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Updated: Saturday, July 26, 2014


The Designers Guide For Your New Bathroom

The bathroom is likely the smallest room in your house, yet it requires the most plumbing, fixtures, and lights per square foot. Bathroom remodels can be expensive, so you dont want to make any mistakes.

One of the most exciting resources for kitchen remodeling ideas is the National Kitchen and Bath Association. The NKBAs Kitchen and Bath Planning Guidelines with Access Standards ANSI is a terrific checklist to make sure you get the safest, most attractive, and most accessible new bath possible.

Naturally, youll have limitations in what you can do -- space, budget, and other priorities, but with the NKBAs guidelines, you can easily prioritize whats most important to you and your family.

Accessibility

If you dont have a disability or injury, you may not be familiar with the concept of universal design. It simply ensures easy access for all, but that doesnt mean your new bathroom should look like it belongs in a hospital. You can include wider doorways, roll-in showers, or door handles instead of knobs on the cabinets.

The doorway into a bath is recommended to be at least 32", depending on local codes. But if you have older household members, or if you entertain >

Because a bathroom space is typically tight, pay careful attention to all clearances. Could the door bang into an open cabinet door or drawer? Is there plenty of room to exit the tub without getting bruised by a cabinet edge or another fixture? Also, make sure lavatory, shower and tub handles can be easily turned without twisting the wrist or getting pinched.

Safety

One of the reasons tile is so popular for baths is that its easy to clean. Flooring with textured or uneven surfaces such as slate also work well. Shower floors should slope toward the drain so water doesnt accumulate underfoot.

Many older baths only come with one outlet, while newer building codes may require one GFCI receptacle outlet for every six or eight feet. Consider rewiring the bath and putting outlets on every corner where you use an electric appliance, but away from showers and tubs for grooming appliances such as hairdryers, curling irons, shavers, and nail dryers.

Grab bars can be placed in water closets and above tubs for greater ease in getting up and down. Try to design the bath with no steps if possible, particularly none around the tub.

Attractiveness

Covering the shower walls with a waterproof material such as tile or glass is recommended, but you can also take the covering all the way to the ceiling for a luxurious look.

A bath is the most important area of the house to keep clean and tidy, so include as much space as possible for storage. Youll need space for towels, linens, grooming tools and cleaning supplies. If storage is at a premium, think creatively. For example the space above the tank of the commode is a perfect place to build or install shelves. Just be sure to allow enough clearance for maintenance.

Vessel sinks and pedestal sinks have been around a few years, but they add more drama and individuality than utility. Continuous granite or undermount porcelain sinks can be beautiful, as well as practical. The farmhouse sink is also attractive in a high-traffic bathroom.

Sometimes new lighting fixtures can update a bath with very little investment. Think in terms of task lighting -- lights by the vanity mirror, for example. Overhead light fixtures and ventilation fans are also useful.

No matter what you choose for your new bath, if you combine utility with comfort, you cant go wrong. Dont try to make the bath do more than the space allows. If all you have room for is a shower, and not a tub, create a shower with a small built-in seat. Where theres a will, theres a solution.

See more ideas at www.nkba.org.


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Go Green With The Wink Home Automation Ecosystem

Did you know that an automatic dishwasher uses less hot water than doing dishes by hand, which equals an average of six gallons less per cycle, or more than 2,000 gallons per year? Considering that an individual American uses about 2,000 gallons of water per month, thats a pretty significant number.

The idea of "going green" has come a long way in recent decades. In the 1950s, some kinds of energy efficiency werent really a choice. From drying your clothes on a clothesline, to cutting your grass with a mechanical push mower, people often lived green without ever consciously considering their carbon footprint. These days, the story is a little different; you cant turn a corner or pick something up without seeing some kind of "save the earth" signage or packaging.

Reasons to Go Green

There are a plethora of reasons to go green, most falling into either the money-saving or the earth-saving categories. On one hand, you could seriously put some green back into your wallet with things like energy-efficient appliances, and green building tax credits and rebates. Also, simple things like carpooling, limiting eating out, and starting your own vegetable garden are great ways to save money and help the environment.

On the other hand, eco-friendliness means making your community and the planet a better place to live not only for us, but also for future generations. Examples of things you can do in your home are unplugging unused electronics to prevent "phantom" energy consumption, switching to LED light bulbs, conserving water by taking shorter showers, and using reusable items like Tupperware and canvas shopping bags rather than plastic.

Home Automation Technology

New advances in technology are taking much of the guesswork out of going green. With home automation systems like the Wink Hub and free app, you can control the settings on many of your home devices with the push of a smartphone button or even just with your voice. The Wink ecosystem interconnects all of your smart home devices either first through the Hub, or directly to the app. Winks simplicity is one of its most attractive features: according to Home Depot technology professional and Wink test user, Ramesh Chaparala, "Its very, very simple and self-explanatory," continuing, "Installing the Hub is a no-brainer; in five steps youre connected."

What Can You Control?

With the Wink home automation ecosystem, you no longer have to "set it and forget it" when it comes to your home devices. You can control many of your smart devices from your couch, bed, work, or anywhere you are in the world. Here are just a handful of devices you can install in your home that will not only bring you into the 21st century, but also make your home a smoothly running, highly efficient machine.

Smart Thermostats

Thermostats are a great way to control your homes energy consumption, and when you apply smart technology, you can control it from anywhere. One Wink App Ready device is the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, which not only adjusts to your schedule, uses automatic energy-saving settings, and Smart Response technology for precise temps, but also has a full-color, customizable screen to match your decorating scheme. You can be sure your home is aesthetically pleasing and at your exact desired temperature at all times.

Custom Window Shades

Motorized window shades allow for a clean, uncluttered look, are safer for pets and children with cordless technology, and help insulate your home with the setting of a timer or the push of a button. One quality option, Bali Custom Blinds and Shades with Somfy automation amp; controls, utilizes a single control, wall switch, remote or programmable timer to operate single or multiple window coverings. Keep the shades drawn during summer to keep your home naturally cool, or leave them open in cooler months to let the sunshine warm your space.

Remote-Access LED Lights

Huge energy and money savings start by simply swapping out incandescent and even compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home for LED bulbs. LED solutions outlast incandescent and halogen bulbs up to 35 to 1, consume 85 less energy than incandescent bulbs, and emit less heat, which altogether drastically reduces replacing costs and landfill waste. Once youve decided to install LEDs, take it to the next level by installing smart light bulbs, like the TCP Connected Smart LED Light Bulb Kit with 2 A19 LED light bulbs. With this kit, you can remotely control lighting, dimming and smart lighting features from anywhere in the world with any computer, tablet, smart phone, or connected remote control. They have an estimated yearly cost of 1.32 and a life expectancy of 22.8 years both figures based on three hours of use a day.

Home Automation Technology is an Environmental No-Brainer

When it comes to eco-friendly new gadgets, its clear that home automation takes the cake. Having nearly complete control of your energy-consuming home devices right at your fingertips is certainly a big step forward for earth-conscious homeowners. In addition to these devices, several other smart green products are energy sensors, HVAC systems, irrigation systems, and outlet controls.

Which environmentally friendly automated devices will you install in your home?

Sarah Kellner is a DIY home-improvement writer for Home Depot in Atlanta. Sarah writes for homeowners on topics ranging from appliances to kitchens to home automation. You can view many of Home Depots home automation products on the companys website.

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How To Punch Up Your Homes Personality

Your home is boring. Drab. Blah. Snoozeville. Which is weird, because youre bubbly, fun, and full of life. Right? Isnt it time your home matched your verve? Your vigor? Your joie de vivre? Lucky for you, there are some easy ways to punch up your homes personality. Follow the tips below and your house will soon be the life of the party.

Color

White walls work well in 1920s Spanish architecture. And mental hospitals. For everyone else, come on - inject a little color. Painting is easy. Its cheap. And no matter what you do or do wrong, you can always paint over it.

If youre nervous about going too deep, bold, or bright, take it slowly. One room, or even wall at a time. If thats still too much, leave the walls the way they are and go for colorful accessories.

Accessories

Yes, this is the place for those who are color averse when it comes to walls.

"One easy no painting way to spread some color around is to pile on some pretty pillows," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Mix dont match throw pillows in the same color story for a fresh and lively look that has a lot of impact without being expensive."

Art

Look around. What does your art say about you? If it says "college student" when youve been in the working world for at least a decade, if its a mishmash of neutrals nothingness, or if you started to nod off before you got done scanning one wall, its time to pump it up.

>

Light

Light - or lack of light - creates the mood in a room. If its dark in your space, chances are people wont want to spend much time there. Make sure you have ample light overhead, spread around the room with floor and table lamps, and in task->

"Strips of light-emitting diodes, known as LED lighting, let you decorate with colors of light. They can illuminate architectural details in a rainbow of colors, add special effects and provide a colorful kick to the base of a kitchen island or under cabinet lighting. Set to a single color or color changing patterns, eco-friendly and long lasting LED lighting can create a colorful glow under a sofa or bed, or, spaced around the base of a glass sink, make the vessel morph from blue to green or purple, depending on the water temperature. The light added to these unexpected places will create a dynamic space and lots of visual interest."

Next level

Now that youre a pro at picking colorful accessories and grown-up art, and lighting it all properly, go next level by creating layers. Throw rugs and throw blankets create layers with textiles. The same can be done with texture throughout the room. Are your accessories all the same material? Mix it up by bringing in something new. Metal, glass, wood - a mix can help create interest.


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How to Sell Your Home Without Dropping Your Price

When your home is marked down from its original price, its a sure sign that your marketing plan failed. Not only have you missed the critical first two weeks when buyers and real estate professionals are most interested, but theres no way for your home to compete with other homes that are better priced.

No one wants to waste time trying to deal with an unreasonable seller, so lowering the price may not help as much as you may think. Buyers may think something is wrong with the home, or they may decide that theres room for even more discounts. Real estate professionals wont get excited when your agent >

If youre really ready to sell your home, dont test the market. The best thing for you to do is to price it right in the first place and then sell as close to the original asking price as possible. For the best results, price your home at current fair market value -- not where prices were in 2005, or where they might be in 2015.

Current fair market value means your home favorably compares to recent listings and closed sales of homes most similar to yours in size, finishes, amenities and location. It also means your home is on target with price trending. If homes are dropping in price in your area, you may want to set your original price under current fair market values in order to generate more interest from buyers. If prices are trending upward, stay current - dont price ahead. That only works in the strongest sellers markets when banks are more comfortable about rising prices.

Next, make sure that buyers see your home in the best light. Among real estate professionals, the most important considerations is how your home looks from the curb and how it looks online. First impressions require that you spend particular time and attention on curb appeal, from keeping your walks and drives swept, to painting the front door a fresh new color, to putting out a new welcome mat.

Photography can be your homes best selling tool when its done correctly and professionally. Stage the rooms that will be photographed by removing clutter. Fluff the pillows, clear tabletops and countertops, and remove the dogs water bowl and your childrens toys out of the viewfinder. Take a few digital shots and look for flaws - the rumpled bed, the wastebasket full of paper, or the closet bulging with clothes. Once all the flaws are removed, youre home is ready for the professional photographer who has the right lighting and equipment to help you market your home.

In homeselling, less is more. You want the home to come forward and your belongings to fade to the background. If you have too much stuff, put the excess in storage. As little as 50 to 250 for short-term storage could make the difference in the buyers offer price.

When buyers come to your home, they will be looking for flaws, so make sure the little details are done, especially small repairs. The less that needs to be fixed or replaced, the better maintained and the more move-in ready the home appears to the buyer.

Buyer-friendliness is a factor that cant be underestimated. If you want a certain price for your home, make sure to give the buyer something extra to make it worth paying full price. Offer to pay closing costs up to a certain amount, or offer to leave the washer, dryer and refrigerator.

Its not just the home that needs to be attractive. As the seller, youre part of the whole package. You should appear buyer-friendly, just as your home should appear move-in friendly.

A home that is priced to reflect current market conditions and shows well in person and online will always sell for more than homes that arent maintained and marketed as well.


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The Future of Online Learning and the Real Estate Industry

As independent contractors, who are entrepreneurial by circumstance and design, real estate professionals must be competitive in a dynamic and increasingly global marketplace.

The best way for these individuals to achieve that goal- the most effective and convenient means for them to leverage and profit from this environment- is through online learning.

This option, which enables realty firms to offer their existing seminars and training courses to a broader audience, while simultaneously transforming residential agents into teachers- with the privilege of monetizing their own intelligence- is, in a word, revolutionary.

With the right platform to make this scenario a reality, everyone benefits from the promotion of education, and the engagement of a lively community, which is also a highly successful community.

Realtors can take >

I write these words as a university lecturer and as the Founder ofMonimus.com, an innovative way for users to educate, engage and succeed.

My perspective is, therefore, different than another persons theory of what online learning is or should be, because I can attest to the limitless choices of a virtual >

This opportunity also allows realty firms to generate revenues for content previously made available exclusively to their existing employees.

That content, often produced at a loss because it is for in-house purposes only, can be an ongoing source of income for other agents who want to learn about the rules or principles that make a particular firm so productive or credible.

That part, the educational component, is a way to create a new financial pipeline independent of external economic conditions, commissions or the cumulative number of transactions a firm consummates in a month or year.

Indeed, when we envision real estate firms as vaults of intellectual capital, and when we equip those businesses with the tools to easily introduce this material to a global audience, online learning becomes interactive, empowering and rewarding for everyone.

Also, when real estate professionals itemize their skills, when they identify and monetize their talents involving sales and promotions or financial modeling and pricing analysis, they have greater freedom; they have the liberty of multiple income streams, and the personal satisfaction of making their industry more adept and agile.

Engagement and Success: The New Spirit of Online Learning

This emphasis on education seamlessly complements the ideals of engagement between or among real estate professionals and mutual success.

For example: A shared destination, which is also a grand marketplace of ideas with an infinite number of >

Technology is the great enabler of this community; the platform is both the basis for professional engagement and the blueprint for making each user the author of while converting every real estate executive into the architect for their own notion of success.

In other words, this combination of education, engagement and success is an inseparable bond; one element begets the other, maximizing the benefits of technology with the humanity and the humanities, as its own discipline worthy of instruction of people who can come together in pursuit of the same things for the same reasons: Intellectual enrichment, personal connections and professional gains.

Those strengths can transform the real estate industry, for the good of individual professionals and clients alike.

For, knowledge is a portable commodity, whose value increases in proportion to the acquisition of more material; its usefulness expands in cor>

Those factors define the new world of online learning, backed by a platform that encourages education and rewards entrepreneurialism. That platform is the real estate industrys wellspring of achievement. It is the future, made available now.

Keith Williams is the Founder of Monimus.com, an innovative online learning platform where users can educate, engage and succeed on multiple levels.

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Go Natural With Reclaimed Wood

You dont have to be a barefoot, vegan, environmentalist yoga teacher to want to invite some natural elements into your home. Regular old meat-eating, gluten-loving folks present can also invite some natural elements into the home. And the hottest way to do so: reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed wood can be used for everything from a fireplace mantel to a dining room table, creating an opportunity to reuse a natural resource and achieve a unique custom look.

"Creative green design ideas may inspire you to use salvaged wood in interior decorating, adding unique character and irresistible charm to your rooms and outdoor living spaces," said Lushome. "Using salvaged wood helps to design charming wall decor, lighting fixtures, furniture and decor accessories for indoor and outdoor living spaces."

Added This Old House: "If you own an old house, you already know the satisfaction of having something thats unique, and when you renovate, you look for one-of-a-kind materials. Unlike other materials whose appeal lie in their looks, reclaimed wood has beauty and history.

Not surprisingly, people are going to great lengths to find reclaimed wood that makes a stylistic statement about themselves and their homes."

Some reclaimed wood is exceedingly rare, especially when used in high-end estates. But if you dont have the means or the resources to source, purchase, and fly in 18th century reclaimed wood from an Irish church, you can still find what youre looking for - if you know where to look:

Old barns

"Old barns and mills are a great source for high quality virgin timber read: no off-gassing. So how do you get a barn owner to give you their barn? It is really quite easy," said Tiny Revolution. "Most barn owners will happily give you there old dilapidated barn just to get it out of the way and cleaned up.

Pallets

"Pallets are one of the hottest materials used right nowand you can find a myriad of projects all over the web to make from them," said Old World Cottage Gardens. "The key in making great projects is finding nice, clean and damage free pallets. The best places? Small Garden and Hardware Stores, Motorcycle Shops, Lawnmower and Power Equipment stores. These stores seem to get inundated with pallets and shipping cratesand in many cases struggle to get rid of them."

Your or someone elses dilapidated fence

The guys tearing down the fence down the street have to dispose of the boards anyway. So you might actually be doing them a favor.

Boatyards

That boatyard may just have abandoned materials theyd be willing to sell inexpensive, or even give away. Never hurts to ask.

Contractors

"Get in contact with some remodeling contractors in your area. Let them know that you will haul away any wood that they tear out of a house," said Tiny Revolution. "Contractors will be happy to give the antique building materials to you, it will save them a bunch of money on disposal costs."

Architectural Salvage Store

"These folks specialize in dismantling old buildings and recycling any usable materials," said Apartment Therapy. "Habitat for Humanitys ReStores are a terrific resource and Redo.org offers a directory of similar suppliers. Or, "Start with Woodfinder.com or the BMRAs Building Materials Reuse Association handy online directory."

See Shelterness, Houzz, or 1001 Pallets for more ideas.


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Updated: Saturday, July 26, 2014

How To Punch Up Your Homes Personality

Your home is boring. Drab. Blah. Snoozeville. Which is weird, because youre bubbly, fun, and...
> Full Story

How to Sell Your Home Without Dropping Your Price

When your home is marked down from its original price, its a sure sign that your marketing p...
> Full Story

The Future of Online Learning and the Real Estate Industry

As independent contractors, who are entrepreneurial by circumstance and design, real estate ...
> Full Story

Copyright © 2014 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

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