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Recreating the French Country Home

 

french country decor
Image by Crossroads Cottage

 

From TV shows to interior design magazines, few themes are as well-loved and long lasting as that of the French country. It’s undeniable that this style is both timeless and elegant, able to create a room that deserves to be splashed across the magazines. Yet many homeowners have trouble creating the look because they don’t know where to start.

Although it sounds very fancy, French country-style homes need not be expensive. You surely won’t have to overhaul your furniture; you probably won’t even have to change a lot of your current decor. All it takes are a few touches for you to be able to bring the French country and all its elegance into your own home.

Country style home designs are basically similar. French country is similar to American country except for a touch of European style and a little extra boost in the chic department. The simple patterns are instead geared to more curves and the usual straightforward design is more stylish. However, because of the country factor, this is more toned-down than the conventional French or European design.

The essence of the French country aesthetic is luxurious touches done in an otherwise plain and simple space. It’s the kind of design favored by the robust French country people for whom the work and the outdoors are significant influences. Bright colors and mixed textures are common traits of the French country design. Getting this theme right is more about capturing the feel of it rather than simulating a straightforward look.

It’s not hard to apply a French country theme with ideas of how the countryside looks. Incorporating the elements of the country lifestyle will make using this design easy. Herb-themed decorative items, wine bottles, grapevine wall art, wallpapers and ornate lighting fixtures are just some pieces that help in creating this design.

Trimmings on the fabrics, frills, intricate patterns and even ruffles if you so wish for your pillow covers and beddings are small details that capture the essence of a charming and elegant French country home.

Common materials in the French country theme are metal and iron. Never mind the rustic-looking furniture. They fit right in this kind of interior. If you have a chandelier and candelabra, bring them out and decorate your home to the max. It will bring you the fresh countryside of France with classic pieces reminiscent of living in this part of the country.

Area rugs complete the French country look. What better design to use than those that bespeak of nature, such as floral patterns or grapevine design?

You may be living in modern times but using antiques or old pieces can really spice up the French country theme you’re looking for.

Don’t be ripped off by imitations. Be sure to buy an authentic rug from the Dynamic Rugs Opulence Collection directly.

More Home Design Tv Shows Articles

8 Thrifty Home Improvements that Save Energy

green-energy-eco-home

The upgrades and improvements you make on your home today can result in some pretty fabulous long-term savings, provided you do a little planning ahead of time. By making changes that will allow your home to utilize energy more efficiently, your redesign can save you some green and let you live “greener”, too.   

Before you begin working, an energy audit can show you where in the house your money should be allocated. According to Texas electricity providers, by performing an energy audit on your home and making improvements accordingly, you can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills each month.

Here are eight simple steps to get you started:

Insulation and Weather Stripping

The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is making sure there aren’t leaks around the doors and windows. Leaks can also be found in the attic and basement. Before thinking about insulating the home, you need to check for leaks and use weather stripping. Otherwise, any energy-efficiency measures will not work. Next, you should insulate the walls as well as in the attic. Much of the heating and cooling escapes a home that isn’t insulated.

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

According to Energy.gov, energy-efficient bulbs use twenty-five to eighty percent less energy than traditional bulbs. They can also last up to twenty-five times longer than traditional bulbs. While they may cost a bit more at purchase, over the life of the bulb, it brings in more energy savings.

Upgrade the Dishwasher

Older model dishwashers manufactured before 1994 can waste up to 10 gallons more water than newer dishwashers. According to Energy Star, a new dishwasher can save you over $35 a year on utility bills. Reducing water usage and using less energy will have the added benefit of reducing pollution and reducing the impact on the environment. Consumer Reports has a list of the best dishwashers to save energy and money.

Programmable Thermostat

There’s no reason to run your heater or air conditioning when you’re not home, yet you can’t leave them off when you’re out of the home either. While you’re at work, you can lower the thermostat then have it raised a half hour before you’re scheduled to get home from work. You can save money by using a programmable thermostat in your home. Some thermostats come with smartphone apps to help you control the temperature in your home too.

Low-Flow Fixtures

Between low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, you can save energy and hot water each year, which is the second highest energy expense in the home according to Energy.gov.

Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters with tanks of water have to keep that water heated until it’s demanded by the homeowner. That kind of energy use is called standby energy, which can cost you a lot of money in energy each year. A tankless water heater doesn’t have to keep water heated in a tank, so it can save you money each year in energy as well as water costs.

Ceiling Fans

Instead of fiddling with the temperature in the home through the thermostat, purchasing a ceiling fan could be a better option. It’ll save you money on cooling costs each year, and they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.

Energy Vampires

You can save money on energy and utility costs by finding the energy vampires around your home. Any appliance that uses energy to remain on standby for your use is a vampire. The microwave and coffee pot that keeps the time for you is an energy vampire. DVD and CD players, computers, game systems, televisions and cable boxes are some common vampires. Unplug all these appliances when they’re not in use. You can use power strips to easily turn them on and off when you’re not using them.

Save hundreds per year by upgrading your appliances as well as using low-flow fixtures in the home. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use too. Some of these upgrades and improvements are small but they can give you big savings throughout the year.

The Many Benefits of Owning a Sustainable Home

sustainable home
Image by SFU – University Communications

 

What is a sustainable house? A sustainable house is a home which is a healthy environment for everyone in the household (even your pets) which is free of the synthetic, often toxic building materials which are often used in home construction. A sustainable house is less aggravating to those with allergies and safer than a traditional home to live in.

A Sustainable House is Healthy:

Building a sustainable house is more environmentally friendly as well as having a much higher air quality indoors than do many homes. A lot of building materials and furniture contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen as well as being an irritant to the nose, throat and skin – many are allergic to this chemical as well. Materials which often contain formaldehyde include plywood, fabrics and furniture upholstery.

In a sustainable house, the furniture and building materials alike will be made from organic fibers and be free of toxic finishes. Since 1980, the rates of asthma have doubled; something which has been linked to the indoor air quality in our homes – the air quality in our homes can be as much as 100 times worse than the air outside, even in a polluted area.

A Sustainable House is Energy Efficient and Saves You Money:

The newer models of heating systems, water heaters and other appliances are far more energy efficient than are the older models which are still in use in many homes. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 80% energy than do older incandescent bulbs, making them a popular choice for homeowners. A lot of homeowners are choosing to make their homes not only sustainable but also energy efficient by insulating and sealing windows and doors, along with installing programmable thermostats.

Other small steps which can make a big difference are changing your furnace filters regularly, using low flow showerheads and insulating your water heater. Making sure that your attic is well insulated can also greatly reduce your heating and cooling costs, while using less energy.

A Sustainable House Uses Green Products:

With interest in green building on the rise, green building products are much more readily available. There are non-toxic wood finishes and paints – and there are even options for sustainable wood out there. One particularly popular sustainable wood choice is bamboo flooring. These green building products are not only sustainable but also attractive, increasing the value of your sustainable house. You can also find carpets which are made from natural materials like wool or carpets made from recycled materials.

A Sustainable House Uses Solar Energy For Additional Light or Heating:

Any house can become a sustainable house by using the sun’s power to save on heating and light. Even without solar panels, you can use skylights and windows to increase the light and warmth of your home, especially during the daytime.

You can also choose to install tinting on your windows to reduce cooling costs in the summer. There are organic window treatments available which can help you to reduce your energy costs and make yours a more sustainable house.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to make your home into a sustainable house and save a lot of money on energy costs (and maybe even doctor bills) while doing your part to protect the environment.

What Is Sustainable Home Construction?

sustainable home
Image by Jeremy Levine Design

Reducing the environmental impact of building and construction has become a key priority in recent years. Sustainable construction or green building describes the process of reducing the environmental impact of a building over its entire lifespan. Sitting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition are all taken into consideration, in a way that will minimise the use of water, raw materials, land and energy in general, but the traditional concerns of economy, utility and comfort are not forgotten.

OECD countries that have a trading agreement to work together for the stimulation of economic progress contribute substantially to the damage of the environment. The built environment in these countries is responsible for 15-40% of energy use, 30% of raw material use and up to 40% of global greenhouse gases and solid waste generation. Something has to be done to reduce this impact to save the worlds dwindling ecosystems. At the moment building and construction works have the largest share in global resource use and pollution emission but this could be significantly reduced if more contractors opted for sustainable construction.

Measures to reduce energy use are perhaps the most useful in the general lifespan of the building. Often these new buildings may use high-efficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings and floors. Onsite generation of renewable energy is also common through solar power, wind power or hydro power; though these are the most expensive features you can add to a building.

Though experts have estimated green buildings as costing 17% more to construct, other sources indicate that this is much lower, at around only 5%. Regardless of this, sustainable building will save you money in the long run, as you will significantly save on energy bills. You may even make a profit in the future as surplus generated energy could be put back into the grid.

There are clear benefits for investing in sustainable homes, not least the satisfaction you will get from knowing that you are doing your bit to protect the environment, so invest today and you won’t regret it.

Home Decorating Television Shows Help Millions

home decorating tv
Image by stetted

Some of us just have to face the fact that we have absolutely no taste when it comes to how we decorate our homes or businesses. Lucky for us over the past several years television has once again came to our rescue by supplying us with numerous home decorating shows.

If you are decoratively challenged, then you need to be watching these new shows. For many years, This Old House was one of the only shows that could teach you things that you needed to know about how to fix up your home as far as plumbing, adding on a room, or turning your garage into useable living space. This was great for these kinds of projects and it is still a much watched show even now.

Today we have HGTV, or more specifically, Home and Garden Television. The Do it Your Self Network is right up there in popularity too. It is amazing what you can learn about decorating on the cable and satellite channels. They show you how to paint, how to lay stone, how to remodel entire rooms, or an entire house.

There are many programs like Designed to Sell and Flip That House, that people watch to help them know what the best ideas and design are when it comes to selling a home or condominium. They teach you what remodeling options may be or may not be a good selling point. They can show you how to do some of the work yourself that can sometimes save you thousands of dollars.

Some of the home decorating shows like Design on a Dime and Decorating Cents, are programs on HGTV that give you great ideas about how to make and buy some great things for designing on a very limited budget. You can go from trash to chic in no time after viewing these shows.

Design Star is a different sort of decorating show. It is a reality show that comes on HGTV that hosts a competition for up and coming designers. They can get their own home decorating show on HGTV if they win. They are given various decorating projects, both as teams and individually, to see who can make the winning room designs. It is as addictive to watch as any of the other network reality shows.

The next time you feel you could use a little help decorating in your home, the help is just a remote control away. You will be able to find at least one, if not countless shows that can help you make your home become beautiful and stylish.

Easy DIY Home Improvement Ideas

wooden fence
Image by Theen …
Many enthusiasts of DIY home improvement differentiate between two specific classes of projects. The first class involves major renovations in the house, including:

* Replacement of floors

* Installation of new insulation

* Installation of a new roof

* Installation of wooden fences around a yard

The second type of DIY are smaller projects that delivers creative pleasure to the ones engaging in them. These small projects typically involve adding small yet useful objects inside the house. Though most of them involve one form of furniture or another, these smaller projects are recommended for those who are just beginning with DIY home improvement.

Small ideas but nice results

Free time, a bit of cash and a lot of good ideas is all you need to think of your own DIY home improvement project. Here are some ideas to get you started:

* Windows- if you’ve been thinking for the longest time that the windows in your bedroom are creepy at night, why not replace them? Contrary to popular belief, it is easy to replace windows. All you need are a few traditional tools like a crowbar and a hammer, or a saw in some instances. Simply measure the window’s dimensions and purchase a window of the exact same size. Take down the old window frame, taking utmost care not to damage the glass. Then simply install the new window sets using window glue and a few bolts or nails.

* Gates- gates can be customized. If your own gate allows it, you may attempt to install name plates on your own gate, to identify your house easily. This would be a great idea especially if you live in a housing neighborhood, where houses generally look alike.

* Extra utility table- If you don’t have enough table when you go out for a yard picnic, why not build one yourself? All you need would be small planks of wood and a little ingenuity. First determine what particular table size you want. After making the proper measurements, simply follow the configuration of picnic tables you see everyday and voila, you have your own picnic table. DIY projects that involve wood are often durable because wood is a sturdy material.

* Floor design- tired of visible scratches on your floor? One way to successfully remedy old floors is simply installing new vinyl. Vinyl comes in a variety of colors and designs so you would be having a lot of fun and choices by simply choosing the design you like. The installation of vinyl is even easier- you simply need contact cement or other forms of strong adhesives to attach the vinyl to your floor. Just find the center of the floor area using a nylon thread and divide each area into quarters. Start with 1 quarter and finish by cutting to size when you reach the edge.

* Wall design- wallpaper is still in. You simply have to know how to install wallpaper properly. First, the walls must be free from dirt, moisture or grease before the application of the adhesive. Let the adhesive dry a bit first before attaching the wallpaper in small, manageable strips. Watch your bedroom or your living room come alive with the new look.

Home Renovations to Save Energy

28092014-0114-HDRRenovating or upgrading your home can be fun, especially when incorporating energy efficient upgrades, which saves you money and makes your home less susceptible to mold and allergens. In fact, the average homeowner can save up to 96 percent on their heating and cooling bills simply by making their home more energy efficient.

 

Whether you are renovating your home to make it more appealing, or you simply wish to enjoy an increase in energy savings, these energy saving tips will provide maximum savings while enjoying your beautiful, new home.

 

Inspect for Condensation, Water Leaks and Excess Moisture Before You Begin

 

Water leaks and excess condensation and moisture cause mold. Prior to your project, inspect for signs of excess moisture. Addressing those issues first, can help improve the interior air quality of your home.

 

Insulate Upstairs

 

According to research, about half the homes in the U.S. are not fully insulated. Insulation helps keep your home comfortable year round. When renovating your home, don’t forget to insulate upstairs, and while you’re at it, you should also consider insulating your water pipes, ducts, attic spaces and recessed lights above the attic for even more savings.

 

Replace High Energy Use Equipment with Energy Efficient Ones

 

Replacing old ventilation, heating and air condition units with more energy efficient ones can decrease your monthly energy costs. It is important to have your home well insulated and sealed in addition to this project, in order to reap maximum benefits.

 

Renewable Energy

 

Renewable energy is obtained from natural processes such as wind, sunlight and water etc., that are replenished at a greater extent than they are used, which means lower power plant and fossil fuel costs and greater savings passed on to consumers. According to Spark Energy, renewable energy is on the rise in the transport, heating, cooling and electricity sectors worldwide, and is predicted to account for approximately one third of new electricity generation in the U.S. over the next three years. In fact, over 65 countries already have policies in motion involving renewable energy.

 

Seal the Ducts

 

If your home relies on forced-air cooling and heating systems, approximately one fifth of the air could be escaping through leaks in the ducts. To address this issue, use duct sealing to seal gaps or leaks in the ducts. If you need to, seal around windows and doors as well. And don’t forget the basement and attic, to also help lower your heating and cooling bills.

 

Install Energy Efficient Water Heaters

 

Water heating makes up approximately 15 to 20 percent of the annual energy usage in a home. Installing energy efficient water heaters can help drive down costs.

 

Replace Drafty Windows with Energy Efficient Ones

 

Replacing old, drafty windows with energy efficient ones can increase energy savings. When replacing your windows, opt for wood instead of aluminum framed models. If you are low on funds, consider installing lower-cost storm windows instead. As long as your interior windows are in good condition, installing storm windows provide a quick and easy way to make your windows more energy efficient without the hassle and cost of full-blown window replacement.

 

Install Energy Efficient Doors

 

When installing energy efficient doors, avoid using hollow metal doors because they allow air to penetrate right through.

 

Install a Programmable Thermostat

 

Programmable thermostats save about 10 percent on your cooling and heating costs, which more than pays for themselves in just a few months, and they allow you to cool your home at warmer temps, while you’re away.

What is a Home Designer? (and How to Choose One)

home design

Image by JoeInSouthernCA

A home designer specifies the design, materials, stylishness, as well as interior details for residential building projects. In lots of states in the US home designers aren’t mandated to have an architectural diploma or architectural license.

Many people may think that these kinds of home designers not having specific qualifications is an undesirable factor, but that’s not even close to the truth. A professional within the field of non commercial design, a “home designer” is the most suitable choice that will lead you through the design and building process from start to finish.

A great home designer generally possesses years of expertise not only designing and drafting the construction docs , but in addition will often have put in many years on actual construction sites performing the actual job themselves. Now this isn’t at all times the situation however, these people with this kind of knowledge are usually best to design your home. Not just because of their experience and expertise in the profession but their rates tend to be more affordable when compared to a registered architect’s charges will be.

The rates a home designer, as well as an architect command has proven to be completely different. Architects attain four years or more of college getting an education and studying the particulars on architect home design as well as architectural design of almost everything else all varying from little homes to large high-rise buildings. Architects are registered to approve numerous facets of building not employed for individual houses. Because of these two details architects demand very high service fees to create an architectural design in addition to a set of construction drawings for houses. The majority of architect’s charges vary from 7% to 15% (sometimes greater) for his or her services on a housing project. Almost all home designers’ rates for this exact same service vary from 3% to 8%. This particular large variation in rates combined with the undeniable fact that each commonly possess the identical or the same level of expertise in residential design is actually the reason why the majority will probably select a home designer above an architect for their housing project.

Even though design capacity can virtually, be trained, the most effective jobs are the effect of a mix of skill and knowledge, therefore your choice in who to employ shouldn’t be exclusively selected simply for their reduced rates or education. A home designer needs to be selected as due to their outstanding results of their labor.

Home designers make use of numerous sources and instruments accessible to them to assist in communicating their architectural designs as well as the construction documents into the completed product. Many home designers continue to utilize pencil and paper in addition to numerous types of color goods to symbolize and express their design to their clientele. Even though this can be a great method of communicating a design to a customer it really is outdated and doesn’t consistently accomplish the job the home designer developed it for, to help the customer to fully grasp and picture the design. Nowadays there’s a large amount of computer programs that enable a great house designer to provide their house design to their clientele. These types of graphic tools as I prefer to refer to them include things like 3D colored renderings, walk-a-rounds, as well as walk-throughs.

Therefore, when you’re looking to select a designer it’s also advisable to consider exactly how they show their designs to their clientele. Not everybody can easily figure out a conceptual drawing of a 2D floor plan. In fact ultimately it will come right down to what home designer you sense you might have more suitable connection with and you feel the most confident with.

Building a residence signifies one of the biggest monetary assets the majority of people is likely to make within their lifetime and very few comprehend just how complicated the procedure will be till they’re involved with a lot of restricted covenants, construction requirements, zoning ordinances, design and style choices, material options, suppliers as well as builder options and so forth. Do your family as well as your bank account a favor and locate a home designer to partner with and to who you’re confident with.

Sustainable Homes and the Environment

CITIB-projektorThere’s no doubt that though the 21st century has brought us many post millennium technological innovations. It has also come with its fair share of environmental issues, which seem to be gathering momentum as time goes on. The reduction of carbon emissions, which are a key contributor to the greenhouse effect and therefore global warming, is certainly something that has had a lot of exposure in the media in past decade or so. And as a result of this exposure it seems that many car manufacturers and even property dealers have begun taking these pressing environmental issues into account.

Though many people might not realize the extent of it, the way that we choose to power our homes has a massive impact on the environment, and this is not just true locally but also on a global scale. In the United Kingdom our homes account for 27 percent of total carbon emissions. Fortunately any improvements that we make regarding energy efficiency in our homes won’t just benefit us, but also the environment globally. So by making our homes cheaper to heat and power, and by choosing to run on clean energy people, places and wildlife all around the world will be less vulnerable to changes in climate.

The push for sustainable homes and lifestyles is something that is becoming increasingly real and on the 13 of December 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government launched the Code for Sustainable Homes – a new national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes. This code measures the whole home as a complete package assessing its sustainability against nine categories including energy/carbon dioxide, water, materials, surface water run-off, waste, pollution, health and well-being, management, and ecology.

There are a number of different techniques that are now being implemented to make new homes more sustainable. Normally the first factor that is considered is regarding insulation, this is sometimes referred to as the “fabric first” approach, where the construction of a home is considered and insulating techniques are used to make it economical and therefore energy efficient. The use of natural light is something else that is now considered when the orientation of homes is decided, maximizing the amount of natural light that is let in and therefore reducing energy consumption. Renewable energy resources are also taken into consideration too, and features such as wood burners, which are very economical, are considered. Location is also taken into account and important environmental factors such as wildlife corridors are not blocked.

3D Home Design for Everybody

Modern_Homes_in_Richardson_Fields_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1191235 (1)3D Home Design is a different way for architects to design homes, it is not far from the conventional 2D way of designing, but is more competitive. 3D Home Design, just like the traditional way also includes the floor plans, elevations and the perspective of the project. The only difference is that 3D Home Design features 3D Floor Plans and 3D Elevations instead of the conventional 2D.

3D Home Design in an Architect’s point of view

For architects, presenting for a client using 3D Home Design can be a great advantage since the presentation will be able to capture the client’s attention from the beginning, with the color rich presentations of the floor plan and elevations.

3D Home Design in a Client’s point of view

For clients having no background in architecture, watching an architect’s presentation, especially with the architect showing boring 2D drawings and talking about it in technical terms that you don’t even understand a bit, can be a boring task. But when an architect presents you with a 3D presentation, you will be able to understand right away what the architect is conveying. There is no need to decipher the technical terms and the plan drawings, you just need to look at the presentation and you will have an idea of what the project will look like.

3D Home Design and its components

Presenting for a client consist of 2 phases, the primary phase and the major phase. The primary stage is the presentation of the floor plans and elevations, which was discussed in an earlier post. The major phase includes the presentation of the interior and exterior perspectives.

3D Interior

3D Interior presentations include views of the inside of the house in certain parts. It is for the client to see and feel how the house will look like, and if the spaces will work according to their preferences, it can also serve as an attachment to the floor plans if the client need some verifications on how a certain space in the house will look like.

3D Exterior

3D Exterior presentations include views of the outside of the house as a whole, including the background to apply the environment where the actual house will be built. It can also serve as a medium for the clients to see how the house will look like and it gives the chance to the client to tell the architect whether they want to change some colors or part before the construction begins.