Go Green in 2016 – Sustainable Design Basics & Innovations

Go Green in 2016

In the past, we dwelled so much on efficiency that we forgot about finiteness of many things. In other words, we were occupied with how fast we can and we completely forgot to ask for how long we can keep up with this pace. Luckily, seems like things are about to change, since the world is growing more and more aware that our only exit lies in sustainability. A revolution as significant needs to start in our very homes. This being said, here are some latest trends and innovations in sustainable design, which are bound to make a big splash in 2016.

Always look for the local materials

Go Green in 2016 Design Basics

Regardless if we are talking about the construction of your home, your furniture or simply your home decoration, local materials are almost always eco-friendly. The reason for this is quite simple. With local products, you can completely eliminate transportation which is a huge issue when it comes to pollution. Furthermore, by investing in local goods, you will strengthen your regional economy which may also encourage others to do the same. So, always go for local furniture stores when equipping your home and local materials if you are building it on your own.

Zero energy home

Zero energy home

In order for your home to become genuinely ‘’zero energy’’, it needs to have two major features. First one is that it saves as much energy as possible – which means that good insulation and quality residential windows are a most definite must. Good windows can cut down your heat loss down to 40%, which is not a figure to be trifled with. The second feature of a “zero energy” home is that it creates its own energy. Which is why, it is a good idea to install either a compact wind turbine or several solar panels at the roof or in the backyard. Bottom line is that the amount of energy that you produce is approximate to the amount you spend; hence the name “zero energy”.

Energy saving appliances

Sustainable living design basics

This next issue we need to deal with is in direct continuation of the last part. Namely you can make a whole world of difference by finding some energy saving appliances for your home. You can always look for a fridge, stove or even TV that spends less power. Of course, before any of that, you might want to replace all your iridescent light bulbs with some stylish yet eco-friendly designer LED lighting. The difference that these two make for our planet is so big that iridescent bulbs are on their way to be banned in the entire of EU. Sure, each of these items separately may not save that much, but try to combine them and their joint saving is more than significant. In other words, not only is this step great for our planet, but for your budget as well. A clear win-win scenario if there ever was one.

Power is not the only resource

Go Green

Now, when earlier we spoke about making a sustainable home, we usually talked about either power or fossil fuels (in raw materials section), however saving water can be equally as important. There are several ways in which you can make a difference here and the choice is all yours. You can start by gathering rainwater and conserving it for later use in either bathroom or for watering your garden. Furthermore, you can replace all your bathroom appliances with low flow ones. Low-flow faucet, shower and even toilet all spend no more than 1/3 of the water their regular counterparts do. Finally, even just raising your awareness a bit can make a huge difference in your monthly and annual water spending.

As you can see, most of these innovations do not require too much of an effort, but they do require a no small initial investment. Although this scares a lot of people away, just keep in mind that while saving the planet these features also save your own money, by making you pay less for your power, water and heating bills. This being said, in time, each and every one of these investments is bound to pay off in due time. If you are planning for the long run, than these renovations are absolutely mandatory.
Guest post by:

Chloe TaylorChloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at smoothdecorator.com. She is passionate about photography, dance and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on FB, Twitter, and G+.

21 Blogs with Insightful Tips for Helping Kids Through a Move

kids movingMoving to a new home is an exciting venture and a time for new beginnings, however, it can also be very stressful for you and your kids. To prepare your kids for the stress of the move, be sure to tell them you’re moving as soon as possible so they have adequate time to adjust. Involve the kids in the plans for the new house, and try to help them make a positive transition to their new school. Encourage your kids to ask questions, and really listen to them as they voice any fears and concerns they may have about the transition. These 21 blog articles will provide ideas for helping your kids adjust to the idea of moving, as well as get them involved in the moving process and settled into a new school.

Adjusting to the Idea

Once you decide to make a move, you should hold a family meeting to share the news. Talk about the change with enthusiasm, and be sure to highlight all of the wonderful things that will be available at your new location. Check in with your kids regularly to make sure that any questions they may have are addressed. For more tips on helping kids adjust to the move, read these seven blog posts.

Involving Kids in the Move

It’s important to involve the kids as much as you can with the move.  Let them pack up their own belongings if they are old enough, and ask them to go through all of their stuff and sort out what can be donated and what needs to be packed.  These seven blog entries will provide more suggestions on getting your kids involved in the move.        

Settling into a New School

Starting a new school is stressful for kids of all ages. After all, no one wants to be the new kid that has no friends.  To avoid this problem, try to facilitate your meetings with other kids before school starts so that your child can see at least one friendly face in the crowd.  Another important thing is to make sure your child knows how to get to school and knows his way around the school.  Look at these seven blog articles to find more ideas for helping your child adjust to his new school.

Author Bio:
Carol Watson, regularly writes for http://www.nationalnannies.com/. She loves writing article related to kids & teens behavior. You can check out her recent article at“http://www.nationalnannies.com/blog/21-blogs-with-insightful-tips-for-helping-kids-through-a-move/” She can be reached via email at:watsoncarol20@gmail.com.

How to Make Moving Painless

Make Moving PainlessEven when you are looking forward to your upcoming relocation, moving can be stressful. However, with the proper tools, planning and organization, you can reduce your stress level and transition into your new home without feeling as if your entire world has turned upside down. Below are a few tips to make your moving process less stressful.

Hire Movers or Plan Ahead to Rent a Truck

If you can afford movers, it will save you the stress of renting a truck and taking multiple trips back and forth. Even if you can’t hire movers to move all of your belongings, see what the rates are just for moving your bulky, heavy pieces like furniture and appliances. You typically have two choices when you hire movers: hire them to pack and move everything or hire them to move everything (or a few large pieces) once it is packed.

Even if you hire movers to pack and move everything, many people choose to pack their valuables and sensitive documents in a few boxes and move them themselves.

If you are renting a truck for your move, be sure to make your reservation at least two weeks in advance. Don’t forget to check if the rental company provides or rents out dollies and straps to move heavy boxes and appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators. 

Stock up on Packing Supplies

If you are doing the packing and moving yourself, there are many things you can do to remain organized as you pack. It all begins with purchasing the packing supplies you need to set yourself up for success. Some basic packing supplies are permanent markers, color coding stickers, box tape, bubble wrap, wrapping papers or newspapers, protective wraps/pads for large furniture. You will also need boxes in multiple sizes, including small, medium, large, wardrobe boxes and boxes designed for electronics, stemware and dishes.

Create a System

There should be a method to the madness when you are packing! Although you maybe think you will remember what you packed in each box, it is likely that you won’t. To help stay organized, you can create a simple system for packing:

             Create a Packing Spreadsheet

You can make a simple Excel or Word spreadsheet to organize your boxes. The goal of this spreadsheet is to number each box and write on your spreadsheet its general contents. You don’t need to list every item in the box, but you do need to be fairly specific. Instead of typing something like “living room,” type “living room vases. 

 Color Code Each Room

So that you and the movers know what room each box should go in when you arrive, color code each box and put two colored stickers each box: one on the top and one next to the box number that correlates with your packing spreadsheet. For example, you might choose green for kitchen, blue for bathroom, yellow for living room and so on. Try not to mix rooms when packing, but if you must, color code the box with two colors of stickers so you will remember.

 Record a Video or Snap a Picture

For details that may be hard to recall once you get to your new home, record a short video on your phone or snap a quick photo. This could help you remember, for example, how you arranged your family photos on the wall, the order in which your vases and trinkets are on your shelves or which cord goes to what for your electronic devices.

Moving can be stressful, but with a solid game plan and some organizational tools, you can maintain a level of organization. You can unpack without the element of surprise when opening your boxes in your new home!

 This article was provided by Chase Roberts, home & garden expert and moving master. 

Common Moving Mistakes

moving man with boxNobody likes to move but with a little planning and preparation you can make your next move as painless as possible. Here are some tips to get organized.

Plan Ahead

If you’re moving during a busy time of year—half of all moves happen in late spring and summer—book your moving company or your truck ahead of time. College towns see huge activity in early May and late August. Call them at least three or four months ahead of time. Otherwise, you risk having to use the cheapest company or paying your friends down the street in pizza to help move your possessions.

Get an Estimate

A moving company should provide you with an estimate. The estimate is based on the size of your home, the furniture you’ll be moving, and how far you’re moving. Ask at least three companies for estimates, and ask plenty of questions to avoid hidden fees.

Protect Your Valuables

A lot of moving companies won’t handle expensive or potentially dangerous items such as jewelry, weapons, alcohol, or gas grills. Plus, you would probably rather transport your personal documents, family heirlooms, and priceless items yourself rather than abandoning them in the back of a moving van. Leave room in your car or your suitcase for these items and make sure they’re insured if at all possible.

Clean BEFORE You Pack

Purge your home of accumulated junk. Go through the closets, the kitchen cabinets, the bathrooms, and the entertainment center looking for duplicates, unused items, broken and irreparably damaged items, clothes that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a year, outgrown toys, and other unnecessary items. Then make a pitch pile to toss in the trash and a donate pile to take to a local charity. If your home needs an especially thorough cleaning, consider getting a dumpster. Donate the rest of the items to a secondhand store or shelter. As a bonus, these donations are tax-deductible.

Keep Records

If you’re moving for your job, the cost of your move is tax-deductible, but you must keep thorough moving taxesrecords of mileage, storage, gas, truck rental, and insurance. Otherwise, you’re likely to be subject to an audit. If your business is paying to relocate you, they will also want to see thorough financial records.

Pack Smartly

Don’t plan to put an entire bookshelf’s worth of books in a single box unless you have hired a bodybuilder to help you move. Many moving companies sell boxes with recommended contents and weights. Use those as a guide. If you’re packing-challenged, buy pizza in exchange for the help and advice of a friend or family member who can help you get organized. Strategic packing will prevent broken belongings, sprained backs, and chaos during the unpacking process.

Don’t Forget the Plants

Whether you only have one or two small potted plants or a whole indoor greenhouse, make sure you’ve arranged for your plants to survive the move. The lighting and climate in a moving van isn’t exactly hospitable to most plants, so make sure you have a plan to help your plants reach your destination safely.

Don’t Forget the Pets

A cat, dog, or moving dogguinea pig can’t exactly live in the back of a moving truck for days either. If your pet isn’t used to traveling long distances in a car or an airplane, make sure you have a motion sickness medication or sedatives on hand, just in case. Keep your pet’s papers and registrations with you at all times, particularly if you’re planning to cross state lines.

This article was contributed by Chase Roberts, home & garden connoisseur who’s experienced his fair share of stressful moves.

Creating the perfect sleep environment this spring

creating the perfect sleep environmentEveryone, including moms and doctors, can agree that a good night of sleep is necessary for good health, high energy, and an individual’s overall well-being. Not getting enough good sleep – or rapid eye movement sleep – can affect the mind and body’s ability to react appropriately to outside factors, the National Sleep Foundation reports.

Creating the perfect sleep environment is the first step toward ensuring a good night of sleep. March, the first month of spring, is also National Sleep Awareness Month, and it aims to remind everyone why a good night of zzz’s is so important. One in four adults in the United States experience occasional sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, or waking up feeling un-refreshed at least a few times per week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Fortunately, you can implement these tips this spring, and create a comfortable sleeping environment in your home for both you and your family.

* Eliminate distractions – Electronics. Noises. Lights. Many items, such as laptops, TVs and cellphones, commonly found in bedrooms can cause distractions and prevent a person from entering REM sleep. Remove these items from the room. Also, consider running a fan or white noise machine to create a soft sound barrier, which will help muffle unexpected sounds like a person flushing the toilet or an engine rumbling loudly on the street outside.

* Establish comfort – Creating a sleep-conducive environment is an important factor in making the most out of every minute you sleep. Cuddle up each night with soft linens and create a calming atmosphere in the bedroom.

* Be routine – The human body reacts favorably to familiar and repeated movements. So consider following a routine every night, whether it’s taking a warm bath, reading a chapter in a book or journaling. The National Sleep Foundation advises against watching TV or using electronics as part of this routine because electronics can hinder quality sleep.

* Stay active – Sleep is needed to give the body energy to get through its daily activities. Conversely, daily activities are needed to tire the body out for a good night of sleep. Consider adding physical activities into your daily schedule so you can settle into bed between the covers each night, tired and ready for a good night of sleep.

Nobody enjoys walking around in a mental fog or having no energy during the day, so be sure to create the perfect sleep environment in your home for you and your family this spring. It will help you get the most out of every minute of your zzz’s.

Home Staging for Sales Success

Home StagingWe came across this great ebook about home staging that is just packed full of great info we had to share it with you. Perfect for real estate agents or people who are selling their homes.  It features lots of tips about how to find a home stager, the theories behind home staging and is it worth it to hire a home stager.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Courtesy of Scott Levitt
President, Oakley Signs & Graphics
Tuesday Tactics

Please click here to download your free copy!

How to remove wallpaper properly

how to remove wallpaper properly
BIO: This is a guest post
on behalf of national tool and equipment hire supplier HSS Hire who specialize in DIY equipment including Wallpaper strippers.

Doing your own decorating is a great way to save money and can be a good household bonding experience too. But unless you do it right you can make mistakes that are expensive to correct, and create more discord than harmony.

It is probable that one of your first steps will be to strip away existing wallpaper. Although some choose just to paper over it, this is usually a bad idea, because new coverings stick less well to old wallpaper than to the basic wall surface.

Preparation is the key!
Don’t neglect to cover up the carpet and anything else in need of protection, and tape your covers in place. You should also cut off the electricity to the room, and tape covers over all electrical outlets. Gather together all the equipment you’ll need before you begin.

Check what your wall is made out of
Most walls are either ‘drywall’ (this is made out of a soft kind of plaster called gypsum sandwiched between paper layers) or plaster that has been laid over a wooden or metal mesh. You can tell by feel which one you have. Plaster feels cooler to the touch, and is smoother and harder. If in doubt, try tapping it. Drywall sounds more hollow.

You need to be particularly careful when stripping wallpaper off drywall, because as the name suggests, it is particularly susceptible to water damage.

Check what kind of wallpaper you’re dealing with
Some more modern wallpapers are dry-strippable. These are much easier to deal with. To see whether this applies to yours, get a putty knife and carefully ease off one corner. If it peels then you’re dealing with dry-strippable wallpaper. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t need any further tips – just remove the wallpaper carefully from the wall. If not, you’ll have a harder time of it.

Using a stripping solution
This is the traditional method of wallpaper removal, and perhaps the messiest and most time-consuming, though the good news is that it doesn’t require any expensive special equipment.

First either score or sand your wallpaper to help the water soak through, then fill a bucket with very hot water and stripping solution – there are lots of alternatives for this including vinegar and unscented fabric softener as well as products sold specifically for the purpose of wallpaper stripping.

Use a sponge, roller or large brush to soak small sections of wallpaper at a time. The key is never to soak more than you can remove in about ten to fifteen minutes. Let it soak for a few minutes then start stripping, using a plastic putty knife. Don’t neglect to wash away the residue once you’re done.

Using a steamer
You can make your life much easier by renting a steamer. The process for removing wallpaper with a steamer is very similar to using a stripping solution, but instead of painting anything on, you just have to hold the steamer against the section you want to remove.

Here is an interesting video about uploaded by Kulppainting about how to remove wallpaper. 


BIO: This is a guest post on behalf of national tool and equipment hire supplier HSS Hire who specialize in DIY equipment including Wallpaper strippers.

Image reference: http://www.flickr.com/photos/varresa/1127789331/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Winterize Your Home

Winterize your homeThere are quite a few ways to make your home more energy efficient thus saving on your home heating bills. I will start with some of the simplest and least expensive ones.

1. Check your doors for drafts – If any light can be seen around the perimeter of your door(s) you know that air is getting in – Install Weather stripping found at any local hardware store.

2. Check all receptacles and add insulation mats under the receptacle plate.

3. Check your attic for proper insulation. Peek under the floor boards to see if you have any, and if you do check to see if it was installed properly. Remember on all insulation whether it be foil backed or paper backed the side with the backing should always be facing the heated area. So in your attic that means the fiberglass should be facing up and the backing down towards the house.

Make sure that you choose the right insulation for your job, If the floor joist are2″x6″ you need R-19, If they are 2″x8″ You need R-25, 2″x10″ – R-30, 2″x12″ – R-38.
If your going to insulate the bays in between your rafters make sure you use Styrofoam insulation baffles to allow free flow of air between the insulation and the roof to extend the life of your roof.

4. Check your windows- If they are the old single pane type of windows you may want to upgrade to the more modern insulated double paned glass windows, and even better yet add Low E and Argon gas for a much more energy efficient window, and you may also qualify for a Energy Star Tax Rebate If they extend the Rebate into 2012.

5. The Highest ticket item on this list is your boiler. They make high efficiency gas boilers now that can save you as much as 40% on your heating bills. You may also qualify for a rebate from the government and Con Edison for a Rebate if you install one of these high efficiency boilers. Call con Edison and ask for details, they will also come out and do an inspection of your house to see where you can save on your energy bill.

Give us a call so we can help make your home more energy efficient!  914-576-2572


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