7 Advantages of Living in a Smart Home

 

You might have watched video tours of smart homes or read about them in magazines, but have you imagined living in a smart home yourself? 

The idea might seem like it’s out of your league at first, since smart lifestyle technology isn’t exactly cheap. However, the benefits can greatly outweigh the upfront costs in the long run! From savings to security to peace of mind, here are 7 advantages that’ll make you want to start the switch to a smarter home.

 

7 Benefits of Living in a Smart Home

 

1. Convenience

Imagine waking up and being able to start the coffee pot all the way from your cozy bedroom. Or programming a bathtub faucet to shut itself off right before the tub overflows. Then at the end of your day, it can be a real treat to relax in a pre-cooled living room thanks to smart technology. This level of convenience alone is one of the biggest reasons that people go for smart homes in the first place. 

2. Accessibility and Programmable Assistance

The functionality of a smart home is especially promising for families who have either young children or aging parents. You can program the cooling systems to achieve the right temperature for Mom and Pop, set the stove to turn off if a forgetful chef wanders off, or remotely lock doors to rooms which are off-limits to the kids. Some smart homes can even notify the hospital should someone take a fall! 

3. Flexibility

Concerned that the smart home you’re about to purchase now could become obsolete tomorrow? No worries! Smart homes are designed for seamless integration with more advanced appliances. This lets you make necessary upgrades or add new devices to expand your smart home’s range of functions.

4. Resource Efficiency

You might be surprised by how much energy, water, and time you can save with a smart home. Control heating and cooling systems with precision, program lights to dim at sundown, or have the shower turn on only when you’re already in the stall. When there are guests around, your oven can cook meals to perfection to prevent wastage, and your home entertainment systems can help you find all the right songs with ease. 

5. Upgraded Security

A smart home can give you fine-tuned control over motion detectors and surveillance cameras throughout the property. You can quietly keep an eye on guests who enter and leave the house, or get instant alerts on suspicious activity to protect your loved ones. It’s even possible for you to lock doors and arm your smart home’s security systems in critical situations. And again, you can do this whether you’re inside the house or on the other side of the world!

DID YOU KNOW? In an incident in New Mexico, a smart home speaker dialed 911 after detecting certain statements during a domestic dispute. The obedient speaker may have prevented a woman and her child from being shot to death.

6. Smart Household Management

Did you know that your smart home can give you an interesting picture of how your family goes about a normal day? Get a peek at your family’s TV viewing habits, the kinds of meals you prepare the most, and the amount of electricity and water you use up on a daily basis. You can then adjust your lifestyle according to this data for a lifestyle that’s both comfortable and eco-conscious.

7. Peace of Mind

You’re probably all too familiar with the stress of doors left unlocked, appliances and faucets left running, meals that wound up overcooked, or children who keep popping in and out of your line of sight. It’s also easy to get a headache from unexplainably high utility bills. But you won’t have to worry about any of that with a smart home! You can breathe a sigh of relief with all the control you need at your fingertips.

 

ALSO READ: 17 Tips to Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

 

Wouldn’t you want your family to enjoy these 7 advantages? It’s a good thing that it’s never too late to transition into a smarter home. You can simply invest in smart home appliances one by one, matching your new purchases with eco-friendly lifestyle changes along the way!

Visit our blog regularly for more articles about stylish interiors and smart, sustainable living

Air Fresheners You Can Make at Home

Wouldn’t it be lovely to come home at the end of a long day and breathe in a light, calming fragrance? An air freshener can give your house a comforting scent in an instant. You can easily pick up a commercial freshener at a nearby store, but a homemade recipe grants the additional security of having all natural and non-toxic ingredients. Several DIY air fresheners are easy on the wallet, too! If you’re thinking of making your own air freshener at home, here are 10 recipes for you to try out.

10 All-Natural DIY Air Fresheners

1. Scented Wood Blocks

They’re easy to make, they’re reusable, and they’re an ornament on their own if you arrange them in a glass bowl. What more can you ask for?

Instructions:

  1. Coat several small wood blocks in the scented oil or perfume of your choice. You may do this with paint brushes, a spray bottle, or a closed container where you can shake the blocks in more oil.
  2. Leave the blocks overnight to absorb everything, and then set them out.
  3. Simply repeat the above steps if the fragrance begins to fade.

2. Baking Soda Air Freshener

Here’s one quick solution to those unpleasant smells in your bathroom. The baking soda in this DIY air freshener absorbs any odd scents while the essential oil gives off a constant light fragrance. Simply shake the mixture if you need the scent to be a bit stronger.

Instructions:

  1. Combine ½ cup baking soda and 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  2. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and cover it with a piece of cloth or paper.
  3. You can embellish the jar with a ribbon matching your bathroom decor.

3. Floral Potpourri

The sight of a glass jar filled with dried petals might seem outdated. However, there’s a reason potpourri remains a common sight in offices and homes: it’s actually effective at making ambient air smell fresh. You can also put together your own jar of potpourri easily.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a container with dried flower petals. Put a few drops of essential oil.
  2. Close the container and let the petals sit in the oil for a few weeks. This allows the petals to soak up the oil.
  3. Transfer the petals to a bowl or jar and arrange them. You may further customize your potpourri with extra oils or scented ingredients.

4. Lemon-Rosemary Simmering Potpourri

It’s one thing to have a house filled with the savory smell of dinner, but it’s something else to have that smell last until the next morning. Get rid of overstaying cooking odors with some stovetop potpourri. This DIY air freshener gives off a scent that reaches from the kitchen to the corners of your home!

Instructions:

  1. Fill a small stock pot with water until it is about ⅔ full.
  2. Add a sliced lemon, some sprigs of rosemary, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  3. Allow the mixture to simmer throughout the day.
  4. Change the mixture every 2 days if you want to maintain the scent for longer.

5. Orange Candles

A scented candle can set you back around $20. Meanwhile, a pound of oranges generally costs less than $2. With some careful carving, you can turn a few extra oranges into bright, round candles of your own!

Instructions:

  1. Cut an orange in half.
  2. Run a knife around the edges of the orange to loosen the fruit, and then scrape the fruit out with a fork. Take care to leave the inside stem intact–this white piece in the middle of the orange will be your wick.
  3. Fill the orange with oil until it’s ¾ full (any kind of oil will do). Leave it to sit for about 45 minutes so that the stem can absorb the oil.
  4. Try lighting the candle. Hold a flame to the stem for 2-3 minutes until the stem turns brown or black. You’ll need a candle lighter for this, as a match or a cigarette lighter flickers out too quickly. Once the wick has turned black, let it rest for a moment.
  5. Relight the stem. This may also take a few seconds, and there might be some crackling sounds before the candle begins to burn steadily.

6. Cinnamon Stick Candles

Ever wanted to fill the whole house with the warm, spicy smell of cinnamon? You’ll adore these cinnamon stick candles, which are as beautiful as they are easy to make. Try handing them out as gifts to friends and family.

Instructions:

  1. Take a pillar candle at least 3 inches in diameter. Measure its height and cut around 20 sticks of cinnamon to size.
  2. Use a hot glue gun to attach the sticks vertically to the side of the candle. Make sure that the sticks lie snugly beside each other.
  3. Tie some twine or ribbon around the candle. Not only does it complete the candle’s look, but this will keep the cinnamon sticks in place even as the candle and the hot glue melt away.

7. Long-Lasting Gel Air Freshener

You might not be all right with the thought of having an open flame in the house, especially if there are children or pets around. A DIY gel air freshener is a great alternative to scented candles. One 8-oz jar of this freshener can last you up to a month!

Instructions:

  1. In a heatproof jar, combine around 30 drops of fragrance and a few drops of food coloring.
  2. Boil 1 cup of water and mix in 4 packages of unflavored gelatin. Keep stirring to prevent the gelatin from clumping up.
  3. Add a cup of cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Continue stirring.
  4. Pour the gelatin into the jars and mix it with the fragrance and food coloring.
  5. Let the freshener set overnight.
  6. Decorate the jars as you wish! If the jar has a lid, punch a few holes in it before screwing it on. This will help the freshener last longer.

8. Reed Diffusers

Another flame-free DIY air freshener, reed diffusers make for a quick, simple project and an eye-catching decoration. Plus, you can also use them over and over as long as you have scented oil in stock.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a small vase or jar with essential oil, and then fill it to the brim with baby oil.
  2. Place bamboo skewers or rattan reeds in the vase. You can decorate the sticks beforehand with washi tape, tiny flags, or paper flowers.
  3. Tie a ribbon around the vase as a final detail.

9. Lemon and Basil-Scented Spray

Worried that commercial air freshening sprays might contain harmful chemicals? You can easily whip up your own non-toxic alternative!

Instructions:

  1. Pour ½ cup of water into a water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of dried basil and allow it to steep for a few minutes.
  3. Line a funnel with coffee filter paper and place it in the opening of a clean spray bottle. Pour the basil mixture into the funnel.
  4. Remove the filter and then add ¾ cup of boiling water, 1 tablespoon of vodka, and 5 drops of lemon essential oil to the mixture.
  5. Cap and shake the spray bottle.

10. Orange-Clove Pomander Balls

The fragrant orange-clove pomander ball has been making homes and closets fragrant since medieval times. Hang them up to spread their spiced scent or drive pests away from pantries and other storage spaces. These DIY air fresheners are also a wonderful craft project for kids!

Instructions:

  1. Poke the pointed ends of whole cloves into the rind of a fresh orange. You can arrange the cloves to form designs and patterns on the pomander.
  2. If you want to hang the pomander, simply thread some ribbon underneath the skin and tie the ribbon in a loop.
  3. For a richer aroma, you can roll the pomander balls around in other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.

Say goodbye to stale and unpleasant odors! Bring luxurious scents into your home with these 10 DIY air fresheners, and you’ll feel relaxed from the moment you walk through the front door.

For an even more comfortable atmosphere, try keeping a few pots of low-maintenance plants around the house as well.

Did you find this article interesting? Visit our blog regularly for more tips on home improvement and interior design.

Problems Painting Kitchen Walls

In this video, Erica Lugbill, the owner of Lugbill Designs, a high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm in Chicago, discusses some of the problems commonly faced when painting kitchen walls.

As kitchen walls are a prime spot for grease and grime to build up on, “you want to make sure that this surface is washable.” says Erica. Flat paints (enamel or ceramic-based) are a good solution. These types of paints are easy to clean, using a simple rag and dish soap.

Problems Painting Kitchen Walls — powered by ehow

In need of an expert advice for your interior design needs? Follow our blog to get more interior design tips and advice.

Things You Should Have in Your Interior Design Portfolio

In this post, Erica Lugbill, the owner of Lugbill Designs, a high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm in Chicago, shares some pointers on what to include in your interior design portfolio.

Showing her own portfolio as a young designer, Erica says that the resume should be on the first part of the portfolio. It has to be concise to provide an overview of your skills in writing. Be sure to put a compilation of technical skills such as CAD drawings and electrical drawings, as well. She noted that it is important to keep everything very sleek, crisp, sharp and clean to make it look professional. In a visual field like design, having pictures is highly, highly recommended.

She also advised to have a properly categorized portfolio, not forgetting to include correct categories displayed. Moreover, she also states that putting a miscellaneous category allows you to present more of your skills and talents. This category can really go to reflect your versatility as a designer.

 

Looking for some tips and guidance for interior design? Follow our blog to get the latest ideas and advice coming from the experts. 

[PART 2] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago

In the previous article, we covered the types of projects that require securing a building permit in Chicago. In general, things that do not involve electrical, plumbing or excavation work, are often waived from the permit requirement. That said, it is important to check the requirements, per your unique situation.

If you decide that you need a permit for your next home improvement project, this article from Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm, will help you identify the permit application process you have to apply for.

1. Easy Permit Process

As a rule of thumb, a home improvement project that does not need an architectural plan will fall under the Easy Permit Process. This is a streamlined process of securing building permit for small and simple improvement projects. It allows replacement or repair of some or existing features of the building.

You can use the Easy Permit Process for the following project types:

A. Interior Projects :

  • Replacement of drywall that measures more than 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Furnaces
  • Replacement of existing plumbing fixture
  • Electrical work from a licensed electrician
  • Replacement of cabinets and countertops
  • Scaffolding

B. For Projects Outside the Building:

  • Replacements of doors and windows in same location within buildings with 4 or more dwelling units
  • Non-masonry fences with a height of greater than 5 ft. or above
  • Sheds that have electrical permit and greater than 70 sq. ft.
  • Detached garages
  • Wood trash enclosures
  • Porches
  • Masonry work from mason contractors
  • Tuckpointing from mason contractors (may require a pollution prevention permit for masonry cleaning and grinding)
  • Roofs (For additional layer, hire a general contractor to perform the work. For total tear-off, employ an Illinois-licensed roofing contractor)
  • Fire damage to buildings with 24% damage or less
  • Repairs for lintel with a maximum opening of 6’-0” (may require mason contractor)

2. Standard Plan Review

This is for renovation projects that require drawings and plans. A standard plan review is needed when there is new construction, additions, alterations, rehabilitation, and repairs for all building types, with the exception for residential hi-rise and commercial buildings that are 80 ft high. It requires architects to prepare drawings and documents for the review process

Note: *Remember that all building permit applications require a Zoning approval.

 

All Standard Plan Review applications are submitted through the city’s Electronic Plan review system, E-Plan. To ensure compliance, each project is assigned a Project Manager, who serves as the applicant’s point-of-contact throughout the permit process.

For the steps in the Standard Plan Review, see the Standard Plan Review Flowchart.

These are the general projects that requires a Standard Plan Review:

  • Buildings that not exceed 80 feet high
  • 150,000 sq. ft. (maximum) business and mercantile projects
  • Residential projects with a maximum of 40 dwelling units
  • Foundations and excavations of up to 12 feet deep only
  • Removal of non-load bearing walls
  • Includes the Small Project Program and Self-Certification Permit Program
  • Green elements are required to use Green Permit Program
  • Green roof, wind turbines, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, geothermal heating and cooling are not allowed.

3. Developer Services

Moderate to complex construction projects require special needs, and Developer Services is designed to meet them. To manage the application process, a Project Administrator is assigned to serve as a single point of contact. The process also requires the plan to be reviewed by a third party plan review firm, the cost of which is additional to the building permit fee.

E-Permits

E-Permits is a faster means of processing applications. Use this portal to process any of the following.

  1. E-Permitting
  2. Online Intake
  3. Appointment Scheduling
  4. Creating a Permit Application

It requires an individual to establish login information, in order to access these files. It can be used by the homeowner, licensed contractors (i.e. architects, structural engineers, expeditors, electric companies, electricians, plumbing journeyman, etc.

Next up is filling out the necessary paperwork needed to obtain the needed permits for your Chicago remodeling project. This will be the topic of our final article in this 3-part series.

[PART 1] Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Guide To Getting Permits In Chicago: Residential Remodeling

Are you planning to remodel or renovate your home? If so, you may have to secure a permit.

To get you around all the ins and outs of getting the necessary permit, Lugbill Designs, a high-end residential remodeling and interior design firm in Chicago, prepared this article to guide you on the different types of permits, the how to’s and the requirements before starting a residential remodeling project.

Read more

Bigger and Better this 2016!

Mountain Climbing

Well this is awkward.. sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I feel like I have been in survival mode for 5 straight years. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined all of the work it would take to run a business before I started my Chicago Interior Design business.
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In Need of a Free Bathroom Remodel???

Is it time for an upgrade to the room where you do your most important business? Are you fantasizing about a bathroom with all the bells and whistles? Do chandeliers and heated seats sound like the perfect fit for your personal sanctuary?  If you have big ideas and a love of the luxurious or outlandish, you may be a fit for a bathroom remodel paid for by a major cable network.

West Loop bathroom remodel completed by Lugbill Designs.

West Loop bathroom remodel completed by Lugbill Designs.

To apply, please email the following information to
mybathroomtransformation@gmail.com

* Name * City & State * A short description of your
bathroom renovation vision * Approximate budget* * 3 -5
photos of your current bathroom * Recent photo of homeowners

*Please note that Lugbill Designs is not affiliated with the above request.  We simply received it, and thought some of our readers may want to apply.  After all, who wouldn’t want a free, professionally designed/remodeled bathroom!  Best of luck 🙂

 

@ 2019 Lugbill Designs   Downtown 211 W Wacker Dr, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606   North Side 7005 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626-2812    (773) 572-9049