Archive for October, 2013

Maintaining Your Granite Countertops

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Granite is is formed from volcanic magma and is one of the hardest natural stones on earth. It has a reputation for being a great building stone and is commonly installed in homes as kitchen countertops. It is a durable material that can resist heat and endure years of normal wear and tear. Aside from its durability, it ranges in color and pattern, providing a beautiful aesthetic appeal.

Granite does, however, require regular maintenance. In addition to regular cleaning, it should also be properly sealed because stains can be difficult to remove from granite.  It is also very prone to cracking.

Professional granite installers recommend resealing of granite countertops every three years. To preserve the quality of your marble countertops, refrain from setting glasses, knives, or hot pans directly on them. Use pads or chopping boards underneath kitchen utensils to prevent stains. Manage spills by wiping them with a dry towel. To prevent permanent stains and discoloration, make it a habit to clean spills right away. Do not allow citrus fruits, pure vinegar, bleaches, or alcohol products to have direct contact with granite because the chemical reaction between them can make the surface dull. Always inspect the countertop to make sure there is no cracking or shifting, especially around the edges. Furthermore, to maintain the gleam of the granite, it is important to polish it regularly.

To keep the granite countertop clean, do not utilize usual household cleaners because most of them are too harsh for the material or may contain high pH, which can scratch, pit, and etch the surface of the stone. Use a cleaning product that has a neutral pH level and a microfiber cloth to reduce leaving excess fibers on the counter. Clean the countertop according to the directions stated on the container of the cleaning product. For stains that are oily, make a solution made of flour or baking soda and 5 tablespoons of dish soap. Place the dressing right on top of the stain and cover it with plastic wrap overnight.  It is fine to add a little water to make it easier to spread.

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

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Dream Spaces: Midcentury Bowling Lanes Roll On in Minnesota

Although he designs and builds luxury nightclub-like sleek bowling lanes for homes, Ryan Claxton of Fusion Bowling also knows how to work it old-school style, too. When a building owner in Chicago was getting rid of parts from some 1950s lanes, he knew who to call. Sure enough, Claxton had some clients in Minnesota looking for a retro-style home bowling alley. The match was made.

Claxton picked up the parts in Chicago and brought them back to his shop in Jacksonville, Florida, where he refurbished and rebuilt them. He then used them to add to the retro flair of his client’s home in Battle Lake, Minnesota.

Claxton worked closely with McCarten Design Enterprises, which designed a retro-style room that worked with the vintage bowling equipment. These days ball returns are usually hidden under the bowling alley floors, but the vintage system is a riser above the floor between lanes.
The interior designer chose the color palette, and Fusion matched the Granny Smith greenwhen restoring the vintage parts, including the green capping along the gutters.
The retro-style sign is new, but the Brunswick Gold Crown masking units are from the ’50s. Fusion cleaned them up and wrapped them in green vinyl, then added LED lights as “pindicators.” If you look closely, you can see that the numbers that correspond to the remaining pins are lit up.
While lanes in the ’50s were made of wood, these are made of a new synthetic product that is practically maintenance free. “These don’t need to be resurfaced and are more consistent than wood,” Claxton says. “It’s important that bowling alleys in private homes require as little maintenance as possible; it’s not like they have a full-time staff like commercial lanes do.”

The cost for luxury in-home bowling lanes can run from $70,000 for one lane to $350,000 for a four-lane extravaganza.

The manual scorer’s table is a restored vintage piece. Fusion also customized scorecards to match the room’s color palette. Bowling balls and pins are other custom details to consider for your own home lanes.
These pin setters are the original Brunswick A-2 models from the ’50s. Fusion dismantled, cleaned, painted and rebuilt them piece by piece, replacing any parts that were too worn out to restore. They are now as good as new.
The lanes are part of an auxiliary building on a luxury estate; the building also has a golf simulator and is close to the pool. “It’s a real family-fun center,” Claxton says.
A built-in curved banquette provides seating for bowlers and observers.
Just beyond it is built-in bowling ball storage, which stands up to the weight of the balls.
A custom rack keeps the shoes organized and doubles as a bench for putting them on.

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OKC YWCA Plans to Build New Shelter

OKC YWCA Plans to Build New Shelter

Many people who have been caught in the middle of a crime or a life-threatening dilemma often need help. Safety is a major issue and people must know how to protect themselves against those who try to do them harm.

A lot of women in Oklahoma City who have experienced violence have turned to the YWCA in order to stay safe. The YWCA Oklahoma City is a nonprofit organization that aims to empower and support women, as well as protect them from domestic violence and sexual assault. For many years, the organization has worked to protect women and children against predators.

Because of the increasing number of women and children helped by the YWCA, the current shelter that houses them is almost full. That is why the YWCA plans to build a new shelter to accommodate more of the people who turn to them for help. The women’s organization has already raised the $15 million necessary to build a bigger shelter.  It will have 120 beds, more than twice as the existing shelter, which has only 52 beds. The YWCA plans to have the groundbreaking this fall.

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

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Increase Kitchen Efficiency by Using Small Appliances

Increase Kitchen Efficiency by Using Small Appliances

Modern kitchen appliances make our lives more convenient. Whenever we have limited time to prepare a meal, we can always pop something into the microwave.  Ovens are essential when preparing big meals for holidays and for special occasions. And, of course, a refrigerator is a must for storing food and keeping everything fresh.

Though people tend to be drawn to big kitchen appliances, it’s good to remember how effective small appliances are as well. Toasters, coffeemakers, food processors, and blenders are also very helpful when it comes to keeping our kitchen functional and efficient.

What are some of the benefits of small appliances?

  1. Kitchen Organization – Small appliances are easy to store and do not require any floor space. You do, however, need to have enough counter space to use them. If you do not have room on your counters to keep them out all the time, tuck them away inside your kitchen cabinets or under the kitchen island.
  2. Time Efficiency – There is more time to spare if you have a coffeemaker making coffee for you in the morning while you’re getting dressed. You can heat your bread in a toaster while you prepare your things for work. Small appliances enable multi-tasking.
  3. Reduced Effort – You don’t have to chop as may fruits and vegetables when you’re preparing meals if you have a blender or a food processor around. They are also great for making purees and sauces, so you can be more in control of the ingredients in your food.
  4. Ease of Use – Small appliances are simple machines that do not need a lot of upkeep. Most of these appliances need only a plug-and-push mechanism in order to work. This makes kitchen processes much more convenient for you.

Small appliances can offer a number of advantages in your kitchen. They are also available at a reasonable price.  Choose appliances that meet your needs, so you can be more efficient in your kitchen.

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

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Six Ways to Arrange Your Living Room Furniture

Six Ways to Arrange Your Living Room Furniture

The living room is a special space in your home, as it is where your family gathers and where you entertain guests.  It is also a great place to showcase nice furniture and your decorating style, so the way you arrange the room is important from both design and functionality perspectives.

Knowing where to start with your living room furniture arrangement, however, can sometimes be a difficult challenge, especially if you are dealing with small or unusually-shaped rooms.  So, below are some tips to consider when arranging your living room:

  1. Empty your living room as much as possible. The first thing you should do is remove all the small pieces, such as lamps, rugs, and decor items, into another room, so you can start with a blank slate. For heavy furniture that may be difficult to remove from the room, simply concentrate it in one area.
  2. Take measurements of every detail in your living room. Measure your walls, doors, windows, and the location of your electrical outlets and heating vents to know where to properly place your furniture. This will help you avoid blocking functional elements of the room.
  3. Establish a focal point and place the furniture around it. You can use any existing feature in your room as a focal point, such as a window or the fireplace. Placing a television in a certain area is another great way of establishing a focal point.
  4. Consider traffic flow. Place at least two to three feet of open space between furniture pieces. Ensure that there is sufficient walking space around the room and space for people to adjust their positioning without disturbing other people around them.
  5. Set up chairs properly. Chairs should be set up 7 to 8 feet away from each other to provide enough space for conversation. Coffee tables and end tables should also be positioned in a way that they can easily be accessed by people sitting in the chairs.
  6. Achieve a balanced furniture formation. Match the look by placing small furniture next to larger pieces. You can alternate the arrangement to add variety to the room.

Decorating your home is not as difficult as it can sometimes seem. Just remember to use your imagination to create something that reflects your style, while still remaining functional.

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

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Flu Shots Offered to OKC Seniors

Flu Shots Offered to OKC Seniors
There are many instances in which the flu can lead to hospitalization and even death. Those who fail to strengthen their body’s immune system are usually more prone to flu-related ailments. This is especially true for seniors who already deal with other illnesses and body complications.

Now that we are entering the cold months, flu cases are on the rise, and one way of fighting it off is to get a flu vaccine shot. In Oklahoma City, health officials are encouraging all seniors citizens to get a flu shot, which are available at health departments, pharmacies, and even retail stores.

Three kinds of vaccines are available to seniors: the trivalent flu vaccine, quadrivalent flu vaccine, and high-dose vaccine. The trivalent flu vaccine is protects against three of the most common strains of the flu virus, while the quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against four. Seniors ages 65 and up are recommended to have the higher-dose flu shot.

Seniors who have healthcare plans and Medicare can have their flu shots covered by insurance.

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

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7 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

7 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

When you have a room that is surrounded by trees and large plants, a room that has only one window, or a room whose only window is located above eye level, it can make the room feel dark and gloomy.

This situation is every decorator’s challenge, but it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with a dark, dull room. Here are few tips to help you lighten up your space:

  1. Add a light-colored area rug. Materials with lighter colors reflect more light.  It will also draw your  eyes from darker areas of the room and make the overall space feel more expansive.
  2. Install light fixtures. Install light fixtures that screw into the wall or ceiling, as they have the advantage of operating from wall switches and provide light from above, thus filling more of the room. They also don’t take up floor or table space, which helps reduce the feeling of clutter.
  3. Replace existing bulbs with higher light intensity. CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, have a lower wattage, but higher light output. Experiment with the subtle color variations of bulbs.
  4. Add mirrors. Mirrors have the ability to make a room look larger than it really is. Consider placing a floor-to-ceiling mirror at the end of your room. You can also use vanity mirrors and free standing mirrors to reflect whatever light is available.
  5. Reduce visual clutter. This will make the space feel more expansive because clutter naturally makes a room feel more closed in and dark. Remove items that do not belong to the room and place them in a different part of the house.
  6. Choose light-colored flooring and paint for the ceiling. A light-colored ceiling will give the illusion of height because it will draw your eye up.  You can choose light wood tones for your floors, like natural maple or cherry, which will contribute to a lighter visual throughout the entire room.
  7. Add greenery. Potted plants can add a bright and lively air to a room. Opt for plants that flourish in limited sunlight, such as ferns, snake plants, and flowering bromeliads.

There are always ways to add personality to any room without undergoing major changes.  Try these tips in your dark room and watch as it begins to feel lighter and more cheery.

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

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