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Hamptons Home: Choosing the perfect fire feature for your backyard. The alluring fire pit is desired by just about everyone. A perfect addition to any home.

The allure of fire from either a fireplace or fire pit can consume any outdoor enthusiast endlessly for hours. The warmth, light, and sound of snap crackle amongst dancing flames can set a romantic mood soothing for conversation via an outdoor fireplace or gangbusters amongst party goers surrounding a fire pit. Both fireplaces and fire pits give off beneficial differences. Choosing the right fire feature for your own use in your own backyard may be an arm wrestle between the male and teenage image of a bonfire versus bonding through the night in front a fireplace with your loved one. 20140614-060203-21723833

Understanding these differences will help develop the theme, location, and commitment to building just the right outdoor living space. Choosing a designer who can build anything you desire is a blessing to the all-inclusive thought process. Besides money invested, it’s how your time spent outdoors will be invested. In our last handful of the grande outdoor kitchen and outdoor living designs, we built both fireplaces and fire pits in different locales on the property for completely different reasons pertaining to the likes, desires and must-haves of all the participating family members. Later we will cover fireplaces but today the fire feature chosen to anchor this luxury marble patio setting complete with outdoor kitchen island was a remote gas fired fire pit. “marble topped fire pit is the hit of the party. Clean and instant fire mesmerizes the crowd during all seasons all evening long.20140303-213053 This stone and marble-topped fire pit is the hit of the party. Clean and instant fire mesmerizes the crowd during all seasons all evening long.20140303-214226

Now you’ve chosen the type of fire feature you look forward to. You need to understand the special requirements for safety, aesthetics, and comfort.
Fire pits surrounding by sitting walls create extra sitting space as well as a windbreak defending the fire. Here we show the building of this tremendous stone and marble gas fire pit adorned to match the rest of the stone outdoor kitchen and marble patio.

OUTDOOR LIVING FABULOUSLY DESIGNER
Outdoor Living Fabulously designer and masterful Outdoor kitchen builder with over 12 Outdoor kitchens featured nationally in publications such as Signature Kitchen & Bath, Hearth & Home magazine and hardcover book BEST SIGNATURE OUTDOOR KITCHENS. Recipient of Award-winning outdoor lighting honors through AOLP. Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals.. Go to Outdoor Kitchen Designer outdoor Kitchens www.OutdoorlivingCt.com -main site www.NightLightingDesigner.com– outdoor lighting portfolio. Michael is president and founder of THE OUTDOOR KITCHEN DESIGN STOREwww.THEOUTDOORKITCHENDESIGNSTORE.com

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Hamptons Home: How To Tell If Your Home Heating System Is Up For The Coming Winter
Do you feel a chill in the evening breeze? Are your woolens slowly coming out of the closet? Winter is around the corner, and it is time you got ready for it.
Your Heating System: The Most Vital link to Winter Comfort

When it is snowing outside, water freezes on the sidewalks, and an icy wind cuts across the neighborhood is the time to cozy up with your family in a comfortably heated home, enjoying the warmth of human relationships. Winter can be the loveliest season of all, provided it does not invade the comfort of your home.

Get your Heating System Winter Ready

Your heating system has been lying around doing nothing since last spring. It has idled through the summer months and even now lies in deep slumber. However, before the winter arrives it needs to be fighting fit. So how and when do you get it back into shape?

Autumn – the Season of Preparation

In the days gone by, autumn was the period of preparing for the winter. The harvest was brought in, and a store of provisions was stocked in the larder.

As it was then, so is it now. According to heating experts, autumn is the right season to get heating systems back into working order. Give everything a check and have a dry run. See if everything is working correctly. Otherwise, you would be forced to conduct repairs while your whole family freezes in the cold.

Getting Heating Systems back into Shape

The simple rule is – check everything, and then check again. Everything was working the last time you switched it on, but that was almost a year ago. So make sure that every little thing is in working order.

Here are a few things that you need to do to get your home ready for winter.

Will Winter Come in Through the Cracks?

No matter how well heating systems work, if there are leaks and cracks through which heat can escape, they will never be effective. So check all your doors and windows. Do they close properly? Are they allowing the outside air to come in?

Let the Air Filter Through

A steady supply of air is necessary for your furnace to work properly. So if dirt and debris are clogging the filter, it could reduce heating efficiency while significantly increasing energy consumption. The best thing to do would be to change the filter before the onset of winter, and then do regular checks every week. You will probably need to install new filters once every month of winter.

Get the Temperature Just Right

Thermostats are a critical part of heating systems. These make sure that the heating of a home is just right – not too cold nor too uncomfortably warm. A malfunctioning thermostat can cause more trouble than you can imagine. So check whether your thermostat is working correctly. Use a thermometer for this test.

Take Care of the Leaks

The hot air is circulated through your home through ducts. If the duct is damaged or leaking, it could mean that the heated warm air is not reaching where it should. So check all your ducts carefully.

Get Professional Help

It is true that with due diligence and care, you can solve most of the problems of your heating system. However, heating systems tend to be complex and difficult to repair. It would, therefore, be wise to call in a professional such as the ones over at facemyeracorlando.com to give it a thorough going over before the onset of winter.

A Warm Winter, A Safe Winter

If you choose to take care of your heating system by yourself, be sure to be careful. Wherever there are furnaces and fuel involved, there could be danger. So take all the precautions you can think of, and then some. This will not only ensure that your family stays warm but safe as well during the winter season. href=’http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Danfoss_long_heater.JPG’>image source

The writer, Edrick Hypolite, is a do it yourself enthusiast who cares about helping to keep his family warm in winters and cool in summers, and thus has learned a number of tricks to do just that without breaking the bank. You can learn more about Edrick by visiting on Google+.

Hamptons Home: Five Simple But Creative Ways To Declutter Your Home
It may take a few days, weeks, months or even years to accumulate. However, sooner or later we all at one point have clutter. Sometimes the clutter can be so overwhelming that there don’t seem to be an end to the mess and chaos.

Don’t let the mountain of clutter intimidate you. Try to spend just five minutes a day on clearing clutter. Then spend five minutes the next day clearing some more clutter. It will take time but eventually you will obtain a home that becomes clutter free. Here are some fantastic ways on how to organize your home, eliminate that mess and get more space in your home.

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  • Imagine how clean and spacious your home will become. Visualization is a very powerful method for inspiring motivation. Take it room by room and only keep items that belong in that room. Get rid of what doesn’t. But how, you ask?

  • Everything in its place. Try to pick say five things and find a place for them. These must be items that you actually use on a regular basis. Only use the item when needed and immediately return it to the place it belongs. This will become second nature. For example, you will find yourself not wanting to leave that pair of scissors on the TV because they just don’t belong there. Do this for every item in your home that you use regularly. Do this a little at a time so it does not become overwhelming. Pat yourself on the back for starting the decluttering process.

  • Clear out your drawers. Start in any room and choose one drawer, any drawer. Then dump the contents onto a table. Make three piles: 1. A pile of things to throw away. 2. Things that actually belong in the drawer. 3. Things that belong somewhere else. First throw away the stuff from the first pile. Don’t wait because you may change your mind and keep things that only add to your clutter. Clean out the drawer and put stuff from the second pile neatly into the drawer. Immediately take items from the last pile and put them where they belong.

  • Designate one area for any incoming papers. Paper accounts for a whole lot of clutter. They are placed just anywhere, on counters, in drawers, in our cars and on tables. The places and possibilities are endless. Is it any wonder we can’t find anything? Here’s how to solve the problem of paper clutter. Get all of your paper and place storage containers, then choose to designate a few hours a week to work on shredding any unwanted paper. Then place any paper, whether it is letters or receipts (this is a big paper clutter contributor) into an inbox. You can buy an inbox from any office supply store. Continue to work on getting rid of papers you absolutely do not need.

  • Schedule time for decluttering. Don’t feel like doing a big decluttering session right away? Then plan a time in the near future. Maybe next weekend, or a few hours during the week? Whatever you decide, stick to it. Plan to take a trip to your local charity to donate any clothes you haven’t worn in a while and items you do not need. Use storage containers to store these items until you are ready to donate them. Don’t feel bad if you do not declutter as much as you planned. Instead of beating yourself up, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Plan to do the same again the week after.

  • “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak—–A Quote by Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Boostrap, 1933”

    Featured images:
    • License: Image author owned
    • License: Image author owned

    +Jodi Call has an impressive collection of bed, bath, kitchen and home furnishing decorum needs that can be found at Bedbathstore.com

    Hamptons Wellness: Are You Getting Restful Sleep
    We all need sleep. It is an essential function of life, but sleep nowadays can be significantly disrupted. You may have been in bed for eight hours, but then you wake up feeling groggy. You now live in a world that requires you to go, go, and go. Many nights, you may be unable to shut your mind off, which reduces your ability to get enough restful sleep. In turn, you have trouble staying alert throughout the day. Moreover, it can have a profound effect on your daily life. Here are some ways to make sure you are getting enough quality sleep:

    1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
    2. Avoid taking naps. If you have insomnia, this could be why. However, if you need a cat nap, 30 minutes should be the limit.
    3. Don’t be a victim of after-dinner dozing. Get up and do some activity after your meal. Moreover, big meals right before bed can cause stomach issues and heartburn.
    4. Avoid that nightly drink after work. Alcohol interferes with the quality of sleep.
    5. Caffeinated drinks can also be a culprit. It can cause sleep problems many hours after you finish drinking it.
    6. Make sure you get enough exercise. 20-30 minutes of daily activity, like a walk or a bike ride can help you sleep more soundly.
    7. Turn off the television. Many people use them to fall asleep. However, TVs stimulate the brain. That goes for your computer too. Read a book instead.
    8. Keep your bedroom cool. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can reduce the sleep quality. The temperature should be around 65 degrees.
    9. Manage your stress. A simple thing as getting organized can help. Moreover, taking a break when you need one goes a long way.
    10. You may use smoking as a coping mechanism. However, you should stop. Nicotine is a stimulant.
    11. Make sure your mattress is comfortable.
    12. Increase your exposure to natural light during the day. This will help with the production of melatonin.
    13. Take a bath before bed. It will help you wind down.
    14. Stop worrying about the day. If it can be put off until tomorrow, deal with it then.
    15. Write down any bothering thoughts in a journal. This way you can “unload.”
    16. Don’t watch the clock while trying to fall asleep. It can increase your stress.

    If you follow these tips and are still having trouble with getting a restful night’s sleep, you should see your doctor. It could be a sign of something more, such as:

    1. Diabetes: frequent urination, symptoms of low blood sugar, nighttime limb pain, and night sweats.
    2. Fibromyalgia: a condition characterized by painful ligaments and tendons. Researchers have found that about 50% of fibromyalgia sufferers have abnormal deep sleep, in which slow brain waves are mixed with waves usually associated with relaxed wakefulness.
    3. An overactive thyroid stimulates the nervous system, making it hard to fall asleep. It also causes night sweats.
    4. Heart failure: the heart’s inability to circulate blood properly. It can cause fluid to build up in the lungs and tissues. Patients with heart failure may awaken during the night feeling short of breath.
    5. Kidney disease: these damaged organs can no longer filter fluids and keep electrolytes in balance. Waste products build up in the blood and can result in insomnia or restless legs syndrome.
    6. Enlarged prostate: a person can have the urge to urinate constantly, getting up five or six times a night.
    Featured images:

    The writer, Trisha Vassello, is a student of medicine at University of Florida’s College of Medicine who uses writing on medical topics as a means to provide supplemental income. Many of her friends work in the trucking industry, and so she also intends to get certified for DOT physical examinations, and to better facilitate this she plans to register her future practice online through www.driverphysicals.com.

    5 Very Easy Landscaping Tips For Homeowners…If you are a small or medium sized home owner when the time comes to sell your home one of the things that plays a big role in the price you get is a good looking curb. A good curb will in fact help to invite buyers that said landscaping efforts do not pay as much as interior upgrades. But because many home owners have already spent thousands of dollars on their interior already, they may want to aim to improve the exterior of their home and make it a lot more appealing, after all the first impression is always had from the outside by potential buyers. The good news is if you have already had some landscaping done by a really good professional a few months or a year back you don’t need to spend a whole lot. Below are a few very easy tips that any homeowner can follow through to ensure a great looking curb or yard.

    Make it a point to remove debris daily

    You never want your yard to look as if it takes a lot of work to maintain or clear up. So, one of the easiest things you can do to maintain the look and feel of your previous landscaping efforts is to rake the grass, clear all the pine needles and broken branches and leaves. When you have a yard which is full of leaves it just shows that the new owners will need to work a lot to clean it up and can for some be a huge deal breaker.

    Everything should be trimmed to give the so called just planted look

    All your bushes and trees should be trimmed neatly. This just has to be done once in two months but will help to give everything a fresh look or groomed appearance. Trim the shrubs and make sure to wash the branches and leaves of your trees if it hasn’t rained for a while to make everything look clean. Plus trimming branches and shrubs is important because it allows for much natural light to enter into the window which may be blocked by extended branches.

    Add a bit of color each year

    Most people overlook the effect that a bit of color can have on the surroundings of their home i.e. their landscape. Even though the landscapers may have planted a number of plants when you hired them a while back your landscape needs fresh colors every year, and this means adding a few new pots. Around 15 to 20 of these pots is all you will need and are fairly inexpensive, just buy any easy growing blooming plants. Just keep simple and steer clear from buying plants that look overly complicated to handle. Plants like pansies and impatiens is all you will need depending on what season you’re buying. The person at the nursery should be able to point out a few seasonal plants which are blooming. You can also try alternating colors. You can choose the long blooming types too so that your efforts will last the whole season.

    Top off your flower beds

    Part of your landscaping effort should be to refresh all of your flower beds with clean mulch and then re-edge them for a very clean look. This is the classic way to enhance the appeal of your curb not to mention the fact that it will make it difficult for weeds to grow. So, you don’t have to worry about weeds at the very least. If you are living in an area which is known to be invaded by termites then you will want to push the wood mulch away from your home. Some other choices of mulch include pine needles, bark, pea gravel and torn hardwood mulch.

    Make your grass green

    One of the things that will really boost your landscaping efforts is to have green grass according to Posh Services which is one of the leading landscaping experts in Australia. If your grass looks dull and dry or you see brown patches you need to act right away. The best and quickest fix is to use turf paint. The results are immediate and they last extremely long not to mention affordable. These are commonly used on golf courses in order to maintain a perfect green throughout the year. You can add luster and color without damaging your grass.

    Featured images:
    • License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microsoft_RedWest_Landscaping.JPG
    • License: Creative Commons image source

    Mark is one of the leading DIY gardening experts in Australia. A botanist by profession he found that landscaping was his calling. However, after mastering the art of landscaping and using his creative skills around the company he decided to also help regular home owners. He does this via a series of blog posts and books.