|Home Improvement Information|
Heart of the Home
It started with my need for a new mixer. OK. Well, maybe not exactly. It probably really started when we bought our home in Connecticut two years ago. The kitchen needed a make-over. Not a complete renovation--as some do--but a make-over, to be sure. Its footprint was fine, as was its size. Windows and doors were good, too. But it was dreary. Dark, drab and dreary.
But a re-do--no matter the scope--was out of our reach at move-in, just as it is now. So I've tried to not think about it too much.
That's tougher than it sounds. What with me being a "visual person"--energized by color and proportion and pattern--and kitchen tours taking up space on every New England town's calendar within the next few weeks, it's almost impossible to not notice renovated kitchens. Nor to salivate over their inevitable appeal.
Such was the case this past Friday when a friend and I tromped through six fabulous kitchens in an annual little ritual. Carefully calibrated to Mother's Day--not to mention the bursting of daffodils, the budding of most trees, and the flowering of rhododendron--it coincided perfectly with spring fever.
And so it was that my friend, Nancy, and I enjoyed most of the afternoon together...roaming around gorgeous homes, indulging in wonderful treats catered by local restaurateurs, and commenting on what both appealed--and what didn't--to our strong aesthetic sensibilities. Nancy is an artist, too. And she just finished her own dream kitchen a few months ago. So she has not only a good grasp of the whole kitchen re-do thing; she has a similar eye to mine and is highly motivated by strong visuals.
Interestingly, we were both struck by exactly the same things. An enormous, albeit completely-perfect home, didn't do it for either one of us as it did for a friend whom I bumped into while there. "Isn't this absolutely incredible?" my friend exclaimed.
Nancy and I looked at each other.
"It's perfect," I dead-panned.
Too perfect. Perfectly painted, perfectly appointed, perfectly accessorized, perfectly clean. Was it possible real people really lived there? Could anyone have ever actually sautéed onions and garlic at its immaculate stainless-steel Viking range?
As we walked to the car, Nancy and I reflected on what truly makes a home, anyway. And where does one stop? In this real estate frenzy of the new millennium, where success is measured by capital gains, square footage and location-location-location; how much is enough, after all? Do we really need commercial-grade stainless steel Wolf ranges and double Sub-Zero's? Granite countertops and farmhouse sinks with copper faucets? Islands with pull-outs?
Seems like we do. A Harvard University study found that Americans spent $233 billion on remodeling and repair projects in 2003, with kitchen re-do's topping the list. A stunning 4 million Americans will do a kitchen remodeling project of some type in this year alone!
Staggering in scope, it is easily understandable. We have everyone from Home Depot to Pottery Barn to Williams-Sonoma to Target to HGTV to thank. Oh, sure. You might not need a kitchen transformation. But seriously, do you have enough fortitude to walk out of Williams-Sonoma fiscally unscathed? And have you seen the summer plastic ware at Target? As if I needed another lime green line item in my home...it was pure will-power that prevented me from grabbing a dozen of the cutest soda-fountain-style tumblers in my favorite color on my weekend outing there.
I read recently that most people do a major kitchen remodel for one simple reason: their friend did it. Oh great. A brilliant tax break? We get that. Increasing the value of your real estate. Get that, too. But peer pressure?
It's easy to see why. I mean, a wonderful kitchen is a lovely thing to behold. I totally get it. Want it. But can't yet have it.
So in case you're in the same state (and I have to suppose that many of you are, given the success rate of these kitchen tours) here are "5 Strategies for Infusing-Your-Kitchen-With-Beauty-If-You-Don't-Have-The-Designer-Kitchen-You'd-Really-Like-To-Have-But-For-Whatever-Reason-Don't:
1) Inject bold bursts of color. Be it via woven placemats at the breakfast table, colorful pottery on your countertops, or brightly-painted kitchen towels hanging from your oven bar: use generous strokes of color to put your brain on a heightened state of alert. Your cabinets might be dreadfully tired and your outdated appliances might leave you feeling totally uninspired. But take heart: a few brilliantly colored decorative objects can provide just the punch your sleepy kitchen needs.
2) Treat yourself to one new kitchen accoutrement. Seen Le Creuset's latest red Dutch ovens? Or Kitchen Aid's new apple green mixer? How about a shiny chrome coffee grinder? If a total kitchen overhaul is out of your reach, perhaps one modest indulgence will give your room that little kick-in-the-pants that it needs.
3) Change the lighting. My Country French rooster chandelier ala my latest birthday, elevates my eyes upwards...out of the direction of my drive-me-crazy-cabinets and onto something much more beautiful and intriguing. Considering its relatively minor expense, it proved a clever way of adding serious visual interest to a space which otherwise drags me down visually. Shop around. While not as cheap as a new box of candles, a new lighting fixture is often a great way to go.
4) Change things in stages. Perhaps by giving your cabinets a new paint job, you can change the look of the whole room. My girlfriend, Leslie, contracted with a house painter as well as with a decorative painter to dramatically lift her entire kitchen into a veritable work of art. The decorative painter glazed and then hand-painted different floral designs on each cabinet panel, elevating the room into one of lightness and pure beauty. The end result is stunning! Maybe by simply replacing a worn-out dishwasher you can inject a dash of modernity to an otherwise out-dated room. Or perhaps the relatively easy job of changing your countertops will give you more of the look and function that you desire.
5) Enjoy your collections. Not only did my recent trip to Paris cement my affection for le coq; it heightened my awareness of any and all fabulous renditions seen since my return. I can hardly pass by a rooster without checking its craftsmanship, size and price tag. Infuse your environment with the things that you love. Be they pictures of friends and family magnetized to your fridge...or cows or pigs or roosters (we really are a silly bunch, aren't we?) don't be afraid to show off your collections to their fullest. When your day is looking particularly gloomy or your hormones are raging; the little things that bring you joy will help to blow both those black clouds away from your precious little head as well as more evenly distribute those swirling shivers of estrogen.
Finally, reflect on the relativity of materialism. Nancy and I-walking back from "house perfect" on the kitchen tour, talked about how it's all relative anyway. For what seems like extravagant indulgence (or a vulgar display of wealth, depending on your perspective) is just that: it's a perspective. It's all relative. What seems ridiculously unnecessary to me might seem perfectly legitimate to you. And remember that most of what we possess is viewed by some 90% of the world as pure luxury. Keep perspective. If your kitchen drives you nuts, try to maintain some level of thanksgiving for what you do have, rather than some level of misery for what you don't.
The kitchen isn't called the heart of the home for nothing. It's where we put love into what we put into our body. Where we infuse our food with energy. Where we sift and dice and shake and bake. Where we laugh and learn and read and relax. Do your part to make it the heart of your home...whether you like the way it looks or not.
I wound up getting a new mixer for Mother's Day. As bizarre a request as it was--coming from someone whose least favorite word in the English language is "practical"--I got the desire to actually mix something up in there. (Bake a cake...or something along those lines, anyway.) And I have a funny feeling it will actually send me into my kitchen more often...whether I like it or not.
Carolina Fernandez earned an M.B.A. and worked at IBM and as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch before coming home to work as a wife and mother of four. She totally re-invented herself along the way. Strong convictions were born about the role of the arts in child development; homeschooling for ten years provided fertile soil for devising creative parenting strategies. These are played out in ROCKET MOM! 7 Strategies To Blast You Into Brilliance. It is available on Amazon.com, in bookstores everywhere, or by calling 888-476-2493. She writes extensively for a variety of parenting resources and teaches other moms via parenting classes and radio and TV interviews.
Please visit http://www.rocketmom.com to subscribe to her free ezine and get a weekly shot of inspiration.
Repairing Putty Window Glass
Have you ever thought about fixing a broken window in your house, but didn't think you could do it because nobody ever taught you how to cut glass? Well, you really don't have to know how to cut glass in order to repair your window. If you knew how to remove the frame, you could order a replacement piece of glass from your local glass shop already cut to the proper size. Then, it's just a matter of installing the new glass into the frame. But, there are so many different kinds of window out there, there is no way i could explain them all in one article. So, this is going to be the first in a series of articles describing the repair procedure for each type of window.
Window Dressing from the Outside Looking In
Window coverings are important to the overall look and feel of a room, of course, but when designing window treatments, don't forget to take into consideration what your overall design will look like from the outside of your home.
Refinishing A Hardwood Floor
Want to bring your hardwood floors back to their former beauty, but don't have the money? Then read on for some tips on how you can refinish the floor yourself.
Ridding Your Home of Geopathic Stress
Just as there are solar magnetic stresses that come from the sun and the galactic "soup" that supports the universe, there are geomagnetic stresses that come from within the earth. The field of geobiology, or geopathology, is a science that has its roots in Europe and has slowly gained popularity in the United States over the past 25 years.
Avoid Problems Painting Aluminum and Vinyl Siding
Anyone with older aluminum siding is well aware of the paint chalking problem. Just rub your hand along the old siding and the chalky old paint will be all over your palm. Trying to get paint to stick to this could be a real problem. This is due to oxidation of the paint. Siding manufacturers originally referred to this problem as a "benefit". They called it, "self cleaning", as the paint literally washed off the house.
Chimney Cap Checklist: Four Quick Ways to Evaluate Your Existing Chimney Cap
While you are cleaning leaves out of your home's gutters, dealing with Christmas lights, or adjusting a satellite dish, don't forget to check on your chimney caps while you're on the roof. Chimney caps are those mesh-sided enclosures (usually made of stainless steel, copper, or galvanized steel) atop your chimney to prevent water, animals, bird droppings, and leaves from entering your home. A once-a-year assessment of your chimney caps' condition can be well worth your time for protecting your house. Here are four things you can easily check on your chimney caps:
Three Types of Lighting for Room Remodeling
When remodeling a room, choosing the correct lighting is one of the most important considerations. Proper lighting sets the atmosphere of the room, creates a particular mood, or provides accent to an architectural style. Lighting also accentuates the good aspects of a room or disguises a room's shortcomings.
The Art of Ice Dam Removal
You may have noticed long icicles hanging from your gutters and not realize the significance of the damage that may be occurring behind them. Icicles are usually one of the first warning signs of possible ice dams on your roof. This article will explain what ice dams are, how they form and the best methods for removing them safely.
Breaking the Mold - Creative Boys Bedrooms
Decorating boys bedrooms with licensed characters and themes is an easy but expensive option. While most children do have a preferred character or theme that they would enjoy having in their rooms, there are more affordable ways to achieve a similar desired result.
Old House Remodeling: Removing Old Tile and Glue
When you live in old house like I do, remodeling is always a challenge and a surprise. I am currently involved in a major kitchen remodel. Our kitchen like many kitchens, has seen better days. It was installed in the house was built back in 1945 and I'm sure it's has served its previous owners well. However, modern kitchens are large and open. This kitchen, like most kitchens of its era, a small enclosed off. We decided to open the kitchen out by removing part of the wall, removing old tile from the walls, and updating the entire kitchen with new cabinets and appliances.
The Benefits Of Wooden Flooring
They're affordable and come in a wide variety of styles and colors. They're easy to install and maintain. They add value to your home, and maintain their value over time. They're versatile enough to be the perfect backdrop to any decor. And to top it off, they help keep your home allergen and dust free. A natural wood floor is easily the best investment you can make in your home. Take a look at the benefits of natural wood flooring in your home!
Planning Your In-Wall Speaker System
So you've finally decided to get your favorite music throughout your house. What's next? Where do you go from here? That depends upon your requirements and weather this will be an installation in an existing home or a music system in a new construction home.
Home Office: Identifying Your Needs
Not many years ago, the thought of working from home was considered a fantastic vision of the distant future. However, with more and more people setting up home offices every day, it is clear that future has arrived earlier that many expected.
Chester Conservatory Build Process
1. The site of the proposed conservatory.
Make Your Home Secure
The following list offers some inexpensive ways to make your home secure:
Homeowners ? Here is a Step by Step Guide to Help You Hire a Quality Home Improvement Contractor
Before talking to any contractors the first thing to do is create a budget for the project. Without a budget you will be flying blind and may end up over spending. Having a tight budget will also help you make decisions about what kind of fixtures, and materials to purchase. Most products have a wide price range and having a budget will help keep you in line when making buying decisions.
The Benefits of Small Dehumidifiers
So it's too humid in your 10' X 10' bedroom. Or perhaps the steam in your bathroom is starting to make the wallpaper peel. Maybe your closet is too moist, and your clothes are beginning to get mildewed. You've tried "airing out" the problem area to no avail. It's time to get a dehumidifier.
Ceiling Fans Look Great and Save You Money
It doesn't matter if you live in a hot climate or the North woods; there are many days when the breeze isn't blowing and you would like the air to circulate for comfort. Running central air conditioning is expensive and isn't always called for. We automatically feel cooler just from the evaporation against our skin when a slight breeze is blowing. Energy costs are high enough so why not consider ceiling fans for your rooms? You get the circulation you need and a great look at the same time. Because they are hanging from the ceiling, they're out of the way. You don't have anything to walk around or trip over. They also save you money in the winter time. You can adjust the switch to rotate the blades in the opposite direction, causing a downdraft, circulating the warm air from the furnace. Most of the models have more than one speed so you can control the amount of air movement you want. A ceiling fan looks great in any room and can eliminate the need for air conditioning. If you have low ceilings, don't worry about it. There are hugger styles that only come down a few inches from the ceiling. If you need to drop a fan from a cathedral height, you can find that as well. No matter how much clearance you have, you will be able to find a style for your needs.
How House Plans Work
The Ins and Outs Of Choosing Online Custom Home Plans! So you've decided to build your own home, congratulations! Now where do you go from here?
Types Of Bedsteads
Selection of bedstead is also an important thing as selection of bed mattress. The frame, which provides support to bed, is called bedstead. In a stylish bed room bed plays an important role. Various criteria's like material used, frame of bed do matter. Generally bedstead is made up of rectangular wooden frame supported by four legs of wood. Wooden slates support bed mattress, which are placed in rectangular wooden frame. Now day's different verities and shapes are available in bed. Large variety of bedsteads is available as per requirement in online stores. If people do not want to show base of the bed then they use bed skirt to hide the base of bed. Online stores offer all categories of bedsteads as per customer's requirement.
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