Disaster Proofing Your House

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Your home is your sanctuary. It is the place that you’ve put a lot of time and attention into making a safe, comfortable environment for you and your family. This is why the prospect of a natural disaster causing damage or disruption to your house can be so upsetting. 

No-one likes to dwell on this possibility, of course. However, even if you aren’t living in an area that has frequent earthquakes or storms, that doesn’t mean to say that your home is immune to emergencies. The World Economic Forum recently reported that extreme weather events are occurring more frequently, and they are likely to continue causing severe damage and destruction in the future. This rise has also been linked to the growing effects of climate change. As such, it is imperative for the continued safety of yourself and your family that you take steps to ensure that your home is protected from disasters.  

This is all very well to say, but it’s not always easy to know how to go about doing this practically. It’s certainly a wide-ranging area, but we’re going to take a moment to guide you through a few main points for your attention. How can you best act to protect your home, and sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done all you can to keep your family safe? 

Audit Current Issues

Whether you’ve purchased a home with the specific intention to renovate, or you bought a new build, an audit is essential. Why? Well, in most cases, the pre-purchasing property survey that was undertaken at the time would have been geared toward determining the general safety of the home. Indeed, when buying a home, people are usually on the lookout for common trouble areas — existing water damage, pest issues, or health hazards. As such, you are unlikely to have the data you need to understand how well-prepped your home is to withstand an unexpected natural disaster.  

It can be a good first step to review the types of natural disasters that may be most likely to occur in your area. After all, it’s not wise to disaster-proof your home for earthquakes if you are not in a risk location. Review recent years’ weather and emergency events — has there been an uptick in any activity? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) keeps statistics for all reported disasters, which can help guide you. However, it can be just as useful to talk to neighbors and local emergency services personnel about what you should be aware of.

Using this knowledge, undertake a review of your home. You can do this personally if you feel confident doing so — identifying all the areas that may leave your home vulnerable or dangerous. Use ready-made checklists to review systems like electrical and plumbing. It can also be helpful to engage a contractor here. That way you not only benefit from their assessment expertise, but can also arrange for any repairs to be made, or at least make a plan for the future that fits your budget. 

Alternative Utilities

Disasters don’t just affect the integrity of your home. In a lot of cases, they may impact the infrastructure that allows you to maintain a safe and operational house. There may be direct contact with your property that causes utility outages, or there may be a problem further down the line that affects you. If you live in a remote area, it may take a long time for your services to be restored. It can therefore be appropriate to look into alternative solutions.

A generator on your property can provide backup power when there is an outage. However, this tends to be terribly cost-ineffective, and it’s not particularly environmentally friendly. On the other hand, solar power is an increasingly popular and accessible choice for homeowners. In essence, you’ll need a solar panel array — either on your roof or somewhere near your property — which is attached to an inverter that turns the energy into usable electricity, which is then distributed through your home using a computerized controller. You can also get a battery backup system to assist in emergencies. While you can install it personally, it can be wise to engage a skilled contractor if you’re not familiar with your house’s electrics.  

While most internet and communications lines are underground, that doesn’t make them impervious to disasters. Your ability to stay in contact with friends, relatives, and emergency services can be vital when a disaster strikes. Therefore it can be sensible to set up alternatives in your home. A spare 5G router can keep you connected to the internet to check for updates and advice. 

Structural Upgrades

If you have the budget for it, it is definitely worth considering which structural upgrades you can make to your home. Over the last few decades, there have been technological advances that can put your home in a better position to withstand a disaster. Some of these are simple and others make for more involved projects.

If you live in an area that is particularly prone to heavy storms, earthquakes, or even wildfires a good example of advanced structural technology is interlocking 3D panels. These are constructed from a combination of materials — concrete, steel, polystyrene — and reinforced by welded wire trusses. As such, this means that the building can withstand high winds and effectively fireproof the home for at least two hours.

However, this requires substantial capital to undertake, and if you are unable to access these funds immediately it can be worth considering refinancing your home to some extent. This is possible even with bad credit, although it can be sensible to repair your credit score first to get a better financing rate. It can seem like a big step, but this could be an important safety feature in your home and even raise its value.

Conclusion

Your home is an important asset to you and your family, and as such you want to protect it and everyone within it from natural disasters. Not all the alterations you make need to be structural overhauls. However, you should guide your actions with a thorough understanding of the risks.

6 Important Things To Consider When Building Your Dream Home

Building your dream home is one of the most important moments in your life. Besides being a significant moment, it is also one of the biggest investments in your life, and you want everything to be perfect. Building a dream home takes a lot of planning and smart decisions, and it is important to get on the right track early on. That’s why we made a list of 6 important things to consider when building your dream home. Read on to find what they are.

Future Plans

Many factors go into consideration when building your dream home. The most important factor is you of course, and your lifestyle. Do you have any plans for the future? Where will you be in five years? Are you planning any significant changes in your family life? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before deciding what kind of house you want to build. It may not be a good time to build a house if your career is subject to change – like relocation. If you are planning a family, you have to take into consideration that you will need more rooms for a family home. This means building a larger house or building with plans to make additions easily to it. Future plans are a big part of house building, so take them into consideration.

Financial Situation

Finances are often dictating our lives and decisions, including building your future home. There are several routes you can take. You can make your home from your savings; get a loan from a bank or a mortgage. Remember that many banks give out loans easier if you are married, as they see a safer situation with two incomes and two credit scores. Calculate all possibilities and see what you can afford. If possible, try not to come to close to your budget, as it often happens that building a home can create unexpected costs. For unplanned expenses, make sure you set aside money to act as insurance.

Hiring the Right People

Building a home is a long process, sometimes even a year or more long. To make sure everything is going as smoothly as possible, pay attention to who you are hiring. Architects, builders, designer – everyone is an important piece of the puzzle, and they have to click perfectly for everything to work. Interview as many of them as you need until you find the perfect fit. You will be working closely every single day for the foreseeable future, and you need to be on the same page and communicate easily. Ask for referrals and to see their previous work – even try to get in contact with their previous clients to get their opinion. Take your time with this decision.

Plan Before You Start

Every decision in the building process should be planned before the start. Plan out as much as you can and decide on as many parts as you can before all the work starts. Once the foundation and frame of your house are in place, it all goes faster from that point. If you are prepared and already made the necessary decisions in advance, you won’t have any problems. Some things to consider before starting the build are deciding on the colour/pattern of all the tiles, the colour of walls, moulding, floors, colour schemes, decorating theme etc.

Land and House Type

There are many options to choose from when deciding to build your home, from where you would like to build to how it’s going to be built. Some options include building on an empty plot, tearing down and rebuilding a new home, etc. House can range from custom homes to prefabricated homes and semi-designed homes. Do your research to find the best fit for you. If you need any help, professionals like new home builders or building company can help you in making the right decision.

Furniture Placement

Before the building process starts, you will make a plan of your house with the architect. Even at this stage, you should do a consultation with a designer to choose the most important furniture and elements. Furniture layout is important if you are building from scratch. Can the furniture you want to fit in the living room? Do you have enough space for all the cabinets? Maybe you can change the plan of your house to fit everything, but there is a bigger possibility that you will need to pick out new furniture. If you plan everything simultaneously, you won’t encounter big hiccups.

Conclusion

When building a home from scratch, something unexpected always can happen. Plan as much as possible before you start, and make sure you have a good team on your side. The right architect and builder will make everything work as smoothly and professionally as possible. Listen to your gut, and make the decisions that are right for you.

5 Realistic Resolutions to Make This Your Home’s Cleanest Year Ever

Every one of us wants to live in a clean, sparkling home. But most of us hate doing all the work that comes with keeping homes neat and tidy. If you are someone who hates cleaning and dreads the overwhelming feeling when it comes time to tidy up, there is a good chance you are approaching the issue wrong.

With a few simple tweaks in your daily, weekly, and monthly habits, you can have a bright, clean home without needing to waste eight hours in one day.

Here are five realistic resolutions to make this your home’s cleanest year ever.

1. Plan a daily, weekly, monthly system to keep your home clean.

The main problem for most people is that they fail to do small tasks each day and then end up with an overwhelming job in front of them. This year, you are not going to be one of those people. Instead, you are going to devise a daily, weekly, and monthly plan to keep your home clean.

This plan is going to be unique to your home and your lifestyle. You can come up with a good plan by dividing all the work with the other people who live in the house. In fact, many roommates find it beneficial to set a weekly time when all members know they have to clean (2 hours on a Sunday morning).

Having everyone do it together means it will get done in no time and you can all reward yourself with brunch after!

2.  Commit to tidying up for 15 minutes every evening.

On a daily basis, resolve to tidy up for 15 minutes before getting to bed. You will be amazed at how productive those 15 minutes can be!

Each evening, wipe down your bathroom surfaces. You will thank yourself when you walk into a sparkling bathroom each morning!

Additionally, always clean the kitchen after cooking, hang up your clothes when you change, and put things away after you have used them.

Getting in the habit of doing these small tasks will help keep your house clean overall because you won’t want to start messing it up when it is already tidy.

3. Live by the “one-in-one-out” rule.

This year, to truly have a clean and organized home, make a promise to yourself that you will live by the “one-in-one-out” rule. This rule states that for every new item you bring into your home, you also have to remove something similar.

So, if you buy a new pair of boots, you need to remove a pair from your wardrobe. If you buy a new candle, book, pillow, etc., you must donate one of your old candles, books, or pillows (see #4).

Not only will this make you take a step back and think a bit deeper about impulse purchases (are there really any boots you want to get rid of?). But, if you do decide to buy something new, you know that no more space is going to be taken up.

4. Have a donation box readily accessible.

Unless you are a through and through minimalist, there is a good chance that you have some clutter around your home that you would like to do something with. Decluttering is one of the most overwhelming parts of organizing a house (it takes a little bit more than 15 minutes). But, if you break it down into monthly tasks (see #1), then you can focus on a specific area of the house each month.

If you focus on a specific area each month and live by the “one-in-one-out” rule, then in a couple of months you will have a completely de-cluttered space.

An additional resolution to make this year is to have a donation box readily available. That way, when you come across something in a drawer, or a cupboard, or in the back of your closet that you don’t like, toss it into the donation box. When the box is full, you can donate it to your local charity shop.

5. Buy cleaning products with fragrances you want to smell.

Last but not least, a simple resolution everyone can all get behind! Only purchase cleaning products that come with scents you actually enjoy smelling. After all, you are much more likely to clean regularly with something that produces a smell you enjoy!

Do you think you can commit to one or all of these resolutions this year? Or do you have your own cleaning resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO

 Mohamed Samad is the Founder & CEO of Matic Services. He started the company in 2016 after a series of small start-ups within the home services sector. Prior to that, Mohamed was Vice President at Greenstone Equity Partners, where he spent 24 months building the UAE business from 2011-2013 with its founder.

How To Set A Perfect Vintage Wedding-Winter Wedding Edition

One of the most popular themes for weddings is the winter wonderland. It is romantic, gorgeous and imaginative, you will have a feeling that you are in a fairy tale. Tables decorated in silver and white, white paths, faux snowing on you, sparkling crystals, and frosted trees will make your big day unforgettable.

The idea of a winter wedding is very magical, and we believe that every bride deserves to have one regardless of the weather. Dream up your wedding decor with cozy crystallized glow tables, snowflake gobos, snowy white cakes and frosted floral centerpieces. In this article, we will show you a couple of ideas you should use for your dream wedding!

If you want to know more all you have to do is read on.

White Perfection

These days, event planners and sophisticated brides know there is always a way to make any color palette work for winter time. One of the most effective, least expensive and easiest themes is all white. What are you looking for is an absence of color, and you could also use cream or ivory.

It is beautiful, simple and classic. The best part is that you won’t have to think about other colors and will they match with the background. And let’s not forget the most important thing – your perfectly white wedding dress!

You could scatter white confetti on your wedding table and decorate the other tables with white tablecloths. Of course, table centers, candles or vases need to be ivory, cream or white. It will give your vintage wedding the all-white effect.

Don’t forget about the wedding aisle as the most gorgeous and the first thing people will notice, that will leave a long-lasting impression. It is important to decorate it in the wonderland style, so use tree branches and paint it white. Decorate it with the white petals and pinecones, snowflakes and faux snow, candles and crystal garlands.

Frosty Blue

There is nothing more wintery like than the cool tones of frosty blues. If you don’t want your wedding to be too girly, this breathtaking color palette is a perfect choice for your big day! It is romantic, and it brings that cold magic that you only see in fairy tales.

With the beautifully styled reception, romantic ceremony and blue tones you will have a picture of timeless elegance perfection. Capture the essence of winter in your most important day color scheme by calling on ice shades of blue and a little touch of silver. It will look perfect in portraits because it is whimsical and glamorous.

It is an excellent idea to use PhotoBoothMe at your wedding when you have that winter fairytale background. You can make some memorable, beautiful photos of your spouse, family, and friends!

Crystal and Silver

For setting the right mood it is crucial to have luxe materials for that timeless look. If you choose silver use classic look of wedding cake, serving platters and pastry tiers and shining candelabras.

It is an excellent idea to use some crystal trees that you could rent. Or you could keep the décor minimal with lots of atmospheric lighting and silver sprayed branches. Glamorous crystal beaded capes and pale liquid gowns lend themselves to a gorgeous bridal look.

Flowers

When it comes to flowers, you can have anything you want for your big day. If you want a dreamy, light look for your bouquet, the best choice for you would be fall-blooming anemones. They vary in hue and will retain different shades of blue, pink and lavender.

Dusty miller may not be technically a flower, but its silvery-gray color will give that cool accent in your bouquet, and it will be the perfect addition to your winter fairytale wedding. It can be paired with other bouquets because its color go with any other you prefer.

Our next top choice is Lily of the valley. It is the most fantastic flower that will be an excellent option for your bouquet. Even the way it falls looks like snow.

Lighting and Draping

Most of the brides dream about the perfect outdoor wedding. If you want to get that look hire a professional to drape the statement tables, walls, and ceilings with twinkle lights and organza or tulle. It will transform any room entirely, and you will have a feeling that you are in some fantastic place.

Bear in mind that this idea is not cheap at all, but you will have wedding you always wanted!

Conclusion

We hope that you liked these ideas and that you will use some of them when planning your perfect big day! It will give your wedding that vintage, elegant and gorgeous look! And most importantly you will feel like you are in a winter wonderland!