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USB Card Readers

In an extremely busy world these days, we all are pulled in different directions at same moment of time. The small gadgets like USB card readers is such a small data input device that can help you to solve little worry as it read the information from the card shaped storage medium. These tiny devices are plug and play type of devices which are used to read, copy and backup data from the portable flash memory cards such as an SD, MiniSD, MicroSD, and SIM that are in great use as consumer electronics products.

These USB readers are pretty convenient to attach it to your phone or laptop with the help of a phone clip. Few of them may be used for a specific type of memory card, while the others may be designed to read multiple other types. There are many types also that are available in the market to help you in variety of ways. The small circular micro SD reader is there in which the door opens to reveal micro SD slot.

Under this category, next comes stick style micro SD card readers. These are small in size and is available in variety of colors. There is a small spring provided to load the slot in the base of the reader which accepts all the micro SDs.

The next available range is translucent SD readers. This is a standard one that can accept all the SDs, and micro SD adapters. It has a cap for both the ends. These small USB gadgets like other have the option of screen printing or pad printing available on them.

Another one is the universal card reader and the USB hub. And this is capable to read all popular card disk formats like micro SD, MS / MS DUO, SD / Mini SD, MMC / RS – MMC. This has a 3 port USB hub included in it. It is available in black color. Like other card readers, this also has the option of screen printing and pad printing on them.

Looking at the usage of these USB card readers they are in great demand today as they have compatibility to connect with the laptops and phone just with the help of a phone clip.

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House Schemes and Paint Color Matching

Decorating can be tricky. You might not even know what color you want a room to be. Instead you are more focused in on one object such as tile, stone, fabric or a plate. You can even be inspired by artwork. You might want to use the exact tone or shade for the paint colors in your space. Here is how to match paint colors and then create paint color schemes based on your new color.

Look around for inspiration for exterior paint schemes. You may not realize that your house will be contrasting with the mountains, sky and grass. You might want to be inspired by any soil near your home; it is a neutral color after all and will help you create a space that blends in with the surroundings. If you want a space that stands out then go with a color that is the exact opposite of your scenery color on the color wheel.

The hardware store can match paint colors for you. Just take an item to the store and they will scan it into the computer and tell you which paint shade most closely coordinates to it. You’ll want to double check the color and think about scale. If you’re working with a small item you may not realize how bold the color can be until you actually get it home. By then you’ve created an overwhelming space and you may even start to hate your inspiration piece after that.

Even if you get the exact colors from your inspiration piece when matching paint colors it still may not work in your space. Buy a small pot of paint to test out the color in your room before you undertake the painting process. This allows you to get a feel for how it will work with your furniture, flooring and the amount of lighting available in your space.

If you are using a decorative accessory such as a piece of artwork for an inspiration piece, be careful with paint color matching. If you were basing bedroom paint schemes off a famous painting then the obvious choice would be to pick the main paint color even if it was a deep navy blue. You’d be so busy looking at the dark, dramatic walls that the color would get lost. Instead look for one of the minor colors in the painting to draw inspiration from so that your artwork will really pop such as using a gold or sand wall color.

Paint color matching still has some guesswork and research involved. You’ll need to find the perfect tone that works with the light and square footage of your space. If you are matching paint colors just by using chips then do it in natural sunlight; the harsh lighting in hardware stores may be deceptive. Then you’ll get home and wonder why you bought that color. You’ll also need to think of the finish. If you are matching paint colors from a tile, vase or shell you may just be fascinated by the shimmer of the piece. If you just use a typical flat paint you might not be in love with the color anymore.

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The Pride of Home Ownership

Since the early 20th century, the concept of the American dream was introduced into society in the United States, whereby each and every family was encouraged to purchase and own their own home. That dream still continues with each succeeding generation. When starter homes were first introduced at the era beginning the American dream, they were rather simple structures. Oftentimes, they were two bedroom bungalows with a full basement and one single bathroom. Parents raised families from birth to the empty nest period, and still continued to reside in these homes until their retirement.

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8 Basement Remodeling Essentials

Basements

One of the easiest ways to “add a new room or rooms” to your home is to better utilize the space you already have. Most basements are dark areas where we store seasonal decorations, old toys, sporting equipment and anything else not used on a regular basis.

But, perhaps it is time you reconsider how you use your basement? Basement finishing is a cost-effective way to greatly expand your home’s living space. Suddenly you could have a guest room, a children’s play room, a home office, a recreation room—the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Below are eight easy steps to basement finishing.

1. Solve Basement Water Problems First

Even if your basement rarely has problems with dampness or flooding, it’s best to solve the problem completely before beginning any remodeling work. A finished basement is only as good as the thoughts behind it and the quality of work that made it.

Permanent solutions can take time to implement. A good place to start is to talk to an independent home inspector who specializes in basement or foundation waterproofing problems.

2. Decide on the Best Use of Your Basement

Consider using the space for activities for which typical basement characteristics offer natural advantages.

The lack of light is useful when setting up a home theater or a dark room. The isolation helps create a sound break for a play area, a teenager’s hangout or a place to practice a musical instrument.

Also, in basements, there is usually ready access to things like water lines and heating and cooling ducts. This makes adding a bath easier than it would be elsewhere in the house.

3. Get Help with Your Basement Design

While your basement may not be much to look at now, you’ll want to end up with quality living space when the project is complete. An architect or interior designer can help you get the most out of the space. A little forethought and careful planning now can help you create a space that is attractive, comfortable and useful.

4. Pay Attention to Air Circulation

When your home was first built, the odds are that there were few if any registers or vents installed in the basement. When you remodel your basement, you need to think about the need for good air circulation, adding openings where necessary.

You’ll also have to include a return air duct, but it’s important that it be located far from the furnace. Otherwise, it may suck dangerous furnace exhaust fumes back into the house.

To be on the safe side, install a carbon monoxide detector in your basement so that you’ll have an early warning of any problems with the venting of the furnace or any other major appliances.

5. Maximize Your Basement’s Natural Light

For many reasons, you’ll probably want to add more light in your basement. If parts of the basement extend above the ground, you can add new windows or enlarge existing ones. If that isn’t possible, another option is to dig window wells. Window wells can increase the odds of water problems, so it’s a good idea to build ones with waterproof covers.

Another advantage of enlarged windows is that they provide alternative escape routes in case of fire. One concern that some people have about basement windows is that they provide thieves with ideal access to the home. One way to mitigate that risk is to install glass bricks (rather than conventional windows) at high-risk locations.

Maximize the effect of regular windows by mounting some windows in the interior walls between rooms that open pathways for natural light to reach interior rooms.

6. Make Creative Use of Artificial Light

Typically, basement ceilings are low, creating the feeling that you’re in a cave. To offset this, use indirect lighting that splashes large pools of light on the ceiling. This will open up the space and make rooms appear higher than they are.

A mix of this up-lighting and traditional recessed lighting will give you the flexibility you need to create a variety of lighting moods.

Mirrors, mounted on the walls or even ceilings, can also amplify and reinforce lighting effects.

7. Insulate Your Basement Well

Proper insulation is critical to creating a comfortable, dry basement.

Besides keeping out the cold, basement insulation prevents condensation. The ground stays cool year round. It in turn keeps basement walls cool. When the warmer air in the room comes in contact with all those cool walls, it has to give up some of its moisture in the form of condensation.

Condensation is, in fact, the primary source of the moisture that causes mold and mildew problems in basements. Effective insulation separates the warm air of the room from the cool walls, thereby preventing the moisture problems that stem from condensation.

8. Select Practical Furnishings

Use plush carpets and drapes sparingly, if at all. Surfaces that don’t absorb moisture are best. Also, be careful about storing clothes, linens and books in a basement.

For floors, area rugs are ideal because they can be removed, cleaned and dried. If you must have wall-to-wall carpeting, consider a low pile commercial or indoor/outdoor type.

If you pay attention to details, there is no reason why you can’t create high value, high comfort living space in a basement. Properly finishing a basement only costs a fraction of what it costs to build an addition. That means you’ll have more money in your pocket for the next big home improvement project on your list!

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Health Concerns in Your Basement

Basements

You can use potpourri, aerosol sprays, burn candles, and any other imaginable ploy to remove that basement odor, but these topical treatments will not remedy the culprit. The problem is mold. And while it is possible to cover up its smell, its health effects will linger around until the mold is removed.

Home Health and Basement Odor
House mold and black mold emit toxins that are not particularly deadly on their own, but they can become serious health risks if people are exposed to them for an extended period of time. Basements are always suspect because they are typically the dampest room in a house. These toxins can cause headaches, dizziness, lethargy, and sundry other neurological ailments. Mold and other organic toxins can be a compound problem in a damp home, and the possible health risks to young children with vulnerable immune systems is serious, not to mention a notable cause of childhood asthma.

House Mold and Mold Tests
If you suspect that house mold is building in your home, you need to execute mold tests in the areas that are suspect. The results of these tests will determine how you need to go about eliminating the mold in your basement.

First, get a portable air cleaner and place these devices nearest to the mold epicenters. This will reduce the available amount of toxins in the air, which will reduce how much can be absorbed into the lungs. House mold grows most easily in areas of over 50% humidity. Dust mites are the same, as they will also thrive in wet environments. In your basement, place a dehumidifier which will help to reduce the humidity that acts like food to house mold and dust mites. Once the humidity drops below 50%, it will be difficult for house mold and dust mites to grow, much less thrive.

Mold Removal and Hepa Vacuums
Mold removal is a tricky task. If you scrub the mold spores they can very easily become airborne and spread to other areas of the home or into the lungs of those who inhabit it. Mold removal professionals can be called in to do what they do best. This will not take very long, not to mention that mold removal contractors have the correct equipment to best remove mold from any situation.

Mold removal contractors use Hepa vacuums to pull the mold from where it lives in your home, and into their systems, which is then disposed of properly. If you know that you need a mold removal contractor to remove mold from your basement—or any other place in your home—click this link to remove house mold.

Preventing Black Mold
After a mold removal contractor finishes removing mold from your basement, you still have some work ahead of you to prevent the black mold from returning. First, wash the specific areas where the Hepa vacuum removed the mold. Use soapy, warm water and clean those areas. However, you need to make sure that you dry the washed areas thoroughly; otherwise that same mold might grow right back in those damp areas.

Basement Odor
There are some things that you can do to reduce that basement odor: candles, potpourri, etc. And there are some methods that can deter mold from growing, such as dehumidifiers, portable air cleaners, and the like. Just remember that mold produces toxins that are dangerous to those in the house, especially young children. Mold removal is the sure fire way to eliminate the problem of basement odor, and to protect your family’s health.

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The Right Paint Colors For Your Home

With the housing market the way it is, you will want to do everything you can to sell your home quickly and at the right price. A lot of things can help you sell your home this way including curb appeal, setting it at the right price, and painting. Most people may not think of the painting as something that will factor into the home sale, but it definitely is. Right before you put your home on the market you should paint at least one room. Buyers will come in your home and smell the fresh paint and know that the house is up to date and that you take care of the house. You should paint a lot of different things in your home. This article will help you know what you should be painting as well as the right colors for each room.

Some of the most important things to paint are on the outside of your home. The door, garage and outside walls all can use a fresh paint to bring the curb appeal up. Neutral colors are usually best on the outside, but clever painters can work of their scenery and do great things.

In fact, neutral colors are best for the rest of your house as well. As much as you may love the yellow walls in your kitchen, a buyer may not. Buyers tend to like white or something close to it. The two rooms that you need to focus on the most is the bathroom and the kitchen. These are the two rooms that buyers tend to look at when they want to see if the home is up to date. In the kitchen, the cabinets are a big part of it. Cabinets that are not too crazy in the color scheme is definitely best. Although buyers tend to go toward white cabinets, any type of brown also works well. It is up to you if you want to change you cabinets, and even light fixtures to enhance all the color in the room.

For bathrooms, you do not want to use more than two colors in the whole scheme. This not only includes the walls, but the tiles and water fixtures as well. Most bathrooms still have the white sink, bath, and shower. This is perfect because the white plus one color scheme works for almost any bathroom. People will tend to look at the bathroom and if there are a lot of non-neutral colors in there, then it can make someone not want your whole house because the bathroom does not appeal to them. Do not let this happen and keep to the two color scheme.

As you can see, there is a lot you can do with paint when you are trying to sell your home. The other rooms can also have a good neutral color to it to appeal to the buyers. Appealing to the buyers is the best thing you can do, and one of the most important things for this is

Nancy Niblett is a highly successful Real Estate Agent specializing in the Chandler area. She credits her success to hard work, integrity and honesty. Clients continue to refer her over and over again. Nancy is one of the most successful award-winning agents and currently with West USA Revelation. She was recently awarded one of Phoenix Business Journals top 50 Individual Agents for 2008.

 

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Low-Cost Bathroom Updates

Refresh your bathroom in a weekend or less with these creative and affordable updates.

Think White
Pick out basic white components for your must-have bath features and save thousands in remodeling dollars. White sinks, tubs, and toilets all cost less than those in colors because manufacturers make and sell more of them.

Buy Less Tile
Stretch your remodeling budget by tiling only the shower and/or bath area walls. If it’s within your budget, tile halfway up the wall, add a border design, and paint the area above.

Update the Hardware
Install new cabinet hardware to provide an instant visual impact at a minimal cost. An even lower-cost option: Paint existing unfinished wood knobs. Use an artist’s brush for small designs. Protect the painted designs with two coats of clear polyurethane.

Boost Cabinet Efficiency
Add pullout shelves to deep cabinets to keep necessities in order and viewable. Equipping cabinet interiors with these sliding surfaces helps you avoid digging around in the dark or buying more of the things you already have on hand.

 

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Before and After: Bathroom Renovations

Get a bathroom that boasts fabulous style and function. Find inspiration for your remodeling project from these amazing before and after bathroom makeovers.

Before: Chain of Change
1The bulky, dark vanity was a visual sore spot in this bathroom. The floor plan allowed for only a small sliver of space for the vanity. New cabinetry would have provided a fresh look but it wouldn’t get rid of the bathroom’s cramped feeling. Reconfiguring the floor plan to accommodate a larger unit would have significantly added to the cost.

 

 

After: A Glamorous Retreat
2Chic grass-cloth wallpaper, the starting point for this makeover, lightened up the room significantly. The rest of the room followed suit. The solution to the vanity dilemma was to install an open unit, which keeps the room feeling spacious. Calcutta gold marble was the splurge in this $6,600 makeover; it keeps with the bathroom’s sophisticated aura. The black-veined stone stretches across the floor and partially up the wall behind the vanity for a cohesive look.

 

 

Before: Tired & Dingy Bath
3While this bathroom is part of a charming 1920s hotel-turned-condo complex, its lack of style made it stand out in a not so charming way. This small bathroom was in desperate need of some personality and relied on its historic surroundings for inspiration.

 

 

 

After: Past in the Present
4Because of its historical nature, the original radiator had to be preserved, but a work-around solution turned it into an inviting window seat. The clever radiator cover is outfitted in millwork that reflects the home’s vintage roots, as does the nickel washbasin. The washstand’s chrome legs are topped with a countertop constructed from a carrara marble remnant (left over from a kitchen renovation). Lustrous wallpaper in a gold, fuchsia, and lavender floral print completes the room’s look, while giving it a modern spin.

 

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How Much Do New Appliances Cost?

Average: $235

Low – High Cost: $50 – $400

There are some ways to save money every day that most people don’t think about: their appliances. Most appliances don’t run as efficiently as they could, but no one ever notices because we just shut the lid to the dryer or washer or dishwasher and we can’t ever tell. ENERGY STAR-rated appliances can save more than $1000 a year if they are implemented correctly.To most people, a thousand dollars means something. You can buy new clothes, tires, fix the car, a down payment on braces, anything. However, most people are throwing away at least this amount by having inefficient appliances.

Where Energy Is Being Used
Many don’t realize that most of a home’s energy is used to heat water. For a couple with no kids, this might mean $30 in water usage and $100 in heating in cooling per month, averaged over a year. For homes with more people, which are typically bigger homes, this number rises exponentially.

If you consider an average day in fall before the weather gets cold, a couple will do two loads of laundry, one load of dishes, and take two showers. If more people are in the house, there are more clothes, more dishes and more showers to be taken. The water begins to pile up.

Don’t forget that a considerable amount of your home’s heat can escape through the windows if they are not energy efficient. Click this link to read more about energy star windows.

ENERGY STAR Washing Machines
Most washing machines use 40 or more gallons per load. This is an extraordinary number. Not only is it obscenely wasteful, but it can get very expensive when you consider how many of these gallons need to be heated and how much energy is needed and paid for to make this work.

ENERGY STAR-rated washing machines use between 18-25 gallons. These appliances will save you 38-55% on water consumption per load, and depending on how many loads you wash on Hot, it will also reduce the heating bill by nearly half per load.

ENERGY STAR Dishwashers
A typical dishwasher uses 12 gallons per load, all of which is hot water.

ENERGY STAR-rated dishwashers use three gallons less per load, which again not only saves the cost of those three gallons, but also the cost to heat them. This type of dishwasher will save 25% every time you run it.

Water usage is sort of the quiet killer in home energy bills. Depending on how many showers people take, and how many people there are in the home to take them, sprinklers, pools and fish tanks, water can become a huge spender, especially when you have to heat it. To be sure, Heating and Cooling is its own vice.

Click this link and at no cost to you, get matched to any of our prescreened contractors to install Energy Star appliances.

Heating and Cooling: Energy Star HVAC
Depending on how extreme the weather is in your area, heating and cooling a home can be responsible for 40% or more of a home’s yearly energy bill. It is a necessary evil to have your home at a bearable temperature, but you don’t have to settle for those old HVAC units that are inefficient and cost you money.

Heating and AC units with the ENERGY STAR rating will use 20% less energy than a typical unit, and even more than that if you have an older model. Installing an Energy Star model can be a significant savings year after year. As added protection from the elements and energy costs, Energy Star windows will insulate better than standard windows.

Programmable Thermostats
This is a no brainer. They cost between $35-135, depending on the model, and they can be programmed to only have the heat or air on when you are home, or better yet, right before you get home. You can program these devices to turn down the heat or the air when you leave for work and kick back on 20 minutes before you get home, and back down again 10 minutes after you hop into bed. They can be made to heat only the rooms in the house that you use and not waste energy heating or cooling guest bedrooms and baths. These devices alone can save you 9% on your heating and air conditioning bill, which could be a minimum of $100 over the year just by purchasing and installing this device.

ENERGY STAR Drawbacks
It is definitely cheaper not to buy new appliances than it is to run old ones that are inefficient—new appliances will cost more than one year of heating and cooling. Depending on the availability in your area, it might also be expensive to buy ENERGY STAR rated appliances. These are definitely up-front costs that will seem considerable. However, if you are in the market for a new appliance, opting for one of these money savers is definitely the best choice.

Energy prices are on the rise and there is no sign that they will wane in the near future, but whether or not those prices rise, you can still save money by employing the best appliances options. The ENERGY STAR ratings are like gas mileage for vehicles. The price at the pump will look a little lower, but your overall savings will be significant.

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Loft Bed Plans and Loft Design: Add Some Levity to Your Home

Bedrooms

In rooms that are particularly small, a loft is a great way to save some space. It keeps the area that would usually be covered by a bed open for a desk, dresser, or anything else that needs to be in the room. The extra space is all the more significant in a smaller room where 35 square feet can mean the difference between plenty of leg room or standing room only.

Loft Bed Plans
Those with a pension for building can have a lot of fun constructing their own loft out of lumber and elbow grease. A few common tools and a good loft design is all you will need. Loft bed plans are usually pretty easy to follow and will make the journey to a larger floor space a safe one. They can sometimes be found online for free, or if you want something more impressive, they can be purchased from a designer (often quite inexpensively). Plans for loft ladders are also available online.

Even someone with very little carpentry knowledge can achieve structural success with a loft bed plan. Those who are new to building, however, should stick to the loft design exactly to make sure the finished product is sound. Deviating from the plan you use might seem like no big deal while you’re doing it, but it could have unforeseen effects later. Remember people are going to sleep up there.

Easy Assembly Lofts Kits
While pretty simple as far as projects go, a loft bed plan is not the right fit for everyone. There are many loft kits that are widely available for those who would rather get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

These loft designs are meant to go together without a lot of hassle. Basically, you purchase a box with all the wood and hardware you’ll need, though you might have to provide a hammer or screw driver. Many kits will come with loft ladders, but some may not. Loft ladders are generally not very expensive, but the price should be taken into account when comparing kits.

Custom Lofts
The most expensive and most impressive option is to have a contractor design and build a custom loft. A professional will be able to come into your home, take all the necessary measurements, and build you the optimal loft for your space.

Many times, a carpenter will be able to see options that you might not think of yourself and would certainly not be found in a free online plan or kit. Small additions like built-in shelving underneath can really save a lot of additional space in the room.

Hiring a custom builder is often the only option available (unless you have a fair amount of carpentry experience) for those who need a loft made for a large bed. Most kits and loft bed plans are for twin or kid beds. Some can be found made for full-size beds, as well. Anything larger than that will probably need to be a custom job.