Walk around your home and really look at it; how well do you think it would do in an earthquake? What will happen to all your mementos and collections when everything starts shaking? There are things you can do to mitigate the potential damage. Don’t wait until after it happens, when all that’s left is clean-up of the broken mess. Seismic retrofitting is a fancy way of saying that everything will be secured or adjusted to minimize or eliminate the damage from an earthquake.
We all hope that “The Big One” doesn’t hit in our lifetime, but since we basically live on the Pacific ring of fire and along fault lines, we need to talk about the risks, and keep talking about them until basic seismic awareness is commonplace. Fabrycki Homes is well aware of the damage that can be done to homes, so if you’re not sure what to do, give Kevin a call and get on the right track.
Here are some reminders: Strap down your water heater and all large appliances. Add latching mechanisms to your cabinets. Have a plan in place for your family: where to meet, who to contact out of state to confirm your safe status. Keep your valuables and vital paperwork in a fireproof and waterproof safe. Know where your fire extinguishers are, and make sure they are regularly inspected and recharged – earthquakes can indirectly cause fires as well. Practice your evacuation drills, and know the location of your nearest BEECN (Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node). Finally, remember the biggest lesson about disasters: Stay calm and do your best.
Don’t Wash It Down the Drain!
Did you know that the biggest use of water in an average home is from the toilet? This is followed closely by the clothes washer, the shower, and only then by the water we use from the faucet. What does this mean for the average consumer? It can be very simple to cut down on your water usage, and reduce your utility costs. When you are paying for water coming in, and wastewater going out, it makes good sense to utilize all of it to its greatest potential.
The dual flush toilet has been around for quite some time, and they are wonderful. Not only do they dramatically cut the amount of water unnecessarily used per flush, they are just cool technology. How else can you make a bodily function feel so satisfying? By knowing that every time you use it, you are doing a good thing for our planet. Clean water is scarce in many parts of the world, and what we do with it matters.
Next to address is your washer and dryer. How many of us have ancient washers that do the job, and that’s it? Upgrading to a high efficiency front loading washer will pay for itself in money saved, and clothing that lasts longer. Look for the Energy Guide yellow labels on appliances, and get the absolute best one that you can afford.
Now let’s look at your showers and faucets. Low-flow shower heads have been refined enough now that they produce superior and satisfying flows. The same can be said of water saving faucets. Replacing the sink fixtures may not even be necessary, a new aerator could be the easiest solution. This one simple thing can save thousands and thousands of gallons–and Fabrycki Homescan make sure you get the job done right!
It may not be the most exciting thing to talk about, but water is vital for humans, and supplies of it are hitting critical levels. We are cushioned from that here in rainy Portland, but we can certainly do our part to help – since we are all part of the same planetary water cycles, our actions affect others.
Decorating For The Weather
The Portland area is famous for rain, and there’s a large element of truth to it. We get a lot of rain, and plenty and overcast days. When decorating your home and choosing a color scheme, consider the weather. That might sound funny, but there are good reasons for the suggestion.
Gray has been a popular neutral in home decorating for a few years now. It has augmented supplies that have been in the beige and tan ranges for many years. Things like tile, paint, appliances – they can all be found in shades of gray and silver now. This is perfect for our area. Gray is soothing, and reminds us of the water so frequently showering on us. It serves as a steady base for adding bright washes of color and beautiful art works – preferably from our many talented local artists. You can augment with whites and creams or black to create an elegant sophisticated look. Or you can embrace the water scheme with blues and greens. The northwest itself is an inspiring color palette – don’t be afraid to try something new. Explore the environment, and bring it into your living space. It will help keep you grounded and connected.
If you want to focus on the beautiful summer weather that we have here, choose bright saturated colors that uplift and enliven the senses. Crisp sky blues, puffy cloud or cherry blossom whites, or perhaps the vivid pink of Mt Hood in the light of a gorgeous sunrise. Pine green is an excellent accent color, as it calms and invigorates like a walk in the woods.
Whatever you choose, however you want your home to feel, remember that color has a powerful effect on mood and atmosphere. Choose carefully what you want to surround yourself with, and like always, if you’re not sure where to begin, start with a call to Fabrycki Homes. It’s easy to change and update with color, and here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, look to the outdoors for fresh inspiration.
Transforming the Garage
We’ve all seen them, and some of us live with them: The overcrowded, unorganized mess of a garage. How can you possible manage it so that it’s manageable, or more than that – how do you transform it into a workable, wonderful place to use?
Depending on what you want to use it for, the two best updates for your garage are simple: Efficient storage, and good lighting. It’s really that easy. Here’s what you need to know.
Good heavy duty storage units are getting easier to find. You don’t need to spend a fortune on brand new, although it’s always nice to have shiny and matching. Alternatives are recycled kitchen cabinets from friends or neighbors, or from the ReBuild Center. Some may need to be reinforced if you plan on using them for heavy tools. Think about including matting or cork board in the bottom of drawers and cabinets to absorb moisture and keep tools in place. Also consider adding heavy duty casters on the bottom of some of your cabinets, and even a think piece of wood on top to create a mobile workstation suitable for a variety of purposes. You may want to invest in a workbench, or build one of your own.
Cabinets are fantastic, but there are all kinds of options for storage: ceiling shelves, slatboard for hanging tools on walls, and racks of various sorts. Try to use all of your available space, as once everything has a place, it’s much easier to focus on the work you actually want to perform.
Finally, correct ambient and task lighting will make your work more enjoyable. Full spectrum bulbs work great, and simple clamp lights can be moved where needed. Invest a little extra to get the proper lighting – it will be worth it. With some simple steps and a plan, your garage can be your new favorite space–and Fabrycki Homes has had plenty of experience with tools and garages, so if you have questions, just ask!
Decorating for Healing
With today’s hectic lifestyles, and increasing demands on time and resources, a spa getaway isn’t always practical. Yet optimal physical and mental health are an integral part of a happy life. More than that, many people are taking care of elderly parents or grandparents, or struggling with illness. How do you incorporate a healthy retreat into your home or property, and enjoy the benefits of a spa without leaving your house? There are some simple, time-honored techniques.
Build a fence first. This isn’t anti-neighborhood, it’s purely practical. A fence is a barricade against noise and visual distractions. It will also add privacy and security, and contribute to the overall feel of a spa getaway. You want your home to be an oasis, so create the sense of escape with clear delineations of boundaries.
Bring the outdoors inside. Whether it’s well tended house plants, or a kitchen window full of living herbs and spices, greenery and growth have been shown to soothe and calm the senses. An indoor garden has the added benefit of producing organic and tasty greens which are rich in healthy nutrients.
Now, see if there is an unused area of your home that can be a designated “unplugged” space. This is where no electronics are allowed, and only books or exercise is permitted. This should be a room or location that can be physically separated from the rest of the living area, with some room to stretch, do yoga, or meditate in peace. In houses with lots of activity, noise-muffling earphones might be extra helpful.
Now add some water features. Moving water can block unwanted noise, such as with a fountain, or it can be soaked in to ease stress. While a hot tub might be unrealistic, a soaking tub is more reasonable. It can be heated and filled quickly, and there’s no need for chemicals besides bath salts.
There are so many options to increase your relaxation and decrease stress. Look around your house and see what can be altered or adjusted in order to bring a spa-like sense of peace into your life. We know all about stress at Fabrycki Homes–and how to reduce it!