Colorful New Home and a New Beginning

While making a new beginning for herself and two daughters, this homeowner hired designer Patty Malone to give her new home the colorful, personal touches she desired for a fun, upbeat atmosphere.

A fun family full of kids and pets and a new home with a blank slate were the inspiration for this crazy, colorful home, complete with an indoor swing and tons of eye-catching wallpaper.

Kitchen Banquette with Orange Cushions and Graphic Roman Shades

What were the main items on your client’s wish list?

The client said that she wanted to create a young, fun, contemporary and artistic space for herself and her daughters. Nothing was ever too crazy! The key was to make the kids, dogs and hamster feel at home and not worry about the collateral damage. My client was beginning anew, so everything was a fresh start in terms of furniture and furnishings. The newly purchased, four bedroom, four bathroom traditional-style home had a great floor plan. She had purchased some big foundation pieces before we met, so we proceeded to fill in the blanks. Literally every room needed window treatments, furniture, paint or wallpaper,

Juliana Premium Greenhouse

vJuliana Premium Greenhouse (9ft x 12ft)The Juliana Premium Greenhouse is a perfect greenhouse for the serious gardener and allotment grower. This renowned greenhouse has a very high specification and will create a focal point in your garden due to its innovative design and stylish Scandinavian appearance. Juliana Greenhouses are the only aluminium greenhouse endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society, because Juliana understands a gardener’s requirements. Perfect for all the normal greenhouse activities, including overwintering your plants, cultivating seeds, growing your own vegetables and herbs and as you have extra space perhaps now is the time to try growing the more exotic plants.

One of the best features of the Premium greenhouse is the double stable doors, opening outwards to give maximum space inside, and like all stable doors they open at the top to keep the fresh air flowing in and the garden pests out, thus protecting your plants completely. Including a galvanised steel base and unique Juliana guttering system with 40mm downpipes as standard. Unlike most greenhouses the Premium has a low threshold entrance allowing easy access

How To Protect Your Summer Gear Over The Winter


When you find yourself spending less time outside on the patio or deck, and start transitioning from warm nights to cool temperatures, it’s time to start putting away your summer gear and storing it safely for the winter.

BBQs and Outdoor Grills

Leftover food and grease can attract animals and pests over the winter, so you’ll want to thoroughly scrub and clean this appliance, inside and out. Remove the grill grates and clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Read this for more tips on grill cleaning. Clean the exterior surfaces as well and give moving parts some lubrication – this will help with rusting if your winters are wet. Disconnect the fuel source or clean out

6 Design Ideas To Make The Most Of Your Small Bathroom

Many homeowners use bathrooms as personal sanctuaries to wash away stress and revive their souls—no matter the size of their bathroom. You might wonder how someone could unwind in a small bathroom? Well, just because your bathroom is short on space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on either style or storage solutions. With clever design tricks, your small bathroom can look bigger and more comfortable than you thought.

In this article, we will show you six small bathroom designs to help you make the most of your small bathroom.

Choose Soft Color Schemes to Open Up Your Small Bathroom

Color alters our perception of a room’s size. To create the illusion of more space, you should use neutral or pastel hues as the main palette of your small bathroom. Some may say that soft colors are dull, but both neutrals and pastels are two of the most popular paint colors this year! Plus, no one said that you have to stick to plain pink or bland beige. If you want your small bathroom to have a modern touch, you can buy some bold-colored towels or accessories to add charm to your bathroom.

Recessed Lighting is the Best Choice for A Small Bathroom

Like color,

5 Ideas For Remodeling A Bathroom On A Budget

As one of the most trafficked room in your home, your bathroom is surely prone to everyday wear and tear, resulting in a sad and dirty look. Given that most see their bathroom as a private retreat where you can enjoy time away, you’ll want to get rid of that sad feeling. Hence, a regular bathroom facelift seems necessary.

However, since a bathroom remodel usually costs anywhere from $6,037 to $9,001, frequent remodels are rarely in the cards. Fortunately, giving your tired bathroom a new look doesn’t require a complete overhaul. Believe it or not, all it takes is just a few easy updates and luckily enough, most of them are DIY-friendly.

Read on to see five remodeling ideas that will help revive your bathroom without breaking the bank.

1. Give Your Bathroom A Fresh Coat of Paint

Just as new clothes can give you a style boost, a fresh coat of paint can help upgrade your bathroom, creating a whole new look. So, why not start with giving your walls and ceiling a new coat of paint? If you’re not familiar with DIY painting, you can follow this step-by-step painting guide. Additionally, by choosing a completely different color palette, you can even make

8 Small Bathroom Designs You Should Copy

A master bathroom with a whirlpool tub, a rainfall showerhead, heated floors and his and her sinks is great for some, but oftentimes, space and budget concerns bring most of us back down to earth.

Don’t let your small bathroom limit your dreams or creativity. There have been plenty of homeowners and designers who have done amazing transformations with spaces most Americans would consider a small bathroom.

We have rounded up our favorite small bathroom designs, as well as the strategy and subtle cues that make you forget how small your bathroom really is.

When dealing with a small bathroom, it’s usually a smart call to go with brighter or softer colors, as my coworker Alyson Yu pointed out in 6 Design Ideas To Make The Most of Your Small Bathroom. Nonetheless, these homeowners went with a dark brown to match the color of the bedroom. For the bathroom, they added leaf pulls to the mirror, an oil-rubbed bronze faucet, granite counters and small oil paintings.

Despite its darker color, we like the color choice thanks to the sense of continuity with the rest of the bedroom.

Most small bathrooms are used as guest bathrooms in the hallway. Well, just because it’s not your primary

Bathroom Remodel Return on Investment Guide

questions before deciding if remodeling the home is a good idea. The most important question is whether you are going to get your money back if you decide to sell the home in the future. When remodeling a bathroom, it’s important for homeowners to have a good idea of what your improvements are worth. This helps you invest your money wisely.

Bathroom Projects Pay Dividends

Most homeowners can’t afford to waste money on pet projects that put a strain on your finances, so homeowners must choose carefully when deciding on a remodeling project. Most professionals in the real estate field recommend choosing a project that yields a hefty return. Bathrooms are a great remodeling choice. When home buyers look at a home, they always ask about the bathrooms. For homeowners, a bathroom remodel is pricey, but it’s a safe bet that is very likely to be profitable. On average, bathroom remodeling projects yield a 60% return on investment. If the homeowner is smart about their remodeling project, they increase the profitability of the remodel even more. A homeowner might consider the following upgrades for their bathroom:

  • Multiple sinks
  • Glass showers
  • Good lighting
  • Shower seating
  • Extra storage
  • Floating vanities

An upgraded bathroom is welcoming and warm, which is appealing to

The 7 Tips Entrepreneurs Need to Know Before Investing in Real Estate

The great thing about real estate is that even in a bad economy, it will usually fare better than stocks. Land, after all, is a finite resource. People need a place to live, work, shop and play — so real estate is really just a matter of supply and demand.

What’s more, real estate will continue to appreciate despite occasional slow-downs in the economy. In fact, it’s proven to be the best way to create wealth, and an investor need not be a genius or a millionaire to succeed. Here are some tips, then, for entrepreneurs on getting started and succeeding in real estate investing:

1. Do — plan your financial goals.
Before you buy that first property, or do your first analysis, determine what you expect from your investments. What are your financial goals? We often discuss the “time vs. money” concept: The more you have of one, the less you need of the other to reach your financial goals. This means that you shouldn’t shy away from taking the time to understand your goals and make sure each investment is a step toward achieving them. If you are unsure exactly how to create financial goals, meeting with a financial advisor

Home Tips And Tricks From The Pros

Getting projects done around your home can be a daunting task if you are not sure where to start. With over ten years in business, Handyman Matters has compiled our expertise and developed this list of tips and tricks to help get your projects completed on time and on budget.

Cutting Crown Molding

When cutting crown molding, place the molding on the mitre saw fence at the same angle it is to be installed, but turn it upside down so that the ceiling edge is on the mitre saw’s base and the wall edge is resting on the saws fence; and then cope the inside corners.

Silent Screen Door

If your door slams shut with a bang, you can place a couple of short beads of clear silicone caulk along the jamb at a few of the contact points. This will soften the blow. Be sure to prop the door open for a couple of hours after application, to let the bead of silicone dry completely.

Bag Dispenser

Tack an empty tissue box to the inside of a cabinet door and stuff your empty plastic grocery bags into the box. This will hold them secure, organized and also make for a convenient dispenser.

Chalk that Won’t Stain


Grow your own patch

Starting an edible garden isn’t hard – it just requires time, good advice and common sense. And if you choose your plants wisely, growing even just a few of your own vegetables can help offset the relatively high cost of buying them from the grocer or supermarket.

CHOICE member Matt De Britt estimates his mini-farm on the NSW Central Coast has saved him and his wife $1800 a year in fresh vegetables and eggs. And while not everyone has the kind of backyard space for a self-sustaining vegetable patch with a chook pen, you may be surprised at what you can do with the space you do have.

Cost-effective vegetables

When choosing what to grow, have a plan and research which plants will work for you and your area. It’s a good idea to start with seasonal planting – a gardening calendar will help you work out which vegetables and fruits grow in which months, and when to harvest depending on where you live. Succession planting, or staggering the sowing of your seeds, will ensure a continuous supply of vegetables (instead of them all coming in at once!).

Tips for choosing cost-effective fruit and vegetables

  • Grow plants that give multiple crops and are high yielding. For

A Beginner’s Guide to Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

People take an interest in gardening for a variety of reasons—higher quality produce, exercise in the great outdoors, or saving money. Whether you hope to discover your green thumb or save a little green, growing your own fruits and vegetables can be an advantageous pastime. When you’re just getting started, gardening can be intimidating. How do you even know where to start? SparkPeople’s gardening resources will help you learn the basics, starting with the five-step process outlined in this article.

Step #1: Gather Your Gear
You should gather several gardening tools before you get your nails dirty. I cannot stress enough the importance of quality tools. Speaking from experience, it is worth the investment to buy high-quality items, as broken or insufficient tools are not only frustrating but cost you more money and time in the long run. Proper tools provide more comfort and efficiency, which means less work for you! You can find most of these items in home improvement stores, gardening supply stores (or nurseries) and online retailers. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Trowel – Used for weeding and digging small holes
  • Gardening gloves – As much as we like getting our hands dirty, we don’t like getting them

How to Winterize Your Garden Tools

Prepare your garden tools for winter and add years to their life.

As winter approaches, many of you are hard at work preparing your garden for cold weather. Hopefully, you’ve already planted that cover crop, applied a fresh layer of mulch and prepared your cold frames for fresh winter greens (read What To Do in Winter for tips on cold-season gardening). You know that a little winter prep can really pay off when spring arrives, but don’t forget that your garden tools need a little TLC as well. Here are some tips on how to keep them in great shape while they await the return of warm, sunny days.

  • Remove all dried or caked-on dirt with a wire brush, rinse and dry thoroughly. (Soak especially dirty tools in water first.)
  • Sharpen dull tools using a whetstone or file. Working at a 45-degree angle, start at the outer edge and move toward the center.
  • Sand off any rust spots with fine sandpaper or steel wool, and coat the metal with vegetable oil.
  • Wipe a light coating of linseed oil or paste wax on wooden handles to preserve them and prevent cracking or splitting.
  • Store hand trowels and

How to simplify garden care

Garden care doesn’t have to take up all your spare time. Perhaps the main reason some new gardeners fail is that they don’t pay attention to the garden often enough.

You need to know the how, why and when of taking care of your garden, but you also need to stroll through your garden every few days and just look around. That way you will notice if seedlings are parched or the hostas are getting eaten by slugs.

The key is to discover problems in time to do something about them – before they get out of control and turn into major chores that take over your weekend. Here are links to answers to many garden care questions.

Basics – climate, tools, shopping for plants

Beginner gardening: Helpful tips if you’re just starting out

Hardiness: Zone information, zone maps

Essential garden tools: What you need to have

Buying plants: Finding a good garden center with quality plants

Soil – the foundation

Soil basics: Dealing with sand and clay

Soil preparation: How to remove grass and weeds before planting

Soil in the shade garden: How to improve it

How to care for garden furniture

Difficulty: Low

This task is fairly straightforward however before you get started on any of our ‘how to’ guides, please take a moment to read through our DIY safety tips.

Once you’ve found the perfect garden furniture, you’ll want to keep it in the best condition so it will last you for years to come. The type of material your furniture is made from will determine how you look after it, but whether you’ve bought a wood, metal, rattan or resin set, our guide will help you to keep it looking as good as new.

How to care for wooden garden furniture

Because it is a natural product, wooden garden furniture will produce natural oils. However, you’ll still need to look after it to make sure it remains in the best possible condition. How you do that ultimately comes down to a combination of regular care and personal taste.

For general care, clean it with either hot soapy water or a hardwood cleaning fluid at the beginning of the season. If the furniture is really dirty, you can lightly sand it after cleaning, make sure you brush away any dust that remains when you’ve finished and remember to oil or paint afterwards

Lawn and Garden Articles

Sooner or later, plant disease will enter your garden. However, there are ways to reduce disease in your garden and in some cases, even prevent plant disease. Knowing how to tell if a plant is healthy, picking disease resistant plant varieties and being able to identify the primary types of plant disease are all ways to help control plant disease.

Plant diseases are either a fungus, bacteria, or viral. Symptoms like stunted growth, spotted leaves, wilting, and yellowing leaves are all indications of possible trouble. Not all diseases can be treated, and yet others are effectively controlled with organic or synthetic methods

Browse articles about garden diseases

Eco-Friendly Ideas

There are multiple ways we can practice environmental stewardship and go green in our own little corner of the world. Eco-friendly ideas and suggestions come to the forefront every day. Many of those ideas can be applied to gardening. As we strive to offer smart resources for better gardening we will accumulate those ideas here.

We welcome your input as well. Please feel free to use the contact us form to share your eco-friendly practices. We will post as many as we can in

10 Gardening Tips for Winter

The short dark days and inclement weather can make the prospect of gardening in winter both unattractive and potentially unproductive. However, a little bit of winter planning can get your garden ready for a great year ahead.

Clean up
Gather all the tools that you have used over the past few months and give them a good cleaning to remove all the dirt and rust. Use a mild detergent to disinfect pots and seed trays.

Check Structures
Check out fences, sheds, gates, and other structures for signs of weakness or rot and get them repaired before the snow and high winds arrive.

Lawn Care
The lawn needs a bit of a breather over the winter months so “keep off the grass” is the best advice. Make an exception to get rid of large weeds, moss and leaves.

Give sheds and greenhouses a good scrub and organise all those garden tools you cleaned earlier. Spruce up tables and chairs as well.

The Vegetable Garden
Cover root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots with 15cm of leaves or straw and they can be harvested throughout the winter. If snow is forecast cover with an old piece of carpet!

Plants and Shrubs
Dead-head autumn-flowering plants and prune summer-flowering

6 Tips for Decorating Your First Home

Moving into your first house is a liberating, landmark life passage. After you’ve freed yourself of your college futon and your roommate’s attempt at fine art, it’s time to come up with a plan for turning your empty shell of a house into an inviting home. Here are some suggestions for pulling it off:

1. Clean house at the old place. Even before you make an offer on a new place, get ahead of the game by starting this process. This critical first step will not only make your current digs easier to pack up, but it will put you miles ahead during move-in. Be strong and rid yourself of anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent of your old stuff: wobbly furniture in the attic, faulty appliances in the garage, questionable accessories you received as gifts. This is the perfect time to start over. Pare down your accumulated possessions to the minimal amount. Have a garage sale, auction it off on eBay or donate it to charity. You’ll be amazed at what you won’t miss.

2. Start with the bedroom. It’s where you’ll be spending almost

Create a Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. By planting a butterfly garden with all of the right kinds of plants and flowers that butterflies love to feed on and lay eggs on, you will certainly have a yard full of butterflies throughout the growing season. Butterfly gardens can be any size – a window box, part of your landscaped yard, or even a wild untended area on your property. 

Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from our article “Butterfly Gardening by Area”. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on. All of the plants will certainly be native to your area and therefore easy to grow with the right conditions and care. Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find plants to lay their eggs on. These are called ‘Host Plants’ and you can read about them in our article on

Top 5 garden maintenance tips

Does it seem like your lawn is always overgrown, weeds are taking over and those shrubs are in constant need of pruning? It doesn’t have to be this way! There are little things you can do to ensure your garden always looks good, saving you from doing all the difficult, laborious work at once. Make a few little changes to your gardening habits and you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy your backyard.

1. Just a trim

Pruning your plants regularly will prevent them from growing out of control and save you having to do annual battle. Trimming often means you only have to nip off the tips of new growth, so you won’t need to get the rake out and deal with a mass of green waste. Instead, you can just let it land on the ground, where it will turn into mulch.

Tip: If you’re trimming large foliage plants, it’s best not to use shears because they tend to cut leaves in half. The remaining leaf stubs will then brown off, leaving your plant looking a little worse for wear. You’ll get better results if you use secateurs.

2. Let it flow

Cleaning your irrigation system at least twice a year will

Water Saving Tips for the Garden

With our increasingly hot summers it has become more and more important to keep an eye on the water that gets used in the garden. There are many ways to save water in the garden, which will both help the environment and save you money! Read our top 10 tips for saving water below:

1) Improve your soil

Improve soil by digging in lots of well-rotted manure or home-made compost every spring. The more organic matter it contains, the better it will retain moisture. If that sounds like hard work, simply spread a thick layer of compost across your borders in spring (while the ground is moist), and let the worms pull it into the soil for you.

Help out individual plants by creating a wide planting hole and lining it with perforated polythene. Mix the excavated soil with plenty of compost or well rotted manure before backfilling it. The polythene liner will prevent water from draining away so quickly, and help retain more moisture at the plants roots.

2) Work with nature

Don’t battle with planting moisture-loving plants on dry, stony soils. Instead, choose plants that enjoy dry conditions. Drought resistant plants often have specially adapted foliage that helps them to cope with water


Spring Lawn and Garden Survival Skills

It’s predicted to be a long, hot summer. Protect your lawn and garden from the intense heat and dry conditions, with these survival skills.

In a bid to help gardeners protect their lawn and garden from the ongoing effects of the warm, dry conditions predicted, the garden and lawn experts at Victa have developed a number of spring survival skills with horticulturalist Adam Woodhams.

Whether it’s adding nutrient-rich organic matter to soil or sharpening your lawnmower blade, these tried-and-tested gardening tips will ensure your precious plants thrive through spring and summer.

“This is a great time to reacquaint yourself with your lawn and garden and spruce up areas that have been neglected over the winter months,” Woodhams says.

6 ways to mow like a pro

1. Mow before the heat of the day

For the best cut, mow mid-to-late morning when the dew has evaporated. If you’re fortunate to have had some rain, wait at least a day before mowing to achieve a straight cut.

2. Don’t scalp your lawn

“Scalping” means mowing off one-third of the grasses height making your lawn less able to cope with hot, dry weather. Grass about three inches (8cm) tall usually looks

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

ROWING your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. All you really need to get started is some decent soil and a few plants. But to be a really successful vegetable gardener — and to do it organically — you’ll need to understand what it takes to keep your plants healthy and vigorous. Here are the basics.

“Feed the soil” is like a mantra for organic gardeners, and with good reason. In conventional chemical agriculture, crop plants are indeed “fed” directly using synthetic fertilizers.

When taken to extremes, this kind of chemical force-feeding can gradually impoverish the soil. And turn it from a rich entity teeming with microorganisms insects and other life forms, into an inert growing medium that exists mainly to anchor the plants’ roots, and that provides little or no nutrition in its own right.

Although various fertilizers and mineral nutrients (agricultural lime, rock phosphate, greensand, etc.) should be added periodically to the organic garden, by far the most useful substance for building and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced soil is organic matter.You can add organic matter to your soil many different ways, such as compost, shredded leaves, animal manures or cover crops.

Organic matter improves the fertility, the structure and the tilth

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