Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 2
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Home Design Find

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What should you look for in new windows?

Perhaps your home energy bills are depressingly high, and the energy audit says the problem is due to your windows. Maybe the issue is that your windows are fogging up. Cracks in the glass, leaks around the seals and who knows what else is causing them to let in moisture and interfere in your vision. Or you may find that your home appears dated and aged despite having been repainted. The solution in many cases is a new set of windows. But what factors should you look for in your new windows?

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Energy Efficiency

Heating and air conditioning are anywhere from a quarter to two fifths of the average home’s energy usage. Opening a window to let in fresh air obviously costs you money, but windows that slowly leak air out through gaps in the frame do the same in a way you might ignore except for the higher energy bills. Your windows also let heat escape in the winter and enter in the summer, undermining your attempts to maintain a stable indoor temperature. The solution is choosing energy efficient windows. Double panes beat single pane windows. Triple pane windows dramatically reduce heat loss, but there are double pane windows that are almost as good thanks to neutral gases between the two window panes or films applied to the window.

How Light Passes Through

Windows have always let light in, and you’ve always had the option to choose glass with waves, distortion or patterns to protect your privacy. The most obvious example is bathroom windows that let natural light stream in but prevent peeping toms from seeing you in the shower. There are actually many more variations of this today. You can choose windows that let you look out but prevent others from seeing in. There are window treatments that can let sunlight in but reflect the heat out. In more expensive and highly engineered arrangements, morning light may be admitted but hot afternoon sun is reflected back. Or you may let sunlight in but reflect back artificial light in the evening.

How Well It Fits the Existing Infrastructure

Too many people make this mistake, and it will show. For example, choosing windows that are the wrong size for the existing window openings means you’re either adding extra joists to make it fit or cutting into the walls to try to make them large enough for the windows. Choosing window frames with material that clash with the existing home’s design creates other problems. PVC windows that come in the same color as the existing home siding or wood windows you can paint aren’t an issue. However, bright metal frames on a classic home or old-fashioned window frames in a modern home will clash.

Cost

Cost is going to be a factor in any purchase, but we consider it lower on the priority list because it can be offset in so many ways. For example, more expensive energy efficient windows may repay the difference in a few years in the form of lower energy bills. Windows that can be snapped inside your existing window frames will lower the overall cost of installation.

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Transforming Your Yard to Entertain Guests

A backyard is a great place to entertain guests. But this is hard to do if your backyard isn’t fixed up. You don’t want to have guests over and have them just sit on your lawn and look at your dirty yard. So if you’re interested in entertaining guests in your yard, here are a few ways you can transform it and make it more suitable for guests.

Clean the Home

You should start by cleaning the outside of your home. When you have guests over you don’t want them looking at a home covered in dirt or grime. Find a free weekend and get yourself a pressure washer. This will blast away any build up along the siding of your home and make it look like new again. Pressure washing takes some time, but the end result is well worth it. For more information on how to pressure wash your home you can visit this guide.

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Redo the Siding or Roofing

Next, you should look to see if your home’s siding or roofing needs any repairs or maintenance. Getting basic home maintenance tasks like this done will not only make the outside of your home look better, but it will make it safer too. For instance, you can start off by looking for signs of dry rot within your roof. According to Guardian Roofing, a business providing commercial roofing in Houston, “Dry rot is a fungus that can cause irreversible damage to your home. In time, decay from the dry rot can cause instability of the roofing structure, leading to its collapse.” Therefore, it’s important that you get it taken care of sooner rather than later.

You may think you won’t notice things like the condition of your roof when you’re entertaining outside, but it contributes to the overall appearance. These projects can also be more expensive, so you should focus on them before moving onto simpler cosmetic changes.

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Add a Patio or Deck

Giving your guests a specific space to hang out on in your backyard is a great way to transform your yard. The best way you can do this is by adding in a patio or deck. Adding in a patio or deck takes some work, and you’ll need enough space to do it. Your best bet is to call in a professional landscaper and talk to them about your options for a patio or deck. They’ll be able to tell you what’s possible in your yard and discuss pricing with you. Having a patio or deck isn’t necessary if you want to entertain guests, but it certainly makes it a lot better.

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Upgrade Your Outdoor Furniture

Another key component to entertaining outside is the right furniture. You don’t want your guests sitting on the lawn or on rusted folding chairs. Instead, you should upgrade to some modern furniture that looks great in your yard. Get yourself a patio set complete with a table and chairs. Then move onto some additional pieces like extra comfy chairs or couches. You can even add in some things like standing porch swings or a hammock if you want to give yourself a place to relax when you aren’t hosting guests. Here are some great outdoor furniture options to get you started.

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Add Some Lighting

You don’t want to entertain only during the day. Nighttime parties are a lot of fun, but in order to host your guests at night, you’ll need some additional lighting. Consider adding in some flood lights that can illuminate your entire backyard. Or if you have that patio or deck, get yourself some string lights than you can hang around the perimeter. It’s also a good idea to place some lights along any pathways so that people can see where they are going and not get hurt. Play around with different lighting techniques to see which ones best suit your needs and the atmosphere you’re trying to create.

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Extra Yard Features

Finally, there are a few extra yard features you can add in to make things a little better. For example, you could add in some outdoor speakers so you can play music when your guests arrive. There are even speakers that look like stones so that they blend right into your yard. Another option is adding a water feature to your yard. Something like a water fountain or pond will add a relaxing element to your yard and make it a more enjoyable place to spend time. Finally, you can add an awning to give your patio or deck more shade when the sun is too bright. There are plenty of things you can add, so take some time to explore your options and add in your favorites.

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A Very Unusual Home Perches over a Japanese Reservoir

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An extremely unusual house focuses narrowly on the ribbon of view of a large body of green water.

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Designed by  Suppose Design Office the house steps down on three floors over a reservoir in Fukuoka, south-west Japan, bringing the clients as close as possible to the cooling water below.

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House in Hibaru allows the clients to feel as close to nature as they do to the city.

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But standing up on the living area floor at the bottom, the water view still feels a little obscured.

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It would seem that only when seated in the living room, would the view be any more generous.

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The rooms inside step up gradually over three levels.

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The bedrooms are on this floor, overlooking the living room and kitchen below.

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The external walls are concrete, largely concealed beneath the deep overhang of the roof.

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The unusual house seems very severe – very extreme.

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You almost have to wonder if there is some really disturbing sight on the opposite river bank that must be avoided.

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But then you walk inside and see how the wooden ceiling frames the serene water, just as water.

Very unique approach to a watery view. Truly zen.