Archive | Home Improvement

Spring Into Energy Efficiency

The temperature outside is slowly making its way toward summer highs. Before it  reaches the peak of the season, we want you to know about the many ways you can make your home into an energy efficient home. Just these few easy ways to go greener will help the environment, your energy bills, and keep you in comfort in hot weather! Continue Reading →

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Natural Cleaners – Do They Work?

The smell of some cleaners alone is enough to alert us to the present of some chemical or toxin. But when is this a necessary evil to properly disinfect our home, and when is it worth looking into natural cleaners? What are “green” cleaners, “organic” disinfectants? How can you tell the ones that work from those that do little more than add some shine to your counter?

What’s wrong with industrial strength cleaners? It does depend on the individual sensitivity and the environment in which it is used, but there may be some problems. Volatile organic compounds, used to enhance the performance of a product, can impair neurological functions, while other chemicals can act as respiratory irritants, carcinogens or reproductive toxins, depending upon the extent of exposure, according to the National Environmental Trust and other environmental groups. Continue Reading →

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Spring Cleaning – Make Safety Updates

“Beware the ides of March”: perhaps we as homeowners and renters should take this as a warning. A warning to be safe in our spring cleaning, and include safety updates in our big clean-out. Yes, it’s great to clear the clutter, but more important is home maintenance and keeping it up to safety standards. Continue Reading →

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Check Your CO Detector Annually

New Year’s is a time of fresh beginnings. Start 2018 off as safe as possible in your home. Check your CO detectors, as winter is peak time for cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and deadly. It emits from burning wood, kerosene, natural gas, and oil. As we warm and seal our homes in winter, the chances of CO exposure are high. Continue Reading →

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7 Things to Consider Before Building a Backyard Fire Pit

In California, we have such great weather year-round that means our outdoor space becomes a place to entertain and relax. Residents are not just content with a wood deck and a barbecue, there are so many options for outdoor living spaces — outdoor kitchens, koi ponds, vegetable gardens, swimming pools, movie theater — but increasingly they are looking for a fire pit.

Maybe that’s because it can be a fairly affordable addition to an outdoor space. And that’s true; it doesn’t have to be an expensive project. But there are a few things to consider (not least of all local ordinances that may prohibit open flames), and therefore we’ve put together a list for you. Continue Reading →

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Cool Your Home Without Air Conditioning This Summer

One of the big draws of life in California is the beautiful, sunny weather. But sometimes, it gets really hot. Too hot. Especially if you’re not near the coast, it can get unbearable in a heat wave.

Many homes in Southern California, particularly those in beach cities or older, historic homes, do not have air conditioning. And most of the year, we don’t mind! But when the sun is bearing down and there’s no switch to flip to cool your home, here are some tips to consider: Continue Reading →

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Organize Your Garage in Three Easy Steps

Garage organization can be the one of the most daunting tasks which we face, an insurmountable mountain of years, even decades of toys, tools, and who knows what else. When there isn’t even room for a car, it might feel like the floor of your garage will never see the light of day again. But when a garage reaches that point, the majority of it is usually multiples of tools, lost junk that you don’t actually want, and useful objects swallowed into oblivion. Taking a weekend to tackle this project, or even chipping away at the work over a month, will result in a clean, organized, and efficient space worth the tedium. So, open the garage door, take a deep breath, and take it one step at a time: Continue Reading →

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The Pros and Cons of Artificial Lawns

grass lawn

Artificial lawns have seemed to be the answer to drought-stricken California’s prayers– but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? While they don’t require watering, fertilizer, or mowing, they still have environmental consequences as a petroleum-based, non-biodegradable product.

Time to move on from the perfect freshly mown lawn?

Unfortunately, we’ve learned more and more over the years about the environmental impact of real turf, and it doesn’t look good. Watering makes up one-third of residential water use, so it’s no wonder certain municipalities enforce maximum lawn sizes and watering hours regulations. Continue Reading →

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Spring Clean Your Yard

house and yard

Not that California is exactly coming out of a long and hard six month winter, but we have had our share of storms and wear on the yard and the house. With spring come the months of entertaining and playing outdoors, a sun that exposes more of the wear and tear, and of course, spring cleaning. Did you take our holiday hint and give yourself the gift of renovation? Here’s the next step– sprucing up the yard. Continue Reading →

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Easy Tips for Holiday Entertaining

New Year's Eve Party

Every year, holiday entertaining brings along both old and new traditions. It might be difficult to find the balance, so this year might be the year to spruce up your decorations. Those Pinterest boards and DIY (do-it-yourself) miracles can be discouraging when they don’t quite turn out like the photos…but our easy tips are actually doable DIYs, and sure to add a new shine to your New Year’s holiday party. Continue Reading →

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