Monday, July 25, 2011

Renovation points to ponder

Cherry butcher block counter top.Image via WikipediaRenovations in a down market are a scary thing. You often wonder if you are making the right choices and if you are only throwing good money after bad. With the real estate
market in such dire straits, how do you know which renovations are worth it? Do you invest in high end upgrades with the hopes that it will boost your home's value? Or, do you let your home
stay as it is and ride out the market.

If you aren't selling-  The real estate market and design industry spend a great deal of time telling the homeowner and consumer what to have in their homes. Often times you will see a real estate show where as a couple won't even consider a home without the typical bells and whistles of stainless steel and granite. However, this is what the industry has spoon fed into the mouths of the consumer. There are plenty of alternative  counter tops out there that can be used. Don't shoehorn yourself in by what the design industry dictates. You never regret what you love and if you love Butcher block, and black appliances, by all means have it. Especially if you aren't interested in selling within the next ten years. After ten years, reassess your situation and go from there. Design that you love, is never regretted. Upgrades that are part of a media induced trend could come back and bite you, so please yourself first.

If you may sell-  What does your neighbor have? If the bulk of the neighborhood has laminate counter tops, and you run out and install granite, don't expect a whopping return on your investment. Consider a high end laminate upgrade. Laminate has come a long long way in its visual appeal and many offer the exact same look of granite, but at about 45 percent less per square foot installed. If you are selling, recognize in a down market, any upgrade is a good upgrade it doesn't always have to be the high end choices. Don't over improve for your neighborhood, that doesn't mean make no improvements, just make smart ones.  If most of your neighbors have hard wood flooring, by all means you should probably follow suit. If they have carpeting, make sure your carpeting is newer, and of good quality and that will give your home the edge of the neighborhood competition. As always, all upgrades to heating, cooling, roofing, electrical and plumbing are always recommended in every instance.

Older home renovation-  If your home is an older home, think long and hard about which renovations will help, and which will hurt your home. Example, older Victorian style homes
lose their appeal if they have been overly modernized. Always think in terms of what works with your homes style. If your home has a specific Victorian style, don't muck it up with a lot of contemporary changes if you are looking to sell in the next ten years. Instead think of the upgrades people won't see, but will appreciate. New air conditioning, roof, upgraded energy efficient windows, electrical updates, plumbing, heating etc. Older homes are notoriously known for not be energy efficient, so these upgrades will be a real eye opener if you sell and won't mess with your home's design and character nearly as much as contemporary lighting, or zen inspired decor for example.

New home improvements-  Most of us may think a new home would not need any improvements, but a lot of first time home buyers can't always afford the upgrades, or may change their minds
about what they like after living in their new home. Some choices made earlier on may not work any more and it calls for a change. The question is should you make costly improvements on a new home?
If you have bought a new home within the past five years, you may have discovered that you have fallen prey to the real estate market. Some new home owners may be dealing with an upside down mortgage due to small down payments and long mortgage terms. If your home is already in this predicament, you may be well advised to hold off on any major renovations, especially if you are thinking about charging improvements, or tapping into some assumed equity you may not have. Make sure that any renovations are warranted and not just on a whim. Check your homeowners warranty to make sure you aren't waiving your coverage, and don't expect a return on your investment any time soon. If you still wish to go forward with renovation to a new home, do so, and make sure you research your project well. If you are in doubt, hire a architect before ripping down what may be a weight bearing wall, and make sure you have all the necessary permits, as well as checking to make sure your home owners association will allow for changes to your home.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Removing "popcorn" ceilings

If you watch interior design shows, home hunting shows, etc. one thing you will see time and time again is homeowners and buyers with a strong aversion to the dreaded, "popcorn" ceiling. Popcorn ceilings were popular in past decades for adding texture to what seemed at the time a bland overlooked surface in the home. If you live in South Carolina, and want to have your home checked for lead, asbestos etc. see the link at the bottom of this article. Like many design tactics, it was a design feature that would come back to haunt homeowners later on. The question is should you remove it, or leave it and avoid the mess and time it would take to remove? Before you make a decision, it is best to ask and answer the following questions.

Is your home older than 1978?
Homes built prior to 1978 used lead in the paints, removing a popcorn textured ceiling may seem like an easy update to your home, but if the ceiling was painted (and most were) it could have lead in the paint. What does this mean to you? Scraping, sanding, and repairing could release lead particles and allow them to become air born. Exposure can occur from deteriorating lead-based paint, pipes, or lead-contaminated dust or soil.

Was your home built prior to 1985?
Asbestos was banned for use in building materials in 1985, however, for homes built prior to 1985 asbestos was used in almost every aspect of building materials from insulation, to floor tiles, roof coverings, and siding. Removing the "popcorn" textured ceiling could result in gouging out part of the ceiling, and causing asbestos to become air born. If there is any asbestos, experts recommend having the ceiling removed by professionals, or go over the existing ceiling with fresh drywall.

If you live in South Carolina, and  you think your home may have asbestos or lead you need to see: EnviroDemo Contractors before you take on any construction project, even removing popcorn ceilings.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HGTV helps you become your own designer

Dawn Gagnon bedroom style board

If you love interior decorating and designing you will love the HGTV websites newest design tool Style boards.  Style boards allow you to use a wide assortment of backgrounds, and accessories to create a style board just like Interior decorators and designers use in their client presentations. These tools will let you put together a dream room, whether it is a new sleek designed kitchen, or a fabulous master bedroom retreat, you are only limited by your imagination. The accessories are expansive, including drapes, candles, chandeliers, area rugs, beds, headboards, etc.

Even if you are not able to purchase the items used in your own custom style board, it can be a great way to visualize your own style, and become inspired to create a space for yourself using the style board as a reference and template for
your real design. Whether you are in the market to renovate or redesign or not, the HGTV style board is a lot of fun to use and a great way to help you understand your likes and dislikes. Once completed, you can "publish" your creation and
have other decorating and design enthusiasts see your ideas.
To try out this fun application, simply visit : HGTV Style board and get started planning your next dream room.
Each of these designs are created at HGTV using their available tools to customize a room to suit your tastes. Even if you can't buy the items used in your creation, the inspiration to create something similar will spark your imagination and get you dreaming of what you can do with your own space.


My examples:

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    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Bird Of Paradise Dining Room

    Bird Of Paradise Dining Room
    The Bird of Paradise Dining room is all about capturing the natural elements of Islands near and far. Using bamboo, wicker and the floral accent o f the Bird of Paradise painting and flowers, one gets a since of warm, tropical breezes, and a casual lifestyle that we all pursue.
    Cane, bamboo, wicker, and natural woods all work together to create an environment to relax and  enjoy a wonderful meal in. The pops of color brought forth by the painting, vase and furniture all keep this design natural, yet allow bursts of color found in the timeless, beautiful ever changing landscape of the islands..a true paradise.

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    Carrera Dream

    Carrera Dream
    Carrera dream is all about a kitchen with a blend of old world style and elegance merged with contemporary design elements. Envision a simple white kitchen with stainless steel, timeless Carrera marble, glass tile back splash in varying shades of black, pearl and soft greys. For lighting, a  chandelier that looks as though it has been around for a hundred years, yet it is new and ideal for a space that keeps you guessing what time era you are in. Dark touches give the room some bearing here and there with touches of dark bronze on the chandelier, sink fixture, and even in the glass tile back splash. All work together to create a seamless, timeless and sophisticated capture of today and yesterday.
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    Sophisticated Teen

    Sophisticated Teen

    Today's teenager is a far cry from the teens of yesteryear. Gone are the days where the pink flowered walls reminiscent of the Brady Bunch girls bedroom. Today's young teen daughter has a design aesthetic beyond their years and a shift towards bold yet stylish decor is underway.

    This bedroom has all the trappings of a luxury suite yet, there are a few playful and truly teen inspired uses of animal print here and there. Keeping the pallet neutral yet sharp and functional, a teen can relax, study and have a grand sleepover all the while being the envy of her friends with this high end, yet distinctly youthful experiment in pattern and glam. Notice the ultra chic and glam inspired chandelier and oh so chic bedside lamp.
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    Soft Elegance

     Bedroom ideas to inspire the blue blood inside of us all happen with mixing a little old style with new and creating a restful, soft luxurious room to slumber in.
    Soft Elegance
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    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    DIY Network Ugliest Kitchen Contest underway

    A park interpreter demonstrates a typical rura...Image via Wikipedia
    DIY Network Ugliest Kitchen Contest underway
    If you live in South Carolina and can‘t wait to win a contest, see : Old South Furniture Stripping, Restoration and  Refinishing. This company specializes in refinishing kitchen cabinetry. For those who have an ugly kitchen that needs help from top to bottom, entering this year’s DIY Ugliest Kitchen in America could mean a dream come true.

    Does your kitchen get laughs? Do people avoid eating at your home because they can't imagine good food coming out of your appliances? Are roaches leaving your kitchen in search of decent accommodations? Well fret no more, DIY network along with Food Network Magazine is searching for the ugliest kitchen in America.  Your kitchen could be up for a complete kitchen renovation with the DIY network experts
    not to mention a trip to New York City Wine and Food Festival. To enter, submit a video or photos of your kitchen and tell us why you need a renovation. Contest ends August 8, 2011.  To enter your kitchen and for  a list of complete contest rules visit : DIY Worst Kitchen In America Upload. See the link at the bottom of this article to view past  DIY  Network’s Ugly Kitchen Contest winners.

    Now if you  aren’t lucky enough to enter this years Ugliest Kitchen Contest, or lets just say your kitchen isn’t ugly enough, check out this link on the top kitchen renovation articles: Top Kitchen Renovation Articles.  If your kitchen is simply in need of flooring, you may benefit from these articles, such as : Flooring upgrades that impact value, or  Counter top options for kitchen and bath, which can give you  a little knowledge and  information on the vast choices at your disposal.  If your budget is tight, you may benefit from laminate counter restoration, so be sure to check out this article on the latest product available for your outdated counter tops here:  Laminate counter top restoration.  

    To view past ugly kitchen winners, visit: DIY Worst Kitchens in America Episodes
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