What To Do After A Remodel

Every time you start a new project, you’ve probably noticed that the last finishing touches are the hardest. Getting started is the easy part because you’re so excited, but the last few things may take you weeks to do. After all the contractors are gone and there isn’t much left to do, you’re going to need to make a list of everything you still need to do and just do it.

A Quick Checklist

If you aren’t quite sure what you need to do to finish up, here’s a quick checklist from Forbes:

• Make sure everything works: Don’t let your contractors leave until you’ve made sure everything they did works properly. It would suck to find a problem after you’ve already made a final payment. This includes opening and shutting all cupboards, checking all the lights, and even making sure the windows move up and down still.
• Send in warranty cards: Almost everything you buy comes with a warranty, but only if you register it. Make sure you fill out the cards and send them in to make sure you are covered.
• Update homeowner’s insurance: If you don’t update it, you may not be able to make claims in an emergency. The insurance company is only going to pay you for what they have to, which means they won’t pay for your new flooring or appliances.
• Keep extra materials: If you need to replace a floor board or touch up a wall, it is easier to use the old stuff than to try and match paint later. Make sure you keep the extra materials stored if possible.
• Check on the legal stuff: Though your contractor may have promised to have filed all the necessary paperwork, it is safer just to double check and make sure it all got done. It will protect you from any future liability.
• Create a reno box: You will get quite a lot of information handed to you during the renovation, including receipts, contact info, and contracts. Make sure you keep it all in one box or one file in your cabinet. Maybe you won’t need it now, but you might need it in the next couple of years.

Last Thing’s Last

The last thing you need to do is enjoy the job. If you’ve tested everything to make sure it works and are satisfied with the way it looks, then you deserve a chance to sit down and enjoy the new renovation. Maybe you won’t love it forever, but at least you can love it for now.

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Sources: forbes.com/sites/houzz/2014/04/17/finish-your-remodel-right-10-tasks-to-check-off/


Is It Worth Renovating?

There will always be something you want to change about your house, but is it always worth the renovation? Most of the time, you won’t get as much value out of your house as you put into a renovation, but maybe you don’t care as long as it is yours. Here are a few tips to help you decide if it would be worth renovating or if you should just move to a house that fits more of your requirements..

Ten Things To Consider

Though you may not have an answer on whether or not to move just yet, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a few things for you to consider.

1. Location: You need to figure out if this is where you want to stay forever or not. Do you like your neighbors, the schools, the parks nearby? Do you like your distance from work?
2. Structure of the existing home: If you don’t already like the layout, there’s not a whole lot you can do to change it.
3. Lifestyle impact: A renovation typically requires cash on hand. That means you may have to cut back on your lifestyle to renovate and find another place to live.
4. Return on investment: Is it worth it to renovate a home in your area? Or will you end up being a little overdone compared to the rest of the houses? This could seriously impact how much you think you’ll get out of your home value.
5. Financial impact: Renovating means paying out of pocket, whereas a new home will just mean one loan paid over 30 years. Can you really afford to pay for significant changes in the house?
6. Cost comparisons: How much more will it cost you to buy a new home vs remodeling this one or will it be the same? Look at everything, including gas for a longer commute time, extra utility expenses in a larger home, and even the cost of water for a bigger lawn.
7. Future outlook: Are you planning to stay here forever? If not, it may not be worth the renovation. You’ll want to consider whether or not you could realistically live in the house while your children are growing up and after they leave the home.
8. Time impact: If you buy a new house, you’ll need the time to look and sign all the loan documents. If you are remodeling, it will take significantly more time to make design decisions, hire contractors, and monitor the progress.
9. Long term vs short-term expenses: Moving usually means a ton of money all at once, whereas a renovation can be done by doing a little here and a little there.
10. Potential price breaks: Can you get a deal on new cabinets? Or a deal on a new mortgage interest rate? Figure out where you can score the best deals based on who you know.

If you think about these questions, you should have a much better idea of whether it is better for you to just move to to renovate the house you are in now.

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Sources: stltoday.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/renovate-or-relocate-how-to-decide-whether-fixing-up-a/article_c1d03f9f-90d5-5a3e-8721-06a91ce1596c.html

Making The Most of A Small Entry Area

Your entryway is the first impression visitors get of your house. It’s a nice buffer to have so people don’t instantly step into your living room or dining area, but it can also be a handicap if it’s small, crowded, or dimly lit. Homeowners often wonder what the best utilization of an entry area is. What do you do with shoes? How should you handle coats? Here are some ideas for making the most of a small entryway.

Have A Designated Shoe Area

The first thing people tend to do when they enter a home that is not their own is to take off their shoes. This often results in a mish mash shoe pile up where everyone’s shoes get mixed with everyone else’s and no one can find both of their own shoes when it’s time to go. One option to solve this is to have a shoe cubby space right beside the front door. The cubbies are built big enough for one pair of shoes each and they won’t be strewn across the floor. If the cubby space is no taller than knee-high, it can also be used as a bench for people to sit on as they don their shoes, rather than hopping around the room or using a neighbor for support.

Mount A Coat Rack

The next thing people do when they arrive is to take off their coats, if they’re wearing any. Similar to the shoe problem, a lack of someplace to put their coats results in a pile of coats that must be sifted through before the proper one can be located. A coat rack keeps nice coats from getting wrinkled and gives guests someplace to put them besides the arm of a chair or piled on a bed.

Coat racks might come built into a larger drawer system with bench and shelves, you can mount a board with hooks beside the door, or you can put hooks right into the wall. The decision you make should depend on how useful the hooks might be to you and how best you can match the style of the rest of the house.

Elegant Entry

If you’d like a more elegant front entry but have little space, consider mounting a large mirror over a bench or shelving system. The mirror will make the space seem larger and the bench can be decorative, functional, or both. Paint with light colors to refract the natural or artificial overhead light. Chandeliers make a nice touch to any entry, but if there isn’t room, pendant lighting is another elegant option and you can place several in order to introduce light in all the dark corners.

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3 Ways To Transform Your Living Room

With busy work schedules, kids to run places, appointments to keep, and groceries to shop for, many people simply feel like they don’t have time to redecorate. In their minds, redecoration involves buying all new furniture, switching up the entire home’s color scheme, and possibly even replacing carpet and repainting the walls. This simply isn’t so, however. Many times, it’s the details that make a home feel fresh and new. Here are 10 ways to redecorate your living room without breaking the bank or tying up every Saturday for the next 3 months.

New Window Treatments

You’d be surprised what a difference a new set of curtains can make. Does your room often feel too cold or too warm? Get insulated curtains that will help block drafts from the window. Do you feel like you aren’t getting enough natural light? Sometimes, curtains can actually improve lighting by reflecting sunlight through the room. Do you want your room to appear taller? Don’t hang your curtains from the top of your window, extend them up to the ceiling to elongate the room.

Make Use of Blank Walls

You can kill two birds with one stone implementing this project: Personalize your home and finally do something with all those pictures you’ve been taking. Buy 9 to 12 square frames of the same size and color (measure your wall first so you know how much space you have). Print and cut the same number of family pictures so they are about three inches shorter on each side than the frames.

Place the pictures in the middle of the frames and then hang the frames equidistant apart in either a 3×3 or 4×3 pattern on the wall. The wide mat space you leave around the pictures will help keep your photo wall from feeling too busy, and the number of frames will turn your wall into a miniature art gallery of your family.

Mount Your TV

Been feeling like you don’t know what to do with the wall above your TV? Need more shelf space? Mount your TV on the wall and get a nice long, wide TV stand to place beneath it. You’ll still have space to keep your various movie players and gaming systems, but your wall will feel less empty and the living room will feel less crowded.

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Source: shushinyourhome.blogspot.com/p/before-and-afters.html

Spring Cleaning For Spots, Stains, Dirt, And Clothes

It’s spring! Time to clear out all the cobwebs from the long winter, start eating more healthily, and get outside to exercise. It’s also a great time to freshen you interiors, clean out the attic, and scrub up places that haven’t seen the light of day in months.

Getting Rid of Old Or Unused Clothes

Start with your closets. Which clothes haven’t you worn in months, or even years? No matter what memories you associate with those clothes or how many times you think you’ll fit in them again if you could just lose a few pounds, at some point you need to let those clothes go. If you don’t want to do it all at once, put them in a garbage bag or box and leave them in a corner of the attic or closet for one year (mark them with the date so you know how long it’s been). If you don’t need anything in those boxes by one year from now, either donate them or toss them without even opening them up.

Eradicating Odors And Stains

Does your couch resemble a patchwork of spots and stains? Does it smell a little of body odor? Try blotting those stains with cold water, first putting a waterproof liner (like a plastic bag) between the fabric and the cushion. Hot water is more likely to make stains set. If an unpleasant smell remains, rinse again with a solution of half water, half vinegar.

Remove Dirt From Painted Walls

You have to be careful when you clean painted walls. To rough a material or harsh a chemical can damage or remove paint unintentionally. Start with water and a clean cloth or sponge. If that doesn’t remove it, add a little dish detergent to the water, keeping the solution mild. House Beautiful said, “If the stain persists, apply a few drops of soap directly onto the wet sponge or cloth you’re using. . . . If you need to resort to a stronger product . . . rinse the wall afterward with plain water.”

Keeping Carpet Clean

Most people know to remove their shoes before walking on carpet, but did you know it’s best to leave your socks on? Bare feet leave natural oils on your carpet which then capture dirt. Try to vacuum every day to keep dirt from setting, and get high-trafficked carpets cleaned 3 to 4 times a year, or whenever the carpet becomes visibly dirty. Lower trafficked areas need cleaned only once every 1 to 2 years.

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Top Remodeling Projects For Each Room of The House

When you’re trying to maximize your home’s value prior to selling it, you’ll want to know which projects will return the most bang for your buck. After all, you can’t expect to get all the money back of your initial investment. However, it can make a difference in making your home stand out among the rest of the neighborhood or increasing its saleability.

Increase Kitchen Storage
People want maximum space in their kitchens, so look into what you can do to add cupboard or storage space. Extend cabinets all the way to the ceiling, or convert an empty corner into a food preparation center. Corner cabinets can have rotating lazy susans installed that allow for easy utilization of space. Add drawers or shelving to a pantry to improve space usage.

Think About Bathroom Users
Bathrooms should be customized according to their usage. It’s lots better to personalize than assume one size fits all. Make sure layout and functionality fit with the likely users. For instance, a bathroom shared by two bedrooms will likely be used by kids. Install double sinks to make mornings and bedtime routines go faster. HomeFinder.com suggested adding a “pullout stepstool built in to the vanity so little ones can reach the sink, and no-slip tile to avoid any bath time slips.” In a master bath suite, make it luxurious with a heated marble floor and lots of natural light. For a guest bathroom, HomeFinder.com suggested, “Incorporate extra shelving so guests have a place to store items without feeling intrusive.”

Living Room Windows
People love to hear the words “energy efficient.” Install new windows that help insulate the home more effectively and improve the home’s curb appeal. For homes in neighborhoods with lots of neighborhood kids, it’s a good idea to install impact-resistant windows (you never know when they might come in contact with a wrestling match or wayward baseball).

Revamp The Backyard
Is your town blessed with nice weather? Maybe an outdoor kitchen or built-in barbecue is what you need to help up your home’s value. Stainless steel appliances and cement counters will resist the elements and won’t rust. A brick patio with fire pit will maximize enjoyment for the whole family. Even a nicely manicured lawn can make all the difference in turning a disaster of a backyard into a garden-like paradise.

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Source: online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140402-913664.html

Insulation Replacement Is An Investment In The Future

If you want to choose a renovation project that will benefit you now and later, you might look deeper than the surface of your home. Homeowners more frequently think of the rooms they could add, the square footage they could utilize, the modern appliances they could purchase.

However, things like updated plumbing, electricity, and insulation could also be beneficial, though their uses will be less tangible.

Replacing old insulation or installing some where there was none before can be a highly cost and energy efficient decision. As energy prices go up with the cost of gas and oil, homeowners are continually shelling more money out each month for utilities. That’s where insulation comes in. It doesn’t matter whether your climate is hot or cold, arid or humid, insulation will come in handy as it keeps you cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter.
Insulation is more than just the padding in your walls. It’s also your windows, doors, vents, and weather stripping. The U.S. Department of Energy has reported, “Tradition windows contribute as much as 1- percent of the total air escaping from a typical home, while improperly sealed doors can contribute 11 percent.”

Don’t just leave insulation decisions up to your contractor. He may not be versed in the highest quality or most efficient varieties on the market. Do your research online, visit home improvement stores, talk to experts to find out what the best insulation for your budget might be. For instance, spray foam insulation is a modern insulation solution.
The Green Living section of the Milwaukee, WI Journal Sentinel reported, Spray foam insulation combats against air leakage and works well in all type of homes across the country, regardless of the climate.” They also said, “Spray foam insulation both air seals and insulates to keep allergens and irritants at bay and eliminates air leakage to keep the conditioned air inside without the HVAC system working overtime to compensate.”

Another benefit of spray foam is that it lasts as long as the home does without needing replaced or repaired, unless the actual home structure is compromised. Experts in the field report significant reduction to utility bills, as much as 50 percent when a home goes from absolutely no insulation to complete coverage by spray foam.

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