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Rustic, Not Rusty: Modern Convenience For Rural Homes

Just because you live far away from the hustle and bustle of the city doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck in the past. The old-fashioned charm of a rural home is a huge part of its appeal for many people, but that charm comes with a few costs, too. Here, we’re going to look at how to keep the charm but do away with the inconvenience. We’ll look at a few upgrades that can make your home both look and feel a little more convenient, offering you all the comforts of modern living.

More than a lick of paint

If you simply don’t like the aged look of your home, then that could be one of the easiest issues of all to tackle. A change of style can really make your home a magical place. For instance, instead of warm, drab colors, you can make it feel much brighter while still highlighting the appeal of country style walls with a light color palette of cream and neutrals. If you don’t have a lot of space, then consider using unfussy furniture with neat lines and space-saving shapes so you don’t feel quite as closed in. Art is a great way to update the walls, too.

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Space it out

As mentioned, space can be a concern in country homes. You might not have as much floor on the room as you like, and the walls might be full of awkward angles that create darker spots that you’re not too fond of. Knocking down a wall can really air a room out, so that might be worth considering. Otherwise, however, trying look at ThisOldHouse.com for storage ideas that can help you save a lot of space without having to get rid of anything you need in the home. As for those small, awkwardly angled corners, you could make use of them by installing bespoke storage that takes advantage of the space rather than simply ignoring it.

Light it up

The architecture of older, rural homes tends to also be very closed in, which means that lighting can be an issue. However, one of the benefits of a rural home is that you’re going to get enough natural light to make anyone living in the city jealous. The key factor is finding how to let more of it in your home. You can opt for lighter window treatments and use décor like mirrors to help maximize the amount of light coming through your windows. However, it may be worth considering something like patio doors that can really blur the divide between the outdoors and indoors, bathing your home with a lot more light. Greenery and houseplants can also help the home feel a lot brighter.

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Stay connected

Modern convenience isn’t all about how things look, but about how comfortably and easily you can live, too. When it comes to the internet, rural homeowners tend to get the short end of the stick, to put it politely. If you stick with the major providers, you might find that coverage in your area isn’t suitable to the modern needs of the average internet-powered household. Check out other providers like i3Broadband.com for more information on the types of internet packages they offer in your area. You might just be able to find one who can provide better coverage or at least better hardware, such as routers, that can help your home make the best use of your connection. We use the net for much more than visiting websites nowadays. Between online video games and streaming high-quality videos, you need high-speed internet that can handle a heavier load.

Make it smart

If you upgrade the wireless hub of the home, then you might be able to use it to do a lot more than access faster download and upload speeds. The smart home is a revolutionary new trend in home technology that allows you to control a lot more from a single control panel. For instance, you can connect your smart home to your lights, electronic locks, blinds, your HVAC, even your TV, and your sound systems, allowing you to control them all remotely. There’s nothing to stop someone in a country home from taking their house to the future. However, it may require you to do a lot of rewiring and to install new power outlets into the home to keep everything connected.

 

Get energized

Speaking of power, if you’re sick of being tied to the grid and paying utility companies for your energy, then you should consider going solar instead. Sites like YellowLite.com show more about different solar installations that can make the best use of the climate in your area. As previously mentioned, country homes tend to get a lot more natural light that homes in suburbs and the cities, because there’s nothing to block the sun. As a result, they could also have the biggest potential savings by making the switch to solar-powered electricity in the home. If you produce more electricity than you use, you can even provide it back into the grid.

Stand up against the weather

If your home is at the mercy of the elements, there are a lot of ways to tackle it. Updating your doors and windows to more energy efficient fixtures is one way, as is replacing and maintaining the health of the roof. However, sometimes it’s the walls that let a little too much of the heat escape. As Hunker.com shows, exterior cladding could be just the solution you need. Besides helping the home better maintain its own climate, cladding can reduce water absorption and is highly resistant to sunlight. What’s more, it can immediately transform the aesthetic appeal of the home, giving it a much more modern façade.

You don’t have to transform the home from top to bottom to enjoy a little modern convenience. It’s a good idea to list your wants and needs, to prioritize so you can see where you can do a little updating without sacrificing what you love about your country home

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3 Simple Alternatives To A Minimalist Interior

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For the past decade, magazines and TV shows have been telling us about the joys of a minimalist interior. White walls, high gloss kitchen units, minimal clutter, and simple furniture have been the trends of choice. Only with the emergence of a more creative set of designers and a frustration with the lack of artistic license in a minimalist environment, have people become more enamored with more colorful, exciting and unique designs. Magazines are now showing off more vibrant ideas on their covers and showcasing younger interior designers with their more forward thinking creations. If you fancy stepping away from the sleek and monotone to a more cheerful and homely atmosphere, take a look at these three simple alternatives to a minimalist interior.

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Walls

Forget white walls or even a touch of magnolia. It’s time to be bolder with your palette. If you fancy introducing more color in a subtle way, play around with duck egg blues, pastel hued greens or even a teal wall or two. If you’re more willing to experiment with a broader range of colors, consider mixing palettes and hues. A dark damson feature wall with lighter surrounding walls can create a focal point and break up the sea of white.

Artwork can also add touches of flair within a space and allows you to express your personality. If you love graffiti art, pick up a couple of Banksy prints. For traditional art lovers, why not head to your local gallery, purchase an original watercolor and support the local artisan trade. For a more realist approach to your artwork, you might wish to think about the photography prints for sale online. A spectacular landscape, some wildlife shots or street photography could be perfect for your interior.

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Furniture

While minimalist furniture has been the order of the day, people are now looking to source vintage furniture to create a mix of modern and old for their interior design. G-Plan, Ercol, and Meredew made stunning and affordable mid-century teak tables, chairs and sideboards. With people looking back fondly on the swinging sixties, people are keen to bring a touch of retro to their designs.

Coupled with drapery and fabrics, the wooden or teak inspired furniture can come alive with more texture, colors and a tactile nature. Hygge has been a Danish concept that has suddenly gained traction within the design world as families are more interested in function over form. Interior design lovers want comfort, cosiness, and a homely feel more than something that simply looks stunning but is virtually unusable. Banish the chaise lounge that never gets used and swap it for a fashionable leather recliner that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Playing around with your interior design can be a daunting prospect, but it should also be enjoyable. With our busy lifestyles, we want a humble abode that is welcoming and comfortable; minimalism doesn’t always deliver this. Banish the white walls and clinical look to welcome a more vibrant and exciting interior design.

 

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End-of-Summer Home Checklist

It may be sad to say, but summer is just about at an end. It is time to start battening down the hatches for the colder months ahead. Plus, there are plenty of other home improvements which you can make during the following weeks and months. In this blog post, we are going to take a closer look at just a few of them. Many of these jobs will be much harder to complete when the real cold of winter sets in. So, here is an end-of-summer checklist which you can start ticking off.

A Lick of Paint

Since you will be spending a lot of time indoors over the next few months, it makes sense that you have a nice environment to look at. So, now is the perfect opportunity to give your walls a lick of paint. It could be that you simply want to refresh the wall colours which you have already. Otherwise, you may want to go for something completely different. Since the weather is still warm, you can leave your windows and doors open to let the paint dry. This is helpful in not leaving your home stinking of paint fumes.

Check for Any Leaks and Get Them Repaired

Winter is the last time of year that you want leaks in your home. So, to avoid suffering from chilly draughts, you need to check for leaks around the house now. Look around the home for the potential places where cold air could enter. Step outside to check for any cracks or holes in your windows, walls, doors or anywhere else. Some of these could be solved with a DIY job like caulking in the gaps. This will dry better during the warmer weather. However, if you do notice any in your windows, now is the time to get in touch with a firm like Westview Glass. Getting these jobs taken care of now can help to provide you with great peace of mind.

Get Your Fireplace Ready

There is nothing like cosying up indoors in front of a roaring fireplace. So, if you are lucky enough to have one in your home, now is the time to make sure that it is in good working order. Give it a test out now, as it is going to be much harder to get it repaired in the height of winter. It may simply need a good clean since it has likely not been used for several months of the year. Now is a good opportunity to stock up on some firewood so that you are all ready to go.

Clear Out the Gutters

If your home has rain gutters, now is a great opportunity to get them properly cleared out. Of course, you may want to do this job a little later in the year as well, since they could get clogged up with leaves when they start falling. All sorts of damage can be caused to other parts of your home if you don’t take care of this task now. Prevention is far better than the cure, so now is the time to take action.

Wash Your Winter Clothes and Bedding

 

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It won’t be long before you want to start digging out your winter clothes and bedding. And it is likely to have been at the back of your closet gathering dust over the past few years, so now is the time to dig it all out when the weather is still warm enough to dry it all properly. Just some of the items to put on the washing checklist include winter duvets, blankets, coats, pillows, jumpers, to name a few. Hang them all up outside if you can as the UV light in sunshine works as a fantastic disinfectant. Odours and mildew can also be cleared by the fresh air.

Make Your Rooms Cosier

Once your winter duvets, rugs, and blankets are washed, now is the time to start putting them around your home again. You can swap them out for your light and simple linens. You may even want to invest in some new ones. Layering up your furniture is also a fantastic way of updating your interior design. Choose a wide combination of colours, prints, and fabric varieties. This way, your home will appear inviting from the moment you step through the front door.

Rearrange Your Coat Room

There is a lot of effort in the winter months when you are putting on and taking off your coats, boots etc. Maybe you need to clear out your coathooks or get some new ones entirely. Perhaps you have some winter clothes hanging around which you no longer need, and they are simply taking up space. It is worth getting a little rug to wipe your muddy and wet boots on. A little stool will also make your job so much easier. And a shelf to put your shoes on will also help you to keep everything properly organised.

Clean the Windows

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Since the days are getting shorter, you will want to allow as much natural light into your home as possible. The first thing to do is to give them a good wash. On the inside, you can do the job well with a damp microfibre cloth. Outside, they are bound to get dirtier, so you can start by spraying them down with a hose. Finish off the job with a squeegee for the highest quality results. You may also want to switch out your thin blinds or window treatments for some which are a little thicker and heavier. This way, you can better contain the heat in your home.

Bring Your Outdoor Furniture In

It is sad to say, but the days of having outdoor gatherings are coming to an end. So, you want to make sure that your patio furniture and grill are stored safely indoors. Before you do this, now is a good opportunity to wipe down your tables and chairs with a cloth to get rid of the dirt on the surface. Afterward, you can then hose them all down. However, you need to make sure that everything is properly dry before you put it all indoors. Take this extra bit of care now and your furniture is much more likely to stand the test of time. And before you are closing your grill up for the season, it is worth wiping it down with a soapy cloth. If you have a gas-powered grill, take special care to close the tank of the valve is closed and detached.

Clean Out the Sink and Garbage Disposal

  If you have a garbage disposal in your sink, this is a very useful tool which is worth keeping in good working order. However, during the warmer months of the year, it is very easy for the bacteria lurking within to multiply significantly. A simple way of clearing it out is by using a specially designed garbage disposal cleaning product to disinfect it and remove any clogs which may well have built up. Again, this is the type of job which becomes much more complicated to complete if you wait for the winter months to do it.

Scrub All the Bathrooms

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Spring cleaning is a phrase that you hear all the time, but autumn cleaning is one which hardly ever gets mentioned. And if you are going to complete a fall cleaning job, it makes sense that you kick things off in the bathroom. A mildew remover is a useful tool which you can use to scour the surfaces until they are shiny and clean. Perhaps you have spotted some areas which need regrouting, and now is the perfect opportunity to complete this simple DIY task. And if there are any other major bathroom repairs or improvements that you would like to make, start now and they will be done in plenty of time before winter arrives.

Though you may be sad about the end of summer, rather than dwelling in your depression, now is the time to start taking action so you can kick off the winter in the best way possible. This way, you will be able to relax indoors rather than rushing around trying to complete a million different jobs when the nights are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder.

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5 Things You Should Never Do When Decorating A Spare Room

Are you constantly telling yourself that you’re going to do something with your spare room instead of just using it to store all of your junk in? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Spare rooms around the globe end up wasted which is a real shame because you could be doing something so much better with that space. If you take the time to clear out all of the clutter that you’ve got in there and convert the room into something else, you’ll have a lot more space in the rest of the house and you’ll actually be able to enjoy using that room. But you’ve got to be careful when you’re converting a spare room because there are a lot of mistakes that you can make. If you get it wrong, the room will be just as useless as it was before. If you’re thinking about doing something more interesting with the spare room, make sure you don’t make these mistakes.

Using It For The Wrong Thing

Before you start doing any work, you need to decide what the room is going to be used for. So many people get it wrong and choose a function that just doesn’t suit the room. For example, if you have a fairly small box room and you try to turn it into another bedroom, you’ll fill all of the space with the bed and the room will be incredibly cramped. Equally, if you take a large room and make it into an office space, you’re not going to make great use of all of that space. That’s why you’ve got to be careful when you’re working out what to do with that spare room.  Consider the space and think about how you can get the best use out of it. By letting the space in the room guide you, you can be sure that you find the right use for it.

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Not Matching It With The Rest Of The House

Now that you’ve decided what you’re going to do with the room, you can start coming up with a design. You might have an idea in mind but before you get carried away, think about how the room will fit with the rest of the house. You need to match the decor in the spare room to the rest of the house, otherwise, it’ll look out of place. That doesn’t mean you have to use the exact same decor that you’ve got in other rooms, but you need to find a color scheme that accents it well.

Trying To Do Too Much Yourself

When you’re making home renovations, DIY is a great way to save money. But you do have to be careful because there are some things that you should never do yourself. For example, if you’re going to start messing around with the radiators or any other plumbing, you need professionals like ABC Plumbing Services to do the work for you. If you try to do it yourself and you haven’t really got a clue what you’re doing, you’ll end up with a flooded spare room instead of the great new space you were hoping for. The same goes for anything to do with the electrics. You’re going to end up hurting yourself if you start poking around in plug sockets. There are plenty of things that you can do yourself, mainly the cosmetic stuff. Any wallpapering or painting etc. is fine to do on your own as long as you take your time and plan properly. But anything more complex is always a risk so you need to get some professionals to do it for you.

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A Short Lived Design

When you’re trying to pick a color scheme for the new room, consider the longevity of the design. If you’re decorating in the fall, you might decide that you want to use lots of nice oranges and browns. That’ll look great for a while but it might not fit well when the winter comes. When you’re designing the room, it’s important that you don’t let yourself be swayed by seasonal styles that won’t look good all year around. Try to pick something fairly neutral that isn’t going to fall out of style a couple of months down the line. You should also try to avoid using any new design trends. While everybody might think that those styles are here to stay, they usually fall out of fashion pretty quickly. Instead of a stylish spare room, you’ll end up with dated decor that you’ll end up having to change again.

Measuring Badly

When you’ve landed on a final design for the new spare room, you’re ready to start work. But if you rush into things and just start throwing wallpaper onto the walls, you’ll end up with a shoddy job that looks terrible. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they’re starting a new renovation is measuring badly. If you don’t get your measurements right, you’ll cause yourself all sorts of problems down the line. When it comes to buying materials, you can easily end up not ordering enough because your measurements are wrong. Getting halfway through a wall before realizing you’ve run out of paint and having to go out and get more can easily ruin the finish. Equally, you might overestimate your measurements and end up wasting a load of money on materials that you can’t use again in the future.

When you’re measuring things out, always make sure that you’re taking your time and measuring everything twice. You might save yourself 5 minutes now by rushing it, but you’ll waste hours and loads of money further down the line when you make a mistake. Measuring right is particularly important when you’re cutting things. If you get it wrong you’ll have to go out and buy more materials.

Converting a spare room is a great way to get more use out of the space in your home but if you make these mistakes, you’ll end up with a room that’s more useless than it was before.

 

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Maker’s Monday: The Vintage Nest

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I have decided to start a new little series on my blog to celebrate something that is near and dear to my heart — small creative businesses! Each Monday, I’ll be featuring a small business and/or artist, their wares and a little bit about them. Since starting House Fenway 2 years ago, it has always been a fun experience meeting other makers and enjoying their creations. The thought and heart that goes into products made by small businesses and artists far out ways anything you could purchase from a big box retailer. So stay tuned every Monday for House Fenway’s Maker’s Monday series and make sure to check out all of the amazing talent out there!

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My necklace from The Vintage Nest featuring a fern leaf which is symbolic of sincerity.

This week’s Maker’s Monday feature is a jewelry artist from Virginia, The Vintage Nest. Whitney, The Vintage Nest owner, crafts handmade botanical and faith inspired jewelry to inspire and encourage. These one-of-a-kind pieces feature hand-pressed flowers, leaves and even mustard seeds and are the perfect accent to finish off any wardrobe. The Vintage Nest offers an array of necklace styles, earrings and pendants in this unique vintage style.

If you are looking for a unique piece of jewelry with heartfelt meaning and vintage charm or a gift with special sentiment, look no further than The Vintage Nest.

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Photo Source: The Vintage Nest

Love shopping local and supporting small business?
Check out another great maker, MNK Candle

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Want to be featured in an upcoming Maker’s Monday? I’d love to have you! Fill out the form to submit your small business for your chance to be featured.
Maker’s Monday Submission Form