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2 THINKING OF BUILDING? Remember your building plans must first be approved by the Town and Country Planning Department. Permitted Development is development that does not require the permission of Chief Town Planner or Minister, but is subject to statutory planning standards and other conditions as set out in the TCPDO, 1972 Order, such as building line, side and rear distances, plot coverage, and road reserve to which there

WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

must be adherence. However, Permitted Development is not unrestricted development, as there are limitations. It excludes all lands falling within the Scotland District for certain classes of development and all lands within Zone I of the Water Protection Area. Permitted development public, may involve building development in all the major classes of development, sundry minor operations and the change of use of building and land to any use within the same Use

Securing approval the first step

BEFORE a block is laid you are required to secure approval of your building plans from the Town and Country Planning Department. (FP)

Class. Invariably, however, there is a statutory requirement that the Chief Town Planner

certifies plans of the development before the development begins as well as notification in writing to the Chief Town Planner of the start of the development.

Formal Application Development, which cannot be carried out under the TCPDO, 1972, requires formal application to the Chief Town Planner for permission. Formal permission resulting from such an application involves the specific grant of approval for a particular development that is issued pursuant to the submission of an application to the Chief Town Planner under Sections 16, 17, 18 of the

Town and Country Planning Act, Cap. 240. Applicants have a choice of applying for either outline or full planning permission when the application is to erect a building. The purpose of the outline application is to establish the principle of the development, without the necessity of submitting full details of the proposal. The benefit is that the applicant need only provide the minimum information necessary for decision-making; including the description of the development, a site and

location plan. Any matters relating to the siting, design, or external appearance of the building, or the layout of the land or the means of access thereto, are reserved for the subsequent approval of the Chief Town Planner on a further application. However, the Chief Town Planner has the right to request full details of the proposal in circumstances where he considers that an outline application ought not to be considered separately from the design and related elements.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

WHEN PLANNING to build a home it is critical that you hire the right building contractor. If you hire the wrong one, you may end up with a poor quality built home that took many more months and dollars to complete than you budgeted for. Look for several key attributes. First, he should have a proven track record of building quality homes, and provide you with a list of completed homes and references. References should include both old and new projects. Call and visit some of the references; examine the quality of construction, and ask for feedback on the homeowner’s experience with the building contractor. Second, find out if the contractor has actually built a home similar to your plans. You do not want to hire someone who has only built basic homes, if yours will be unique. Third, look for a building contractor who demonstrates good project management skills and is methodical with his planning and construction. Building a home is an expensive endeavour and you want to be sure that the building contractor can be trusted with your money to build your home correctly. If you sense he is “winging” it during the proposal/bidding phase, steer away from him. Formal bids should be well documented and include a bid proposal with accompanying architectural drawings of the home to be constructed. The bid proposal should clearly state all project costs, as well as a detailed timeline for work to be started and completed. Payment terms and schedules should be included, specific material types, and subcontractors who the contractor will use. Finally, make sure the building contractor is financially stable and has the track record and backing of a bank to support your home building project. If he is using a construction loan, insist on the name of the bank he is getting the loan from. If the bank is providing a construction loan, you should be reasonably comfortable that it has also done a background check on him.

Choosing the right man for the job

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HIRING THE WRONG building contractor for the job may leave you with poor quality work so it’s important to shop around before making your choice. (GP)


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

YOU MAY CHOOSE to buy your property jointly with someone else, such as your husband, wife, relative or friend. If you buy your property with someone else, you can choose to do this in one of two ways, as either: • beneficial joint tenants, or • tenants in common. This is the case whether you own the freehold or leasehold of the property. If you are thinking about buying a property with someone else, you should get legal advice on the best type of ownership for you.

Buying with someone else

Beneficial joint tenants If you own your property as a beneficial joint tenant, this means that it belongs to you and the other owner(s) jointly. You can't re-mortgage or sell the property without the agreement of all the other owner(s). However, if there is a dispute, an owner can apply for a court order. As a beneficial joint tenant, you don't own specific shares in the property and you can't give away a share of the property in a will. If you die, your interest in the property passes automatically to the other owner(s). Tenants in common If you own your property as tenants in common,

Steps in the legal work of buying a property Although it is impossible to give a precise idea of how long the legal work involved in buying a property takes, it is possible to offer guidelines. From having an offer accepted to exchange of contracts can take up to seven weeks and from exchange of contracts to completion can take up to four weeks. However, if there are any problems the time taken may be longer. Once you have instructed the attorney, the seller’s attorney draws up a contract which will eventually be signed by you and the seller. However, before the contract can be signed, your attorney must make sure there are no problems with the ownership of the property, rights of way, access, or future developments in the area that might affect the property.

Arranging to pay the deposit While the attorney is making the enquiries, you should sort out how you will pay the deposit that has to be made when the contracts are exchanged. This deposit is often 10 per cent of the price of the home but it can vary. It is also mostly paid by the mortgage this means that it belongs to you and the other company or bank. owner(s)jointly, but that you all also own a specific If raising the deposit is a problem, you could share of its value. It is up to you to decide how much consider borrowing the money from family members, each share will be. You can give away, sell or mortgage your share. If or try to get a bridging loan from a bank. However, the amount of interest you will have to pay for a you die, your share of the property does not pass bridging loan will be high and you should check how automatically to the other owner(s). You can leave much this arrangement will cost. your share to whoever you like in your will.

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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

IF YOU WISH TO BUY a home you may be able to borrow money to do this. This is called a mortgage. The loan is for a fixed period, called a term and you have to pay interest on the loan. If you do not keep up the agreed repayments, the lender can take possession of the property.

Types of mortgages In the world of mortgages, there are several types available. The most common ones are described below:

Repayment mortgage

Mortgage made easy

This is a mortgage in which the capital borrowed is repaid gradually over the period of the loan. The capital is paid in monthly installments together with an amount of interest. The amount of capital which is repaid gradually increases over the years while the amount of interest goes down. In Barbados this is the most common type of mortgage.

Interest-only mortgage With this type of mortgage, you pay interest on the loan in monthly installments to the lender. Instead of repaying the loan each month, you pay into a long-term investment or savings plan which should grow enough to clear the loan at the end of the mortgage term. However, if it doesn’t grow as planned, you will have a shortfall and you will need to think about ways of making this up. A popular type of interest-only mortgage is endowment mortgage. This mortgage is made up of two parts – the loan from the lender and an endowment policy taken out with an insurance company. You pay interest on the loan in monthly instalments to the lender but do not actually pay off any of the loan. The endowment policy is paid

monthly to an insurance company. At the end of the mortgage term, the policy matures and produces a lump sum which should pay off the loan to the lender. In some circumstances, an endowment policy may produce an additional lump sum. However, there is also a risk that it will not be worth enough to pay off the loan at the end of the mortgage term. If you have been told by your endowment provider that your policy will not be enough to pay off your loan, you should seek independent financial advice.

Where to get a mortgage A mortgage could be available from a number of different sources. Some of the available options are:-

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• banks • insurance companies. • specialised mortgage companies • credit unions

Using a broker to get a mortgage Instead of going directly to a lender for a mortgage, a broker could be used. A broker may be an estate agent, or a mortgage or insurance broker. They will act as an agent to introduce people to a source of mortgage loan to help them buy a home. You may want to use a broker because it can save you time shopping around. However, some lenders offer products direct to customers which a broker may not be in a position to offer. So, it may be best to shop around to see what else is available.


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

Ensure your property is covered MAKE SURE that your home is insured. Once contracts are exchanged you are responsible for the property. You can get information on insurance from your mortgage lender or attorney. The final contract between you and the seller is prepared when: the attorney and you are satisfied with the final outcome of all the enquiries any surveyor’s report has been received and necessary action taken the formal mortgage offer has been received

• • •

•arrangements about the

payment of the 10 per cent deposit have been made the date of completion has been agreed. you and the seller each have a copy of the final contract which IT’s a major investment so no effort should be spared to protect your new property. (FP) you must sign. After these contracts are be earlier. On the day agreed for the seller must hand over the exchanged, both you and the seller completion: keys and leave the property by an are legally bound by the contract and the mortgage lender releases agreed time. the sale of the house to go ahead. If the money The attorney will usually send their you drop out, you will most likely lose the deeds to the property are account to you on, or soon after, the your deposit. handed over to your attorney. completion date. Completion of the purchase usually takes place about four weeks after exchange of contracts, although it can

• •

• •

Bargaining always an option WHEN you decide to buy a particular property you do not necessarily have to pay the price being asked by the owners. You can offer less if, for example, you think there are repairs to be done which will be costly. If the property is being sold through an estate agent, you should tell the agent what you are prepared to pay for the

property. The estate agent will then put this offer to the owners. If you submit a written offer it will always be made subject to contract. This means that you will not be committed to the purchase before finding out more about the state of the property. An oral offer, on the othern hand, is never legally binding.

Once your offer for the property has been accepted you will have to consider the following: whether a holding deposit is payable arranging a mortgage whether a survey is necessary who will do the necessary legal work whether you want to buy with someone else

• • • • •


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010, YOUR GARDEN is an extension of your house, increasing your living area. This area can be enhanced by adding a patio area with adjoining paths, making the surface area hardwearing and more suitable for tables and chairs. We all know that at Christmas time, we love to take particular care of our exterior surroundings. Patio areas can be constructed from different material such as, irregular flagstones, uniformly cut stone, gravel, bricks tiles and wood – or use a selection of different materials. Before you begin, see the following checklist: • Consider your use of the area. Will it be an eating area, a play area for children, an area close to the kitchen or in close proximity to electric outlets. • Your patio does not have to be next to the house; it could be at the other end of the garden with a connecting path. • Consider the natural lighting. Where will the sun be at different times of the day? Will you require

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Paving the way . . . some partial shade on one side of the patio? • What shape and size would you like? Don’t construct something that is too big for the garden. If you are adding paths, consider their width. CREATING YOUR PATH bear in mind the overall effect it will have on your garden, making • Choose a design that WHEN sure it will enhance the actual beauty. (GP) enhances the garden, rather than one that is busy and distracting. particularly will be using two • Will you want flowerbeds in or more materials Consider whether your patio to add extra colour and • • How will you use the you want a modern or traditional dimension? surface, will it be easily marked style. • For quality work, it’s best to or stained? hire an expert to do your paving. • Think about colour schemes,


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

WHETHER you’ve just moved into your dream house, or you’re enhancing your aged home, you can make it look excellent during the Christmas season by following simple and cost effective interior designs and using the most basic furnishing. Although you may need the services of an interior designer, the foremost way of creating the base of excellent interiors is home furnishing. Selecting the right PUTTING furniture according READING lamps to a planned beside your living furnishing theme room sofas or in can create magic, corners beside your and turn your home entertainment into a visitor's furniture is still a great idea. (RC) delight.

Furnishings make difference ... for the bedroom

Furnishing tips ... for the living room Attractive furnishing matching with the colour scheme of your home, can help in a significant way. Choosing your sofas, beds, and other living room furniture in sync with the living room's colour scheme will create a positive impact. Nowadays, you can find a variety of leather and upholstered living room furniture

options. Putting reading lamps beside beside your entertainment furniture is your living room sofas or in corners still a great idea.

The bedroom is your haven of rest. That’s why extreme comfort is necessary for the body and the eyes. There are varieties of ideal bedroom furniture options that you can choose. For a better idea of the best-suited furniture, consult modern furnishing experts. Most prominent furniture manufacturers also provide free consultancy. There are a few universal ideas, which help in improving the overall look of any home. Some of the most favorite options include internal plants. Plants give a greener and soothing look to the place where they are used. Wall paintings are also an ideal way to provide a different look to a modern home.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

OUTDOOR SHUTTERS are a great way to add a touch of character, or nostalgia to many homes. And what better time to add shutters than during the Christmas season, when you are sprucing up your home. Shutters can be used around the outside edges of your windows to add additional colour and detail to the exterior of your home; also, during heavy rain or wind storms, they can be used to help protect glass windows. When shopping for outdoor shutters, there are a number of options you need to consider: One size doesn’t fit all. Take time to measure your windows. You’ll need to know the height and width of the windows for which you wish to install the outdoor shutters. Choosing an outdoor shutter that is compatible with your window, and its size, is also essential. Choose a Material There are several types of materials from which to choose, when it comes to outdoor shutters. Common types are: aluminum, fibreglass, vinyl and wood. Wooden shutters give

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Shutters add class WINDOW SHUTTERS can be used for practical reasons and, if stylishly designed, can complement your home. (GP)

your house a well-crafted look, and are the most expensive. Vinyl shutters are generally the cheapest. Coordinate your colours Make sure to choose a shutter colour that complements the present colour of your house. You should also consider if you want the shutter colours to standout or to simply blend in with the present colours of your house.

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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

YOU SPEND more than one-third of your life in bed. It’s our comfort after a long day at work and our prison when we’ve got the flu. We relax on it, watch TV and sometimes eat in it. Breakfast in bed makes it all the more delicious. So of course, you want your bed to be comfortable, and also reflect who you are stylistically. It all starts with choosing bed linens. What do you look for when purchasing sheets and pillowcases? Do you like an impeccably-made bed, free from wrinkles? Is price range your main concern? Is it time to switch your linens with the seasons? Maybe you want luxurious bedding that feels amazingly smooth on your skin, regardless of the price. All these are factors to bear in mind when choosing bed linen. Of course, you’ll want to have matching curtains, or at the least, curtains in colours which blend in with the bed linen. When choosing bed linen, you may not have to go too expensive, but don’t be cheap either. You want linen, which is durable and easy to wash. In addition, always choose the higher count threads. Here’s a look at the various linens available: Egyptian Cotton Linens: Feel softer than any other cotton, generate less lint and are the most durable. Egyptian cotton tends to be more expensive.

Sleep in comfort and style

Pima Cotton Linens: Exceptionally soft, strong and durable cotton developed from Egyptian cotton. Modal Linens: Natural fibre made of 100 per cent beechwood cellulose. This fibre is exceptionally soft, 50 per cent more absorbent than cotton and dries faster than cotton. Lyocell Linens: Manufactured fibre made from trees. These are soft, strong and absorbent. Polyester Linens: Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most popular. These are strong synthetic fibres that resist shrinking, stretching, mildew, abrasion and wrinkling. Silk Sheets: Silk sheets are sexy and smooth but high maintenance. If you plan to use them regularly, be sure you can afford the dry cleaning bill that will come with them. In addition, colour choice can affect the feel of your room. Compliment the colour of your walls with something in the same family, or go for really bold for a bright contrast. For something a little more funky, animal print linens can be a popular choice. If you’re enhancing a kid’s room, there are plenty of fun designs. Bright colours and floral designs work well with a girl’s room. For boys, sports linens, camouflage print, or sheets covered in their favourite superheroes will make them happy. For something more romantic, satin is a great way to go. Some white or red satin sheets will set the mood.

• • • •

• • • •

Tips for successful bed buying PART OF sprucing up for Christmas is ensuring you have a solid, new bed on which to sleep. The average person spends nearly one-third of their life asleep. This makes your bed one of the most important purchases for the home. The bed needs to be comfortable, and a big part of mattress comfort is the size. The bed should allow enough room for you to turn over and be long enough that your feet do not hang over the end. The size of the bed should also be in

proportion to the size of the bedroom. When shopping for a bed, make sure it is not the only piece of furniture that can fit in the room.

bed to pass through. Visit a mattress or furniture store to see what is available. It is also a good idea to compare prices at this time if you are on a budget. Here are some tips: Try out the beds in the showroom. Measure the area where you want to If you are sharing the bed with a put the bed. This can help determine spouse, note the amount of space whether you need a twin, full, queenthey will need. or king-size mattress. Double check the measurements Measure any doorway or hallway of the bed before you make your between the front door and the purchase. Some companies bedroom. The layout of some homes providing discounts or sale prices may not facilitate a queen- or king-size may not accept returns.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010, I’M SURE YOU will agree that there is something special about lights at Christmas time. And while electric lighting is more considered during this time of the year, there are different types of lighting designs you could have at home. Natural lighting can give you so much more benefits. Daylight not only improves the general light condition in your home, but is also a way to help the environment in minimising energy consumption; thus your electric bill can be lowered. Your eyesight can benefit as well. These advantages brought about by natural lighting can be achieved through simple steps. You are fortunate if you have a home equipped with huge openings, transparent fibre glass canopies, or wide spaces. The light coming from the sun can easily penetrate any room in your house. But if your space is relatively small, there are quick tips that can aid to maximise natural lighting. Firstly, modify the windows, and always put up the curtains or blinds whenever there is daylight. There are different types of shades and blinds that both showcase the qualities of UV protection and high light penetration. Some samples of these are bamboo blinds, bottom-up or top down shades. Improving the natural lighting in your home cannot only be through the means of installing new fixtures. You can do so by painting your walls with colours that brighten any room.

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Lighting the natural way

Re-arranging furniture and appliances can also help augment the light coming through the windows. Make sure that none of these items block the windows. For example in the living room, avoid putting the sofa, shelves or other furniture pieces directly next to these openings. Also, add mirrors in as many areas as possible.

NATURAL LIGHTING is good for the environment not to mention the fact that it will reduce energy consumption and by extension your electric bill. (GP)

More light can be distributed in an entire area when the outdoor light bounces off the mirrors. You can have floor-to-ceiling mirrors, mirror panels installed, paned windows or picture frames. These decorative pieces can also heighten the appeal of your house. If you have an ample budget, consider installing skylights.


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

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Living room worth special thought MAYBE YOU’VE experienced it before, or you know someone who has. You go into a home furniture store and you see what you believe is the right kind of furniture. It may be a lovely sofa suite, with the right matching accessories. However, when you take it home, there’s trouble getting it through the door. Alas, it’s also too big for your living room. Yes, bad choices like this happen to the best of us. So the first lesson we can learn when choosing any kind of furniture, is to know the available space we have. As you choose your furniture for your new home and the upcoming Christmas make-over of your home, remember that modern day furniture for your living room must be functional. That’s why many hotels and resorts place sofa beds in their suites. Also, you should choose furniture which can be easily cleaned, and which is durable, bearing in mind that your living room is the showcase for your home décor, and what you choose now will be around for years to come. Here are some tips on choosing living room furniture to build an enduring showcase for your home décor.

Lovely landscapes increase appeal

COLOUR, PATTERN, SIZE AND SHAPE are some of the key factors to consider when selecting the right rug for your room.

VASES (above) and other objets d’art (below) can be used the accentuate the décor in your living room. (RC)

Flexibility Flexibility should be one of your main priorities when choosing your living room furniture. Prominent furniture pieces such as sofas and upholstered chairs are major investments. Look for colours and shapes that will complement a variety of decorative styles and provide you with lasting value for your money. That way when your home décor needs updating a few years later, you can focus your budget on smaller and less expensive decorative accessories. Avoid prints in favour of modern, neutral colours. If you like the shapes of your living room furniture pieces, you can always employ a stylized slipcover to capture the trendy look of the moment, and accentuate with vases, area rugs, and artwork.

Subtlety Most guides to choosing living room furniture will

instruct you to select a visual focal point. The problem is that modern electronics often do that for you. A giant flat-screen television is going to command attention regardless of where you place it, and that will detract from the living room furniture you’ve so painstakingly chosen. Wooden television cabinets are a superb way to hide stereos and televisions when they’re not in use, enhancing the subtlety and sophistication of your living room décor.

(FP)

Getting it right with the rug WHAT'S happening under your feet? Are you feeling comfortable with just tiles, carpet, wooden floor, or do you want to add some style to your home décor this Christmas by settling for some new rugs? Chances are you already have a combination of all these in various rooms in your home. Whether you have carpet, tile, wood or laminated flooring, you may wish to purchase an area rug for that exotic look. Adding an area rug to any room is a way to add texture, colour, shape and variety to your design. With many shapes, sizes, colours, patterns and materials to choose from, you may find it difficult to choose which area rug to add to your home. Choosing the size of rug to get is the first and most important step in buying an area rug.

Look at the furniture in the room where you would like to put the rug. Take note of how many pieces of furniture or accessories (frames, clocks, mirrors) are "masculine”, meaning square or rectangular with sharp edges. Take note of how many pieces of furniture or accessories in the room are "feminine", meaning round or oval in shape. A bold colour or patterned rug should not take up the entire room. Choose a small rug and surround it with your biggest pieces of furniture if this is the case. Remember that your rug should accentuate your room, not over power it. In addition, if you’re choosing a rug for your living room, choose one which allows your feet to rest comfortably and not one where you have to fight for space when dining.

HOME IMPROVEMENT is an eminent part of the upkeep of any property. Whether it is for your personal use, getting your property ready for sale, or for the Christmas holiday spruce up, landscaping plays a vital role in upgrading the looks of your house. For many, the idea of landscaping can be seen as an expensive project. It is true, as you have to study the soil culture, climate of the area, horticulture and so on. These usually require professional help, but if you enjoy gardening and look forward to beautifying your home’s exterior then you can do it yourself. First, identify the area which needs to be worked upon. Take a look at your house from the street, note the area in your garden which acts as the focal point and enhance. By doing this you will be successful in drawing the attention of people to this place. You can easily make a focal point in your garden by arranging colourful flowering plants and greenery in such a manner that they attract maximum attention. Use seasonal flowers for this purpose. Add lots of bright colours, and feel free to increase the appeal by placing colourful pots and stones, or by using potting benches for flower arrangement.

THE WEED WACKER is an invaluable tool when it comes to grooming your lawn. (RC)

CREATING a focal area in your garden draws attention to your property. (Internet Picture)

Maintenance of lawns is also an integral part of landscaping. You have to constantly keep mowing and watering to maintain

the greenery. Neatly trimmed lawns always look appealing, although keeping the grass green throughout the year is

pretty difficult. Remember, if it looks good outside, then others would want to venture inside.


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

Impress at the door THERE ARE LOTS of different types of entry doors to consider when it comes to purchasing a new one. Factors to consider when making a choice include budget, looks and durability. Replacing your entry door can really do so much for your overall impression, especially when family and friends visit at Christmas, that it would be worthwhile to put a little extra thought and consideration into this choice. There are three basic different types from which to choose: Steel doors Popular and inexpensive, they require little maintenance.

Fibreglass doors These can be more pricey, expensive models look like natural wood, but won't warp or rot. Wood doors Wood doors can be expensive, but also look really nice. They require maintenance and upkeep in order to stay in good condition. You can find prehung exterior doors at most places which sell windows and doors. Make sure to take along your measurements and sketch showing which direction the door swings. Also, pick out hardware such as door knobs, handles and deadbolts before ordering the door, if these do not come with the actual door.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

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Enhancing your kitchen

Choosing the right appliances IF YOU HAVE an attractive kitchen that is very functional, it will definitely increase your home’s value. Hence, it pays to do minor remodelling not only for aesthetic purposes but of course, to improve the overall monetary value of the house. Among the most prominent features of a kitchen are the appliances used in cooking as well as in preserving food. Select the types of appliances with brands that have already proven their worth in the market. This will save you money in the long run, rather than having to buy new appliances within months after the purchase. Each of your appliances should have the features you require to enable you to perform everyday tasks efficiently such as your washing machine or dishwasher. The same principle applies to all your kitchen appliances. In addition, when selecting your oven, consider whether you want gas or electric. The colour, style and design of your appliances are important, since they will determine the appearance of your kitchen. For a contemporary kitchen you could choose built-in kitchen appliances to create a minimalist feel, with splashes of bright colour in accessories. Chrome or stainless steel is very popular these days. They are stylish and maintain their appearance over time. Your refrigerator is also a main appliance, and there are many styles to choose from. You may have a small kitchen which doesn’t have much space for a large refrigerator, so you could consider a separate fridge and freezer which will fit under your worktop, or a slim line fridge freezer that will fit into a tight space. Before deciding the style kitchen, know which kitchen appliances are necessary to you and which features you will find essential. Your choice will depend upon the size of your kitchen and the time you will spend there.

CHRISTMAS always seems the perfect time to enhance the kitchen. Since many of us do lots of entertaining around this time, we want to be sure that our kitchen – often referred to as the heart of the home – is clean, tidy and functional. The kitchen is where we spend time preparing meals, eating, helping our children with their homework, or chatting with friends and family. Simply put, the kitchen is one of, if not, the most important room in your house, which is precisely why you should spend time and money making sure it looks its best. Here’s something to consider: does A WELL LAID OUT kitchen your kitchen already have great bones? makes cooking even more enjoyable. (FP) Meaning, are the cabinets stylish, are the

countertops granite and are the appliances stainless steel? If not, you should spend your time and money upgrading your kitchen. If you already have great bones to your kitchen, you may just need to get rid of the clutter and consider whether or not your kitchen is stylish and inviting. Do you feel like you’ve walked into the pages of a magazine when you enter your kitchen? You can enhance stylishness by adding details which can be as simple as adding beautiful glass bowls full of colourful fruit and vases of flowers. Another key to enhancing your kitchen is to change it up often. In doing so it will keep the room fresh and inviting.


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

Brightening the bathroom ADDING just the right accents to your bathroom can have a surprising impact on the look and feel of the space. Choosing towels made from materials, colours, and textures that you love adds a little something extra to the room, increasing your comfort and making it feel truly yours. The perfect bed linens and towels can make guests feel welcome and make you feel more at home. At Christmas more friends and family members visit your home, some for extended periods, so having a fully stocked bathroom is essential. You do not want to run out of soap, body baths, oils, air fresheners or towels. Here are a few tips:

If you or your guests are heading out for a day at the beach, you don’t want to forget your towel! Beach towels serve two main purposes: to absorb water and to provide a large surface area for you to lie on. Then ensure you have enough soft, warm bath and hand towels for after a relaxing bath or shower. Although the primary purpose for hand towels is for drying wet hands, they can also be used for cleaning and as a sweat towel at the gym. Either way, hand towels are great for absorbing moisture. Washcloths are primarily used while bathing. A soft washcloth and soap is a must for showers and baths. Spruce up your bathroom

BRIGHTEN UP your bathroom with colour co-ordinated accessories. (RC)

by setting out baskets of colourful washcloths. Other bathroom accessories will be your shower curtain, which

should blend well with the various colours of the bathroom, the bathroom mats and various pieces of bathroom furniture.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010, OUR ELECTRICITY BILLS are undoubtedly the highest of all bills in the home. There are ways to cut down on the amount of electricity we use – during Christmas, and even on the average day. Let’s introduce you to some of them: Tip No. 1 Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby. Many of us use the remote to switch off the television or stereo, leaving the appliance running on standby. This actually means the appliance is still using up electricity and wastes a considerable amount of energy. By switching off at the main power button, or even the socket, you’ll save both energy and money. Items left on standby use up to 85 per cent of the energy they would use if fully switched on. Tip No. 2 Dry clothes outside if possible. Electric tumble dryers are commonly the second biggest energy user in the home, after the refrigerator. They are used a lot less, but still utilise a huge amount of electricity when switched on.

Energy saving tips You can avoid frequent use of the dryer by line drying clothes, and using the dryer when it rains. If you need to use the dryer, ensure the clothes are as dry as possible after washing. This will reduce drying time considerably. Tip No. 3 Use energy saving lightbulbs. In most homes, about 10 to 15 per

(FP)

USING energy-saving bulbs (top) and line drying clothes are two ways you can conserve energy in the home. (GP)

17 cent of the electricity bill is for lighting. Energy saving light bulbs can cut your costs considerably. Traditional bulbs waste lots of energy by turning it into heat but energy saving bulbs work in the same way as fluorescent lights. They are more expensive than traditional bulbs, but they last over 10 times longer and use up to four times less energy. Where you would use a 100w ordinary bulb, you would only need a 20-25w energy saving bulb. Tip No. 4 Always switch off bulbs in the room No matter what type of lighting you are using, always turn the lights off when you leave a room. Use solar lights in your garden There are a number of different solar powered lights for use in the garden. These lights are highly energy efficient and convenient. They do not require external extension leads or special electric fittings. The solar cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity, as they charge up during the daylight and light up as it gets dark. Although they are not hugely bright, they are less intrusive than electric lights and look nice in the flowerbeds.


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

LEDs cast new light on decorating DECORATING YOUR HOME for Christmas can be fun and exciting, yet daunting at the same time. Some people go overboard with lights, decorations, and festivities, while others like a more simplistic way of creating their own holiday masterpiece. From trimming the tree to decorating your house and yard, Christmas dĂŠcor can be done in many different ways. One of the most common types of outdoor and indoor adornments for the holidays is lots of greenery. Garlands and trees are decorated with shiny bells, glass balls, and the now-popular LED Christmas icicle lights. These lights provide bright, beautiful illumination for indoor or outdoor dĂŠcor, and are much safer than other types of Christmas lights that can potentially catch fire or burn out quickly. LED lights have a much longer life span and are less likely to become broken or dull over the years. These lights come in many different styles, lengths, and colours. If you are like most people, you want to express your sense of pride in your home by accenting the colours that are already there, so choosing a solid colour such as blue, green, red, or white is for them. Other people want to show their sense of individuality and want lights that blink, chase each other about, or flash in coloured patterns. A great way to display lights for the holidays is to create a design with the lights and build other decorations around them. LED lights use far less energy than traditional Christmas lights. They also better withstand the rigours of being taken

down and put in storage than other types of temporary lighting due to the durability of the material with which they are made. Some people leave their lights up year-

round, only to find that they are burnt out or broken after the year's exposure to the elements. When using LED lights, the probability of breakage is much less

than with more fragile light bulbs. By using LED Christmas icicle lights, you can decorate more efficiently by reducing the replacement of bulbs, fire

hazards, and energy use. These unique lights can be used on trees, garlands, and houses to create the perfect individualised atmosphere

LED decorative lights. (Internet picture)

for your holiday decorating needs. They have a brighter, more intense light and last much longer than other types of holiday lights.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

WHEN PURCHASING or constructing a home these days, many people take into consideration the importance of having a home office and/or home theatre. The world of technology is constantly changing. Wi Fi Internet access and cable television are no longer luxuries for the few. They are necessary for all and sundry. It is no wonder then that even social media such as Facebook and Twitter – among others, have signalled increased sales in computers, the Iphone and the Blackberry telephones. More and more people are recognising that adapting to this new technological age could mean bringing some changes to their homes. A home theatre receiver is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can buy. This receiver is also known as an AV receiver, or surround sound receiver, because it includes the majority of the inputs and outputs required for setting up the home theatre system, from speakers to the television set itself. A good receiver will serve as a tuner for receiving AM/FM and satellite radio, as well as high definition radio. It will control the different audio and video sources that can be used, including the DVD player, the CD player, and the VCR. It will also come equipped with a multi-channel

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A HOME THEATRE RECEIVER will enhance the quality of your audio and video experiences. (GP)

amplifier for the transmission of surround sound signals. Be sure and check out the power ratings of this amplifier. Higher wattage capability per channel does not automatically equal better sound. The overall sound level of the receiver is critical to the quality of your home theater experience. A factor called continuous power is also important. This is the capability of the receiver to work to its fullest power over an extended period of time. Continuous power is indicated by the acronym RMS. The RMS will give you the power capability of the component, including its potential for generating sound at various levels over an extended duration.


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

Eye-catching accents enhance décor

IF YOU WISH to impress your guests and family with your home décor it is always better to opt for something unique, innovative, and different from the conventional. The pieces that you use for your walls, to decorate your table tops, and cabinets, play a vital role in determining the overall look of your home’s interiors. When a person enters a room, the first thing they usually rest their eyes on, is the walls of your room. You can choose beautiful pictures, tapestry and other wall hangings, which will add a sense of elegance, grace, and a unique artistic flavour to any form of room setting. There are a variety of stores which offer exotic ornaments. Some can be bold, and colourful, while others are not as dramatic, yet giving charm to the various rooms in your home – dining, living, kitchen, bathroom and even your own “at home office”, allowing you to accentuate the interiors of your modern home with an aristocratic touch. At times, rather than choose paintings, individuals may go for tapestry.

ORNAMENTAL PIECES such as these serve not only to accentuate the décor of your home but can also form the subject of conversation when guests drop by. (Pictures by Rawle Culbard)

In comparison to conventional paintings and photographs, tapestry wall hangings can offer a more appealing home décor which is bound to lure the attention of visitors. Art wall tapestries in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and themes, can create different cultures in your home. For instance, what if you prefer a Chinese theme or an African theme? Other popular tapestries can include French tapestries, European, religious tapestries or medieval tapestries – the choices are plentious. With their wall hangings, dainty designs and

appearance tapestries or bold ornamental pieces can be used as central display items to attract the compliments of the onlookers and leave visitors and family gasping in awe and wonder with your choice of home décor accessories.


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

Making your home your office IT HAS BECOME quite common over the years, to set up an office at home. Whether you’re a business person, or an individual who just wants the comfort of working from home some days, or simply a place where you can be creative, a home office is fast becoming a necessity. You must know that working on a sofa or on your bed results in laziness, procrastination, and sometimes a sore back or shoulders which hurt. If you have set up a home office or are about to do so, having office furniture is mandatory. Your at home office furniture should create the atmosphere of an actual workplace, which will also encourage you to work. Furniture of every kind and type is easily available today. You have myriad options in shapes, colours and designs of tables, shelfs, and desks, that can be used for different purposes. But you must consider the following before shopping for home office furniture: • Consider the availability of space, then decide what kind of furniture you should buy. Compact modular home office furniture is best suited in smaller rooms. • Necessity of any furniture is also important. Make a list of things that you require before shopping for home office furniture, else, you will end up with unwanted pieces of furniture. • Along with your budget, keep in mind that usefulness is more important than image. Above all, if your job entails working on a computer, having a trendy computer table will be enough. There are also double desk and shelfs available if the modular home office is meant for two. Remember that a garage, basement, or spare room can be converted into a home office. You can also decorate your home office to add your style and personal touch, creating a perfect and encouraging ambiance for work at home.

21 MORE PEOPLE are opting to work from home for comfort as well as convenience. (GP)


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WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

Choose your painter wisely WHO WANTS to see a poorly painted building, especially during the yultide? Our lives are getting very busy, and with that comes very little time to maintain housing projects such as painting. It is much more convenient to hire a painting contractor to get a higher quality paint job, as opposed to a do-ityourself project. How do you go about hiring a painting contractor whom you can trust to get the job done correctly. Look first within your circle of friends or family. Your co-workers might also have suggestions about professional painters.You should examine the work done on their house to determine if it is the quality that you want. Customer satisfaction is very important when choosing a professional through references. While quality of work is important, the way they treat their customers is also key. You want to pick a professional who is pleasant and courteous; one who will answer all your queries. You should also ask if the contractor usually arrives at the job on time. If your friends, co-workers, or family have no recommendations, try inquiring from a person at a paint store, since that’ s where professional painters will purchase their supplies. After getting your list of prospective painting contractors, call each one and ask a lot of questions. Once you have made your choice, ask for a written proposal of what will be done during the job and what products the painter will be using. This should include the amount charged for the surface preparation, the type which will be used, the caulking, and the brand of paint being used. A professional painter will also have a description of the paint manufacturer’ s product line. The proposal should also list how many coats of paint will be applied to finish the job. Go with your gut instinct about which professional painter to choose. The only way to truly tell if the person is reliable is to have a face-to-face meeting before committing to any project, and never pay for the entire job up front. Compliments Harris Paints

RELIEVE YOURSELF of the stress and at the same time ensure yourself of a higher quality job by hiring a professional to handle your holiday spruce up paint job. (FP)


WEEKEND NATION SPECIAL. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2010,

AN IMPORTANT ASPECT of owning or even renting a home is home security. Your home should be so secured that intruders won’t be able to get in. At Christmas time, the temptations for intruders to do so, mounts even higher. While bolts and locks work well, there are different security systems that you can choose. Here are some facts that a lot of consumers want to know regarding home alarms, how these systems work and the advantages of having one set up in your home. It is impractical to assert that having home alarms, even one that is top-of-theline will totally ensure that your home will not be burglarised. It is still a better idea to have a home security system set up in your home. Based on statistics, a criminal is less likely to break into a home

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Secure your investment that has a home alarm. Cellular Alarm Monitoring is a type of security service that a lot of security companies are now offering to their consumers. For people who do not have a phone line, companies can use VOIP or cellular radio and provide alarm monitoring services for people who need it. You get to save money without worrying about your phone bill or being concerned about monitoring fees from your security company. The fact remains that

security companies in general cannot promise that their home alarm systems will work at 100 per cent efficiency all the time with VOIP phone services. There have been companies who have successfully done so and it is better to make sure of this before you avail of this type of service. It is still better to use cellular radio as an alternative to using VOIP phone services. Choosing to install a cellular radio or a landline as a way for your phone service to work with

SETTING UP A home security system is a good way to deter intruders. (FP)

your home security is a more viable option that can generate better results over time. Close circuit television, guard dogs and manned

security are other means of securing your home. But, however you choose to secure your home, just make sure that you do.


Printed and Published by THE NATION PUBLISHING Company LTD., Nation House, Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados. Telephone (246) 430-5400


Smart Homes October 2010