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Being A Good Tenant

You have finally found the perfect place to rent. It is moving day and you are thinking “How can I make the best of my stay here? What should I do to be the best tenant I can be?” Well these 6 handy tips will show you how to make your time at the rental as pleasant as possible.


  • Read the rental agreement over a few times before you sign it because it will govern the Landlord-Tenant relationship. Now it is your duty as a tenant to respect the terms of the agreement after you have signed it.  The slightest breach of the contract on your part gives the landlord the right to evict you regardless of payment in advance. If an unforeseen situation arises which may cause you to go against the terms of the agreement, promptly explain to your Landlord with the hope that your situation will be considered.  Please remember that the Landlord has a prerogative to say no and that prerogative should be respected.
  • Try to maintain a cordial relationship with your landlord because proper communication is essential to a productive living arrangement. You do not have to become best friends, but if you are having problems or difficulties you need to be able to speak openly with the landlord to see if the issue can be resolved before tension escalates. Also, remember that communication is a two way street; you also have to be able to listen and pay attention to your landlord’s concerns and requests as well.
  • It is extremely important that you pay your rent in full and at the agreed upon time, every time. In doing so, you avoid disputes between you and the landlord regarding occupying their property without payment. This is an issue that will more than likely always create tension, especially if done frequently. In addition, when looking for a new rental property your landlord will be contacted to give a report, and complaints regarding payment will be detrimental to your chances of being accepted by a new landlord. If you are going to be late for a particular month, week, etc., pass on the information in advance with a reasonable explanation.
  • Always remember that at the end of your lease, you must leave the property in good condition. Therefore you should keep the building and the environment as clean as possible during your time there.  Avoid damages to the property, furniture, etc. Remember, the cost of damages will be taken from your security deposit or even from your own finance, if damages exceed the deposit.
  • The landlord may on a few occasions want to take a look at the property while you are living there; try your best to accommodate their request. It may be considered an invasion of privacy by some, but remember it is their building and if the roles were reversed you might feel the need to do the same. It does not take much to assure the landlord that you are taking care of their building.
  • When your stay is over leave on good terms, avoid having to be evicted; leaving with unpaid bills; rent being owed; or unreported damages to the property. This is the best way to ensure no legal action is taken against you, which will cost you more than you already may owe. Remember the reports of your current landlord play a determining factor in whether or not someone else will be willing to accept you.
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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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3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Design

One of the most exciting milestones in an individual’s life is building their own home! Choosing the right home design that both suits your personal taste, and meets your functional needs can seem difficult, however when you know what to look for, you realize that it is not as hard as you thought.  The size of the home, the layout of the different rooms, among other factors can either enhance, or diminish the functionality of a home design. Here we discuss 3 factors to consider when choosing a home design.


  • Before you settle on a home design it is wise to think about your individual needs and wants as well as those of the other members of the family who will be residing in the home. A lot of consideration should be placed on the number of individuals in the family, and the type of family structure. Single-parent families, nuclear families, extended families have different needs. Given the same size lot, the design of the home will be different to achieve maximum effectiveness (for example the size of the kitchen should differ based on the family type). It is also important to take a look at where you are now and where you plan to be. Have you only recently been married, are you expecting to have your first child or another child soon, are your children just about ready to leave home, do you plan on expanding in the future, are you almost at the age of retirement? You need to ask yourselves these questions before settling on a design.



  • While focusing on the floor plan and the overall layout of the home ensure that you consider how the layout of your furniture will fit into the home. If you have not bought furniture as yet it would be easy to incorporate them into your home design. Consider whether or not the floor plan will accommodate the arrangement of the furniture. Ensure that the room sizes are of adequate size. Will the windows be blocked by furniture and appliances? Will the furniture layout utilize or hinder the flow of natural lighting into the home? All of these should be considered.


  • Do you consider yourself a very private individual? If yes, you should consider designing your home with an L or U shaped layout. Also consider how much privacy you would need and from whom. The home can be designed to limit interaction between your neighbors through the window and door plans, and from other family members with the addition of interior walls. Would you want a lot of privacy in the bathroom, bedroom, and your home office?


Which one of these factors do you find most important? Share with us and our readers in the comments below.

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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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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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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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5 Reasons To Use An Agent to Help Get Your Home Sold

Many home owners looking to sell their property may think that they can do just as good as an Agent, maybe even better. What those individuals fail to realize is that Real Estate Agents can provide benefits that the home owner on their own cannot accomplish. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider having an Agent help get your home sold.

  • Homeowners can be easily distracted by their emotions. Because of how long an individual has lived in the home and the many memories that they may have, when it comes to selling their judgment may become clouded. Individuals tend to have difficulty finding issues with their home thus overpricing the property. Also when faced with constant rejection, (which is likely to occur) and negative feedback, home owners tend to feel discouraged and may even change their mind. An agent on the other hand can turn rejection into positive feedback, saving the owner from despair.
  • Real Estate Agents work fulltime. While homeowners may have their own job and other responsibilities that may slow down the home selling process, it is an Agents job to work on getting your home sold. Between meetings, work and other errands scheduling viewings for prospects can be a hassle, and after work individuals may be too tired to have anything done. In addition, there may be many prospects interested in viewing that may not be serious about buying. This can be a complete waste of time, but agents on the other hand after years of experience are able to differentiate a serious buyer from one who is just looking.
  • Real Estate Agents are more skilled at networking and marketing properties. While there are sites available such as Craigslist where home owners can upload their property it may not be as effective as an actual Real Estate website. Listings uploaded by Agents generally have a greater traffic coming in than home owners selling their own home. An agency is also able to constantly market the property and keep track of individuals who demonstrate interest while this may be too much for the home owner alone to handle.
  • Real Estate Agents already have individuals who may be interested in the property. Working at a Real Estate Agency there are instances where prospective buyers make inquiries for specific properties that the agent may not have listed. A record of their interest is kept to match them with any new listing matching their requirements.
  • There are a lot of paperwork and transactions that have to be done during the selling process. Learning all of this is enough to cause a burden too great for the home owner to bear. Real Estate Agents already have knowledge of the legal work to be done which can safeguard home owners from making avoidable mistakes and potential law suits.
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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!