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Furbabies First – Design a Perfect Pet Room!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 18, 2019 | No Comments »

If some (or all!) of your kids have four legs, you may want to take notes on the latest home décor trend…pet rooms!

If you have the extra space, think about giving your pets a place of their own. Not only will it give them an ideal hangout designed with their needs in mind, it can solve many pet ownership problems at the same time. Most pet parents find that a room devoted to their furry pals makes living in harmony easier. Ready to explore the idea of a pet paradise in your home?

Flooring

Durable, easy to clean flooring choices are a must. Believe it or not, you have excellent choices in either carpeted or hard-surface floors. If you like the idea of an easy-to-clean floor, look to either a tough, durable laminate, stone or ceramic tiled floor. If you’re going for a more casual look, you can also go with a painted concrete floor. Choose a neutral color to hide dirt and mud, or go with a bright pop of color to give the space extra pizzazz. Hardwood is a more difficult choice, as strong pet nails can mar the surface easily. It’s also essential to be vigilant for accidents, as hardwood is susceptible to stains, warping or holding undesirable odors.

If carpeting is more to your liking, consider durable area rugs that can be removed for easier cleaning. All wool carpets with high levels of lanolin tend to resist staining, but there are synthetic rugs on the market that can be pulled outside and hosed off well for cleaning. Go for patterned rugs that draw the eye away from dirt and stains, or select a rug that will hide pet hair easily. Make sure that rugs are held in place by double-stick tape or non-skid pads, so that your pets can run and play safely in their room. You can also use neutral sisal or seagrass fibers that are inexpensive enough to replace several times a year to toss when they start to show wear and tear. Carpet of some type also has the benefit of reducing the sound of clicking claws, thumping tails and bouncing dog toys.

Bedding

At least one bed per pet is essential. Make sure the bed is large enough for your pet to stretch out in; you don’t want to cramp her sleep style. Keep in mind that animals are just like people; they like to sleep in warm areas at some times, and in cool areas at others. A warm, fuzzy bed and a sturdy, durable fabric that feels slick and cool gives Fido or Kitty a choice; they can snooze where it feels best at any time. For ease of care, make sure all bedding is machine washable. It’s amazing how many pet beds are out there…there’s a “fetching” style for any décor! Check out some dog and cat beds that not only give your pets sweet dreams, they turn your home into a showcase!

 

All the Comforts of Home

Today’s pet rooms can also mimic the most comfortable aspects of your home. Include some puppy tech such as a wall-mounted TV, tunes from a stereo, or a web cam to keep tabs on Fluffy while you’re gone. Give your pets their own armoire or cabinet to hold their medications, medical records, food, treats, extra blankets or any items of clothing they may own. You can also give your pet his or her own toy box, making sure it is accessible for entertainment at all times. Most pets love to look out of the window, so choose a room for your pet that offers a view.

Exercise and adventure are key elements when it comes to keeping cats happy with their surroundings. Make sure your cat has several scratching posts of different sizes available to discourage her from taking her claws to furniture. Think vertically for maximum adventure in a small space. Sturdy shelving gives your cat hours of fun, and stylish cat trees provide perches to oversee their kingdoms.

Dogs often feel more secure when they have a crate to represent the den they would have in the wild. These days, dog crates don’t need to be unattractive metal grids; check out some of the modern choices!

Set aside one corner for a bathroom area. If you’re looking for the full package, think about adding an in-room sink to wash your dog or a grooming table. Make sure to include a hidden litter box for cats…

or an area for Rover to take care of business. Disposable dog pads are a good choice, or you can go with a plastic potty tray lined with artificial grass like this one.

For the sake of hygiene, make sure to change the pads or litter frequently.

Safety Tips

Keep lighting safe for pets by using ceiling mounted units rather than lamps than are set on tables or floor lamps that are easy to knock over. Adding a ceiling fan will help control the temperature and keep stagnant air moving. Cover all cords and exposed electrical wires with cord protectors and secure them to the wall. This will prevent pets from chewing the cords or getting tangled in them. Make sure the paint you use is non-toxic and free from volatile organic compounds. If your yard is fenced and secure, treat your pet to the ultimate accessory for his or her room…a dog or cat door leading to the great outdoors!

Glam Up Your Home with a Hot Tub!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 13, 2019 | Comments Off on Glam Up Your Home with a Hot Tub!

Looking for a relaxing – yet exciting – way to spend time at home? Or perhaps you’ve suffered an injury or have a degenerative condition that could benefit from hydrotherapy? Or maybe you’re just up for some DIY fun every now and then? In any of these situations, a hot tub could be just the thing!

If your home feels incomplete without a hot tub, maybe it’s time to think about choosing one that’s right for you. Today’s hot tub market features more tubs than you could imagine, in every shape and size imaginable. While some hot tubs are indoors, the Savannah, GA area is better suited to outdoor tubs. With our mild weather, outdoor use can be practically year-round. Unlike indoor hot tubs, outdoor tubs are easier to install, provide increased ventilation to prohibit excess humidity and deter mold growth, and are less limited by available space.

Intrigued?

First of all, check with your homeowner’s association or local zoning office to make sure you can put a hot tub on your property. Some local laws don’t permit the installation of a more permanent hot tub, but will allow residents to use portable, inflatable hot tubs like this one. When the mood strikes you, inflate, fill and enjoy…and break it down when you’re done!

If your local ordinances allow a more permanent fixture, it’s time to think about what you’re looking for in a hot tub.

Size

How large the tub will be depends on the number of people that will typically use it at a time, and by how much space you have to devote to it. Smaller tubs will typically seat 2-3 people at a time, medium tubs will seat 4-6 people and large tubs can seat from 8-12 people, depending on the size. Different seating arrangements in the tub can make a difference in its size as well. Be sure the space you’ve set aside will be large enough for the tub, including leeway space for maintenance. Check for adequate drainage and ventilation as well. You need to be sure your new tub doesn’t destroy your lawn or steam paint from the side of your house.

Budget

The cost of very similar hot tubs can vary widely between manufacturers, size, and features, so it’s best to shop around a bit to ensure you’re getting top value for your dollar. Be sure to research the hot tub manufacturer carefully. Select a company that is highly reputable and had a good track record in quality. The TradeCertified™ award is given by SpaRetailer Magazine, the hot tub industry’s flagship publication. Make sure the manufacturer you’re considering is a member of this particular club. Keep in mind that there are expenses related to the upkeep of a hot tub, so be sure to work them into your final budget. Do not try to install a hot tub on your own – unless you’re a professional plumber or licensed contractor. Installing even entry level hot tubs is a complex task. Expect to pay upwards of $150 for installation, depending on the size and brand of unit you choose. It’s important that ANY tub you choose has a lifetime warranty.

Filter Systems

Keeping your water healthy and safe is critical, so make sure you’re using a quality filtration system. Water filtration systems capture debris floating on the water surface while water purification gets rid of microorganisms you can’t see. There are three types of filtration systems:

Salt Systems – Use naturally produced chlorine to kill germs. Often preferred to adding chlorine tablets and bromine to your tub, this system gives a silkier, smoother feel to the water.

Ozone Systems – works in combination with chlorine and bromine, killing germs and bacteria. Ozone systems also break down residues from soap, shampoo and makeup that contaminate the water.

UV-C Systems – These innovative new systems use high-intensity UV germicidal light rays to kill germs.

Choose Your “Extras”

If you’re looking for certain features, they will help you make a decision more easily. For instance, if you’re looking for a tub with hydrotherapy benefits instead of a tub that simply relaxes you, these extra features will be on your “must have” list. The number of jets, their location, the seating arrangement and the type of jets available could be deal makers or deal breakers for you. Make sure you ask your physician, physical therapist or chiropractor for advice on selecting the type of jets, jet quantity and optimal placement of the jets for your specific needs.

If you’re looking for mood lighting, stereo capability, hand rails, towel racks or remote control, these elements are usually only available at the mid to upper range hot tubs. Most hot tubs come with covers, but upgraded “coverall” models are available at an extra cost. If the tub is to be used less frequently, these covers help protect your investment from the elements.

And one last tip…if possible, visit a hot-tub showroom that offers “wet tests”…the chance to try before you buy. Check with some local retailers to see if they allow either wet or dry seat tests for the models they sell.

Throw a Creative Housewarming Party

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 28, 2019 | Comments Off on Throw a Creative Housewarming Party

You love your new house and can’t wait to show it off! You may also need a few things to round out your kitchen, bath or pantry…and a light-hearted social gathering may be just the way to pick up a few of those odds and ends. Let’s look at a few great themes for an awesome housewarming party – you’re sure to find one perfect for you!

Potluck Party

This casual get-together is a fantastic way to invite your new neighbors to meet your family and see what you’ve done with your home. Add some of your best friends to the guest list and you’re sure to have a great time! Have each person or family bring a dish to share, with the operative word being “dish”. Your guests will leave the cake pan, serving platter, egg tray or crock pot with you to help you stock your new kitchen. Just make sure to have a supply of plastic cutlery and serving utensils handy!

Spice it Up…

Pack the rack…if each guest brings a bottle or tin of a spice, seasoning or flavoring, you’re sure to have the right accent for any meal in your pantry!

Great Gardens

If you’re planning your housewarming during a time when the weather tends to be fine, plan for an outside gig. Set up a tent or two for some shade if you don’t have some trees handy, add lawn games, an outdoor bar, plenty of finger foods and you’re set to go. This is also a great idea to welcome friends if your home isn’t quite ready for display – you can offer your hospitality without the stress of making sure your house is perfect.

And some other ideas if your house isn’t quite ready…

Throw a painting party. If you’re not sold on neutral white or cream walls, have some old friends or new neighbors pitch in to paint the town red…or blue…or yellow. This works best before you start unpacking, but when you’re ready to conquer that daunting step, you can host an unpacking party for your established friend base. It’s a great way for your crew to meet your new house and help you get moved in at the same time. Make sure your moving boxes are labeled with the correct room so that your guests can rip into your boxes and do some initial unpacking in the proper place. Guests can stock pantries, fill linen closets, hang clothing or shelve books…the list is endless! Laughter, fun and pizza and wings when the job is done is a great way to get a jump on settling in. Keep private items in their own boxes in a safe place – you’ll work on those later.

Stock the Bar Soiree

An ideal first party for amateur bartenders, this get-acquainted evening is sure to be a hit. Each guest brings a sealed bottle of their favorite adult beverage to the party, and you provide mixers and lots of hearty snacks. Safety first – before the party begins, make sure you have Uber or Lyft apps on your phone, along with the number of a reputable cab company.

Scavenger Hunt

Make a list of a bunch of unique or festive items hidden around your home, and dispatch guests to find them, either alone or in family teams. The seekers who collect the most items are the winners, so make sure to provide a prize. A gift certificate to a popular local restaurant, a movie gift card or a supermarket card is almost always welcome.

A “Fresh” Idea for a Party…

The bathroom “shower” is a fun housewarming idea! Since guests tend to use the bathroom (or stop in to see it during a tour), add a line to your invite asking guests to surprise your bath with a little extra something. A roll of toilet paper, a bath bomb, a comic hand towel or a few spare toothbrushes can spruce up the room and keep you well stocked for a while.

Music for the Masses

Plan a musical event for the ages. Ask each guest to RSVP with his or her favorite song. Be sure to sprinkle the songs into your party playlist, so that guests can hear their “best of the best” during the party. If you have enough time, you can play them more than once. Program the songs ahead of time on a loop to keep your time free for your guests. If your courage is at an all-time high, consider renting (or maybe even buying) a karaoke machine. Usually it takes a brave soul or two to get the crowd started, but once it gets rolling, hilarity often ensues.

Photo Op It

Decide on a hashtag for your event…then encourage your guests to snap away during the party. Once the guests share their photos on social media, if you like, you can even collect all the photos after the event and create memento books or calendars for your friends.

The Millennial Market–Shaping the Future of New Construction

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 23, 2019 | Comments Off on The Millennial Market–Shaping the Future of New Construction

At Ernest Homes, we’re always keeping an eye on new trends in new construction. Our quest to provide the best new homes in the Savannah, GA area means we always keep our eye on the movers and shakers driving new home sales. And right now…they’re the Millennial generation.

Millennial buyers, those born from 1981 to 1997, are currently the largest segment of the population buying homes. With the largest birth year group of Millennials turning 29 this year, this powerful generation is poised to begin the “settle-down” years of their lives. With plans for marriage and children foremost in many of their minds, looking for a home is one of their main goals in the near future. 45% of mortgages this year will be financed for Millennials, versus 37% for Gen X-ers and 17% for the Baby Boomers. Millennials are likely to remain the focal point of real estate transactions for the next decade, as their housing needs change over time.

The word on the street is that Millennials are less interested in purchasing homes than previous generations, but recent studies indicate this is simply “fake news”. According to a recent survey by Fannie Mae done in 2014, most millennials consider owning a home more sensible in the long run than renting for financial and lifestyle reasons — including increased control of their living space, flexibility in future decisions and increased privacy and security. It seems that it’s the financial mechanics of buying a home, such as collecting a down payment, obtaining a mortgage and working within a sensible budget, are the major obstacles they’re facing.

So how does Ernest Homes make home ownership more feasible for Millennials?

Millennials are known for their need to conduct intense research before making buying decisions. A Millennial may consider forty pairs of black dress shoes before making a purchase, and choosing a home is no different. As the generation who came of age with the Internet as their prime tool for gathering information, Millennial home buyers are encouraged to buy a home based on the photos and listings they find online. It’s important for homebuilders to create a positive Internet presence such as ours, as well as engage in social media.

Unlike the more “DIY” Gen-X group, Millennials also actively reach out for advice, guidance and assistance when it comes to selecting their new home. They want experts in the field to be there at all points of the process to answer questions and provide information regarding their products. They’re more likely to meet with homebuilders several times before making their final decisions. Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional customer care at each stage of the home buying process, from the first contact to the time they look to us for another home to meet their needs.

Due to flat salaries and increased amounts of student loan debt, coming up with a down payment is quite a challenge. This leaves little cash in the account after closing, limiting the amount of changes Millennials want. This encourages them to buy homes that have the features they want right out of the gate. Some of these features include modern kitchens and bathrooms, smart home features, an open floor plan, a home office, a convenient family-friendly location and good Internet and cell service. Almost half of Millennials would rather buy a brand new house to avoid serious maintenance issues. At Ernest Homes, our exceptional, customizable floor plans and quality construction ensure that we’ll be able to meet these challenges with ease.

The financial dilemma of the down payment can also result in “generational homebuying” – where the parents of Millennial buyers are also involved in the final decisions. The Millennials will do the initial research and find the options that they’re willing to consider, but in some cases their parents will be contributing to the down payment, or even covering the entire amount. This brings another set of opinions and requirements into the equation. The homebuilder’s ability to interact successfully with both sets of buyers is often key to forging a strong relationship.

Studies show that only 11% of Millennials consider their first home to be the only one they’ll ever buy, so savvy home builders will know that these buyers will plan to sell their starter home and move into another residence at some point. 68% view their first home as a stepping stone to the home they really want and making improvements is not part of that plan. The average previous homeowner kept their “starter” home for ten years, while the oldest Millennials, on average, have only been keeping their first home for six years. By creating solid relationships with our customers, the team at Ernest Homes remains the perfect homebuilder of choice for our Millennial customers. As part of our family, we look forward to providing the ideal housing solution to our clients’ every need, both now and decades from now!

Taking Our Act on the Road–On Your Private Lot!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 17, 2019 | Comments Off on Taking Our Act on the Road–On Your Private Lot!

You’ve found the ideal lot, a gorgeous parcel of land in the Savannah, GA area. It has lovely trees, lush green grass and a view to die for – but you don’t know where to turn when you’re looking for a homebuilder to make your dream complete. None of your family or friends have a recommendation; they’ve all purchased existing homes. The local business councils and networking clubs haven’t given you the leads you wanted, and Googling endlessly leaves you dry-eyed and exhausted. You’re looking for the best builder around town, but the search is proving to be more difficult than you expected.

At Ernest Homes, we have a well-kept secret – but it’s time to spread the word! Our award-winning, highly respected building team can come to you! We’ll build one of our amazing homes on your land if your lot is within a 30 mile radius of Savannah, GA. It’s true – we have floor plans designed for families of any size, with amazing amenities such as bonus rooms, fireplaces, exquisite master suites, soaking tubs and roomy storage areas. And we’ll bring them right to you!

If you’re longing for a formal dining room or a breezy open floor plan, we’ve got suggestions. Do you crave a stylish yet functional kitchen that would be the envy of a TV chef? Try one of ours on for size! Are you dreaming of a “smart home” with energy-efficient appliances, in tune with the latest technology opportunities? Ask us about our latest options – we’ve got more than you can imagine. In fact, Ernest Homes can customize a home just for your family.  Our talented and experienced team can take your home from a vision in your mind to reality on your own lot.

You also have the services of our design studio, The Gallery at Ernest Homes. Our professional consultants not only make recommendations on the perfect finishing touches for your home, they can also help you customize your interior to the exterior. Once they’ve seen your surroundings, they can suggest design elements that not only flatter your home, but do justice to your own “great outdoors”.

With a projected build time of 12 weeks, an Ernest Home can be yours before you know it! We will build on your lot and have you home for the holidays. And don’t forget – we stand by our homes and offer superior customer care. Our quality control is exceptional, with 7 essential touch points during the construction process. You can learn more about them by visiting our interactive home and clicking on the number six. Then check out number eight – we even offer a complimentary caulking of your home to repair and refurbish any small imperfections after you’ve owned your home for a year!

The possibilities are almost endless – all you need is the perfect parcel of land and the professional team at Ernest Homes to create a home that is truly your own. If it’s time to build, it’s time to partner with Ernest Homes. Give us a call today at 912-756-4135, or send us a message by visiting the Contact Us page of our site. Your lot and our expertise is a match made in heaven – and on earth!

Amazon’s Best Buys for Your Home

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: June 13, 2019 | Comments Off on Amazon’s Best Buys for Your Home

Gadgets, geegaws and thing-a-majigs…sometimes you need things for your home that you may not even know that you need! The staff at Ernest Homes has collected some of our favorite “cool stuff” for your new home, all available on Amazon at bargain prices. Each piece is designed to make your life easier, less stressful – and maybe just a little more “hip”. Check them out for yourself!

The Pet Broom…and So Much More!

This is one of the easiest ways we know of to get rid of pet hair quickly and easily. And it’s great for cleaning multiple surfaces like rugs, drapes, tiles and even windows! A built-in squeegee edge and a telescopic handle make it easy to use.

Swivel Plug

If you find that you need extra outlets or a place for another USB cord, the swivel plug is the answer to all your problems. Run multiple devices on the same outlet for one low, low price.

Relief for Your Feet

Your home office needs one of these…especially if you have arthritis in your knees or feet, a nagging sports injury or if your ankles tend to swell if you sit all day.

Keep Things Moving…

With one of the most interesting bathroom gadgets ever! Satisfied customers swear by it – it’s a must for anyone looking for an easier path to daily duties! For extra efficiency, pair it with some Poo-Pourri and you’re ready to “go”!

Dim Those Electronic “Glows”

It’s easy to cover the annoying little lights on your electronics…make your rooms a little darker at night with these handy stickers!

Tired of Bathroom Clutter?

Keep your bath tidy with pockets…in your shower curtain! Instead of bulky shower caddies or inconvenient piles of products balanced on the corners of your tub, this unique idea saves tons of space!

Eggs-cellent Meal Options…in a Flash!

Breakfast – or any other time – is the time for eggs with this super-fast cooking tool. Full of handy features to make cooking eggs even easier, this tiny appliance will quickly become one of your favorite gadgets.

Keep Your Home Secure…

With this amazing all-in-one security device at an amazing price. If you have an Alexa, you can bump up your home security with this genius buy.

Reusable Straws

Be environmentally-friendly with these little steel beauties! Kids love them…and so do their parents!

Keurig Cool

If you prefer to grind your own coffee or use loose leaf teas, these spiffy mini-baskets for your Keurig make single cup convenience available to you!

Kid-Friendly, Mother-Approved

The ultimate warm-weather snack for kids…fish pops! (And they come in other shapes, too!)

Lunch in an Instant – Retro Style!

Get your hot dog on with this cool gizmo…lunch was never so quick and easy!

Toy? No, Mother’s Little Helper!

This is a mom’s dream…a child’s toy that actually helps clean your house! The mini Dyson Ball Vacuum isn’t just for fun – it does the job!

Sound the Alarm!

Does someone in your family have trouble getting up in the morning? If too many snoozes make mornings difficult at your house, welcome Clocky to your family…problem solved! This clock actually makes you get out of bed by running away from you when the alarm sounds. Chase him down to turn off the sound…works every time!

Let the Good Times Roll!

Always looking for a place in your bathroom to stash your back-up roll of TP? Here’s your answer!

Have a Ball!

Looking for handy ways to store athletic equipment? This handy holder takes care of football storage; also available for basketballs and soccer balls.

The Snake You Want in Your House

Looking for a safe, effective way to unclog your drains without harsh chemicals? Try this drain snake on for size…you’ll be hooked!

Put a Little Zip in Your Fridge!

Do snacks, lunches and bagged leftovers get lost in your fridge?  This handy tool keeps bagged food front and center, easy to spot, grab and go!

Forgot About Dinner?

Take steaks, chops or hamburger out of the freezer and be ready to eat in a snap! Defrost meat super-fast with this marvel – emergency carry-out not required!

Disco Shower!

Turn your shower into a nightclub – and it’s your choice of music with this unique speaker system accented with LED mood lights!

Keep Your House Cool – and Save on Air Conditioning!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: June 5, 2019 | Comments Off on Keep Your House Cool – and Save on Air Conditioning!

It’s definitely hot in the Savannah, GA area…no matter what the calendar says, summer is certainly here! With 100 plus degree days already under our belt, local residents are looking for ways to keep their homes (and themselves) cool without cranking up the A/C to record levels. At Ernest Homes, we’re right there with you – we’re using some of these handy tips to keep our homes more comfortable this summer.

Work Your Windows

One of the most direct paths to an overly warm home is your windows. According to Family Handyman, up to 30 percent of unwanted heat is delivered through your windows. Cut down on transfer of heat through sunlight by investing in insulated, tinted film for your south and west facing windows. You can also try stylish blinds, keeping them closed during the warmest parts of the day. Another great option is blackout drapes in a light neutral color. These curtains come in a wide variety of shades and their thick backings prevent sunlight from entering the room. You know how dark and cool most hotel rooms are, due to the use of blackout curtains. Adopting this trick in your rooms can save you a significant amount on your cooling bills. If you have windows that open from both the top and the bottom, create a cooling wind path by opening the top windows on the downwind side of your house and the bottom windows on the upwind side.

Sleep Smart

Adapting your sheets and bedcovers to summer weight cotton is a simple and inexpensive way to feel cooler at night. You can add a Chillow to your bed, or swap out your feather or poly-fill pillows for buckwheat pillows. This natural filling leaves plenty of air space between the hulls, allowing body heat to dissipate more easily. Another awesome trick…pop a water bottle into the freezer, and pull it out right before bed. Wrap it in a hand towel and place under your feet when you settle in for the night – you’ll be surprised how cool you’ll feel! You can even lightly mist your sheets with cold water from a spray bottle before climbing into bed, giving you a cool start to the night from head to foot. If you tend to wake up sweating in the middle of the night, try keeping a bucket or basin of water next to your bed while you sleep. Pop a few ice cubes into it, which will melt during the first couple hours of the night. Dipping your feet into cool water can give you a chance to cool down rapidly, allowing you to fall back to sleep. If the evening temperatures drop low enough overnight, open your windows to let in the night air instead of running the A/C.

Be Your Own Greatest Fan

Fans can really help reduce the inside temperature in your home. One of our favorite tricks is to place a bowl of ice or an ice pack in front of a fan, angling it toward the area you want to cool down. It works like a dream! You can set your ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise, and at a higher speed. This creates an air current that will keep you cooler. Another option is to turn on the exhaust fans in your kitchen and your bathroom fans. These small but mighty wonders pull warm and/or moist air out of the rooms quickly.

Make Smart Cooking Choices

This is the time of year to create meals out of doors – grilling can not only provide tasty dining options, it will prevent your house from heating up from the use of stovetops or ovens. Another idea…crock pots! Throw it all in, plug it in, and serve heat-free meals hours later. What could be easier? It’s also easy to make cook-free dishes such as hearty salads, sandwiches and wraps.

Electric Ideas

If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, it may be time to change over to more efficient lighting sources, such as fluorescent bulbs. Old-school bulbs put off a much greater amount of heat, which can measurably increase the temperature in a room. It’s also smart to run household appliances such as washers and dryers during the cooler hours, as the heat they give off will make it harder to keep your home cool. Investing in a programmable thermostat may also help you make regulating the temperature in your home easier.

Make Your Own Organic Weed Killers!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: May 30, 2019 | Comments Off on Make Your Own Organic Weed Killers!

With recent news stories breaking about the dangerous effects of commercial chemical-based weed killers, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to control weeds without risking the health and well-being of their families and pets. Many are surprised to learn that several safe, effective weed killers are already in your pantry, garage or laundry room. A few quick, easy tricks and recipes are all that’s needed to rid your flower beds and lawns of some of nature’s most stubborn party-crashers. For best results, you should treat weeds during the warmest part of the day, and under strong sun.

White Distilled Vinegar

This common household staple is one of the most effective weed killers you can find. The active ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid, which is known for its ability to draw moisture out of whatever it touches. The white distilled vinegar commonly available in stores is typically 3-5% acetic acid. When you spray white vinegar directly on to your weeds, it pulls all above ground moisture from the plant. When used alone, it can effectively destroy young or weak weeds after a couple of applications. If you have tough to kill weeds, you can find vinegars with a higher acetic acid content of up to 1-20% at lawn and garden centers or home improvement stores.

Since vinegar will draw the moisture out of any plants, it’s important to use caution to spray it only on the weed itself. Use a spray bottle with a stream setting, rather than a mist setting that will spread the liquid to nearby desired plants or grasses.

You can also boost the effectiveness of vinegar as a weed killer by mixing it with other common household products. Try one of these recipes:

  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid dish soap (Blue Dawn tends to be the most effective.)

 

Or:

  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of Epsom salt

 

Rubbing Alcohol

Like vinegar, rubbing alcohol wicks the moisture from your weeds. Mix 2 tablespoons of alcohol with one quart of water into your spray bottle and spray directly onto weeds, being careful to avoid desired plants and grasses.

Ahem…NOT Rubbing Alcohol

Believe it or not, vodka and gin can also be used to control the growth of weeds. If you’re trying to eliminate broad-leaf weeds such as dandelions, chick weeds, wild onions, mullein and plantain weeds, pour straight vodka or gin into a stream-type spray bottle and douse your weeds carefully. Within a day or two, the burnt weeds can be gathered up and removed from the lawn, preventing reseeding.

Lemon Juice

Straight lemon juice is also a great way to destroy weeds when poured into your trusty spray bottle.

Sugar

Sugar is also a powerful weed killer. Sugar sends soil organisms into overdrive, making the soil temporarily inhospitable for plant growth. It’s best for use on weed trees, bushes or vines that are hard to remove. Heap sugar at the base of the plant you want to remove and let it sit for a few days. If the sugar starts to attract pests, add a generous amount of chili pepper to chase them away.

Removing Weeds and Unwelcome Grass from Cracks in Cement

Whether they grow in the spaces between your sidewalk stones or in fissures caused by broken concrete, you can easily destroy weeds or grasses with a couple of quick and easy remedies. Fill a teakettle with water, bring to a boil, and add a generous tablespoon or two of salt. Use the spout on the teakettle to aim the solution directly onto the weeds. Usually only one treatment is needed to eliminate the weeds. This idea will also work with baking soda used in place of the salt in your boiling water.

Today’s Headlines – Controlling Weed Growth in Larger Areas

If you find that larger areas of your yard or flower beds are inundated with weeds, it may be more practical to smother weeds with newspaper. This article shows you how to bring weed-choked areas back to life using newspaper and mulch.

Save Your Lawn – Naturally

If your weed problems extend into most of your lawn, don’t despair. There are organic solutions for grass as well.

One of the most effective options is corn gluten meal. There are a lot of reasons why this natural, organic product will help control weed growth AND promote growth of appropriate seeds. It suppresses the growth of the weed’s feeder roots and helps prevent the sprouting of crabgrass, dandelions, curly dock, knotweed, lamb’s quarters, pigweed and plantain. To learn about the advantages of gardening with corn gluten meal, read more here.

Get Ready for Hurricane Season!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: May 24, 2019 | Comments Off on Get Ready for Hurricane Season!

At Ernest Homes we know one of the most important things you can do for your family is to protect them when a big storm comes our way. Weather is always unpredictable, and a hurricane can strike at any time. By planning for an evacuation in advance, your family will have peace of mind and a greater sense of security.

Here are some simple steps for creating a hurricane evacuation plan that will help your family get through harsh weather. Once the plan is in place, be sure to post it where everyone can access it easily. Assign specific responsibilities to each person in your family and make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and where they should go in case of an emergency.

  1. Choose a safe meeting place outside of typical evacuation areas that everyone knows ahead of time, so everyone can find each other if they get separated. Family members may need to evacuate in separate vehicles, or may need to leave from different locations. Adult family members and older children should know how to get to this place, preferably by two or more different routes. Younger children should memorize the address of the meeting place, the name of the place or the name of the person you’ll be staying with, and the appropriate telephone number. A family emergency sheet like this one can help you organize your family for an evacuation.

 

  1. Prepare for limited communication. Telephone service and broadcast media may be compromised and service may be interrupted. For routine communication, text rather than call. Texting uses fewer resources and reduces the message traffic carried over the wireless network during high usage periods. Keep a car charger in every vehicle to ensure that devices stay charged. Store emergency numbers in your phone and keep up to date with weather apps and ongoing alerts. To protect your phone from water damage, store it in a zippered plastic bag (with all necessary accessories) when not in use. To ensure that you can receive any FM radio updates on the progress of the storm, visit http://freeradioonmyphone.org/ to learn how to use your smartphone as an FM radio receiver.

 

  1. Make arrangements for your pets. One capable family member should take charge of your animals. Get a travel kennel for each pet, and have enough dry food to last for several days and a gallon of fresh water ready to go at a moment’s notice. Cats should travel with a portable litter box such as a Jonny Cat Kat Kit. NEVER leave your pets unattended in an evacuated home! Make sure your designated meeting place will welcome your pets in an emergency. Many hotels are willing to waive their “No Pets” rules during times of evacuation, so call in advance to find one in your emergency location that will give your entire family shelter from the storm. You can also team up with friends and neighbors to form a safety network for unevacuated pets. If you can’t return home to claim your pet before evacuation is necessary, you’ll know that your “pet buddies” will protect your pet, and you will do the same for them.

 

  1. Keep important documents in a safe, accessible place. It’s also a great idea to snap pictures of these documents and upload them to a cloud-based storage system. Birth certificates, passports, identification, social security cards, copies of all prescriptions and other important documents should be readily available. You don’t want to waste precious time rounding up these items. Make sure copies of insurance policies are in your emergency packet, and that all insurances are up to date and cover your possessions adequately.

 

  1. Weatherproof your home before a storm threatens it. One option is to invest in storm shutters or wooden protectors cut to the size and shapes of your windows, so that they can be installed quickly. Another option is to purchase a supply of large cardboard sheets and electrical tape that can be used to protect exposed glass. While not as sturdy as wood, covering your windows with cardboard will provide some protection to items in your home that can be damaged by flying glass. Make sure all doors have sturdy deadbolts installed. Brace your garage door for extra support. Most think the roof is the most vulnerable part of their home during a storm, but it’s actually the garage door. Trim all trees to remove dead and questionable limbs that can cause damage if they fall. Remove unsecured items from your yard, such as outdoor furniture, trash cans, tools, toys, grills and lawn ornaments, moving them to your garage or a sturdy storage shed. Turn off as many utilities as you can before leaving your home.

 

  1. Prepare an evacuation kit to take with you – ahead of time! Spend a Saturday afternoon assembling the items recommended here. Use large, waterproof tubs with locking lids to store your supplies, which can be pre-packed and stored in a garage, shed, basement or spare room. Food suggestions can be found here and tips for managing your water needs are listed here. If it’s appropriate for your emergency evacuation location, pack some basic camping gear as well.

 

  1. Make sure your vehicle is in safe operating condition. Keep it in good repair and try to keep the tank at least half full at all times, in case a rapid evacuation is necessary. A great checklist for an emergency car kit is available here. Learn the best evacuation routes from your departure locations ahead of time.

 

  1. Don’t forget entertainment…you’ll probably have hours to fill! Simple board games, playing cards, books or puzzles can help both adults and children pass the time during an evacuation, and they don’t depend on television or devices.

 

  1. If you think you have enough batteries stored in your kit…think again and pick up some more. Useful for radios, flashlights, children’s games, clocks and other small packables, these essential items will be harder and harder to find once an approaching storm is announced.

 

  1. Don’t panic…keeping a cool head is the best way to get through a hurricane. Take a deep breath, follow your plan, and everything will be fine in the end.

DIY Interior Design–What’s Your Style Personality?

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: May 16, 2019 | Comments Off on DIY Interior Design–What’s Your Style Personality?

Welcome to your brand new home…room after room of empty space, just waiting to be filled! If you’re more than a little intimidated by this task, you’re not alone. Many new homeowners have cobbled together their interior design with hand-me-downs, sale items and one or two signature pieces that they love…even though they don’t go with anything else in their house. How do you define your style, so that you can build on those bits you love and junk the rest? Those pieces you’ve bought because you love them often indicate your direction in interior design. Read on…the team at Ernest Homes can point you in the right direction!

Functional and Practical

The less fuss, the better, as far as you’re concerned. Simplicity is the key here, with a limited palette of mostly neutral shades, clean lines, sturdy, durable fabrics and often a more minimalist viewpoint. You’re likely to vote for leather furniture, or pieces upholstered in dark solid colors that hide marks and stains. Easy care flooring and no-fuss window treatments are common, as are simple, graphic pieces of artwork and a notable lack of knick-knacks. Everything has a place, and usually everything is carefully placed there when not in use. You’re direct, no-nonsense, usually always on time and rarely forget important dates and engagements.

Traditionalist

Look for four-poster or sleigh beds, formal dining rooms with china cabinets, tapestry prints on the sofas, and comfy tufted chairs that would be right at home in a turn-of-the-century men’s dinner club. Neutral walls are made colorful with landscape prints, hunt scene paintings and portraits of way-back relatives (real or imagined) in dark wood frames. Take afternoon tea in the study, complete with a ticking grandfather clock and at least a couple hundred books. You’re conservative, polite to a fault, respectful of others and sometimes a little reserved. You’re also loyal, reliable and always ready to help in any way you can.

Slick and Modern

Glass, steel, white…and did I mention glass and steel? Your décor is full of angles, track lighting, hanging light fixtures, stark modern art and tall, thin sculptures in silver, white or black that don’t always appear to be the same thing to different people. An overall lack of color makes an occasional splash of blue, violet or orange all the more shocking. You’re edgy, cool, fashionable and up on the latest trends, whether they be in technology, literature, art or…interior design. You’re the one at the table everyone goes to for advice.

Retro Is the Way to Go

An aqua metal breadbox and push button blender, Andy Warhol reproductions, shag carpeting, paneling…or maybe even the large, round papasan chair in your living room gives you a clue that your nostalgic streak takes over when you decorate. Bright 70’s colors and patterns, retro appliances, bead curtains…anything goes! Don’t be surprised if pieces from different decades blend (and clash!) beautifully in your home. You’re fun-loving, enthusiastic and relentlessly social. While sometimes a little scattered or forgetful, you always have everyone’s best interests at heart. You’re the friend everyone calls when they’re feeling a little down and need a boost.

Artful and Creative

In your home, color is almost furniture – it’s so striking and exciting! The art on display is provocative, inspiring and the focal point of your home, relegating your serviceable, unexceptional furniture to a far second place. It’s often a mixture of styles and colors that blend, but aren’t part of an actual set. Look for mismatched dining chairs and tableware, lots of plants, throw pillows and vibrant area rugs. Flighty, charming and imaginative, you’re the center of every conversation. You’re fearless, brave, flexible and fluid…sometimes to the point of being a bit zany and outlandish. And your closet…that’s another post entirely!

Do you recognize yourself among these types of do-it-yourself interior designers? Or perhaps you have a household of mixed types? Are you the traditional one, with a creative daughter and a practical son? You may want to allow each person to take the reins and decorate their own room as they please, adding elements of their design type to create a nest of their own where they can feel completely comfortable. Common areas can mix elements here and there – try a practical sofa, a creative area rug, modern coffee tables and retro chairs flanking a traditional bookcase.

And don’t forget – if you try it and don’t like it, you can sell it, donate it or paint it…start over. The best thing about your new home is that it’s yours, and you can change it as often as you like!

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