Monday, December 29, 2014

Ring in the New Year!

We’re just days away from 2015!! New Year’s Eve is an amazing night where we celebrate with friends and family, and ring in the New Year and all the changes it may bring. Whatever your plans are to celebrate for the New Year, we have some helpful tips to make the night truly wonderful!

New Year’s Eve decorating is all about glamor. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to add fancy and elegant decorations to your home.
Hanging ornaments: Don’t put away your Christmas ornaments just yet! To create an amazing hanging decoration, string silver, gold and glass ornaments from the ceiling. The more the better!
Table scape: If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve dinner this year, create an elegant table scape! The clock theme is always a classic.
Wreathes: Swap out your Christmas wreath with a shiny New Year’s Eve wreath! Choose a color scheme, and dress it up with bows, ribbons, glitter, ornaments, and various New Year’s Eve decorations.

Food & Drink
If you’re hosting a party or dinner, or just having a few friends over to watch the ball drop, you’ll want to make sure you have tasty and festive refreshments!
Chips and dip: Transform ordinary chips and dip by serving them in a top hat and martini glass! If you don’t want to use your existing stemware, plastic versions can be purchased for only a few dollars.
Dessert: Take your favorite cookie, cake, or cupcake recipe, and decorate them with New Year’s appropriate text or pictures!
Drinks: Create festive tags for your glasses! You can also write your guest’s names on the back so no one’s drinks get mixed up.


If you’re going all out this year with a party, here are a few ideas to make sure your guests have the night of the year!
Photo booth: Create a celebratory backdrop to take pictures of your guests! They will love to have a memento from the last night in 2014.
Balloon drop: Set up your very own balloon drop for when the clock strikes midnight! While certainly a lot of effort, your guests will absolutely love it.

If you’re celebrating with kids this year, there are so many ways to ensure that both you and they have a fun and awesome evening.
Party bags: Create these fun gift bags for your kids! Fill them with fun toys, games, and treats, and give to them when the clock strikes midnight! Or, make smaller versions and give to them each hour.
Crafts: Create New Year’s Eve wands with your  kids. Decorate with fun embellishments, and have your kids write their wishes or resolutions on the outside!

Whatever your plans may be, we at D.J.'s Painting & Remodeling hope these tips have been helpful, and wish you a great evening and a fantastic New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finding the Right Fireplace

One of the most comforting things you can do during the long, cold winter months is to cozy up next to your fireplace. Nothing beats the feeling of relaxing with a good book, a cup of hot cocoa, and a burning fire. Fireplaces provide entertainment, a practical alternative heat source, and aesthetic value to a home. Today we delve right into how to craft the perfect fireplace for your home.

Choosing the Right Kind of Fireplace
If your house is entirely void of a fireplace and you are looking to make an addition, you must first consider what kind of fireplace is most suitable for your home. The three major types of fireplaces are electric, gas, and wood burning. All are amazing in their own ways, but they do have their differences.
Electric: If your fireplace will mostly serve as a decorative piece, electric might be the way to go. While it is still an excellent heat source, it is not as authentic as a gas or wood burning fireplace. Electric fireplaces are also easier and less expensive to install, which would make them an excellent choice if you are not planning on staying in your home for a long time.

Gas: Gas fireplaces can be seen as the middle point between an electric and wood burning fireplace. The flame they produce is real; it is just not a result of burning actual wood. Gas fireplaces are the right choice if you want the true fire effect without dealing with the extra work that a wood burning fireplace requires. 

Wood burning: While certainly the most authentic way to bring fire into your home, wood burning fireplaces require much more work to install and maintain than their gas and electric counterparts. If your home does not already have a fireplace, you will have to take extra steps to ensure a proper ventilation system. You also need to make sure you have storage space in your home, garage, or yard for extra firewood, especially if you plan on relying on this as a heat source. While this may sound like a lot, wood burning fireplaces are well worth the trouble!

Spruce Up an Existing Fireplace
If you have an existing fireplace that doesn’t seem to suit your needs or taste anymore, there are many updates that will leave you feeling as if you have a brand new fireplace! A first step would be to consider the color. Could a fresh coat of paint on the mantel, surrounding shelves or embellishing, or fireplace frame do the trick? Beyond paint, you could give your fireplace a complete makeover. This includes adding new tile to the hearth or frame, installing a new mantel, and adding new gates or doors to the front of the fireplace.

Make the Most of Your Mantel
If your fireplace has a substantial mantel, don’t be afraid to dress it up! The fireplace is often the focal point for a living space, so the mantel should be the platform to display your proudest and favorite items. Traditional mantel decorations include family photographs and heirlooms, homemade decorations, and beautiful plants. Nowadays, many people are hanging televisions just above their mantel, which enables you to comfortably view the TV while enjoying the heat of the fire. If you are more of a minimalist and just want to go with one, bold piece for on or above the mantel, consider an over sized mirror. There are so many different designs, and strategically placing a mirror here will really open up the room.

 Whether you need a brand new fireplace or would just like to make some changes, D.J.'s Painting & Remodeling can help! With numerous fireplace remodels under our belt, we consider ourselves experts. Call us today to take the first step towards the fireplace of your dreams!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Guide to Winter Home Maintenance

The winter season can bring on a lot of stress. The weather gets cold, the roads become difficult and dangerous, and your home becomes more vulnerable to damages. Taking the necessary steps before and after cold fronts and big storms hit is vital to maintaining the value and comfort of your home. This can often be overwhelming as there are so many aspects of your house that could be affected by winter, but there are many easy and inexpensive ways to prepare. Follow this list below and you will be able to survive these long winter months without having to worry about the state of your home.

1. Service your furnace. Having your furnace inspected prevents the risk of malfunction before it becomes a problem. In the event that your furnace breaks, you don’t want to be freezing in your home waiting for a technician who is most likely swamped with similar calls. To avoid this problem, call someone now and have them inspect your furnace to make sure it is clean and functioning properly.

2. Replace filters. Even after your furnace has been inspected and serviced, you still need to make sure you are doing your part to keep it running properly. HVAC filters need to be cleaned or replaced monthly, and it is particularly important during the winter. Routine replacement will not only ensure that you and your family stay warm, but also helps keep your energy bill at bay.

3. Clean the gutters. If your gutters are not clear and empty in the winter, it can prevent melting snow from draining properly. If there is debris in your gutter, the melted snow could increase the weight, causing your gutters to become weighed down and eventually break. Make sure you are periodically cleaning your gutter of leaves and sticks.

4. Prevent ice dams. Ice dams are one of the most potentially harmful things that can happen to your house in the winter. When large quantities of ice form on your roof, it can cause extreme water damage to your home, or even a roof collapse. One of the causes of ice dams is too much heat escaping into the attic: the heat warms the ice and snow on the roof causing it to melt, but if and when it freezes again, ice dams may form. This can be prevented by installing extra insulation in your attic.

5. Cover outdoor furniture. If you have a grill or outdoor furniture, it is important that you do not let it sit out all winter. If you do not have a shed or a large garage for storage, make sure the furniture is at least covered during the cold months. The low temperatures as well as snowfall can damage grills of all types, as well as wood, metal and plastic furniture.

6. Prevent pipes from freezing. The last thing you want during winter is to lose your running water supply. Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets can allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing, helping to prevent freezing. When the temperatures reach extreme lows, let cold water trickle from your faucets. In the event that your pipes do freeze, apply heat to the section of the pipe until full water pressure is restored (you can use an electric hairdryer, a hot towel, electric heating pad, or portable space heater).

7. Stock the necessary supplies. Although it is rare, winter poses the threat of being stuck inside your home for extended periods of time. If the temperature gets too low or the snow too high, you may find yourself unable to leave your house. Thus it is very important to make sure that you have all the necessary supplies on hand throughout the entirety of winter. These are the essentials for winter survival:

-Extra food that does not require refrigeration or cooking (canned food, bread, nuts, dried fruit, etc). Don’t forget about pet food if you have pets in your home!
-Water: Store tap water in bottles or pitchers or keep a supply of bottled water. Hydration is very important, so make sure there is plenty of water for everyone in your home.
-Medicine: Make sure to not let your prescription medicines go unfilled, and also stock up on over the counter medicine such as Ibuprofen or cold medicine.
-Heat: Consider purchasing an alternative heat source such as an electric space heater. If you have a fireplace, make sure you have plenty of firewood. If nothing else, stock up on blankets and warm clothes.
-Light: In case the power goes off, make sure you have plenty of candles, lanterns, or flashlights available, as well as extra batteries to power them.

8. Tips for on the road. Being prepared in the car is just as important, if not more important, than preparedness at home. The roads can be extremely dangerous, and pose threats to drivers who are not prepared. If the temperatures are low, snow is falling, or the roads are icy, make sure you have all of the following items handy in your car: salt or cat litter for traction, ice scraper, extra windshield wiper fluid, a flashlight and extra batteries, car phone charger, blankets or extra coats, bottled water, and all insurance or road side assistance information. 

Winters in Illinois can be brutal, but we can all make sure we are at least prepared. Stay warm and safe this winter! Do you have any other winter tips that we missed?