How to Make Your House Look Bigger From the Street

As an Architect, in designing new homes for clients, they first come to me with standard tastes you would see on any house in any neighborhood. What I try to do is to expand their architectural vocabulary and be bold in what they’re trying to do, without spending a lot more money. Part of that is to make their house look bigger from the street and live bigger inside. You can get a lot of “wow” factor if you try some simple things in your home design.

1. Make your house longer, not square. Most people want to make their houses more square in design, in the preconceived notion of saving costs. While this may be overall true, it also makes your house very small looking (and boring). For a 2500 square foot house instead of designing it 50 foot by 50 foot, make your house longer like 75 foot long by 33 wide. You’d be surprised how much more elegant and more expensive it looks for not that much more money. It also gives you a bonus of giving windows into almost every room in your home, giving light and visual space to them.

2. Use the Split level home concept. The split level home was more prevalent in the 1960’s than it is today, but it has a lot of advantages if you modernize it. The Split Level pulls the basement out of the ground. In most of the northern part of the country (I’m from Indiana), you need at least a 30″ or deeper footing to get below the local frost line. Well, let that be the staring point of your basement (or as I like to call it, the Lower Level). That means the Lower Level is 2 feet below grade, which means you can have full size windows. The Lower Level foundation wall is 30″ tall, the rest of the wall height can be wood instead of concrete (whether 8′ or 9′ tall) which saves costs. If you use 8′ tall lower level (to reduce costs) there is a design I like to use to eliminate bulkheads for HVAC;…incorporate the ducts in a floor truss system. I love to use 16” high floor trusses, 24″ on center, and keeping the trusses in the same orientation throughout the house. It gives plenty of space for the HVAC ducts in the floor truss system, and no bulkheads, meaning less cost since you have flat ceilings and no extra framing for those bulkheads. If you need space for the HVAC to “step over” each other, do that in the mechanical room.

3. With the split level home, The 2nd Floor (or the “Main Level” as I like to call it) it anywhere from 7 to 9 feet above grade, not only giving it a commanding view of the property all around, it also looks like a 2 story building, for a 1 story price. You can leave windows open at night because the window sills are 10 feet above grade. You have a lot of visual privacy because people on the street don’t have a direct view into the house. When you sit down they can’t see you, even if you have lots of windows. On the Main Level I love to use vaulted roof trusses on the Main Level to give more visual height in the rooms.

4. Use wide overhangs. Wide overhangs were more prevalent during the Prairie Style period This may seem strange, but wide overhangs (like 4′ wide) make you house look bigger both inside and outside. As I stated above, I love vaulted roof trusses. I start with an 8′ tall wall (rather than 9′). With a 4 foot overhang and vaulted roof trusses, the wall height on the inside is now 10′ (8′ wall, 2′ in the roof truss), with the ceiling peak at 15′. This is because the roof started “going up” further away from the exterior wall. I’m getting 10 to 15 foot ceilings for an 8 foot tall wall price. The wide overhangs also help in summer, by shielding the windows in shade, keeping direct sunlight outside.

5. Incorporate decks and screen porches into the design. Don’t make decks and screen porches an afterthought, but incorporate them into the design, that is, put brick or siding on them, put a roof over them, and make the openings look like windows, but don’t put in the glass. And consider putting them on the front of the house, not the rear. I designed a house for my parents which was 1300 square feet on the Main Level, but added the screen porch on the front of the house. The house was 72 feet long in the front (24′ screen porch, 16′ Great Room, 8′ Entry, 24′ Garage) and it looks huge. …

Five Smart Ideas for Foster Parents – Avoid Going to Court

When I was asked by the Department of Health and Welfare in the state of Idaho to parent two foster children I assumed parenting them would come naturally. I had three children of my own so how difficult could parenting children really be? My foster daughters had an abusive, controlling father but their bi-polar mother loved and cared for them the best she could. Their mother had purposely placed the girls in foster care to make sure they were well cared for while she dealt with her husband's recent incarceration, her pending divorce, her recent miscarriage and long-term mental health issues.

I soon learned that because of the trama foster children go through both before coming into foster care and while in foster care, they often need more medical, dental and mental health care than children who are raised from birth by their biological parents. Foster children often have learning and social difficulties that may affect their relationships at school with teachers and peers. As a result, it takes an extreme amount of patience and love to care for foster children properly. There are five smart things you can do to ensure your foster parenting success.

Be Honest with Yourself

Be honest with yourself regarding your parenting limits. Since you have a choice about the types of foster children you will allow into your home make a list of the specific child-related criteria that you know you can handle successfully. For instance, decide whether you feel comfortable parenting infants, toddlers, grade-schoolers, or teens. Also list out the specific types of physical and mental health impairments you feel comfortable addressing. Remember to consider the various backgrounds (history of abuse, exposed to drugs, neglected, mentally ill parents, etc.) a foster child may come from, take note of the parenting issues that may arise from these situations, and write down which issues you feel confident handling.

Common Law Liability

Before becoming a foster parent make sure you research the laws of your state regarding common law liability. In many states, under common law foster parents can be held accountable for the violent or malicious actions of the foster children in their care just, as their biological parents would be. You have the right to know the background of the children or teenagers you will be bringing into your home. Make sure to find out if the child or teen has a history of violence, sexual abuse, or criminal activity. For specific statistics about how this law affects current foster parents in your state seek legal counsel.

Avoid Sexual Abuse Accusations

If you choose to take a foster child or teen into your home who has been sexually abused, you must have several rules in place that will keep the foster child safe, your own children safe and will also prevent the abused foster child from accusing you or other relatives living in your home of abusing them. First, all men and boys in your home must never be left unaccompanied with a girl who has been sexually abused. Secondly, foster children with a history of sexual abuse must have their own bedroom for dressing and sleeping. Third, set clear standards about sexual-related topics such as modesty, privacy, and physical contact. Set up consequences for all the children living in your home if the rules regarding modesty, privacy, and physical contact are not kept.

Make sure any discrepences you set up for children in your care are legal and ethical. Finally, avoid joking, tickling, pranking, wrestling, and the use of sarcastic or suggestive language. What may seem like harmless humor to you and your family members can be taken the wrong way by a child that has been the victim of abuse. As a result, the abused child may accuse you of abuse when your intentions were to be funny and get the child laughing.

Spare the Rod Spare the Law Suit

In all 50 states foster parents are prohibited by law in state-managed family foster care systems to use physical punishment on a foster child. However this does not always stop some foster parents from spanking or using other means of physical punishment to discipline a foster child. The reason that physical punishment is so devastating to a foster child is because they have likely experienced physical, sexual, emotional, or a combination of abuse in their biological family. Not only does physical punishment cause the foster child to lose trust in you as a caregiver but physical punishment can also be misinterpreted as physical abuse and accusations against a foster parent by the foster child are kindly.

Document! Document! Document!

If you've ever rented anything from a tool to a home you know that it is important to meticulously document the initial condition of the item you're renting. This protects you from paying …

3 Big Things To Consider When Choosing a Roommate

The roommates you choose when you are looking for an apartment can have a huge effect on the outcome of your living experience and the joy that you feel when you have found the place that you live. There are a number of factors that go into the type of roommates you have and you may want to consider the following things about people you live with when you are considering your roommates for an apartment in Fort Collins.

1. Loudness : Loudness can affect you on many levels when considering the type of person you want to live with. Personally, I do not like it when I have a roommate that is blasting music for hours on end, watches TV way too loudly, or all I can hear is the sound of grenades and shotguns going off. Apartments are built to keep noise reduction on the low, especially in Fort Collins where competition is fierce. However, this does not stop the noise from coming through. You should hang out with the person you want to live with before hand and see how loud they can really be considering moving in with them.

2. Cleanliness : The cleanliness of an apartment will drive you absolutely nuts depending on how strict you are about it. There's two factors in the cleanliness issue that can have an effect on the relationship between you and your roommate or roommates. The first factor is that you should consider if your roommate is a very clean person or not. If the roommate you choose in your apartment is very clean or not clean, you should be aware of the fact that your behaviors will affect this person in your cleanliness or lack of. If your apartment roommate becomes upset with your regards for cleanliness, you will begin to see some hospitality between the both of you. The other factor to consider is that if you think you will care about the cleanliness of your roommate. You may think you do not care if your apartment looks a certain way or not, but after living with someone for a long period of time and you are consistently picking up their messes or you having issues, you will begin to see your own behavior change around that person. Be sure to find out more about your roommate ahead of time to know that your behaviors match.

3. Attitude : I'm saving the best for last. When you live in apartments in Fort Collins , there is bound to be a lot of drama. An unbelievable amount of drama actually for our Fort Collins community. It really depends on where you live and who you live with, but this should definitely be considered when choosing who to live with. Remember, you will be seeing this person for a long period of time and you want to make sure you get along with them before you consider moving in with them. Fort Collins is a big town and you may think you get out a lot, however, you still will be living at the apartment. You are spending money to live there, remember! Be sure to hangout with your new roommate a lot and see how you connect before you decide on the final decision. You do not want to make the wrong choice!

Source by Raymond Dummer

LED Retrofit Kits And Their Benefits

Lighting cost is an area many people concentrate on especially when building. Everyone yearns for cheaper, more user friendly and environmentally friendly lighting options. Facility managers and even homeowners who are conscious about costs want modern solutions that still serve their purpose efficiently. LED retrofit kit make a very popular lighting solution for all. This is because the kit is long lasting, efficient and calls for minimal maintenance. The retrofit kits are popular options for both commercial and residential settings because of the following benefits.

1. The kits are energy efficient

Compared to conventional lighting systems such as incandescent bulbs, LED retrofit kits consume lee power with a huge percentage of high light output. The retrofits are therefore not only energy efficient, but also more economic. They make amazing choices for offices and showrooms among many other settings.

2. They are versatile

The LED retrofit kits can be used in a wide range of applications. They come in handy in offices, commercial buildings, garages and even homes. The kits are designed to fit almost any given place with illumination needs.

3. The kits are long lasting

The LED lights do not easily burn out compared to bulbs and fluorescent, they last thousands of hours thereby becoming an inexpensive lighting solution. The need to keep changing them every once in a while is eliminated.

4. The retrofit kits have exceptional dimming capacity

They offer maximum brightness immediately as compared to other lighting systems. In addition, you can easily regulate the brightness according to your demands and what you find most appropriate for the given setting. It means, therefore that you can still enjoy even lower energy use by dimming to the right levels.

5. They are free from UV rays and infrared

LED retrofit lights do not have ultra violet rays as compared to infrared rays and fluorescent tubes. They are free from UV transmission, thereby making the kits suitable for environments that are sensitive, such as museums, art galleries and archaeological sites.

6. They come with less maintenance needs

LED retrofit kit offer flawless lighting for years and there is no need for regular replacement. The kits are functional and do not require much maintenance to keep them functional as they are designed to do.

7. The kits do not flicker or make humming sounds

For this reason, the retrofit kits keep the lit area peaceful and quiet compared to conventional lights that keep flickering and make noise causing eyestrain and headaches because of these characteristics. An LED retrofit kits saves you from these annoying effects. When used in industries, the kits have shown to have positive effects on performance, wakefulness and mood.

LED retrofit kits come in different sizes and designs in that you can choose an option that suits your settings and lighting needs best. It is best that you get your kits from reputable suppliers for quality purposes to enjoy all the benefits they have to offer. There is so much to enjoy the energy efficiency.

Source by Jovia D'Souza

Red Wing Boots: Wearing Them With Jeans

Red Wing shoes can be worn with jeans, in fact it is actively encouraged! Boot-cut style jeans look the best as their slightly flared bottoms give plenty of space to comfortably fit over the shoes and allow them to naturally show off their shape and form.

Generally speaking, you should avoid skinny-fit and slim-cut style jeans when you wear Red Wing shoes. Skinny jeans are designed to fit straight to your skin, giving no room for your boots or to move around in. One exception to this rule, is if you’re going for an alpine-punk look, in which case distressed skinnies would look great with your Red Wing shoes. If you have a pear shape body, or if your legs are a little chubby, you can wear slouchy or baggy jeans. Pear shaped and larger people should generally try to avoid skinny and tight jeans as they fit to your legs very tightly and so it’s a very unflattering look for them. If you’re in doubt, leave them out!

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the best look comes from boot cut jeans as they have a slight flare at the bottom which allows even the largest models of Red Wing boots to fit snugly underneath. However, if you do not like boot cuts or feel that the weather is too hot or otherwise unsuitable for them, there are a couple of other options. Firstly, you can wear cropped jeans or pants – these are jeans that are designed so that they stop above your feet, often just three quarters of the way down your leg. When paired with Red Wing shoes, these will appear to stop just above where your shoe begins, giving a very natural looking transition from pants to shoes.

The second way of getting around the boot-cut jeans problem is to roll the bottoms up. This can be done on any style except for the tightest styles of jeans and pants, but is especially good on straight-cut jeans as they give an even roll-up. If your jeans are a raw denim style, dark color or feature a very distinctive or dominant selvage, it is already very on-trend and fashionable to wear your jeans with roll-ups. The best roll-ups are those about 3-4 inches in height, and sit just on the peak or slightly below the top of the shoe. If you are wearing Red Wing boots rather than shoes, take take to overlap a few inches of the boots as otherwise you will look unbalanced and disproportionate. If you’re wearing Red Wing shoes, feel free to wear the jeans rolled up so that they are sitting just above the top of the shoe.

If you’re wearing your Red Wing shoes in a casual way, be sure to accessorize correctly. Try to wear a belt that matches the shade of your boots or shoes. They need not be an exact match, but avoid mistakes like wearing a green belt with a mahogany colored shoe. If the weather demands it, do not forget to match up your outfit with a hat and scarf. If you are not sure what color your hat and scarves should be, try this to begin with. Match your scarf with your belt – the more exact the match the better. For the hat, you’ll need a similar (but not identical) color and a similar ‘spirit’. Extravagant scarves require extravagant hats. Do not match a 3-tone, goose feather, body-curler scarf with a blue and red baseball cap. Keep things simple to start with too. Once we you gain a little confidence you can start experimenting with different colors and styles. If you insist on wearing gloves, try to get those that match with the belt and scarf.

When shopping for Red Wing shoes, it is vital that you get the right size. They must not be too tight around your feet and legs as that would detract from the flexibility it would offer. On the other hand, they must not be too loose so that they slop behind you as you walk. This would lead to blisters, uncomfortable feet and potentially risking falling over and injuring yourself.

Source by Dave Kerr

Are Non Prescription Glasses Bad For Your Health?

To decide whether non prescription glasses are bad for your health, you first need to consider which definition of “non prescription glasses” you are using. This particular term is used in two different ways. It can mean “fake” or fashion glasses, which do not have corrective lenses; they are similar to normal sunglasses, except they are not shaded. The second definition of “non prescription glasses” means that they are vision-correcting glasses that were acquired without a prescription.

If you are using the first definition, and want to go shopping for fashion glasses that have no corrective properties, then you will be perfectly fine, as they will not damage your eyes at all. After all, people have worn sunglasses for many years without ill effects, and of course sunglasses may also protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays, depending on which ones you buy. The main danger for people who wear non prescription fashion glasses appears when vanity overrides sanity. It is ill-advised to drive at night or in dull conditions wearing dark sunglasses, and although there is no danger to your eyesight from wearing the glasses, you are at increased risk of having an accident due to decreased visibility.

A little care needs to be taken if you are going to wear the corrective type of non prescription glasses. If the wrong strength of lenses is selected, the result can be eyestrain and associated headaches, and over a period of time this can cause damage to the eyes.

If you suffer from presbyopia – a condition involving the deterioration of eyesight due to aging – you will be more likely to benefit from cheaper non prescription reading glasses. However, it is still important to go to a reputable store, such as a pharmacy, where you will be able to try a wide selection of glasses of differing strengths. Once you have found the optimal strength of lenses, you will be able to pick out a pair in a style of your choosing.

For people younger than 40 years old, and particularly in cases where blurred vision develops rapidly, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as headaches, it is vitally important to see an optician or optometrist in the first instance. There are well documented cases where people have developed vision problems, to find that the underlying cause was a more serious health condition. Eye specialists are trained to spot these problems – though in the vast majority of cases, the cause of the vision defect will be normal and benign.

Some of the possible health conditions that have been noted to affect vision include diabetes, where rapidly changing blood sugar levels can affect the quantity of fluid in the eyes, causing swelling which results in distortion of vision. Another, potentially fatal, condition is extreme hypertension which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Such an underlying problem may be spotted by an optometrist because it can lead to swelling of the optic disk. Even brain tumors have been identified by eye specialists during examinations for the cause of blurred or double vision.

So to answer the question whether non prescription glasses are bad for your health, in general they are not. If you are healthy and are positive you do not have any underlying medical conditions, they will be perfectly fine. However, all cases where there is a sudden change in your eyesight should be investigated by an expert to rule out anything more serious than a vision defect. In general, once you have been prescribed your first pair of corrective glasses, usually fairly early in life for shortsightedness, it is recommended that you see an optician for a retest every two years. If you are over 40 years old, though, and your sight has slowly deteriorated over a long period, then non prescription glasses will be fine, though there is no reason to avoid seeing a specialist if you are concerned about any other accompanying symptoms.

Source by Len Grinder

David Clark DC Pro-X Headset Review

There’s a brand new aviation headset that’s just recently been released. It’s made by the David Clark company, and it’s called the DC Pro-X. Actually, there are two types of these headsets – an active noise reduction model and a passive noise reduction model. This article will be reviewing the active noise reduction model.

The David Clark DC Pro-X headset is a different type of headset for the company, in that it’s extremely light. Most pilot headsets weigh between 12 and 17 ounces, but this new headset weighs only 7.5 ounces. This can really make a difference in comfort, especially on longer flights.

Another feature that pilots like is the Bluetooth connectivity. A cell phone or an ipod can be connected wirelessly to the headset. This is very convenient for pilots when they need to make a quick call while still on the ground and don’t want to go through the hassle of donning their headset and adjusting it all over again.

It’s also a nice feature to be able to listen to music while flying a long cross country trip. It can help make the time pass more quickly.

The style of the ear cups is known as “rest-on-ear”. The idea is that the ear cups don’t completely envelope the ear and cause discomfort to the pilot’s ears. Sometimes the squeezing effect can cause some real pain after several hours.

The active noise reduction (ANR) technology works well to cancel out surrounding noises in the cockpit. This technology requires batteries, but the DC Pro-X has dual-coil drivers in their mics so communication won’t be lost in the event of battery loss.

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of the David Clark DC Pro-X:

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight, good for long flights
  • Easy to use
  • Has Bluetooth connectivity
  • Collapses easily to fit into flight bag
  • Well made – they feel like they’ll last
  • 5 year warranty
  • Excellent customer service
  • Affordable – Priced at $637.00, they’re less than comparable headsets

Cons:

  • Some pilots complain that they don’t block out noise adequately
  • There were also some complaints that the headset didn’t fit over their sunglasses

Because the DC Pro-X was only released a few months ago, it’s difficult to find a lot of reviews, but so far pilots who have purchased them have been quite happy with this newest headset from David Clark. This company has been around a long time and has been producing great aviation products since 1941.

Source by Joseph B Wood

Why Women Prefer Bad Boys

Not real: Nice guys are too nice. No one can always be that nice unless they’re a saint. They are busy being nice instead of being real and women instinctively don’t trust that. Bad boys “keep it real”. Nice guys don’t want to upset the apple cart.

Respect: No one respects a doormat. Nice guys don’t set boundaries or make any real demands. A bad boy doesn’t let a woman walk all over him or control him. Women can’t respect a man they can control. No respect = No attraction.

Predictable: Most people lead boring, predictable lives, so they’re attracted to people who are exciting and unpredictable. Bad boys are always a challenge. Nice guys are never a challenge. Predictable = No excitement = No challenge = I prefer a bad boy.

Mother Nature: Women are designed to nurture. However, instead of doing this with children, they often end up doing it with bad boys. They think their love will save them. Nice guys rarely need to be saved.

Fixer-Upper: Nice guys don’t usually need to be fixed. Bad boys usually do, so they become a project. Women think if they can “create” the perfect man, he will never leave them. Also, if they’re busy fixing someone else, they don’t have to look at what needs to be fixed in their own lives.

Sperm wars: Women are designed to procreate with the strongest possible genes. Bad boys are sending an unconscious message that they have great genes, so they’re not afraid of losing the woman by misbehaving. Nice guys are sending a message that they don’t think their genes are good enough, so they won’t misbehave.

Fear of intimacy: If a woman is afraid of intimacy, she subconsciously knows she can avoid it with a bad boy, since she can never get close enough to him to have to go there. A nice guy will eventually want a commitment, and that’s scary.

Low self-esteem: We don’t feel comfortable with people who treat us better than we treat ourselves. If you don’t think much of yourself, the bad boy is simply reinforcing your negative belief. A nice guy is treating you in a way you’re unfamiliar with.

Sex: Women feel a nice guy won’t be good in bed. They like to be manhandled sometimes and think a nice guy won’t be able to take control and get the job done. A bad boy comes across as being able to get the job done, even though that may not always be the case.

Hot: Have you ever seen a bad boy who wasn’t hot? I’m sure there are a few, but they wouldn’t be able to get away with half the stuff they did if they didn’t look so good. Meanwhile, when a woman describes someone as a nice guy, she means, “He’s not hot”.

Charm: Nice guys don’t always know what to say, and are sometimes at a loss for words. Bad boys can be very charming and know exactly what women want to hear. However, they eventually switch over to being selfish. By the time they reveal their true colors, the woman has fallen for them and has a hard time letting go.

Protection: Historically, men have protected women – physically and otherwise. Bad boys give the illusion of being able to protect women, while with nice guys, women aren’t so sure.

Life is about balance. Most men fall into either the bad boy or the nice guy category. The ideal man is neither, but walks that fine line between the two. Until men learn how to do this, more often than not, women will choose the bad boy.

Source by Lucia Demasi