Improving Your Maritime Kitchen

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3 Great Things Maritimers Can Do With Their Kitchen

If you're a Maritimer thinking of remodeling your kitchen, you're not alone. As home improvements go, the kitchen make-over tops the list of home renovation projects every year. There's something about having lived in a kitchen for a while that makes you really aware of what it's missing. Whether it's a lack of counter space or the cupboards are too far from the dishwasher, there are always good reasons to switch up the kitchen.

Maybe you're thinking about changing it up but you're not sure of the best way to go about it. Here are a 3 suggestions that account for saving space, making use of existing space, and help your Maritime kitchen function better.


1. Functioning islands- In the Maritimes, we love our kitchen parties. People just end up there. And having a kitchen island is where your friends will flock to.
So the decision you need to make is what are you using your island for? Is it for prep work, cooking, or do you want to do your eating or entertaining there? Either way, a kitchen island can provide a spot for all, and be built to meet your needs.

2. Wine refrigerators: Another thing Maritimers like is drinking! Easy to install wine refrigerators are starting to pop up more and more in kitchens. Wine refrigerators come with single or dual refrigeration. And let's be honest, you don't have to just keep wine in there, It's a great place to put beer and cider too.
One thing to keep in mind is placement. Having the wine fridge set into the kitchen wall is always an option with a skilled contractor, such as the team here at Level Ten.

3. Built in Microwaves: I can't think of a single person in the Maritimes that doesn't own a microwave! Some are built-in and some are counter top versions. But we all got them!
Built-ins are microwaves that are installed in a cabinet and have custom fitting and kits. These can be located and tucked into various parts of the kitchen. Some are over the stove or on top of a built-in oven. Others are built into the island with a microwave drawer installed instead of a typical microwave. This type of renovation is often quick and affordable, freeing up space where that microwave used to sit, taking up prime counter real-estate. After all, you need that counter space so you can place your box of wine out during the kitchen party!


These 3 elements of kitchen renovations are on the rise for 2017. You've probably already considered at least one of these, if not all three. What I suggest you do now is plan it out, figure how those renovations can best suit your needs. And when you're ready, contact me at Level Ten Landworks and we can get you started on your very own kitchen reno project!

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca

Get Your Spring Clean On!

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10 Things To Clean This Spring


Spring is here, even if it doesn't feel like it yet. But the calendar says it is, so it's time for Spring Cleaning. It's not my ideal way to spend a Saturday or Sunday, especially with all those Netflix shows piling up. So the best thing to do is have a plan of attack.

Something that really makes a difference is how deep you want to clean. That's why I suggest picking 10 things a year to really give a really hard clean. You would be amazed at how different your house can look when you take the effort to give a deep, thorough cleaning.

Here is my list of 10 items to deep clean this Spring:

1. Windows – Shine those windows, clean away any dirt or mold that my have built up during the winter.

2. Tiled Surfaces – The bathroom, the kitchen, where ever you have ceramic or porcelain tiles, you want to get in there and clean everyone of those grooves.

3. Carpets – Be honest, when's the last time you steam cleaned those carpets? And if you're just vacuuming, make sure to change the bag and filter.

4. Refrigerator – Inside and out. Every rack and the underside of the handle. Check the bulb while you're at it.

5. Your Painted Walls- You know you can wash those, right? Use a very mild soapy water mixture (dish-washing soap works well but go easy.)

6. Cabinets- Just like the fridge, inside and out. And clean all the grooves in the woodwork, you'd be surprised how much build-up they can yield.

7. Counter Tops – You've spent a lot of money on those nice counter tops, when's the last time you had them professionally sealed? Don't forget to clean all the creases and edges.

8. The Wood Floors – Mopping the wood floors every week can actually hurt them. Instead, you only want to wet-clean them every one or two months. Make sure to deep clean the areas where the floor meets the wall.

9. Your Bedding – Now that it's Spring, not only should you change out your bedding, you should try to hanging the fresh stuff outside before putting it on your bed. Nothing beats the smell of fresh spring bedding.

10. Your Broom – It's had a hard winter, probably saw its share of road salt and storm chip crumbs. Make sure your wash out the bristles of your tired broom.

Once you've completed those 10 items, your house is going to look a million times better. And you're going to feel better too. And another thing, by the time you finish this list you'll know what needs fixing or replacing. And if it's something you need help with, call a qualified contractor, like myself.


*You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca*

Looking Into The Eye Of The Tiger

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     "Lisa Coates never wanted to be a real estate agent. She became one, in Boston, in 2001 only because her dying mother asked her to. That worked out nicely enough financially—until it didn’t. In 2008, she found herself almost sucked into the deadly undertow that followed the financial tidal wave that followed the great American real estate collapse. So she moved back to Canada and rebuilt her house-selling career here. That worked out too, but then, in 2015, smacking up against a bad professional/ business experience reminded her again just how much she hated being a real estate agent and how much she wanted to…"  - An Excerpt from the article Eye Of The Tiger, in the March edition of the Atlantic Business Magazine. 
To read the entire article by Stephen Kimber, follow this link: http://www.atlanticbusinessmagazine.net/article/eye-of-the-tiget/

No Kitchen Is An Island Unto Itself

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Is a kitchen island right for you?


For those that love to use their kitchen for cooking or entertaining, there is always a struggle to find enough space. Space for people, counter space, cupboard space, and more. And this is exactly why the kitchen island was invented.
The kitchen island offers a new surface for food prep, a meeting place for the kitchen, and a whole new area for storage.

So if you're thinking about having a kitchen island installed (by a professional, insured contractor like Level Ten, of course) then there are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Do you have enough room for a kitchen island. While you can generally get away with 36 inches of clearance on every side (remember, there's four sides to every island!) I would suggest having at least 42 inches of space on each side, otherwise you're going to start feeling pretty cramped in your own kitchen. So ask yourself, do I have the room for an island?

2. Storage and counter space or a place to meet and eat? Choosing the style of your kitchen island has a lot to do with the functionality of the kitchen island. Some kitchen islands are built with storage in mind, containing multiple cupboards and drawers. While other kitchen islands are better designed to accommodate stools and other seating. Take some time to decide how you and your household will use the kitchen island first, then install.

3. It will change the way you see your kitchen. Sometimes a total kitchen renovations just isn't in the budget. But by adding a new kitchen island, your kitchen will not only look different, you'll be using it differently too. And you know what they say, sometimes a change is as good as a full on complete kitchen make-over!

These days, kitchen islands come in all sorts of designs and materials. If you keep in mind the 3 things I listed it should help you narrow down your options. Of course, you're always welcome to give me a call and we can discuss it together. After all, no kitchen is an island unto itself.

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca

4 Bathroom Trends For 2018

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4 Bathroom Renovation Trends To Bring To Your Bathroom In 2018

It's 2018 and you're tired of the way your bathroom looks. I get it, you've been cooped up in here during the cold month and you can't help but feel a bit of the old cabin fever. Luckily I have the antidote. 4 trendy ways you can renovate that bathroom you're so tired of.

Ceramics and More Ceramics – A Fancy Combination
Ceramic tiles are popular for showers and floors, and look great. New designs opt for various geometric patterns in uniform, tone on tone or multi-coloured, and even patchwork patterns. There are ceramics on the market that imitate higher-end materials like wood and marble or even concrete.

Get That Freestanding Tub In Here!
In the past few years, freestanding tubs have become a mainstay in bathroom trends. The tubs come in many shapes, but all offer a modern look, sculptural uniqueness, and clean lines. They also bring a sense of serenity and simplicity to bathrooms, offering the ultimate place to relax. Plus, thanks to their popularity, freestanding tubs have become more accessible to consumers.

Did Someone Say “Iron-Frame Showers”?
Iron framing , which is most common around doors and windows, has extended itself to the bathroom, and particularly the shower. Iron-framed showers provide visual interest and a strong architectural presence. A dark iron-frame shower paired with pale tile is one of the most notable colour combinations in this trend.

A Bathroom That Grows
Sure, bathrooms are great for getting clean but more and more it’s also a space for relaxation and chilling in your own freshness. But for that you need space. If you can, the bathroom can be expanded by taking up space from another room (for example, an unused wardrobe), the washer/dryer is moved elsewhere in the house, the bathroom is relocated to a larger room, or expanded outwards where possible. Otherwise, we play on appearances with big tiles. In addition to giving an illusion of size, large tiles reduce the number of joints and accumulate less dust. Easy to clean while making it look more spacious? Yes please!

There you have it. 4 tips to keep up with the Joneses - at least where bathrooms are concerned. Remember, you don't have to rip out everything to have a new looking bathroom. You can focus on one piece at a time until you've built the bathroom of your dreams!
 

Stay Warm All Winter Long

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Stay Warm With 5 Winter-Proofing Tips

Sure, winter is already in full swing, but that doesn't mean that it's too late to ensure your home is warm, draft-free, and energy efficient!

Here are 5 easy tips to ensure that you spend less while staying cozy all winter long!

TIP 1: Get an Energy Audit
If you're able to pay for an energy audit, I highly recommend it. However, if you can’t afford an energy audit, you can start to identify and remedy some problem areas on your own with the help of an infrared thermometer. This handy gun allows you to safely measure surface temperatures and pinpoint spots where your home is experiencing air leaks or missing insulation.

TIP 2: Seal Your Walls
When it comes to your home's walls, you want them to be properly sealed. A simple tube of caulk and a plan to tackle all those problem areas can go a long way if you know where to look (grab your infrared thermometer!).
What keeps the outside air out of your home is typically the interior walls (or drywall), but you’ll find many holes that have been cut out of these walls to install your plugs and switches. If you have ever removed the face-plates of these plugs and switches during cold weather, you’ll have probably noticed some cold air pouring out. Reduce this leakage by using caulk to seal around the the area where the electric box meets the drywall. If you’re comfortable working around electricity, head to the breaker, turn it off, then test the outlets to make sure they are really off. Once off, you can then pull them out of the box and begin to seal up all the little holes in the back of the box, including where the wires come through.

TIP 3: Seal Your Home’s Can Lights
Other notorious culprits that contribute to air leaks are recessed lights found in the ceiling. Many old can lights are actually vented on purpose to keep from being overheated by the light bulb . Because warm air rises, an unsealed can light below a roof is a big problem. It’s a good idea is to remove the existing ring of this can and seal the can’s perimeter with caulk. The inside of the can should be sealed with either caulk or aluminum tape to keep your home’s warm air from escaping into the attic.

TIP 4: Look For Insulation Gaps
Anywhere you have something that penetrates the wall, there is bound to be an air leak. Check out the outside faucets, air vents and plumbing for large gaps where air can escape. Seal the penetrations with expanding foam so that every nook and cranny is filled. Be careful to never seal next to a gas flue or you will have a fire hazard on your hands!

TIP 5: Check and Tune-up Your Heating System
It's never a bad idea to tune up your furnace. 30% of an average home’s energy costs are related to heating, and this number can spike further if you have inefficiencies with your furnace or boiler system. The first place to start is by replacing the filter at the beginning of the season and every couple of months while you run the furnace. When purchasing a new filter, note that the cheap ones are made just to protect the furnace fan motor, so make sure to get a more efficient and healthy pleated filter for improved air quality.

Follow those simple tips and you'll be spending the remaining winter months all cozy and comfy inside your home!

You can reach us at info@leveltenlandworks.ca. Call today to get an estimate on your window replacement.

New Year, New Windows

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New Windows for a New Year

The Addition of new windows is a home improvement you should not go without!

Cooler nights, bitter winds, the rain and snow is here. So how are your current windows holding up?
At Level Ten we know that one of the largest money savers for home owners is a good, solid window. And while older-style windows can add a lot of character to your home, they aren't always the most efficient. Or safe.

If you're not certain that it's time to replace your windows, here are a few things to consider:

Windows are in poor condition - Beyond efficiency concerns, windows in poor condition can contribute to water leaks, humidity problems in the home and even pest infestations. Cracked windowpanes, non-operational windows and rotting frames, sashes or sills on wood windows are all good reasons to consider replacement.

Windows have single-pane glass or temperature-conductive frames and sashes - Many window and construction experts agree that homes with cheap, poorly-performing windows can almost always benefit from window replacement.

Windows pose safety problems - Windows that don't open or shut completely or that are weak or loose because of improper maintenance or damage are good candidates for replacement. And if your home has upper-floor rooms with windows that don't open, consider replacing them with operable windows and placing an easy-to-use fire ladder in the room so the windows can serve as exits in case of emergency.

So if you've noticed any of these issues with your windows, it may be time to renovate! And if that's the case, get in touch with us at Level Ten Landworks. Our great team totally know windows!

You can reach us at info@leveltenlandworks.ca. Call today 902-706-1069 to get an quote for your window replacement.

Keep That Draft Out!

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5 Ways To Draft-Proof Your Home!

No one wants to sit in a chilly kitchen in the winter. And you certainly don't want to sit in a cold bathroom with a draft blowing through that old bathroom window!

What can you do about it?

There are many quick and easy tips to reduce drafts in your home. For your convenience, I've listed off the 5 most effective ways to reduce drafts in your home or apartment.

1. Use Weatherstripping

Weatherstrips are an inexpensive way to help seal drafty doors and windows. Simple to install and often quite effective for sealing up drafts in old window frames.

 

2. Install New Sweeps

When is the last time you replaced your door sweeps? Replacing old door sweeps with new ones can make a world of a difference. Say good bye to under-door drafts with a fresh door sweep.

To ensure a good fit, close the door, measure the length of the door, and cut the size you need. There are a few different kinds of sweeps (like heavy duty, drip-cap and brush) – asking an expert which one is right for you will help ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

 

3. Apply Window Film

It may not be the most attractive but window film can work great! But only when properly applied. It looks like saran wrap and when put in place and heated with a hair-dryer, shrinks and seals drafty windows. My pro tip: recruit a friend to help hang on larger windows, it’s much easier that way!

 

4. Use A Door Snake

If you have a drafty window or door, these little snakes are a must-have in your home. Placed at the bottom of the door or window, these weighted fabric tubes help block out the unwanted chill.

 

5. Re-Caulk Your Windows & Doors

As time passes, the caulking on windows degrades and may wear or peel away. Get out there and make your rounds on outside of your home. Simply re-caulk old spots to help seal out drafts. Not handy with the caulking gun – call a pro!

 

If you've tried these options and you find your home is still too drafty, then it's time to call in the professionals. It will cost a bit up front, but you'll save in the long run – plus, you'll be warm!

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca

It's Time We Had A Talk About Fireplace Safety...

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If you've got a home with a fireplace, you probably know that there are certain risks to having a fire in your living room. But those risks can be minimized with proper care and maintenance.
Even if you consider yourself a good fireplace user, it's always a good idea to refresh your memory. Especially this time of year, as we begin to feel the cold bite of winter and we begin to light up those fireplaces for the first time this season.

So here are 9 tips from Houselogic.com that cover all the bases when it comes to fireplace safety:

1. Only Burn Dry, Cured Wood
That is, logs that have been split, stacked, and dried for eight to 12 months. Cover your log pile on top, but leave the sides open for air flow.

Hardwoods such as hickory, white oak, beech, sugar maple, and white ash burn longest, though dry firewood is more important than the species. Less dense woods like spruce or white pine burn well if sufficiently dry, but you’ll need to add more wood to your fire more often, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

2. Burn Firewood and Only Firewood!
Crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood releases chemicals into your home, compromising air quality. Log starters are fine for getting your wood fireplace going, but they burn very hot; generally only use one at a time.

3. Close the Damper When Not Using Your Wood Fireplace
This will prevent warm indoor air — and the dollars you’re spending to heat it — from rushing up the chimney.

4. Keep Bi-fold Glass Doors Open When Burning a Fire
This will allow heat to get into the room. On a factory-built, prefab wood fireplace with a circulating fan, keep doors closed to prevent unnecessary heat loss.

5. Have a Chimney Cap Installed
It will prevent objects, rain, and snow from falling into your chimney, and reduce downdrafts. Caps have side vents so smoke escapes. A chimney sweep usually provides and can install a stainless steel cap, which is better than a galvanized metal one because it won’t rust. Caps cost $50 to $200.

6. Replace a Poorly Sealing Damper to Prevent Heat Loss.
A top-mounted damper that also functions as a rain cap provides a tighter closure than a traditional damper for your wood fireplace.

7. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Detectors
Place them near your wood fireplace as well as in bedroom areas.

8. Get Your Chimney Cleaned Twice a Year*
If you burn more than three cords of wood annually, this is a must-do. A cord is 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, or the amount that would fill two full-size pickup trucks.

9. To Burn a Fire Safely, Build It Slowly, Adding More Wood as It Heats
Keep the damper of your wood fireplace completely open to increase draw in the early stages. Burn the fire hot, at least occasionally—with the damper all the way open to help prevent smoke from lingering in the fireplace and creosote from developing.

And that's it. Not too much to handle, right? Follow those tips and have a warm, safe winter season. Make sure to enjoy those moments, before you know it, it will be summer again. ( We wish!)

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca

Tips For Pre-Winter Maintenance

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Your Autumn Maintenance Checklist

 

With the cooler weather setting in, it's important that you ensure your home is ready for the winter.

It doesn't take much to get your home prepared and with this list of 5 items, you can be sure that you won't be left in the cold.

1 Clean Those Gutters – You will save yourself a lot of hassle if you get to those gutters now before all those bits of damp debris become filthy leaf and twig ice chunks.

2 Check Your Roof and Siding – Look for any sign of water damage or drafts. Physically check your roof and the siding with an eye open for missing shingles or rips in the siding.

3 Clean That Fireplace – When is the last time you had a fire in that thing? You don't want to smoke yourself out the house the first time you spark up the fireplace for the season.

4 Check The Caulking On Those Windows – Your home loses the majority of its heat from drafty windows, so make sure to give them the attention they need before it gets below zero.

5 Clean and Cover Your Patio Furniture – I know, you don't want to admit that it will soon be too cold to sit out on the back deck sipping an ice cold beer. But you can't turn back the calendar. What you can do is ensure your deck looks great for next year by giving it a good clean now, and protect those deck chairs!

There you have it, 5 items for your autumn maintenance checklist. And be sure to be safe, especially when it comes to your roof and gutters. Don't forget, if you need assistance, you can reach out to your local handyperson.

Your Guide To Hard Wood Flooring

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Level Ten's Guide To Hardwood Flooring

I've been writing a lot about hardwood, It's something many home owners are interested in. But with this blog post, I'd like to take a step back and look at the types and styles of hardwood flooring.
All types of hardwood floors have unmatched natural beauty and go with almost any decor — modern, traditional, country, you name it. Hardwood flooring goes in any room, although kitchens and basements warrant special considerations. But for now, I'm just going to talk about the basics.

Here we go:

Unfinished or Finished?
Unfinished hardwood flooring is a good option if you want a custom stain applied before the final finish, or if you want to match the colour of existing flooring. After hardwood flooring installation and staining, the flooring is given several coats of protective finish. If you’re thinking of adding hardwood flooring in your kitchen, unfinished flooring is a good choice because the finish will penetrate and seal the seams between boards, helping to prevent water from seeping between boards, so, splash away!

Pre-finished hardwood flooring comes from the factory already sanded and sealed, which means it looks nice and is easy to work with. There are no odours and VOCs from finishing on-site, and the floor is ready to walk on immediately after install.

Solid or Engineered?
Solid hardwood flooring is all wood and comes 5/8 to 3/4 inches thick. Because it’s solid wood, it can be sanded and refinished many times. However, it’s is affected by changes in humidity. Certainly not recommended for below-grade basements, that's for sure!

Engineered hardwood flooring is a veneer of real wood glued to several layers of wood underneath, like plywood but prettier. What you get from engineered wood is excellent stability over time and makes it a good choice for any area of your home, including those seasonally temperamental below-grade basements.

What Tree Is Best For A Floor?
The best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and — you guessed it — very hard.
Oak flooring, maple flooring and cherry flooring are all good choices. Other species include bamboo (which is actually a grass), walnut, ash and mahogany. You’ll pay a premium price for more exotic species, such as teak, jarrah and mesquite. Check to make sure the hardwood flooring you choose comes from sustainably harvested forests.
Another option is reclaimed hardwood flooring, which you can find at salvage yards. It likely has some signs of wear and age, but you’ll pay about half what it would cost for comparable new flooring.

I hope this guide helps you better understand the options when it comes to hardwood flooring.

Calm thru the Clutter

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Keep Calm and Declutter

Having a crew come into your home can be stressful. That's understandable.

You're concerned about the renovation, but you're also concerned about the state of your home. You've got to move furniture around, relocated whole rooms, and on top of that is your day-to-day living while the renovations occur.

Luckily there's a few things you can do to make this an easy transition.
Plan ahead and leave lots of time. You can use the time leading up to the renovation to get rid of unwanted furniture and other items on Kijiji. But make sure to give yourself enough time to sell off or give away your items. You don't want deal-hunters showing up at the same time as the reno crew!

Develop a sorting system. Tag what is going to remain, what you're giving away, and what rooms things belong in. Organizing what goes where before hand will make it easier for everyone working on your project.

Don't forget the closet. They often can contain more than you expect or remembered. If you're doing bedroom renovations, you're going to want to think about where all those closet items are going to live while the renovations take place. Planning ahead will save you lots of time and headaches.

Making sure you declutter will make you feel better about the upcoming renovations. And then you just have to sit back and let the pros do their work.

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca

UNIVERSAL DESIGN

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What Is Universal Design?

I'm hearing the term used more often. Universal Design. It sounds space-age, like futuristic styles that are really out there. But not so. Universal Design is about making your home accessible for every type of resident. Homes that reflect the needs of aging home-owners and people with mobility issues. And it makes sense. We're all aging, whether we want it or not. Why not be ready for it?

One of the great things about Universal Design is that you don't have to do the entire house at once. You can pick and choose which room to begin in, depending on what works for your budget and needs. Maybe you want to start with wider doorways to allow for assisted mobility devices, or maybe you want to prepare your bathroom for when you're not as spry as you once were.

Here are just a few examples of Universal Design:

In the kitchen –
Mount appliances lower, make them accessible at wheelchair height.

Open shelving can make for ease of access.

Single lever faucets and well maintained sliding drawers make it easier for those with arthritis.

In the bathroom -
Shower benches and curbless showers. Alterations that reduce trip hazards and allow for comfort.

Mounting grab bars around the toilet area and in the shower stall or bathtub area.

Throughout the house there are other things you can do, such as using lever door handles instead of doorknobs around your home. You can reduce the amount of floor transitions to cut down on tripping issues, and you should think about where those wall-socket and light switches are sitting. Universal Design is all about ease of access for everybody. And it's a great way to prepare your home for your future self.

** You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca **

FROM UGLY TO AWESOME - RENOVATING "THAT" ROOM

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We all have that one room in the house that we refer to as the “Ugly Room” and though we frantically flip thru Pinterest and Instagram looking for motivation and inspiration.  There are situations that limit our ability to “fix” this pimple in the house.

“Ugly Rooms” usually need more than paint to make them shine. Here are some tips to help transform your ugly room into the best room in the entire house!

  1. Decide the function of the room: Will it be a home office, home gym, crafts room, extra bedroom, shoe showroom, music room, yoga studio, meditation room? The list is endless, so ensure you know before you begin!

  2. Ask yourself: Is there enough natural light for the new room? Sometimes, simply replacing the existing window(s) with a larger or smaller window or even a small set of doors leading to a French Balcony Railing can really change the feel of the room.

  3. Do you need the closet space and is it being maximized? If keeping the bar and shelf in the closet is only causing a storage war instead of convenience, perhaps it’s time to redesign the closet to a more functional space. IKEA is opening in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia this September and they offer closet organization solutions for every budget. Warning - Declutter before you start this part of the project. Remember the Golden Rule - if you haven’t used it for 2 years then recycle, or re-home. The last thing you need or want is to create this amazing new space only to use it as a new storage room.

  4. Flooring, again depending the ultimate use of this room, you want to select flooring that is going to compliment the function. For instance if the room is in the basement you may want to consider LVT luxury vinyl flooring which is now available in a variety of finishes, colors and thicknesses. If you’re on a budget, the waffle backed acts as a great insulator from the cold concrete floor but still offers the durability of vinyl plus it won’t warp if wet. If your home is a Ranch style bungalow on concrete slab they offer LVT with Cork backing. This is a higher grade of material that again acts as a barrier between you and the cold concrete. If you have Engineered hardwood in all areas except the “Ugly Room” consider going with carpet or high grade laminate but only if you can’t find any engineered hardwood to match the existing flooring.  

  5. Wall coverings are subject to taste but avoid using dark colors in small rooms.

  6. Artificial Lighting - be prepared to spend a bit more and reap the savings over time using LED light fixtures.  The upfront cost may be pricey but the bulbs will last longer and don’t create heat which makes your bills higher.

  7. Finally, replace antiquated heat fixtures - DON’T PAINT THEM!!! Today’s electric baseboard heater can be replaced with convection wall mounted heaters which heat the room more efficiently and free up valuable floor space. Plus they won’t burn tiny fingers.

We hope these ideas help turn that “Ugly Room” into the room you want to spend all your time in!

TRENDING THIS FALL Inspiration for Home Renovations

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Summer is beginning to wind down and you're ready to start that fall renovation. You know you need to do some major changes to the interior. But what direction are you going to take? What look are you hoping for?

Maybe you just know you need a change. And all you need now is some inspiration. Then look no further. I've gathered some of the most poplar trends in interior decorating and renovating. That way you are able to have a starting point, something to get you thinking about how you want your home to look this autumn.

Interior Paint Colours
According to HGTV, dark colours are in this fall. Especially dark green. HGTV says “Combined with rich natural wood and leather and accented with brass and cream, the cozy color is a perfect fit for fall and winter. “

And if dark colours aren't your thing, you may be pleased to know that blush pink is in. At least according to CountryLiving.com who claim that “Blush is back and better than ever.”

Textures
Are you the type of person the loves velvet? If so,, you'll be happy to know that several stylists are talking up the virtues of velvet. Soothing and luxurious, able to add an extra layer of cozy in the upcoming autumn months.

And to offset the velvet, how about some woven textures. Wicker and basket weaves can add a nice bit of ruff natural feeling to off-set the plushness of the velvet.

Flooring
How about earthenware? Do you like terra cotta? Because terra cotta tiles are this fall's must-have for flooring. But if that's not your style, have you considered dark grey hardwood? Grey tones and darker colours are a big hit this fall.

Those are just some of the directions you could take when renovating this fall. As always, you want to strongly consider your options. See what fits within your budget, do your research. If you need the advice of a professional, then reach out and ask one. Making the right choice isn't always easy and it can help to have an informed opinion.

The Tools You Need For A Good (DIY) Life

What tools are in your toolbox? Do you even have a toolbox? Because you should. Whether you are a real DIY kind of person, or you're just independent enough that you've decided you can do the small jobs yourself, you're going to need tools. That doesn't mean you need to go out and buy every piece of Black and Decker ever made. On the contrary. It takes only a few tools to have yourself covered for whatever small repair job might come up.

Here is a list of essential tools to have at your disposal. They are all easy to find and easy to use. And they can go a long way in making you feel confident and prepared.

1. Hammer – Get yourself a 16 ounce hammer. Take your time, find one that fits your hand well and is balanced nicely. Get to know the hammer before you buy, give it a few good swings!

2. Multi-head Screwdriver – You're going to need a screwdriver. It just makes sense to get the most versatile one. Keep an eye out for the ratcheting ones, they allow you to turn the screw many times without having to re-position you hand. You'll be glad you did.

3. Utility Knife – It's like scissors for adults! There's a reason it's called a “utility” knife. It has so many uses! You can cut drywall, strip wires, cut up boxes, and trim linoleum. So many uses!

4. Tape Measure – You have to know how wide, how tall, how narrow, how deep almost everything is. Using a kids ruler and your own judgement won't always cut it. Make sure to get a sturdy one and it should last you a lifetime.

5. Level – You measured it twice but is it level? Having a level takes so much guess-work out of every project. Start with one on the longer side, like 2 feet, because they help the most with common household tasks like putting up shelves, pictures, and mirrors.

6. Wrenches – Go out and get an adjustable wrench. Do it. You need one!

7. Cordless Drill – If you ever find yourself needing a power tool, it's probably a drill. And if you're getting a drill, get a cordless, rechargeable one. You'll thank yourself for it later.

8. Needlenose Pliers – You'd be surprised how often you'll need these. Broken link on a neckless – needlenose pliers, toothbrush down the drain – needlenose pliers! Very, very handy.

While that's not a list of every tool you may end up using, it is a list of the most commonly used. And don't forget the actual toolbox to store them in. There's nothing worse than needing a tool you own and not being able to find it!

So go out there, get yourself those 8 items for your tool kit. You'll feel ready for the next DIY project or surprise repair job. And of course, if the job is too big to handle, you can always call a trusted contractor. They'll have all the tools you need to get the job done.