Including the Wife’s Opinion

Yours, mine…and Ours! Combining Two Personal Styles into One Beautiful Home

It is that time of year again, and many couples are just about to say “I do”. But getting married can also mean trying to merge a collection of sports memorabilia with a canopy bed upholstered in bright pink silk. Sound scary? For many people who are about to start decorating their first place together, it just might be.

Let’s call this the Panic Phase.

What stays and what has to go? Who gets to keep what? What if one person likes contemporary and the other prefers traditional? Both of you have their own unique backgrounds, tastes and traditions. You may be coming from two separate homes or apartments, each filled with possessions. How do two different styles come together in a way that works for both individuals – and with minimal stress?

Read on for some survival tips!

Combining households isn’t simply about “stuff”. The things we own bring back memories, sometimes from long ago, like that armoire Grandma Anne gave your parents on their wedding day, or from the not-so-distant past, like that huge, yellow corduroy bean-bag that you won in a college poker game while “studying” for a math exam. How do you deal with pieces that do not fit the other person’s vision for the new home? How do you build a shared vision – the foundation of shared memories?

First, each of you has some homework to do. This is the Inventory Phase. Start by making a list of everything you own. Evaluate each piece. Be brutal with yourself. Ask, do I really need this? Is it an heirloom? Is it something that really matters, or am I just hanging on to it? If the item is relatively new it should be in good shape with the potential to last. Let quality be your guide. You may not be wild about the fabric on a particular sofa, but if it’s a solid piece it can be reupholstered and serve you much longer than a trendy new item from Ikeas.

Both of you should finish this phase by deciding exactly what to keep, and what can go. Now you are ready to start working together – and to begin to compare notes.

This phase is called Dialogue and Compromise. And it is the hardest part.

The idea is to have an open discussion about what matters most to each of you. Acknowledge that it is not easy for the untrained eye to mix styles. In terms of process, neither should be totally in charge, but it is fine to recognize that each of you has particular strengths. Perhaps one takes the lead with interiors and the other focuses on landscaping, or vice versa. Whatever works for you!

What happens if the discussion doesn’t go easily? OK…it hardly ever does. Perhaps the conversation degenerates, and you end up sitting there thinking, “I just can’t believe the man I married actually expects me to put that in MY house! Who could imagine he would care so much about how the house looks? It certainly wasn’t obvious from looking at this bachelor pad!”

Let’s take a look at some common issues and solutions.

Collections and Designated Rooms

That’s a tough one. People have a natural desire to collect things. Some collections are easier to swallow for a new spouse than others. While most men can live with a china collection in a dining room hutch, I could not imagine looking at model cars, sports posters or “original GI Joes” collections in my family room. Call me old-fashioned! There is a place for those kinds of beloved displays – a place where time had stopped. Try to find a room that would be just for him. It may be his home office or a little workshop in the finished part of the basement – a place where he can do whatever he wants when it comes to décor. You do not have to see it. Just keep the door closed.


Speaking of collections, sometimes they are hand-me-downs, which brings us to another difficult topic: heirlooms. If your wife is not in love with that table your grandmother gave you, it does not mean she rejects your grandmother – to her it is just a piece of furniture that does not fit her vision for the new dining room. Try to compromise. Let her keep a piece that is important to her – assuming she lets you keep your table.

Trade Up

What to do with pieces that you let go? Sell them. There are consignment stores that accept furniture of different provenance and value (not necessarily traditional or antique) that may come and pick up your stuff. Selling a couple of pieces you do not want may help you to buy a piece that you truly need. Oh, I forgot… you were trying to pare down your furniture. OK, how about putting the money into a weekend getaway, or a nice dinner out? After all this stress, you will need a break. When the time comes to blend houses, let’s hope you are not looking at two moving trucks filled with enough stuff to fill two or more houses. In that case, go back to the Dialogue and Compromise Phase. Two of everything is for arks, not households. But if your possessions are nicely condensed, you might find yourself in the position of actually needing to buy things. Congratulations! Life is about to get a whole lot easier, especially if you can make the next decisions together.

You are now in the Ours Phase. Here’s what to do next:

-Make an inventory of all that you’ve decided to keep, noting what is useful as-is versus what needs refinishing or reupholstering.

-Make a list of what you need to add.

-Prepare a budget – it will help you stay focused.

-Buy the main pieces first (like a bed for a bedroom) but be flexible – if you see an absolutely gorgeous rug but buying it now would mean having no desk for a while – go for it. It is much better to collect pieces that you love over time than to rush out and buy a complete set of so-so furniture.

-Look for versatile pieces that could “travel” from room to room and ultimately from house to house.

-Make your place unique by bringing in accessories that mean something to you – travel mementos, flea market finds and interesting art. It won’t feel like home until it is really yours. To couples everywhere, just starting out – good luck, and have fun!

Maintaining the Landscape – Lawn, Tree’s & Stone decor

People who own residential property spend a considerable amount of time in beautifying their landscapes. If you own a resort or hotel, then beautifying it to a great extent helps in creating a great impression among visitors, but what about a home’s landscape?

Here are some useful tips which you can follow to select a reliable landscape design & maintenance company:


Be sure that the contractor offers the services which you need

One common misconception that many property owners tend to have is that all landscape or tree companies offer the same type of services. However, this is not true. Therefore, you need to acquire a list of services that the company offers. Compare it with your individual needs. The usual services offered by these companies includes snow & ice management, landscape enhancement, irrigation and lighting, landscape construction, landscape design and landscape maintenance. Landscape maintenance involves weeding, mowing, edging, trimming, pruning (visit to learn more about maintaining your trees), turf and ornamental programs and seasonal color. In case of landscape construction, contractors plant, perform hydro seeding, installation of turfs, retain walls, installation of water features, drainage, erosion control and outdoor amenity installation. Landscape design involves site evaluation and plans to create or enhance focal points of outdoor areas. It also includes community master planning and amnesty designs such as outdoor kitchens, dog parks, patios, fire pits and fire pits.

Contractors who handle irrigation and lighting handle repair, installation, maintenance and suggestions for efficient water usage. The snow and ice management services offers involves plowing, ice melt application and clearing of sidewalks. The landscape enhancement services offered by contractors includes redesigning of focal points or addition of non-contracted items like planters, baskets, removal and trimming of trees and seasonal color displays. Sometimes these companies offer pool building services as well.

Find out whether they employ sustainable practices or not

Do you need a company which can offer you with services and ensures that your landscape becomes sustainable? If you do, then you are certainly taking a wise decision. Making landscapes energy and saving water are environment conscious decisions and will make a significant impact on your budget and environment. The landscaping company which you opt for needs to pay attention to the sustainability factor. The materials they use and their water management projects at your site should take into consideration the sustainability factor.

There are a number of questions which you will need to ask the contractor before hiring their services. Ask them where do they buy their plant materials and supplies from. Enquire whether they use native plants or not. Ask them about what changes can be done to help you save your money. Also ask whether the company can suggest any organic programs which are applicable in case of your property. Find out whether they recycle yard waste such as leave, fallen branches and clippings or not. Enquire about the programs which they offer to make lighting and irrigation more efficient.

Research the credentials of the company

You can save yourself from a considerable amount of headaches by performing some research before selecting a contractor. Check the website of the company, ask for references and also get in touch with your business associates. If you have a few questions looming in your mind, you can contact the contractor directly.

When you fix an appointment, ask whether the company holds any certification or license for the work they perform. Enquire whether they can offer any documentation or not. Ask about the affiliations and industrial qualifications of the company. If they claim that they are insured then ask them to provide you with insurance documentation. Also ask them whether they have the manpower and equipment to handle your project or not.

Creating the Ultimate Man Cave

Once you realize that you must create your very own man cave, you then have to decide what type of décor and theme your cave will take on. You must be unique and yet it must speak volumes of who you are and what your cave says about you. Man caves have been around for decades, we just didn’t know what we should be calling them. A man domain is a personal space within the confines of your own home that is solely designated as the male domain section and you can decorate this area to your own choosing without the influence of a female counterpart.

In order to don your cave with just the right décor, you must decide what you want this man domain area to say about you, when you entertain other cave visitors. A game day event and you are the host of your man cave, what should the visitors see when they arrive. Your cave should say who you support, what are your political views, what are your special skills or personal craft, hobby, or individual interests.

If you are a biker, then obviously your cave will reflect a lot of biker décor, if you are a boater, a gamer, or open bar kind of guy, then reflect this with your cave. There are no rules to creating the perfect man cave. The perfect cave dwelling is in the eye of the domain ruler, and that is you. Take no advice unless it is requested from you to another person and certainly not the madam, she is the very reason you built the man dweller cave, to escape her domain to feel free within your own cave.

There is a fraternal order of man cave guys that have banned together to enjoy and share their man cave ideas, if you are a mind to taking suggestions. Feel free to visit other cave dwellers and see what they have done to take back a part of their domains in their own caves. There’s a great show that is dedicated specifically to creating the perfect man cave, click here to check it out.

The man’s designated space is all about personalizing the area the man has been given to himself to decorate based on his personal interests and to display his prideful tools, toys, and TV. No domain is ever complete without having access to sporting events, so incorporating a nice size flat screen is the mark of an excellent cave abode. A place where you know all it takes, is to put the word out; ‘Man Caves Meeting Tonight’, and your manly cave will be hosting several cavemen over for a few brews.If you are looking to upgrade, spice up, or totally makeover your man cave with the ultimate in manly décor, then you’ll definitely want to see what is now available at an incredibly affordable, do-it-yourself project.

Bring on the fun – Let’s build a pool!

On a hot summer day, having your own swimming pool is an absolute boon. And more than a way to beat the heat, it offers relaxation, exercise, fun times and bonding with family members and good friends. It’s no wonder many people decide to have swimming pools installed on their properties rather than seek out public pools in their area.

Swimming pools come in a great variety of sizes and shapes, but they all work on the same basic principles. More than just a huge basin of water, a swimming pool supports a system of filtration and chemicals that continually cleans the large amount of water it contains to keep it suitable for swimming. Among the major parts of aswimming pool are a basin, a motorized pump, a filter, a chemical feeder, drains, returns and plastic plumbing connecting it all together. Water is pumped from the pool through the filters and chemical treatment and back to the pool, cleaning it of dirt and microorganisms.

There are a number of techniques currently used for pools installation, above-ground pools being the most affordable and easiest to build. Many above-ground pools come in kits which can be put together even without expert help. They generally involve preparing a flat area of ground, assembling the perimeter and outer wall, laying plumbing, attaching a vinyl liner and hooking up a pump and filters.

Among the different types of swimming pool installation, homeowners should know that in-ground installations are the most durable. There are several options if you wish to go this route. Fiberglass pools are molded offsite into the desired shape, then lowered into an onsite excavation where plumbing has been laid. Vinyl-lined in-ground pools are structurally similar to above-ground pools, with a vinyl lining attached to a perimeter wall of metal, plastic or wood, but are installed in a hole.

A popular in-ground option, gunite pools involve excavation, then placement of plumbing and a framework of rebar over which gunite is sprayed to desired thickness then smoothed. A finish of tile, aggregate or fiberglass can be applied. This technique makes for a highly durable pool. Whatever type of swimming pool you decide to have installed, get a company that also provides swimming pool maintenance. There are no shortage of specialists who will be happy to take the task of maintenance of your hands and make sure your pool is always clean and in working order.

A Man’s Approach to Renovating

Many new home owners and young couples who are on a budget find it difficult to renovate their homes due to the belief that home renovations can only be accomplished if one has a lot of money. If you are currently living on a tight budget but you want to renovate your home, you should not fail to do so. The reason for this is that there are several affordable home renovation ideas that you can use to re-design your home. The following ideas can help you renovate your home without having to spend too much.

The first thing that you should do is to utilize traditional decorations such as paintings and candles. You can put sets of candles in your house, which will not only enhance the appeal of your house but they will also meet your lighting needs. Other than using candles, you can purchase cheap rugs and use them to compliment the overall theme of your house. This will make your house appear great without having to spend a lot of money. You can let the traditional decor remain in your house until you feel the need to have a change. Many types of traditional decor are great for do it yourself home renovations.

There are many house renovation ideas that you can use to improve the appearance of the sitting room and other areas of your home such as the kitchen and bathroom. If you are looking forward to renovating your bathroom, you can choose to purchase vinyl remnants and install them in your bathroom. Vinyl remnants are affordable and will give your bathroom an appealing and durable floor. Another thing that you can do is to replace the countertops of your bathroom to achieve a more updated look.

Another home renovation idea is to use faux materials instead of real materials. For instance, you can use laminate instead of using expensive natural materials such as quartz and granite. Laminate is very cost effective and it will create a look that is similar to that of natural materials.

Even though you can complete some home renovations on your own, it is advisable to hire the services of a home renovation company especially if you do not have ideas or lack the appropriate equipment needed to renovate your house. One of the renovations that you can do on your own is painting your house to improve its appearance.

With the appropriate paint, you can give your house the look you desire. For instance, you can paint your house with light-colored paint if you want it to appear larger. On the other hand, you can use bright colors if you want to make a particular statement. You can also renovate your kitchen by purchasing new doors and face panels and then replace the old ones with them instead of purchasing a whole lot of brand new appliances.


Exterior home renovations can also be affordable. There are several things you can do to improve your home’s exterior without spending a lot. For instance, you can build a shed, which will improve the exterior appearance of your home and also act as a storage area for gardening equipment. If you are not sure of how to handle a certain home renovation task, it is advisable to hire the services of a home renovation company. This will allow you to get quality results and save time.