Caribbean Appeal: Make Your Home an Exotic Haven By Lana Hawkins

Caribbean Appeal: Make Your Home an Exotic Haven

Embrace the exotic appeal of the Caribbean, let your household be imbedded by colorful designs, natural fabrics and the complete bohemian rhapsody of the Costa Rican appeal. Dive into the alluring tropical vibe of this sensual design and create a true lush getaway, right there in the serenity of your home. Let these ideas inspire you to redesign your home in an enthralling manner:

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Lots of Color

One of the most distinctive features of the tropical design is definitely its use of color. The areas such as Costa Rica are used to colorful motifs and an extensive use of bright and vivid tones in their home design. The more the merrier they say so do not be afraid to give your household a fresh splash of color. Earthy and natural tones such as light orange, beige, turquoise, white and brown are greatly appreciated as background colors or mere foundation, as it is expected to enliven the space by adding various colorful details.
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Add Some Texture

Another thing that can help you keep things interesting is introducing certain textures and patterns in your home design. Animal prints, foliage patterns and leather wall tiles can help give your home the tropical flair it desperately needs. Using natural objects such as feathers, horns, shells and stones as decorative pieces can also play a huge role in adding texture to the space. It is also a good idea to implement different kinds of lighting, as illumination can interact with certain objects and create wonderful illusions of texture.
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Go Natural

In order to achieve that true tropical appeal, it will be necessary to rely on natural fabrics and materials. You will surely notice that wood is one of the materials that prevails in these tropical home designs, while the use of wicker, rattan and teak furniture is also quite praised. The use of these materials has the ability to capture the true coastal vibe of seaside countries and create a sense of tranquility in the space. Handmade quilts from natural wool, fur covers, grass roofs and handicrafts made from straw are some of the most praised characteristics of this lush appeal and are known to bring that distinctive rustic vibe to the whole setting.
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Let It Thrive

Costa Rica is widely recognized as one of the countries with an enthralling biodiversity, where you can find a high amount of endemic plant and animal species. It is not surprising to realize that their homes are usually embellished with countless of tropical plants, native for this area. These tropical beauties create a majestic blend of colors and captivating scents that form a lush rainforest in your household. Native ivy can be used in various forms in home design, while nothing can beat the oversized, luscious foliage of the cheese plants. Begonias, lilies and dieffenbachia plants are also native to Central America and will surely transform your home into a tropical getaway.
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It’s All About Art

Art is quite a significant part of the Costa Rican culture and as such has found a place in home design. Most of their artwork is focused on native motifs such as the ocean, local people and endemic animal and plant species. This is why it is not uncommon to embellish their homes with colorful paintings or even handmade sculptures and statues. Stained glass is another art form quite popular in Costa Rica and is defined by earthy tones and sensuous lines.
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Get Inspired

Inspiration comes in many different forms, but if you are willing to embrace the majestic appeal of Costa Rica in your home, it is a good idea to seek ideas from various sources. Internet has plenty of blogs and websites where you can draw inspiration from, especially if you search for images of local properties and homes in this Central American country. There are all kinds of properties and houses you can actually buy in Costa Rica, if the opportunity arises for you to visit this rugged country.

Aren’t you tired of the same old sterility and minimalism of today’s home design? Neutral colors, clean lines, geometrical shapes and a completely depersonalized space. It is time to give your home a refreshing makeover that will turn it from a minimalistic manor in a true tropical sanctuary.

 

Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is a student of architecture from Sydney. She enjoys writing about inspiring home décor and landscaping ideas. Lana loves cooking for friends, and spending her time outdoors.

 

 

 

How To Craft The Perfect Home Office By Diana Smith

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Having a full time stay-at-home job or simply telecommuting seems like truly great idea. Working in a friendly environment while your loved ones are just few steps away, taking a break whenever you want – this particular kind of job arrangement does offer tons of advantages. But what about disadvantages? Well, it should be mentioned that, while pleasant, your home is not really the environment that allows you to unleash tons of productivity. No problem here. All you need to make it work is an isolated home office. Let’s see how to set one up.

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Find a Proper Space

Ideally, your home office should inhabit the space of some abandoned room or a basement with the door that will physically separate you from all the other household activities and cut the noise to the minimum. If you don’t own such space, you can separate a part of another room with a folding door or simply set up your office in the corner of some of the less populated areas of your home. Alternatively, you can solve this problem by buying a shipping container and using it as a backyard office.

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Take Care of the Essentials

And by the essentials, we mean chair, desk, and any other thing you can’t finish your job without. As for the desk, its only requirement should be to provide you enough space to get the job done. If you are short on space, you can get away even with a wall mounted table. The chair, on the other hand, is a whole another story. You will spend a lot of time sitting there, so find the one that is comfortable, adjustable, and offers great lumbar support. Other home office essentials may include PC, printer, scanner or a separate phone line.

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Make the Office Pleasant and Inviting

The more appealing and inviting your home office is, the more time you will want to spend there, and rest assured – that time will translate to increased productivity. That is why you should ditch the utilitarian mantra and make your home office as relaxed and cozy as possible. Hang the pictures of the places you would like the visit, fulfill your childhood decorating dreams or do whatever you want to make the office your little piece of Heaven. It would also be a good idea to use full-spectrum lighting if your office does not receive too much natural light.

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Storage, Storage, Storage

Clutter is poison to productivity. The best way to put an early end to it is to pack your office with enough storage space. Fortunately, various shelving solutions can fit into virtually any space, so you don’t have any excuse for keeping the papers scattered around the office. What you should do instead is to organize storage into distinct sections, mark them with different colors or signs and keep the empty walk and document scavenging on the bare minimum.

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Lose Distractions

We already mentioned that your office should be inviting and pleasant. However, if you go overboard you may hurt your productivity. The first thing you should do to prevent this from happening is to clean your office of all the media you like to consume (If music gets you going, you can make yourself a playlist on the PC, though). Second, lose the unnecessary furniture. Your chair may be comfortable but the sofa will always look more inviting. Third, if you have chosen some gimmick (e.g. music, cottage, industrial) stick to it. Odd elements will constantly distract you.

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If you follow these few tips, your home office will become a neat and well-organized piece of space that will strike the perfect balance between pleasant and productive. You will finally be able to use all the advantages of stay-at-home jobs without worrying that the household will consume you. Enjoy, and have a pleasant day at work.

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Greening Up A Historic Home By Zoe Clark

1Victorian homes are the most romantic and elegant properties to live in. There is so much history and enchantment hiding in their every cranny, nook and secret compartment. They are built in the distant period between the 1837 and 1901, so you see why it may be difficult for these houses to keep track of all the challenges the present day is placing in front of them. Although Victorian homes surely aren’t lacking a thing when it comes to refines of their architecture, there are some room for improvements in the area of energy-efficiency, which is something the architects didn’t have to worry about during the reign of Queen Victoria. So, if you are living in one of these old beauties, here are a few things that might help you with lowering your energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint.

Insulate the “Old Lady”

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Has anyone ever told you your house is breathing? If your old home is older than a century, you can probably expect a lot of gaps between boards in walls and ceiling, as well as a few around the doors and windows. Seal them to prevent warmth from leaving your apartment (and coming in if we are talking about hot summer days). Later, you should add insulation to the attic. In most cases, you don’t even have to remove the existing layer before applying the new one. Examine the HVAC system to see if there is a need for sealing them.

Making Your Windows Greener

If you want to get more efficient windows in a new house, you should install double or triple glazed windows. With historic homes, the situation is a bit different. Removing the old windows and replacing them with the new ones would affect the historic appearance of the building. A neat alternative is to supplement your old windows with storm windows, so you can save energy without affecting the historic character of your property.

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Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

If there is one change you can make that is affordable and doesn’t harm the historic appearance of your house in any way, that is replacing your old incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent variety (CFL).

Replace Old Appliances

Just because your house is built in 19th century doesn’t mean you have to use an icebox instead of a modern refrigerator. On the contrary, because of the growing popularity of “vintage” you will find a lot of historically-looking appliances with modern features. Still, the most important thing to look for when searching through appliance stores are the Energy Star rated devices.

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Control the Heating

Old homes are designed in times when each room was heated separately using open fires, which was more efficient than heating each room separately. The transition to a modern heating system did no good to historic homes and their heating bills. Address this issue by manually controlling the valves in each room, or by getting a programmable Wi-Fi radiator or installing a smart thermostat.

Reduce Your Water Consumption

Electricity is not the only resource that is being wasted in a non-energy-efficient home. Water can also be a great chunk of the monthly bills, especially if you are dealing with problems typical for older houses, such as water-guzzling showerheads and toilets, and leaky faucets. Replace them all with low-flow models, which are energy-efficient and can save you up to 77 percent of the water usage.

So you see, old houses can learn new tricks, but only when the owners are willing to invest time, money and effort in them. Sure, Victorian houses are a habitat to wish for, but that doesn’t mean they too don’t have their flaws. Do your best to improve them, so that they are bringing you more joy while taking less money from you.

The Best Fabrics For Babies By Hazel Lorelei

Babies and infants have very sensitive skin, and in order to protect them, they should be dressed in the proper fabrics. Knowing which materials are safe for your little ones will also help you shop for other necessities, including bedding and blankets and such.

brothers-family-siblings-boys-50692-largeWhen searching for baby clothes and essentials, not only is it important that you find warm, yet breathable fabrics, but you also need understand which ones don’t pose any threats like allergies, choking hazards and toxins. Because babies love to chew on their clothes, textiles like silk are best avoided as the processes used to finish them tend to leave toxic residues in the fabric.

So what specifically should you be on the lookout for when checking out baby labels? Get to know the fabrics below to make shopping for you children a hassle-free experience:

Terry Knit
Knit fabrics are a popular choice for infant clothing, and the towel-soft feel against a baby’s skin is perfect for providing maximum comfort. It has also been recommended as that fabric choice for the summer or warmer climate in general since terry knits are breathable. The breath-ability of textiles is especially important to infants in warm weather, as experts say that they should be dressed in one layer of light clothing to keep your baby cool.

Faux Sheepskin
Although sheepskin is perfect for keeping your baby or infant warm on those cold winter days and cool in the summer, some have had allergic reactions to it. Faux fur is safer to work with, as many companies manufacture blankets and outerwear lined with the faux fur suited for kids of any age. If you’re looking for faux sheepskin mats to lay your newborn on, they’re only recommended up until your baby learns how to roll over, as the mat becomes their chew toy

Cotton and Cotton/Polyester Blends
For clothes in general, you can never go wrong with cotton since it is gentle on your baby’s skin and is the most common material found in everyday baby apparel. But the issue with organic varieties is that it can shrink up to 10% if the first wash is using heat. Busy parents tend to go for cotton and polyester blends as the mix of natural and synthetic fibers prevents the clothes from shrinking and wrinkling. It is also fast drying and tends to be cheaper than clothes made out of 100% cotton.

Bamboo
Another all natural fabric you may be interested in is bamboo, which is thermal regulating, hypoallergenic, as well as antibacterial.

Remember that comfort and safety takes precedence over the visual appeal of baby clothes.

Written by Hazel Lorelei
Exclusive for countryandvictoriantimes.com

 

Cleaning of Blinds and Curtains: Vacuuming and Machine Washing By Guest Writer Cindy Davis

The curtains and the blinds in the home tend to accumulate a lot of dust. That is why they should be cleaned regularly, because dust gathered on them can quickly spread into the home atmosphere and pollute the air. Especially in areas where the air is known to be rather dry and dusty, regular cleaning of the curtains and blinds should be done not only to enable the home to become cleaner, but also to take care of the householders’ health. Vacuuming can be carried out on the curtains and the blinds, and some curtains can be machine washed, which is indicated on their labels.

Cleaning of Blinds and Curtains2

Curtains can be easily vacuumed by using the lowest suction setting. The strength of the air suction should not be high to avoid damage to the curtain fabric, especially with gentle fabric curtains. The upholstery attachment should be used to do the vacuuming. The direction of vacuuming should be from the top of the curtains to the bottom. If necessary, vacuuming can be repeated to be certain that all the dust has been eliminated.

Blinds are the other major culprit for the dust that spreads into the home ambiance. Before they are vacuumed to get rid of the accumulated dust, they should be closed in order to achieve a flat surface, easy to vacuum. Then the dust brush attachment should be applied to do the dusting. Like with the curtains, the vacuuming of the blinds should be from the top to the bottom. Afterwards the blinds should be turned the opposite way, and the other side should be vacuumed from the top to the bottom, taking great care not to hurry in order to enable the vacuum cleaner to suck in as much dust as possible.

The frequency of cleaning the curtains and the blinds in a home depends on the extent of dust present in the environment, and the dustier the environment, the more frequently the curtains and the blinds should be vacuumed. In general, it is recommended to vacuum the curtains and the blinds once a month, as a regular measure against the accumulation of dust.Cleaning of Blinds and Curtains

The curtains can also be washed to remove the dirt and dust, but then all the hardware should be removed from them, before they are inserted in the washing machine. The curtain label should be checked before the washing starts, to be certain that the fabric will not be damaged in any way by improper treatment. Spot testing in a corner of the curtain, applying water mixed with some detergent, can help to find out whether the washing will damage it. In general, most curtains that can be cleaned by washing have to be washed with cold water to which just a small amount of detergent is added.

The curtains and the blinds are not only the finishing touches to the home environment. They are also among the spots of the home which accumulate the most dust. Regular cleaning by dusting or washing is essential not only to keep them clean, but also to preserve their initial attractiveness. The more attractive they are the more your home speaks of regular cleaning which maintains your home in good and healthy condition. Living in that kind of environment is a pure pleasure.

Bio: Cindy Davis is dedicated writer with great flair for home improvement and home remodeling projects. She is currently focused mainly on the household cleaning and organizing field and therefore her present article treats exactly this them. Find some good tips for your home here: http://www.cleanershouse.co.uk/carpet-cleaning/SE17-carpet-cleaners-walworth.html