Archive for the "Kitchen Home Improvement" Category

Learn to Make your Home Look Trendy and Stylish by Renovation means re-development. It is an art of improving or remodeling things. Renovations are done to make things look better, convenient and stylish. As the time changes, new ideas, trends, and fashions come into the market and we need to adapt to those changes for better and convenient lifestyle. Anything around us can be renovated. Let start with a place, which is very close to everyone’s heart and that is our home.HOME RENOVATIONSHome is a place which we love the most, and this is where we have our most fond memories, so home renovations are necessary to ensure that our home does not lose its charm.Home renovations include home extensions, renovation of kitchen, bathroom, flooring, walls, ceilings, garden etc.KITCHEN RENOVATIONSWe can renovate the kitchen interiors.We can change the color and graphics of the walls.Good matching flooring with walls can make our kitchen beautiful.A changed cabinet can give it new looks.Use of chimney helps us in keeping it clean and makes it trendy.FLOORINGFlooring plays an important role in home renovations. Selection of good flooring can give your home adorable looks. Some of the flooring styles are:Marble flooringTiles flooringWooden flooring Flooring mats can be an attractive option for a href=”” home renovation /a because it is cheaper than others.WALLS Selection of color for the walls is very important to give an adorable look to our home. Instead of using normal paints, we can go for plastic coated paints. We can use paintings as well as graphics to decorate it.BATHROOMSBathroom is a place where most of us have our thinking caps at work. And love spending time here without any disturbance. So a few important things which can change the structure of our bathroom and enhance its look:FlooringlightingsanitarypaintingsceilingIn order to give your home a new stylish, trendy look, redo your bathroom, flooring, lighting, walls, kitchen. By renovating these areas or your home you can give your home new and trendy looks. For more insights and further information about home renovation visit our site Source:

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By Jeff Halper

In the first millennium, a wealthy Roman family would most likely have had a garden surrounding their home. In it, you might find an open-air palazzo, pergola-style structures dripping with vines and blooming flowers, a dining area with couches for relaxation, water features such as an outdoor water fountain or wall fountain, and walkways that led out into the garden proper, perhaps to a prized rosebush or into an olive grove. These are some of the elements characterizing what is now called classical landscape design, also known as traditional landscape design.

Classical landscape design is a subset of formal landscape design that uses linear, clean lines to develop an uncluttered look. These lines can be drawn with rows of trees and well-trimmed hedges, perfect plantings for the classical landscape design. Or perhaps a seat wall made of regimented terra cotta tiles can do double-duty. Here and there, vines, such as ivy or wisteria, can soften any harshness. In this regard, this style is similar to the Mediterranean landscape design with its Roman and Greek influences.

The History of Classical Landscape Design

Borrowing influences from previous civilizations, classical landscape design solidified in Rome and the surrounding countryside. Villas were built with comfortable courtyards, sparkling with the sound of water, shaded by large trees, fragrant with rosemary and citrus fruits. It was from this setting that we got the term pleasure garden.

In England of the late 1700s, property owners started looking backwards, past the Baroque period and the Renaissance, to the beginnings of western civilization. There, they found classical landscapes making use of woods, water, indigenous plants and small temples. These elements were incorporated into the gardens of that day, further defining the principles of traditional landscape design.

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By the way, when Rome fell to the barbarians, the gardens had become so exquisite that the barbarians chose not to ransack them. Instead they kept them up and learned from them. This development is one of the early examples of how we, as humans, learned that beauty can change the world: it can stop violence. This principle is now being used to good effect in gardens started as rehabilitation projects in prisons, inner cities and ghettos.

Choices in Classical Landscape Design

As with all landscape design, the architecture of the house needs to be considered when using a traditional landscape design. For this style, the home and landscape can be tied together through the subtle placement of a hardscape feature, such as the use of tumbled travertine for the courtyard flooring.

Because of the formal principles inherent in this style, you want to strike a balance when choosing materials between boring blandness and baroque lavishness. Think instead in terms of interesting variety. For instance, well-contained decorative gravel can provide color and texture. Courtyards, pool decking and patios should use materials that are symmetrical, in keeping with the formal style. Stone, terra cotta tiles and flagstone are appropriate choices. Granite benches, concrete grottoes and marble urns add sturdiness and reference antiquities.

Your preference for classical landscape design can also be demonstrated in the plants you choose. Your residential garden will be enhanced by fruit trees and other dwarf treesor perhaps a stand of cypress, mulberry or fig trees. The cheery colors of marigolds, hyacinths and roses are well suited for the classical landscape design. Herbs planted in terra cotta pots scent the air and provide fresh flavor in your outdoor kitchen cooking.

Hardscapes in Classical Landscape Design

Color, form, line, scale, and texture are your means of expressing classical landscape design preferences just as they are with modern landscape design.

Hardscapes to include:

Outdoor rooms for outdoor living. These living areas, in effect, make your home bigger. They also serve to create transition areas that connect the indoor and outdoor spaces. Plus, they further the notion that a garden is a place of rejuvenation. In particular, outdoor kitchens are important to the traditional landscape design.

Outdoor water fountains. If you remember your ancient world history classes, you know that the Romans perfected the aqueduct. So water is prized within classical landscape design and nothing showcases it like a picture-perfect outdoor water fountain. Look for fountains in formal, Romanesque, Italianate, Mediterranean and rustic styles. Those made of tile, cast stone, cast iron and concrete work particularly well with this style.

Swimming pools. When placed within a classical landscape design, the shape of your swimming pool should tend towards basic geometric shapes like rectangles and ovals. Thus, the shape of the pool frames the water and turns it into a classical design element of the landscape. It is often efficient to combine the pool with an outdoor water fountain to eliminate some maintenance redundancies.

Landscape lighting. Landscape lighting is another important element of traditional landscape design as it creates ambiance and lets you enjoy the outdoors, night and day.

Classical Landscape Design: A Houston Setting

We implemented a classical landscape design for one of our Houston clients, whose home was French Country. For the garden, we chose a design that closely resembles a famous garden in Florence, says Jeff Halper with Exterior Worlds. The landscape design makes good use of gravel and limestone, which looks very natural in a Houston garden. And we planted boxwoods, which we trim and shape regularly as part of a well-thought-out residential landscape maintenance plan. It is a lovely and relaxing space.

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By Kenny Vanderburen

The thing that is getting in the first position, as far as family activities are concerned, has to be cooking with the help of an outdoor grill. It’s perfect for a family get together, everyone talking with each other while waiting for their food and watching how it is prepared. You can buy an grill in all sizes and price ranges, but you need to see if an exhaust system is needed.

It all depends on where it is placed and the what the wind direction is coming from most of the time, if you need to place an outdoor grill exhaust system or not. You don’t want your clothes getting contaminated by the smoke, it can stick to them for a long time and you will need to wash or dry clean them.

You need an grill exhaust because:

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1. You do not want the smoke from you outdoor grill getting in your home, sticking to your furniture, carpets and other things laying around. The smell of smoke from a grill can be very penetrating and is something that will linger around a lot longer than you will like. When an exhaust system is attached to your outdoor grill you ensure that the smoke is sucked up and can not get in your home.

2. People gathering around the grill to speak with the cook or just to see what is on the coal do not want the inconvenience of the smoke. When you are out in the garden to have a nice meal and you all gather around the cooking island you do not want to have to end your conversations because the smoke stops you from breathing normally and stinging you eyes.

3. The food you are cooking needs to be watched and that is not going to happen if you can’t see it through the thick black smoke coming from the grill. Your guests will not think much of your cooking abilities when they are served under of overcooked food. And then there is also the health issue for the cook if he or she has to breath that smoke all the time while they cook the food.

Getting it on

Like with a lot of things in life you have a lot of choices when it comes to outdoor cooking grill exhaust systems. You can make it as expensive as you like. Maybe there is an exhaust that is specifically made for your model of grill. You will also find that there are models made to fit on more then one type of grill. Maybe the best thing to do is to ask a few people for advice, like the store where you bought the cooking device or the manufacturer.

Just remember that all this is for your safety and the people you invited to eat as it is for the protection of your personal belongings. To keep them free of (too much) smoke and to make the time together as enjoyable as possible. Eating outside with all your family and friends is nice way to pass the time.

About the Author: Kenny Vanderburen loves to write about his one passion, cooking. If you want to know more about an

outdoor cooking grill exhaust


campfire cooking equipment

take a look at his website.


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Ahh, the roar, crackle, aroma and warmth a wood stove brings. Not only is the fire produced in it magnificent, but also the stove serves as a central gathering point, bringing friends and family together. You might not know this, but now the EPA regulates wood stoves, making sure they are efficient. These new EPA Phase 2 ones bring together the fun of the past and the environmental concerns of the future, making them good investments for your home. Another good investment you can make is in fireplace inserts wood that burn cleanly and effectively, too.

Currently, the EPA is offering a tax credit of 30 percent, up to $1500, if you purchase and install a qualifying wood stove or wood fireplace insert that meets a 75 percent efficiency rating. That means you can spend up to $5000 on the purchase and installation of new effective and eco-friendly heating source as long as it’s for your primary residence (vacation homes and rentals don’t qualify). The tax credit brings the price of a wood stove down considerably when you think of the savings you’ll get on your 2009 or 2010 return.

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Today’s wood stoves, unlike their pot-bellied predecessors, feature improved safety and efficiency. Almost no smoke and minimal ash emerge from them, and they require less firewood. In fact, efficient wood stoves produce only 2 to 7 grams or smoke per hour. They can be used to heat a single room or an entire home. If you have a large, open floor plan, you’ll probably want a large efficient wood stove that will heat the whole space, but if your place is highly divided into various rooms, you’ll want to use zone heating and put a small one in whatever room in which the most people converge. One of the most popular efficient wood stoves is the Napoleon 1400. This one is medium sized, so it can heat a medium sized, openly designed home up to 2000 sq. ft. It can burn up to seven hours on low heat so it will keep you warm overnight, no more freezing toes in the morning! It also has a cooking trivet on it in case the power goes out and you need to feed your family (this stove functions even when the power doesn’t). This stove is perfect for most people’s homes.

Fireplace inserts, meanwhile, are similar in function to wood stoves but are designed to be retrofitted into the firebox of an existing masonry or manufactured fireplace. They are as economical and eco-friendly as wood stoves and can earn you the tax credit, too, as long as they are EPA certified. The system includes a decorative faceplate that covers the space between the insert and the opening of the original fireplace. You can get the most popular, affordable insert Napoleon Fireplaces makes, the 1402 Deluxe EPA Wood Burning Insert, if you want to make that drafty fireplace function fabulously again. It can heat an entire small home, too, because it heats up to 1600 sq. ft. on high burn of 70,000 BTUs. These fireplace inserts wood have two powerful yet Whisper Quiet 200 CFM hat circulating blowers to help move the warm air through your living area. You also achieve clean burning fires with minimal amounts of wood with the 1402. It fits existing fireplaces up to 32 H x 44.5 W, so it’ll probably fit yours. Choose a fireplace insert and save on your energy bills, too.

No matter which you choose, efficient wood stoves or fireplace inserts wood, you’ll be making an investment in your home because not only will you enjoy decreased energy bills, but also future buyers will love the energy efficiency these hearth products afford. Choose which of the two you need based on the factors described above and you’ll not only go green, but you’ll also get the EPA tax credit.

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Ardia Vidmer is a writer on a variety of topics, including heating and cooling alternatives. Installing efficient wood stoves are a proficient way to provide heat for your home.Author: Ardia Vidmer

By Steven Russell

One of the more enduring quests by pen turners is the pursuit of the perfect pen finish, one that offers exceptional durability and visual clarity, with a deep wet look. Although this is a tall order for any finish to deliver, careful selection of the pen blank material and advanced abrasive and finishing protocols can create a near perfect pen finish. Plastic and stabilized wooden blanks offer and excellent option for pen turners seeking to create a durable high gloss finish on their pens.

Basic Challenge

One of the most challenging aspects of creating a durable, glossy pen finish is the typical environment pens are subjected to when in use. In and out of pockets and purses, desk drawers and other potentially abrasive environments, coupled with the natural oils and sweat from our hands, makes it tough for many finishes to provide a lasting finish. In addition, some hardwoods are considerably less dense than others are, which may allow pens made from softer hardwoods to become easily damaged.

Dense native woods and most exotics are a better choice in many cases for a highly durable pen barrel. However, softer hardwoods can be used with equal success, if the raw blank has first been stabilized with thin acrylics, or epoxies. These so called ‘stabilized’ pen blanks are a superb choice for wooden pens, offering greater hardness and durability of the barrel surface vs. using non-stabilized (natural) timbers.

Alternative Material Pen Blanks

Alternative materials like plastics, acrylics, stabilized exotic and native woods, horn, antler, fossilised Ivory, cast acrylics and similar materials can easily produce a glossy lustre when used for pen barrels. Some materials, both natural and manmade can be polished to a higher lustre than others can. For example, plastics can be easily polished to 12000-grit, producing a visually wet look in the barrel surface.

However, natural timbers do not produce the same degree of lustre, even when taken to the same level on the bare wood surface. Stabilized pen blanks produce a higher lustre than the same timber without any stabilization. The reason for this is that the acrylics, or epoxies used in the stabilization process, take a higher polish than the raw wood, thus creating an overall higher visual lustre.

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Advanced Abrasive and Finishing Protocols

In addition to the careful selection of the barrel material, the application of advanced abrasive and finishing protocols can go a long way toward providing durable and glossy pen finishes. If you want a truly glossy lustre on your pen barrels, you have to prepare the surface properly before application of any finish. Proper surface preparation, including sanding and polishing of the barrel surface prior to applying the desired finish will allow the chosen finish to magnify a visually perfected lustrous surface, resulting in a much higher perceived gloss level on the barrel surface.

High performance abrasives are available that will produce a 12000-grit surface. At this ultra high level, the human eye cannot see the surface scratch pattern, resulting in an exceptionally high gloss level on the surface. Careful selection of the finish can also affect the overall lustre and longevity of the finish. Some finishes are naturally more durable than others are.

Waxes are among the easiest of finishes to apply, but may not last long in normal use. Shellac friction finishes offer better overall durability than waxes. Lacquers offer still greater durability, as do Cyanoacrylate Esters (CA or Super Glue) and binary Epoxies. Some of these finishes are challenging to apply, but produce an extremely durable finish for your efforts.

Basic Protocol for Plastic Pen Blanks

If possible, use sterate coated abrasives, or wet-dry abrasives to prevent loading of the abrasive surface. To obtain the highest lustre and clarity of the plastic barrel surface, you have two options:

— Sand with traditional or wet-dry abrasives to 1200-grit. Then, buff the barrel surface with a plastic polishing compound on the lathe. A cloth buffing wheel loaded with a fine plastic polishing compound can also be used to raise the lustre to the desired level.

— Sand with standard micro mesh abrasives, which can be used either wet or dry and are available in nine grits from 1500 to 12000. The visual surface when polished to 12000-grit is nothing short of spectacular, making the plastic look so glossy that it appears wet.

One additional advantage of using plastics for your barrels is that the plastic surface can be polished to a high luster, without the need for any surface finish. Since there is no surface finish on the pen barrel, nothing can wear off with time, as you would find with a traditionally finished wooden pen.

A high quality conservation grade microcrystalline wax should be applied to provide extra protection for the glossy barrel surface. Microwaxes offer excellent resistance to moisture, acids, alcohols, and moderate heat and will not show fingerprints on the high gloss surface.

Basic Protocol for Stabilized Wood Blanks

If you prefer to use wood for your barrels, choose a stabilized pen blank if possible for the greatest durability and luster of the surface. To produce a high luster on a stabilized pen blank, follow these steps:

— Sand the barrels to 600-grit metric. Apply a lacquer sanding sealer to the surface and friction dry. Remove any dust and apply a cutting wax (wax with a fine abrasive) to the surface, whilst spinning on the lathe at high revs, Move slowly back and forth to allow the compound to polish the barrels surface.

— Reapply the cutting wax until the desired gloss level is achieved. Remove any excess with a small piece of kitchen paper and buff to a brilliant shine.

— Apply the desired finish next. (Listed in order of overall durability) Friction Shellacs, Lacquers, Cyanoacrylate Esters and binary Epoxies can be used for the finish. Depending on the specific finish used, a final buffing, or deluxing of the surface with a cutting wax may be required to raise the luster to the desired level.

— Apply a conservation grade microcrystalline wax to the surface with the lathe off and lightly buff to a gloss with revs set to high with a small piece of clean kitchen paper towel.

If you invest just a little more time sanding and polishing your pen barrels using the above protocols, you will be rewarded with a highly glossy barrel finish that will withstand years of use.

About the Author: Steven Russell is a professional studio woodturner, demonstrator and writer. He has written numerous articles for international woodturning magazines and frequently demonstrates woodturning across the U.S. His website is located at


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