Posted by Joseph
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Your Home or Apartment Exterior After a Long Winter
Whether you live in Chicago, Illinois
or Delray Beach, Florida (yes, even the
Florida rain and cooler temperatures) winter can wreak havoc on your
building’s exterior. If you live in an apartment with rent prices on the rise like Denver, Colorado, for example, luckily you’ll just
have to notify your landlord about winter weather-related damage.
But if you own your home, the
repairs will be your responsibility, so after summer has arrived, check your
property for the following issues:
There’s almost nothing worse
than coming home from the gym and seeing that faint--but definitely
there--brown ceiling stain that signals water damage. Resist the urge to paint
over it and hope it will magically disappear. The sun, snow, ice and even
leaves can damage your roof. Some areas of the country are prone to ice dams
that actually lift shingles off of the roof and allow water to trickle down
behind interior walls. Animals and birds can also damage your roof by
attempting to build homes or trying to get inside yours. And be sure to inspect
any exterior hardware, as bugs, rodents or just dirt and debris can destroy items
OK, you loved building
roaring fires, and these helped you keep warm during that nasty winter. Now
that summer has finally arrived and you won’t be needing to use that fireplace
for a while, get it cleaned. Creosote is a by-product of burning wood, and it
will coat the inside of your chimney. And guess what? It’s extremely flammable!
So, if you don’t want flames shooting out of your chimney when you build your
first fall fire, call a chimney service company today.
Frankly, some property owners
in Texas take these off of their homes because when leaves and general tree
debris are blown around, even products that claim to protect your gutters
sometimes do not work. If you like the way your gutters channel the rain away
from your foundation, either get up on a ladder or find a service company to clean
them out. Those pesky ice dams we mentioned before like to build upon gutter
Your Deck and Doors
Temperature extremes and
moisture are your deck and doors mortal enemies, and winter brings these
adverse conditions frequently. Loose boards on the deck can mean corroded nails
and screws while discoloration can be a clue that water has breached a barrier.
Diagnose, replace and reseal as necessary. A smart thing to do is to find some
amazing door hardware and upgrade to start the summer
Your windows may be framed
with wood or a wood substitute, and while plastic may last longer, any window
trim material can be adversely affected by winter’s extremes. If the trim is
cracked, water can get where it doesn’t belong, and again, you’ll be trying to
paint your troubles away. As soon as it’s warm enough to inspect, check out all
exterior window trim surfaces.
The Mailbox, Too!
What about that cheap mailbox
you’ve had since 1999? Maybe it’s time to replace that, especially after a
long, harsh winter. Now that summer is here, check out some craftsman style mailboxes. These look great on any house, and you’ll have a ton of options to upgrade as the summer start.
Nobody said it would be easy, and if they did,
they weren’t telling you the truth. Homes need care, and while there can be
low-maintenance homes, the no-maintenance home has yet to be invented. By being
proactive, however, you can keep more serious problems from occurring.
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If you’re aiming to sell your home in the near future, you’ve
probably been running around like crazy working on the interior of your home. Maybe
you installed brand new carpeting throughout your entire home or put in amazing
new hardwood floors. You might have upgraded your kitchen appliances to brand
new stainless steel and even cleaned every single closet out and decluttered
But what about the exterior — the first thing a potential buyer
might see when they arrive for a showing?
Although the interior of your home is very, very important. It’s
also important to remember that making a good first impression is where it all
starts for the buyer. There are a few things you should focus on when looking
to improve curb appeal.
Have you taken a look at your exterior hardware
recently? There is an amazing amount of work you can do for the exterior of
your home when you focus on the hardware. Take a look at what you currently
have and analyze what might need updating first. Keep in mind that your buyer
is going to want to purchase a move-in ready home, not one that they need to
perform a ton of updates on. Here are a few things you can focus on in terms of
· House Numbers
· Door Knockers
· Welcome Signs
· Door Entry Hardware
· Welcome Mats
If you take the time to update these subtle items on your home’s
exterior, you’ll have buyers eagerly waiting to step into your home for a
The easiest way to grab attention is by adding a lot color to your
front door. Painting your front door, a unique color, can help your home stand
out from the rest of the neighborhood competition. It doesn’t take much to
create an extremely friendly front door and entryway. Imagine walking up to
your house as a buyer — what would you want to see? And if you’re not
comfortable doing this yourself, you can always hire a professional craftsman
to help get the job done!
for outdoor lighting
Lights lead the way to your home. Your entryway welcomes your buyers
into the next home of their dreams. So, why wouldn’t you spruce things up a
bit? Soft exterior lighting can make a huge difference in comparison to houses
located near yours. The lights will also help to emphasize your landscaping
efforts (see next tip!) and help improve your security as well.
If you want to make an eco-friendly decision to truly impress your
solar lights which are great for sidewalks. They don’t require any running
electrical cables and you’ll avoid using the old orange extension cord that you
tossed into your garage last winter. These lights are very easy to install and
will surely provide the ambiance your buyer will love to see when they first
approach your home for a nighttime showing.
greenery for a bright and inviting feeling
Plants are a great addition. Your home will instantly start to feel
very welcoming once you add lots of greenery. Flowers along the sidewalk and
driveway, in front of your home, flower pots creating nice clean angles on your
lawn and garden beds on the side of your house — these added landscaping
techniques will enhance the brightness and home-like feeling of your property. Consider adding a cast stone planter or two as an architectural accent.
Little details like the mailbox do actually make significant impact
on the value or your home to the buyer. You will notice for yourself that
improving these smallest details can change the look of the home overall. There
are a ton of great places that will sell amazing hardware at a
great price. And as we mentioned above, don’t overlook the smaller details such
as changing the outdated locks, door handles, rusted light fixtures and other
hardware pieces that provide such great accents to your beautiful home.
Whether your buyer is a current renter of a Chicago apartment or a Millennial who has
recently secured their first mortgage after a long battle with the bank, it
is the little things that will get that buyer into your home for the showing
and inevitably lead you to a sale. Keep working on that curb appeal and you’ll
have a deal done in no time!
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As the weather breaks and we venture out to tackle outdoor tasks from window cleaning, gutter cleaning, yard clean up, painting and more, you may have noticed that a few other items may need your attention as well!
Your exterior lighting, mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, and door hardware may be looking a little tired from the elements (the weather). They may have accumulated dust, dirt, or have become a bit discolored or faded. Good news….you may not have to replace them! How about revitalization instead?
First and importantly, know whether or not your light fixture(s), mailbox, or house numbers’ finish is intended as a living finish or not. A living finish is generally a raw or patina finish that will weather and develop its own patina naturally over time. For many folks, this is a desired look. If the finish is not an intended living finish, then it is most likely a powder coated paint finish.
Now…it is important to understand that no mater how durable a finish may be, when exposed to the “elements” for a period of time, it will shown some wear. Some manufacturers use a clear chemical lacquer finish while others, because of State EPA standards, may use a clear “water-based” lacquer finished coating. A water-based lacquer will naturally dissipate exposing the finish below it. However, even a durable powder coat finish will fade somewhat over time, particularly when fully exposed to the Sun. Some people tend to think that extreme weather is the biggest factor in affecting a finish when in reality, it is ultraviolet rays from the Sun.
A living finish can be sealed as well. Sealing a living finish will slow down or halt weathering. Keep in mind that sealing a living finish will darken the color.
So here is what you can do;
Clean your light fixture, mailbox, doorbell, house numbers or door hardware with a soft cloth rag and very mild detergent such as dish-washing liquid. Then wipe completely dry immediately after cleaning. Do not use any chemicals or abrasives of any kind! A chemical can remove any possible sealer that is part of the finish.
SEAL & PROTECT:
Then you want to apply a sealer of some sort to help revive the finish and protect it from the elements. If you have some clear furniture paste wax on hand (such as Johnson's Paste Wax), you can apply a couple coats of paste wax, let it dry and wipe it off leaving a coating on the finish. If you have some lemon Pledge or even Stainless Steel Polish around, you can apply a coating of this. It will also revive and seal the finish because they typically have some silicone in it. If you are concerned about applying anything to the finish, then Endust is a safe bet because it does not have silicone. In either case, the application will darken the finish but will lighten up within a few hours or so. You should apply a sealer to all of these items at least a couple of times per year. It will prolong the life of the finish.
PLAN B - REFINISH:
So lets say none of this works to your liking. You can then consider refinishing yourself. The quickest and easiest method is to spray paint. These days, there are so many color options and spray paint types available from textured finishes to high gloss or matte. For mailboxes, house numbers, and doorbells, make sure to clean and dry well before spraying. It is best to remove the items and spray paint them in a protected area where over-spray will not affect anything. For light fixtures, uninstall them (make sure to turn the power off). If you are able to remove the glass in the light fixture easily, then that is the best method. If not, mask off the glass with painters tape. For door hardware, either remove the door hardware or mask off the door and door trim before spraying. Make sure to plug or mask the keyhole. Keep in mind that spray painting door hardware will not be a permanent fix. There will be scrapes and scratches just from normal use. In all cases, with spray painting, apply in very thin coats and let dry thoroughly in between coatings. Do not over apply making the finish too thick.
If cleaning up or attempting to revitalize any of these items does not work satisfactorily, then Oak Park Home & Hardware can assist in selecting appropriate replacements. Many customers will email us a picture of where the item will be installed asking for our recommendations. Look through our site and let us know if we can help!
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Posted by Joseph
Friday, April 22, 2016
Selecting and installing house numbers for the home can be a daunting task “for some”. There are many styles, materials, and finishes available as well as sizes. Determining an appropriate installation location for your house numbers can add to the challenge.
Let us shine some light on some options and the task at hand.
I’m a bit of a “detail awareness personality” so I tend to notice everything from house numbers, mailboxes, and doorbells on a home or building. As I walk my dog in my own community, I sometimes entertain my mind by rating the wide variety of aesthetics of house numbers I see. My criterion includes considerations such as;
1) Is the style appropriate for the architecture of the home?
2) Is the size proportionate to the installation location or size of the building?
3) Is the finish in sync with other related elements such as the door hardware, doorbell, mailbox, door color, color of the home, or wood trim?
4) Oh….and the functionality (in this case readability).
At my lowest rating scale are house number stickers. I see it all too often. Gold and black angular stickers purchased from the local home store, and stuck on a door, mailbox, or wood trim. Vertical or angular positioning of the stickers does not help the look or functionality. It boggles the mind why someone would brand their home with crooked stickers when they are paying $1500 or more per month for the home.
At the high end of my rating scale is a thoughtful presentation of the home’s assigned number where the size, location, and overall cohesiveness of the aesthetic has a sensibility. It communicates pride in home ownership.
Where to begin….
Assess the best possible location for the numbers. Can they be seen from the distance? Sometimes it makes best sense to locate the numbers beneath or nearby a light fixture so they can be illuminated at night. Many municipals now have codes or established ordinances where the numeral height must be a minimum height. Check with your local municipal or village.
Individual Numbers Or Number Plaque?
One word here…”Contrast”!
Keep in mind that the finish or coloration of individual house numbers must be considerably darker or lighter than the background they will be mounted to in order to read them. Does the background have a pattern such as bricks or stonework with mortar lines in between? Generally, an even color or textured background will work best. A house number plaque can provide the maximum contrast you may need.
Ease Of Installation
How many numbers do you have? If you have 3 or more numbers, keep in mind that you will need to drill from 2 to 3 holes per number. And you will need to measure for and align every number, making it challenging to get them straight or level. House number plaques typically have only from 2 to 4 holes to contend with and getting a plaque to be level is much easier. Plaques also tend to have more options for personalization.
What is the style of the home? Is it Craftsman? Is it Tudor? Is it Contemporary? Try to “right-fit” the style of the house numbers or number plaque to the architectural style of the home. For example, if the home is Craftsman or Prairie in style, then there are many number fonts available in the Craftsman style. If the home is Contemporary in style, then consider a number font that is a sanserif font style. There are many number plaque designs available where the number font style takes a back seat to the overall architectural shape or style of the plaque and the plaque becomes a stylistic statement.
Is Bigger Better?
It is of course easier to see bigger numbers from the distance. But I profess that ease in visibility is more important. Contrast is the key. Think about the size of the home or building. Select a number or plaque size that looks and feels comfortable in relationship to the volume of the structure. Oversized numbers or plaque can look out of place on a smaller home. And just the opposite, too small can appear underwhelming and may not be functional on a larger home. If you are unsure, find a variety of numbers or plaque options online, print them out to scale or cut out pieces of paper to size and tape them up to the intended installation location. Or if you know how to use Photoshop (or know of someone who does), take a picture of the home, measure something on the home for scale, and insert the numbers to scale on the picture of the home. We do this all of the time for customers with lighting and it is a great visualization tool. Ask friends, family or your Designer for their opinion.
There are many finishes available these days from painted finishes; living finishes, to stainless steel. Paint finishes are typically powdercoat finishes, which are durable and will not change over time. A true oil rubbed bronze finish is a hand rubbed patina finish typically applied to copper, brass or bronze. If a lacquer finish coating is applied, then it will not change over time (unless it is a water-based lacquer). Living finishes have become very popular for a variety architectural styles. Living finishes allow the environment to naturally weather the material building a patina on its surface. A developed patina can be brown, greenish or both depending upon the material and chemicals used in the finishing process.
What is the overall plan? Will you be purchasing a new light fixture, door, mailbox, and doorbell? Or will you be keeping the existing? Will you be painting the door or trim? These are important considerations when selecting a finish. Commit to a theme and work towards it. For example, is your light fixture and door hardware an oil rubbed bronze? You may want to purchase new house numbers (or plaque), doorbell and mailbox in the same or similar finish. The goal effect should be an overall cohesiveness.
Installing numbers or number plaque is by far easiest when mounting to wood. Many people are weary about drilling into brick, stone, or stucco but sometimes there may not be any other option or it may be the best option. When installing onto brick, it is easier to drill into the mortar in between the brick. In either case a plastic or metal anchor should be used to screw into. Your local hardware store may provide some help in determining the best type of anchor. On uneven surfaces such as stucco, you can use a number of standard washers behind the numbers or plaque before attaching, in order to achieve an even appearance. Most importantly, measure-measure-measure and use a level!
Selecting appropriate house numbers or number plaque for your home is worthy of some consideration. Clear number identification is a safety issue, making it easier for emergency personnel to locate the home. It helps delivery personnel to locate the home easily as well as friends and family.
House numbers or number plaques can be a way of branding the home with style and sometimes personality. The number display is also a way to show pride in home ownership and validates your investment.
Oak Park Home & Hardware has hundreds of house number and house number plaque options available. Please let us know if we can help in your decision. We are here to help!
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Posted by Joseph
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
By: Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel
Any minimalist will tell you that every single possession and accessory in your home should serve a purpose and speak to who you are. Certainly, we don’t all need to go to such an extreme lifestyle for this sentiment to ring true, though. That is why when you are designing your home you need to take the time to consider what most represents who you are, down to the very last piece. Here are four reasons why we at Modernize know that every detail matters when it comes to designing your home.
From Piecemeal to One of a Kind
The difference between your first apartment and your current home is cohesion. Like most everyone, you probably started off with a piecemeal of hand-me-down furniture and pictures that merely filled a need. Now, though, you are able to design a home to fit your aesthetic, and nothing speaks to that more than the details. Each light fixture and faucet give a little clue into what brings you joy, so be sure those clues are telling the right story.
Finishes the Look
Each room requires very specific furniture to serve a particular function, but more attention is needed to then make that room feel like a home. Something as simple as a Lake Geneva magazine rack and a Martin Tree of Life wood panel can transform a simple living room into a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired sanctuary. Consequently, find pieces that put an exclamation point on your room by filling the spaces with style.
Tells Your Life Journey
Some of the best accent pieces are ones that you have picked up throughout your life. Whether it is a quilt your grandmother made or a piece of pottery you found on a study abroad trip, these pieces are emblematic of your journey and should definitely be added in and around your home. It is details like these that personalize your home better than anything else.
Think of Every Guest
Your home isn’t just for you alone. It’s a place for family to laugh, friends to share a meal, and your children to grow up. And years down the road, if these walls could talk, they would tell of all the memorable events that happened in your home. So when you are getting bogged down by the thousands of different door knobs to choose from, take a moment to picture what it will feel like opening your door to each of your loved ones with that particular knob. Then, decisions will start to makes themselves, and the attention to detail will make your home feel inspired.
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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.
We have developed unique relationships with many of our Craftsmen, and suppliers of products allowing customization for our customers. All at very competitive pricing!
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