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Preventing Heat Strokes

Lately we have all felt the harshness of the unforgiving sun. It is paramount that we safeguard ourselves from the adverse effects of the rising temperature, such as heat stroke. Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia where an individual’s body temperature is elevated significantly to a temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The condition is marked by fever, and often unconsciousness. Other symptoms include: seizures, throbbing headaches, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, and rapid heartbeats. It is a medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly and properly treated, causing death and damage to the brain and other internal organs. To help prevent a heat stroke, the most important measures to take are to avoid dehydration, and vigorous physical activities in extremely hot weather conditions.

 

Here are a few practical tips to prevent falling victim to a heat stroke:

 

  • Wear clothing that fits tightly to your body to allow it to cool properly. Clothing that is loose and light (weight and colour) also provides the added benefit of not absorbing a lot of the sun’s radiation.
  • Use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. A hat is the second best option if you do not have access to an umbrella.
  • Sunburn affects the body’s cooling process. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. For the most effective results use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. Apply generously to exposed areas every two hours, or more if you are out swimming or sweating excessively.
  • Remain indoors and in shaded areas as much as possible. For activities that simply must be done out in the open, try to schedule your time in order to engage in those activities at the coolest times of the day (early mornings and late evenings). When exercising, it is wise to drink 24 ounces of water, sports drink, etc. two hours prior, 8 ounces after you are done, and 8 ounces every 20 minutes during.
  • As stated earlier, remaining hydrated is essential to maintain a normal body temperature. Drinking at least eight glasses of water, fruit/vegetable juices, coconut water, and sports drinks is recommended to replace sodium and other electrolytes lost from sweating, or a quart of fluids per hour. Avoid drinking caffeinated and alcoholic drinks (this includes sodas and tea) which causes the body to lose fluids quicker. Also, remember to monitor your urine. Darker urine is a likely sign that you are dehydrated.
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Why You Should Include a Powder Room in Your Home Design

A powder room is essentially a secondary or half bathroom that usually contains only a toilet and a vanity or face basin, and is usually located near areas that accommodate guests such as the living room. They are usually smaller than the average bathroom, but despite this, they offer a great deal of convenience and comfort to the entire family and your guests.

 

Here are a few benefits of including a powder room in your home:

  • By including a powder room, guests can use the toilet or sink without walking through your entire home. For home owners who value their privacy, or for the occasions when you may not have gotten the opportunity to ensure that entire home is spick-and-span, having a powder room can be very convenient.
  • Powder rooms are a great use of space. Given their smaller size, powder rooms can fit into an already established floor plan without taking up too much space. Not only would including a full bathroom take up more space, it would also be more difficult to incorporate into an existing plan.
  • Including a powder room will likely increase your property value as well as its selling potential. Having additional bathrooms are a surefire way to get home buyers to consider purchasing your home. In addition, if a full bath cannot be included, a powder room is the next best option.
  • Including a powder room would help reduce the people to bathroom ratio. For large families, a powder room would be a welcomed addition to the home, as it would provide family members with more convenience since it decreases the foot traffic to the main bathroom.

 

Keep this additional tip in mind to create the optimal powder room: choose fittings that can easily fit into the room without taking up too much space. For example, using a pedestal sink instead of a cabinet will make the space appear larger and easier to move around.

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Factors to Consider When Selling Your Property

Purchasing or selling real estate is one of the biggest financial decisions an individual can make in their lifetime therefore it needs to be taken very seriously. If you are considering placing your property on the market for sale here are a few things you need to know.

 

 

Whether you are buying or selling a property the process can prove to be extremely stressful and exhausting, especially if you are selling on your own. To take some of the burden off your back consider hiring a real estate agent/agency to assist you in getting your property sold. You may be given the option to list with multiple agencies or list exclusively with one agency. If you decide to enter into an exclusive agreement, ensure that you choose the right agents who will minimize worry, maximize results and have your best interest at heart.

 

Improve your properties curb appeal in order to make a great first impression. Depending on the state of the property, a prospective buyer could lose interest before placing one foot inside the premises. A prospect’s first impression should make them feel impressed and excited to see more.

 

Consider brightening up your fence or gate with a fresh coat of paint, planting a flower garden, creating a paved walkway, or simply move anything unsightly out of plain sight. Yard maintenance is also highly important. Please note that, particularly if you are selling land, properties that have been overtaken by overgrown grass and shrubs tend to appear smaller than their actual size.

 

Another way of increasing curb appeal is with the inclusion of outdoor living space, such as a deck, patio, or gazebo. This will not only beautify your property but can also increase its value and selling potential. It is important that your property is in a condition that can present it in the best light which allows it to be purchased at its maximum market value.

 

Give your property some tender loving care. Start by placing attention on the little things and work on fixing them before they become unmanageable or result in further damage. Prospective buyers, especially those who are determined to find their ‘dream home’, can at times be nit-picky and focus on details that you yourself may not consider an issue.

 

If you are going to place your property on the market for sale, it is wise to take a walk through the property and try looking at it from a stranger’s point of view. If you find any issue that can easily be rectified at a low cost, consider working on it as soon as you can. Doing this will also give the prospect the impression that the property has been well maintained over the years and give them a greater appreciation for the property.

 

Come up with a competitive selling price.  In order to settle on a formal selling price that will ensure that both you and the buyer are happy you will need to know how much your property is worth. Overpricing is one of many factors that can keep quality real estate from being sold. If you are serious about selling your property, it is far better to have it listed at a reasonable price than to have it sitting on the market for years without attracting any   potential buyers because it is overpriced.  Remember, your property is not the only one on the market and home buyers almost always shop around.

 

Before you decide on selling, it is important to note that when selling you will be required to pay Government Transferor’s Fee of 2.5% calculated on the selling price or value of the real estate being sold, whichever is greater.

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3 Non-Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

Whether it is through purchasing an existing property or having the home of your dreams designed and built, most individuals dream of one day owning their own home. Reaching the point of home ownership is considered a significant moment in an individual’s life and thus we work hard to turn that dream into our reality.

While owning a home provides several financial benefits it also offers some non-financial benefits that aren’t often considered. In today’s article we take a look at three (3) non-financial benefits of home ownership.

Individuals often compare the differences between home ownership and renting when considering the advantages that owning a home offers. A key difference between the two options is that when you own your own home you won’t need to worry about the cost of rent being increased or being evicted.  Also, renting a home or apartment does not usually provide much option in regards to modifying the living space to better suit your needs. Whereas if you own your home you are free to renovate or add an extension to increase your comfort and convenience.

Home ownership offers stability. Having to move from rental to rental is a major inconvenience and can be both a financial and emotional burden. When you spend your life constantly renting homes and apartments you can never really be sure where you will end next. Factors such as a change in your financial situation or even a growing family may require you to move to another property sooner that anticipated.

Another benefit to home ownership is that it grants owners the opportunity to be a more established member of a community. When you own your property you literally own a piece of your community. Being part of a community means being a good neighbor, and that requires owners to take care of their property and improve the community.

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Office Space Layouts

As an employer or business owner have you taken the time to consider how the layout of your office affects your employee productivity and work experience? Having an effective office layout enables productivity, and also makes workflow efficient. Different office layouts work best with different types of businesses or organizations. If you are searching for a new office space or planning on remodeling your existing space this article will help you learn more about the different types of office layouts and their functions.

Open Plan Office Layout  

The open office layout’s main benefit is that it encourages communication and teamwork. Due to the lack of interior walls / barriers decisions tend to be made faster which results in swift action and increased productivity. Offices with this layout are ideal for fast paced business and businesses with a flat organizational hierarch. Open plan office layouts also allow employers to give more attention to their employees, and can help employees develop better relationships with their employers as well as their coworkers. The disadvantages of this layout is that it lends itself to a lot of distraction; it offers very little privacy and the office can get very noisy.

Private / Closed Office Layout

The private / closed office layout works best for businesses where confidentiality is extremely important (such as law offices). Thus employees would need solitude to take private phone calls, or meet individually with clients. The main drawback to using this layout is that it does not offer the same level of effective communication as the other office layouts. It is also more costly. For one, you would need a larger office space than with an open layout and more artificial lighting and cooling would be needed to maintain a conducive working environment.

Cubicle Office Layout

Cubicles use a series of partitions allowing workers the benefits of a private / closed office layout (privacy, limited distractions, decreased noise levels), while offering an adequate level of openness. Cubicles do not take up as much floor space as private offices. They are also beneficial to companies that require confidentiality and those that do not have the budget to offer everyone a private office. Similar to the private / closed office layout cubicles offer limited natural light. Using glass panels will allow more natural light to come in and allows the space to appear larger. Half partitions which are like cubicles (except the walls only go halfway up) can also be useful, however they offer less privacy.

Team Enclosures

Team enclosures offers a private area for teams working on a single project and those who work on similar projects. This layout allows increased communication and encourages cooperation between team members while minimizing external distractions. This layout is beneficial to organizations and businesses such as advertisement agencies, news offices, or architectural and engineering firms.

 

Remember, with many people spending more time at work than they do at home, choosing the right office layout is an important decision to make not only for you but for your employees as well. Also, in many cases, it may make sense to have a variety of different layouts in one office space.

 

Were the above tips useful?  Share this article with family and friends.

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5 Tips When Viewing a Home to Buy

Have you ever heard of anyone buying a home by only looking at the photos, or hearing good reviews? Most likely your answer is no. Before purchasing a home the prospective buyer should always schedule visits to the properties they are interested in. However, viewing the property without knowing what to look for or knowing what to do can have the same effect as not viewing the property at all. This is one of the most important decisions anyone can make especially because it is usually more difficult process to sell a home than to buy one.  Here are five tips to guide you when viewing a home.

  • Ensure that everything that is supposed to work actually works. If electricity and water are currently available to the property check the water pressure, light switches, circuits to be certain that no additional maintenance has to be done on your part. If you have already been informed of any issue that may already exist then it is not necessary, however you still can do this to determine the extent of the problem.
  • While walking through the property look at the structure of the building, pay close attention to both the exterior and interior walls. See if you can find cracks which can be a symptom of structural problems, or for the presence of mold. If you find something wrong with the home ask questions to find out whether the problem can be fixed before you decide to buy the home.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the community where the home is located, it is wise to ask the agent, homeowner, and neighbors about the surroundings. Is it peaceful or noisy? Does a lot of criminal activity (burglary, etc.) occur in the area? Do the schools nearby provide quality education? If you eat out often, where can you get a bite to eat in the area? What time does the bus service shut down in the area? All these should be considered when deciding whether you should buy the home or keep on searching.
  • A common mistake that many home buyers make is making a decision after viewing the property only once. If you are interested in buying the home ensure that you schedule a visit with the agent or homeowner at least two or three times. The next time you visit you may find problems that can deter you, or aspects you love but did not notice at first. It is recommended that you view the property at different times of the day to take note of the changes in lighting and surroundings.
  • Do not rush the final decision. Whether you fall in love with the property at first sight or not take your time before you make a decision. A home is a serious and often lifelong investment. Hence necessary thought and consideration should be given. When looking at the property together with the agent or homeowner. Do not be afraid to ask as many questions about the property as possible.
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Advantages of an Open Concept Home

An open concept home provides many benefits to homeowners compared to homes where every room is enclosed by walls.  Here are 6 advantages of an open concept home design.

  • Spaciousness

The interior walls of a building take up a lot of space. While it may not be a significant amount of square footage, it takes up a lot of visual space.  By removing the walls and other barriers the home appears larger due to the increase in distance from one point to another.

  • Lighting and Scenery

With an open concept home there are very little barriers that can hinder the flow of natural lighting into the home. This benefits home owners in that an increase in light from the sun and even the moon can help cut down on use of electricity. An open concept house also provides constant accesses to the stunning and breathtaking views from our natural environment.

  • Proper Ventilation

Not only does an open concept home maximize the amount of light entering the home, it also increases the air entering the home as well. Without walls to get in the way, the breeze entering through the windows and doors can properly circulate through the home providing a cool and refreshing sensation throughout.

  • Family Socializing

Tearing down the literal walls within the home can build metaphorical bridges, uniting the family. Having an open concept house plan increases the frequency of family members being in contact with one another and creates greater avenues for family bonding. While mom may be in the kitchen area preparing a meal the rest of the family is within sight. This also allows for more effective communication between family members.

  • Entertaining Guests

Homes built with an open concept design are ideal for hosting events, parties or just having a group of friends over for a fun gathering. The spacious nature of the room makes it a perfect area to watch a movie while eating, and having other activities going on simultaneously, especially compared to homes with a lot of interior walls making the home feel congested.

  • Safety and Security

Open concept homes make it easier to keep an eye on small children while they frolic through the home. In homes where rooms are separated by interior walls and where there may be hallways providing even more separation, it is easy to lose sight of a child, and the slightest glance away can have them wondering off where they can get hurt. An open concept home allows for better supervision.

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Preventing Mold Infestation

Is your home and environs damp? Dampness can result in the formation of mold on your walls, furniture and window frames causing them to get rotten. Mold is a type of fungi developed from airborne spores. It usually grows in damp, warm conditions with little airflow. This can have adverse effects on the body causing increase risk of respiratory illnesses. If you do have mold, the first thing to do is find the source in order to get rid of it.

 

Preventing Condensation:

Condensation is one of the main causes of dampness in the home.  It mainly occurs during cold weather regardless of a presence or absence of rain. When the air gets colder and it can no longer hold back all the moisture in the atmosphere, tiny droplets appear causing the surface to be damp.

To avoid condensation:

  • Ensure that your home is well ventilated. Keep windows opened as much as possible and as wide as possible to maintain a balanced atmosphere.
  • Create less moisture. Certain activities we do daily produce a lot of moisture. When cooking keep pots and pans covered, and avoid unnecessary over boiling. When doing the laundry it is best that clothes are hanged outside to dry.

Other Causes of Dampness:

  • Leaking pipes and faucets – ensure that your pipe system is properly maintained.
  • Holes or cracks in the roof – rain water can sip through these spaces and enter the home without your knowledge. Always check for leaks and have them fixed as soon as possible.
  • Window entrance – while it is wise to have windows opened as much as possible to allow proper ventilation, naturally they need to be closed when rain falls to prevent water from entering.

 

Removing Mold:

If mold has already taken effect, the following things can be done to rectify the situation:

  • Use a solution of chlorine bleach and water. For the best results use a ratio of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. If you cannot acquire these substances use a household detergent with bleach as an active ingredient.
  • When scrubbing the affected areas use a stiff-bristled brush, rinse thoroughly and dry.
  • Ensure that you wear protective eye-wear, gloves, and a face-mask. Making physical contact with the mold can be harmful.
  • While cleaning mold, open all the windows to the room or use a fan in the room if possible.
  • Purchase specialized products – anti-microbial sprays and anti-mildew paints can reduce the chance of mold development.

 

Have you had a problem with mold infestation?  What did you do to solve it?

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6 Design Tips for Your Baby’s Nursery

A nursery is a bedroom within a house or other dwelling set aside for an infant or toddler. The nursery is designated to the housing, care and well-being of a baby, and is generally the smallest bedroom in the house. However, the room in many cases could remain the bedroom of the child well into his or her teenage years, or until a younger sibling is born, and the parents decide to move the older child into another larger bedroom, if one is available.  Our architects offer the following tips to help you design a nursery for your bundle of joy.

Location: The most beneficial location to build a nursery is near to your bedroom. This benefits both you and the child in that you are close enough to hear if anything is wrong, and it also leaves a short walking distance when you need to check up on the baby in the middle of the night. The nursery should also be appointed in an area where it can receive good ventilation, and ample lighting.

Color: The best color scheme to choose when designing a nursery is one that provides a calming and nurturing feel. You should focus on what makes you feel relaxed, especially because mothers generally experience a higher level of stress post childbirth. When the child gets older they can decide what color they desire.

Coherence: The style of the nursery should reflect your own personal style and should resemble the design of the other rooms in the home in regards to the design, color, furnishing, etc. It does not have to be a carbon copy but if the entire home has a modern contemporary look, that should be carried into the nursery.

Safety: When purchasing a crib, ensure that it is deep enough and that the bars are an appropriate distance apart to keep the baby from getting out. Place the crib away from, doors, heaters, lamps/light fixtures and wall decorations. Also, try your best not to over-decorate the room and have it cluttered. It should be organized as much as possible.

Furnishing: The cheapest and easiest thing to do when planning on purchasing furniture is to buy them before deciding on the color of the walls. Then you can chose your wall options based on the type of furniture you have. Another reasonable option is to buy the crib and then design everything with your focus on the crib. While the crib is definitely the most important furniture in a nursery, another piece you should invest in is a rocking chair.

Adaptability: When designing take in consideration how long the décor will last. As the years go by and the child grows aspects of the room may need to change when the child finds that they have become too old. When it comes to things such as the design of the wallpaper, choose an option that can be appropriate for a number of years which will allow ample time before it needs changing.

 

Additional Tip: Remember babies are messy therefore ensure whatever you buy is washable.