Top 7 Timeless Classic Materials For Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertopsThe role of the kitchen in our homes has transformed significantly over the years, transcending from the simple space where you prepared food to the focal point of a home. In fact, if we were the examine the recent surveys, we would discover that the kitchen is the section of the house where, in addition to cooking, people indulge in other activities as well, such as entertainment, socializing and even working.

Considering the new responsibilities of the kitchen, as a homeowner you should do your best to ensure the room is well prepared for assuming its latest roles. And, what better way to rehash the décor of the kitchen than by changing your counter tops. Even though this modification is rather expensive and you need to establish a decent budget for it, the results are totally worth going through with the idea.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualcourtney/3922953434/&#8221; title=”Shiny new concrete counter top! by virtualcourtney, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3427/3922953434_439a243f7f.jpg&#8221; width=”500″ height=”333″ alt=”Shiny new concrete counter top!”></a>

It is important to note that the following materials are not just hot now, but they will also guarantee a fresh and modern look of the kitchen for at least the next 10 years. Moreover, they are highly versatile and can be molded into any style and design you have in mind. In addition, they adhere to the sustainability principles, a standard that has become the trademark of modern home design and furniture. Let’s review the materials that constitute an excellent choice for any contemporary kitchen.

  • Concrete

Nothing says style, strength or timeless better than a concrete kitchen countertop. In spite of the fact that making concrete into an ideal kitchen material might require several sealing coatings, the end result is absolutely amazing considering that this element has a tendency of improving with age, similar to wood. In addition, because concrete is affordable, it also constitutes a wise choice for families with a tight budget.

  • Reclaimed wood

Reclaimed wood has received a lot of attention lately, not only due to the sustainable nature of this material, but also because older wood is actually more resilient and sturdier than most of the alternatives. While you might feel tempted to think that all the hype around the reclaimed wood comes from the green attitude everyone has adopted lately, this idea is only half true. In addition to doing your part for the environment, reclaimed wood also confers a casual elegance no other material can match.

  • Stainless steel

Those of you who aim to create an ultra modern style in the kitchen that matches the contemporary look of your home, should consider stainless steel kitchen countertops. Unlike concrete and wood, stainless steel countertops are much more resistant to water, microorganisms and heat, making it the best material for homeowners who enjoy cooking and testing their chef skills. However, because the surface of the material makes finger marks very noticeable, you will need to perform a bit of maintenance in order to get that seamless, perfect look.

  • Recycled glass

Recycled glass is a further noteworthy option available to you in case you decide to become more socially responsible. Easy to care for, maintain and clean as well as available in wide array of styles, patterns and colors, the recycled glass makes a great choice for budget conscious homemakers as it is cheaper than stone materials. While it is true that in order to keep its appeal and functionality you will need to reseal it every few years, it is also necessary to mention that recycled glass has a lifespan of over fifty years.

  • Soapstone

Available in a beautiful grey shade with a matte look, the soapstone is the new kid on the block in the kitchen countertop industry. Even though natural soapstone integrates a high amount of talc which makes it a rather soft stone, the version of the material used for countertops is combined with quartz and that makes it considerably sturdier. Despite the fact that it comes in one shade of grey, it is necessary to mention that soapstone ages quite well and gains an appealing darker color over time.

  • Pewter

If you’re aiming for a kitchen décor that combines modern and vintage together, then pewter is an excellent material for that. With a gentler look that stainless steel and not as brash as chrome, pewter is the ideal material to make the transition from antique kitchen furniture to ultra modern equipment, as it binds them together harmoniously.

  • Quartz

Vastly available, highly resilient and available in a plethora of colors, quartz constitutes the best material for homeowners who always dreamed of a mineral countertop, but didn’t like granite. Unlike the other stone materials on the list, quartz does not require sealing, cleaning it is much easier and it comes with that unique look granite can’t offer.

Chad enjoys writing about the plethora of home décor ideas you can put into practice with the furbishing found at furniture stores, whether online or offline. If you are looking for new furniture, he advises that you should visit www.avetexfurniture.com for a great platter of offerings at affordable prices.

Happy Thanksgiving from Smallman Construction and Electric

What to Write in a Thanksgiving Card

Thanksgiving message ideas for your card, text message, Facebook Status Update, etc. can be adapted from the Thanksgiving card message examples on this page.

Wondering what to write in a Thanksgiving card? Thanksgiving cards are great for when you can’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner. Figuring out a special and uniqueThanksgiving card message for relatives, friends, or other loved ones can be a challenge. Be thankful for the internet to help you know what to write in your Thanksgiving card.

Use these Thanksgiving card message idea samples to help you with writing your card message. Combine them or change them as you need to make them fit you and those you are sending the card.

Thanksgiving Card Messages

1. “We have much to be thankful for in this family. Our family has been blessed. Happy Thanksgiving.”

2. “I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.”

3. “I wish I could be with you this Thanksgiving.”

4. “I hope you are blessed with many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.”

5. “Happy Turkey Day.”

6. “I am thankful for good friends like you this Thanksgiving.”

7. “May you have an abundance of things to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving.”

8. “I am thankful for the excuse to see familiy like you at this time of the year.”

9. “I am very thankful for you and our relationship that God has blessed us with. We have so much and I look forward to the many more blessings God has in store for us.” -Inspirational Thanksgiving message for significant other

Thanksgiving Message for a Turkey

What do you think this guy is thankful for on Thanksgiving?  Just to be alive, if he makes it that long.

What do you think this guy is thankful for on Thanksgiving? Just to be alive, if he makes it that long.

Funny Thanksgivng Card Messages

1. “The two best parts of Thanksgiving come after the Thanksgivng dinner… The nap and the leftovers.”

2. “I’m thankful that Thanksgiving comes only once a year. Too much of a good thing can be bad, like pumpkin pie or family.”

3. “Thank goodness it’s thanksgiving.”

4. “Remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving this year

5. “Two parts to Thanksgiving. The thanks part and the giving part. It’s a cyclical mystery.”

6. “I’m thankful for not having to sit at the ‘kid’ table at Thanksgiving this year.”

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes

Winter Growing Abilities: Winter Gardening

A winter garden provides many benefits and is a great addition to every home. Many believe that gardening must cease once the first frost hits, but that simply is not true. There are several ways that gardeners can enjoy the wonders of gardening year round including the use of solar greenhouses, growing plants indoors with containers, and planting crops that do well in outside, cool temperatures. Gardeners may take additional steps to protect outdoor plants and crops from frost. Due to the variety of ways in which winter gardening may be accomplished, everyone can continue growing plants, vegetables, herbs, and fruit during the winter months. A variety of plants may be grown during winter and gardeners that take advantage of these opportunities enjoy many benefits.

Benefits of Having a Winter Garden

There are several benefits to having a winter garden and these are health and emotional related as well as economical. Winter gardening is cost effective as those who grow their own herbs and vegetables can save on grocery store prices. During the winter months, most stores and fruit stands tend to increase the prices on herbs, fruits, and vegetables. You can stave off these prices by growing your own produce.

Another benefit to winter gardening is the added exercise. As most people tend to stay indoors longer in winter than they do during summer seasons, winter gardening is a good excuse to get outside and be active. Additional benefits have to do with the produce. Those who harvest healthy fruits and vegetables during the winter months are often eating more greens than those purchasing them at stores. The access to nutrient rich vegetables during the winter months can help ward off sickness, improve the immune system, and keep the body running at optimum level.

Winter gardening also provides emotional benefits. Winter gardening can add beauty and fragrance to the season. For many, the beauty of spring and summer consists of the abundance of flowers in bloom. When neighborhoods are blanketed by white snow and days are darkened, there is an increase for depression in some people. Adding flowers to the environment is pleasing to the senses and can help lift a dreary mood. Those with flowers in bloom in their winter gardens may choose to cut flowers and bring them inside or give them to others as gifts in what is truly an appreciated gesture. There is no questioning that the benefits of winter gardening are vast.

US Construction plots a new course

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In the midst of one of America’s toughest debates on economic recovery, Construction Digital explores the state of the US construction industry, and asks who or what will lead the recovery during Barack Obama’s second term.

It is a landmark year for US construction.  There are choices to be made and paths to be taken.  71 percent of Construction bosses polled earlier this year gave their support to Republican Mitt Romney, whose plan to axe regulatory ‘red tape’ and curb union favouritism has gained him a great deal of popularity.

On the other hand, Obama’s once lampooned Construction stimulus package is starting to trickle its way across the industry, promoting the green shoots of growth that the trade so badly needs.

President Obama in his second term will surely have a large say in which path to recovery the construction industry will eventually tread, however America is the birthplace of industry innovation, and construction has always been one of the nation’s most independent sectors – rest assured it has a few ideas of its own.

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An industry in limbo

The recent economic downturn in the United States has delivered a hard hit to the construction industry. With the economy down, construction projects have been delayed and sometimes scrapped, making it hard for companies to maintain a steady line of work.  It is an all too familiar story for many bosses.

Although renovations comprise a larger-than-normal chunk of today’s construction business, there are still new projects going up every day. Part of the credit for this goes to a government stimulus package that set aside $27 billion of funding for the construction of roadways, schools, educational facilities and hospitals.

The forecast for 2012 is slightly better than previous years, too – commercial building is up by 8 percent, and multi family units up by 17 percent, however the levels are still not what those in the industry would consider overwhelmingly positive.

What is abundantly clear from talking to those in the industry is that a change in tact is required to set Construction on a distinct course.

Michael J. Musto is an example of the change being made.  The President and Founder of U.S. Pavement Serviceshas pioneered a ‘Made in America’ innovation aimed at using all US products.  He says, innovating in this way has helped his company become one of the success stories of the US industry of late:

“The construction recovery is all about job creation, and that’s why we launched ‘Made In America.’ We are confident that our campaign will help put more Americans to work and keep our country competitive,” Musto told Construction Digital.

“I would love to see some type of tax benefit for all businesses who make the pledge to buy American.  It would be great if the government did more to promote buying American made.”

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The Construction battleground:

Although not traditionally considered a standard battleground for the US Presidential election, Construction encompasses many of the concerns and desires of this election.  Industry regulation, tax benefits, stimulus packages and the ‘right to work’ are just some of the issues held dear to Construction workers and bosses alike.

In his February speech to the Associated Builders and Contractors National Board of Directors, Romney made his platform for Construction clear: “If I become president of the United States, I will curb the practice we have in this country of giving union bosses an unfair advantage in contracting.”

Barack Obama has hit back in his own way, defending the whopping $750,000,000,000 government stimulus package – much of which has gone to help innovative construction projects and designs.  So, four years on, how is it working?

90 Billion shades of Green:

Obama’s stimulus package, $90 billion of which went towards funding green energy and the green construction movement, has been a resounding success, according to McGraw Hill’s 2012 survey.  So much so that the report credits the green revolution as being ‘the silver lining in the downturn.’

Green building jobs represented 33 percent of the market in 2011, but will rise to 44.6 percent by 2014 – a near 10 percent rise.  Perhaps most astonishingly, the green share of the construction market in 2005 was just two percent, rising to 48 percent in 2015 – nearly half of all work by 2015 will be energy, resource or water efficient.

With green technology and an eco-conscious construction philosophy increasingly shaping how construction projects are executed, many project managers are finding that earning a construction management degree is a logical step in preparing for this evolving field of work. Despite its current trendiness, green construction is only expected to become more popular as consumers realize the economic benefits of going green – such as the tax and energy incentives levied in European countries for having residential solar panels.

Solar energy is one of the main beneficiaries of the Obama construction stimulus.  Take the example of Heeler Bend, Arizona, where the biggest Solar Power plant in the world is well underway.  The project, which will create 1,500 jobs and bring in an estimated $1 billion for the local economy, has an air of the Hoover Damn about it, in terms of economic  recovery through construction muscle.

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On the other hand, Mitt Romney has been critical of grants and tax incentives for solar and wind technology, claiming it is a slight on competitiveness.  Where his removal of government regulation in some areas would certainly increase job creation in the industry, the approach may stifle the fledgling, successful green construction industry that has blossomed under Obama.

Planning ahead: 

In the conclusion of the widely respected McGraw Hill Survey of 2012, there sits an apt quote from one Joseph Schumpter:  “Overall, industry specific innovation does not follow, but creates expansion.”  Is the rise of the green revolution in America’s construction industry indicative of that process?  Has the unprecedented Obama stimulus package laid the first bricks on that long, arduous road to full recovery?  Only time will tell – but it is clear that American construction has reached a crossroads.  Obama now has another crack at the whip.  Only time will tell what effect the Democrat will have.

Manufacturing, Construction and Consumer Confidence Show Gains

By Jim Puzzanghera

WASHINGTON — Key private indexes of manufacturing and consumer confidence edged up in October, while the government reported an increase in construction spending in September as economic data released Thursday indicated moderate economic growth.

All three readings were in line with analyst expectations, and came as new private and government data on unemployment pointed toward modest employment gains last month.

The Labor Department will release the October jobs report on Friday, the last major economic data point before Tuesday’s presidential election. Economists project the report will show the economy added 125,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%.

U.S. factories continued to power up last month after a summer contraction, according to the Institute of Supply Management. The group’s purchasing manager’s index increased to 51.7, up 0.2 percentage points from September’s reading.

It marked the second consecutive month of expansion in the vital manufacturing sector after three months of slight contraction. October’s reading indicated the pace of growth had accelerated a bit from September as new orders and production picked up.

“Manufacturing continues to hold up better in the U.S. than in the rest of the world,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.

“It is still under pressure from global economic headwinds and domestic policy uncertainty,” he said. “But improvements in the domestic economy — notably in housing and consumer spending — are providing support.”

Consumer confidence also improved in October, rising to its highest level since February 2008, according to the Conference Board.

Its index increased to 72.2 from 68.4 in September as improvements in the jobs market buoyed consumers’ views of economic conditions.

“Consumers were modestly more upbeat about their financial situation and the short-term economic outlook, and appear to be in better spirits approaching the holiday season,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

In another sign of improvements in the housing market, the Commerce Department reported that construction spending increased 0.6% in September from the previous month.

Private and public construction spending rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $851.6 billion in September.

The September pace was a 7.8% increase from the same month a year earlier. For the first nine months of 2012, construction spending was up 8.9% compared to the same three quarters in 2011.

ALSO:

Stocks higher after ADP jobs report

Manufacturing grew in September after three-month contraction

Survey shows job growth in private sector; new jobless claims dip

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