Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Easy Ways To Child-Proof Your Living Room & Keep Your Little Ones Safe

Easy Ways To Child-Proof Your Living Room & Keep Your Little Ones SafeNo parent likes being a helicopter parent, but it’s hard not to. We don’t want to see our little ones get hurt, nor do we have time to take a trip to the ER all the time for random head knocks and untimely cuts. Solutions are needed to keep your home safe and where better than the living room? At Unique Home Building, we know that the living room is the most common place to find toddlers and small children, so it’s highly important to make sure it’s a space that’s safe for them to explore!

Of course, you don’t have to give up the flair of adulthood or turn your home into a childcare center. There are some efficient childproof tricks you can use that are simple and subtle.

Here are some easy ways to childproof your living room & keep your little ones safe:

Entertainment and Shelving
This is a great one to start with. Make sure that your entertainment center and any other shelves are not able to be climbed. As well, be sure to invest in wall straps to harness the unit to the wall. This way, if your little strong man decides to be a little too strong, the unit at least doesn’t fall down to the floor on onto him. Be sure to have what’s most important, fragile or dangerous out of reach and kept on higher shelves.

Cords and Such
It’s important to keep cords from becoming piles of tangled up snakes that can be tripped over, sucked on or simply played with. Children are oddly attracted to what shouldn’t be a toy, so it’s wise to keep the excess cords wrapped up well, fastened together using zip or twist ties and tucked behind and under furniture or stored in a basket.

Coffee Table
Whether our own children, or other people kids, we are all familiar with the harsh experience of watching a toddler fall into or near the corner of a coffee table. One way to create a safer environment is to consider using a round table, upholstered ottoman, or a few poufs in place of a traditional rectangular coffee table.

Couches and Armchairs
Leather couches and slip-covers are all fantastic options for your family room furniture! You get to have the perk of quality furniture but with added protection. Many furniture companies offer stain-resistant fabric options, or will spray a protective product on your furniture for an additional fee. When considering color, remember that darker colors will typically last better than lighter ones; however, white slipcovers can be bleached.  You can always go both. Buy dark and keep a lighter colored slip-cover around when you want to brighten things up.

If you can choose a washable paint sheen, you'll be investing in a great way to kid-proof your paint job. Paint colors in eggshell, satin or semigloss are much easier to clean up with a mild soap and a damp rag. If you'd rather go with a matte finish, that's fine too. Flat paints have the benefit of touch-up painting without the presence of brush marks. If you'd like to go with something fun at knee level, chalkboard, magnetic, and dry erase paints are easily available these days at most home improvement stores and create a fun way for kids to safely play and write on the walls.

Family life is filled with predictable messes like dust, spills, pet hair and food. Why not keep things simple and install washable flooring options like tile, wood, laminate, and vinyl. If you want to stick with carpet, installing carpet tiles will allow you to clean squares or replace them as needed. Another option is to invest in area rugs that are meant for both indoor and outdoor use, for cleaning ease. When using an area rug, be sure to have the rubber grip pad underneath it, to avoid the rug from moving or folding, avoiding unnecessary trips and falls.

Your family's safety and happiness is very important to us, at Unique Home Building.  If You would like more ideas on how to make your home a more child friendly environment, don't hesitate to call and we will get you on your way.

Monday, July 27, 2015

These Simple Home Lighting Changes Are Keeping People Healthier and Happier

These Simple Home Lighting Changes Are Keeping People Healthier and HappierIt may be summer now, but winter likes to sneak up from behind and catch you off guard! If you experience winter colds or seasonal depression from those long gray days, then now is the time to prepare for a much healthier (and happier) winter. This is something we help a lot of people with at Unique Home Building, and we want to help you too.

For people experiencing immune system challenges or mood swings, light may be a major key. As a general rule, in our modern lifestyles, nights tend to be too light and days can be too dark. Our adrenal glands, responsible for regulating hormone production and sleep/wake patterns get totally off balanced, causing many other parts of our bodies to be off balance as well.

Additionally, studies have shown that insufficient vitamin D in our bodies can lead to increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, parkinson's and other diseases.  That’s a lot of compromise. The truth is, as people nationwide are getting less and less direct sunlight, as many as ¾ of the teen and adult populations are said to be deficient in this crucial vitamin.

What if we could change this around, even in the dead of winter?

The truth is, we can and people all over are doing it and experiencing great positive results.

These Simple Home Lighting Changes Are Keeping People Healthier and Happier

1 . Keep your sleeping rooms dark. Let’s bring contrast back to your adrenals and pituitary gland. You can have black out shades installed to give yourself the darkest environment for sleep and resetting your adrenal glands. You'll feel the difference.

2. Take what you can get. Let sunshine into the home wherever you can get it.  Open curtains, open blinds, make the most of what’s possible.

3. Continuing from the above, add a skylight to any dark room that could use more sun. One interesting possible upgrade is a “smart" skylight called the Ciralight Suntracker. With a typical skylight, a patch of sunlight is cast on the floor or wall of your home, and moves throughout the day as the sun moves. The Suntracker uses GPS, and mirrors track the sun throughout the day and bounce it directly down onto a diffuser. So as long as the sun is up, the skylight is capturing all available sunlight and beaming it into the house in a way that maximizes light. Most Ciralight customers are industrial or retail companies, but the company also offers home installation. The price is about $1,100 to adapt a commercial unit for a residence, and they're working on a 2-foot-square model for homes (price to be announced). If this sounds like a good option for you, the contractors at Unique Home Building would love to help you through it!

4. Philips goLITE. Tim Ferriss recommends the Philips goLITE for addressing seasonal depression. This is an extra bonus, as it can travel with you! Here’s what he said:
I bought this travel-sized blue-light(2) emitter for a friend who suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) -- a.k.a. mild to severe depression -- during winter months. It turned out he already had the same device, so I began to use it as a replacement for coffee first thing in the morning. I set it to the side of my laptop, pointing at me at a 15-degree angle for 15 minutes. That evening, my time to sleep was less than 10 minutes for the first time in a week. I was able to replicate the effect 4 nights out of 5.
Though most often used for jet lag or winter depression, the goLITE has been singularly most useful as a corrective sleep tool, even if I wake up late and go to be earlier than usual. Battery life is long and it is, at the size of a small square book, portable enough to take in a carry-on bag.” - Tim Ferriss via Huffington Post *

5. High quality vitamin D supplementation (also known as liquid sunshine). We’re not talking about the simple bottles at the drugstore. No. You want to get the best, because you deserve to have what actually works. Talk to your primary care doctor or naturopath for the right brand and dosage.

Vitamin D via supplementation and natural light is incredibly necessary for proper health, happiness and vitality. See what works for you and start preparing now. Don’t let winter sneak up on you or get you down. Unique Home Building contractors are ready and waiting to answer any questions you may have to get your home health where you need it to be.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to Create the Perfect Reading Nook in Any Home!

How to Create the Perfect Reading Nook in Any Home!If you're ready to have a space of relaxation and rejuvenation in your home, we have the perfect suggestion for you! You deserve to have a space where you can get away, curl up with a book and cool off or warm up - regardless of the season! 

Escape the realities of your everyday life by adding a reading nook to your home. Here you can have the perfect combination of style, comfort and just the right light.  However, the biggest reason people don't have a reading nook in their home, is the same reason they need one! They are mentally exhausted and just can't think, much less - create a space to refuel. So we want to take the guess work out of it and help you plan it easily and to your taste. At Unique Home Building, we know how important it is for your home to feel individual to you, and if these ideas get you excited but you want even more, please call us and one of our contractors will be happy to help you out! 

You want to choose an area where you relax as one you know will be special for you.  It can be the corner of the living room, near the big window, or it can be as simple as a rocking chair on your porch. If you can't find a spot that works, you can build one exactly to fit your needs!. Just pick a space that makes you feel great but also allows you to concentrate and fall into your reading.

Make sure your nook has comfortable seating. You want to know your body will enjoy the space for hours if you can spare it! You can use an oversized chair, large pillows, meditation pillows and even stacks of pillows. Just remember to personalize it and allow it to be adjusted for weather and body needs. 

How to Create the Perfect Reading Nook in Any Home!Mood Lighting
You can go with natural or artificial light; both have their perks. 
With natural light, you use the sun to your advantage. You want to make sure the sun easily breaks through, without pouring direct sunlight into your eyes, causing you to squint at the glare or damaging your skin. You may also consider window treatments or covers to avoid those issues. Natural light is great for the winter and summer alike. 
Artificial light is great for evenings and dark winter days, when you need a pick me up and bright space to escape to. Some options are floor lamps, table lamps and even sconces complete with warm bulbs for the most inviting feel!
Our thoughts? Go for both. This way, you're always set!

Decor & Accents
Lastly, you want to add the finishing touches that keep the space totally you. Adding a throw blanket will not only keep you cozy, but also keep the space calling you back for more! Add a shelf to keep books and magazines on, or a side table to hold your tea and any flower arrangements you want to add. Add photos and inspirational quotes to the walls nearby to lift your spirit. You may even want to keep a fan or heater close by to make sure your temperature is always stable. 

A beautiful and peaceful reading nook may be just what your home and life are missing! Be sure to find a spot that's slightly (or greatly) tucked away from the rest of the home busyness so you can truly escape. And again, if you feel you need more and you're ready to build the perfect reading nook in your home, contact us and one of our contractors will be ready to help!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fourth of July and Declaration of Independence Trivia Test


How many of the following 4th of July trivia questions can you get right?

Answers are at the bottom of the page.

1.    Two of the first five Presidents of the United States died on the same day. Which presidents and what date?

2.    When did the 4th of July become a national holiday:
a.    1776
b.    1812
c.    1901
d.    1938

3.    Is there something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence?
a.    Yes. A treasure map
b.    No. Don't be silly. That was a movie.
c.    Yes. But it is invisible
d.    Yes. Some kind of seal.

4.    Who was John Hancock?

a.    A big time insurance broker in 1776
b.    The President of the Continental Congress
c.    The first signer of the Declaration
d.    All of the above
e.    None of the above
f.    Only b and c

5.    Who signed the Declaration on July 4, 1776?
a.    Nobody
b.    Only John Hancock
c.    All the members of the Continental Congress
d.    Your guess is as good as the historians

While you are visiting our blog, feel free to check out a treasure trove of information about Custom Home Building, remodeling, and general information about more comfortable living in your Dallas area home. Please call me if you have a construction project in your future.

Here are the answers. Send this URL to friends to see how they do.

Jame Monroe
1.    John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4,1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing. James Monroe also died on the 4th of July, but in 1831.

2. (D) It wasn't until 1938 that the 4th of July became a national holiday.

3. (D) Written upside down at the bottom of the signed document is: "Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776." It's not known who wrote it or when. Since parchment was usually rolled up during the Revolutionary War years, it's thought this memo served as a label.

4. (F) John Hancock was both the President of the Continental Congress and the first to sign on July 4th.

5. (D)  There is a huge historical dispute about who signed and when. Some say Hancock and one other signed on the 4th, with all the others on August 2nd. Some others say 34 of the 57 signed on the 4th. Yet others say only John Hancock signed that historic day.