Small Kitchen Remodeling

Small kitchens are a reality of life in many homes, especially apartments or older houses. If expanding the kitchen isn’t an option, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to spend every meal time feeling that the walls are closing in. There are things you can do with the colors, appliances and layout to make even the smallest galley kitchen feel cozy rather than suffocating.

Widen the Windows, Lose the Doors

Unlike the door in a bedroom or bathroom or closet, the door to the kitchen is optional. Opt out. Widening the doorway and taking out the door, will make the kitchen feel less like a sealed-off box and more like an open nook connected to the rest of the house. Larger, taller windows will give even a very small kitchen feel bigger; go easy on the window treatments to let in as much light as possible. If you can raise the ceiling, do.

Colors and Decorating Materials

Use light-colored decorating materials to make the room feel less closed-in. Avoid large ceramic tiles on the floor or walls–they’ll only accentuate the smallness of the room. An off-white or yellow motif, accented with small mosaic tiles on the floor and/or wall, will go a long way toward visually pushing back those walls.

Appliances and Furniture

Think small and retractable when designing the furniture and buying the appliances. Find a refrigerator that’s thin but tall. Instead of a free-standing oven taking up valuable floor space, have a wall oven installed, and have the stove-top set into the counter-top. If possible, have your cabinets set, or partly set, into the wall. Instead of a table and chairs, design a counter-top so that a few stools can slide under it.

Getting Started on Home Remodeling For Beginners

Once you decide you’re going to have your home remodeled, you might be simultaneously overwhelmed and really excited by the prospect. You immediately scan the brochures and the home remodeling portfolios online and imagine how the proposed designs would look in your own home. But wait! Don’t get too rushed and exhilarated. Here are some home remodeling starters you need to address before you formally begin with all the destruction and reconstruction.

Clean Up

Clean your home before you remodel. In fact, clean it up before you even finalize the design for the remodeled home. Clearing it up and letting the dust go will make it easier for you to see things in a lighter view. The actual space that your home covers will show up by itself, and you will have an easier time figuring out where to put things, what to remove, etc.

Also, take this opportunity to declutter your home (and your life). Throw away the things that take up space but for which you have no use. And as for the things that you realize you still need, keep them and put them to good use.

Kitchen and Bathroom First!

When you think about remodeling the kitchen, it may appear to be a very daunting job. But in truth a complete kitchen overhaul will pay huge dividends when you put up your home for sale. Purchase new cabinets and appliances. If you cannot afford to do that, at least replace the cabinet doors. Replace hardware. Repaint.

Aside from the kitchen, also remember that the bathroom is a key place to remodel. Replace boring tiles with attractive ones. Install custom cabinets. Redecorate. If you can’t afford a total bathroom makeover, at least replace the faucets, taps, and shower head. And yes, don’t forget the shower curtain, too!

Also, there are now a lot of bathroom and kitchen fixtures that come in beautiful and contemporary designs. Take your pick from them and, with the help of an expert, purchase a beautiful piece for your home.

Why Make a Remodeling Budget?

“A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.” (William Feather)

When you bought your last car, you went through the process of defining what you wanted, and exploring what was available in your price range. Then you went to showrooms, to get more information, and test drive each vehicle to find the one that suited you best – emotionally, physically and financially. Preparing for a building or remodeling project is very similar, but most people don’t understand the concept.

What did you pay for your newest vehicle? If you’re remodeling your master bathroom or your kitchen, you can expect to invest at least twice the amount that you paid for your last new car. The good news is that your home will appreciate while that new car is depreciating at a rapid rate. Even in today’s economy, your home is still your best investment.

So how do you go about creating a remodeling budget? The first step is to make a comprehensive list of everything you want included and prioritize your list. This is important because it will help you talk with design professionals and contractors, to help them understand your goals. The first chapter of my e book explains how to determine what you want to do, set priorities about the scope of your project, and specific products you may want to include.

The next step is to establish a reasonable, realistic investment range. Yes, investment — not price. You’re investing in your home, and your future. A good remodeling (or building) project will give you years of personal enjoyment, and a high rate of return on your investment if and when you decide to sell your home. Statistics verify that you will get a 45% – 85% return, depending on the size and scope of your project, and your physical location.

After you determine your target budget, test reality by talking to design professionals and contractors, to get their opinion about your project based on their professional experience. This process determines how much of your wish list you’re going to achieve, i.e., the more you pay, the more you’ll get.

When you go to a car dealer, their goal is to sell you a vehicle that day. Design professionals and contractors want to sell you their services, but you should not feel pressured by them. Allow yourself enough time to make an informed decision: Interview them, review their proposal, check their references, and ask questions. This is also covered in detail in the e book (down to the specific questions to ask).

There are some things that you can do during the design process to help you achieve the best results:

Verify dimensions for aisles and passageways, to confirm enough space has been allowed for comfort and safety. Carefully select products that fit your needs, and your budget. Shop online at manufacturers’ sites to see the features you want. Visit showrooms to physically see and feel the products – you can’t determine this while shopping on line.
Obtain comparative prices. Enter information into a spreadsheet (manufacturer, model number, price, and showroom/salesperson).

Pride of ownership lasts a very short time after you’ve purchased a new car. The satisfaction you feel in your new or remodeled home will be there every day, and will last for years.

Do you know someone who is planning to build a new home or remodel their existing home in 2010? “How To Control Your Remodeling Project” is the perfect gift! The price is only $29.50. My personal guarantee comes with every book: If guidelines and hints are followed, readers can save at least 100 times the price of the book!

Top Reasons to Remodel Your House

If you are living in Maryland and your house has considerably “aged”, a “facelift” is definitely needed not just to bring out the aesthetic appeal of your home but also to protect your home from becoming unsightly. Here are some very good reasons why you need Maryland home remodeling:

As mentioned above, signs of home aging become apparent particularly in the bathroom and kitchen area where molds, peels and cracks appear on any surface. When taken for granted, this can eventually lead to more damages. Thus, remodeling your bathroom and kitchen serves as a protection against natural wear and tear.

Remodeling can add up more functionality – if there are spaces that become available during the process, you can perhaps create a new room that will suit your preferences. And lastly and most importantly is that home improvement projects, no matter if they are major or minor, can add considerable value to your home. If you are planning to move out and sell your old house, a “facelift” will enhance the look of your home and make it appear as brand new.

Next to bathroom, the kitchen area is also one of the places where improvements should be done in order to make it sellable. If you are planning to sell your house which has aged for more than twenty years, you may need Maryland kitchen remodeling. Selling this kind of home as it is will only attract unwanted or inexperienced contractors who would want to offer their services.

In the light of the recent recession where multitude of industries suffered major losses including the real estate business, remodeling or renovating an old house can be the only way to sell a property. When everyone is afraid to spend money on building a newly-constructed house, people are ready to take their chances on buying old yet renovated or remodeled homes. It probably doesn’t cost as much as a newly constructed one. So if you’ve got an old house that you think is inhabitable, you may want to resort to a major home improvement project to bring back its elegance and make it sellable to prospective buyers.

In selling your old home, bear in mind that most buyers would want to purchase it at a price that can accommodate minor repair for themselves. For instance, if the walls need to be repainted, then it can be a sure sell. But for major repairs such as holes in the walls or excessive roof leaks or faulty pipes, the seller has the responsibility for spending on those improvements unless the buyer agreed to buy the house at a price less the cost of repair. For instance, if a wall has holes and cracks on it and needs $20,000.00 for its repair and the selling price of the house is $120,000, then the buyer can pay only $100,000 and shoulder the cost of repair. On the other hand, there are buyers that doesn’t want to go through the hassles of making the repair by themselves and would opt to pay the whole selling price and oblige the seller to make the repair.

Know All Important Things About Home Renovations

Most people go for home renovation to change the look of their homes. They upgrade their kitchen, add a bathroom or even build a deck. This not only helps in making the house look different but also makes day to day living more enjoyable and practical. But something more important is the role that investment remodelling plays in all this. It is an important consideration from finance point of view for all home owners.

Today, the market is very uncertain and therefore it is important that you monitor all the possible consequences of remodelling. The former belief of investment remodelling paying for itself has been proved wrong. So, whatever investment is done in remodelling must be justified properly in the property value.

Investment Remodelling – Home Maintenance

Even from the financial point of view, it does make sense to keep your home well maintained. If you take care of problems when they are small they will never be any need of expensive repairs. Small problems, when ignored grow into large problems and require huge amount of money for repairing. Like a clog in the gutter if not treated at the right time can lead to big problems like wet basement and even bigger problem like pest infestations. This can severely hurt the sale value of your property.

Wise Choices for Home renovations & Return on Investment

Something like remodelling the kitchen or creating an even better master bedroom definitely adds to lifestyle improvement and the comfort levels, but any idea how do they add up to your property value? Many magazines keep publishing articles on how remodelling each room fares up in your return on investment.

Well, the reality today is very different from what it was in the past and the same goes for the future also. The prices may rise or may fall further. But if you go by current rates, then the return on investment has gone down by 2 – 3%.

Neighbourhood and Investment Remodelling

Though, the neighbourhood property value is not directly proportional to your property price, it will definitely have some relation with the rate of your property. If your property has the lowest rates in the whole neighbourhood, then investing in remodelling may be a good idea. It will help in increasing the rates of your property.

Home Remodelling or Home Restoration

Sometimes, due to accidents like fire or catastrophes, you have to renovate a part of your home. In such cases you may have two options. Either you upgrade the damaged part or just replace them. But on comparing, you will see that restoration will only recover the value of what was damaged but renovating will help you add value to your property. You can upgrade and get funds from insurance. At least a part of it can be recovered from insurance. So, it is always better to go for up gradation instead of restoration.

For all people who are not planning to sell their house, all the words of wisdom written above would not seem appropriate. And for people who are planning to sell their homes in the near future, these simple suggestions will definitely get you a better idea about renovation.

Luxury Kitchen Remodels Built With Materials Of Distinction

A kitchen is central to everyday life, making it the perfect room for a luxury remodeling project. Homeowners have so many choices that engaging a professional interior designer can prove to be the best project decision made. Even a well prepared kitchen remodel plan will likely benefit from a dose of flexibility and a positive expectation to have fun in the process. Here are a few favorite ideas to consider for a luxury home remodel. All of them benefit from using quality materials of distinction for a kitchen remodel project that a homeowner will love to live with.

A Kitchen Island With Additional Seating

Homeowners often ask if their kitchen is sufficiently wide to add a functional, yet stunning island. Though the island runs at least 42, it is possible to minimize the design down to 36″ between the island and sink wall. One option to gain a few valuable feet of floorspace is to add a bay window; you will also gain fabulous light and a view of your landscaped gardens. Every home is unique and your designer will know how to maximize it’s more permanent features, while adding new ones.

Kitchen Renovations: Wood Flooring

Many designers helping homeowners remodeling their kitchens today are turning to an old flooring standby: wood, as a material of distinction. Wood flooring has made a major comeback as builders and homeowners look to increase the charm, value and comfort in new and remodeled homes with something so beautiful and so natural.

Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets with glass at the top, or in the cabinet door showcase the family’s favorite dishes or crystal stem ware. Adding a built-in wine rack or plate rack, adds high fashion and functionality. An amazing variety of time-saver features are offered if building custom cabinets; including; tiered lazy Susans, built-in cutlery drawers, a pull-down soap and sponge holder, housing for your smaller kitchen appliances, and deep drawers for pots and bake ware.

Appliances With New Conveniences

Today’s appliances can not only add a look of luxury, they are more functional than previous models, offering new conveniences and style that never existed before. Some appliances have extra depth to consider in your remodel planning stage. It is important to allow for items and appliances to stay visible without blocking necessary pathways and prep space. Today many individuals wear one hat during the work day, and turn gourmet chef at home in the evening. Top-ended manufactures, like Wolf, make a dual-fuel range with a gas cook top, an electric convection oven, a hidden touch control panel, dual-stacked sealed burners and ten cooking modes.

Kitchen Counters and Table Tops Of Distinction

The littlest details can add so much character and finish. If it is a high traffic area, ask your designer about adding a round end to your counter to eliminate a jarring edge. Or about a double bevel that will tie into other design elements and created a polished, elegant look.

When a kitchen renovation is expertly executed, homeowners will experience the benefits of having a kitchen that’s well proportioned, perfectly laid out, and uniquely designed. A kitchen remodel is worth the splurge of using quality materials that will hold value, functionality, and the admiration of guests for years to come.

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

  • Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals
  • Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach
  • Make unpacking a one-time chore
  • Work well with land packages
  • Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach:

  • Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.
  • Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.
  • Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.
  • Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

  • Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose
  • Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone
  • Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach:

  • Provides you with a ready-made group
  • Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path
  • Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing
  • Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

  • Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path
  • Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations
  • Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more.

Thailand Is a Very Beautiful Country

Mueang Thai, as local people call the nation, is an intriguing mixture of old kingdoms.

For more than five centuries, the Khmer Empire governed its properties – until ousted in the thirteenth century. At that point, the Thai Kingdom was effectively brought together and built up by King Sri Indraditya of the Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238).

From that point onward, the nation has been separated into four fundamental districts – each bragging extraordinary traditions, conventions, and attractions.

The assorted variety brings an astonishing exhibit of things to do in Thailand. Underneath she will talk about the best vacation spots in Thailand.

Top Tourist Attractions in Thailand: The Central Plains

There’s no better place to get a look at Thailand’s history and culture than around the Central Plains. In this locale is the place its capital, Bangkok, is found.

Bangkok, an energetic kaleidoscope

I whole up Bangkok with three terms: exceptional customary nourishment, old sanctuaries, and crazy nightlife.

The absolute most well-known things to involvement in Bangkok include:

Wat Pho and the rich Reclining Buddha

Fabulous Palace complex (counting Wat Phra Kaew)

Soi Cowboy: BKK’s shady area of town, for sultry nightlife

Boisterous, energizing Khao San Road (you should see it once!)

Grub at Sukhumvit Soi 38, apparently Bangkok’s best road nourishment spot

Vimanmek Mansion: combination of customary Thai design and European neoclassical style

By the time of composing, I don’t prescribe going to Wat Arun. It’s mind boggling structural subtle elements are as of now eclipsed by a broad reclamation venture. Invest your energy at other commendable Bangkok attractions!

Top Thailand vacation destinations

Day treks to the rustic edges

Have a few days to save? Escape the hurrying around by taking one of the accompanying critical day trips from Bangkok:

Ayutthaya: probably the most astounding remains in Thailand

Snack conventional pontoon noodles at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Hua Hin: beautiful shoreline town for the individuals who don’t have room schedule-wise to investigate the Thai islands

Eccentric Wat Saen Suk: to some degree grim sanctuary depicting the Buddhist dreams of damnation

Phraya Nakhon Cave at Khao Sam Roi Yot Marine Park, a standout among the most shocking collapses the world

The previous capital of the Lanna Kingdom has transformed into an exceptionally modest, current school town. Chiang Mai’s rich history, astounding road sustenance scene, and moderately ease of living have made it a mainstream base for Western expats in Asia.

Sanctuary jumping and foodie gets a kick out of Chiang Mai

Sprinkled with more than 300 Buddhist sanctuaries, I thought, which to pick?!

In the wake of spending a few days around the city, I finished up these are the most special, must-see sanctuaries in Chiang Mai:

Doi Suthep: prominent ridge sanctuary with breathtaking perspectives of Chiang Mai and region

Wat Chedi Luang: Lanna cheddar, transcending inside the Old City’s dividers

Wat Umong: novel 700-year-old sanctuary where occupant priests wander among the woods

Wat Suan Dok: fourteenth-century sanctuary where individuals from the Lanna Royal family are covered

The most novel thing to do in Chiang Mai, however? Join a priest visit!

They are social trades, organized by neighborhood Buddhist colleges, so as to enhance the English capability of their understudies.

Priest visits are an incredible approach to become acquainted with neighborhood traditions and conventions firsthand. The MCU Chiang Mai Campus holds priest talks each week at Wat Suan Dok Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 PM.

While Chaing Mai is one of the best vacation destinations in Thailand it is additionally home to numerous expats. In the event that you’re searching for an extraordinary base in Asia, this is certainly a probability.

Week after week reflection withdraws are likewise advertised. They begin each Tuesday at 1 PM and finish up Wednesday by 3 PM.

Did I go Sanctuary bouncing, as well as getting the opportunity to taste the eccentricities of Northern Thai cooking by going on foodie creeps?

A few dishes you should attempt in this area include:

Moo to: broiled pork tenders with a sweet, nutty flavor

Lab: fricasseed meat, pork or duck dry-rubbed with neighborhood flavors

Nam ngaio: tart tomato soup with rice noodles and pork

Nam park on: zesty Northern Thai plunge made with tomatoes and minced pork

Khao soi: Chiang Mai’s trademark! Thick Burmese-style coconut curry soup, finished with browned noodles

Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle’s tri-outskirt

Thailand’s northernmost clamoring city lays by the notorious Golden Triangle: Asia’s hotspot for opium creation.

Or, on the other hand, you could just consider it to be the place from which you can visit Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand in one day!

Past this tripoint, there’s very little to do in the zone.

I suggest you base yourself out of Chiang Rai on the off chance that you wish to visit well-known sanctuaries and take in Mae Hong Son’s sloping scenes:

Looking for nearby knickknacks at Chang Rai’s Night Bazaar

Redesigned Wat Rong Khun (White Temple): a nearby craftsman’s artful culmination

But Kwan Village Park: previous migrant slope tribe town, now settled by a wonderful waterfall

Baan Si Dum was otherwise known as the Black House: interesting accumulations of conventional Southeast Asian curious

Top Things to Do in Thailand: The Northeast

Otherwise called Isaan, Northeast Thailand is an intriguing blend of Laotian, Cambodian, and Thai societies.

It’s relative confinement, however, make it a standout amongst the most genuine districts a visitor can visit.

Gulped by the wilderness at Khao Yai

While Isaan is generally out of the way, this districts happens to be the home of Thailand’s most prevalent national stop, Khao Yai.

A whopping 70% of its 2168 km² are lavish timberland!

All the more astonishingly, however, the recreation center brags around 44 waterfalls, one of a kind natural life perception towers, surging rapids, and remarkable perspectives and climbing trails.

This makes Khao Yai a tremendous UNESCO World Heritage Site – ideal for nature sweethearts who wish to be wrapped by the thick wilderness shelter.

Thailand-attractions-Phanom-Rung Explore fascinating Khmer and Mon ruins

The antiquated Khmer and Mon ruins found in this district are a delightful complexity of customary Thai style.

I profoundly prescribe a visit to the accompanying notable destinations:

Wat Pah Nanachat for a bona fide contemplation withdraw in a woods religious community

Phu Phra Bat Park: grottoes, antiquated spray painting, and other intriguing rock carvings

Phanom Rung and Muang Tam: Hindu complex, apparently Thailand’s best-safeguarded Khmer ruins.

Tips For A Smooth And Convenient Bus Charter Experience

A bus charter is a bus that has a professional driver to handle tours, trips, and other transportation needs. A bus charter can be one of the best choices you make when going for a group tour to a preferred destination. With transport from one attraction to another, you will have all the time to enjoy everything in your itinerary without worries. With a professional driver on board, you can relax and enjoy and even take better care of any children you may be taking with you for the trip. A bus charter also translates into no directions challenges because the drivers are conversant with their locations and all tour sites and routes.

Considering that bus charter are many in any given destination, you need to play your role in selecting one. You may need to start by choosing a company that you can trust with your traveling needs and then make a few considerations to select the perfect bus to hire for your tour.

Get details about the driver. A professional driver is definitely a plus for your tour but you should not assume that they know everything about the sites you intend to visit; they may only know how to get there and nothing more. If need be, consider getting a tour guide to handle your other needs in case the driver is not available for such. It helps to be sure beforehand to avoid disappointments.

Consider the size of the bus. A bus charter can be as large as to accommodate 60 passengers but there are definitely smaller sizes. The higher the passenger capacity the higher the rental rates may be. Look at the size options and select a bus that caters to your group for the tour. Everyone should be comfortable including children in the group so select a good size for everyone.

Check out the amenities included. When searching for the bus charter online, you will get very good photos of the buses. To ensure that you get what you see and need, confirm that the bus you have selected is represented perfectly. For instance, confirm that the leather reclining seats you see are the actual seats you get to enjoy. Apart from confirming the features, also consider the availability of amenities such as compact restroom, DVD player, air conditioning, TV monitors and any other that matters to you. If you want internet connectivity during the tour then inquire if that is available.

Ask about allowed driving length. Most bus charters will allow a specific length of time for the driver to be behind the wheel. The legal limit can range from area to area and you should be willing to be flexible in making adjustments to your tour itinerary so you do not end up with a fatigued driver before even getting back. You, however, want to choose company and driver with a considerable allowance so you enjoy the most from your tour in your selected destination.