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Home Improvements That Add Value to Your Property

Whether you are planning on selling your home or you are simply interested in updating your home for your personal enjoyment consider implementing these home improvement tips that will increase the market value of your property.

  • Ensure that your home’s exterior is appealing and inviting. Planting trees or a flower garden, keeping a well maintained lawn, and keeping shrubs and bushes pruned are simple ways to improve your homes curb appeal. In addition, including a focal point such as a well-designed walkway can add major property value.
  • Utilize excess yard space by including outdoor living spaces such as a deck, patio, porch, pergola etc. to increase the value of your property. Investing in outdoor spaces provides the opportunity for more outdoor activities. This adds resale value to your property. Homebuyers tend to be more interested in homes that offers this feature.
  • Adding an additional bathroom may be the best home improvement decision you can make. Having an additional bathroom not only increases your home’s resale value, but it also provides the home with greater functionality.
  • Consider updating your home’s décor by replacing your old fixtures with new updated ones or adding modern fixtures such as moldings and chair rails that give the interior a crisp design.
  • Doing small repairs may seem insignificant, but by maintaining and fixing the small things it gives the impression that your home has been well cared for over the years. Take a walk around the property and take note of what is broken and can easily be repaired. Also, staying on top of maintenance now provides the benefit of eliminating issues before they become too problematic.


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Using the Design Element of Shape

We cannot discount the natural sense that many people have of design but when designing with an untrained eye, you either hit or miss terribly. Our architects have been trained in design, and thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the elements of design that are useful in achieving a functional and aesthetically pleasing room. This article will shed light on the “shape” element of design.

The shape element of design involves the use of shapes to achieve a specific effect. Using different shapes of objects in a room can have an effect on its atmosphere. Curve shaped objects in a room create a soft/warm effect while rectangular or square shaped objects make a room appear hard/cold. Here are a few tips which would make simple for a homeowner to use the shape element of design.


  • When designing or furnishing a room there must be a plan as to what effect you want to achieve in that particular room. The effect you seek to achieve in your study/work area would be different from your game/entertainment room.


  • Having a mish mash or a melee of shapes, which is often the case, reduces the rooms visual appeal. So it is best to decide before hand whether you are sticking to round edges or you are sticking to triangular shaped pieces.


  • Using different shapes can be used in a room but it would be used to highlight a focal point or unique piece (furniture/décor item). Also, different shapes can be used to show the difference in use of space in a room. For example, if your dining area is open to your living room. In addition, you may use a different type of shape for center room furniture from those that are touching or hung on your wall.


  • Finally, the shape element can be incorporated into the arrangement of your furniture and décor items. Your placement of these items can be used to create a shape. This will help your design be more organized.


Look out for information on the other elements of design in the near future.

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5 House Painting Tips

Painting the walls of your home is a very important task. From choosing the right paint colours, ensuring that paint is applied properly, and taking measures to make the paint last longer, there is a lot to consider. Today we offer you 5 house painting tips to get your project done right.

  • Think Carefully When Choosing Paint Colour:

When selecting a paint colour for a particular room think about what the room is going to be used for and how you want to feel while being in the room. Soft, cool and neutrals colours create a quiet and peaceful feeling while stronger, more vibrant colors add drama to a room. Warm, contrasting and brighter colors create a social atmosphere. Deep blue-greens and neutrals will give off a formal setting. The colour wheel is an excellent tool for modifying and intensifying numerous colours. For example, blue and orange, which are complementary colours, provide greater intensity when they are used together

  • Clean Dirty Surfaces:

Before you start painting ensure that the wall is free from dirt and oil which can cause the paint to peel off quickly. When the surface is cleaned, fill in any cracks before painting. Use a solution of 3 tablespoon of laundry detergent to 1 gallon of water. For protection, use safety goggles and rubber gloves.

  • Mix the Paint:

If more than one can of the same paint is being used, it is best that they are mixed together in a larger container or bucket. This is because the same colour paint is slightly different in each can. If a new can is opened in the middle of a wall a difference can be seen. Mixing the paints together eliminates the problem. The remaining paint can be poured back into the cans.

  • Start with the Trim:

If your home design includes trims (material used for decoration or embellishment) paint them first, then the ceiling, and then paint the walls. It is both easier and quicker to tape off the trim than the walls. In this case neatness is optional; any paint that gets on the wall can be covered when it is being painted.

  • Consider Lighting:

It is important to consider how different lighting situations will affect the look of the paint. Natural daylight illustrates the truest color. Incandescent lighting gives off warm tones and yellows. Fluorescent lighting creates a sharp blue tone. Therefore a strong color might be too bright next to large windows, but can be effective as an accent wall with indirect light.

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Bathroom Design Tips

The bathroom is the most widely used room in a home. Not only does it serve the entire family and guests on a daily basis, but it also serves many different functions. Such an essential part of the home should be granted a substantial amount of attention, and should be well designed. Here are a few things to consider when planning and designing your bathroom.


Ensure that the first thing seen when entering the bathroom is NOT the toilet. Very often bathroom doors are left open providing a constant glimpse as to what is within. While we are all aware of what a toilet looks like, it is not aesthetically pleasing, especially when you have visitors. Design the bathroom in such a way that the toilet does not directly face the door. According to the size of your bathroom space, a well-designed stall that fits with the style of the rest of the bathroom can be installed to provide privacy. This also provides the benefit of allowing more than one individual to use the bathroom at a time.


For quality lighting, install lights on each end of the bathroom mirror at eye level (do not install light fixtures directly above) to improve illumination when doing tasks such as makeup, or shaving. If you love having works of art inside the bathroom use recessed directional lights to help them stand out. For a calm and relaxing feel in the bathroom, candles can make an excellent addition.


The frequent use of water makes the bathroom vulnerable to mold build up. To reduce and prevent the occurrence of mold infestations in the bathroom ensure that there is at least a small window for fresh air to enter. Another but more expensive option to consider is the installation of a fan that vents to the outside.


It is for more than just appearance. If the vanity is too small countertops become clustered. If it is too large it can take up much needed space. If the wrong materials are used constant maintenance will be required. The vanity should be placed in a location that does not hinder movement in and out of the bathroom. Materials such as wood veneers, laminates and thermofoil are ideal, as they are more resistant to humidity and moisture.


Whether you decide to install a bathtub or a shower, it all depends on your personal taste as well as the space you have available. For small bathrooms a shower is the ideal choice; however there are small bathtubs that make use of the space provided.


When tiling the bathroom have the layout pattern planned out beforehand. Consider the areas you want tiled, whether it’s only the floor, the floor and the entire wall, or parts of the wall. Other details such as working around doors, windows and bathroom fixtures should be considered. Ensure that you use appropriate tile sizes for the various surfaces, and that the design works together.

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Additional Basement Conversion Ideas

This week, we continue where we left off last week with excellent ideas for uses for the basement.  While the rooms shared last week possess practical aspects to the home and family life the basement can also be converted to rooms you may rarely find, but that can make a wonderful addition to your home if you are able to afford them. And an added benefit of the following rooms is that if they are done right they can provide a substantial flow of income.

Bar: Build your own bar by adding a counter and having the necessary furniture to sit down and savor a sip. Throw in a liquor license, a bit of entertainment, proper planning, and you are in business.

Game Room: On days you may want to stay home and have fun with your friends or family you can simply take a trip downstairs and enjoy a friendly game of pool.

Media Room/Theater: Consider having a television set and sound system installed in, or maybe a projector so that your family and guests can enjoy a movie in your own private theater.

Gym: Based on cost and location, going to the gym may be difficult. And if your home does not have the space required for your exercise routine, or outside is not a possibility having your own place to work out is an excellent idea.


When converting the basement ensure that it is well ventilated especially if you are converting it into living space. Proper breathing is important. Also try to allow for maximum natural light to enter cutting down on the cost of electricity when occupying the space during the day.


Which of these rooms would you consider converting your basement into? Share with us in the comments.

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Basement Conversion Ideas

Here in Dominica a basement is one of the least likely rooms you will find in a home. Many individuals view the room as merely for storage and that it is not essential. While storing items that take up needed space in the rooms above is the main use for a basement, it has potential to be used as a variety of rooms that may be difficult to incooperate in your home design. Hence including a basement in your house plan can be an excellent investment down the line. Here are 6 rooms that can be featured in your basement space.

Family Room: A family room is a multipurpose room that is designed for family and friends to socialize. With the right furniture, appliances and design your basement space can be converted into a domestic living space that encourages family bonding.

Spare Bedroom: As your family expands your home may need to expand as well. Expanding upwards can be expensive. And if most of the land is occupied there may be no place to go but up. If you already have a basement, simply clear it up if it is filled, do a little bit of spring cleaning, make a little interior design alterations, add a bed and other bedroom furniture and you have yourself a functional bedroom.

Studio Annex: If your basement is large enough why stop at a bedroom. You can convert your basement into its own self-contained dwelling complete with washroom facilities, kitchenette, living and sleeping areas. This is ideal for extended families and as an added bonus if a private entrance can be added to this room it can be rented out to provide income.

Laundry: If your basement space is not large enough to be converted to living space consider converting it to a laundry. Simply install your washing machine and dryer, and create a few shelves to help with storage of your detergents and other washing essentials. You may want to consider having an area where you can sit and relax so you won’t constantly be moving up and down the stairs.

Home Office: If you find yourself frequently working from home, having an office space away from distractions may have crossed your mind once or twice. But where do you build it? There are no more rooms, and your bedroom is clustered enough as is. The basement can be an excellent idea. Add a desk, your equipment, a book case and you will be working in no time.

Recreation Room: Most home owners who are skilled tradespersons or artists usually do their work outdoors, in a tiny shed, a garage/carport or try to find space inside of the home. If the home has a basement it could easily be transformed into a workshop, craft room or music room where you can create your craft in peace. Just ensure that the room is sound proof so the rest of the family is not disturbed.


Look out for the next 4 additional rooms that you can incorporate into your basement.  Maybe you can share with us in the comments, what you think they are!

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Outdoor Shading Options

Here in Dominica we are blessed to be surrounded by fresh air, beautiful plants and many other natural wonders from the comfort of our own backyards. Because of our overflow of natural resources within the environment, it would be wise to take advantage of these benefits by investing in outdoor living spaces (porch, balcony, deck, patio, verandah, etc.). One of the few problems faced by homeowners with outdoor space is the direct heat from the sun. Fortunately, this can simply be resolved by installing one of many different shading options available.

Fabric Covering:

A simple, cost effective method that can be implemented is having a large piece(s) of fabric pitched over your outdoor living space. It is important to note that any fabric will not do. Choose a material that is not easily penetrated by water, and ensure that it slopes to allow runoff.


Another cost effective method is having an umbrella(s) set up near your lounging areas or installed as part of your outdoor tables. Like fabric, umbrellas are easy to install. They also provide the benefit of being able to be adjusted based on the direction of the sun for optimized protection.


A lattice is a structure which has strips of wood or metal crossed and fastened together with square or diamond-shaped spaces left between. If your home has a contemporary design a lattice would make an excellent addition. They are often used to support climbing plants, which would help the natural outdoor feeling transcend into your space.



Similar to a lattice, a pergola is a structure that gives shade while providing support for climbing plants. They provide a shaded area with ample breeze for outdoor relaxation when the weather is very hot. For the best results use materials like acrylic trim boards, fiberglass, and strong woods like redwood.

Home Integration:

If it structurally possible based on the design of your home, and within your budget, your outdoor space can be an integrated part of your inner home. The roof of the house can extended out without the external walls. If your outdoor space is small this can be easily done, however, the larger the space the more money it will cost, and the more work that would have to be done. But this is one of the most satisfying options.


Instead of going through the hassle of building a structure to provide shade why not use the trees around you. If your yard is surrounded by trees, build your outdoor space in a location where it can benefit from the trees’ shade. If it does not, you can always plant a tree and consider temporary options in the meantime. Deciduous trees which are filled out provide the most shade.


Which of the above shade options do you prefer, and why? Share with us in the comments.

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How To Prevent Pest Infestation

No one wants to buy a pest infested home, and you should not be living in one anyway! Today we take a look at some of the most common creatures to plague the average home and simple things you can do to stop them.


Mosquitoes pose more than a nuisance as several diseases are carried by the pesky creatures (Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika, etc.). The best mosquito protection is to not allow standing water around the home or yard. Mosquitoes lay eggs and larvae hatch in water. Make certain that gutters are clean and clear.   The second best protection is using screens in windows and keeping doors closed.  If keeping your doors closed is a problem, custom door screens can be bought.


Cockroaches are scavengers who feed most commonly at night which is why homeowners can turn on a kitchen light and see roaches scatter. Ways to prevent or eliminate cockroaches include never leaving any tidbit of food that might be accessible to the bugs. Boric acid powder sprinkled in areas where roaches have been seen is also effective and is non-damaging. Roach powders are also an option, as are roach traps, often known as roach motels.


Termite colonies can number in the thousands and they eat wood. These pests burrow into wood and eat. Termites can destroy the wood in any home. There are little effective measures for homeowners although some try baiting. The most effective way to eliminate termites, however, is with the help of a professional exterminator.

Ants are another common scourge and come in many varieties. Fire ants are hard to remove but some owners have success with pouring hot water or soapy water into the fire ant mounds. Black and sugar ants are also difficult to remove. The same tactic – pouring hot or soapy water into the ant hill – can be effective. There are also ant traps, ant sprays, and other chemical treatments.


Flies are among the peskiest pests. They seem to get in when no other bug can and are hard to remove. Keep a fly swatter on hand and have good aim. Fly strips are an old-fashioned option and there are fly sprays available. The best protection against flies is to prevent their entry.


These insects are just the most common pests but there are many others. In most cases, a little prevention can go a long way toward major infestations.


To prevent insects of any kind from moving in to stay, these simple, inexpensive methods can be effective:-


Create physical barriers. Keep screens in good repair and replace screens with holes or that sag in the frames. Caulk around windows and doors to seal entryways for insects. Keep doors and windows closed. Screen doors should have a tight spring so that the door will close and remain shut.


Keep food sources out of reach to insects. This means clean up after meals and snacks. Wipe up spills and sweep up messes when they occur. Clean appliances like stoves after use and clean between appliances and counter tops in the narrow cracks where food bits can fall. Store foods in containers with tight lids or in sealed bags. Never leave pet food out in dishes at all times. Remove garbage promptly and rinse out waste cans to remove any food residue. Always wash and dry dishes soon after a meal.

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Six Ways to Upgrade Your Laundry Room

Laundry rooms used to be hidden away in the basement, washer and dryer side by side on concrete floors. These days, they’re moving upstairs and going upscale. From walk-in closets to craft rooms, laundry machines are finding new, brighter and inspiring spaces in the house. Some look almost like kitchens, with high-end cabinetry and countertops. From large and luxurious to compact and convenient, the options seem limitless. Here are some common trends:


Modern laundry rooms come in all sizes. In some homes, the laundry area simply consists of a stacked washer and dryer behind bi-fold doors. In more opulent digs, the laundry room sometimes shares space in a room that accommodates a homeowner’s hobby. Use the space you have, if the area is small include first and foremost the essentials a washer and if possible a dryer. If it is large enough feel free to decorate and design based on your personal style. A laundry room isn’t a place people are going to hang out, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have style.


Some homeowners find it convenient to have a laundry area on an upper floor rather than in the basement, so they don’t have to lug linens, towels or clothes up and down stairs.  In some high-end homes, the laundry room might turn up in the master bedroom’s walk-in closet, steps from the en suite. It’s simple enough to put a drain on the floor during construction. That way, there is a lot less damage if there is a water leak. In smaller properties the laundry can be shared with either the kitchen or bathroom.


The old school laundry chute has been around for decades but has never enjoyed widespread adoption. For some families, it’s the height of convenience. Gone is the need to lug heavy laundry baskets down stairs. It’s a good idea if you have the space to incorporate it in your design. Other good idea is the addition of a storage island to keep clothing well-organized and setting up an ironing system if space allows.


The type of flooring where the washer sits is important. A concrete base is best because it can absorb the vibrations a working machine generates. Try to distribute laundry loads, as an off-balance washer can make the whole house shake. Ninety per cent of noise — and machine vibration — problems can be traced back to an incorrect installation. Some washers have shock absorbers to absorb some of the vibration. Others are cradled inside a cabinet, so movement is not transmitted to the frame of the machine.


Laundry rooms are starting to emulate kitchen design, with a utility sink and countertops for working space, combined with upper and lower cabinets for the storage of detergent and other cleaning supplies. Machines are now being offered with doors that swing on either side. Previously, washers opened only to the left and dryers to the right on front-load machines.


While room for a few laundry baskets is important, increasingly, homeowners are making laundry spaces work harder. The most common pairing is with a mud room. The idea is that kids coming in from outside with dirty clothes can simply put them in the nearby hamper. A lot of women prefer their laundry “two steps” from the kitchen, where they spend more of their time.  Some ladies also incorporate an indoor clothes-drying rack suspended from the ceiling.

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Seven (7) Tips for Improving Curb Appeal

Have you ever heard of the term curb appeal or wondered what it meant? Well, Real Estate Agents use this term to refer to the general attractiveness of a property from those looking from the street or a distance. First impressions are as important to a home as it is with individuals. Every new visitor that sees your home from the outside begins to imagine what the interior looks like, and if the outside is a mess the enthusiasm to look within decreases as well as the overall impression of the home. If you are planning on selling your property, making it available for rent, or simply want to make your home look attractive try improving the curb appeal by making these 7 design alterations to suit your style.

Add a Walkway: Walkways that are well designed are inviting and provide a sense of warmth and comfort to the home. Visitors will feel welcomed to your home walking along that brick or concrete path leading straight to your front door.

Give Your Driveway a Makeover: After years of wear and tear your driveway may be cracked, or covered with potholes. Repair these damages to make the driveway look as good as new. Also, define the driveway by installing a border along the edges to give an elegant look.

Tile Those Stairs: Tiles are guaranteed to add style and make anywhere stand out when compared to plain flooring. Add tiles to your outdoor stairs to make them stand out.

Repaint Your Walls and Front Door: A fresh coat of paint can transform your home providing a more welcoming environment into your house. And while painting the walls do not forget the door or if possible have a new one installed. Consider doors with decorative glass for a greater feel of grace and elegance.

Illuminate the Outdoors: Not only do lights leading to the entryway of your home look good and welcome guests arriving at night, it also provides safety and security by decreasing dark places within the yard for intruders to lurk. Solar lights are the perfect choice because they do not require electricity or distracting cables.

Mother Nature Can Help: Beautiful flowers can be planted in strategic locations throughout the property. Hedges can be used to surround the yard or planted along the drive and walkway. Ensure that hedges and other plants/flowers are neatly arranged and properly trimmed.

Invest in porch furniture: Improve the look and feel of your porch by adding furniture. This makes the home feel relaxing and welcoming to visitors.