Friday, March 30, 2012

Attic makeover 1-on-1

by Lorena Benchis
Attic Renovation Attic makeover 1 on 1
Often considered to be the most unfriendly area of a house, attics are making a permanent comeback. Forget the dusty air and the scary spider webs, the ghosts behind the old wardrobe and the dark gloomy vibe you expect when going in. Nowadays, attics have been turned into the newest and trendiest ‘addition’ to the house.
So if you’re thinking of attempting to do an attic makeover yourself here are a few starting points:
Deep Clean
Before you attempt any redecorating you need to clean the room to the t. No dust or dirt, everything must be spotless so you can get the best results in return. If you feel like it’s not a one man job, then get your family to work with you, and you can turn a boring chore into a fun family activity.
A lick of paint
All right, so this might sound obvious, but the truth is, paint can make or break a room and if your attic is anything like mine, then it’s probably never seen paint in its life. So what you’re best of doing is making a list of colours you’d like for your new room and then matching them to the floors you want.
Hit the floor
So now think about floors. Do you want carpet? Or maybe you want hardwood flooring or even engineered wood flooring? Once you’ve weighed all the pros and cons you will be in the right position to make a decision about which option to go with and maybe you should look at Flooring And Doors to get an idea about what’s available.
Let the light in
Once you’ve done all the floors and walls, it’s time to think about windows. And considering we’re talking attics, this is once of the most important topics, because most attics don’t have a window. So you will probably want and need a skylight or even two depending on how big the room is. One of the best places to fit a skylight would be just above your bed. Imagine how beautiful and romantic it would be to lie in bed with your loved one and watch the stars. I can’t think of anything I’d like better.
Now all that’s left is picking the right furniture. Depending on whether you want a bedroom or maybe a home office or study area, maybe even a game room for your kids, you can decorate it accordingly and make it truly homely. And when you put a smile on the face of your partner or children or even yourself, you will know your work is done!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Colors Of Spring

by Sarah Oxley
spring 2 The Colors Of Spring

Spring is in full swing, but it’s never too late to use those spring colors to give your home a redesign and really welcome the season into your home. To make this easier for you, I’ve taken a look at this season’s top colors and have come up with some ideas on how to incorporate them into your design.
There are several very popular spring colors to choose from this season. You can choose between two very different, but very charming bright and bold colors, and you can also combine a collection of subtler colors together to create a fresh and light room.

spring 1 The Colors Of Spring
The first spring color will be of no surprise, but its shade may well be. Yellow is notoriously the color of spring due to its association with spring flowers and with new energy. As a recurring spring color, it often appears in different shades for each season and also has different uses. This year instead of it being a supporting color, it is the main color of the room in its bright sunshine yellow shade. A great way of incorporating this bold color in your design is through interior accessories. Consider painting your walls in a crisp white, and having panelled floors in a pale pine. Then add curtains, cushions, wall art, vases, lamp shades, accent rugs, fruit bowls, even water jugs to the room, which are all in sunshine yellow. This creates a stunning design that will truly stand out. To save money, be sure to shop around for your accessories a bit. If you can’t get a good deal in the right color at the flea markets, try searching the web. You can be anything from lamps to curtains online these days.

Fuchsia The Colors Of Spring
You can follow the same design idea with this season’s second bold color, which is fuchsia. This will create an equally stunning design, but give you a different tone to your room. If you like mixing colors, then fuchsia can be supported by silver for a very contemporary look. Consider mixing silver and fuchsia cushions to your couch, or fuchsia curtains with a silver stripe running down them.
For a subtler look, you can combine pastel brown with a pale blue green color, which has been defined by Pantone as cockatoo. Although a pale color this shade of blue adds some flair to a room, and the pastel brown grounds the whole color scheme to tie it all together. For this design consider having pastel brown cupboards in your kitchen with cockatoo handles and a cockatoo edge to each panel. Other accessories of your kitchen can also be used to highlight your spring design. For example, a retro metal kettle in cockatoo, cockatoo knife set or chopping board, wooden kitchen chairs painted cockatoo next to a pastel brown table.
These are just some design ideas with which you can use the spring colors of 2012. Remember that as long as you like it, anything goes in interior design. I hope you’ve got some inspiration from this article, so go and get started on your spring redesign.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creating Extra Space with Garden Sheds

by Nicola Winters
Home office Creating Extra Space with Garden Sheds
During a time of financial hardship, homeowners can experience a real struggle in getting the most out of their property. With house prices falling, many families are forced to stay put and sit out the property slump. One piece of advice that investors and interior designers have suggested is utilizing the existing house, rather than hunting for a bigger one and losing money already invested. There has been a significant increase in investment of home extensions to create extra space whilst increasing the value of the property.
The problem with extensions is the sheer cost. Not many homeowners are prepared to shell out such a large amount of cash on something so extreme. A cheaper alternative would be to transform a garden shed into a living space. There are many uses for a garden shed but here are the top ideas:
Many people are now choosing the option to work from home. Although appears ideal, there are many potential distractions when attempting to study or work around the home. With a separate space for work activities, all disruptions are kept out of sight and mind. Simply set up an internet connection and enjoy the benefits of both working from home and working in an office.
Those who want to move to a bigger place are, usually, expanding families who are struggling to find the space to accommodate such active and playful members. Toys are frequently seen piled up in the corner of a living room with games consoles taking up the whole entertainment stand. An inexpensive and realistic solution to this is to transform the garden shed into a playroom. Toys, games and books can all be stored there, giving your child a safe place to spend the day.
For those who work in the construction or practice a somewhat messy hobby, such as woodwork, an extra space to work is incredibly necessary. Not only will one be able to undergo their work in peace, log all their projects in one place and enjoy complete tranquility whilst getting creative juices flowing but children will also be kept safe from sharp blades and instruments.
There are many other usages for garden sheds, from art workshops, to theatre rooms, to libraries right through to music rooms. Depending on an individual’s interests and needs, garden sheds can provide a substantial amount of extra living space that costs a fraction of the price for an extension.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clearing the Air: The Truth about Furnace and AC Filters

by AtlasCare
home comfort air condition inverter Clearing the Air: The Truth about Furnace and AC Filters
When it comes to breathing in healthy air, and keeping asthma and breathing problems at bay, furnace filters and AC filters are much more important than you think. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This article will help you make informed decisions as to the replacement of your furnace filters and air conditioner filters and how to care for them.
True or false: AC filters and/or furnace filters need to be changed every month.
True. You should be changing your filter every month, especially if you have allergies or asthma. By changing your air conditioner filter monthly, you’ll prevent dirt from contaminating the system, thus extending the life of your system. Many filters have the ability to provide relief for allergy and asthma sufferers because they trap mold, pet dander, pollen, bacteria, and many airborne particles.
Simply changing your air conditioner filters or furnace filters once a month is not enough to ensure healthy, clean air. You should also have your air conditioning and/or furnace unit serviced by a licensed Air Conditioning/Furnace Contractor at least once a year.
True or false: You can only purchase HEPA Air Filters.
False. There are many types of air conditioner filters and furnace filters to choose from. They work as air cleaner filters and vary in level of efficiency, design, and quality. There is no “best” air conditioner or furnace filter, as there are positive and negative characteristics to each. It’s important to research the different types of filters and find one that suits your individual needs. The type of AC filters and/or furnace filters available include:
  • Electrostatic Air Filters;
  • Pre Cut Media Air Filter Pads;
  • Pleated Air Filters;
  • Activated Carbon Air Filters;
  • Fiberglass Panel Filters; and
  • HEPA Air Filters.
True or false: The brand names are important when it comes to air conditioning filters and furnace filters.
False. Actually, brands have little, if any, importance at all when it comes to home air filters. The brands of most AC filters and furnace filters are interchangeable.
True or false: When shopping for a replacement air conditioning filter or furnace filter, you need to know the exact size of the filter.
True. In fact, you need to know the exact length, width, and thickness, as the dimensions are usually not exact. If you have an unusual size, most online suppliers offer custom sizing.
True or false: All furnaces have a filter.
False. If you have a warm air furnace then you have an air filter. If you have a boiler or radiator, chances are, you most likely do not have an air filter.

About the Contributor

AtlasCare provides exceptional service and complete home comfort solutions in Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, Hamilton, and everywhere in the GTA! From furnaces and air conditioners to indoor air quality equipment, custom HVAC solutions, and more, we will work tirelessly to earn your trust. Visit for more information.

Friday, March 23, 2012

eXact Color™ Sealant

Exact Color™ is a high-quality, super-elastic caulk from the makers of Big Stretch® that mixes with any latex paint or stain to create custom colored caulk with no tools required.
It mixes in 3 minutes flat and creates an exact color match with powerful adhesion and a water-based, low VOC formula, perfect for interior and exterior applications. It’s excellent for creating contrasting colors or perfectly matching caulk to custom colored paint.
eXact color is excellent for use in a variety of areas and adheres to multiple surfaces including:
  • Walls and wallpaper
  • Tile
  • Backsplashes
  • Wood or vinyl molding & baseboards
  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Around windows & shutters
  • Siding
  • Other surfaces (e.g. drywall, stucco, stone, glass, EIFS)
Product Features
  • Makes infinite colors when any latex paint (even metallics) or stain is added
  • No special tools required
  • Paintable
  • Super elastic with powerful adhesion—won't pull away or crack
  • Soap and water cleanup
  • Low VOC

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Air-Sealing Can Help You Save in Energy Costs

Did you know?

The average house produces twice the greenhouse gases of the average car – 40% of these gases come from heating and cooling. Only 16% of Canadians have done a lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home. Only 3% of Canadians think their homes and offices are the major cause of increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
A new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Icynene has found more than three-quarters (79%) of Canadian homeowners claim to have taken “some” or “a lot” of action to reduce greenhouse gases, yet only three per cent believe their homes and offices contribute most to apparent increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
The poll of more than 1,200 Canadian homeowners found nearly a third (31%) admit they don’t know much about environmental issues and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and only 16% claim to have done “a lot” to reduce emissions in their own homes. With the operation of buildings accounting for as much as 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in this country (source: Canada Green Building Council), learning from the poll suggests Canadians could play a far greater role than they might think in reducing greenhouse gases at home.

Greenfluence: Harper vs. home improvement store

Ipsos-Reid asked Canadian homeowners who would most influence them to take more action on reducing greenhouse gases. According to the poll, a building organization such as the Canada Green Building Council (49%) and Dr. David Suzuki (47%), the face of environmentalism in Canada, are the most likely to influence homeowner action on greenhouse gases.
Canadians, however, seem to have little faith in the guidance of elected politicians on environmental issues:
  • Canadians are just as likely to be influenced to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an employee of a home-improvement store (16%) as by Prime Minister Stephen Harper (15%)
  • A TV home improvement personality (37%) is more than two and a half times as likely to influence action as Prime Minister Harper (15%)

Taking action at home

The poll asked Canadians what specific steps they have taken at home in the past two years to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy efficiency:
  • 83% have turned down the heat during the winter
  • 61% have sealed air leaks
  • 46% have turned down the air conditioning during the summer
  • 38% have added insulation
  • 29% have switched to a high efficiency heating system
Jon Eakes, Canada’s longest-standing TV home improvement expert, believes homeowners are taking steps in the right direction, but there’s room for them to have a greater impact on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Air sealing, one of the most common steps, is frequently achieved by sealing and caulking piecemeal around windows and doors,” says Eakes, “yet home energy consumption can be reduced by up to 50% alone with an insulation that insulates and reduces air leaks in one step throughout the home during renovations or construction.”

Banning Bulbs

With respect to the role of energy conservation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian homeowners were asked what plays the most important role in helping to conserve energy in a home:
  • Despite some provincial government plans to phase out incandescent lighting, few Canadians (7%) believe compact fluorescent lighting plays the most important role in energy conservation
  • Canadians believe using energy efficient heating and cooling (26%), sealing air leaks through windows and doors (25%) and adding insulation (18%) play the most important role in energy conservation
Canadians claim more knowledge, action than U.S. counterparts
Results of an identical Ipsos-Reid-Icynene poll with 1,200 U.S. homeowners reveal some interesting comparisons with Canadians:
  • More Americans (46%) than Canadians (31%) agree they do not know much about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment
  • More Americans (36%) than Canadians (21%) say they’ve done little or nothing at all to help reduce greenhouse gases
  • More Canadians (22%) than Americans (13%) have reduced their car use in favor of public transit
  • Like Canadians, Americans (16%) are just as likely to be influenced to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an employee at a home improvement store (16%) as by their president, George W. Bush.
“One of the most powerful ways Canadians can take personal action directed at greenhouse gas reduction is to examine energy conservation opportunities at home,” says Eakes. “If more Canadians took steps such as ensuring there is absolutely no air leakage when insulating there could be a widespread benefit in terms of energy savings, healthier, longer-lasting homes and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
With the weather heating up and air-conditioning running full-blast, it’s a perfect time to learn more about how air-sealing your home can reduce energy consumption – and your home’s carbon footprint.

About the poll

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted on behalf of Icynene between April 19 and April 23, 2007. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,285 adult homeowners was interviewed online. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population been polled.

About Jon Eakes

Jon Eakes is one of television’s longest standing home improvement experts. His practical consumer-friendly tips and real-life solutions have connected with consumers through programs such as House Hot Line (Life Network) and Just Ask Jon Eakes (HGTV and the Do-It-Yourself Network).
This article was provided by Icynene. Visit for more information.