Ways to Retain your Home’s Property Value

Residential HomeMost people don’t think too much about actively raising their home’s property value. There are plenty of people who enjoy renovating their homes, or adding new things to their property, and while all of these activities work towards raising property values, they are often completing these projects for their own personal benefit. When it comes to raising your home’s property value, things that are a personal benefit are a great place to start. Often when people buy a house and move in, they stop thinking about what their house would fetch on the market, because they’re probably not planning on moving out any time soon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to raise your property values though!

There are many easy ways to raise your home’s property value, you could:

  • Add a fence around your backyard
  • Install a pool
  • Take care of your plumbing and air ducts
  • Replace windows or doors
  • Renovate rooms
  • Upgrade appliances

All of these things work to make your home nicer, which is beneficial to you and your family. In the event that you and your family decide to move, these additions can raise your property values tremendously.

One thing that can help you maintain a high property value is taking care of your floors. Many people overlook proper floor care, or believe that semi-regular vacuuming is enough to keep their floors clean. Unfortunately, consumer vacuum cleaners only get the surface of your carpets clean. Protect your carpet and tile investments by hiring a professional carpet cleaning service to clean your floors at least once a year, if not more.

If you don’t get regular carpet cleanings your carpet can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and dangerous mold. If these problems go unchecked, they could permanently damage your carpet, and make you and your family sick. Mold problems and ugly dirty carpets can both take a serious toll on the property value of your home. In serious cases where excess moisture in the carpet goes unchecked, like around fish tanks for instance, mold can cause structural damage to the floor underneath your carpets, which is difficult and expensive to fix.

Take some time to assess places in your home that can use a little attention, and make easy fixes before they become larger issues. For some easy things, like carpet cleaning, you don’t even have to do the work, it’s as easy as scheduling an appointment. If you put in the time now, when it comes time to move or even just re-evaluate your mortgage, you’ll be glad you made those changes to boost your property value.

Making Your Home Child Care Business Better

daycare funIf you are a mother running a home child care business and you want to make your center more fun, safe, and enticing to both parents and children then here is what the experts in child care research have to say about high-quality daycare homes and what makes them good.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Panel on Child Care Policy at the National Academy of Sciences have studied home-based child care centers around the country. Their findings can help anyone operating a home-based child care center make it safer, more attractive to parents, and a positive and lasting learning experience for the children.

Only One in Seven Daycare Centers Rated Good or Excellent

In a recent study done in four U.S. states, including California, researchers found that almost three-quarters of licensed daycare centers provided adequate, minimal care. Only one in ten fell below minimal standards set by law.

They also found that the best centers only spent a small amount of money more than lesser ranking centers. Several factors differentiated the best daycare centers from the lower ranking ones.

High Quality Daycare Centers Share These Factors

Being licensed by state and local governments, and following the laws for health and safety set by them, are essential prerequisites for a safe daycare business. These regulations spell out all of the important safety requirements needed for legal and safe operation.

Besides following the required state and local licensing and building regulations, one of the next most distinguishing features of the highest quality daycare centers is good communication between parents and providers.

Good communication starts with having well established, written policies about fees, hours of operation, and sick day requirements. Parents also appreciate, and often expect, an open-door policy, so they can come by and check on their child whenever they like. This kind of policy protects everyone and is a hallmark of the best ranking centers.

Parents also want to know that their child is receiving healthy, caring attention when they need it, and that the child is engaged in activities promoting learning and school readiness. Providers need to engage in ongoing communication with each parent to establish and promote trust and share information about daily activities and the child’s progress.

Parents and caregivers also need good communication so that any problems in a child’s health, development, or behavior are noted and discussed. Top ranking centers keep written notes to prevent information from getting lost in the shuffle.

The best daycare centers also have learning programs that are regular, varied, and involve learning opportunities for a child on his or her own, as well as structured participation in both small and large-group activities.

Toys, learning aids, and equipment used by children are age appropriate and available to the children with minimal adult involvement in the best daycare facilities. Regular, healthy snacks and meals are also provided and adjusted to the needs of each child.

The Benefits of Top Quality Daycare Center

Having a safe, fun, and attractive daycare center is mostly about attention to the details of each child’s needs and communicating in a positive way with parents and other caregivers about the child.

Other studies have found that children who attend the highest quality home daycare centers have better language, math, and creative skills later in life, and, they become more caring people.

How to Find a Reliable Moving Company

Moving boxes in new house. New apartment background.

Moving from one house to another, even if it’s just a short distance away can be an unpleasant experience for any person. Now, imagine moving from your Jacksonville, FL, home to another city in another state. The experience can be harrowing especially if you have never moved your home before. Fortunately, there are moving companies which understand the challenges and fears people often face when moving. To find a Jacksonville FL moving company which can take the stress out of moving your belongings to a new home, be sure to follow the following guide:

Make a Shortlist of Moving Companies

Since there are many moving firms in the city, be sure to make a shortlist of firms which either have a good reputation with people you know or have a high search engine ranking on the internet. Be sure to ask friends, relatives, colleagues at work and other business associates to recommend a great moving company they may know of. You may also want to consider checking business directories as well as your phone book for moving companies in the city. With your short list in hand, you can proceed with narrowing down the search to identify the best moving firm.

Do Some Background Research

Obviously, the best movers have a great reputation, so they will also have a high rating with reputable business review websites and the Better Business Bureau. Be sure to use these online resources to identify the most highly rated movers in the city of Jacksonville. Be sure to cross out any moving company which is not accredited by the BBB or has a low rating due to numerous complaints from previous clients. The ideal company should be a member of the American Moving and Storage Association, so be sure to visit their website to learn about the membership status of companies on your shortlist. During the screening process, remember to also check the number of years each moving company has been in business and the type of trucks they have. It may also be worthwhile to read newspaper articles online about different moving companies. This will allow you to avoid movers with a bad reputation in the industry. Since some items are at risk of getting damaged in transit, be sure to hire a firm which can guarantee safe transportation of fragile items. The company should also have a suitable insurance policy for their business to ensure you can get compensation if some of your valuables are stolen or damaged in transit.

Call Moving Companies

Movers unloading moving vanAfter the screening process, you should have three names, at most, remaining on your shortlist. It is important you call each of these companies to get a rough estimate of the moving cost. You will be asked simple questions, such as your destination, types of personal belongings you have, whether or not you need boxes to pack your belongings as well as whether you need help packing your belongings or not. Once you get the estimates, you can compare them and give priority to the most affordable Jacksonville FL moving company.

The ideal company should have loaders, be able to provide packaging materials and have trucks of varying sizes to cater for the needs of different types of customers. The loaders should know how to stack up the boxes to ensure little or no damage to items at the bottom of the stack.

Granite Countertops and How to Wash Them Properly


If you’re reading this, it is probably because you want to know how to disinfect and clean your precious granite countertops. By doing your research on the internet, you will quickly find that there are many sites that claim their magic solution or method is the best but I am here to show a cheap, quick, and effective way to do it the right way. Some claim that Windex is the best way, but that is a big no-no while others claim that their 50 dollar solution is the way to go. You don’t need to spend that money at all to get the impeccable results that you desire. I’ll have your counters streak-free and shined out in no time.

Before you start doing any cleaning on your stone surfaces, it is extremely vital to ensure that they are properly sealed. If you neglect to do this then you will start to see that you cleaning solution and water will be absorbed into the stone. Even though granite is less porous than stones like marble, it is still susceptible stains and oil spills. One way to test your stone if it is properly sealed is to drop a few water spots all across the surface. If it stays beaded up then you have a well-sealed installation. If it begins to soak within then you should call a local Richmond granite supplier like Granite Source which has the resources to help you out.

Granite Cleaning Time


When it is time to begin cleaning make sure not to use any abrasive chemicals or sponges that may irritate the surfaces. Granite is pretty strong, but it is possible to scar it.  Again, Windex is a no-no so don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Other cleaners that should be avoided are:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Ammonia
  • Bleach

All of these will slowly over time deteriorate the sealant over time. Leaving you with the expense of having to get your granite counters sealed all over again so do yourself a favor and avoid these. Another thing to do is to always wipe up any liquids so that they don’t sit for long periods of time. This can mark up the granite as well. For daily washing, make sure to use a soft soap and a microfiber cloth. If you want to perform a quick sanitation then a 50/50 solution of warm water and isopropyl alcohol will do the job. Spray this disinfectant then let it sit for a few minutes. After 5 minutes, wipe down the surface. Again, no bleach or ammonia should ever be applied.

The Special Counter Cleaning Solution

Now for the cleaning solution that you have all been waiting for and all it requires is one added ingredient to the granite cleaning disinfectant above. Just ad a middle dish soap to the isopropyl and water mixture and presto! Now just take your microfiber rag and gently wash the surfaces. When all of the granite counters are wiped down you can then take a fresh dry microfiber and wipe down the surfaces. A little extra buffing will help bring out the shine and when everything is sparkling, it’s then that you know your job is done.

Benefits Of Professional Cleaning


There are many types of carpets which have been installed in residential and commercial properties. With time, especially with homes in the Brentwood, TN area, these carpets are bound to get dirty, trap dust, chemicals and host not only microorganisms, but also pests. Regular cleaning of carpets is therefore recommended for health reasons as well as aesthetics. While some people think they can effectively clean their carpets, the truth is that the average person lacks the skills, supplies, equipment and expertise needed to get the job done effectively. For this reason, professional carpet cleaners should be hired to take care of the carpet. There are many benefits of hiring a professional carpet cleaning service to take care of your carpet, including:


Get Rid of Trapped Impurities


Among other things, carpet fibers normally trap pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead and particle pollutants. This is according to the EPA. When you vacuum the carpet or walk over it, these impurities are released and become airborne, thereby contaminating the air. Professional carpet cleaners have special shampoo blends, high-powered vacuuming equipment and the knowledge needed to extract pollutants which may be embedded deep in the carpet fiber. That’s the number one reason why you should hire professionals to clean your carpet.


Color Restoration and Odor Removal


The average person may be able to clean a carpet effectively, but odor removal and color repair requires special skills, which the technicians working for the professional carpet cleaning firm have acquired through specialized training. In addition to getting rid of deeply embedded impurities, the cleaner will also offer color repair services and remove any foul odor the carpet may have. If you would like your carpet to look and smell great after the cleaning job, be sure to hire a professional.


Improved (IAQ) Indoor Air Quality


When carpets are cleaned by professionals, contaminants on the surface as well as those embedded in the carpet fibers are removed, thereby making indoor air easier to breath. As a result, indoor air quality is improved and allergic reactions reduced. An amateur job will only make contaminants airborne and can cause problems for people who have allergies or asthma. While vacuuming is recommended, the carpet should be cleaned thoroughly by a professional cleaner every six months to improve indoor air quality.


Prevents Growth of Mold and Mildew


Mold and mildew usually grow on moist surfaces. After cleaning a carpet, drying must be done to remove all the water molecules. If you are lucky enough to have intense sunlight throughout the day in the area, the drying process will take several days. If not, you may be forced to use a carpet which might look and feel dry but still has some moisture. This will lead to mildew and mold growth on both the carpet and the floor. These microorganisms may pose a serious threat to your family. Professional carpet cleaners have special drying equipment which can extract even the tiniest water molecules hidden within the carpet, thereby preventing mold and mildew growth.


Prevents Unnecessary Injuries


Before cleaning the carpet, you will have to move the sofa as well as other heavy pieces of furniture which may be standing on the carpet. Unless you’ve been spending some time at the gym in the recent times, you may injure your back trying to move heavy objects. Professional carpet cleaning firms have enough manpower and safety equipment, such as back braces, to prevent this type of injury. If not for anything else, be sure to hire a professional cleaner for safety reasons.


For more information on how professional carpet cleaning can improve the quality of your home, check out http://tntchemdry.com/services/carpet-cleaning/.  TNT Chem-Dry is a highly rated local carpet cleaner locate near Brentwood TN.

Restoring Water Damage

female general  contractor

You might be a proficient in carrying out minor repairs in your home and might have successfully installed a DIY solar kit on your roof. However, that does mean that you can restore your water damaged home by yourself. Can you imagine the chaos flash floods can cause to your property? The water level increases so rapidly that it hardly gives you an opportunity to shift carpets, furniture, and other stuff to a safe place. If this is not enough, you are unable to stop the incessant flow of rainwater entering your room from the windows.

 Window Replacement and Repair

Improperly installed window frames tend to crack due to pressure from the structure above it. This problem becomes apparent when you try to slide the panes but are unable to budge them since they have jammed due to misalignment. Apart from this, hailstones can shatter the glass panes of your windows, allowing water to pass through it. You might not be aware of this, particularly if curtains hide the panes. You could have prevented this by installing shatterproof glass on your windows. Instead of crying over spilled milk, get in touch with a general contractor and request him to send a window repair specialist. If necessary, provide the dimensions of your window frames so that the professional can bring replacement windows and install them to provide your apartment with temporary protection until he repairs the damaged frames and fixes them in place.


Slippery and Broken Tiles

Severe hailstorms can also crack the tiles of your apartment’s roof. Apart from that leaves and debris collect in rain gutters, clogging them. This leads to accumulation of water on the roof, causing structural damage to its surface. Over time, cracks will appear on its surface causing water to leak from the roof into your roof. Accumulated water may also cause a growth of algae. You might slip and fall if you try to repair the damages on the roof by yourself. It is a better idea to call a general contracting company around Northern Virginia, like Metropolitan Contractors, and seek their help to restore your roof to its pristine glory. Their personnel will clean the debris from the rain gutters, seal the leaks on the surface of your apartment’s roof, and apply roofing felt on it.


One Company for Different Jobs

It works out cheaper to hand over the contract of carrying out water damage restoration work to a contracting company instead of hiring a siding contractor for repairing damages on the exterior of your house, a roof repair specialist to plug the holes in your leaking roof, and a window repair specialist for fixing the window frames. Since the members of that company work as a team, they will be able to complete the task quickly and efficiently.


Things to Check For

You should always check the reputation of the company, their experience in carrying out water damage restoration tasks, and the number of years they have been in this field. If necessary, check the testimonial page of their website and read comments posted by their clients. You should also confirm if the contracting company has a valid contractor all risk insurance policy. It ensures that they cannot hold you liable if their workers are injured during the restoration process. It also ensures that they will have to pay for any damages caused to your property or that of your neighbors in case any accident takes place during the restoration procedure.

Redecorating My Living Room

Living-RoomI love decorating my home.  Interior design has always been a passion of mine, and I love taking every opportunity I can to be creative with my home.  As much as I love it though, I’ve been lazy and haven’t actively done anything different with my house – that is, up until last week.

Last Friday, I was sitting in my living room, thinking how bland everything seemed and how dissatisfied I was.  So I made it my goal for the weekend to do something about it.  I got the creative juices flowing and started mapping out on the back of an old brochure everything I wanted to do.  I was starting to get really excited!

There were so many things I wanted to do!  First, I decided the walls needed a new color.  Before, they were an eggshell color, which is nice, but also boring.  I decided to mix it up a bit and go dark.  First, I took everything off the walls, cleared space and called over a few friends to help out.  We made a trip to our local paint supply store and picked up dark, charcoal colored paint.  Luckily, we’re all experienced painters and knew we could get the job finished in a jiffy so that I could get on to the rest of my decorating.  I love the way the paint turned out!  The dark color actually makes the room feel larger.

Saturday morning, after the paint had fully dried, I decided to keep going with my decorating project.  I needed to do something about my window decorations.  They were boring old blinds.  I wanted more exciting windows – so I made a trip to Mann Kidwell to pick out new, fresh plantation shutters for my windows.  The shutters add a unique element to the room that I really enjoy.

The next thing I did was accent the top of my entertainment stand with some patterned wallpaper.  By doing this, I was able to add a unique touch to a typically unnoticed item.  To keep with the theme of touching up old furniture, I have an antique side table that has been looking rugged lately.  Rather than replacing the item, I decided I’d paint it a unique color.  Since I still had some leftover pain from the walls, I decided to use what was left on the table.  It looks fantastic!

I’m so glad I made it my mission to redo my living room.  Everything looks terrific and I feel like I’m in a new home altogether.

How to be an art collector

ashleycurry-art-collectorAs an art collector, there are many different kinds of things you need in order to support your hobby.

Other than your basic research and appraising skills and just general taste, you need to find pieces that go well together. Many people tend to know how to buy work on a piece-by-piece basis, but starting a collection is a whole different story. In a lot of ways, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that is what makes the craft special.

Formulating a plan to building the collection is a completely different animal than just buying what you think looks pretty. How do you relate one purchase to the next? What takes priority? How do you organize the group together? And most importantly, how do you do all these things well?

It’s tough. And when it comes to displaying your art, even the pieces in your own home, no price is too high to have your collection be displayed for as long as possible and stay as healthy as possible.

You want to be an informed and prepared buyer. Your home or storage facility must be ready for your new piece, and you need to know the right way to display the piece.

If you want to be an art collector, learn as much as you can about how to preserve your investments. I live in eastern Virginia, so when I find a room suitable for a new art piece, I get Solar Film window tinting to control the fading of the artwork, even if I am only using it as temporary storage. The film will ensure that the sun’s rays will be suitable for display in a room with windows.

You want to be able to show your work off in any setting, whether public or personal. Your work can take a tour even if it’s full of pieces from garage sales and secondhand stores if it’s put together and displayed effectively.

This is also not something you want to rush. Just because you see a good deal doesn’t mean it’s time to make the buy. Make sure you research and effectively price out your piece if it’s not in your collection goals.

When building your collection, it’s also important to actually be happy with the pieces you choose. Buy what’s comfortable for you, not what is trending. Those are for people who have already built satisfying collections. You will have your own time in the sun.

My Outdoor BBQ Hot Spot

Everything I do, I do big. I like the finer things in life and I’ll pay whatever it takes to get it. The recent improvement I’ve done to my Northern VA home is a great example of a crowd pleaser. Spring was in full bloom and summer was quickly approaching so I decided to design a spot near the pool where my friends and I could hang out and make really good eats. I’m a big fan of BBQ so I ordered a top of the line smoker and state of the art gas grill that could handle pounds upon pounds of fresh meat. There was also a small fileting station where I could prep my freBBQ yumsh proteins. A large sitting are around the outdoor kitchen was also a must so my friends and I can drink great wine, beer and spirts as we BBQ. I decided the lounging area should have granite countertops so I began to look around for the finest granite slabs in NOVA. I decided to also build a huge bar behind the lounge are so it looks like I was going to need a lot of stone.  I must have looked through a thousand different selections but I decided on two different stones that would distinguish the bar from the lounge countertops. I also had another one picked out which was designated for the foot rests under the bar seating. I used a Juparana Crema Bordeaux for the foot rests, a Caeserstone Concetto Albero for the lounge area, and a Fossil Black stone for the bar. These granite selections really look great together. As the finished stone started coming in, we would start installing. These granite countertops were the best idea I’ve had in a while.

With those counter tops out of the way we were able to install a large canopy terrace that could open up to let the sun in with just a click of the button. I also installed a convenient line of appliances like a handy wine chiller, a kegerator, a frozen margarita machine, a rotisserie extension for the smoker, a small gas fire pit with glass beads in it, the finest audio sound system, and a gigantic flat screen TV that was waterproof and could fold back into a compartment when not being used. I was set to enjoy and couldn’t be any happier with the final product. Since the completion, I have hosted many fun and unforgettable parties. Now the only problem I have is getting people to go.

Remodeling, Wine, and Relaxation

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve been working on a pretty big project to remodel my home’s kitchen.  Boy, has it been a stressful time; picking out wall color, new counter tops, and searching for appliances to match it all!  It’s been a heck of mess trying to organize and pick out contractors as well.  At least I’ll have my new kitchen here just in time for summer!

Luckily now, there’s a lull in the work that I personally need to do.  So last week, the contractors were at the house with my husband and they were going to spend the day putting in our new cabinets.  There was no need for me, so I decided that I was going to take a break from all the stress and treat myself to a mini vacation – a day of relaxation.

So to begin my day, I went ahead and scheduled a massage at my favorite spot – Massage Envy.  They’ve always treated me well and I make them my massage choice time and time again.  I signed up for a 2 hour deep tissue and it was terrific!     All the stress built up for months was able to finally be released.  I finally felt like all was well with the world.

After my massage, I decided to take a little walk around the mall that’s right near the massage parlor.  I treated myself to some new spring clothes.  What a great day!

Next I wanted to make a little trip to one of my favorite establishments here in Richmond, James River Cellars Winery.  They make a delicious rosé that I love to treat myself to whenever I get the chance.  Aside from the delicious wine, they also have a wonderful view that I can just watch for hours.  I brought along a book I’ve been dying to read and spent a few hours just enjoying the scenery and wine.

By days end I felt completely rejuvenated and relaxed.  By the time I got home, our new cabinets were successfully installed and looked great!  Such a wonderful day thanks to some hardworking men, a massage, and some wine.  Maybe I should schedule more house projects just so I can relive a day like this!