Contemporary Home Design

Contemporary Home Design

Contemporary home designs are very different from traditional designs for homes. Traditionally, the space available for homes was very abundant and bulky furniture and intricate interiors were the main features of the houses. More >>>

Simple Home Design

Simple Home Design

Having a home with the design that we truly want is something that would really make us feel good. Although most houses built these days have general designs, it would be better if we could come up with our own design to give our homes a more personalized touch. More >>>

Eco-Friendly House Design Ideas

Eco-Friendly House Design Ideas

Eco friendly house designs are not only safe to live in, they also save you a lot of money. More >>>


Payday Loans

A payday loan is a not secured, short-term type of loan. The lender only requires employment records that accurately show previous payrolls. These types of loans are sometimes called cash advance loans and they have become increasingly popular amongst the lower income communities. Payday loans are convenient for lower sums as they offer a quick way to borrow money without dealing with the bank. For the people who do not have a good credit history, this is an excellent alternative and serves a purpose of having a financial lifeline. The downside is that proportionally to the amount borrowed, the interest can be quite high.

How does it work?

The lender is relying on previous records of the borrower’s employment and payroll history. The borrower usually posts a check dated a day or two after the expected payroll, and the amount is increased by a lender’s fee. Payday loans usually go from $100 to $2000 and a typical fee for a 14-day $100 loan would be around $10-15. Although this might sound fair to the borrower, this is actually a much higher fee than a bank would charge. But for the people taking these loans, this might be the only available option. And the risk of the loan completely falls on the lender, since there is nothing securing that the loan would be returned.


Payday loans are legislated in most of the states, but there are major differences that determine how viable this industry is. Some of the states limit the annual percentage rate that payday lenders can charge. There are a couple of states that specifically legislated short-term lending with strictly defined terms, but in most of the states, this is governed by the Uniform Small Loan Laws.

A couple of studies conducted by the Security and Exchange Commission showed that despite the risk involved in a single non-secured loan is high, the long-term risk for both sides is not higher than with any other types of loans or credit. There were some issues with predatory loan companies targeting low-income communities, but these are rare and have little to no effect to the legality of the industry.

Supply and Demand

This is not a new thing in the lending industry. Payday loans have been around for a while, but they had a bad reputation and not many people used them in fears of being ripped off. The recent economic downfall and the crash of the housing market in 2008 raised the demand for payday loans. The trust in banks decreased substantially, especially in the communities that were suffering the biggest consequences of the financial crisis. Lending companies recognized the opportunity and they started offering their services even outside the lower income communities. The competition in the industry resulted in better conditions for the borrowers and many people switched their credit cards for this type of loans. The number of payday loans has been on a steady rise since the start of the century and shows no signs of slowing down.

Battling Home & Office Noise

Home & Office Noise is typically an overseen problem by many businesses, companies Freelancers working from home, but did you know that too much noise in the workplace is accountable for around 66% less productivity.

Research suggests that noise has a drastic effect on individuals, this include:

  • Decreased productivity, notably within complex or difficult tasks
  • Increased Illness
  • Increased Hormone Levels
  • Stress
  • Lower Job Satisfaction
  • Lower Morale
  • Fatigue
  • Interference with Speech

An increasing trend seen at Sonata Acoustics is the need for sound solutions within meeting and conference rooms and even homes. As studies have indicated, when concentration is heightened during conferences and meetings, background noise has been a serious inconvenience.

Often sound reverberation within an enclosed space such as a meeting room creates unwelcome noise that disrupts concentration, work efficiency and sometimes technologies such as telephones, loudspeaker calling and conference calls. Adding the correct sound absorption, to a room virtually eliminates the problem of nuisance noise within an office or meeting room.

Sonata Acoustics have developed a specialist range of sound absorption panels, designed specifically for workplaces notably, offices, meeting rooms and conference rooms. The Sonata range are Class A rated sound absorbers and are also designed to provide visual appeal to rooms with a wide variety of styles, colours and fabric finishes.



Sonata offers an extensive range of solutions using sound absorption panels. Panels are available in a variety of designs and sizes. Panels can be bespoke and made to order and come in range of colours to suit any environment. Once installed they provide a beautiful solution to any absorption problem.

Sonata Acoustics use an innovative non-shedding acoustic foam, as opposed to the mineral fibre materials found in most other absorbent products. The use of non-shedding , non-itching materials in environments such as education or healthcare is much preferred by end user and installer alike.

If you have a noise problem, please contact or call  020 3286 9257. For a full range and gallery of all Sonata Acoustic products please visit



Condo Interior Trends to Watch Out For in 2017

If you’ve already purchased one of those Montreal condos for sale and are in the process of creating an interior design plan for your new home, here’s a look at 2017’s interior design trends that will inspire you to come up with a design of your own:

  1. Back to Nature

Modern home interiors continue to have Nordic influences – clear light, simple furnishings and lots of open space. This is a down-to-earth theme however it never looks cold because of the abundance of warm elements like shearling, fur, wood, and cork. Modern interiors still focus on raw industrial aesthetic in the form of copper, glass, concrete and steel, although you can also see irregular surfaces and marbling to create a more eye-catching effect.

For this design theme, the best colors are white, walnut, off-white, beige, grey and brown.

  1. Art of Reflection

For those leaning towards contemporary designs, this theme is ideal. It creates a soft and friendly atmosphere without being overly romantic. Modern furniture and fixtures will have transparent, cool-mirrored and iridescent effects giving it a youthful appeal.  Products like lamp stands are covered by shiny glaze and the interiors will look more laid-back.  Copper and amber accentuate these designs and the colors that best suit it include lavender, blue, turquoise, yellow and green.

  1. Bohemian

This design is great for free-spirited individuals who enjoy collecting souvenirs from their travels around the world. The influences for this theme include Turkey, South America, North Africa, Japan, the Middle East and China. Mohair, checks Scottish tweeds and other items that have strong regional appeal are popular. Craftsmanship is also important, and homes opting for this trend will feature handcrafted products that are unique and one-of-a-kind. The best color for this design theme is indigo.

  1. New Luxe

If you prefer a luxurious interior, the New Luxe design is an excellent choice. Velvet, silk, satin and other types of rich materials are featured here and the direction of the style is pointing to our rich cultural heritage. Items to include in this theme are old paintings, grand portraits and still lifes. But because it is leaning towards the contemporary, copper and gold metals would still be used, as well as accent colors like deep red and purple.

DIY vs. Hiring an Interior Design

Many would prefer designing their home interior by themselves so they can save on professional fees. You can find plenty of ideas and inspiration online and in home improvement magazines that will help you create and visualize your own design. However, if you have no time to do this on your own or perhaps interior designing is not really something you’re interested in doing, then it’s best to leave this to a pro. You may have to shell out money for their services but their experience, expertise and knowledge in interior design will ensure you get the design that truly fits your new home without breaking your budget.

The Faster Road to Sustainable Living: Downsizing!

A sustainable design means making the best possible use of the assets we have.  For some homebuilders and developers, it means designing a green building from scratch. But for those who already have a home, it means taking an existing dwelling and pushing it in the path of sustainability.

Either way, the process takes time and can get really expensive. This is why an experienced energy consultant may recommend downsizing – it’s the faster road to green living.

Condo Living for Sustainability

Depending on when it was built, a condo building may have inefficient or outdated systems. However, what old and new condos do have in common are two sustainable design features – sustainable land use and energy efficiency.

  1. Sustainable Land Use

A single-family house has at least 6000 square feet of land. But one condominium building that sits on 4 acres of land could house 250 families, which translates to less than 700 square feet per home.

  1. Energy Efficiency

A regular house is exposed on all sides to the elements. But an apartment shares its walls with other units, plus its ceiling and floor. So even without you so much as lifting a finger, your home becomes 80% more energy efficient since there is only one wall that is facing the elements.

But moving to a condo is not the only thing you can do to promote sustainable living. There are other things you can do as well once you’ve settled into your home:

  1. Use more natural light.

In condos, the living, dining and kitchen areas usually share a common space. You can use just one lighting feature for this shared space instead of putting several lights. LED bulb is best since it only consumes 500KWh instead of the 3,000 KWh utilized by regular incandescent bulbs.

  1. Don’t put appliances on sleep mode.

Many people who live in condos are guilty of this. Putting appliances on sleep mode is referred to as phantom load because what they do is suck power even if you’re not using them.

  1. Grow an indoor garden.

A herbal garden in your kitchen is something you can do in your condo. This will not only give a vibrant vibe to your home but also ensure that the air inside is clean. Plants are natural air filters which means they can get rid of pollutants.

  1. Recycle

A lot of people say they are all for recycling but they don’t really practice it at home. Get serious about it and make it a family affair by getting everyone in your home involved. Embark on environment-friendly crafts for kids and adults to make the activity fun for everyone.

  1. Live with less.

Sustainable living means trying to live with less comfortably. Avoid buying too many things and go for multi-purpose items. Don’t waste paper and don’t use plastic if you can help it. Think hard about what you really need and what you can live without.

Do all these things and you’ll be on the road to green living.

Condo Unit Upgrades for Your Home Investment

If you are looking into selling your condo unit in the market or finding ways to increase the value of your home, one basic rule to consider is an upgrade. If you are a resident of Toronto, for example, take note that there are many new condos in Toronto. An upgrade will help to increase the value of your home but you need a sufficient budget to make this happen. Here are condo upgrades you may want to consider so you can put your money to good use.

Bathroom Renovation

Potential buyers will highly consider a good and well-ventilated bathroom, so during a quick tour of your unit, they will scrutinize that area of your condo. A modern bathroom design with neutral shades is more attractive to a prospective owner. If there is too much going on in your bathroom design, the tendency is it might not suit the preferences of a prospective buyer because there will not be so much renovation to do to meet his or her own taste. So, do not go for a major overhaul, just make sure that necessary repairs are done and that the bathroom is clean and organized.

Kitchen Remodeling

Next to the bathroom, the kitchen is that part of your condo that should be upgraded or renovated, if needed. Then again, you don’t need a total overhaul. Just keep a neutral overall look for the walls and furniture, but focus on changing kitchen accessories and fixtures and upgrading your kitchen appliances. If there is a need to do repainting, invest in that, too. Check for any defects or minor damages on the sink or faucet that you are not aware of. Remember that aside from the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most used areas of any home.

New and Modern Appliances

Take an inventory of your house appliances and consider depreciation value of your old, probably worn-out appliances. Replacing them with new ones will increase the value of your property, allowing you to price it a little higher in the market. If purchasing new ones will be costly for you, consider having them repaired or sent to a service center for maintenance check.

Hardwood Flooring

Flooring is often overlooked by home owners, but this part of the house is a major factor in that will help you sell your home faster. Realtors say that hardwood flooring sells faster and gives good return. You can simply convince a potential buyer of the advantages of hardwood floor over carpeted ones. Plank flooring is the new trend these days, so just give your hardwood flooring an upgraded look by staining it with modern ebony shade.

Aside from the abovementioned upgrades, you can also consider adding more storage in your home, if it’s still possible. The main concern when upgrading a condo unit is space, so make sure you do not overdo whatever upgrade you plan to do, and also keep the renovation costs within your allotted budget.

Why You Need To Clean Your Air Ducts Before Turning Your A/C On

Many people have no idea how the HVAC systems in their homes work. All they know is that the unit provides warmth in the winter and helps them stay cool in summer. They give little thought to the fact that this is achieved by pumping warm or cold air into the rooms of the home via ducting. It stands to reason that any dust or other contaminants within the ducting are going to be blown into rooms by that air. Having a professional air duct cleaning service clean the ducting before use prevents this from happening.


HVAC units are always fitted with filters to extract harmful contaminants from the air that is pumped through the ducting. Provided the filters are replaced or cleaned at recommended intervals, they do a very good job at keeping air clean. However, microscopic particles pass effortlessly through filters. These can accumulate in ducting when the system is not being used. Bacteria and mold can grow rapidly in damp, dark places. When the HVAC system is turned on again, the system could be blowing these into the home.


Because ducting is hidden behind the walls, it may be impossible to see any damage that may have occurred. The most common causes of damage are home renovation work and pest intrusion. A professional air duct cleaning service will get rid of any contaminants that have accumulated, and the service may also be able to identify damaged ducting.

Cost savings

Blockages in your ducting reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. This costs you money because inefficient HVAC systems push energy bills up. By making sure your ducting is clean before you start using your system, you can cut out this unnecessary expense.

Health issues

Keeping your ducting clean is not just about financial benefits. Dust and mold can cause serious respiratory problems for occupants, especially those who are vulnerable like asthma sufferers, infants and the elderly. Visible mold is easily dealt with, but hidden mold in your ducting system is a bigger problem and is best left to the professionals.

Signs that your ducting may have a problem

If your energy bill rises but your usage has remained the same, the HVAC system could be the culprit. Have your system, including the ducting, checked for problems. If one or more families are suffering from unexplained allergic reactions, with symptoms similar to hay fever, that could be another indication of ducting issues. Foul odors or excessive noise coming from the system could also indicate problems.

Personalized jigsaw puzzles made from your photo

When a map creator from Birmingham, John Spilsbury, first produced commercially accessible jigsaw puzzles, they have been among the hottest board games since the middle 1700s.

Because of the enchantment people have with making order from chaos, a picture from a broken cardboard of useless color gives us the same enchantment. The entertainment of jigsaw puzzles have survived for hundreds of years. The benefit of ultimately finishing, solving the jigsaw puzzle is usually deeply satisfying.

Jigsaw Photo Puzzles Today – Personalized jigsaw puzzles

Personalized photo jigsaw puzzles have existed for a long time now, but what many individuals don’t understand is simply how much the production procedure is developed within recent years. Early illustrations of personalized jigsaws were usually pretty lightweight affairs, restricted in size and providing just a couple of puzzle pieces. This led to a jigsaw that was not quite pleasing, little, and simple to finish. The puzzles are different now. It’s now possible to purchase a jigsaw puzzle according to a photo you provide that is made to as large and the same quality as any professional jigsaw puzzle which is for sale in the stores.

High quality personalized puzzles are available these days in a broad variety of dimensions and pieces catering to a far more challenging solving process. These puzzles offer more alternative, more sturdiness, as well as more of a puzzle! Large sized puzzles can today be created with 1000 or even 2000 pieces exhibiting your favorite photograph or art as a jigsaw puzzle. Your photographs won’t have seemed to you so great or offered you so much fun.

Photo collage puzzles

Photo collage puzzles are another type of personalized jigsaw puzzles, basically they are the same as standard jigsaw puzzles – can be made in the same sizes. The difference is that they are made from multiple photos of your choice. Photo collages makes great photo gifts for birthdays, family reunions, wedding favors and more. Take couple of your last vacation photos and turn them in to a jigsaw puzzle which will be treasured for life.

Magnetic photo puzzles

Want to make your personalized jigsaw puzzle more special? You can make with a magnetic surface which will stick to any metallic surface, for example your kitchen refrigerator. With magnetic photo puzzle you can expose your favorite photography and see it every day in an attractive and interesting manner. As all other jigsaw puzzle types magnetic puzzles makes great gifts for any occasion.

Promotional jigsaw puzzles

Want to promote your business, products, event or make interesting invitations to your wedding or birthday? Create little jigsaw puzzles with your own text, design, art or photo on them. We call them promotional jigsaw puzzles. With promotional puzzles you can grab anyone’s attention and keep them occupied while they are solving your message. Firstly they will read what you have written, unlike with standard promotional materials and secondly you will stand out of the crowd with your unique invitation, greeting card or flayer! Promotional jigsaw puzzles can be made as standard or with magnetic surface.

Quality in the largest companies of photograph puzzle makers has additionally enhanced significantly recently with large grade cardboard, and superb printing quality with great quality adhesive now being utilized. Now’s technologies additionally enables the jigsaw puzzle manufacturers to enlarge, improve and remedies your photograph therefore it creates the greatest possible looking jigsaw puzzle.

When thinking of purchasing a jigsaw puzzle don’t settle for less quality, take a look around the web and see which companies provide the top quality. Take look at their website, quality description and also how your puzzle will be presented, for example does it come in custom made box. is one of the leading jigsaw puzzle manufacturers in the world. They specialized in making personalized jigsaw puzzles, magnetic photo puzzle, photo collage puzzles and promotional jigsaw puzzles. You can be sure that with you will receive the highest quality jigsaw puzzle that will be loved by you and by the receiver.

Benefits of Solar LED Beacons

Recent advancements in solar, LED and industrial lighting technologies have helpeddevelop a new type of beacon with hands-off capabilities. The traditional LED beacon is the latest device to be equipped with solar panels, greatly enhancing its power management and operationalfeatures. Without reliance on the grid, such devices can be installed in virtually any outdoor location that is exposed to sunlight on a regular basis.

Read on to learn about the benefits of solar LED beacons and its applications in various industrial sectors.

Solar LED Beacon Design and Features

Solar LED beacons are cylindrical or rectangular, compact lights that are used to boost early warning systems in outdoor locations that are prone to dangers and accidents. The highlight of the device is its solar features. The beacons can operate continuously without power from a grid, using connected solar panels and a battery. During operation, the fixture’s solar panels harvests sunlight, which is converted into usable power. At this point, it may be stored in a battery for use during nighttime or cloudy conditions, or used by the LED beacon if the battery is fully charged. Because the device relies on the efficiency of the panels, one must install the units outdoors, where maximum exposure to sunlight can be achieved.

Advantages of solar LED beacons:

  • No electricity bill
  • Hands-off operation
  • Energy efficient when coupled with LEDs
  • Can be configured to manage power autonomously

LEDs are ideal for solar beacons, because they have low energy requirements. With an average lifespan of 50,000+ hours and a solid-state design, the lights are not prone to meticulous maintenance. By comparison and from a cost perspective, beacons that incorporate high-intensity discharge (HID) technology, are up to three times more expensive to maintain due to the fragile nature of the bulbs. Moreover, HID lamps do not support toggling- a feature that is used frequently in fast-moving environments, such as high-traffic crosswalks and commercial airline spaces. To reduce risks related to malfunction or premature failure in unpredictable locations, solar powered LED beacons may support corrosion resistant designs or Ingress Protection ratings for use in industrial plants and marine environments.

Hazardous Location Applications

Solar LED beacons may be applied in hazardous locations, such as chemical manufacturing plants, grain processing facilities and oil refineries. Such luminaries serve as warning signals for treacherous areas around the building. For example, a beacon may be installed at a corner of a high traffic location, where turning a corner could expose workers to unforeseen risks. It can also be found at entrances of outdoor storage tanks, to aid workers approaching the site during nighttime operations. Furthermore, the fixtures may also be installed on long walkways, where the center of the path is poorly lit. The flashing features of the beacon could help workers stay alert on the site.

To prevent the ignition of combustible substances in hazardous locations, solar beacons must hold relevant explosion proof ratings found in the National Electric Code (NEC). The volatile compounds present in and around the facility dictates the applicable Classification and Division of the solar powered beacon.

Article 501, 502 and 503 in the NEC establishes the proper classification of explosion proof fixtures:

  • Class I (Division 1 and 2): covers flammable gases, flammable liquid-produced vapors and combustible liquid-produced vapors, e.g., gas stations and dyeing plants
  • Class II (Division 1 and 2): deals with combustible dust and dust-related ignitable mixtures, e.g., flour storage facilities
  • Class III (Division 1 and 2):covers non-suspended explosive fibers and flyings, e.g., woodworking plants and textile mills

Explosion proof solar LED beacons are designed to mitigate deadly combustions by containing sparks inside the unit. In the event a flammable compound reacts with a spark generated by the light, the unit’s explosion proof mechanisms will actively prevent the combustion from escaping the fixture, where it can spread or cause a chain reaction of explosions.


Aviation and Construction Compliance

The use of solar LED beacons may help streamline compliance with complex industrial lighting guidelines.In the commercial aviation sector, which is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the lights primarily function as markers and early notification pods for aircraft operators on the worksite. In anti-collision systems, beacons or strobes with a rate of 1fps (red or white)are utilized on the ground to assist pilots during takeoff and landing. The lights may also serve as warning points behind stationary, operating aircrafts, where force generated by jets or large propellers could cause harm to workers passing by the area. In addition to notifying workers around the aircrafts, solar LED beacons assist commercial air traffic controllers by serving as reference points during operations.

In the construction industry, LED rotating beacons are essential components to lighting systems on radio-operated cranes. Such devices are typically installed on various levels of the crane to warn nearby workers about the presence and movement of the machine during operation. Beacons with strobing functionality are also used as markers for pilots navigating airplanes around the area. This practice is reinforced and promoted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in title29 CFR 1910.179(i) and ASME B30.2-2005, Overhead and Gantry Cranes 2-1.15.3 Types of Devices (not applicable to under-hung cranes, overhead hoists, or monorails).

Case Studies

The application of solar LED beacons in mainstream locations, such as busy roads, crosswalks and stop signs, can improve the safety of pedestrians and drivers. This was proven in two case studies released in 2008 during the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. Titled “An Analysis of the Effects of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians Using Multilane Crosswalks” and “The Use of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians at Crosswalks,” the reports focused on the use of Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) as early warning signal devices at crosswalks.

Key takeaways from the case studies:


  • The presence of solar powered LED beacons significantly improved pedestrian yielding
  • Installing RRFBs at the center island of the crosswalk improved driver yielding practices
  • Solar LED beacons that are manually activated should remain off until activated by a pedestrian

During the trial, researchers installed solar powered RRFBs at high-traffic areas on crosswalks. A configuration of two beacons were installed (on the right side of the crossing and mounted on top of the crossing sign) per crosswalk system. The results showed that solar RRFBs improved yielding from 18 percent to an impressive 81 percent. Interestingly, when researchers installed a four-beacon system (two beacons on each side of the crossing), yielding practices further increased by 88 percent. An evaluation was conducted after one year, and scientists were able to conclude that yielding behavior remained the same; solidifying the application of solar LED beacons in the area.

For more information about Solar Lighting system visit Larson Electronics.

How to Prioritize Home Improvement Projects

Have you decided to renovate parts of your home? Looking around, it may seem like you have tons to do, and the thought of getting it all done can be overwhelming. Instead of thinking of the big picture, break it down into smaller home improvement projects and prioritize which should come first based on these tips:

Clean up.

Before you can make a list of what needs to be done, everything in the home needs to be as clean as possible. This will help you assess what your needs truly are without getting distracted by the piles of clutter. Moving a heap of laundry could reveal a small hole in the wall or chipped paint that needs to be added to the list. Plus, getting rid of clutter helps you see the room in a whole new light, so you may be able to spot things that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. Never start prioritizing until you have a finalized list.

Think of function first.

Redoing your landscaping may make your home look more visually appealing, but does it have any real function? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of home improvement projects on your plate, try to prioritize functional projects over ones that just improve the appearance of your home. For example, if your closet is cramped and in need of more shelves or drawers, this would add function to the room since it would give you more space. Put this in front of other projects that don’t provide the same benefits.

Think in phases.

Another way to look at your home improvement projects is to rank each task by how difficult it will be to complete. Group easy fixes such as applying a new layer of paint or switching out old hardware together, and then put more difficult tasks such as installing new cabinets or redoing the kitchen countertops together, too. Once you have everything grouped together this way, it may be easier to start with the easy tasks and work your way up to the projects that require a professional. Getting a few tasks done right away at the beginning of your renovation will help you feel accomplished so you have the motivation to continue through the rest of your list.

Focus on one room at a time.

An easy way to get overwhelmed is assessing the home improvement needs of your entire house. Instead of taking this approach, look at one room at a time and identify any projects that need to be done in this room only. Do not move on to the next room until projects have been completed in this first room. This helps you stay focused and sane, since the home improvement projects won’t feel as daunting when you just look at one room at a time.

For more advice on real estate and home improvement projects, talk to the pros. Contact our team of real estate experts at Coast 2 Coast Realty who have years of experience listing and selling homes in the Tampa area.