The kitchen really is the heart of the home and beating away at the center of it all is the kitchen island. Whether it is for working, eating, or entertaining, a kitchen island can be the hub of activity in your home. Despite it being a more efficient use of space in comparison to a kitchen peninsula, we do not always make the most of a kitchen island, especially in large family homes.
Even if you already have a kitchen island or if you are planning to install one, integrating family-friendly features into it is easily done. For example, you could add some storage space or seating for your pets. Here are five kitchen island ideas that will not break the bank and will add family-friendly functionality to the center of your home.Raise the Bar with this Kitchen Island Design
No matter how much desk or table space there is throughout the house, the entire family always seems to congregate in the kitchen. By separating the kitchen “workspace” with a raised bar, you can create a designated area for homework, after school snacks, and crafts – without the risk of interfering with food prep.
By adding a kitchen counter-height bar using unique materials, the space is divided and elevated making it ideal for some bar stools. Kids can have a place to hang out and do homework while dinner is being prepped. Casual weekday meals become more fun at the kitchen island, and the use of creative materials like stone or marble, add a bit of decorative interest to your kitchen.
Pricing for this addition to your kitchen island ideas will range greatly depending on materials used and the labor costs – hiring a handyman averages $100-$300 per hour.Built-in Mini Fridge Adds Function
One thing every family fridge usually has is lots of different beverages. In fact, it is easy to quickly run out of space for your food when all of the drawers and door shelves are filled with everything from milk cartons and juice to 24-packs of water. One of my favorite kitchen island ideas for this challenge is the addition of a beverage cooler!
A mini version of your refrigerator meant just for storing beverages in a convenient location, not to mention saving energy by not opening the larger family refrigerator quite as much! Adding a beverage fridge to your kitchen island lets you clear room out of your main refrigerator, which is especially helpful for large families. Nothing becomes buried at the back, and you can quickly see when you are running low. You can also keep it at a special temperature, just for beverages so that they are always cool and refreshing.
A beverage cooler averages $350-$900, and there may be delivery and disposal fees. Remember to factor in the additional costs for installation as well.Create a Kitchen Library
The typical kitchen is often the most popular room in the house. Tables and countertops become stacked with books, notepads, pens, pencils, textbooks, and mail. It can look messy and overwhelming, making it hard to want to actually cook in the kitchen. These kitchen island ideas can help restore order!
Adding a set of open shelves on one or two sides of the kitchen island makes the perfect space to store books for a mini–kitchen library. The low height makes it accessible for kids to choose their favorite book to read or keep cookbooks or coffee table books off the countertops. You can also add small baskets or lidded boxes to keep crayons, pens, pencils, and small toys to avoid using valuable kitchen drawer and cabinet space.
The cost of adding a storage element to your island will depend on the features you select. If you choose to add open shelving, it will require labor costs for a designer and a carpenter, which ranges from $300-$800 depending on design.Keep Pets & People Happy with this Built-in Kitchen Island Pet Bed
There is nothing a pet loves more than being right under your feet while you are rushing around the kitchen. Add a built-in pet bed under the counter to create a space for your family pet to stick close to you, without being underfoot. Add a custom cushion that can be changed easily with a removable cover for washing.
The costs for a pet station vary greatly. However, you can calculate a basic cost based on the materials you choose and whether or not you make it a distinct feature or create it out of the pre-existing design/floor plan of the island. A good rule of thumb is that a pet station is typically 30% of the cost of the overall kitchen island.Create Your Own Kitchen Island Banquette
Extra seating in the kitchen is always useful, and this clever solution is a great way to optimize your space. Instead of wasting the back or side of the kitchen island, that same space can be used to create a built-in banquette. A simple L-shaped bench combined with a kitchen table and chairs isa great option for family seating in the kitchen without needing a separate eating area or losing valuable prep space.
The same amount of square footage that might seat three or four at a bar-height counter can be turned into a banquette and seat seven to eight comfortably. Having the island counter space makes it easy for guests to serve themselves while keeping the food off the table. It is also a great alternative to bar-height seating for small children.
To determine how much a banquette might cost, consider the individual variables. Seating, as an example, will mean deciding on custom-built or prefab benches. Also, consider upholstery and additional seating as well as a center table that can be purchased or custom-made. Options range from $800 to over $5,000 for a customized design.Ready for Family Time
The kitchen island can serve many different purposes, and these five updates make it an even better place for the entire family to gather. Whether it is adding extra seating, space for homework, a spot for the family pet to rest, or a convenient kitchen library, these kitchen island ideas will have the family gathering in no time.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
LESLIE: Ashwani in Illinois is on the line with a tree crowding question. What’s going on?
ASHWANI: I have seven or eight trees in my backyard, which are pretty tall, like 30 to 40 feet. And they’re close to my house. I have been seeing that their roots have started showing up on the ground. I don’t know if it was because of the drought or what, you know, in different kinds of trees: crab, white ash, crabapple. I’m just wondering, is there something I can do to fix it or I have to get – start getting rid of them? Because if they get weak and they fall, then they might fall on my house.
TOM: Well, first of all, this is Mother Nature’s way of growing these trees and the tree roots. And no, there’s nothing you can do about tree crowding. If the trees are healthy then, of course, the risk of them falling on your home is certainly reduced. Anything could happen in a storm but I tell you, I’d rather have tree crowding around my house and take a chance on one falling down in a storm than not, because they’re just so beautiful and they have so many energy-efficient benefits by keeping the sun away. Now, if they’re very crowded, you may consider thinning them out. Sometimes, you have to take out one tree to make room for another. It’s a project I did myself about three weeks ago. I had planted some trees when we first moved to our house over 20 years ago. And it turned out that one of them, I felt, was really sort of taking the sun away too much from another and causing it to stunt. And then it became damaged by woodpeckers, so I just decided to take it out. And now, that tree that’s next to it is doing much better. So, sometimes, you’ve got to thin things out in order to give the remaining trees – maybe the ones that are in the best shape or the ones you like to look at the most – a better chance of surviving and thriving. So, I think this is really just sort of a management issue. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what you’ve described. It doesn’t give me any pause that you’re going to have a lot of risk of damage to your house. Like I said, as long as they’re healthy and as long as you are keeping an eye on them and making sure they stay that way and as long as they’re not growing too terribly close to the house – I mean roots that are within 2 or 3 feet of the house can cause foundation issues. But if we’re talking about tree crowding that is just in your backyard, I think that you’ll be OK just the way it is.
TOM: And if they’re that close to the house and if they’re really tall and really heavy, then you may want to think about thinning them out, OK?
ASHWANI: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
Attract hummingbirds to backyards is a favorite past time among those who enjoy observing these unique creatures in their habitat. Not only are hummingbirds enjoyable to watch, but they are also beneficial to your yard and garden as they help keep the insect population down and serve as a vector to pollinate flowers. One of the best ways to attract hummingbirds is to feed them. But while you can buy hummingbird food in the store, you can also easily make it at home. Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts of making your own homemade hummingbird food.Easy and Quick Recipe for Homemade Hummingbird Food
Before you understand the do’s and don’ts of making hummingbird food, you first need a recipe! The recipe for making hummingbird food is really quite simple.
You will need:1 cup of sugar 4 cups of water
Mix the two ingredients together, bring to a boil, and then let cool. That’s it!
Of course, you can cut the recipe in half, or double it depending on how much you want to make. The important thing to remember is that it is always 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
Birds digestive systems are different from humans, so there are some tips to keep in mind when making homemade hummingbird food.DO Pay Attention to Shelf Life
As with most foods, hummingbird food has a shelf life. Homemade hummingbird food in the refrigerator can be kept for up to two weeks. If you do not use it all by this time, it is advisable to discard the remaining solution. Nectar in the feeder should be discarded after 2-4 days, depending on how warm the weather is.
DO Keep Hummingbird Feeders Clean and Full
The feeder should then be cleaned and refilled with a fresh batch of food. If there is any doubt as to whether the solution has spoiled, err on the side of caution and discard. Just as eating spoiled food will make you feel sick, the same is true for hummingbirds.DON’T Use Dyes
It is tempting to use dyes in your hummingbird food to give the solution a nice red appearance. This is highly discouraged. Studies have shown that red dye #40 have carcinogenic effects in rats and mice, as well as decreased fertility.
While studies have not specifically been done on hummingbirds, and there is debate as to whether or not some types of coloring are safe, it is better to be safe than sorry and avoid the use of red dyes. A much safer alternative is to purchase a feeder with a red tint to the housing.
DO Boil Homemade Hummingbird Food
While it’s not absolutely necessary to boil hummingbird food, it is highly recommended for a number of reasons.
If you plan on making it in large quantities (and why not, saves time!), it will keep longer. Compared to their size, hummingbirds consume a lot of food and its just easier to have the necessary ingredients on hand and make large batches as opposed to going to the store.
Plus, if the quality of your tap water is mediocre boiling the water is an easy step to take to make sure your solution is of the highest quality.
DON’T Use Artificial Sweeteners or Honey
While humans can digest both sugar and artificial sweeteners, the same cannot be said for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds aren’t counting calories and their digestive system just isn’t set up for our diet-friendly artificial sweeteners, or even honey. It’s best to stick to pure sugar when making homemade hummingbird food.
Hummingbirds are a very fun addition to your backyard. They are beautiful to watch, relatively easy to attract and greatly beneficial to our ecosystem. Compared to their size, hummingbirds consume a lot of food. For many, it is easier to have the necessary ingredients on hand and make large batches as opposed to going to the store. Following these four simple do’s and don’ts will ensure you care for your backyard buddies by making available to them the highest quality food.
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From Source Article: moneypit.com