Integrate Accessories For Added Luxury

(BPT) – Accessories bring a sense of purpose into a space and, with thoughtful selection, can transform a room into an elevated experience. When used creatively and in unexpected ways, they add the perfect finishing touch to a space and can transform the overall aesthetic and design. From hardware to purposefully placed d├ęcor, integrate accessories artfully and functionally to achieve beauty and balance for an even more luxurious space.

A Balanced Perspective

Assess the space and identify underutilized areas of the room – opportunities to bring a design to life. Choose accessories featuring a variance of shapes, sizes, colors and textures to establish visual and spatial equilibrium. Boldly patterned pillows add dimension among solid tones, while lush flower arrangements effortlessly fill negative space, striking an unexpected balance of comfort and intrigue.

Sophisticated Hardware

Complete a luxurious design with sophisticated fixtures that serve as anchoring details, thoughtfully integrated for aesthetics and utility. These necessary pieces add opulence to a room while providing unexpected functionality. Reimagine the use of hardware by adding robe hooks to a walk-in closet for belts or scarves, or to hang clothes. Incorporate an element of surprise by adorning a kitchen space with a towel bar from the Litze Bath Collection by Brizo, which features textured knurling detail that highlights innovative engineering and artistry.

Harmonizing Accents

Find the perfect blend of tones and textures by sourcing contrasting, but complementary accessories to finalize a design. Contrast an industrial coffee table with an acacia wooden bowl, or furnish a sleek, modern shelf with coarsely textured relics. As inspiration strikes, pursue the unexpected. Fill the space, maintaining a balance of polished and personal, soft and avant-garde, and strong yet fluid elements, adding just the right level of contradiction to create the perfect harmony.

An Elevated Update

Once a design is complete, statement pieces can have surprising transformative power when updating a space. Select high-end pieces for major impact, such as a bold area rug or an oversized piece of original art to instantly augment a design. Update an existing piece with new drawer knobs for a fresh look, integrating smaller elements that reflect the personality of the space in new ways. From a one-of-a-kind sculpture to a tasteful timepiece, always keep in mind that small-scale updates have the unexpected potential to make a large-scale impression.

5 Steps To Protect Your Home From Rodents This Fall

(BPT) – Once they’re inside, rats and other rodents can do a lot of harm to your home. This includes damage to electrical wiring, metal or plastic pipes and insulation found in walls and attics. On top of structural damage, the critters aren’t good for the people who live in your home, either: Some species of mice and rats can transmit diseases like hantavirus through their urine and droppings.

Between the potential health issues and possible damage to your home, the last thing you want to hear is the scurrying of little rodent feet in your walls or attic. Luckily, there are steps you can take that will help keep those critters out. The experts at Terminix have some tips that can help you protect your home from rodents.

Block Possible Points Of Entry

Be aware of any holes or cracks in the exterior of your home. You may think a small hole is too narrow for a rat to squeeze through, but a rat may think differently – and may even gnaw the hole wider! A full-grown rat can enter your home through a hole about the size of a quarter, and a mouse only needs an opening measuring one-fourth of an inch. Properly seal any openings you find to help prevent rodents from wriggling their way into your house.

Trim Back Trees and Move Debris Away From Your Home

Tree limbs that touch your house can provide an easy access point for rodents, almost like a ladder or bridge. Some species of rats even nest in trees. Do some careful pruning to clear away any branches close to or touching your house. You should also keep any stacks of firewood or piles of debris away from your home, as they can attract rodents and hide burrow entrances.

Protect Food From Hungry Rodents

Your house may be filled with food, but you don’t have to make it easy for rodents to find that out. Avoid attracting rodents that can eat and contaminate your food by storing it properly. Keep unpackaged food – even pet food – in airtight containers so rats won’t be able to smell it, and avoid leaving unsealed food sitting out.

Properly Dispose Of Waste and Compost

An open trash can presents a feast for hungry rodents. Keep outdoor trash cans properly closed and away from your home. If you have a compost pile in your yard, also try to move it as far away from the exterior of your house as possible, to avoid letting rodents looking for a free meal make the trip into your walls, attic or even chimney.

Call In the Experts

Between work, family and other tasks around the house, it can be hard for busy homeowners to set aside time to proactively monitor their homes for invading rodents. The good news is that you don’t have to protect your home or deal with an infestation alone. Pest control professionals, such as Terminix’s trained technicians, can provide an inspection to determine the best way to set up a strong defense and get rid of any unwelcome house guests that have already moved in.

3 Questions To Ask When Looking For Your New HVAC Unit

(BPT) – If you subscribe to the belief that your home is your castle, then you naturally expect to be comfortable in that castle, right? Whether it’s the middle of winter or the dog days of summer, your home’s HVAC system plays a vital role in supporting this comfort, so if you’re in the market for a new system, here are three questions you should ask before purchasing your new system.

Is the Unit the Right Size For Your Home?

In the world of HVAC units, size matters and bigger isn’t always better. A unit that is too big will needlessly waste energy in your home while a unit that is too small will burn out trying to keep up. An HVAC system’s power is measured in tons – not a unit of weight in this case but power.

To determine the proper tonnage for your home, your HVAC technician will need to review most, if not all, of the rooms in your home – especially the attic and/or basement. A common rule of thumb for HVAC systems is that one ton is necessary for every 400 square feet in the home. However, your needs may vary based on your home’s location, its insulation and other factors, so don’t be afraid to ask questions as your technician reviews your home.

What Is the Proper SEER Rating For Your Home?

When it comes to HVAC systems, the SEER rating may be the most important measurement you’re not aware of.

Ken Ely, director of residential product management, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls agrees. “Many homeowners have never heard of a SEER rating associated with their HVAC unit,” he says. “However, a unit’s SEER rating demonstrates its energy efficiency and how easily the system can control the temperature in your home. A higher SEER rating is good for the environment and your overall energy budget.”

SEER is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and the rating is a good indicator of your unit’s energy efficiency. For example, the 19 SEER efficiency of the new two-stage Luxaire Acclimate HVAC unit can reduce your system’s energy usage by up to 47 percent when compared to older 10 SEER units, meaning you’ll start saving energy and utility costs immediately after installation.

All units with SEER ratings of 14 or higher earn an energy efficiency classification, so look for the SEER rating when shopping for a new HVAC unit and remember the higher the rating, the more you’ll save in the long run.

What Maintenance Will Be Involved With My Unit?

Like all other aspects of your home, adding a new HVAC unit means you’ll be responsible for some maintenance to support its use. The maintenance required for your new unit should be outlined in the owner’s manual, but you can also ask your HVAC contractor if you have any questions not answered in the guide. Confirm the warranty details of your new HVAC system and be sure to register the warranty with the manufacturer if necessary. This will ensure your new system is supported for years to come.

Following a regular maintenance schedule, such as keeping the area around your unit clean, is a good rule to follow. The extra effort will keep your system running optimally, and neglecting routine maintenance can void your system’s warranty. Keep a record of all maintenance performed to reference in case any repairs are needed.

Finding Your Next HVAC System

Whether you want to enjoy the last days of this season or prepare for the next, finding the right HVAC system for your home is one decision you shouldn’t delay. Start your search by finding answers to the questions above and you’ll be on your way to the perfect HVAC solution for your property.

Choosing the Right Wood For Your Deck

(BPT) – The deck is the perfect spot for get-togethers and events. However, if yours needs a facelift or a complete re-do, now is the perfect time of year to complete a new outdoor living space customized to fit your needs. A new wood deck can add value to your home, but be sure to choose the right wood products to build it. Thus, the question becomes: What type of wood do you use? When do you use ground-contact and above-ground, pressure-treated wood?

This article can help you determine what type of wood you need to use and where. Follow this guide from Viance and you’ll be on your way to building the deck of your dreams.

Ground-Contact Wood

As its name implies, ground-contact wood often forms the foundation of your project and may include the support posts placed in or on the ground, in concrete or in fresh water. Ground-contact should also be used whenever your wood pieces will be installed less than 6 inches off the ground, such as a ground level deck.

Ground contact wood earns this designation because it has been specifically treated to protect against fungal decay and termite attack at and below the ground’s surface. For your deck project, ground-contact, preservative-treated wood should be used for ledger boards, stair stringers and support posts. Other landscaping projects, like garden boxes, landscape walls and anything else that may be built in or on the ground, should use ground-contact, preservative-treated wood.

Above-Ground Wood

Above-ground wood is the other major designation, and this is the wood type you will use to build most of your deck. You can use above-ground treated wood for locations that are easy to maintain and repair, quick to dry and where ample air flow around the wood is possible. On most decks, this will be your deck boards, guardrails, balusters, joists and beams. Above-ground wood uses fewer preservative chemicals than ground-contact wood, and in newer preservative systems like Ecolife, it provides added benefits that can repel water, minimize cracking and keep boards straighter. Above-ground wood is also the ideal choice for many outdoor projects including arbors, trellises, lattice, decorative posts, trim boards and fence pickets.

If the wood will be more than 6 inches from the ground, above-ground wood is the ideal, and most economical type of treated wood to use.

Finding the Right Wood For Your Deck Today

No matter the dimensions of your deck, chances are you’ll use a combination of ground-contact and above-ground, pressure-treated wood. Applying the guide above can help you determine which wood type you need for each phase of your project, but questions could still arise. You can find answers at and learn more about EcoLife and Preserve pressure-treated wood, sold in lumberyards, at 84 Lumber and under the Severe Weather brand.