September 17, 2018

Step By Step Kitchen Renovation

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By Brian Jenkins

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and a kitchen remodeling project is one of the most dramatic, as well as most expensive, projects that you can undertake in your home. Before you begin a kitchen remodeling job, it is important to plan the project from beginning to end. If you neglect this step, it is easy to experience price overruns as well as unexpected structural problems.

Establish a Budget and Design the Space

The most important part of the entire project is to establish a budget. Too often, people decide what they want first, and establish a budget around that. By establishing a budget first, you can choose what you must have, what you would like and what you would settle with in your new kitchen. Everyone’s priorities are different, as is their budget, and there is no right or wrong answer. For some, a natural stone counter top is a priority, while others want to extend the size of the room. Establishing a firm budget and discussing it honestly with your contractor keeps you both on the same page for the duration of the project.

Once you have established a budget, take out some paper and sketch your ideas. Depending on your budget, your contractor, an architect, or the salesman at the local lumber store can give you computer generated plans, but prior to that, sketch your ideas, moving things around, until you are generally happy with your plan.

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Empty the Area

Once you have settled on a design, empty everything out of the kitchen. This is a good time to reorganize, getting rid of the small appliances and serving dishes that you never use, as well as cleaning out those drawers and cabinets that inevitably become catch-alls for things without a home.

Complete any Structural Changes

The actual construction starts with any significant structural changes. These may include anything from moving walls, to adding or moving windows or doors. Even if you plan on doing much of the remodeling work on your own, you may consider using a professional contractor for this portion of the job.

Make Necessary Plumbing and Electrical Changes

This is another part of the job that should be completed by a licensed professional. In fact, depending on where you live, you may be required by law to have a professional make any changes to the electrical or plumbing systems in your home. Some changes, such as adding can lights or running an instant hot water tap are relatively straightforward, while others, such as adding wiring for a dishwasher, or running a gas line for a stove, can affect the entire home if not done properly.

This is the time to order cabinets, flooring and your counter top as well as any new appliances you will be purchasing. This ensures that you will have all of your finishing materials ready for installation when the major remodeling work is completed.

Install Flooring and Cabinets

Once you are finished with the major changes, it is time to begin the more exciting finish work. Your new floor and cabinets are ready to be installed. Cabinet installation is best left to professionals, but a do-it-yourselfer can easily install many types of flooring, including hardwood, laminate and tile, on their own. This is a good way to save a little money on your remodel.

Complete Finish Plumbing Work and Paint

The final step in a kitchen renovation is the finish plumbing work and painting. The finish plumbing includes installing the dishwasher as well as the sink and any additional water lines, such as hooking up the refrigerator water line and a hot water tap. Painting is the last step in the kitchen remodeling project. It is much easier to select paint for your new kitchen after the new cabinets, counter top and flooring is in. The look of your kitchen can change so much, even during a minor remodel, that you may not be happy with your paint if you make the selection too early.

Moderation is Okay

While this article explains all of the details that are included in a complete kitchen remodel, it is possible to update your kitchen by completing a less extensive remodeling project. A fresh coat of paint, new appliances or even an updated counter top can increase the appeal of your kitchen and make it a more pleasant place to congregate.

About the Author: Brian Jenkins is a freelance writer who writes about topics pertaining to home, garden and property maintenance, similar to what consumers read in House Beautiful at

magazines.com/ncom/mag?mid=2210

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April 14, 2018

How To Wall Mount Your Home Theater Television Display

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By Ben Anton

Small condominiums and full-scale home theater owners are all looking to mount their flat panel televisions to create more space and a better eye-catching design. Mounting a television onto the wall does not have to be difficult but it does take some care and research in order to do it safely and correctly.

The following are some helpful steps and advice for mount your LCD flat panel television to your home theater or condominium wall.

1. Choose A Wall

Look around your home theater or living room and decide where the ideal location for your TV would be. Look for a wall that is roughly twice the width of your television. Also, look for a wall that gives you enough height for the size of your TV. Remember you may be watching the screen from a sitting position or standing. The rule of thumb is that you will want your flat screen television located where the bottom edge is at eye level when you are seated and the top is at eye level when you stand up.

Also consider your wiring when choosing a wall. You will need to be able to either drill into the wall to thread the wiring or be able to hide the wiring in some way. You will also want to choose a wall with access to your cable our satellite outlet.

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2. Practice with Art

Before drilling into any wall, hang a framed picture the approximate size of your TV or cut out piece of paper where you think you want your television to go. Leave it for a while and see if it feels like the right location. Look to see whether sunlight or lamp glare is reflected off the surface. If it reflects on the paper it will reflect off your screen. Move the paper to a different location if it doesnt seem right.

3. Choose The Wall Mounts

Flat panel TV mounting brackets come in various shapes, sizes and functions. A home theater equipment retailer can point you to the right size for your particular brand of flat panel. Fixed brackets can be difficult to put in place because they require small hands and patience in order to line them up with the television mounts. Mounts that swivel are ideal for rooms where seating is located in several areas of the room. They also tend to be easier to mount.

4. Measure Before Drilling

Once you know where your television will go and what mount to use, find the wall stud and mark where the mounts should be placed with a pencil. Ensure the mounting bracket locations are level and that the height is appropriate. Once you are sure that the appropriate marks have been made, drill or screw in the mounting brackets. At this time, it is also appropriate to drill any holes for threading wiring if applicable. Just remember, measure two or three times before drilling into any wall.

5. Have a Buddy

It is imperative that you have help when hanging the television for your home theater. Many factory warranties do not cover damage that occurs as a result of trying to hang your flat panel television, so it is important to do things right and to be sure that you have help for the lifting and hanging. A helper can also give you advice on the location and height of the screen.

Consult with a home theater installer if you need any advice, or, if this seems like more than your time is worth, hire a professional to install it for you. That way you are sure it will be done in the best way possible.

~Ben Anton, 2008

About the Author: Ben Anton lives in Portland, OR. Learn more about the benefits of

wall mounted television

screens at the

Ronny’s home video

and audio website.

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October 6, 2017

How To Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees From Seed

By Michael McGroarty

Most Japanese Maple seeds ripen in the fall. Watch the tree and wait for the seeds to turn brown. The seeds are ready to be harvested when they are brown and can be easily removed from the tree.

The seeds are attached to a wing, it’s best to break the wing off before storing or planting the seeds. Japanese Maple seeds have a very hard outer coating as do many ornamental plants. Under natural conditions the seeds would have to be on the ground for almost two years before they would germinate. All that happens the first winter is the moisture softens the hard outer shell, and the second winter germination is beginning to take place.

In order for all of this to happen in the proper sequence so the seedlings actually sprout at a time of the year when freezing temperatures or hot summer sun doesn’t kill them, takes a tremendous amount of luck.

You can improve the odds by controlling some of these conditions, and shorten the cycle. Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you are ready for them. You don’t want to plant your seeds out in the spring until the danger of frost has past. Here in the north May 15th is a safe bet.

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If May 15th is your target date you should count backwards on the calendar 100 days. That will take you to about February 5th if my math is correct. On or about the 100th day prior to your target planting date, take the seeds and place them in a Styrofoam cup or other container that will withstand some hot water. Draw warm to hot water from your kitchen faucet and pour it over the seeds. Most of the seeds will float, just leave them in the water overnight as the water cools down. 24 hours later most of the seeds will have settled to the bottom of the cup.

Drain off the water. Place the seeds in a plastic bag with a mixture of sand and peat or other suitable growing mix. Even light potting soil will work. The peat or soil should be moist, but not soaking wet. Poke some holes in the bag so there is some air circulation, and place the bag in your refrigerator for a period of 100 days.

After 100 days you can plant the seeds outside. If you have timed it correctly, you should be at or close to your target planting date.

To plant the seeds just sow them on top of a bed of well drained topsoil or sterilized potting soil, and cover with approximately 3/8′ of soil. Water them thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out completely before watering thoroughly again. If you water them frequently, not only do you stand a chance of the seeds rotting from being too wet, but you will also keep them cool, which will slow down the germination process.

Once they start to germinate provide about 50% shade to keep the sun from burning them. Snow fence suspended about 30′ above the bed will provide about 50% shade. Japanese Maples will tolerate some shade so it isn’t too important to transplant them too quickly. Depending on how close together they are, you might be able to leave them in the same bed for one or two growing seasons. Don’t transplant until they are completely dormant.

About the Author: Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit his most interesting website, freeplants.com and sign up for his excellent gardening newsletter.

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