Archive for May, 2012

Decorating Ideas Using Throw Pillows

Updating the look of your home doesn’t require a major makeover or an expensive remodel. By simply decorating your couch, dining chairs, or bed with decorative throw pillows, you can easily refresh the look of your interior in a fashionable, yet relatively inexpensive way.

Throw pillows are lovely, functional small pillows that are ideal for sofas and beds. You can choose from a variety of colors, designs, shapes and sizes to match your current theme or create an entirely new one.  Here are some ideas to help you decorate using throw pillows:

  • Choose different sizes for your throw pillows. The standard size of a throw pillow is 18 to 24 inches. Go bigger for larger sofas or to use as oversized throw pillows on the floor. If you have wide couches, arrange three to five throw pillows along the length of the sofa in descending order.
  • Select from various shapes. Typically, throw pillows come in square and circular shapes. These days, however, you can also find rectangular and oblong pillows, and even unusual shapes for kids, such as flowers, cars, and butterflies. When selecting the shape for a throw pillow, choose something that is appropriate for a room. Classic shapes are well-suited for more classic, traditionally-themed houses. Modern interiors look great with oblongs and rectangles.  And, for kids, the possibilities of character pillows are endless.
  • Choose good colors for your throw pillows. Steer clear from matching the color of your pillow exactly to the color of your sofa. Choose a complementing color that is either a different shade of the same color or a contrasting color altogether.  If you decide to mix and match patterns, that opens up the color possibilities because you can tie into different accent colors easily.
  • Consider the fabric. There are different fabrics for a throw pillow. Choose a fabric based on where your pillow will reside.  For instance, if pets and kids are always in the living room, choose a washable fabric that can easily be cleaned when stained. For purely  decorative purposes, however, smoother, more elegant fabrics like silks and velvets are great options.
  • Select a good pattern. Solid-colored sofas look great with striped or floral pillows because they add visual interest. But, for patterned sofas, stick to solid-colored pillows so as not to distract the eye and create visual chaos.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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How to Soundproof Your Home

Sometimes you want to have a huge party at your house and hang out with your friends all night, but the problem is that you don’t want to wake up the neighbors. Or, perhaps you want to support your teen’s love of music by allowing him or her to host band practice at your house, but you don’t want the neighborhood patrol to issue you a citation for loud noise. One way to enjoy life with occasional loud music and parties without disturbing others is to soundproof our home.

Soundproofing a particular area of your house can offer the best of both worlds, so here are some suggestions on how to do it:

  • Use thick, long curtains on your windows. Whenever you want to soundproof your room, fully cover your windows with the thick fabric, and it will make it more difficult for sound to escape.   Velvet drapes absorb noise particularly well….think of movie theatres!
  • Use thick carpeting or rugs on your floors.  This works especially well on second-story floors by preventing the sound from drifting below.
  • Use automatic door bottoms. Install these covers on the bottoms of your doors to fill the gaps between door and floor.  They usually automatically drop down when the door is closed and retract up when it is open.
  • Install a layer or two of drywall to prevent sound from travelling between walls.
  • Use textured surfaces on your walls and ceilings. Rough surfaces can reduce sound waves inside the room. Smooth surfaces usually do not absorb sound.
  • Make your walls “thicker” by positioning large bookcases or shelves against them. It makes it more difficult for sound waves to penetrate the walls because the threshold is denser.
  • Install soundproofing panels. There are many ready-made insulation panels available that can be easily installed to create more sound obstruction.
  • Place soft egg crate mattress pads on your wall. If design is not an issue for you, egg create mattress pads are perfect for soundproofing.  For music rooms, they may even play into the overall aesthetic design.

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Two Musical Events Set for Edmond This Weekend

This coming Saturday in Edmond will be a day filled with music and barbecue, as the city hosts two musical events for residents to enjoy: the Rhythm, Qs and Blues event and the Edmond Jazz and Blues Festival.

This weekend marks the celebration of the 24th annual Edmond Jazz and Blues Festival and the 2nd Rhythm, Qs and Blues event. The Rhythm, Qs and Blues event will kick off the weekend celebration on Saturday at 10:00 in the morning and last until 3:00 in the afternoon. It will be held at E.C. Hafer Park, located at 1034 S. Bryant Ave., and will feature a barbecue contest fundraiser.  People will be able to try up to 18 different kinds of barbecue, while enjoying the ongoing live musical entertainment.

From there, people can migrate to Stephenson Park, located at Littler Avenue and Fifth Street, to enjoy the Edmond Jazz and Blues Festival.  The festival will be open from 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 2:00 p.m. to 10:p.m. on Sunday.  The event usually attracts between 10,000 to 15,000 people each year, and there is high quality musical entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

This year’s Edmond Jazz and Blues Festival will feature nine musical artists and bands performing jazz and blues tunes on stage. Kelly Hunt will be the featured rhythm-and-blues singer for the event. Aside from the musical entertainment, there will also be food and drink vendors throughout the event and crafters and artists displaying their works in booths.

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Eight Easy Tips for Cooling Your House in the Summer

Summer is the time of year when families get to spend more time together.  Children are out of school and enjoying summer break, and families often spend their time at home, doing activities together, and having fun.

While most families look forward to these times in anticipation, there are times when the summer heat can be too hot to bear. Sometimes, even staying indoors isn’t enough to cool you off.  So, it’s a practical idea to find ways to cool your house, so you and your family can enjoy a retreat from the heat.

Below are eight easy tips on how you can cool off your house during the summer:

  • Install shades or window treatments on the east and west sides of your house. For windows facing the east, close your window treatments in the morning and open them in the afternoon. Window facing west should be opened in the morning and closed during the afternoons. This will minimize the amount of hot air and light that enter your house.
  • Avoid doing heat-generating activities, like using electrical appliances, during the day. As much as possible, save them for the evening.
  • Plant trees and shrubs around your house. Plants offer good ventilation and they also shield your house from the harsh heat of the sun.
  • Use compact fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs because they are more energy-efficient.
  • Insulate your roof and make sure it is highly reflective. Roofs are directly affected by the sun, so placing insulators between the interior of your home and your roof will help to protect you from that heat.
  • Do not use sun-exposed rocks or cement in your landscaping that faces the west or south because they trap heat and continue to radiate it toward your house even after the sun has gone down.
  • Unplug all power equipment when it is not in use to conserve energy.
  • Install an energy-efficient air conditioning unit or fan that can cool off most of your house. Choose an air conditioning whose size is appropriate for the room, so the unit is not overworked.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Simple Home Repair Tips to Save You Money

When large repairs are required at home, most people hire a professional because the required skills are usually beyond our expertise. However, when it comes to simple repairs at home, many homeowners opt to do the job themselves to save money by not having to pay a serviceman.

But, what about homeowners who may not have the slightest idea about how to perform home repairs? Do they just settle for paying a huge fee every time?  For these types of homeowner, many of them simply leave small repairs undone, so they do not have to deal with an out of pocket expense.  However, keep in mind that by doing so, small problems can gradually become bigger, resulting in a larger expense in the end.

To save money on simple home repairs, here are some useful tips you can follow:

  • Ask your neighbors or family members if they are capable of doing the repairs. You can simply compensate them with a small check or do something in exchange like cook them dinner.  Oftentimes, however,  they will do the repairs for free.
  • If you are new in the neighborhood, ask your neighbors for recommendations for a basic handyman that you can call for small repairs. Sometimes, there are freelance servicemen that work for a more affordable and negotiable rate.
  • Try calling and asking for instructions from a professional you know instead of having them come over. That will help you avoid a service charge since you would be doing the work yourself.  Just be sure to follow their instructions, so the job is done correctly.
  • Do not hesitate to ask servicemen for establish their exact fees upfront. Oftentimes, repair companies say that the cost of their repairs will depend on what the task requires along the way. This often leaves homeowners with an expensive surprise at the end, but at that point you unfortunately cannot doing anything about it.  So, avoid surprises by requiring a specific estimate for the repair up front. Give a detailed description of the damages to them, so they are provided with complete information up front as well.
  • Hire a handyman service company. They will usually do multiple repairs for you in one visit, thus keeping the charge to only one service fee. Hiring an independent person for multiple jobs can result in doubled service fees.
  • If you already have a specific person for one job, but they do not do another type of job that you need done, ask them for recommendations.  These people have more connections when it comes to home repair services, so they can lead you to quality, reputable servicemen.
  • Learn how to do basic repairs yourself. This will save you a lot of money because you won’t have to hire someone every time there is a minor issue.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Oklahoma City Parking Enforcement Begins Using Electric Cars

A new and eco-friendly team member recently joined the police force in Oklahoma City.  Last Wednesday, parking enforcement officers received a more eco-friendly and cost-efficient means of transportation, replacing their three-wheeled, gas-powered Go-4 vehicles with the new Wheego electric cars.

Wheego electric cars aim to provide a more eco-friendly, safe, and reliable alternative form of transportation. They are a more affordable version of the electric car, making them a great option for both private and public use. Each vehicle, though small in size, is equipped with the safety features and conveniences of a full-size car.

The Wheego cars have already been seen roaming around the downtown Oklahoma City and Bricktown areas. The Oklahoma City police force acquired the electric cars specifically for their parking enforcement team to promote the use of environmentally friendly resources. The electric cars will also be used during special events such as races and Thunder games.

The new Wheego electric cars include two-passenger seating and are powered by a rechargeable battery pack.  They come with a regenerative power braking system for and extended driving range that extends to 40 miles per charging cycle. According to the police force, each new car cost about $13,000, which is less expensive in the long run compared to the gas-powered vehicles that they had been using.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Create a Welcoming Look for Your Home

We always want our guests to feel welcome and at home each time they visit.  There are many factors that play into achieving that, and perhaps nothing is as powerful as the first impression they receive when they walk up to your home.

Enhancing the curb appeal of your home will not only create a positive impression for your visitors, but will make you enjoy living there even more as well. Who doesn’t want to live in a house that feels welcoming each time you enter? This may become the perfect excuse to stay at home and enjoy time with your loved ones.

You will probably want to focus on the front yard first, since is what your guests will see first. Landscaping costs can add up quickly, so it’s not necessary to do a total rehaul.  Keep things simple and work with what you have.  The important thing is to be sure that everything is in its place and well-maintained, such as clean cut grass and no garbage.

Another thing you can do is make your entrance more visible and accessible. Oftentimes, visitors have difficulty reaching the entrance if there are obstructions in the way. Create a pathway for your guests that leads directly to the entrance of your home. It also creates an opportunity to add some flowers and lawn decorations, such as planter boxes or solar pathway lighting, for a nice added touch.

Don’t skimp on beautiful details for your front door. Sometimes, a lovely antique doorknob is the perfect thing to set an impressive tone for your guests. Perhaps an old lamp that sheds light onto the stoop will make them feel more secure. These may only be small things, but they can have large appeal.

When it comes to front doors, choose something that reflects the style of your home. It may be ornate with fancy glass work, or it may be a simple design painted to match the exterior colors of your home.  Pay attention to the details and you will find the perfect look for your home.

Also, enhance outdoor lightning. While your guests who visit you during the day may not notice it, it will certainly create an impression on your nighttime guests.  Not only is outdoor lighting functional, but it creates a certain air of elegance that highlights the best features of your home.

And lastly, make the entrance area in your home a living space. Create an ambiance that says, “You are welcome to our home.” Place some chairs for your guests to sit on or a table to put their things on upon entering your house. A coat and hat hanger will also add to a homey appeal.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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