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Here in Dominica we are blessed to be surrounded by fresh air, beautiful plants and many other natural wonders from the comfort of our own backyards. Because of our overflow of natural resources within the environment, it would be wise to take advantage of these benefits by investing in outdoor living spaces (porch, balcony, deck, patio, verandah, etc.). One of the few problems faced by homeowners with outdoor space is the direct heat from the sun. Fortunately, this can simply be resolved by installing one of many different shading options available.



Fabric Covering:

A simple, cost effective method that can be implemented is having a large piece(s) of fabric pitched over your outdoor living space. It is important to note that any fabric will not do. Choose a material that is not easily penetrated by water, and ensure that it slopes to allow runoff.



Umbrella:

Another cost effective method is having an umbrella(s) set up near your lounging areas or installed as part of your outdoor tables. Like fabric, umbrellas are easy to install. They also provide the benefit of being able to be adjusted based on the direction of the sun for optimized protection.



Lattice:    

A lattice is a structure which has strips of wood or metal crossed and fastened together with square or diamond-shaped spaces left between. If your home has a contemporary design a lattice would make an excellent addition. They are often used to support climbing plants, which would help the natural outdoor feeling transcend into your space.



Pergola:

Similar to a lattice, a pergola is a structure that gives shade while providing support for climbing plants. They provide a shaded area with ample breeze for outdoor relaxation when the weather is very hot. For the best results use materials like acrylic trim boards, fiberglass, and strong woods like redwood.



Home Integration:

If it structurally possible based on the design of your home, and within your budget, your outdoor space can be an integrated part of your inner home. The roof of the house can extended out without the external walls. If your outdoor space is small this can be easily done, however, the larger the space the more money it will cost, and the more work that would have to be done. But this is one of the most satisfying options.  



Trees:

Instead of going through the hassle of building a structure to provide shade why not use the trees around you. If your yard is surrounded by trees, build your outdoor space in a location where it can benefit from the trees’ shade. If it does not, you can always plant a tree and consider temporary options in the meantime. Deciduous trees which are filled out provide the most shade.  



Which of the above shade options do you prefer, and why? Share with us in the comments.

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Is your home and environs damp? Dampness can result in the formation of mold on your walls, furniture and window frames causing them to get rotten. Mold is a type of fungi developed from airborne spores. It usually grows in damp, warm conditions with little airflow. This can have adverse effects on the body causing increase risk of respiratory illnesses. If you do have mold, the first thing to do is find the source in order to get rid of it.



Preventing Condensation:



Condensation is one of the main causes of dampness in the home.  It mainly occurs during cold weather regardless of a presence or absence of rain. When the air gets colder and it can no longer hold back all the moisture in the atmosphere, tiny droplets appear causing the surface to be damp.



To avoid condensation:



  • Ensure that your home is well ventilated. Keep windows opened as much as possible and as wide as possible to maintain a balanced atmosphere.
  • Create less moisture. Certain activities we do daily produce a lot of moisture. When cooking keep pots and pans covered, and avoid unnecessary over boiling. When doing the laundry it is best that clothes are hanged outside to dry.     

Other Causes of Dampness:



  • Leaking pipes and faucets – ensure that your pipe system is properly maintained.
  • Holes or cracks in the roof – rain water can sip through these spaces and enter the home without your knowledge. Always check for leaks and have them fixed as soon as possible.
  • Window entrance – while it is wise to have windows opened as much as possible to allow proper ventilation, naturally they need to be closed when rain falls to prevent water from entering.

Removing Mold:



If mold has already taken effect, the following things can be done to rectify the situation:



  • Use a solution of chlorine bleach and water. For the best results use a ratio of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. If you cannot acquire these substances use a household detergent with bleach as an active ingredient.
  • When scrubbing the affected areas use a stiff-bristled brush, rinse thoroughly and dry.
  • Ensure that you wear protective eyewear, gloves, and a face-mask. Making physical contact with the mold can be harmful.
  • While cleaning mold, open all the windows to the room or use a fan in the room if possible.
  • Purchase specialized products – anti-microbial sprays and anti-mildew paints can reduce the chance of mold development.



Have you had a problem with mold infestation?  What did you do to solve it?  



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A nursery is a bedroom within a house or other dwelling set aside for an infant or toddler. The nursery is designated to the housing, care and well-being of a baby, and is generally the smallest bedroom in the house. However, the room in many cases could remain the bedroom of the child well into his or her teenage years, or until a younger sibling is born, and the parents decide to move the older child into another larger bedroom, if one is available.  Our architects offer the following tips to help you design a nursery for your bundle of joy.



Location: The most beneficial location to build a nursery is near to your bedroom. This benefits both you and the child in that you are close enough to hear if anything is wrong, and it also leaves a short walking distance when you need to check up on the baby in the middle of the night. The nursery should also be appointed in an area where it can receive good ventilation, and ample lighting.



Color: The best color scheme to choose when designing a nursery is one that provides a calming and nurturing feel. You should focus on what makes you feel relaxed, especially because mothers generally experience a higher level of stress post childbirth. When the child gets older they can decide what color they desire.



Coherence: The style of the nursery should reflect your own personal style and should resemble the design of the other rooms in the home in regards to the design, color, furnishing, etc. It does not have to be a carbon copy but if the entire home has a modern contemporary look, that should be carried into the nursery.



Safety: When purchasing a crib, ensure that it is deep enough and that the bars are an appropriate distance apart to keep the baby from getting out. Place the crib away from, doors, heaters, lamps/light fixtures and wall decorations. Also, try your best not to over-decorate the room and have it cluttered. It should be organized as much as possible.



Furnishing: The cheapest and easiest thing to do when planning on purchasing furniture is to buy them before deciding on the color of the walls. Then you can chose your wall options based on the type of furniture you have. Another reasonable option is to buy the crib and then design everything with your focus on the crib. While the crib is definitely the most important furniture in a nursery, another piece you should invest in is a rocking chair.



Adaptability: When designing take in consideration how long the décor will last. As the years go by and the child grows aspects of the room may need to change when the child finds that they have become too old. When it comes to things such as the design of the wallpaper, choose an option that can be appropriate for a number of years which will allow ample time before it needs changing.    



Additional Tip: Remember babies are messy therefore ensure whatever you buy is washable.



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

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Laundry rooms used to be hidden away in the basement, washer and dryer side by side on concrete floors. These days, they’re moving upstairs and going upscale. From walk-in closets to craft rooms, laundry machines are finding new, brighter and inspiring spaces in the house. Some look almost like kitchens, with high-end cabinetry and countertops. From large and luxurious to compact and convenient, the options seem limitless. Here are some common trends:



Size

Modern laundry rooms come in all sizes. In some homes, the laundry area simply consists of a stacked washer and dryer behind bi-fold doors. In more opulent digs, the laundry room sometimes shares space in a room that accommodates a homeowner’s hobby. Use the space you have, if the area is small include first and foremost the essentials a washer and if possible a dryer. If it is large enough feel free to decorate and design based on your personal style. A laundry room isn’t a place people are going to hang out, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have style.



Location

Some homeowners find it convenient to have a laundry area on an upper floor rather than in the basement, so they don’t have to lug linens, towels or clothes up and down stairs.  In some high-end homes, the laundry room might turn up in the master bedroom’s walk-in closet, steps from the en suite. It’s simple enough to put a drain on the floor during construction. That way, there is a lot less damage if there is a water leak. In smaller properties the laundry can be shared with either the kitchen or bathroom.



Innovation

The old school laundry chute has been around for decades but has never enjoyed widespread adoption. For some families, it’s the height of convenience. Gone is the need to lug heavy laundry baskets down stairs. It’s a good idea if you have the space to incorporate it in your design. Other good idea is the addition of a storage island to keep clothing well-organized and setting up an ironing system if space allows.



Noise

The type of flooring where the washer sits is important. A concrete base is best because it can absorb the vibrations a working machine generates. Try to distribute laundry loads, as an off-balance washer can make the whole house shake. Ninety per cent of noise — and machine vibration — problems can be traced back to an incorrect installation. Some washers have shock absorbers to absorb some of the vibration. Others are cradled inside a cabinet, so movement is not transmitted to the frame of the machine.



Ergonomics

Laundry rooms are starting to emulate kitchen design, with a utility sink and countertops for working space, combined with upper and lower cabinets for the storage of detergent and other cleaning supplies. Machines are now being offered with doors that swing on either side. Previously, washers opened only to the left and dryers to the right on front-load machines.



Multi-function

While room for a few laundry baskets is important, increasingly, homeowners are making laundry spaces work harder. The most common pairing is with a mud room. The idea is that kids coming in from outside with dirty clothes can simply put them in the nearby hamper. A lot of women prefer their laundry “two steps” from the kitchen, where they spend more of their time.  Some ladies also incorporate an indoor clothes-drying rack suspended from the ceiling.



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

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After several months away, preparations for a new school year can be overwhelming and intimidating. Whether you spent the summer relaxing or working, transition to the routine of the school week can be a challenge.  Some adjustments to personal habits, mental preparation, and simple organization of supplies can boost confidence of both the students and parents as the school year begins.  Below are a few helpful tips:



A designated work area can make studying more fun and help motivate your child. Students require a work space that is quiet and limits distractions so that they can study effectively. As young as they may be it is beneficial to create an environment where they are able to complete their home assignments, study and read.  To maximize efficiency in this work space, try out these simple organization tips:



Keep the area neat and clutter free. Ensure that there is adequate space for the basics and get rid of everything else!



Having a personalized calendar to keep track of assignments throughout the school term can help students remember the work that needs to be done – some children need extra help remaining organized and remembering their assignments.



Including a clock in the study area can also help them stay on schedule.  A clock matching the decor of the study area would be a great idea.  Musical wall clocks that emit a tune after a certain period of time such as a cuckoo clock are great for children.



Include a space for storing past assignments, notes, and supplies. A good option is having a kid friendly file cabinet. This will help improve your child’s organizational skills. It would also be beneficial to include a bookshelf nearby to keep textbooks and other resources close by for when they are needed.



While listening to music and using other forms of media can be an effective studying technique, especially as a method of retaining information, studying in silence can be just as effective. Ensure that the television and other electronic distractions stay off while studying or working on assignments most of the time if not all the time.



“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. While working hard is important taking a break and having a bit of rest and relaxation is equally important. When studying take a few minutes break to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue.



We hope these tips will be helpful as the new academic year begins.



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Keeping your home, its contents, and your family safe is top priority for most of us. The time to consider the steps that need to be taken to safeguard your home is not after it has been burglarized but before an individual even thinks of doing so. Today we share tips that you can use to protect your home for being broken into.



Ensure that all exterior doors have good proper locks. 1-inch deadbolt locks should be installed on all exterior doors. Reconsider having them installed on doors within the home. If for any reason you would need to make a quick escape spending time trying to locate a key to get out could be very hazardous.



Find inconspicuous places to hide your spare keys. Never leave keys under doormats, potted plants or any other obvious outdoor location around the home where a thief can easily find them; we see how easily they find them in the movies right?… If possible consider giving an extra set of keys to a trustworthy neighbor.



If your home includes a garage, keep the door closed at all times whether you are at home or not. It is extremely important to safeguard your belongings. When you keep the garage doors closed, it limits access to your home from intruders.  



For areas of the home visible to the public, ensure that drapes and blinds are kept shut, especially in rooms where there are a lot of valuable items. Exposing the contents of your home to the public not only lets a potential criminal know what can be taken but it may also appear as an invitation to them.



Using reinforced windows made of laminated glass or a special type of glass similar to that of a car windshield can prove to be very effective. If you have glass windows in your home all a burglar would need to do to gain access is break the window, reach inside and unlock it. Reinforced windows diminish this possibility. In addition, ensure that door locks are farther that arm’s length from the window.



What other important safety measures can you think of?  Share with us below.

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In our previous article we discussed a few low budget improvements that can be implemented to add greater appeal to your property while it is on the real estate market. Today, we head outdoors as we take a look at some exterior improvements.



As expressed in our previous article the home in general should be kept speak-and-span, similarly so should the yard. Ensure the environment is void of any unnecessary clutter.  Remove all broken appliances, and old pieces of furniture that may be lying around. If there is a pet(s) ensure that are cleaned up after regularly. Trees and shrubs should be well pruned, outdoor vegetable and flower gardens should be well weeded, and the lawn should be well manicured.



Outdoor living spaces such as porches, verandas, balconies, patios and other extensions of the home such as stairs should be uncluttered, cleaned and repaired. Pieces of furniture within your outdoor living space should also be kept clean. Ensure that shades and awnings are in good repair and the colors have not faded away.



Both the house and garage doors should be in optimal condition, working properly and painted; nothing looks worse than a peeling door. Ensure that accessories such as door knobs are cleaned and polished. Also, keep in mind that gates, fences, walls and any other buildings on the property need to be taken care of as well.



When it comes to real estate first impressions do matter. The initial feeling that a prospect gets when they see a property for the first time in person will remain with them throughout the entire showing, and perhaps even through to subsequent showings as well.



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After you’ve decided to place your home on the market it is wise and extremely beneficial that it looks as presentable as possible so that is appears more attractive to prospects.  After all, a clean home is a happy home, and that results in a happy buyer!



Today, we share a few cost effective ways to improve a home’s interior for a productive showing.



Interior Improvements:



Use curtains and drapes that are both fresh and attractive, and ensure both the inside and outside of all windows are properly cleaned. Well washed windows accentuate the views of outside thus improving the appeal of the home to the buyer.  When facilitating showings, allow the outside light to engulf the room by keeping all drapes opened and shades pulled.



In addition to using natural light to brighten up the home, having new light fixtures installed can be an added asset. Consider putting in higher watt bulbs in all fixtures to improve the lighting. Have all the lights on while the showing is being done, especially in areas that do not get a lot of natural light.



Bathrooms are considered a sacred part of the home; hence it should always be as clean and sanitized as possible. Have it well organized and ensure that everything is where it should be.  Mop the floors, clean up the shower or bathtub, and ensure that the toilet is cleaned.  Get rid of the torn or stained shower curtain and have it replaced with a new one.



Have pets? From the moment you decide to place your property on the market for sale, consider making arrangements for pets that live or are frequently inside the home. You could either restrict their access into the house or have them stay at another property. This is because, not only do pets leave behind odors that may upset a prospective buyer, the buyer may also be allergic to pets.  Remember, you want the showing to go as smooth as possible.



Having clean walls is an important feature of a home on the market for sale.  If the walls are stained, firstly, try cleaning it with soap and water or other appropriate chemicals.  If that doesn’t remove the stains add a fresh coat of paint. Normally, where colors such as chartreuse, tangerine, purple, orange or any dark colors are over used, it causes a negative perception of the area; add at least two coats of white paint to turn the room into a blank canvas. This will allow the prospect to focus on more important features of the home.



Other important rooms that need attention prior to a showing are the bedroom and kitchen. Beds should be properly made and the bedroom clutter free; get clothing out of sight and have them stored neatly in your closet, wardrobe, or drawer.  In the kitchen, keep both the countertops and sinks clean and clear, be sure to have your stove and fridge cleaned, and ensure that the garbage is taken out in advance.  



Dusting, scrubbing, sweeping, mopping up the floors, dusting out the rugs a little more than usual and replacing broken tiles are a few other cost effective ways to improve the interior of your home and increase your chances of securing a buyer.



Use these tips to improve, and look out for our next article where we focus on affordable ways we can improve the outside of the home.



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The health and well-being of you and your family should be one of your top concerns. There are countless ways and methods that can be used to maintain healthy living within the home. Today we take a look at the bedroom and discuss 3 measures that can be taken to make it healthier.   



  • Improve Air Quality:

Fresh air provides numerous benefits to our overall well-being. Fresh air is good for digestion. Clean air improves individual’s blood pressure and heart rate, as well strengthens our immune system. Not only does it provide physical benefits, breathing in clean air makes us happier in general. Ensure that your bedroom is well ventilated; keep windows open as frequently as possible to allow the constant circulation of air throughout the bedroom.  Also, consider including plants in the bedroom. Plants take in Carbon dioxide and release Oxygen which we need.



  • Keep it Clean:

In order to maintain a healthy environment in your bedroom cleanliness is important. Change your sheets and pillow cases regularly to fight against germs and help your bedding last longer. In addition it is wise to rotate your mattress regularly (about every 3 months), to ensure even wear and tear. Regular maintenance is extremely important because the amount of dead skin, grime, and dust mites that gather on bedding can cause problems from asthma to acne. In regards to the entire bedroom in general, ensure that it is regularly dusted and clutter free.



  • Keep out Toxins:

To keep your bedroom healthy it is recommended that all finishings, materials and coatings should be natural and non-toxic. While you wouldn’t want to use toxins anywhere in your home the bedroom should be the number one priority. It is fundamentally important that nothing is releasing toxic chemicals into your bedroom while you sleep. When choosing furnishings for the bedroom make your selections based on health. Purchase furniture constructed out of solid wood or very low emissions plywoods, and try to avoid using synthetic fabrics and foams.



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

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Protect your home and your family with these 4 essential home fire safety tips:





  1. Create multiple fire escape plans for your family to adhere to in the event of an emergency. Having an escape plan is a critical and proactive step to keeping your family safe. As part of your family’s escape plan, designate a specific individual(s) to get infants and small children out of the home safely. Ensure that you review and practice the escape plans with the entire family several times. You can never be too cautious.



  2. In the event of a fire, exit the building immediately. Beforehand you will need to identify the most appropriate exits to be taken in the event of a fire. Ensure that the entire family is aware of where the exits are located. Also take into consideration any obstacles that may be in the way such as burglar bars or furniture that might block these exits. When you get out of the building, stay out and call for help. Do not go back into the home for anything.



  3. If you are trapped in the building and cannot safely escape try your best to keep smoke out of the room by covering the spaces around the doors and other points of entry with tape, towels, or whatever you have available. If you are trapped in a room with a window, stay near it and keep it opened. If you are unable to escape through the window then signal for help with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.



  4. As a family, develop fire safety habits:



    Prevent the start of fires by avoiding having several appliances plugged into a single electrical socket.



    When you are cooking do not leave the stove unattended. Any item that can catch on fire should be kept away from your stovetop especially if it is lit.



    Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn easily and always have them placed on a non-flammable surface. Remember to blow them out when you are leaving a room and especially before going to sleep.



    Lastly, keep matches and lighters in a safe place, out of the reach of children.



Were the above tips useful?  Share this article with family and friends.  If you need any clarification on this topic, feel free to email us at feedback@millenia.dm.

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