Home Improvement

Pick a Space That Needs a Change

Have you spent too many cold, rainy weekends indoors, staring at all the things in your home that could use updating? You’re ready to make some changes and you’ll be glad to hear that May is National Home Improvement Month. Because we love anything related to home improvement, we’re celebrating!


Where should you start?

Pick the area to update that would make you fall in love with your home again. If there isn’t just one space that immediately comes to mind, ask yourself this question, “What space MOST needs to work better for our lifestyle or needs a fresh look?” We have some ideas of where you might want to start!


What’s in *your* basement?

What’s in your basement? If it’s unused exercise equipment and lots of boxes stacked on a cold concrete floor, we have some great ideas for making that space useful and fun. Finishing the basement can give you practical storage space and a cozy family room, or maybe a media room, workout room, wine cellar, or home office. We’ve helped lots of homeowners visualize the possibilities of their basements, and solved dampness, temperature and lighting problems. Plus, a finished basement is almost always the lowest cost living space you can add to your home.


Master Bedroom

What would wake up the master bedroom and make it look new again? Our first suggestion would be to eliminate wall-to-wall carpeting. A fresh hardwood floor looks more modern and is a better choice to cut down on dust and allergens. Is your nightstand crowded with books, an iPhone charging, and more? Free up some space and update the style by installing pendant lights suspended over the nightstands or a pair of sconces on the wall. Some master bedroom trends probably weren’t even considerations when your home was built. Like custom cabinetry with a beverage station featuring a bar sink, mini-fridge, and a single-serve coffee maker to jump-start your mornings. Another luxurious touch is an electric fireplace that adds coziness but doesn’t require venting.


Outdoor Living

Outdoor living spaces often focus on a deck or patio, but is there anything more iconic to American residential architecture than a porch? Just the thought of sitting in a porch swing or rocker with a cool drink on a warm summer night makes you feel relaxed, doesn’t it? If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you know how much we love porches. A front porch immediately enhances a home’s curb appeal and can fit almost any architectural style. The deep porches of colonial homes, originally designed to protect front rooms from the scorching summer sun, evoke Southern hospitality with their refined, symmetrical design and classic columns. Casual farmhouse porches are unpretentious and often wrap around the home, providing maximum room for family and friends to kick back comfortably. Arts and Crafts bungalow porches feature a natural, handcrafted look, with stone or brick trim on thick, square columns.


Back porches provide a cool respite – a place to relax with more privacy, and a view of your backyard landscape and the family at play. You get more mileage when they are screened-in, giving the extra advantage of keeping bugs at bay. (So, you can feel free to turn on a light and read while sipping that iced tea in the evening.)


“Home improvement” can mean so much more than buying a new refrigerator or replacing the roof. Updates in any part of your home can make a big difference in how it looks, works and feels for your family. We can help with all kinds of home improvement projects. Let’s talk today!

10 Costly Repairs To Avoid When Buying A Home

If you’re planning on buying a house and fixing it up before you move in, you may want to take a closer look at parts of the house you wouldn’t expect to fix. If you’re budgeting to renovate and focus on the typical areas of the home that make it nice, like your kitchens and bathrooms, keep in mind that other areas of the home may need attention. Here are some examples found.


1. Foundation repairs and leaking basements – Fixing a leaky basement, or repairing cracks, bows, or shifting in a foundation can be costly. Typically you can run into well over $10 K- $30K to fix this problem. Often basement walls are covered up and issues are not apparent until after they come down. So look for cracks in the foundation outside and if the interior of the basement is finished, look around for any evidence of mold (even minor) around the baseboards, or on the drywall.


2. Mold and water damage – If you notice any water marks, sagging, mold smells, repairs adjacent to bathrooms or kitchens, look out. Existing and pre-existing problems can be covered up, but be suspicious and if in doubt have a pro look at it for their opinion. Don’t assume that everything is fine. Minor mold and water damage can be easily fixed, but if there is a larger problem you can expect to pay dearly.


3. Structural failures – Keep your eye out for cracks in ceilings, sloping floors and beams and posts in the house that may be failing. Fixing these types of issues can cost thousands of dollars and in some instances are beyond worth fixing. Be especially careful in older homes where renovations have been done and structural items have been removed.


4. Roofing replacement – Make sure you have BOTH your roof shingles and sheathing underneath it. Have a roofer inspect the roof and also have someone take a peak up into the attic. It’s also important to have flashing and vents inspected for leaks as well.


5. Damaged and/or or poorly installed windows – Windows and doors that look tired are easy to spot. However, it’s sometimes difficult to know if they have been installed properly. Make sure there are no screw holes through the bottom of windows and the flashing on the outside of the windows are done well. If there is a draft coming from the windows that means they have not been insulated properly. Also if you feel cold or hot next to the frame of the window that is a bad sign.


6. Shower/Bathtub leaks – This is sometimes hard to tell, but a sure sign that this area of your new home is headed for trouble is if you see poor tile work. Look for creaks in the grout and uneven tile work. If the tiles are put in improperly then there are probably other mistakes like a tub without a tile flange, or drywall behind the tiles that soaks up water.


7. Asbestos – BEFORE YOU BUY A HOUSE make sure you test for asbestos in the attic, plaster in the walls, and floor tiles on the floor that look like vinyl. Especially if you see asbestos around pipes, this is the most expensive to get rid of it. Tests are not expensive and can give you piece of mind.


8. Poorly installed interior finishes – Watch out for homes where its been renovated, but not very well i.e. bad trimwork, drywall, doors, electrical, etc. Often when you purchase a home like this you are asked to pay a premium for the renovations, but if its not done right you may have to rip it out.


9. HVAC and electrical repairs – Have an experienced and licensed electrician and HVAC technician inspect your house. In some instances you can’t get insurance unless you upgrade certain aspects of the wiring in your home.


10. Bad plumbing  – New homeowners run into this all the time and plumbers aren’t cheap. Make sure you have a plumber quickly review the plumbing in the house. The most common problem is improper venting, water pressure, and drainage issues. If you sense any of these problems AFTER you have turned on ALL the fittings in the house, bring someone in to check it out.