It’s that time again; you’ve recently applied a fresh coat of paint to your walls and it is already starting to fade. Having to move furniture and appliances as well as getting photos and paintings off the walls over and over again can be frustrating and not to mention a financial burden. Today we offer you a few tips on making paint last longer.


  • Ensure that your home is properly ventilated. Moisture enters the home in liquid form and exits as vapor, thus lifting the paint on the outside walls. Allow constant fresh air to both enter and leave your home by having windows and door opened as much as possible, and ensure that the home is well designed to accommodate maximum ventilation.

  • Clean the walls before applying paint. Paint is able to stick over dirt, cobwebs, and other contaminants on the wall. Before painting use water and bleach if necessary to remove them. If bleach or any other chemical substance is used gently and thoroughly rinse to remove residue which can loosen the paint.
  • Apply the right thickness of paint. If the coat of paint is too thin the paint will be weak and easily fade, and if it is too thick it will crack. The right thickness of paint is approximately 0.004 – 0.005 inches, or the thickness of a single sheet of copy paper.

  • Ensure that you do not apply paint in direct sunlight or while experiencing high winds. The sun and wind makes the water and petroleum solvents in the paint evaporate too quickly. It also slows down the paint from flowing and leveling out the way it should, as well as weakening the bond between the particles.
  • If there are a lot of plants (trees, shrubs, flowers) near the walls of your home you either need to constantly trim them or cut them off completely. Plants create moisture which will cause the paint to fade quicker than it should.
  • Use the right type of paint. Natural paint which has no harmful chemicals is capable of lasting up to 50 years if 3 coats are added. While oil paint is more resistant against dirt and has a level of hardness.


“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate”. – President Barack Obama


By now we should all be aware of the global issue of ‘Climate Change’.   In light of our government’s decision in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to rebuild Dominica into the first climate resilient nation, we should all be asking ourselves, “What can I do to tackle climate change?”


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines it as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”


The main human activities that contribute to an enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect are:

  • Combustion of fossil fuels, which releases greenhouse gases.
  • Clearing of forests for agriculture, which releases carbon dioxide through increased biomass decay.
  • Deforestation, soil tillage and land degradation, which release carbon from the land system and reduce its capacity to absorb and store carbon.


The main human activities that change the reflectivity of the earth’s surface and atmosphere are:

  • Fossil fuel combustion; industrial processes; and biomass burning release aerosols and other pollutants into the atmosphere, changing its capacity to reflect or absorb solar radiation. These aerosols may also be deposited onto the land surface and cause changes to the surface albedo.
  • Deforestation, agricultural practices and urbanisation change the reflectivity of the earth’s surface.


Some of these influences can have a cooling effect on the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. For example, most aerosols emitted to the atmosphere reflect solar radiation back out to space. Black carbon particles are an exception, as they strongly absorb heat, and when deposited on snow can act as a significant heat sink on the surface that encourages snow melt. Deforestation tends to increase the albedo of the land surface, since green, hydrated leaves reflect less solar radiation than bare earth. This too contributes a negative or cooling effect to the earth’s radiative balance. ( – Parliament of Australia website).


Here in Dominica, with our main economic sectors being agriculture and tourism, climate change is expected to impact us in the following ways:

  • Changes in temperature will have a direct effect on the islands flora and fauna, reducing the availability of food and water for our wildlife and for ourselves.
  • And as we have witnessed with this year’s Hurricane season it also increases the potential for greater frequency and intensity of storms in the Caribbean region.


In order to fight this phenomenon we need to change individually before we are able to work collectively as a nation. Here are a few things we can do to play our part:

  • Living without a vehicle, choosing to walk or increasing the use of public transportation will also limit the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • When you are purchasing a vehicle, buy one with the best fuel economy in its class. Each gallon of gas used is responsible for 25 pounds of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Better gas mileage not only reduces global warming, but will also save you money.
  • Using energy efficient appliances and energy efficient lighting in your home can also have a significant impact on saving the environment.

Learn more about Climate Change, how it affects us and more ways to curb this phenomenon at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website:



An outdoor kitchen boosts a home’s value. The outdoor kitchen is quickly becoming a growing trend for homeowners that want to maximize their outdoor space while making an investment in their home that would increase their home’s resale value. So consider moving your activities outdoors by creating a space that is perfect for entertaining and cooking.

  • Having an outdoor kitchen offers homeowners the opportunity to prepare meals while being comfortably surrounded by family members and friends while still enjoying the outdoors. It is a great method for socializing and allows the person inside preparing the meals to not feel left-out while others are outside enjoying each other’s company.
  • Preparing meals outdoors provides several benefits. It keeps the level of heat within the home at a minimum and makes cleaning up easier. An outdoor kitchen also decreases the traffic within the home during outdoor activities where meals are served.
  • Most of all, outdoor kitchens are fun. It is enjoyable to be outdoors, to relax in a lounge chair, perhaps to watch somebody else do the cooking.


When designing an outdoor kitchen there a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose low-maintenance materials that are designed to withstand the conditions of the outdoors. Keep in mind that high-quality stainless steel provides a sanitary surface that is both easy to clean and resistant to corrosion. Counters and other materials used for building should be highly resistant to grease stains and able to withstand high temperatures.
  • The location of your outdoor kitchen is very important and depends on several factors. The kitchen will need to be oriented in such a way that wind does not blow smoke into the home. However, it would also need to be close enough to the inside kitchen so that you will not need to travel long distances to retrieve items that you need.
  • When it comes to outdoor activities the weather can be a big issue. Having a pergola or any other form of covering will allow you to enjoy cooking outdoors, whether rain or shine.

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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.



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.