Category Archives: Do-It-Yourself Projects

Well-Lit Northern VA Home | Energy Efficient Windows

Expert Tips for a Well-Lit Northern Virginia Home

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Let’s face it: Fall has arrived, and with the crunch of fallen leaves comes cooler temperatures and shorter days; your family will spend more time indoors, and the glorious multitudes of natural light summer offers will fade. Now is the time to think about how, and in what ways to light your home for effect and ambiance and, well… light.

A good lighting plan can work magic on your living spaces.

Consider the following tips for a well-lit home through fall, winter, and beyond — and remember, it all starts with energy efficient windows.

Layer the light.

Listen to the experts, and you’ll soon learn that the recipe for successful lighting design is to layer four types of light in every room of the house.

  • First: Ambient, or indirect light will evenly illuminate each room to provide a base of sorts; this light can come from natural sources, from pendant lighting, or from an overhead fixture.
  • Second: Spotlight work or living areas with task lighting. Think reading lamps or under-counter lights.
  • Third: Highlight the room’s architecture with accent lights, such as track lights or adjustable recessed lights.
  • And finally: Add decorative lighting — a chandelier or a strategically placed lamp — to make large rooms feel smaller.

Add drama.

It doesn’t matter if you’re hoping to highlight a roaring fire, a priceless piece of art, or your brand new bay windows, accent lights are perfect to add a touch of drama and call attention to the focal point of any room.

Install a dimmer switch.

Dimmer switches on your light fixtures are not only great for saving energy and extending the life of your bulbs, but they also serve to set the mood; tone down too-bright ambient lighting or create a more nuanced lighting scheme.

Make use of the daylight.

Northern Virginia may no longer be treated to twelve hours of daylight, but, and I don’t know about you, I’m thanking my lucky stars for the simple fact that we don’t live in Alaska; the daylight may fade but even on winter’s coldest day, there is daylight to be savored.

Natural light is the single best way to light your home, so maybe you’ll consider adding a new energy efficient window, installing a skylight, or investing in window coverings to highlight those new windows, and keep the cold air out — call Vinyl-Lite Window Factory; our subject matter experts will be more than happy to help.

4 Easy Steps to Make an Easter Wreath for Your Front Door

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blogimage_4EasyStepstoMakeanEasterWreathforYourFrontDoor

A few weeks from now, everyone will be busy hunting for Easter eggs in various places all over the region. While the hullabaloo hasn’t started yet, you can already begin making way for the big event by hanging a fancy Easter wreath on your front door. You don’t even have to purchase expensive ones from malls or stores because you can easily make one for yourself.

Visualize a concept

The goal here is clear – that you’ll make an Easter wreath that you can proudly hang on your front door. In order to do that, you must have some sort of blueprint or guide so you will be able to execute the goal very efficiently. Find an inspiration. Your design may revolve around the fluffiness of bunnies, the pastel colors of eggs, carrots and nests. Do not limit your imagination. You don’t get to be creative every day. Also, you can make the most of this opportunity to bond with your kids in springtime.

Gather the needed materials

Perhaps now you realize how important the concept is. Not only it is essential for your artistic outlook, but also as basis for the materials you will need. By having a vision, you can easily list down the things you need to buy for your DIY craft. The good thing is that, if you are resourceful enough, you can make do with the materials you already have at home like old gift wrappers, wires, glitters, ribbons and others. Producing something neat and beautiful from recycled materials can be pretty much more satisfying than spending too much. Your front door will look great!

Make your vision into a reality

After all materials are gathered, you can now begin. Start with the foundation. You shouldn’t take this for granted because this holds all the materials you will be putting on your wreath. It must be sturdy so by the time you’d hang it on your front door, it will still stay in shape. By the way, you should remember that the concept you have created is just there to guide you. You can put additional ideas along the way. You can do anything in the name of artistic freedom!

Hang it on your front door

Loud and proud, you can finally hang it on your front door and start anticipating for the big day, Easter! When creativity knocks in, let it in. Creativity knocks in very rarely. So while it’s there knocking like a most-awaited visitor, give it a go.

DIY Guide: How to Make a Gardening Gift Set

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Before spring season breaks in again, laze over the holidays and make the most of it by giving out presents to those who matter to you. The good thing is that you are not really required to give very expensive gifts. As they say, “It’s the thought that counts.” And that’s what we are going to do today. Gardening tool kits for your neighbors and in-laws – a perfect source of delight in preparation for spring!

You will need the following:
• Flower Pots
• Used Gift Wrappers
• Ribbons
• Gardening giveaways

To start off, arrange all flower pots in a line and divide the gardening tools you have purchased evenly. The flower pots will serve as the base of the project. Include putting in some gardening gloves, mini shovels, gardening shears, packs of fertilizers and other useful items. The number of freebies for each person would depend on the size of the flower pots you have selected. Also, make sure that the pot is deep enough to hold the items vertically.

After all items are distributed in the flower pots, arrange them creatively putting the small ones in the front and the big ones at the back. Make sure the levels are displayed with variety for a much more artistic effect. You may also cut out bits and pieces of your used gift wrappers to insert in between the gardening tools to add color and texture. This is optional, but you may also insert a Christmas greeting card in between the tools.

For the final touch, wrap around a ribbon to the bodies of the flower pots. You may use red, green and gold hues to make the presents very timely. You may also recycle the gift wrappers and maybe use them as customized gift tags. And you’re done! It’s very easy, isn’t it? Giving, that’s what the holidays is truly about.

DIY: Bubble Wraps For Window Insulation

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If you are looking for an unconventional and cheap way of insulating your windows for winter, we have a suggestion for you. Why not use bubble wraps? Bubble wraps are not only useful for people who are in so much awe of bubble popping. These days, as a result of creativity and practicality, bubble wraps can also be used for insulating your windows. How great!

According to Build It Solar, bubble wraps insulation techniques are originally used in greenhouse windows for the same purpose, but their geniuses figured out the same thing can also be applied at home. It may give your windows a blurry point-of-view, but it will also give you your much needed privacy and save you a little more cash during the holidays. So this is how it is done!

1. Gather an estimate number of bubble wraps from left over packaging of your recent purchases. As much as possible, pick those that have bigger bubbles. This would protect your home better from extreme heat or cold.

2. Secondly, you need to cut the bubble wrap pieces as accurately as you can based on the size and shape of the window panes that will be covered. This would be very convenient, especially for homes that have customized window shapes.

3. So, how do the bubble wraps stick to the window? You won’t be needing tapes or any form of adhesive in this project. What you will be needing is a spray container. Fill it with water and spray some to the glasses. Immediately stick a cut-out bubble wrap to the surface while it’s still wet. Do the same in the other windows.

That’s it! Bubble wrap insulation is as easy as 1-2-3! It takes less of your time since it can be done in a few minutes, and more importantly, it takes less of your money. Remember that this project is applicable even without the need of insulation shade. It can pretty much stand on its own. What are you waiting for? Try it and spread the word.

The 3 Ds of Making Your House Guest-Friendly

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Avoid the rush of doing last minute preparations to prettify your home for the holidays. As early as now, start doing the necessary repairs and prepare the accommodation of friends and relatives who may be very excited to come over to your house a few weeks from now. With regards to making your house guest-friendly, here’s what you need to do.

Declutter

This is basic. You need to clean up your little mess and encourage expected guests to actually come inside your house. Cleanliness is the most powerful magnet! Size doesn’t really matter. Whether you have enormous space to lodge your visitors or just a small spot to cozy on, it doesn’t matter! Give away your old things and make room for people you make connection with. Throw away the trashes and make your place as sleek as possible.

Decorate

Since you’ll be celebrating Christmas, it’s not a bad idea to hang some Christmas decorations to make your house warmer and more welcoming. The installation of red ornaments, like a Christmas tree or some holiday candles, is very helpful in making your house suitable for the celebration. Try to make the spirit of Christmas alive! Play with the lights, the doormat, the Christmas tree, the wreath. It’ll be more fun!

Details

Since you will be housing a few visitors, it is important that you pay attention to little details. What details? Primarily, you have to prepare the guest room. Make the towels available and easy to find. Organize your things in the bathroom and don’t hesitate to throw away those who are only adding up to the clutter. Ask yourself, “What does my visitor need?” Put them down on a list and schedule a convenient day for purchase. Make everything as organized as possible!

Home Improvement Projects For The Holidays

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It’s still a few weeks away before you take a holiday break from work in December, but the gradually changing temperature seems to make time skip a few weeks faster, taking us closer to Christmas. Well, reality obviously tells us otherwise, which means you still have a few days to plan ahead how you want to spend your time on the anticipated dates. That’s a good thing!

Yes, holiday vacations are meant for relaxations, but you don’t want to be staring at the walls and ceilings of your house the whole day, do you? Avoid getting stuck in your house without a purpose. Now, you may take a look at the following suggestions below on how you can spend the holidays productively.

Repainting

Repainting. It is expected that you will question the validity of this first suggestion since many people believe that it is advisable to open doors and windows when painting the interiors of a house. But given the cold temperature in December, how can it work? For the information of everyone, it actually depends on a homeowner’s paint selection. To avoid harmful fumes usually released by paints, choose one with low-volatile organic compounds for ease in breathing. Besides, painting is not very suitable in hot and humid weather conditions and in fluctuating temperatures in fall and spring.

Gardening

Who would have thought gardening would be great for the holidays? Well, it actually is. Most homeowners who own very attractive gardens start as early as winter to prepare for the succeeding months and the succeeding season, which is spring. Gather some gardening materials with you, like seeds, soil, pots and indoor lighting for the plants you wish to see in full bloom during spring. If possible, you may also vacate your abandoned basement as a gardening room to shelter your seedlings during the coldest season of the year. Terrific!

Supervising

Ever thought of having some home renovations in your house? Winter is the perfect time to do it. Well, your demanding job technically swallows you alive to still be able to manage some home improvement projects. Now, you may take advantage of your holiday leave to supervise and push through long overdue house ventures. It will not only allow you to use your time productively while on vacation, but it will also allow you to unleash some creative juices you’ve been keeping secret since God-knows when. Seeing good changes in your home – in which you are fully involved in – will be the greatest reward you can give yourself just in time for Christmas.

DIY Home Improvement Projects For Winter

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Let’s say that you have done well in terms of managing your home. Despite working off your ass and struggling to be the best in the career path you have chosen, you haven’t taken your house and family for granted – thanks to your excellent time management skills! However, seasons change four times a year in the region we live in. It’s only right that we are knowledgeable enough to juggle four kinds of home managing techniques. For the winter season, specifically, there are parts of the house that we should pay more attention to, and that’s what this entry is here for!

Give the gutters a break!

Your home’s gutter system is the immediate fallback of raindrops after dripping from the roof. With the preceding season right before winter, it is expected that a specific volume of water and a few pieces of dried leaves will cause these passageways to clog and will soon cause the whole system to be ineffective. Before winter officially takes the place of autumn, have the gutters cleaned for a less hassle recovery process. Don’t let the water freeze in the openings. Cleaning it during the aftermath would definitely be much harder to do.

Engage in energy-efficient habits!

A little crack can cause big changes – not only in your house’s over-all curb appeal, but also in the digits imprinted in the monthly notification of your utility bills. As early as now, it is advisable that you pay attention to these little home defects for the benefit of the whole household. You keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Simple. Be observant at all times, and act out right away what needs to be done in order for the problem to get fixed.

Hydrate the herbs in your lawn!

Don’t forget about your lawn! It may be subtly located a few inches away from the main house but it still has an essential role to play. While other people mostly pour their energy and time preparing the interior, be ahead of the others and take care of the exterior. By hydrating the plants that constantly give your house a hint of color; you keep them alive during the coldest of seasons. You don’t want them to die of “herbal hypothermia” (if there’s such a thing), do you?

Fill in your toolbox!

If you don’t mind, you can clean up your garage a bit – not just for the sake of cleaning, but to gather some tools you might need during the peak of the winter season. Aside from that, you might also find extra space for your car or perhaps for other things that you might want to store inside closed doors. Think about it and prepare your kit for possible tinkering in the future!

Decorate Your Lawn The Halloween Way

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Halloween has always been part of the American tradition and you’d be a total doomsayer if you’d say you don’t give a damn about it. As a fun and participative parent and homeowner, you can take the weeks before the event to bond with your kids in decorating your lawn to make it as spooky as it can be. Remember that Halloween does not last for the rest of November. So make a plan in advance and execute it as soon as possible to have the decoration last for at least a week or more. Are you ready to throw your own spookfest? Here’s what needs to be done.

Decoration

Treat your lawn as a canvass. With all the green grasses spreading out to the fences, you can easily transform your lawn into a spooky cemetery. Trust us. A little resourcefulness and creativity could help you realize it.

Create tombstones using pieces of plywood you can cut and customize. Come up with names, dates and lines that you can use in labeling the surfaces. Experiment with shapes. Upon the stabilization of the tombstones to the soil, add some pile of dirt surrounding each of them for dimension. A pristine tombstone wouldn’t be that much convincing. It is recommendable that you keep the filth and dirt for a more realistic feel.

Lighting

Never underestimate the power of good lighting. This has been proven and tested by films that took advantage of having good cinematography. You don’t really have to purchase state-of-the-art lighting materials. All you need is learn the art of mixing colors and creating shadows. You can even use candles or bonfire as you like. With regards to artificial light, it is advisable that you do not overuse them. You don’t really need to fill the whole area with illumination exhibitions, do you? Just look for good spots and focus on them. Since you are decorating your lawn, you can surely position the lights in various angles and levels. Play with the lights! Suggested light colors are dark blue, dark violet and red.

Effects

The haunted lawn aura would not be complete without the effects. A mystifying and eerie mood can only be achieved by setting up a foggy atmosphere. But instead of spending cash for a fog machine rental, spend less by making your own. Nope. I’m not talking about black magic over here. I’m actually talking about making a homemade fog in which you can do mainly through the use of glycerin. This shall serve as your main ingredient for the foggy mix. Don’t worry. You can buy it to the nearest pharmacy in your town. Detailed steps on how you do it are provided online. Believe us when we say that the fog in your lawn will seal the deal for your own Halloween spookfest! Enjoy!

3 Helpful Autumn Lawn Care Tips

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Seasons change inevitably, and since the cycle goes this way in a few months or so, it is only right that you are able to adjust well to these changes. One of the most relevant transformations of the fall season is the environmental alterations mostly observed by the changing hues of trees and falling leaves. Naturally, it is your lawn or your backyard that is mostly affected by this. So, how do you keep your lawn presentable and well-maintained at this time of the year?

#1: Rake
You really can’t just let those falling leaves scattered on the ground making your lawn look very untidy. They have to be cleaned up right away or else they will pile up until they reach a volume that’s almost impossible to get rid of, thus, causing some grasses to suffocate. Well, what better way to do it than to make use of a rake? Brooming would delay the heavy work though, but through the use of a rake, dried leaves are brought to a specific spot in a faster pace without harming and destroying the soil.

#2: Decompose
After the fallen leaves have been gathered at one corner, what needs to be done next? Just before you attempt on burning the leaves, be reminded that it will not be beneficial for the environment. On the other hand, if you are also thinking of throwing the leaves to the dump, think again. Dead leaves are actually rich in nutrients and some organic matters that are truly helpful in making loams healthy. You know what that means, right? Healthier soil grows healthier plants. So do not put them to waste.

#3: Aerate
It would also be best to let your lawn breathe this autumn. You can do so by spreading some fertilizer on the ground to prepare the loam for winter. And by the time spring comes again, you’d have everything prepared beforehand. You can immediately get back to gardening and beautifying your lawn – just in time for the most colorful season of the year.

It’s All About The Gutter

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The fall season seems to be attacking the effectiveness and functionality of gutters. And since gutters are the most prone to problems these days, let’s have a little crash course on how to specifically handle such crisis. Take these steps as a DIY guide list that you may or may not do to manage the gutter problems you encounter. We all face the same house problems, but they surely differ on certain levels. It takes proper evaluation to realistically conclude whether yours needs DIY attention, or appropriate help from experts.

Holes

Gutters are made to direct rain waters to a specific direction. However, with the presence of holes here and there, they are not able to serve their purpose in the fullest potential. Regardless of the cause, these leaks must be given attention to immediately before the condition gets worse.

Small openings can be worked out through the use of roofing cement. Choose a credible brand in your most trusted hardware store. It is important that the area surrounding the hole be cleaned first before the cement application for it to adhere strongly to the surface. Make sure the roofing cement is applied and lathered not only to the holes themselves but beyond where they are located.

For large ones, on the other hand, metal patches can be of great help. If a problem can still be fixed, do it immediately before the idea of replacement comes to mind. You’ll be able to save some bucks!

Seams

Well, not everyone is lucky enough to have chosen seamless gutters upon the purchase of house hard wares and fixtures. The problem with gutters that have seams is that they create leaks that aren’t as obvious as the ones mentioned in the previous category. These leaks can be prevented through the use of adhesives or gutter sealants. The application of such to the top and bottom part of the seams will put off unwanted water leaks of the rainy days. Be sure though that you do it ahead of time to assure the dryness of the surface.

Top

We all know that the most part of gutters are located on an elevated portion of a home. Thus, it is required for one to use a ladder to perform any kind of repairs. This particular category emphasizes on homeowners’ safety. It is encouraged that gutter repairs are done with extra care and caution for safety. If you are not confident about it, leave it to the hands of an expert instead.  Make safety always the top priority.