be effortless. All you need is a fresh coat of paint.

Whether a quick afternoon project, or a weekend makeover, here are some DIY projects to spark your inspiration:

Update Your Bedroom

You can change the entire look of your bedroom with a can of paint and a few easy steps. A splash of vibrant color could be just the change you’re looking for. But paint isn’t just for the walls. Take your old desk and chair set from abandoned to astonishing with a little paint from HGTV HOME(TM) by Sherwin-Williams for the perfect study corner, or add a coat of your favorite color to every piece of furniture in the room. For this project, try HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Showcase Interior Paint. This paint was created with a Precision Color Promise and features exceptional color matching with fade resistant technology allowing you to choose the perfect color to revamp your space with confidence.

Paint a Picture Frame

Gallery walls are super trendy these days, so why not make yours even more stylish with a personalized touch? Refresh those old picture frames you have lying around, or pick some up at a thrift store and add a layer of paint. Just be sure to wipe off your frames first so the surface is clean and ready for brush strokes. After the frames are dry, slide in photos and they’re ready to hang.

Two-Toned Accent Wall

When it comes to creating an accent wall, the possibilities are endless and the quickest and easiest way to make a huge difference in any room. A subtle hint of color can elevate even the plainest of rooms in just a couple of hours. A two-toned wall is an unexpected twist that takes any room from bleak to bold with high-quality paint.

Select two hues from one of their 16 unique Color Collections. Each of the paint colors in the collections were designed to work together in harmony, so you truly can’t go wrong! Then line the wall with painter’s tape and roll on the first color. Let it dry and then apply the other. Once paint is dry to the touch, slowly pull off the tape, angling it toward you.

Try using HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams INFINITY Paint for this project. This interior paint provides a durable finish that is stain resistant and can easily be washed and cleaned, making it the perfect paint for any room in your home.

Instant Curb Appeal

Ready for the fastest and easiest ways to improve your home’s curb appeal? Give your front door, trim and shutters a fresh coat of paint. Pick a bold color (or colors) or a brightening white, but make sure they complement the other colors of your home. These simple painting projects will give your home that nice finished look that will have neighbors stopping and staring as they stroll by.

You’ll also need a paint that provides protection against even the toughest elements, such as heavy rain and intense sunlight. HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams offers a wide variety of paint products that do this, especially their Showcase Exterior Paint with WeatherTuff technology. This paint also offers a thicker coating for extra protection from cracking, peeling and blistering for a long-lasting beautiful finish.

Upgrade Your Mailbox

Dress up your mailbox by painting the wooden post to match the exterior of the home. Or take a bold approach and paint it a vibrant color!

Picnic Table Revamp

Shatter picnic table stereotypes by painting yours with a cheerful color. After all, a picnic table doesn’t have to be brown. Start by cleaning the table with soapy water to remove dirt and grime. Next sand the table, so the surface is free of splinters. Then rinse the dust away. Let the surface dry, and then it’s time to paint with a premium quality exterior paint that’s perfect for unprimed surfaces, like HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams INFINITY Exterior Paint. This paint is a one-coat paint and primer making it easy to update your picnic table in just an afternoon. It’s also mildew resistant and holds up against harsh weather conditions, keeping your picnic table bright and beautiful throughout the entire year.

Feeling inspired to revitalize the look of your home? Get started this weekend with any of these quick and easy DIY paint projects. Visit www.hgtvhomebysherwinwilliams.com for even more inspiration!

5 Ways to Prepare Your Outdoor Living Space for Fall

23720835_original(BPT) – While everyone eagerly waits for spring each year and wishes summer could last a month or two longer, when it comes down to it, fall just might be America’s favorite season. It’s warm but not hot, the air has that clean crispness that’s hard to describe and perhaps the biggest draw, pumpkin-flavored everything. And let’s not forget about all those bright, beautiful leaf colors that come with the change in weather. So why start shutting down your outdoor living space with the first sign of fall?

Packing it in early is something dynamic design duo, Colin and Justin, would never consider. The home improvement stars of “Cabin Pressure” and “Game of Homes” make the most of their beautiful Western Red Cedar deck all year around.

“Oh my gosh every single day, we’re on the deck – whether it’s summer, spring, fall, winter or whatever,” says Justin. “A deck isn’t just for three months of the year; a deck is what you want it to be. And if you love the great outdoors as much as we do, you can make it work.”

Here, then, are Colin and Justin’s top five design solutions to help extend your outdoor living well into the autumn months:

Start With the Right Deck

Just because you procrastinated, doesn’t mean you need to wait until next spring to build or start designing a show-stopping deck. Whatever your plans, though, one thing almost everyone agrees upon is that there’s nothing quite like the rich, textural warmth of a Western Red Cedar deck to create a beautiful all-season outdoor living space. Low maintenance, surprisingly affordable and easy to work with, Real Cedar can’t be beat.

“We recommend getting your big ticket items first, around which you can seasonally adjust and tailor your look with different smaller and more affordable purchases,” says Colin. “And with decks, it’s worth investing in a really good product to start with like Western Red Cedar, which will last and last and last. Honestly, it just gets better with age, improving as the years pass, and it really is a showstopper.”

Screen It In

Unless you’ve got a screened-in porch, you may still have to shield your outdoor living space from the occasional nippy breeze. For Colin and Justin, this is easily rectified with movable wicker screens that they store inside during the summer months.

“They’ve got a lovely weighty bottom to them,” says Justin. “The wind passes right through them and that’s a good tip for anyone using freestanding screens on the outside. If they’re too solid, the wind can catch them. But if they’re fretwork or open panels or cutout work, they’re good.”

Heat Things Up23720743_original

Paradoxically, as the days grow shorter, you’ll wish they would last longer. There’s no more perfect way to cap off a perfect fall day than by sitting around a fire with friends and family.

“In the autumn, we have two propane operated fire bowls that sit smack dab in the center of our Western Red Cedar deck,” says Colin. Their gas-powered fire is safely contained in a stone bowl and leaves no ashes or embers. “And those fire bowls help us stretch out our summer a little bit. We also have two big patio heaters, which we can direct inward at either end of our terrace and they really make a big difference.”

Bundle Up With Textiles

Sometimes all it takes to warm up your outdoor living space is some simple, yet chic, soft furnishings and yes, maybe even a change in wardrobe. (But don’t worry – you don’t have to say good-bye to your beloved flips flops, just “until we meet again next spring.”)

“We take out lots of really lovely textural throw pillows and rich woolen blankets – think Pendleton and Hudson’s Bay striped blankets – and we cozy up,” says Justin, adding, “And don’t forget your winter woollies. When the weather is changing, sometimes it’s less about what you add and more about what you put on in terms of clothing.”

Install a BBQ Cover

If you’re like Colin & Justin, you enjoy the thrill of the grill year round. This is where an easy-to-build, Real Cedar BBQ Cover really earns its keep. Made from nature’s most resilient building material, this sturdy and beautiful structure is going to last you a very long time. Just think of all the cookout possibilities!

“We BBQ all the time,” says Colin, “So we got a cover. That way we don’t have to worry about weather.”

For free downloadable project plans, visit RealCedar.com or for more fast facts on building with Real Cedar, download their free DIY app – available on the Apple App Store for iOS and at Google Play for Android.

5 Ways to Beautify Your Deck Without Breaking the Bank

23336438_original(BPT) – Are you ready to put your deck on the best-dressed list this summer, but hesitant to dent your savings? With these simple design ideas, you can make your deck the perfect place for summer festivities.

1. Accessorize with Railings.

An easy way to give your deck a beauty boost is to update the railing. The decorative details of this safety feature are easy to overlook during the initial deck building process. Thankfully, with today’s products, it’s easy and affordable to turn this eyesore into an accessory.

For example, by replacing outdated railings with those that complement your deck boards and home’s exterior trim, you can create an outdoor living space that’s a well-styled extension of your home. If you have a non-traditional deck, cable rails or mixed medium infills like tempered glass panels may be your style. Or, if you want to mix modern with traditional elements, consider letting guests lean on attractive, but affordable aluminum rail systems like MoistureShield Pro.

“The sleek lines of aluminum railing are the perfect counterpart to today’s contemporary spaces,” says Brent Gwatney, senior vice president, MoistureShield Composite Decking. “They’re a less obtrusive railing option and give decks a high-end, custom feel without the high-end price tag, and tend to be backed with long-term warranties.”

2. Block the Sun Beautifully.

Another way to balance form with function is to shade your deck in style. Fortunately, there are a number of beautiful, low-cost ways to block the sun that go beyond the patio umbrella.

Pergolas are a popular way to shade your space without breaking the bank. You can vary the direction of the beams to create interest, weave fabric panels across the top to create a cozy respite or use the structure to frame a view.

Screening trellises are another affordable option for relief from direct sunlight. They can disguise an unsightly view, soften your deck or provide an attractive backsplash for an outdoor kitchen, while adding shade and privacy. You can even bend high performance decking materials, like composite decking, to curve around existing trees to let nature act as your canopy.

3. Plant a Deck-Adent Garden

Deckscaping is a timeless, low-cost way to turn your outdoor living space into a backyard beauty. Placing shrubs or a curving flowerbed along the perimeter of your deck can soften its edges and add colorful accents. Alternatively, bringing planters on deck with a mix of annuals and perennials can quickly turn a bland deck into a garden retreat full of seasonal blooms.

If your deck is small, consider keeping floor space free with a gorgeous overhead garden. Hanging flower baskets and trellises with climbing vines are simple and affordable space-savers that can make covered deck spaces resemble a spa-like retreat.

4. Dress your Deck to Impress

To finish your deck and give it that one-of-a-kind feel, outfit it the same way you would an interior room, thinking about color and texture. While this may sound expensive, there are plenty of practical, budget friendly ways to make your deck a stylish extension of your home.

You can easily spice it up with painted furniture and fun accents. Pretty and durable accent pillows made from outdoor fabrics are an inexpensive way to add pops of color. Or if you find an outdoor fabric that you love you can make bench cushions to give your outdoor seating a cozy feel. Accents like an outdoor rug can tie it all together by adding texture underfoot, keeping dirt from being tracked inside your home, and defining areas for different uses.

5. Light Up Your Evenings in Style

Finally, don’t neglect how your deck looks when the sun goes down. With the right lighting, you can extend your hours outside and keep your deck as charming in the nighttime as it is during the day.

From subtle post lights that cast a magical evening glow to understated recessed lights and rail strip lights that help guide guests’ steps, today’s deck lighting choices are both functional and affordable. And, with the emergence of energy-efficient LEDs, you can use them liberally with little effect on your monthly electricity bill. So, let your imagination roam with nighttime illumination options to add after-dark ambience to your outdoor retreat.

Matching Fencing Types To Your Needs

Photo by Susan Law Cain via ShutterstockBefore you buy a new fence for your home or business, ask yourself this: “How do I know which fence is the best fit for my property?” Whether your goals are keeping pets inside, keeping intruders out, adding privacy or increasing value, certain fences will make more sense than others. That’s why you need to know what’s available and how to compare your options.

To determine the best fencing structure for your needs, take the time to do your research. What are all your options? What does each kind of fencing have to offer, and what are its potential drawbacks? To help you evaluate the different fencing types so you can make a good choice, here’s an overview of the specifics:



As one of the oldest and most popular fencing options, it’s no surprise that wood fences communicate timeless appeal. From white picket wood fences to tall privacy wood fences, there are a variety of possibilities within this fencing material. Some pros and cons include:


  • PRO: Greater property privacy
  • PRO: Durable, long-lasting material
  • PRO: Lots of possibilities for design
  • CON: Lengthy installation period
  • CON: Can be expensive



If it’s a budget-friendly fence you’re after, PVC is an option to consider. PVC fences come in a lot of colors and heights, and they’re made to last. Here’s a quick look at their basic pros and cons:


  • PRO: Resistant to weather damage
  • PRO: Lots of design options
  • PRO: Inexpensive fencing option
  • CON: Not as durable as wood



Vinyl fences stand out for being highly durable without any need for regular upkeep. While they may have a higher upfront cost, their low-maintenance expenses can offset some of those costs over time. Their pros and cons include:


  • PRO: Maintenance-free and easy to clean
  • PRO: Stronger and more flexible than wood
  • PRO: Long lifespan
  • CON: Higher upfront cost



Aluminum fencing is not only attractive, but it’s also easy to maintain because, once installed, it requires no upkeep. While it can look almost identical to wrought iron, it’s actually lighter in weight and less expensive. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of this kind of fence:


  • PRO: Versatile designs available
  • PRO: Maintenance-free
  • CON: Susceptible to weather damage
  • CON: Lighter and less expensive than wrought iron


Wrought Iron

Whether you’re enclosing the garden at an English estate or the driveway at a stately home, a wrought-iron fence creates a touch of elegance wherever it’s placed. Because of the distinguished, classical appeal these fences offer, they are popular choices in locations where decoration is important. Here are some of the major pros and cons of wrought-iron fences:


  • PRO: Customizable
  • PRO: Attractive and durable
  • PRO: Prestigious feel
  • CON: Relatively expensive
  • CON: Require regular sanding/painting to look its best


Chain Link

There’s a good reason chain-link fences are the style of choice found at many schools, parks and industrial locations. Chain-link fences are affordable, easy to maintain and made to last: Here are some important considerations:


  • PRO: Inexpensive
  • PRO: Require little maintenance
  • CON: Unless combined with plants, don’t add much privacy


Post and Rail

Also known as stockade fencing or ranch fencing, post-and-rail fencing is a popular choice for enclosing pastureland or horse areas. Frequently used on farms, it’s easy to maintain, doesn’t obstruct views of land or animals, and comes in a variety of styles. Here are some key pros and cons:


  • PRO: Allows for visibility through the fence
  • PRO: Easy to maintain
  • PRO: Versatile design options
  • CON: Doesn’t add privacy or high security


Based on the characteristics listed above about the various types of fencing, do you have a clearer sense of which option is right for you? Whether you’re interested in enclosing your backyard or acres of horses, use the pros and cons above to help you decide.


Author bio:

Dean White is President of Tru-Link Fence and Products. Tru-Link Fence has been Chicagoland’s “go to” fencing supplier since 1952. Please visit our website to learn more about our various products and services.

How To Incorporate Perforated Metal In Your Interior Home Design

perforated-metalGreen is the new interior home design trend that keeps renewing itself. In other words, it’s not just a fad, it’s here to stay.

There are so many reasons to go green in your interior design: respect for the environment, energy efficiency, and return on investment, to name a few. But one of the biggest reasons to go green from a designer’s perspective is the vast selection of environmentally friendly materials available today. Many of these materials offer design possibilities that transcend the usual and make for innovative and striking — as well as sustainable — interior effects.


Perforated Metal – the “Surprise” Green Material


One of the most exciting green materials to catch the attention of forward-thinking designers today is perforated metal. You might be surprised to think of metal as green. However, it can be very eco-friendly.


  • Metal is 100 percent recyclable.
  • Metal components and materials are frequently up to 100 percent recycled as well.
  • Metal is easy to clean without using harsh chemicals.
  • Metal is an exceptionally durable material that can stay looking good for decades.
  • Perforated metal can be used in many ways that significantly improve a building’s energy efficiency.
  • Perforated metal sheets use far less material than their solid counterparts.
  • Perforated metal is lightweight and burns less fuel to transport as well.


The design potential of perforated metal is virtually unlimited. Let’s explore some of the interesting and beautiful ways designers have found to put this unique material to good use in the home environment.


9 Perforated Metal Interior Design Ideas


  1. Perforated metal decorative wall paneling. Tired of the same old, tired wall surface options? Perforated metal wall cladding can create an eye-popping accent for a home office, living room or any room in the house. The effect can vary from rustic to futuristic, depending on your choice of metal, patina and pattern — and the many combinations provide almost endless possibilities from which to choose.
  2. Sliding perforated metal doors. Take the sliding barn door look up a notch by using perforated metal panels instead. Perfect for spaces where consistent air flow is a priority.
  3. Perforated metal stair treads. There’s no need for your stairwell to interfere with daylighting your home. Whether it is a stairway up to a loft, a spiral staircase or deck steps outside a basement window, perforated metal combines the strength and durability that a structural stairway requires with exceptional light transmission.
  4. Metal artwork. Perforated metal makes an inspiring material for artists, both on its own or in combination with other metals and eco-friendly materials. Why not commission a piece for your home?
  5. Perforated metal lampshades. Perforated metal makes a stunning lampshade material due to its light-reflecting qualities and the large selection of patterns available. Try pairing it with a base of reclaimed material or found objects. It’s durable, too!
  6. Cabinet grills. Use perforated metal panels as the doors and front panels for cabinets and pull-out drawers. They are especially good to use anywhere you want to encourage air circulation.
  7. Railing accents. Perforated metal makes a practical and beautiful fill material for railing applications, especially where small children or pets are concerned. The perforations allow for visibility, while the metal panels protect from falls.
  8. House plant havens. Why not go green in more ways than one? Living plants make the ultimate environmentally friendly home décor, and perforated metal is a perfect material to compliment them. How about an open bookcase with perforated metal shelves, filled with plants and placed in front of a picture window? The metal is sturdy enough to support even heavy clay pots, while the perforations allow maximum light to pass through to plants on the next level. Consider, too, training vines up a perforated metal panel — an elegant statement for patio or porch.
  9. Window shades. With its light-reflective properties, metal shades can significantly reduce the amount of solar heat entering a home in warm, sunny climates. At the same time, the perforations allow cooling breezes to enter the home.


Many of the applications above can result in fantastic and beautiful light effects. Many others can actually reduce your energy bills. All provide a unique, eco-friendly and practical change from traditional home décor materials sure to spark many a conversation. And, this is just a starting list of perforated metal home design ideas. What additional ways can you think of to use it?


Author bio: Damon Henrikson is Director of Marketing at Accurate Perforating Company in Chicago, IL. He brings more than 10 years of experience in the manufacturing space and over five years of experience within the perforated metal industry. Accurate Perforating produces a variety of metal products for commercial and home use.


Protecting Your Basement From Unwanted Moisture

shutterstock_230577643A dry, well-insulated basement adds valuable living space to your home. When designing and building a new home, it’s essential to protect your basement from unwanted moisture. Basement moisture can cause mold growth, which poses a health threat to anyone living in the home. While you can’t prepare for a broken pipe and the water damage it causes, you can prevent a variety of basement moisture issues.


Three Sources of Basement Moisture

Understanding where and how unwanted moisture in basements develops is key to creating a basement or lower level living space that remains dry and maintains low humidity levels. According to the University of Minnesota, every homebuilder needs to consider three sources of potential basement moisture:


  • Rain and groundwater
  • Interior moisture (e.g., unvented clothes dryers, bathrooms and moisture found in concrete after construction)
  • Exterior humid air that penetrates the basement, condensing on cool surfaces


Prevent Basement Moisture

A rainstorm that drops 1 inch of rain into your rain gauge deposits 13,577 gallons of water onto your property, reports the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School. If your home doesn’t have the proper protection against seepage, your basement will suffer from moisture and water damage. With a combination of techniques, you can prevent moisture and maintain low humidity levels in your home’s basement.


Know about the water table. 

Before choosing a site for your new home, ask about the area’s water table. Avoid building on a high water table area that can contribute to wet conditions for your basement.

A publication from Kansas State University cautions, “When evaluating a home site, examine soil and rock profile layers for evidence of drainage restrictions. Restrictive layers are especially important in rocky areas because these layers will impede drainage.”

Is your property on a hillside? A cut-off drain may be needed to divert water away from the home’s highest side.


Know your soil.

Certain soil types contribute to foundation issues and moisture problems in a basement or crawl space. A drainage tile system is essential, especially if your soil has a high gravel content or is sandy. If you have clay soil, known as expansive soil, it’s essential to address drainage issues to avoid water problems and potential foundation damage.


Build on highest part of property.

One of the best ways to avoid basement moisture is to build your home on the highest part of the property when possible. Fill in the area around the home so the soil slopes away from the structure. The slope should grade at least 6 inches in the first 10 feet. The soil around a new home or building structure does settle during the first 12 to 15 months after construction. Because of this settling it’s recommended to refill after a year in order to maintain the necessary slope.


Install proper drainage systems. 

It’s also recommended to have 4-inches of gravel under the basement’s slab to aid in drainage. In addition, gutters and downspouts must be installed with the downspouts expelling water away from the home without sending that water into the perimeter drainage tiles. A drainage tile system diverts water away from the home’s foundation, working to keep the basement dry.

Failure to improperly install gutters/downspouts or a subsurface drainage tile system can cause long-term problems. Water that doesn’t drain away from the home increases the risk of foundation cracks and serious water damage over time.


Invest in basement waterproofing.

An exterior waterproofing coat can help reduce basement moisture and mold growth. This type of protection helps maintain stable temperatures within the lower level space, can reduce condensation issues, and even help to decrease foundation cracks.


Allow basement to dry thoroughly.

The cement used to form your basement has a high water content. After the basement’s completion, run a dehumidifier for about 60 days to reduce humidity caused by the water’s evaporative effect.

After moving into your new home, keep humidity levels low and moisture at bay in the basement by insulating all cold water pipes, venting the dryer to the outdoors, and running a dehumidifier as needed.



Author Bio:
As the Vice President of Operations for DKI Commercial Solutions, Bill Robinson oversees disaster relief operations for commercial large loss in the U.S. Bill has seen first hand how water damage can wreak havoc on a home. DKI Services is a remediation and restoration company that offers emergency restoration services for residential and commercial buildings. Some of Bill’s efforts have been nationally and locally recognized throughout the media.

What To Include In Your Dream Bathroom

shutterstock_243627643Designing your dream bathroom is an unforgettable experience — especially when you get to handpick everything from the floors to the fixtures to suit your tastes. The only problem? Total control is a lot of responsibility. How do you know you’re making decisions that will appeal to you and potential buyers years down the road? What features are most important, and which are just a matter of preference? How do you know what adds value to a home?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some top tips for what to include in your dream bath. When you want to make sure you’re designing strategically, keep these features at the forefront of your bathroom plans:


  1. Natural light. Incorporating windows that let a lot of natural light into your bathroom is both aesthetically enjoyable and more energy efficient. Windows take advantage of the existing outdoor light to naturally illuminate your daily routines.
  2. More space. If you’re still at the stage of design where you can expand your bathroom’s size, do it. Bigger bathrooms are better able to accommodate all the bells and whistles that put the luxury in luxury bath. Boost your bathroom’s floor plan with extra square footage to make it a more desirable space.
  3. Extra storage room. Along the same lines as more square footage is extra storage space. Look for ways to add storage areas to your bathroom — a closet, shelves, vanity space, etc. — in order to maximize its usability and appeal.
  4. Double sinks. Double sinks mean double the space, which means double the opportunities for keeping toiletries and cosmetics. Likewise, double sinks accommodate more users in the bathroom and more potential for use. For more minimal upkeep, look for undermounted sinks and low-maintenance surface options that are easy to clean.
  5. Separate shower and tub. A shower/tub combination is efficient and useful, but separating the shower from the tub adds more comfort, style and luxury. With a spacious shower and a standalone tub, you have opportunities to turn these features into destinations. You might go with a whirlpool tub, for example, or a shower with room for two. For a bonus tip, consider building a shower that’s big enough to not need a door. It’ll save you constant cleanup without allowing water to spray into the room.
  6. Luxury materials. High-end materials like glass, stainless steel, porcelain tile and stone are hot in more than kitchens today. Turn your bathroom in a luxury retreat by incorporating marble-topped vanities, porcelain tile floors or glass shelves. Also check out engineered stone for a natural lookalike that’s resistant to mold, mildew, scratches and stains.
  7. Heated floors. It’s hard to imagine anything more luxurious than stepping out of your bathtub onto heated floors. Likewise, when you step into your bathroom early in the morning or from the plush carpeting from your bedroom, heated floors make the transition easier. With radiant heating under your floorboards, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
  8. Eco-friendly features. From water-saving toilets to efficient shower heads, look for eco-friendly features that will add efficiency and value to your space.
  9. A private commode. Give your bathroom the beauty of privacy by putting the toilet in its own space. A separate water closet is commonplace in some parts of the world, but in America it’s a standout feature.


When it comes to your dream bathroom, your style preferences are paramount — but also incorporating winning features like natural light, high-end materials and eco-friendly features ensures you create value that lasts. When you’re shopping for designs and features for your new bathroom, keep the above list in mind. By paying attention to what features are desirable in the field, you can create a bathroom that’d be a dream for anyone.



Author bio: Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products needed for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of bathroom faucets, vanities, sinks, toilets and showers, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look. 



Get Unhinged: 3 Ways to Create Visually Striking Doors in Your Home

23703499_original(BPT) – Think of a door opening and closing.

Chances are you pictured it swinging on hinges, since that’s how most doors operate. But, more homeowners are choosing other door hanging hardware for a unique look with their interior and exterior doors.

If you’re looking for a way to make visitors to your home say “wow,” consider alternatives to hinged doors for an unexpected twist.

“Once you’ve chosen the door that’s perfect for you, it can be hung in a number of distinctive ways,” says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. “A pocket door, sliding barn door or a pivot door can add some personality and pizzazz to your home.”

Pocket Doors

Similar to closet doors hung on a track, pocket doors slide open and closed, but disappear into the wall when closed. Popular in home offices, bathrooms and utility rooms, pocket doors save space and can make a room feel more open. Using a pocket door in place of a hinged door saves about 10 square feet of floor space, notes home improvement expert Tim Carter.

Depending on the width of the opening, you can use either a single pocket door, or double pocket doors that slide into opposite walls and meet in the middle when closed. Because they don’t seal as tightly as hinged doors, pocket doors are largely limited to use inside the home, instead of as entry doors.

Sliding Barn Doors

Barn doors are a bit like pocket doors in that they slide open and closed, but they’re hung on tracks that are visible. When opened, the doors are located on one side of the wall, instead of disappearing into the wall. For large openings, such as between dining rooms and living rooms, you can even hang multiple barn doors on tracks in order to divide the spaces.

A number of companies offer high-end barn door track hardware, in a range of styles and colors. “People like the unexpected look of a barn door,” says John Golesh, president of door hardware manufacturer Goldberg Brothers. “They’re a great way to add a rustic, yet elegant look to your home. And with the wide variety of door hangers and handles, a barn door can complement any interior décor.”

In addition to the chic look barn doors offer, homes for sale with “barn door” in their listing sold for 13 percent more than expected and 57 days faster, according to research by Zillow Diggs.

Pivot Doors

Common in ancient buildings, pivot mounted doors are virtually unseen in North American homes. For homeowners who want an element of surprise, a pivot door is a good choice. In place of hinges or overhead sliders and tracks, pivot doors rotate open and closed around pins installed in the top and bottom of the door frame. The pins are set several inches in from the door frame, depending on the door’s size.

“For high-end homes with extra-wide doors, pivots are a great way to handle the additional weight, and will be unlike anything your visitors have seen before,” Loveless says. “We are making many different super-sized doors for this exact application.”

Some of these doors are huge – measuring up to four feet wide or more. As “large, simple rectangles,” pivot doors can be designed to look like the surrounding wall, so fit well in modern style homes, notes architect Bud Dietrich. Unlike pocket doors and barn doors, pivot doors can seal tightly to their frame when closed, so can be used as entry doors.

Houses: Building Them Better Than They Used To

23243213_original(BPT) – The phrase, “they don’t build them like they used to,” has been applied to nearly everything from cars to footwear, but most often it seems people say it about houses. In fact, this sentiment has become so common, that many believe the homes today aren’t built to the standards they were 60 or 70 years ago.

People tend to believe this because there is an undeniable charm to older homes – yet, the ones they’re often thinking of were built for millionaires. It’s hardly fair to compare the mansions and manor homes owned by the 1 percent a century ago to today’s middle-class subdivisions. The truth is, there were plenty of poorly constructed houses built back then. We just don’t see them, because they’re no longer standing.

Building materials, techniques and technologies have changed. Most often, these changes have translated into better, more affordable houses. Still skeptical? A quick look at a few examples will show that this urban myth is not too hard to dispel.

A Variety of Exterior Choices

For a time, vinyl siding dominated neighborhoods. It was the choice for new construction and remodels alike. Sure it was maintenance free and far less of a headache than wood siding, and cheaper than stone or stucco, but few called it an inspired look.

A new generation of synthetic wood siding promises to add not only quality, but authenticity to home siding options. Available in a variety of styles and colors, Cedar Impressions Shakes mimic the texture and rustic beauty so many prize in cedar, without the maintenance issues that turn so many away from natural wood siding.

Another important advancement in materials is in roofing, where more homeowners are choosing synthetic slate shingles. Slate, which has decorated cathedrals and mansions around the world, is as beautiful as it is difficult to maintain and afford. Its synthetic counterpart, made from recycled rubber and plastic, creates the appearance of a stone roof, while being stronger, more flexible and easier to install. It also lasts much longer than asphalt shingles – up to 50 years.

Interior Walls

Along with engineering advancements that have improved the structural integrity and resilience of new homes, interior walls have greatly improved as well. While many people have a nostalgia for plaster walls, the new drywall technology used in Habito by CertainTeed Gypsum brings the strength and durability of plaster into a modern drywall.

Incredibly strong, Habito drywall is not only able to stand up to extreme abuse, but it’s also able hold an incredible amount of weight, up to 30 pounds on a single wood screw. This new drywall eliminates the need to find a stud or install a wall anchor, and makes decorating and redecorating incredibly easy. It’s particularly handy for today’s modern lifestyle where televisions, speakers, pictures and shelves are mounted on the wall.

Of course, these more refined and stronger building technologies are only part of the story of why homes are now built better than ever. If you want to learn more and get inspired for your next construction or remodeling project, visit HanginWithHabito.com for more information on their revolutionary drywall product.

And the next time someone says “they just don’t build them like they used to,” you’ll say that’s a good thing.