Tag Archives: safety tips

Trendy Barn Doors

The home flipping shows on television have featured trendy new doors as part of this year’s must-have, home-design focal point.

No longer do you need to put in a swinging door that latches and locks. These old-school doors can take up valuable space in a closet, bathroom, laundry room or pantry. They can get in the way of space for furniture or built-ins.

Now all you need is enough space to put sliders and you can mount a barn door to cover that doorway when you need it closed, and slide it back to open. It’s kind of like a pocket door on the outside of the wall. I’ve seen these doors used on remodeling shows for bathrooms, kitchens, offices and mudrooms.

While they are beautiful and tie in a modern farmhouse interior, they can present some problems. Let me explain:

I recently stayed in a hotel that used this type of door inside the room. Push it to one side and the bathroom door was closed. Push it to the other side and the closet door was closed. No way was I able to lock the bathroom door. I didn’t need to but if I had my family with me, including kids, it might have been necessary for any of us to have the door set up to lock for privacy. So that’s one problem. Depending on where you are using this door, you might not be able to have the locked, privacy on the other side of that door.

Another issue is that is takes up valuable wall space. Sure a sliding barn door eliminates the space required to swing open/shut a door, but depending on the room you will put it in, you will not be able to use the wall that the door slides in front of when the door is open. It eliminates using that wall as a space for electrical plugs and switches. You cannot have plugs if a door is sliding in front of them.  There would be no practical use for the plugs and you would eliminate a wired wall.

I also eliminates a wall to hang art.  To hang art, the sliding door would need to be set far enough from the wall that it doesn’t crash into or rub against the hanging piece or the frame around the art. You can’t use that wall for bookcase space. Any furniture in that area needs to sit out from the wall so the door can slide behind it. If the sliding door is to hide a room from view, or to keep any space mostly closed off, keep this thought in mind…you really won’t be able to do anything with that wall because eventually the door has to open.

Additionally, the sliding action on these trendy barn-style doors needs stoppers. They, of course, have stoppers but what I’m talking about are gradual stoppers. Have you seen the kitchen drawers that you can’t slam shut? They close to a point, then slowly close themselves? That’s what I mean by stopper. I haven’t found one that has gradual stopping action unless they are heavier to pull from side to side. The door in the hotel I stayed in had a smooth glide. Because it was close to the wall, when pushed in either direction, it went fast. There were no door knobs to physically grab to stop the door although you can put them on the outside of the door. Closing the door behind me while I went inside the bathroom, the door nearly pinched my fingers as it came to the bumper at the end of the track that stopped it. I’m an adult and almost pinched my fingers; I quickly noted that a child’s fingers could easily be injured or worse. So be aware of this if you install an interior barn door.

But, using the sliding door to cover two, side-by-side doorways (like the closet and the bathroom door) is what gave me the most pause and wish to caution anyone using or considering to use these doors for this purpose. (I actually saw this same design on a TV remodeling show. The door covered to side-by-side doorways.) As my husband and I were leaving the room, I reached into the closet to retrieve hanging clothes that we almost forgot to pack. Without knowing it, my husbands luggage brushed the sliding door and it quickly swung to cover the closet door and my arm got stuck between the door frame and the sliding door. After a long period of intense pain, I found my arm wasn’t broken but several weeks later, still badly bruised.

Here is a solution I like: If you don’t like a standard sized door in a particular entry, consider solid french doors. I have them throughout my house: bedroom doors, closets and the pantry. They take up less space when open and look beautiful. 20180812_2129451773072161.jpgIn this photo, you can see where a barn door would take up too much space on the small remaining wall; both a pocket and barn door would eliminate electrical plugs and switches since you cannot put plugs into to same space a pocket door needs. (The hallway french doors in the photo lead to a closet.)

When building, remodeling, and designing, consider all aspects of features you want in your house. Counter height, tile design, bathroom configuration and doors. No design feature is perfect for everyone, but take the time to think about how they will work both for and against your living space, people living in the house and your lifestyle. Find out all of the features for each brand and design. Ask a lot of questions and try things out in the showroom when possible.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 eileen@tmhomes.com Equal housing
Photos used are property of Eileen Saunders. All rights reserved. (c) 2018
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Home Safety: Garbage

Merry Christmas. It’s that wonderful time of year for families and friends to gather and celebrate the Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Christ.

BOXES:  It’s also that time of year for major purchases and some of those purchases contribute to the trash pile at your curbside.  Televisions, video game consoles, tool sets, furniture, ping pong tables, large toy sets for the kiddos all come in big boxes that end up in the trash for pick up the week after Christmas.  Did you ever stop to think about what other people see when they pass by your house on trash day?

Keep your home secure with these simple tips.

  1. break down any large box with descriptive pictures on them. Better yet, cut the boxes, turn them inside-out and  stack them together. Tie them tight with a string.
  2. rather than leave the boxes at your curbside to attract attention, take them directly to the recycling center.

WRAPPING PAPER:  You spent time shopping this Christmas season for eco-friendly, recycled wrapping paper.  Would it make sense to through it away in a plastic garbage bag? Not really. Here are some tips for eco-friendly disposal:

  1. recycle your paper. Simply fold it and place it into the recycling bin.
  2. if you don’t have recycling where you live, you’ll have to put the used paper in the trash.
  3. re-use your paper. Salvage what you can, fold it and store away for next year.
  4. use it for crafting paper, decoupage or decorative art cards. Donate it to an art classroom; some teachers would love quality, decorative paper scraps for their students.

Remember to keep your home and family safe during the holidays with these simple garbage tricks.

Merry Christmas!

Home Safety: Lock Your Car Doors

What does locking your car doors have to do with home safety?

A ton.

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I live in a house with a two-car garage. I have to drive toward my house on the driveway and turn a sharp left into the garage. But I don’t use the garage. It’s our storage room and so our three cars are parked on the driveway, lined up across the front of my house. It works out; none of us have to park on the street and no one has to move their car to let one out of the garage.

I park closest to the garage door so it’s easiest to enter the garage with groceries and stuff. I can easily plop the frozen food into the freezer and go inside of the house. But one day I left the car unlocked so my son could bring in the rest of the groceries. With that done, I did not lock the car immediately.

Our dining room window looks out at my car. That night we closed the blinds and ate dinner. Then I remembered the car was unlocked and clicked my remote only to hear the car horn twice.  It only does that when a door is open, so I looked outside and the interior lights were on.  My son and I went out of the garage door to check on the car and found it had been rummaged through; my coin tray emptied and left on my front seat. All else was in tact.

But what I went for first was to see if my garage door opener was still in its “secret” compartment.  I was relieved and grateful it was still there.

Back in the late 1990s, a neighbor in S.C. had left her garage door opener in her car and left the car unlocked.  Her garage was on the opposite side of the house from any of the bedrooms. One night thieves went through our upscale subdivision and found her garage door opener, opened the garage and emptied it out. Golf clubs, tools, and more were missing the next morning. Heartbreaking yes but there is a lesson here.

If you have a garage door opener, carry it in your purse, briefcase or hide it somewhere in your car. Most thieves, I’m told by police officers, don’t spend too much time going through cars. They know where the important spots are and take the other stuff they see. But a garage door opener is a key to your house and if that is available to them they will use it now or take it and come back later, even if your car is stolen or broken into when it is parked somewhere else.  If  your car registration info is in the glove box, you’ve just told the thief where you live and they have a key.

Be leery of cars with built-in garage door openers, too, that you can program to your house. It can’t be stolen but if you’re on vacation, and the car left at home has the garage door opener in it, be aware of the consequences.

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So here are some tips to keeping your house safe:

  1. keep your garage door opener with you and not in your car
  2. if you keep it in your car, hide it but not in a high profile spot like the center console or glove box
  3. when you go away or if you don’t need to use your garage door often, keep it locked. There is a lock button on the garage-door wall panel in your garage
  4. lock your car immediately when you get out of it
  5. keep the door between the garage and the house locked, just in case you happen to forget tip #1 and #4
  6. if you leave a key to the house in the garage for the kids or pet sitter, hide it. Don’t put it on a hook next to the door or under the mat…to easy to find.

Unfortunately, every neighborhood, even an upscale neighborhood, is a target for thieves. Keep yours less of a target by keeping your house safe.

Lock your car, keep your house safe. Keep your family safe.

5 Safety Tips: Securing Your Home Part 1

It doesn’t matter how much time you spend at your home, how many security systems or barking dogs you have, it still makes sense to follow common sense ways to keep your house secure.

l. Make sure your doors are always locked.  A story circulated last year that a mom was getting her kids ready for school. Her husband had already left for work and left the front door unlocked. She walked out of one room and into the living room to find a stranger going through her things.  True story; don’t let this happen to you.

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Credit: Creative Commons

2. Check your window locks. Surprisingly, I have noticed a lot of lower-level windows unlatched when I show a house. If someone is going to break into your house, they’ll want to find an easy way to get in. Don’t help them. Always check your windows. If y ou have a window that doesn’t shut properly, call a professional to fix it. Better to pay a few dollars for repair, than come home to find your house has been broken into.

3. Keep outside areas well lit. Do not give a thief an opportunity to hide in darkness around your house in order to break in, unseen.

4. If you have a garage but park outside, make sure your cars are locked each night before heading to bed.  I lock each of our cars by remote and watch to see the headlights light up for assurance. Not only do you leave your car vulnerable to theft when it is unlocked, but if your garage door opener is in the car you’ve just invited a stranger into your house. A former neighbor’s garage was emptied one night because she left her car unlocked. Bikes, tools, golf clubs: all gone. (that wasn’t in my current neighborhood)

5. Do not leave a key to the house under a rock near your front door, or any door. It’s so common place, someone is bound to find it. I just found an old key sticking out of my front garden. Yup…it opened my front door. Maybe I should have had my locks rekeyed when I moved in (like I always suggest to homebuyers). I know…time slips away and before you know it you’ve been in the house over a year with the same locks.  I searched near all of the other doors to my house and that was the only “hidden” key. Lesson learned for me. If you need to give someone access to your house, put a coded keypad on the front door (be sure to keep up with the batteries). If you have a garage, code the garage keypad just for that person and hide a key inside of the garage so he/she can get into the house from there. But don’t put a key under a rock or your doormat.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655  662-404-0816/662-234-5344 Equal Housing