Electrical Safety in the Home… Don’t get fried!

U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 51,800 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007. These fires resulted in 451 civilian deaths, 1,641 civilian injuries and $1.2 billion in direct property damage.

Facts & Figures

  • Forty-one percent of home electrical failure fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2003-2007.
  • In 2003-2007, 53% of electrical failure home fires involved other known type of equipment. The leading other known type of equipment involved in home electrical failure fires are range, washer or dryer, and fans.
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 25,200 reported U.S. non-confined home structure fires involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2007. These fires resulted in 270 civilian fire deaths, 1,050 civilian fire injuries, and $663 million in direct property damage.
  • Some type of electrical failure or malfunction was cited as factor contributing to ignition for 72% of electrical distribution or lighting equipment home structure fires.

Source: NFPA’s “Home Electrical Fires ,” by John R. Hall, Jr., May 2010

Also see: Fact sheet on home electrical fires. (PDF, 59 KB)

NFPA does not test, label or approve any products.
Updated 5/10

The Importance of Bathroom and Kitchen Fans

The Importance of Bathroom and Kitchen Fans

Bathroom fans are an important part of your home’s ventilation system. They remove odours from your house, which improves indoor air quality. They also remove moisture, which decreases the level of humidity in your house. High humidity can damage building materials and can cause mold growth. Mold may affect your family’s health. Continue reading

Repaint a room digitally

Wouldn’t it be great to preview color combinations on your house, before spending a lot of money on paint? You can, with digital painting tools. Just point and click to see rooms, furnishings, and house exteriors in many different colors. The software and online tools listed here are inexpensive, and most are FREE! Keep in mind, however, that your monitor cannot render colors precisely. Use these digital painting tools to explore possibilities, then test spot your chosen paints in a small area.

1. Colorjive

Sign up for a free Colorjive account, and you can upload a photo of your house, experiment with thousands of colors, and save up to three different versions. You might not be able to render small details, but this online tool is so easy, you’ll be able to “paint” your house in a matter of minutes. More features and options are available for a modest annual fee.

Here is a before and after of our showhome Ensuite:

Combine Colours Like a Design Expert

A little bit of basic colour theory, a colour wheel and something called the
60-30-10 rule will have you combining colours like an interior design pro.

  • By Douglas Trattner

As a residential interior designer, Michelle Pollak, president of The Lollipop Tree, an interior design firm in Charleston, S.C., makes her living by combining colours to achieve a desired mood or effect. By following the traditional rules of color theory, she can produce kitchens and bathrooms that jump with energy or soothe the senses. Colour theory tells us what hues give us that warm and cozy feel and which ones foster a cool, peaceful serenity.

“But before you can successfully apply colour theory to interior design, you have to understand how it works,” Michelle says.

Theory in Practice
When coming up with a room’s colour palette, Michelle takes three important things into consideration: her clients’ personal preferences, their lifestyle (how they intend to use the space) and the room’s physical structure (lighting and architectural details). With this information, she then can determine which colours and colour scheme will best match her clients’ objectives.

“There are just some colour schemes that work better than others,” Michelle says. “Like if I walk into a country farmhouse kitchen, I automatically think of a monochromatic or analogous colour scheme of creamy pale yellows or deep rich reds.” Conversely, a kitchen in a contemporary or modern house might be best served by bold, bright colours used in a complementary or triadic colour scheme.

If her clients are looking to achieve a feeling of peace and tranquility, Michelle immediately considers a monochromatic or analogous colour palette. “Think about the colour scheme of a Hawaiian island and how restful it makes you feel,” she says. “The lush green hills, the blue ocean water and the pale blue sky — that is a classic analogous colour scheme.” Bathrooms and spa rooms are ideal places to take colour cues from nature, she adds.

To introduce a little bit more spark into a contemporary design pattern, Michelle moves to a complementary or triadic colour scheme. “With each step up from monochromatic to analogous to complementary to triadic, you add a little more energy and a little more interest.”

Michelle cautions against injecting too much of a bright color in any room. “It is extremely important to balance colors with a lot of energy, because what might seem fun and exciting can become exhausting over time,” she warns. This is where the beauty of a complementary colour scheme really shines. Because the colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel, these colour combinations always balance a warm hue with a cool hue.

Formula for Success
As an interior designer who specializes in what she calls “integrative lifestyle design,” DeAnna Radaj, ASID, uses feng shui and colour to achieve harmony and balance in one’s home environment.

Colour is a powerful influence on our daily lives, explains DeAnna, owner of Bante Design in Milwaukee, Wis. By understanding the psychology of colour, which identifies the psychological effects individual colors have on our minds and bodies, we can design rooms that foster health, well-being and prosperity.

DeAnna divides rooms into active spaces and passive spaces. Kitchens fall into the active category, while bathrooms tend to fall into the passive group. Because warm colours like orange and red represent energy and tension, they are best suited for active rooms like the kitchen. Alternatively, cool colors like blues and greens have a soothing and calming effect, making them ideal for passive rooms like the bedroom and bathroom.

“The kitchen is considered a fire room and the bathroom is a water room,” says DeAnna. But that doesn’t mean she recommends painting every wall in your
kitchen red or every square inch of your bathroom blue. As in life, balance is key. “Too much of one colour can create a numbing, exhausting affect on you and your family,” notes DeAnna.

DeAnna suggests following a color principal commonly referred to as the “60-30-10 rule.” For example, 60 percent of a bathroom or kitchen, typically the walls, should be one colour of a colour scheme. The colour of the cabinetry and/or furniture accounts for the 30-percent figure. And accents and accessories such as plants, artwork and linens make up the remaining 10 percent.

And taking a lesson straight from the feng shui playbook, DeAnna strongly advises against painting your kitchen a vivid orange. “In feng shui terms, orange increases one’s appetite,” she says. “So unless you want to get fat, stay away from orange.”

RESOURCES

DeAnna Radaj, ASID
Bante Design

Michelle Pollak, ASID
The Lollipop Tree

Doug Sanderson
Associate Professor of Art Kent State University

How to clean your Blinds

No matter what kind of blinds you have—wooden, fabric and vertical are the three basic types—these tips will make their cleaning and maintenance easy:

1. Vacuum blinds often with the brush attachment. Vacuum across the slats,
not up and down.

2. Use a lamb’s-wool duster, again working across the slats and starting at
the top. Do not use plastic dusters.

3. When dusting or vacuuming vertical blinds, brush downward only, as the
slats often become unhooked if you brush upward.

4. Use a rubber sponge, also known as a dry sponge (found at hardware and
paint stores), to remove dust and residue from both fabric and vinyl blinds.
Simply wipe the dry sponge firmly across the blinds.

5. For spot cleaning, spray an all-purpose cleaner onto a clean dry cloth and
wipe the soiled area of the blind. Never spray the cleaner directly onto the
blind.

6. You can wet wooden blinds when cleaning, but don’t soak them. Clean them
in place instead of removing them as you would for other types of blinds.

7. If fabric blinds become very dirty, take them to a dry cleaner.

8. Do not try cleaning blinds by spraying them with a car-wash hose, dunking
them in the tub or one slat at a time.

9. To clean metal and vinyl blinds, follow this method: Take the blinds
outside to your patio or driveway and lay them on a small rug or piece of
carpet. Put a few drops of dishwashing soap in a bucket of water. Wet a
car-washing brush and brush the blinds from side to side, and then turn them
over and brush the other side. Rinse the blinds gently with a garden hose while
tilting them so that the water runs off. To prevent water spots from forming,
quickly run your finger down the slats a couple of times to remove excess water.
When done, drape the blinds over a fence or a couch to dry.

Source: www.HGTV.com

The Mountain View Music Fest on You Tube

What a terrific weekend in Carstairs.  The weather was wonderful even though there seemed to be a moment on Saturday night that we might have some nasty weather from an ominous cloud that loomed overhead.  But the sun came out as it did on Friday and Sunday and the crowd in attendance was treated to a weekend full of top-notch entertainment. Continue reading

Aug. 5: International Beer Day, Join the celebration

Beer DayOh Homer would be proud, a day set aside on our busy schedule to honour his favourite beverage.  It’s true, since 2007, Aug 5 has been declared international Beer Day.  You may ask yourself, what is the relevance of a blog that highlights a day dedicated to Beer?  Well, why not, we all look forward to sitting out on our back deck and sharing a pint or two with friends on those hot summer days, and we at Gold Seal take pride in offering some of the best venues for such events in town.

The Mountain View Music Festival will feature a Beer Garden this weekend where our wonderful locally produced Big Rock Brewery products will be dispensed…yum!

Continue reading

A Green Kitchen Is a Happy Kitchen

If you love to cook then you know that your kitchen can sometimes take on a life of its own. Some kitchens are warm and inviting. Others are cluttered and can seem to suck the life right out of a person. If you want your kitchen to be more inviting than it is, the answer might be to create a green kitchen.
Creating a green kitchen doesn’t mean painting the walls green. It means making your kitchen eco-friendly. It’s amazing how much better you will feel about cooking in your kitchen when you know that you are saving time, energy and money. Protecting the planet and your own finances will allow you to infuse your kitchen and each dish you cook with more love and flavor. Continue reading