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The following smart and easy ideas are useful to make your home more comfortable and safe for your golden years, and are also great remodels for current homeowners who have seniors/elders living at home:-

 

Be easy to find – A home address sign should be erected at the front of the house which is visible both day and night in order to make it easy for emergency services to find the home.

 

Light things up – As we age our eyesight tends to deteriorate, which means that a home with dark shadows and gloomy hallways can become a safety hazard. Low voltage night lights can be erected to illuminate dark hallways, such as from the bedroom to the bathroom.  One can consider motion-activated nightlights that turn on when someone moves.

 

Getting a Grip – Railings and grab bars along stairs and in bathrooms can make a great difference in the mobility of the elderly.  There are many different types of grab bars, including some high-end products that don’t necessarily look like grab bars.

 

Keep steps at a minimum – Steps can be a huge obstacle for senior citizens, and a very dangerous one at that. With the brittle bones and stiff joints that come with aging you would best use as little stairs as possible in your home. Where ever you can try adding rams which are less strenuous and is better suitable for those with wheelchairs, crutches, etc. If stairs absolutely cannot be avoided refrain from making them too high, and too far apart.

 

Make things hand-friendly – Hands that have lost their strength because of arthritis and other health issues may not be able to easily turn doorknobs, faucet and shower handle knobs. Depending on the space around the faucet, knobs can be easily replaced with levers.

 

Getting Around – For someone who will have to move around in a wheelchair or scooter, life around their house can get difficult. Wheelchair access and proper door passage through the home is essential.  While getting around, carpets and tiles which are placed improperly or unevenly, as well as slippery floor materials are a hazard for the elderly.  Making sure that flooring is slip and trip resistant is important for seniors since falls can be greatly debilitating for them

 

We would love to know, which one of these tips is the easiest to implement at your house?

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It is extremely important that we focus not only on how we can strengthen the home’s physical structure but to ensure that it is beneficial in every aspect especially when it comes to making it energy efficient. One way of cutting down energy costs at home is by making the right decisions when it comes to the roof of the home.

 

Houses in hot climates often require costly measures such as the use of air conditioning and fans to keep it cool. Here are four (4) roofing tips that can help keep your home cool and reduce your spending.

 

  • The color of the roof makes a significant difference in the amount of heat that enters the home. Darker colors absorb sunlight and heat whereas lighter colors reflect heat. Therefore when building in countries with a warmer climate it is not recommended that colors such as black or grey are used.

 

  • In addition to color, the material used for the roof will also affect how cool or warm the home will be. Metal roofs, although thought to absorb a lot of heat, actually reflect more heat than other materials such as asphalt shingles.

 

  • Use a cool roof coating. This is a finishing layer that lightens the roof to help it reflect heat. It is easy to apply and it does not require the replacement of an existing roof. In addition to keeping the home cooler, roof coating can also help prevent water damage and help restore the roof if minimal damage is present.

 

  • When designing your home consider including an attic to assist in improving the insulation under the roof. Having a proper insulated roof can help maintain the temperature inside the home irrespective of the temperature on the outside.

 

Additional tip: Be sure to include guttering when building your home. Gutters are important when it comes to protecting a home structurally. They protect the roof and the foundation of the home by directing rainwater away from the building.

 

The roof offers significant protection to the home and it is up to us to ensure that it is as efficient as possible.

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Whether you are constructing a home or doing minor repair and maintenance work around the house you will more than likely need the assistance of a ladder. Ladders allow us to achieve tasks in high places and as with any tool you should be aware of the proper way to use it. Knowing proper ladder safety is essential in safeguarding yourself against accidents. Here are 3 safety tips to keep in mind when using a ladder:

1) Firstly, you would need to choose the right ladder for the job. Ladders are rated for different load capacities. Hence, the combined weight of the climber and any tools or materials being carried should be taken into consideration. The Duty Rating of the ladder must be greater than the total weight on the ladder. In addition, the ladder must be long enough that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step when performing a task.

2) When climbing up or down a ladder maintain three points of contact at all times. Either have two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand firmly planted. Any tools and materials that are being carried while you climb should be in a tool belt or pulled by rope once you are done climbing. Also, ensure that you wear non-slip shoes when working on ladders and that you use the ladder only for its intended use. Refrain from using it as a bridge or scaffolding.

3) Always make sure the ladder is leveled at its base on a firm surface to prevent it from falling while you are climbing. Grounds that are rocky or uneven can destabilize a ladder causing it to tip over. If you sense that the ladder is shaking it is best to change its location. Also ensure that the ladder is leaning against a solid surface to provide support while it is being used. Refrain from using the ladder when slippery conditions are present either at the base or top support points.

Were the above tips useful? Share this article with family and friends.

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The reopening of school is yet to come for many students. Many families are still making preparation for students to return to the school environment – well equipped and well attired. There are many, however, who have not given thought to preparing the home environment for the new school year. They have not asked the question; does the home create an environment conducive for learning?

This week we share with you some tips on creating a space that will improve the learning experience for the students in your home.

Isolation is best. A room dedicated to the purpose of school work: homework, study, reading, etc. away from the distraction of other family activities provides the best environment. However, this room should not be too isolated that parents cannot easily drop by to ensure that the student is remaining focused on school work. No available room, no problem. A corner or a wall can be easily set up as a study area.

Wherever you have available, the essentials are the same. You will need a:

• Desk

• Comfortable chair, preferably a task chair with wheels

• Task lighting or a desk lamp

• Stationery supplies

• Drawers or shelves to store supplies

• Charts or print outs on the immediate wall with essential information such as a world map, timetable, important formulae, mathematical tables, etc.

• Clock, preferably with alarm

• Trash bin

A home study area must also come with motivation and encouragement. The student must be encouraged and motivated to make use of the space. Here are some ways to achieve this:-

• Involve the student in the setting up and design of the space so he/she will feel more comfortable using it.

• Remind the student to use the space when he/she is seen using other areas of the house for school work. Be intentionally patient if having this study space is something new to the student.

• Show interest in the work being done in the space, not as a stalker or an investigator but as a lover of learning.

• Do not be a distraction. Ensure that other family members respect the use of this space by keeping noise or distracting activities away from the area or at least to a minimum while it is being used. It is also very distracting if materials needed for work have to be located elsewhere during a study or homework session because mum borrowed a pen to write down the shopping list and did not put it back.

• Ensure that the student bears some, if not all, of the responsibility for keeping the study space clean and organized.

We hope that the above tips were helpful. If you have any additional useful ideas for a study space, please share them with our readers in the comments.

If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at feedback@millenia.dm.

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The pantry is essentially a special closet that serves as a storage area for foodstuffs and, or kitchen appliances. Pantries usually feature a combination of shelving as well as open space for the storage of larger containers; the exact configuration of the interior space will depend on the type of food storage that is intended for the space. Originally, a pantry was simply a cool and dark place where perishable foods such as freshly baked bread could be stored. As a matter of fact, the word pantry is believed to have originated from the French word “pan” which means bread. The concept of the pantry has now expanded from a simple bread room to an area where essentials could be stored in bulk, thus, providing many benefits to the modern kitchen.

 

  • The most obvious benefit of adding a kitchen pantry is additional storage space. Not only do cluttered kitchens look messy and dirty, they also make it easy to misplace cooking tools. Including this home storage option in your kitchen is a great way to make better use of available space.

  • Having a well-organized kitchen pantry will make cooking at home easier and more convenient. Have you ever settled for eating out because you were not sufficiently stocked with the necessary food items to prepare a meal?  Or, have you come across certain food items after thinking you had none at home because it was not being stored in an easily accessible place? Having a pantry solves both of these problems.  You have everything you need, in one place.  In addition, who wouldn’t want the money saving and health benefits of cooking at home.  You know what you are eating when you cook your own meals, and you save the money you would spend when eating out.

  • Having an updated kitchen with pantry adds considerable appeal to the room, and increases selling chances. The kitchen is considered by many to be the heart of the home, thus making it a critical component when considering buying a home.

 

If you are currently planning on building your home, remodeling, or expanding, consider taking advantage of these benefits by adding a pantry to your home design.

 

Written by Garn Todd Joseph

Website & Advertising Assistant for the Millenia Group of Companies

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Homeowners generally tend to design rooms without making use of the walls. If walls are left bare it gives off an incomplete feel to a room. If you do not have an eye for design, figuring where to start in regards to wall décor may be difficult. For all intents and purposes you can chose to follow your instincts, but we have included a few ideas that you can use in this article.

 

Similar to furniture, wall décor can be arranged to change the mood of a room, and reflect an individual’s personality.  Here are a few tips that can help you use wall décor to make your home design more interesting:  

 

  • Art can have a significant impact on the mood and ambiance of the room in which it will be placed. The right color or subject of a piece can bring life and energy into a room. Art in itself can take on many forms. If you are interested in an option besides having the average painting or drawing consider using large canvases painted with interior latex paint.

 

  • Family photos or photographs that are highly sentimental tend to remind us of loved ones and happy times and transfers that feeling in the room. Search your photo albums and electronic devices for the best shots that you can find and have them framed.

 

  • Mirrors are essentially the wonder child of design therefore it is wise to learn how to incorporate them in your home design. They reflect light and make a room feel brighter and appear larger, while adding visual dimension and depth.

 

  • Fabric can also be used as artwork. A piece of fabric with a color scheme or pattern that speaks to your personal taste that meshes with the style of your room can be easily framed and hung on a wall as piece of art.

 

  • Be as creative and imaginative as possible. In truth many items that you probably would not consider can make wonderful wall décor if hung in an appealing manner. For example, plates in unexpected colors can form a beautiful wall arrangement.   Artistic pieces created with materials such as ceramic, glass, wood, feathers, metal, plastic etc. make great wall décor.  Even the frame used for hanging artwork and photographs can be considered a work of art in itself. Use your decorating sense when choosing a frame so that you can reap the most benefit from the purchase.

 

If your walls are naked, complete your home’s design by dressing them up!

Written by

 

Garn Todd Joseph & Jillian La Rocque

Marketing Officers for the Millenia Group of Companies

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  1. Listening skills.

Architects need to listen carefully to the wants and needs of clients, since this will be the basis upon which the project will be developed.  A project is never really complete unless the customer is satisfied.

 

  1. Communication skills.

Architects must have excellent communication skills and be able to discuss with clients, builders, suppliers etc in a way that all parties’ needs and wants are clearly understood.  The importance of precise and effective communication cannot be greater emphasized.

 

  1. Ability to solve problems.

Clients rely on the architect’s ability to think outside the box for creative solutions to problems as soon as they arise or even before they arise. A great architect has sharp problem solving skills.

 

  1. Excellent Design skills.

Architects themselves are trained to have an eye for good designs and a mind full of creative and aesthetically pleasing designs.  Architectural designs ought to cover both beauty and functionality.

 

  1. Expertise throughout the process.

An architect should be capable of efficiently producing the fundamental aspects of a design including Conceptual and Schematic Design, and Design Development.

 

  1. Understanding building codes and other safety issues.

In addition to the architect’s design and technical knowledge, they should keep abreast of local building codes and safety regulations.

 

  1. Product knowledge and recommendations.

Another thing that good architects should have is a sound knowledge of products and materials.  New products are on the market every day – from countertops, to deck surfaces to energy efficient equipment. Architects should be up to date with these changes so that they can properly advise clients on available products and most suitable materials, and possibly their prices and sources.

 

  1. Team spirit and co-operation.

The successful completion of any project is dependent on the co-operation of team members.  The better the relationship between the people who make up the team the more likely it is for the project to go smoothly.

 

  1. Education, experience and credentials.

Your architect should be a licensed architect and should be willing and able to provide a list (long or short) of satisfied clients.

 

 

  1. Passion for the profession.

The best architectural designs come from architects who are passionate and enamored about their work. This is almost always reflected in the quality of their designs.

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  1. Give considerable thought to the individual or business you will hire to perform your construction or related projects. Pay particular attention to contractors offering their services at a considerably lower price – while you may save a few dollars at the time, you may end up paying a lot more over the life of the service or product.

 

  1. Talk to more than one specialist, this will allow you to develop a better understanding of the process. Knowledge gives power to negotiate.

 

  1. If you know you need to renovate or extend your building, don’t wait until the problem gets worst to get estimates and select a contractor e.g.if you know you need a new roof then don’t wait until you have water coming in from your second floor ceiling.

 

  1. Do a bit of research. If you have a friend who is more knowledgeable than yourself, invite them to take a look.  This allows you to give the contractor more specific information or details about the problem.

 

  1. Past clients or projects are a great way to learn about contractors and their capability. So go ahead and ask a neighbor or a friend for recommendations, look for completed jobs in the neighborhood. Now-a-days it’s all out there on the internet, check business websites to see their profile of completed jobs.

 

  1. Yes I am part of a company that provides construction services but I will still go ahead and say it – negotiate fiercely and make it clear to the contractor that you are looking for the best quality job at the best possible price. Remember, you are in charge and it’s your project and money so demand a great end product/service at a great price. It’s not always true that you have to pay ridiculous prices for great work but it is expected that the best quality work will come at a bit higher cost.

 

  1. Obtain and review at least three written estimates to compare what a job should cost. Once this is done, you’ll have a sense of which contractor to use.  Meet with the contractor again, at this point discuss any other qualms you may have with his estimate.

 

  1. Of course get everything in writing.

 

  1. After selecting a contractor, stay close to them; check the work and ask questions. A good contractor would know to keep the customer updated with work progress by submitting reports at agreed intervals and will seek permission before making any deviations from the original plans.

 

  1. If at the end of the project the contractor has done a great job ask for some business cards and pass around to friends and family.
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Canadian architect, Etienne Gaboury, once said, “Architecture is space structured to serve man & to move him.” “To serve man” implies that architectural design creates a useful living space, while “to move him,” refers to the art of the design, which makes a particular building unique, colorful, and worthy of living inside.

A trained architect will take a client’s wish & analyze it in conjunction with their needs, lifestyle & their long term plans.  Careful consideration of a family’s future size & goals will yield positive results when designing a home.

Throughout the process the architect may offer the family constructive choices which may save them money in the long run ultimately helping to offset the architectural fees.

Often time home owners and builders believe it will be cheaper to draw up their own plans but the cost of inefficient floor plan layout can be very serious.

Architects may ease the stress involved in the construction process by acting as project managers & construction supervisors and some may even take it a step further, like we do at Millenia LDC, and take on the construction project.

When you consider building your home, consult an architect about the benefits you can gain from using his service.  The consultation most likely will be free and it will definitely be valuable to you.

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We learned at school that one of our basic needs is shelter.  When we reach adulthood, it becomes important to have a home we can call our own or necessary to provide shelter to our own family.  At some point in our lives, each of us gets to choose the type of home we live in.  We may have to choose a rental, buy a home or build. Those who choose to build a house may opt to design and build to just satisfy their basic needs while others design based on their personal desires.  Whichever reason you decide to build, the floor plan of the home that you choose will have a great effect on whether you will live comfortably and have made the most economical decisions.

 

Factors such as your budget and family lifestyle can be used to guide your decision when choosing the right plan for you and your family.  Your monthly commitments, terms of your financial institution and your savings will have a great effect on the home you will choose to build.  This will determine whether you are building to satisfy basic needs or whether you are going for the dream home.

 

Do you entertain a lot of persons or are you the kind who spends a lot of time in the outdoors?  Think of your site and how the house will fit on it.  What sort of landscaping you would like to have? Are you the one to call friends or neighbours and strike the grill?  The extra space your land provides can be used for fun activities or simply relaxing.  You may want to plan your house layout to complement your outdoor space or vice versa.

 

Once you have made the decision to build a home, the need to spend money wisely becomes increasingly important.  Asking yourself these questions and more, giving some thought to your housing needs or wants, will take you a long way in deciding which house plan is best for you.

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