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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.

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Make House Paint Last Longer With These Six Tips

It’s that time again; you’ve recently applied a fresh coat of paint to your walls and it is already starting to fade. Having to move furniture and appliances as well as getting photos and paintings off the walls over and over again can be frustrating and not to mention a financial burden. Today we offer you a few tips on making paint last longer.


  • Ensure that your home is properly ventilated. Moisture enters the home in liquid form and exits as vapor, thus lifting the paint on the outside walls. Allow constant fresh air to both enter and leave your home by having windows and door opened as much as possible, and ensure that the home is well designed to accommodate maximum ventilation.
  • Clean the walls before applying paint. Paint is able to stick over dirt, cobwebs, and other contaminants on the wall. Before painting use water and bleach if necessary to remove them. If bleach or any other chemical substance is used gently and thoroughly rinse to remove residue which can loosen the paint.
  • Apply the right thickness of paint. If the coat of paint is too thin the paint will be weak and easily fade, and if it is too thick it will crack. The right thickness of paint is approximately 0.004 – 0.005 inches, or the thickness of a single sheet of copy paper.
  • Ensure that you do not apply paint in direct sunlight or while experiencing high winds. The sun and wind makes the water and petroleum solvents in the paint evaporate too quickly. It also slows down the paint from flowing and leveling out the way it should, as well as weakening the bond between the particles.
  • If there are a lot of plants (trees, shrubs, flowers) near the walls of your home you either need to constantly trim them or cut them off completely. Plants create moisture which will cause the paint to fade quicker than it should.
  • Use the right type of paint. Natural paint which has no harmful chemicals is capable of lasting up to 50 years if 3 coats are added. While oil paint is more resistant against dirt and has a level of hardness.
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4 Ways To Make Your Small Kitchen Appear Larger

The kitchen is arguably one of the most (if not the most) important rooms in the home. It caters to the entire family, guests, and stores the largest amount of household appliances than any other room. In cases where the kitchen may seem cluttered due to its minimal size, an extension may be considered. If because of any reason from lack of finance, to not enough space to expand, you should not worry. Today we offer you four simple interior design alterations to make your small kitchen appear larger.

  1. Aim for function: A small kitchen will not be held at the same standard of accommodating multiple activities. You will not be able to cook, do schoolwork, or wonder about aimlessly all at the same time. Instead of trying to force everything where it cannot fit design the kitchen to handle the basics (cooking, cooking and more cooking).
  2. Glass offers transparency: Design the room with the use of glass fixtures and or furniture. Glass allows you to see through an object which makes the room appear larger than it really is. This is what designers refer to as ‘negative space’. Apply glass to your cupboards, kitchen door or you can even make use of reflective glass tiles.
  3. Brighten up the room: The color scheme used for your appliances, décor, walls and flooring have a large part to play in how big any room appears. Light colors such as beige and pastels are more reflective hence the room feels larger and more airy. Dark colors on the other hand absorb light leaving the room feeling smaller than it actually is.
  4. Light it up: The kitchen like any other room requires the use of natural light as well as task lighting. Natural light opens up the interior of the room (try to get as much in as possible). An incandescent light bulb which provides a yellowish glow is highly recommended. They spot lighting, when directed at the cabinetry, to increase the shadowing of the space. Floor lighting can also be considered to lighten up the kitchen.
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Mistakes Made During the Home Buying Process

Your home is an important asset to own. Not just its financial benefits but also because of what it represents. A home offers security. It is generally viewed as a place of love, where memories are made, where families are built. It is because of these and many other reasons that many individuals desire to one day own their home. And just as there are reasons to want to own a home there are several reasons why individuals would want to sell their home: from personal reasons such as moving away, or accommodating a growing family, to financial reasons.

Whether you are selling or buying a home the real estate process can be a daunting task that if not handled properly can be exhausting and both the owner and the buyer can cause the process to be more difficult than it already is.


Here are a few tips to help homeowners avoid making mistakes that could hinder the selling process.

1)        Overpricing

Most sellers have a tendency to overprice their property. One of the main causes of overpricing results from the homeowner’s emotional attachment to their property. As a property owner, once you have made the decision to sell you should detach yourself emotionally from the home because this attachment does not affect the buyer’s decision. Bear in mind that a real estate transaction should be viewed and handled mainly as a business transaction. Homeowners can also overprice due to the property features that they believe to be of high value. However, what may seem appealing to the owner may not have the same appeal to the prospective buyer. The best way to avoid overpricing is by formulating a selling price based on the most recent property valuation and taking the price of similar properties in the area under consideration.

3)        Not Trusting the Agent

One of the most significant components of any personal or business relationship is trust. As a homeowner looking to list your property with a real estate agent or agency you have to ensure that there is an element of trust. Before listing your property, ask as many questions as you need to get comfortable working with the agent. If at the end of the conversation you feel like you cannot trust the agent it would be best to look elsewhere in order to avoid the tension that distrust is most likely to cause down the line.


Similarly to homeowners, buyers can make mistakes during the real estate transaction that they may eventually regret later:

1)        Lowballing

As a home buyer it is only natural that you would want the lowest price possible, however there is a big difference between negotiating to get a more affordable price and lowballing. Sometimes buyers can come in with unrealistic expectations about how much the property is worth. If you feel that the selling price is a bit steep and you really love the property, when negotiating it would be best to make a realistic offer that is not too low from the owner’s asking price.



2)        Searching for the cheapest property

Individuals searching for homes to purchase on a strict budget often keep their eyes open for the cheapest property they can find. What some homebuyers fail to consider is that most times cheaper properties tend to have many issues and require renovations. It is wise to find out as much about the property as you can, its value, structural integrity, etc. without only considering the price.  Before purchasing a home, you should be aware of anything that may be wrong and factor your findings into your final decision.


Were the above tips useful?  Share this article with family and friends.  If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at

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Buying Versus Renting: Which Should You Choose?

Many individuals believe that it is ultimately more beneficial to spend money on buying a home rather than spending years paying rent. However, that is not always the case. There are a lot of factors to consider before making your decision and every situation is not the same. Here are a few things to think about before choosing the best option to suit you.

Mortgage and Loan: Buying a house naturally requires money, and in most instances requires the individual(s) to apply for a loan or mortgage. You need to first know whether you are able to obtain a loan or mortgage, if not then renting would best suit you. Factors such as poor credit score and low income will decrease your chances.

Employment: Be sure that you have a safe and secure job. If you feel that any day in the near future you may be fired, or you plan on quitting your job then home ownership is probably not the right decision. The loss of a job can bring many financial difficulties that buying a home will just make even more difficult.

Total Cost: You need to analyze which option will cost you the least amount of money in the long haul: monthly rent compared to monthly loan payment, and all other costs attributed to each option. This includes maintenance and repair of the building. This is one of the main costs of buying a home which does not factor into renting. Whichever decision saves you the most money should be highly considered.


Change in family structure:  If you are single and plan to remain that way, renting may be a practical option. However, if you plan to get married and start a family, a stable home where memories can be made and roots laid-out is essential.  Your own provides security and a sense of belonging to your family that renting does not provide.

Future Plans: Buying a home is a long-term investment and should be treated as such. If you are someone who is always on the go constantly traveling from place to place then it might be more beneficial to rent in the meantime. Worst yet if you plan on spending time abroad for a long time then buying a home may just be pointless.

Freedom v. stability: Renting gives you a sense of freedom if you like to change scenery often by moving to different locations.  In addition, with renting you have the freedom of moving if you do not like the home or the area.  However, there is uncertainty with renting.  The landlord is within their right to discontinue your lease, and you would be forced to move in that situation.

Are you at the point where you need to decide between renting and buying?  Which do you think better suits your situation? Is there any advice you can provide to someone needing to make that decision?  Share with us in the comments.

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Take Advantage of the Rain to Conserve Water and Save Money

Why didn’t you think of this earlier?! Take advantage of the rainy season by harvesting rain water to use around your home and save on your water bill. Here are five (5) practical uses of rain water to benefit your family and the environment:

Plant Care:

Rain water can be harvested to water your garden and household plants. Instead of pipe borne water for decorative or indoor plants, use rain water. Establish your garden in such a manner that it can benefit greatly from rainy days. Ensure that your plants are in an area where water can be accumulated and drained out to avoid erosion and flooding. This increases the self-efficiency of the plants and decreases the need for constant care.

The toilet:

A toilet can use up to 12 liters of water per flush.  An average person uses 30 liters of water flushing the toilet per day or 210 liters per week. That is money that can be spent on other things or saved for ‘a rainy day’. Installing a tank to toilet system can lead to major water savings.

The Washing Machine:

You can also save loads of money and water by connecting your washing machine to your tank.  Washing machines can use up to 150 liters of water per load and most households do 5-6 loads of washing per week. If the option of installing a tank is not desirable to you, rain water can simply be collected in a bucket or barrel and used to fill the machine.

Rain Shower:

Rain water is perfectly safe for use in the shower while taking a bath.  Bathing uses about 54,000 liters per year which can be saved if the shower is connected to a rainwater collection tank. If the source of water is not from a collection tank which filters the water it may first need to be decontaminated based on where it is collected.

The Kitchen and Household Chores:

Dishwashing and the kitchen uses about 27,000 liters per year, convert this as money in the bank by using rain water to handle those chores. In addition, use rain water for other domestic chores such as mopping and other general cleaning tasks.

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3 Road Safety tips for wet days!

Road safety is often taken lightly by drivers these days.  With a speedy increase in the number of vehicles on island, and an increase in the number of vehicular accidents there is no doubt that road safety needs to become a greater priority. This is especially important on rainy days where the likelihood of being in an accident is greater. Here we offer 3 tips to the drivers out there when driving along those wet, slippery roads.

Ensure that visibility is clear

You have to be able to see: the bends, the vehicles in front and behind you, the people, animals or objects (fallen trees, rocks, potholes, etc.) in your way. The dark clouds and falling rain make this especially difficult. Ensure that your windshield and mirrors are properly cleaned; that your windshield wipers are working efficiently and all necessary lighting (brake lights, headlights, taillights, and turn signals) are functioning before you hit the road. Rain repellant products can also be used on mirrors and windows to clear standing raindrops.      

Refrain from distractions

Your attention is to be placed on the road in front, behind and at your sides. Stay away from the cellphone and keep the radio off (or at least have the volume very low). You need to be aware of other vehicles, possible landslides and anything else that may be on the road. If a call must be made or received pull over on the side of the road for the duration of the call, then continue driving when you are done.


Slow down

Wet roads reduce friction between your tires and the road. This causes drivers to have less control over their vehicles and also makes them more prone to skidding. Hydroplaning occurs when water builds up between the wheels and road surface. This causes a loss of traction and prevents the vehicle from responding to input controls. The faster you are driving the harder it will be to maintain traction if you begin to lose control. Remember it is better to arrive at your destination a few minutes late than to never get there at all.  Even better, leave for your destination a little earlier to give yourself enough time to drive more carefully.


Here is an extra tip: seatbelts save lives, if all else fails ensure that they are properly fastened.

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Buying a home for the first time? Do not make these common mistakes!

When purchasing a property, you don’t want to make the wrong move or completely overlook something important. The best thing you can do is educate yourself and be aware of common mistakes buyers make – so you can avoid them and the stress they cause.

  1. Miscalculating the Full Costs of Buying

Buying a house will likely be the biggest financial endeavor of your life thus far. Even with all of the low down payment programs available to first-time buyers, it’s no small feat. Down payment aside, other expenses can really add up. Along the way, there will be a few sunk costs, like paying your home inspector and the appraisal fee. The biggest “hidden cost” that comes as a surprise to first-time home buyers is the closing costs, which cover a wide variety of transactional fees and pre-payments.

Down payment aside, other expenses can really add up. Along the way, there will be a few sunk costs, like paying your home inspector and the appraisal fee.

Closing costs can amount to 2 to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price. The best way to determine a comprehensive list of fees is to speak with all of the key players involved in the transaction (your real estate agent, the lender, the insurance provider, the title company, your attorney, etc.) to get an estimate.

  1. Only Fixating on the House

The house is obviously a very important part of the home-buying equation. But, I would argue that its surroundings are equally important. As a buyer, you are investing in the community and particularly the neighborhood. If you’re relocating to a new area, it’s especially critical to analyze things like crime rate, school systems, amenities and public transportation options. With a little effort, you can scout neighborhoods like a pro.

  1. Being Close-Minded About Inventory

You know the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, the same thing could be said for buying real estate. Sometimes we are put-off by a listing online, especially if the marketing efforts are lacking. Before ruling out a property based on poor-quality photography, run through its other attributes.

The same can be said about neighborhoods and housing types that are outside of your current knowledge base. As a buyer, the best thing you can do is to keep an open mind and fully explore your options.

  1. Letting Emotions Override Your Wallet

Buying a home can be emotional. It can be hard to think logically when a seller has pulled out all of the stops to make you fall in love with his or her home. Trust me, an immaculate and beautifully staged property in your ideal neighborhood may be difficult to pass up. It’s fine to let a home pull at your heartstrings, and to let the emotions help to guide your decision. However, if the financials are a critical driver of your purchase, you’ll want to balance emotions with logic.

I always recommend creating a comparative market analysis to help you determine a home’s fair market value and justify your purchase price.

  1. Getting Distracted by “The Small Stuff”

If you’re new to homeownership, it’s difficult to imagine the responsibility that goes into maintaining a property. Heating/cooling systems, roofs, siding and windows are all fundamental components of a home. Home shoppers love to look at the surface items like finishes and paint colors, but you don’t want to become so distracted that you completely ignore what’s under the hood.

Try to compile a list of the big-ticket infrastructure items and how much life is left in each. Request a disclosure form from the seller and press for answers during your home inspection so that you can budget for repairs.

  1. Blaming Other People When Things Go Wrong

Investing in real estate always holds some level of risk. It’s only wise to make well-researched choices and to hire experts throughout a transaction. Sadly, even with all the good intentions, sometimes things go south. What’s worse is when you feel like you’re stuck holding the bag. Say, you bought a house and quickly find out the finished basement has a water seepage problem. While it would have been nice for the home inspector to catch the issue, it may not have come up in a visual assessment.


Be your own advocate. Ask the hard questions and think about things from a holistic viewpoint. Also, protect yourself. It’s always best to have a reserve fund to cover the unexpected (when and if they should arise).


Lastly, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is an exhaustive list! Every deal is different, but by avoiding these common mistakes you’ll be putting yourself in a stronger buying position.

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4 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a New Home

A home is likely the most costly asset you will ever own, and it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. The dream of homeownership can quickly turn into a nightmare, leaving you with a lifetime of financial regrets.


Don’t let the home-buying process make a financial fool out of you. Here are four of the biggest home shopping mistakes to avoid:


  1. Treating a home solely as an income generating investment

A house should first and foremost be for living in. Rental income is never a sure thing, so the home should be able to serve you if you fall short of the returns you expected. Buying a home in order to use it as rental or guesthouse is not always financially wise, and often yields undesirable results.


  1. Comparing your rent to a mortgage payment

Just because you pay a certain amount in rent does not mean you can afford the same amount as a mortgage payment. There are multiple costs associated with purchasing and owning a home that should be taken into consideration.


  1. Maxing out your loan

Life can be unpredictable, and it is easy to find yourself suddenly living in a house you can no longer afford. Skip the large mortgage payment and decide on security instead. You can’t put a price on knowing you can stay in your home even if you face a financial crisis or life change.


  1. Taking too long to make a decision

Don’t let cosmetic issues like paint colors or outdated décor keep you from putting an offer in on a home. You can take your time later to upgrade the physical imperfections. If a house is priced well, structurally sound, in your desired location, is the right size and has a great layout make an offer.

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Consider These When Buying a Home

Real estate purchases most times involve borrowing a large sum of money (mortgage) usually above $100,000 and therefore calls for making informed decisions.  These decisions you don’t have to make on your own.  If you are considering a mortgage we advise you to consider these three points below to assist you in making the best decision.


Take note of your finances:

Figure out what you can spend. Taking a simple inventory of your wallet can help you understand your financial ability and speed up the process. Know your financial limits to prevent potential pitfalls.  For example, if you bring home $3,500.00 per month and have outstanding loans and bills with payments totaling $1,800.00 and the bank requires a monthly payment of $1,400.00 for the mortgage then it’s likely you may eventually default on one of your loans or bills with just $300.00 cash left in hand.


Find a real estate agent:

The search for a home could be very tedious because of limited time and market information.  Use a professional in the real estate field as they will have the time to search for a suitable property and will be aware of available properties for sale in their territory.  They will come with added benefits such as access to properties, understanding of prices, taxes and the buying process etc.


Have a home inspection:

Have an inspection even if the property appears to be in good condition or is relatively new.  In the event that the selling price does not reflect the property flaws, a home inspection may give you a chance to negotiate your offer or withdraw your offer preventing you from making a costly mistake of purchasing a home that needs major repairs you didn’t budget for.



Don’t do it alone, purchasing real estate is a major financial investment.   Assembling a team of knowledgeable professionals such as a financial advisors, lawyers, property inspectors and realtors can provide much needed advice.