4 Things All DIY Home Renovators Should Plan On Doing

It’s summer, prime time for finally getting to all those neglected, long dream of home renovation projects. However, those projects can turn from dreams into nightmares if they aren’t handled properly. The best way to successfully complete a remodel is to get all your facts straight ahead of time. Here are 4 things all DIY renovators need to do.

Look At Your Whole House, Not Just One Room

This sounds opposite from the accepted knowledge that you should focus on one area of the house at a time. What this piece of advice refers to is the idea of realizing how your renovation project will fit into the house as a whole. Laura Firszt, an interior design writer, suggested, “Try to see your home as a whole, making sure that your remodeling job will result in a cohesive style for the entire home.” The idea is to avoid hyper-focusing on a single room until it doesn’t resemble or appear related to any other room in the house.

Keep Size And Scale In Mind

Another mistake DIY home designers make is overstuffing their homes with all the design details they see in magazines. Sure they look great on the cover of Home & Garden, but does it fit with your home? Do the furnishings clash with what you already have? An overstuffed room feels cluttered and confined. Better to err on the side of too little and then add a little more once all your decor is arranged, than to deal with too much.

Recognize Traffic Patterns

No, this doesn’t refer to the busy road out front, this refers to the worn paths in your carpet. Or the dirty versus clean areas you find in frequently used rooms. Traffic patterns refer to leaving space for people to maneuver through your home easily. Firszt said, “Make your doors and hallways wide and high enough to avoid congestion and stooping.” There are building codes for these types of measurements, so take the time to research what they are.

Avoid Dated Styles

Dated styles are those pink, green, and blue plaid plates selling big in the seasonal section of Target. They’re cute, but by the end of the summer they’ll be gone and you won’t be able to get replacements when your son or daughter decides to use them as anger management tools. The same goes for furnishings, carpet, and color palettes. Sure the “in” style might be fresh and attractive, but will people still think so 10 years from now? Unless you plan on redoing your entire home every 2 to 3 years, choose colors, textures, and patterns that will stand the test of time.

As Firstz explained, “Today’s trend is tomorrow’s avocado refrigerator (or next year’s subway tile?). Choose timeless styles that won’t date stamp your home,” especially if you foresee the need to move at a not-so-distant date.

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Source: myfoxphilly.com/story/25934106/8-top-home-renovation-planning-mistakes-to-avoid


Australia, United States Share Similar Housing Markets

In Australia as in the United States, the housing market has been in a definite slump for the past few years. Also similar to the U.S. is Australia’s housing recovery, based largely on home renovations. There Housing Industry Association found, “Home renovation is bouncing back to be a $30 billion-plus contributor to the national economy.” With this similarity come other parallels between the U.S. and Australian housing markets with implications for citizens of both countries.

Home Maintenance On The Rise

For instance, simple home maintenance projects postponed during troubled financial times are finally being attended to and make up a large portion of home renovation spending. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to need updating every 15 years, and some that have been long overdue are now adding their weight to the stack of commissions pouring in to home construction contractors. People are now also choosing to sacrifice their big yards for the sake of larger floor space for entertaining, storage, and well-stocked chef’s kitchens.

Aging In Place

Another trend found on both continents is the decision baby boomers are making to “age in place.” The Housing Industry Association explained, “Baby boomers, those classified . . . as aged in their mid to late 60’s, are using their superannuation payouts to renovate.” When they renovate, they do so in lieu of moving out.

The HIA said, “Much of their renovating is major, and many of them will live in their own, freshly made-over homes longer than earlier generations.” Which may mean more maintenance issues, but fewer moving expenses. It also means fewer people moving to senior living facilities and possibly more care being done by other family members.

First-Time Home Buyers

Opposite these baby boomers on the housing spectrum are first-time home buyers whose paychecks have been impacted by unemployment rates and inflation. They have little to spend on their first homes and tend to “buy on the cheap,” intending on fixing up their homes as the money becomes available.

The DIYers

Between these two stages of life, the HIA identified another category: the DIYers, “where handymen and handywomen buying homes to renovate and sell, has proliferated.” Some DIYers choose to live in the homes they renovate, thus avoiding extra taxes and fees, while others employ the quick buy, quick sell approach. Lower interest rates facilitate these purchases and expenditures on renovations.

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Source: theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/renovations-on-the-rise/story-fn3dxity-1226967799007?nk=c7dce53ce9f90ea37a264c8ae1cabb01

Tips On Choosing And Framing Artwork For Your Home

Many homes aren’t in need of an extreme makeover, a drastic renovation, or a time-consuming remodel. Their interiors are just fine, pleasant, but often blank. How many walls in your home are bare simply because you don’t know what to put there? Sometimes, homeowners resort to tacking up a few pictures they find at a thrift store or random images they’ve been given just for lack of anything better to display. Real art is expensive, after all, and only rich people and museums can afford to buy it, right?

Of course not. There are many forms of art that are affordable and tasteful and perfect for a homeowner with refined or elegant tastes. Mark Leithauser, senior curator and director of design at the National Gallery of Art in Washington buys art for a living, and he had some tips for homeowners wondering how to tastefully display art in their homes.

Artwork Is Subjective
First of all, he urged people to remember, “Display of art is subjective,” and “There is no right or wrong way to do it.” That may come as a shock, especially from an art expert such as him. But unlike mathematics or grammar with all their rules, art in the end should be pleasing to you first, and the rest of the world second.

You May Already Own Artwork
“Most people have prints, drawings—things with mats and frames,” Leithauser said. “You start with your object, with what you own. You want the work of art to be the strongest possible thing.” So the art you hang might not be purchased at all. It might be something you already own. Pictures of family members, pictures from old books, photos of your ancestors, drawings by your children are all considered works of art.

Framing And Matting Prints
If you buy a print intending to frame it yourself, Leithauser warned that if you use a frame “that is stronger than the work of art, then you’ve detracted from the work of art.” Don’t think of a frame as a statement. Rather, it’s an enhancement of a picture. Sometimes you may choose to mat the artwork, which means there’s a border between it and the frame. Leithauser explained that you’ll want to stay away from a stark white mat. “Paintings get little cracks in them as they get older,” he said. “They look grungy, a little bit sad, a little bit dirty. They pop on a gray much better than on a stark, stark white.”

In the end, art is merely in the beholder’s eye. Don’t just buy a piece of art because someone told you it’s art. Buy things that appeal to your interests. After all, as Leithauser pointned out, “You live with what you like.”

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Source: kdhnews.com/living/home_and_garden/getting-framed-add-elegance-class-to-home-by-displaying-art/article_da6a30ce-f11c-11e3-b3b6-0017a43b2370.html

How To Have Realistic Expectations For Your Interior Design Budget

Every homeowner has a limit to how much they’re able to spend on a home renovation or remodeling project. But no matter how much you’re able to spend—whether it’s $50 or $5,000—you can get good value for your purchase if you’re smart and careful. However, the smaller your budget, the more realistic you must be about your expectations for the product or service you buy. Remember the old adage: “You get what you paid for.”

Think of your home renovation in terms of buying a car. You won’t get the quality and longevity of a ’14 Mercedes if all you can afford is a ’97 Tercel. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a smaller budget, but you should know that your Tercel won’t have as good of gas mileage, doesn’t have as many miles left in it, and might have some hidden or latent engine problems.

Quality VS Price
Claire Golan, an ASID professional and IL registered interior designer explained, “When you decorate a whole room for the price of a well-made-but-not-fancy sectional sofa, your cheaper sofa will likely feel lumpy sooner, the fabric will probably wear or fade a bit faster and it won’t be worth re-doing it in 5 years when it starts to ‘go.’”

Buying At A Thrift Store
Sometimes you can find real value at thrift stores. People often throw out items because they show a little surface wear, but their structure is sound. If you feel like some DIY projects and have time, you can recover sofas, repaint bedside tables and chests of drawers, and reuse old frames or bookshelves. A good time to go thrift store shopping is just after Black Friday or Christmas when everyone gets rid of their old things to make room for new things.

Buying At A Retail Store
Most commonly people shop at retail stores for their furnishings and interior design accessories. Items there are mid to lower-priced. Golan said, “Volume is important to [retail stores], especially if they warehouse pieces. . . . At [such] stores the sales personnel have been very eager to work with me and my clients.”

Buying Online
Online is another option for interior design purchases. They often have sales or discounts and if shipped to a store, shipping is free. However, Golan suggests homeowners not buy upholstery online as they won’t be able to sit on it or feel it first.

Consulting An Interior Designer
For all home renovation purposes, homeowners can benefit from the experience of an interior designer. They can do anything from consulting to design plans to making actual purchases. It’s often worth the price just so you don’t end up buying unused decorations for your home.

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Source: chicagonow.com/design-sense/2014/06/an-interior-designer-for-any-budget/

The Ins And Outs of Home Renovation Permits

There are fun parts to renovating: picking new carpet, new paint, new furniture, new floor plans, etc.; and there are not so fun parts: the dirt, the cost, the labor, etc. One of these not very fun parts is knowing when you need to get a permit, what kind to get, and how to get it. Such rules vary by state and sometimes even by county, but the following are some rules of thumb home renovations expert Lee Wallender suggests homeowners know.

Permit Definitely Needed

Though there may still be variation depending on locality, Wallender said, “I cannot imagine a locality that doesn’t require a permit for the following activities. Whenever you expand the house in any way or alter the house envelop, you will need a permit.” For instance, demolishing a load-bearing wall or adding to your home’s footprint will definitely require a permit. The city wants to make sure you’re following building codes and not making it all up as you go along. Changing your house’s roofline goes along with this, as it indicates there’s some pretty extensive changes going on inside.

It’s a no-brainer that doing anything with the sewer line would need a permit, but did you know you need one to install new electrical wiring? Decks are another surprising element that often require permits before construction. And if you have a big demolition project and need a roll-off dumpster, you will almost always need a permit if you want to park it on a public street.

Permit Possibly Needed

These instances are a gray area where regions have their own rules. Demolishing a non load-bearing wall might not require a permit, but then again it might. Wallender said, “Even though this type of work does not structurally compromise your home, some permitting agencies want to be overly cautious and make certain that do-it-yourself homeowners do not undertake dangerous repairs.” Also, adding a door or window or running new plumbing lines may require a permit.

Permit Likely Not Needed

There are many smaller projects that don’t require permits, though you may still want to check with your local permitting office just to be sure. These projects include painting, upgrading countertops, installing new siding, laying a new roof, laying new flooring, or parking a roll-off dumpster on your own property.

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Source: homerenovations.about.com/od/planningtorenovate/a/artbuildpermit.htm

From A Pro To All Homeowners: Know Your Home Renovation Limits

Renovating your own home seems like a sound business proposition until you’re ankle-deep in sawdust and burning a hole in your bank account with do-overs and fix-ups. That’s why homeowners need to know which jobs are DIY and which jobs are DI-don’t. Cherie Barber, a professional renovator from New Zealand, has renovated over 40 properties, and as such has more than her share of renovation experience. She said, “Renovating isn’t hard, but there are a lot of steps in the process.”

The 10 Percent Rule
Barber said smart homeowners don’t spend more than 10 percent of their property value on any cosmetic renovation because, “Every dollar you spend over comes out of your profit margin.” And doing slipshod work just to avoid over-spending isn’t the answer either. “Why you may save money on your reno, it can come back and bite you on the resale price,” Barber explained.

Plumbing And Electrical
With this in mind, Barber warned homeowners never to do their own plumbing or electrical work. These tasks require expert knowledge and handling to prevent circuit overloads, leaks, and fire hazards. Only a trained professional will know all the construction codes and building permits needed to complete this kind of work.

Floor Sanding And Staining
Don’t be tempted into thinking sanding your own floor will be easy either. What you save on cheap labor will far be outweighed by the reduction in resale value if your floor or new stain are uneven. “First impressions say a lot,” Barber said, “and there’s no way you can get a professional finish if you DIY.”

Structural Changes
Another little-known fact about remodeling is that when you do structural changes, you’ll need a certificate of home warranty insurance, a consideration few homeowners know about. “If you sell a property within six years of renovation you will require this certificate,” Barber explained.” If not, a disclaimer will be noted on your contract and could put off potential buyers.” Licensed builders will be aware of this and other certificates, thus giving you peace of mind, in addition to a well-built remodel.

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Source: stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-property/10089635/Home-truths-Know-your-DIY-limits

Royal Mansion Costs $2.7 Million To Renovate

You think your remodeling project is a big deal? it’s probably nothing compared to the home renovation the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are close to completing on their 200-year-old Norfolk country home. This 10 bedroom estate, also known as Anmer Hall, is estimated to have required $2.7 million to get it into shape prior to the royal family’s move in.

A Brilliant Roof

Surprisingly, about $1.8 million of that money was spent on the exterior, including $900,000 on the roof tiles and $900,000 on landscaping the front lawn. The roof is a bright orange in color, making the Geargion mansion stand out starkly against the surrounding green countryside.

Not even royals are exempt from the passage of time, however, as Tony Passmore, managing director of Passmore Group which specializes in refurbishments, said, “Surprisingly, they aren’t much different from the kind of tiles you and I would have on our homes. . . . The color is rather bright but they will weather and in five years or so will look as if they have been there forever. “

The Conservatory/Dining Area

The royals also commissioned the add-on of a “garden room” which has a glass ceiling, window-packed walls, and at 15 by 15 feet, has just enough room for a large dining table. Not everyone loves this small conservatory, however. Passmore, who is also a member of the Federation of Master Builders, said, “It looks like it has been rather stuck on and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the property. They have incorporated columns to match those on the door to the building but the roof tiles don’t even match. . . . It just doesn’t flow with the rest of the property.”

Another problem the house had was rotting window frames—unsurprising on a 200-year-old structure—so $180,000 was spent bringing the upstairs dormers up to snuff.

Security Considerations

Of course, being a home of royalty, more money also needed to be spent on accommodations for the baby’s nanny and extra security. Due to these considerations, floor plans of the interior were not made public and the only pictures of the property available have been taken from the air. The area has been decreed strictly private and the driveway’s privacy gate has been moved farther away down the road.

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Source: dailytelegraph.com.au/realestate/duke-and-duchess-of-cambridges-massive-home-renovation/story-fnhytr0n-1226923851253