Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Nov 16 2011

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Take Part in “Use Less Stuff Day” – The House Plan Shop

It is time to start a new holiday tradition. The Thursday before Thanksgiving is Use Less Stuff Day. Make a commitment or pledge to yourself to reduce your resource consumption during the holiday season.

 

Here are a few ideas:

 

  • Don’t buy too many groceries or prepare too much food for a holiday gathering. If you do prepare too much, send leftovers home with guests or reheat them the following day for yourself. Try your best not to throw away usable food.
  • Use less energy. Turn down the heat before a holiday party. The body heat of guests will keep the room warm, so lower the thermostat a few degrees.
  • Have a recycling plan. Set up recycling bins to capture all the wrapping paper, gift boxes, bottles, cans, plastic cups, etc. Inform your guests and make sure they know what items to recycle and where to place them.
  • Use fewer disposable paper products and eating utensils. If all your dinnerware, table settings and silverware must be matching sets, rent dinnerware, glassware and silverware for your holiday party. Otherwise, ask guests to bring their own and eliminate paper plates and plastic cups, forks, knives, etc.
  • Use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused at your next holiday gathering instead of buying disposable ones and filling the trash can.

 

Go ahead and make the commitment to use less stuff. Tell your friends and family about Use Less Stuff Day and work toward an environmentally-friendly holiday season without sacrificing the fun and joys all of us look forward to each year.

 

For more ideas about Use Less Stuff Day, please visit www.use-less-stuff.com.

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Oct 12 2011

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Fire Prevention Week: 6 Home Fire Prevention Tips

Fire Prevention WeekIt is Fire Prevention Week. Here are six important tips/practices for fire prevention and safety in your home. Practice these safety tips in your home to decrease the chances of a home fire.

 

1.    Use Electricity Safely: Check all electrical cords (including extension cords) in your home and replace any that are cracked, frayed or show signs of other damage. If an electrical appliance starts to smoke or smells like it is burning, unplug it immediately. Replace the appliance or have it repaired. Never run cords under rugs and do not overload extension cords or outlets. Fuses and circuit breakers protect you from fire. Do not tamper with the fuse box or use fuses of the improper size.

2.    Cook with Care and Attention: Keep all cooking areas clear from combustibles including the barbecue grill. Never leave anything cooking unattended. Turn handles of pots and pans inward to keep them out or reach of children and prevent someone from bumping the handle and knocking the pot or pan off the stove.

3.    Make Space for Space Heaters: If you use a space heater, it should be place three feet from anything that can catch fire and burn such as curtains, bedding, clothing, paper and furniture. Do not let space heaters run when you are not home or when you are sleeping. Also, keep children and pets away from them.

4.    Candle Safety: While many view candles as a decorative item, they are a huge hazard in homes. Use common sense with candles. Never leave a burning candle unattended in any room in the house, even if you are in the next room. Do not burn candles when you go to bed. Never place a lit candle near combustibles such as curtains, bedding or cabinets. Place lit candles out of reach of children. Do not place burning candles in places like the coffee table or end tables where they can easily be knocked over by people or pets.

5.    Matches are for Adults: Matches and lighters are extremely dangerous when in the hands of a child. Keep them stored in a place out of reach from children and do not leave them in view. Teach children from early on that they are for adults only. If a child finds matches or a lighter, they should tell an adult immediately.

6.    Cool a Burn: Is someone gets burned, immediately place the wound in cool water for 15-20 minutes to relieve the burning sensation and pain. If the burn blisters, chars or becomes an open wound, seek medical attention right away. 

 

It is important to practice these safety tips year round in an effort to prevent a fire in your home.

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Aug 17 2011

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Why Building a Detached Garage Plan will Improve Your Home – The House Plan Shop

Garage Plan 052G-0003Looking for a way to improve your home? The experts at The House Plan Shop recommend building a detached garage. Whether you’ve been thinking about building a detached garage for a while or the idea is new to you, it is important to keep in mind that such an addition to your property will improve the overall function of your home and prove to be valuable. Not only does a garage provide sheltered parking and protection for the family cars, but also it can offer storage space for seasonal items or serve as a workshop or hobby area. Review the list below and find out a few reasons why building a garage will improve your home:

 

  1. The primary function of a garage is to store and protect automobiles. An enclosed structure such as a garage can protect the family cars from the elements preventing hail or sun damage. It will also protect your vehicles from falling tree limbs and other debris during thunderstorms. And who wants to scrape frost, ice and sleet of their windows every morning before work throughout the winter months? Don’t forget to consider auto protection from a safety stand point. When your car is parked safely in a locked garage, there is less chance of auto theft or property damage than when it is parked on the driveway on in the street.
  2. Sometimes, building a garage adds a special workspace in the form of a workshop or a hobby room you might not have space for in your attached garage or in your home. Some garage plans include special spaces like a workshop or craft room in addition to parking bays giving the garage another function in addition to auto storage. Other times, an entire garage can serve as a workshop or a place for hobbies and wood crafts. Garage plans with loft space sometimes allow for the upper level to be finished a usable space such as a home office or sewing room.
  3. Many people build detached garages to add extra storage space to their homes. In the instance of a 3-car garage, perhaps just two bays are used for parking. The third bay could be used to stash boxes and attic overflow or for storage of the family bikes, outdoor sporting equipment or even the riding mower and other lawn and garden tools. A garage loft plan might offer attic storage for seasonal items like holiday decorations. Other home owners might build a detached garage plan to store motorized items, like ATVS, motorcycles or a golf cart, that do not fit in their attached garages. Storage possibilities are endless with detached garage floor plans. 
  4. Don’t forget about the added value a new detached garage will contribute to your home. When you add a practical and useful structure, such as a garage, to your backyard, it will increase the value of your home. Should you ever have to sell your house, you’ll see a nice return on your investment.

 

It is easy to see why adding a garage to your home or property will improve its overall function while satisfying your needs for parking, workspace, storage, and value. Furthermore, detached garages are available in a wide range of sizes and architectural styles, ensuring you find the right one to fit on your property and match your home.

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Jun 19 2011

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House Plans for Every Phase of Life – The House Plan Shop

House Plan 001H-0058If you are planning to build a new house, it is important that you choose a floor plan that will satisfy your needs, as well as, accommodate your lifestyle and your phase of life. House blueprints are as diverse in exterior appearance as they are in size and layout. It is important to find the style of home you like along with a floor plan that fits well with your stage of life.

Small and affordable house plans work well for couples starting out and those wishing to begin a family. These designs offer a modest square footage ranging from 1000-1800 square feet. They can be one or two levels and generally offer two or three bedrooms. The floor plans feature practical elements that support and promote family living like an open layout and an attached garage. They usually offer convenient and efficient features like a kitchen island, main floor laundry room and ample closet space, all elements a new family will appreciate. Couples and young families are sure to find an ideal floor plan for their starter home in our extensive house plan collection.

Large and growing families are usually drawn to house plans with a greater square footage than that of most starter homes. These designs generally offer more than 1800 square feet of living space and three or more bedrooms. Maybe you’ve found a floor plan with four bedrooms, but only need three for your family. The extra bedroom can serve as a den, hobby room or guest room. Keeping family living in mind, the floor plans of larger homes deliver practical living spaces and often an open floor plan. Many include outdoor living areas such as a patio, covered porch, deck or screened porch. Larger home plans are different from starter homes in that that may offer additional living spaces not found in smaller homes such as formal living and dining areas as well as casual living and dining areas. Entertainment spaces such as a lower level game or recreation room or an upstairs home theater or playroom are common. These extra spaces give large families room to roam, quiet spaces to rest and relax and a place to entertain on special occasions.

Singles and couples with no plans to raise a family might prefer homes designed for entertaining. For these homebuyers, there are floor plans designed with gatherings in mind. The floor plan may only include a master bedroom and a secondary bedroom for guests, but the living areas are stylish, spacious and comfortable. Often open floor plans incorporate and state of the art kitchen with an elegant great room and dining area while promoting conversation among guests. Decorative elements like special ceiling treatments and built-in elements such as a fireplace surrounded with shelves or cabinets enhance the gathering spaces, making them suitable for formal and informal get-togethers.

Once the children are grown, retirees and empty nesters often opt to downsize from the larger homes in which they raised their families. At this point in life, retirees have an eye on their golden years and find their needs have gone back to the days when they were single or young couples starting out. Large homes require more upkeep and maintenance and higher utility bills that may not be feasible for retirees. Also, they need practical and functional rooms to satisfy daily needs. There is no sense in having a home theater or a rec room anymore if no one is going to enjoy it, so downsizing often makes sense. Furthermore, aging homebuilders are now focused on their future lifestyle and must consider potential health problems and mobility issues. Smaller ranch house plans are popular among retirees because they eliminate the need to climb stairs reducing the possibility of falling and make it easy for those with walkers or in wheelchairs to access all rooms in the home. Retirees often look for universal house plans that are handicap accessible offering wider hallway to accommodate scooters and wheel chairs, more spacious bathrooms with walk-in showers, and sometimes even lower counter tops that can be accessed while sitting in a wheel share or scooter. Seniors and retirees might opt to make their new home even safer and more practical by adding a security system that will alert the police and/or send medical help in the case of an emergency. Also, they can choose to install grab bars no-slip flooring and other special features that will keep them safe and in their homes for years to come.

From a single or a young couple starting out to large families and empty nesters, The House Plan Shop, has an extensive collection of best selling home plans that are sure to satisfy every phase of life and every lifestyle.

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Apr 11 2011

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8 Super Spring Cleaning Tips – The House Plan Shop

Cleaning SuppliesIf you keep up with house cleaning chores, the thought of spring cleaning doesn’t have to be so scary. If you perform the daily and weekly touch-ups, spring cleaning is limited to just the extras – the cleaning tasks that only need to be done once a year.

 

1.    Clean the Carpet – In some cases, it is necessary to have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12-18 months to keep up a new carpet’s warranty. If that’s not the case, do it yourself. Rent or buy a professional-style deep carpet cleaner designed for home use. Many leave carpets and rugs dry within about an hour which means you won’t have to inconvenience your family.

2.    Clean under furniture and behind appliances – First enlist someone to help you move big pieces of furniture and pull kitchen appliances away from the wall. Sweep and vacuum the floor under each item and use the vacuum hose to clean under and behind appliances.

3.    Wash windows – Save this chore for a cloudy day. If it is too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry quickly on the glass leaving streaks. Wash inside and out. Have a system. Wipe with vertical strokes inside and horizontal strokes outside. If you do end up with streaks, you’ll know what side of the window needs a little more attention.

4.    Wash door frames, walls and baseboards – These surfaces are easy to overlook on a daily basis, but they deserve a little attention once a year. Just mix a squirt of dishwashing soap with a bucket of warm water and wipe with a sponge. Tough scuff marks, fingerprints and even crayons can be wiped away with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

5.    Clean sliding glass door tracks – Begin by sweeping or vacuuming the track to remove the large pieces of debris. Scrub the tracks with a toothbrush and soapy water. Wipe clean with a wet sponge.

6.    Clean window treatments – If your curtains can be laundered, take them down and throw them in the washing machine. Be sure to follow the label directions for cleaning. For other windows treatments that cannot be washed, go over them thoroughly with the upholstery attachment on the vacuum.

7.    Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and light bulbs –  Use a lint-free cloth to dust the glass fixtures and bulbs you can reach. For ceiling fans and other light fixtures that are out of your reach, visit the local home improvement stores. There all many types of tools available to help you reach things that would ordinarily require a ladder.

8.    Clean furniture – Use the upholstery vacuum attachment to clean fabric covered sofas and chairs. Restore smooth leather with the appropriate upholstery cleaner and conditioner. Polish wooden furniture pieces including dining room chairs, the coffee table and end tables.

 

Using these tips as your spring cleaning guide, you’ll be well on your way to a clean and fresh home.  

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