Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finishing of Buildings

Keys to Selecting Finishes
From oil rubbed bronze to brushed nickel, today’s finishes come in a wide variety of styles to complement any décor. Typically, when we make choices for finishes, we’re making selections for faucets, cabinet hardware, doorknobs and lighting. But when faced with making a selection, the endless combinations can seem overwhelming. Both the best and worst part of selecting finishes is that there is no single rule. However some guidelines can help make the decision-making somewhat easier.
To match or not
One of the most difficult decisions is whether or not to match your finishes. Certainly, matching your faucets, lighting, and cabinet hardware is the easiest. It eliminates the guesswork and the difficulty of deciding what and how to coordinate finishes. Sometimes, though, there can be too much of a good thing. Repetition is a wonderful way to create design unity. But, if every finish is exactly the same, it can create a tedious look with little variation or interest. That’s the downside of matching all the finishes.
For those with more daring, it’s possible to put together different finishes and make your room look fabulous. The key is coordination. If you want to mix finishes, it’s important that they coordinate together. For instance, a bronze lighting fixture that has pewter accents will look wonderful with brushed nickel. Or, if you’re handy with a paint brush, add some soft silver or antique brass accents to a bronze lighting fixture. Or, if your fixture has gold accents, consider using a brass fixture or antique brass cabinet hardware. If you’re decorating in a period style, though, it’s better to stick with one style and finish.
Try some contrast
One of the ways to make your finishes really stand out is to go for contrast. Contrast means pairing two very different finishes to create a more exciting look. A black sink faucet would look wonderful with brushed nickel cabinet pulls or antique brass. Or, pair metals such as brass and copper or polished stainless with burnished brass. Using contrast creates depth and interest and keeps the room from feeling flat and uninspired. It also keeps the room from having an out of the box kind of look.
Brass is back
Yes, that golden standby is back in home fashion again. However, if you have a rustic brown light fixture with gold accents, try adding burnished or antique brass hardware. It’s a fresh look and it will make those gold accents on your lighting pop and look even more wonderful. These kinds of coordinated finishes really look terrific in a traditional, Mediterranean or Tuscan style home. Polished brass hasn’t made the comeback that its antique brass cousin has. But that doesn’t mean shiny is out. Shiny faucets and hardware are often found in upscale hotel rooms that feature spa-type baths. The shiny hardware has a high-end appeal that oozes with that luxury spa feeling. Restorationhardware.com has a terrific selection of good-looking polished fixtures.
Hardware rules
Don’t be afraid to mix and match finishes, just make sure they’re coordinated and complementary with one another. Do try to match the styles within a room and, perhaps most importantly, coordinate styles of hardware, lighting and faucets with the style of the home. This is always a winning combination and is complementary to the house and that makes the finish selections look better too. Just for interest, use a hardware set for the front door that is contrasting. This makes a statement that the front door is special. When you’re ready to make decisions about your hardware finishes, be sure to place all the items together at one time. This will help you to be certain that everything looks right and like it belongs together. Besides saving time, it will save you money, too.

Swimming Pools and Fengshui Tips

Swimming pools are wonderful additions to any home. They create an instant place for fun, relaxation, and exercise. Plus, water is extremely beneficial in any landscape. However, in Feng Shui, swimming pools can often create negative influence. That is because swimming pools possess a great deal of energy and we should be very careful in planing the same. Swimming pools are often located at the rear of the home, and that is extremely inauspicious according to Feng Shui.

Even so, there are some instances when pools are a benefit to the homeowner. This would include a pool that is correctly sized, shaped, and positioned to create a positive energy. In Feng Shui, certain pool shapes and sizes can create problems, such as poison arrows, which are harsh points of energy directed at the house.

On the plus side, pools positioned in certain locations can actually benefit homeowners. These are pools that are placed according to flying star Feng Shui. At their best, pools can be positioned to tap the "wealth star" -- the secret location of prosperity that is tied to the direction of the front door. Another benefit of flying star placement is to overcome negative energies, as pools can offset negative energy from poor star placements.

Look at placing your pool in an auspicious location and follow Feng Shui's design criteria to make sure your pool gives you great Feng Shui! Positioned right, swimming pools can add tremendous wealth luck to a home! If not, though, it can be a very negative influence that can harm your wealth. To be sure about your pool, though, consider checking in with a Feng Shui consultant.

The Top 6 Feng Shui Pool Rules

  • Select a shape that is auspicious

The best shapes for pools are round, oval, kidney, or curving. This is because none of these shapes have any hard edges or points that can create a poison arrow effect that square-shaped pools often do. Other good choices include octagons and figure-eights.

  • Keep your pool size proportional to the size of the home

Pools are better if they are not overly large. If they are too large for the home, they can "overwhelm" it, imparting much negative energy. Better to go with a smaller pool than one that is too large.

  • Place pools at the sides of the yard

If possible, it is better to position swimming pools at the side of a yard rather than directly in the rear. If that can't be accommodated, then do try to avoid having a pool that is directly in line with the rear center of the house. Pools that do can become menacing, as water behind you is considered bad feng shui. Generally North and South East are considered to be good.

  • Pools that embrace a home bring good luck

These pools appear to wrap around a home or curve toward the home. These are a good design choice as they don't have hard edges pointing at the house.

  • Locate pools in a favorable sector for feng shui periods 8 and 9

Until 2043, pools should ideally be located in the North, Southwest, East, or Southeast sectors.

  • Incorporate the five elements around your pool.

Pools should be mixed with the other elements, such as metal (hand railings, pumps, electrical equipment), wood (plants, arbors, gazebos), earth (rock, cement surroundings or deckings), and fire (red lighting, triangular shaped articles). This helps to ensure that the pool is well-balanced and harmoniously incorporated into the landscape.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

House Construction - Budgeting and Planning

In this session I would like to discuss on the planning and budgeting for the construction of a home with your limited resources.

House construction: Budgeting and Planning


Budgeting and planning are two important steps towards construction of any building. In commercial constructions, the client or the owner is getting all kind of technical and commercial advices from the expert consultants as paid services. But for own villa (residential house) construction, 90% of the planning and design has to be done by the house owner himself. Otherwise the house would not look like the one, your family members wanted it to be.

The assistance of the consulting engineer shall be limited because he cannot go in deep to your psychological requirements and your financial abilities. You may not succeed in conveying the same to your consultants due to various reasons. So you will never get a final design as you have dreamed!

To avoid this, it is better you should also learn something in designing and budgeting. My website (www.keralaengineer.com) will help you to achieve this goal to a certain extend.

In planning, your initial job is to collect available data in house construction industry. From friends and relatives these data should be collected. Also by the use of telephonic conversations and by reading periodicals more ideas shall be gathered. This information shall be recorded for future references. This will help you to make better decisions to get the job done very easily.

Cost of materials and local labour charges should be noticed and this will help you in future to decide how to execute the work. The maximum usage of locally available materials shall help you to bring down the cost. More over as per baubiology specifications, this will help in saving our nature also.

The fund you can mobilize has to be calculated with details. It has to be written down for better clarity. The available amount of Bank loan has to be worked out separately after consulting with one or two Banks. Better and for safer side, consider only 75% of the bank loans or other personal loans for the budgeting purposes.

The next step is some homework and this has to be done along with your family members also. A detailed discussion has to be initiated where the requirements or facilities will be in put against the budget provisions. For this you should have a minimum knowledge of the cost of construction per Square foot or Square metre in your area. The rate of construction cost per square feet or Square Meter area of the type of building you are looking for has to be ascertained for your location. Normally the rate shall vary from Rs.600 to Rs.1200 per sqft. Rs.600/- is applicable for cost effective building construction and it can go upto Rs.1200/- per sqft for a posh style building with marble or vitrified tiles of good quality.

A normal rate of Rs.900/sqft can be considered for your planning purposes. If your budget is 10 Lakhs rupees, you can construct a building of 1111 sqft (1000000/900=1111). Consider all possible options and proceed further.

Kindly remember the following factors which are directly related to the total cost of construction (square feet rate).ie. the following items add cost to the square foot rate.

a) The number of toilets and the location of toilets.

b) The room sizes greater than 12 ft (360 cm). New beams need to be inserted will increase the cost.

c) Staircase rooms will add the cost of construction, if you are not constructing at least two bedrooms in the first floor.

d) Sloping roofs

e) The excess number of big windows, which we will never open for ventilation. As per norms 10% of opening is required for sufficient light and ventilation.

1 Meter = 3.28 Ft
1 SqMetre = 10.76 SqFt