Convert Your Garage into Usable Living Space

Garages are often an overlooked wealth of potential living space. Using a garage for living space can mean giving up the entire garage, or just a portion of it. It is important to evaluate your needs and decide the best way to use this space.

Two-Car Garages

A two-car garage can become additional living space, as well as still be a garage. You can split the garage in half and build a wall. Choose to use the half closest to the home for living space as this is just more practical. One you have the wall up, it is like adding an additional room and still having a garage space to park cars, store things or anything else you used your garage for. The new space created from your garage can be used as a spare bedroom office space, family room or anything else that you want to add to your home.

Practicalities

Converting a garage will take a few extra steps. It is not like any other room in the home where you can just change paint and floors and then add furniture. First, if your garage and home are on different ground heights, you may need to raise the floor a bit. This will prevent things like water from seeping into your new space. You also need to assess insulation, security, heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electricity. You will want the space to be functional all throughout the year, so all of these are necessary to make this happen.

Know Local Building Regulations

Since this is a remodel, your area may require certain permits before you can start work. This is especially true when things like electricity are involved because they often have to be inspected for safety and to ensure that it was installed properly. You can find phone numbers are addresses for your local office that handles permits.

Which Room Do You Want?

Once you have the practicalities and regulation rules all hashed out, it is time for the fun stuff. You will start to plan your room. Do you need an office? How about a family room? This room can become anything that you want it to. Now, before you head to the hardware and furniture stores, it is time to plan your room. You should measure the space and note what the exact dimensions are. This is critical because not having exact figures can cause problems down the road. You should also sketch out things like furniture placement so that you have a rough idea of how things will go.

Getting the Lighting Right

Most garages are not the richest sources of natural light. This is where you have to decide on the right lighting strategy. You can install windows, but this can get pricey and require a professional. If windows are outside of the work you want to do, the right lights can get the job done. Recessed lighting is always a good option because it offers adequate brightness without being overpowering. It also takes up no space, making it ideal for rooms that are a little smaller in size.

Detached Garage

If your garage is not attached to your home, you can still use it for extra living space. Some people choose to create an art studio, an office separate from the home, a small guest space or even a fully equipped gym. You would follow the same regulations and consider the same practicalities as you would with an attached garage. The nice thing about this is that you can choose to leave the regular garage door on and then open it in the nice weather for a nice indoor/outdoor feel. The possibilities are truly endless.

 

About the Author: Jerry Davidson has been writing about home design and remodeling for nearly ten years. He specializes in garage doors and roll-up counter doors

Dealing With Rough Wall Surfaces

First off I would like to say that I am not recommending here a solution to major problems with walls suffering from cracks and damp – these really should be addressed as issues in their own rights and simply pasting over them will never address the problems.

However, if you have a room with older walls where the plaster is rough and showing signs of age – the surfaces are rough and there are places where some plaster has flaked away. In this instance there is an option to removing the plaster and having the room re-plastered (potentially by a specialist) which can add time and cost to a project, the alternative is to use lining paper which can be added to a wall before decorative wallpaper is added.

Tip: The thicker the paper the greater the ability to address roughness in the wall surface.

Lining paper is available in a range of grades, the higher the grade the thicker the lining paper. The 1700 and 2000 grades are at the “thicker end” of the spectrum while the 1000 and 1200 grades are great general use grades for homes.

Tip: As the thickness of the lining paper grade increases it can be more difficult to apply to the walls. For home DIY projects it can be advised to use an intermediate thickness.

Lining paper is used on walls of rough and varying surface texture to provide a smooth surface which can be wallpapered over. Lining paper needs to be soaked before application to the wall so if you have had experience putting up wallpaper then you should be ok with using lining paper.

Tip: For those with less DIY experience or if you’ve had a “wallpaper nightmare” in the past you can get paste-the-wall lining paper which is an easier way of applying the paper directly to a pre-pasted wall.

As well as providing the base to provide a smooth surface onto which you can lay decorative wallpaper, the lining paper can help improve the quality of your decorative finish as the lining paper helps reduce shrinkage in the laid wallpaper and prevent peeling – this is particularly beneficial if you have invested in expensive designer wallpaper, an instance when placing some interior design budget into lining paper can be advisable.

The equipment you’ll need for putting up lining paper will be very similar to those for wallpapering, so in addition to the rolls of paper and the adhesives you will also need a paste brush, scissors/Stanley knife and a wallpapering table will be a big help!

All home decoration projects have costs and if re-plastering is not an option and the wall is suffering from some bumps and irregularities then lining paper can be a great alternative and one which should be able to fit into a well-prepared budget.

This was a Guest Post by CoverYourWall. A UK based company selling thermal liners, lining paper and DIY soundproofing online.

Swap Out Your Old Drab Curtains for Venetian Blinds [Guest Post]

The classic look of the Venetian blind continues to be a popular style selection for window dressing. For a more contemporary look many people are choosing to install metal Venetian blinds instead of the traditional wooden version. Metal blinds co-ordinate well with the current trend in retro furniture which typically incorporates some metallic detailing.

Manufactured from 8 gauge aluminium metal Venetian blinds come in an assortment of colours and often with a lifetime warranty. Colours range from black and white to several off white shades as well as all the colours of the rainbow.


The beauty of aluminium is that it does not warp. There is also no concern about having to re-varnish or oil the blinds that are exposed to the harmful UV rays. This is a practical material to consider for those buyers interested in having a long term investment. The aluminium too can be treated with heat retaining properties so that it can insulate the room.

The blinds can be set up so that they open and close automatically. Buyers find this system the best since the blinds move more easily when propelled by the uniform action of the motor. These blinds will still provide that timeless ambiance in the room where light can be filtered in the desired amount. The window area will have clean stylish lines suitable for the office as well as the living room

For a quick and easy home improvement, think about upgrading your curtains to blinds. Visit http://www.curtainsandblinds4homes.co.uk for a wide selection of venetian blinds.

5 Ways to an Easy Care Garden

Picture the perfect garden, and there’s a good chance it will involve a perfect lawn, tended flower beds and some interesting water features.  In reality though, most of us are grappling with a garden that looks more like a scene from a disaster movie. Although it’s unlikely that there really is a crashed plane in the flowerbeds, you can’t help thinking it’s doubtful you would have even noticed, so seldom do you manage to do any actual gardening.

So how can you create a perfect garden, with only the minimum of work?

Create a Central Feature

This can be anything that draws the eye to a focus point, and the rest of the garden can be planned around it. Try a raised flower bed built out of stone, and plant with easy care perennials such as  hostas, or peonies. These will flower every year with the minimum of maintenance. Alternatively, positioning an urn, statue, water feature or pagoda will also create interest, and can help you plan a theme for the garden.

Box Hedging

Box is a very easy to care for evergreen, and can be used in a variety of ways to create classical and formal features in the garden. Try planting box in attractive pots to position around a patio or decking area, or use box to design low level formal looking hedging, to contain other plants.

Paths

Laying a path or walkway is a very easy way of creating visual interest within a garden. The effect is to produce definition within a garden by making a clear division between soft planted areas or lawn, and draw our attention to other features by literally leading us there. A path can be edged with low maintenance lavender, for a romantic effect, or simply edged with lawn for a crisp and clean design. A path can be made from gravel, paving stone, brick, cobbles or even wood bark, but remember that weeds will sprout through any gaps and will need attention!

Artificial Grass

Artificial grass has moved a long way from the lurid plasticky stuff once used by greengrocers, and is now being embraced even by garden designers.  Realistic and natural looking, artificial turf can now barely be distinguished from the real thing. As the lawn is one of the most time consuming garden tasks of all, installing artificial grass will seriously cut down time spent on mowing, watering and looking after a lawn. Even better, it lasts for over five years, and will remain spruce looking despite heavy foot traffic, children and animals. It can be easily laid yourself or by an artificial grass company, and come in a variety of different piles for uses and effects.

Mulching

Weeds are the enemy of the time pressed gardener! Keep them down by covering areas of bare soil around plants with a mulch of wood chippings or landscape fabric. A mulch will also preserve any moisture in the soil, and so cut down the need for watering.

This article was written by Viviana Duvall, on behalf of Namgrass For more information about artificial turf, Viviana recommends that you visit http://www.namgrass.co.uk/

Making Stained Glass Windows for Doors at Home

Making Stained Glass Windows for Doors at Home

When it comes to sprucing up your home the options are endless, but when converting windows into stained glass you bring a whole new life to a place. Not only do stained glass windows add a bit of color and character to your home, but they can be very useful in creating privacy, blocking out bright sunlight or even simply covering up a bad view.  So for those who are in the mood to get crafty we shall walk you through the basic steps of how to turn those plain door windows into pieces of art made by your own two hands.

1.       Choose your pattern

To begin the process you will need to decide if you would like to use a preprinted pattern or if you would like to make your own. If you choose to make your own pattern be sure to use a piece of paper that fits the size of the door window you will be replacing. We suggest that beginners stick to bigger shapes and for those looking for more of a challenge use smaller more intricate shapes. After you have crafted your design, number each shape then make a copy, that way you can cut out each piece on the copy and use it as a tracer for your glass.

2.       Pick out your glass

When deciding on what glass to use in your front door, you need to consider several factors. First off, you will want to consider your colors, making sure that your palette goes nicely together and keeping in mind which colors will be next to each other on your pattern. Secondly, the thickness of the glass will play a big role in the making of your window because if it is too thin it may break easily and if it is too thick it will be hard to cut later. Lastly, if you are re-using old glass you will want to check that when you place your paper shape cut out on the glass that no cracks or unwanted blemishes are showing.

3.       Cut your glass

This is when it is best to take things slow and be very patient in order to minimize waste and avoid becoming stressed. Using removable adhesive, place your cut out shape on your glass and then using your glass cutter, cut out your shape. If you think you have made any mistakes do not try and adjust them at this time, instead finish cutting the shape and then gently tap it out of the larger glass. Now you can use pliers to very carefully tap away bits if it is too big or a glass grinder to smooth out any imperfections. This stage is complete once you have smoothed down the edges of your shapes using emery paper.

4.       Connect the leading

Now it is time to put your puzzle back together to create your beautiful door window design. You can use your original pattern and the numbers written on the shapes to help you remember the correct layout, simply throw away the cut out paper shapes once it is complete. Then begin to fit your lead strips around each piece of glass. You can choose between different thicknesses of lead, just keep in mind that they will show on the final product.

5.       Time to solder the joints

This is the last step in making your stained glass door window and it serves as a very important part because it is what binds it all in place. Soldering can be dangerous because it is flammable so make sure you are using proper precautions. After you have heated the iron you will connect the lead by soldering the joints, do not rush through this process, but keep at a steady pace so that you can properly fit each piece before it dries. Once you have completed both sides and around the outside you have completed your stained glass window.  Some people like to give the window a bit of a polish before hanging it up, we suggest using a very light detergent if this is something you would like to do.

Once your door window is hung you can sit back and enjoy your illuminated wall decoration knowing that you have successfully created a piece of art and in a style that has been around for over a thousand years.

This article is brought to you by Yale composite doors. Each Yale period style front door features the option to insert a number of stained glass options. Yale exterior doors come in a range of styles; from Victorian to contemporary front doors – the choice is yours.

Pros And Cons Of Striped Wallpaper

Striped wallpaperWhen you go browsing through homeware shops and online stores you come across a vast array of wallpaper designs to choose from. It can be a difficult decision to make as you find various so many that you like. It is actually interesting to look around as you find so much more diversity in the range of choices than you think is available. One thing that caught my eye was a collection of striped wallpaper I stumbled upon. I was drawn to the busy pattern that just looked really cool! When you analyse the design there are definitely some pros and cons to this bold choice.

Pros:

  • The first one that came straight to my mind is that it just looks awesome! How many peoples homes do you enter and see stripy wallpaper? Not many is the answer for me as I have honestly never seen it before. It just screams out look and me and would create a fantastic statement feature wall within a modern looking living room.
  • The next is the number of colour combination that it comes in. Choosing wallpaper that blandly features one block or shades of that same colour is an obvious choice and doesn’t help out as much when it comes to picking furnishings. I came across a teal, brown and beige combo that looks fantastic and you can use these three colours for everything else.
  • Any girl will know that horizontal stripes are not always the most flattering design when it comes to picking out a top or dress and it can make you look wider. What might be a negative in ladies fashion is a positive within interior design! The horizontal stripes will make the room appear wider than it actually is, great for expanding the room without hiring builders to knock down walls. Vertical will of course make the room feel as though you have higher ceilings, so plus points with both ways you choose!

Cons:

  • The two different ways to hang striped wallpaper have a positive but this can also turn into a negative. If you are decorating within a small space, placing bold and overpowering horizontal stripes will not make the room look wider. It will make it appear cramped and even dark depending on the colours you use.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have a large house, choosing thin stripes that have a barcode like effect will be too busy across a large wall. You may regret it every time you walk into the room and your eyes feel dazzled!

After weighing up which room in your home you want them to go in and working out the design you want, it is safe to say that stripes look great and guests coming into your home will be impressed.

Roller Garage Doors – More space less cost

Garage Doorsoss the entrance of the garage to ensure the goods inside remain safe from criminals looking for rich pickings.

For homeowners looking to maximise the storage potential with the home then this is where a roller garage door comes in. The tough door curtain will easily protect your belongings thanks to the simplistic but effective design.

Due to the fact that a roller door lifts vertically within side guides, the door is very difficult to break through. To increase the security, the bottom of the door features a reinforced bottom rail that is designed to resist anyone trying to force the door from the bottom. Coupled with a strong locking mechanism, the effort required to break through a door of this type often means that thieves will simply not bother to target your home and move on to an easier target.

Along with this simplistic vertical lift design come a whole host of other benefits. This is because unlike other forms of garage door, the curtain of a roller door coils around a compact drum wheel as the door rises within the opening. The door roll simply sits inside the garage space behind the lintel meaning that additional ceiling space can be created in which to store items like ladders, bikes or anything that may be suited to being stored in such a position.

Compare this to a traditional one piece canopy door that retracts back inside the garage and it is obvious to see the benefits in terms of storage space. The other drawback to an up and over door is that as the door opens, the bottom will swing out somewhat as the door lifts. This means that parking the car very close to the door is out of the question otherwise access inside might become difficult.

A roller garage door in comparison allows for cars to be parked virtually touching the door without access becoming restricted. This makes them the ideal solution for home where the driveway is fairly short or for instances where the garage opens directly onto the street.

Generally available in either single skin or insulated variation, a roller garage door is available to suit all property types and budgets. With prices starting from around £300 they offer a cost effective security solution.

So in addition to creating additional storage space, adding security, you can now even specify a garage door that will provide additional levels of insulation to you home that will in turn lead to long terms savings off expensive energy bills. And let`s face it, in this economic climate, every little saving that can be made to household expenses can only be a good thing.

When looking to purchase a new door, the best place to compare prices it on the internet. Here you will find a wide range of roller garage doors online from a wide range of leading manufacturers for much less than you may first imagine.