How to Source Firewood for Your Stove This Winter

Getting warm and toasty by a wood-burning stove in the deep mid-winter is one of the most satisfying parts of the long cold months that lie ahead. And yet, putting fuel into these stoves is expensive, especially if you’re buying chopped wood from a local supplier. It’s far better to find your own wood supply and create your own firewood free of charge. In this short guide, we’ll explain how to source and chop good, reliable firewood as the winter of 2020 draws in.

Finding Fallen Trees

With so many storms happening across the country, and trees regularly falling of their own accord, it’s rare that you’ll take a turn around your local woods or forest without coming across a recently downed tree. This is always an opportunity to cut and chop some firewood: and it’s something you should take advantage of if you want to save cash on your wood-burning stove this winter. Make sure the fallen tree isn’t damp and rotting and that it’s a good wood to burn in your stove. Then return to it with your cutting and chopping equipment.

Chopping Wood

With all fallen trees, you’re going to need two key items of equipment to help you cut it down to size. One of them is a chainsaw and the other a well-sharpened wood-splitting axe. Both can be found from online stores as well as your local hardware or garden center. Check out the article titled, The Best Chainsaw Money Can Buy in 2020 – FULL BUYER’S GUIDE on Farming Hobby in order to understand the best chainsaws for the job at hand, and look out for smart, long-handled axes to help you chop the wood that you cut with your new chainsaw.

Labor

It’s admittedly tiring and time-consuming to chop up a tree at the site that it fell. But that’s something you’re going to have to take into account in order to save on firewood this winter. Treat it as a fun excursion, and as exercise, to enjoy the process more. And remember: he who chops his own firewood warms himself twice. Do all of the cutting and chopping right by the fallen tree and use wheelbarrows to transport the chopped wood to and from your vehicle. This is the quickest way to harvest a fallen tree of its wood.

Drying

Finally, much of the wood that you’ll find out ‘in the wild’ is likely a little damp or saturated with water. This kind of wood creates a lot of soot and smoke in your chimney and is generally considered to be of poor burning quality. As such, it’s imperative that you create a wood store for your new collection of wood where it can dry over the weeks and months ahead. Try burning a piece from this woodpile on occasion to see if it’s ready to use in your stove in the coming weeks.

There you have it: a simple guide to finding, chopping, drying, and burning your very own firewood for the coming winter.

 

3 Ways COVID-19 Will Impact Interior Design

Since COVID-19 appeared in the United States in early 2020, our way of life changed drastically. Homes became classrooms and offices, and we spent more time in our living rooms, bedroom and family rooms than ever before.

A room filled with furniture and a large window

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Interestingly, all of this “at home” time is already having an impact on interior design. More than ever, people have realized how things like color, layout, functionality and more have an impact not only on their mood, but also on their productivity.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the ways that interior design has changed, and will continue to change, post-COVID-19.

Colors That Mimic Mother Nature

The pandemic has understandably left many people feeling anxious, stressed and grief stricken. As Architectural Digest notes, these unsettled emotions are inspiring a desire to paint our homes in shades that make us feel like we are outside among nature. Instead of fire engine red accent walls or electric purple wallpaper, expect to see calmer and more relaxing shades like sky blue, sea glass green, putty gray, creamy off-white, olive green and turquoise. In addition to the walls, furniture that is upholstered with these same shades will undoubtedly be quite popular, as will accessories like throws, pillows and artwork.

Security Cameras That Instill a Sense of Well-Being

Prior to COVID-19, most people would usually answer the door every time the bell rang. As we continue to social distance, we are less likely to want to come face to face with a delivery person, door-to-door salesman or other stranger. At the same time, people want to protect their homes more than ever, which have literally become their safe haven. In order to do that quite effectively, homeowners are predicted to embrace security camera systems more than ever. For instance, Lorex’s Wi-Fi security cameras link to the Lorex Home app, so you can remotely monitor the footage. If you install a camera near your front door, when the doorbell rings, you can see who is there from the comfort of your couch and convenience of your smartphone. These cameras also have a two-way talk feature that allows you to interact with the person at the door. If you opt for a wire-free version, you can place the security cameras anywhere in or around your home.

Home Offices Will Take Center Stage

Traditionally, home offices were often an afterthought, or maybe a space that was shared with a guest room, or tucked into a corner of the family room. Instead of having a home office, people will now desire an office at home. These spaces will be functional, attractive and designed to handle full-time teleworkers. As a side note, with the recent increase in video conferencing, these work spaces will be designed with Zoom in mind — lighting will be selected to make virtual meetings easier to see for everyone, plush throw rugs will be placed on top of tile or hardwood to help with acoustics and what we display on the bookcases behind us will be carefully chosen to make a personal and fun statement for others to see.

Home, Sweet Comfortable and Relaxing Home

When we first bought our homes, we might have been more focused on the number of bedrooms, or the roomy master bath with the jetted tub, but now that we’ve spent more time in our casas than ever, we are starting to think in other ways about what makes a house a home. COVID-19 is making a long-lasting impact on our abodes, from the colors we will choose and the cameras we install to feel more safe, to creating a fully functional space to work remotely.

 

How to change the look of your home and make it last

Redecorating your house is great and it can be very rewarding, but it can also be costly and time consuming, this is why it is a good idea to redecorate your home, so it can last for as long as you want it to last for. This article will also discuss why it is important to invest in high quality furniture and furnishings as this will last longer than cheaper worse quality items. The article also gives an insight into how your pre-loved items can be upcycled and the general benefits of looking after your furniture and furnishings.

Invest in good quality lasting furniture

The best way to ensure your furniture lasts for as long as you wish it last for, is to invest in furniture of good quality, which looks sturdy and is made of durable materials. For instance, leather sofas are very durable, and families keep leather sofas in their homes for years because they last so long. A Chesterfield leather sofa is a good example of a leather sofa which is not only durable, but it also has a timeless yet glamourous look to it.

A above standard quality bed is also important as we spend on average a third of our lives sleeping. So, in order to get a good night’s sleep, we need to make sure we are comfortable and that our bedroom furniture is something that can be relied on to not break so quickly and to hopefully last for years. This is why it is important to invest money into types of furniture that is of good quality, because you are going to get lots of use out of your home furniture.

Consider upcycling preloved items

On the other hand, whilst it is great and fun to purchase lots of new furniture, not everyone has the budget to buy lots of new furniture at once, so upcycling your older but loved items is a good way of making those items last a bit longer. For example, an old dining room chair can be reupholstered, and the colour of the chair can be completely changed. Wooden bedframes can also be repainted to give it a fresh newer look, any wooden items can be rejuvenated with a lick of paint.

Soft furnishings such as duvets and blankets can be tie-dyed as a way of adding a creative flair to older tired looking furnishings. This is also a fun activity to participate in if you have children.

Conside the use of neutral colour schemes

When redecorating a home which you don’t want to keep redecorating, it is a good idea to keep your colour schemes neutrals as neutral colours do not go in and out of fashion. Avoid using colours and patterns of current trends, it is easy to get caught up in fashion fads, but this will only lead to frequent redecorating and it could lead to you not wanting to own certain furniture for the time period that was previously expected. Lastly, look back in history of vintage styles which will give your home a timeless vintage look, which will never go out of fashion.

Invest in hardwearing flooring or good quality carpet

By hardwearing, it is meant that you choose flooring which is durable and isn’t likely to get marked, stained or damaged easily. Hard wood flooring tends to last for decades, however if you are looking for a cosier type of flooring carpet can be used, the quality of carpet can vary depending on the types of carpet that is purchased. A good quality carpet is usually costlier than its cheaper lower quality alternatives, however with carpets you do get what you pay for and an investment in a good quality carpet will make the carpet last for years.

Invest in products which help to keep the quality of your furnishings

Carpet cleaners and vacuum cleaners are essential items for keeping carpet in the best possible condition. If an item is looked after properly, this can help to extend its lifespan. If you have furniture which is made of fabric, for example a fabric material armchair it may be a good idea to put throws on top of the armchair in order to prevent wear and tear and any preventable damages.

If you have a leather sofa, then leather protector will work well to help protecting the sofa from any scuffs or stains.

5 Great Ideas to Modernise Your Living Room

Regardless of how many years you have been in your property, there may come a time when it’s ready for a revamp. Your living room should be the one area of the home where you can relax and destress after a busy day, so if it’s starting to look tired and outdated, it may be the perfect time to bring your living room into a more modern era. To give you inspiration, here are 5 great ideas that will modernise your living room.

Add More Windows

The majority of modern properties have numerous windows in the living area, which allows more natural light to pour in. There are several health benefits that you can gain from natural light as well, such as improving your sleep and boosting vitamin D. If your living room is feeling old and stuffy, but you don’t have the funds to add new windows, updating your window treatments can transform your space and make your living room feel alive. As you won’t need to turn the lights on as much, you will be able to save on your energy bills too.

Purchase New Furniture

If you have the funds to do so, buying new furniture for your living room is one of the best ways to modernise your space. Whether you purchase a new sofa, rug, or coffee table, buying items in a modern style will add a contemporary touch and bring your living room up to date. There is also lots of second-hand furniture that you can buy on platforms like eBay, many of which are as good as new.

Install a Fireplace

Whether you want extra warmth in your living room, or to boost its aesthetic appeal, installing a modern fireplace can be another great way to improve your living space. A contemporary gas fireplace may be best suited for you, especially as they provide more flexibility in regard to materials and design of a traditional wood burner. You can visit sites like stonewoods.co.uk where you will find gas fires that may be right for your living room.

Add Artwork

If your walls are looking a little bare, you may want to consider adding artwork that can make your living room look more appealing and pleasing on the eye. We all have different artistic tastes, so you should choose artwork that reflects your personality and style. You may even want to purchase a sculpture that can be a great talking point for guests.

A Lick of Paint

If you have wallpaper in your living room that has been in place for longer than you can imagine, stripping your walls and giving them a lick of paint can help modernise your space. It’s best to stick with neutral colours like white and beige, especially as they are trendy and popular with most homeowners.

Whether you’re on a strict budget or you can splash out, there are lots of tips and techniques that you can use to transform your living room and bring it up to date. If your plan is to put your home on the market, a modern living space will appeal to potential homebuyers.

 

Four Reasons to Upgrade Your Living Space This Year

Every property can become your dream home. It isn’t easy, but with the right design tips and tricks under your sleeve, you can improve its overall look and function. You can transform a space entirely so that your property’s value is exponentially improved, and your overall satisfaction is at its peak.

There are so many reasons to invest and upgrade your living space this year. Focus on the reason that applies most to your situation and start there and work your way through the rest of the list. Before you know it, you will have a beautifully designed and functioning home.

Heatwaves are Becoming More Common

For those of you who have either small, window-mounted air conditioning units or don’t have any AC at all, now is the time to invest in a proper HVAC system. Heatwaves are only going to become more common as the years go by and to stay healthy and productive throughout these periods you will need additional help in staying cool.

When looking for a new HVAC installation, always make sure that the company in question also provides maintenance and repair services, like this company which boasts the best AC repair Atlanta services to their customers. Choosing an installer who also provides maintenance and repair is imperative, especially if your HVAC system had to be custom designed for your property.

Upgrading Early Means Recouping the Costs Over Time

Anything to do with your home’s efficiency should be done ASAP from improving the installation to investing in new energy-efficient appliances. The reason why you don’t want to wait is that the savings they offer will help you recoup the money you have spent over time. By upgrading as early as possible, you will save more as the years go by, allowing you to not just recover the money you spent, but boost your home’s value as well.

Homes are Increasingly Becoming Multi-Generational

In the past homes held grandparents, parents, and children. They were multi-generational properties that carried legacies within them. Decades have gone by where this wasn’t the case, but we are slowly returning to these routes as the housing market gets increasingly expensive and young people are making the decision to stay at home instead of moving out on their own.

To facilitate this, upgrades are an absolute must. Think integrated storage solutions, improved energy efficiency, and even just a shower that can take everyone’s morning routines without running cold.

Your Dream Home is Built

Finally, it is time to forget about the dream house fantasy. You need to instead think of your dream house as a project. You don’t find the perfect property. You upgrade the one you have until it is perfect. This means updating the design or functionality. It means converting the attic space to a whole other floor or even expanding your home into your backyard for space instead of packing up and moving.

Invest the time and energy into the design and function, and you will have a home for a lifetime.

 

The Best Investments for Your Home

If you’re willing to invest in a few upgrades for your home, you may be curious about what the best investments are to make. To discover a few smart investments which you can make to increase the value of your home and to create a more comfortable home to live in.

The Best Investments for Your Home:

Solar panels:

Solar panels are a great investment as after a one off installation cost, you’ll save money each month as your power bill will be much lower. Depending on the area which you live in and your household’s monthly energy consumption, you may even be able to power your home entirely off the energy which is collected by your solar panels. It is wise to research good installation companies whether you’re looking for solar panels PEI or anywhere else in the world!

Updated plumbing:

If you live in an older property, it’s well worth investing in having your plumbing system upgraded or replaced.

Attic insulation:

In order to ensure that your home remains well insulated, dry and warm, it’s a great idea to invest in replacing your attic’s insulation.

Deck installation:

Adding a deck to your home can add tens of thousands of dollars of value to your home. As many home buyers are willing to pay a higher asking price for a house which has a great indoor, outdoor floor and which offers a deck which can be used for social events. If you have a sizable back yard, you may want to use a deck to connect your lounge with your back yard.

A home office:

You may want to consider turning an extra unused bedroom or attic space into a contemporary home office. As it’s becoming more common for individuals to work from home and having a home office, will increase the attractiveness of your house to potential home buyers.

A remodelled kitchen:

Another room in your home which is worth investing in updating is your kitchen. As potential home buyers will be far more interested in purchasing a home which offers a modern, stylish, functional kitchen than an outdated kitchen. As potential home buyers don’t want to think about how much money they would have to invest to update an outdated kitchen themselves. Especially after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home. Which may come with other hidden costs.

Some changes which you can make when remodelling your kitchen include replacing your kitchen counters, installing new appliances and having a custom kitchen island created for your kitchen. You may even want to consider replacing the windows in your kitchen.

Add a skylight into your bathroom:

If you want to prevent your bathroom from becoming damp, it’s well worth finding out how much money it will cost to have a skylight installed into your bathroom. Skylights in general are a great investment as they can add light to dark areas of your house, in the darker months of the year.

So if you’re prepared to invest money into increasing your home’s value and marketability, it’s well worth selecting one of the investments listed above in order to start your home renovation.

 

5 Home Improvement Tips that Reduce Your Cost of Living

Whether you live alone or with a large family, the cost of living is still higher than ever. One of the highest costs is always going to your home. If you’re already bought your property, or you’re still renting, you still have bills to pay. Keeping those bills down is always going to be important, but far too many people overlook just how easy it can be to reduce living costs with some clever home changes. If your bills are spiralling out of control and you’d like a bit more space for more flexible money management, here are five changes that you can make to your home that will see your annual cost of living drop a lot more than you might think.

The Energy Audit

Start by working out exactly where you might be wasting money. It’s all about efficiency, so make sure that you check and address:

  • Drafts at doors and windows
  • Lighting
  • Insulation
  • Appliances

Your audit can be done yourself, or you can pay a professional to help. Either way, this will act as both a checklist and a reminder of where your money is being wasted.

Window Changes

One of the most common issues in any property is heat being wasted by draughty windows. Double-glazing can be very useful, but if that’s well out of range of your budget, there are alternative options. Window sealant can be very cheap and takes just a little work to make sure that your windows are not bringing the outside weather in.

Insulation Issues

There’s not much point having your heating on all day if that heat is simply going to head outside. Insulation is one of the best ways to cut your energy costs, and you can go as wild as you like. While loft insulation should be a priority, don’t forget to consider insulating your water pipes as well. This keeps your water hotter and is a very inexpensive DIY project that will save you far more than it costs.

Rethink the Bathroom

There are lots of changes that you can make to a bathroom to save money. Options like low-flow showerheads are cheap and easy to install yourself. If you want to save even more money, it’s always smart to discuss your money-saving options with experts in bathroom design and installation Hertfordshire. Never underestimate how much some basic changes to your bathroom setup can save you a fortune.

In the Garden

It’s easy to overlook the changes you can make to your garden that can have an incredible effect on your living costs. While some of these options might be more expensive than others, they can all help reduce your monthly expenses.

  • Plant a tree that creates shade so you don’t have to rely on your air-con
  • Put up a washing line that will reduce reliance on tumble dryers
  • Use large plant pots to collect rainwater that can be used to water your garden

Gardens can be more useful than you think when it comes to saving some cash.

Homes might be expensive, but they don’t have to strain your bank balance every month. Take the time to assess every room and space in your home and look for the solutions that will save you more money than you ever thought possible.

 

How Can You Create a Perfect Living Room for Your Home?

Your living room is likely to be one of the areas in your home in which you spend the most amount of time, where you can relax in front of the television after a long day at work and socialize with guests. The centrality of your living room means that most homeowners will focus their renovations on this area of their home. If you are lost for ways to breathe life into your living room, here are some top tips to make it a welcoming space for both you and your guests:

Install a Fireplace

Fireplaces have never faded out of fashion, with their inviting light managing to make even the unlikeliest of rooms ten times cozier. By installing a fireplace in your living room, you will be able to transform the appearance and atmosphere of your space in a natural manner, without the need for artificial mood-enhancers, such as candles. A fireplace can also provide a central feature for your living room that can perfect the symmetry and layout and ensure that the room’s design comes together. If you are interested in installing a fireplace for your home, the Kalfires from Marble Hill can provide an aesthetic and modern alternative to traditional fireplaces.

Create a Social Seating Area

Although the décor in your living room is vital to the quest for perfection, your living room’s perfection also relies on its usefulness and your family’s ability to socialize in the space. You can ensure that your living room is able to live up to its purpose by creating a social seating area that all of your guests and relatives can enjoy. For instance, installing a corner or L-shaped sofa will not only allow you to meet all of your design dreams, but it will also create a sense of togetherness for your guests.

Invest in Soft Furnishings

Soft furnishings can transform any living room from a dull and uninspired area to a creative and exciting space. As well as making your living room comfortable, soft furnishings can bring color and life to any room, especially if you are opting for minimalism or have decided to choose a plain color scheme. You should consider investing in patterned fabrics and interesting textures, such as velvet curtains, teddy bear rugs and throws, and satin cushions.

Consider an Open Plan Living Room

Although open plan living rooms are not as popular as they once were, open plan spaces can still be an excellent option for families and those who enjoy entertaining as they allow the layout of your house to flow better and ensure that you can move around your home easily. Additionally, if you love cooking or spend a lot of time in another space, open plan living rooms can allow you to feel included in family life even when you are using another area of the room.

Choose an Inviting Color Scheme

The color scheme of your living room can be the difference between a beautiful and well-thought-out space and a living room like any other. Paints in colors such as blues, greens, and pastels can create a calming mood for your space, while greys, rusts, and neutrals are currently a fashionable choice. By using a good color scheme, you will be able to create a cohesive and attractive living space both now and in the future.

 

6 Useful Tips to Keep Pests Away From Your Home

We all strive for our whole lives to build a home that can provide warmth and comfort to our family. Moreover, we try everything in our control to create the healthiest environment possible, and we strive to use green products for cleaning as they have many benefits.

But, almost all homeowners in the world are troubled by the presence of pests in their homes as they create an unhealthy environment for their families. If your home is infested with pests and the situation seems out of control, you must immediately hire professionals like Responsible Pest Control exterminators to take care of the situation. We have discussed here six useful tips that can be utilized so that pests do not enter your home in the first place.

1. Block all entryways:

First and foremost, you will have to make sure that every orifice and crack of your home is properly sealed so that no pest can sneak into your home. Therefore, examine every nook and cranny of your home to check if there are any cracks or holes in the walls, or if moving parts of your home like doors and windows fit into their respective frames perfectly. If you find gaps between windows or observe cracks in walls, apply a suitable sealant on the affected areas.

2. Keep your kitchen clean:

No place in your home is as susceptible to insects and other pests as your kitchen because it is loaded with plenty of edibles. Therefore, make sure that you keep your kitchen clean by wiping out all the crumbs from the shelves and getting rid of leftovers as soon as possible. Moreover, do not forget to take out the trash because edibles will start to decompose within the waste bin and are going to attract a lot of microorganisms and pests.

3. Eliminate stagnant water:

You must make sure that there are not any pools of stagnant water in your homes because they give an open invitation to mosquitoes to start breeding and develop their colonies. Therefore, actively examine every nook and cranny of your home to check for such pools and eliminate them immediately.

4. Trim the bushes and branches around your home:

If trees and shrubs surround your home, then it is quite susceptible to pest attacks because pests use these branches to climb onto the structure of your home. Therefore, make sure that you trim all the branches that touch the walls and roof of your home so that there is no easy passageway for the pests. Moreover, keep your yard clean by getting rid of all piles of woods or leaves so that pests do not feel invited.

5. Store firewood far from home:

If you store firewood in your home, make sure that you dump these logs away from your home because they can easily give free entry tickets to pests like termites, which can wreak havoc on your wooden belongings.

6. Do not bring the outside in:

If your children play with certain toys outdoors like footballs, baseballs, and sandbox toys, do not let them inside your house because they can easily be infected with various pests. Moreover, make sure that you check your children and pets for various pests when they come after playing outside, and send them to shower immediately.

 

In a nutshell, pests must not be taken lightly and must always be addressed by preventive measures and not by curative measures because the latter will invite a lot of trouble.

 

Here are three reasons why your wooden décor is damaged


Wood is a very dependable and durable material. Of course, a lot depends on the particular variety of wood, but for the most part, people can rely on wooden structures and items to last long and look good. With that being said, it is important to note that timber has a few very dangerous enemies that could damage it. Some protective measures can be taken to combat that. Here are three important reasons why wooden décor is damaged.

No. 1 – Rot

The No.1 and No.3 reasons on our list are quite related to one another, but they are very different nonetheless. Rot appears when the wood comes in contact with excess moisture for an extended period of time and a special sort of fungi appears.

Rotting isn’t an accident; it is a complex issue that takes time to develop. Sadly, it is mostly irreversible, meaning that if your wooden furniture or objects stay wet for too long and begin to rot, you’ll likely need to replace them.

No. 2 – Pests

Pests are not the most widespread cause of wood damage, but they are persistent and quite difficult to exterminate. Someone like a termite could chew wood and destroy an entire piece of furniture or an integral part of the building carcass.

Termites are more abundant in warmer environments, but if you notice them, quickly call the exterminators. Replacement of damaged goods could also be necessary.

No. 3 – Moisture

Moisture causes rot, but it can also damage wood in other ways. If water gets into gaps and under the surface, it can cause bumps and lumps which deform wood. A deformed piece of wood is not just non-aesthetic, it can also be a ticking timebomb which could cause the item to disintegrate and fall apart at any second.

If the moisture has caused lumps – it’s too late to fix and needs replacement. However, if you notice a leak and are able to prevent moisture damage, you can try and fix it before it gets out of hand. Otherwise, choose something waterproof, like charred wood from Degmeda which is breathable yet waterproof.