15 Tips for a Successful Remodeling Project

Any remodeling project can seem overwhelming, but it's guaranteed to go more smoothly if you know a couple of insider tricks. Here are 15 tips from remodeling professionals.

Plan Ahead

Making product selections early can prevent delays later. Proper planning can also help keep you on budget. "You'll end up making the same decisions, but you'll know what they're going to be and what they're going to cost ahead of time," explains Ridley Wills, founder of The Wills Co., a design-build firm in Nashville.

Remember the Big Picture

Long-term-maintenance, energy-loss, and repair expenses can add up quickly. Make sure you include them in your calculations when comparing prices.

Find Good Help

Hire remodelers who have more than three years of experience, membership in the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), a good record with the Better Business Bureau, and positive customer references. Most important, select a remodeler you trust.

Be a Good Boss

The most important thing you can do during a remodeling project, other than write checks, is treat your remodeler well. "The perfect clients are easy to get along with, honest, and have an appreciation for what we do," says Anthony Wilder, founder of Anthony Wilder Design/Build in Bethesda, Maryland.

Insist on a Detailed Contract

If you jump into a remodeling project with an ambiguous contract or no contract at all, you may as well hire an attorney and set a court date right away. "The contract needs the right address, a start date, a completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done," says Rosie Romero, founder of Legacy Custom Builders in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Sure, remodeling is exciting. But there's also a lot of frustration as you encounter unexpected snags, delays, and the inevitable inconveniences that come from living in a construction zone. You'll handle the lows better if you know they're coming. A reputable remodeler will condition your expectations before a project begins.

Pitch a Temporary Camp

Speaking of lows, it can't get much worse than living without a kitchen for weeks on end. Minimize inconvenience by setting up a temporary one away from the construction area. Include a refrigerator and microwave oven, so you can continue to make light meals at home.

Pack Away Your Valuables

"A remodeling project is going to affect every room in the house," says A. J. Paron-Wildes, general manager of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. "The homeowners need to take down pictures, move vases, and pack away valuables before work begins." While you're at it, take steps to protect your immovable fixtures, including built-in cabinets and chandeliers. Have flooring covered with cardboard sheets if it needs to stay in good condition.

Communicate Effectively

Remodelers can do some amazing things, but they can't read minds. "Let the company supervisor or project lead person know if anything is unsatisfactory so they can deal with the issue," says Jeff Hurst, a Certified Remodeler (CR) and president of Hurst Total Home, Inc., in Kettering, Ohio. "The contractor may not be aware that something is not OK with the owner."

Communicate Effectively

Remodelers can do some amazing things, but they can't read minds. "Let the company supervisor or project lead person know if anything is unsatisfactory so they can deal with the issue," says Jeff Hurst, a Certified Remodeler (CR) and president of Hurst Total Home, Inc., in Kettering, Ohio. "The contractor may not be aware that something is not OK with the owner."

Design Ideas

When it comes to remodeling, there's no shortage of great design advice. On the next slides, several remodelers weigh in on how to make the most of your space.

Pamper Yourself

Unless you're a fan of luxuriating in a bath on a regular basis, skip the whirlpool tub. If you have no time for a bath, think about spending your remodeling dollars on something you'll use and notice every day, such as a luxury shower with dual heads.

Leave Out the Planning Desk

"In a kitchen, people insist on putting planning desks in, but no one ever sits there and plans anything," says Michael Cordonnier of Remodeling Designs in Dayton, Ohio. Consider whether you'd benefit more from additional cabinets or a pantry before you put in a desk.

Connect Spaces

Looking for a project with big impact? Opening up walls and hallways is one way to get the most from your remodeling project and create more livable spaces.

Don't Share the Mudroom

Everyone wants a main-floor laundry room. If it's squeezed into a tiny area near the garage, though, homeowners often are unhappy in the long run, says Bob Near of Lake Country Builders in Excelsior, Minnesota. He advises owners to create separate mudroom and laundry room areas, even if that means moving the laundry room to the basement.

Read the Full Article

7 mistakes homeowners make when renovating older properties By Sheila Kim

  In  a Hudson Valley Victorian house renovated by Studio For’s Fauzia  Khanani, a new addition replaces the previous one, but at the back of  the property to preserve the original design. (For Design)   You’ve scoured real estate listings,  survived a bidding war and finally closed on a historical home — maybe a  free-standing Victorian or Federal-style rowhouse — and want to bring  it into the 21st century. You may think the hard part is over, but  renovation experts say plenty of pitfalls remain. We asked them where  most homeowners trip up.     Not researching the history   Digging into your home’s past can be  fun, but it can also help you make aesthetic decisions and avoid costly  mistakes. Architect Anik Pearson recalls a New York client who wanted  to install a pool in his basement. She referred to historical maps of  Manhattan that showed where all the waterways, wetlands and hills  existed, and discovered a river underneath the townhouse. “They poked a  hole in the basement and sure enough, there was running water. The river  was still there.”  You can aid the renovation process by  conducting your own research ahead of time. Look at old maps from your  local historical society or online through the U.S. Geological Survey,  educate yourself about which materials are right for your home’s climate  and setting, and visit a museum that has period rooms based on your  home’s era. Look back at the real estate listing, if you can, because  many agents of older properties include a backstory and ownership  history. There are also books — such as “ Victorian Architectural Details ” by A.J. Bicknell & Co. and “ The American Builder’s Companion ”  by Asher Benjamin — that show historical precedence, proportions,  molding shape used during specific eras, and style differentiation  between, say, Victorian gingerbread and gothic revival. “All of those  styles have a specific language that has been recorded carefully in  these books,” Pearson says.      Trying DIY   In this age of HGTV shows and  YouTube tutorials, many homeowners consider bypassing a professional for  what they think are easy cosmetic alterations. But mistakes can cost  them more than an architect’s fee. A common example is when homeowners  try restoring curb appeal with quick-and-dirty fixes, such as  power-washing a stain or painting over an ugly house color.  Stripping or removing paint is  especially an area to exercise caution: Although in newer homes it’s  safer because modern paints don’t contain harmful substances such as  lead, old paints can contain such substances. But simply applying a new  coat shouldn’t be a problem for DIYers.  “Cosmetic improvements that don’t  affect any systems are usually safe DIY projects,” says Naomi Miroglio  of San Francisco-based Architectural Resources Group. But “if finishes  need to be removed or walls opened up, it should be left to a  professional.” She points to replacing faucets in bathroom sinks,  typically an easy DIY project in newer homes, as an example of what not  to do in older homes. “Often the cutouts in the porcelain for the faucet  and knobs are at different dimensions than current faucet assemblies.  One has to look for salvage pieces or custom-order them.” Miroglio also  recommends leaving electrical and plumbing work to the professionals  because of the safety risks.    Adding pristine, new elements   Many owners of older homes will  either refinish the original elements, such as the woodwork, or install  reproductions. Juxtaposed with the worn details, however, these pristine  copies or gleaming finishes can look out of place. Worse yet, some of  the materials used in decorative reproductions lack the quality and  durability of the original materials.  “Some contractors think it’s more  trouble to save decorative pieces than work around them,” Miroglio says.  “You might have four beautiful column capitals and one bad one. They’ll  suggest replacing them all to look the same. Often it’s a cheaper  material inside like Styrofoam.”  Or, she adds, they’ll strip and  re-stain the wood floors, resulting in an overly pristine appearance  that’s lost a lot of character. Instead, she recommends retaining some  of the aged look. “It’s arrested decay: You stop it from decaying but  avoid making it look brand new.”  The elements could be historical  finishes or objects that aren’t in perfect condition, such as light  fixtures with a worn metal finish, wood trim that shows signs of wear  and crackled paint on a ceiling light medallion. “We’ve even seen layers  of peeling wallpaper and exposed plaster kept intact with a clear  coating applied,” Miroglio says.  Architect Adam Zimmerman of  Zimmerman Workshop agrees: “Nothing looks worse than antique details  directly adjacent to poorly done new ones that are deliberately trying  to match. The new will highlight how dilapidated the old really looks.”  He offers a trick to avoid this: “Let’s say you have historic baseboards  and you decide to build a new wall. We might borrow the baseboards from  rooms in other parts of the home for the wall. Or, if you have to  mismatch within the same room, use similar style and scale, and then  break old from new so that they’re not in direct contact. It always  comes down to the details.”     Installing vinyl windows   Older, unrenovated homes aren’t  going to win any awards for energy efficiency. So many homeowners target  those drafty wooden windows for replacement. But architects caution  against choosing modern vinyl options.  “Even though a wood window will cost  a lot more than vinyl or aluminum, the wood is worth the investment  because it can survive a hundred years,” Pearson says. “Vinyl clad won’t  last for more than 10 or 20 years, and metal clad is better than vinyl  but in arid climates.”  Looking at it from a preservationist  standpoint, Miroglio argues: “It’s always more sustainable to keep  something rather than replace it. We work hard with homeowners to  understand how you can weatherize wood double-hung windows. Maybe they  just need new putty.”     Tiptoeing around technology   Implementing modern technology, such  as home automation, is a hot topic. Fortunately, the nature of WiFi  means there’s no need to rewire the house or install high-tech devices  out in the open. “There’s no reason a thermostat has to be in plain  view. You could keep it in a closet and use a hidden sensor that no one  sees,” Pearson says.  You can also find replacements that  function in a modern way but look old-fashioned. “There’s a market for  this type of product now,” says Fauzia Khanani of New York’s  Studio For .  “Great brands are making products with modern technology and a historic  look, such as light switches.” Shops including Rejuvenation and House  of Antique Hardware carry reproduction push-button light switches with  discreet dimmer functions, for ­instance.      Being afraid to remove walls   Architects are divided on the idea  of opening up historical homes. But older floor plans can clash with  modern-day living, and a well-renovated and expanded kitchen, for  example, can increase the value of most properties. And an open concept  might serve some families better than a compartmentalized layout. “It’s  important to work with the original spatial organization, but some  historic structures didn’t originally have kitchens. They were  additions,” Miroglio says. “Such areas are ripe for adapting, and the  kitchen as the center of a house is really big.”  “It’s perfectly acceptable to knock  down walls,” Pearson says, but this also can go beyond a kitchen space.  “There is a history of people altering structures, adding on wings at  different times. We’re just one step in a larger picture. What’s  important is that the structure isn’t being torn down but reused.”  If you expect to sell the home in  the future, keep in mind that “value is directly connected to things  like square feet, kitchens, and room and bathroom count,” Zimmerman  says. “Reducing any of those on paper — like the house size or number of  bathrooms — would certainly work against you. These are marketing stats  prospective buyers read before even deciding to view a property.”  Khanani warns that it’s possible to  go too far in the hunt for an open concept. In older homes, “each room  had a specific function and there was a transition, whether doors or a  threshold.” She adds, “There is something about each one of those spaces  that made it unique, so taking that away takes away something from the  house.”    Adding square footage   Most architects agree that  additions, when done with care, are acceptable. But not all additions  are tasteful. Khanani points to a Victorian in New York’s Hudson Valley  that she recently renovated. “There was an awkward addition that was  functional but looked like an appendage and not part of the original  design intent,” despite it stylistically matching the finishes and  details of the rest of the house. And its placement at the side of the  house made it visible from the street. Khanani removed it entirely, and  there uncovered a beautiful bay window with a window seat, which she  restored. Then, to reclaim the square footage lost, she designed an  addition on the back side of the house that was about the same size as  the previous addition.     Read the full article  HERE      Renovate Your Historic Home Now

In a Hudson Valley Victorian house renovated by Studio For’s Fauzia Khanani, a new addition replaces the previous one, but at the back of the property to preserve the original design. (For Design)

You’ve scoured real estate listings, survived a bidding war and finally closed on a historical home — maybe a free-standing Victorian or Federal-style rowhouse — and want to bring it into the 21st century. You may think the hard part is over, but renovation experts say plenty of pitfalls remain. We asked them where most homeowners trip up.

Not researching the history

Digging into your home’s past can be fun, but it can also help you make aesthetic decisions and avoid costly mistakes. Architect Anik Pearson recalls a New York client who wanted to install a pool in his basement. She referred to historical maps of Manhattan that showed where all the waterways, wetlands and hills existed, and discovered a river underneath the townhouse. “They poked a hole in the basement and sure enough, there was running water. The river was still there.”

You can aid the renovation process by conducting your own research ahead of time. Look at old maps from your local historical society or online through the U.S. Geological Survey, educate yourself about which materials are right for your home’s climate and setting, and visit a museum that has period rooms based on your home’s era. Look back at the real estate listing, if you can, because many agents of older properties include a backstory and ownership history. There are also books — such as “Victorian Architectural Details” by A.J. Bicknell & Co. and “The American Builder’s Companion” by Asher Benjamin — that show historical precedence, proportions, molding shape used during specific eras, and style differentiation between, say, Victorian gingerbread and gothic revival. “All of those styles have a specific language that has been recorded carefully in these books,” Pearson says.

Trying DIY

In this age of HGTV shows and YouTube tutorials, many homeowners consider bypassing a professional for what they think are easy cosmetic alterations. But mistakes can cost them more than an architect’s fee. A common example is when homeowners try restoring curb appeal with quick-and-dirty fixes, such as power-washing a stain or painting over an ugly house color.

Stripping or removing paint is especially an area to exercise caution: Although in newer homes it’s safer because modern paints don’t contain harmful substances such as lead, old paints can contain such substances. But simply applying a new coat shouldn’t be a problem for DIYers.

“Cosmetic improvements that don’t affect any systems are usually safe DIY projects,” says Naomi Miroglio of San Francisco-based Architectural Resources Group. But “if finishes need to be removed or walls opened up, it should be left to a professional.” She points to replacing faucets in bathroom sinks, typically an easy DIY project in newer homes, as an example of what not to do in older homes. “Often the cutouts in the porcelain for the faucet and knobs are at different dimensions than current faucet assemblies. One has to look for salvage pieces or custom-order them.” Miroglio also recommends leaving electrical and plumbing work to the professionals because of the safety risks.

Adding pristine, new elements

Many owners of older homes will either refinish the original elements, such as the woodwork, or install reproductions. Juxtaposed with the worn details, however, these pristine copies or gleaming finishes can look out of place. Worse yet, some of the materials used in decorative reproductions lack the quality and durability of the original materials.

“Some contractors think it’s more trouble to save decorative pieces than work around them,” Miroglio says. “You might have four beautiful column capitals and one bad one. They’ll suggest replacing them all to look the same. Often it’s a cheaper material inside like Styrofoam.”

Or, she adds, they’ll strip and re-stain the wood floors, resulting in an overly pristine appearance that’s lost a lot of character. Instead, she recommends retaining some of the aged look. “It’s arrested decay: You stop it from decaying but avoid making it look brand new.”

The elements could be historical finishes or objects that aren’t in perfect condition, such as light fixtures with a worn metal finish, wood trim that shows signs of wear and crackled paint on a ceiling light medallion. “We’ve even seen layers of peeling wallpaper and exposed plaster kept intact with a clear coating applied,” Miroglio says.

Architect Adam Zimmerman of Zimmerman Workshop agrees: “Nothing looks worse than antique details directly adjacent to poorly done new ones that are deliberately trying to match. The new will highlight how dilapidated the old really looks.” He offers a trick to avoid this: “Let’s say you have historic baseboards and you decide to build a new wall. We might borrow the baseboards from rooms in other parts of the home for the wall. Or, if you have to mismatch within the same room, use similar style and scale, and then break old from new so that they’re not in direct contact. It always comes down to the details.”

Installing vinyl windows

Older, unrenovated homes aren’t going to win any awards for energy efficiency. So many homeowners target those drafty wooden windows for replacement. But architects caution against choosing modern vinyl options.

“Even though a wood window will cost a lot more than vinyl or aluminum, the wood is worth the investment because it can survive a hundred years,” Pearson says. “Vinyl clad won’t last for more than 10 or 20 years, and metal clad is better than vinyl but in arid climates.”

Looking at it from a preservationist standpoint, Miroglio argues: “It’s always more sustainable to keep something rather than replace it. We work hard with homeowners to understand how you can weatherize wood double-hung windows. Maybe they just need new putty.”

Tiptoeing around technology

Implementing modern technology, such as home automation, is a hot topic. Fortunately, the nature of WiFi means there’s no need to rewire the house or install high-tech devices out in the open. “There’s no reason a thermostat has to be in plain view. You could keep it in a closet and use a hidden sensor that no one sees,” Pearson says.

You can also find replacements that function in a modern way but look old-fashioned. “There’s a market for this type of product now,” says Fauzia Khanani of New York’s Studio For. “Great brands are making products with modern technology and a historic look, such as light switches.” Shops including Rejuvenation and House of Antique Hardware carry reproduction push-button light switches with discreet dimmer functions, for ­instance.

Being afraid to remove walls

Architects are divided on the idea of opening up historical homes. But older floor plans can clash with modern-day living, and a well-renovated and expanded kitchen, for example, can increase the value of most properties. And an open concept might serve some families better than a compartmentalized layout. “It’s important to work with the original spatial organization, but some historic structures didn’t originally have kitchens. They were additions,” Miroglio says. “Such areas are ripe for adapting, and the kitchen as the center of a house is really big.”

“It’s perfectly acceptable to knock down walls,” Pearson says, but this also can go beyond a kitchen space. “There is a history of people altering structures, adding on wings at different times. We’re just one step in a larger picture. What’s important is that the structure isn’t being torn down but reused.”

If you expect to sell the home in the future, keep in mind that “value is directly connected to things like square feet, kitchens, and room and bathroom count,” Zimmerman says. “Reducing any of those on paper — like the house size or number of bathrooms — would certainly work against you. These are marketing stats prospective buyers read before even deciding to view a property.”

Khanani warns that it’s possible to go too far in the hunt for an open concept. In older homes, “each room had a specific function and there was a transition, whether doors or a threshold.” She adds, “There is something about each one of those spaces that made it unique, so taking that away takes away something from the house.”

Adding square footage

Most architects agree that additions, when done with care, are acceptable. But not all additions are tasteful. Khanani points to a Victorian in New York’s Hudson Valley that she recently renovated. “There was an awkward addition that was functional but looked like an appendage and not part of the original design intent,” despite it stylistically matching the finishes and details of the rest of the house. And its placement at the side of the house made it visible from the street. Khanani removed it entirely, and there uncovered a beautiful bay window with a window seat, which she restored. Then, to reclaim the square footage lost, she designed an addition on the back side of the house that was about the same size as the previous addition.


Read the full article HERE

Renovate Your Historic Home Now

Home Renovation Comparison: How Much Will Your Remodel Cost? By Devon Thorsby

Before trying to tackle too many projects, figure out what home improvements your budget has room for.

What will your budget let you renovate?

Home prices are high and interest rates are rising, so

many homeowners are opting to stay put and renovate rather

than search for a new house. According to Houzz's 2018 study of renovations in the LIS., 51 percent of Houzz users have plans to renovate in 2018, with a median budget of $10,000. But

how far can your budget get you? We're breaking down

the cost of some popular home renovation projects to help

you figure out the best ways to spend your remodel money.

Kitchen

It doesn't matter if you're a gourmet chef or a

microwave connoisseur — you want a welcoming

kitchen that makes the space worthy of spending time,

not just prepping food. A kitchen renovation is the most common planned project for homeowners, according to the Houzz study, with 31 percent of respondents noting they plan to remodel their kitchen. But it's also a costly project. Remodeling Magazine's 2018 Cost vs Value report breaks down the national average cost for kitchen remodels as such:

Midrange minor kitchen remodel: $21,198

Midrange major kitchen remodel: $63,829 Upscale

Major kitchen re-model: S125,721

Knocking Down Walls

Removing a wall tends to cost the same in every room, but these days it is commonly done in the kitchen to create a more open floor plan. Wall demolition costs vary based on whether the wall is load bearing – meaning it is a key part of the house’s structure – or if there is plumbing or electrical wire running through it. HomeAdvisor provides national averages for the cost of removing a wall.

Budget: $300 to $1,000 for a wall that doesn’t bear any weight.

Midrange: $1,200 to $3,000 for a load-bearing wall in a single-story house.

Splurge: $3,200 to $10,000 for a load-bearing wall with two or more stories.

Kitchen Packages and Pricing

Design your Kitchen Now

Bathroom

The second- and third-most popular home renovations, according to the Houzz study, both fall under the bathroom category, covering guest or

secondary bathrooms and master bathrooms.

Current design trends show homeowners want a

spa experience in their bathroom, whether that

means a rain-style showerhead, double vanities or exquisite tile work. Remodeling Magazine separates the cost of remodeling a bathroom into two categories, based on national averages for 2018:

Midrange bathroom remodel: $19,134

Upscale bathroom remodel: $61,662

Bathroom Packages and Pricing

Design Your Bathroom Now

Bedroom: master suite addition

Sometimes, though, the bedroom you have isn't the

one you want or need. Master suites are frequently

high on the list of homebuyer wants, but they're also not always common in older houses. Making an

addition to a house is an extensive project that will cost you a lot of money, but your investment does come back to you, at least somewhat, in the increase in property value. Remodeling Magazine notes a

master suite addition recoups just over 48 percent of the cost in resale value for upscale projects and more than 56 percent for midrange projects. Here are the average costs for both projects, per the Cost vs. Value report:

Midrange master suite addition: $123,420

Upscale master suite addition: $256,229

Design Your Master Suite Now

Want to learn more? View the full article HERE

Complete Comparison Guide: Fiber Cement or Hardiplank vs. Vinyl Siding By Home Advisor

Protecting your home’s exterior needs a sturdy material that resists common outdoor threats like pests, extreme temperatures and harsh weather. Two popular materials for siding are fiber cement, also called HardiePlank, and vinyl. Which one is right for your next project, and how do they compare to each other?

What is Fiber Cement?

Fiber cement is a blend of cellulose fibers, sand and cement. When it’s manufactured for siding, it resembles natural materials like wood and stone. It’s known for durability, affordability and for being available in a variety of forms.

 

HardiePlank / Hardie Board vs. Fiber Cement

The James Hardie brand produces high-quality fiber cement siding products, often called Hardie Board or HardiePlank. These terms are often interchanged with fiber cement. However, these brand name James Hardie products typically cost more than lower grade siding. To find out more, check out the pros, cons & cost of Hardie Board.

 

What is Vinyl Siding? 

Vinyl is made of PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which is the same material used in luxury vinyl floors. It can look like cedar, stone or tile without the added costs and maintenance associated with organic materials.

It can come in shingles, vertical or horizontal planks, and faux log. Horizontal siding is popular. An insulated version is available and can guard your home against extreme temperatures to make it more energy-efficient. To learn more about this material, explore the pros and cons of vinyl siding.

 

Siding Comparison – Which Is Better for Your Home?

Fiber cement and vinyl are both synthetic materials and easier to manage than organic options like wood, shingles or logs. Here’s how they compare.

 

Types & Styles

 

Fiber Cement

·     This material can resemble stone, wood lap boards, cedar shingles, wood shake siding, logs, and more.

·     Its premium thickness produces deeply embossed products that look like wood.

 

Vinyl

 

·     It can imitate materials like wood shingles, lap boards, logs, and stone.

·     The styles are just as varied as fiber cement.

·     However, it falls short when imitating wood because it isn’t as thick.

·     Lack of depth makes its stone replicas less textured.

  

Colors & Painting

 

Both materials come in an endless variety of colors like light blues, dark ash, bright greens and bold reds.

If the product doesn’t initially come in the color you’re looking for, you can paint both. The cost of painting falls between $1,700-$4,000. Select a siding that’s already the color you want to save money.

Fiber Cement

·     Needs a coat of paint every 5-10 years to keep its luster.

·     To save you time for the first few years, buy pre-painted products.

Vinyl

·     Doesn’t need paint unless you want to change the color.

·     If you bought pre-painted material, repaint it every 5 to 10 years in fair weather and with acrylic and/or urethane paints.

·     The paint’s color should be lighter than the current color. Darker paints can absorb the sun’s heat and trap it into the siding, causing it to warp.

 

Cost Comparison

Which material is better for your budget? For more information on these prices, see our fiber cement cost guide and vinyl siding cost guide.

 

Fiber Cement

·     $0.70- $5.25 per square foot.

·     It varies in price due to the difference in quality between brands and manufacturing methods.

·     Hardie Board falls on the higher end of this spectrum, usually hovering around the $5 per square foot range.

·     Overall, it costs more after installation due to the extra labor involved.

 

Vinyl

·     $3.00- $6.00 per square foot, with the typical choice costing around $3.00-$4.00 per square foot.

·     Installation is simpler and less cumbersome, making the total cost after labor more affordable.

 

Which is Best?

The right material for you will depend on a variety of factors. For example, if your home has brick or stone accents or in the front, fiber cement siding could complement it better because of its depth. Here are some key things to keep in mind when you’re deciding which material is better for you:

·     Budget

·     Values (environment, sustainability, etc.)

·     Climate & weather patterns in your area

·     How often you expect to perform maintenance and repair tasks

·     Your home’s look and which siding complements it

 

Fiber Cement/Hardie Board is Better For…

·     Durability

·     Longevity

·     Eco-Friendliness

·     Thickness

·     Types and Styles

 

Vinyl is Better For…

·     Cost

·     Maintenance and Cleaning

·     Repairs

·     Insulation

·     DIY Installation

·     Painting

  

Want to learn more? View the full article HERE

 

Start Your Renovation Now

6 Home Renovation Myths to Stop Believing Before You Botch Things Up By Margaret Heidenry

Where do home renovation myths start? Maybe in the aisles of your local hardware store or parking lot of the lumber yard. They get traded back and forth and whispered to people who may actually believe the tall tales—until they find themselves sitting under a pile of splintered wood and drywall dust.

To spare you from deciphering fact from fiction, we're here to set the record straight: Here are some home improvement myths you can stop believing right now. It's time to get real when it comes to what's really in store when you decide to embark on a little remodeling.

1. 'Whatever money I spend on upgrades I'll get back when I sell'

There's a common misconception among homeowners that they can add the full cost of any improvement to the price tag of their home when it's time to sell.


"We'll hear things like, 'I spent $10,000 finishing the basement, so I should be able to add that to the asking price,'" says Cedric Stewart, a residential and commercial sales consultant at Keller Williams in the Washington, DC, area.


Not only is this downright false, homeowners who overprice their home on the basis of this myth will be at a huge disadvantage when their home sits on the market.

Bottom line: Improvements don't provide a dollar-for-dollar return on investment (ROI) but a percentage. For example, adding a deck usually gets you a 75% ROI and finishing the basement sees a 72.8% ROI.


2. 'Permits are optional'

Permits seem like a massive pain—and sometimes they are—but they exist to protect you. If you skip the permitting step and you're found out (or your neighbor reports you), beware! You'll face fines and maybe even be forced to undo the work altogether, says Stewart.


So however seemingly small the scale of a project, always reach out to your local building department to find out if the work needs permits. Your local officials may also tell you that licensed contractors, not handymen, need to perform the permitted work.

Remember, if you sell, buyers will also want to know a project was done to code by a licensed contractor. Unpermitted work is often a deal breaker.


3. 'It’s cheaper to DIY'

You may be able to handily tackle some small jobs around the house, but most major home improvement projects go better with a pro. After all, there are a ton of DYI dangers, like making sure you have the right protective equipment or protecting the rest of the home from contaminants or circulating dust.


If you try to DIY anyway and make a mess of things, it could be even more expensive to hire a pro to fix what went wrong than if you simply hired one in the first place, says representative Dina Dwyer-Owens of Neighborly, a community of home service experts.

So instead of looking to do big projects in your spare time to save money, remember that time is money (and save yourself a whole lot of headaches).


4. 'Repairs are cheaper than replacement'

Some repairs are a temporary fix that will often cost you more in the long term. This is especially true when doing a repair won't always fix the whole problem and can lead to further damage and needless cost, says Eli Williams, general manager at Opal Windows and Siding Co.


For example, when a roof is in need of repair—and of a certain age—it's often time for a full replacement. Warranties also come into play in this situation. Whereas most repairs aren't covered by a warranty, a full roof replacement normally comes with a substantial warranty coverage between 10 and 25 years.


5. 'Building a pool will instantly add value to my home'

This myth can sometimes be true, but only in relation to homes in areas with yearlong warm temperatures.


"Otherwise, pools can be a costly liability, both for you and the future home buyer," says Robert Douglas of Certified Leak Detection.


Why? Because pools require a lot more time and maintenance than most people think. And according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, you will recoup only 39 cents for every dollar you spend on a pool!


6. 'Always follow design trends'

It's tempting to take the latest Pinterest home improvement eye candy and integrate it into your home. But consider how long the paint color Millenium Pink or shiplap building material will be popular. For instance, dual sinks were all the rage for a while, but now top the list of bathroom design trends that turn off buyers.


Whatever project you're facing, contractors have been there and done that. Ask your pros for advice on how to approach home improvement with an eye on longevity.


Read the full article

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Renovating a Bathroom? Experts Share Their Secrets. By Michelle Higgins

When making over a bathroom, generally an expensive proposition, save money by not changing the layout. Linda Jaquez for The New York Times

New bathrooms don’t come cheap.

The average cost of a midrange bathroom renovation — replacing all the fixtures, the tile, the vanity and the toilet — is now almost $19,000, according to Remodeling magazine, which tracks the cost of home improvement projects annually. And that’s the nationwide average. If you live in New York City, count on spending closer to $25,000.

If you’re planning a high-end remodel that involves moving fixtures and installing amenities like heated floors, it will cost you more than $60,000 on average — and in New York City, upward of $72,000.

Still, there are ways to keep costs down. Interior designers and building professionals offered some tips on how to save money without sacrificing style

Go for high-quality faucets, the simpler the better. Tile only the shower, not the entire room.Trevor Tondro for The New York Times

LIMIT THE USE OF TILE Because tile can be expensive — and labor even more so — Pamela Dailey, an interior designer in Beacon, N.Y., sometimes uses it only in the shower, where she lays a simple subway tile in a staggered pattern up to the ceiling.

And instead of edging it with a border tile, she substitutes polished aluminum trim by Schluter to hide unglazed tile edges. It starts at about $8 for an eight-foot-long metal strip at Home Depot, she said, and offers “a clean, timeless look.”

LOOK FOR LEFTOVERS Don’t pay for an entire slab of granite when all you need is a small piece to cover the top of a vanity. Stone fabricators like SMC Stone in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and BCG Marble and Granite Fabricators in Hackensack, N.J., often sell remnants.

The same goes for tile: Dawn DeLuca, a principal at Camille Rossy Cabinetry & Design, said she looks for closeouts at stores like Tiles Unlimited in Glendale, Queens, and on sites like Tilebar.com, where overstocked and discontinued lines are sold for as much as 80 percent off. Ms. DeLuca added that it pays to ask about closeouts at any remodeling store you happen to visit. “Don’t be shy,” she said. “If you see a showroom changing displays, run in! They will be happy to sell display models at steep discounts — everything from vanities to toilet bowls.”

And don’t forget about Craigslist, where contractors and do-it-yourselfers often sell surplus. One recent listing offered 84 Bianco Carrara marble subway tiles for $50 with the following message: “Accidentally purchased what we needed in sq. ft. instead of linear ft. … oops! Selling what we didn’t need at half price.”

LOSE THE MEDICINE CABINET “I opt, whenever possible, for a decorative mirror instead of a medicine cabinet,” said Kelly Giesen, the founder of Kelly G Design in Manhattan. “A mirror adds style to the space and opens up a wide choice of price options. You can also go as big as the room will support, so the space ends up looking bigger and more grand.”

HIT THE FLEA MARKET Ms. Giesen recently found a small iron table for $125 this way, and plans to use it as a sink console. “The style is unique and special,” she said. “And perfect for a bath, without breaking the bank.” Just be sure to measure your flea market finds before buying, to ensure they’re the right height, width and depth for your bathroom.

CONSIDER THE COST OF LABOR “Most people think about saving on material,” said Raf Howery, the chief executive of the home-remodeling site Kukun, but they forget that labor can account for as much as 40 percent of the overall budget. Keeping the bathroom layout the same, so you don’t have to move the plumbing, and “choosing products that do not require a huge amount of installation labor,” Mr. Howery said, are some of the best ways to keep costs down.

Cindy Albert, a designer at New Life Bath & Kitchen in Santa Maria, Calif., offered an example: Instead of spending $1,400 on tile for a recent bathroom renovation, she spent $2,000 on wall panels from Kohler’s Choreograph line. The panels cost more, she explained, but because they took less time to install, her client saved about $2,500 on labor.

AVOID “BUILDER GRADE” FIXTURES “Builder grade” and “contractor grade” are marketing terms for the most basic fixtures in a product line. And in this case, you get what you pay for: They tend to be made of less durable parts and can “scratch and wear more quickly,” said Leonard Kady, an architect in New York. Investing in a higher-grade fixture may cost more up front, but it could save you money in the long term. You may not see the words “builder grade” on the box, Mr. Kady added, but “salespeople will let you know, as a point of comparison.” Another clue: “The higher end tends to be heavier and feel solid.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE The number of handles required to operate the temperature and flow of the water in your shower and tub may not be high on your list of renovation priorities, but all those parts add up. “More valves equal higher costs,” Mr. Kady said. A pressure balance valve with a single handle to control both the water temperature and flow is often cheaper than a thermostatic valve with two or more handles. “Each valve has to be separately installed, and plumbing pipes have to meet those valves, which adds labor costs,” he said. “That’s why fewer is better.”

When it comes to finishes, standard polished chrome is typically less expensive than other options. Kohler’s Bancroft valve trim and handle in polished chrome, for example, sells for $244. The same model in brushed nickel costs $355.

And if you have your heart set on an expensive material like marble, consider using it as an accent rather than covering the entire bathroom in it. That’s what Marica McKeel, the founder of Studio MM, a Manhattan architecture firm, suggested when her client fell in love with a $20-a-square-foot marble tile and “had to have it” wall-to-wall in a large bathroom. Using the marble on the floor, and a simple white subway tile in the shower, “not only saved our client more than $1,600,” Ms. McKeel said, “it allowed the marble tile to stand out and become the star of the show.”

Read the full Article HERE.

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How Much Should You Spend Remodeling A House For Maximum Profit Posted by Financial Samurai

With home prices at record highs, it’s only natural that more homeowners are spending money on remodeling. I’ve personally remodeled three homes and I never want to remodel again!


But for those of you who want to suffer through the pain of remodeling, whether to get a better deal or earn some sweat equity, here are some top down views I have about the process:


  1. Pay more for quality material since labor cost is relatively fixed

  2. Get the proper permits to protect yourself from bad workmanship, while also boosting the value of your home through. More comprehensive 3R report

  3. Expect the overall job to cost 30% more and take 30% longer, but don’t let the contractor know

  4. Adding livable space is the most valuable type of remodel

  5. Always speak to the last contractor’s client at the very least

  6. Great homes have wonderful outdoor space

  7. The value of a remodel fades over a 20-30 year period, at which point a new remodel may be due

  8. Decide whether you’re remodeling for profit or for personal use


The big question every homeowner has when it comes to remodeling is how much they should actually spend to increase their chances of not only getting their money back, but also making a positive return if you decide to sell.


I believe the #1 remodeling error is spending outside the scope of the home. Let’s discuss a framework.


Remodel Within The Scope Of Your Home

Decide whether your house is high-end, mid-end, or low-end. You can make the call based on the value of your house compared to the median home value in your city and neighborhood. If the value of your home is within +/- 25%, it should be considered mid-end. Once you’ve decided what level your house is, remodel based on that level.


There’s a wise saying, “don’t buy the most expensive home on the block.” Instead, buy the cheapest home on the block with the most amount of expansion potential. After all, if the price per square foot to build is cheaper than the current selling price per square foot, you’ve got yourself an easy arbitrage. For example, in San Francisco, you can build for less than $500/sqft and sell for $1,000/sqft in many neighborhoods for a nice 100% gain.


Homeowners tend to overspend on remodeling because they think, “While we’re at it, why don’t we do this too.” This kind of thinking makes the project cost way more than the original plan. Contractors can influence homeowners to do more as well. “The wall is open, might as well install a Tesla charger while we’re at it,” said my contractor once. No thanks.


Remodeling Price Guide


Rank the importance of each room and assign a remodeling maximum cost based on a percentage of the building’s value. You will get the most return from a medium-end remodel job that appeals to the largest amount of people. Don’t get too eclectic in your tastes.


A lot of people throw out remodeling costs like “$10,000 for a small bathroom remodel,” or “$50,000 for a kitchen.” These figures are meaningless if you haven’t also considered the realistic value of your house. Instead, you must think about your remodeling costs as a percentage cost of your entire house.


For example, let’s say you want to update your kitchen. You can either rip everything out and replace the floors, tiles, countertops, and appliances or you can do all that plus follow your contractor’s suggestion and expand another 100 square feet into the yard “while you’re at it.” How much should you spend?


Let’s say you bought the house for $1,000,000. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,800 square feet of living space, and a 5,000 square foot lot. A property’s value is made up of land value and building value. In your case, the split is 50/50. If you include the kitchen, living room, and laundry room, the house has a total of eight rooms. The value of each room is therefore around $62,500 ($500,000 building value divided by 8 rooms). You can consider $62,500 as the max you would ever spend doing anything to a room.

But of course, not all rooms are considered equal. Even though a master bedroom is very valuable, it’s not as expensive to construct as your typical kitchen due to the lack of plumbing, complicated electrical wiring, and installation of appliances. Further, not all rooms are the same size as well. Therefore, you’ve got to therefore make a judgement call on the value of each room based on its size, amenities, and importance to you.


I’ve ranked the following rooms in descending order of value:


  1. Kitchen

  2. Master bathroom

  3. Guest bathroom(s)

  4. Master bedroom

  5. Living room

  6. Dining room

  7. Guest bedrooms

  8. Deck (outdoor space less valuable than indoor space)


You may have a different opinion. It’s very easy to build a bedroom, living room, or a dining room. All you need is to frame the room, thread in the electrical, put up sheetrock, mud and sand the sheetrock, paint the sheetrock, put up crown moldings if you wish, install lighting and switches, replace the floors and you are done.


Now I assign the value of each room as a percentage of the value of the building value of the house (not the entire house, although you can if you stay consistent). I’ll use $500,00 in this example.


  1. Kitchen: 5% = $25,000 with a range of 3% – 10%

  2. Master bathroom: 4% = $20,000 with a range of 2% – 5%

  3. Guest bathroom(s): 2% = $10,000 with a range of 1% – 3%

  4. Master bedroom: 1% = $5,000 with a range of 1% – 2%

  5. Living room: 1% = $5,000 with a range of 1% – 2%

  6. Dining room: 1% = $5,000 with a range of 1% – 2%

  7. Guest bedrooms: 1% = $5,000 with a range of 1% – 2%

  8. Deck: 1% = $5,000 with a range of 1% – 3% due to size


Realistically, most people are just going to focus on remodeling their kitchen and bathrooms. For bedrooms, family rooms, and dining rooms, the most you’ll do is paint, add crown molding or wainscoting, upgrade the windows, and redo light fixtures. Sometimes you might move a wall.


You can always spend more or less if you like. It’s a personal choice. Just remember to think in percentages and make sure your remodeling quality is in-line with the value of your home.


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Buyer Beware: Homes Sold 'As Is' Can Come with Hidden Costs

With any purchase, getting a pre-purchase evaluation by a qualified contractor or home inspector can save home buyers from disaster.

by Beth Lawton

Some of the best real estate deals on the market right now are homes that are being sold “as is.” Unfortunately, those deals can come with massive hidden costs.

The biggest three issues with a home that can come up whether they are sold 'as is' or not are structural issues, water intrusion, and systemic issues with HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), electric or plumbing, said Nate Moore, owner of Moore Construction Group.

No matter How a property is being sold, buyers should really get an inspection or a pre-purchase evaluation by a contractor completed, Moore said. An inspection or evaluation can reveal major issues that even an experienced homeowner may not recognize.

Home inspectors can point out needed repairs, and a contractor can give estimates on how much those repairs will cost. A qualified home inspector or contractor can also find code violations and help uncover work done without permits, potentially saving the homeowner tens of thousands of dollars.

“If you don’t have time for scheduling a full home inspection, a contractor can come out and you’ll get a good chunk of the information,” said Moore, whose company provides those services to potential homeowners in Alexandria.

Earlier this year, Moore caught a homeowner (who was himself a real estate agent) selling a home after substantial work had been done without final permit inspections. “Instead of closing the permits, they just tried to sell the house,” Moore said. A buyer engaged Moore to do a pre-purchase inspection, and Moore discovered serious structural, electrical and plumbing issues that could have cost more than $100,000 to fix. The buyer walked away. The home is still on the market.

Both Alexandria City and Fairfax County have online systems where any member of the public can search the work permit history of a property by address. Online searches are free.

Before buying any home (in as-is condition or not), homeowners should check the permit history of the property, Moore said. If it looks like there’s a new kitchen and there were no permits pulled at all, that could be a red flag.

Overall, Moore said: “If it doesn’t look right, it’s probably not.”

VIEW THE FULL ARTICLE

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6 Benefits Of A Pre-Purchase Evaluation

Most people know about Home Inspections. Having an expert check the systems of a house and bring up areas of concern is a great idea. But what about the information they don't offer? MCG helps close the gap with our Pre-Purchase Evaluations:

Estimate costs of repairs

No house is perfect, and repairs can be expensive. Home Inspectors may point out needed repairs, but knowing how much they cost is essential.

Identify structural issues

We check for signs of structural instability. If we find something, we let you know what it means. Often times, it's not as bad as it looks!

Provide renovation options and cost ranges

How much will it cost to add a bathroom? Renovate the kitchen? Build an addition? Gut renovate the whole thing? These are questions we can help answer.

Identify potential permitting issues

Un-Permitted work can be a huge liability which transfers to the new owner. We've identified violations which have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy.

Discover code violations

Code violations can range from inconsequential to life threatening. Some are required to be fixed, others can be "Grandfathered in". We'll help you identify which are which.

Grant access to our extensive network of specialists

We're not in it alone. If there are issues we don't handle, there's a good chance we can direct you to someone who does.

Get the answers you need before closing. Our 1 Hour Pre-Purchase Evaluations cost $150 and can save you a fortune. If trouble is found, we'll direct you towards services to get it resolved. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call- We're here to help!

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Enhance Your Project's Intelligence With These Smart Products By Marisa Mendez

Shiplap, various shades of gray, white kitchens, and a need for storage have been on homeowners’ must-have lists for several years. And while these trends have already taken a strong hold in your designs and on your clients’ Pinterest boards, there’s another movement gaining traction that encompasses both looks and function: the smart home. Whether you love or hate the idea of a Jetson-like abode, connected devices are here to stay. Manufacturers are jumping on this movement and creating smart products for almost every area of the home: living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room. In addition, many of these devices are compatible with hubs such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and the Apple Home Kit. Here are a few of the newest connected devices designed to make homeowners’ lives easier.

Spin Cycle

Whirlpool has released its Smart All-In-One Care Washer and Dryer. Designed for families with limited space, the ventless unit both washes and dries clothes in a single machine. When the laundry cycle is complete, users can get notifications on their smartphone via the Whirlpool app. The unit also works with Amazon’s Alexa. whirlpool.com


Let Me In

With Yale’s Nest x Yale lock, users can generate passcodes for guests and see a history of who has entered and when. Because it works with Nest, the lock can also be integrated with Nest Secure to disarm Nest’s alarm system. This lock replaces the deadbolt, and installation requires just a screwdriver in most cases. yalelock.com


Open and Shut

LiftMaster’s new wall-mount garage door opener is both a smart and a space-saving solution, according to the company. The LiftMaster

8500W is Wi-Fi enabled and connects to the MyQ app, which allows users to receive alerts about their garage door and open or close it from anywhere. Because the opener mounts on the wall, the ceiling is available to use for storage space. The opener is also compatible with Homelink, which is featured in some vehicles. liftmaster.com

Water You Doing?

Streamlabs has announced its inaugural product, the Smart Home Water Monitor. The monitor uses ultrasonic technology to measure and obtain flow data between two points. Homeowners can access data via an app on their Android or iOS device. streamlabswater.com


Chef at Your Fingertips

GE’s new oven features a 7-inch touch screen that allows users to pick more precise cooking or baking options for their food, according to the company. In addition, the Wi-Fi-enabled oven will provide cooking tips to the user and download new tips as they become available. geappliances.com


Look at That View

Ply Gem’s new MaxView patio door is 20 feet wide and 10 feet high; the stiles are ¾ inch wide. The door can be controlled with a wall-mounted device, a remote, or a user’s smartphone. MaxView’s color options coordinate with Ply Gem’s MIRA collection. plygem.com


All in One Place

Eaton’s Home Automation Hub integrates with many different intelligent devices, such as Honeywell’s Lyric thermostats, Denon Heos music systems, and Kwikset locks. Users can control all their compatible devices from a single app, making it easier to manage their homes. The Hub supports systems that use both Z-Wave and Wi-Fi. eaton.com


More about GE Appliances

Find products, contact information and articles about GE Appliances


More about LiftMaster

Find products, contact information and articles about LiftMaster


Read the full article HERE

Your Renovation Cheat Sheet

Now your Renovation Cheat Sheet can be at your fingertips any time. Our improved version contains even more useful information, and can be uploaded right to your phone!

By adding us as a CONTACT, just switch over to the "NOTES" section, and all of the information will be listed right when you need it.

ADD YOURS NOW

RENOVATION CHEAT SHEET

SMART START

PRE-PURCHASE GUIDE

Paint (500SQFT)............................... $1,200

Basement Finish (500SQFT).............. $15,000

*Carpet (500SQFT)............................ $1,500

*Tile (500SQFT)................................. $4,000

*Hardwood (500SQFT)....................... $5,000

**Kitchen Remodel (10'x10')............... $16,000

**1/2 Bath Remodel............................ $3,000

**Full Bath Remodel (5'x8')................. $10,000

*Includes demo and haul away, installation and materials

**Includes demo and haul away, installation, cabinets, countertops, tile and fixtures

Prices are for rough estimating only. Actual costs may vary.

KITCHEN PACKAGES STANDARD PRICING

DESIGNER PACKAGE........................$19,500

TRADITIONAL PACKAGE...................$17,500

BUILDER PACKAGE...........................$16,000

ARTISAN PACKAGE...........................$16,000


BATHROOM PACKAGES STANDARD PRICING

DESIGNER PACKAGE........................$13,500

TRADITIONAL PACKAGE...................$12,000

BUILDER PACKAGE...........................$11,000

ARTISAN PACKAGE...........................$11,000

ASBESTOS

  • Started in US in 1858

  • In 1973, under the EPA's Clean Air Act, most spray-applied asbestos products were banned for fireproofing and insulating purposes. 

  • In 1989, the EPA issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule, which hoped to impose a full ban on the manufacturing, importation, processing and sale of asbestos-containing products.


LEAD BASED PAINT

  • Banned in 1978

Kitchens and Baths: What's the cost?

One of the most profound improvements to a home is the fresh renovation of your kitchen or bathroom.  These are spaces used everyday, and make a tremendous impact on the enjoyment of our homes.  In considering making the transformation, we are consistently asked two questions:  How much does it cost?  How do I get started?  In answer to these questions, we've prepared easy, quick packages which make these small, impactful renovations simple.

Each package contains professionally designed spaces which exemplify the look and feel of each style.  Click on the links below to see what materials are used to complete the look.

KITCHEN PACKAGES STANDARD PRICING

DESIGNER PACKAGE              $19,500

TRADITIONAL PACKAGE       $17,500

BUILDER PACKAGE                 $16,000

ARTISAN PACKAGE                 $16,000


BATHROOM PACKAGES STANDARD PRICING

DESIGNER PACKAGE              $13,500

TRADITIONAL PACKAGE       $12,000

BUILDER PACKAGE                 $11,000

ARTISAN PACKAGE                 $11,000

Each package includes the removal and haul away of your existing kitchen or bathroom. Terms and conditions may apply. Contact us for details.

To get started, click the link below and let us know which option you choose!

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Extraordinary Man Cave Renovations by Home Advisor

 Whether you live with family, roommates or by yourself, there are   always distractions. It helps to have a separate space to escape to. A   place where you can zero out the noise of the day and focus on a   creative project, relax and unwind, or cultivate a hobby: a "man cave."   Here are a few ways you can make your man cave work for your unique tastes and interests.      The Library

Whether you live with family, roommates or by yourself, there are always distractions. It helps to have a separate space to escape to. A place where you can zero out the noise of the day and focus on a creative project, relax and unwind, or cultivate a hobby: a "man cave."


Here are a few ways you can make your man cave work for your unique tastes and interests.


The Library

 Are you someone who fantasizes about wall-to-wall shelving and antique   library furniture? Converting a bedroom into a study is a low-cost   option since the room is already outfitted with basics like lighting and   electricity.

Are you someone who fantasizes about wall-to-wall shelving and antique library furniture? Converting a bedroom into a study is a low-cost option since the room is already outfitted with basics like lighting and electricity.

 Built-in bookshelves and hardwood flooring will give the space that   sophisticated look. Design with classic, dark-stained wood materials  and  stock the shelves with your favorites. Furnish the room with  vintage  accent pieces, like old-fashioned reading lamps or even a card   catalogue.    Spare Room to Library   Expense Low HighHardwood Flooring (200 sq ft)$1,600$2,000Built-In Bookshelf2,000$5,000Rug$100$300Wingback Chair$200$500Desk$200$2,000Vintage Card Catalogue$200$300Total$4,300$10,100      The Workshop

Built-in bookshelves and hardwood flooring will give the space that sophisticated look. Design with classic, dark-stained wood materials and stock the shelves with your favorites. Furnish the room with vintage accent pieces, like old-fashioned reading lamps or even a card catalogue.


Spare Room to Library
Expense Low HighHardwood Flooring (200 sq ft)$1,600$2,000Built-In Bookshelf2,000$5,000Rug$100$300Wingback Chair$200$500Desk$200$2,000Vintage Card Catalogue$200$300Total$4,300$10,100


The Workshop

 If you enjoy hand-crafted furniture, bike building and repair, or any   other hobby that demands square footage, this is the man cave for you.

If you enjoy hand-crafted furniture, bike building and repair, or any other hobby that demands square footage, this is the man cave for you.

 The garage is the best  place for this escape. Hobbies like these can  be noisy, and it will be  less stressful if you can make as much noise as  necessary without  disturbing the household or neighbors. These projects  can also involve  noxious chemicals. You'll want to be able to raise  that garage door or  open windows to air out the space if necessary.   This man cave doesn't have to be 100% sawdust and power tools.  Think  outside of the box to get the most out of your garage renovation.  Split  the space into two areas, one for working and one for planning  and  design. Consider installing a partition, such as sliding barn wood   doors, to distinguish between the areas. Outfit the working side with a   workshop cabinet and any tools you may need. Install hardwood flooring   on the side where you'll arrange furniture and other amenities you  might  want.Converting a garage averages about $11,000, because you'll be adding a few necessities like insulation and drywall.    Garage to Workshop   Expense Low HighHardwood Flooring for Half (ex: 14 x 22 garage)$1,000$1,500Convert Interior Walls$1,700 (regular)$2,000 (digitized)Add Insulation$300$400Heating and Cooling$500$2,000Additional Outlets$75$500Workshop Lighting$100 (regular)$300Furniture Set$600$3,000Workshop Cabinet Set$500$2,000Partition (ex: Hanging/Sliding Barnwood doors)$200$2,500Total$4,975$14,200      The Studio

The garage is the best place for this escape. Hobbies like these can be noisy, and it will be less stressful if you can make as much noise as necessary without disturbing the household or neighbors. These projects can also involve noxious chemicals. You'll want to be able to raise that garage door or open windows to air out the space if necessary.


This man cave doesn't have to be 100% sawdust and power tools. Think outside of the box to get the most out of your garage renovation. Split the space into two areas, one for working and one for planning and design. Consider installing a partition, such as sliding barn wood doors, to distinguish between the areas. Outfit the working side with a workshop cabinet and any tools you may need. Install hardwood flooring on the side where you'll arrange furniture and other amenities you might want.Converting a garage averages about $11,000, because you'll be adding a few necessities like insulation and drywall.

Garage to Workshop
Expense Low HighHardwood Flooring for Half (ex: 14 x 22 garage)$1,000$1,500Convert Interior Walls$1,700 (regular)$2,000 (digitized)Add Insulation$300$400Heating and Cooling$500$2,000Additional Outlets$75$500Workshop Lighting$100 (regular)$300Furniture Set$600$3,000Workshop Cabinet Set$500$2,000Partition (ex: Hanging/Sliding Barnwood doors)$200$2,500Total$4,975$14,200


The Studio

 Have difficulty focusing in a common or lackluster space? Physical or   digital artists, musicians, dancers can all benefit from having a man   cave designed to inspire and focus their creativity energy.

Have difficulty focusing in a common or lackluster space? Physical or digital artists, musicians, dancers can all benefit from having a man cave designed to inspire and focus their creativity energy.

 Just because it's called a "cave" doesn't mean it has to be dark!   Bright rooms are great for opening the mind to musings. If you're   looking to create an art or design studio for yourself, consider   converting or even building a sunroom or windowed shed.  The cost to build a sunroom can be pretty high, around $15,000, but   building it can add value to your home and offer lots of conveniences.   Building a shed, on the other hand, only averages around $3,000 and  can  make for a perfect artist's oasis.    Shed or Sun Room to Design Studio   Expense Low HighEasel$20$300Drafting Table$200 (regular)$3,000 (digitized)Writing Desk$100$500Furniture Set$600$3,000      The Cellar

Just because it's called a "cave" doesn't mean it has to be dark! Bright rooms are great for opening the mind to musings. If you're looking to create an art or design studio for yourself, consider converting or even building a sunroom or windowed shed.

The cost to build a sunroom can be pretty high, around $15,000, but building it can add value to your home and offer lots of conveniences. Building a shed, on the other hand, only averages around $3,000 and can make for a perfect artist's oasis.


Shed or Sun Room to Design Studio
Expense Low HighEasel$20$300Drafting Table$200 (regular)$3,000 (digitized)Writing Desk$100$500Furniture Set$600$3,000


The Cellar

 The wine or beer enthusiast will find that turning the basement into a   man cave is a great fit. If your basement is already finished, you'll   probably only need to budget for appliances and furniture.

The wine or beer enthusiast will find that turning the basement into a man cave is a great fit. If your basement is already finished, you'll probably only need to budget for appliances and furniture.

 Unfinished basements will need to be finished and remodeled, which   costs an average of $19,000. This involves framing, putting up drywall   for ceilings and walls, installing lighting and laying flooring. This   renovation has a high return on investment, though, and will add   significant value to your home.    Basement to Cellar   Expense Low HighRefinish and Remodel$11,000$27,000Furniture Set$600$3,000Wine Cabinet$2,500$10,000Wet Bar$2,000$12,000Total$16,100$52,000   There really is a style for every taste, when it comes to  designing a  man cave for yourself. The design can be as simple as  making over a  bedroom, or as complicated as remodeling an entire  basement. Your  investment doesn't just serve your privacy needs,  either. You can turn  this project into an opportunity to add value to  your house.  Full Article         Design Your Man Cave Now

Unfinished basements will need to be finished and remodeled, which costs an average of $19,000. This involves framing, putting up drywall for ceilings and walls, installing lighting and laying flooring. This renovation has a high return on investment, though, and will add significant value to your home.


Basement to Cellar
Expense Low HighRefinish and Remodel$11,000$27,000Furniture Set$600$3,000Wine Cabinet$2,500$10,000Wet Bar$2,000$12,000Total$16,100$52,000


There really is a style for every taste, when it comes to designing a man cave for yourself. The design can be as simple as making over a bedroom, or as complicated as remodeling an entire basement. Your investment doesn't just serve your privacy needs, either. You can turn this project into an opportunity to add value to your house.Full Article

Design Your Man Cave Now

210 N. Payne Street: A Historic Renovation Diary by Beth Lawton

We are proud to announce that one of our projects, a pop-top addition and re-build of a historic house in oldtown is being featured as the focus of a series of articles in Alexandria Living Magazine



This is the first in a series following the renovation of 210 N. Payne Street in the Parker Grey neighborhood of Old Town Alexandria. The home, built in 1898 as a business that was later a rental property, will be fully renovated and expanded while honoring the property's unique history.


As a Realtor, Christine Sennott excels at finding the perfect home for her clients, but Sennott and her husband, Fred Theobald, had some difficulty finding the right home for themselves.Over the winter, on the way to view properties in Great Falls for a client, Sennott and her husband stopped by a small, one-story historic home on Payne Street "just because the listing was so weird," Sennott said.

210 N. Payne Street was a one-story, stand-alone 550 sq. ft. townhome with no bedrooms and one (very small) bathroom.The structure was built in 1898 as a cigar shop by original owner Edward Green. Over the years, the building was used for various businesses, and turned into a residence in 1960.

Sennott and Theobald started dreaming of the possibilities immediately and purchased the home in December 2017.

The home had already been renovated several times, as evidenced by the multiple layers of flooring, but Sennott plans to honor the building's history in many ways. "We're focused on giving the home "rustic, contemporary flare with smart space utilization. We will memorialize the homes origins with a decorative interior that we're coming up," Sennott said.

In a truly collaborative Kulinski Group Architects, based in Alexandria, designed a new home that adds a family room on the back of the home that will function as an indoor/outdoor living area with plenty of light. Claire Tamburro of Tamburro Interiors is collaborating with the team on the vision and finishes, adding historic touches and unique ideas.

"To honor Mr. Green and the cigar shop, we are making a wall-sized mural of the original permit - that idea came from Claire - in what will become office space at the front of the house. Other elements will include a map of the Parker Grey neighborhood, exposed brick and historically-influenced paint colors.

Sennott said they tried to locate photos and information about the history of the property but were only able to find some advertising referencing the building as a billiards. "We tried to come up with what the cigar shop would've originally looked like by pulling off siding and examining the attic to find the original placement of the windows and to see if there was a sign underneath the current siding," Sennott said. There was no helpful evidence.

So, Sennott and Theobald worked with the city to determine what the facade may have looked like, and they are trying to recapture its originality. "The city gave us permission to have something in the space that looks like it the building would have had a sign. We don't know what to put there," Sennott said, and has floated the idea of a design contest for that space on the façade.

They also are adding two bedrooms and a full bath on a new second floor (with a proper staircase leading up to it), creating a new half bath on the main floor and completely renovating the kitchen. The second story will be set back from the street, making it barely visible and preserving the home's original façade.The only façade changes will be increasing the height of the door and windows and adding a decorative sign reminiscent of the original cigar shop's signage. Exposed brick and historic-looking wood will accent the interior.

The result will be the collaborative vision of Sennott and Theobald, Moore Construction (the company doing the renovation work), Kulinski Group Architects and Tamburro Interiors.

"Moore helped me with the concept, budget and connected me with Kulinski. They have played a huge role in making decisions about the layout and functionality of the home," Sennott said. In addition, Kulinski Group Architects were instrumental helping the plans get approved by City officials.

Initially, Sennott wanted to recreate a 1900s home with modern conveniences, but finding and purchasing historic wood, brick and other materials proved to be cost-prohibitive. Instead, they are using new exposed brick inside, similar to what would have been found in a house from that period, and repurposing the attic wood throughout the house. The family room will feature a large map of the Parker Grey neighborhood, as well as a gas fireplace. The original building permit from the City of Alexandria will be blown up and used as a design element in the living room. They also plan to incorporate a variety of small, historic design elements to bring history into the home.

"Because it's a small space, we're focused on what's important to people who like small spaces and want city life," she said.The kitchen will be just 13' x 9' and have no upper cabinets. They will use the area underneath the new staircase for a walk-in pantry. Storage for the air handler will be upstairs, and they are installing a tankless water heater to save space.

On the first day of demolition, the team from Moore Construction ripped up floorboards to expose the joists, crawlspace, building foundation and footings throughout the home. The construction team is calling in a structural engineering to ensure the foundation and footings can support a second story on the home, or make recommendations to add support structures before construction begins. That process alone could take weeks.

The project is projected to take 4 to 6 months.

Until it is finished, Sennott and Theobald are staying in their 550 sq. ft. condo elsewhere in Old Town.
View the full article HERE

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Update Your Home, Upgrade Your Quality of Life!

As we enter the new year many of us consider making changes to improve our quality of life.  Why not improve your quality of life by improving the home in which you spend it? 

Let's discuss how we can make your home a comforting, enriching space that you are proud of.

Call us at (888) 486-6673
email us at info@mooreconstructiongroup.com

or reach out to us at mooreconstructiongroup.com/contact-us/



We make it easy for homeowners to hit the ground running by helping create a vision for their space, then preparing the details to make the vision a reality.  Our design packages begin with an in-home consultation with one of our Architectural Designers.  All of our Architectural Designers have designed hundreds of spaces, and hold a Master's Degree in Architecture.  The benefits of their experience translate into a much more insightful and valuable design.  As always, all of the work prepared by our Architectural Design team is the homeowners property.  This means they can use the drawings as part of their permit package- even if it is with another contractor!

Check out an EXAMPLE

Initial computer design option for a single room interior project (includes floor plan, dollhouse view, and up to three 3D perspective views) - $900


Initial computer design option for a single floor interior project (includes floor plan, dollhouse view, and up to three 3D perspective views) - $1,200


Initial computer design option for an entire home interior project (includes floor plan, dollhouse view, and up to three 3D perspective views) - $1,500

Restoring a historic house: 8 tips and tricks before getting started

by Robert Khederian

 

Buying a historic house often means acquiring a fixer-upper. And that's not necessarily a bad thing! Details like woodwork, fireplaces, and wide floorboards, are usually left unspoiled by previous renovations in a house than needs work-and then there's the exciting opportunity to bring an old house back to life.

Restoring a historic house is no small undertaking. Not only does special care need to be taken when dealing with old structures and building materials, but old houses are full of surprises, and costs can add up quickly. But if there's one thing we've learned, its that a renovation done right can turn a nightmare into a dream home.

We turned to one of our favorite interior designers and architects, fellow old-house obsessive Steven Gambrel, who has restored and renovated a number of 18th- and 19th-century houses in and around New York-like the 1853-built Captain Overton house in Sag Harbor-to learn a bit about what to expect, and what to look for, when restoring a period house.


1. Be prepared to live in a historic house

"If you're going to buy a historic house because you love the old wavy glass windows and the spirit of the floors," says Gambrel, "You must understand that you're not going to be able to have some of the creature comforts that come with 21st century living."

Do you count on things like radiant floors-or even just something like an evenly heated or cooled room-as a must-have? Then living in an older house, with its irregularities, may not be for you. "I would do anything on earth to maintain the wavy glass in the windows, even if it means having a drafty room," says Gambrel. "I would just put on another sweater. But, if you're not that person, then that's not the right house for you."


2. Watch out for water

Keep an eye out-especially around the ceilings, floors, and windows-for signs of water damage. That could be a warning of serious structural issues. "You need to understand that water damage is very serious and important. It needs to be addressed," says Gambrel. "Water damage has long-term effects like dry rot. Also, bugs love wet environments."

One of the areas of the structure to check for water damage is the sill plate. The sill plate is the bottommost horizontal component of the structure that runs around the entire foundation. All of the vertical structural supports for the house are attached to the sill plate.

"The sill plate often gets the most abuse, water-wise, because it sits closely to the wet ground," says Gambrel. "If the sill plate is rotten, then that's a lot of the reason why the floors are crooked, because that's the whole structure that the house sits on."


3. Bring the (right) people along with you

A contractor can help estimate the amount of work that needs to be done and its cost. But, select the people you consult very carefully.

Don't feel like you need to bring an inspector with you. At least not right away. "[Inspectors] often don't have specific knowledge about preservation," says Gambrel. "They will usually tell you general things like 'the house needs to be updated.' And then you're like 'yes, of course.' You need to get more specific in order to be helpful."

Research and contact people who have experience working with old houses: "You need a local historian or contractor who restores historic houses. They can provide the most assistance and tell you about the restoration process that needs to be done," says Gambrel.

And, above all, anybody you bring must understand your ultimate goal of restoring the property. "A lot of people don't understand the difference between preservation and ripping something out and starting over," says Gambrel "That's not what you want. You need talented people who can help you through the process of restoring an old home."


4. On a budget? Start small

While older houses-regardless of size-will probably all need to have updates and renovations, if you don't have access to the coffers of the Roman Empire (and if you've never renovated a house before), look for a smaller house, which will be more manageable.

"Buy quality materials and renovate less-I will always advocate for that," says Gambrel, whose renovation of the Captain Overton house in Sag Harbor includes double-mahogany glazed windows, custom-designed brass hardware, and salvaged marble mantles. "I would rather live in a perfectly restored tiny 18th-century saltbox than a crashing down mansion with crappy tiles."

5. Be smart about your investment

Even if you don't ever plan to sell, Gambrel says it's smart to consider resale value when budgeting. "The biggest problem with renovation and preservation is that it costs the same amount of money to renovate a house in several different locations, regardless of what the market can support," he says. "You don't want to find yourself spending too much money in a place that won't yield an equal return."

To that end-research about what fully renovated houses sell for in the area and let that inform how you structure your budget. As much as we hate to say it, one easy target for conserving the budget is by picking and choosing which fireplaces to restore.

Often in fixer uppers, fireplaces are not in working order and need to be relined or have their masonry otherwise repaired-a process that Gambrel says can cost upwards of $12,000 per chimney. If you find a place with multiple fireplaces-and chimneys-it might be smart to pick and choose which to repair.


6. Start with the roof, windows, and masonry

It might be tempting to pick out kitchen cabinets and paint swatches right away, but the first stages of the renovation should be practical rather than aesthetic. "It's like managing a crisis-you need to first fix things that are going to stop any future damage from happening," says Gambrel. "Get the house watertight. Fix the roof, windows, and masonry."

Sometimes, the location of the house directly relates to the strength and quality of the building materials. "The serious problem you'll find with some regions is that occasionally, there's sand in the mortar. That negatively affects its integrity," says Gambrel. "Because there's so much sand in the earth here on Long Island, many 18th-century chimneys were made with this weaker mortar, so the masonry will be weaker and in need of more attention."

Fireplaces and chimneys are a good place to check if mortar needs to be repaired, a process called repointing. Simply use your hands to conduct a preliminary test before calling in specialists: "If you don't see any mortar missing [from between the bricks/stone in a house], use your fingers to touch and tap on the mortar to see if it comes apart."


7. Technology is your friend

While Gambrel warns that updating heating, cooling, and electrical systems of a house are easily the most expensive part of any renovation, don't worry that executing the updates will necessitate ripping out all the period details you came to love in the first place.

"Technology has been extremely kind to preservation-you can break down a mechanical system into smaller units, feed the upper floors from the attic and the lower floors from the basement," says Gambrel. "It's called a split system, and it's a really good way to have not as much damage done to the historical fabric of the house."

8. Embrace the non-threatening quirks

Leveling out uneven floors in an old house can be a time-consuming-and costly-process. Why not accommodate them into the design scheme of the house? "In Manhattan, I have a house that was built in 1827. It's crooked! So I left it crooked," says Gambrel. "I designed all the millwork, like the baseboards, accommodate the crooked floors. The baseboard might be 6" high in one location and then 8" in another."

Similarly, if you're figuring out where to add bathrooms and closets, try to view the problem as an opportunity. The restored Captain Overton house has a bedroom with a bed built into a niche that was created when Gambrel added a bathroom to the second floor.

It's all about knowing what to sacrifice to preserve the rest. "I would rather maintain the integrity of 3 compelling rooms and compromise the 4th rather than chop away at all four and be left with four average spaces," says Gambrel. "You have to make it a creative opportunity. That's where the beauty, charm, and quirkiness of a renovation is."



View the entire article HERE