5 Design Tips for Small Homes and Apartments

design tipsPhoto by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

Sometimes it may seem that everything nowadays is getting more and more compact, and our own living spaces have not been spared from this trend! Unless you are stuck with one of those infamous “coffin” cubicles, there are many design ideas you can employ to make your small home or apartment comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. Here we have 5 relatively simple design tips you can use to spruce up your pad, at relatively little expense!

1. Work With Light Colors

One easy way to make your tiny space seem more expansive is to trick the eye with color. Light and pale tints, not to mention all the varieties of white, can make a room appear spacious and airy. On the other hand dark and very bold colors can give the impression of a more closed-in and warm space, so consider eschewing these or limiting them to accent pieces. Using the same light shade throughout a house gives the illusion of continuity and expansiveness. Not a fan of huge blocks of whites and pastels? You can still use bright colors in smaller blocks or in different rooms to give the illusion of different spaces!

2. Mirror, Mirror

Create the illusion of doubled space by strategically placing mirrors in your home. You can go for the minimal treatment with mirrors as accent pieces or go large with whole walls full of mirrored panels. It is best to place mirrors in areas where they can reflect natural light coming in from windows, as this will give a less garish effect than reflecting artificial light.

3. Go Vertical

One space maximizing measure used in urban planning is to expand upwards, hence the rise of skyscrapers and towers in our metropolises. You can employ the same trick when planning out your small home, particularly its storage arrangements. Pick pieces that are taller than they are wide, so that they will not take up as much floor space. If you can, design your built-in shelving to be oriented vertically, so you can free up some portions of your walls to add decorations or make further expansions. Plus, your apartment or home will seem less cluttered, and you will have more room to stretch and walk about without tripping over stuff.

4. Designate Areas

It may seem counterintuitive to divide an already small space into set areas for work, play, and rest, but this design tip is great in maintaining order as well as freeing up space. Arranging designated areas within or in between rooms helps reduce clutter and permits an easy flow of foot traffic in your daily activities. This is particularly important in single room dwellings such as studio apartments, where lack of organization can make the place seem like a hoarder’s pile or the Cave of Wonders. Use large furniture such as sofas and tables to form demarcations between areas or serve as “islands” of activity within the room. Alternatively, you can use folding screens or even drapery to delineate areas, or even conceal areas dedicated to work, craft projects, or other messy ventures.

5. Choose Multi-purpose Pieces

Chances are, there is not enough space to fit all the furniture you may wish for your home. However, you can make do with pieces that serve more than one purpose, thus giving you two pieces of furniture for the price and space of one. Some favorite multi-purpose pieces for tiny homes include tables that can double as desks or cabinets, or beds and couches with extra storage underneath. Got a studio apartment? Entertain by day on a cushy sofa that converts to a bed once you have shooed your guests out. If you have the resources, you can even have these pieces customized so that you can incorporate special surfaces for your work or leisure activities.

Designing a small home or apartment may seem daunting, but the task is far from impossible. In fact it can be a creative and fulfilling challenge to maximize a space and make it truly work for your brand of living. We hope that these design tips will help you come up with solutions for your very own home. Best of luck!

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer

home for the summerPhoto from Pixabay

Feeling the heat? Summer is just around the corner. While you certainly have a lot of plans to go on trips to different places with your family, we hope you have made necessary plans for your home as well. Nothing is hotter than the stress you get from malfunctioning equipment or repairs needed for any parts of your home which could have made your summer lighter and comfortable. Well if you haven’t made arrangements yet, then you certainly need to read these five tips we have especially made for you.

Watch out on the fire

Summer is notorious to make things hot even hotter. With the rising atmospheric temperature, any overheat equipment or plugged appliances and devices can ignite fire anytime. Make sure that your sockets are updated and that your circuit breaker is working to avoid house fire causing you too much grief and financial stress over the summers.

If you are leaving the house, make sure that everything is unplugged. If there are appliances or devices that cannot be powered off, make sure that necessary arrangements are made. Consult the Bureau of Fire and Protection for any tips that might work.

Do spot checking

One major cause of fire is outdated appliances. As much as we want to save in our spending, our family’s safety is way more important. It is a good practice to inspect the condition of your appliances. They have their own wear and tear. It would be a good thing to have their manufacturing information. If it is not available just based your projection on the date you bought it. After which consider disposing appliances which are past their expected using capacity. Anything beyond that is already harmful. It has a higher tendency of not just malfunctioning but encountering short circuits which you wouldn’t want. One last thing, you can opt to sell these equipment and appliances to junk shops so also earn from it.

It is time for maintenance

You wouldn’t wish to encounter AC problems in the middle of the Summer, right? Go and have these checked already. If they are working then look at the filter and other parts which you can clean so once Summer really kicks in, your AC is up and ready to keep everything cool down. You might also want to check on your fans as they can serve as your go-to in case of emergency. Also, though it is a bit advanced, you might have your roof and other parts of the house checked. Summer is usually followed by storms. They aren’t just normal storms in fact! Getting things prepared at an early date will reduce your stress level in the future.

Stockpile on your essentials

Summer is accompanied by many sale bazaars. Each mall has its own summer special for different needs and appliances. You don’t have to binge buy but you might want to consider piling up your drawers with all the essentials you would need. It will serve you well in a lot of ways. One would be unplanned summer trips with the family or friend and two it will be your stock for the rainy season. Nothing beats a prepared one. Aside from you are always on the go, you are actually saving a lot by grabbing on those promos. So be mindful of those promos!

Change those sheets!

Adapt an outdoor feel to your home. Summer is a time for going to places, mimicking that feel to your home creates a feeling of comfort and lightness. Making your home more inviting and pleasant. Also, the atmospheric condition is extremely hot. Especially here in the Philippines where we usually experience El Nino. You wouldn’t have dark hues as the shade of your throw pillow or curtain. It will only amplify the heat and make your home feel tight. So, stick with lighter tones or even use the colors of Summer.

Summer is all about having fun. Creating a home that exudes that vibes will not only improve the relationship of your family but everyone’s daily mood as well under the scorching summer heat.

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Bacolod: The City of Smiles

Bacolod

HISTORY

Bacolod, nicknamed The City of Smiles is a friendly city filled with smiling faces in Western Visayas. It is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental and is the second most populous city in the Visayas after Cebu City.

Geographically, Bacolod is in the northwestern coast of the island of Negros, bounded on the north by the city of Talisay, on the east by the town of Murcia, and on the south by the city of Bago. To its west is the Guimaras Strait, which serves as a natural border to neighboring Western Visayas.

Bacolod started as a small settlement by the riverbank known as Magsungay early in the Spanish colonial period. It was not established as a town until about 1775 after the settlement was attacked by a datu, with the villagers transferring to a hilly area named Bacolod. Over the years, Bacolod was opened to agriculture and industry, inviting migration and expansion back towards the sea.

Bacolod was then declared capital of Negros Occidental in 1889 when the province of Negros was separated into two, with the other being Negros Oriental. It was then upgraded from a municipality to a city in 1938 by the 1st National Assembly of the Philippines, during the American colonial period.

Bacolod City

POPULATION

The Bacolod of today is a highly urbanized city, with a population of about 562,000 people as of the 2015 census by the Philippine Statistics Authority, representing a 1.79 percent increase from the 2010 population of about 512,000 people. The population density was 3,500 per square kilometer.

LOCAL CULTURE

Bacolod is most known for its people’s warm nature. Bacolod is popular for its MassKara Festival, which runs through October and culminating at the fourth Sunday of the month. The festival started as a way to create a better atmosphere in Bacolod in 1980, as the city suffered from the Don Juan tragedy where a vessel collided with a tanker, leading to 750 lost lives. The masks worn during the festival helps Bacolod live up to its moniker ‘The City of Smiles,’ signifying that its people will triumph over any hardship.

The MassKara festival is now one of the major tourist attractions of the Philippines, filling the streets of Bacolod with street performances, beauty pageants, carnivals, food festivals, music concerts, and so much more.

Bacolod MassKara Festival

PUBLIC FACILITIES & ESTABLISHMENTS

SCHOOLS

  • University of St. La Salle
  • University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos
  • STI West Negros University
  • La Consolacion College
  • Negros Occidental High School
  • Bacolod Tay Tung High School
  • St. John’s Institute
  • St. Joseph School- La Salle
  • Jack & Jill School Homesite
  • St. Benilde School Incorporated
  • St. Sebastian International School
  • Colegio San Agustin Bacolod

HOSPITALS

  • Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital
  • The Doctors’ Hospital

TOURIST SPOTS

  • Capitol Park and Lagoon
  • Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center
  • Bacolod Arts & Youth Sports Center
  • Negros Museum
  • Art District
  • Lakawon Island
  • Campuestuhan
  • The Ruins
  • Don Salvador

RESTAURANTS

  • Delicioso
  • Chicken House
  • Bar 21
  • Sharyns Cansi House
  • Calea
  • Kaisei Japanese Restaurant
  • Kimstaurant Korean Restaurants

PLACES OF WORSHIP

  • San Sebastian Cathedral
  • Redemptorist Church
  • San Diego Cathedral
  • Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

  • Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol
  • The People’s House

TRANSPORTATION HUBS

  • Bacolod-Silay International Airport
  • Banago Wharf and BRECDO Port

MALLS

  • Robinsons Place Bacolod
  • SM City Bacolod
  • CityMall
  • 888 China Town Square Complex
  • Centroplex
  • The District – North Point

NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Alijis
  • Estefania
  • Mansilingan
  • Tangub
  • Bata
  • Mandalagan
  • Villamonte

ECONOMIC BACKGROUND

The city of Bacolod is considered as the third-fastest growing economy in the Philippines in the information technology and business process outsourcing industries. It has received recommendations from the Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communication Technology Office and the Business Processing Association of the Philippines as the best location in the Visayas for BPO activities. Bacolod was also declared in 2013 by the DOST as a Center of Excellence for IT-business process management operations, joining a prestigious group composed of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and the Clark Freeport Zone.

Major names in the BPO industry have set up shop in Bacolod, including Convergys, Teleperformance, iQor, and Transcom. Showing the importance of BPO companies in Bacolod’s economy, a 2-hectare portion of the 4-hectare Paglaum Sports Complex was partitioned in 2012 for the construction of the Negros First CyberCentre, which is a provincial government-owned IT-BPO Outsourcing Hub with a Php 674 million budget.

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

Colliers International Philippines, in its Q1 2018 Provincial Property Market reports, also noted that Bacolod remains a preferred location for outsourcing operations, with voice BPO companies in continuous expansion while knowledge process outsourcing companies are considering the city as a potential location outside of Metro Manila. However, Colliers said that Bacolod’s talent pool would need to scale up if it wants to attract the interest of more KPO companies.

OFFICE AND COMMERCIAL SPACE

Colliers expects most office demand in Bacolod until 2020 to come from call centers, as well as KPO firms that provide financial technology, software engineering, and health information management services. The research firm expects office supply in the city to reach 128,500 sq.m. by 2020, which is a 20 percent increase compared to supply in 2017, and also forecasts vacancy maintaining at 4 percent to 5 percent per year to 2020.

Average office rental rates in Bacolod meanwhile is expected to increase by about 2% to 4% annually over the next few years, due to the sustained demand from both BPO and traditional companies.

REAL ESTATE OVERVIEW

The City of Smiles seems to be on a roll. Thanks to a booming economy, Bacolod’s real estate sector has been progressing remarkably well over the last few years and is expected to continue soaring to new heights in the next few years. With more and more property developers answering the growing demand for residential and commercial properties in and around Bacolod, the real estate landscape of Negros Occidental’s crown jewel is expected to evolve and be at the forefront of a property development boom in the Visayas.

Growth in property interest

According to data culled by Lamudi, the Philippines’ premier real estate platform, since the first semester of 2016, there has been an increasing trend among property seekers looking for potential homes in Bacolod all the way to the second semester of 2018. The average growth rate between 2016 and 2017 was somewhere between 14 percent and 15 percent, However, this average figure grew to 21.9 percent in 2018, a reflection of the increasing interest among property seekers looking for properties in the City of Smiles.

Key areas for real estate activity

Data from Lamudi show that the last quarter of 2018 had the highest volume of searches on residential properties in Bacolod. Comparing this period to 2017’s fourth quarter, there was a 50 percent increase in page views.

Similarly, in both 2017 and 2018, the most searched for areas in Bacolod among property seekers were those in Alijis, Estefania, Mansilingan, Tangub, Bata, Mandalagan, and Villamonte, where Megaworld’s The Upper East is located.

Close to 22 percent of property seekers who used Lamudi searched for potential homes in Alijis, a big jump from the 7.09 percent of property seekers who were interested in that area in 2017. Estefania, which ranked as the second most searched for area among property seekers looking for homes in Bacolod last year, also saw a big jump from the 2017 figure. In 2018, 13.99 percent of those who used Lamudi searched for potential properties in Estafania compared to 6.12 percent of property seekers who were looking for homes in that area in 2017.

Although Mansilingan was most searched for properties in Bacolod in 2017 among property seekers, it dropped to the third spot last year. Nonetheless, Mansilingan continued to be a sought after area in Bacolod, with 13.99 percent of property seekers looking for potential homes in that area last year. Other areas in Bacolod that property seekers have searched for last year were in Barangay 10, Barangay 28, Pahanocoy, and Sum-Ag.

Land Prices

As of 2018, the average price of a property in Bacolod is 5.46 million pesos while the average size of one is 932 square meters. In Alijis, the most searched for area among property seekers, the average price of a property there is Php3.76 million, with the average size of a property there is pegged at 228 square meters. In Villamonte the average price of a property there is Php28.2 million while the average size of one is 842 square meters.

In terms of monthly rentals, the average monthly rate for a property in The City of Smiles is Php19,934 while the average size of an area being rented out is 277 square meters.

FUTURE PROJECTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas – Bacolod Extension Office

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is constructing a 5,000 sq.m. property at the city’s reclamation area to offer improved services, particularly involving currency management, financial inclusion, and financial and economic awareness.

Provincial Administration Center

The government is allotting Php900 million pesos on the construction of a new Provincial Administration center, a 16,000 sqm lot located in front of the National Bureau of Investigation-Bacolod building.

Bacolod Economic Highway

This project is targeted for completion by the end of 2022. The project is a 21.8-kilometer, 4-lane road, including 3 bridges and a 2-way bike lane, that will serve as an alternate circumferential road bypassing Bacolod’s central business district.

Redevelopment of the Bacolod-Silay Airport

The project is meant to decongest the Bacolod-Silay Airport and enhance operating efficiency, safety, and security, as well as improve passenger amenities and the airport’s networking and marketing. The project is slated for completion by the end of 2021.

Township projects by Megaworld

Megaworld is building The Upper East in Bacolod, a Php 28-billion township development that will host the city’s new and iconic 34-hectare central business district. The project will feature a mixture of residential condominiums, One Regis and Two Regis, shopping malls, mixed-use buildings, hotels, and state-of-the-art office towers, among many other structures. One of the highlights of the township is a New York-inspired lifestyle mall with several interconnected buildings, with one of those buildings to be inspired by the iconic Grand Central Station in New York City.

Bacolod City

Another Megaworld township development in Bacolod is Northill Gateway, which will have upscale residential villages, a mixed-use office and retail development, and leisure and recreational amenities, located on the border of Bacolod and Talisay. The township will cover 50 hectares and will have direct access to the Bacolod-Silay Airport. It is also where the Philippines’ first Las Vegas-style ‘welcome marker’ is located, an iconic attraction that greets incoming and outgoing visitors.

Northill City Center

 

 

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Your Welcoming Committee: 5 Stylish Furniture Pieces for a Classic Living Room

stylish furniturePhoto by EVG photos from Pexels

The living room, or its equivalent in your home, is one of the best ways to put your best foot forward. Apart from being the place to welcome family and friends, it is also the best arena for you to showcase your unique tastes and preferences. The sky is the limit when it comes to furniture and décor choices for living rooms, yet there are some enduring “must-haves” especially for those striving for a classic feel. Read on for our top 5 picks to help you make that ultimate first impression in your space!

Cushy Loveseat

Those cute sofas, also known as loveseats, are not only comfortable but also versatile; their size makes them easier to fit in a small apartment or a living room/office space. Loveseats come in a variety of colors and styles to suit all tastes. Although not as big as a full-length couch, a well-placed loveseat is still a great focal point for your living space and is inviting for both you and your guests to chat, entertain, or simply lounge. Alternatives to loveseats include chaises or even window seats, both of which can be decked out to suit your needs.

A Pair of Armchairs

To round out your living room as well as provide additional seating options, consider adding a couple of armchairs. A pair of chairs helps avoid that “hot seat’ effect with solo seating and can be moved around for various activities. Armchairs can be made as comfortable as recliners with the proper upholstery, and they come in a wide range of styles ranging from grand wooden pieces to sleek metal creations for a modern classic feel.

Coffee Table

A coffee table is more than a place to dump your keys, bags, and other miscellanies at the end of the day. Neither is it simply a repository for your old magazines and glossy books. The coffee table can be used to show off a unique centerpiece (apart from a vase of flowers), or even some of your collectibles. Coffee tables can come as part of a matched set with your couch and armchairs, but they can also be purchased separately in complementary colors to provide a refreshing contrast and another focal point for your classic living room.

Floor Lamp

Although built in ceiling light fixtures are a go-to for most apartments and houses, the addition of a floor lamp or two provides additional illumination as well as a more welcoming touch to your living room. Floor lamps can be strategically placed to light up dark or awkward corners. They can also be used to draw attention to a striking wall hanging, painting or other decoration. Floor lamps can also help designate areas as reading nooks, study areas, or other divisions in a multipurpose living room. Unlike ceiling lights, floor lamps can be easily decked out to suit a classic theme by simply adding a lampshade or other fittings.

Full Sized Sofa

A large couch may not be as versatile as a loveseat or armchairs, especially for small living rooms. However, a full-sized sofa is the ultimate in comfort and hospitality. Not only does it practically invite company to take a seat, but it can also double as a spare bed in the event of a sudden guest. Classic long sofas often come as part of “sala sets”, making matching furniture a cinch. You may also consider incorporating an heirloom sofa into your living room to give a more personal and evocative touch to a timeless space. Newer sofas also come in a wide range of coverings such as faux leather cushioning for a more updated and trendy feel.

A living room can be as quirky or avant-garde as you wish, with floor cushions in lieu of seats and old casks serving as tables. All the same, classic themes and furnishings endure for their comfort as well as versatility across a wide range of living spaces. These stylish furniture pieces can be easily mixed and matched with other accessories to make a space that is very welcoming to your guests, and yet remains entirely you. Happy furniture hunting!

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5 Summer Gardening Tips

summer gardening tipsSummer Gardening Tips Photo by Nagesh Badu on Unsplash

Summer is both a blessing and a nightmare for any gardeners. While there is an immense opportunity for greater yield, there is also a ton of jobs to do. Tiresome as it is, but its is necessary as the temperature is arid, the sun is scorching hot and pests are all around the place. Hence, better management and preparation of the garden is the key.

Tip #1: Smart Watering

It goes without saying that effective irrigation system is the backbone of gardening. Ensuring plants are amply watered and moist is important as the process of photosynthesis only occurs through this. Needless to mention that lack of water will result to plant dehydration causing it to die, most especially it’s summer and the heat is becoming more unpredictable. You wouldn’t want all your hard work to be in vain. That is why a good watering schedule is the key! Most ideal time is in the morning when there is less sunlight and less moisture in the air. This prevents the cultivation of mildew and other fungus as well as the retention of water in the soil. Also, it is easier to work compared to noon when the sun is at its peak.

Tip #2: Use Coco Peats

Scientific research has shown that coco peats as medium promote ideal plant growth. As processed residue of the coconut husk, it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals needed by plants such as Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, and Iron. Coco peats also have excellent water absorption. They can hold water 10 times an ordinary soil, minimizing the frequency of watering as well as the hours of effort required to maintain plants and crops. With this you can find more time to do other stuff.

Tip #3: Polish your Pruning skills

Dead leaves and stems are unsightly and parasitic. They compete for water and nutrients and has the potential to breed disease and parasite. You wouldn’t want this in your lawn or backyard garden. Make sure that you prune dead crops, leaves and even branches everyday to ensure optimal growth of your crops and your home. This also helps in beautifying your garden. Creating a good, attractive and habitable place to live with your family.

Tip #4: Everything needs a shade

Too much heat is harmful to everyone, of course even plants! Even if you have a good watering schedule in place, they have a certain limit to heat that they can absorb. Especially now that heat waves and the summer heat is becoming hotter by each summer, you wouldn’t risk your crops as well as the ornamental plants you worked so hard for. A makeshift cover will do, just make sure that plants are shaded. If you have extra budget, then you can invest on an extended roof or structure outside. This doesn’t just serve as the plants’ shade but also a place for you to rest in the afternoon where you drink tea of coffee with your family or friends, or whatever purpose you may see fit.

Tip #5 Weed and mown your lawn

Perhaps the most laborious of all but also equally rewarding. Physically taxing as you need to clean your lawn of any withered leaves and weeds every day. Though once you were able to make your lawn free from it, then it wouldn’t be much of a hassle. If you are consistent this can be rewarding as you can see the natural beauty of your garden in full view. What’s more, the crops that you will harvest, if any, will all be nutritious and bountiful.

Maintaining your garden can be a challenge. But everything lies to consistency and your passion to make your system work for you. Remember it is not about the size nor the varying weather conditions, it all lies to proper planning and sticking to what you have been accustomed to.

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