Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 9/17/2018

When it comes to arranging furniture, the living room may perhaps be the most challenging. This is especially true when the room houses both a fireplace and a television. Itís difficult to decide where to place the items in your living room when you want those seated in the room to have access to all the room has to offer including a good view of the TV and the fireplace. Here, weíll give you some tips on where to place what for the perfect living room arrangement. We promise that if you follow these tips, everyone will have the perfect view of both the TV and the fireplace and be able to enjoy the living room fully. Think Right Angles First, place all of your seating perpendicular to both the television and the fireplace. This is one surefire way to know that every seat in the living room is the best seat in the house. Thereís no wrong way to arrange furniture when youíre working with right angles! Place the TV On the Wall Opposite the Fireplace The fireplace will be the true focal point of the room. The TV will also be a feature of the room, yet less eye-catching. Where the television is installed will completely depend upon where your fireplace is. You may want to avoid, for example, hanging your TV over the fireplace so that eyes donít become overwhelmed when the fireplace is on. Place Tables For Practical Use Side tables are going to be used frequently in your living room. You should place your side tables strategically, preferably next to pieces of furniture, so they can be used for placing items and drinks on. Putting tables far away from the ends of furniture just doesnít make sense, since you wonít actually be using the tables. Center the Coffee Table The coffee table should be placed as close to the center of the room as possible. A coffee table should be somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of the length of your couch. This rule of interior design ensures that no piece within the room becomes too overwhelming in the space. Flow One of the best words to remember when arranging living room furniture is that of ďflow.Ē You want the room to appear as if it were effortless to design and maintain. The living room is a place that is often used for to relax in, so you want it to feel as such. Function Beyond the look and feel of the room, you want to make sure that your living room is functional. Itís a room thatís used for reading, chatting, watching television and connecting. You never want to room to feel stuffy or unusable. With the right planning and use of your furniture, your living room can be everyoneís go-to room in the house. You wonít even need a bowl of popcorn on movie night to entice everyone with!





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 9/10/2018

Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.

You arenít alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, weíre going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires. 

Cooking fire statistics 

Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.

In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.

Cooking safely

One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while youíre cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.

A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you donít necessarily need one for the cooking that youíre doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.

Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.

Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing arenít near any burners or open flames.

In case of fire

If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and donít re-enter the house under any circumstances.

For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.

Understanding cooking fires

Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.

However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.




Tags: kitchen   home safety   Cooking  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 9/3/2018

If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, thereís one three-digit number that could be oh so important to you. That number is your credit score. Read on to find out how a credit score can affect you and the steps you can take to be sure that your credit is in good standing when you head to apply for a mortgage. 


What Is A Credit Score?


Your credit score is checked by lenders of all kinds. Every time you apply for a loan or a credit card, thereís a good chance that your credit score is being pulled to see if you qualify for the loan. Your credit score is calculated based on the information on your credit report. This information includes:


Payment history

Debt-to-credit ratio

Length of credit history

New credit accounts opened


The areas with the most impact on your score is your payment history and your debt-to-credit ratio. This means that on-time payments are super important. You also donít want to get anywhere close to maxing out your credit cards or loan amounts to keep your score up. 


Whatís A Good Score?


If youíre aiming for the perfect credit score, itís 850. Most consumers wonít reach that state of perfection. Thatís, OK because you donít have to be perfect to buy a house. If your score is 740 and above, know that youíre in great shape to get a mortgage. Even if your score is below 740 but around 700 or above, youíll be able to get a good interest rate on your mortgage. Most lenders typically look for a score of 620 and above. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score the better your interest rate will be.    



What If You Lack Credit History?


Most people should get a credit card around age 20 in order to begin building credit. You can still qualify for a mortgage without a credit history, but it will be considerably harder. Lenders may look at things like your rent payments or car payments. Lenders want to know that youíre a responsible person to lend to. 


What If Your Score Needs Help?


It doesnít mean youíre a hopeless case if you lack good credit. Everything from errors on your credit report to missed payments can be fixed. The most important thing that you can do if youíre buying a home in the near future is to be mindful of your credit. Keep an eye on your credit report and continue to make timely payments. With a bit of focus, youíll be well on your way to securing a mortgage for the home of your dreams.        






Tags: Mortgage   credit score  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 8/27/2018

Is there anything more classic and charming than an old house? One aspect of older homes that make them so cozy is all the built-in shelves, drawers and other nooks and crannies that make each house one of a kind. While houses that have been more recently built usually lack these features, it doesnít mean you canít add them yourself.

Today I have six custom cabinetry ideas for you to create your own charming abode, even if itís builder-grade.

When creating faux cabinetry the only limit is your imagination. Search home magazines and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Save ideas you love to a gallery on your phone or print out in one document. With inspiration in hand head out to your local home improvement store to find millwork options that match your vision.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Install floor to ceiling bookshelves with a bench tucked in between to create a cozy reading nook. Add molding and other decorative millwork to take this D.I.Y. to a true polished built-in look.

Capitalize on any empty corners by adding corner shelves or a corner cabinet. Adding beadboard before installing the shelves and finishing off with molding. There are also many corner cabinetry options on the market to choose from today. Choose one that fits the height of your room in a color that matches the molding in your home.


For cabinetry with drawers and doors add charm by replacing with reproduction brackets, knobs and pulls. Or if you love the thrill of the hunt check out your local yard sales and flea markets for vintage sets. Sites like Ebay and Etsy are another great way to find matching sets of vintage finds.


Add personality with splashes of bold color. Blues, greens, and yellows are popular hues for a pop of color while maintaining classic old home character. Paint on of your new custom pieces a charming shade to bring a room to life. Alternatively, installing cabinetry with glass front doors allows you to put bright decor on display without committing to one particular color. Add vintage books, glassware, and small paintings to shelves for smaller doses of color.

For a luxurious touch, stained glass windows look stunning in a bathroom and allow for privacy while still allowing light shine through. Adding custom sized stained glass windows to the upper portion of a wide doorway works well in homes with higher ceilings and will have guests in awe.  

When house shopping sometimes we have to make compromises when it comes to our wants to prioritize our needs. But that doesnít have to mean you canít have your cake and eat it too. With a little bit of creativity and a few D.I.Y. projects, you can add a dose of old home charm to any house to make a cozy, welcoming home.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 8/20/2018

There's a lot to love about a builder grade home, for example, the fact that it is newly built and doesn't come with the host of issues of an older home. However, these homes can lack in the personality department since the focus†when being built was on the†budget and not magazine worthy style. Keep reading to discover how you can add stylistic flair to your home without draining your bank account. Light fixtures. Changing light fixtures by either replacing them completely or painting them can make a huge difference in a room. Picking up a few cans of rubbed bronze or satin nickel spray paint will give a modern touch without breaking the bank. Doors. Replace or reface generic hollow core doors. You can reface flat doors by adding molding or get creative with a can of paint and a roll of painterís tape and make the illusion that you have a raised panel door. Beadboard paired with molding is another great combination that adds personality to your doors without the major price tag. Stairs. Strip carpeting to expose treads and risers. Hereís where you can let your imagination go wild. Pick up some cans of paint and add a unique touch to your staircase by painting railings and †risers to add a pop of color. Avoid painting your stairs all one color to avoid a bland look. You can even paint a faux runner to really add a unique touch. Cabinets. †Replacing cabinets is always an option albeit a pricey one. If youíre happy with your cabinet layout you have a few diy options available. Variation can be the spice of life. Try removing some cabinet doors to keep things open or installing some glass paneled doors. Paint is always an option whether professionally sprayed or done by yourself. Another easy way to add some personality to builder grade cabinets is by updating hardware. Look for knobs and handles at antique shops to add a unique touch on a budget. Millwork. Molding, wainscoting, and beadboard. Oh, my. With this trio on your side, the possibilities for customization are endless. Frame a plain bathroom mirror, add chair rails or extend baseboards. With a little creativity, you can even recreate the look of coffered ceiling or paneled doors. If you are unsure of where to start, try looking through some home magazines for inspiration. Wallpaper. Wallpaper gives you endless options for adding flair to the walls of your home. Add a pop of color with bright, bold patterns or texture with paintable varieties. If you donít want to make a commitment to wallpaper or the idea of scrapping it if you change your mind fills you with dread there are now a plethora of temporary wallpaper options. Tile. Hexagon and subway tiles are both guaranteed to add a modern feel to your home. However, your options today are endless no matter your budget. Explore the selections at your local home improvement store and donít rule out materials fabricated to recreate a stone or wood finish. After all, thereís no need to empty your wall out just to get the look you want. Just because youíve fallen in love with a builder grade home doesnít mean it needs to stay quite so basic. If you want to add a touch of modern style to your home a little creativity and paint can go a long way. Donít forget to sit back and enjoy all your hard work when youíre finished!




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