Category Archives: Technical

Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring – Forest Hill MD… From start to delicious!

Tile work at Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring, Forest Hill, MD...  Complete!

Main sightline of Yogurt Mountain, Rock Spring in Forest Hill Maryland.

The photo above shows the culmination of George’s Carpet One’s tile work on the flooring and walls at the new Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring in Forest Hill Maryland.  The glass mosaics on the wall and rectangular 12″x24″ floor tile installed ashlar set (with the joints staggered) show how bringing together several discrete tile-design elements (tile size, tile shape, tile color, direction…) into a complex create an enhanced overall feel and look, lend to a certain mood, and channel the use of space.  …And this is all most folks will see!  …But, what went into creating this stunning results?  Continue reading to follow us through the progression from unfinished shell to styling tile!

It’s difficult for many of us to envision all the time, effort, and energy that goes into finishing the beautiful interior spaces we enjoy outside our homes.  Considering that creating finished commercial spaces represents the culmination of a “process” (really several processes), much careful planning and hard work (that almost entirely occurs behind the scenes); we thought it would prove interesting, instructive, and enjoyable to peel back the curtain of finishes to reveal a glimpse into how this progression unfolds through the lens of this project.

We at George’s Carpet One along with the other tradespeople (including, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, drywall finishers, just to name a few), the general contractor, Emerald Custom Builders, and certainly the business owners themselves invested a great deal of effort, knowledge, skill, and talent into the synergies that so dramatically and brilliantly coalesced to transform this space from rough, empty shell into the delectable environment it became.  Here we will focus quite narrowly on our own involvement in this project, our tile work and the processes involved; but, since our work would not even have been possible without the cumulative efforts of all others instrumental in bringing this space to fruition, we will attend to other’s roles in survey.

Our flooring work began, as is not uncommon in commercial projects, with a set of blue prints furnished to us by the general contractor so we could, “take off” measurements, figure quantities, and quote costs for the tile and installation…  But, prior to even our preliminary involvement, the business owner would have identified the site, done feasibility and planning work, commissioned architecture and design…;  the general contractor would have obtained the necessary permissions, permits, and approvals from local municipalities, franchise, etc.; the other subcontractor’s involved would have undergone an exercise much like ours…  Once all subcontractor submit prices, the general contractor would assemble a bid for the business owner.  Following approval, all trades involved would meet on location for a site-visit, review the plan, timeline, schedule, verify job site conditions, perhaps physically measure and inspect our work areas…

The unfinished shell is a blank canvas!  Upon arrival on site, we found a pretty  familiar scene:

For those of us accustomed to this kind of work, this shell looks pretty typical.

For those of us accustomed to this kind of work, this shell looks pretty typical.

Work would begin with demolition, clearing debris, and generally cleaning to ready the shell for its refit.  After a good deal elbow grease to clean and clear the area, the work of finishing could begin.  Electricians and plumbers undertake to rough in mechanicals.  Carpenters frame interior walls.  Crews hang and finish drywall.  Painters work their magic.  Ceiling crews hang the new grid for the acoustical drop ceiling, electricians continue installing light fixtures…

Tile work at Yogurt Mountain, Rock Spring, MD... Getting ready to start our tile!

As interior walls are built and painted, new grid for the drop ceiling and lighting are installed, the space begins taking shape.

The transformation is now underway, and, as can be seen from the images, even these initial steps make an enormous difference.

Ideally, the order of operation for finishing work progresses from the top down.  This strategy minimizes mess and damage that could result of gravity…; we install floor tile, for example, after walls are finished and painted to diminish the likelihood of drywall dust and debris or paint from soiling the new floor…  (Interior designers generally suggest selecting finishes in the opposite direction, starting from the flooring and working upward.  The prevailing wisdom here being that paint, for instance, offers a grater range of options than does flooring, so, it is easier and more effective to coordinate paint colors with a floor that already has been selected than select a floor from paint…  but this would be another discussion.)  …so, in a best case scenario, flooring will typically be among the last finishes installed.

This project proceeded accordingly, so after all the other trades had, for the most part, buttoned up their contribution, the time for tile had come!

Tile work at Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring, Forest Hill, MD - Progress Photo

We install the glass mosaics on walls up to the paint line.

We commenced to install tile!  Proceeding according to architectural and design plans, which meticulously map where, in our case, each tile type starts and stops…, tile masons orient the layout to the space, mix thinset, and begin setting tile.   We must still share the space with other crafts-people and work to avoid getting in each other’s ways; so, for optimal efficiency and efficacy, we endeavor to coordinate our tasks, schedules, etc., with any other trades still present and juggle areas so everybody can progress.  In the case of this installation, because the wall-tile would set on top of a tile-base which would in turn be set into the floor, our tile masons set the tile-base first, worked up the lions-share of the walls, then graduated to flooring.

Tile work at Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring, Forest Hill, MD - Progress Photo

A green band of glass mosaics cap the wall tile field to provide a finished edge, frame and highlight.

We worked through each area, detail trims, grout, clean up then move on to the next, and so on until we have completed all our tile work.

Tile work at Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring, Forest Hill, MD - Progress Photo

Finally, finishing touches such as cabinetry, trim carpentry… will be applied!

The total tile installation which also included (but we have not shown here)kitchen, rear hall, and bathrooms took just under two weeks.  As one may expect, the project progressed smoothly, albeit not without incident.  (But isn’t this really one of the hallmarks of a quality contractor and especially a quality general contractor: their ability to adapt to less than ideal circumstances and resolve challenges often makes up the difference between finishing a project properly and on schedule and missing a deadline.)  This was especially true on this project because it was on a fast track and we had a very real deadline: any delay anywhere along the timeline from any contributor stood to potentially throw everyone else into a tail-spin, but the care, capabilities, flexibly and cooperation of everyone involved and the exceptional project management, problem solving of the general contractor and all subcontractors… kept us on track and Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring on schedule for their grand opening!

20131204_6965

A closer view of glass mosaics on wall! A corner guards, clean up, then… Enjoy your Yogurt Mountain, Harford County!

…So, next time you’re savoring the deliciousness of your Yogurt Mountain treat…  hopefully, this glimpse into all we put into creating an equally delicious treat for your eyes will heighten your enjoyment all the more!

Have you been…?  We welcome your comments!  Want to know more about this or other projects feel free to contact us for more information.

Entire gallery available at: www.georgesc1.com Yogurt Mountain Rock Spring – Forest Hill MD

Houzouris

Bamboo Flooring Installation

This installation presented us some challenges and required a great deal of technical ingenuity above and beyond that normally required, such as: a correcting an epoxy floor pour previously botched by another contractor, leveling a severely irregular concrete floor, addressing concerns with a radiant heat system, just to name a few; but, I think you’ll agree that the finished floor turned out beautifully.   

Our customer selected Teragren‘s Synergystrand bamboo flooring in the Wheat color because she was looking for a more unique and contemporary aesthetic, one that would coordinate with her home’s architecture and her personal style.  She also needed a floor that was durable and hard enough to stand up to her dogs.  She chose this floor because she felt the finished floor Teragren achieves by fusing bamboo fibers together into boards would result in a very special look, and the durability of the finish and hardness of the floor absolutely won her over.  Plus, the colors really complimented her home’s stone work and knowing this floor was more ecologically friendly was the icing on the cake.    

 This first image shows the great room completed.  This choice really complemented her home magnificently!

 

 

 These images are, unfortunately, the best before shots we have. You can see the original poured floor and the way the edges were finished around the stairs. Yipes!

 

 

 

 

Another image of what we had to work with!

This sequence of images perhaps best demonstrate the dramatic transformation we achieved by this flooring installation. Compare the original images above to these. We used the manufactures pre-finished stair-nose to frame the steps.

What an enormous improvement!

The rough flagstone walls throughout this space demanded quite a bit of attention. We scribed each board so that it would contour neatly to the stonework and our customer loved it! The floor fit against the variegated stone and mortar joints like a well tailored suit!

This image also allows a slight glimpse of the near mirror smooth and flat flooring that resulted of our K15 pour.

(And yes, that is John in the background, surveying his handy work—not posing.)

 The finished floor was stunning. The paint job—not so much. (We do not paint walls only trim!)

This view from the bedroom, down the hall and into the great room shows the longest run of flooring and the expanse of this project.

For more information on Teragren’s
Synergy
strandbamboo flooring; other flooring options, colors, pricing, etc.; flooring design, installation, or maintenance; feel free to read on in our blog or go to our website.

SIMPLE WAYS TO REDECORATE YOUR HOME

Give Any Room a “Facelift” Without Spending a Fortune

 

Like many homeowners, you may think that you’ll never find the budget or the time to turn your mundane living room or bathroom with 30-year old flooring into a functional and up-to-date space that you love.  Spring  is the perfect time to complete projects around the house, but it can also be among the busiest times of the year!  Luckily, there are hundreds of quick, relatively inexpensive and simple ways to make a dramatic impact on any room in your home.

 

Many consumers think that redecorating their home will cost thousands of dollars and take months.  Fortunatly, there are countless simple solutions that help change the whole look of a room with a minimal amount of effort and at a low cost.

 

Start at the Bottom

New flooring can change the entire look and feel of a room.  Soft carpeting will make a living room feel more comfortable and inviting, while choosing hardwood or natural-looking laminate flooring will add elegance to an entryway or dining room. 

 

For a quick and easy change, adding a brightly colored or textured area rug on top of a hard surface.  Area rugs are available in a range of prices and in different sizes and shapes to fit any space.  Recently, there has been a trend towards less expensive area rugs that look remarkably like the high-priced styles.  You can find a range of designs with an expensive hand-tufted wool appearance that are actually made from polypropylene fibers. This is a great option if you’re trying to decorate within a budget!

 

There are also great options for homeowners who want a high-quality wall to wall carpet but don’t want to spend a fortune, such as,  the Good Housekeeping collection of carpeting.  This collection is available in a variety of styles and colors and, more importantly, it has been tested for durability and performance by the Good Housekeeping Institute.  Only products that meet Good Housekeeping’s high standards are backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal. 

 

If you prefer the look of a hard surface, you may want to choose laminate or vinyl over more costly hard surface flooring.  You can achieve the look of hardwood or ceramic tile, with vinyl or laminate flooring, which tend to be more affordable and still very durable.  Opting for laminate or vinyl flooring can save as much as $10 per square foot!  This cost savings is mainly because it costs less to purchase the materials for a laminate or vinyl floor than hardwood or tile.  Earthscapes, for instance, is an extremely affordable and durrable, scratch and wear-resistant vinyl flooring.  The Earthscapes designs bear a striking resemblance to real ceramic tile and hardwood flooring and cost a fraction of the price. 

 

Color & Lighting

Another quick and inexpensive way to give your room a “facelift” is to alter the colors and lighting.  Are you plagued by boring white walls and nervous about making a dramatic change?  Designers suggest to try painting one wall or just the ceiling with a rich, bold color, like cranberry, a warm gold tone, or a deep blue or to try giving your room some dimension by alternating complementing colors on each wall.  Simply adding color to one surface – which requires less time and much less paint – will give the room a whole new energy. 

 

Another option is to give the room a sophisticated colonial look with wainscoting (the white or neutral colored board that usually comes about halfway up the wall).  Whether your walls are already apple green, or you decide to paint all four of them a new color, wainscoting will break up the color in the space and create clean, modern elegance in the room.  Wainscoting is easy to install and usually comes in pre-cut lengths and a variety of heights. 

 

Lighting can control the ambiance and set the mood of the room, so you may need to try a few different options before finding what you like.  But the good news is that you can change the light by simply choosing different types of light bulbs, using dimmers or opening unused windows.  If your room is illuminated mostly by fluorescent lighting, you may want to add a few light fixtures or lamps to soften the harsh fluorescent bulbs. 

 

The Big Pieces

In many rooms, especially if it’s a bedroom or a living room, the furniture occupies most of the space.  So, if you have an old couch with a loud pattern or a dark wood dresser, it may be dominating the décor and hindering your ability to create your own style.  If you’re decorating on a budget, it’s difficult to justify purchasing a new bedroom set or living room furniture, especially if what you own is still in good condition!  But there are some low-cost alternatives:

 

·         Change the color and style of your couch and chair with slipcovers.  They come in a variety of styles, colors and prices and can be adjusted to fit your furniture perfectly.  Plus, it’s easy to remove a slipcover and throw it in the laundry!

·         Make that old brown couch a little more exciting by adding accent pillows in bright colors or a soft throw.  You can do the same to change the look of your bedding. 

·         Although some bedding can be very expensive, you can usually find a duvet cover and matching pillow shams for a reasonable price.  You can stuff the duvet and shams with your existing comforter and pillows to create an entirely new look!

·         Try rearranging your existing furniture.  Simply shifting your bed to the opposite wall or turning your couch to face a window can make it feel like a whole new room.  Also, try to get rid of extra furniture or clutter so there is a logical and comfortable “flow” to the space.

·         If your dresser and nightstand aren’t family heirlooms passed down from your great-grandmother, you may want to consider painting them.  Try a clean white or a bold green to make them stand out in the space.  For a more subtle look, try black or a neutral off-white shade.

·         If you need to add some new pieces to a room, look for unfinished furniture and re-finish it yourself.  It may take a little longer and require more effort, but unfinished furniture is generally much less expensive than the alternative!

 

So, now you have no excuses for living amongst plain white walls or subjecting your friends to that orange striped couch from 1979!  These tips will help you to remodel even the most atrocious of rooms to reveal a modern look that reflects your lifestyle – without breaking the bank!

 

For more decorating ideas and all your flooring needs, visit www.georgesc1.com.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY DECORATING

Updating Your Home with Decorating Ideas that are Perfect for a Busy Family

 

For those of us with kids, pets and busy schedules, our homes can often feel like a congested space filled with clutter, rather than the beautiful home we’ve always imagined.  It sometimes seems like an impossible feat to maintain a tidy and organized house with so many toys, books, shoes and mail everywhere!  However, with some simple decorating ideas from the experts, you can transform your house into a neat and family-friendly environment for the New Year.

 

One of the biggest challenges of living with a busy family is keeping surfaces like counters, walls and floors clean and free of clutter and messes.  The key to overcoming this challenge is to start with the right surfaces!  Try some of these ideas for family-friendly decorating, from the floor up.

 

Choosing the right flooring can save you a lot of time and energy.  For a high-traffic area in your home, you should opt for either a durable hard surface, like tile, hardwood, laminate, or vinyl or carpet that is specially designed to resist stains and spills. 

 

There are stylish, comfortable and functional carpets for all the rooms in which your family lives.  Good Housekeeping carpet, which is made with a unique fiber called Resista, represents a terrific solution for busy families.  Carpet made with Resista actually repels stains, so it is easy to clean and will retain its color and softness much longer.  And Relax, It’s Lees®,  offers families a new kind of carpet for the hectic world in which families live.  It offers the perfect blend of fashion and performance.  Lees features Ultra 25® with Scotchgurard Protector for groundbreaking stain protection and ExtraLoc® backing with double the density of standard carpets. Technical innovation plus a broadpalette of colors and styles will help you achieve your creative vision and not have to worry about spills!  These are both great options for families with kids, who often track in dirt on their shoes or tend to spill their food.  There are also hard surface flooring styles that are great family-friendly options. 

 

Since kids tend to walk around with sticky fingers, you should also opt for a wall treatment that will stand up to your family.  Look for a type of paint that is designed specifically for kids.  Most hardware stores carry styles that can be wiped clean and will withstand moisture. 

 

The right flooring and wall treatment will make cleaning up much less time-consuming, but what about all the clutter?  We also have some great tips for staying organized in every room in your home.  These ideas will help you get a great start on clutter!

 

§  Organize your entryway.  Your mudroom or entryway can often be one of the most disorganized areas in your home.  This area tends to collect shoes, coats, mail and bags from every member of your family.  The best way to combat this clutter is to add shelves, hooks and racks to your closet to make sure that everything has its own place.  Try placing hooks lower on the wall so that your kids can hang up their own coats and book bags when they come in the house.

 

§  Choose the right furniture and flooring.  In a room that’s used by the family every day, choose furniture and flooring that are easy to care for.  Opt for furniture made with durable fabrics and choose a pattern or a neutral tone that will camouflage wear and tear from your kids.  Save the more luxurious fabrics for an accent pillow or a throw.  Fabrics like chenille or crinkled velvet will give the room a more formal feel, but are still more durable than something like silk.

 

Choose flooring that is easy to clean or that hides dirt.  It’s easy to clean up spills and messes from a hard surface like ceramic tile, hardwood, laminate or vinyl.  Plus, these surfaces are generally scratch, dent and wear resistant, which is perfect if you have small children who may drop toys or books on the floors.  For a more comfortable room, try carpet in neutral tones or a multi-colored style that will hide dirt and wear.

 

§  Add storage in a playroom or child’s bedroom.  The best way to hide toys, books and other clutter is to create lots of extra storage space in a room.  You can use something simple and inexpensive, like stacked plastic bins for smaller toys or a colorful bookshelf for larger games and toys.  An over-the-door organizer is perfect for holding shoes, stuffed animals and sports equipment.

 

§  Keep your collectibles out of reach.  It’s a common problem that many parents face: you want to display your grandmother’s china and other family heirlooms, but you’re too afraid that one of your kids will break them.  The answer to this dilemma is to strategically display your favorite antiques and heirlooms out of the reach of your kids!  Try hanging china and old photographs on the wall above a mantle or on a high, free-standing shelf.  Or choose a stable curio that you keep locked.  These options will allow you to enjoy these collectibles, while ensuring that your children aren’t tempted to touch them or knock them over. 

 

§  Hide the clutter with storage pieces that look good and serve a purpose.  If your kids are used to playing in the living room or a central area, the plastic storage bins probably don’t match the décor.  There are plenty of options that double as a beautiful table or shelf and the perfect storage space.  Look for an antique trunk to use as a coffee table in your living room – this can be used as a storage space for games, toys, pillows and extra blankets.  A side table with drawers and doors can hide small toys, your kids’ favorite DVDs and miscellaneous items.  For larger things, like an oversized stuffed animal or big toy, try an old cabinet.  You can display photographs or place a nice lamp on the top of the cabinet, while keeping toys, games and books out of sight in the space below.     

 

Although maintaining an organized household with a busy family can prove difficult, it can be done with creative storage ideas and the right materials, with simple ideas like these aimed at striking that balance between function and form, a functional living space and an attractive home! 

 

For more family-friendly decorating ideas, visit www.georgesc1.com.

Wools of New Zealand: Who'd guess being ecologically responsible could be so much fun?

Borrowed from Wools of New Zealand:

Save the Earth

 

Discover the Good Nature of New Zealand Wool

Sheep outnumber people in New Zealand 13 to 1 and are a natural icon for the country. Living in the green hills and gentle, unpolluted climate, sheep enjoy unique natural advantages that enable them to grow incredibly beautiful, superior wool.As the world’s largest exporter of wool for carpets, New Zealand farmers have access to a vast repository of research and a strong legacy of wool harvesting skills. Such expertise ensures that their techniques impose minimum environmental impact and guarantees better animal care.

New Zealand Wool: A Fabulous fiber!
New Zealand sheep produce a naturally strong and uniform wool fiber which is flame retardant and resistant to dirt and crushing. It’s also naturally versatile. And because New Zealand wool is exceptionally pure and white, it possesses excellent dyeing characteristics that assure striking, rich, saturated color.

Environmentally Friendly
New Zealand wool used to manufacture products that carry the Wools of New Zealand mark carpets is one of the purest, most ecological fibers in the world. To produce this biodegradable and renewable resource, only environmentally responsible production methods are used. And the manufacturing process and the products themselves must conform to environmental requirements in the country of consumption.

Through the research of Wool Research Inc., New Zealand wool is scoured using the most energy and water-efficient system in the world. Moreover, scientific land management and flock rotation ensure that the land will nurture this natural fiber for generations to come.
No internationally banned pesticides are used on New Zealand sheep farms. Since 1993, pesticide levels have been cut in half, making New Zealand’s sheep industry one of the world’s greenest animal production systems. Any slight residue on the product is removed during the scouring process.

So when you see the Wools of New Zealand mark , you will know it is applied only to wool carpets meeting the highest quality – and environmental – standards.

 http://woolsnz.com/en_us/display.asp?sID=2&mID=48

PET-PROOFING YOUR HOME

Helpful Tips For Preparing Your House For a New Pet From the Floors Up

 

While expectant parents are typically very aware of how to “baby proof” their homes in anticipation of the arrival of a newborn, it’s rarely easy for new pet-owners to be well prepared when bringing home a new puppy or kitten.  Since animals walk and chew long before a newborn baby can even turn over, it’s important to make sure to “pet-proof” your home before welcoming a four-legged friend into the family. 

 

So what part of your home will be more vulnerable to your new puppy or kitten than your flooring? 

 

 

See!!!

See!!!

From muddy paws and “accidents,” to untold destruction (see above) your flooring will be the first thing affected by your new furry family member.  One of the more important considerations homeowners with new pets will face is that of your flooring being well suited to your new pet’s adventures.  This usually means you’ll wish for a durable, stain and soil resistant floor that is low maintenance, looks great in your home and, by the way, it must be a good value. 

 

There are carpets, such as those in the Relax, It’s LeesÒ collection that are specially designed to withstand pet spills and stains.  Relax It’s LeesÒ carpet features patented stain protection technology from 3M, the makers of ScotchgardÔ protector, that, unlike any other, penetrates the carpet completely and repels stains.  Relax It’s LeesÒ carpeting also comes with a 25-year Ultra25 stain protection service plan that includes “pet messes,” which are excluded from most other carpet lines. 

 

You may also consider choosing a durable hard surface flooring, instead of carpeting.  Quality vinyl and laminate floor coverings and hardwood and tile flooring have all been designed to be both scratch-resistant and easy to clean.  Vinyl and laminate flooring represent excellent choices for pet-owners who need durable and serviceable floors and want something stylish but don’t want to break the bank. 

 

Getting the right flooring is a great start, but you shouldn’t stop there!  Pet experts recommend the following some quick and easy tips for protecting your entire home, from the floors up, so relationships with pets can be filled with love, rather than anxiety.

 

Before bringing a pet into your home, you have to pay attention to potential hazards – or temptations – and take the necessary precautions to ensure the smoothest transition for both you and your new pet,” says Tim Kelly, Certified Professional Dog Trainer.  “Once you’ve pet-proofed your home as best you can, make sure you have an ample supply of patience and a great sense of humor!”

 

Kelly suggests the following these tips for pet-preparing your home:

·         Protect Your Fragile Home Furnishings.  Use common sense when it comes to breakables in your home.  If you love that vase you inherited from your grandmother, don’t put it on a low table or shelf.  A dog’s wagging tail can make that vase history!

 

·         Protect Your Home From Pet Stains.  Pets will most likely have accidents on the floor until they are trained.  In addition, if your pet is feeling neglected during the day, it might take its frustration out on your flooring.  In either case, you want to make sure you have an enzymatic cleaner and a durable carpet to battle the messes. 

 

·         TIP: What To Do If a Stain Occurs.  If your pet stains your flooring, the sooner you remove the stain the better.  A good stain removal guide like that available through Stainmaster (www.stainmaster.com),  Weardated ( www.weardated.com), or elsewhere on the web should explain how to clean everything from pet food to urine.  If you have a pet food stain, for example, scrape or blot up the excess spill, and then apply dry baking powder.  Scrape that up and then vacuum.  Use a damp sponge to wipe up the remaining baking soda, but don’t over-wet the area.  Then blot, but don’t rub.  Apply a presoak solution (which is one teaspoon enzyme laundry detergent mixed with one cup water).  Then wipe with a damp sponge again, and re-blot.  Afterwards, apply a good dry powder cleaner such as s Capture.  And then a final vacuuming of the spot should take care of it! 

 

·         Protect Your Home With Boundaries.  Create boundaries in your home for your pets.  Have designated playing areas, which you can easily form with flexible gates, exercise pens, or doors.  And different flooring can help enforce those different places.  Create a sleeping area for your dog including a crate for Rover to sleep in – this will help housebreak the pup and eliminate his anxiety from being separated from the family at night.  Cats will need a bathroom area with kitty litter set-up.  The best place for a “play area” or “sleeping area” is on durable flooring, someplace where it is easy to clean up pet hair or stains.  Carpeting or a hard surface like vinyl or laminate could be is ideal in this situation.

 

Although it’s important to protect your home from messes and accidents, it’s also imperative you make sure your home is equally as safe for your new pet.  Kelly reminds pet owners to:

·         Protect Your Pet From Injuries.  Go through your home, looking for harmful objects that are within your pet’s reach.  Most plants are harmless, but others can be fatal (check with your vet) and should not be displayed on the floor or a low table.  Cover any electrical cables and cords with tubing or tape them down with electrical tape, and cover electrical outlets.

 

·         Protect Your Pet From Disease.  If your home already has other pets, keep the younger pet away from any pet excrement or urine, both of which contain elements for which puppies and kittens have not yet built immunity.  Also make sure you visit the vet with your four-legged companion to get all the necessary shots, especially if you plan to let him play with other family or neighborhood pets.  

 

·         Protect Your Pet From Unhealthy Foods.  Make sure you buy pet food that is age-appropriate and recommended by your veterinarian.  Also, remember that not all human foods are good for your pet.  The caffeine in chocolate, for example, is toxic to dogs, so keep that treat for yourself!

 

 

 

 

THE BIG MERGE: DECORATING TIPS FOR MATRIMONIAL BLISS

 

 You might have said “I do” to him, but his garage sale couch and velvet horse posters are a different story.  He, on the other hand, can’t understand how his beloved bride can love both him and her pastel floral quilt.

 

Ahh, married life.  Once the wedding is over and the honeymoon tan has faded, most newlyweds discover that it takes more than a marriage certificate to make a happy and successful union.  Combining his and her belongings can be a newlywed couple’s first challenge together, but one that’s absolutely surmountable.

 

It’s never an easy adjustment to accommodate two individual design tastes into one home, but the key to peaceful decorating is the art of compromise.  Here are some tips for newlyweds who are merging their decorating styles:

 

·         Common Ground.  Look for similarities in your design preferences and emphasize those things you both enjoy, rather than focusing on your differences.  Perhaps there’s a common color scheme, or an artist or art style you both enjoy.

 

·         Something Old, Something New.  As you’re merging his and hers existing furnishings, use some wedding gift cash to treat yourselves to a few exciting new purchases for your home.  First determine the top renovations or furnishings that will best improve your home, and then figure out a style that will suit both your tastes.  New cabinets, flooring or lighting, for example, can give your home a fresh new look – one that you created together as a couple – and can also add to the value when it comes time for resale.   

 

·         Meet In The Middle.  Since your home’s interior now has to satisfy you both, try to find the point of compromise.  If you like a traditional plush carpet and he prefers a hardwood floor, choose an over-sized area rug to display on a hardwood floor surface. 

 

·         “No-Critique” Zone.  Sometimes you have to put aside your differences – in another room or space, that is.  If there’s no reconciling certain points of design disagreement, you might opt for a designated room or area for each spouse, filled with each person’s favorite collectibles or furnishings.  Try to keep the eye-rolling to a minimum in these “no-critique” zones!

 

·         Create Traditions.  He’s not into your collection of pressed butterflies, and you’re not too keen about his beloved baseball cards.  Create your own tradition of collecting something you both treasure, perhaps souvenirs from your travels together, or your personal collection of holiday ornaments, or a music “library” of favorite CDs.

 

·         An Eclectic Mix.  Conformity in decorating can be dull and boring, so embrace your different tastes into an eclectic mix that gives your home a unique style.  For example, merge his contemporary leather furnishings with your traditional throw pillows and rugs and create a habitat that works for both bride and groom.

 

·         No Time Limit.  Don’t be too quick to consign his sports paraphernalia or her antique book collection to the trash or thrift store.  There’s no rush to find your happy medium.  Keep sifting through accessories and rearranging your combined furniture for as long as it takes until it feels right for both of you, which could be anywhere from six months to a year.   

 

·         Home Sweet Home.  Throughout the decorating process, keep in mind that you’ll be sharing wonderful memories in your first home together, regardless of the color of the walls or the design of the ceramic tiles.  And as you grow together, your tastes will likely change and possibly converge, so don’t fret.  What’s really important is that the two of you are starting an amazing journey together – hold onto that thought and everything else becomes a lot simpler.

 

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