Both before and after you do your remodeling job, you’ll want to have a home inspector come check things out. Some reasons why are that, for one, you want to make sure everything is in good structure and structurally sound before you start tearing down walls and what not. And the same reason holds true for after the remodeling job is done. You want to double and triple check that everything is fine before your family gets back in the house.
There are quite a few things to keep in mind when making the decision. Here are some guidelines to guide your decision making process:
How long have they been in business?
For the same reason that you should be mindful of local roots when choosing a contractor you’ll want to make sure that your home inspector has deep, local roots.Read More
Ok, let’s be honest: the decorators from the Palace of Versailles could come remodel your house and the wife would probably still find something to complain about.
Nonetheless, you still want to be proactive when shopping for and deciding on home decor features. There are a few principles that you should probably keep in mind as you plan and decide:
Go For Style, Not Fashion
Style is eternal and fashion is fleeting and temporary. You don’t want to be remodeling or redecorating again in five years so make sure you’re not painting your ceiling black or having a mural of the Miami Heat adorn a whole wall in your living. It sounds obvious but you’d be srprised at how many people make such a mistake and come to regret it.Read More
Before you become concerned about the title of this post, don’t worry I am still living in my house and the remodel project is going forward as planned. My wife is not kicking me out and this remodeling project hasn’t caused me to go insane, not yet anyway. I’ve actually decided to get some more help with phase 2 of the big remodel, so I have asked my brother-in-law to come down to Houston and help me move the remodeling along faster. He is a teacher and has the summers off, so he agreed to come down for the summer to help me out but he declined to stay with us at the house during the renovations.
So the only reason I was looking for Houston apartment locators was to help my brother-in-law find a place to stay on a temporary basis for the summer while he helps me with the renovations. I decided to take the initiative on getting him an apartment. After all; he is helping me work on this major remodeling project free of charge. I offered to pay for his moving costs, but bonus points go to me for finding Moveforfree.com in my search for Houston apartments, because finding an apartment through them means that they will pay for his moving costs. It’s almost like I was rewarded for my good deed, but really I just got lucky when I came across their site.
Now that you know I am employing some free help, you’re probably wondering what Phase 2 will include for the remodeling project. Since I now have some help for the summer, I decided to go ahead with renovating the bathrooms. Having the help means a quicker timeframe to completion and that means less time for the main bathroom to be out of commission and that in turn means a happier wife and family which means that I don’t have to be stressed out. I plan on having the master bathroom, the main full bathroom upstairs and the downstairs powder room completely done by the end of the summer.
For the master bathroom, we are going to completely gut it and redo everything, from the vanity with granite countertop and Italian ceramic tiles to the brand new Jacuzzi tub and separated shower complete with 4 very large, very powerful massaging showerheads. My wife is not happy about having to share the main bathroom with the children but I estimate she will have the master bathroom of her dreams in 3 weeks’ time and she will forget all about the pain of sharing the main bathroom with everyone else.
Next we will tackle the downstairs powder room. There are two main reasons for tackling the powder room second. First of all, no one will have to suffer anything more than a walk upstairs while that bathroom is out of commission, secondly we are going to knock out the pantry next to that bathroom so that we can expand the powder room in to a fully functional bathroom, complete with a shower stall. This allows me to gut the main bathroom upstairs while providing a place for the rest of the family to shower while the main bathroom is under construction. As you may have guessed, once the Master bathroom and the powder room expansion are done, we will be doing a minor renovation to the upstairs full bathroom. This will include a new vanity and Jacuzzi tub, but we will not be replacing the ceramic floor or shower tiles.
Stay tuned for pictures and progress reports as we get the next phase of the remodel project going.
When I decided to remodel my bathroom, I figured I could handle it myself. I had some experience with home improvement, including sanding and sealing wood floors, and some electrical wiring and plumbing in the form of installing a dishwasher. Remodel a bathroom? No problem – besides, my brother is handy. I could always call him if I got in a bind. I could see the finished remodel in my head. I spent hours drawing plans, choosing just the right replacement pieces and considering the color palette. My dining room was turned into the staging room for the future bathroom of my dreams. I had all of the pieces assembled, just as I’d seen them in my head.
I got started on my project. I ran wires, moved plumbing, put in a (level) sub floor, blanketed the entire room in a waterproof membrane. Next, I put in a jetted tub and added mismatched dressers converted to vanities and put clear sink bowls on top. What I didn’t do was install the shower pan correctly, which I didn’t realize until a couple of weeks after I thought I’d finished the remodel. I’m not big on reading directions. Things are usually pretty easy to figure out once you get them out of the box. It was just a shower pan! I’d put hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears into this remodel. The shower pan was the easy part.
Problem with the Shower Pan
I finished the entire bathroom in under a month. I was so proud of the job I’d done. I showed pictures to anyone who would look and posted pictures to all of my social media. It was beautiful and functional … until it wasn’t. After taking a shower to get ready for work, I went down to the kitchen to have a cup of coffee before I headed out the door. There, right in the middle of my kitchen ceiling, was a water stain that had never been there before. Was there a problem with the plumbing? Did I have a leaky pipe? No. A few choice words crossed my mind when I realized the leak was coming from my newly-finished shrine of a bathroom above.
Fixing the Problem
I called my brother, the handy one, and asked him to come help me out. After he asked some pointed questions about my remodel process, he realized that I hadn’t caulked the drain flange when I installed the shower pan. Because of this oversight, I had to deconstruct my newly-installed shower!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to save the tile that I had installed over the pan. I was also unable to save the original pan and had to replace it. Once all that was done, I still had to fix my kitchen ceiling. Shower pans are designed to funnel your shower water into the drain. Any leak along the way will wreak havoc with your bathroom, and whatever is underneath your bathroom. Trust me. If you’re contemplating a bathroom remodel, make sure you check out the easy-to-follow directs on shower pan installation, from Dix Systems.Read More
The time finally came to remodel the spare bedroom, so we had to move the furniture out of the spare room and in to the master bedroom temporarily until the remodel project was complete. Well a few days after we moved the spare room furniture in to our master bedroom we started noticing that we were getting little bug bites throughout the night as we woke up in the morning. The worst possible thing happened. Apparently the bed in the spare room was infested with bed bugs and we had inadvertently infested our bed with the bed bugs. The whole house was on red alert because our son has a terrible allergic reaction to most bug bites and sometimes even winds up in the hospital because of some. We had to get rid of this infestation quickly before it spread throughout the house.
We started with the usual protocol. We stripped down every bed in the house and washed the bedding and dried them on a super high heat for longer than usual. We had our son sleep over at his grandmother’s house for a few days until we could be sure the infestation was cleared up. Meanwhile the renovation of the spare bedroom was on hold because the contractors did not want to work in an environment that put them at risk for bringing home bed bugs to their own houses and families.
We might have tried to do the removal ourselves if it weren’t for the risk that bed bug bites posed for our son but we decided not to chance it. So we looked up bed bug pest control and decided on Vancouver’s Green Valley Pest Control. We were out of their service area because we actually live 40 minutes outside of Vancouver, but they were nice enough to make the service call to our home anyway.
They only took two days to come out and spray and they were very thorough. They didn’t simply spray down the beds and some furniture; they asked us a bunch of questions which helped them determine places they should spray that we wouldn’t have even thought of, because we have rooms with furniture that is hardly ever used. We had to leave the house for those two days because of the harsh chemicals used to kill bed bugs and our son had to stay away for a week’s time but we know for sure the infestation was cleared up by a professional company and we don’t have to worry if we missed any.
They even gave us some great tips for pest control that we use these days to help keep the incidents involving our son and keeping bug bites down to a minimum. The renovation of the spare bedroom was well under way after we cleared the bed bugs out and was finished only a few days later than the original finish date that the contractors had predicted. Now we have a beautiful spare bedroom that my mother-in-law can use when she visits and we don’t have to worry about bed bugs ruining her stayRead More
Putting on the finishing touches to a remodel job are just as important as the big construction work if not more important. The underlying work that gets done in a remodel job usually affects durability and functionality so I’m not trying to suggest that it isn’t important. I’m just trying to say that if you spend some extra time and attention on the finishing touches, then your remodel will have that extra bit of pop that other people will notice when they see the finished product.
Oftentimes the most overlooked space in a remodel is the closet, but a nicely done, well thought out closet can add charm to a room and make a home feel like a home. I understand that people see closets at utilitarian and are more likely to spend less time designing and remodeling a closet but the good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make a closet stand out as a great feature.
We recently remodeled the master bedroom in our home and the one thing I have always wanted for our walk in closet was some really nice craft storage furniture. Best Organizers had some great options for closet space design. I have always wanted my master closet to be more than just some wire mesh shelving and a bar to hang my clothes on but I also don’t like the look of those California closet furniture jobs. They look too mass produced to me and I wanted something that looks more custom made for me.
So after looking at a lot of different online retailers of closet space designs I settled on a dark wood set of closet furniture that would give my closet a sort of country club locker room feel without the lockers. The benches were high quality and made of a dark rich wood and the locker stalls were also made of a dark rich wood but had no doors on them. I had two of those installed on each of the side walls so there were four in total and on the back wall I had two sets of shoe shelves installed in both corners with a beautiful hand carved coat rack between the two ends, to hold all my dress shirts and suit pants. But the centerpiece of this whole closet remodel was a beautiful mahogany piece that has glass top drawers to hold slacks and casual clothing including one side dedicated to all my non-dress shoes.
Before the remodel project began I had nice new plush carpeting installed in the closet and canned lighting on dimmer switches to give the closet a calm relaxing ambience. I have dreamed of having this closet for years and I finally have it. Sometimes I spend much longer getting ready for the day because my closet puts me in such a relaxed and pleasant mood.
I know not everyone is that keen about closet spaces but when people come to check out the job we did on our master bedroom, almost everyone falls in love with the newly remodeled walk in closet and frankly I believe most of them are quite jealous. The next time you are going to remodel a room, consider giving the closet a makeover as well. You won’t regret it.Read More
Last week we tackled the light remodel of our basement. It is already partitioned off and has all the walls put up with insulation and electrical run to where we need it but we still needed to put up the drywall, tape and mud it and then the dreaded painting had to be done. One thing I like about these projects is putting my home décor skills to use once the construction work is done. My husband and his friend were easily convinced to tackle the basement finishing with some beer and a pizza as long as the game was playing on the big 50” television while they were working. They saw it as an excuse to hang out and have some beers during the game. Once they had the construction done it was my turn to get in there and liven the place up with my décor skills.
First I had to choose the paint colors. I had free reign to choose whatever colors I wanted to but I had to use some discretion. My husband wouldn’t appreciate it if I went with a coral color with painted shells on the wall. After all, this was going to be a place for him and his buddies to hang out as well as our laundry room. I chose a light gray color and everyone was happy about that. When it came to furniture we already had a set that was designated for the basement recreation room so I didn’t have to do anything for that. The furniture already went with the gray color I chose for the walls. I decided to buy some matching throw pillows to brighten the room up because our basement like most basements was lacking in natural light due to the lack of windows.
We do however have a number of block glass windows throughout the basement which I hate to look at because generally speaking they scream basement whenever I walk down there so it was time to do some creative sewing. I looked up local Janome Dealers and found a really nice, inexpensive JanomeFlyer that would do the job I needed to do. I ordered it and went to my local store to find some material. I was going to make some mini curtains for all those ugly block windows in our basement and I was going to do it on a budget.
I bought a roll of nice material for the cost of a steak dinner. It was gray with some blue design printed. Nothing gaudy or too bright but subtle, yet it would stand out enough to catch people’s eyes when they came in to our basement. I wanted people to feel a little pop when they saw our basement. Nothing too extravagant, just enough to take notice that some time and effort went in to this basement remodel. Once I had the measurements down, it took me half of a Saturday afternoon to make all the curtains for the block windows, 9 windows, 2 halves for each window so 18 curtains in total.
Half a Saturday and the cost of a steak dinner later, our basement remodel was complete and it looked nice. It looked cozy and inviting without spending a lot of money or time.Read More
The time can come in any home remodeling journey when you have to begin weighing and considering your priorities. We can’t have everything we want in life. What’s more, despite what the song says the best things in life aren’t necessarily free. To be blunt, they’re often damn expensive.
A good example of something that’s damn expensive but mighty fine is a remodeled kitchen and add-on home office. They’re both a lot of trouble and headaches as well. When we started our remodeling job, it was apparent early on that our kitchen redecorating had to be done properly and to the nines. After all, the reason you keep a “honey do” list is so you can turn it into “honey dew” if you catch my drift! Problem is, we had a lot of other things we wanted and needed. Tops on my list was a new home office. Loans are a pain in the buns and I’m personally debt averse, so I knew something had to give. That’s when my neighbor Troy mentioned a site he used called Boomsold to get cash for cars.
Troy got my wheels to turning. Though they might be slow to get traction and worn down enough that you can see the wiring, when those wheels do start they go awfully fast and aren’t quick to stop! You see, we’d been running out of space in our house to add the home office. Which is real unpleasant because I do most of my work from the house. Right now, I’ve got a little work station set up on our kitchen table but this is inconvenient and unsustainable. Meanwhile, we’ve got an extra car I used to use for my old job collecting dust in the garage. I put two and two together and realized that if I could shop around cash for cars sites like www.carflicker.com I could trade in that old hunk of junk and use the cash to remodel half of the garage to be a new home office. It’s a win win.
I did my home work and scoured half the internet to find out what site offered the most cash for cars which was Car Cash Today. They had a yard relatively nearby, so I made the trek down there and got my wife to follow in her car. The whole process was relatively simple and painless, and I walked away with a nice pile of cash to use for my new home office. Fast forward three months later, and I’m typing this from a beautiful, functional office (in silence without kids running around and wife nagging) that used to be a garage. My productivity has skyrocketed as has my income as I’ve even been able to take on an extra client. Interestingly enough, I’ve actually been able to spend more quality time with the family since when I’m working I can give 100% focus to my work, and I end up spending less hours in the office than I used to at the kitchen table with my head stuck in my laptop!Read More
The reason I say you don’t want your wife to see these is because she’s going to want everything she sees for her own kitchen! Unless you work at Goldman Sach’s then your golf budget is probably in for a rude awakening and a case of severe shrinkage every time she heads to the home supplies and decor store.
Nonetheless, having a beautiful, modern kitchen can be quite rewarding for the home family. Especially if your wife can cook. Cindy loves to cook and so I was (relatively) happy to reward her with a fine, updated kitchen with great utensils and beautiful accessories and decor. Since I’ve already discussed some of the must have appliances you’ll need for a remodeling as well as many of the design and aesthetic principles of decoration, I thought in this post I’d just showcase what “the fruit of your labor” might look like once you’re done. This will also give you some inspiration should you decide to remodel or if you’re trying to decide whether or not to remodel. Enjoy and let me know which you like best in the comments!Read More
While bathroom remodeling is an arduous task, the payoff can be immense when you get ready to go to work and bathe yourself every morning in a room fit for a king. Women seem to spend approximately 80% of their waking lives in the bathrooms as well, so believe me when I say that a beautiful bathroom makes the wife happy. Who knows why, but I do know that she insists on showing it every one of her girlfriends who comes over. Well, they all ask for it anyway. Then, she blushes and giggles in delight when they won’t stop going-on and on about how beautiful our new master bathroom is.
The husbands are never as thrilled. Maybe because they know the first question they’ll get when they get on the door for the read home is “when can we get one like the Johnsons?!”
Poor fellas, they have no idea what pain is headed their way! Anywho, I wanted to show you five bathrooms that will looked at and used as inspiration when we were planning our remodeling job. You’ll get some good ideas from them!
Remodeling is a tough decision to make. In many cases, you’re better off just getting a new house. Especially if you’ve got the money to spend and don’t want to deal with the hassle, uncertainty, and risks of a renovation.
For our family, it made sense to remodel. We love our location and neighbors. The area has great schools, and the kids are happy. The house just needed some updates to make it more functional for our family’s needs.
Here are some things we kept in mind during this process, as we did entertain the thought of buying a new home or even buying a lot and building:
Why do you want to remodel?
It’s no secret that remodeling is a difficult, strenuous and stressful process. So, you definitely want to make sure that you’re doing so for the right reasons.
Do you want to remodel to increase the value of your home? This might not be a good idea unless you’re planning on selling your house and moving to another home in the near future.
Are you trying to keep up with the Jones’? This is never a good idea as the Jones family will just turn around and get the other, newest shiniest gadget. Besides, this kind of mindset will only lead to a never-ending circle of envy and dread.
Do you really care about how your house looks?
Many renovations are cosmetic in nature. At some point, you have to take stock of your own values and consider whether aesthetics and visual appeal are really things you value in day-to-day life. If you’re the type person who is clueless about design and doesn’t care. Then maybe there are smarter or funner things you can spend your money on and less stressful projects you could undertake.
Can you afford it?
This should probably be first in the list. Ultimately, redecorating or remodeling a house is an anscillary and unnecessary expense. If you’re going to have to take on a lot of debt to do it — debt that will hamstring your expenditures and that of your family in the near-future — then don’t do it. You certainly don’t want to be dipping into the kids’ college funds to redecorate a kitchen that your wife has stepped foot it since the Clinton administration.
Will it be worth it in the end?
Here, it pays to have a high-powered occipital and visual cortex. Try imagining what your house will look like when it’s finished and how you and your family will feel. Then, imagine the 3 months of pain and inconvenient and uncertain living conditions that you’ll have to endure to get there. Is the pain worth the end-satisfaction? If not, then don’t do it.
What will you do when you have to leave the house?
This is a huge cause of concern and potentially a huge expense that many don’t consider before hand. Sure, in some cases you can stay in the house while it’s remodeling. But even then, keep in mind that construction workers, designers, painters, plumbers, and everyone else (including the kitchen sink) are going to be coming and going on a daily basis while you all try to get on with your lives.
If you have to stay at a hotel for weeks or months on end, then that is a humongous potential expense that needs to be included in your analysis. Also, if you plan to stay with relatives, consider how that could affect your relationship with them. How comfortable will everyone still be after seeing grandpa and grandma or uncle and aunt for two months straight?
In our case, we own a timeshare on the shore. We knew we didn’t want to remodel during the school year as that would make life just to difficult for all of us and the kids. So, we decided to spend a large chunk of the summer comfy and tanning on the beach and then spent a few weeks here and there with the grandparents. In fact, the wife and I even got a chance to take a vacation just to ourselves — something we hadn’t gotten to do in years.Read More
Having some idea of the basics and fundamentals of interior design is very important before undertaking a house remodeling project. Costs can run up fast — especially when it comes to home decor, and if you’re not prepared to say to the wife and no to her friends and no to her relatives and yours and no to the kids and no to any designers poking their heads about like wanton giraffes then do not pass go and proceed to bankruptcy proceedings!
Okay, I exaggerate, but still. You’ve got to understand the basics and the principles so you can be sure to make the right investments which will improve the value of your house while making it aesthetically pleasing and wifely pleasing.
Here’s what you need to know:
Unity and Consistency
The decorations need to be consistent and relevant from room to room and area to area. You don’t want rustic New England in the sun-room and then have a sleek, modern kitchen for instance.
The other way is you stay consistent with your colors. Pick 3-4 colors and stick with them — or within shades of them — throughout the house. A good plan for color inspiration is to look to nature and see what colors appear together often in the natural world. Those same colors will be aesthetically pleasing and flow well together in your house just the same.
Symmetry and Balance
When we talk about symmetry there are a few things to keep in mind. The first principle is symmetrical balance, meaning that your objects and features of the room operate in shape symmetry about themselves in a vertical axis. You see this a lot in old houses where rooms are perfectly balanced with matching features and walls on all sides though modern design has become more asymmetrical with flowing, open design becoming predominate.
In interior design and decoration, rhythm refers is all about the repetition of visual patterns. Your patterns should be congruent, reoccurring and organized to achieve a balanced, stylish look. The visual patterns and symmetries of your house should also easily progress from one to the next.
In our house, we paid special attention to both color and pattern. We like a lot of cool blue colors so we repeated those same colors throughout the house then used certain patterns as well, though in different form. For example, my wife found a tile pattern that she LOVED which we used for the kitchen walls as well as to adorn the fringe of the fireplace.
The best part is, if you’re strategic about reusing these same styles you can save money by purchasing in larger quantities. Win, win.
Contrast is king, so they say. Well, they say a lot of things. But one thing you don’t want “they” — being your wife and family — to say is a negative or disappointing word about the design once the renovation is finished.
So, pay special attention to the contrast to add to the visual appeal. That makes picking out couch cushions that contrast in color and/or pattern with the couch, drapes, so on and so forth. But, be careful not to overdo it or your design will look ghastly and frightening.
In reality, your wife is probably going to play the biggest role in this process — which will be fine with you — trust me. But, it’s good to know and internalize these principles to help you make informed decisions. Plus, when your wife insists she needs $500 throw pillows or whatever, then you can give an educated recommendation on cheaper alternatives.Read More
Remodeling your kitchen is a huge and potentially lengthy and costly undertaking. It’s also an important one considering that’s where all your families meals are prepared and often served every day.
A well-functioning kitchen can make for a happy wife, and we all know what they say about when Momma is happy!
That said, a kitchen remodeling job isn’t for everyone! See consider these factors below before deciding on whether or not you want to undertake a kitchen remodeling job.
How much do you use the kitchen?
For a plethora of reasons, many modern families don’t use their kitchens that often. Or, if they do, it’s especially or mainly the refrigerator and microwave. Then they’re eating out or driving thru for the rest of their meals. It’s sad but true.
If that’s you, then maybe a kitchen remodeling isn’t worth it now unless you’re looking to increase the value of your home before selling it (sooner rather than later).
If you’re a family that looks to make and take all your meals at home, and your outdated appliances or lack of natural gas stoves or too-small, too-weak oven are hampering your ability to adequately feed your family then it’s probably time to make that investment! It’s all about performance, functionality, utility, and practicality.
How often you entertain?
If you’re having friends, family, and guests over often — or you’d like to — then yes it would behoove to consider an update to your kitchen to make sure you have the ability to serve them fine meals like a proper host and in a proper manner!
How easy is it to get around?
This is another point in the functionality category, but it bears repeating if you’re a frequent chef. What kind of space do you have in your kitchen? Do you have room to maneuver and reach everything that needs to be reached? Not only is having space adequate but having easily accessible space is one of the prime factors that should drive your decision-making process.
Will an updated kitchen increase the value of your home?
This point is especially important if you’re planning to put your house on the market anytime soon. I can’t emphasize it enough though. Nothing turns buyers off like he knowledge that they’ll have to remodel a kitchen! For the same reasons that you should be careful before remodeling yours — it’s a pain in the buns after all — is the same reason a buyer will be extremely cautious before committing to a house that will necessitate a kitchen updating.
In this case, even if you’re only able to make gradual or aesthetic updates then that might still make sense and help alleviate buyer shell shock from walking into an archaic kitchen and then visualizing all the pain that will be headed their way! In this case, it may be wise to update iteratively and add fixtures and appliances and features when you can afford them and to plan and budget ahead.
Some common causes for concern that will necessitate a kitchen remodeling:
- Outdated appliances
- Electric stove tops rather than gas
- Undersized components like refrigerator and oven
- Poor or outdated aesthetics and visual appeal
- Faded or outdated colors and design features
- Illogical or inaccessible functionality
- Lack of storage space
It pays to be extra cautious when making this decision because of the safety and hygiene issues involved but also because in the vast majority of houses you only have one kitchen. While if you want to remodel bathrooms or a bedroom you can usually shuffle family members and/or duties here and there, with a kitchen you’re stuck eating out for however long it takes them to complete the job!Read More