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Jan 30 2018

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Choosing a Kitchen Counter Top – The House Plan Shop

Counter Top StylesChoosing the right kitchen counter top can be daunting task due to the variety of patterns, colors, and materials that are available. Who can blame you if you decide to go with more than one kind of counter top? Today’s kitchens with islands, peninsulas, snack bars, planning desks, etc., present a variety of surfaces to cover. The list below covers some of the more common types of kitchen counter tops. Take some time to review the list before you decide which type is right for you and your lifestyle.

Plastic Laminate – Probably the most cost-effective choice especially if you like to change things up frequently. It is available in hundreds of colors and patterns, and it is as durable as it is attractive.

Tile – A multitude of choices truly makes it easy to come up with a unique look for your kitchen. However, although tiles provide a hard surface they can be cracked. The good news is, if you save some a few extra tiles when the job is complete, the whole countertop doesn’t have to be replaced if one tile cracks. Grout lines, even though sealed, can become stained with time, so it is necessary to be careful when placing food and other items on the counter.

Natural Stone – Different types of stone require different maintenance. Some are sealed with a sealer that lasts for years. Others must be treated with oil several times a year. Natural and beautiful, stone provides fewer options for color and pattern as manmade materials do, and it is more expensive. Marble is practically maintenance free, but like all stone, it is heavy and must be supported properly.

Engineered Stone – A composite of quartz, this material is harder than stone and doesn’t have to be sealed.

Solid Surface – This is a manufactured material of acrylic, polyester or a combination of the two.  It is renewable and repairable, as well as, stain and scratch resistant. Best of all, it comes in a large variety of patterns and colors.

Concrete – Resembling stone, concrete is scratch and heat resistant but must be sealed regularly. It is available in many colors but takes weeks of curing before it is ready for installation.

Stainless Steel – Heat and stain resistant, stainless can still be dented or scratched. It blends well with modern and contemporary décor so well, it cannot be denied.

Glass – Also a winner for the modern kitchen, glass is stain, scratch and heat resistant.

When selecting a counter top, don’t be afraid to compare prices on different countertop surfaces or research your top choices further with the provider.

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Jan 13 2014

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

More Tips for Updating Your Laundry Room

Laundry RoomIf doing laundry seems like too much of a chore and you have to talk yourself in to it every week, consider updating your laundry room. Below are some simple tips to help you improve your laundry room and make it a more enjoyable space in which to work. Additionally, some ideas will help you make your laundry room more efficient saving you time so you can do something else that you better prefer.

  1. Repurpose your Entertainment Center – With flat screen TVs, entertainment centers are becoming a thing of the past. Repurpose your entertainment center and move it to the laundry room. Rearrange or remove shelves to accommodate laundry baskets and laundry supplies such as stain removers, an iron and a jug of bleach. Add a hanging rod to one section so you have a place to hang clothes after you iron them. If you don’t have and old entertainment center, consider a baby changing table. It is the right height for folding and has storage shelves below. No matter what piece furniture you add to your laundry room, paint it  with a high-gloss paint to give it a durable and washable finish.
  2. Create and Entertaining Laundry Center – Speaking of flat screen TVs…..Mount a small flat screen on your laundry room wall or buy a simple radio and place it on a laundry room shelf. Your laundry chores will be more bearable if you can watch part of a favorite TV show or listen to your favorite tunes while you sort, fold and iron your laundry.
  3. Brighten your Space – If you have a laundry room in the basement, chances are you’re looking at concrete walls while you’re working in the laundry room. Brighten the space by adding a fresh coat of white paint to the ceiling and walls.
  4. Gather Cleaning Supplies – If you don’t have a lot of room, add a lazy Suzan to a nearby shelf. It will keep all of your detergents, stain removers, etc., in a easy-to-access place. Just spin the wheel to find what you need.
  5. Get Ready to Iron – Mount a wire iron holder to the side of a cabinet or laundry room wall so the iron is always at your fingertips. Also, mount a pull-down/fold-down ironing board to the wall. It saves space and is easy to “put away” when you’re finished.
  6. Get Creative with a Drying Rack – If floor space is limited, repurposed an accordion-style drying rack by mounting it to the wall to air dry delicate items. When it is not in use, simply collapse it back against the wall.

With these quick tips, your laundry chores won’t seem like chores as much anymore. For more ideas about updating your laundry room, please review, “Update Your Laundry Room for Easier Wash Days”.

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Sep 09 2013

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Update Your Laundry Room for Easier Wash Days

Laundry Room UpdateIf wash day seems like a drag to you, consider some of these laundry room updates to make laundry chores easier. Creating a smart, efficient and resourceful space will make the burden of wash day disappear. Better yet, you don’t need a large space to improve your boring, inefficient laundry room.

Makeover the Basement Laundry Room

  • Brighten up your drab, basement laundry room with a fresh coat of white or light colored paint on the walls and ceilings.
  • Paint the floor as well and add mats or rugs for safety and traction. Make sure they can be cleaned easily incase of unexpected spills or plumbing problems.
  • Add a folding station where it is a small cabinet or other piece of furniture to serve as a counter. Folding laundry items as you pull them out of the dryer saves time and minimizes wrinkles.
  • Give your laundry room a “first floor” feel by hanging long, light colored draperies or curtains to create the look and feel of a large window. Chose fabric intended for outdoor use. They will resist moisture and mildew that often builds up in basements.
  • Install good lighting in/over your laundry station to make it feel bright and cheerful.
  • If room allows add a small cabinet or counter top for folding and mending clothing items.

Other Budget Updates

  • Increase the convenience of your laundry room by adding a row or two of old-fashioned coat hooks. As you pull items out of the dryer, hang them on their own individual coat hook to minimize wrinkles, then take them straight to the closet to hang.
  • Install plastic-coated wire shelving. It will put your wall space to good use and provide room to keep laundry supplies organized. Additionally, the wire and clothing rod are perfectly spaced/positioned for those laundry items that drip-dry.
  • Create an instant laundry station by combining a wall hung cabinet with a laundry cart or similar cart on wheels. This handy combo will turn a small space into a convenient and efficiently laundry center. Store cleaning supplies in the cabinet and attached an inexpensive iron holder to the side of the cabinet. Hang a pull-out ironing board on the wall to save floor space. Use the cart for sorting laundry, storing clothing baskets, mending seams and sewing buttons.

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Aug 24 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Kitchen Safety Tips

House Plan 027H-0163The kitchen is the heart of most homes and the hub of all types of activities from preparing meals to doing homework and enjoying conversation with family and friends. It is also the room where two-thirds of home fires start. Review this list of kitchen safety tips to identify and correct potential hazards in your home before it is too late.

 

  1. Locate all appliances away from the sink or any other water source.
  2. Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces, like the range or coffee maker, and away from wet surfaces.
  3. Only plug counter top appliances into GFCI-protected outlets.
  4. Do not use appliances that have been wet.
  5. Unplug all counter top appliances when not in use.
  6. Do not leave counter top appliances on when unattended.
  7. Clean the stove and oven regularly. Also be sure to clean the exhaust hood over the stove.
  8. Keep the cooking area surrounding the stove and oven free of combustibles like hand towels, pot holders, paper towels and recipe books. 
  9. Do not leave something cooking on the stove top or in the oven when unattended.
  10. Give the refrigerator room to breathe. Make sure there is enough room behind the refrigerator to let the air circulate.
  11. Vacuum refrigerator coils every two or three months to eliminate dirt and dust build up that reduces efficiency and can become a potential hazard.

 

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to practicing fire safety in your kitchen.

 

For more information on how to be safe at home, check out our Home Safety Blogs.

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May 25 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

House Plans with Basements: 5 Ways to Use the Space

House Plan 053H-0011If you are building a new house and have the opportunity to build a house plan with a basement or walkout basement, it is well worth considering. Basements are beneficial in many ways, but perhaps many of us value the extra space a basement can offer more than any of its other attributes. When building a home on a full basement, the possibilities are endless when it comes to how you might use all the additional space. Furthermore, they offer flexibility. From finished to unfinished, basements offer enough space to accommodate your ever-changing lifestyle. Here are a few things you can do with a basement foundation:

 

  1. Unfinished Storage: The easiest thing you can do with a basement that doesn’t require extra work, finished space, paint, carpet or furniture is to leave your basement completely unfinished. This allows for plentiful storage space for all your needs from packing up the holiday decorations until next year to a place to keep memorabilia from your younger years, not to mention tools, file cabinets, or boxed items like used toys and children’s clothes you plan to pass on to a family member or friend.
  2. Drive-Under Garage: Depending on the slope of your lot and its orientation to the road or street, some house plans with basements are perfect for drive-under garages. In this case, a portion of the basement is dedicated to parking and the garage area can be accessed from the front, rear or side of the home. The remainder of the basement can be used any way you wish.
  3. Gathering Space: Consider finishing a room or portion of your basement as a gathering space you can enjoy with your family and friends. A family room, rec room or game room encourages relaxation, conversation and family time well spent. Other possibilities might include a playroom for the kids or a home theater. Adding special elements like a full or half bath and compact kitchen or wet bar makes it easy to use the restroom or serve drinks and snacks to friends and family without having to go upstairs.
  4. Additional Bedrooms: In the instance that you may have lot restrictions limiting the size and footprint of your home, it may not be feasible to arrange all the bedrooms on the main level. For those with a large or growing family, finished bedrooms in the basement give all the children a place of their own while working with lot limitations. Likewise, you may have room for the kids’ bedrooms on the main level but would like to have a guest room for overnight visitors that is somewhat private. A basement bedroom can be quite accommodating and comfortable.
  5. Private Retreat: For those who need a quiet space to get away from it all or need a peaceful place to work, a finished basement is a great place to add a home office, a den, hobby room, exercise area or workshop.

 

Homes built on a basement foundation not only offer plenty of space, but they have other great benefits too. Take some time to review, Beneficial Basements, to find out what other advantages they offer.

 

If you’d like to browse house plans with basements and walkout basements, visit The House Plan Shop’s website and use our advanced search feature. 

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