Hoses are round pieces of material that come in handy for a variety of different uses. It is important that you think about what you need from a hose first before you buy them. This way you can get the most use out of them. Some hoses are versatile but for the most part they have a certain use. It can be dangerous to use a hose for a process that it wasn’t meant for.

The most common type of hose that most of us are familiar with is the garden hose. We use them to water our grass, trees, and plants at home. We also use them with high pressure to remove dirt and debris from our porches and sidewalks from time to time. If you have a pressure washer you can also hook the hose up to it and wash your windows and your house. This can really help the overall appearance of your home to stay lovely.

Air hoses are very popular as well as they allow us to keep enough air in the tires on cars and bikes. This will ensure a safe ride in your vehicle as well as help you with your gas mileage. Most hoses are made from rubber that is very durable. They are also used on vehicle engines to hold hot fluids that have to move around in order to keep the vehicle operational.

Perhaps the most heavy duty types of hoses are those that are made for battling fires. They can handle extremely high pressure when it comes to large amounts of water. You may not realize how much water it takes to put out a fire or the force with which it is directed at the flames.

You will need to know which diameter of hose you need for your particular project as well. It is important to look up this information if you aren’t sure. When you go to buy hoses you will find an entire isle full of them. Yet they aren’t all the same so do yourself a favor and show up prepared. You can’t always rely on the sales people to be educated about what they offer for sale.

If you’re like many homeowners, you have a blossoming desire to bring the outdoors in-and to expand your living spaces onto porches, decks and courtyards. Carefully planning the style of windows and doors in your home is an important step in creating a seamless transition from the inside comfort of your home to the natural beauty of its surroundings.

“Transitional spaces between the home and garden invite residents to spend more quality time outdoors,” says award-winning garden designer and host of the public television program “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home,” P. Allen Smith.

He says regardless of your neighborhood or the type of house you have, you can use the windows and doors in your home to take full advantage of what nature has to offer.

Smith suggests planning your home in a way that maximizes your views, increases natural light and provides easy access to outdoor entertaining. When he recently built his own garden home retreat, he focused on these areas and used windows and doors made by Marvin Windows and Doors. Here’s a closer look:

• Bi-fold doors, which open up accordion-style, provide a vast opening that maximizes the amount of warm, natural sunlight in a room and perfectly complements outdoor entertaining.

• Frame stunning views of landscapes with large picture windows. Marvin offers a Venting Picture Window that provides the unique combination of unobstructed views and cross-ventilation to bring in the fresh air.

• Sliding patio doors are a traditional option when planning a backyard deck or courtyard. Choose a four-panel door for a greater expanse of glass and a larger opening. Also look for top-hung panels for smooth operation and dual-point locks for security.

“For several years now I have been touting the idea of the garden home, a place that blurs the lines between indoors and out, expanding our living space into the garden and our garden into our homes. My garden home retreat is my expression of this concept,” said Smith.

From top-dollar homes in the San Francisco Bay Area to sprawling mountain homes in the Colorado Rockies, discriminating homeowners are demanding custom designs and finishes in their kitchens. In particular, they are looking to express their individuality and distinct design preferences with the fast growing design material of choice — concrete.

In fact, concrete countertops have become somewhat of a status symbol for kitchens, rivaling granite and other high-end countertop surface options. Consumer Reports Magazine (August 2004) ranked concrete highest for its “customization” and “exclusivity” among high-end kitchen countertops.

As a custom product, the amount of time and craftsmanship required to produce concrete countertops places them as the most labor-intensive and priciest among leading countertop materials.

However, concrete countertops are becoming more accessible for those on a modest budget. The latest do-it-yourself (DIY) trend to captivate homeowners and builders is building your own concrete countertop. This phenomenon has gained popularity largely due to Cheng’s best-selling book Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath (Taunton Press, 2002). According to Cheng, there is little monetary investment in making concrete countertops, yet the creative gains of working with concrete are plentiful.

THE SHOWSTOPPER

Increasingly, homeowners are moving away from the monotonous, manufactured look of traditional countertop surfaces and choosing concrete for its earthy, timeless appeal. Plus, the options for personalizing concrete countertops are endless: one can color, polish, stamp and stain concrete or imbed personal objects like stones, seashells and fossils into the countertop’s surface, adding sentiment and character. Functional features such as drain boards, soap dishes, and trivets can also be incorporated to suit the homeowners’ own needs and lifestyle.

Concrete is slowly becoming demystified as characteristically cold and industrial. In contrary, this age-old material is warm and surprisingly tactile; people cannot help but touch their smooth, polished surfaces. Real estate agent Joy Rasmussen, who has recently sold her mountain home — a short-term investment property in Steamboat Springs, CO — recounts her visitors’ experiences with concrete: “When I had open houses, visitors gravitated to the concrete countertops — many people around here have never seen them”.

Joy’s 2,265 sq. ft. mountain home was custom build by her husband, Ken Otterman, along with KJ Otterman, president of Classic Special Custom Homes. They built pour-in-place concrete counters for the home’s kitchen and three bathrooms by using Concrete Countertops as their guide. The sand-colored concrete countertops were polished smooth, then paired with natural slate of varying colors — like charcoal, rust and gold tones — that forms the backsplashes in the kitchen and baths. As a design accent, small rectangular slate tiles were added to the rim of the bathroom sinks, which provided a unique detail to the custom vanities.

When Joy and Ken decided to sell their house, their investment in concrete countertops proved its value. “We were able to list the house $20,000 over market value, and had no problems selling it,” comments Joy, while discussing the long list of upgrades throughout their house, including knotty pine solid doors, natural slate wall accents and hardwood floors. “The concrete countertops were easily the most unique and impressive of all the finishes. I believe they were a huge part in adding value to the home. Around here, all you see in homes are granite countertops —and I really think homebuyers are getting quite numb with granite.”

“Concrete countertops are a unique offering to homebuyers who see the same finishes used in house after house they visit,” explains Joy, offering her observation as a seasoned realtor. “Having concrete countertops almost gives you bragging rights — you have something different from your neighbors.”

BREAKING THE MOLD

Another advantage of concrete is its adaptability in either modern or traditional settings, especially when coupled with other materials like varied metals, wood or stone. “Concrete adds so many [possibilities] to stone, and the combination with slate, which is hugely popular here, gives the mountain homes an overall warm, natural touch,” says Joy.

Joy and Ken have since built a much larger home (4,000 sq. ft.) that offers expansive views of the Steamboat Ski Resort and is meant to serve as a long-term investment for the couple. They’ve also expanded their list of custom finishes, including hand-troweled walls, elegant oil-rubbed bronze hardware, knotty pine doors that arch at the top, cabinets in a natural, knotty alder, and their favorite — concrete kitchen countertops.

Unlike in their previous home, KJ and his specialty crew poured charcoal-colored countertops using the pre-cast method in the unfinished basement of the new home. Before pouring the concrete, they sprinkled an array of semi-precious stones in the mold including Leopardskin, Moonstone, Mother-of-Pearl and Turquoise. After the surface was ground and lightly polished, the finished result was an impressive blend of colors, “By far, the Mother-of-Pearl was the most incredible,” says Joy.

The L-shaped concrete countertop has a rough, rustic stone appearance, complementing its rugged country surroundings. An integral drain board and trivets provides function and added interest to the concrete countertop. Natural slate backsplashes, distinct wall accents, and a butcher block countertop at the kitchen island all resonate with the traditional warmth and earthiness of the concrete countertops.

Joy and Ken’s respective backgrounds in real estate and custom homebuilding, and as investment homebuyers, have helped them realize that concrete countertops can add tremendous aesthetic and financial value to a home. Concrete’s customization and “show-stopping” appeal is like no other countertop surface. Cheng is a proponent of emotional aesthetics and building homes that capture these emotions, as in the case of Joy and Ken Otterman. Cheng concludes: “People really want differentiation, something personal, something custom – and concrete can do that for them.”

What does your kitchen mean to you? When you think of your kitchen, do you think of hectic family meals trying to bring everyone together, or is there a sense of calm and tranquility? Do you wish that your kitchen had more or less light? Does it seem as though, even though you’ve made an effort to clean, organize and decorate your home, there’s something about your kitchen that’s just not quite right?

Counter space is at a premium in nearly every kitchen around the world. No matter how much space you already have, it seems as though there’s always a need for more counter space for trimming meat, slicing vegetables and chopping fresh herbs. While great lighting can’t affect the amount of space that you physically have in your kitchen, more natural light can affect the way that your kitchen looks to others – and the way that you feel about your kitchen.

In fact, lighting has such a strong effect that, the same room viewed with two different sets of kitchen curtains can look like two completely different rooms. If you’re looking to make a dramatic difference in your kitchen, sometimes it’s a matter of installing new kitchen windows.

If you cannot afford new kitchen windows, you’re likely to find that it’s possible to get the same effect simply by changing your kitchen curtains. By taking the time to find the right kitchen curtain brand – by finding curtains for your kitchen window that fit the size of the window and the look that you are trying to capture within your home, you can be sure that you are able to bring in the right amounts of light and still have the privacy that you both crave and need.

After all, choosing the right kitchen curtains is about more than just picking out a solid color swag – blues, greens, creams, yellows or other shades are available, and are likely to be able to fit in with your kitchen decor. Choosing the right curtains is about either creating or completing the look that you’ve chosen for your kitchen.

One popular option that many choose is to select a neutral swag to create privacy behind a kitchen window. Rather than just beige, eggshell or off-white kitchen curtains, many people forego a dense fabric and instead choose lace. This is because lace curtains still provide privacy, but also let in more light – a blessing for those with small, dark kitchens or even larger rooms that have small windows.

Even lightly colored kitchen curtains can help to warm up a room, provided you’ve chosen the right window dressings for your home. Of course, not everyone wants to stick with neutral curtains – some people want flowers, fruits and vegetables or some other country-inspired theme to ensure that all of those who visit their kitchen will be able to pick up on the home-y, warm feel that you have worked so hard to create.

For example, if the theme of your kitchen was country, you may choose kitchen curtains patterned with fresh, ripe-looking apples to complete the look and draw to mind thoughts of a country pantry and mom in the kitchen baking pies. If you’ve always loved traditional gardens, it is possible to use ivy, roses, sunflowers pr even hydrangeas as a medium for bringing the outdoors in

As a word of caution, however, many people it seems, look for ways in which they can mix and match from different styles when they make an effort to update the look of their kitchens. In general, this is a bad idea – even if the windows are far apart from one another – as each pattern serves to divide a guest’s attention (as well as your own) by creating tension within the room.

Why settle for mis-matched curtains in any room of your home? Why struggle to find the right look only to realize that creating it simply is not possible? When you have the right kitchen windows – and the right look in mind to complete them – you’ll find that it’s easy to choose and stick with a style.

Take your time and really consider what you’re looking for. After all, the look of your kitchen as well as the look of your home, can be greatly affected simply by making the wrong choice.

Swimming pools are very popular in the warmer parts of the United States because they provide great opportunities for entertainment, fun, and exercise. There are two basic options when it comes to buying a swimming pool for a private home – above ground and in-ground. Above ground pools range in cost from $1500 to upwards of $5000, according to details and size of the pool. The advantages of above ground pools are the cheaper prices, portability, and ease of installation. In fact, an above ground pool may be installed and ready for use within hours. These type pools can also be self-installed to save money on installation, though professional installation is always recommended.

In–ground pools are considerably more expensive. They range in price from $7000 to over $45,000, based on materials, size, and design. Concrete pools, the most expensive option, can be formed in any shape or size because they are custom-poured. As for water temperature, options include standard heated, solar heated, and non-heated traditional. For solar heated pools, location is very important, and the builder should make sure to place the pool in the best spot to receive optimum natural sunlight. For any kind of pool, the color of the bottom surface is significant, because it dictates the temperature of the water. Dark-colored bottoms attract and retain heat for more comfortable water temperature in most climates, but those who live in very hot climates may want to do the opposite by choosing a light colored pool bottom for cooler water.

The homeowner and contractor should confer with the city’s zoning department for any codes related to building a pool, deck or pool house. Also, the neighborhood association, if applicable, may set guidelines for any new construction on the property. It is very important to be aware of and fulfill all specifications to ensure that the new pool is not a future problem.

There are many positive aspects to build a swimming pool. The most important ones are the health benefits they offer. Swimming is one of the best exercises and it benefits the entire body. Unless the pool is heated, however, swimming becomes a seasonal workout and must be substituted for another form of exercise in the cooler months.

The fun and entertainment that pools provide is another plus to building a pool. A clean, sparkling swimming pool is a great place to socialize with friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors. Children love playing in the pool, but should be supervised at all times to avoid accidents.

Attractively designed pools and decks offer many hours of summertime enjoyment.

Of course, there are bound to be some downsides to purchasing a pool as well. Besides the high price of buying a pool, there is also the costly maintenance. Whether the owner does the servicing himself or hires a pool service to come on a regular basis, the equipment and chemicals required to maintain the pool are expensive and time-consuming.

Another consideration is the possibility that the owner will later want to sell the home with the pool in the backyard. Will the pool be a good selling point or will it detract from the sale? Many factors are involved in the answer to this question, including the climate of the area, the presence of other pools in the neighborhood, and of course, the personal preferences of potential buyers.

Safety is the biggest concern when it comes to swimming pools. For optimum safety, make sure that all accessories, such as waterslides and diving boards, have been professionally installed and are very secure.
Also, include safety barriers in the pool area, to prevent drowning, such as a fence and a pool cover. Store pool chemicals in a safe place that is inaccessible to children and pets. And above all else, make sure children are supervised at all times near the pool.

Tips From The Pros On How To Take Better Pictures

Taking great pictures has never been easier than it is nowadays because of digital cameras. Make sure you follow the advice in this article, so that you can make average shots look professional. Many tricks can be applied in just seconds, when you know how, leaving people wonder how come you take such great pictures all the time!

A good photography tip is to not underestimate knowing the fundamentals. If you want to break the rules, you should at least know them first. Without knowing the fundamentals you’re doing yourself and your work a great disservice. You can learn about photography simply by searching the internet.

A great photography tip is to bring your camera with you wherever you go. You never know when an awesome opportunity might present itself. If you don’t have your camera during these moments you’ll definitely regret it later. Always try to bring your camera wherever you go.

When taking pictures with your camera avoid any unnatural cropping. It looks sloppy or strange when pieces of heads, entire heads, hands or feet are cut off. Remember photos should include the subjects main features.

Many cameras allow you to set the white balance. This setting tells the camera which colors to see as highlights. When shooting in artificial light (indoors) set the while balance setting to the “artificial light” mode. It will make your photos look as if they were shot in natural light.

The “S” stands for shutter speed. Use low shutter speed to get sharp pictures when capturing moving objects. Set the shutter speed to higher speeds for creating a more experimental picture. This is a cool feature to use when getting photos of fireworks or tail lights on a car. It is an easy way to get artistic features in your photos.

Use a diffuser to minimize the negative effects of flash photography. The built-in flash on most cameras produce photos that have a high light-dark contrast, which makes them look harsh and unrealistic. A diffuser diffuses the light from the flash, distributing it more evenly and making your flash photos look more natural.

Natural light will always provide you with the highest quality photos. Cloudy days are actually better for shooting than sunny ones, because the clouds act as a natural diffuser, spreading the light out and eliminating shadows and harsh contrasts. Opt for your next photo shoot outside on an overcast day.

Meeting up and joining with fellow photographers is a great way to hone your craft. Think about it: Everyone meets up in a vocation like this, from cyclists to soccer players. It’s only natural that photographers group together. Holding friendly little competitions and exploring the world together can improve your skills.

Using the tricks and tips in this article can help you with your photography. Just because you have a digital camera does not mean you will automatically take great shots. Use these tips before you upload your photographs or have them printed, and get ready for the compliments from friends and family, on what a great job you do!

One of the most beautiful bed and breakfast establishments in South Carolina is The Rhett House Inn, located in Beaufort, South Carolina. A film site for several popular movies, this seventeen room, white pillared bed and breakfast is wrapped in spacious verandas where guests can relax and take in lush garden surroundings.

The beautifully restored 1820 plantation house is meticulously maintained, filled with antiques, oriental rugs, fresh flowers and fireplaces. The property borders the Intracoastal Waterway, and offers plenty of outdoor recreation. This includes tennis and golf as well as various water activities such as swimming.

The Rhett House Inn offers full complimentary breakfasts and afternoon refreshments. The room all offer televisions and VCRs and health club privileges are available. Guest in July will be able to attend the annual Water Festival in Beaufort. Not to be left out, those who happen to be around during the month of October will be able to attend the Shrimp Festival. These are only two of the activities this great area offers.

Today, tabby ruins, historic forts, elegant homes, majestic plantations and Gullah culture and cuisine are reminders of Beaufort SC’s 500-year history. Horse-drawn carriages make their way leisurely through the narrow streets of the historic region, one of only three National Historic Landmark Districts in South Carolina and shrimps boats can frequently be seen gliding past Waterfront Park with the day’s catch.

All rooms in our Beaufort South Carolina Hotel have cable television, wireless internet access, compact disc player, and private bathrooms equipped with hair dryers and robes. Many of the rooms feature fireplaces, private balconies, and jetted tubs. Guest rooms in the historic cottage have private entrances and porches-perfect for a romantic getaway in South Carolina.

The Rhett House Inn in Beaufort, South Carolina, will definitely have visitors experiencing southern hospitality at its finest.

When you have finally purchased the comforter and comforter set of your desires, you will certainly want to invest time and effort into keeping it looking its best. That is why it is wise to really study the care instructions for your bedding sets. Comforters and comforter sets are often costly items, and you will keep and use them for long periods of time, in some cases, for a lifetime. In order to keep your comforter looking it’s very best, it is important to know the care instructions of the particular fabrics, which you possess.

A valuable piece of information to consider before you even tackle the care concept of your bed comforters is to know how much time and energy you can devote to the process. If you are really obsessive-compulsive about these kinds of things, then bedding products such as a silk comforter set or a wool-filled comforter may be choice that works fine for you. However, if you are really a wash-and-wear person in many facets of your life, then you may do well to consider having a comforter of the cotton or polyester variety. Although these, too, require care, it may be easier to launder and mind these yourself than to rely upon having to find a cleaner to do it for you.

That being said, when caring for your bed comforter set, it is a wise idea to be very familiar with your fabrics. Many cotton items, as well as those which are made of polyester and other synthetic blends, will fare just fine with traditional washing and drying methods at home. Sheets and pillowcases are typically easy to wash and dry. However, if you choose higher thread counts for your bedding items, you should know ahead of time that these are more fragile and vulnerable to damage. Use a mild detergent for all bedding which you wash at home. And make certain that when you dry your bedding products; be sure to dry them on a gentle cycle with low heat.

It is advised that with all comforters, however, you consider the downsides of laundering at home, regardless of the materials of which they are made. Bed comforters are typically heavy items which standard home washing machines and dryers are not equipped to handle. For these items, many in the bedding care industry recommend either pursuing dry cleaning or going to a coin operated laundry to wash and dry those items. There you will find industrial strength washers and dryers, which can better handle the load. Using a coin-operated laundry may not be your typical idea for fun, however it can really preserve the look of your bed comforters and will save you money in the long-term, by extending the life of your bedding supplies.

For comforter sets, which have comforters of silk, down, or even those, which are wool-filled, most industry leaders will recommend using the dry cleaning route. This process will ensure less damage to your goods and will help them to retain their shape and color for a longer period of time. For those concerned with ecological issues, associated with dry cleaning, you may opt to find a cleaner who uses more environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Check your local Yellow Pages to find a dry cleaner that advertises this more eco-friendly form of dry cleaning.

One good tip for the care of your bedding products is to read and save the care instructions for your bedding sets. Keep the care instruction list and preserve it in a place that you will remember and which will be easy to locate when it is time to care for your items. One of the very best tricks is to take the care tag, attach it to a piece of paper where you will write a complete description for the item from which you have the tag. Then place the paper with tag somewhere that will be easily accessible, such as a notebook that has been designated and set aside for these types of items, or perhaps even your linen storage closet. This makes caring for your comforter set even less of a chore.

Caring for your comforter set in the right manner can truly extend the beauty and life of your bedding. When you take the time and effort to care for your comforter set properly, you will find that your bedding sets will provide you many more years of excellent use and value.

You may be surprised to find out that in the history of
sunglasses, they weren’t always used to protect people’s
eyes from the sun.

Sunglasses date back to ancient China and Rome where it is
reported that Roman emperor Nero enjoyed watching the
gladiator fights through polished gems. And in China,
sunglasses were used in the twelfth century, possibly even
earlier.

Sunglasses were first made out of lenses that were flat
pieces of smoky quartz. They were not used as prescription
sunglasses to correct vision and they did not block any of
the harmful UV rays, but they did reduce the glare and made
those bright sunny days a little easier on the eyes.

Chinese judges used smoky quartz glasses to hide their eye
expressions in order to interview witnesses.

Sunglasses did not undergo any changes until the eighteenth
century when James Ayscough experimented with tinted lenses
in eyeglasses. He believed that glass colored green or blue
would help to correct eye problems.

Sam Foster introduced the sunglasses to America in 1929
where they underwent more change. They were designed to
protect people’s eyes from the sun and Foster sold them at
local beaches and at Woolworth on the boardwalk in Atlantic
City, New Jersey.

Polarized sunglasses became popular in 1936 when Edwin H.
Land began to use his Polaroid filter when making
sunglasses.

Even more Americans began buying sunglasses and they became
very popular among the musician and movie star scene.

The fact that so many famous people began to wear
sunglasses made them -cool- and sales skyrocketed. People
even began wearing them at night and indoors.

Silhouette blinds are characterized by their ability to let some natural light shine through the window even when the blinds are closed. Two of the best known manufacturers of Silhouette blinds are Hunter Douglas and Levolor. Homeowners prefer using Silhouettes as the window coverings for their homes because they combine the best of mini blinds and cellular shades. With Silhouette blinds, your windows will look elegant whether you have the blinds open or closed.

With Silhouette blinds, the soft fabric of the blinds lets the sunlight filter through. You can rotate the slats to whatever angle you wish to have the shade you need for yourself and your furniture. Even though light can come through Silhouette window blinds, anyone outside the window cannot see in through them. Therefore, Silhouettes by Hunter Douglas give you the privacy and the light that you need.

When you raise Silhouette blinds, they are fully enclosed within the head rail. This gives you a wide open window with no blinds in your way. You can lower the Silhouette window blinds to different levels or have them all the way down. There are many choices in fabric color for the slats of the Silhouettes by Hunter Douglas. The window blinds themselves also come in different sizes and if you have a window of an irregular shape, Hunter Douglas can make the Silhouette blind specifically for your window.

When you buy Silhouette blinds from Hunter Douglas, you can choose the type of material you want in your blinds. Choose from Silhouettes by Hunter Douglas in crinkle textured fabric, bold colored sheers or maybe the linen texture will be more to your liking. One interesting feature of Silhouette window blinds is the top down/bottom up feature. You can have these blinds open at the top of the window and down to the bottom if you wish, which is really a different look in window blinds.

There are several different systems you can use for raising or lowering Silhouette blinds. The traditional cord loop is available in Silhouettes by Hunter Douglas, but you can also get these as motorized window blinds. A simple touch of a button will raise or lower the blind, as well as rotate the slats to the exact angle that you want. Silhouette blinds block the UV rays of the sun up to 99% when the vanes are closed and 63% when they are open.