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Archive for the 'Value' Category

May 3rd, 2013
By Deb Villeneuve
Translation of  Jennifer Larocque’s original article by Deb Villeneuve

Step-families are a part of today’s reality. With more and more half-brothers and half-sisters among the millions of children throughout, harmonious family life has become a major challenge for many.
Inside the home, the logistics of shared space is of utmost importance. As little as possible must be left to chance in order to maintain harmony within the shared space that answers to the occupants’ needs.
Common living areas must take into consideration the diverse activities that will take place such as reading, talking, listening to music, playing games, and doing homework. Mealtime should ideally bring everyone together to share the day’s events and build the bonds so crucial to a family unit.
Children need their own space in which to interact with each other on their own terms. Although it is not always possible to give each child a separate bedroom, the use of color can help to define each child’s personal space.
 Here are a few house plans that may help you choose the best compromise between space requirements and budget concerns. Drummond House Plans has a collection of models which offer comfortable accommodations for today’s larger families that have features such as an attached garage, home office or media room, a second family room, a minimum of two full bathrooms, a finished basement and more…

A BEAUTIFUL AND SPACIOUS CRAFTSMAN STYLE CHALET

For larger families, how about this craftsman style home that is the perfect place to enjoy family life in the country, on the lakefront or slope side.

This charming chalet offers 6 beautiful bedrooms, 4 of which are in the basement and 2 bathrooms with each a shower. There is a powder room on the main level and a full bathroom complete with a separate shower and double vanity to accommodate the two upstairs bedrooms.
Abundant fenestration, a large kitchen with central island along with a dining room that has enough space to seat 12 and a cathedral ceiling in the fireplace equipped family room enhance the livability of this home. The double entrances offer a large closet for the main foyer and enough room to store skis and sports accessories along with a washer and dryer at the other.
Another pleasing feature of this home is the second living room in the basement and the large covered terrace.
 A BUNGALOW WITH EUROPEAN STYLE

If you are looking for an original, 4 bedroom plan that offers abundant fenestration and the ability to fit on a narrow lot – look no further!
Outside, the striking curb appeal of this home is enhanced by the unique window style with its vertical orientation.
Once inside, the large family room is bright yet cozy with its central fire place and room for seating in whichever configuration suits your family’s needs.

In the basement, the two 11′x10′ bedrooms, shower room, laundry area and bright, workshop/storage area are features that are sure to be appreciated by the occupants.
The main level offers a kitchen/dining/living area that is bathed in natural light along with a bathroom with separate shower and two good sized bedrooms with a walk-in closet in the master bedroom where a fireplace could be installed into the existing chimney.
CONTEMPORARY STYLE FOR THE NEW FAMILY

With contemporary style, this large home offers a much sought after look with 3-4 bedrooms and a split level design with a garage the fits a relatively narrow lot
This home has a rear orientation for the well fenestrated kitchen/dining/living room area with patio doors that open onto a beautiful 19′ x 10′ covered terrace.
Inspired by plan 3407 with its more European styling,  Aldana has a comfortable entrance foyer which includes a spacious closet and space for a home office. The large island in the kitchen and walk-in pantry are features that are sure to please and the fireplace built ins in the family area are extra touches that add a special feeling to this home.

Just 4 steps from the main level is a separate laundry area/powder room and the stairwell, open to the second floor, enhances the natural lighting and creates an open ambiance.
At the top of the stairs is a superbly appointed master suite complete with corner shower and walk-in closet. Two other bedrooms and a separate bathroom share the second floor and a full basement is ready to be finished to suit the owners’ needs.

 

February 28th, 2013
By Deb Villeneuve

I hope that you enjoy this guest post, which is full of “green” tips that can be useful when it comes time to move into your new home, from Grace Bailey 

The utilization of used boxes can be something you’re doing for a variety of reasons, ranging from a love for eco-friendly ideals to purely economic reasons. This is where the used boxes come into the picture, a perfect choice for these times as they are reusable and easy to find. Here are some tips you can use when you work with them:

Where to find used boxes ?
One of your best bets is to try out the local retail stores. They usually have a nice range of good-quality boxes, often used to move heavy items. The best way to go about this is to talk to their manager if you can obtain boxes from them. Some store chains have policies in place limiting the number of boxes one can receive that way. In some other cases they’d be more than happy to provide you with boxes with no trouble attached. Wine stores on the other hand are also a great source of free moving boxes. They are great for books and since most of what they have there already has cell dividers you can use them for bottles, glasses and other breakables.
You can also obtain boxes through the use of bulletin boards, whether its online or offline. You can find their physical variety on laundromats, grocery stores, rec centers and telephone poles among other places. Online bulletin boards may vary from country to country, but each one will likely have an equivalent to Craig’s List or similar websites. You never know what you’ll get as in many of these cases people will gladly give away packing materials they can no longer keep around their homes. It is an excellent way to deal with this through a system of honest trade.
Is it alright to move with used boxes?
It would be wise to test out the durability of the boxes you have before you move. There should be no weak spots no matter where your boxes come from. Products may sometimes leak and this can quickly destroy the bottom of a box. Make sure you don’t stuff them too full so they can handle the weight.
What to do if you can’t find use boxes
You can talk to your friends, family or coworkers to lend you some plastic tote bins. They can do the same job, plus you can usually stack them inside one another. They are easy to use and you’ll have a chance to return them once you’re done with the move.
Will my moving company provide boxes?
Usually not, unless you buy them from the company itself. They will offer you a very nice choice of boxes that are even part of whole kits, but this will extremely rarely be part of the package. Some moving companies offer plastic bins for rent as part of their business, a nature-friendly way of utilizng reusable packing materials.
What can you do with the boxes after the move?
There is much you can do, for example following the same steps others are using when you obtained your boxes. You can put an ad on an online or offline bulletin board, offering the boxes for free. Alternately you can donate the boxes to non-profit organizations in your vicinity such as food banks or charities that deal with donations abroad.

Grace is an author keen on green living, home decoration and innovative design. Currently, she works on a behalf of Bow moving company in the UK

April 9th, 2012
By Vivian Martin

A survey by the National Wood Flooring Association asked real estate agents about the impact of hardwood floors on homebuyers. Of the realtors interviewed, 82 percent said that homes with hardwood floors sold faster and often for more money. Hardwoods are easier than ever to care for and are a smart investment in your biggest asset: your home. Here are some tips if you’re planning on installing new hardwood or refinishing older floors.

Where to start?
Between unfinished plank, prefinished strip, engineered and hand-scraped, it’s easy to get confused by all of the flooring options. You’ll need to think about issues like humidity, the shape the existing subfloor is in, how level your floors are and your family’s lifestyle before you pick what’s best for you and your budget. If your TV room is in the basement and that’s where you spend your time, you might go for an engineered option because it can be installed over concrete, and can handle humidity and expansion better than hardwood can. If you’re looking to install hardwood on your main floor or upstairs in the bedrooms, prefinished strip or plank floors are the way to go to save the step and expense of staining unfinished wood.

Green floors
Whenever possible, Scott McGillivray tries to use eco-friendly products, and, not surprisingly, the hardwood flooring industry has a ton of eco-friendly flooring options to choose from. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) stamp of approval on hundreds of flooring options. The FSC manages sustainable forests where trees are replanted and the natural environment is carefully monitored. FSC-certified hardwoods can also apply toward LEED credits. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.

A gleaming hardwood floor draws the eye and adds a “finished” appeal to your home. However, don’t be fooled because something is sold as a “green” product. Bamboo flooring options might be made out of an amazing and renewable resource, but some manufacturers affix the layers of bamboo together with a glue that can emit formaldehyde. Do your research, ask the right questions and use your best judgement.

Read full article to learn how to cost it out.

March 23rd, 2012
By Vivian Martin

Kitchens tend to be the hub of the home and realtors agree that kitchen improvements are well worth the investment.

Thankfully, there are a few kitchen updates that are neither expensive nor time-consuming.  It can be as easy as simply switching out your old sink for a new, more efficient model that fits into your current footprint.

If you are willing and able to do the work yourself, a basic sink and faucet swap-out project should cost from $350 to $700—depending on how much you want to pay for your products. You may need to hire a professional for the plumbing hookup, which should only take about an hour.

Kohler has an excellent blog post on sink replacment.

Just look at the impact of these simple before and after pics…

For the full article and how-to tips, refer to the original article…

October 28th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

Many vintage pine pieces like the ones featured below are abandoned or donated to thrift stores when the decor is refreshed. There is no place for pieces like this in a modern decor… or is there?

Ah those clever interior design people! Diane from In My Own Style transforms these pine derelicts into the contemporary pieces below with a minimal investment of time and materials, giving them a new lease on life!

Learn how to achieve this look and follow the “In My Own Style” blog for other clever decor tips!

August 30th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

When you’ve got a major exterior home renovation project like siding, roofing, and window replacement, and you’re balancing a number of installation quotes, how do you decide on which one makes the most sense for you?… Choosing the best installation company using more criteria than just the lowest price …

If you have ever solicited quotes for a home improvement project, you were probably more confused about what you were paying for than when you started. The more quotes you received the larger the variance between proposals. Pricing is in the details. Regardless of the type of project; siding replacement, window replacement, roofing replacement, or any other home improvement; the price on the quote really doesn’t mean anything without knowing the specifications of ALL the work to be performed.

Read the full article on installer quote specifics from BuildDirect

August 4th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

In our energy efficiency series of articles featured each Thursday, we provide strategies or information on how to make your new home energy efficient and comfortable.

How much do our buildings really contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? The answers may be surprising.

Over 50% of all GHGs in the U.S. come from our homes and businesses, and over 40% of the country’s energy consumption goes toward powering those structures. Contrast that with the 28% of energy consumption for cars and other transportation, and it’s clear that our homes are expending energy resources at an unacceptable rate.

So what’s greener? Building a new house or renovating an old one? Both are worthy endeavors, but with many existing homes using twice as much energy as they should, home improvement edges out new construction.

However, that’s not the only reason it’s greener to upgrade your existing home. New homes need new infrastructure, including roads, sewage lines, electrical lines and street lighting – all entailing more expenditures of energy. In addition, new homes require the production of new materials, while materials from existing homes are generally recyclable.

What’s greener for your pocketbook? The answer may be both. Homes with a significant number of green features can sell for up to 30% more than traditional homes – either for new or existing homes. In today’s down-turned housing market, green technology gives you a substantial advantage.

For homeowners planning to stay in their homes, the return on investment period is getting shorter, with many recouping costs in as little as three years. In their book, Green$ense for the Home: Rating the Real Payoff from 50 Green Home Projects, architect Eric Freed and Kevin Daum found that 45 out of the 50 retrofitting projects that they examined saved money in energy costs.

To discover which renovations bring the most savings, read the entire article from Calfinder…

Each Thursday, we will feature a blog entry about energy efficient new homes, covering a range of topics from building innovations to ratings systems to “score” your home’s efficiency. Subscribe to the DrummondHousePlans blog to make sure you get the latest news on how to make your new or renovated home energy efficient.

July 12th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

Homeowners in 2011 are becoming more and more savvy at reading the signs of the times. Things aren’t great right now when you consider the state of the U.S housing market, and the increasing awareness that nothing can be considered business as usual.

But, in many ways, this shift in paradigm can be considered something of a catalyst to creativity, and with homeowner self-education when it comes to home improvement trends. Homeowners are seeking to change the status quo more so than ever. To do this, they’re using their creative brains, and their increasing awareness of staying to budget.

They are more likely to put an emphasis on efficiency and cost savings. They are more inclined to work in greater detail with each other, with home improvement specialists, and with building materials retailers, to get the visual effects they’re after with long-term savings built right in.

Key focus points of this article:

  • Home improvements: “smart” not “more”
  • The angel is in the details
  • A hopeful 2012

Read full article from our friends at BuildDirect.

May 30th, 2011
By Vivian Martin
Two types of renovations exist: the kind you do purely for your own family’s comfort and satisfaction, and the kind you do because you want to increase the value of your property. Your home is a huge investment, and when you make the right kinds of improvements, you’re likely to recoup the cost in the final selling price and see a shorter selling period
 
Kitchen

Most people see the kitchen as the center of the home. It’s where people naturally congregate during parties, family get-togethers and family nights in. Updating your kitchen by replacing countertops, refacing or replacing cabinets, swapping out linoleum tile for real stone, purchasing new appliances or getting new fixtures will boost the value of your home and recoup up to 87 percent of your costs.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms must feel clean, new and fresh to attract buyers. Remodels that include replacing everything, including the bathtub, countertops, sinks and toilets recoup 80 percent of their cost, according to The Street. Adding a bathroom costs slightly more, at an average of $14,216 as opposed to $9,786 for a remodel, but recoups 81 percent of its cost.

New Spaces

Turning an attic or basement into a bedroom also boosts the value of your property, and you will recoup upward of 75 percent of the renovation costs. These traditionally unused spaces widen the spectrum of buyers who will consider your property if you list it as a three-bedroom rather than a two-bedroom home. Making an unused space a home office may also be attractive to buyers, particularly as the work-at-home population grows.

Green Improvements

Environmentally friendly improvements save you money while you’re living in the home and add to its resale value when you’re ready to sell. Improvements such as energy efficient windows, appliances, a new roof and solar panels are all attractive qualities to buyers. It means a decrease in their utility bills without the hassle of making the improvements themselves.

April 20th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

Landscaping for curb appeal is a great way to show that you care for your home, your yard and neighborhood. All of this makes for greater value of your property, and a greater chance of success when it comes time to sell your home.

There are some easy things you can do to get your yard in the best curb appeal shape possible, and much of it is just refreshing existing plants, and replacing others that are failing to thrive.

Read the full article for strategies and helpful “how-to’s”.

(Article source: BuildDirect.com)

 



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