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Design a Brand-New Kitchen
Planning to put a new custom kitchen in your home? You've come to the right place! See what the professionals at Kitchens & Baths by Monic can do for you.

Amazing New Bathrooms
Want to change the look of your bathroom? Our locally owned business has everything from entry-level prefabricated options to full-custom work.

Custom Wood Trim Available
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Nothing beats outdoor string lights for their ability to quickly improve the ambiance in an outdoor space. In the evening, their soft glow overhead can visually transform an ordinary patio into a party-ready spot for hosting friends or cheer up a dim walkway with an inviting luminescence.

Outdoor string lights are a cinch to put up if you have the perfectly positioned trees or fence. If you don’t have trees, a fence or another tall outdoor object, it doesn’t take much — just a little more time and a few additional supplies to set up any outdoor space. Here’s how to hang string lights over your deck, patio, balcony, garden or anywhere else you’d like a little extra glow.

Tools and Materials

Commercial-grade string lights
Outdoor extension cord (if you don’t have an exterior outlet where you need one)
Tape measure
Pencil or painters tape
Metal hooks and eyes

Before You Start

1. Choose where to hang your outdoor lights. Pick a spot outside where you’d like to hang your string lights and identify a power source. If you don’t have an exterior outlet where you need one, be sure to have an outdoor extension cord handy.

2. Measure for length and roughly choose your light configuration. Before purchasing string lights, run a tape measure along the distance you’d like to hang lights, including any zigzags or crisscrosses for the configuration. This can be a fairly rough estimate, such as three times across a 25-foot-wide patio; just get a sense of the length of lights you need.

3. Purchase the cords and lights, and gather all materials. Skip the cheap string lights and invest in commercial-grade patio lights marked for outdoor use, which are more durable and waterproof, and can be used permanently outdoors or year after year.

How to Hang String Lights

1. Identify where mounting support is needed. Lay out your string light cords along the ground in the configuration you’ve chosen. Mark an X with a pencil or place a piece of painters tape where you need support to hold them up.
Trees, fences, porches, pergola roofs or the eaves of your house are perfect existing supports if they’re in the right place. If they are, mark where you’ll need to install mounting hooks.

2. Install mounting hardware or use a string light suspension kit — or both. There are two ways to mount string lights: on their own or attached to a sturdy wire as part of a light suspension kit. Mounting to a wire isn’t necessary, but it can help maintain tension if you’re hanging string lights over a larger expanse, and it can provide more support if your backyard is breezy.

3. Hang patio lights. Once you’ve installed your cup hooks or strung up your wire, you’re ready to put up the lights. Plug the lights directly into an exterior outlet or into an outdoor extension cord and position the first bulb next to the mounting hardware. Once you’ve checked this spacing, unplug the lights to hang the rest of the string. Work your way across the yard to hang the string lights between mounts, following the pattern you envisioned.

Most commercial-grade patio lights come with clips attached to the top of the bulb socket or the wire above the bulb. If you used a mounting wire, clip the lights onto the wire.

Once all lights are up, once again plug the string lights into the exterior outlet or extension cord plugged into an outlet. You can use electrical staples to keep the extension cord tight against the wall of a house or down a post.

Created 12/10/2018

When you work at home, you discover that a makeshift desk area on a kitchen counter or the dining table isn’t the best setup. Having a dedicated home office, makes a big difference in comfort and productivity. Once you’ve chosen a room or area for your home office, here are five must-haves to include in it.

1. Comfortable Chair
Make sure you have the right chair for the job. This is especially important if you work at a computer. Look for an overall fit that supports your back and encourages good seated posture. Features to look for include adjustable seat, arms and back, as well as legs on rollers and a seat that swivels so you can easily get in and out of the chair and reach for things without straining.

2. Work Surface That Fits Your Needs
The size of your desk or work surface will hinge on the size of your office and budget. Consider different desk types and even creative repurposing of other furniture pieces. Think about how you’ll be working and the items you’ll want to have close at hand.

3. A Place for Everything
Keeping paper organized is easier with the right mix of drawers, cabinets and shelves. If you don’t have a lot of papers to file or objects to display, a simple cabinet might offer enough storage.

4. Good Task Lighting
A standard ceiling light providing overall illumination is just a starting point for a home office. You also want to include task lighting for reading and other close work. A row of upper cabinets in the home office provides an opportunity for bright undercabinet lighting over the entire desk surface.

5. Electrical Outlets for Equipment
If you live in an older home, electrical outlets may be limited. Be sure you have enough — and in the right places — for your electrical equipment.
Keeping cords and wiring out of sight is easiest with a built-in desk and storage areas that are flush against the wall. But if you’re planning a floating or freestanding desk, you can use floor outlets and cord covers to keep wiring neat and safe.

Created 12/07/2018

Gleaming hardwood floors can make a room, and amazingly, they are also fuss-free, holding up to household traffic while still being easy to clean. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no maintenance needed whatsoever; as time goes on, the material will start to show its age if it’s not properly cared for.

1. Start by sweeping your hardwood floors.

The best way to keep your floors clean is by sweeping frequently. Regular brooms tend to move dust and small dirt particles around, so use a microfiber mop for a more effective sweep. Wood floors should get a once-over with a dust mop every day or every other day.

2. Use the right vacuum for wood floors.

Vacuuming regularly—about once a week—will pick up dirt and debris that could cause scratches and get particles in hard-to-sweep spots, such as corners. When vacuuming, always use a soft-bristled attachment. Attachments with beater bars can lead to damage, and watch to make sure the wheels of the vacuum don’t cause scratches.

3. Use a hardwood floor cleaner when mopping.

Sweeping and mopping hardwood floors is a no-brainer, but don’t make the common mistake of using whatever floor cleaner you have on hand, which could have chemicals that damage wood. Instead, use a product that’s specially formulated for the surface with a damp—but not soaking—mop. Wipe up any excess water quickly with a clean, dry towel. Floors should be mopped once a week.

4. Prevent dings and scratches with floor pads.

Keep felt pads under furniture legs and be sure to lift furniture off the floor when moving it instead of scuffing it across the floor. Also remove shoes (especially high heels!) at the door and keep pets’ nails trimmed. Placing a doormat by each entrance can help keep debris from getting inside the house.

5. Respond quickly to spills.

Soak up spills as soon as they happen to avoid the liquid sitting on and potentially damaging the floors. Follow up by applying a hardwood cleaner with a soft cloth.

Created 12/04/2018

Porcelain or ceramic tile can be colorful and versatile. They are a beautiful way to jazz up your kitchen with a decorative backsplash. You can select ceramic tile backsplash designs that showcase color, pattern, or texture. Whatever you choose, it will provide a unique look.

Deciding between porcelain or ceramic tile is merely a matter of choosing the colors, styles, and patterns. You just need to decide which you like best.

Porcelain tile for kitchen backsplash is impervious to water. It has a reputation for durability. Ceramic tile is not as durable. The backsplash is the ideal location for a ceramic tile installation that is too delicate for countertops or flooring.

Your options for the kitchen backsplash are nearly unlimited. Mosaic tile is a popular choice for the kitchen backsplash. A variety of custom or pre-determined designs can create a unique look for your kitchen.

When is backsplash tile installed?

The backsplash is typically one of the finish items in the kitchen. It is important to have the new countertops installed before adding the backsplash. Try porcelain or ceramic tile samples that will pair beautifully with your countertops. Think of how to pair them with other elements of the room.

How do I choose a backsplash design?

There are several considerations when choosing the ideal design for your kitchen backsplash. Here are some ideas to consider.

• Is this the right location for bright colors? Maybe you are looking for a pop of color in your kitchen. Perhaps you want a contrast to the rest of your decor. The backsplash is the ideal location to implement your unique ideas.

• Will a busy pattern be ideal? Perhaps the rest of your kitchen includes monotone colors or simple designs. A busy backsplash pattern provides a pleasant contrast. Maybe your countertops include beautiful natural veining. Maybe your flooring is patterned. Then your backsplash may benefit from a simple design. This design will not detract from the rest of your elegant decor.

• Dark colors or light colors? Perhaps you have chosen a contrast of dark and light finishes for your countertops, cabinetry, and flooring. Then your backsplash is an integral part of this design scheme. You can combine dark and light ceramic or porcelain tile for kitchen backsplash You can also choose a pattern that will complement or contrast with the elements of your choice.

You can choose from many tile options. This is an excellent opportunity to express your personal style. Many patterns, colors, and designs give you the chance to create a unique backsplash. This backsplash can perfectly complement your kitchen decor. It can create a focal point. This can give your kitchen a custom look.

Created 11/29/2018

An air conditioner is now a staple in almost every home, especially if you live in a place which has inclement weather.

Let’s look at a few mistakes homeowners commit when it comes to their ACs.

Improper Air Filter Care

The air filter is what helps the air conditioner unit get rid the air of dust, mold spores, fibers, particulate matter, animal fur, and other contaminants. The filtration process happens when expended air is cycled back into the equipment to be distributed again. These filters are made of light materials and are not meant to be used for longer periods of time. Most filters, depending on the place where you live, cannot be used for more than 6 months.

Ignoring Coils and Fins

In an HVAC system the fins and the coils are what enable the process of heat exchange to take place, and so they need to be clean to be able to absorb heat better. A lot of homeowners completely overlook regular maintenance of these components which can reduce the efficiency of your AC unit. In fact, this is the first place you should be looking at if you think the AC’s cooling performance has reduced and you’ve already changed the filters. Due to the inherent moisture present in close proximity to this, there is a regular buildup of grime and dust. You can easily clean them yourself and save in the process.

Choosing a Thermostat

While simple thermostats are not expensive, programmable thermostats offer a lot more features. These advanced thermostats can automatically increase, and lower temperature to maintain a comfortable temperature at home as well as completely switch off the AC unit when there is no one in the house. Needless to say, smart thermostats saves a lot of effort and energy from your side and is something that you need to opt for.

Remember Your Windows

When you need to control the temperature in your house, your windows play a vital role. If you want to cool down your house, cover the sun-facing windows with thick drapes that keep the heat out. It also helps to open the windows in the evening when the temperature cools down which puts less strain on your AC unit and increases ventilation too.

Neglecting Your Drain

Most air conditioners require a drain where water buildup due to condensation is directed to. This is normally positioned away from the main unit so as not to cause problems. The issue is when sometimes this drain is clogged due to the buildup of grime or mold. Another problem is that this blocked drain can cause water to seep into the surrounding walls and the floor causing damage that might require extensive repairs.

Putting Off Replacement

There are many times when people put off the task of replacing parts for a different day to save money. What they don’t realize is that this just puts more strain on the other components in the unit, meaning there is a greater chance of them failing as well. Ideally, you need to make sure that you change out parts as prescribed in the owner’s manual. Also, some manufacturers even consider their warranty void if you do not replace parts when they are due.


An HVAC contractor can deliver an annual maintenance contract which you might think is expensive, but it can save money in the long run. Annual maintenance when done properly takes care of many problems with AC units and helps prevent several issues from recurring.

Created 11/19/2018

Power outages are sometimes out of your hands and what’s worse is all you can really do is wait until power turns back on. Blackouts will surely stop you dead on your tracks, and you end up going through the day with zero accomplishments. Getting a portable generator should be on top of your list.

There are a lot of backup power options for home, let’s run through the top 5 of them.

1.  If you’re only looking to power the most basic appliances, the portable generator can definitely be the one. Top portable generators run on gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas and have a power range of about 500W to 17,000W. This means you need not worry about the fridge, dryer, television, water heater, and air conditioner during blackouts. Of course, this type might not be able to the carry the weight of the above mentioned equipment simultaneously, but for areas experiencing short blackouts; this is a perfect choice! 

2.  Unlike the portable generators, standby generator operates automatically and is installed permanently. These are the generators used in businesses as well, so in the event of unfortunate blackouts, it powers up the whole building simultaneously. So for a backup power option at home, this one will do a pretty good job. Although this type can run for weeks on end; it’s important to always schedule a service maintenance for every 200 hours of usage. That includes oil filter change, spark plug, and air filter replacement. It also needs some extra TLC during winter because of wind-blown debris, ice, grass, or snow. The vents on these generators should be free from blockages so it can provide smooth air flow and keep the machine cool.

3.  If you’re quite the handyman, you can actually set this up yourself. This is probably the cheapest and most accessible backup power option. The concept is to have several batteries connected with each other so it forms into one big battery which is called a ‘battery bank’. Then think of a way to connect the bank to your home’s power supply so it gets charged all the time when electricity is up and running. So when it’s time to use the ‘bank’, it’ll be at your service.

4.  Solar panels are a really good investment for your dream home. During a power outage, it can run some basic appliances. While most solar panels have an automatic shut-off valve that restricts the flow of energy from the panel to your home supply due to safety reasons; you can counter this issue by getting a particular inverter that’s designed to continue the energy supply from the panels even when the grid is down. So whenever the power is out, you just need to switch on the junction box which is connected to the inverter. After the inverter checks if there’s enough voltage coming from the panels, power is then passed on from the panel to the junction box. Then you can plug in the necessary appliances!

5.  Another solution, especially if you’re living in a relatively windy area, is a wind generator or wind turbine. It is composed of propeller-like blades which are run by the wind. Then this kinetic energy (wind) goes through a generator shaft and are converted into electric energy. Like solar panels, these also come at a costly price. But considering the clean energy you’re emitting to the environment, I would say it’s an excellent long-term investment.

6.  Choosing the best power back up option really depend on your preference. Mostly several factors are at stake like budget, installation, home area, appliance usage, environment, or frequency and duration of blackouts. But whatever type of generator you choose, you can be sure that you’ll never have to worry about power outages again. It’s a smart idea to always have a backup power on standby whenever an electricity crisis emerges. 

Created 11/14/2018

Your home is subject to the weather and water is harmful when it penetrates your home's exterior envelope. The primary role of gutters is to channel water away from the base of the house where it's likely to collect and find its way inside the foundation. Gutters move rain water away from your home before any problems occur.

There are many ways that gutters protect your home, including:

Without gutters, water can damage landscaping and cause soil erosion around your home.

Water hitting dirt close to the house can create a mess when the dirt splashes back against the siding.

Concentrated water hitting decks and door entrances can splash back against the house causing high moisture levels which can lead to wood rot.

Safety entering and leaving a home may be a problem when people run to avoid a downpour.

Falling water may hit windows and leak, causing water damage inside the walls or on interior walls.

Rain water may find gaps in the siding, and when trapped behind siding, water can support mold growth and other problems.

Repeated exposure to rain water can reduce how long your home's painted surfaces last before they need to be re-painted.

Is essential that you keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Otherwise, the misdirected water can cause significant damage to your home over time, such as stained siding, rotting fascia boards, flooded basements, deteriorating landscaping, and even foundation problems.

Created 09/13/2018

The idea of having a pool in your own backyard will always be incredibly glamorous. But, in those daydreams, one crucial element of pool ownership is often forgotten: the maintenance.

Without a proper maintenance routine, your pool could succumb to a variety of less-than-luxurious conditions – green water, broken filters, and algae build up, just to name a few.

Here are pool maintenance tips that you need to try right now.


  1. Skimming the leaves and debris off of the surface of the water is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. For a truly pristine pool, skimming should be done daily.

In addition to skimming, you need to scrub the sides of the pool to prevent algae build-up. Thankfully, that doesn’t need to be done quite as often. You can get away with scrubbing once every other week. Just look for any growths and go at them with a scrub brush to keep your siding looking fresh and clean.

  1. Your pool’s filter is responsible for removing impurities from the water – think dirt, leaves, and even small toys.

Most of the time, the pool can be cleaned by turning off the filter, removing the filter cap located on the pool deck, lifting out the filter basket, and removing any debris before replacing everything. It’s best to clean out your filter basket at least once a week.

Once a month you’ll also want to clean out the pipes utilized by your filter system, which you can do by backwashing. To do so, simply set your filter to “backwash,” remove the leaf basket and clean it out. Then turn on your pump and let it run until the waste pipe ejects clear water.

  1. Chemical levels are arguably one of the most important facets of pool maintenance. Improperly balanced water looks murky, irritates skin and eyes, and can cause your pool to become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Testing the water is easy. Simply buy a few testing kits from your local pool store. Fill it with a sample of your pool’s water. Add the provided solution to the testing kit and close the vials. After a few seconds, your sample water will change color and a comparison of the sample water to the colors shown on the testing kit should allow you to determine the current chemical levels. You should adjust the levels, as needed, to achieve an ideal balance.

  1. As important as the chemical composition of the water is, the physical water level is just as important. The levels will naturally fluctuate after a heavy rainstorm or an afternoon of kids doing cannonballs.

You want to maintain a level that is halfway up the opening of your skimmer. If the water is too low, simply use a garden hose to add the necessary amount of water back in. If the water level is too high, rent a submergible pump from a home improvement store to drain the excess.

  1. Most of the time when people think about tennis balls in a pool, they think about playing catch. However, those toys can do double duty.

When swimmers exit the pool, certain oils can get left behind in the water – suntan lotion, hair product, the natural oils produced by our skin. While it’s unpleasant to think about, luckily there’s an easy solution.

Simply throw a tennis ball into the water. The fibers used to make the tennis ball will help absorb the oils and keep them from leaving a slick sheen on top of the water.

  1. The area that surrounds your pool is just as important as the physical structure itself. You can help keep your pool deck shining by power washing.

Power washing, also known as pressure washing, will help get rid of any rust or weather stains that occur over time. You can rent a power washer at any home improvement store.

  1. Sometimes you need to trust an expert. Especially when it comes to your pool’s mechanical equipment – pumps, filters, heating systems – you may not have the proper knowledge for care. At least once a year, have a pool service professional come out to check your devices.

By incorporating these pool maintenance tips into a regular cleaning routine, you can ensure that you’ll spend more time sunbathing than doing chores

Created 09/13/2018

As nice as it is to have a lawn with beautiful green grass, the job of maintaining such a landscape can be difficult and require a considerable amount of work.

It is important to take the proper steps to ensure the grass you’re dedicating so much of your time to is healthy and full of potential.


One of the most important parts of growing a green lawn is making sure your grass has adequate water. However, your grass doesn’t require as much water as some might think.

Obviously as spring turns into summer, the weather will get hotter and grass will need more water to thrive. But even then, the rate of watering your lawn shouldn’t be too dramatic.


One thing everyone with a lawn has in common is a healthy disdain for native weeds. But if you haven’t initiated a pre-emergence weed plan yet, you may have to get comfortable with a few unwelcome weeds growing in your yard.

The key to preventing weeds is to stop them before they start growing. It may be too late to stop a lot of the weed growth this summer, but it’s never too late to look ahead to future seasons.

Don’t cut too short

Cutting your grass down so far as to expose soil will allow weeds and pests to flourish in your yard and make it very difficult for your grass to recover.

Try to mow when it’s dry

This isn’t always possible, especially if you hit a patch of bad weather where it rains every day for a week, but it is preferable to mow when it’s dry outside to help prevent your grass clippings from clumping, which can lead to uneven cuts and potentially killing your grass if large clumps are not picked up after you mow. Wet grass also increases your risk of slipping while mowing, which can be extremely dangerous with a push mower.

Mix up your pattern

If you always mow in the same pattern, you will begin to create noticeable ruts with your mower and compact the soil in a manner which will make it harder for your grass to grow. Additionally, you will develop a grain in the grass which only goes in one direction, causing the grass to lean rather than stand up straight.

Created 09/13/2018
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