Friday, September 21, 2012

Remodeling Over Renovating

In this economy, remodeling is booming over renovating. Read what one contractor thinks of the challenges of this process:

Remodeling a home — a practice one building-industry official likened to a tailor altering a suit while someone is wearing it — poses some unique challenges. In an environment where new is combined with existing, care has to be taken to make sure the changes fit, physically and esthetically. Workers have to be supervised more carefully. Another consideration are the owners. If they remain in the house while it is under remodeling, work must be done around them, tailored to fit their schedule. Electricians, for example, like to work early, often beginning their day at 7 a.m. Few homeowners are equipped to have workers moving through their house as they have their morning coffee or get ready for work, he said.
There is also the question of cleanup. Everything has to be put away and cleaned up at the end of each day, a task that can add hours to a job. “Remodeling is much more work, it takes more time and pays less,” Edwards said.
Bill Huffstetler, operations manager for Master Builders and Remodelers, holds a different opinion. He said his company’s main focus is remodeling, with an emphasis on repairing storm-damaged homes. “It’s what’s kept us going in this economy,” he said. But Edwards’ situation is not unique. While home construction saw some rebound earlier in the year, June and July housing starts began to show a decline. A joint release by the Census Bureau and the
Department of Housing and Urban Development calculated July housing starts at 668,000, a decline of 1.1 percent. Completions for the month were 448,000, a decline of 5.9 percent from June. August housing figures will be released Wednesday.
Source: Loan Safe

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Decorate like a Kitchen Designer

Kitchens aren't what they used to be. The space formerly known as the scullery is becoming the most popular part of the house. "The hierarchy of the home has changed to become more kitchen-centric," says interior designer Mick de Giulio. "Think of the kitchen not just as the kitchen, but a room to really live in." Follow these tips from House Beautiful Kitchens contributors de Giulio and Mark Leslie to turn your kitchen into your family's favorite hangout:

Make it comfy. For a homey feel, display personal photos as art work. "It can be framed family photos," Leslie says, "It doesn't have to be an oil painting by the Masters." Bring in elements from te living room, such as comfortable upholstered chairs and tabletop lamps for a cozier space.

Make it kid-safe. Even the most beautiful kitchen can withstand kids' messes if materials have durability, Leslie says. For upholstered seating, stay away from linen. He recommends leather and Naugahyde for a polished but low-maintenance look. Quartz and marble counter tops are easy to clean, and laminate cabinetry is the most durable, de Giulio says.

Make it light. To brighten a dark space or open up a small one, think about natural light. Try hanging a large mirror over your sink for a reflective focal point. Leslie recommends scoping out your local flea market for inexpensive, quirky finds.

Source: USA Weekend