I Am Fixing This Place Up

This place was something of a mess when I found it, but that worked out for the better for me. The former owner had been quite old and like a lot of people who become very old they were not really capable of doing some of the stuff you need to do to maintain a house. There are lots of small things, like for example about half of the plantation shutters needed to be replaced and that is not so simple as it seems when you are paying something above a hundred and thirty dollars for each one of them. I needed six of them and so that really adds up.…

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Affordable New Home Construction - 5 Tips on Getting the Most For Your Money

Affordable New Home Construction – 5 Tips on Getting the Most For Your Money

With the real estate market floundering in many areas nationwide, this may be the best time to build a new home rather than buying an existing home. Building a home can be affordable, if you follow these tips:

Affordable New Home Construction Tip #1: Estimate First – Plan Second

Just like a kid in a toy store, it’s easy to get carried away once the idea machine is turned on. Extra bedrooms, an exercise room, a studio, a home office – all of these add-ons will have a dramatic impact on your new home’s price tag. Subtracting them from your building plan because they put your project over budget, even if that plan lives only in your imagination, is painful. Better to add them in if your budget allows after you’ve gotten several estimates.

Affordable New Home Construction Tip #2: Location Still Matters

There may be a very good reason that lot is priced so much lower than the others in that new development. Your building lot location is no place to skimp. If a lot is filled with trees, rocks, or has exceptional drainage challenges, your construction costs will go through the roof. Make sure the lot you choose will be easy for your builder to work with – consider utilities, grading, and clearing before you set your heart on a lot.

Affordable New Home Construction Tip #3: Keep Your Home in Shape

Those “interesting” home shapes you may have seen while you were on vacation make for a great conversation starter, but are enough to break any construction budget fast. Complicated is interesting – but simple is affordable. This doesn’t mean you need to have a cookie-cutter home, by any means. But stick to traditional home styles to stretch your home building dollar the farthest.

Affordable New Home

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Affordable, Energy-Efficient Home Construction

Affordable, Energy-Efficient Home Construction

As a real estate professional, I can remember the time when at the top of a homeowner’s wish list were things like a master bedroom suite or a gourmet kitchen, but times have changed, and so has the buyers wish list.

While buyers still have these wonderful amenities on the list, they are asking for energy-saving options as their must have items on their list.

Here is a list of options that are affordable and provide immediate savings. Some of these items are: 2×6 walls, house wrap, energy-efficient windows and energy-efficient appliances.

Construction:

Make sure the walls of the home are framed with 2×6 lumber. Using 2×6 lumber for framing allows extra room for more insulation, which will keep the home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

House wrap:

It is installed right after framing, and it literally “wraps” the entire house to create a thermal barrier that keeps the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The wrap also acts as a vapor barrier between exterior materials and the framing lumber.

Windows:

More home buyers today love windows, as they bring in more natural light, open up rooms and provide a connection to the outside. But there is thermal transfer with windows. A quality builder will know how to balance the homeowner’s desire for “walls of windows” while still meeting the new more stringent code requirements.

Appliances:

Appliances account for for a sizeable percentage of electric usage in a home, especially the refrigerator, dishwasher and clothes dryer. Buyers should make sure to use ENERGY STAR rated appliances or an equivalent.

Attic Fan: an attic fan greatly reduces the amount of work for an air conditioner by getting rid of the heat generated from roof absorption.

Energy-efficient hot water heater:

Almost 20 percent of …

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Designer Kitchens and Bathrooms

Designer Kitchens and Bathrooms

No matter how you furnish your home styles are constantly changing so it is no surprise when you take a critical at your home and realise that it is looking very dated.

Kitchens and bathrooms seem to take the brunt more that any other rooms in the house, this would not matter so much but both the kitchen and bathroom cost a fortune to renovate.

Designers seem to constantly come up with new ideas on how your kitchen or bathroom should look and when you thought you had a really up to date bathroom or kitchen after spending a fortune a couple of years ago, they are egging you on to change it to keep up with the new styles and designs.

Think back to when the new coloured bathroom suites came out, everyone had to have one. But the bathroom designers were not content with that, every twelve months or so they brought out a new colour and it felt like your lovely new bathroom was already going out of fashion.

When all the colours were exhausted they decided that white was back in fashion and your coloured bathroom suite stood out like a sore thumb, and to make it worse you had got rid of a white bathroom suite to install the coloured one in.

Next on the agenda the old fashioned look was back, those old fashioned cast iron bathtubs that we got rid of years ago are now the in thing and they do not come cheap.

Your kitchen is also in the line of fire. If you want to look up to date and have a designer kitchen then that shiny sleek stainless steel sink unit has to go, and the old fashion white kitchen sink is back.

Keeping up to date with the appliances …

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Design-Challenged? Go From Blah to Hurrah on Your Terms

Design-Challenged? Go From Blah to Hurrah on Your Terms

A designer friend of mine lives by the motto, “White is not a colour, it is a canvas waiting to be explored,” if you saw her home you would agree without hesitation. It is a plethora of rich colours and styles integrating and working off one another to create a beautiful living space. Her rooms breathe panache thanks to imported furniture, tasteful accessories and a keen sense of who she is.

Sadly, not everyone can do what she does without turning their home into a visual assault on the eyes. Her look is successful due in part to her refusal to live by seasonal trends or dare I say, by what the “experts” say we should be doing. You know those words and phrases we kind of understand but still need to Google? Flow. Pop. Accent. Inspiration. Focal point. Statement. Room palette. The list is endless and quite frankly at the end of the day, utterly useless. Why? Because if you do not know your personal style, there is no way you will be able to give your home a personal look and feel.

So what to do about those of us who are somewhat design-challenged? Most would say, “hire an interior designer,” and some do, but that would only be living in someone’s version of what they think your home should look like. Rest assured there is a happy medium; it’s called listening to that little voice inside your head that goes off whenever you see something that catches your eye.

Define your style

There is no shortage of chic ideas. It seems just as we are settling down with one style, another is revisited causing design divas to put down their lattes and pick up the panache pace. You can try to keep up or maintain a balance …

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DIY Fireplaces - How to Choose Your Own Stone

DIY Fireplaces – How to Choose Your Own Stone

There are many choices for stone material that you can use for DIY fireplaces. Depending on the design of the stone fireplace, the homeowner must decide whether it is appropriate to use natural stone or fake stones. Of course, your final choice must be based on the style, aesthetic value, and maintenance requirements of your stone fireplace design options.

Even though there are other pressing issues that you have to overcome during your home construction or home improvement project, it is very important that you carefully weigh your choices and choices when it comes to the stone fireplace for your home.

Determine the Best Stone for Your DIY Fireplace

So how can you make sure you have chosen the right stone for your fireplace? There are several variables that you need to include in the equation, and before you head to the home improvement showroom, it would be better if you carefully go through these important decision parameters.

Carefully assess your choices when it comes to stone for your fireplace. Common choices include man-made marble, stone coatings, limestone, marble, slate and granite. These stone materials have different properties and give a different look to your fireplace. Make sure you set priorities and things that you want to achieve before you decide on certain stone materials for your fireplace.

Discuss your goals and expectations with a fireplace contractor. It is important that you get the full advantages and disadvantages of each of your choices. For example, you must remember that slate is the ideal choice if you prioritize the durability of core material. However, this type of stone might cause some degree of difficulty in terms of cutting. On the other hand, marble may not get a high score in terms of care and maintenance. However, this stone material can be …

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