Here Are 13 Relatively Simple Things That Will Make Your Home Extremely Awesome

LINK to Original Story

If you want to make your home more efficient (and look better while you’re at it), you don’t necessarily have to break the bank. Sometimes, the simplest changes can make a world of difference. Take these 30 simple home improvement ideas, for example. You wouldn’t think that moving your outlets or adding an end table could change the flow and cool factor of your house, but it can.

And if you follow these tips, it will!

1. Add outlets to drawers to keep clutter off of the table top.

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2. Make the space your fake drawers take up functional.

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3. Fake drawers are also a great spot for extra outlets.

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4. Save space with collapsible drying racks.

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5. Use stainless steel contact paper to make your appliances look more expensive.

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6. Use recessed outlets so you can put your furniture against the wall.

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7. Install your outlets underneath your cabinets so you don’t ruin your backsplash.

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8. Use slide-out drawers in the home for spices and pantry items.

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9. Add a small cabinet to extra space in the kitchen for cleaning supply storage.

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10. Hide away appliances behind sliding doors.

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11. Use kitchen drawers as cutting boards you can hide.

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12. Use a slide-away step in your bathroom instead of a step stool.

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13. Build drawers in the wasted space between studs in the wall.

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Brad Keselowski drives to an impressive, yet still frustrating, third at ’500

Read More Here

Brad Keselowski climbed from 33rd to third in the Miller Lite Ford on Sunday night, in what was by far his most impressive Daytona 500.

Heading into the Daytona 500, ECR Chevrolet engines stole the show in qualifying while Toyota entered the race with three wins in the three NASCAR Sprint Cup non-points preliminary races that make up Speedweeks.

So Ford had almost been lying in the weeds, but Keselowski’s now-white No. 2 Team Penske entry was an absolute rocket on race day.

“I thought our car was really, really, really 2014 Team Penske Studio Shoot Mooresvillestrong. Best car I ever had here at Daytona,” he said after the race. “I’m proud of it. Got to the lead from the very back twice. Didn’t quite pull it off the third time, but got really close there obviously in the closing laps with some help from a few others.”

Keselowski played himself into position for the final restart after leading four times for 13 laps earlier in the race. As the lanes shifted and movement occurred, he never was able to get that last run to slingshot through to the lead.

Still, had he been able to replay the last two laps, he said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“When the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and 18 (Kyle Busch) broke apart, then the 17 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) split the 18, that was the end of my night. There was nothing I could do,” he said.

“It was just circumstances outside of my control. I could have blocked the 11 and ran second. That’s all that was going to happen if I would have blocked the 11. But I really wasn’t interested in running second. I took a shot at a different move that would have given me an opportunity to win and finished third. That’s just the way it is.”

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It was a great run for the 2012 series champion, who’s seeking a bounce back 2014 after he failed to make the Chase in 2013.

But like Denny Hamlin in second, third here in the biggest race of the year simply wasn’t good enough. And given NASCAR’s new Chase format where winning is everything, Keselowski put to bed the line about having a “good points day.”

“Points days don’t mean anything anymore. That’s the great thing about this format,” he explained. “There is no good points day, as far as I’m concerned. What matters is a win, especially when you come to Daytona.”

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Wurth Becomes The Primary Sponsor of The #2 Car

During his championship 2012 season, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford Fusion team welcomed Wurth as an associate sponsor. Now, as BK seeks his second Sprint Cup in 2014, Wurth is stepping up as a primary sponsor.

From BradRacing.com

2014 Team Penske Studio Shoot Mooresville

Wurth will be the primary sponsor on the No. 2 car during four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, starting with the March 23 Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Wurth will also be an associate sponsor on the No. 2 Team Penske Ford for the balance of the 2014 season.

“We’re pleased to welcome Wurth as a primary sponsor on the No. 2 Ford team,” said Keselowski. “The Wurth Group has done a terrific job of activating their partnership with Team Penske and we’ll work together to take the relationship to a new level this season. We’re all excited to race the red and white Wurth Ford Fusion in 2014.”

The Wurth Group first partnered with Team Penske in 2012 and the leading automotive, industrial and woodworking supply company has served as a primary sponsor for the team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and an associate partner on the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion over the last two seasons.

“We are very excited about continuing our relationship with Team Penske and Brad Keselowski,” said Robert Stolz, Wurth North America Chief Executive. “Since our relationship started two years ago, many of our customers and associates have enjoyed the partnership and we look forward to taking this to the next level with the Wurth Car now in the Cup Series. We consider Brad to be a part of our Wurth family of businesses, and we cherish being associated with Roger Penske and his extraordinary organization. This promises to be another fantastic year for Wurth Racing.”

While this season marks just its third season as a partner in North American motorsports, Wurth has been actively involved in European racing for over 30 years supporting teams in various disciplines including Formula One and the DTM Series.

“Wurth is a global leader in the automotive and industrial supply business and we are excited to have them join the No. 2 Ford team as a primary sponsor this season,” said Roger Penske. “Wurth has brought value to our company and to our partners as well. This demonstrates the commitment of Team Penske to building lasting business relationships and we will work together with the Wurth team to continue to grow this partnership.”

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Glass Cabinets, Open Shelving Big 2014 Kitchen Trend

glasscabsLink: Original Post from Forbes

For years, cabinets have been a place to tuck away dishes and hide boxes of cereal out of view behind solid doors. But according to the Zillow Digs Home Design Trend Report for 2014, hiding the goods will be a bit more difficult since the latest kitchen trend is glass-front cabinets or open shelving – easily exposing cupboard contents.

If you want to go this route,  Kerrie Kelly, the principal designer and owner of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento and a member of Zillow Z +1.43% Digs’ Board of Designers, shares her tips on getting in on this look.

Match your kitchen style

While glass-front cabinets or open shelves may sound like design purely for modern spaces, Kelly believes the look works well in any kitchen style.

“Just be sure to focus on using only one or two materials,” she said. Also, with whatever material you choose, you can be creative in your installation. Painted cabinets with glass fronts and statement knobs would work well in more traditional or country-style kitchen, while sleek, flat-front cabinets will shine in a contemporary space.

Curate displayed items

Just as you pick cabinets or shelving to match your kitchen, select accessories and kitchenware that will go with the overall aesthetic as well.

The open shelving or glass front cabinets are a place to showcase items and, as such, takes time to curate statement pieces or accessories, advised Kelly.

“Let your kitchenware collection grow with you and your space,” she said.

Looking for ideas to fill the space? Try spices, olive oil, cookbooks and glass jars filled with oatmeal or dried fruits as a starting point.

Try DIY

Updating your cabinets to match these trends could be an easy do-it-yourself- weekend project and “provides great versatility,” said Kelly. Remove the doors on one of your cabinets, and paint or wallpaper the back of the cabinet to create an updated look in the kitchen.

Add the look elsewhere

While open shelving and glass-front cabinets are great for the kitchen, they’re also appropriate throughout the entire home.

“Get creative with shelving units,” Kelly says. Try incorporating “vintage pieces with sleek colors for a chic storage solution in any living space.”

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The Move to Modern Cabinets

Americans Are Turning Away From Traditional Oak Materials to Exotic Alternatives

 

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By SANETTE TANAKA

Cabinets are becoming more cutting edge.

According to online surveys by MasterBrand Cabinets, the largest cabinet manufacturer in North America, traditional materials are losing favor to more exotic—and generally more expensive—alternatives. Although oak and maple still make up the largest dollar share of cabinet purchases, both have lost steam: Oak material now makes up 28% of total dollars spent—a decline of 20% over the past five years, according to the survey. In contrast, woods like alder, pecan, pine and walnut grew 44% in total dollars spent over that same period.

Cabinets—most of which are purchased for a kitchen—remain in homes for 20 to 25 years on average before being replaced. “The kitchen is so much the heart of the home,” says Jane Henderson Kenyon, broker associate with Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty in Princeton, N.J. “Whatever people put in there runs through the rest of the house.” As such, the shift to bolder cabinet materials indicates a broader move toward more modern designs, says Beth Dibert, senior manager for market research for MasterBrand.

Together with third-party researchers KeyStat Marketing and Burke, MasterBrand surveyed 2,343 individuals in 2007 to 2008 and 5,641 individuals in 2011 to 2012 on how much they spent on cabinet materials and finishes.

Consumers are experimenting with bolder woods and colors. Medium-colored finishes still make up the largest share of cabinet finishes, but painted and dark-colored finishes both gained more than 40% in dollar share in the past five years.

Fancier woods usually mean fancier price tags. For instance, the Artesia cabinet style made by MasterBrand subsidiary Dynasty by Omega can be 20% more expensive if it uses pecan or walnut, and 10% less expensive if it uses oak or cherry.

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Repairing Heat-Damaged Countertops

A guide, organized by countertop type.

Originally Posted Here

It is rarely a good idea to put hot pans directly on a countertop. Even though a manufacturer may claim a countertop is totally heatproof, this is often untrue. Extreme heat may cause everything from minor, easily repaired surface burns to virtually irreparable cracks or melting. Here is a quick guide to dealing with heat damage for various countertop materials.

DIY Resource: http://www.networx.com/article/repairing-heat-damaged-counter-tops

laminate_wilsonart_hdPlastic Laminates: To remove a minor, light-colored burn from laminate countertops, coat the spot with a baking soda paste for about 30 minutes and wipe it off.  Laminate surfaces with deeper burns typically need to be replaced, but it may be possible to replace the surface of just one section.

 

 

 

wood-counters-nj-ny-de-ct-paWood: Sand away burn marks on butcherblocks or other wood countertops with 120-grit sandpaper, then go over the area again with finer 180-grit sandpaper. Add a wood filler if needed. Then rub in a solution of four parts mineral oil and one part melted paraffin wax to protect the wood. For varnished or painted wood surfaces, it will need to be stripped with a food-safe chemical stripper. After sanding away the burn, replace the varnish or paint.

 

 

 

corian_solid_surface_countertop_kitchen_10_0Solid Surface: Heat can fairly easily damage Corian and other solid-surface countertops. However, the damage can also be reversed fairly easily by sanding around the burned spot. Then cover the tracks of your sanding with Bon Ami or other abrasive cleaner. Serious burns may require an electric sander. In either case, wet the surface to minimize dust. Severe heat can crack the countertop, which will probably require professional repair. DIY Resource: http://www.hometalk.com

 

 

Stone-Style-Countertops-in-The-Kitchen-915x610Stone: Many natural or engineered stone countertops are virtually heatproof. However, some stone surfaces are liable to crack if exposed to extreme temperatures. Again, these are best repaired by a professional, but some stone epoxies are available for repairing small cracks.

 

 

 

 

concrete-countertop-6Concrete: Extreme heat can also crack or burn concrete countertops, though penetrating sealers can help prevent such damage. Use a tinted two-part stone-grade epoxy to repair hairline cracks in concrete. Consult a professional for larger damage.

 

 

 

 

 

tileTile: Most ceramic and natural stone tiles are virtually heatproof. However, if an individual tile gets cracked or burned, it can be replaced fairly easily. Here’s basic instructions for tile repair: Use a grout saw to remove the grout all the way around the tile. Tap the tile with a chisel until it breaks apart. Then use the chisel to remove all the tile pieces, as well as any remaining grout or adhesive. Put adhesive on the back of the replacement tile and press firmly and evenly into place. Grout around the tile and wipe away excess grout before it dries, then seal the new grout.

 

ThinkGlass 1Meta & Glass: Glass and stainless steel or other countertop metals are virtually heatproof.

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7 Awesome Add-Ons For Kitchen Cabinets

Jennifer Ott, Houzz Contributor and Interior Designer

I remember when having a microwave or an electric can opener mounted under your wall cabinets was considered state of the art. Now you can attach your smart phone and tablet, and even hide the necessary outlets out of sight. Curious what today’s cabinet additions can do for you? Check out a few of the latest and most useful offerings in cabinet-mounted gadgets and accessories to see what will work in your kitchen.

flextapeLighting.

Even if you’re a minimalist who prefers to keep the area under your wall cabinets clear, consider installing some lighting. Undercabinet lights provides crucial illumination for food prep and, if dimmable, work well as a nightlight once the kitchen is closed for the evening. My current preference for undercabinet lighting is low-profile LED (light-emitting diode) strip lights. LED lighting technology is continually advancing, so check with your local lighting retailer or electrical contractor to see what is the best option for your kitchen. Prices vary depending on size and quality, but you can currently get 12-inch strips starting around $20.
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Power.

You’ve spent time and money selecting and installing the perfect backsplash tile, so don’t mar the beautiful surface with outlets. An under cabinet outlet strip gives you a plethora of  plugs — and always one right where you need it — without a line of receptacles all across your lovely backsplash. If, however, you tend to keep your countertop appliances plugged in, you may not enjoy seeing the cords dangle down from underneath your cabinets.

 

 

 

kitchen-lighting-and-cabinet-lighting12 Tablet mount.

Watch a cooking video, refer to a recipe, check your email or call your mom on Skype, all  while keeping your device up and away from any countertop messes with an undercabinet  tablet mount.  If you have multiple devices that you want accessible in the kitchen, check out this modular under cabinet lighting system. You can get docks for all of your devices, along with the receptacles to power them

 

 

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Knife block.

I realize under cabinet knife blocks aren’t exactly new technology, but this model from Rev-a-shelf is notable for its slim profile.

 

 

 

 

food-containers-and-storage12Jar opener.

For those who struggle with opening bottles and jars, here’s a clever gadget that’s easy to mount under your wall cabinet. This would make an excellent gift for someone who suffers from arthritis, or anyone else who could use some assistance with tough-to-open lids.

 

 

 

 

WWG466Stemware rack.

If you are tight on kitchen storage space, you’ll want to make use of every nook and cranny you can. Here’s a great option for storing your stemware under a wall cabinet. I’ve mounted a similar rack inside a cabinet, and I really like its functionality — you can store a good number of glasses in a small amount of space without the risk of having them tip over onto one another like dominoes. I should note that this may not be the best storage option if you don’t use the glasses very often, or if you don’t have adequate ventilation in your kitchen, as the stemware is likely to attract grease and dust.

 

SonomaSeriesWineRackBottle holder.

Display your wine bottles next to your stemware, all underneath your wall cabinets. Just be sure to mount this away from your range or cooktop, so the bottles don’t feel the heat

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Top trends in kitchen cabinetry

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 4:00 pm |Updated: 12:33 am, Wed Nov 13, 2013.

(BPT) – “A kitchen provides physical and spiritual nourishment, and for many homes is now the heart and soul of family life.” That’s how Terence Conran opened his classic Kitchen Book 20 years ago, and it’s probably even truer today. The kitchen’s central importance in most households means that Americans are paying more attention than ever to the design and decoration of this vital space – a search for functionality, comfort and beauty that’s reflected in current trends in hardwood kitchen cabinetry.

“We’re seeing increasing demand for rift-sawn white oak cabinets,” says Brian Yahn, sales manager of Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry in Schaefferstown, Penn. The reasons for rift-sawing oak are not just practical (it produces very stable boards that are especially resistant to warping and shrinking, an important consideration in moist kitchen environments) but also aesthetic. It results in a distinctive grain – tight, straight and even – that takes neutral or light stains exceptionally well.

Top trends in kitchen cabinetry“This is not your grandmother’s oak,” Yahn continues. “Today it’s creating kitchens that are sleek and modern but also warm and inviting.” Treated this way, the venerable hardwood gives contemporary homeowners the best of both worlds – cabinetry that’s clean-lined, efficient and durable yet still exudes a natural, organic quality.

Many customers are also requesting white oak cabinets that have been either cerused (limed) or wire-brushed, two textured finishes that produce an understated rustic. In fact “understatement”- or the impulse to keep things light and simple – is another watchword with today’s kitchens. Not as austere as the minimalist look that was trending a few years ago, light-and-simple refers to the design as well as the finish or color of the hardwood cabinetry: shaker-style recessed-panel doors in blond beech or white-painted maple are the classic example of this turn toward a bright, uncluttered kitchen environment.

The trend toward simplicity and understatement can be seen in more elaborately embellished kitchen cabinetry too. While add-ons such as carved feet, undercounter corbels, and crown moldings, or decorative flourishes like turned legs, raised panels, and fancy cutouts are still in demand, they are noticeably more constrained and smaller-scaled than they would have been a decade ago.“Homeowners don’t want decorative detailing that’s over the top,” Yahn notes. Carving is quieter and less ostentatious; lines are simpler and less convoluted.

Another way Americans are making the kitchen an even more central part of their homes is by installing cabinetry that looks like fine furniture. This style can range from totally freestanding pieces to kitchen islands that resemble tables to fitted cabinets that use furniture-emulating details. A current favorite is the stand-alone armoire, with drawers for storing silverware, table linens and serving pieces, and an upper portion

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ideal for housing a flat-screen television. Made of painted maple, it will exude an easy country vibe; fashioned in stained cherry or black walnut, it will become a handsome heirloom-quality piece.  A bulky kitchen island can be transformed into an open, airy worktable by removing the base and replacing it with elegantly turned legs. And furniture-style drawer pulls and door handles on wall and base cabinets bring the atmosphere of the living room into the kitchen.

The pleasing visual diversity normally found in a living room can be introduced into the kitchen by using different finishes on different pieces
of cabinetry. Many homeowners are using this strategy when faced with the classic kitchen layout in which a central island is surrounded by walls of cabinetry: “We’re often asked for a dark-stained cherry or black walnut island and a perimeter of white-painted maple cabinets,” Yahn says. And of course it’s always possible to highlight an individual piece or a particular section of cabinetry by using a distinctive stain or paint color.

No matter what style of kitchen you favor, from the warmly traditional to the sleekly modern, American hardwoods in all their diversity will allow you to realize that vision perfectly. For more ideas on their use in kitchen cabinetry, visit www.HardwoodInfo.com.

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Dillon, Hornish toe-to-toe at Texas

By Brant James | ESPN.com

The Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish Jr. slugfest continues with just two races remaining in the Nationwide Series season. Something will have to give soon. It’s hard to determine what it will be.

Now races at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will decide the series title between two drivers going in seemingly diametrically different directions: Dillon towNovemberRaceScheduleard a first full-time Sprint Cup launch with Richard Childress Racing, and Hornish into an offseason of uncertainty after what looks increasingly like his last campaign in a long, multi-regimen career with Penske Racing.

Hornish entered Saturday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway second in driver points, eight back of Dillon, and was able to eventually gain ground by recovering from being a lap down early after a pit-road penalty with the help of a wave-around call to finish third on the 1.5-mile track. Dillon finished a more uneventful fifth but lost two points on his lead.

For Hornish, two points seemed like a large points grab considering the fact he fell briefly to 17th in the running order after his mishap on Saturday.

“It is a real good run to come back from being a lap down,” said Hornish, who has more wins (1 to 0), top-5s (15 to 12) and top-10s (23 to 21) than Dillon this season. “It was a good strategy call to get us the wave-around, and we had to start at the back, and then when we came down pit road, the yellow came out and we had to go to the back of the lead-lap cars.

“I am really proud of all the guys at Penske Racing and the work that they do, not only on the race cars, but on the setups and things like that. I tried to stay calm and work my way back up there. We overtightened the car up when we got back to the very end and it just didn’t happen. I didn’t have anything for Brad [Keselowski, race winner] or Denny [Hamlin] at the end. We had an opportunity to make it three wide for the lead there, but I thought better of it.”

With two races remaining, Hornish seemed more relieved that he didn’t lose points heading into the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix. Now he enters a 1-mile venue linked to several career milestones, where he made his debut in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series and won his first career IndyCar race.

“We did what we could do. We took care of ourselves. We had a decent run,” he said. “We came back when it didn’t look like we would gain points for quite a bit of the race. I was thinking that we would gain three today. But then I didn’t realize that he led a lap. I thought that we were going to chunk three off at a time.

“I am really looking forward torpm_g_hornish_kh_600 going to Phoenix. I love that track and have a lot of good memories there. We will see what happens. We didn’t lose any [ground], and that is the key thing. If we can take one or two off the following weekend, that puts the pressure on him. He doesn’t just have to finish within a couple spots of us then — he will have to beat us.”

Dillon, the 2011 Truck series champion, has finished no worse than sixth in his past three starts at Phoenix and started third and finished fifth in his only Nationwide start at Homestead.

In a sport driven by personality and controversy, the Dillon-Hornish tilt figures to be settled with on-track performance and little off-track histrionics. The pair might not be best friends, but they have become collegial combatants.

“You have to be civil when you’re racing these guys for 33 weekends,” Dillon said. “You just want to race hard and race the way you want to be raced. He’s done that. It’s going to be a challenge right down to the end.”

The very end, it seems.

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