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Lifestyles of the not so rich and famous

How To Choose A Custom Home Builder

When you decide to build a custom home, it can often be a substantial financial and emotional investment. Not only is it a dream home, with every detail carefully laid out, it is also a place for you to feel secure and relaxed. With everything that is invested in a dream home, it is important to carefully choose your custom home builder. The right custom home builder will not only be able to build your dream home, but will be able to do so without encountering many of the obstacles and problems that can occur. Here are some tips on choosing the right custom home builder for your new home.

Licensing and References

It is vital that you check to make sure your prospective custom home builder is both licensed and insured according to state and local regulations. All records can be checked through the state licensing agency, and the local Better Business Bureau will have a listings of any complaints. Inspection and building permits are also required, and must be up to date. These can also be checked with the public records department. Any infractions on previous jobs can also be found with the permits department. Referrals from previous jobs can also help you to determine the reliability and reputation of the builders. It is important to remember not to use this as the only form of references. Previous employers may not always give unbiased opinions or referrals. While you are checking the contractor’s records, see how long they have been in business. This can easily be done by checking the date when the first licensed was issued.

Experience Can be Important

Building a custom home often requires a level of experience that many standard home builders do not have. Most of the reputable custom home builders will have a portfolio that details there work experience and their level of skill. Photographs, websites and previous clients can all help to provide you with the assurance the contractor has the necessary knowledge to construct your dream home according to your specifics. Before making a final decision, a complete checklist of the custom home’s design should be fully discussed and agreed upon by you and your contractor.

Other things to consider when choosing a custom home builder can also include the length of the project, and whether you will be allowed at the construction scene. All of this should be discussed before signing a contract. Each custom home builder is different, so it is important to read the contract carefully before signing. With a little research, you can choose the right custom home builder for your dream home.

How to Give a Traditional Look to Your Wine Cellar?

In the early part of the 18th century the wine cellars were decorated with barrels and a few chairs. This decoration was all that a wine cellar needed back then, but not anymore. The wine cellars today have come under the radar of decor conscious homeowners. When they want every inch of their property to be picture perfect, do you think they would settle for anything less with their wine cellar? The modern homeowners want to convert their wine cellars into not only an enjoyable place, but a place that imbibes the essence of wine tasting. But as is relevant in every decor area, the old is hot now. So, most wine lovers want to have a traditional looking cellar incorporated into their homes. To give a traditional look to your wine cellar you have to tinker around with the cellar floor, walls, lighting and some other things. How to decorate these areas traditionally? The answer lies below:

  • Walls: The walls in a wine cellar should be necessarily dry. You cannot let the moisture and wetness penetrate into the precious wine and mar the taste. So, the painting on the cellar walls should be moisture resistant. Dark shades are a perfect match for the walls, for they provide the desired depth and gravity to the room’s decor. The racks and casework should merge with the wall shades to give a uniform look. To infuse the traditional touch you can add some beautiful stone works or better install some sculptures in the cellar.
  • Ceiling: This is an area that will give you plenty of opportunities to bring about the traditional look. You can opt for the arched ceilings that are made with timber. A complimenting wall paneling on the top part of the room can give a blending effect.
  • Flooring: When designing a traditional looking wine cellar the wooden cellar floors are a never-fail option. They ooze class. You should use the Mahogany timber; Cedar on the other hand is not a good flooring option for cellars. When installing the wooden floors make sure there is a gap left between the walls and the floor. This will accommodate for the later expansion of wood. After the installation of wine racks, you should seal the floor through molding.
  • Lighting: Select the lighting for your traditional wine cellar with care. Yes, there should be a luminous source near the counter, which will aid in reading the wine labels and selecting the proper one. But for other areas of the room, the fluorescent or strong lighting is not recommended. It will not work well for the preservation of wine. Recessed cans and track lights are the ideal options for the wine cellars. The recessed cans can be used to highlight a specific area, while the track lights are movable. Make sure that none of the lights are too close to the wine racks.
  • Furniture: You can use oval or square tasting tables along with some short wooden stools for the wine tasting.
  • Cooling System: Use WhisperKOOL cooling units in your cellar as it offers wooden texture on cooling units that fits well in wooden wine racks.

These were some of the ways in which you can design a traditional looking wine cellar.

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Getting Your Property Re-Keyed

After finalizing the necessary paperwork and moving into your new home or office space, you may feel overwhelmed with the amount of tasks on your to do list. If so, you may have overlooked one important task, getting your property re-keyed!
While getting your property re-keyed is a relatively simple and inexpensive process, most people overlook this task as they believe they that they have the only keys to their home. However, the reality is that unless until you get your property re-keyed, there could be multiple copies of your keys in existence, which you’re unaware of.

While the previous owner of your property may have given you all the keys they were aware of, they may have forgotten to collect the copies they gave to neighbors, family members, friends or ex partners. If so, there is a small chance that one of these people may try to gain entry into your home or office. In some circumstances intruders may be unaware that you have brought the property or in worse circumstances, they may have less than honorable intentions.

To ensure the safety of your household or employees and prevent the theft of your property, it’s advisable to get your property locks re-keyed within the first week of moving into a new property. It’s also worth remembering, that if your property is broken into and you file a claim with your insurance company that you may lose your no claims bonus or find that your premiums may be increased.

If you plan to lease or rent your property, it’s just as important to get your property re-keyed as if your tenants have property stolen, you may be liable for compensating your tenants for their lost property. If a tenant is particularly disgruntled they may even go so far as to meet with a lawyer and file legal action against you.

Thankfully getting your property re-keyed in a painless process, simply get in touch with a variety of lock smiths and home security companies who can assess the entry points to your property and present you with a quote, either just to get your property re-keyed or to install a variety of home or office protection systems.

Once you’ve chosen a lock smith or home security company, make sure they change the locks on all of your doors. Unfortunately, many property owners choose only to change the locks on their front and back doors. The truth is that majority of intruders will try to gain entry to your property from a side door, where they are less likely to be spotted by your neighbors. The good news however, is that if you get all of the locks on your doors changed, you may be offered a small discount.

Although getting your property re-keyed may take a little bit of organization, the consequences of leaving your locks unchanged can range from having thousands of dollars of property stolen to being sued by a tenant or having your insurance premiums increased. If you want peace of mind that your property, your assets and the people who reside in your property will be protected, get your property re-keyed as soon as possible.

Find out more about the company that provided this article. Just search Phoenix Locksmith Pros (602) 325-5274 in Phoenix, AZ and check us out.

The Slightly Disgusting Truth About Carpeting

True or False: “If my carpet LOOKS clean it IS clean”.

Answer: False.

Think about that answer for a moment.

What would it be like if you were to lay one of your shirts on the carpet for about six months. You walked on it, ate over it and accidentally dropped food on it. Many different people sat on it and put their hands and feet on it. Your pet might even have had an accident on the sleeve of it.

Would you wear that shirt now? …even if it LOOKED clean? Would you invite your friends and their kids to put the shirt on? Doesn’t it make your skin crawl at the thought of having it on you?

Well here’s the scoop… A “clean looking” carpet is not necessarily as clean as it looks!

Here’s why! Carpets fibers are specifically designed to HIDE SOIL. The shape of each individual yarn is designed so as to minimize the particles of soil that are embedded in it. Long ago, when synthetic carpet yarns were first invented, their shape actually magnified particles of soil and gave the appearance that the carpet was more soiled than it really was! On one hand it’s good that you don’t see the soil, but on the other hand the soil that you don’t see still has the same damaging/scratching effect on the yarns.

So the #1 reason “clean looking carpet” is actually SOILED is because it can hide soil…really well!

But there’s another reason…Our air in the city contains many contaminants – pollens, fungus, bacteria, cigarette smoke, car exhaust – and hundreds of other chemicals just to say the least. When you and your family members come into your home, you carry those pollutants in your hair, on your skin, your clothing, and your shoes. Not surprisingly, all those chemicals, pollens and bacteria wind up, (…you guessed it), in your carpet!

Your carpet acts like a huge filter for these pollutants. This is a good thing… until it becomes full. When that happens (about every 6-12 months depending on traffic in the home) it’s time for a good, thorough cleaning. Especially if you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems –one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, and chemicals in your carpet.

What’s more, you might find that you’ll breathe a lot easier after you hire a professional carpet cleaner to get those harmful chemicals out of your carpet.

So in addition to getting rid of soil, another important reason to clean your carpet (aka GIANT air filter) is to get rid of pollutants such as; pollens, fungus, bacteria, and chemicals.

Before you lay or sit down on your carpet that may “look” clean, remember that there is much that is unseen. Unfortunately, the (slightly disgusting) truth is that your carpet, no matter how clean you keep your home, gets full of soil and other gross stuff on regular basis.

Even studies by Hoover show that even the best vacuum cleaners can only remove about 80% of the soils embedded in carpets!

The answer? Have your carpets cleaned regularly and thoroughly to remove the unseen soil that lurks deep inside your carpet fibers.

Good health to you.

Nick Cohen – owner, Eco Choice Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning  Roseville

Tips To Secure You and Your Family At Home

It is up to you as a homeowner to make sure you keep your home safe. Though you may think that alarm systems are the only option, there actually are many other things to be done. This article will offer you several different options to consider.

Make sure you trust your house cleaner before you provide them with a key. If they will be there over an hour and you are thinking of giving them your home key, be certain they are honest, reputable and hard-working. Carefully check their references. If they work through a larger firm, you can check up on the company with your local Better Business Bureau.

camera surveillance products

Buy a safe to keep all of your valuables in one place at home. You can’t have your valuable personal items and jewelry out in the open for anyone to see. Hide the safe in a very hard to reach place like the attic or a closet in the basement.

Surveillance camera products are good for you and your home. These are efficient products that could save you time because they are user-friendly. Make sure to find one that you know how to operate and ensures you of a service that is available 24/7.

You should never open your door to someone you do not know. There are people who are going to be convincing, but they can just be professional thieves. Make sure everyone in your house knows not to open the door unless they know the person standing outside.

If you’ve got a garage, make sure to use it for your car rather than extra storage space. A car kept locked in a garage is much less likely to be stolen or damaged. Hiding your car from plain view will also keep potential intruders from tracking when you are home and when you aren’t.

Don’t be shy. Get to know other people who live next door and others in your neighborhood. By knowing the people in your neighborhood, you can rest a little easier knowing that people are looking out for each other. Don’t ignore any gossip either. You may find out helpful information about strangers lurking around.

Do you live outside the city? You might be less worried about home invasions than if you lived in an urban area. Some people think that the people out in the country without neighbors are actually at a much greater risk. Others think that rural places have less of a chance of being targets for burglars.

You should no longer live in an unsafe home. While it may seem like this is all complicated and a bit of a hassle, it is absolutely necessary if you want to keep your family safe from harm. Apply what you’ve just learned, and you should be golden.

Looking after the trees in your garden

The trees in your garden have multiple benefits to your home. Not only are they aesthetically beautiful and add to the general appearance of your home, but also add to your home’s overall value. The price of your home is deeply embedded in the beauty of your garden, making it important to take care of your trees.

Luckily there are a number of ways to ensure that the trees in your garden appear healthy and beautiful and increase your home’s aesthetic appeal as well as monetary value. Below are a number of tips you can follow to help the trees in your garden remain fit and fine.

Hire a good tree surgeon to evaluate your tree completely
Tree surgeons in Nottingham are here to help make sure that your trees are well managed, pruned, chopped and clipped and look beautiful after their work is done. They use heavy-duty machines to provide trees with intensive care including chainsaws, chippers as well as other tools to ensure optimum benefits to the trees. They climb trees and perform a thorough examination of the potential problem areas before treating them.

Remove dead and sick branches

You can do this yourself or hire a good tree surgeon in Nottingham to do this for you. Trees need to be cleaned periodically to maintain their health and appearance. Clean out any dead or dying wood from the tree. This is akin to treating yourself for an illness.

Crown thinning

Light is important for the growth and development of trees. Tree surgeons also advise residents to regularly remove select branches from the top of the tree to allow more light to pass through to the lower branches and leaves.

Tree surgeons also advice selective pruning of branches that hang over or reach the walls of the house, as well as those that cross over amongst each other to give it a neater look. Tree surgeons are well qualified to perform the proper pruning techniques to enhance shape, strengthen roots and stimulate growth. Ideally, pruning should be done in cooler weather in Nottingham, so that the trees face lower stress.


Topping is not the best idea
Tree surgeons do not encourage the removal of branches at the top of the trees for appearance, as this can be harmful to a tree if too much is cut off. However, if it is a practice that takes place regularly, it needs to be continued to ensure that the tree remains healthy.


Tips for younger trees
Younger trees require more attention and care as compared to older ones, just like any other living being on the planet, according to tree surgeons in Nottingham.


Be careful while hiring tree surgeons

All claim to be experts, but just as if it were a member of your family, it is important to hire the right tree surgeon to service your trees. Try to make sure that the person you hire is well qualified and comes from a licensed company.



Gutter Guards worth it? 5 Big Reasons why they Are!

5 Top Reasons to Guard Your Gutters

There’s a reason why people procrastinate on cleaning their gutters. It’s dangerous. However, ignoring the problem can do long-term damage to your roof, basement, foundation, fascia, or even the interior of your home.
Gutter protection is a permanent solution to these problems. A gutter protection system is a guard that installs over your existing gutters and is customized to fit to your roof without screws. It prevents leaves, dirt, and debris from entering your gutter system so that water flows properly away from your home.

(1) Ladders are Dangerous

Every year, hundreds of people fall from ladders while cleaning their gutters. Serious injuries, such as broken bones and head trauma, are the result. Gutter protection keeps you from climbing that dangerous ladder in the first place.

(2) No More Leaves and Debris in Your Gutters

When your gutters are clogged with leaves, they can actually do more damage than not having gutters at all. With a gutter protection system, the principles of gravity and surface tension cause leaves and debris to drift to the ground. Rainwater clings to the nose of the gutter guard and flows freely into your gutter and downspouts.

(3) Prevents Frozen Gutters

During cold weather the water in clogged gutters freezes into heavy beams of ice. Gutters can become damaged because they are not built to sustain that much weight. Also, during the day, the ice begins to melt, thus soaking the fascia. At night, the water refreezes and pushes the fascia outward. Heated gutter guards keep water flowing away from the house and prevents ice from forming in the first place.

(4) Stops Wood from Rotting

Standing water is your home’s worst enemy. If your gutters do not function properly because they are frozen or full of debris, your soffit and fascia boards will absorb rainwater and start to rot.

(5) Prevent Mold and Mildew in Attics and Crawl Spaces

Attics and crawl spaces are just like your gutters. They are awkward to clean or work on. Keep water away from these places and you won’t have to worry about fixing what years of mold and mildew have damaged.

Written by Greg Schuring, owner of

Tips to Avoid Needing Emergency Appliance Repair

With some careful maintenance, knowledge of your appliance, and common sense, you can do quite a bit to decrease the odds of you ever needing to rely on emergency appliance repair services.


Preventing Emergency Refrigerator Repair


Refrigerators used to be a relatively low tech appliance but that has changed over the years. When shopping for a new refrigerator you should remember that the more features and components a model has, the more likely it will be that you will need to invest in some sort of refrigerator repair. The best way to keep your refrigerator repair needs minimal will be paying careful attention to how to properly maintain the unit. Regularly check to make sure all the seals stay in good shape, and don’t block the vents with food. Every few months, pull your refrigerator away from the wall and remove any dust or debris that has gathered on the heating element.


Preventing Emergency Oven Repair


When it comes to oven repair the best way to keep it in perfect working order and avoid needing emergency oven repair services is to keep the unit clean. Not only should you regularly run the self-cleaning feature, but also make sure you use a non-abrasive cleaner on your controls. When you clean your oven or stove top, make sure you remove the knobs and give them a thorough cleaning which will prevent gunk from building up underneath them.


If you don’t regularly use your oven but plan on cooking a huge holiday feast, don’t assume that it will work perfectly just because it did the last time you used it. Several days before you plan on preparing your masterpiece, use the oven to cook something else and make sure it’s still in perfect working order.


Preventing Emergency Washer Repair


There are several things you can do to lower the number of times you find yourself in need of washer repair. The first thing you need to do is avoid overloading the machine. Your clothes will be cleaner and your appliance will last longer if you do two small loads of laundry rather than try to shove an entire week’s worth of clothing into the machine. When loading the machine make sure you balance the load so the machine doesn’t wobble. If you start to experience issues, such as the machine not draining properly or making strange sounds, you should shut it off and contact us. Continuing to use the machine instead of setting up a washer repair appointment could cause a great deal of damage.


Preventing Emergency Dryer Repair


The good thing about dryers is that they’re an appliance that you can go without for a few days, but there are some things you can do to decrease the odds of you having to invest in costly emergency dryer repairs. These things include:


  • Not overloading the unit
  • Making sure all of the vents remain free of blockages
  • Paying attention to strange smells and sound
  • Making sure nothing is caught in the door before closing it
  • Not slamming the door shut
  • Using non-abrasive cleaners
  • Taking the time to balance the load before turning on the dryer


 Contact Us Today!


Even when you’re careful and take care of your appliances, things can still wear out and break down. This doesn’t mean you need a brand new appliance. It just means you need to contact us and set up an appointment to have one of our appliance repair experts come out to handle the problem. We provide both residential and commercial appliance repair in the Los Angeles area.


You shouldn’t have to rearrange your entire life just because you have an appliance that has stopped working properly. We want to help. A real, live person will answer the phone, no matter what time of the day or night you call, and provide answers to any questions you might have and also make arrangements for our most qualified person to come to your home or place of business and get things up and running again.

Choosing air conditioning units

An air conditioner is a device that produces cold while exhausting heat. Before investing, and possibly initiate work, it is important to assess the type of air conditioner you need.

Models of air conditioners

Portable air conditioners have an average power of 2 3 kW, ideal for temporarily cool a room from 20 to 30 m². Thanks to its wheels, this type of device can be moved from one room to another without concern sandstone needs. It is recommended for occasional use in areas where heat episodes do not last long and are not too strong.

These types of air conditioners are connected to a drain hose that is placed in an opening (a door ajar for example) or a vent crack reserved for that purpose. If you do not have to drill a hole 15 cm in diameter in a wall.

Split air conditioners have an external party (place outside the conditioned space) which contains a heat exchanger and fan. These two blocks are connected by a non-detachable flexible cooling and electrical connection.

The window air conditioners are in the form of a block where everything is included: indoor and outdoor heat exchangers, compressor and ventilation. They meet in the same element throughout the refrigeration circuit. These operate on the principle of air condensation, and must therefore reject the hot air out of the room. For this reason they must be embedded in a window or wall facing the outside. They are placed in a building opening, eg window (where the window name). If they contain less than 2 kg of fluid, no specific regulation is to be applied outside the electrical compliance, and laying in the rules of art. This type of air conditioner is to be used mainly for offices.

The split air conditioners are composed of at least two units (beyond talking about multisplit). One is located inside while the other is located in the room to be conditioned. Both are connected through pipes in which circulate refrigerant fixed or variable power. The outdoor unit’s role is to vent hot air, while the indoor unit distributes cold air into the room.

A split air conditioner has a mobile unit placed inside the house that can be moved by clockwork. The two components of the device are connected by flexible ducts.

A split air conditioner has fixed as its name suggests, two fixed units. Inside, the air conditioning vents are attached to the wall, freeing up floor space compared to a mobile split system. A multi split, which is necessarily fixed to a unit outside and several inside. So it can cool several rooms at the same time, an area of ​​80 m² maximum.

These are the most common models. Elements located inside the housing is fixed to the wall or ceiling. The intervention of a refrigeration is required to perform the installation of these devices, because the passage of cold pipes must be dragged into the walls. The installation does not last more than a day. Most of these devices are reversible, that is to say, they refresh in summer and warm in winter by a reverse operation. This system is very financially interesting because on one hand the device is useful all year, so quickly pays, and other winter mode is very economical. Indeed, one kilowatt of electricity absorbed provides three kilowatts of heat. However, this does not exclude the use of a booster heater if cold.

The selection criteria

Power: the split air conditioners are very efficient and allow to cool several rooms at the same time. Another advantage, most devices now have a split hot / cold function also allows you to heat a home. Window models are somewhat less effective than the latter. As for the mobile air conditioning, they represent a temporary solution but to avoid for the long term.

The difficulty of installation: mobile air conditioners require no installation, except perhaps the creation of a vent but it is not required for its operation.

To install a window air conditioner, little work is required. A novice handyman succeed to implement this type of device.

If you prefer to opt for a split air conditioner, it is better to use qualified personnel for installation.

An air conditioning repair greensboro technician would still be needed when your system stop working.


Noise: window air conditioners and mobile are relatively noisy (noise near a refrigerator), which can be annoying if you want to place in a room. Air conditioners split them are very quiet.


Aesthetics: the split air conditioners easily blend in contrast to window air conditioners or mobile that are not very aesthetic.


The price range

Knowing that the price of an air conditioner depends mainly on its power, placement and size of the room, we have low to high: window, mobile and finally split. These are the most expensive because in addition to the device itself, we must add the cost of installation and maintenance (once a year), which must be done by a professional.

Checking Your Central Heating System for Needed Repairs

Winter is coming, as they say, and that means that right now is a very good time to think about the condition of your central heating system and whether or not it might need repairs. After all, having it break down in the middle of a major snowstorm or similar problem would be… Er… Rather bad for everyone. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to see if your system needs maintenance or not, and even homeowners with little or no experience in maintenance can easily perform these tasks.

First, arm yourself with some protective gear. A quality filter mask and some gloves are very useful, as are goggles if you plan to examine anywhere that might be dirty. Many people also like to attach a mirror to an extension pole of some kind and use it to see around corners, though that’s fairly limited in its scope of function. When you have all of these supplies ready, proceed to the next step.

Open the hatch to your vent systems (the largest one in your house is best for this) and take a peek into the area. You may need to unscrew the hatch; either way, be sure to save everything you take out so that you can put it back properly. You should be looking for signs of mold, dust, pest feces, and general wear and tear on the systems of your central unit. Be particularly aware of any signs of leaks, as these could be warnings of a fairly serious problem with your systems.

If all of your systems look clean and in good shape, then your central heating system probably doesn’t need to have any maintenance done and you can pull back, replace everything you took out, and continue to enjoy your system.

If things look particularly dirty or damaged, though, it’s time to go on to the next step and call in the professionals. Your system may not be broken down quite yet (as far as you know), but early maintenance can prevent much bigger problems from happening further down the line… And save you a lot of money while it’s at it. Much of the Heating Repair San Antonio residents need can be performed in a single service appointment with a professional company, though particularly damaged sections of a unit may require a special order for parts.

During the procedure, you can ask to inspect the job while it’s being done and learn about the visual indicators for systems that need repair. Repair technicians are usually able to grant you greater access to your vents than you can safely get on your own – doing this untrained could easily damage your systems by accident, so wait for guidance from a professional. All of the Central Heating and Air San Antonio homes have in place should be inspected on a moderately regular basis – personally, we recommend doing it after any period of heavy use, when any damage should be visible and the schedules for repair companies rather open.

Performing this inspection should be done earlier rather than later; pick a day in the near future and go for it.

Heating Repair San Antonio residents are looking for includes Central Heating and Air San Antonio homes need to function at optimum capacity.