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Don’t Move House Build Up or Build On

The high price of properties in the USA today is changing the face of american families and how they live. Young people are finding it difficult to find properties of their own and deciding to stay with mum and dad for much longer. The ideal solution would be to move into a much larger home but property prices are ruling out this route for many families today. Just a few decades ago this wouldn’t have been a problem because rents were much more affordable, mortgages were easier to obtain and the general price of property was much lower. Young people are being forced out of the USA property market and choosing to stay at home well past their teens.

One solution, when you need more room in your home, is to build an extension or convert the attic into a usable living space. Recent figures indicate that as many as 3.3 million 20 to 34 year olds are still living with their parents. Rather than squeeze into the available accommodation families are choosing to extend or make better use of space as opposed to moving house. It is not just grown up children who are staying at home. An increasing number of elderly parents are moving back in with their children.

build in

Building an extension is a more affordable option for many families today. On top of high property prices there are added costs of stamp duty, legal fees and agency expenses. When you compare this with the cost of extending your home and creating a separate living space for a family member the choice is pretty obvious. However before calling in the builders there are various home improvement ideas that could make a difference to the overall living space without costing a fortune.

You could open up your rooms for a more open plan approach and create multi-functional areas with more light. You could convert an unused room into an extra bedroom, turn the garage into a cosy living space or maximise the use of your current space by using under the stairs for extra storage or as an additional bathroom. The cost of remodeling your property will depend on the scale and complexity of your plans but expect to pay between 500 and 800 pounds a square metre. For a garage conversion, which is fairly ambitious, the cost could be as much as 1200 pounds a square metre, while a loft conversion will be slightly more and a basement conversation more again. If you’re looking to build a whole new extension then you’ll need to allow for 1500 pounds per square metre.

Jamie Squillare Shares How to Add Value to Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Although the housing market in the USA has begun to pick up there are still plenty of you out there who have decided to stay put rather than buy something new. For those of you here are some ideas to improve your current living space and prepare you for the time when you’re in a position to move. I know there are many home improvements that can add value to your home but there are also those that can seriously devalue it.

I’m Jamie Squillare and I would be happy to read my home improvements tips below:

4 ideas by Jamie Squillare


Because the kitchen is the heart of any home any money spent on updating will be money well spent. The important thing is not to be too ambitious and to stay in keeping with the other rooms in your home. Don’t spend thousands updating the kitchen with the latest units and appliances as you’ll never recoup your money when you sell. The biggest bang for your buck can be gained by a fresh lick of paint. Modern, bright colors will go a long way to updating your kitchen without costing the earth. If some of your appliances are a little old purchase newer energy efficient models that’ll save you money and are kinder on the environment.


If there is more than one of you in the household there will always come a time when there is a queue for the bathroom. If you have the space build in another bathroom or construct an extension. You might have a room that is underused or space underneath the stairs where an additional bathroom can be slotted in. More than one bathroom is a very attractive addition that will pay dividends. Cost will depend on the scale of your addition and you can save extra money by shopping around and even buying second hand.


We’re all more concious of the impact we have on our environment and prospective buyers will be impressed by any energy efficient home improvement ideas you have introduced into your home. Add to that the money you’ll be saving on your own energy bills and you are on to a winner.


A home’s insulation is often forgotten once it has been installed. When was your fitted? 10 or 15 years ago may be? If this is the case then it is due for an upgrade. Much more efficient materials are now available to be used as insulation material. You could save as much as 1000 pounds a year with modern insulation. Seal up any cracks to further increase your savings.

I know that simple updates can be the most cost effective:

Keep on top of your decorating by refreshing your paintwork on a regular basis and keeping your house clean and clutter free. Put issues right as soon as they happen rather than leaving them and letting things get worse. Repair that leaky roof before further damage occurs and start a schedule of regular maintenance. Nothing looks worse for any potential buyer or indeed for your own peace of mind than a home that is uncared for and falling to pieces.

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All set!

So you’ve been volunteered to help with the annual school play and you’re role is that of stage designer. After reading this article and with a little help from me – Jamie Squillare and your fellow parents you’ll confidentially be able to create a stage set design that will be forever memorable!

As a set designer you’ll actually be responsible for getting the right mood for the performance, so you’ll need to set the scenes with the play in mind. You need to have an understanding of the script so that you can select the best stage design possible and organise any special effects. It’s a good idea to meet with all the other volunteers and assign tasks to share the workload in order to avoid getting too stressed! Remember that you’ll need help with lifting, unloading and assembling as well.

set design of CopperfieldThe key factors to getting your stage design just so are the dimensions of the stage itself, the lighting, movement and the reality of the play. Take each factor individually and make rough drawings so in your mind you know what you’re trying to achieve. For example a simply constructed archway can add dimension and the illusion of doors down a hallway, and false walls at a certain angle makes the stage feel bigger. Try not to get too creative as this will detract from your purpose.

Accent lighting adds depth and life to the stage. Use pendant lights, cabinet lighting and subtle dimmed lighting to create different moods during the play. Remember that different lighting will affect the colors on the set as blues tend to look almost black and reds go very pale. Rehearse lighting techniques to make sure it all goes well on the night.

Movement on the stage is easily created by the addition of blinds at an open window for instance, or the dimming of bright lights! Doors can be fitted and opened and closed to add a real life production quality. Set elements can easily be made out of painted card and are easy to move between stage changes.

As s top advice from me – Jamie Squillare I would share:

Save time by changing elements around rather than having to keep moving them off the stage.

Make the scenes authentic by researching the play and using the appropriate props. Take a simple example such as the nativity and you’d automatically know what extras you’d need to set the scene! Do this for each scene of your play and use the school resources department to help you with all the materials you need to create the perfect settings. Make all your props directly relevant to the play and discuss how they’ll be used in case they need to be very robust.

Preparation and planning will be essential to be ready on the night. Establish a schedule with deadlines for everything and stick to it. You don’t need to be an expert but with the right research and a lot of hard work you’ll know that you did everything you could to make your stage set design the best it could possibly be with the resources and the time you had.

Bedroom Design Trends for 2014

We spend on average one third of our lives in our bedrooms. Although most of that time is spent with our eyes closed, don’t make that a reason for neglecting it. I’m Jamie Squillare and would like to give you some snappy interior design ideas which you can apply  to an often forgotten room in your home.

Let’s take a look at some popular trends for 2014.


This is a new take on country. It involves using an off white color for walls and floors but adding color in the form of blue and taupe striped curtains and bedlinen. The look includes rustic, weathered furniture made from reclaimed wood and providing useful storage in the form of metal luggage trunks. Bedroom accessories should be simple such as galvanised steel for bedside lamps and cushions made from brushed linen. A contemporary twist comes from antique clock motifs and script lettering on cushions.


Inspiration for this style comes from Danish interiors. The idea is to create a minimal backdrop for bright and modern accessories. Walls should be white or pale grey and the floor whitewashed floorboards. If you don’t like the idea of wooden floors and prefer carpet choose a putty coloured carpet. The look is finished off with black and white bedroom furniture. The hottest colours for this year are orange and cobalt blue. Use these for your bedlinen, rugs and cushions. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns but try and keep it simple.


It’s now more affordable to visit the Orient and people come back wanting to recreate some of the styles they have seen there. It is a clean looking style with the addition of cherry blossom hues, Japanese minimalism and patterns inspired by Origami. A hard floor not carpet is essential for this design. You could make the flooring more inviting and warmer by using sheepskin rugs. White blinds for the windows and simple box furniture can be paired up with a few pieces of furniture from the Orient such as a bamboo rocker. Colour can introduced by adding an oriental inspired wallpaper to one of the walls. Use paper lanterns from the ceiling to complete the feel.


If you want your bedroom to be bright and colourful go for some bold colours such as black painted walls and large floral patterns using wallpaper on one wall. The flooring should be dark as well with your bed being the feature part of the room using fuchsia pink bedlinen and ornate rugs and carpets. Because the main walls and floor are black you can really go wild with other colorful accessories.


A big trend for 2014 are triangles. You can achieve a vibrant and young look with colourful triangle patterned walls and white carpets, while further injecting bold and bright colours in your bedlinen and other accessories. Don’t be worried about clashing colours as they can be mixed together to create an energetic look. Pick out the main colors in your wallpaper and echo them in your rugs, cushions and lamps.

These are just a few of the popular interior design trends for this year. But don’t worry about creating your own. Why not share them with the community by writing your own blog. There are a wealth of different materials, colors and styles that you can use in your home.

Why not start experimenting today?



What’s Hot in the West End for 2014
POSTED BY Jamie Squillare | 17 COMMENTS

Are you planning to spend some time in London this summer? Are you looking for an enjoyable way to spend an evening? Would you like to experience the atmosphere of one of the latest West End shows? I can give some ideas.

Here are some suggestions by Jamie Squillare:

  • BILLY ELLIOTT: THE MUSICAL at the Victoria Palace Theater. This story is set during the miners strike and tells of a young boy, whose mother has recently passed away, who seeks solace in ballet rather than boxing classes with his mates. Music is by Elton John and it is written by John Hall. An excellent version of the classic 2000 movie.
  • THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Prince of Wales Theater. This is an unrelenting production that has successfully made its way across the Atlantic from New York. It is created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who some of you may recognise as the creators of South Park. It has achieved a bit of a reputation for being outlandishly offensive.
  • MATILDA: THE MUSICAL at the Cambridge Theater. Adapted by Dennis Kelly from the well known Roald Dahl novel and with a musical score written by the comedian Tim Minchon this production has gained the title of “the Best New Musical Since Billy Elliott”.
  • THE PAJAMA GAME at the Shaftesbury Theater. This is a Richard Ayres production that comes close to his famous production Guys and Dolls.
  • THE COMMITMENTS at the Palace Theater. Soul classics from an Irish group that considers themselves and other Irish musicians to be the “niggers of Europe”. Songs from Tamla Motown and Stax will excite your eardrums and get your feet tapping.
  • I CAN’T SING at the London Palladium. This musical has been written by Harry Hill and for most will be very funny. It is unconventional and at times a little rude regarding television personality Simon Cowell.
  • JERSEY BOYS at the Prince Edward Theater. This is the story of a group from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey, whose influences are hits from Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons.
  • THE LION KING at the Lyceum Theater. Amazing stage set design and cast of 48 talented performers brings this famous Disney movie to life. So far it has been seen by more than 8 million people and grossed nearly 300 million.
  • MAMMA MIA at the Novello Theater. If you remember ABBA and loved their lively tunes this is definitely a must see.
  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Her Majesty’s Theater. The second longest musical of all time this Andrew Webber production tells of a disfigured man who resides under the Paris Opera House falling in love with his beautiful protegee.

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Practical Home Design Ideas for Your Child’s Room

There are few things more exciting than decorating a child’s room as there are so many wonderful ideas that you and your little one will love. For many parents who are budget-conscious, the best ideas for kids’ rooms are the home design ideas that are practical. This makes it easier for them to change the room as their kids grow up and have new requirements and does not require them to spend a large sum of money on the alterations.

I’m Jamie Squillare and I truly love design. Above you can read my practical home design ideas.

Five Practical Design Ideas for Children’s Rooms

Before beginning on a decorating project for a child’s room, many interior designers recommend getting your kids involved in the process. Each child has his or her own personality and tastes so it is important to keep this in mind before starting.

Room for a boy

Room for a girl

Here are 5 of the best practical home design ideas for kids’ rooms:

  1.  Provide ample space: No matter what theme you choose for your child’s room, make sure that there is enough space for their toys and other knick-knacks. As you know, kids tend to leave their things scattered around which is why it is best not to clutter their room with unnecessary furniture or decorative items.
  2. Provide shelves and cabinets: When you are decorating your child’s room, it is important to keep in mind that there will be a lot of stuff to store, from toys to books and clothes. This is why you should include shelves and cabinets to neatly store their things. It will also help them learn to keep their rooms neat and tidy.
  3.  Use lead-free paint: When it comes to practical designs for kids, one of things that will no doubt concern you is the safety of your child. No matter what color you choose to paint your little one’s room, make sure that is lead-free for safety. Kids spend a lot of time in their rooms so it is essential to make sure that they have a safe environment.
  4.  Use toxin-free furniture: When you are decorating your child’s room, one of the things that is important is selecting the right furniture. You should make sure that every piece of furniture is safe for kids and have no toxic finish. You may have to spend a little more money than expected but it is always best to buy products of high quality than to compromise the health and safety of your little one.
  5.  Opt for classic designs: You can never go wrong when you choose a classic style for your child’s room. It will save you money in the future and also give you a great canvas to artistically decorate the room, no matter what type of décor you choose. Trends will come and go and they can be costly so it is wisest to stick to the classics always.

Children room - green

When you are looking for ideas on how to decorate your child’s room, always keep practicality and functionality in mind together with aesthetics. There are plenty of fantastic home design ideas for kids’ rooms that you choose from to give your little angel his or her dream bedroom. I’m Jamie Squillare and it’s my pleasure to give you some practical design ideas.