5 Amazing Homes in Mexico

Whether you are looking to buy, rent or invest, why settle when it comes to a vacation home? With mountain, forest and beach front properties available, Mexico is the new spot for top vacation homes.Beauty and affordability, Mexico should be at the top of your list for vacation home locations. Get inspired and make your dream getaway a reality. Here are five of the most amazing homes in Mexico to encourage your creativity.

  1. Beachfront Villa – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: An inspiring home focused on natural beauty. A large terrace with infinity pool will allow you to enjoy obstruction free beach views and the cool ocean breeze any time of day. A shaded area complete with an elegant outdoor kitchen is perfect for outdoor entertaining.
  2. House In The Woods – Valle de Bravo, Mexico: A conceptual home focused on nature. Construct and decorate while paying attention to the natural surroundings. Main focal points and unique beauty can come from incorporating surrounding elements into your home’s foundation. Consider focusing on sustainability andecology.                                             
  3. Home with Mountain Views – San Miguel, Mexico: A mountain home focused on the vast, awe-inspiring landscape. Built into a mountain side, be pleasantly surprised with limitless views of surrounding mountains and terrain. Consider large floor to ceiling windows to enjoy these views year round. With moderate weather, enhance your home with lush gardens and water features. 
  4. A Colorful and Whimsical Cabana – Zihuatanejo, Mexico: A vivacious and fun home focused on the vibrant colors of Mexican culture. Incorporate lively shades, local textiles, decor and native building materials found locally. Incorporate indigenous culture into your design and instantly escape to the home away from home you’ve always wanted. 
  5. City Casita – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: A beautiful home in the city focused on providing non-stop entertainment options. Any popular tourist destination will provide you with all the comforts of home with the lively culture and cuisine of Mexico. Consider multiple bedrooms and large living space for group getaways and accommodating your friends and family. Chic, contemporary designs can be incorporated to give your home a luxurious atmosphere. Options with a city homes are limitless and will provide you with all the conveniences of city living.  

When considering a vacation home, these five amazing homes in Mexico have the top features everyone should consider when designing and decorating. Use these top five picks as inspiration to highlight and enhance your design aesthetic and to create the ultimate vacation experience.

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5 Tax Tips All Home Owners Should Know

With the 2013 tax season coming to an end on April 15, there is very little time left to finish your taxes and hopefully reap the reward of a hefty tax refund check. There are certain tips that homeowners can do to increase their refund amount. Below are five useful tax tips that all homeowners should know.

  1. Deductions for mortgage interest: This allows homeowners to reduce their taxable income by the amount of interest paid on their loan. If you recently bought a home or refinanced, this is definitely not something to overlook since the majority of mortgage payments go towards interest in the beginning.
  2. Deductions for mortgage insurance premiums: Insurance premiums are still deductible which helps homeowners since insurance is normally required for loans with a balance of more than 78 percent of the home’s value.
  3. Deductions for home office use: If you have a home office that is used exclusively for a small business, chances are you are able to claim a deduction for any office related expenses such as repairs and depreciation.
  4. Credit for qualified home improvements: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 allowed homeowners a credit of up to $500 for making improvements that increase a home’s energy efficiency. This would include improving insulation, windows, roofs and other energy efficient upgrades.
  5. Unqualified home improvements when selling home: Although not all home improvements and renovation projects would qualify as energy efficient, these unqualified home improvements play an important role when selling your home. Homeowners are able to deduct any renovations that helped boost your home’s value from your total profit.
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6 Ways to Redecorate Your Bathroom on a Budget

Few people have the cash for a full bathroom remodel, which can reduce your bank balance by up to $10,000. Instead of living off Ramen noodles for years, use these quick fixes for fabulous updates under $500.


1. Add Some Color


The easiest way to add glamour to your bathroom is to introduce some color. Paint, wallpaper, and accessories are inexpensive options for adding visual pop. Try some of these color combinations:

  • For a serene bathroom, choose sage green or light blue with accents of lavender.
  • For an earthy feel, stick with rich shades of brown, green, or blue.
  • For a morning wake-up call, select sunshine yellow accented with white.
  • To look beautiful every day, highlight the bathroom with peach tones, which complement skin tones.
  • To make a guest bathroom stand out, try dark colors, metallic paints, or bold patterns.

Even the tiniest change, such as installing a new shower curtain or adding cloth storage bins, can make a big difference.

2. Replace Your Hardware

Changing out cabinet hardware is a common trick for kitchen remodels, but this simple action brings benefits to the bathroom as well. Switch out your dated drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, towel racks, and toilet paper holders for their modern equivalents. Shop at clearance events, second-hand shops, and charity warehouse stores to keep your costs down.

If your budget can handle it, also invest in a new faucet and different shower fixtures. Home improvement stores and online retailers offer several matching options that are perfect for showers, soaking tubs, and walk-in bathtubs. Be sure to coordinate metal colors, such as brushed nickel, stainless steel, chrome, or brass.

3. Upgrade Your Lighting

The right bathroom lights can mean the difference between enjoying your morning routine and dreading even a quick look in the mirror. Every master bath or guest bath in most modern house plans should have a combination of natural or ambient lighting, task lighting, and possibly accent lighting. Sconces to the right and left of the mirror cast the most flattering glow, but overhead mirror lights are the second best option. Avoid having a single overhead fixture, which typically casts hideous shadows.

4. Add Textures

A fabulous bathroom engages a person’s sense of touch as well as sight. Try adding some plush towels, rattan baskets, beadboard, or a woven bath rug. Combine glass, stone, metal, wood, and cloth to match your unique tastes. Keep in mind that outdoor fabrics provide a unique look without the worry of mold and mildew. For an extra splash, use a resurfacing kit to add the look of granite to your single or double bathroom vanities.

5. Change the Mirror

Over time bathroom mirrors become damaged, scratched, or just ugly. Replace the traditional mirror with a modern framed version or a vintage find from a thrift shop. If removal is not an option, buy a mirror framing kit online.

6. Personalize Your Space

The least expensive way to update a bathroom is to use items that you already own. Arrange vacation photos or children’s drawings for the look for custom wall art. Hang a favorite houseplant from a ceiling hook or add scented candles to utility shelves. Personalizing a space always makes it feel more homey and comfortable.

By combining these tips, you can make any bathroom look great. Impress your guests, accommodate your kids, or rejuvenate your morning routine with creative remodeling on a budget.

Abby Evans is an avid blogger and recent proud homeowner. She loves studying architecture, home design and decor and plans to one day buy a custom house plan to build her dream home. 


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5 Beautiful Bathroom Countertops Every Homeowner Should Know

Double Bathroom Vanity

Photo: Jennifer Worts

The ideal bathroom countertop is affordable, functional and durable. But it should also be beautiful, adding aesthetic appeal to the bathroom for years to come. Fortunately, that last criteria is the easiest to fulfill. In fact, no matter your price point, you can find countertops that will add beauty to this hard-working room.

To help you out, I’ve gathered my top five picks for countertops that, with the right care, will still look amazing down the road. While countertop prices generally range from $10 to $100+ per square foot, installed, they can vary from state to state and from installation to installation. You’ll want to be sure to get detailed cost information from your bathroom contractor.

Here are five countertop materials to get you started.

1. Laminate

The most affordable option for countertops, laminate is formed by bonding paper and melamine resin. At prices starting at $8 per square foot, post-formed laminate is the least expensive. These ready-made counters, however, offer few custom options. High-pressure laminate is available starting at $10 per square foot, and comes in a broad array of colors and styles. If done well, some offer the look of natural stone. While laminate is extremely durable, it is costly to repair.

2. Ceramic Tile

With prices starting at under $25 per square foot, ceramic tiles offer waterproof bathroom countertops at an affordable price. Glazed tiles are non-porous and durable, and are available in a wide range of colors, patterns and textures. A major drawback are the grout lines that divide them. Grout needs frequent attention to keep it looking fresh. Gray grout, however, is growing in popularity. Gray grout not only needs less maintenance, but adds a subtle, decorative touch to tile countertops.

3. Fiber Cement

For both the look and the feel of stone at a reasonable price, fiber cement countertops are a good option. Prices start at $30 per square foot. The material resembles slate, but is far more versatile, as it can be ordered and cut into just about any shape imaginable. Colors are limited, however. Fiber cement usually comes in red, green, light gray and dark gray. Fiber cement’s main drawback for bathroom countertops is that it is porous and must be resealed every few months.

4. Solid Surfacing

Made from polyester or cast-acrylic, solid surfacing prices start at $45 per square foot. These hardened plastics are extremely durable and entirely non-porous. The easy-care material can be cut to any specification. Manufacturers continually release new patterns and colors, including several new ones that resemble quartz, mica or glass.

5. Stone

Stone is considered the most luxurious material for countertops, both for its elegant look and for its price. The most durable stones are often the most expensive. For sheer beauty, it’s hard to match the look of marble. A fine Italian marble starts at about $100 per square foot. Many stones, but not all, can be polished or honed. Most stone materials require periodic sealing.

What type of countertop and vanity are you looking for? Let us know in the comments and we’ll set you up with some feedback.

Brittany Mauriss is editor for CalFinder.com, an awesome free service that connects you with bathroom remodeling contractors for any phase of your project. We’re also good for inspiration, pictures, bathroom remodeling ideas, and one-on-one homeowner talk.

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The Most Fascinating Bathrooms in the World

For most people, a bathroom is just a room to use for bodily functions. For others, it’s a place to display creativity and imagination. A trip around the world will turn up some of the most interesting bathrooms you’ve ever seen. Both public and private, these bathrooms offer something not commonly seen.

Weirdest Bathrooms Video:

Wacky Toilets

Around the world, there are toilets that have been transformed from a basic bowl and water tank into something worth checking out. If you’ve been jaded by the toilet in your own home, take a peek at these interesting alternatives.

This bizarre-looking skull toilet is found in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where you don’t flush paper down the toilet due to bad pipes. Instead, the toilet paper is dropped into a wastebasket . . . in this case, the missing molar at the back there. Toilets with teeth never seem to be a great idea, even when they’re non-biting ones like this.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jillianr/2320751478/

This overly adorned toilet is found in Turkey. As if the serial killer motif weren’t creepy enough, some of the toys actually talk to you. Definitely an interesting toilet that you would only want to use when desperate.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darcym/46631588/

Did you ever worry about a toilet monster when you were a child? This toilet makes that nightmare a reality!

Photo Source: http://loscuatroojos.com

Unusual Urinals

For some reason, men’s rooms tend to have more interesting themes, perhaps because urinals just lend themselves to oddities like those shown below.

Rising Urinal Video:

These giant mouths seem to be a common theme in several bars around the globe, but these first ones are tame . . . take a look at the ones further down in the list!

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laureskew/28670269/

These urinals have a whole different kind of mouth. Perhaps a little less creepy than the ones above.

Photo Source: http://www.constructionmanagementschools.net

If you’ve ever wished your indoor bathroom were designed to make you feel like you were outdoors, this waterfall urinal might just do the trick. It’s found at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/omaromar/2837887959/

Not many bathrooms let you play games while you pee, but this urinal at an undisclosed location in Zurich, Switzerland, is designed for fun. The more you drink, the more likely you are to make a goal!

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trainor/2656987768/

These urinals may seem a tad feminine for a men’s room, but hey, they’re art, after all. Designed by Clark Sorenson, these cost upwards of $6,000, so you probably won’t see them in a public bathroom near you anytime soon. The ones below can be found at Dobbies Garden World in Scotland.

Photo Source: http://www.clarkmade.com/

Crazy Sinks

A bathroom vanity sink is just for washing your hands, right? A large percentage of the population doesn’t even use them . . . but these sinks fairly beg you to test them out!

Cool Sink Video:

Forget splashing around in a sink in some bathrooms. This hand sanitizer gets rid of the age old worry of how to turn the water on and off without getting germs on you again; it simply sprays disinfectant on your hands when they are between the two bars. The disinfectant evaporates rapidly, leaving you with germ-free hands. At least, until you touch the bathroom door.

Photo Source: http://gajitz.com

Why not go back to nature with a rock as a sink? This hollowed-out piece of the outdoors makes a lovely, if not chunky, bathroom sink.

Photo Source: http://archzine.com

Speaking of nature, this elegant bathroom vanity shell sink looks more like a piece of art than a place to scrub up, but it’s a prime example that art can also be functional.

Photo Source: http://simping.com

There’s nothing like some live animals to make your hand-washing and tooth-brushing experience just a little stranger. This sink features an enclosed aquarium, complete with live fish. Unfortunately, if you want it, you’ll find that HomeClick seems to have discontinued the product.

Photo Source: http://www.ohgizmo.com

Trippy Tubs and Showers

Tubs can be pretty standard . . . but we’ve managed to find a few that really stand out in their class, along with some interesting showers you might want to take a look at. Why should bathing be boring?

This shower looks like something out of the future. With so many gadgets and buttons, it might take you a few years to figure out just how to turn on the water, but this shower features steam, acupuncture shower jets, and a touch screen TV, plus its own water heater. Oh, and it can be yours for just $4,300!

Photo Source: http://www.switched.com/2009/03/04/best-shower-ever/

Now this is the true definition of a walk in bathtub! Anyone who is really into shoes will love this shoe-shaped bathtub, and it comes in a variety of designs for the shoe connoisseur.

Photo Source: http://www.luxurylaunches.com

Ever fancied bathing in an egg? That’s what this interesting shower offers – the aesthetic pleasure of bathing in a rather odd-looking shower stall.

Photo Source: http://www.yankodesign.com/2010/01/28/egg-shower/

Interesting Wall Art

Forget the toilets: These bathrooms are all about the walls! From murals to mirrors, they stand out thanks to some very interesting art.

Looking for a special place to take care of business? The Peace Palace at The Hague in the Netherlands goes all out with the decor in their bathroom. Even the stall dividers are made of marble, and the entire place is sheer elegance. You’ll feel like royalty when you’re using these toilets.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mllerustad/276087769/

At Dinosaur World in Plant City, Fla., you’ll find this decidedly prehistoric men’s room, complete with a brontosaurus or two walking across the wall. The entire bathroom is painted up with this mural, making it a pretty impressive place to pee.

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aloha75/4739229937/

Bathroom Concepts to Wow You

Sometimes you just need to look at the whole bathroom to really be impressed. These washrooms are designed to wow, freak you out, or just make you want to remodel your own.

Aquarium Bathroom Video:

This bathroom in London looks mirrored on the outside, but from the inside, you can see everything going on around you. It’s enough to make more than a few people shy away from using the bathroom, although no one can actually see in. The toilet is actually an art exhibit by Monica Bonvicini, titled “Don’t Miss a Sec.”

Photo Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4326340/#.tubatrlgcca

When it comes to big and beautiful, this Singapore bathroom at the Changi airport is big enough that you’ll want to hang out there instead of at your gate!

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/qeny/3677024490/

This bathroom is actually quite tasteful, but we’re betting you won’t see too many other bathrooms with stripes like that on the floor. This Venice hotel bathroom at La Saturnia could have also been filed under most spacious . . . look at all that room!

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8976453@N03/556267689/

This bathroom in Egypt really conserves space: The toilet and sink area doubles as a shower stall. Just make sure you take the toilet paper and towels out of the bathroom before you turn it on!

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/endlisnis/451371061/

Whether you view bathrooms as a basic necessity and nothing more or you find them an interesting study in decor, these bathrooms are most definitely some of the more intriguing ones you’ll find anywhere in the world.

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