Archive for category Home Improvement

Tips for Cleaning Your Chimney


If you have a functioning fireplace, it is important to maintain it in order for it to operate properly.  If you neglect your chimney, it will gather a lot of trash and tar that can impact the efficiency of your fireplace and even create a fire hazard in your home.   Each year, there are more than 45,000 chimney fires in America that cause about $125 million in damaged property and an average of 30 deaths.

Cleaning your chimney is one of the most important things you can do to keep your fireplace clean and safe. Chimney repair can be expensive and quite troublesome to do, but fortunately  there are several ways you can clean it yourself.

1. One of the easiest ways to clean your chimney is from the roof. Wear pair of sturdy shoes with grippy rubber soles and bring a brush and tarp or drop cloth. Stand on your roof and use the brush to clean the interior walls of the chimney.  Just remember to close off the opening to the fireplace first in order to prevent soot and dirt from falling down and covering your carpets and furniture.

2. If you are planning to clean the flue, you can easily get rid of the ashes by using a flat fireplace shovel to remove stubborn ashes and a high pressure vacuum cleaner to remove dust. Make sure that the ashes do not accumulate more than two inches at any given time.

3. Make sure you have a good chimney cap to prevent moisture from the elements from seeping into the chimney.  That can cause the tiles to dissolve and allow corrosive elements from the exhaust to mix and weaken the liner. If you don’t have a chimney cap, purchase one with screen mesh that has a lifetime warranty. The screen mesh will prevent animals from getting in your chimney and also keep sparks from reaching the roof.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Front Porch Design Ideas

Front Porch Design Ideas

An attractive front porch can add remarkable value to your home. It creates a lovely view of your neighborhood and gives your home a distinctive look. The design of your porch depends on your aesthetic preferences and the materials available in your area. The durability of the materials that you use is an important factor to consider, especially if you live in a constantly changing climate. Your porch should also be comfortable for you and for your whole family to enjoy.

Since the design of your front porch is like a huge welcome sign, it has to be well-planned. Think of your porch as an outdoor room. Combine garden decor with comfy seating and nice lighting. A plant lamp is perfect for the outdoors and can work with a potted plant or a hanging basket. Putting up a mirror outside your house can reflect the beautiful trees and flowers around you. Just make sure that it is secure enough to prevent wind from blowing it.

Think of the ages of the people in your home. If you have mostly older adults, you might consider adding bentwood rockers and relaxing hammocks. If you have teenagers, they love to bounce up from papa-san chairs and bean bag fixture.

Painting your decor is a great way to create a unified look for your front porch. Always remember to use high-quality spray paint and take time to wipe and clean everything thoroughly before coloring. By simply coordinating the colors of your front porch, you will be surprised by the transformation.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Ways to Utilize the Space Under Your Stairs

Ways to Utilize the Space Under Your Stairs

If you live in a two-story house, your stairs to the second floor take up a lot of space on the first floor and leave a wedge-shaped vacant area beneath them. This area under the stairs is oftentimes neglected or is used for shoes and hanging coats if there is enough room. The problem with this is that it can rapidly become a dumping ground for hiding random things.

There are many ways you can transform the area underneath your stairs, however, once you recognize its potential. With a little thought, you could turn it into an efficient area that serves multiple needs.

Here are few tips to make the space under your stairs more useful:

  1. Install shelves, cabinets, and drawers under the stairs. You can buy ready-made stackable units or add custom, built-ins if you have an usually sized area.  This provides plenty of room to store off-season clothing, seasonal decorations, and keepsake items you do not display in the main part of your house.
  2. 2. If the space is close to the water supply or drain lines, you can install a small half-bath or powder room. You can use space-saving fixtures, like a wall-mounted sink and toilet, to maximize the space and add value to your home.  You can also turn the space under your stairs into a mini-utility room, where you can hide your washing machine and dryer from the main part of the house.
  3. 3. If you have an open staircase, the space underneath is a great place to squeeze in a little home office or study nook. You can add bookshelves and a  small desktop that is either shallow enough to fit under your stairs or has the ability to fold up into the wall. Use space-saving containers to keep desk accessories and stationery neat and tidy without causing clutter.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Paint Ideas for Your Kids Room?

Paint Ideas for Your Kids Room

Decorating a kid’s bedroom is like having playtime yourself. It is a fun process because you don’t have to follow any strict design rules.

There are several fun and easy painting ideas for kids’ rooms that anyone can do. You can either hire professionals to do the task or just do it on your own. This article provides some tips and ideas for your kid’s bedroom that will easily transform its look and feel.

If you decide to do a basic solid color theme for your kid’s room, there are many fun and exciting colors beyond the norm.  The trick is to use them in moderation, so they add to the overall design of the room versus overpowering it.   You can also choose paints that create the illusion of different textures like velvet. Magnetic paint is another option that allows magnets to stick to the wall, which provides hours of fun.

Painting murals onto the walls of the room is another great option. You can usually have an amateur artist paint your desired scene at a reasonable price.  Or, if you feel confident in your artistic skills, you can even do it yourself or use stencils to help guide you.  Murals can dramatically change the look and feel of a bedroom and can easily turn it into a fantasy world.

On other hand, you can also choose a certain theme that your kid is interested in.  Picking a theme can make it easier for you to figure out exactly what you are looking for when it comes to colors, bedding, window treatments, etc.  It will give you a clear picture of how you want to paint the room and what colors you will want to use. Animal themes are always great because they offer a wide range of sub-styles to choose from.  Other popular themes are sports for boys and princesses for girls.

Approach decorating your kid’s room with the mindset of a child.  Let loose and have fun and even let your  child assist you with some of the work.  It will give them an even greater sense of pride in the finished result and will provide you with fun, quality time together.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Simple Things You Can Do to Save Energy at Home

Simple Things You Can Do to Save Energy at Home

It is many homeowners’ goal to save energy in their homes and minimize their electric bills. Undoubtedly, electricity is the most basic service we need at home because we simply cannot function well without it. However, a lot of new appliances and gadgets are now operating without the use of electricity, which lowers our dependence on it. There are also things you can do around the house to help save energy and cut down on your electricity costs each month.

Here are a few effective home energy saving tips that will help you in increasing your savings:

  1. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you leave a room. This is the simplest way to save energy. Also unplug all appliances when they are not in use because they still use a small amount of energy even when they are idle if they are plugged in.
  2. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are more expensive, but they use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Aside from that, they also last up to 10 times longer.
  3. Install outlet and light switch foam gaskets on your exterior walls. Electrical boxes that have switches and outlets extend into the wall cavity and can allow outside air infiltration. The foam gasket installed beneath the outlet and switch covers will minimize drafts.
  4. If your water heater is located in an area of the house that is unheated, insulate your hot water heater. Surrounding it with a water heater blanket can decrease stand-by heat loss by 25-40%.
  5. Be familiar with refrigerator cooling or condenser coils. The coils can be found by removing the cover panel located at the bottom of the front side of the refrigerator. The coils are more efficient when clean and dust-free. Use a vacuum nozzle to remove the dust once a year.
  6. Check your refrigerator temperature settings. Always inspect the door latch and seals of your fridge. To ensure an air tight fit and seal, replace old adhesive seals.  Frost accumulation is inefficient, so defrost your freezer once in a while.
  7. During warmer weather, open all your windows to allow fresh air to come in rather than using your air-conditioning unit.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors


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Safety Tips for Entertaining at Home

Safety Tips for Entertaining at Home

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year when it comes to home entertaining. Friends and loved ones visit frequently and may even stay for a night or two. If you are planning on hosting guests this year, evaluate the overall safety of your home to ensure that everyone has a safe, enjoyable visit.

Below are some useful tips for keeping your home safe for entertaining:

  • Check and organize your electronics and their cords. The last thing you want during a party is for kids to be playing with electric cords or someone tripping over wires or your electronic devices. Organize them so they do not get in the way.
  • Childproof your home. Always expect someone to bring their kids. In preparation for that, make sure that cabinets are secured, sharp corners are minimized if possible, and any toxic cleaners or potentially hazardous materials are out of reach.
  • Manage your home well with safety zones. Plan where to entertain all of your guests and when and where to let them into other parts of the house. For example, you can set the living room as the primary area where all of your guests can gather and invite only a few into the kitchen while you cook.
  • Think of safety outside your home. Is your pathway from your gate to your door well lit? Is it free from obstructions, such as piles of leaves or disorganized flower pots? Are there slippery areas in the path? Consider these safety precautions in advance, so you minimize the risk of anyone falling and injuring themselves.
  • Prepare your emergency tools. Make sure your smoke alarm is working. Have towels, rags, and other cleaning items ready in case of spills or other messes. Have a first aid kit on hand as well.
  • Keep your home well lit and well ventilated for your guests. Add more lights in dark areas and make sure that the heater is on a temperature that will allow people to feel comfortable.
  • Never leave the kitchen when you are cooking. There is no point in risking starting a fire with an unattended pot just because you want to hear a story that someone is telling. Your guests will understand if you are still in kitchen.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Decorating Walls with Molding

Decorating Walls with Molding

There are many ways to decorate and improve your home’s interior walls. You may paint them with a refreshing color or adorn them with creative pieces like paintings or other decor. Another way to create impact and add character to otherwise plain and boring walls is to add molding.  Molding is a decorative strip of material with a multi-dimensional pattern that is used to cover transitional areas between surfaces, such as between walls and ceilings or floors.

When considering using molding on your walls, you first have to decide on the style you want, so you can determine how much molding will be needed, what type of profile will be most suitable, and which materials are best for the style you want. You can also consider supplemental adornments to go with your molding, such as panel boards, which add a dramatic statement to your walls. Boarded up paneling that is installed from floor to ceiling creates a classic cottage-style look. If you want to create a contemporary vibe in certain areas of the house, you can use chunky boards placed horizontally on the walls paired with simple white molding. Another way to use panel boards is wainscoting, which covers only part of the wall.

If you want a more elegant look on your walls, you can incorporate the picture-framing technique whereby you apply narrow strips of molding along the walls to evoke panels. You can determine the frame size depending on the available space, but keep the spacing between frames equal and the edges aligned to create a clean effect.

No matter what style you incorporate into your walls, be sure that you are aware of the basics of working with molding, especially if you want to install it yourself. If you’re not sure if you can handle the job yourself, hire a professional to make sure that the project is done properly and with good results.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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