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For ages, homeowners with interior and exterior staircases have used balusters to guard the area from accidents, provide support to people who find it difficult to climb stairs and to enhance the beauty of the home.

 

Balusters come in various materials and styles. Traditionally, wooden balusters have been a popular option for interior staircases but they take a lot of time to construct since they involve the craftsmanship of the artist. They are preferred mainly by those who want to give their home the specific appeal and appreciate the craftsmanship of wood. Another drawback is that wooden material is bound to decay in a specific span of time and may get infested with termites, thus the buyer will be forced to get new ones, which is not the case with other materials.

 

Metal balusters are a result of commercial production where industries conveniently produce a good quantity of them. Thus metal balusters have gained so much acceptance and popularity that wooden balusters have been given a back seat. The level of strength and support that metal balusters can provide is much more than the wooden counterpart’s hence, people like to get them fixed in the house to get more sturdy railings. 

 

There is also the option of combining these two materials to offer more texture and dimension in your design.

 

One of the more sophisticated types are the glass balusters that provide iron railings with a unique look. These have a metal body and the spaces in between have glass panels that can be coloured or transparent as the homeowner prefers.

 

Whichever material is used, perfectly designed balusters will enhance the appeal of a home.

 

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It should be the desire of all parents to see to it that their children are safe, secured, and protected. In the following article we share 5 tips you should consider implementing in your home to keep your little ones safe.

 

Preventing fall:

As soon as our little one starts to crawl, precautions need to be put in place in order to keep them safe on the countless occasions they are likely to trip and fall down. Safety gates are a great way to keep babies away from stair cases. For multi-story homes, fit a gate at the top of the stairs and another at least three steps from the bottom. Gates are also useful for blocking the entrance to rooms where babies can easily get hurt.

 

Windows and Doors:

Ensure that pieces of furniture and other items that your little one may attempt to climb are away from windows. In addition, for areas of the home with large areas of glass, for example glass doors, consider adding stickers at baby level to remind the child that something is there, hence avoiding collision impacts.

 

Protect little hands:

To prevent your toddler’s hands from squeezing between hinges consider installing hinge protectors throughout the home. Scissors, staplers and other sharp items should always remain within draws that are locked. Ensure that cords are well concealed away from the baby’s reach.

 

Prevent Drowning:

All it takes is as little as 5cm of water for a child to drown; hence it is of the outmost importance that you remain vigilant when they are near water. Ensure that areas where water is stored from a container or bucket to a pool, is covered whenever you are not around.

 

Preventing suffocation:

To prevent suffocation ensure that your baby has a safe sleeping space such as a cot or a crib, which is the safest place for your baby to sleep. Ensure that the toddler’s feet are placed touching the bottom of the crib and that light blankets are used to cover him/her. It is never a wise decision to put your baby to sleep on a sofa especially one with large gaps and many cushions. Plastic bags, which are great choking hazards, should be kept out of your child’s reach.

 

Share with us any other tip that you can think of to create a safe home environment for little ones.

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Architects are specifically trained and licensed to work on planning and designing buildings. If you are drawing near to the building phase and are thinking of hiring an architect, we highly recommend that you at least meet with an Architect to discuss how they can help you. Hiring an Architect could prove quite beneficial to you, here are a few reasons why:

 

  • They provide expert information and guidance. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling an existing building a lot of work needs to be done to get the task completed efficiently. An Architect, especially one who has years of experience working in this field is quite knowledgeable about zoning and building codes that can help quicken the process of getting the necessary approval for building.

 

  • By interacting with clients and asking questions, an Architect can create a unique home that has been specifically designed to include the desires of their clients giving them their dream home. Also, Architects have been trained to select the ideal location to utilize the site’s natural lighting, shading and views providing insight the client may not have even considered.

 

  • The quantity and quality of materials needed can greatly affect the final cost of construction. An Architect can advise on the best options to help maximize the client’s budget. Also, with energy conservation being a huge concern today an Architect can implement techniques, construction methods and materials that can help meet conservation goals and make a building more energy efficient.

 

  • An Architect can take on a more fundamental role of Construction Manager. Hiring an Architect as the Construction Manager can be beneficial to clients. The Construction Manager works closely with the general contractor and helps keep construction in conformance with the design and to assist in having the construction completed on schedule and within budget.

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  1. Details – Consider the bigger details such as the size of the house, the number of floors, the kind and number of rooms and bathrooms before deciding the smaller details.

 

  1. Establish your budget – You’re going to have to do some math if you want this process to be successful. There are a number of financial and personal requirements when seeking financing from institutions.   Getting prequalified for a loan will be very helpful and avoids getting your hopes up on a home that isn’t in your budget. 

 

This is likely going to be one of the biggest purchases of your life, so don’t be lazy about it, work with a mortgage broker/ loans officer to educate yourself.  You may have to disclose personal financial information but at the end you will know what you realistically can afford.

 

  1. What makes the house a home – Determine what your needs and wants are and what will make the home most comfortable and welcoming. What amount of time is expected to be spent in the house and in what areas will more time be spent? What is the present and expected size of your family or home occupants?  Will there be any disabled residents or regular visitors? 

 

  1. Location, location, location — Value of land differs based on its location however homes nearby will have a substantial effect on the worth of your home. If you build the most modest house in a high-priced community, you can do very well for yourself in terms of your investment. The more expensive houses will raise yours to a higher value than it would command in less expensive neighborhoods.  You have an equally sound investment if your home is in the same price range as the ones around it, however if you build the same modest home in a neighborhood that is considered bad, you might as well forget your potential investment.

 

  1. If you already have the land, it would be wise to understand the land on which the home will be built before deciding on the plan. The plan you choose must fit the dimensions or specifications of your lot.  These may dictate the maximum depth or width of the plan, or dictate if the plan requires a two-story solution. You also need to know the topography of the lot. If it’s on sloped property, you may have to limit your plan search to a split-level design.

 

  1. Your lifestyle and the lifestyle patterns of your family are very important when choosing a house plan. Some people enjoy cooking so they might require a lot of space for the kitchen. However, other people who are working at home might require more office space. 

 

 

  1. Your plans and the local building codes and requirements – Custom plans are sometimes designed with no specific building codes or requirements. If they are, they may most likely be designed to suit the country in which they were drawn. When selecting a house plan, it must be considered whether it complies with the building codes for the area in which the building will be constructed.

 

  1. Add value to your home – The more valuable features of a home should be considered when designing and making preparations for finishes like creating great curb appeal outside the house, placing glass windows and doors on the side of the home that faces the most attractive views. These will add value to the home and make it very inviting to guests and possible future buyers. 

 

 

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Many homeowners dream of having a large kitchen with ample floor space that can accommodate all their appliances and furniture, possibly designed with a decent sized island capable of sitting the entire family. But the reality is that when the total floor space of the home is limited it usually results in a small kitchen in order to allow for the other rooms to be larger. And at times it may prove difficult trying to make a small space function as it should while making the room look stylish, and spacious. Difficult yes, but not impossible. Here are six (6) tips that you can use to give your small kitchen a spacious feel.

 

  • A functional floor plan is important regardless of the size of your kitchen. The most fundamental appliances (the stove and the refrigerator) as well as everything else in the space should be easily accessible. Also, ensure that there is enough countertop, and cabinet and cupboard space.


  • It will be very difficult for a compact kitchen to effectively function with large appliances that take up most of the space. When buying items for the kitchen you will need to scale down the size of the appliances to save on space.


  • Using glass is one of the easiest ways to make a kitchen look and feel larger. Glass surfaces reflect light which helps visually expand the room. Consider including glass furniture, or glass counters, tiles, cabinets or doors. One or two mirrors can also be placed in strategic areas in the kitchen where they would be most effective in reflecting light.


  • Using too many colors in a small space will overwhelm the room so consider sticking with a single color or a monochromatic color scheme. Light colors are known to reflect light and draw the eye upwards making ceilings appear higher and the room by extension larger. Regardless of the color(s) that you choose keep the kitchen appliances and décor in mind.


  • In a small room storage is extremely important so having ample cupboard space is a must. However, having too much of anything has its drawbacks. In the case of cabinetry including too much can make the room feel claustrophobic. One way to get an open feel while maximizing on storage space is by trading the cupboards for open shelving. If you do not like this option, cabinets with glass doors are a good alternative. Other options to consider are installing pot racks and spice holders on the walls. Or maybe including a pantry where items can be stored in bulk to cut down on the need for cupboards.


  • Ensure there is sufficient light. Light plays a major role in the atmosphere of a room so no matter what you do to create a spacious environment, if the lighting in the room is bad it will always feel small and stuffy. To set an ideal ambiance, a compact kitchen requires a combination of both task lighting and atmospheric lighting.
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We invite applications from students who will be enrolled for the Architecture Associates degree program at the Dominica State College in September 2018 for the award of a scholarship covering tuition fees for the two (2) year duration of the program.

 

Applicants should apply using the online application form by clicking here or by collecting an application form from our office at 24 Church Lane, Pottersville, Dominica.

 

Deadline for receipt of scholarship applications is 15th August 2018.

 

For further information:

Jillian La Rocque

Marketing and Sales Manager

614-1806

jjnocharles@millenia.dm

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If you could only have one in your dream home, would you rather an eat-in kitchen or a formal dining room?

 

The option of eating in the kitchen has always held a strong appeal. An eat-in kitchen is a kitchen designed to accommodate meals and is ideal for multitasking. It provides a place for friends and family members to casually socialize and enjoy a meal, while also serving as a food preparation area. In addition, an eat-in kitchen is not limited to any particular arrangement and chairs and tables can be added and rearranged at ease.

 

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you have a number of choices for creating an eat-in kitchen:

  • Where there is not sufficient space a breakfast bar or Kitchen Island would work great with imaginative counter stools.
  • If there is a bit more space available consider adding a welcoming breakfast area.
  • For large kitchens in homes with large families including a dining table that seats a larger number of people is a good option. This provides the option of having a more formal dining area if a separate dining room is not an option.

 

If you desire to include an option for formal family meals or host formal social gatherings a dining room would be more beneficial than an eat-in kitchen. The typical dining room contains a table and chairs arranged along the ends of the table, with other pieces of practical storage or decorative furniture.

 

Décor such as flowers, vases, mirrors and photos of family or sceneries are excellent items for uplifting a dining room.  Corner tables are also great for a dining room design.  They can be used to display decorative items as well as to provide a place for visitors to rest items such as cell phones, glasses, etc. while they dine.  Cupboards to hold dining tools are both decorative and practical furniture that can be included in this space.

 

You do not necessarily have to make a choice between eat-in kitchen and a dining room. If the space available and your budget allows, you can have both an area for just your family to eat in a rush in the morning before going out for the day as well as for a space to spend quality time over a meal with family and for formal gatherings with both family and friends.

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On many properties there is valuable living space that is left under-utilized, and it’s typically found outside. Often the outside area that could be converted into a creative living space is larger than the largest space inside the home. Maximizing the comfort of your home includes the use of available outdoor space.


When someone visits your home, they first see the outdoors, the surroundings. Their impression of you and your home begins outside. It would be wise that in the planning stages of the construction of your home that the building be located in an area that would maximize the usage potential of the outside of the home.


At these early stages, a vision for the outdoor space should be considered in order to minimize the cost of any future outdoor projects since the grounds of your home will already be fashioned to suit that vision. Besides the visual effect of a well designed outdoor space and manicured grounds, an outdoor living space will increase your living area and allow for much needed fresh air and sunlight that is not available on the inside. For those who entertain, outdoor space will reduce the traffic and wear on the interior of your home.


Investing in an outdoor room adds resale value to your property. A homebuyer would be more interested in your home that offers this feature. Here are a few tips to help you plan an outdoor space:


Figure out which rooms have the best potential for access to the outside. You’ll want to consider how high the floor is off the ground, how you will keep your privacy, how much deck, patio or terrace space is available, which area the sun will affect the most and at what time, and how the space will relate to the rest of your yard or garden.


Once you choose where the doors will be, do a floor plan and put together a list of functional requirements. Do you want a deck with room for outdoor dining? A vegetable or flower garden? Hot tub? Arrange the elements you choose with regards to everything you considered in step one.


Plan the central area to be as big as an actual room – minimum 12 square feet, but not larger than 20 square feet. The shape should probably be square or rectangular. It is better if you stay away from long narrow spaces that surround the house. Furniture won’t fit there well so it won’t be used.


Keep the steps leading from raised decks and terraces as wide as possible, at least six feet. Keeping a full width on multiple sides of the deck will create a smooth transition to ground level.


Get creative with your paving materials to create different functioning areas. Also try incorporating different levels in the space. By adding benches, planters or other permanent features each area of your outdoor space will have its own identity.


Whether or not you have plans to sell, using these tips will help you transform the look and comfort of your home!
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The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season has been described as a hyperactive and catastrophic season, ending with seventeen (17) named storms, ten (10) hurricanes and six (6) major hurricanes causing damage and destruction to several countries including Dominica. This year’s hurricane season is also expected to be above average estimating between one to four major hurricanes.


While we may not have the power to guarantee the safety of our homes and loved ones during a storm or hurricane there are measures we can take to help.


1) Build a strong roof. Losing the roof exposes the interior of the home to hurricane force winds, rain and flying debris and in certain circumstances the structure of the home may be affected once the roof has been detached so it is extremely important that proper building codes and guidelines are followed during the construction process. While there is no 100% guarantee that the roof will remain intact, following the right guidelines increases the likelihood that it will. Metal tie-down straps can also be used to keep roof rafters tied to the top wall of your home and make it more difficult for them to be uplifted.


2) Protect your windows against strong winds and flying debris. Consider investing in hurricane-resistant windows made of impact resistant glass. Similar to car windows, hurricane-resistant windows has two layers with a tough inter layer in the center which holds glass in place in case it breaks. Although they are very costly they offer greater protection and as an added bonus block out 99% of transmitted ultraviolet light. A more cost effective measure that can be taken is the installation of shutters that can be locked to protect glass window panes.


3) Strong, stable, doors are essential to protecting your home against high winds. You need to be certain that the doors will remain closed, and that they are able to handle direct impact of flying debris. Consider upgrading your external doors to impact resistant fiberglass doors that will not rot or split like wooden doors or dent or rust or like steel doors. To protect glass doors you should consider using impact resistant glass. Protection boards can also be added for reinforcement.


4) Keep your yard free of debris that may become potential projectiles. Prior to a hurricane or tropical storm ensure that nearby trees are pruned and that cut / fallen branches are nowhere near the home. Trimming tree branches also helps prevent trees from being uprooted by allowing strong winds to flow through with ease. If you have any outdoor furniture in your backyard, porch, etc. place them inside the home or in a cellar where they cannot be blown away.


While there is no guarantee that the home will be fully protected after implementing these or any other methods of protection, it is wise to do whatever is possible to improve the chance of safeguarding your home and the lives of your family.
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Millenia Architects is pleased to launch the “Guiding Light Initiative” which is a socially responsible answer for tackling the issues of empowering our youth and creating an environment which encourages our technically trained young persons to be engaged in employment locally instead of seeking work opportunities on distant shores. 

 

Businesses, as leaders in the communities in which we operate, bear part of the responsibility to shape the future of our country.  Paying lip service to any issue of importance has never gotten us anywhere in the past and it will not do so now or in the future. The matters of youth empowerment and brain drain are real concerns in Dominica and while we advise our youth to remain at home where they should reach for the stars as they seek to develop themselves and in so doing bring development to our country, we stop short of providing them with the tools to do so. 

 

The Millenia Group, the parent company of Millenia Architects, has taken this initiative to provide apprenticeship and internship positions at our company to young persons who have invested in training at our local college in the fields of our expertise: architecture, engineering, quantity surveying, building/construction technology, among others, with the aim of providing them with a start to their professional career and on-the-job training and experience that will assist them in overcoming the hurdle of not qualifying for future job opportunities due to lack of experience, while they earn income which they can use toward preparing for furthering their studies.   Two young persons began on-the-job training with the Millenia Group on 30th April 2018. 

 

Another part of this initiative is the award of a scholarship for tuition for one year to assist a student enrolled for the Architecture Associates degree program at the Dominica State College in September 2018.  Application forms will be made available in June 2018.

 

“The Millenia Group, comprising of Millenia Architects, Sorell Consulting Ltd., Kaliber Construction & Homes, and Millenia Realty, believes that sustainable development goes far beyond bricks and mortar that is why we have decided to invest in the development of the human resource that is needed to create a resilient economy for decades to come.” – Executive Director of the Millenia Group, Alistair Grell.

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