What kinds of things can be done to Make Houses more Secure?


Your home is your sanctuary, the place you consider your own little private safe haven where you feel most secure. And if this personal space gets invaded by thieves, it can be very traumatizing; aside from the monetary loss, there is the distressing feeling that your home has been violated, and that feeling takes time to heal. For those who invest in home insurance, though the company may compensate you monetarily for the loss or damage to property, nothing can replace the sentimental value and love attached to those items.

Since ‘prevention is better than cure’, you need to make securing your home among the list of top priorities when you move into a home. Here are a few tips for boosting your home security and thwarting thieves:

Doors – About 33% of thieves gain entry through doors, especially the kitchen back door, so you need to ensure that the frames are strong, the hinges are internal and there are a couple of additional deadbolts on the door for strength – security shouldn’t be compromised in the face of aesthetic looks. All external doors should also have peepholes.

Windows – Most ready-to-move-in homes come with flimsy latches that aren’t really effective. Consider replacing them with something stronger. Always close all windows when leaving home or at bedtime – even on the upper floors.

Security system – Aside from the fact that many of the new homes come with options for a security system, it’s a good idea to install one that you are comfortable with. Aside from CCTV cameras, there are motion sensors with alarm triggers that are quite effective at deterring thieves. Some of the latest devices even send pictures of invaders to your smart phones.

Neighbors – There is nothing like getting friendly with the neighbors so you can look out for each other whenever there is any fishy activity going on around. Neighbors can also act like the first line of defense against invasion.

Keys – Keep keys out of sight, whether it’s the house key or car key; thieves can easily access them by breaking a window or through the cat flap. Thieves also know that the porch doormat and flowerpot are among the favored places to hide house keys, so be careful.

Light – Light up the landscape around your home, especially the backyard. An alternative would be to use motion-sensor lights that come on when there is movement. It would also be smart to eliminate shadowy places like bushes and trees where thieves can take cover. You could also use timer-fitted switches that make lights go on and off in your absence.

You will need to secure your garage too in case it has a door leading into the house. Finally, it’s your home – look around and see where else the weak points of entry are located.


Vaastu Points to Consider Before Buying a Property


Vaastu is an ancient Indian science that deals with the correct usage of space. Though the younger generation has difficulties relating to it, there is a scientific explanation behind the application of these principles in home designing. If applied correctly, Vaastu creates homes that are well-lit, well-ventilated, uncluttered, well-designed and spacious.

With current lifestyles, few people have the time to go to the trouble of building their own homes; the end result is that people are increasingly opting for ready-to-move-in apartments and villas now. However, this brings in another doubt…whether the home is built in accordance with the principles of Vaastu or not. In most case, it shouldn’t be a cause for worry as most builders are aware of the importance of Vaastu for their customers and build Vaastu-compliant homes.

Here are some Vaastu guidelines you can check when looking over a property:

Entrance: When buying an apartment, it’s the block entrance that’s considered as the entrance to the home. Go for entrances that face the north or north-east to avoid the harmful infrared rays coming in through the south or south-west facing entrances. Ample unobstructed space should be present in front of the entrance.

Circulation around the building: The lift and staircase should be adjacent to one another and preferably in the south or south-west corner of the building – as they act as buffers and keep the heat of the sun away from the building’s interiors.

Cross-ventilation and sunlight: As Vaastu places great importance on circulation and natural light, go for homes where the windows and balconies face the north or north-east from where the positive energies of the morning sun emerge. Opt for homes that don’t have south or south-west facing windows as they bring in harmful rays and illness.

Circulation within the apartment: According to Vaastu, the center of the apartment, the living room, should be well-lit and bright to make it look spacious and all doors should be accessible from here.

Kitchen: According to Vaastu, the kitchen should be in the south-east corner of the home.

Bathroom: Toilets should always be built in the south or south-west direction of the home; as India experiences north-east to south-west winds all year round, placing it anywhere else would result in contaminating the air of the rest of the house.

Children’s room: The kid’s room should be in north-east or north-west, so that no harmful rays from the south touch on this room.

Water tank: The water storage tank on a multi-storied building should be placed in the north-east corner where the early morning light rich in ultraviolet rays can purify it. Go for dark colored tanks that will absorb sunlight.

With pollution of air and water gaining prominence, application of Vaastu to living spaces becomes imperative for peaceful and healthy living.


Points to Implement to Reduce Wastage of Water


With global warming and consequent climatic changes including melting of glaciers, the time will soon come when scarcity of potable water will also begin to hit humanity hard.

And as the old saying goes, ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’, so we must make efforts from now itself to do our bit towards finding ways to reduce wastage of water. The WHO advocates that a minimum of 25 liters is required per person to meet their daily needs. Unfortunately in developed countries like the US, the average water use per day is around 262 liters, about ten times more. In developing countries, it’s difficult to get an idea of exact water usage as many households don’t even have functional meters, aside from leaking pipes and unauthorized use of water. Here are a few useful tips on ways to conserve water at home:

Ensure your water meter is functional – When you can actually see how many liters of water you are consuming in the bill, it provides an incentive to reduce wastage.

Buy water-saving appliances and sanitary products – The older models of washing machines, showerheads, toilets and taps weren’t designed with water saving in mind. So when replacing these things, ensure you buy toilets that use 3-6 liters max of water; taps with aerators use less water too along with the new-gen washing machines.

Check for dripping taps, toilet cisterns or water pipes – A dripping tap can waste up to 15 liters a day, and that’s a lot of water wasted.

Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe – Water your garden the good old way with a watering can as hosepipe can lose up to a 1,000 liters of water an hour. Mulching your plants and watering only early morning or late evening can help in saving water and reducing evaporation.

Store the run-off water – Use a rain harvesting system and conserve run-off water to be used in gardening or washing the car. You can save up to 5,000 liters a year this way.

Use your washing machine optimally – Run your washing machine only when it’s a full load; you can save up to 10 liters of water this way.

Go for a shower – Showers use about 6-45 liters of water per minute, depending on the model of the showerhead. Go for the aerated showerheads which use less water and opt for shorter showers; close the knob while soaping to prevent wastage. Avoid bathtubs as they use up too much water.

Turn off the tap – A lot of water is wasted while brushing; keep the tap turned off till it is needed only. This saves about 6liters per minute!

Aside from saving you some money on your bill, reducing water wastage also saves on energy required to treat the water and more importantly – saving on natural resources.


Staircase Trends


Building designs keep evolving over the years and we are now into the era where open living is the in-thing. With the focus being on space, the staircase easily becomes the center of attention in a home. So why not dress it up and make it a little interesting!

From being a solely functional feature that’s used to get from one floor to another, it can easily be made into a designer piece. Over the last few years, new trends have been cropping up for staircase designs in terms of materials used for the treads, the types of balustrades, staircase lighting, clever use of the stairwell etc. However, the emphasis hasn’t moved away from the safety aspect as new materials are being introduced. Here are a few popular trends to elevate your stairs to the next level…..

Seamless designs: Here, the materials used for the floor are repeated in the staircase treads, creating a continuity effect; this not only makes the place look more spacious but also gives it a lavish look. With the wooden look coming into fashion, the treads and risers can be paneled in the same material to give an overall harmonious effect.

Glass: As far as barrier walls go, reinforced glass is an amazing element to use; it also creates the free-flowing visual effect, creating a sense of space. You can go one step further and use glass etched with smoky designs for a classy look. Or just go ahead and try your hand at glass painting and give it a personal touch!

Classy metals: Stainless steel and chrome are the popular metals of choice for staircases, but customized wrought iron meshwork paired with dark treads look elegant too.

Fusion: Staircases are no longer dreary old things made with the same old materials from yesteryears. We now have a combination of materials being used – with balustrades made of steel, support walls of glass and treads made of wood, granite, plastic, resin tiles or even glass. As long as the colors mesh together, there is no end to the materials that can be artistically combined together.

Drama: For homes that are short on space, spiral staircases are the best and you can make them into architectural masterpieces with clever use of materials to make them look functional, yet arty. Using glass as barriers gives them a more open and unhampered look.

Storage: Let your imagination run riot when it comes to using the space under the stairwell. It can be used as a display area or a reading nook with bookshelves. It can even make a cozy play-area for the kids or a get-away for the family pet. It makes an ideal location to build storage cupboards too.

The staircase is going to be with you for life, so make it an object of art and enjoy!