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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, September 2, 2019
Interior Design: Ideas For Aging In Place Safely And Comfortably In Your Home


A survey of adults aged 50 and above, conducted by AARP, revealed that 77 percent of American adults intend to age in place, with 36% ready to modify their homes in order to achieve this goal. If you are planning to stay at home during retirement, at first glance, your home may seem like a safe place. But in reality, there are many hazards around the home that can pose safety risks to seniors. That is why you need to design your home with the aim of making it comfortable and safe for you and your loved ones.

Kitchen Design

Designing your kitchen to suit your needs as you age is very important, especially if you like cooking. It is a good idea to make the flooring in your kitchen a top priority when making the necessary modifications. Incorporating softer flooring will make it easier for you to stand, and your joints won't be so stressed. You can opt for anti-fatigue floor mats, but go for the ones that are non-slip and have no curl. If you rely on a walker or wheelchair to move around, investing in an island on wheels can work well when creating clearance for your mobility aids. Also, consider improving lighting in the high-use areas of the kitchen. You can add under cabinet lighting in order to illuminate dark work areas, plus adding task lighting will reduce the risk of accidents when doing chores in the kitchen.

Bathroom Design

According to the National Institute on Aging, 80% of falls by seniors over age 65 happen in the bathroom. Bathrooms can be a dangerous place for many aging seniors, but there are many ways to make them safer and more comfortable. If you need assistance in the bathroom, you can bring assisted living services to your house by enlisting the help of a caregiver, who will assist you with bathing, dressing, washing and other activities. This way you will reduce the risk of you having accidents in the bathroom. Also, in order to boost safety, there are some modifications that have to be made. Consider getting rid of the tub, and install a walk-in shower, which eliminates the need to step over the tub and provides easy access. It may also help to install a removable showerhead for easier maneuverability. If a walk-in shower isn't feasible, you can always use a transfer bench, which will help you to get in and out of the bathtub safely. Adding grab bars on the bathroom walls can help in preventing falls. However, they will only handle your weight if they are installed properly into the studs of the wall. While these changes may be helpful, they can also be expensive for some seniors. Paying for a caregiver and doing renovations can cost thousands of dollars. In case of financial difficulties, you can enroll for Medicaid, which will also cover nursing home care should you require it, and depending on the state, even the house renovation costs.

Rearrange Your Living Room

As you age in place, you will need all the space that you can get in your living room. You can create a simple furniture arrangement by clearing unnecessary or dangerous furniture. For example, a coffee table with legs that curve outwards can easily cause a trip. If you rely on a walker, cane or any other mobility aid, you need to create safe pathways in your living room. Low furniture such as stools and ottomans can be a headache, as they may hinder your movement, and can easily get stuck on walkers and other devices as they go by. So remove anything that you don't need, and be sure to clear any clutter that builds up.

Implementing the above ideas can make a huge transformation to your home. You will be able to live comfortably, and stay independent for as long as possible.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, August 14, 2019
An Expert Guide to Illuminating Your Beautiful Landscaping
By Michelle McMurray



So you've created a landscape that dazzles your neighbors and visitors. Why not hi-light it for everyone else to see?

Outdoor lighting achieves three things: security, safety, and beauty.

Burglars and prowlers shy away from lights because they can be spotted. Outdoor lighting can also prevent someone from stumbling on your steps. And well-placed light lets the outdoor beauty of your home shine through, even at night.



Thanks to advancements in lighting technology, you have a huge array of choices. The challenge will be choosing the right kind of lights for your home.

Power

If you have outdoor outlets, you may be good to go. If you don’t, hire an electrician to install outlets near the places you intend to light. Consider how much power is available. Some light fixtures need more electricity than others and will trip the breakers.

Think about how you want your home to look. This will determine the kinds of lights and fixtures you’ll need. Light has color, so consider the color you want. The clue is on the packaging and expressed in Kelvins (K). At the low end, 1,800 K will give you a very red light while 7,500 K provides a soft bluish-white.


Light bulbs come in incandescent, halogen, fluorescent and LED. LED lights were once costly, but their price has come down, and they pay off with a long lifespan.

Solar-powered lights have also come a long way. It’s no longer necessary for them to have constant sunlight — a few hours a day will keep them working just fine.

To achieve your lighting scheme, you may need a combination of some or all the above. An outdoor lighting kit and accessories can be helpful.

Where to Shine a Light


You want light on the entrances to your house, so overhead lights or sidelights may be perfect. You’ll want the sidewalks to your entry lit for safety as well as aesthetics. You can do this with strings of low-voltage lights low to the ground, aimed at the path.

Soft lights go nicely in flower beds. Consider bulbs with a lower Kelvin rating to give the colors of your flowers some pop. In open areas, use higher Kelvin to create the effect of moonlight.

Spotlights placed a few feet away from an exterior wall and aimed upward can create an interesting contrast of light and shadows. Likewise, a soft spotlight aimed up into a tree will give the bark, branches and leaves a pleasing glow.

For a deck or patio, use soft ambient lighting from above or from lantern-style fixtures placed on walls or posts. Ceiling lights are increasing in popularity as more homeowners install outdoor kitchens.

Use motion-activated lights at garage doors or side entrance doors. This is a safety and security measure more than beautification.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Hidden Water Damage

Does Your Bathroom Have Hidden Water Damage?


When water leaks into your home, mold can grow in just 24 hours. This makes even the smallest leak a serious concern. It is clear that when you see this water inside of your house it needs to be dealt with right away, but what if you can’t see the water coming in? Hidden water damage is particularly common in bathrooms, and it can cause an array of problems including mold, bacteria, and structural damage.


Step One: Find The Cause Of Hidden Water Damage

The first step in repairing bathroom water damage is finding the hidden leak that caused the issue in the first place. This is important because it allows you to treat the entire affected area, not just the area that seems to have water damage. The places you'll want to check include the shower or bath tub, the toilet, and the bathroom sink. You will also want to check the piping behind these objects.

To check the shower for leaks, splash water in the cracks around its edges to see if the damaged area pools with water. Check the drain for leaks by filling the tub with one inch of water and letting it drain while you watch for leaks. The sink can be checked around the edges and through the drain as well. The toilet should be checked when flushing. If these objects are not leaking and you are still experiencing hidden water damage, it is most likely caused by excess moisture left in the air after baths and showers. Excess moisture is often left when homes do not have bathroom moisture control tools.

Step Two: Repair Water Damaged Area

When you begin treating the affected area, check for mold and mildew. Be careful if there is mold present; if there's a small amount of mold on a hard surface you can clean it with bleach, but a porous surface covered in mold will need to be thrown away. If the mold is covering an area larger than ten square feet, you will need to call in a professional for clean up. This is important because mold exposure can cause coughing, headaches, itchy eyes, sore throat, or nose bleeds.

Next, dry the problem area. You can use a large fan to dry the space before beginning work, and it is best to leave this fan running for between 24 and 48 hours. Any porous areas that are still damaged after being dried will need to be removed and replaced. These materials include sheetrock, wood flooring, padding, and insulation. Any non-porous material such as tile, tub walls, or bathroom fixtures, should be scrubbed with bleach water and dried again. The best bleach solution for removing mold is one part bleach to ten parts water.

Step Three: Prevent Future Occurrences

If the leaks were coming from the edge of a bathtub, shower, sink, or the bottom of a toilet, the cracks will need to be filled with silicone. Be sure to do this when the areas are dry, since the caulking will not stay put on damp or wet surfaces. If the water damage was caused by excess moisture in the air, a bathroom ventilation fan will need to be installed to prevent future damage. If the piping was the issue, the leaky pipes should be repaired or replaced by a licensed plumber.

Water damage can be a difficult setback to deal with, especially when it is hidden. Remember to always take care of the damage as soon as possible. When you find the problem, clean or replace the affected areas and stop the leaks from occurring in the future. By following these steps, your bathroom can once again be clean and water damage-free.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, June 7, 2019
Is Your Buy-To-Let Property Doing The Best It Could?

Photo by Marcus Loke on Unsplash

In the US alone, the number of people renting property, instead of owning, is at an all time high. In 2016, 36% of the population lived in rented property and the percentage of people in rented property has been increasing since 2006. Not all property value is equal, however. A property with personality, that is truly itself, will garner more of a profit than one that isn’t and there are countless properties that could be put in each other’s place, simply because they are that bland.

A Bespoke Home

For the longest time, the word ‘bespoke’ has been thrown around in commercials with no explanation. And in the simplest terms, it is something made specifically for one purpose or place. If you walk into a house and see nothing but fixtures and furnitures that you could get from a chain furniture store, that won’t excite you - or anyone. If you add in even a single piece, that has been made bespoke for you, or that you have gone out to find from somewhere that isn’t a chain. The personality the place has will rise - because it stands out.

Before the interior of a house, the exterior is the first thing anyone notices. Consider the front door, the first thing a person who enters anywhere comes in contact with. A door is just a door, if it’s plain, that is. One little detail on the front door can make a world of difference. But what could you do? A hand crafted door-knocker is one option, a little something with intricate detail for someone to stop and appreciate before they even knock. For example, a speakeasy grille, with little doors within the door, is an option that something that most people will never even come into contact with in their life. Now just imagine walking up to a front door and not knowing what the panel is until you’re inside.

A green space, something even as simple as a place where a tenant could have their own plants can be a huge boost to your property. Duncan Smith, writing for the UK government (in GLAEconomics, page 2) said that “green space was strongly related to house prices through the high attractiveness of… private gardens”. A person with their own green space is more likely to want to settle, are they not? They have been provided with this extra space that they are more accountable for, that they can grow and cause to flourish on their own. A person with roots settled, figuratively and literally are less likely to move.

Professional Help

Simply put, there are people out in the world whose jobs it is to give property advice, to help property owner make the most and get the most out of their properties. There are people whose jobs it is to help people with buy-to-let properties specifically. The most important thing for you to do, as the owner of the property, is to do your research. You may think this would go without saying, but it never hurts to have the reminder. And not only that, it never hurts to get more than one source of help. The property you’re planning on renting may well be your livelihood - so it would benefit you to make sure that you know everything you can and are in the best position possible to increase the value of your property.

There are plenty of options in the world for you to make the most of your buy-to-let property. Options to help you increase the value so it can provide a higher level of income for you and there are people, if you need them, to make sure that you’re at the highest point you could possibly be at.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, May 20, 2019
Summer Is Here
6 Tips to Upgrade Your Curb Appeal for a Summer Sale

Summer is the prime home selling season in many parts of the country, and while it may be a lot easier to rent or sell your Chicago 3-bedroom unit for market rate in June rather than in the middle of winter with just a few showing, it’s extremely important to pay attention to the way your home appears as prospective buyers drive by.

If you have a front yard full of winter debris, overgrown plantings and a sparse weed-filled lawn, those tire house hunters may do a quick drive-by and cross you  off the list in a hurry. Following are quick ways to upgrade your curb appeal:

The Lawn

If your lawn looks like Lambeau Field in November after a season of turf-punishing games in the rain; if even the crabgrass looks yellow and sickly, if the spent dandelions look like lonely dessert signposts, and if there are more bare brown spots than green plants, you need help quick. Now before you apply a weed and feed that will just kill everything except a few select grasses, us this pro landscaper’s trick. First, make sure you water the lawn—or the weeds—so your vegetation at least turns green.
Then, cut it short. A short lawn of assorted weeds and grasses looks a lot better than an overgrown mess. Finally, get an electric edger and use it where the turf meets the concrete. A neat edge and short front yard will look a lot better no matter what is growing in it.

Foundation Plantings

These might have looked great 20 years ago, but if your junipers are 10 feet wide and 20 feet tall, get a pro landscaper to cut them back. Better yet, tear out ancient foundation plantings and replant. There is something about fresh, young landscaping that makes everything look better.

Cast Concrete Planters

Discreet and sensible use of cast stone planters can add a stately and formal feel to your home’s front yard. These are a lot more affordable than you might think. It’s also really easy to plant large items because you don’t have to dig any holes!

Combining stone planters with some awesome greenery and flowers can give your home a brand-new look that everyone can see on display as they drive and walk by. This can put you ahead of the competition when it comes to pricing for a sale. Visit this link to see installation and care information.

Annuals

OK, so you’re not a flower person and have never had good luck with annuals throughout the season. The good news here is that you don’t have to worry about keeping flowers alive past the closing date, and with a little fertilizer and water, you can have your front yard looking very inviting.

Clean It

Go to the depot and rent—or buy—a pressure washer and turn your brown concrete bright white. Even if there are some cracks and less-than-perfect areas, clean and neat sidewalks and driveway areas really add a lot of instant curb appeal.

Garage Door

Great Realtors will tell you that an investment in a new garage door can only add value to your home. If your Fiberglass door is cracked, dented or just dirty and ugly, get quotes for a new door. You want to avoid home repairs when possible, so make sure you do you research before making any new investments.

The last thing you want to do is turn prospective buyers away from your property because of easily fixable yard issues. And remember that any curb appeal dollars you spend will probably be retrievable when you sell your home.
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Oak Park Home & Hardware specializes in lighting products in the spirit of Arts & Crafts, Mission, Prairie, Bungalow, English Tudor, Tudor Manor, and Spanish Revival styles.

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Oak Park Home & Hardware offer high quality lighting designs. We provide customized lighting solutions with manufacturers such as Arroyo Craftsman Lighting, Mica Lamp Company, 2nd Ave Lighting, and UltraLights Lighting.

We also offer quality lighting products with manufacturers such as Quoizel, James Mattson Coppercraft, and Lundberg Studios. Please check out our unique lighting designs in the style of Greene and Greene!

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