Interior DesignFamilyHappy Family

How To Make Your Home Friendly For The Whole Family

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When you have a family, there’s many different needs and personalities at play within your home. Trying to please all of those different ways of life can cause some confusion. There are many ways that you can create an all-in-one space without creating a major construction zone. You need to think in terms of spaces that accommodate large groups of people from entertaining to gathering around the television for a movie or sporting event.Combine Several Rooms Into One When rooms aren’t connected, sometimes bringing the rooms together can bring more flow into the home. Consider knocking down walls or bringing aspects of one room into another room, like a countertop or island through parts of kitchen and living spaces. Get creative! In some spaces, simply knocking down just one wall can make the entire floor of the home feel bigger.Make The Use Of The Square Footage You HaveOne wall can cause you to miss out on the full use of the space your home provides. Clearing away walls between rooms not only allows your home to feel more open and airy, but it gives you as a homeowner more use of your space. You don’t always need to add on to your home in order to make the home feel bigger.Tuck Things AwayKeeping stools under countertops, for example, is a great way to have a multi-use and multipurpose area. A television will be perfect in a cabinet. The cabinet can be used for both storage and TV viewing. Make sure you position it in a place where the TV can be seen from all corners of the room. This way everyone will have a space for their DVDs and there’s not a bad seat in the room to watch TV from.Use Furniture As Room DividersYour furniture can multi-task by serving as a room divider. If you need to have a study in your living room, use a bookshelf to separate the area. It’s easy to do and will keep the flow of a room without disturbing your established setup.Use Rugs For UnityNothing unifies a room quite like an area rug. Everything on or near the rug signifies a space. If you need to separate areas within the room, try an area rug for one purpose and hardwood, bare floor for the other use. Rugs are always cozy in reading rooms, for example. Hardwood floors may work better for a computer desk and rolling office chair. The position of everything in a room helps to identify what that part of the room will be used for.Marry The Rooms That Are Used TogetherIf your family tends to hang out and use the kitchen and living room the most, make sure they have open space between them. You should consider adding a study for the students of the house in either room to make it easier to call everyone for dinner and provide homework help. As a bonus, it’s a great idea that you can keep an eye on the kids’ computer activity while you’re cooking!Most of all, no matter what room you’re working with, you want to make sure there’s a space for everything and everyone. That’s how you please an entire family with home design!

Real EstateHoahomeowners association

A Guide to Homeowners Associations

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While they have become ubiquitous with the emergence of suburban neighborhoods and townhouses, homeowners associations (HOA, for short) are a relatively new phenomenon.

In modern America, there are many ways to live: apartments, condominiums, houses, townhouses, and now even “tiny houses” are gaining traction. But it wasn’t until the late 1900s that property owners began to experiment with alternative ways of living that revolved around share, “common spaces.”

What constitutes a common area?

Whether you live in an apartment, a house, or in your RV you likely experience common areas every day that are owned by the government. Roads, bridges, and parks are all common areas in that they are used by multiple people and their upkeep is paid for with taxes.

If you take that analogy and apply it to the greenways and lobbies of a condominium, or the streets and sidewalks of a gated community, there are few differences.

What is a homeowners association?

When a developer plans a new community they will often create a homeowners association that will be managed by the people who move into the houses or condominiums. Once a certain number of people have moved into the development and joined the HOA the developer will typically hand over ownership to the HOA and relinquish their legal rights and responsibilities of the land. From there, the HOA typically has complete control over management. Though it should be noted that states have their own HOA related laws with varying levels of oversight.

What does an HOA do?

The most common thing we associate with HOAs is fees and rules. People who move into a community governed by a homeowners association are typically required to join the HOA and are therefore obligated to pay fees and adhere to the guidelines set down by the HOA board.

The fees you pay will go towards maintenance and development of the common areas of your community. That usually amounts to landscaping, maintaining pools and fitness complexes. Fees can range from anywhere between $200 and $450 per month depending on where you live.

HOAs also enforce regulations that homeowners must follow. These vary depending on the community but often include building restrictions for things like fences and additions, as well as other ways that homeowners can customize their homes such as paint and vinyl color. Some homeowners associations go so far as to regulate whether or not a homeowner may fly the flag on their favorite sports team over their door.

Advantages and disadvantages

So what are the advantages and disadvantages you can expect when you belong to a homeowners association? Let’s start with the clear disadvantages. If you are a tinkerer or someone who relishes the freedom to do what they want with their property, living in an HOA-run community might not be right for you. If your salary isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, the cost of living in an HOA neighborhood, along with the monthly fees, might be a bit more than you’re comfortable with.

What about the advantages? First, you can expect that the neighborhood will be well-maintained. This brings about another advantage in that you can expect your property value to grow or at least remain stable thanks to the quality of the neighborhood being carefully managed.

RecycleRecycle WasteRecycling

Can I Recycle This?

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For those of us looking for small ways that we can contribute to an eco-friendly society, recycling is one of the best places to start. Since its inception in the 1970s, recycling technology has come a long way, making it easier than ever for consumers to recycle their household waste.

Although the excuses for not recycling are dwindling, there still can be a learning curve. Depending on where you live, there might be certain requirements you have to meet for your recycling to actually make it to the plant. And, in spite of the fact that we can now effectively recycle more materials than ever, there are still some items that you shouldn’t toss in the recycling bin.

If you’re new to recycling or just want to learn more about what you can and cannot recycle, read on.

Rules and regulations may vary

Let’s begin with a disclaimer: recycling isn’t the same everywhere. While many cities have free recycling and curbside pickup programs, some smaller towns and suburbs do not. In these instances, recycling is often a service provided by waste management companies in your area at a small added fee to your monthly garbage pickup bill.

What is single-sort recycling?

If you’re new to recycling, odds are you’re imagining having to sort out paper from plastic and metal and so on. However, due to single-sort recycling (also known as “no-sort” and “zero-sort” recycling) you don’t have to worry about putting different items in different bins.

With single-sort recycling, you can put everything in the same container and it will later be sorted automatically at a recycling facility using complex machinery.

What can I recycle?

Generally, the following items are now able to be recycled. However, you should follow the guidelines provided by your recycling company or municipal recycling facility.

  • Aluminum cans and foil.
    2.7 million tons of aluminum is discarded each year, half of which gets processed at a recycling facility. The benefit of recycling aluminum is that it is 100% recyclable, so nothing is lost in the process. At the facility, aluminum cans, foil, and other products are shredded up and turned into small chips of aluminum that can be sent back for production and reuse.

  • Paper and cardboards.
    Magazines, newspaper, cardboard, office paper, and juice cartons are just some of the paper goods that can be recycled. In the U.S., we recycling a large percentage of our paper goods due to the collection of newspapers. One item that people often toss in the recycling bin that isn’t able to be recycling is food containers that have food and grease seeped into them.

  • Glass items.
    Most glass items are recyclable. However, crystal glass, heat-resistant glass, and ceramic items (like plates and mugs) are not able to be recycled at a facility and should either be repurposed or tossed out.

  • Electronics and batteries.
    While you might not be able to toss most of these items in your recycling bin, there are several simple ways to recycle electronics and batteries. Calling your local appliance store, automotive retailers, and electronics stores like Best Buy often will take certain items for reuse and recycling.

News

Should You Renovate or Sell?

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Even if you’ve only lived at your address for several months, it’s likely that you’ve developed an emotional connection to your home. Despite a few hiccups like a pipe leaking, sink clogging or a kitchen cabinet drawer sticking, you might not be ready to sell your house and move into a new home. Renovating your house might prove a better choice.Consider the following factors before you make a final decision on whether to sell or renovate.Neighborhood – Is the neighborhood where you live starting to decline? Is crime increasing, causing property values to drop? It may be time to start house hunting and move into a better neighborhood. Renovating won’t change your entire neighborhood, so this decision is fairly straightforward.Family Needs – If your family is growing, you may need to move in order to give your children sleeping and entertaining room, especially if your children are getting older and want their own private space. You could also renovate and add one to two bedrooms onto your existing home.Age of House – An aging house often means that wiring, pipes and flooring are experiencing wear and tear. If your home has ever flooded or endured hard weather conditions, renovating may call for a roof replacement, new sidewalks, new floor tiles and painting. As part of your renovations, you may also need to replace utility equipment like your water heater or furnace.Job Situation – Think about why you’re considering moving. The chance to work a job that you’re passionate about or the chance to continue working with your current employer who may be relocating to a different town may make it easy to decide to move. If jobs are drying up where you live, you could open up to new job opportunities if you move. However, the chance to get promoted or take on a higher paying role may only come if you stay where you are. Should this be the case, renovating may be the way to go.Disposable Income – Renovating a house can get pricey, especially if your home requires a lot of structural work. Ask a home inspector to tell you how much and what types of work would improve your house. Count up the cost to have these repairs completed. Factor in any cosmetic work that you’d like done on your home. Be honest in determining whether you have enough disposable income to renovate. Compare the cost to renovate your home against the cost of taking on a new mortgage.Remember when relatives and friends visited after you bought your home, helping you to celebrate this new independent step? It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that you felt proud of your decision, a home choice that you made after weeks, perhaps months, of house hunting. Add in years of memories, children growing up in the house and huge family celebrations and moving might be the last thing that you want to do.On the other hand, moving could prove to be the best choice. Before you make a decision, consider the above factors. Doing so could help you to avoid entering the realm of regret.