Friday, June 24, 2011

Steps for greening your condo

Energy-efficient appliances
If you have appliances that function well, replacing them may not be high on your list of priorities. But when one of them needs to be replaced, consider a model that is energy efficient. While these appliances may be a little more expensive on the front end, you will save money every month on utilities. In addition, you may qualify for tax credits designed to encourage people to be energy efficient.

If you like to keep your condo clean, you no doubt have a wide variety of cleaners: some for surfaces; some for glass; some for the toilet; some for the dishes; and some for the laundry. If you have even more than that, you are not out of the ordinary. As a result, using natural cleaning supplies is a good way to be more environmentally friendly. And these sorts of cleaners do not have the same toxins that others have, so they are a healthier choice, too.

Energy-efficient lights
Overhead lights. Lamps. Sconces. Reading lights. Lights are everywhere in your condo. Consider replacing that generic light bulb with an energy efficient model. It will generate the same amount of light, but use last energy and last far longer.

Reduce water usage
Think of all the ways you use water in your condo: brushing your teeth; cooking; flushing the toilet; and showering. There probably are more, too. Now think if you need to have the water on as long as you do for each of those activities. Chances are, you do not. Cut a couple minutes off your shower. Shut the water off while you scrub your teeth. Fill the sink with water and wash dishes in there instead of running each dish under water.

Based on an article by Andy Ashbury

Saturday, June 18, 2011

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Friday, June 17, 2011

What makes a luxury home?

When you think of luxury and of luxury homes in particular, you probably think about style and comfort. Of course, when homes are the subject, then the location and the size of the home are more than likely part of the picture. Even though there are some things that money cannot buy, wealth certainly can help you acquire a home which has a great deal of amenities and luxurious features like ultramodern bathrooms and kitchens.

So exactly what makes a home a luxury home? Most of us would say that a luxury home is one which is inviting, comfortable and stylish. While size does matter when it comes to homes, it is not the only thing which goes into the luxury equation - it is more about the way the home feels and how enjoyable it is to live in the space. The way that the home looks from the outside is also important; and the curb appeal of a home also includes the neighborhood where the house is located. Circular drives are especially popular, since they are convenient. Obviously, landscaping plays a part as well, with many homeowners choosing brick and stone as features for their front lawns. A great many homes also feature fountains as part of their outdoor space, particularly in gardens and patios. Fountains help create a relaxing, comfortable environment which make a home more enjoyable to live in.

One thing which always adds to the value of a home is a custom floor plan; since these homes are different than any other home on the market, a custom design makes a luxury home all the more valuable and of course, more attractive to potential buyers. Any custom design or hand craftsmanship involved in the home is certain to make it more interesting to buyers and will definitely increase the sale price of a home.

The bedrooms in luxury homes will generally be far more spacious than in other homes and they will also feature more bathroom space, which makes these homes highly desirable to buyers. Larger and more inviting studies and living rooms which include unique touches give the home a personality which is all its own. A media room is something which has become a near requirement for luxury homes; often a room will be set aside as a home theater or listening room for the family to watch television and movies or to listen to music together. Naturally, luxury homes also feature advanced security technology in order to protect the belongings of the inhabitants.

When you come down to it, what really sets luxury homes apart from other houses is the way they make you feel. There are almost as many definitions of luxury as there are people, so when you are looking for a luxury home, the only person who can make this decision is you.

Based on an article by Lance Mohr

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Open for Registration

Wellesley Residences, the latest addition to Harbour Place, is finally open for registration. This ultra chic residential development is set to launch in July 2011.

Friday, June 3, 2011

House Cleaning Tips

Ceramic tile floors
No need to wax. Just sweep and mop on a regular basis and they stay clean and shiny. Mop floors with clear water or just a dash of liquid dish soap. Be sure to change the water when it gets cloudy. Too much soap or dirty water will make floors dull or sticky. Don't use scrub pads on ceramic tile floors or you might scratch them.

Wipe down mini-blinds with a damp fabric softener sheet. This eliminates the static that causes dust to stick. The same trick works for TV and monitor screens.

Soap scum in tubs and showers
Since preventing soap scum build-up is a lot easier than cleaning it, squeegee water off shower walls and doors after every use or wipe them down with a towel. For tile walls or frosted shower doors, apply a light coating of lemon oil periodically to help prevent build-up. For a porcelain tub, apply a light coat of boat or car wax to the sides (never the bottom) of the tub.

If it's too late for prevention, use a degreasing agent and lots of elbow grease. Get a good alkaline soap scum remover at a janitorial supply store or dissolve a handful of automatic dishwasher detergent in a bucket of warm water. Cover the affected area completely and let your cleaning solution soak for at least 15 minutes. Do it right after a shower when the walls will be wet. After soaking, use a stiff scrub brush or a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge to clean the walls. You may need to soak and scrub a couple of times to get rid of all the build-up. Then rinse well with clear water.

Kitchen cabinets
Most cabinets are factory manufactured and finished, and even wood cabinets have enough varnish or other protective coating so that you can use a cleaning solution. The oil slick that builds up on cabinets - especially around the handles - is a combination of kitchen grease, food smears, skin oil and hand lotion transferred to the cabinet. All-purpose cleaners aren't equal to the challenge.

If your cabinets are plastic laminate (Formica or other plastic), metal, painted metal or glass, you can wash them all over with a strong alkaline cleaner, which is available at a janitorial supply store. Or use a heavy-duty cleaner from the supermarket. Mix according to directions and apply the solution with a sponge. Let it sit a minute or two, then take a white, nylon-backed sponge and scrub wherever necessary. Remove the grimy suds from the sponge by squeezing it into the sink or a slop bucket, never back into your cleaning solution. Then rinse with a damp cloth and wipe dry with a terry cleaning cloth to remove any last traces of scum and leave the cupboards clean and glowing.

Never use acids or powdered cleansers on cabinets. A good overall washing once a year should be enough. Keep a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner handy the rest of the time and spot-clean after heavy kitchen use.

On wooden cabinets, take a gentler approach. To get off stubborn dirt, wash around all handles and any other grease zones first with hand dishwashing detergent. Then wash the entire cabinet, including the handle areas, with an oil soap solution. Just wipe lightly with the solution and buff dry immediately with a terry cleaning cloth. Always wipe dry with any grain or pattern. Seldom do you need to add any polish because the surface has its own sheen when clean. If your cabinets are dull from wear or age, spray furniture polish very lightly once a year or so to fill in the pores and bring back some life.

Eighty percent of the dirt in your house walks in through the door on people's feet. The right kind of mats placed inside and out of all entrances will help cut down on cleaning time. Choose professional mats you see at the entrances of hospitals and supermarkets, which are available at a janitorial supply store. They're called walk-off mats because they give the dirt a chance to be walked off before it gets in. Walk-off mats are usually nylon or olefin with a rubber or vinyl back for inside the door, and rubber or vinyl-backed synthetic turf for outside on the step. They're available in a variety of colors. To do their job well, both the inside and outside mats should be four strides long. Vacuum mats regularly or shake them outside. Hose them down and scrub with an all-purpose cleaner as needed. You can also use upholstery shampoo or a wet/dry vacuum to clean them. It's important to always hang them until completely dry so that moisture isn't trapped under the vinyl backing.

If there are any unsealed concrete or mortar joints, they can bleed off bits of sand and concrete dust onto surrounding surfaces. You should also make sure your windows and doors seal tightly. Some utility companies will inspect your home for free to determine if you have any cracks where things could be going out or coming in.

Keep vacuum bags, filters, seals and gaskets in good repair to prevent fine dust from being blown back into the air as you vacuum.

Feather dusters typically don't do much but spread dirt around. If you are using a feather duster on some surfaces, consider looking at alternative cleaning options.

The best way to clean windows, or any large expanse of glass, is with a squeegee. It does a faster and better job.

You need a professional-quality squeegee and a window wand. If you'll be cleaning high windows, you also will need an extension pole. The basic process is simple - apply the cleaning solution with the window wand and pull the dirt and water off with the squeegee.

Odor removal
For all odors, the first thing you should do is to remove the cause of the odor.

To remove smoke film from washable surfaces, use a solution of heavy-duty cleaner or degreaser. A dash of water-soluble deodorizer from a janitorial supply store added to the solution will help neutralize the odor. For smoky windows, add one part isopropyl alcohol to five parts window cleaner to help cut the oily film.

Smoke on porous surfaces is a tougher proposition. Light smoke film on acoustic ceiling tile can be removed by professional ceiling cleaners, but heavy buildup usually requires painting or replacement of the tile. Upholstered furniture, draperies and carpeting can be wet- or dry-cleaned, as appropriate, after a thorough vacuuming, with water-soluble deodorizer added to the cleaning solution to control residual smoke odor.

If you smoke in the home, change the filter in their air circulation systems often.

Also, make sure you let the sun in to help dissipate smoke and other odors as you try to eliminate the cause. Try to increase air flow by opening windows, turning on fans or even putting particularly smelly items outside for awhile. You can fill small dishes with vanilla, vinegar or activated charcoal for an easy, inexpensive smoke eater. Or, you can purchase odor neutralizer from a janitorial supply house which will work more effectively.

Based on an article by Merry Maids.