Although the days have been warmer here in Maryland, they are slowly becoming chillier as we near Christmas. If you are concerned about cranking up the heat because of the increase in your electric bill, check out our easy tips for reducing your energy costs.
Adjust your thermostat at night or during the day when you are away from you home. You can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day, according to the US Department of Energy.
Keep your furnace clean and unblocked. Check your furnace filter regularly and replace it when it gets dirty. A dirty filter makes your furnace or heat pump work harder, and leads to higher energy bills.
Plastic wrap your windows. Drafty windows can be major culprits of heat loss, but can easily be fixed by covering them with plastic. DIY window insulation kits start as low as $12 and can even be found at local stores like Target.
Hang thermal curtains. Invest in curtains with thermal lining that will block heat and UV in the summer and keep cold air out in the Winter.
Reverse the ceiling fan. Most ceiling fans have a switch you can flip that will change the direction the fan blades are rotating. This will push hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down into the room.
Decorate for warmth. Put flannel sheets on your bed, warm rugs on your floors and extra throw blankets on the sofas.
Take advantage of free solar heating. Open curtains during the day to allow the sun to warm your home; close curtains at night to trap in the heat.
Close the damper. Sometimes overlooked this can be a major culprit in heat loss. Keep the damper closed when your fireplace isn’t in use to prevent warm air escaping.
Can you smell that? That’s the comforting scent of all things pumpkins, apple cider and spice. We may still be in the depths of summer and planning beach trips, barbecues, and enjoying warm summer nights, but Fall is almost within our reach! Check out these quick tips to help transition you’re home decor from Summer to Fall.
Layer rugs and pull out the throw blankets Add warmth to your home by adding a few textured throw blankets and area rugs to your rooms. For an added touch, choose ones that are in rich fall colors: red, orange, dark purple and browns.
Turn to the outdoors for inspiration Bring the outdoors inside and fill some jars with branches from your yard or your local craft store. Add in fall smelling potpourri for added affect. A bundle of fallen twigs wrapped in a bow could be used in an entry way or as fireplace decor, fallen leaves could be used as a base to fill a jar and pine cones could be used to fill a wooden bowl along with other accents. Bonus because those decorations are all free!
Switch out pillows
This is always a fairly inexpensive way to change your decor. Choose fall colors and textured pillows such as ones with knitted covers or faux fur.
Change our your bedding
Add linens in rich colors, plaids and darker prints. Simply adding darker colors can totally transform your home to feeling more seasonal.
Change out your welcome mat The best way to say “Hello fall!” is to have a festive welcome mat by your front door!
Create a welcoming autumn feel with scented candles Scented candles in the season’s vanilla, spice, apple and pumpkin fragrances can easily bring warmth to any space. Try arranging large candles around a centerpiece with faux leaves and pine cones.
Switch your hand towels
Choose darker, bolder, earthy and warm fall colors. You can also bust out new hand soaps in fall scents.
Sharing horseback riding activities and lessons gives families a chance to interact and cooperate in ways that promote feelings of well- being and connection. As a family, you laugh and play together; figure out problems together and cooperate to achieve a common goal. This activity builds new bonds and stronger relationships.
Experts at the Pantone Color Institute are hinting at upcoming mellowing & calm trends with their choice for this years Color of The Year. Recently for the first time ever they anointed two colors; rose quartz and serenity were selected as the dual colors of the year for 2016 (they are shades of pale pink and baby blue). The pairing can appear solo or as blended shades.
In the words of Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone® Color Institute: “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.” Rose Quartz is persuasive, gentle and conveys compassion and composure while Serenity compares to the blue sky and provides relaxation. Read on to see some simple ways you can incorporate these two tones into your home.
Add printed throw pillows throughout your home. Using a pattern that has both colors create a stunning display especially when placed against a neutral background.
One of the easiest ways you can stay on trend is to hang art on your wall. Art can be easily changed and if you think outside of the box it can be fairly inexpensive. Think old prints, posters, thrift store finds and tapestries. You could paint frames in these tones as well to subtly incorporate this new trend. This poster to the left uses both colors in a pretty design.
Table clothes can be easily incorporated into your home with little to no struggle. We love this printed patterned table runner from Pottery Barn.
Adorable accent pieces such as this chair are perfect for incorporating these colors. Think stands, dressers, and bookshelves. You can even upcycle things you already have or come across.
You can see how well the two colors compliment each other and blend in this awesome dresser. Blending the colors adds depth and personality as opposed to having just one flat color and takes full advantage of both of the tones.
Probably at the top of my list for most favorite uses of these colors is this wood paneled wall splashed with Rose Quartz. The wood panels give this hue a beachy and rustic vibe and creates something extremely unique. You could simply paint one wall to create an accent wall in your home with either of the colors. To prevent overkill and to break up the color adorn the wall with mirrors or photographs.
Since trends are always changing we recommend incorporating these colors in smaller pieces as opposed to diving head in. However the designers of the above house have used Serenity Blue so delicately that we don’t think the homeowners will ever fall out of love. You can consider incorporating these colors in your outside decor by changing your siding, painting your shutters or adding window boxes painted with these tones.
We also love this Rose painted door. A bolder move but it works so well!
Once people get over the inevitable baby nursery comments, I think we will easily see a lot of possibility for design. Pastels are extremely versatile and can appeal in all finishes: matte, glossy and metallic. Incorporating these colors into your home can help to create a calm and relaxing environment.
What do you think of Rose Quartz and Serenity? Do you see yourself incorporating them into your home decor? Why or why not? Leave your comments below!
Can you believe it’s already December? If you’re like most of us and have waited to decorate until now check out our list below for ideas that you can do in less time than it takes to hang stockings by the chimney with care.
One of my favorite go to decorations when I’m in a pinch is using extra ornaments to decorate non traditionally. Place ornaments on a cake stand, in a glass vase or anything else you can
find for an extremely simple, yet stunning centerpiece. You can also use leftover ornaments to decorate windows. Simply tie a ribbon thru and secure to either your curtain rod or a hook affixed to the window.
For an easy and festive table display gather some doilies (white, silver, red, or gold) and tape them together. Use vases of varying heights filled with ornaments and pine cones. You can even spray paint the pine cones silver, gold or white for an extra special touch. Finish the display off by tying a ribbon around each glass.
Can’t find a wreath this late in the game? Grab a handful of twigs from your yard or the craft store. This simple display makes a wonderful hanging decoration to put on your front door or even above the mantel. To secure this, wrap a wide rubber band around the twig ends. Tuck a sprig of greens, such as rosemary or eucalyptus, inside the rubber band for color. Cover the rubber band with a ribbon.
Have something sitting around that you’re not using or that your child has outgrown? Perhaps an old pair of rain boots? Use those in your front porch display by dressing them up with twigs, greens and ribbon for a welcoming display. You can add weight with rocks to keep the boots from falling over. Here’s just a couple of our favorites.
If you have a birdbath in your yard dress it up with garland, a large red ball, pine cones or any other left over Christmas decorations you have laying around.
If you need a display for your mantel try wrapping empty food boxes in various wrapping papers or fabrics. Finish each package off with a decorative ribbon or flowers. Arrange these on your mantle along with ornaments, pine cones, or candles for a festive display!
Fall means vibrant red, orange, and yellow foliage, lots of pumpkins, and refreshingly cool temperatures. But, it also means winter isn’t far away. Here are a few projects—from looking after the exterior of your home to maintaining your heating system—that can help your home gear up for the cold and save you some cash.
Light the Way With Outdoor Lanterns. Colder days, means less daylight. Add outdoor lanterns or lights to your pathway to have some light when you arrive home. This will also help to enhance the curb appeal of your home, while adding a measure of safety and security.
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets and store them in a shed or garage. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.
Here’s the chore on everyone’s “least favorite” list: clean your gutters. Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs in winter. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets if necessary. Annually your roof’s drainage system diverts thousands of gallons of water from your house’s exterior and foundation walls. That’s why it is so important to keep this system flowing smoothly.Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions (typically about $10 to $20 each).
*Pro Tip: After cleaning your gutters, cover them with mesh guards to keep debris from collecting again
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. Gaps in caulk and weather-stripping can account for 10% of your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Because weather stripping can deteriorate over time, it is important to inspect it periodically. To check the efficiency of your weather stripping try this: close a door or window on a strip of paper; if the paper slides easily, it’s not doing its job.
Prune plants: Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees because the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
Before the chill sets in, make an appointment for your furnace’s annual checkup. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins. Without this yearly cleaning and inspection, a system can wear itself out quickly, pump deadly carbon monoxide into your home, or simply stop working. Remember to change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time! You’ll notice a difference in the air quality, and your furnace will run more efficiently. Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before replacement. Foam filters can also be vacuumed, but don’t need to be replaced unless they are damaged (use a soft brush on a vacuum cleaner). If the filter is metal or electrostatic, remove and wash it with a firm water spray.
Take steps to repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps before things get icy. Damaged walkways, drives, and steps are a hazard year round, but the dangers are increased when the weather turns icy. Look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. Check for disintegration of asphalt, or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths. Fixing these smaller problems in the fall is also critical to preventing little problems from becoming major future expenses.
It’s smart to do a safety check of your home at minimum once per year. Here are some pointers on how to do this.
Test smoke and CO monitors. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a smoke source (like a blown-out candle) near the unit. Replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if necessary. If you haven’t already, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.
This is also a good time to get the family together for a review of your fire evacuation plan.
Check fire extinguishers. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. Annually, check the indicator on the pressure gauge to make sure the extinguisher is charged. Make certain that the lock pin is intact and firmly in place, and check that the discharge nozzle is not clogged. Clean the extinguisher and check it for dents, scratches, and corrosion. Replace if the damage seems severe. Note: Fire extinguishers that are more than six years old should be replaced!
Fire escape plans. Every bedroom, including basement bedrooms, should have two exit paths. Make sure windows aren’t blocked by furniture or other items. Ideally, each upper-floor bedroom should have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits.
As you’re enjoying the last few weeks of warm weather, make sure that your home is prepared for the coming colder days. Preventative maintenance now will save money on expensive emergency repairs and wasted energy costs. Properly maintaining your home also enhances its value and appeal and is less effort than managing a crisis later. Taking the steps above will have you & your home ready for the chilly days ahead!
Remodeling or building a new home is a big financial and emotional investment. You’ll probably be seeing quite a lot of your contractor, depending on the size of the project and the amount of subcontracting involved, so it’s important to find someone you can get along with who’ll do the job right. In order to make a solid choice, there are some key questions you should ask potential contractors or remodelers to ensure you’re getting a good match, in addition to protecting your family. This is your home, after all; you want someone who’s dependable and determined to see the project through to the end. Knowing what to expect before the project gets started will help you better prepare for the process. We’ve compiled a list of 10 questions you should always ask your contractor before starting a home remodeling or building project.
Are they licensed and can you obtain copies: Maryland requires home improvement contractors/builders to be licensed and all Sales employees to be licensed as well. Lundberg Builders is licensed by MHIC license #11697 and MHBR#749. Our consultant is also licensed by MHIC #93307. We will be happy to provide you a copy of our license upon request.
Are they insured and can you obtain copies: Maryland requires home improvement contractors/builders to be insured. Lundberg Builders is insured and we will be happy to provide you a copy of our insurance upon request.
How long have they been in business: 50% of small business will go out of business in their first four years. Companies that have been in business for more than 10 years have less risk and more stability. Lundberg Builders has been in business for more than 30 years founded in 1977.
Can they provide you a list of references: Lundberg Builders feels that our references should be given to you as per your specific project, we also feel that while our past clients are our best voice we also respect their privacy. With that in mind we will provide you up to 3 references per your project upon request while also trying to preserve our clients’ time and privacy.
Are they a member of the Local Better Business Bureau: Members of the local BBB adhere to a strict code of business ethics, honesty and integrity. You can research the status of each business thru BBB’s website at bbb.org. Lundberg Builders is an accredited A+ business.
Are they a sole proprietor: Ask yourself, how much risk am I willing to take by hiring a contractor that preforms all the aspects of their business with no other points of contact? What if something happened? Who would fill in? Does the project get finished? Lundberg Builders provides you with multiple contacts throughout your project. We have eleven carpenters, four project supervisors, and one project manager in the field. We also have a full office staff and our owner Brad Lundberg is always available to answer questions and address concerns.
Who manages your project: Lundberg Builders has a staff of four project supervisors. Our supervisors are in charge of the day to day operations of your project. Supervisors are required to visit the site daily as well as conduct the coordination of the job. They are also required to do weekly progress meetings with the clients.
Do they offer any warranty: The state of Maryland requires all home improvement contractors to offer a one year warranty. Lundberg Builders offers this one year warranty, however we feel that this period should be proactive instead of reactive. Twice during your one year warranty we will conduct a full comprehensive evaluation of your home inside and out. Any issues we find in this evaluation that pertain to the project will be repaired free of charge. This service is available after your first year for a fixed fee, should you desire to continue the program. Any repairs after the first year will be billed accordingly.
Can they provide documentation that they are qualified: Qualification of the trade is not required by the State of Maryland. Outside organizations such as NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) and NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) provide to willing contractors qualification courses to educate them on how to properly build, design and maintain residential homes. These courses are intensive and require testing to get qualification. Lundberg Builders has employees on staff and that are certified by these organizations to include Graduate Master Builder, Certified Graduate Remodeler, Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler, and Certified Aging in Place Specialist.
How do they screen and hire employees: The old adage good help is hard to find is very true. Lundberg Builders preforms a background check on all of our employees. We also have an introductory period for our employees, where we place them with our experienced crew and supervisors to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Garages aren’t just for cars and storage anymore. Before beginning your garage transformation, ask yourself what your goal for this space is. A man cave, a craft space, play area for your children or even a dance studio are all within reach when remodeling your garage if you plan and coordinate properly. Even if you want to stick with the traditional use and use it for storage and parking, implementing a cleaning and remodeling strategy can drastically change the useability of your garage.
First things first Sort, purge and sort again.
Ask yourself these basic questions as you go thru the items in your garage:
Do I need this?
More importantly: Do I use this?
Is this something I can inexpensively replace?
Will I have the space to store this?
Organize three piles: trash, keep and donate and make plans on following thru to get rid of the trash and donate piles.
Next on your list…Zone the areas in your garage. If you do intend to use your garage for multiple purposes decide which areas you want to utilize for what. For example car parking zone, workshop zone, holiday storage zone, everyday item zone etc.
It isn’t necessary to use the exact demographic above but something similar can come in handy when deciding where to place things and what shelving and cabinets are necessary for implementing your vision.
Before placing items back in your garage or installing cabinets, you need to decide what to do about the floor. When considering flooring for your garage it is important to consider how you and your family use this space. Most consider their choices for garage flooring to be limited however there are several options that are convenient, durable and fairly inexpensive.
1.In terms of durability, protection, and cost compared to the duration of the floor an epoxy coating is a very good investment. Garage floor epoxy is a durable, thick paint-like product applied directly over the concrete flooring.The finished product is actually 3 – 10x stronger than the concrete itself underneath. This type of coating is stain proof, water resistant, resistant to road salts and resistant to chips from dropped objects. Perfect for a garage right? A bonus is that this coating comes in tons of different colors and has several mix ins that can help make your garage one of a kind. It can become more costly if the concrete in your garage is heavily cracked, damaged or wet, as this will need to be repaired before proceeding with application.
2. You could also choose to install tiles on top of the concrete. Scrubbing the concrete is necessary in order to allow the tiles to stick properly and stay in place. Garage floor tile is extremely durable, but if some tiles do get damaged it’s an easy fix. Instead of replacing the entire floor, you just need to replace the damaged tiles. Considering the extent of the colors, shapes and sizes that are available using this choice also gives you the opportunity to easily design a custom floor. The down side is that this option is one of the more expensive options compared to other choices available.
3. If your garage just needs a quick touch up, painting the floors can be a very inexpensive option especially if your garage is not used often. This option allows you to just supply a fresh look and is very affordable.
After the flooring you can decide on what cabinets and shelving is necessary for your garage. Adding custom cabinetry can give your garage a very high end look while making the space more functional. When choosing cabinets make sure that you choose ones that reach all the way to the floor unless you intend to store items underneath. Considering the durability, material and weight baring ability of the cabinets will also be useful since they will be used in a garage. Making this decision carefully will allow you to increase the lifespan of your cabinets.