Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Decorate Your New Home in Ghana on a Low Budget

So let's say you have just made an investment in building your green-home in Ghana, because you're conscious of the environmental impact of housing and because you know that in the long run you will be saving money (plus your house will be worth so much more). Once the work is completed, there's nothing more exciting than to finally enter your new home. Of course at the beginning it feels like cold and unwelcoming, so you really want to turn it from “house” to “home”. The first thing you have to think of is how to decorate it. Indeed, to create a nice and welcoming environment is fundamental for a positive living. However, you don’t want to spend a fortune on it, so here are a few tips on how you can decorate your new house without spending too much without renouncing to quality and style.

First of all, walls! Whenever you get a new house, you always have to re-paint the walls, either to renew them or to give them the color you wish for your house. When it comes to choosing colors, some of the most popular ones are soft grey, muted pink and taupe, although you can find many other amazing colors that will blow your mind. One of the latest trends is painting the walls of two different colors, making the walls that face each other the same tone (two walls a lighter shade and the ones in front a darker shade). A good way to save money and, also, have fun, is to paint the walls yourself. You can ask someone to help you out, so it will also be a nice and different way to spend time together, especially if you plan to live in it with your significant other, friends or family. After the walls are ready, the house is ready to be filled in.

Hence, furniture! Unless you are taking them with you from your old house, if you're missing some furniture a good idea is to buy it second hand on a free-classifieds website. It's best to contact more than one seller since the items they offer could be already taken or not in perfect condition, so you can choose between all the ones you like when it comes to furniture and decoration. This is specially true when it comes to electronic devices such as kitchen appliances, washing machine, etc.; make sure they're in perfect condition and that you see them working!

When it comes to decoration, there are a few tricks you can use to make them cheaper and better. For example, if your house is very small, or you would like it bigger, use mirrors to make it look larger. It will also make it brighter, which is always cool, adds a positive vibe to the environment and can even help you save money on electricity bills since the light will bounce on them.

Another great way to save money is to have everything to serve a dual purpose. It’s particularly true when it comes to sofas and tables, especially when you are a very sociable person who always have a lot of friends over. Another huge saving thanks to DIY is that of sewing your own pillows. Not only it will save you a lot of money, but you can make them exactly of the size you want, stuffed as you want and you will surely have a lot more choice in therms of colors and textures.

How to Choose the Right Exterior Paint Colors for Your Ghana Home

Painting the exterior of your home not only protects it but also gives it a beautiful appeal. Advancement in technology has created several long-lasting and eco-friendly paints in various colours and variations. Most of these recent paints have been tailor-made to have properties suitable for the exterior of your building. For instance some paint colours can withstand adverse weather conditions whiles others ward off mosquitoes and other harmful insects like Ezzy® and Artilin® respectively.

When choosing the exterior paint colours for your home, these are a few hints you can consider to make your selection right!
  1. The stability and total performance of the paint colours. Ensure the paint colour you choose has endurance properties and can stay visible for a very long time. Examples are the paints with enamel, giving a shiny and smooth finish. You don’t want to choose a paint colour that will become lost with time, causing you to repaint every now and then.
  2. For the exterior parts of the house likely to encounter a lot of dampness especially during the rainy season, a paint that is resilient to moulds, mildew and fungi is the most appropriate which may usually come in dark colours. A better alternative is to use waterproof paints in these areas available from most paint companies in Ghana like Essy®, Azar®, Suvinil® and so on. If you have timber in certain sections of the exterior, be certain the colour chosen blends in well with the timber look and feel.
  3. The sun’s rays are very strong in Ghana, mostly during the afternoons of the dry hot seasons. For the exterior of your building, you want to choose a paint colour that would not easily fade having much contact with strong sun rays. Very light colours like variants of the creams and beiges have a greater possibility of fading away easily with time if not well protected. Check the paint colour you select has protection from ultra-violet radiation.
  4. Much as the sun is of concern, so are the rains. Look out for paint colours that would not easily wash off during the rainy seasons. Some paints colours wash off their colours onto other parts of the building making it unsightly. Choose washable paint colours, which normally come in acrylic type from paint manufacturers as Coral®, Essy® and many others. Do get some expert advice in deciding the various colours to apply for the different sections of the exterior of your building.
  5. Some paints and colour mixes such as for textured and glossy finishes and Epoxy paints are so complex that, wrong mix and application can mess up your entire building. If you do not have the opportunity to solicit for expert assistance, settle for paint colours and variations that are easy to mix and apply to obtain full access to its benefits. You can always ask the manufacturer or retailers for the best directions.
  6. Lately, going green is the hallmark of every activity; hence try to select paint colours that are environmentally friendly. The colours should not be so biting and sharp but can be such that it well integrates with the environment around it; such as the greys, greens and blues. Consider the natural environment around your home where your building is sitting and choose colours that integrate beautifully with the surroundings.
Exterior paint colours are very strong attractions to your home. The appropriate they look and stay, the more people get pleased with visiting your home, so think through carefully when selecting the exterior paint colours for your home in Ghana. Some paint manufacturers in Ghana offer paint colour selection consultancy services to help you make the right paint selection for your home.

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Build a Picture-Perfect Wall Around Your Ghana House

Image source: AFTEC

In Ghana, one way of protecting your house and the people who leave in it is to build a wall around it. Walls also define the boundaries of the property or plot of land while serving as a design element. They are aimed at protecting the inhabitants and preventing unwanted or dangerous people from entering the house. Nevertheless, most of the time in Ghana, it ends up being too high or too dense, blocking views from outside and preventing you from appreciating what is around you.

Block walls are the most popular type of walls in Ghana mainly because concrete blocks are easy to make and find, and affordable as well. Concrete blocks, also called cement blocks or foundation blocks are usually made from cast concrete which is a mixture of sand and cement and sometimes fine gravel. Brick walls are not very common because bricks are quite limited in availability and not so popular with most Ghanaians, maybe due to the reason that it cannot be painted and decorated as much as block walls. Another reason may be that concrete blocks are easy and cheaper to dry after production in the sun which is very abundant most part of the year in Ghana, unlike bricks which are usually burnt in kilns.

Building a block wall does not take much time and can be completed in a couple of days. Block walls often range between eight to nine inches high, that is between about five to seven blocks stacked up and alternated with mortar infill to strengthen it. A reinforcement system of metal rebar is placed within the walls at well calculated distances to prevent it from collapsing and this creates the column (usually called pillars) you see between the walls. With much determination, focus and expertise guidance it is possible to build a picture-perfect wall that is clean, orderly and very pleasing around your house in Ghana.

Before starting to build the wall however, it is important you consult your house designer or Architect or more specifically, a Landscape Architect. Chances are that he or she may have already designed the wall with the main building design which makes things easier and faster for you. If there is no wall design, ask for some advice and contributions on how to build the wall to tie in with the house design perfectly. Some of the house design elements, materials and colours can be adapted in the wall design to bring about coordination and rhythm.

All walls need a good support to stand firm. This may be a foundation, footer or concrete slab. Whichever it is, it must be strong, clean and level so the mortar and blocks can sit stable and steady. The distance to dig the trench for the foundation will mostly depend on the soil profile and this is already calculated in the structural foundation drawings. You should be able to read or check the construction drawings to find the correct dimensions proposed by the designer or architect. Dimensions of the walls can be deduced from the floor plans and elevations of the external wall design layout. You can ask for assistance from your designer or Ghana Homes if you are struggling to understand the dimensions.

Security is very important for your home but try not to allow it be the main focus of the wall. You should not build it too high or all sealed up to cover the entire building within it, with obvious security features such as huge barbed wires and metal spikes. The security features should blend and tie in aesthetically with the wall so people appreciate the design and beautiful aspects of the wall more. You can make use of honeycomb blocks normally called design blocks in Ghana for your front wall to appreciate the surroundings. Limit protrusions and windings and try to keep it simple as this may go beyond the specified land boundaries which can bring about conflicts with adjacent land owners.

The key to a picture-perfect wall is prior design and good planning. If you desire a picture-perfect wall for your house in Ghana, you have to ask for assistance and guidance from the building experts. Do not think it is so easy and can be done without any prior planing and knowledge. You may end up with an unbalanced, weak and unattractive wall which may cover up all the beauty of your building.

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