Take time to ensure your home is properly equipped in case of fire. Check that you have working fire extinguishers and that windows and fire escapes are not blocked. Test smoke alarms every month and if they’re not working, change the batteries. Be sure everyone in your family knows the plan in case of a fire or similar emergency at home.

— Family Features


How to prevent tip-over tragedy in your home

For kids, your home is a playground begging to be explored. Unfortunately, in the U.S. a child is sent to the emergency room every 30 minutes as a result of falling furniture, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To prevent a tip-over tragedy, the CPSC recommends:

Use sturdy furniture: For example, televisions should only be placed on furniture designed to hold a television, such as TV stands or media centers.

Secure TVs: Televisions that are not wall-mounted should still be anchored to the wall. Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over.

Secure top-heavy furniture: Anchor existing furniture with inexpensive anti-tip brackets. New furniture items, such as dressers, are sold with anti-tip devices. Install them right away.

Remove temptation: Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.


New products that organize your life through voice

In 2018, consumers worldwide will spend $102 billion on equipment and services related to smart home systems. One hot smart home product that recently debuted was the LG Signature OLED TV W8, a next-generation TV that comes integrated with Google Assistant so you can control its functions using voice.

“Already, many of us wake up in our ‘smart beds’ to a Bluetooth-connected alarm clock that communicates with our WiFi-enabled speakers,” notes marketing consultant A.J. Agrawal in Entrepreneur. “Soon, all our devices — microwaves, washing machines and even bird feeders — will be connected to the web. With geospatial data from all of our devices, tech-savvy companies will be able to optimize and automate systems, eradicating inefficiencies caused by human error.”


Creating a dream home with cypress

Design professionals are using cypress for paneling on walls, coffered ceilings and more to create their clients’ dream homes.

Architect Geoff Chick of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, says he prefers stains when selecting a finish for interior cypress woodwork.

“It’s a shame to cover cypress with paint,” Chick says. “To help bring out its grain pattern, I like finishing it with a matte stain or pickled finish. Some rooms require a lighter finish than others, and it can be a challenge to coordinate with flooring. But from my experience with cypress, it’s all worth it when it comes together.”

Much like wood cabinets and floors, solid cypress paneling and ceilings can be refinished. If you’re envisioning a fresh look down the road, swap neutral tones for bold colors, or sand the wood and apply a transparent stain to let cypress’s natural beauty speak for itself.

— Brandpoint