They Were a Life Saver!

Have you ever woken up to your kitchen overflowing with suds and water? Well, I sure hope not. It’s honestly a morning buzz kill. That’s exactly what happened to me over the weekend, and I was freaking out, didn’t know what to do! My dishwasher was just spewing it everywhere, and I had no idea where the main shut off was. I had to call my husband because I was freaking out and he told me to do a search for major appliance repair in Sacramento.

Where would I be without my husband? Probably floating down Center Street in my new boat house. He luckily knew where the main shut off was, so I got that taken care of and then continued on my search. I found a few repairmen in our area, but only a few would actually come out and do an emergency call on a Sunday. Apparently, the rest of them figured that accidents and catastrophes such as this don’t happen on Sundays.

I called three places before I finally found someone willing to come out and help me. Surprisingly their rates weren’t too bad, but honestly I wasn’t worrying about that at the moment. I knew my wood floors were saturated and destroyed at this point, so they would need replaced. As far as my dishwasher? One of the hoses was completely snapped off. I have no clue how that happened, but my new repairman was such a sweetheart about fixing it for me quickly so I could get to cleaning up that mess.

I don’t normally do reviews or recommendations, but this guy was great. He answered his phone promptly, didn’t try to rip me off, and was a pleasant person to work with. If I have any issues, or if any of my friends have issues with their appliances he will be the first person we call!

House Drawing Plans for Modest But Elegant Small Home Designs

Sourcing for house drawing plans on-line has become a less expensive option for people planning to build affordable homes without having to expend thousands of dollars.

They will rather find ways to save on the exorbitant costs of employing the services of architects, structural engineers, etc. (especially small home designs), for producing blueprints of house drawing plans.

With the recession and downturn of government economies world over, many have become more realistic about finding ways to save money in all aspects of their lives. And finding ways to get affordable and smaller home designs is not an exception.

Many have been trying to sell off their large homes for more compact small home designs, but there aren’t many buyers out there remotely interested in getting big or overstated homes.

Enough are not buying, and the real estate industry feels the pinch because in the not too distant past, those looking out to buy large and luxurious homes were the ‘toast’ of real estate agents.

Related: Homes Built on Narrow Lots
Modest Home Design
Modest Home Design
How to Get Smaller Homes Drawing Plans On-line

Home-owners with large and expansive homes suddenly woke up to realise they didn’t need so much space after all. Small home designs became the preferred option resulting in the demand for house drawing plans on-line which costs much less than getting them done off-line.

The on-line demand for building design blueprints of smaller homes has increased considerably over the past few years.
House Drawing Plans – Small Home Designs
House Drawing Plans – Small Home Designs
Why Modest Home Designs are the Preferred Choice

Many new and experienced home seekers, especially first time home buyers, want smaller homes because of qualities that were never really considered decades ago.

And contrary to the belief in some quarters, having a smaller house does not mean that dreams of a beautiful home cannot be imagined. Even small home designs can fit into our big dreams.

Now they clamour for house drawing plans with designs that are smaller because it is now accepted that small home designs are:

Cost efficient. It saves so much money building smaller homes, the plot is smaller and the house drawing plans will cost much less.
Energy efficient, much more than larger homes.
Compact and can be made to have a cosy or minimalist theme successfully.
Tailored to fit. No one really needs any home space that is larger than is required by the whole family, even including a guest.

Tiny Houses: A Short History

Homes steadily increased in size during the last half of the 20th century and a vibrant economy was created around home construction industry. But not everyone was ultimately charmed by the notion of home ownership and the debt attached to it -subsequently binding them to creditors – nor being forced to depend on utility companies for services required to maintain a home. Proliferate zoning laws, property taxes and high costs of repair and maintenance detract from the benefits of owning a modern style home as well. More square footage also means that ownership requires more time spent in upkeep – time taken from what is little available to most workers on the weekend. A tiny home, while sacrificing space, also makes up for it in energy saved by having to clean and organize less.

A discussion of the tiny house movement must include the recent proponents and builders belonging to the trend, those who lent tremendous momentum to the growing fervor over tiny houses – homes under 400 square feet. A rediscovery of small house living synchronically took flight in the late 1990s concurrent with the beginning of the housing boom and rapid rise in traditional home prices. Susan Susanka was one of the first to champion the purpose and design of tiny houses having published her book The Not So Big House in 1998, wherein she discusses how to live better and build better by downsizing. She in turn was influenced by Christopher Alexander, an Austrian architect who proposed the existence of a universal system of building that could be adapted to any size in the book A Pattern Language, published in 1977.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
A model of the Katrina Cottage gets some visitors in New Orleans in 2005.A Katrina Cottage, or “Cusato Cottage.”
A model of the Katrina Cottage gets some visitors in New Orleans in 2005.
A model of the Katrina Cottage gets some visitors in New Orleans in 2005. | Source

It was in an organic way that the tiny house movement gained popularity in the months after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the city of New Orleans had to deal with finding housing for displaced people. FEMA trailers were problematic and so as a response to this, architects such as Marianne Cusato were hired to design and build small cottages that reflected the vernacular of the region. Most of Cusato’s blueprints are for homes larger than the tiny house standard, the smallest model is around 310 square feet and the largest at big as 1800 square feet. Needless to say, the Katrina Cottage or “Cusato Cottage” solved the housing problem. And blueprints for the cottages are nowadays selling wildly.

In 1997, a tiny house innovator named Jay Shafer built and moved into a tiny house and from that grew his building company called Tumbleweed that has since become well-established and renowned. Shafer has written prolifically on the subject of tiny houses and guided other small home builders through their own tiny home building process. He has left Tumbleweed to start Four Lights Tiny House Company. Another well-known tiny home proponent and consultant is Dee Williams who with Joan Grimm runs an endeavor called Portland Alternative Dwellings through which tiny home workshops are conducted. In 2004, Williams sold her conventional house in Portland and built and moved into an 84 square foot tiny home. Ten years on, she is the author of Go House Go and is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on tiny house building. But Williams and Shafer haven’t been the only ones building small homes in years past.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Dymaxion HouseA page from the Whole Earth Catalog.Stewart Brand speaking at TED conference, 2013
The Dymaxion House
The Dymaxion House | Source

The tiny house movement of today seems to have revisited ideals and practices of the counterculture and activism of the 60s and 70s. Hippies went to live in communes, what might be called “intentional community” now, and lived apart from society in settlements incorporating structures like yurts, tents, abandoned buses, and even domes. These structures were built by hand and in isolated areas beyond the reach of conventional housing laws, building codes, and public power and water, so experimenting with living in alternative dwellings was possible. Authors Art Boericke and Sammy Shapiro produced a book on construction in 1973 called Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art with designs and advice regarding self-built small homes. In 1979, Artist Jane Lidz published Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels – a rare and coveted book that surveys 70s Era portable homes like converted school buses or gypsy wagon style rolling trailers (the same type that inspired the design of tiny homes on wheels produced by Tumbleweed and other companies).
Click thumbnail to view full-size
A sod house on the American prairie, photo taken in 1901A modern American yurt in ColoradoHistorical Beckstrom’s Log Cabin built in the 1880s, preserved for the public in Bothell, Washington.
A sod house on the American prairie, photo taken in 1901
A sod house on the American prairie, photo taken in 1901 | Source

Stewart Brand, author of the Whole Earth Catalog published between 1968 and 1974 (then sporadically through 1994), promoted self-sufficiency through knowledge of building and tools, and green living through which self-sufficient harmonious community could be built.Lloyd Kahn was co-editor of the section on shelters in the Whole Earth Catalog and undertook extensive experimentation on building small sustainable dwellings including some dome houses. In fact, in 1973 Kahn published a book called Shelter, a guide to small dwelling types around the world. His recent book, and popular reference, called Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter was published by Shelter Publications, a company he owns. Both Brand and Kahn owe something to mid-century American philosopher and architect Buckminster Fuller who advocated inexpensive and sustainable pre-fabricated housing as demonstrated in his design of geodesic structures sometimes called Fuller Domes. In fact, his Dymaxion house built in 1929 (an example of which sits in the Henry Ford Museum) is an early example of an autonomous house, a completely self-sustaining or “off-the-grid” dwelling – a sort of prototype for today’s tiny home.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Exterior of a replica of Henry Thoreau’s cabinInside of Thoreau’s cabin, or what his cabin was thought to look likeHenry David Thoreau
Exterior of a replica of Henry Thoreau’s cabin
Exterior of a replica of Henry Thoreau’s cabin | Source

The story of tiny home would not be complete without mentioning the early Americans who were familiar with living in small dwellings that befitted a homesteader’s life – families resided comfortably in cottages, cabins, sod house, and more miserably, tenement housing. Immigrants to America gladly relinquished old world possessions for the promise of freedom even if that meant building by hand their one room shanty in the wilderness. Autonomy and intrepidity will always be a uniquely American solution to feeling oppressed whether by the British or by debt and recession. Some credit is also due 19th century writer Henry Thoreau and his iconic book Walden in which he sketches a bucolic picture of a simple life in a small cabin. It doesn’t seem a coincidence that Thoreau’s embrace of civil disobedience in protecting individual rights reflect the inherent feel of the small house movement in its passive resistance to widespread mortgage debt and dependence on public utility.

Home Business Ideas to Make Money Easily from Home (And Where to Sell Handmade Items)

Many people want the flexibility and ease being able to work at home, while maintaining an income with good wages or a business with high profits. Mothers and caregivers, called to their homes and their family may need the extra income or have a few extra hours to take advantage of. Below are some business or money-making opportunities that will allow you to fulfill your responsibilities at home, stay in the easy and relaxing environment that you love, while making money.

Jessicay Haley writes about her inspiring design studio at her home.

My studio is not an exceptional place, in and of itself. It is just four walls with one unimpressive window. But it is significant to me because like most creative people, I often feel that irrefutable draw to create. Since I was young, I always dreamed of a studio… a vibrant, ecclectic space filled with paintings, pottery, and pretty textiles. So, I am very happy to finally have one! Also, it has been a necessary space as my business has grown because it also houses all my inventory {some of it sizable} and gives my staff an organized place to work.

1. Home Business Idea: Where to Sell Handmade Items? On Etsy!

Have a specialty item that you can make at home? Esty is a buying and selling network for all things handmade. Founded in 2005, Etsy quickly soared to the top of the handicrafts market and now has buyers and sellers from over 150 countries, with many new buyers and sellers added daily. Etsy’s handmade merchandise often make it to the top of Google search engines.

Items that can be sold on Etsy must fit into at least one of these three categories:

1. Handmade: Goods handmade by you.

2. Supplies: Commercial or handmade crafting supplies.

3. Vintage: Items 20 years or older with vintage appeal.

Several stay-at-home moms have begun listing their handcrafted goods on Etsy and gotten such a positive response that they are now able to get direct referrals and can sell their items outside of Etsy’s website as well. Jessica Haley, founder of Mia Joie, used to be a college teacher until she sold a few handmade felt toddler shoes on Etsy. She had such overwhelming delight from her customers, that she has teaching and is now exclusively designing and creating Joy Folie shoes and toddler accessories in her creative and inspiring design studio in her home. Nearly all her products are sold within minutes of first being listed on Etsy. Jessica Haley’s blog is a great way to follow her success as a small business-owner who makes money easily from home.

One small down side of listing items on Etsy is that you are charged 20 cents for each item listed, and if your item sells, you are charged a 3.5% sales fee. However, the success rate for handmade items sold is much, much better for Etsy than it is for huge selling networks like Ebay or Amazon. Twenty cents is a small price to pay for excellent publicity and a quick and easy launch into the wonderful world of small home business.
Home business: breed and sell puppies
Home business: breed and sell puppies
2. Earn Money at Home: Love Dogs? Breed and Sell Puppies from Home

Dog breeding is a rewarding and richly profitable business that is easy to do from home, and can be a great money-making opportunity for responsible kids and teens as well. Purebred dogs that are in high demand as pets or show dogs quickly pay for the breeding costs. They key is to purchase a dog that will fit in with your family as a beloved pet, as well as have a good lineage and be a popular pet or show breed. I have known several young people who have created successful breeding businesses by owning one or two female dogs of their own and mating their dogs with a sire for a small fee. The puppies were easily cared for and given the proper veterinary procedures to make them legally sellable, they were listed for sale and were often claimed and bought by the time the puppies were ready to go to new homes. Depending on the breed of dog and the number of puppies per litter, each litter could easily bring in thousands to ten-thousands of dollars.

Do some research about reputable puppy buy and sell services. Several are available online:

But remember, the best business comes through reputation and referrals!
You may need to tune your piano more often…
You may need to tune your piano more often…
3. From Home Business Idea: In-Home Tutoring and Music Teaching

If you have special knowledge in an area of academics or know how to play a musical instrument well, you might consider giving lessons or tutoring at your home. Many parents are looking for personalized help for their children who are struggling academically, and will be willing to pay you to spend the time and effort their children need. Many aspiring musicians are not willing or able to pay for music lessons from a high-end music studio, but would love the personalized attention, affordable rates, and home environment of your own in-home music studio. Advertise locally, in your neighborhood or city newspaper, on your neighborhood bulletin board, on craigslist, or at a nearby school. If your methods work and children and parents appreciate what you are doing, you will also receive customers through word-of-mouth.

Long-distance writing and literature courses for all ages are also popular, especially amongst the homeschooling community. The rise of internet technology has made correspondence teaching even easier, as email, chat, skype, web conferences, and free downloadable word processing software is available for your use. Set up a website or blog for your students to check weekly assignments, post questions in the forum, and read articles pertaining to what they are learning. Advertise in national (or international!) educational newsletters and magazines, home-educating publications, or website directories designed to connect students with tutors.

Check out these independent tutor directories:, and for independent tutors. Music teachers can become members of their statewide music teachers association or the Music Teacher’s National Association, where your name and contact info will be published annually in the association’s directory. Don’t forget to advertise your services on, as it is often the first place people check for local tutors and teachers.
Note: HubPages is a rewarding way to make money easily from home!
Note: HubPages is a rewarding way to make money easily from home!
Make Money Easily From Home: Freelance Writing Opportunities

If you enjoy writing, researching, marketing, or sales, you should consider trying your hand at one of the many freelance writing opportunities available on the web. is the website I have been writing for, and I have found it to be a rewarding and easy way to make money from my own home (not to mention– incredibly fun, too!). There is no cost to sign up, and anyone can publish just about anything under their “hubber” user name. HubPage writers make 60% of all money earned through pay-per-click programs like Google AdSense, Kontera, Amazon, and Ebay. HubPage articles geared toward reviewing or advertising a specific product can feature those products for sale in Ebay and Amazon “capsules” that will give a portion of the sale to you, the writer. The key to making this home business work is to write and publish articles that will get steady traffic from search engines, and to make your content interesting, valuable, and appealing to the public. Also key is to make sure you have optimized each of your pages for search engines to find. Click on this link to find out more about HubPages or to sign up!

Why You Should Contact A Solar Company

Switching to solar power can be very rewarding, but many people never consider it as more than a passing thought. There are many reasons that people dismiss it as a viable option: it is not 100 percent effective, it can be expensive to purchase and install, and it seems to be unsightly. However, there are also many reasons to contact a solar company in Seattle. Regardless of the worries you may have, making the change is definitely worth consideration.

Solar is a great alternative source of energy. Not only is it generally self-sustaining, but there are financial and environmental benefits of using solar. Even though it can’t always completely replace your existing energy sources, it can at least supplement the energy sources you already use. This will have the added benefit of cutting down on your power bill every month. All you have to do is make a few calls.

Benefits of Solar
The main benefits of switching to solar power are environmental. Because fossil fuels, which are the most common energy source used in the world, produce particulate pollution and carbon dioxide, the power derived from oil can have a lot of negative impact on Earth’s atmosphere, which then negatively impacts Earth’s ecosystem. Since plants convert CO2 to oxygen, wide-scale deforestation such as the kind that happens in tropical regions makes this pollution even more dangerous. Solar power helps cut down on the amount of fossil fuels burned to provide energy.

The secondary benefits are financial. With federal and local incentives to make the switch, you will get tax benefits and even payments per kilowatt-hour produced by your panels–even if you only use your solar energy in your own home! Additionally, once you install solar panels, they will work for you for as long as you live there, which helps your financial situation long term.

Effectiveness of Solar
As you may have already guessed, living in a place like Seattle will hinder your ability to use solar power as efficiently as you could in, for example, southern California or Arizona. As solar panels are usually 20 to 40 percent efficient, you can’t entirely replace your current energy system with solar power…at least not yet. Scientists are working tirelessly to improve the technology to include storing the energy harvested from the sun, but as it stands, the storage feature is still in its infancy and not as good as it could be. However, you can use solar panels to supplement your current systems. If you use solar power instead of electricity provided by fossil fuel power plants some of the time, you can decrease your personal fossil fuel use, thereby reaping the benefits and contributing to both the economy and the worldwide efforts to cut down on pollution. As solar technology improves, so too could the effectiveness of your system.

What This Means for You
You know the benefits and drawbacks of using solar power, but how can you best make this work for you? How can you reap the rewards of your efforts, and how long will it take? Fortunately, the benefits begin immediately, although you will have to wait a few years before your solar panels essentially pay for themselves in saved costs.

Make sure to claim solar power on your taxes. Check into the local payments and incentives. Keep up with the technology supplied by your chosen solar company in Seattle, and upgrade your equipment if you believe it is necessary. Keep an eye on your power bill and try to use your solar panels as often as you can. If you do these things, you will be able to see the results of your efforts.

Why West-star Composite Decking Shines For Northwest Homes

As more and more consumers realize the benefits of composite decking, demand for this popular alternative to cedar is expected to rise over the next few years. Its durability in rough weather makes it a particularly advantageous choice for Northwest homeowners, who also tend to appreciate the low maintenance requirements, safety advantages and environmentally friendly aspects of a composite deck.

Because composite decks are made from wood fibers encased in recycled plastic, manufacturers can differ when it comes to the amount of recycled content, the ratio of wood to plastic and the overall strength and quality of the materials. Here’s what you need to know about composite decking for the Northwest:

Differences Between Composite Decking Manufacturers

Many people ask for Trex decking when what they’re really looking for is composite decking. Although Trex is one of the most recognized makers of composite decks, many other manufacturers have emerged, and the quality of their products can differ.

For decks built in the rainy Northwest, one manufacturer has created a product specifically designed to withstand the region’s rough weather. With enhanced protection against mildew and mold, WestStar decking was formulated to hold up in a wet, humid climate.

What Makes WestStar Composite Decking Unique

One hundred percent recycled. A combination of wood from warehouse and factory pallets, as well as scraps from woodworking studios, are combined with plastic from post-consumer bottles to give WestStar composite decking its unique strength.

Strongest plastic. WestStar selects only the toughest HDPE (High Density Polyethlyene) recycled plastics instead of lower-density plastics that can break down more quickly and result in expensive repairs.

Resistant to mold. Mold and mildew growth, which causes a slippery surface, is a common problem with composite decks. A mold inhibitor in WestStar decking keeps mold from growing, even in rainy weather. In addition, WestStar composite decks come with a signature non-skid finish for added safety.

Durable. The plastic in composite decking seals it against moisture, UV rays and extreme temperatures, which means WestStar decks have a lifespan that’s two to three years longer than that of a typical wood deck.

Minimal maintenance required. There’s no need to worry about paint or stain with a composite deck. Simply sweep away leaves and branches regularly, clean up any spills or stains promptly, and wash it down twice a year with a pressurized hose nozzle.

Top-notch warranty. Warranties for WestStar composite decking tend to be generous compared to those for competing brands. They almost always cover splitting, splintering, surface checking and damage from insects or termites.

Tips for Installing a Composite Deck

Traditionally, most professional contractors install composite decks by screwing the boards into the joists from the top down. Although this creates a secure structure, it can also allow moisture to seep into the areas between the screws and the boards, allowing rot and decay to infiltrate the wood material within the plastic.

To prevent this problem, you can invest a little extra money into deck clips, which fasten boards to the joists from below, eliminating the need to drill into the composite decking material and keeping the wood’s protective coating intact. By installing your deck this way, you can add years to its life and bypass the need for costly repairs in the future.

Why Use Solar Panels / Solar Electric?: Top Ten Reasons

So you are thinking about making an investment in Solar Power for your home or business? Well the time is right as there are multiple reasons why it makes sense now but also, it is important to know that the benefits of Solar Systems will increase over time.

1. SOLAR PANELS SAVE MONEY EVERY MONTH AND FOREVER Solar will save you money on electricity costs and protect you from future rate increases.

Electricity rates are at an all time high and and are showing no signs of going down. Switching to solar will increasing your financial independence by locking in your future electric bills.

2. SOLAR ELECTRIC INCREASES HOME VALUES Solar Electric increases your home value and can even more then the cost of the solar electric system itself.

This 1998 study by ICF Consulting concluded that saving $1 per year on energy costs certainly adds $20 to a home’s value or more. A saving of $1,000 per year increases a home’s value by $20,000.

3. THINK OF IT AS A CONSERVATIVE INVESTMENT In this current market, returns on a solar electric investment may be higher than your other investments.

These Massachusetts residents LuAnn Kuder and Maureen O’Brien found they “beat” Wall Street by investing in solar. Over the past 100 years, the stock market has returned just below 10% per year as an average. Solar electric ROI likely beats this, especially in states with high electricity costs.

4. FEEL GOOD ABOUT PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT Using solar power means less “brown power” produced by utility companies which means fewer emissions, less pollution, and a cleaner environment.

Most utility companies use coal and natural gas-fired power plants which emit greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, radioactive materials, and heavy metals. So, power plants contribute to smog, acid rain, and global warming, affecting public health and our society’s future.

5. INCREASING NATIONAL SECURITY Installing a solar electric system reduces all our dependence on foreign energy.

There is no denying that our nation is becoming more and more reliant on foreign energy sources. The U.S. currently imports the majority of its energy supplies and has imported 166,270 million cubic feet more natural gas every year since 1985.

6. MONEY AND JOBS STAY AT HOME Supporting renewable energy in the U.S. helps to improve our economy by keeping money and jobs at home. These jobs get created when you make the decision to go solar.

The study by Navigant Consulting demonstrated that almost half a million permanent jobs and $232 billion in investment would be supported by the solar energy industry alone if Congress extends the federal tax rebates for solar for 8 years.

7. REDUCTION OF YOUR DEPENDENCE ON THE POWER GRID Solar electric systems are like a power plant on your roof, producing the energy you need clean, smart and efficient.

As 67% of the energy in fossil fuels is lost when it’s converted to electricity it is inefficient, 9-10% is lost as heat when transported to your home. Using solar panels on your prevents wasting energy or money because all the power you make is used in your home.

8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOLAR TAX CREDITS With the combination of state and federal solar tax credits, the cost of your solar electric system is significantly reduced.

Many states offer solar rebates as well, the most generous of which are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

9. NEWLY AFFORDABLE & BETTER TECHNOLOGY SOLAR OPTIONS As companies and local governments become better informed, solar electricity is becoming more and more affordable.

Companies and governments are innovating with financing and programs for homeowners to go solar electric Whether this is a city-sponsored solar loan, a home solar service (PPA), or a solar lease, the various options becoming available reduce upfront costs.

10. SPREAD THE WORD Inspire your neighbors by being the first on your block to install a solar electric system.

Tips on How To Improve Your Home

The biggest expense incurred from home improvement projects is hiring a contractor. The materials for small home improvement projects are inexpensive. All of these projects appear not to have identified and ordered the major risks they faced.

Make sure that all contractors you get for your projects are registered with the required governing body and follow all licenses and terms and conditions. Whether you plan on selling your house or simply want to improve your home’s functionality, there are certain home improvement projects that automatically increase the market value of your home. Among the many categories of repairs or renovations that you may have to or choose to perform are flooring projects, electrical work, plumbing, masonry, gardening and landscaping, refinishing furniture and fixing and installing windows.

Using the Internet, magazines or advice from a friend or hardware store employee can allow you to obtain the information you may require in order to carry out one of the related projects by yourself. However, large home improvement projects can become quite expensive. No one will argue that increasing the value of your home through home improvement projects is a great idea.

In part 2 we will discuss creative ways to increase storage space in various areas of the house, wallpapering techniques to help insure success, and handy tips that make home improvement projects proceed a little easier. Other types of insulation, or insulation projects for other areas of the home such as crawl spaces and walls might be best handled from an experienced home improvement contractor. Some software projects succeed but 80% dies after a few months of living.

Many times we think of big projects to do, but sometimes, it is the little projects that can give us a jump start. There are several simple projects that you could consider for increasing your homes value greatly, however; it is very important that you first set a budget and then create a basic idea and layout of what type of style you like best, based on the available funds you have set for your next home improvement project.


Update and replace whatever appliances you can microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher and replace or refinish old kitchen cabinets, advises Jimmy Wood, a Realtor with ZipRealty in Los Angeles. If there are four sets of china in your kitchen cupboards, pack three of them away. Clear off the kitchen counters.

To support the claim that home improvement increase value, here are some of the samples of returns for some of the well-known home improvement projects: kitchen remodel (minor) is 125% in Connecticut; basement remodel is 98% in California; bathroom addition is 96% in Missouri; kitchen remodel (major) is 92% in Kentucky; bathroom remodel in Oregon is 90%; exterior paint in Pennsylvania is 90%; and master bedroom in Florida is 86%. Generally, given such supports for the notion that home improvement increase value, the kitchen and bathroom remodeling, as an ally to the claim that home improvement increase value, really offer the highest percentage return on the home owners’ investment. Planning a reno includes prioritising the things you want to achieve such as more space, a better kitchen or bathroom, more sunlight, reduced energy and water consumption etc.

This is especially true when, for instance, you want to replace your old kitchen or bathroom. Key features to remember when remodeling a kitchen is adequate floor space, appliance placement for greatest meal preparation convenience and ease of mobility, and adequate storage space. Having an interesting kitchen and a good atmosphere will not make those cooking session boring but you will love spending time there.

There are some areas in the kitchen you need to pay attention to like the appliances. If you need to spruce up your kitchen, read on. Is your kitchen less than fabulous.

In the kitchen near the fruit bowl. In part one of Home Improvement Tips to Increase the Market Value of your Home we discussed kitchen remodeling ideas, various aspects of bathroom remodeling, and the ins and outs of wall paneling. Whether you are looking to fix a sink, spruce up a bathroom, remodel the kitchen or maybe even add an entirely new room to your current home.

Article Source:

Tax Attorney in Oregon or Washington; Does Your Small Business Have One?

Tax Evasion has been used to criminalize many, Nixon did use the IRS to attack political opponents and to discredit them. Well here is one politician who is attacking the LOCAL small businesses who supposedly are evading taxes? Are they? Or is the miss management of the city coming to light and the politicians are looking for a scapegoat?

Well there is a clause we should be familiar with and that is Taxation without representation. I would like to point out that if a person has a small business which they do out of their homes and they offer their services, such as house cleaning, window cleaning, general fixer upper, scrap book consulting and supplies, Amway, then in fact those individuals which are averaging about 12% of the population in Portland should be able to enjoy the right to free contract without grandstanding SOBs calling them tax evaders on a city business license issue.

First of all The Great City of Portland has other problems, such as crime, drugs and the second highest unemployment regions of the country. Many small upstart businesses do not have the $70.00 fee? (I am presuming since I do not live in that fine city although enjoy the visits along the river). In this article, “Joe Politician”, Mr. Wonderful can do no wrong (Yah right he is a politician) says that those businesses that fail to pay their city license will be brought to justice? Spare me the BS, what justice? It will bring the city 4 million in revenue? So what? They blow that on their wasteful parties to honor themselves in the city council events? This is just political rhetoric and trying to send the sound and fury elsewhere to keep the heat off yourself. This is sickening.

Generally there are already too many fees, licenses, taxes, etc at every level of the blob of bureaucracy you turn and every level of government you study. So are we to listen to this, or recall his ass. I move that all small businesses immediately band together to recall this jerk (opinion). People forced out of work from bad policy and over regulation and a bizarre liberal attitude of the left wing in Portland and the whole state for that matter, deserve nothing for their squealing. City Council People of Portland hardly produce a damn thing, their infrastructure is crumbling, their sewer pipes are breaking, their bridges are corroding, their police force cannot keep up with the drugs, the transportation system is a joke and this guy wishes to attack small, home based businesses which some are lucky if they take in any money at all and other maybe a $200 per week? Gee Whiz if that does not spit in the face of free enterprise?

Any politician who attacks small business should be thrown out on his ears, we employ over two-thirds of all Americans. Dah? Loser politician attorney in Portland, ought to know better. Think on it.

Article Source:

Reasons to Buy Another House in Boston, Massachusetts

New England is the American place for boarding schools, and I was fortunate to attend one in the Western part of Massachusetts, next to both the Vermont and New Hampshire boarders. It was beautiful country, to be sure, but I was a teenager and always longed to be in the nearest big city, Boston, Massachusetts, located two hours away. The first year I moved to Massachusetts the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in over eighty years. The celebrating the ensued on my boarding school campus until sunrise left me amazed at the type of community that was built around Boston. Boston is not only Massachusetts’s largest city, but it is New England’s as well. The site of many a historical event, Boston has retained the brick buildings and cobblestone streets of another era, yet offers all the amenities a modern, twenty-first century metropolis can. With under a million people living in Boston proper, the city remains large yet accessible, the perfect place to buy another house.

Although the cost of living has risen steeply in recent years, Boston is an international city for higher education medicine, and innovation. It is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in America, and as the populace grows the purchase of another house there would only be a wise one. The fluctuating student body ensures year round renters, yet you would hard pressed to not want to live in Boston yourself. From the world class shopping to be found on Newberry Street, to the waterfront concerts or the lobster rolls and more innovative seafood dishes at the Legal Test Kitchen, the city is filled with culture and foodie-worthy fare. Catch a Red Sox game at Fenway park and experience Boston sports fanatics for yourself, and when you’re done head over to Quincy Market, part of the larger Faneuil Hall shopping area, and lunch on anything from world-famous clam chowder, to sushi, to Indian food.

If the food is not enough to leave you sure of buying another house in Boston, then hit the tourist trail and see some of the historic sites for yourself. The city is extremely walkable, especially if you stick to the Freedom Trail that walks one from site to site, and back through Boston’s history. Hop on the T, Boston’s public transportation system, and take a train to Cambridge to visit Harvard Square, or to the Boston Common to lounge on the green and take in a beautiful fall day (there is absolutely nothing like New England in the Fall). Even when it is winter, and extremely cold, nothing shuts down and the city views remain spectacular. The view of the Back Bay or the Charles River alone is reason enough to buy another house in Boston and make it your home.

With a heavy Irish influence, a Chinatown with amazing Dim Sum, a diverse populace, some innovative urban architecture, and an accent all it’s own, Boston is a city like nowhere else. If the prices within city limits are too steep for your family to afford another house there, then buy one in one of the many suburbs, and join the millions that commute each day. With a commuter rail and more than one state to choose from, you can enjoy rural living with Boston as a nearby urban escape. There are beaches just an hours drive away-including the many to be found in Cape Cod-as well as hikes, apple orchards and other historical towns. Beantown, as Boston is known, has a rich history and is still making history, improving upon itself every year. The purchase of another house would be a worthwhile investment, for one’s life and financial portfolio. I visit the city once a year if only to get a sticky bun at Flour Bakery, and savor it while I take in another city I have come to love.

Do you want to purchase your first or second home in Massachusetts? If so, don’t hesitate to check out properties that you can rent before you buy. Buy a rental property and test-drive for a few nights to make sure it fits your needs and lifestyle and to make sure you’re investing in the perfect property. It’s currently the growing trend in the real estate industry.

Kiran is a third culture kid, whose love of maps was cultivated from a very young age. Having been raised the daughter of two diplomats, she had visited thirty-six countries by her twenty-first birthday. She has driven across the United States five times, and in light of all her travels, is adamant that America is one of the most beautiful countries on earth.