Have you ever wondered what kind of technology the most
expensive homes in the world use? Look no further.
The most expensive home in the world, named Antilia, is located
in Mumbai, India and is worth $1 billion. The house includes a
50-seat movie theater, crystal chandeliers in the ballroom that
take up 80% of the ceiling, and is 27 stories! Don't worry about
getting around though. Its nine elevators will get you up and down
550 foot tall home in no time. And if you ever get sick of the warm
weather, there's a snow room with man made snowflakes.
If that's a little too much for you,
check out Bill Gates' Home, Xanadu 2.0, in Medina Washington. This
66,000 square foot home comes with a 20-seat art-deco theater,
pressure sensitive floors that detects who is in the house based on
footsteps, and temperature, light and music adjustment from a
And you thought your new big screen
TV was cool. For a longer description of some of the coolest gadget
powered homes, look at this inforgraphic.
This infographic is brought to you by Vivint. Be sure to check
out Vivint to outfit your home with a state-of-the-art home automation system.
1. The Meaden
The 'War and Peace' of self-build blogs, our first place
offering goes to show that it's true -- you can't get enough of a
good thing. Boasting over 75,000 blog views since its June 2012
inception, the Meaden saga is still going strong, and we, for one,
are hooked. Hilariously candid and occasionally crude, the
anecdotes just keep on coming, each one more interesting,
cringe-worthy and 'lol' than the one before. A self-build
renovation plus new-build extension (not to mention stables and
'man-cave'), this wife and husband team have certainly bitten off a
lot, but it's chew, chew, chew - and so far, it seems to be going
From a self-builder's point of view, there is a wealth of
instruction on offer, whether it be author Emma's name-and-shame
policy of which suppliers to plump for (cleverly uses her blog hits
as discount leverage) or the overarching philosophy not to be
scared of a challenge. It'll all come out in the wash, as
they say (although when the caravan pipes froze last winter it
doesn't sound like Emma and Richard washed quite often enough).
My favourite character? The Turdis. A real page stealer.
This dual purpose blog of a dedicated mother come property agent
is doubly good. Written from a vantage of concentrated knowledge
and proprietary passion, this blog can't fail to impress. Witty,
intelligent and darkly observant, our self-styled
'agent-mumpreneur' (part mum, part property agent, part
entrepreneur) begins by addressing chosen issues from her
specialised angles, before progressing to chronicle her near
complete self-build project: what turns out to be a staggeringly
impressive, breathtakingly contemporary affair, complete with
lashings of blue lighting, glass and sustainable features. Wow.
Less Highgate and more Hollywood, this is a thoroughly enjoyable
read - if only we'd been in on it from the start!
3. Self build
Neil Grimshaw's charming, enthusiastic, and darn right funny
insights into the self-build dramas of being an overstretched
project manager overseeing the construction of his family home -
including the arrival of a newborn baby half way through. To tent
or not to tent? This is the inherent dilemma of the build, and
there's even a clever running-table-thingy to track the number of
days saved by tenting against the number of days that would have
been lost through not weatherproofing. Tenting turns out to be a
sensible investment, saving time and ultimately money in the long
run. The most mysterious aspect of this blog? It's - um -
mysterious, untimely demise just a few weeks prior to scheduled
completion. What happened?
4. Self Build
An endearing account of the self-build overtures of a
professional joiner, embarking on a modest 75m2, 2 bedroom bungalow
in the Midlands. Includes periodical pics that help move the story
along nicely, for a sound sense of progression and vicarious thrill
at watching it all come together in what seems rapid time, with
(selfishly, sadly!) little or no hiccups whatsoever.
'Ojz''s musings on the ominous air-tightness test are shrewdly
philosophical. As our sage protagonist recounts: "Air tightness
test was last week. Achieved a ridiculously good result of 2.72
only be told that it's almost too good which is when you start
needing extra mechanical ventilation. I don't understand how you
can strive to achieve air tightness to then be told you did too
well". Aah, the old 'overqualified' conundrum. You've happened upon
one of life's great mysteries there, my friend...
5. Self Build
This is a charming - if sporadic -- account of a dedicated self
build in suburban Whitby, again for a family home. Alice's words
recount her family's plunge into the dreamer's abyss, succumbing to
an alluringly vacant plot in a residential area (having never
considered self build before). The design is charming - subtly
'boat shaped' with curved walls to resemble a hull - balancing
contemporary lines with timeless ideals, managing quaint, yet
universal appeal. And it overlooks the sea! Ultimately there is a
lot to be learnt from their frustrated and fraught experience -
battling planning authorities and utilities alike - all of which
makes for a heart-warming and informative read. Currently a work in
progress, we wish them all the best with the build. This story is
sure to have a happy ending.
If you spend a lot of time worrying about the size of your
energy bill and wishing you knew how to lower it, you're far from
alone. Today's economic crunch has even the best of us pinching
pennies and looking for all the possible ways we can save on daily
expenses. This is doubly the case when it comes to commodities like
fuel or energy. The good news is that conserving energy and
lowering your bills isn't the rocket science it probably seems
Take a look at the following infographic for a useful crash
course on how energy in your home is really used, how it's lost,
and how you and your family can save that much more of it by making
just a few simple changes to your daily routines. Get valuable tips to save on heating costs in the winters. Learn why
insulating your attic and making it energy efficient is one of the
wisest decisions you could ever make. Even learn how to make each
room in your house more energy efficient today!
Written by Blake Quinn.
It's a common occurrence, battling through age-old manuals
belonging to an increasingly spluttering and ailing boiler that is
stubbornly refusing to do its job. This normally happens at the
most inopportune times, such as a Monday morning, desperately
trying to get to work, just as a cold snap hit and your feet turn
to ice or when the in-laws come to stay. Of course, their boiler
would never let them down. In all seriousness, you may or may not know but a boiler of
fifteen years old or more is probably not doing its job as well as
you would like. As with anything mechanical, time can be unkind and
as advances in technology are made, certain aspects of old boilers
become outdated. Perhaps more seriously, older boilers can carry
more of a health risk for you and for your family. Every year,
families are needlessly killed by toxic fumes from dangerous old
boilers. Most of these are tragedies that need never have
The cost may seem daunting initially, but installing a modern
boiler can actually see your heating bills decreasing over time. In
fact, some statistics suggest that a new boiler plus manageable
controls can result in bills being slashed by as much as 25%. All
of this is because their efficiency far outweighs any older
counterparts. For example, many regular boilers are fitted with a heat exchanger
that works to use steam more than once as opposed to emitting it
straight away. Reduced emissions equal reduced bills. For
households with just one bathroom, a new Combi boiler is a good
option. With this boiler type, the water used is heated as needed.
Therefore, the boiler has an easier time and so does your bank
balance. Aside from cost, safety is a key issue as alluded to before. If
your boiler is over a certain age, you cannot be certain that it
was installed absolutely accurately. At present, all plumbers who
fit gas appliances are registered with a scheme called Gas Safe,
which assures customers of the highest quality of installation.
Getting a new boiler installed is also a good opportunity for
potential home improvements. There is little point in investing in
a money saving boiler if heat is escaping through badly insulated
walls and ceilings. So it might also be the time to ensure energy
efficiency is in place across your home. Furthermore, many older
properties will have boilers fitted in the most unusual of
locations. Nowadays, companies such as Glow Worm Boilers offer
units in all shapes and sizes for all types of spaces and
properties. Therefore, having a modern boiler fitted means, space
allowing, you can relocate it to a less obtrusive part of the
house. That's something that is sure to impress even the most
discerning of in-laws! Jemima Webb is head of sustainability for a national housing
company. She writes for a range of websites and publications on the
subject of efficiency and recommends Glow
Worm Boilers to clients who are energy aware.
Everyone who has ever stayed in the
same place for a certain amount of time starts to notice things
deteriorating after a while. Your home won't stay the same forever
no matter how much you pray that it does. After a while you know
it's time to spend money because you can't bear the thought of
someone coming to your home and seeing it in such a mess. Do you
have any idea what you will start with first and what things you
can leave until a later date?
You'll obviously have to replace
things that are broken and there is no getting around that, but
there are a few changes you can make that will make the place look
beautiful again. Even though there are things that haven't been
touched before and you can't afford to do everything at the same
time, you still feel satisfied because your home looks OK. If you
don't know where to start we can look at some of those things now
and you can leave everything else until you have more money.
Paint your walls
When you need to make a big impact
the obvious thing is painting the walls because it covers the
largest amount of area in each room. You don't even need to get
someone in if you want to try it yourself and it might take you a
weekend to paint each room. When you consider how much a tub of
paint and some brushes cost it makes sense to do this before you
try anything else. Either paint over the walls in the same color to
make them look fresher, or you can start again with an entirely new
color which might be more fun.
Replace tables and
When you bought tables and desks a
few years ago they might have been expensive, but people are always
finding ways to make things cheaper and everybody is always
competing on price. Wooden furniture does start to look old after a
while and buying some cheap ones to replace them doesn't mean they
will look worse. You might be surprised by the quality you get from
items that won't come close to breaking the bank. If something is
really old and expensive you could just have it repainted and
varnished by a professional.
Touch up the window
Windows take a very long time to
deteriorate, but the same can't be said for the frames and when you
start to see paint chipping off it's time to sand them down and
touch them up. Flaking paint could make a perfectly good window
look cheap and nasty and you don't want that. You might want to do
the same on the outside because that is the side people will be
able to see when they're walking past, but make sure you get a
professional to do anything high up so you don't hurt yourself.
Look over the
Tiles get battered by the elements
every day and it's no surprise they look old as the years pass.
Some people don't mind having an old looking roof because they
think it gives their home character, but others want it to be as
fresh as the day the house was built. There is a way to make it
look like this without replacing all the tiles, but it involves
someone going onto the roof and cleaning it with a power spray
before spraying the tiles with paint. It's always an option if you
would prefer it to look new.
How much crap do you think falls
onto your carpet over the years? Even if you hoover everything
weekly it's not enough to get it all off. After a while your bright
carpet could start to look dark and dingy. If you get someone in to
clean it properly it can look almost new and it will make the room
shine again. When you eventually get to the stage where you're sick
and tired of having a carpet you could even look into laying wooden
This post is authored by Patrick of
Geocrete. He believes that if we decorate your home in a certain
manner, it gives us the illusion that our life is more interesting
than it really is. He considers polished concrete flooring second to none.
Are you planning to relocate to a new commercial place for
office purposes? Relocation can be a strenuous job especially when
you are all by yourself. Before moving into a new place there are
some things that need to be taken under consideration. The exterior
as well as interior decorations need to be suited as per your
convenience so that you can use it favorably for your business
purpose. The easiest is contacting an interior designer for
designing your office, but if you are thinking of an alternative,
why don't you try and implement your creativity to design your own
Budgeting is one of the primary things that need to be taken
under consideration as that would determine the interiors
decorations that you would like to put up. It is easier to decide
how you would design your interiors if you have an allocated budget
beforehand. The main requirements should be focused on wall
paintings, shelving and furniture's, the lighting and the area of
work. These are the basic things. You can also add onto it by wall
paintings, floor carpeting, etc depending on your budget.
2.Spacing and lighting
Before planning the interiors, it is important that one also
thinks over the internal as well as external space. The internal
space includes the workplace, the place where employees would be
sitting and a place for the different departments. You should
categorize the sections as per requirements. The external space
includes the parking space and the no smoking zone which needs to
be considered. Also, if you are planning for a studio, make sure
that you have a green room as well.
Along with the spacing, it is really important that there is
good and adequate lighting in all corners of the office. There
should be large windows so that adequate amount of sunlight can
enter in the morning and lighting to light up the place at night.
Natural light should not be blocked from coming in as it helps in
3.Remember about taking permission before planning your
Before planning for your office you need to make sure that you
take the consent of either the landlord or the person giving rent.
Also try registering your office by the corporation so that it is
legal. If you feel that you need to remodel any part of the room or
space, remember to take permission from the owner.
4.Install partitions which are transparent
If you need to install partitions, the best would be
installation of glass partitions so that one person can see the
other and communicate accordingly. Glass partitions also help to
get rid of the boredom which one might face sitting all alone.
Also, it helps in increasing the light. Glass partitions are very
easy to set up as well as remove as per requirement. They look
elegant and are cost effective.
5.Interiors for the office
Plan what you would like for your office. For that you need to
do a market research on things that are in demand. This includes
shopping for proper and affordable furniture's like chairs and
tables, cupboards, Storage places as well as containers, and rest
of the accessories. Consider the budget, space as well as things
required for comfort of employees.
The above are some of the most primary things that one must
consider while designing a commercial space. Click here to consider whether
you want to go for a contemporary look or a traditional look and
half your problem will definitely be solved. Try following the
other tips and get the best commercial space in town.
Below are a few tips which can help make your home more inviting
for both you and your guests. Ways of making your home more
inviting can be as simple as changing the layout of the books on
your bookshelf or as extravagant as adding a granite sink to your
kitchen. Whatever your budget may be, you'll find tips below to
cater for every budget.
Add Some Flowers
Flowers can brighten bare space in a living room. For a floral
look that's different from the norm, try lining them in a row. The
key to keeping the design modern is to choose flowers that have
clean lines. I recommend getting something like Purple Alliums. The
long stems and simple circles are very contemporary. A minimal base
is another way to create a current look. I personally love the
small ceramic bud ones.
Organise Your Books
Put your books to good use and use them as book ends. Small
books are a great way of keeping larger ones in place. Organise
them by using repetition and you'll give a shelf an instant lift.
I've lined out my bookshelf with books of the same edition, but you
can also categorise by colour.
Buy a Clear Coffee Table
A clear coffee table can instantly bring new life to your living
room. It can also make your favourite rug really stand out. A see
through surface makes the room seem bigger so it's especially great
for small spaces. I use two glass nesting tables in my living room
and they always receive complements. You could also try creating a
fun display by pairing your coffee table books with related items.
Try to get personal by incorporating your hobbies or love for
travel. On my coffee table, I paired a small bottle of Sangria with
some of my favourite travel guides.
Create a Unique Display
To create a unique display, try using empty picture frames and
unframed pictures. A mix of frames of different shapes and sizes
creates a sculptural effect without making the shelf appear too
cluttered. Add some colour by incorporating a picture you love. To
accent the antique look, we propped a classic portrait behind the
frames. Modern styles work well too so pick whatever suits your
Put Your Chopping Board to Use
In my message area I use a chopping board as a centre piece.
It's a great place to jot down notes and will eliminate lots of
messy papers. I also arranged colour trays around the board. Not
only are they cute, they're also perfect for storing your mail,
keys and other miscellaneous items.
Jazz Up Your Dining Room
In the dining room I went for a fun informal feel. To set the
mood I made the long table seem more intimate. You can do this by
using a shortened runner that doesn't reach the end of the table.
We made a centrepiece out of hurricane lanterns and wine glasses.
Turned upside down they become a candle holder. Pastel shades
create a fresh feel so we used light greens and baby blues for the
place settings. Play around with textures; it's a great way to mix
things up too. We combined fabric napkins with vinyl place mats.
The combo is light and relaxed. Finally make your guests feel
special and use place cards. But get resourceful and make them with
something you have around the house. We made ours with left over
napkins. It's an affordable way to craft a trendy design.
Update Your Kitchen
Update your kitchen doesn't need to mean replacing all your
appliances. You can start simple by rearranging the order of your
appliances. Rearrange them so they are both pleasing to the eye and
practical. Purchase a solid block chopping board and have it on show on your counter top. If you want to
create a more extravagant feel to your kitchen and you have the
money to spend, a granite sink could be just what you're looking
for - stylish, elegant, sophisticated.
Organise Your Office
With an organised office, you'll be sure to get inspired. First,
make sure you've got yourself an ergonomic and stylish chair. You
can make an old one seem new by changing the cushion cover. I my
office, I chose a decorative turquoise and white pattern. Next, you
can add personal touches to your desk. Make his and her boxes to
stash odds and ends. Turn your favourite mugs into pen jars. Make
an inspiration board for any other home projects you're working on.
Stash your postcards and everyday mail in an unexpected place, a
vintage bird cage has a whimsical appeal. You can also clip items
on a lamp shade. A white one atop a hand blown glass lamp gives the
illusion of a bigger area. I like to conceal my shelves to mask
clutter. A thin layer of an opaque fabric hides a messy workspace
or books, and looks good too.
What needs to be budgeted for when building your own
The housing market has been seeing something of a downturn
recently. With the global economic crisis and the reluctance of
many banks to lend money, it can seem impossible for some people to
buy a home. There is another option to the traditional buying route
however and that is buying some land and building your own home
from scratch. This could potentially work out even cheaper than
buying a 'finished' home and there is also the bonus of getting a
home you have had an input in from the very start of the building
So what costs need to be budgeted for when building your
Good luck on your build!
With the instability of the housing market and less people being able to afford to buy, the demand for rented property is now
higher than it has ever been before. Even those of us who are still buying
property are sometimes
having to hold on to them a little longer than we would have had to a few years ago. This is where the buy-to-let
market has seen a soar in demand in recent times as more of us are buying
properties to rent out to those who are in need of high quality and desirable
first and most important would-be buy-to-let investors need to realize is this type of property is different to buying a
family home for instance. These property types may differ in terms of quality
of finish and even as far as the way they are furnished.
why should you furnish a buy-to-let property differently from a family home for instance? There are several points you must
consider when trying to answer this.
- Type of tenant
First of all you need to think about the type
of tenant you are trying to attract to live in your property. For a property aimed at students the furniture can be
more basic as there is more risk involved with it being damaged for example. For
a family or young professionals you could get away with spending a little more
money but as it is for a rental property you do not need to spend beyond your
means. As long as the property is furnished in an attractive and practical way
you should be able to attract the right type of tenant.
about what the tenants may need. Students may need desks in their bedrooms for example while a family may benefit
more from a large kitchen table. If you feel the risk of the furniture being damaged
is quite high, do not spend as much on the furniture but then again you
will probably not be able to demand as high a rental value for the property as you
would with a more desirable property. The decision is yours.
- How long are you planning to rent out the property?
If you have bought the property with the sole intention to rent
it out for an extended length of time then it may make sense to invest in furniture that will last. Buying cheap
furniture may seem like a great idea at the time (especially when you are trying to
make as much money as possible back on your investment) but you will simply
need to replace it sooner. Tenants have a responsibilty to look after the
property but the furniture like the rest of the interior will fall prey to general wear and
tear. Spend as much as you can afford for something that is durable, strong and
good quality to get the most out of your investment in the long term.
- What size is the property?
This may seem like common sense but it is surprising how many large cabinets and bookcases I have seen crammed into small city
flats. Think about making the
most of the space without overwhelming it. This can make the space look smaller and could put off potential tenants as it
may seem to them there is less space and storage available. In a small city
flat it is quite reasonable to include one sofa and a small coffee table in the
living room. There is less need for a full suite of furniture as it is probably
less likely this will be used by a family.
- Don't make it personal
It can be difficult to not get carried away when furnishing a new property. Many of us
will want to put a personal stamp on it and fill it with the type of furniture that suits our personal preferences. While
this is totally fine when furnishing a home, it is probably best to keep things
simple when it comes to a buy-to-let property. Think of it like a blank canvas.
In the same way the walls and interiors should be kept minimal and neutral- the
furniture should also be kept simple. This will make the furniture appeal to more
potential tenants as they can still put their mark on the property with
cushions and curtains in designs to their tastes. Also if the property is going
to be part furnished, if you keep things neutral this will make it easier for
the tenants to fill the rest of the property with complementary
all this into account, there is more risk involved with a buy-to-let. You do not know the tenants and you are
basically leaving your property in their hands. It makes sense to not go out spend a
fortune by buying the most luxurious and high-end furniture pieces as these
could be damaged. Think of the type of tenant you are furnishing the
property for, the length of time you expect to rent it for and you should do ok. And
a final thought- if you do furnish the property with expensive pieces the
tenant will surely not have anything bad to say about it. However make sure
you reflect the value of your contents with the amount of security deposit you ask
for. Happy furnishing!
WOW - Who said Eco Homes couldn't be beautiful? Simon Dale has
created this fantastic home and offers eco building courses in
We dig your work Simon!