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Yuwanda Black

Writing Sample #1

Laminate Hardwood Flooring: A Durable Option for Kitchens That’s Easy on the Budget

On interior design shows, one sentiment repeated consistently is ‘kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.’ "Kitchen and bathroom remodels continue to be two of the best investments you can make in your house. They're always right up there at the top of the list," says Sal Alfano, editorial director of Remodeling Magazine.

When many homeowners scour magazines and websites for kitchen ideas in cabinetry, appliances and countertops, they will inevitably research flooring designs. For most, hardwood is the crème de la crème – and it’s usually reflected in the none-too-budget-friendly price.

That’s where the experts at Interior Designs, Inc. can help. They put their experience to work, helping homeowners get the all-important return on investment by selecting handsome laminate flooring that lasts for years – without breaking the bank.

According to home remodeling authorities, flooring usually accounts for between two and five percent of a kitchen redesign budget. Of course, this depends on the square footage needed, type of material selected and labor (installation costs).

Benefits of Laminate Flooring

Easy to Install: Laminate hardwood flooring is designed to be installed quickly and easily using a simple "click-locking system.” Unlike wood flooring, they can be walked on right away because there’s no sanding and glazing process.

Cheap to Install: Because this type of kitchen flooring is so quick and easy to put in, it costs an average of 50 percent less than the installation of hardwood floors.

Long-Lasting: Laminate flooring is constructed by taking pieces of composite wood and pressing them together at high temperatures. Then, an image of hardwood is placed over the composite, which covers it to make the laminate. This makes it extremely durable.

Eco-Friendly: Because of the way this type of flooring is constructed, more of the tree is used in the manufacturing process versus that used to make typical wood flooring. And there are installation options that include no glue or adhesive, making it environmentally friendly.

Laminate wood flooring is available in a wide variety of options; any type of grain or wood color can be captured. Constructed using impact-resistant materials, it's easy to care for and retains its ‘like-new’ appearance for years. For budget-conscious homeowners seeking beautiful, lasting options, this type of kitchen hardwood flooring is hard to beat.

Writing Sample #2

Footstool Decor

The footstool started out as something practical, but over the years has evolved into simply "decor." For centuries, the theme of footstools seemed pretty consistent: small, made of wood, used as a foot-propper or a stair stepper.

Emerging as a class of furniture in its own right, the footstool can now be used to sit on, place something on, hide something in, or as a decor piece for an entire room.

The footstool was one of the earliest pieces developed by Egyptian culture. Historical furniture remains show the ancient Egyptian chair as being quite high off the ground, in stark contrast to other furniture of the era, which had smaller dimensions. The highness of the chair required a footstool to be reached. Once seated, the footstool was used to support the sitter's feet.

Available in a menagerie of fabrics, colors and sizes, one recent phenomena has been the cube-shaped footstool. Found in everything from simple cotton to velvet, leather and faux fur, prices range from $19.99 to well over $1,000. Patterns are limitless and hues are off the color wheel!

6 Decorating Uses for Footstools

This practical piece of furniture can be used all over the house, eg:

Bedroom: Place two small footstools at the bottom of the bed in punchy colors. Tie the look together by placing a velveteen throw at the bottom of the bed or across a nearby chair.

Living Room: Replace the coffee table (the one taking up all that space in the middle of the living room floor) with two flat-top footstools. Experiment with a unique theme — weaving them into your current decor with coordinating accent pillows for nearby sofa and chairs. They can then be moved and used as extra seating.

Hall: Halls are usually a neglected decorating space. Place a footstool in a corner and adorn it with a pillow; or place a mirror or hang a piece of wall art above it to warm up this neglected space. With your family room decor in mind, choose a stool that complements it. This will enlarge the room. And, there's that extra seating again!

Porches: Porches can also benefit from footstool decor. The crafty decorator can reupholster a wooden footstool with an outdoor-weight fabric or canvas cover fabric.

Bathroom: A small footstool here can double as an accent table for magazines and bathroom accessories.

Kitchen: Remove that old step stool from under the kitchen counter, paint it a vivid color, place a pail of dried flowers on it, and slip it into one of the empty kitchen corners.

Shoe Shelf: Stack two or three flat-top, wooden footstools on top of each other (hot gluing at legs) and use as shelving for mud-stained shoes. This is a shoe shelf that may actually get used!

Whatever your personal decorating style, you're sure to find a footstool to match. And oh yeah, don't forget its original use — to simply, 'er, prop your feet on!

Writing Sample #3

How to "Decorate Ethnic"

While it is hard to control what happens in the outside world, home is where you decide the who, what, where, when and why. Ethnic decor is filled with endless options to spice up your living space. However, you may wonder, what exactly is considered "ethnic decor."

"Ethnic decor is more a feeling than a science," says Marcelo Velez of the interior design firm Velez Hayes in New York City. "When you say modern, country, French, et cetera, an instant picture comes to mind. Ethnic decor is different. Many cannot define it, but know it when they see it."

This open-ended approach is what makes ethnic decorating fun. It's eclectic, inclusive, colorful and most of all, unique. It allows you to fill in blanks for yourself, using an internal palette to satisfy decorating needs.

Here are five easy ideas to get you started:

1. Select a room to start: Thinking in terms of one room narrows your scope so the project doesn't seem overwhelming, while also limiting cost as you feel your way into the project.

2. Decide which ethnicity(ies) you will focus on: African style is different from Middle Eastern is different from American Indian, et cetera. Don't be afraid to blend elements from several cultures. Again, that's the fun of ethnic decor -- the possibilities are endless.

3. Start with an object as the focal point and decorate around it: This can be an ethnic painting, a sculpture, a piece of furniture, et cetera. The bigger the better. Be careful, though, not to overwhelm your space.

4. Choose a color scheme: Ethnic decor is very festive, so think outside the box in terms of colors, patterns, surfaces. Soon, you will find yourself drawn to a few colors that work well together.

5. Listen to your likes and dislikes; your instincts: Many times, an object or color will "speak" to you. And, if everyone insists that this painting doesn't go with that rug, but you like it, go with it. The final product should make you the happiest.

Now, relax and enjoy!

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