Thursday, December 28, 2017

How To Achieve a Farmhouse Look with Your Decor!

One of the hottest trends in home design and decorating is farmhouse style. Made popular by home designer Joanna Gaines, her show Fixer Upper has inspired homeowners with innovative ways to turn their home into a comfortable and cozy space. Farmhouse design is easy to achieve. Even you can easily transform your outdated furniture and walls into something that is eye-catching and welcoming. Here are a few tips on how to achieve the look.

Farmhouse Must-Haves

White and light colors are the main thing everyone knows to adhere to when transitioning to farmhouse design. But what are some of the must-haves you need to make your home stand out from others that you are leaning to a farmhouse look? Here are some examples:

*Wraparound porch and white, wood fence highlighting the exterior.
*Highlight your entryway with white shiplap walls and black iron coat racks.
*Showcase light-colored antiques and vintage treasures such as old books, ironstone, and wood decor accents.
*Show off vintage mixers, dishes and metal baskets in the kitchen.
*Lighten barn wood doors and reclaimed wood whenever possible.
*Keep wood plank floors stained dark.
*Use big, white overstuffed furniture in living areas and bedrooms.
*Display farm animal print wall art.

Visiting your local antique market for one-of-a-kind home pieces is the best place to get started with the farmhouse look. Do not forget to look for architectural salvage accents like old chicken feeders, scales, and large spools to turn into clocks and wall accent items. Add plaid material sparingly for a splash of color if needed.

Focus On Wall Color

Some of the main color hues that are the main focus of Farmhouse decor are lighter colors, such as beige, whites and light grays. Stark white with red or black highlights can also work, as long as colors flow seamlessly. Some farmhouse kitchens, mudrooms, and living rooms have white walls and white cabinets, highlighted with pastel or jute rugs. 

A popular farmhouse highlight is shiplap. Similar to a paneled look, shiplap is actually wooden wall board that is often used as an exterior surface for many building projects. Many farmhouse lovers desire the look of shiplap and prefer to paint it white and use it as a main focal point in a room. Keeping your wall color light gives you a good starting point for bringing your overall farmhouse look together.

Keep Things Minimal

The key to farmhouse decor is to keep it simple- just like how things used to be on your grandmother’s farm. Dairy fresh, checkered curtains and galvanized metal accents can create contrast in a room and give off a homey vibe. Do not forget about outdoor decor. Salvage old gates as well as sinks to serve as new tables and planters. Show off your veggie gardens and line small areas with white picket fences. Plant large old-fashioned farmhouse flowers such as hollyhocks, foxgloves, and cosmos, to give your outdoor area a bright, warm farmhouse welcome.  

Spruce Up Dark Furniture

Getting rid of dark colored furniture, including dark leather and dark-stained tables and cabinets is essential to complete the farmhouse look. Ditch your outdated oak table and trade it in for a large, white or gray farmhouse table to seat 10 to 12 people or more. Get rid of dark stained buffet tables and hutches and lighten them up with white chalk paint. Put photographs away, as well as dark-themed home accents. Replace with minimal antique items that are light colored and not overbearing. 

If you have a collection, such as milk glass or vintage Pyrex- bring them out and use them as decorative accents. Use textiles on your furniture- such as cotton, canvas, and chenille, whenever possible. Wood that is scratched or nicked does not have to be thrown out. Use well-worn furniture and home accents in place of new, contemporary items. You can also keep things simple by implementing natural stone, wicker, rattan, sisal and other organic materials into both indoor and outdoor decor. The key is to keep things simple, reduce clutter, and not overdo it with home accents and knick-knacks.

Getting that comfy, easy-living feeling the second you walk into your home, is what farmhouse design is all about. Pulling the charm out of your home and showcasing corners and empty spaces with classic decor will get your guests talking and give you a space you will love to relax in.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Top 5 kitchen countertops design ideas for a small budget!

This post is provided by Glen Star.

One of the most exciting parts about designing your kitchen is when you get to your kitchen countertops. What will they be? Are you going to go for some quartz countertops? Or maybe you fancy the kind of style granite countertops bring into the room. Either way, it might just be too expensive for what you can afford, meaning that you have to sacrifice the beauty and efficiency of your countertops in favor of something cheaper, right? Wrong! You can in fact get amazing looking countertops that blend in with your kitchen design perfectly, even on a low budget. Here are some awesome alternatives for the most common countertop solutions.

Soapstone Sequoia Laminate

This is a great alternative for soapstone. It is very similar in appearance and while you will be able to tell the difference between this and the real deal, it will still look beautiful, which is in fact, the whole point. The best thing about it is that it comes much cheaper than soapstone slabs, so you will be able to save quite a bit of money without having to sacrifice your soapstone vision for the kitchen design.

Butcher Block Countertops

For those of you out there that have a soft spot for reclaimed wood countertops, know that there is a cheaper solution that might just do it for you. Consider using butcher block countertops. It is great because it requires a low level of maintenance and the warm surface will do a great job of filling the space left open by that reclaimed wood countertop you have always wanted.

Chrome Countertops

Have you ever considered using glass countertops? It is a really interesting idea, and chrome countertops can help you achieve a special look for your kitchen countertops. It’s a very elegant material as the glazed and tempered glass manages to use the light in the room to its advantage, creating a marvelous effect.

Granite Tile Countertops

That awesome granite countertop design is out of your price range, huh? Well, how about granite tiles? This is the cheaper alternative that allows you to sport the classic granite look for your countertops, for only a fraction of the price. The installation might seem a little more difficult, but in reality it should not take more than any other surface to install. Especially if you get an expert on the job, you should be looking at a really cool granite tile countertop in no time.

Paperstone Countertops

Paperstone is an interesting choice for a countertop, as it is made of recycled paper and resins. However, if you are dying for that lavastone look, this can get you pretty close to it without having to destroy your savings fund. Lavastone can be amazingly expensive, but this alternative might just be enough for what you want to accomplish with your kitchen design.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Backyard Games The Whole Family Can Play!

This post is provided by Jordan.

Kids and the great outdoors go together like milk and cookies. Or at least they should. However, numerous studies show that today’s youngsters are spending way too much time in front of screens and not enough outside, getting the physical activity their growing bodies need.

Or the adventures that will power their minds and imaginations.

The secret is to make it fun, not work or exercise. Tempt your kids with activities they will want to be a part of. Here are several backyard games that will appeal to your young ones and let them (and you) get the fresh air and fitness time needed.

Tug Of War

A good thick rope is about all you need in the way of equipment. This is the perfect activity for when you have a bunch of people over, such as during a family reunion, a birthday party or block party.

Simply stake an area between the two starting points that is the “lake of fire” or “endless pit” or other forbidden zone each team is going to try to pull the other into. Avoid frustration by making sure the two teams are as evenly matched as possible in size and strength. The kids will work up a good sweat and burn off whatever sugar highs they might be on while enjoying the competition.


This yard game is classic. The equipment is not very expensive and it can inspire hours of competitive fun. You can lay out the playing field any way you would like. No matter the size, shape or topography of your backyard, you can make this game work.


Here is another beloved backyard game for “kids” of all ages. Bean bags and an official cornhole board are all you need for fun even in a relatively small playing space. Since the game accommodates just about all ages and physical abilities, you will find a spirited game of cornhole to offer a marvelous bonding opportunity for generations of family and friends.

Hide And Seek

If you want to see running, jumping, crawling and squeezing into tight spaces - all good exercises - instigate a game of hide and seek. Kick the can is a variation of this outdoor sport that kicks the physical activity up another notch and gets young hearts racing even faster. And it is always fun watching dad trying to stuff his body behind a small tree stump.

Backyard Campout

This activity might not burn off a whole lot of calories, but it is a great way to hang out together and inspire your kids’ love of the great outdoors. Burn a fire for warmth, roast marshmallows, listen to the slightly scary outdoor sounds and study the awesome constellation display spread out before you in the night sky. 

Someone is sure to tell a ghost story or two during an escapade your children will treasure forever.

How is that for idea starters? Add a few of your own, then get out there! Let the backyard family fun begin.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

How to handle a damaged home!

This post is provided by John May.

Securing a damaged home will be overall the most important step moving forward with your claim. Here is some helpful advice to guide you moving forward with your damaged home.

Most insurance companies will require you to take care of the damage to your home. You must secure your property to prevent any further damage. If something is a total loss, this shall be unnecessary and will be dealt with by the insurance company. However, if only one section of your home was damaged, be proactive and swift in securing the damaged location to prevent any further damage this is known as "mitigating damage," which is just a term for preventing further damage to the property.

This will include, covering holes in walls, protecting your roof from the elements, boarding up any damaged windows, building a fence to prevent any looters/robbers. Moving your property inside the home that may cause further damage is not advised. For example, moving a television that was underneath a hole in a ceiling. 

Your insurance policy should include a clause called "loss of use," this means the insurance company will reimburse you for cost of living, any expenses needed while displaced from your home. However, you are not entitled to the difference between the cost while your displaced and what it has been costing you in your home. For example, your monthly living expenses are $5,000 per month, where you are now having to add hotel cost, restaurant meals, laundry expense, extra gas for your car, totaling an additional $2,000, your insurance company will only reimburse the extra $2,000 per month. You can always find help from a local public adjuster

Many homeowner insurance policy holders choose to stay with family members and friends. In most cases, your insurance company will reimburse your host for any additional costs of your stay at the time. Speak with your host to itemize the expenses of your stay. Be cautious and frivolous and be patient with your insurance company if they choose to negotiate this cost with you. Be polite in explaining to your insurance company that you are saving the company valuable time and money by choosing to stay with a family or friend in a hotel stay, and restaurant expenses. 

Filing an insurance claim enables you to rebuild or repair your damaged home. "Actual cash value" policyholders are entitled the amount it would take to return the home, including the contents of the home.

"Replacement" policyholders are entitled to the amount it would cost to replace the home and contents within, regardless of the market value of what was lost. "Replacement" coverage does not require you to rebuild your home in the same lot. You have a choice in where you would want to rebuild your home, if it is the same value of the previous lot. If you choose to move your home to a more expensive lot, you will have to cover the difference. If you choose to not rebuild, but to invest the money in something unrelated like a personal business or college fund, the "replacement" policy will become "actual cash value" policy which will in term yield about 15% less.