9 Tiny Kitchen Transformation Tips

Sometimes you have to make do with a kitchen that is hardly more than the inside of a food truck. If you or someone you know is interested in getting more out of the little galley you call home, be sure to check out these tips.

  1. Donate first: Before moving into your new space, make sure to get rid of all those things you don’t need anymore.
  2. Think vertically: Vertical storage is a tried-and-true method of using space, and the kitchen holds some unique opportunities for making the most of it.
  3. Find beautiful cleaning tools: Skip the plastic and get yourself a classic wooden broom, natural fiber dish brush and a glass soap dispenser.
  4. Tap into change: Installing a quality faucet with a pull-down sprayer can make your chores less of a chore.
  5. Live the island life: Whether you choose a larger center-of-the-room-style piece or a small butcher-block number, these additions create more counter space and storage, all in one piece.
  6. Light it up: Tailor your lighting to the energy you want in your kitchen.
  7. Wallpaper accent: Finding a large-scale print will make the space feel larger, and layering a sizable mirror on top will maximize the look and any light.
  8. Curate unique displays: One of the best ways to keep an assortment of oddly shaped kitchen items is to dedicate either one section of the room (think: the top 12 inches of the walls) or one wall to showing them off.
  9. Keep it alive: Every room deserves a plant.

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Reduce Refinancing Costs

 

There is much more than a lower rate and payment to determine whether to refinance a mortgage.  Lenders try to make refinancing as attractive as possible by rolling the closing costs into the new mortgage so there isn’t any out of pocket cash required.

The closing costs associated with a new loan could add several thousand dollars to your mortgage balance.  The following suggestions may help you to reduce the expense to refinance.

·         Tell the lender up-front that you want to have the loan quoted with minimal closing costs.

·         Check with your existing lender to see if the rate and closing costs might be cheaper.

·         Shop around with other lenders and compare rate and closing costs.

·         If you’re refinancing an FHA or VA loan, consider the streamline refinance.

·         Credit unions may have lower closing costs because they are generally loaning deposits and their cost of funds is less.

·         Reducing the loan-to-value so mortgage insurance is not required will reduce expenses and lower the payment.

·         Ask if the lender can use an AVM, automated valuation model, instead of an appraisal.

·         You may not need a new survey if no changes have been made.

·         There may be a discount on the mortgagee’s title policy available on a refinance.

·         Points on refinancing, unlike a purchase, are ratably deductible over the life of the loan ($3,000 in points on a 30-year loan would result in a $100 tax deduction each year.)

·         Consider a 15-year loan.  If you can afford the higher payments, you can expect a lower interest rate than a 30-year loan and obviously, it will build equity faster and pay off in half the time.

A lender must provide you a list of the fees involved with making the loan within 3 days of making a loan application in the form of a Loan Estimate and a Closing Disclosure Form.  Every dollar counts, and they belong to you.

 

 

Ten Things You Should Know about Mold

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
    1. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
    2. Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
  • Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
  • Increasing ventilation
  • Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
  1. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  2. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  3. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  4. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  5. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Moisture & Mold

Moisture is mold’s best friend and it thrives between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit which is why it is commonly found in homes.  Mold spores float in the air and can grow on virtually any substance with moisture including tile, wood, drywall, paper, carpet, and food.

Moisture control and eliminating water problems are key to preventing mold. Common sources of moisture can be roof leaks, indoor plumbing leaks, outdoor drainage problems, damp basements or crawl spaces, steam from bathrooms or kitchen, condensation on cool surfaces, humidifiers, wet clothes drying inside, or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances.

  • Control the moisture problem
  • Scrub mold off hard surfaces using soap and water or other cleanser; dry completely
  • Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces
  • Discard porous materials with extensive mold growth
  • Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold
  • Periodically, inspect the area for signs of moisture and new mold growth

The EPA suggests that if the moldy area is less than ten square feet, you can probably handle the cleanup yourself.  If the affected area is larger than that, find a contractor or professional service provider.

Increasing ventilation in a bathroom by running a fan for at least 30 minutes or opening a window can help remove moisture and control mold growth.  After showering, squeegee the walls and doors. Wipe wet areas with dry towels.  Cleaning more frequently will also prevent mold from recurring or keep it to a minimum.

A simple solution to clean most mold is a 1:8 bleach/water mixture.  Since homes have thermostatically controlled temperatures and water is used all day long in the kitchen and bathrooms, the environment is conducive to mold.

See Ten things you should know about mold written by the EPA.