A handmade hand basin gives your bathroom that designer feel

I have recently been renovating our bathroom and found great difficulty sourcing a single bowl hand basin to sit ontop of my bargain Victorian washstand.

There are many off the shelf vessel hand basins available, but none were quite the right size or look for the vanity unit and vintage taps I had already purchased.

After weeks of research I came across the Handmade Basin Company; a company specialising in hand thrown single bowl hand basins for cloakrooms and bathrooms.

After speaking to the owner, Lucy Rogers, I was delighted to hear that each hand basin is made to order by her husband, the potter at Vinegar Hill Pottery in Milford-on-sea, Hampshire.

Lucy explained that they would be happy to custom make a counter top hand basin to fit my washstand, and to accommodate the taps I have already purchased.

I was given a fantastic choice of finishes, glazes and stencil designs – but I chose an very simple off-white to suite the vintage feel I wanted to give my bathroom.

I was quite excited that the hand basin may have slight imperfections as you would expect from something that is handmade. But I have to say that the finish is so professional that you could hardly believe that was made in such a traditional way.

It is so refreshing to find a company that can offer you a one off product, and a great story to go with it. Every time I was my hands I will enjoy the fact that my hand basin is a unique product, made by talented potter on a wheel in the South of England; a place I also love to go on holiday.

You would expect a handmade freestanding ceramic hand basin to be fairly delicate, but I was delighted to learn that each one is made from a very high quality clay and fired up to 1260oC, making them extremely durable.

I cannot tell you how happy I am with the and the service. I would not hesitate to recommend the Handmade Basin Company if you are looking to give your bathroom a designer edge.

Rustic Garden Furniture -why We Love Them

The attraction of country residing is discovered within the rustic garden furniture. One of many big reasons people tend to love rustic garden furniture is because it is usually not made in a manufacturing facility .The rustic garden furniture is unique with chairs, tables, benches, and arbors that depict early America.

The rustic garden furniture, which is fabricated from oak, cherry, and maple woods, honed into the gorgeous tables, chairs, benches, and different outstanding objects in your backyard or patio .

One other characteristic of rustic garden furniture that charm itself to people is the truth that each little imperfect knot or twist within the wood exhibits up. A few of the types of wood which might be typically utilized in constructing rustic garden furniture are cedar, hickory, cypress, and pine.

Rustic garden furniture can create a remote feeling on your yard which is what many people want. As yards get smaller and private spaces becomes more precious, anything that may make our space seem larger or more non-public is a welcome addition.

Maybe that is why this style of backyard furnishings has become so popular in recent years. This furnishings blends into the landscape which gives a false appearance of more space. It also tends to flow with the pure mood of a yard space relatively than standing out. It complements the privacy of your yard by not interfering with the serenity of its surroundings. It’s only natural that a natural setting could be properly served by rustic garden furniture.

Rustic garden furniture can also be referred to as farmhouse garden furniture and harkens back to the olden days of farms and country living. It has a style all of its own and is fairly special. Generally, rustic garden furniture is lumpy, massive and heavy. Occasionally it is roughly cut, however that is not always the case though it is not often carved in nice detail. Rustic garden furniture is constructed to last.

Natural character in rustic wood has infestation worth regard the artistic style. The natural form of wood in unique style with knot out of order makes its own appeal. Wood has a strong character naturally. It’s also very heavy and sturdy.
Outdoor wood furniture is commonly under the influence of temperature and moisture extremes plus the striking rays of the sun. When properly protected for, wood patio furniture may perhaps go on a number of years and still appear wonderful.

Outside furniture additionally performs vital role in sustaining the style and class of the house. Rustic garden furniture is a outstanding choice, some produced from a variety of woods.
Rustic garden furniture, old and new, might be discovered and purchased at flea markets, crafts fairs and garden outlets from coast to coast

Finding the Perfect Outdoor Patio Furniture

Buying outdoor furniture sets is an investment in your home that can easily pay for itself many times over in terms of functionality and fun. The right patio furniture can transform a bare boring porch, patio or garden in to a relaxing place for you and your family. Take time to research your options to create your dream outdoor living space. As you read through this article take note of the tips on selecting patio furniture that will provide enjoyment for years to come.

The first step is to determine your furniture’s function. Before you think about buying patio furniture, you will want to think about how you want to use your outdoor living space and the look you want to achieve. Would you like to create a private quite space for yourself, or would you like to create an outdoor entertaining area where you can host social parties to entertain family and friends.

After you have determined the function, research to see what kind of patio furniture is available to create the outdoor living space of your dreams. Also consider the style. Are you seeking modern patio furniture or does your style tend to be more toward the casual patio furniture. You can search online stores to get ideas and do research on what the options are. View how others have decorated their patios by watching tv shows, looking at magazines and websites, and visiting model homes.

After you have your ideas together, measure your space and decide how to utilize it. This will enable you to decide how many tables, chairs, sofas, and other pieces that you will need. Make sure there is enough room for people to move freely through the space and that others will be able to sit comfortably.

Once you have your master plan complete, narrow down your choices by looking at specific brands and furniture elements that are available. Read online reviews and think about the comments from others who have already purchased similar products to what you are considering. Patio furniture forums online would be a great resource for this information.

As you are preparing to make your patio furniture purchase, shop for bargains. Buying cheap furniture is not always the best option and can result in poor quality product that will not last. Keep an eye open for sales, coupons and closeouts that will allow you to get a high quality product for a reasonable price.

Lastly, don’t forget the accessories. Patio furniture cushions can change the look of your set. If you don’t have a covered patio you will most likely want an outdoor umbrella and patio heaters are a great addition for chilly nights. Alternatively, you can add a fire pit that will also add ambience to your environment and make it a space that you can enjoy all year round.

What is an Open Architecture 401(k)

Many 401(k) providers use terms such as “open architecture 401(k)” and “fee disclosure” in their marketing efforts, but what do those terms really mean? Instead of limiting a plan to a specific list of funds, a true open architecture 401(k) format allows plans to select investments from hundreds of mutual fund families and exchange traded funds (ETFs) without impacting the provider’s fees to the plan. This design allows plan sponsors and plan designated investment advisors to fully customize their fund lineups based on the needs of their participants.

Fee disclosure, also known as “fee transparency” occurs when the 401(k) provider ensures that the plan sponsor and plan designated investment advisor can see exactly what they are paying for within the plan. With “full fee transparency,” all fees (, 12(b)1 fees, sub-transfer agency fees etc.), in addition to provider fees, are fully disclosed and explained to the plan sponsor and the plan designated investment advisor.

Full fee transparency is important because while many 401(k) plan providers allow plans to customize their fund lineups, some providers alter the fees they charge based on the funds chosen for a particular retirement plan or reduce the amount of revenue sharing passed through to the plan. (Revenue sharing can be defined as fees paid by the mutual fund companies to service providers for performing recordkeeping services and/or sub-transfer agency services to retirement plans.) These incidentals greatly influence the bottom line of a participant or plan balance. Examples of these fees or limitations include:

*Charging additional fees if the plan chooses funds that that are outside of the 401(k) provider’s standard group of funds.

*Varying fees charged to the plan based on revenue-sharing arrangements between the 401(k) provider, third party administrator and fund families.

*Limiting the selection of investments to a list of funds that pay the provider a certain amount of revenue share

*Requiring that plans include a specific number funds that are sponsored by the provider

As a fiduciary, plan sponsors or the plan designated investment advisor must act solely in the interest of the participants with the purpose of providing benefit to them. Therefore, it is important that the plan sponsor and the plan designated investment advisor understand all of the fees charged to the plan and its participants.

In the past, providers had the option to wrap these fees in with plan costs, making the fees difficult to find or understand. In January 2012, the Department of Labor will implement Rule 408(b)(2) which requires that covered 401(k) providers fully disclose all fees to plans.

At the same time, the DOL will implement a participant disclosure rule requiring covered plans to disclose all investment related fee information to its participants. These regulations will help both the plan and its participants become fully aware of what they are paying in their retirement plans.

A true open architecture 401(k) format will allow the plan to select from nearly all registered mutual funds or ETFs without seeing their plan fees adjusted.

Choosing An Energy Star Home

When you make the decision to build a new home, you want a builder who will provide the highest quality at an affordable price. Many Knoxville home builders can offer competitive prices but when you are investing in a new home, you want the best. Home ownership is a great investment, but it can also cost a lot of money over the years. You can save in future ownership costs if you choose a builder who can build an Energy Star qualified home.

What Is Energy Star?
Energy Star is an international, governmental standard for energy efficiency in consumer products. When you own an Energy Star home, you have a home that performs better than most homes in America. Your cost of upkeep and ownership is reduced, and your home will last longer without the need for repairs.

What Makes a Home Energy Star Qualified?
Energy Star homes have higher standards for insulation and water management. In an Energy Star home the walls, floors, and ceilings are all tightly sealed and properly insulated to reduce drafts and leaks. Proper insulation not only provides lower energy costs, but also better air quality. Energy Star homes will have protection from more pollen and dust then regular homes.
Energy Star homes also must have efficient water management systems. There must be a way to direct water off of the roof and away from the foundation. This keeps your roof in better condition for longer, and protects the foundation from water damage.

If you are building a new home, your quality of life and cost of ownership will be improved if you invest in and Energy Star home. Many Knoxville home builders can build you a decent home, but if you want the best, find a builder who can give you an Energy Star qualified home.

Modular Kitchen For A Fruitful Life

The key to a living without much external disturbance is proper time planning in all areas of your life. This is truer when it has to do with a household with two working professionals as a part of it. In such states of affairs, modular kitchen is an optimum answer for a muddle-free, operational and manageable kitchen. By its placement, formation and arrangement, a well contrived modular kitchen will render you with plenteous kitchen space and this successively will assist you in expending the saved time productively in other areas of your interest.
A modular kitchen is made up of a number of modules set up in a useable kitchen area to cater utmost efficiency. Modules are fall in many different categories- There are kitchen cabinets planned for maximum space usage, there are wall structures projected as per the appearance you want for a kitchen, there are kitchen worktops, kitchen equipments that are an indivisible part of any kitchen, and there are the appliances you need according to your luxor.
The placement of the modular kitchen in the space results in an increase in the functional aspects of the kitchen. The availability of plug point is considered and it is made a point that all the electronic kitchen equipments have the plug points at their ambit. This will also make the kitchen safer than anybody has ever expected the kitchen to be.
The space and reach of the kitchen will be at a high, owing to the placement that assures place for each item that belongs to the kitchen. Life is made easier to a very high extent.
The kitchen will be jitter free, and as it is available in a potpourri of designs and colours, it facilitates your home look lovely. A person with taste in the traditional form of kitchen can also have a modular kitchen because the arrangement is made according to their need. The looks can be different. The colour availability also makes modular kitchen a favourite in internal design industry. The colours can be selected according to your choice.
Everything is done according to international standards. Everything follows international safety standards and that makes your kitchen, which is one of the most accident prone area, the safest kitchen. Your kitchen will be a safe haven.
In this way, the safe, beautiful and mutter-free modular kitchen will turn your life around into a more positive one.

Home Decoration To Enter The High Quality Era

People now specialize in high quality decoration items

Because of the modern and busy city life, people now not only wish comfortable, warm and practical home environment, but also pursuit their own home decoration with a higher demand. The yearning for a better home life with high quality make the concept of “quality home” come into people’s lives and break into people’s vision.

With the development and innovation of the concept of Habitat, a single residential products have been unable to cover the connotation of quality of life. Modern quality of life reflected in people-oriented, not decorate for ornamentation, but rather for living.

Home design is different from other service industries, and it has professional requirements. Some owners prefer to design accordance with their wishes, but ignore there are many details need to pay attention.

The step-by-step decoration and configuration out of touch is difficult to reflect the home perfect combination, and let the furniture does not match the style of the decoration.

So invite professional designers to design is an embodiment of social progress, and it is a more sophisticated trend for the social division of labor. The interior designers have keen grasp of the material, work experience, and they can “inadvertently” make very good results or achievement of home decoration.

2.Environmentally friendly materials be the trends

The current market, “low carbon”, “green”,” Energy-saving-,- environmental protection” has become the mainstream vocabulary. Except for price and quality, people to buy decoration materials which consider the most is the environmental protection or not.

People’s requirement of home improvement and ecological environment constantly increase. They more concerned about whether household products contain harmful substances such as formaldehyde, benzene. And the requirements of door ventilation degrees, lighting, vegetation placed green natural space are also higher.

According to industry analysts, as the industry continues to promote and develop, the will be made to more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly. High-tech environmentally friendly building materials will also become a market darling.

3.bathroom decoration materials emphasis on user-friendly and waterproof

In today’s home decoration, the renovation of the bathroom space is relatively small proportion, then often ignored by owners. The experts pointed out that the bathroom space reflect the house comfortable, warm feeling and security elements, and quite a lot of details involved, if not handled properly, not only directly affect the quality of home life, but also pose a security risk.

The waterproof requirements of the bathroom space is very high, therefore the selection of high quality waterproof wall tiles and floor tiles. Bathroom construction techniques and material selection are equally important.

Installation of should consider the humanized design. Smooth curve can reduce the bump damage, if the space is relatively large, you can also consider division of shower space, toilet space and so on. It could effectively prevent the spray splashing and keeping the floor dry. With the installation of soft curtains, wide drooping shutters can achieve the same effect.

Facts About Outdoor Wicker Patio Furniture

The history of outdoor wicker patio furniture is quite vast. The very first types of wicker furniture came from ancient Egypt. There are some pictures that depict queens and kings sitting from their thrones which are made from wicker. Since making such types of furniture would only need wood, ancient civilizations have practiced their own unique style. Another type of wicker furniture was dated back in Pompeii. Through the use of wicker, some countries also practice art, one of which is Celtic art which has been dated back to the Iron Age. As the years progressed, the technique of creating outdoor wicker patio furniture has been changing. At the turn of the 20th century, companies such as the Heywood-Wakefield created their unique brand of furniture. Today, millions of companies from around the globe are creating their own versions of wicker furniture and wicker art. Wicker furniture is basically made out of plant materials such as rattan and cane. However, there are some countries in the Middle East that have practiced the use of bamboo in order to create outdoor wicker patio furniture. There are actually three types of wicker furniture that is sold today. One is the traditional type wherein the only materials utilized are wood and natural products. The second type is the synthetic kind where materials like plastic are used. The third kind is the hybrids wherein such furniture is created through wood as well as through plastic. The major difference of all the materials is about durability and strength. Natural based wicker is quite strong and efficient. Such natural furniture has the style and the beauty. The only problem is that the natural type of outdoor wicker patio furniture would constantly need maintenance and cleaning.

The synthetic types are covered by a special type of paper that prevents it from being damaged by the outside environment. The only thing wrong with the synthetic type is that it is not as comforting as the natural wicker. If you want to get the best out of your furniture, then you should rather choose the natural type or the hybrid type. The natural type also reacts with the type of weather so you do not have to worry about humidity damaging the wicker. Just as long as you have someone maintain them, you can never go wrong with natural outdoor wicker patio furniture.

Tony McGuigano is the owner of the website, as well as a website called .

Modular Kitchen Changing Your Lifestyle

In this modern busy world, accessibility to everything is the key to a successful life. This is relevant not only in your professional life, but also in your home. Kitchen, being the most important part of a home, should provide you with this accessibility and provide you with efficient way of time and space management, key to the betterment of your life. Modular kitchen is the best possible solution in this regard.
Modular kitchen is a way of kitchen arrangement realised by interconnecting cabinets and functional interiors such as kitchen worktops, hardware and other kitchen accessories. The arrangement is done keeping in mind the available space and dimensions of the cabinets and other things belonging to the kitchen. The neatness and accessibility of the whole setup is also taken into consideration when modular kitchen is made.
Nowadays, whenever a person plans to renovate their kitchen, the first option is always modular kitchen. This is because of the revolution it has brought in the life of a middle class family. It has increased the efficiency of the whole family just by having things at the places which they are meant to be. The elegance it brings to your home is an added merit.
The merits a modular kitchen possess has given an impression that it is a luxury class kitchen, but as one can modify the kitchen in many instalments into a good modular kitchen, it can be afforded by anybody. As it can be disconnected and rejoined in a different location, it is a good option for people who live in rented house too. The money we invest on the modular kitchen makes a good impact on our life.
The modular kitchen, as it accounts for the spatial dimensions and the size of the electronic and other kitchen appliances, it assures you that your kitchen has enough power plugs to use all the appliances you have. As this is the case, the placement of the bigger appliances never becomes a problem. The accessibility it provides also helps the cleaning process. Cleaning the kitchen has never become this easy. The strategic placement of the ventilators also helps the kitchen maintain airflow, keeping the kitchen fresh always.
As they are available in a vast variety of colours like red, green and blue, you can add your signature to your favourite kitchen by giving it your favourite colour. Modular kitchen can truly better your life.

Housing Assistance for Low-Income Families

Many low-income families require assistance with affordable housing, and programs and policies that fulfill these needs help many people realize their lifelong dream of being a homeowner. Before one applies for public housing assistance programs in Dallas, some important points should be remembered.

The American government helps in providing affordable and sustainable housing to low-income families by giving them considerably decent rental accommodation as part of public housing programs. There are an estimated number of almost a million households that have been aided by Federal funds. The HUD or the -Department of Housing and Urban Development- looks after these housing assistance programs for low-income families. There are a number of HA or Housing Agencies that manage these assistance programs. Providing affordable housing to low-income families is a stabilizing attempt made by the US government, to have balance in the social structure.

At the time of the Great Depression, many Americans were left with almost no money which was the result of widespread unemployment. This was the time when housing help was first provided to low-income families.

Criteria of eligibility: In order to make sure that the public aid is going to really needy applicants, and the grant of aid is not being abused in any way, the HA decides on the eligibility of the applicants based on a criterion. The gross annual income of an applicant has to be either 50% of AMI or Average Median Income, or 80% of AMI. Those whose income is 80% of AMI belong to the -low-income- category while those whose salary is 50% of AMI belong to -very low-income- category.

If you are looking for quality and affordable housing, you can browse the internet where you will find a number of websites of housing authorities that assist low-income families by providing them with safe and decent houses. Get all information before you invest.

About the Author:
Made up of more than 300 organizations and individuals, The North Texas Housing Coalition, Inc (NTHC) is a 501(c) (3) HUD-certified counseling agency. It works to improve and increase affordable housing in the North Texas region.