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1 year ago

Console Connect Live: First Look at a Better Cloud

With so much technology at our fingertips and constant access to the internet, what better way to build your company than around amazing cloud-based "direct connect" data center solutions? I happen to agree, which is why I'm excited to be attending the Console Connect Live event and hope to see you there as well. At the event, you’ll get a chance to learn more about this revolutionary new platform and its partners.


Unveiling of Console


The purpose of the event is to unveil the new Console SaaS platform and show what it can do for you and your business. Basically, this platform allows you to connect with your employees, vendors, and customers much easier and on a higher level than before. In this day and age, businesses are expected to keep communication open, especially when most people see that the internet should make communication and transparency very easy. These same people often don’t realize that it is still very hard to get information communicated across multiple platforms. Console will make it easier for you to keep those lines of communication open and keep your customers happy.


Details of the event


According to their press release, anyone interested in learning about advances in cloud-based applications are invited to attend the Console Connect Live event at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco, California on September 9 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. From 5:30 to 9:00 pm, there will be an event social. During the event, you’ll hear from special keynote speakers and get a chance to ask questions during panel discussions. Expect to see speakers from companies such as LinkedIn, Box, and Equinox.


The CIO of Pandora will be playing in the band and there will be a very special announcement made at the end, so you won’t want to miss it.

Come on out to Console Connect Live event on September 9 and see what Console can do for you. I hope to see you there!


1 year ago

Energy Efficient Roofing

We live in a world where it is becoming easier and easier to create an energy efficient home.  While energy efficient upgrades might be costly upfront, they definitely pay off almost immediately when it comes to your utility bills.  Energy efficient upgrades and materials are so easily accessible that they are becoming a common choice for new homeowners who are building homes.  Energy efficient upgrades are great, but because the technology is so new many homeowners are afraid to invest in them.  Here is some information about how you can make your home energy efficient, no matter what choice of materials you make.

Pros and cons of solar panels

Solar panels are the most common form of energy efficient roofing materials, and they are becoming more affordable as they grow in popularity.  According to Greener Ideal, solar panels are great because they are the most accessible and sustainable renewable energy source, and they are not noisy like wind turbines.  Another pro of solar panels is that once they are installed, they are free to use, ultimately saving you hundreds of dollars a year on your utility bills.  The most obvious con of solar panels is the cost to install them.  Another con is that they are powered by the sun, so at night you will need another source for electricity in your home.  

Benefits of green roofing

If solar panels are not going to work for you, you might consider a green roof.  This form of energy efficient roof is not as popular as solar panels, but it has the same benefits as far as saving you money by requiring less energy.  Green roofs are essentially a garden system on your roof with a thick layer of soil and plants that can survive in your climate.  They thrive off of the sun as well, and are much more environmentally safe than any other roofing materials.  Your home might not blend in when compared to the homes surrounding you, but when you are saving a lot of money on utilities, it might be worth standing out.

Getting the most from your roof

If you already have a roof, and installing a new one or energy efficient features is not in your budget, there are still many ways you can make your roof energy efficient.  First, make sure it is properly insulated.  You do not want to waste energy due to lack of insulation.  Second, consider using materials that are environmentally friendly.  Shingles are made from rubber, which is damaging to the environment, so consider using stone or other materials that will not simply end up in a landfill once finished being used.  


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1 year ago

Some remodeling dos and don’ts

Remodeling can be a very exciting process for homeowners. It can be fun to watch your home slowly transform into your dream home. Of course, remodeling is also a very stressful experience. No matter how prepared you are for the remodeling process, there will always be unwanted stress. By following these remodeling dos and don’ts, however, you can greatly reduce the amount of stress involved.


Do your homework


Before you begin any remodeling project, you need to do a lot of homework. You need to weight up-front costs against long-term value. You need to research contractors, get estimates, and secure financing for the project.


Don’t automatically go with the first bid


When hiring a contractor to manage the project, or one part of the project, it’s important that you get at least three bids so that you have something to compare each bid to. Don’t automatically base your decision on price. Ask for references and choose the contractor that will do the best job in a professional and timely manner.


Do know your home’s value


You need to know the value of your home because the more equity you have in your home, the more financing you’re going to be able to secure for your remodeling project.


Don’t be afraid to DIY


You shouldn’t shy away from doing some of the work yourself, especially if you’re on a tight budget and really want to stretch every dollar. If there are smaller-scale, manageable projects that you feel are within your comfort zone, then by all means, watch a few video tutorials and tackle it yourself.


Do hire professionals where necessary


Regardless of your handyman skills and your confidence in your abilities, you do need to recognize when a job needs to be left to a professional. A good rule of thumb is to leave any jobs that typically require a licensed professional to those professionals. Don’t attempt to do any electrical or plumbing work, for instance, as you can cost yourself a lot more than you might potentially save.


Don’t ignore free resources


Take advantage of the free resources out there. It’s always free to go online and watch video tutorials for instance. There are also some great websites out there that may give you some great design ideas. You can print off things that seem promising and discuss them with your contractor(s).


Do have a detailed plan


Whatever you do, make sure that you have a very detailed plan laid out before beginning any remodeling project. The entire project should be mapped out on paper to scale before work begins.


Don’t overspend to gain value


Most homeowners assume that the more money they put into their home, the more they’ll get out of it come time to sell. This isn’t always the case. While some projects are likely to recoup most of the cost, others won’t. Homeowners should think about how long they plan to live in the home before deciding on a budget. Unless you’re planning on making this home your dream home and staying in it forever, don’t make your home the most expensive one in the neighborhood because you probably won’t be able to sell it for what it’s worth.

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1 year ago

Master bath remodeling on a budget

Many homeowners are surprised to learn when they decide to remodel their master bathroom that the cost to remodel such a small space can equal the cost of remodeling an entire kitchen. The high cost of a master bathroom remodel combined with the fact that it’s one of the most frequently remodeled rooms equals a lot of stressed out homeowners wondering what to do.

What many homeowners don’t realize is that an upscale luxury bathroom remodel, in addition to being very expensive, is unlikely to recoup much of the cost. You’re much better off doing some minor upgrades for the bathroom. Here are some tips for a master bath remodel that won’t break the bank.


Vanity selection


One of the most important decisions to make when remodeling your bathroom is the selection of the vanity. This is especially important if you’ve got a smaller space to work with because vanities tend to take up a lot of real estate. European designs such as a pedestal sink are great because they’re designed for smaller bathrooms. Keep in mind that a pedestal sink may present storage challenges since you won’t have any under-the-sink cabinet space.

If you do go with a cabinet and sink vanity, choose a slim design that isn’t too boxy. Choose light colors as they make a small space look a little larger. Vanities with dresser-like legs are an especially good option because they give the appearance of more space without having to physically expand the bathroom. Depending on how much you’re able to spend, you can go with a more expensive counter top like granite or marble and high quality wood cabinets. You can also spend a lot less though you can expect counter tops, cabinets, and a sink of lesser quality.


Extra space, without changing the layout


The fastest way to drive up the cost of a bathroom remodel is to reconfigure the layout. If you’re relocating the toilet, tub, or shower, your bathroom will need to be gutted and a plumber will have to come in to completely redo the pipes. If at all possible, keep things where they are. If more space is what you’re after, rather than reconfiguring the layout, have the tub removed altogether. That will make room for a more luxurious shower with room for a bench for sitting on.

You can also find extra space in the walls. If you have deep enough walls, you may be able to install a tall cabinet in one of the walls to create some additional storage space.


Lighting and tile


Nothing makes a space appear larger than good lighting. If your bathroom is rather dark, consider adding some new light wherever you can such as above the mirror or over the shower. The more light the better. To really maximize the effect of new lighting, go with a light colored tile for the flooring that will reflect all of that light. You may even consider having tile for the walls as well.


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1 year ago

Upgrades that Increase the Value of a Home

If you are thinking of selling your home, but you are afraid it is not worth as much as you need to buy a new home, do not give up on the idea just yet.  There are several ways you can upgrade your home and increase the value without breaking the bank.  The trick is knowing which upgrades will increase the value of your home the most, which upgrades are worth the investment, and which upgrades you can complete on your own without the extra cost of hiring contractors and other professionals.  Do not run away in fear of do-it-yourself projects, because no matter how crafty you are, you will be amazed what you can do.


Upgrades worth investment


Obviously there are some upgrades that you cannot complete on your own, or that are expensive enough to scare you away from the idea of upgrading, but if you know which upgrades are worth the investment because of the value they bring to your home, it will make spending the money a little easier.  Granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances can greatly increase the value of a home, and are definitely worth the investment.  There are alternatives, however, such as black appliances which are a little cheaper, but still make a kitchen seem upgraded as well as tile or stone counter tops.


DIY upgrades


Paint can transform the look of a home, whether it is on the walls, the doors, floors or other areas of the home, and it can be done completely on your own. If you are selling your home, paint your home a neutral color with soft earth tones according to Time.  You can always accessorize with bright and bold colors, but neutral tones are more inviting to potential buyers.  Give your cabinets a new look with paint or stain and some new hardware.  This project is affordable, and can make your kitchen and bathrooms look upgraded and expensive, ultimately adding value to your home.


Adding curb appeal


Curb appeal is vital when selling a home, especially if you want to increase the value of it. Keep the yard clean, mow the lawn, trim hedges and plant some flowers.  Paint the front door, and add hardware to the garage door to make it look upgraded.  New address numbers are a must, and completely affordable. If the weather permits, give the house a bath with a power washer to make it look new and beautiful, and most of all, appealing to potential buyers. The exterior is almost more important than the interior when it comes to selling a home, because if a home does not look well-kept, it can give false pretenses about what awaits inside, and can turn away buyers. Curb appeal makes selling a home easy.


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1 year ago

How to reduce stress during your kitchen remodel

Remodeling is always stressful. The stress is ten times worse when it’s your kitchen that’s being remodeled. It’s only when your kitchen is being gutted that you realize just how much you depend on it. As you kneel on the bathroom floor scrubbing your dishes in the bathtub, you might wonder, whether a kitchen remodel was really such a good idea.

Though there’s no way to completely avoid the stress that comes with a kitchen remodel, there are some ways to reduce it. Here are some steps for getting the kitchen of your dreams as smoothly as possible.

Step 1: Have a detailed plan. This step can’t be stressed enough. You can’t prepare enough for a kitchen remodel. You should have a blueprint drawn up to scale that specifies exactly how the finished product will look.

Step 2: Select every single item going into your new kitchen and include it on your contract before you sign. This protects you from shady contractors who offer a low bid and then steadily increase the cost of the remodel as the project drags on.

Step 3: Order custom cabinets early. There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re ordering custom cabinets of a very specific color. Just in case the measurements are off or the color is wrong, you want to get the cabinets early on in the process in case you need to get them a second or third time.

Step 4:  Obtain a schedule from the contractor before signing a contract. Look over the contract to make sure the schedule looks reasonable. It might help to do a little research about how long various tasks typically take. If the estimated time to complete the project seems low, don’t be afraid to ask the contractor about it. It’s much better for a project to take less time than expected rather than the other way around.

Step 5: Avoid paying the contractor too much too soon. Projects tend to drag on longer when the contractor is paid too much up front. Hold back a good portion of the payment until the project is completely finished so that the contractor is motivated to complete the work faster. A good rule of thumb is to pay a third up front, a second third at some point during the project and the final third only when the project is completely finished to your satisfaction.


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1 year ago

Successfully Remodeling Your Home


Whether you are remodeling one room, or your entire home, remodeling is a major project, and a lot can go wrong.  If you are remodeling for the first time, however, you might not know how to be prepared for the project.  Along with all the obvious remodeling expenses, you have to prepare for the unexpected, because rarely do remodeling projects go exactly according to plan.  You might not be able to predict the surprises, but there is a way to be prepared for them.  Here is some advice for being prepared for a remodel.

Creating and sticking to a plan

You must have a plan, and you must stick to it.  When ideas start flowing, it is common to become anxious and start the project prematurely, ultimately increasing your chance of costly mistakes.  Having a plan can keep you on track and save you from wasting money fixing errors.  It might take you a week, a month or even a year to create your remodeling plan, but you will not regret setting a plan and sticking to it.  When creating your plan, keep in mind the big picture.  Know exactly what you want the finished project to look like.  Understand the space you have to work with, and get rid of clutter so you know whether or not you need to add space.  Lastly, conduct heavy research so you know where to get the best deals on materials.

Building a practical knowledge

According to Easy House Remodeling, you should always have a practical knowledge of how to complete specific tasks, even if you hire professionals to complete those tasks.  There are several resources online that can help you build your practical knowledge so you can rest assured that your remodeling project is done correctly.  Knowing how a project is supposed to be done will help you hire the most qualified professionals, and therefore assure you that your remodeling project will be successful.

Hiring professionals

Do it yourself projects have never been more popular, but one downfall of DIY projects is that they often take longer to complete than if you hire professional help.  DIY projects will save you money most of the time, but there are certain parts of a remodeling project that should be left to the professionals in order to prevent disasters and ensure safety.  If the time comes for you to hire a professional, do your research to make sure you get the very best deal as well as the most qualified professionals who will complete the job correctly.

Practicing patience

Having patience is the toughest part about a remodeling project, especially if it disrupts your daily activities, but rushing through a project is never a good idea.  Patience is vital if you want your remodeling project to be successful, and that is why proper planning is also so important.

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1 year ago

What to do with that recently vacated bedroom

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, but also the moment you’ve been dreading. The last child is off to college and the nest is finally empty. Now what to do about those empty bedrooms? Many new empty-nesters face this dilemma. There are a few possible options. But first, you need to consider your future plans and your family’s future needs.

Should you stay or should you go

Many empty nesters choose to sell their home and move into a smaller space that is easier to take care of. If you’d like to age in place, then it’s better to move into a home where you can do that now rather than wait. If your current home won’t meet your needs, then it’s time to start looking for a home that will. If you plan on staying in your current home, then you need to start thinking about what to do with those now vacant bedrooms. You can either convert them into something new, or keep them as bedrooms.

Converting old bedrooms

Many empty nesters can barely wait five minutes after the last child leaves to start selling off the bedroom furniture so they can repurpose the room for something else. Some popular options include a den or study, a music room, a sewing room, or a man cave. If you’ve always wanted a room dedicated to a certain hobby, then this is the time to do it. But keep in mind that these types of remodels can be quite costly. Soundproofing a room, for instance, and converting it into a mini music studio can cost tens of thousands of dollars. It could also be as simple as selling the bedroom furniture and buying some new furniture such as an office desk or sewing table. As exciting as the prospect of a home gym or home theater room might seem, there are a few reasons why you may want to hold off on converting that old bedroom.

Keeping bedrooms as they are

Though you might prefer that bedroom to be converted for another purpose, prospective buyers probably don’t prefer it. When most people buy homes, they’re more interested in having more bedrooms rather than a home gym or sewing room. If you’re planning on selling your home eventually, that’s something to consider before you go making drastic changes to the bedrooms such as replacing the carpet with hardwood.

The other thing to keep in mind is the growing needs of your family. Though Junior may have moved out for good this time, the day may soon come that he has children of his own that want to come stay with grandma and grandpa. When converting bedrooms for other purposes it’s important that you still have the room to accommodate guests later on.

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1 year ago

Increasing Kitchen Organization and Storage

Kitchens are the center of a home, and because so much time is spent there, kitchens are in constant need of updates.  The longer homeowners reside in one home, the more updates a kitchen requires.  On top of that, stuff quickly accumulates and can cause a need for additional space in a kitchen.  Kitchen organization is essential for keeping your kitchen as functional as possible.  As much as you might want to update your kitchen with stainless steel appliances or new countertops, consider first updating storage and organization.  Here are some tips to increasing organization and storage in your kitchen to make it meet all of your needs.

Importance of pantry organization

Pantries are notorious for becoming a home for unnecessary clutter. Purchase organization tools such as baskets, canisters and bins to help keep your pantry as organized as possible.  Label bins and canisters so they have a purpose, and group similar storage bins, baskets and canisters together to create an organized look as well as make items easy to find.  Go even further by updating your pantry with stylish contact paper on the shelves that works well with the style of baskets, bins and canisters that you have.

Increasing cabinet space

There never seems to be enough cabinet space in a kitchen, no matter how large it is.  Stacking and stuffing items into cabinets and cupboards can create the illusion that you need more space, but really all you need is a little organization.  Buy stacking and other types of racks to keep your pots, pans and lids organized as well as create more space.  If you need more high cupboard space, consider putting spices in a drawer and labeling the lids so they are easy to access.  Be creative, and you will be amazed how much space you can find without adding more.

Additions to consider

Once your drawer and cupboards are organized, if you determine that more space is necessary, consider installing drawers underneath your cupboards to store pans and other items that will help open up space without expanding your kitchen.  Pullout drawers are another way to help keep your kitchen items organized as well as make your life easier.

Increasing counter space

Counter space is a must, and they can easily become cluttered with appliances, canisters and other kitchen items.  Consider installing cabinets that can house appliances, and allow them to be easily accessed when needed.  You might also consider customizing drawers to house items that usually take up counter space such as a drawer with knife slots.  Drill a hook underneath one of your hanging cabinets to act as a banana hanger and open up counter space.  Increasing counter space might increase your motivation to cook because you will have more room to spread out and work, which we all need at times!
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Source: world-real-estate .com/20-clever-kitchen-storage-ideas/

1 year ago

Tried and true kitchen remodeling advice

The kitchen is the most frequently remodeled room in the home. It’s the first to show its age. Because the kitchen needs to remain functional and look good, it needs upgrading from time to time. It’s also the most important room in the home when it comes to selling a home. So whether you plan to sell soon or further on down the road, if you’re planning a kitchen remodel, it’s important that you do it right. Here is some tried and true kitchen remodeling advice.

Hire a real professional

Unless you’re just planning to do a few simple upgrades like replacing sink fixtures or cabinet hardware, or repainting your kitchen, you probably shouldn’t attempt a kitchen remodel on your own. When hiring a contractor for the job, it’s crucial that you hire the right one. Not all contractors are created equal. Before hiring a contractor you need to take the time to do your homework. Start by researching remodelers in your community. Try to find out how long they’ve been in the business. The more experience, the better. When you’ve picked a few to investigate further, don’t be afraid to ask for references. The best indicator of the quality of a contractor is their previous work. Any real professional will have a license to do the work and will carry insurance that protects you in the event they accidentally damage your home or that one of their workers is injured on the job. Before you seal the deal, make sure both you and the contractor are on the same page when it comes to expectations. When will they start work each day? When will they finish? How long should the project take? Will they be loud?


Many homeowners are torn between a traditional or more contemporary design. A good rule of thumb is to consider the look of the rest of the house. The last thing you want is for your remodeled kitchen to look out of place in your home. So unless you plan to remodel the other rooms in your home to make them consistent with your new kitchen, try to stay true to the original design of your home. Within reason, you can still have a more traditional or more contemporary design no matter what the rest of your home looks like.

Balance space and storage

One of the biggest reasons homeowners remodel their kitchens is because they feel too small. Maybe there’s not enough room for a table that is large enough for your family. Perhaps there’s simply not enough cabinet space to meet your storage needs. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you find a balance for your remodeled kitchen. If you lack cabinet space, for instance, it would be a big mistake to go overboard with the cabinets in your remodel only to find that your kitchen table set is now too cramped. You may have to find creative storage solutions such as adding shelves up on one wall rather than cabinets. You might hang a pots and pans rack above your kitchen island (if you have one) to free up some cabinet space.


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