Archive for February, 2010

Feb 24 2010

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Beat the Winter Blues with this Simple “Think Spring” Decorating Tip

Filed under Home Decorating

FlowersAre you tired of winter and looking forward to spring? Give yourself a cheerful boost in a matter of minutes.

 

Choose a sunny window in your home that you glance through often. Buy a bouquet of fresh cut flowers or make your own using some of spring’s early bloomers from your own yard. Arrange the flowers in a favorite vase and place it on your sunlit window ledge. Tie a ribbon around the vase for flair. Or, select a few small potted herbs or succulents to accompany the vase. Finally, add a small figurine or statuary that contributes an outdoorsy feel such as a ceramic turtle or mushroom or a concrete bird. 

 

In no time at all you’ll have a charming window-scape to remind you that sunny days and warmer weather is just around the corner.

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Feb 19 2010

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Building Tips: What Makes Home Building Materials Green?

Green BuildingAlright, so you’ve decided to build your dream home. Part of your dream is to build a green home. So, what makes home building materials green?

 

First, consider price and availability. These two factors may ultimately determine just how green you decide to go during construction. If you find two fairly similar products, but one is out of your price range, you may be forced to go with the product that is slightly less green in terms of environmental friendliness because it fits your budget. Or perhaps you’ve found the perfect material for the job, but it is not available in your area. Again, you may have to settle for the other choice that is readily available but has a slightly less green quality. No matter what products and materials you choose or must settle for when you build your new home, one thing is for sure, even materials that have some green quality are better than those that have no green qualities at all. Keeping price and availability in mind, here are a couple tips to help you choose green building materials. 

 

·         Choose products that are green certified, especially those that have been tested by third parties and independent testing companies that have an unbiased opinion. Greenguard and Energy Star are two widely recognized and trustworthy programs that test for many different environmental standards. Energy Star is well known for their top-rated appliances and lighting.

·         Select local materials whenever possible. Shipping materials long distances is not as environmentally friendly as choosing those that do not have to be transported by train or boat and then by truck. Plan to buy locally saving energy and fuel.

·         Look for materials that are green and are manufactured by companies that follow green practices. How a product is made is just as important as what it is made from. Look for products that post green-practice statements on their websites.

·         Choose materials made of recycled content such as tile and countertops made of recycled glass.

·         Select cabinets and wood flooring made from North-American grown hardwoods such as maple that do not incorporate stains, pigments or solvents.

·         One of the best choices you can make is to buy products, such as furniture, that you plan to keep for a long time. Durable, sturdy, high quality products that last a long time in your home means there is less going to the landfill. Can you imagine what the landfills would look like if every household bought new mattresses or couches every year?

 

These handy tips will get your started when it comes to selecting green building materials for your new home.

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Feb 11 2010

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Organizational Ideas to Keep your New Home Tidy & Clutter Free

Filed under Home Organization

We’ve all been there. Somewhere along life’s journey, we’ve all have at least one drawer, counter, shelf or room in our home that seems to attract clutter. Many of us have more than one of these spaces. If you are planning to build a new home, take some time to review and consider the organizational elements listed below. Each element helps eliminate clutter and keeps the whole family organized. The House Plan Shop features many floor plans and home designs that incorporate at least one of these “de-clutter” elements.

 

029H-0063 Floor PlanDrop Zone – A drop zone is a handy space usually positioned near the garage entry or mudroom giving everyone in the family a place to “drop” personal items when they enter the home. A drop zone is meant to organize everything from car keys, purses and briefcases to umbrellas, baseball gloves and jackets. Generally, a drop zone offers a locker for each family member or a hook and shelf/bin combination. Lockers are especially nice because the doors can be closed hiding everything inside. With the hook and shelf/bin arrangement, you can hang things such as a jacket and cap, and the shelf or bin is used for storing other items, like a backpack. With a drop zone, everyone will know where their belongings can be found keeping jackets off the floor, purses off the counter and soccer shoes out of the middle of the foyer.

 

023H-0117 Floor PlanCubbies in the Laundry Room – Laundry room cubbies are especially popular with larger families or in homes where the laundry room is on the main floor and all of the bedrooms are upstairs. Similar to the drop zone, each family member has his or her own cubbie or bin. This gives you a place to put clean and folded laundry allowing the children to pick up their own clothing and take it to their rooms to put away. This organizational idea will save you steps on wash day giving you a quick and easy place to store clean laundry without traveling all over your home to drop it off in its designated space. Also, it prevents leaving baskets of laundry all over the home.  Using laundry room cubbies offers an added bonus. They encourage each family member to be responsible for their own things.

 

030H-0057 Floor PlanBuilt-In Desk – Built-in desks are a common organizational element in many family homes. Most often they are found in or near the kitchen. Built-in desks provide the perfect place for a computer station allowing you to easily pay bills online. Place a small bin or basket on the desk to hold your mail. When it comes time to pay bills, everything will be in one place instead of strewn around the home with mail on the kitchen counter, in the bedroom and in the office. Other times, built-in desks are used for meal planning offering a great place for the family chef to review favorite recipes or look up new ones online. Overhead cabinets or drawers below work well for storing recipe books giving them a place of their own. Some families prefer to use a built-in desk as a charging station for cell phones, iPods, and the like. The desk is a safe place to leave these items as they charge and the drawers offer a place to tuck charging cables and cords out of sight when not in use. Next time you need to charge your cell phone, you won’t waste time looking for the charger.

 

As you browse The House Plan Shop’s extensive collection of home plans and floor plans, keep these organizational features in mind. Choose a design that offers the organizational elements that will best accommodate your family’s needs.

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Feb 02 2010

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New: Unique House Plans Collection at The House Plan Shop

052G-0001 Unique House PlanThe House Plan Shop is introducing another new home plan collection: Unique House Plans. These homes are designed to stand out among all the rest showcasing one-of-a-kind features not found with most traditional house designs. Many of the home plans in this collection feature a striking look designed to catch anyone’s eye. Furthermore, they are often created to accommodate specific requirements such as a hillside or sloping lot or to satisfy the owner’s particular needs or desires. Take some time to browse our Unique House Plan collection. You’ll discover home plans with an unusual shape, a completely original style and elements that are out of the ordinary giving each house plan its own individuality.

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