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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, May 6, 2019
Design Essentials For Living In A Tiny Home


A surprisingly 68 percent of tiny home owners donít have a mortgage compared to 29.3 percent of all homeowners in America. This is good news if youíre thinking of owning or building your own tiny property. These micro or compact houses, have increasingly gained in popularity because of their low-cost, low-carbon and lower tax advantages. Whether you want a Prairie style home or an arts and crafts tiny house, thinking about space management is key to kitting it out with everything you need.

Design for your needs

Moving into a tiny home doesnít necessarily mean you have to build it from scratch but can be anything from adapting a house already built to living in an old school bus. Either way, your design will be the crucial first step to setting up this type of trendy new home. Look for inspiration to guide you through the process and help to identify your needs to living in a tiny space. For example, will you have small storage ideas as part of your functional design or use Craftsman Style Plate Racks?

Design for beauty

While you donít want to make your interior space claustrophobic and cluttered, itís necessary to have all your home comforts to create spacious and practical solutions. Consider using all available vertical spaces such as using Craftsman Mirrors to double the size of the area. Choosing the right kind of lighting is also important so that they can be applied to specific areas of a home and can be either in the form of Quoizel Ceiling Lights or from the Arroyo Craftsman Lighting Collection. You can also personalize your tiny home with unique cabinet hardware.

Design for efficiency

Small dwellings usually rely on using organic materials so you might want to go for Barn Door Hardware or Hammered Copper Sinks to add to the rustic effect. Windows are essential for a tiny house to not only give you natural light but they are great insulators for heating and cooling too and you can even have Glass Art Panels for a more creative look. Think about what utilities youíre going to use such as installing a harvesting rainwater system to lower the costs of your water bills.
When designing a tiny house try and combine as much storage, natural elements and home comforts to live in harmony with each other. In addition, because they are so small they can easily be transported so when you decide to move, you can take your house with you!
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Monday, February 11, 2019
Upgrade Your Mudroom

6 Reasons You Need to Upgrade Your Mudroom this Winter

Your mudroom is usually a small hallway attached to the back door that in theory will keep winter dirt, sand and mud from getting further into your home. If your mudroom is in rough shape, any time is a good time to repair it, but, for the following reasons, Winter can also be a good time to do some worthwhile general remodeling.

Mudroom essentials

Oak Park Home & Hardware offers a variety of essentials for the mudroom from welcome mats, coat racks, coat hooks, key racks, to lighting. We also specialize in door hardware from entry sets, deadbolt locks, to security latches. Check them out!

Available Labor

In northern climates, like Minnesota real estate or Chicago, outdoor construction will grind to a halt as the weather gets snowier and colder, and this can free up all lot of talented carpenters, bricklayers and drywall experts. This situation can work to your advantage because even in a tight labor market, bad winter weather can make it a lot easier to find qualified workers.

Loan Availability

If this were 2009, your chances of getting a home remodeling loan would have been greatly reduced. Banks had just been stung by Great Recession economic factors and government dictated tight lending standards, and they would only lend to the absolute most creditworthy customers. If you were not one of these, you would have been out of luck.

Today you can certainly tell the difference in the lending environment; you may receive several credit card offers in the mail weekly, and you will be greeted nicely at the bank if youíre in search of home remodeling money. Also, interest ratesóalthough they have recently risenóare still very manageable.

Tight Home Resale Market

Home prices have risen sharply in many areas partly due to a lack of supply, and you may be tempted to put your home up for sale to cash in on this hot market. Any remodeling should of course be completed before you even contemplate selling your home.

If You Want to Rent

So, you received a great job offer in a distant city, you have to move, but you just arenít ready to part with your beloved home. Youíve decided to rent it, cover the mortgage, and perhaps even pocket some extra cash. To do that and get a top rent, however, youíll need to have your home in tip-top condition, so start and complete any remodeling projects now. And be sure to view trusted rent reports, like this one from Athens, Georgia for example, to make sure you know what price you can get.

You Have Time

Summer can be a busy time, and the last thing you may want is the disruption of a major remodeling project. The thought of tearing apart a room or repairing your mudroom may not be appealing during the winter either, but wouldnít it be great if you were able to have all of this done before summer arrived?

You Really Need to Do It

If the pan has corroded in your upstairs bathroom and water is leaking through the kitchen ceiling, or if every time it rains you have a puddle on the living room floor, or if that greasy wooden paneling in your family room depresses you every time you walk past it, it probably is time to roll up your sleeves and get the job done.

Again, remodeling is a disruption, but if any of the above six situations apply to you, quit reading this article and start making plans to improve your space.

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, August 23, 2018
6 Tips to prepare Your Home or Apartment Exterior for Fall Weather

If you live in Delray Beach, FL, you donít need to do much as much winterization as the folks in Chicago, IL. But If you have a place in upstate New York near Lake Erie, you may need to start getting ready now because even in a global warming environment, it is still going to be cold and snowy during the winter.

Those gray and cold winter days can be more tolerable if your house or apartment is warm and toasty on the inside and looks much brighter from the outside. Here are some tips to get started.

Windows

While itís still nice outside, check your exterior windows for cracks and caulking gaps. Anything that will let cold air into your living space should be sealed. If you own your home, and are able, get up on the ladder on a warm and sunny day and get those windows into shape. If you live in an apartment, start talking to your landlord about necessary maintenance. No matter the price you pay for your apartment ó $1,200 in Houston, Texas or $3,500 in New York City ó your landlord must still take care of your maintenance needs. To make things easier, let your owner know where they can get all of the window hardware and materials they need to upgrade for the coming Fall and Winter weather.

House Numbers

The Fall weather can bring sometimes extremely low temperatures, along with weather that can wreak havoc on your exterior ó specifically your house numbers. Donít let the weather ruin the look of your entire home; weíve talked before about the importance of curb appeal year-round.

Upgrade to solid brass house numbers. These professionally-made, heavier house numbers will hold up much better to extreme weather. Weíve all seen the houses with missing numbers or even home with numbers falling off of their house. Donít be that homeowner; get prepared early as the Fall rolls in and upgrade your house numbers first. 

Thermostat

Consider getting a smart thermostat that will automatically regulate your daily heating and cooling. Did you know that one saved degree can equal a three percent savings on your utility bill? If you rent an apartment but are paying utilities, start talking to your landlord about getting smart.

Although this isnít a product that lives on the exterior of your home, the smart thermostat can save you a fistful of dollars, so that you can spend a hit more on the most important exterior pieces; perhaps the all-important front door?

Doors

We all know that curb appeal and home exterior beauty oftentimes starts with the front door.

If your apartment is in a building with no exposed outside doors, youíre in good shape. If, however, youíre a homeowner and have a door to the outside, there is a TON you can do to prepare for bad weather. 

Start by picking out some great pieces to feature along with the actual door. You might consider:

       A tough brass doorbell

       A classic keypad deadbolt lock

       A unique, rustic iron door knocker

There are a ton of awesome products that will stand up to colder weather. If youíre a homeowner, take some time to scope out the look and feel you want for your front door, as choosing high-quality, weather-tested products will save you money and keep your curb appeal looking exquisite in the cooler months.

The Patio

You might not plan to use the patio much during the Fall and Winter, but this doesnít mean you shouldnít be prepared to keep things in order all throughout the year. You want everything to stand up to the weather, so that when Spring and Summer roll around, youíre ready to enjoy it! Plus, if you buy cheap products and expect not to buy another set after the weather destroys them, then youíre kidding yourself.

Donít skimp on the details here. If you have poles and fences in your apartment or home patio, then make sure you get top-of-the-line caps and toppers that wonít wear down in extreme temperatures. Prepare in the fall and youíll be ready to handle any weather that the Winter throws at you.

The Mailbox

Your wooden mailbox just isnít holding up to the weather, now is it? How about an upgrade this Fall? If youíre sick and tired of replacing your mailbox each year, then we suggest you look into brass or steel mailboxes that will last through the test of time.

There are some really awesome stainless steel options that will help spruce up your curb appeal, while at the same time preparing your house or apartment for the upcoming Fall weather.
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Thursday, August 9, 2018
House Numbers vs. House Number Plaque


The question comes up frequently. Should we identify our home (or building) with individual house numbers or should we install a number marker/plaque?

House numbers or house number plaques can significantly improve a home's curb appeal and make it easier for delivery or emergency personnel to locate your home. They can also help in reinforcing an intended aesthetic or architectural style. The cost for both is minimal and installation is extremely easy.

There are many great options but with varying costs. Individual numbers are the least cost ranging from $10 to $25 each. Individual numbers should be placed onto a surface of the home with a background color that provides contrast from the finish of the number(s). Individual numbers are more flexible in terms of placement on the home. House number plaques or markers typically have their own contrast (numbers against a background), are offered in many sizes, designs, and colors. House markers can also reinforce the homes architectural style, and project the home-owners style. Plaques can cost as little as $50 but can also go as high as $300 (even higher for solid bronze plaques).

Individual House Numbers:
One consideration often overlooked when purchasing individual house numbers, is the total number screw holes to be drilled. Most house numbers have a minimum of 2 holes per number. So if you have 4-5 numbers, then plan on lining up and drilling at least 8-10 holes. This can be challenging if installing onto brick, stucco or rock. Installing onto uneven surfaces such as stucco requires skill and patience. See this article regarding installing onto stucco.

The color or finish for the individual house numbers should be either lighter or darker than the background surface it shall be installed upon. Contrast is important for viewing from afar and at night. Keep in mind that many house numbers have a "living finish" which is intended to naturally patina from weather over time. This can affect contrast.

Individual house numbers are not a good solution for attempting to cover up inconsistencies in the background surface. Also, keep in mind that every time the background will be painted, all of the individual numbers will need to be removed.

If installing onto a solid surface such as wood, only wood screws are needed (typically provided).
If installing onto a masonry surface or other, will require some sort of anchor for the screw (typically a standard plastic anchor is sufficient). We like to shoot a dab of 100% silicone into the hole before inserting a plastic anchor for added strength.

House Number Plaques (markers):
These are very easy to install because they typically have only 2-4 attachment points or screw holes. Plaques can easily be installed onto any surface even when uneven such as stucco. Many plaques have accommodations for a street name or sometimes a family name in addition to the number. They provide customization in content and color. Plaque designs do have character style and size constraints however. Plaques are great for covering up blemishes on a wall surface. We have even seen people use a plaque to cover up existing individual numbers which were partially embedded into a brick wall surface. Plaques have built in contrast depending upon colors selected.

There are so many plaque sizes and designs available that it can be daunting. Some are architectural in style and some are very decorative. Some are understated in design. When selecting a plaque design, take into consideration the intended architectural style of the dwelling. And measure, measure, measure! A plaque which is too large for the building such as an estate size plaque can look awkward.

Individual House Numbers Mounted Onto Backer Board:
You can create your own number plaque from mounting your numbers onto a backer board. You can make your own backer board, or purchase one from any home store and paint or finish it to your liking. In this scenario, the individual numbers need to be installed onto the board, and the board installed onto the wall surface. We sell a variety of backer boards online.

Lawn Markers and Plaques:
Another option is to order a Lawn Plaque. Lawn plaques can be positioned anywhere within the lawn or garden. Some homeowners will purchase a lawn plaque in addition to numbers or a plaque for the building, particularly if they have a long driveway or very large yard. Lawn plaques are typically only single-sided and have 2 ground stakes. Be aware of snow however. Snow build-up can easily obscure a lawn plaque.

Vertical vs. Horizontal:
Vertical numbers can be difficult to read especially if you have 4 or more numbers. Vertical number arrangement or vertical plaques are a great option for a column or when there is no other good mounting option.

Lighting:
For obvious reasons, it is always a great idea to mount your numbers or plaque in a location where it shall be lit at night. For example, numbers mounted near a doorway may be lit from a porch light. Many people will direct a single landscape directional light onto a number or a plaque location.
 
Oak Park Home & Hardware offers a wide variety of individual house numbers, wall plaques, and lawn plaques. Need help in deciding? We can assist. Just send us a picture of your home and where the numbers or plaque will be installed, and we'll send back some recommendations.
 
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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Improving Your Home or Apartment Exterior After a Long Winter

Improving 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 buildingís exterior. If you live in an apartment with rent prices on the rise like Denver, Colorado, for example, luckily youíll 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:

Roof

Thereís 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 like these.

Chimneys

OK, you loved building roaring fires, and these helped you keep warm during that nasty winter. Now that summer has finally arrived and you wonít 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? Itís extremely flammable! So, if you donít want flames shooting out of your chimney when you build your first fall fire, call a chimney service company today.

Gutters

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 debris.

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

Window Trim

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 winterís extremes. If the trim is cracked, water can get where it doesnít belong, and again, youíll be trying to paint your troubles away. As soon as itís warm enough to inspect, check out all exterior window trim surfaces.

The Mailbox, Too!

What about that cheap mailbox youíve had since 1999? Maybe itís 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 youíll have a ton of options to upgrade as the summer start.

Nobody said it would be easy, and if they did, they werenít 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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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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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!

We offer handcrafted Mission style hardware, Craftsman style mailboxes, Arts & Crafts style house numbers and so much more. Please bookmark us!
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