Featured

Simon James’ lovely new home

A new residential showroom space.

Simon James

Simon James’ Auckland showroom has a generous new residential focus, thanks to an expanded and renovated ground-floor space that showcases the firm’s offerings for the home.

Simon James

Alongside James’ own designs – including his ‘Hex’ pendant, which won our Design Awards in 2013 – are creations by New Zealand designers Nat Cheshire, Jamie McLellan, Phil Cuttance, Cameron Foggo, Gidon Bing and Jason Whiteley, as well as the best of imported brands including Massproductions, Established & Sons, Secto and Swedese.

Simon James

Simon James Design
61 Upper Queen Street
Newton, Auckland

09 377 5556
simonjamesdesign.com

Simon James

Simon James

Simon James

Simon James

Featured

This barn-red Home of the Year finalist charms all who visit

Red box. Green soul.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

A homage to playfulness, this red cube on a Titirangi hillside is like a sculpture made with oversized Lego bricks. Its presence amid the greenery is surprising, yet the contrast somehow speaks of place – and almost everyone who visits is won over by its cheerful form and hue.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Slender, sky-seeking manuka and kanuka populate the section which, beyond the shared drive, drops into a valley. Keeping light-footed on the land was a priority. “We wanted to remove as little bush as possible,” explains architect Ken Crosson of Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects. So the house was placed on poles at the flattish top of the site. “The builders worked with a 1.5-metre margin around the structure.”

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Owners Blair and Janis Marler Harkness asked for a modest dwelling, a place to embrace their values of living with just enough – although Janis was still set on squeezing quite a few possessions into the small place. Janis is an artist who works from home while Blair, a journalist, broadcaster and communications advisor, trains and cycles into the city to work. To make the design cost-effective, the architects used a palette of affordable materials, coaxing from them a much richer experience.

Thank the design deities that CCCA’s original idea of a black box was dispensed with. Rescue came cloaked in a red coat, a corrugated-iron cladding, which effectively dodged the drab. Convincing the owners to take this colourful road less travelled was easy; convincing the council was a different matter. Crosson: “We argued that ‘barn red’ was part of the district plan on Waiheke Island, so why not here?”

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

To ensure interest within a restricted material palette on the straight-sided form, the house was made “dynamic in its skin”, an effect achieved by twisting the rippled sheets to create a pattern of vertical and horizontal lines. Crosson sketched the random design by hand for this patchwork of steel. “I had a sense of where we needed to get to. It was intuitive, a gut instinct,” he says.

Entry is via a timber boardwalk which extends to a small cantilevered platform – a compact space for coffee and contemplation. Inside, plenty of function was required within the 6 x 7-metre template over three floors. At the base are two bedrooms, one with built-in bunks for visiting grandkids. The only bathroom has a low-set louvre window – a vantage point for taking in the ground-level perspective of trees as they emerge from the earth. The laundry tucks into a cupboard alongside Janis’ studio, where a Perspex slider on the east-facing wall allows natural light into the small room.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Up a set of narrow stairs, the second storey is devoted to open-plan living, dining and general mayhem. The third level is a roof deck which hovers at tree-top height. All up, there are 90 square metres of interior action in the tight architectural programme.

What steel is to the outside of the home, pine is to the interior. Akin to a shipping crate, the ceiling, floor and walls are all lined in ply. This humble material fits with the homeowners’ philosophy of leaving any pretension on the mat laid out in front of the re-purposed, black-lacquered front door. This is a house brimming with art and personality. “I am a maximalist,” laughs Janis. “I can spoil any space you let me into.”

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

At the top of the stairwell, she has tacked the tongue-in-cheek New Year’s resolutions of her 18-year-old granddaughter and her friend. Scrawled on a paper towel, these shun the usual aspirations: “try liver” is one, “stop growing” another.

Within the main zone, the cross-section view takes in a tapestry of trunks. The challenge was to get enough light onto this level and, along with a band of black-steel windows, skylights on the northern edge draw sun into its heart. Janis is a fresh-air fiend; in summer she likes to hear the birds and so the double-glazed windows are open. Manuka blossoms drift in on the breeze.

Assorted memorabilia from the original Marler factory, the women’s fashion shoe manufacturer that is part of Janis’ family heritage, is jammed in amid an all-encompassing display of art. “Living here is not for the faint-hearted,” she says. There is method and order of a kind. The ironing board is a sore point – the only laundry item that is reluctantly allowed a presence on this level.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Rimu storage drawers that once housed cobblers’ tools are re-purposed on the kitchen cabinetry and a built-in TV unit. Some of the strips of timber were angled in a wedge to become handles on the door fronts. Green glass bottles march like troops along the kitchen window sill and are filled with pantry staples. “Dad sailed across the Tasman on Logan racing boats and used these for storage stacked on top of each other in the bilge,” says Janis.

On the western face of the home, Crosson designed a pop-out space with floor-to-ceiling glazing that breaks the regularity of the façade and is clad externally in plain solid steel.

The southern elevation, where the stairwell projects, has a glazed roof that follows the angle of the stair but continues way above the roof line. It’s a jaunty glass enclosure, an aesthetic curiosity that is vented to act as a heating-cooling chimney. The roof deck, under all-day sun, overlooks the leafy canopy – an eyrie for humans. In summer the grandchildren pitch a tent on its wooden surface: fledglings in the nest. To anchor it, they tie the guy ropes to “great big water bottles” Janis explains.

Featured

Christchurch’s new caffeine hub

Supreme sets up a new shop.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Development may feel like it’s taking forever in central Christchurch, but the coffee options just broadened with the opening of Supreme’s new South Island headquarters. The Supreme team worked with architect Jessica Barter of Bureaux to convert a building that has served as a Land Rover dealership and, more latterly, as the Chinese goods emporium Hop Yick.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Barter synthesised both these historical influences as she developed the café’s design: the powder-coated steel furniture and splashbacks reference the robust elegance of old Land Rovers (as do the canvas bar fronts), while the soft grey palette and grid patterns routed into the ash cabinetry fronts and wall panels were inspired by an old Hop Yick ledger book left in the building.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Yes, Supreme has outlets elsewhere – Auckland, Melbourne, Wellington – but Christchurch represents a significant investment, not only because it’s the company’s first café with a full kitchen (there are plans to open in the evenings in Christchurch, too). Barista training facilities, a roastery and the South Island team’s offices are also in the building, only slightly separated from the main café space by frosted glass panels.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

And while Supreme’s Auckland location, also known as Good One, is justly proud of its improvisational aesthetic, here in Christchurch things are intentionally built to last. “The most important thing was to give the people of Christchurch something that felt like a home, that was cool and crafted and permanent,” Barter says.

Supreme Supreme
10 Welles Street, Christchurch
03 365 0445

coffeesupreme.com

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Supreme Supreme – Christchurch. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Featured

See Auckland? Density isn’t scary at all!

Interesting new apartment designs on the waterfront.

Artisan Apartments

Auckland’s flurry of apartment development is yielding some potential architectural standouts. Wynyard Central (above and below), just behind the city’s North Wharf development, is designed by Architectus (the firm that designed this magazine’s first-ever Home of the Year in 1996) and includes townhouses, a five-storey group of pavilions containing apartments on each level, and a larger apartment building.

Daldy Street apartments

The community – along with nearby 132 Halsey Street, an apartment building by Athfield Architects – is being developed by Willis Bond, who have a long history of recognising the value of good architecture in higher-density developments.

The idea, says Patrick Clifford of Architectus, is to create a mix of densities and accommodation options on the site. Architectus is also responsible for the master-planning of the Wynyard Quarter area (as well as the redevelopment of Auckland’s Queen and Lorne Streets), so this development isn’t just about buildings: there’s also been a great deal of focus on creating an appealing pedestrian environment, a fine-grained village-like feel incorporating laneways and Daldy Street’s linear park.

Importantly, the wider quarter mixes business, cultural and residential uses: the innovation precinct/high-tech business hub GridAKL is just down the street, and the Auckland Theatre Company’s new home, Moller Architects’ ASB Waterfront Theatre, will open in 2016 behind ASB’s award-winning headquarters (designed by Australian firm BVN Donovan Hill with Jasmax).

It’s a development that will, hopefully, show Aucklanders that density done well – and mixing residential and business functions in a single neighbourhood – needn’t be scary at all.

wynyardcentral.co.nz
132halsey.co.nz

Artisan Apartments

Daldy Street

Pakenham Street apartments

Artisan Apartments

Pakenham Street Mews

Featured

New Zealand design’s new Paris home

The Moaroom’s new, more public French face.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Some of New Zealand’s best designers have a new shopfront in Paris, thanks to the Moaroom. The store, run by expat New Zealander Roderick Fry and his French partner, Laurence Varga, has just moved from a very chic former garage to a new spot much more visible to passers-by. Here, Roderick Fry tells us about the move.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

HOME What made you want to move?
Roderick Fry It was time to have better public visibility with the collection as a ‘collection’. We have a really full New Zealand design catalogue now, which between David Trubridge’s and my own work, has items that have been gaining respect and volume in the market for between five and 10 years – but also, since we started working with Resident [Simon James’ furniture brand], a lot of variation and new items too. Initially, to launch our designers we purposely worked with other shops in Paris who put the collections beside those of all of the world’s best. But with David’s work now in the Pompidou Centre, and the fact that those big design shops have limits and can’t always promise visibility to all their brands – the time had come to curate our own permanent presentation.

The space we were in, an old garage near Republique, was a fantastic working environment, and a nice big space to show work to architects – but because it didn’t have a street window we largely missed out on any word of mouth, and journalists were reticent to suggest the space to their readers who might have had trouble finding us. We also found that most architects would like to see a new collection just by dropping by when they have time rather than phoning and organizing a specific presentation time.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

HOME Where is your new space, and what’s good about it?
Roderick Fry It’s five minutes’ walk east of the Marais, just on the other side of the Bastille. The area is best known for the Marché d’Aligre, which is 100 metres from the shop. It’s arguably Paris’s best food market, which in the weekends is a great place to do one’s food shopping, but also have a coffee and listen to some street music. We sell a lot to people in the area, but people from completely the other side of Paris are quite happy to visit us as they know they’ll also find a good café and do some good window shopping around us. For Paris’s interior architects it’s been the hub of furniture making and design since before Cook made his way to New Zealand – and although the majority of workshops have moved out of the area their textile suppliers and varnish experts are still here. We’re one of half a dozen contemporary design projects revitalising the fine furniture tradition in the area.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

HOME Does New Zealand design have a particular appeal in France, or does it depend on the quality of the individual designers?
Roderick Fry It is very much about the individual designers – and now that there are five of us that are doing well in Europe, finding an umbrella ‘New Zealand design style’ is becoming more difficult. The only link that’s left perhaps is that the work is unpretentious, and manages to be original and simple at the same time – and fortunately these are values which are both easily associated with what French people think of New Zealand, as well as being what they are now striving for in their own living environments.

HOME What are you working on yourself at the moment?
Roderick Fry Our creative season is actually very short – there are about four weeks of the year at the beginning of summer when our clients don’t want to hear from us that I can work on my own collection. Having said that I have my notebook with me all year round, and last summer we actually managed to knock out two new prototypes for tables, a desk and a chair which we’re still testing. Hopefully by the end of this summer we’ll have finished the prototypes for a set of kitchen accessories and a ‘computer-age’ wooden toy – as we prepare the launch of last summer’s designs.

Moaroom
7, rue Emilio Castelar
75012 Paris

moaroom.com

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Moaroom Paris. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Pick The Right Way To Plan Your Financial Properly

Everybody buckling down for money to accomplish their objective, however not all of them understand about planning prepare that should be done to meet their destinations. Financial planning is a standout amongst the most imperative parts of human life where everything is driven by money. Financial planning ought to be finished by considering all exercises of every individual furthermore in various perspectives. While you can just contract financial professional to plan your financial, you can do it without anyone else’s input in simple ways. Today, I will give you the most ideal approach to plan financial planning in simple orderly guides.

The initial step to plan about financial planning is thinking about any conceivable outcomes, especially the financial troubles. During the time spent planning your financial, ensure that you are thinking about startling circumstances that may hit you. Things like the demise of your cherished one, guardians, youngsters and some other circumstance can change your current financial stream. Survey what sort of circumstances that skilled to change the salary and expenses of your financial.

The following stride is set up back up plan. Thusly, if unforeseen happens, the backup plan will have the capacity to take care of your financial issue and make yours financial will relentless until you can improve your financial. Assess any risk, surveying the implications of every risk, and afterward create system to manage all possible implication. A few ways that can be use as your back up plan is legacy, charge refund, loans, retirement plan and some more. Make a point to discover back up choices that viable for you and will have the capacity to back your financial until your financial salary consistent.

Payday loan is a standout amongst the most well known routes as backup plan on United States. You can get small amount of money for constrained time utilizing payday loans. Notwithstanding, you may need to check US payday loaning decides and ensure that you know anything about payday loan. For more information, check small-loans-online.com.

Since there are a few sorts of payday loan, I recommend you to get immediate payday banks. Direct payday banks are allowing you to get payday loan without the association of outsider. Along these lines, you will have the capacity to discuss specifically with the payday loan specialists and arrange the rate. Ensure that there is no shrouded charges included and guarantee you know the definite amount of money you have to pay. I recommend you to peruse the terms and agreements to guarantee that you understand any risk you will get when you take the payday loans.

The following stride is get exhortation of professional that fit to give you plan and financial management as indicated by your circumstances. I recommend you to get professional that has qualifications of the certified financial planner or comparative designations. Ensure that you are getting individual that as of now have extraordinary reputation and have reputations. Be that as it may, make a point to convey each worry about your financial conditions and your present conditions before you take counsel from the financial guides. Along these lines, you will have the capacity to get ready for the most noticeably bad time on your life and skilled to live properly.

A Guide to Swimming Pool Enclosures

All the things you need to know about swimming pool enclosures and why you should get them

Swimming pools are great fun in the summers and some swimming fanatics will admit that they love to use the swimming pool all year round. There are however very few people who actually have swimming pools at home. There are a lot of people who have the space to build one at their property but it is not about building a swimming pool that is difficult. It is actually the maintenance and the security of the swimming pools that hold the concern for most people who have considered installing swimming pools in their back yards.

A Guide to Swimming Pool Enclosures

Cleaning the swimming pools, protecting them from dirt, leaves and other litter, and making the swimming pool safe for children and pets is a major concern among most customers. Luckily, with the introduction of the swimming pool enclosures, all these concerns can be put to rest.

Swimming Pool Enclosures

Enclosures or specifically swimming pool enclosures are a frame structure made up of glass, metal and wood (in some cases) which surrounds and covers your swimming pools. These enclosure are usually available in two types;

Fixed Enclosures – These enclosures are built around your pool and are completely fixed. They cannot be moved. These kind of enclosures usually use wood and they are used by homeowners who will own the property for a long time.

Moveable Enclosures – These enclosures are fixed around the pool and they are usually made up of metal frame. These kind of enclosures are adjustable and they can be opened and closed over the pool manually or automatically with the help of a remote or such.

Why Pool Enclosure?

Enclosures are the new convenience in the maintenance and protection of your pools and customers have a variety of pool enclosures to choose from according to their own need. This guide will help you choose a pool enclosure that will fit your needs and demands perfectly.

A Guide to Swimming Pool Enclosures2

The first question that you would ask is why you need a pool enclosure. A pool enclosure will provide the following advantages for your swimming pool;

A Safe Investment – By installing or building an enclosure, you are saving a lot of money that you will have to spend on the protection and maintenance of your pool. Once you have installed it, the costs of maintaining the pool reduces exponentially per year and you save a lot of money for something else like a vacation.

Keep the Dirt Out – Having a glass structure cover your pool has a lot of advantages. The biggest is that your pool remains clean. As no dust or leaves can fall into it, the pool remains clean across a longer period of time keeping your pool clean and dust free.

Enhances the quality – You know that the quality of your pool water is dependent on the chloroform that you put into your pool. Contamination causes the chloroform to react, turning your pool water stale and you have to change it almost everyday. With an enclosure, the chances of chloroform contamination are less hence the water remains clean over a longer period of time.

Keep your Pool Child Safe – One of the adversities of having a pool and children is that there is a huge chance of accidents happening. They might just slip and fall in. Same could happen with your pet. By having an enclosure around your pool, you can keep the children and the pets away from the pool and save them from any accidents that could happen. You could also lock the enclosure door, making it safer for the children.

Keep Pool Open All Year Around – When you have a pool enclosure, you don’t need to worry about closing and opening it across different seasons. You could keep the pool all year long, especially with the heating features, you can even use the swimming pool in winters.

What Kind of Pool Enclosure to Get?

Some people might be looking at the edge-design of the enclosure to see what fits better in their house.

Round Edge Enclosures – if you’re living in a smaller house with a smaller landscape around the swimming pool, you might want to go for a round edged enclosure. It can be fit anywhere and it is easily adjustable. This design is usually used for adjustable models.

Sharp Edge Enclosures – If you have a big house and you’re going for a more permanent fixture, then you can go for a sharp edge enclosure with a little space around the pool edges which can provide you place to hang out around the pool and even host pool parties.

The other factor that comes into consideration regarding pool enclosures is the height of the enclosure, pool enclosures come at different height which can fulfil your need of having a pool enclosure.

A Guide to Swimming Pool Enclosures3

High Enclosures – Pool enclosures with a good height are great for people for building kind of a pool house around their swimming pool. These enclosure could be as high as your house roof and usually leave space around your pool for walking and keeping lounge chairs. So if you’re into having a pool house structure then high enclosures will be great for you.

Middle Enclosures – Middle enclosures are not too high nor too low, they’reperfect for hanging out around the pool and having enough height to walk around the edge of the pool comfortably.

Low Enclosures – Low enclosures are suitable for people who prefer to dive and swim or just use the enclosures for protection. They have a low height and cover the pool completely. They are usually adjustable.

A pool enclosure offers convenience to any homeowner or a commercial owner with a swimming pool. It offers financial convenience to the owner and help them maintain and secure their swimming pools.

4 Excellent Reasons Why You Should Buy Real Estate In Stowe, VT

Real estate is a great investment, one of the ways you can diversify your business profits into more than just your savings account. Buying a home is also a perfect way to settle down and raise a family in a safe and secure environment. Whether you are buying to stay or sell, Stowe, VT has a lot to offer. Stowe is a town in Lamoille County in the state of Vermont in the USA. It is well known as a premier four-season resort destination. Stowe, VT is a beautiful town with alpine and Nordic recreation, world class, mountain biking and a great place to make excellent family memories. Stowe, VT, has a natural setting of mountains, forests, fields, fine air and clear mountain streams that make it a distinctively appealing place to live.

Appreciation potential

Real estate in Stowe has a lot of appreciation potential. The features of this town make it a highly sought after destination for tourism and living. The town is only getting more popular and the economy getting stronger making it an excellent investment opportunity if you plan to sell. While you pay your loan to reduce it, the value of real estate generally goes up. Real estate is not a short term investment, investing in long term real estate can help you realize far much greater value than what you are paying for today.

Rich quality of life

Stowe, VT is quite a town. It is the home to more than 50 luxury resorts, spas, B&BS and romantic county inns. It also has quite a varied dining experience with over 40 restaurants and more awards for culinary excellence than any other town in its size. It offers a fun and adventurous shopping experience with over 70 shops and boutiques that are uniquely owned and operated. One day in town for shopping and dining and you are in for a wonderful treat.

Something for the entire family

If you are planning to start a family, there is no better place to do it than in Stowe, VT. Lots of fun activities for the entire family. It is a popular ski destination with its excellent snow and challenging terrain. There are family resorts with fun activities for the entire family. Hockey and ice skating are also popular activities your children could engage in at the multimillion dollar Ice arena that was opened back in 2013.

Stowe, VT, also has an artistic side. There are multiple craft shows, art shows, a farmers market, opera house and breathtaking views.

Real estate heaven

Stowe has a wonderful community with small town charm. A place where neighbors are friendly and keep an eye out for each other. Stowe, VT, real estate options are quite varies. You can find luxury homes, antique properties from the 1800s, modern contemporary homes, grand alpine condominiums and small efficiency units. There is a something for everyone.

House prices in Stowe typically start from around $300,000. You can also find luxury homes for sale from $1,000,000 and property on the slop side from $2,000,000.

The Science of Materials in Fabric Architecture

Fabric architecture is one of the oldest methods of dwelling construction in existence, but it has not stood still across the millennia. Today, fabric architecture can mean much more than just tents, with high-tech materials offering a practical and efficient way to provide dwellings and other kinds of buildings in a range of situations.

homebuildermovement

Image Credit

Modern technology has led to the creation of a wide range of different fabric types for architectural use. Some of the main fabric technologies include:

Strength Technologies

Even with simple tents, architectural fabrics have always had to be some of the strongest materials available. Today, a range of technologies exist to allow for more serious and long-term use of fabric architecture through the manufacture of high-tech, very strong materials.

To support the demands of bespoke tensile fabric structures like those found at fabricarchitecture.com and elsewhere, a number of composite materials have been made. These combine multiple materials to provide properties that none would have on their own. Often, the properties achieved this way are strength, often in combination with low weight.

Thermal Technology

One of the challenges associated with using architectural fabrics for structures that go beyond traditional tents is the relative lack of insulation compared to traditional building materials. Once again, modern technologies and manufacturing techniques have helped to make significant improvements in this area.

Again, composite fabrics are often the solution. The use of multiple base materials, often in the form of multi-layered fabrics with insulating spaces between, can significantly improve the amount of insulation that is provided by fabric of a given weight and thickness. The use of membranes and treatments can also significantly improve the degree to which fabric inhibits heat transfer, as can using air cushion structures.

Unusual Materials

Modern manufacturing techniques have also allowed fabrics to be partly or fully made from materials that you would not normally associate with textiles. This can provide properties that may be equally surprising when found in a fabric.

Carbon fibre fabrics are one of the less surprising but most common examples, providing great strength at low weights. Some of the more surprising materials used in architectural fabrics include glass, metal, and even ceramic – all bringing important properties that are very useful when the textiles in question are being used in a structure that must be resilient and long-lasting.

Tips on Saving Money and Helping the Environment when Cleaning

You can actually save money and help the environment by recycling and using household items, and using cheaper cleaning solutions for everyday cleaning chores.

According to official statistics, the average household in the UK spends £120 a year for purchasing cleaning products, including detergents, cloths, others.

First of all, you could try using cheaper and safer cleaning solutions for the basic cleaning tasks at home. Some of these cleaning solutions which all of you probably have at home already include vinegar, baking soda, lemons, vodka and ordinary warm soapy water.  These ingredients will allow you to efficiently clean almost anything at home, and it will be perfectly safe, unlike most of the cleaning detergents sold in stores, which contain all kinds of harmful chemicals.

Vinegar diluted in water is perfect for cleaning windows, all kinds of surfaces, deep cleaning your washing machine, and removing most stains from your rug.

Baking soda will safely scrape off any dirt and residue from your countertops, from inside your oven, from your carpet and almost anywhere.  It also can be used to remove odours from carpets and mattress and for deodorising your fridge.

Even if you resort to the abovementioned natural cleaning products, you still will most probably still need to buy some cleaning products from the store.   In order to save money, you should buy them in bulk, which is always cheaper.  This is possible if you can afford to buy a lot of them at once, as well as if you have sufficient storage space of course.

Also, in order to save money and help the environment, think about reusing and recycling household items as much as possible. The current governmental statistics for the UK for the percentage of the recycling rate among the population is 43.9%, and the EU has required that the UK starts recycling at least 50% by 2020.

Why not join the new “upcycling” tendency which has been adopted by many people around the world. Basically, it means using your marmalade jars as drinking glasses, your old sweater to make a cushion for your cat, and millions of other creative re-uses for your old and used items at home, as well as for bottles and food packaging.

So, next time you should definitely think twice before throwing out an old bucket, chair, pot or almost anything really. Use your imagination and some creativity to make something useful or something beautiful, or why not both with this old and unnecessary item. It will not only be unique, but it will help you save money and the environment as well. And if you are particularly creative you can even make gifts for your friends or create beautiful items to offer for sale at a crafts market or online.

Browse the numerous websites, online information and tips from our cleaning colleagues from Acton with ideas for the upcycling almost anything which you have lying around at home, or which you are about to throw away.

Tips for Efficient De-cluttering of Your Wardrobe or Closet

Chances are you are already thinking and dreading that upcoming inevitable closet cleaning services, to put away those winter coats and boots and take out your spring clothes and prepare for the warm weather.

There are several tips to help you through this in some cases overwhelming process, which we would like to share with you.

First of all, before starting the uncluttering and rearranging of the closet or wardrobe, think about a friend, a charity or a second-hand clothing shop where you would like to give the clothing and shoes which you no longer want or need.

After that comes the most difficult part – deciding which skirt or shirt you won’t wear ever again. Give this process all the time it needs, in order to avoid regrets further on. A good rule of the thumb is to “weigh” the pros and cons of the items which you are not absolutely certain about. For example, ask yourself whether this looks good on you, whether you have suitable shoes or accessories to pair it with, and overall – do you love it, or would you prefer to open up some space for the new clothes you are already planning to buy for the upcoming season. This will most probably help you get rid of some of the stuff which you haven’t worn for years, and which can actually make someone else happy.

After you are done sorting the boxes for friends, charities, for the rubbish or for selling, you can proceed to start arranging your closet or wardrobe.

Often, it is at this point when you become so overwhelmed by the piles of clothes all around you that you feel ready to give up and just leave the mess as it is. We know the feeling. If you need some time, go do something else, take a walk, enjoy some time with your friends, or anything to take your mind off the piles of clothes and shoes waiting for you. When you are ready, just start arranging and putting away all the stuff, so that you are done with this chore once and for all.

One good idea is to arrange your clothes by colour, by type or by occasion, whichever suits you. Just create zones, to make picking an outfit and dressing up for a particular event or chore easier.

If you want your clothes to be stored properly, make sure you purchase good quality wooden or padded hangers and containers, to ensure that your clothes retain their nice form and stay in excellent condition.Check cleaners in Ealing for additional information.

If you don’t own a walk-in closet and have a smaller wardrobe, try adding some additional hooks to the back of the wardrobe to be able to hang your bags or clothes on them, in addition to the clothes on the hangers.

A good idea is to add lavender bags to your wardrobe or closet not only to add a pleasant scent but to fight off any moths which could be residing there and munching on your favourite cashmere scarf.

Questions to Ask a Plumber before Hiring

A lot goes on when you hire a Toronto plumber. As with any other professional, the work of plumbers within your state is not uniform. Neither are their price schemes. To get the most out of your plumber in Toronto, you must not forget to ask these questions before hiring him first.

1. Do you have a license? A license would entail that the plumber Toronto you are hiring received ample training and testing before offering his services. This is what you want because if you ever have your home or business venue inspected, only the work of a licensed plumber would pass the inspection. You may have to pay someone else to correct the job if you hire an unlicensed one.

2. Is it the total cost? Getting quotations for plumbing services Toronto can be very tricky, especially if this is done over the phone. What you need to ask is if the price that is being quoted to you is the total cost, or other factors like the hourly labor rate or other materials would come into play. The plumber will probably clarify that these prices are just estimates, but you need to be on the lookout for factors which could make the cost skyrocket unexpectedly. Ask if the estimated price already covers materials, labor, and tools. Ask if the one giving you the quote is also the plumber who will be doing the work for you. Most plumbing companies have more than one laborers working for them, and the price that the one on the phone is giving might not apply to the laborer who is actually working on your plumbing issues. It is safe to ask for the details.

3. When do you need to get paid? As a general rule, the pricing of plumber Toronto services is just friendlier for customers when it is pegged per milestone. What that means is that initially, the plumber will not ask to be paid yet. They usually only ask for money for the materials. They ask to be paid once a certain milestone is completed. This is ideal because the customer does not have to worry about a plumber who is paid by the hour, and who is taking much too long on a task. Of course, not all plumbing companies operate this way. Be wary of plumber who may ask for compensation before any work is done. Make sure you have everything in black and white before you begin any major plumbing repair, this will save you from a major headache from plumbers who might want to try and charge you extra.

4. Do you clean up after your job? Generally, plumbers do clean up after their job. It is best to still ask, though, because some companies do not include this in their services initially. Homeowners can be left with a big mess after the plumbing repairs are done. If the company offers clean up services but charges for it, look into the rate. The price could be worth it. Plumbing repairs are very messy, and you wouldn’t want to clean them up yourself.

If you are at a loss as to which company to tap to hire a plumber in Toronto plumber in Toronto, contact us now. We have some of the best, licensed plumbers in Toronto, and they are sure to impress you.

How to prolong the life of your carpets and keep them clean

If you live in the area, you probably use the services of your preferred domestic carpet cleaners in Stockport for your carpets and rugs to perform your annual deep cleaning. But do you know how to best clean and maintain your carpeting during the rest of the time?

Make sure you provide the proper care to keep your carpets and rugs clean because this will not only prolong their life but will also reduce the risk for you or a family member suffering from some unpleasant health conditions and illnesses due to the pollutants, bacteria and other harmful residue which gets stuck in your carpets.

The first thing you should do to keep your carpets as clean as possible is to take off your shoes at the front door, and ban any entering of the rooms with shoes which have been outside. Also, make sure you wash or at least wipe the paws of your dog when it comes back from outdoors before letting it enter the house and step all over the carpets and rugs.

This may seem a bit too much to some people, but if you read the results of the studies done based on samples taken from the rugs of average UK homes, which revealed that you may have urine, human faeces, horse manure, thousands of germs and a huge number of extremely nasty other stuff stuck on your carpet, as a result of stepping on it with the shoes which you have walked the streets and entered public bathrooms and parks with.

The next step is to use area mats and doormats in the doorway and in the high traffic areas. Place them over the other carpeting in order to protect your carpet or rug, and so that you can quickly and easily wash them and dry them, to reduce the number of harmful and horrid things stuck on them.

Of course, make sure you vacuum your carpets and rugs regularly and thoroughly, and don’t forget to vacuum under the furniture which you can’t move.

If you have a reversible rag, remember to vacuum both sides, and also to flip it over once in every six months, so that it wears evenly on both sides.

If you have pets, make sure you use a brush to remove the hairs they shed on the carpet, by brushing towards the nap, because vacuuming can’t really remove them all.

If you have smaller rugs and mats, you can take them outside to shake or beat off the dust and dirt. If they are washable and small enough to fit in your washing machine, you can wash them by using the gentlest cycle and cool water setting. Then rinse thoroughly and tumble dry at a low setting.

For delicate, antique or vintage rugs, it is not recommended to directly vacuum or wash them. When vacuuming, you can cover them with a nylon mesh covering or a nylon screen, to keep the fabric unharmed and intact. If you are lucky enough to have such special rugs, then you probably know that you need to use the services of reputable professional carpet cleaners twice a year to help wash them manually and very gently. So, make sure that you ask your carpet cleaning whether it offers cleaning of such delicate rugs, and while at it, you may want to inquire whether they can’t combine the carpet cleaning with some deep cleaning of your upholstery, mattresses and window cleaning in Stockport as well.

Correct Lawn Mowing Techniques

Lawn mowing is a task that is quite tough, but also quite fulfilling. Mowing a lawn makes it look presentable and can serve as an important piece of the outdoor décor. However, this will only work if one follows the right technique. There are cases of people who have mowed their lawns but have ended up not liking the results. The following are steps to follow when mowing a lawn.

Length

This is one of the things that often goes unnoticed but is very important. To ensure that one’s lawn is healthy after it has been mowed, one has to make sure that the lawn has been trimmed to the correct height. The height of the lawn will depend on the kind of grass that one has on the lawn. In most cases, the grass should be at least more than an inch long. One of the main reasons why the grass should be that long is because of weeds. If one trims the grass too short, the lawn becomes susceptible to the growth of various kinds of weeds. If the grass is long enough, this risk is reduced significantly. Also, if the grass is still too long after the trim, the grass may begin to curve at the top, which makes it look untidy.

Pattern

Whenever one mows the grass, it is advisable to keep changing the pattern in which one is doing it. For example, if one mows his or her lawn from left to right, it is advisable to mow the grass the next time from right to left. Grass tends to grow towards the direction in which it was cut. This creates a scenario where all the grass in the lawn bends towards one side. It also changes the soil pattern, which is unsuitable for the grass. To avoid such cases, it is important to always change the direction from time to time to ensure that the grass is upright.

Wet grass

A lot of people have formed the habit of cutting wet grass. Cutting wet grass is not advisable for the following reasons. First, one will end up with a lawn that is very uneven. This is because the water will alter the shape of the grass, which will result in differences in size after it has been cut. Second, the lawn mower will be at risk of damage because the wet grass will keep clogging it. This will force one to keep stopping to clean the wet grass before he or she can continue.

Shape of the ground

This is yet another key aspect that should always be taken into account when one is mowing a lawn. Not everybody has a lawn that is on flat ground. Some areas may be uneven. One should not use the same mowing technique if the ground is uneven. He or she should adjust the height of the blades of the mower in order to ensure an even cut on uneven ground. This is done to avoid scalping which will result in a lawn that does not look presentable. One should also ensure that the blades of the lawn mower are sharp to ensure the work is done effectively.

In conclusion, lawn mowing is not as easy as it looks. To be able to ensure that one can do the job perfectly, some level of expertise is required. It is advisable to ensure that all the steps mentioned above are followed to the letter to ensure that the lawn is mowed correctly and that there are no unexpected outcomes after the job is done.

Written by Boulder Creek Lawn & Landscape, the best service for lawn care in Jefferson City, MO.

Carpet cleaning and tips on home stain removal

Has your cat been naughty and peed on your favourite rug? Or maybe you child has stuck a piece of chewing gum on your living room carpet? Or you had a party and a tipsy friend spilled a glass of red wine on the carpeting? Well, accidents happen everywhere, but before you rush off to hire a company for carpet cleaning in Barnes, there are a few steps you can take to prevent permanent stains and remove as much of the damage as you can.

Rule number one is not to panic and act hurriedly when you see a spill. Yes, you need to treat it as soon as possible, but don’t go on pouring half a pint of carpet cleaning detergent on top of it and rubbing it like crazy…

The truth is that such actions can cause further damage and increase the risk of permanent staining.

You should first dab off as much of the spilled liquid with a clean microfiber cloth, without rubbing it in.

Then you can carefully treat the stain with light drizzle of water, stain-remover or natural stain removing solutions, such as baking soda and water paste, or warm water and white vinegar solution. Another gentle approach includes using a mild water and dish washing detergent solution to treat the stain.

Again, carefully apply only small amounts of your cleaning solution on the stain, let it sit and then with very small amount of water and a clean cloth or paper towels dab up as much as possible. Don’t wet your carpet too much because this can lead to the growth of mildew, mould, the accumulation of more dirt and can even ruin your floor beneath the wet spot.

Taking regular care of your carpets will also ensure that less dirt and dust is accumulated in them. It is important to ensure you apply the proper type of carpet care, depending on the type of carpet or rug you have.

If your carpet is synthetic, then regular thorough hoovering with the brush attachment set at the right height should keep most of the dirt out of it. In case of staining, treat the liquid spills promptly and gently as described above.

The care for natural fibre wool carpets also involves regular hoovering but not with a rotary brush attachment, but rather with a gentler floor attachment instead. Liquid spills on a wool carpet should be treated with small amounts of sprayed water and gentle blotting. Don’t use hot water or ammonia-based cleaning detergent. Avoid doing your own deep cleaning with a home carpet steam cleaner or a rented machine if you have a wool carpet, because it takes more time to dry, which can damage the carpet, your flooring and can lead to the growth of harmful mould and mildew. Also, hot water can cause the wool rug to shrink.

If you have a plant fibre carpet, clean it with regular hoovering with the rolling brush attachment. Treat liquid spills on plant-fibered carpets with blotting only and using a hairdryer to dry it up. Don’t attempt deep water-based cleaning of this type of carpet on your own.

Better call your preferred carpet cleaners to the job properly and safely.