Archive for the 'DIY' Category
By Deb Villeneuve
I hope that you enjoy this guest post, which is full of “green” tips that can be useful when it comes time to move into your new home, from Grace Bailey
The utilization of used boxes can be something you’re doing for a variety of reasons, ranging from a love for eco-friendly ideals to purely economic reasons. This is where the used boxes come into the picture, a perfect choice for these times as they are reusable and easy to find. Here are some tips you can use when you work with them:
Where to find used boxes ?
One of your best bets is to try out the local retail stores. They usually have a nice range of good-quality boxes, often used to move heavy items. The best way to go about this is to talk to their manager if you can obtain boxes from them. Some store chains have policies in place limiting the number of boxes one can receive that way. In some other cases they’d be more than happy to provide you with boxes with no trouble attached. Wine stores on the other hand are also a great source of free moving boxes. They are great for books and since most of what they have there already has cell dividers you can use them for bottles, glasses and other breakables.
You can also obtain boxes through the use of bulletin boards, whether its online or offline. You can find their physical variety on laundromats, grocery stores, rec centers and telephone poles among other places. Online bulletin boards may vary from country to country, but each one will likely have an equivalent to Craig’s List or similar websites. You never know what you’ll get as in many of these cases people will gladly give away packing materials they can no longer keep around their homes. It is an excellent way to deal with this through a system of honest trade.
Is it alright to move with used boxes?
It would be wise to test out the durability of the boxes you have before you move. There should be no weak spots no matter where your boxes come from. Products may sometimes leak and this can quickly destroy the bottom of a box. Make sure you don’t stuff them too full so they can handle the weight.
What to do if you can’t find use boxes
You can talk to your friends, family or coworkers to lend you some plastic tote bins. They can do the same job, plus you can usually stack them inside one another. They are easy to use and you’ll have a chance to return them once you’re done with the move.
Will my moving company provide boxes?
Usually not, unless you buy them from the company itself. They will offer you a very nice choice of boxes that are even part of whole kits, but this will extremely rarely be part of the package. Some moving companies offer plastic bins for rent as part of their business, a nature-friendly way of utilizng reusable packing materials.
What can you do with the boxes after the move?
There is much you can do, for example following the same steps others are using when you obtained your boxes. You can put an ad on an online or offline bulletin board, offering the boxes for free. Alternately you can donate the boxes to non-profit organizations in your vicinity such as food banks or charities that deal with donations abroad.
Grace is an author keen on green living, home decoration and innovative design. Currently, she works on a behalf of Bow moving company in the UK
By Vivian Martin
Looking to wrap up your Christmas gifts with a bit of nostalgia? Using kraft paper tied up with strings may be just the ticket. Easily recycled and easy to personalize, it is a charming and eco-friendly option for wrapping your Christmas gifts.
We’ve been collecting some images on a Pinterest Board with examples… Just a few:
Top a package with a bit of greenery and pine cones
Let out your inner artist with patterns created with liquid paper and a Sharpie!
Dress up your kraft paper packages with stamps and gingham ribbon for country charm!
I like how these small bands of graphic paper pop against the brown. A little paper goes a long way!
For more ideas, check out our Pinterest board and just to get you totally in the mood, let Julie Andrews take you down memory lane!
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!
Happy wrapping and Merry Christmas!!!
By Vivian Martin
Does the thought of hanging Christmas lights conjure feelings of dread? Have you stared longingly at a beautiful storefront tree and felt ashamed by your own tree’s appearance? Follow these simple steps and your days of disgrace will be a thing of the past.
Eric Bain, a partner at Innovative Construction, spent three months a year in his youth hanging Christmas lights for the town of Vail, Colorado. Following his professional tree-lighting tips will make the wires and cords from your lights disappear from view. This simple installation process also will help you stay stress free, with safeguards to make sure your lights work before and after installation.
So exhale deeply — these tips may help you actually enjoy lighting your Christmas tree this year.
By Vivian Martin
When you need extra counter space or a roll-where-you-need-it servery or bar cart, this kitchen cart is the perfect solution. It can be as sleek or as casual as you like, depending on your colour choices and finishes.
- Construct legs
- Cut base and top
- Cut upper and lower surround pieces
- Complete surrounds
- Shape, cut and drill
- Finish edges
- Fill and sand
- Add wheels and paint cart
- Finish and attach butcher block
Think you’re up to it? Visit the Home Depot website for full instructions here…
By Vivian Martin
While free-standing furniture can look beautiful and provide ample storage, size-wise it may not always work into your space plan.
If this is the case, you may consider blending storage into the room so that it looks like a part of the house itself.
Built-in cabinetry lets you achieve this look, and believe it or not, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.
ADVANTAGES OF BUILT-INS:
Built-ins blend in to your interior instead of standing out from it. Free-standing pieces of furniture can sometimes project out into the room as much as 24″ and tend to appear much “bulkier” than built-in cabinetry that is fitted to (or into) the wall.
Built-ins can provide large quantities of storage because they can use an entire wall without overwhelming the look of the room.
The trim in your house can be coordinated with the built-ins for a nice, cohesive look throughout.
Built-ins can provide more efficient storage because they can be tailored to fit specific needs.
Lighting can easily be integrated into your built-in cabinetry which will add ambience to the room it’s in. Double bonus!
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Search design magazines and the internet for photos of built-in cabinets that appeal to you. Then, analyze your house to determine what will work, and what won’t.
While a large room can handle a full wall of bookcases, a smaller room might do better with a combination of cabinets, cubby holes and shelves. Also, varying the depth and height of the cabinets can go a long way towards balancing the overall look.
When deciding what finish to go with, look to the finishes you’ve already used in your house so that your cabinets blend seamlessly with your existing look.
Think about what you’re going to store in your built-ins. For instance, if you plan to use baskets, measure them and use their measurements to determine the size of your cubbies.
WHO CAN BUILD YOUR BUILT-INS?
Local cabinet makers can bid on your project once you decide on the look and basic design you want.
You! Built-ins cabinets are really just big boxes with trim around them, so with a few inexpensive tools, (and a lot of caulk!) it’s actually fairly easy to build them yourself. If you’re intimidated by adding drawers and doors, just leave them off and use boxes, baskets and other containers to conceal everything.
Follow this slideshow for ideas on how to incorporate built-ins in your home!
By Vivian Martin
When looking for a durable, low-maintenance cladding material for your home, you may consider fiber cement siding. It has the look and substance of wood siding but many attributes that actually make if perform better than wood.
Most fiber-cement manufacturers offer primed and ready-painted options. The latter would only require touchups on end cuts and the matching paint is normally provided. Because it is dimensionally stable (suffers from minimal expansion and contraction), the need to repaint will be much less frequent than with wood siding.
There are several makers of fiber cement products and you are best to ask questions at your building supply store and from professionals with boots on the ground to find out what their experiences have been with the product you are wanting to use. Budget will always come into consideration but you will also want to consider the product style, local costs, availability, durability and maintenance when making your decisions.
Fiber Cement Basics
Fiber cement is not a new product – it has actually been around for quite a while but it has only recently become a mainstream siding option. Many people like the look of traditional wood lap siding but not the maintenance. Likewise, with densification, some areas area actually mandating the use of fire-resistant materials to prevent fires from easily jumping from one home to the next. Fiber cement siding is often named as an acceptable product in those cases.
So how is this product made? Fiber cement siding is made of two main ingredients: Portland cement and cellulose fiber. They’re combined with sand, water and additives particular to the manufacturer to form a durable and stable cladding material. There is little to no waste in the manufacturing process and many of the products are recognized in sustainable certification programs.
Many styles of siding are available including lap siding (usually in 12 foot lengths and varying widths), cedar shingle replicas, and panels. Co-ordinating fiber-cement trim is even available to keep your entire exterior low-maintenance.
Painting & Staining Fiber Cement
Because fiber cement is dimensionally stable, painted coatings tend to last longer because the paint is not stretching and shrinking with temperature changes.
If you like the look of stain, you “can” stain it but you would need to use products specifically designed for fiber cement coating. It is best to do your homework to find out what your options are with the specific product you want to use.
Is it difficult to paint?
We’ve found this easy DIY video from Taunton’s Fine Homebuilding… I think even I could do this!
PROS & CONS OF FIBER CEMENT
Like every other product you can put in or on your home there are plusses and minuses and fiber cement is no different. But on balance the number of advantages are greater than the number of fiber cement siding disadvantages. For the record, here’s how it plays out:
Fiber cement siding is impact resistant, unaffected by moisture (when painted/properly installed) and can last for decades. It won’t turn brittle in the winter like vinyl and is not prone to rattling in the wind like vinyl.
Rot and Insect Resistant
Being a portland cement product, fiber cement siding will not be subject to the decay you would normally see in wood siding. Termites and carpenter ants will also look elsewhere for a meal!
As mentioned earlier, this kind of siding doesn’t expand and contract as much with environmental changes so your coating will adhere longer without the cracking and chipping you would be accustomed to with painted wood. This lower maintenance appeals greatly to all stages of life. We all have better things to do than repaint our homes.
Fiber cement is fireproof and carries a Class 1(A) fire/flame spread rating. That’s great piece of mind for those living in areas prone to wild fires, brush fires with wind-driven embers.
Available Primed or Painted
Fiber cement siding manufacturers offer their products both primed and primed-and-painted. The factory-applied coatings are done under optimal conditions which allows for longer warranty periods than field-applied coatings.
Long Duration Warranties
While each manufacturer is different, product warranties are normally quite long – up to 50 years for defects.
Great Curb Appeal
Even up close, fiber cement cladding products (boards, shakes and panels) are a convincing wood alternative.
Typically more expensive than vinyl siding but mid-range pricing could just as easily by a pro when compared to the cost and maintenance of wood. But if you are looking at the lowest cost of cladding, fiber cement will not be found in that class.
Compared to light-weight vinyl, fiber cement is heavy, awkward to handle (without risk of breakage) and requires protective gear to keep from breathing dust created when it’s cut.
Pre-Painted Could be a Pricey Premium
Getting siding with factory applied paint is convenient but be prepared to pay for this premium. Still, the devil is in the details… How many painters will warranty their job?
I Think I Like this product… Who are the Fiber Cement Manufacturers?
There are actually relatively few fiber cement manufacturers. The primary brands of fiber cement siding are:
Not all of the products or manufacturers are available in all markets so you will need to check with your builder or building supplies store to find out what your options are. Because fiber cement siding is a heavy product, shipping would add substantial costs. Many manufacturers also have zonal product formulations which much be used to meet the warranty conditions.
If you have a picture of a DrummondHousePlan home with fiber cement siding, we would love to see it! It may even be added to our Photo Gallery. Just follow the instructions on our gallery page to show off your beautiful new DrummondHousePlans home.
By Vivian Martin
More and more, people are learning the lesson of clutter and how it affects us on a daily basis.
As the years go by, we attach more and more meaning to little things we own, and shelves get fuller and fuller as clutter sneaks up. Tackling it means picking the pieces that mean the most to us, and making sure we celebrate them, rather than just keep them.
When trying to confront clutter, there are lots of ways to bring some of those rediscovered, long-lost items the respect and visibility they deserve.
One great way is with shadow boxes, which truly showcases our things. It’s the decor version of “Hey, Look At Me. I’m Special!”
Shadow boxes can be use for any number of things — from aesthetic groupings of a similar things, like vases, through to making a keepsake or memory box of years gone past or loves lost.
What are shadow boxes? The most common form is to use a photo-style frame that has a dropped back, with a greater depth so 3-D items can be displayed. Think of those creepy boxes of dried dead butterflies in the museum. That’s exactly what a shadow box is. They’re frequently wall-mountable, but also work on shelves and other flat surfaces.
If you like the idea of shadow boxes and want ideas on arrangements, read the full article from our friends at BuildDirect here…
By Vivian Martin
I don’t know about you, but I always have the best of intentions to store all of my ideas. File folders, scrapbooks and a huge archive of bookmarked websites. Backtracking through my links would sometimes require a psychic medium and no one in the household enjoys magazines with pages missing. Because most publications have some or all of their content online as well, I highly recommend that you investigate Pinterest… As a “virtual scrapbook” It is a beautiful way of keeping a visual breadcrumb trail back to the original articles you found the pictures on and provides the flexibility to create “boards” of ideas for specific room ideas and more. As you visit sites with bathrooms, cabinetry, accessories, etc., you’ll be able to get back to the images without having to print them.
There are so many decisions when building a home - the latest building materials, selecting cabinets, colours and hardware. If you don’t have a cadre of designers at your disposal (and with budgeting for a new build, hiring a home-stylist may take a back seat in your priorities), you may need to rely on publications and online resources. While there are many publications which cater to the US market, Canadian sources are more in tune with Canadian trends and available products.
There are a number of Canadian publications that you can subscribe to, or if you are looking for a greener solution, we’ve included links to the online resources that these publications provide as well.
Once you have selected your DrummondHousePlan, it is time to start visualizing your new decor…
Where to begin?
If you have no idea of where to get started decorating your new house Canada’s Style at Home is a great starting point. The magazine editors bill themselves as “Canada’s top resource for fabulous decorating, design and entertaining ideas” . Articles written in a friendly and informative tone present decorating ideas in layman’s terms. Even the most design-challenged individual will find value here. Each month they feature articles about interior design, home decorating projects, outdoor living and entertaining.
Canadian House & Home is all about design and decorating. Each monthly issue takes you on virtual tours of the most unique and beautiful homes across Canada, providing inspiration and professional articles to help you create the home of your dreams. Each issue features dramatic makeovers, the latest furniture and accessories, renovation tips, and ideas for organizing and entertaining.
For the DIY’er
Many individuals want to take a more “personal” approach to decorating. Canadian Home Workshop has been the go-to publication on home improvement and woodworking for over three decades. In this magazine, you’ll discover articles on project ideas, design techniques, practical renovation information and even home maintenance advice.
Make your home functional…
A home is about more than just decor, it needs to be liveable as well. Canadian Living is a magazine that provides daily living tips spanning recipes, household tips and ideas, fashion, crafts and even health and family advice.
Make sure your outdoor spaces are enjoyable too!
Few things create a stronger impression than a bit of outdoor curb appeal but many new homeowners are intimidated by a blank landscape canvas. Canadian Gardening is an excellent information source for gardening techniques, recipes, projects and design ideas. The magazine also takes into account the vast differences in Canadian climate and features essential regional information to ensure great curb appeal in all regions of Canada.
Planning your new home can be overwhelming but take it one step at a time and you’ll be fine. Be sure to savour the experience of planning your home and let us know if there are any articles that may help you in this exciting process!
By Vivian Martin
Kitchens tend to be the hub of the home and realtors agree that kitchen improvements are well worth the investment.
Thankfully, there are a few kitchen updates that are neither expensive nor time-consuming. It can be as easy as simply switching out your old sink for a new, more efficient model that fits into your current footprint.
If you are willing and able to do the work yourself, a basic sink and faucet swap-out project should cost from $350 to $700—depending on how much you want to pay for your products. You may need to hire a professional for the plumbing hookup, which should only take about an hour.
Kohler has an excellent blog post on sink replacment.
Just look at the impact of these simple before and after pics…
For the full article and how-to tips, refer to the original article…
By Vivian Martin
We are seeing more and more use of chalk paint used in decor to create space for notes or a blank canvas for young (and young-at-heart) artists.
We have yet to test this DIY project but it comes from Better Homes and Gardens, so we are confident that success is just a brush-stroke away.
While you can find chalkboard paint at almost any crafts or art store or home center, if you’re longing for a hue that’s not available on store shelves, concoct your own. To create your own custom color of chalk-ready paint, simply combine 1 cup latex paint in your desired shade with 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Use a paint stirrer to mix. During application, gently sand the dry layers of paint between coats with 150-grit sandpaper. Apply several coats for best color.
Feel free to share pictures of your project using this DIY technique!