Friday, August 15, 2014

Things to Consider when Buying a Hot Tub or Jacuzzi Tub

We recently purchased a new Hot Tub and Gazebo from Cal Spas in Minnesota. The purchase was not something we planned, just something that caught our eye when visiting the Minnesota State Fair. As a result we learned a few things that would have made our purchase smarter. In the end we're pleased with the decision but its easy to say now that all the work is done. In this article I'll outline the information I wish I had considered when making this purchase. I hope it helps you in your decision.

The Tub

This isn't going to be a detailed rundown on what to look for in a good tub or who to buy it from. I'll leave that to the other articles out on the internet. There are two points I'll make of things I may have changed. We purchased the top of the line system, the only thing it lacked was an LCD monitor and DVD player.

So what would I change?

Well after using it for a season I find that the multitude of jets is irrelevant for me. I am more of a soaker and actually prefer that the jets aren't all blasting. Its too much noise and I don't like the splashing. So I would look for something at a better price point and give up some of the fancy jets in favor of more common ones.

A friend of mine paid 1/2 of my cost for a more basic unit and he couldn't be happier.

So where would I put this money?

I would ALWAYS splurge and get the stereo and speakers built into the tub. My wife insisted on this and it added quite a bit to the price but I wouldn't want it any other way. The tub uses a marine radio/CD player with water proof speakers and a remote controller on the top side of the tub. You can easily hear the music and I even ran a TV in through the Auxiliary so we can hear the TV through the tub speakers. My friend who didn't buy this feature is left with setting up elaborate wiring and remote control extenders to get his stereo to play outside.

Another feature I'd suggest is fiber optic lighting. There are a bunch of small lights around the top of the tub that change color. At first glance it looks like this would just be to make it fancy. Try the tub at night and you'll find they provide a great deal of light which makes the tub much easier to use. It also helps when messing around outside the tub with CD's Drinks Towels, Chemicals etc.

My friend again, is stringing rope lighting.

So in a nutshell on the tub, consider the stereo and fiber optics and if necessary go with less jets to cover the cost.

Gazebo Information

My wife insisted on a Gazebo surrounding the tub and for years I put off the purchase because I didn't want to spend another $7000.00 on a Gazebo. Once we took the plunge I'd say that for the Minnesota winters I'd have it no other way. I have neighbors that freeze climbing in and out and maintaining their spa. Ours is like another room in the house and is quite warm in the winter due to the heat from the tub.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Refining Your Area Rug Choice

As a Managing Partner of [], the question I am often asked, "What determines the quality of a rug?" While the question posed seems relatively simple it is broad in scope and indeed more complex. There are a number of factors that need to be addressed to answer this question accurately.

The rug industry is inundated with an extensive variety of area rugs. Unlike the past, today, there are rugs targeted toward specific market segments. Therefore, before furnishing a definite reply, I inquire, "Are you shopping for an inexpensive rug or a high end hand knotted piece".

If budget is the primary criteria, there are abundant choices. For the price conscious consumer, there is an array of options. Machine-woven rugs are most popular in the mid to low price level segment, with modern machinery producing rugs beautifully simulating hand-made versions at affordable prices.

One of the reputed machine made rug manufacturer, Shaw Group has a vast selection of area rugs from contemporary to traditional and floral to nautical. One strong highlight of this company is the price range, rugs retail from $49.00 - $2000.00. Most of the collections are wilton woven with polypropylene or nylon material thus controlling the price.

At [], our top seller, the Antiquities collection boasts traditional Persian designs that are machine made with 100% wool. The intricate designs replicate hand knotted rugs along with offering the softness and shine. An added advantage of Wilton weave is that it is extra strong, and produces an incredible number of pile textures.

If you have decided to purchase a hand knotted rug, consider three important elements that profoundly impact the value of the rug. There is no doubt the quality, look and feel of hand knotted rugs far exceed any other construction. Created by hand, this category can include hand knotted, hand tufted, hand hooked, needlepoint, Aubusson and hand loomed rugs.

Three important factors determine the quality of hand knotted rugs.

The first factor, the quality of wool, which constitutes to shine is essential. Rugs made of wool have become increasing popular for two reasons; they last longer and are able to withstand high traffic. Look for 100% semi worsted, New Zealand wool.

The second stage - the weaving - is central to the quality of the rug. The number of knots per square inch is pertinent in determining the quality of the rug. The higher the knot count, the tighter the weave and generally the more expensive the piece. The finest carpets have from 400 to 700 knots per square inch. Most rugs, on average, have from 90 to 250 knots per square inch. A 9'x 12' rug takes anywhere from three to six months, depending on the quality of the rug and the number of people weaving it.

Finally, the third factor, the wash constitutes to the value. The rug first undergoes a chemical wash and is then rinsed with water to give the rug a final cleaning. The chemical wash softens the yarn and gives the rug a silky feel. The rug is then set out in the sun to dry.

The next time you are shopping for rugs first refine your choice, is it a hand knotted or machine made rug you desire? If you have determined a hand knotted rug is the ideal choice, incorporate the three elements to make an informed purchase.