General Article

Making Old Spaces New Again: 5 Creative Uses for Aging Buildings

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Older homes, landscapes, and commercial districts are prime spaces for revitalization. They offer character and charm that is often difficult to find in new construction.   If you are one of the many people who delights in strolling through time-worn halls and rooms or meandering along historic garden paths, why not try one of these ideas to help you share that love with others. 

1. Antique Stores

An antique or vintage store in an older home is a great way to share a love of things from days gone by. The atmosphere and ambiance of history in every room can be used to showcase treasures of your own or from different vendors. Be sure to comply with any zoning restrictions when you undertake any type of adaptive reuse project. 

2. Bed and Breakfast

Some older homes are teeming with extra bedrooms. Don’t overlook the flexibility of using all that extra space to host travelers. With the rise of websites like Airbnb, it is easier than ever to get bookings. You will be able to choose when you want to have guests, so you can plan this type of business around the rest of your life. 

3. Event Venue

If you like hosting friends and family, turning an older building into a special event venue could be a step up from operating a bed and breakfast. In fact, it could help to revitalize the surrounding area and bring clientele to other existing businesses. Shop around for caterers, cake designers, photographers, and other professionals that you could partner with to market and build your event business. You might even consider getting ordained to officiate at the weddings you will be hosting. 

4. Educational Garden

Not all old spaces are within buildings. If you have an older garden or outdoor space, why not consider turning it into an educational garden? This can let you share your love of historical plants, gardening practices, and even tools or preservation methods with future generations. 

No matter what you choose to do with an older building, work to ensure that it fits in with the surrounding neighborhood, both in style and goals. 

General Article

Signs You Have an Issue With Your Ventilation System

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Ventilation systems are designed to distribute fresh air through exhaust vents strategically placed in a home or business. These systems are found everywhere from restrooms, kitchens, dishwashers, parking garages, and more. They are designed to supply this fresh air to bedrooms, living rooms, or other areas where people spend a lot of time. However, there are several warning signs when a ventilation system is not operating at peak efficiency.

Here are a few signs you may need ventilation services in Minneapolis, MN or elsewhere.

Odd Smells In Your Home or Office Building

Ventilation systems are designed to distribute fresh air, so strange odors can be a telltale sign that there is too little ventilation happening. If the smell does not fade for hours at a time, it could indicate that the air is not being ventilated out of the house fast enough.

Persistent Sneezing or Sniffling

Ventilation helps to keep the air in your home or business free of harmful contaminants. If it not working properly, you may struggle to breathe, or experience allergy-like symptoms, such as persistent sneezing or sniffling, or watery eyes. This is due to the lack of ventilation of harmful indoor pollutants that are not being distributed out of the home or work environment. Experiencing these symptoms can be a sign it is time to consult a ventilation expert service.

Abnormally High Energy Bills

Your ventilation system can absolutely affect your heating or cooling bill. If your energy bill becomes unusually high, it could be a sign that your HVAC system needs an upgrade or maintenance. Many older systems are not energy efficient and may need to be upgraded in order to help reduce your energy bills and provide more efficient heating and cooling.

A ventilation system expert can evaluate your current system and provide guidance on how to best repair or replace your current system. It is extremely important to keep your ventilation system in good working order in order to keep your interior air clean and free of harmful indoor pollutants.

General Article

Staying Safe and Warm Through the Winter

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It can be easy to overlook the needs of your chimney, but over time it can become clogged with debris, soot and even bird nests. Not only do these issues decrease the performance of your fireplace, they present a safety hazard putting your home at risk for a housefire. Though some homeowners attend to this maintenance task on their own, it is recommended to consult with experts who specialize in such services. As you look into chimmney cleaning in Washington DC, keep in mind a few factors that may help you choose the right provider for your needs.

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What a Cleaning Means

You may think a good cleaning means plunging a stiff broom down the chimney while a cloud of soot erupts from above. Though there is some truth to this, it is far from defining what a professional cleaning means or should consist of. As an extension of the fireplace, the entire system needs to be inspected from the ground to the rooftop. Firebox linings, chimney exteriors, flues and positioning of all features should be evaluated for cracks and other risks. 

Frequency of Maintenance

If you do not use your fireplace regularly, you may disregard scheduling inspections for your heating system. However, unused chimneys make a great nesting site for birds and other critters. Regardless of how often you keep a fire going, annual visits are always a good idea to ensure everything is in working order. Additionaly, some systems might require an increased level of attention if they were never properly configured.

Finding a Qualified Professional

Making sure you hire the best service provider is always a daunting task and it can be difficult to know where to begin. For starters, ask around and get referrals from neighbors, friends or family for contractors they have used in the past. Successful companies rely heavily upon word of mouth and positive reviews from past clients, so finding out what specialists are still working in your area means a lot. 

Start your next winter off on a safe step with a good chimney cleaning by the experts.

Home Design

How To Choose a Fence for Your Home

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When you’re thinking about putting up a fence around your backyard or garden, there are many factors you need to take into consideration, such as the height and the materials. These depend a great deal upon what purpose your fence is supposed to serve. Once you’ve made these decisions, a fencing contractor Lake County IL can install the fence for you.

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Considerations That Affect Fence Height

If you are trying to contain pets, the size of the pet influences the fence’s height. For dogs that are small or medium sized, you probably do not need anything taller than 4 feet, but if your dog is larger and/or is a good jumper, you need a fence at least 6 feet high. Also keep in mind that some dogs may try to escape a fenced-in yard by digging. If this is the case for your canine pal, be sure you place hardscaping along the fence line or bury the fence at least 6 inches underground.

If you want a fence to protect your privacy from nosy neighbors, you need a fence at least 6 feet tall, assuming that the local building codes will allow it. However, in this case it is not only the height that is important but the opacity. The fence won’t afford you much privacy if there are large gaps in it through which sneaky eyes can peek.

Considerations That Affect Fencing Material

Perhaps your need for privacy is combined with a desire to feel safe from potential intruders. In that case, you need a security fence that is not only tall (at least 8 feet) and opaque but lockable and sturdy, with nothing on the outside that could provide a handhold.

Sometimes you may want to block the sights and sounds of the street outside while still letting in the natural light. In this instance, a lattice-like design, a fence with gaps between the boards, or something unusual, like frosted glass, would be in order.

Whatever your particular needs, there are materials and options available. In special circumstances, customization may even be possible.

Kitchen Design Ideas

Is the Kitchen Your Least Favorite Space?

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It can be frustrating to look around your kitchen and feel like throwing your hands up in surrender. Kitchen design 30 and more years ago didn’t put much stock in having the right type and amount of storage, appliance layout, or beauty in fixtures. Kitchens of old were designed with basic use in mind.

Are you dealing with clutter and a lack of storage?

Is your kitchen lacking space and have a feeling of being cluttered all the time? You can renovate the layout of your kitchen to create more room and install enough storage to finally have the room you need. Completely clear off your counters and feel better organized. You can more efficiently manage the space you have available.

Is your sink and faucet from a bygone era?

Owner’s of older homes that have not been renovated in decades are dealing with kitchen sinks and faucets that are outdated and often leak. Upgrading the sink and faucet to a more contemporary style that works is more affordable than you think.

Are your cabinets and counters scarred and broken?

Counters can become stained, scarred, warped and loose after decades of daily use. You can change the countertops to a more durable material. Choose a new set of cabinets that have working doors and no missing hardware. Pick the colors and styles of cabinets and counters that match and give your kitchen a custom look.

Has your kitchen flooring seen better days?

Cracked tile or worn linoleum on the floor provides a surface that’s impossible to keep clean. Have the old material stripped away and add new materials that will last for years. You can even choose vinyl or natural wood.

Don’t keep trying to work around a kitchen that is quickly losing its value as a functional part of your home. Get the experts in kitchen renovation Baltimore MD homeowners depend on for affordable, professional design and installation of counters, cabinets, flooring, fixtures, lighting, and more.