Monday, October 5, 2009

Tuscan Bathroom Design

Tuscan bathroom design is said to be a perfect combination of sheer indulgence and timeless beauty. When designing a bathroom, it is important to keep the style consistent with the rest of your house. It is a fabulous idea to decorate your bathroom in a luxurious Tuscan design with scrolled ironwork, ceramic tiles and marble if you have Mediterranean or Tuscan elements as your home decor. A Tuscan master bath would be beautiful, to accent your Tuscan style bedroom.

For a Tuscan bathroom design, choosing the right wall color will set the feel for your Tuscan bath. Just as with standard Tuscan decor , warm colors are ideal. Selecting colors with a yellow base will give you a solid platform to work with. Terracotta and gold colors are common in Tuscan design. A useful tip to remember is choose the light color as the base, and think of adding a darker shade on top with sponge or stucco texture. Consider color washing and applying faux wall techniques. This adds a rustic, Old World charm to your space.

An easy way to put together a color palette that makes sense with your Tuscan bathroom design is by looking for an Italian piece that catches your eye. Often a beautiful painting or piece of Italian tile will have a great combination of color. Pull out the colors to accent around your space. Integrating darker colors such as burgundy, olive green or deep blue are perfect choice for creating a Tuscany spa.

Again, look for these types of colors in your tile piece when selecting your palette. More than likely, they will be there. A beautiful picture from your trip to Tuscany is a wonderful addition of Tuscan Art to your bath. Have a couple blown up in a copy shop to canvas. This can also assist you greatly in choosing your color palette.

The key to a beautiful Tuscan bath is how you accessorize. Keep in mind the Old World style when choosing your Tuscan decor accessories and you will achieve the look and feel you are after. Your bathroom vanity, sink and accessories will set the tone of your Tuscan space.

Choose items like Metal urns, lots of greenery, Terracotta pots, wrought iron sconces and candle holders, and glass apothecary jars. You can just imagine how much you will be able to find. Consider hanging a wrought iron shelf as well. Open bathroom shelving is consistent with Tuscan design. Carefully select your Tuscany faucet. There's so much that can work in this type of bathroom. You want the style you prefer, and the price you can afford. Keep that in mind.

You can get creative by placing a baroque towel stand next to your bathtub, or a wrought iron vanity if you have space. There are stores that you can shop online that carry Tuscan decor, where you can find terrific things like a beautiful Tuscan fabric shower curtain. Products like these are great if you have only a shower in your bathroom.

If you have a budget to work with, choose some marble or tile for flooring. A beautiful rich color on the floor with take your Tuscany spa to a much higher level! If marble or stone flooring is too pricey, you definitely can bring out stone by adding stone details like a travertine soap dish and dispensers. Even marble candlesticks will introduce rustic materials appropriately.

Patrice D. Walker is an Architect student who specializes in Tuscan Decorating. She is the owner of Tuscan-Home-101. Visit: to access the largest amount of Tuscan interior design tips and information.

How to Find a Excellent New Home Builder

Looking for a good home builder or contractor, isn't an exact science, but hopefully, by the time you're done reading this article, you will at least have a better idea, what you will be looking for. Let's get started.

As a general contractor, the most important thing that I would be looking for any new home builder, would be experience. You can't sacrifice price for experience. If you're looking for the cheapest contractor, there's a good chance that this person will be lacking experience in home building knowledge.

How long has this person been in business? Just because you're new home builder has only been in business for five years, doesn't mean that he isn't capable of building your home. The same holds true for someone who has been in business for 30 years. Just make sure that these people have actually built homes in the past.

What is their attitude like? This is the second most important thing and I tend to focus on this more than experience, sometimes. If you don't get along with the person, you're not going to have a pleasant home building experience. If you think that there lying to you, scammers or generally don't feel comfortable with them, but they seem to have the most experience and build more homes in your area than anyone else. I wouldn't think twice about getting rid of them and finding someone else.

Last but not least, you should contact some of the people that they have worked for in the past. Talking to past clients, is going to play an important role in making your final decision. You need to find out, if these home builders, treated their clients fairly and were they generally happy with the overall outcome and performance, not only of the homebuilder, but each one of his subcontractors.

I would recommend writing out a list of questions and offering your new home builders past clients a free meal. Offer to take them out to dinner, lunch or breakfast, this way you will have their undivided attention and get the low down on your potential future home builder, it could be the best money that you ever spent.

If You Live in Northern San Diego County or South Orange County, and You're Looking for a Great Contractor, Click on This Link San Diego Home Repairs

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Greg Vandenberge is working on the internet to promote the education for creating simple to follow guides and home building books to help professional building contractors as well as the weekend warriors. He has just finished a home inspection checklist to take some of the frustration out of home shopping.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Are the Benefits of a Hot Water Demand System?

Before we examine the benefits of a hot water demand system lets make sure we know what it is. For those of you who have not encountered one, a demand hot water system is a hot water delivery system that uses a pump get your hot water from your water heater to your fixture quickly without wastefully running water down the drain.

When you want hot water you press a button which turns on the pump, speeding hot water to you, while pumping the cooled off water in the piping back to the inlet of the water heater. It just pumps the water around in a big loop. When hot water reaches the pump it shuts off, preventing the cold water line from filling with hot water. At that point you have instant hot water when you turn on the tap. Several manufactures of demand systems offer other methods than a button to turn on the pumps, such as motion detectors and photo cells.

Depending upon how your house is plumbed you may be able to cover a number of fixtures with just one pump. Most often the pump is placed at the fixture furthest from the water heater; however it's not difficult to find the best location for the pump. To do so, go to the sink where you think the pump should be located, and turn on the hot fixture letting the water run until it is hot, then shut it off. You have just simulated the operation of a demand system. The difference is you ran water down the drain waiting for the hot, but the pump would not. Now if you go to another fixture and turn on the hot water, you will be able to tell it you get hot water more quickly than normal. You have to wait at least an hour between tests to let the piping cool off.

There are a number of benefits to having a demand system in your home. With most installations you save time since you don't have to wait quite as long as you would with a normal plumbing system. Better than that though is the water savings. In homes with long pipe runs to the most frequently used fixtures the water savings can be huge. Studies have shown that a family of four can save over 15,000 gallons of water per year.

You might get cleaner dishes. The number one complaint that dish washer manufacturers hear about from their customers is the dishes don't get clean enough. According to the manufacturers the reason is nearly always the temperature of the water. If it is not hot enough it doesn't completely dissolve the soap, and hence the dishes don't get as clean. Before you it the run button on the dishwasher, hit the demand system button.

If you are the kind of person who turns on the shower and then goes and does something else while waiting for the hot water to arrive, and comes back to find the water is hot, then you could save significant amounts of energy. Heating the water is far more expensive than paying for the water itself, so running heated water down the drain is expensive. A demand pumping system eliminates this waste of energy.

If you have a septic system, then you know that reducing the amount of sewage entering the system is a good thing. Homes with septic systems often have a well to supply fresh water. If you have a well, you have a water pump. Reducing the amount of water being used by the system reduces the run time for the pump, reducing your energy usage and saving you money.

Demand systems use very little energy. Since the motor only runs for a few seconds at a time they typically use less than $1.00 per year in electricity. And since they don't circulate hot water into the cold water line, they do not use more heat energy than a normal plumbing system.

If you have city water and sewage, then by reducing you water consumption you are reducing the amount of pumping and treating that must be done to the water supply, thus reducing energy usage and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

If you happen to have a tankless water heater then you are probably aware that it takes even longer to get hot water with such a heater, and that of course, makes the demand system just that much more valuable. Although hot water circulating systems don't work with tankless heaters, most demand systems do. Some demand systems do not have a high enough flow rate to turn on a tankless heater, so check with the manufacturer before making your purchase. The Chilipepper appliance will turn on any tankless heater.

Demand systems are pretty easy to install. The pumps connect between the hot and cold water lines, and with some systems such as the Chilipepper appliance you don't even need to turn off the water main, just the two angle stops under the sink. You do need a 110 volt outlet to provide power to the pump. If you don't want to mount a button, or if you want to be able to activate the system from another location, most pumps offer remote control, X-10 control, or wireless remote operation.

If you decide to install a demand system in your home you should check with your water company, as many water suppliers are offering substantial rebates for hot water demand systems.

Mr. Lund has been an inventor for over 35 years and has over a dozen patents. For information about patents, inventing, prototyping, online marketing, and new product stories visit Free Invention Help

For more information about demand hot water systems, and tankless water heaters visit: Water Heater Information

Fixing Ceiling Cracks - Home Repair Advice

It's not uncommon to find cracks in your plaster or drywall ceilings. It's not uncommon to find cracks in your wood ceilings either, but this article is about plaster or drywall ceilings that have small or large cracks in them and what actually causes the cracks and how you can repair them.

Believe it or not, most cracks in your ceilings and in your walls, on any drywall or plaster home interiors, are going to be the direct result of structural movement within the house. This could be from a small earthquake, the framing components are starting to shrink, as the lumber starts to dry it out or it could even be from your house settling. Larger cracks might signify problems with your foundation or even your soil.

If you have a large crack in your ceiling, and this would be something that you could stick a quarter into, you could have a structural problem and I would recommend contacting a home repair contractor in your area to evaluate your situation.

You realize that you have cracks in your ceilings and they're not very big, how do you repair them. The easiest way would be to apply a paintable caulking into the cracks and repaint the area. This could save you some frustration in the future, especially if the crack starts to become larger.

The best way to fix the crack, would be to apply some fiberglass drywall tape and then apply a standard drywall joint compound to finish the ceiling correctly. If your ceiling has acoustic or wall texture, you will need to reapply to finish over these areas to match your existing ceiling correctly.

If you have hairline cracks, I wouldn't even worry about them, unless they become larger. However, you could always apply a little bit of caulking and repaint them.

I would like to remind you something that I already said before in this article, if the cracks are larger than the width of a quarter, you might want to contact a building professional. You could have some serious structural damage occurring in your foundation or framing.

Ceiling Repair Advice and Tips

If You Live in Northern San Diego County or South Orange County, and You're Looking for a Great Contractor, Click on This Link Reliable Home Repair Contractors

Greg Vandenberge is working on the internet to promote the education for creating simple to follow guides and home building books to help professional building contractors as well as the weekend warriors. He has just finished a Home Buyers Guide to take some of the frustration out of home shopping.

Thanks For Reading My Articles

Bathroom Remodeling - Tips For Hiring a Professional Decorator

One of the challenging things to do when you're redecorating your bathroom is to find and hire a competent professional who is capable of not only giving you a beautiful bathroom, but also making the space function properly; and all at a reasonable cost to you. Sometimes all you need is a few quick tips or basic guidelines to follow when you're hiring a remodeling professional or decorator.

Even if your remodeling job is as simple as replacing old fixtures with new ones, you still want to work with a contractor who is familiar with important building codes otherwise you could wind up having to tear down all the work you paid for and start all over again. The contractors should also know the plumbing, wiring and structural aspects of the project to make sure you wind up with a professional finish.

There's a number of options for you to choose from to help you in selecting the best professional for your bathroom remodelling project. You may need to hire an architect, interior designer and a building/remodeling contractor - depending on the size and how complex the actual job is. Put some thought into this process before you start borrowing money.

With homeowners scaling back on remodeling projects because of the weak global economy, be careful not to sign with a contractor who is more hungry for your cash than he is interested in doing a great job that will bring repeat business. Word of mouth and thoroughly checking their references should help you find the right decorator or builder for the job you have in mind.

Keeping an eye on your cash is one thing but an even more important aspect of your project is health and safety. If you have guys onsite who aren't sure what they're doing with wiring, plumbing or gas supplies it could have lethal consequences for somebody in your home or for one of the contractors themselves. Don't cut corners on this stuff - the safety of your family could be at stake.

It's so, so important that you hire licensed and insured professionals to complete your remodelling project. Qualified and quality contractors are far more likely to finish the job in a timely and tidy manner than some cowboys you hired for one third of the normal rates. The contractors should apply for the proper permits and follow code from A-Z with no bending of the rules. If your home is inspected by building code officials who determine the work was not completed properly, this will only lead to stress, frustration and additional costs for you. In serious cases you might have to tear all the work back down.

The contractor should apply for the permit in his or her name, not yours. Make sure that you get this in writing before any work begins. This holds the contractor, and not you, responsible for all work that is to be completed. Further, you and the contractor should cooperate with each inspection at each stage of the remodeling project to make sure nothing is missed and everyone knows what's being done.

If you decide to act as your own contractor for your bathroom remodelling project, make sure you research and know everything that is involved; put in a lot of study time for your own sake. Familiarize yourself with the building codes and legal language to ensure that your subcontractors are following the rules and you're not getting duped.

You will have to rely on the expertise of your subcontractors to complete the work, but ultimately, you will be responsible for ensuring that they act with integrity and within your budget. So, make sure you are working with people you can trust; there's nothing worse than having to look over peoples shoulders to make sure they're doing the job properly.

You will also want to become familiar with applying for building permits and how to plan for inspections. This is important for you to know whether or not a job is going in the right direction or not.

Redecorating a bathroom can be daunting. Where do you start? What materials and accessories? If you're looking for more bathroom redecorating ideas then click over to

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What If My Contractor Does Not Return My Call

This is one of the biggest problems in business today. You have some work done on your home in good faith that the contractor knows what he is doing. When all is said and done you have a problem that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. I really don't care how long it has been since the work was done. If you have a problem the least that your contractor can do is answer the telephone.

Some companies go out of business and others get to busy to respond to your problem. You will hear the old excuse "That's not my problem" or the ever popular " I didn't do that". I have been in business for over twenty years and had very few problems. Of course I built things to last as long as possible.

Keep in mind that some contractors are a one man operation and they might be on vacation. Some contractors do not answer their phones over the week ends or after business hours. So don't sink the ship to fast.

Do not call the Contractors Licensing Board or the Better Business Bureau unless it has been at least a few working days. I would give it at least a week or so. Oh yeah don't assume that the contractor got your message. Call a few times at the least.

It has always made me mad when I have to fix someone else's problems. I get the call when the other contractors won't respond. I listen to the home owner with regret for being in a business where I am considered a crook. This is one of the reasons why contractors in my business get out of it.

If you have the contractors address and they aren't responding by phone you can always send them a letter by certified mail. Request a return receipt. That's your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy for your files.

The good news for a home owner when a contractor will not respond to your calling them is the Department of Consumer Affairs. Most states have a complaint department of some sort that will listen to your complaints. Does this mean it will get resolved? NO there are no guarantees here.

If your state has a licensing board for contractors, this will be your next step.

This will get your contractors attention and there is a great chance they will respond now. If there are enough complaints against the contractor and they do nothing about them the contractors board will take their license away.

If your contractor does not respond after all of this. There is very little you can do about it. Hire someone to fix the problem and look at it as a very important lesson learned.

If your state doesn't have a contractors licensing board contact the Better Business Bureau or your local government for their recommendation. Ask some of your friends if they have had any problems like this and how they handled them.

For some more tips about hiring contractors go to

Greg Vandenberge has been in the home building and remodeling business for over 30 years. With this knowledge he has created a few websites that provide useful information for home owners as well as contractors. His main goal is to educate professionals in the home related businesses, dealing with problems that can easily be avoided with just a little bit of information.

His website provides all kinds of answers to remodeling and new house building issues that could create major damage as well as possible damage to your pocket book.

Decorate on a Budget With Discount Bathroom Vanities

When it comes time to redecorate you will want to set your budget and stick to it. There are many places you can cut costs, and one is with discount bathroom vanities. Purchasing a discount bathroom vanity can help you to stretch your budget, possibly even enough to allow you start on another room when you are done redecorating the bathroom.

Often discount vanities have a small flaw, usually because they are floor models. These are cosmetic and do not take away from the basic function of the vanity in any way. Many times you can use a little paint or take time to sand a small scratch and you end up with a nice, expensive looking, good quality piece for a very affordable price. Here are some tips to help you find a discount vanity as well as other discount pieces:

1) Buy from a private party-- Often when friends and family remodel they change everything, including the vanity. If you know someone who is getting a new vanity they may be willing to let their old one go for a discount price (some may even give them to you if you are close enough). There are many people who purchase a home and remodel and then sell their vanity at a garage sale or flea market. Look for these sales in local newspapers.

2) Clearance sales at Home Improvement Stores-- As stores rotate their stock you will often be able to pick up excellent bargains. It is not unusual to find items marked as much as 75% off (or more) when new stock is on its way in. These items are occasionally scratched, but more often than not there is nothing wrong with them besides the fact they are last season's model. By purchasing your vanity during the non-peak seasons and during times the stores are rotating their stock you can end up saving a bundle.

3) Discount Warehouses-- These stores are specifically designated stores for out of date/off season stock as well as slightly damaged freight. You can often find bargain prices that result in you getting what you wanted at less than half of what you would have paid retail. You will want to check over each item before you purchase it to make sure it isn't damaged badly enough to render it useless. For the most part, these warehouses sell sound merchandise at a fraction of the cost.

4) The internet-- One of the most convenient places to shop is online. There are many stores and auctions available if you take the time to surf for the best price, and you can easily save yourself enough to be able to redecorate your bathroom as well as another room in your home with what it would have normally cost. Bathroom vanities are available in thousands of stores online. You need to remember when you are thinking about making a purchase that you want a reputable seller. You probably don't want to spend a large amount of money if the deal sounds too good to be true or if the person is evasive when you ask questions. Keep shipping charges in mind too, they will increase your out of pocket costs. Some places offer free shipping.

Keep in mind a bargain is only a bargain if it truly saves you money and is usable. If you save hundreds of dollars by spending hundreds of dollars on trash you won't be happy. Making sure all of the measurements have been taken and checked is also important. Making a purchase only to find out the vanity won't fit is no fun either.

For more information on bathroom vanities visit - check out our review on Asian Bathroom Vanities.