Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tips on Finding the Right Contractor

The interior design of a space is more than just finding the right rug or color paint. It's also about the overall aesthetic of the room, which is why many people opt to hire a professional contractor when remodeling. A contractor is typically a person who manages the entire project, bringing in a crew to complete the work, or perhaps even doing much of the work alone. Here are a few tips and tricks for finding the right contractor for your home remodeling project.
Look for Specialties
Depending on what type of remodeling you're doing, you may want to look for a contractor who specializes in your type of remodel. For example, if you're looking to remodel your kitchen, you'll want to work with someone who specializes in kitchen designs, or has plenty of experience with kitchen remodels. The same goes if you are looking to remodel existing bathroom designs or perhaps the exterior of your home. You want someone who specializes in and has extensive knowledge of that particular project.
Ask Questions
A contractor is not necessarily a "cover-all." In some instances, you'll need to hire additional help such as an architect or an interior designer. Then, these two people will work on the designs of these different spaces, whether it be a bedroom design, kitchen design, bathroom design or even game room designs. Upon your approval of said design, work together with the contractor to turn the space from a vision into a reality.
That being said, it's important to ask questions. Inquire if additional designers are needed to create the space. Ask what types of brands or cabinetry will be used in any space. Don't be afraid to ask for a portfolio of work, as a picture is worth a thousand words! Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ask for references to see if past customers were satisfied with the work.
Work Together
It is also worthwhile to note that you need to work together with your contractor to get the room of your dreams, whether it's kitchen designs or bathroom designs, or any other space in the home. You are not giving your contractor free-range to remodel as they see fit. They're there to create a space that you'll love, so you need to have your say in the space!
You should have an input in everything from the materials used in the home, to colors, styles, designs, patterns, textures, cabinetry, appliances and so forth. If you're not happy with an item or a look, it shouldn't go in!
However, if you wait until the item has already gone in before saying you're unhappy, don't be surprised when you're still charged for it. This is especially true for kitchen designs or bathroom designs, which tend to be the most costly of all remodels.
That being said, try to avoid last minute changes in the space: this includes kitchen designs, living room designs and other schemes. This costs the contractor not only time, but also money. Don't expect your contractor to be financially responsible for your choices. If you choose white subway tile and then decide it's not for you once it's installed, you are responsible for covering the costs of replacing it. Therefore, be absolutely sure of your choices!
Remodeling can help you achieve the look of your dreams. However, there are certain things you should do when looking to hire a contractor, such as asking questions, contacting references, and so forth.

To order your copy of REMODELING HELL and to download your FREE Salvation Guide, please CLICK HERE!

Article Source:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kitchen Trends for 2012: Old World out, Simplicity in has compiled a list of kitchen designs predicted to be the biggest trends of 2012., a website dedicated to kitchen remodeling and cabinet refacing, released a new article today, which features the newest kitchen trends for the upcoming year. Kitchens are where family and friends come to cook, eat and socialize and “2012 Kitchen Design Trends,” offers expert predictions on where kitchen design is headed and which materials will continue to be in vogue.
Home design experts predict that 2012 is going to be an exciting year for kitchen design because homeowners want more creativity in their homes and are becoming more thoughtful in their decision-making. To begin a kitchen overhaul, homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to dispose of anything from the last two decades, especially Old World kitchen styles with heavy molding. Instead, suggests that homeowners embrace new materials, like counter tops made out of quartz, glass and wood, which can vary in style, shape and color.
“It’s interesting to see just how much kitchen styles have evolved over the years,” said Patricia Davis Brown, award-winning designer and contributor. “As we move into 2012, the overall trend is to keep it simple, energy-efficient, and comfort-oriented. De-clutter, go natural, lighten up and make it work for you and your household.”
"Green design" will also become a standard request this year. Designers recommend homeowners choose to use energy efficient items like compact fluorescent bulbs because they use two-thirds less energy than those who do not. For those who do decide to “go green” suggests working with a professional lighting designer, who can help introduce modern technology fixtures and more energy saving items.
“When it is time to revamp the kitchen work space, has everything needed to guide homeowners during the process from design ideas, cabinet styles and colors, countertops and contractors to hire,” said Brown.

To download your FREE home remodeling Salvation Guide, and to order your copy of REMODELING HELL, CLICK HERE.

*Article from

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Place To Lay Your Head

SOFT OF FIRM; feather, foam, or down:  How do you choose the best pillow?  If you wake up with a sore neck and back, if your pillow is so that you have to bend it, if your last pillow came from the bargain bin, you may need a new pillow.

First, the job of a pillow is to support your head, neck and back, pillow experts say.  A better pillow can mean a better night's sleep.  You can spend $5, $100, or in between.  A good pillow might last for up to 20 years, while a less expensive pillow may need to be replaced after three years.  Keep in mind, you're investing not only in a good night's sleep, but also in your health, as national studies have linked poor sleep to a variety of health issues.

A proper pillow isn't always the largest one on the shelf.  "The average consumer views bigger as better," says Beth Mack, chief merchandising officer for Hollander Home Fashions in Boca Ratton, Florida.  "A pillow can be very large and fluffy and not be correct for the type of sleeper you are."

How you sleep helps determine the best pillow.  About 70 percent of people sleep on their sides, 20 percent are primarily back sleepers, and 10 percent are stomach sleepers, says Mack. 

A side sleeper requires the most support and an extra-firm pillow, while a back sleeper can go for a medium-firm to firm pillow and a stomach sleeper might opt for a medium-density, flatter pillow, she says.  Since more people are side sleepers, a firm pillow is a good choice for a guest room, she adds. 

"If you talk to people, you'll hear them say, I bend my pillow in half to double it up," Mack says.  "They're so used to buying a pillow and bending it, but the truth is the pillow is not providing enough support." 

If you have allergies, you'll want to get a hypo-allergenic pillow.  While all synthetic fills are allergen free, you can also get down and feather pillows rated hypoallergenic.  Linda Howard, vice president of sales for Pacific Coast Feather, notes, "There are a lot of consumers who feel they are allergic to down and feathers when in fact they are allergic to improperly washed down and feathers."

A memory foam pillow will mold itself to the contours of  your body.  Open-cell memory foam pillows are designed to keep air flowing.  "A lot of people, as they're sleeping, find their pillow gets hot," says Maria Sigmond, director of product development for Sleep Innovations in West Long Branch, New Jersey.  "We get great feedback from our customers that they don't feel hot on open-cell memory foam pillows."

Taking care of your pillow is important to extend its life span, Howard says.  "You definitely want to protect it from oils and dirt," she adds.  To wash or not to wash?  Check the tag.  In most cases, a pillow that can withstand washing is higher quality, Howard says"  "The stitching will be more durable.  The fill will be good so it can withstand washing."  Due to the material it is made from, memory foam cannot be washed," Sigmond notes. 

Whether or not your pillow is washable, you can extend its life with zippered pillow protectors in addition to pillowcases. 

Take time when buying your pillow, Sigmond says: "People's tastes in pillows vary greatly- it's a very personal decision."

To order your copy of REMODELING HELL, CLICK HERE!

*Article from the Costco Connection

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bathroom Makeover

If you're in the mood to be creative design-wise, there's no better room than the bathroom.
If you feel like unleashing your creative potential this weekend, point your palette toward the bathroom. It's the room where you can finish a project in a weekend and still have money left over to get takeout while you're waiting for the paint or polyurethane to dry.

"The beauty of a bathroom is that it's small," says Gary Foreman, publisher of The Dollar Stretcher. "So if you've never sponge painted before, you can try it for an hour or two and if don't like it, what have you wasted? You can paint over it the next day. If you're in the mood to be creative design-wise, there's no better room than the bathroom."
Give your bath a custom look with paintable wallpaper.
Fun Looks Under $100
If you like the look of old fashioned tin ceilings, then you'll love the Norwall Traditional Ceiling Tile Paintable Wallpaper $12 for 56 sq. ft. roll at Lowe's). "It's a textured wallpaper that looks like embossed white plaster," says designer Audra Kennedy, of Audra Kennedy Designs in Huntsville, Ala.
Kennedy helped a friend apply it under the chair rail of a bathroom in an 80-year-old house. "We painted it and created this beautiful wainscoting. It looks fantastic and we put the wallpaper up in one morning."

Paint and regular wallpaper (make sure it's pre-pasted) can also dramatically change the look of a bathroom, says Kennedy. She put up grey diamond patterned wallpaper with a white background in a bathroom that had dark aqua tiles on the floor and shower. In 1970s houses with outlandish tile colors, "You need to do something interesting on the walls to draw the eye up," says Kennedy.
When painting the walls of your bathroom, use bold, deep colors, suggests Kathy Wilson, editor of "Carry color onto the ceiling to keep it from looking broken up," says Wilson.

Tired of your vinyl flooring? Paint it! Make sure to prime it first with a specialty primer and then consider creating a tile pattern or using stencils for a border. Follow with four to six coats of polyurethane, which essentially serves as a coat of plastic. Here's another creative, and really economical, idea from Kathy Wilson: tear off irregular size pieces from brown paper bags, glue them to the floor and top with four to six coats of polyurethane. "It looks like leather or stone," says Wilson. "You can also stain it different colors."

Need artwork? Many designers suggest framing prints (from books, magazines or garden catalogs) that won't ruin your budget if they get damp. In a children's bathroom, hang kids' artwork. Another great place to look for framed prints, including ones with a bathroom theme, is

In a bathroom, artwork can also be practical. For a wide selection of machine washable, whimsical hand-painted canvas shower curtains, many of which are under $100, go to

Go Custom
Custom-made shower curtains by designers can cost more than $250, but if you pick out the fabric yourself, take your own measurements and hire a local seamstress to do the hemming, you can save a lot of money, says Kennedy.

Give your bathroom some texture by adding bead-board or wainscoting to one or all of the walls. The price will vary depending on how many tools you already own, says Kennedy. You can buy primed bead-board at Lowe's, which also offers instructions for installation.

Pick out a matching bathroom rug and shower curtain to brighten up your bathroom. Here's one site with fabulous designs:

Big Updates, Small Price Tag
Choose a striking cotton or polyester fabric and get a custom-made shower curtain (about $250 for labor and fabric) and a matching valance (about $100). Keep in mind, says Kathy Iven, of Fabric Farms Interiors in Hilliard, Ohio, indoor-outdoor fabrics are becoming much more stylish and they won't attract mold or mildew. (See or for great selections). Spend whatever you have left on beautiful hardware.

If you're tired of your vanity counter top but can't afford to replace it, consider resurfacing the top. Granitclad has half the thickness of a granite bathroom counter top and a fiberglass backing so it can flex without cracking. Find a fabricator to come in, measure your counter top, and cut out a replacement that goes directly over the old top. It costs about $45 per sq. ft. so a three foot long vanity could be resurfaced for $300. For more information, go to

Even if you've only got one weekend's worth of time and a small amount of money, you can turn your bathroom into a stand-out room by Sunday night.

*article from HGTV

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Remodeling Challenge

The Remodeling Challenge

Brace yourself: relatives are coming in for Christmas.  You’d like to welcome them with a comfortable place to stay. But the guest bedroom and attached bathroom are ugly, dark, and unwelcoming: sheet vinyl and laminate counters in the bathroom; worn carpet, dingy paint, and little light in the bedroom. You’ve always meant to remodel this area, and now is a great time. But you’ve only got a budget of $1,500 and two weeks for spiff up this 225 square foot space. What to do?

The Solution to Holiday Remodeling Blues: Planning

The key to a quick and well-designed remodel is planning and preparation. These two things will help you get a fabulous space and keep you on budget. When you save time, you save money. Do most of your interior design planning online, shop for the best prices for product and supplies. I have researched at least three store options for pricing on each of the items listed below, from home improvement and hardware stores, to decorating stores.  I am very confident that with good planning you can accomplish a fabulous, timely remodel that will “wow” your guests and leave you with a great sense of accomplishment.

Tip: Habitat For Humanity Reuse Stores are slowly popping up all over the country. Expect to find jaw-dropping bargains on sinks, counters, flooring, windows, and all the good things that make up a home remodeling project. Learn more about this and other architectural salvage stores.

Saving Money, One Piece at a Time

Finally, the rooms you’ve been waiting to tackle are finished! For the bathroom, get the key pieces (i.e. countertop and floor tiles) first. This will determine the color pallete and your design style. A remnant counter found at a reuse center or building materials outlet is a great way to save money. You can find one made from almost any type of material – including marble, granite and solid surface – for a fraction of the cost of having one fabricated.

Keep in mind that you may need to be flexible on style choices for tiles and fixtures when you are on a short timeline, and therefore must pick materials that are in stock. See if your local tile shop has an outlet center or clearance area. Those are the perfect places to find deals on discontinued tiles for a small area like a bathroom.

Want an Easy Tile to Install?

Mosaic tile (such as a hexagon in 3/4-inches) on 12-inch by 12-inch mesh sheets can cover a small area in a short amount of time. Because the tiles are small, there is often no need for a wet tile saw. Tile snips and a utility knife to cut the mesh should be sufficient.

If the bathroom is small, keeping fixtures on a small scale will help to make the space feel larger. Replacing an outdated faucet and old lighting with new fixtures gives the space instant appeal and is easy to do. You don’t have to be a plumber or electrician to update these simple pieces.
Of course, no bathroom remodel is complete without some finishing touches such as new, plush towels to make your guests feel pampered in their own spa retreat!

Painting the Bathroom

Paint the bedroom and the bathroom before either of the new floors go in. It’s much easier and faster as there is less preparation. I always use blue painter's tape from 3M for my paint jobs. They make it easy to achieve sharp paint lines and are designed for different surface applications, so you can choose the tape best suited to your painting project. As with any part of a remodel, you want your finish to look as if a professional did the job. That’s when your ‘sweat equity’ really pays off.

Choose calm and serene paint colors for the bedroom and bathroom. You want the spaces to blend, as if your guests have their own personal oasis. Use your decorating motif to set the warm tone for the holidays. Plush white bedding in a mix of textures and creamy tones instantly brightens the space and makes it inviting.

To finish off the spaces, don’t forget the lighting! Good lighting can enhance the mood of any room. In addition to overhead lighting, add task lighting, such as a reading light, and ambient lighting, such as a floor lamp. And don’t forget fresh seasonal flowers for both rooms!

The Budget

  • Countertop (remnant/reused counter): $120
  • Flooring (floor tile and supplies): $250
  • Faucet/sink: $110
  • Lighting: $45
  • Towels/accessories: $75
Bathroom total = $600 Bedroom
  • Flooring (new carpet or laminate flooring): $600
  • Lighting: $90
Bedroom Total = $690 Paint & supplies for both rooms: $190
Grand Total = $1480

For more great remodeling tips, order your copy of Remodeling Hell today!  

*article from DIY Network's Amy Matthews

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Home Safety - Security Doors

Security Doors – Safety and beauty combined
Christmas begins now for burglars and runs through May.  It’s also the best time to discourage those unwanted thieves from stealing our stuff!  Part of the problem is associated with needed security upgrades to patio and exterior doors.  The days are gone when heavy-duty security doors looked like they belonged in the back alley of a warehouse district.  Today’s versions can be as beautiful as your imagination and wallet allow.

Front, Back, Side Doors
Often, high-quality exterior security doors are made of steel, and these manufacturers insist their product is best.  But a leading consumer group says its tests of steel, wood and fiberglass show all three can be effective as security doors.
The consumer organization says results of testing front doors revealed this:  “our tests with a battering ram have shown little difference in strength among door materials.  All eventually failed because the doorjamb split near the lock’s strike plate…”  In other words, the locked and associated hardware failed before the door did.
Before buying any security door, be aware of its warranty, reliability, endurance, security and maintenance.  Also check whether the security door meets secure by design standards.
In summary, quality security doors can be made of several materials, but you cannon skimp on the locks and hardware associated with them.

Screen Doors
There seems to be little argument that security screen doors should be made of steel or very heavy-duty aluminum.  You can use either to keep the bugs out, but steel is harder than aluminum.  So if you’re set on aluminum for security, make sure it’s more than a typical, off-the-shelf model.

Sliding Doors
Exterior sliding glass doors are a burglar’s favorite anyway.  They typically do not have strong locks, and may be able to be lifted out.  As with any security door, sliding doors often provide features, (and cost more), designed specifically to deter thieves.  Some examples: Double security doors to prevent lift out, perforated steel screens, and oversize locks.  One example can be found at:

Security Tips:
If you cannot afford significant purchases, here are some low-cost suggestions to make your home more secure:
  • ·         Place a wooden dowel or steel pipe along the sliding door track to prevent the door from being opened from the outside.
  • ·         Install double key locks in doors that contain glass.  This will keep a burglar from opening the door by breaking the glass and reaching through.
  • ·         Place additional locks on all windows and patio doors.  Choose the right locks.  Spending a bit more on locks is recommended.
  • ·         Beef up existing window locks by inserting removable eyebolts in holes drilled into the sash where they overlap.
  • ·         Illuminate areas around doors, windows, and blind spots.
  • ·         Landscape wisely.  Tall foundation plants or high fences can provide cover for criminals. 

Note: For home security windows, try this helpful website

For more great home remodeling tips and tricks, order your copy of REMODELING HELL today by CLICKING HERE!   

*article from Arizona Interactive Media

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kitchen Safety!

With the holidays quickly approaching, more time is spent in the kitchen than any other time of year!  Did you know that fires have a greater chance of starting in your kitchen than anywhere else in your home?  Avoid a recipe for disaster!  Refresh your memory by reading the article below about how to keep your family and kitchen safe.

Safe Cooking Behaviors 
It is a possibility for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.  

 Watch What You Heat
  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
  • Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
 Keep Things That Can Catch Fire and Heat Sources Apart
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains - away from your stove top.
  • Keep the stove top, burners, and oven clean.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby counter tops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
 What kind of fire is it?  Where is it? 
  • If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
  • If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
  • If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
  • If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
  • Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
    • If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
    • Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
    • Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
    • Use a fire extinguisher.
  • Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
  • If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.
  Protect Children from Scalds and Burns
  • Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
  • Keep young children at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any place where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried. Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
  • When young children are present, use the stove's back burners whenever possible.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
  • Teach children that hot things burn.
  • When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely. Supervise them closely.

Keep safe and happy cooking!  To order a copy of my book Remodeling Hell CLICK HERE  and then click ORDER NOW. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Care Tips For Stucco Tile

I thought this was a great article to share, especially for those of us in Arizona.  Regular maintenance will prevent the problems that neglect can bring.  Some tips for your stucco-clad house.

  1. Efflorescence shows up on stucco after one of our rare soaking rains or in spots where your sprinkler has sprayed water on your house over and over.  To banish or at least blunt the fuzzy white blight, mix a cleaning solution of one part vinegar to five parts water, and scrub it on with a stiff nylon brush.  Rinse all of the vinegar solution off with water.   Still an eyesore?  Use a power washer to remove dirt, loose paint and all signs of efflorescence from the walls.  Prime with an alkali-resistant sealer like Dunn-Edwards Paints' Eff-Stop, designed to help neutralize the efflorescence.  Then cover with 100 percent acrylic paint. Keep moisture away from your freshly primed and painted stucco.  Move your sprinklers away from the house or you'll find yourself with the same problems! 
  2. Paint your stucco exterior with good brushes.  You'll see professional painters spray painting homes, but that's not a technique for amateurs.  Take the time to tape off windows and trim with painter's tape so you'll be able to paint in straight lines and get less siding paint on the trim and vise versa.  Expect to pay $15 or $20 for a good, 2.5-inch tapered paint brush.  
  3. Use elastomeric caulk, not paint, to fill in small cracks in your stucco walls.  Elastomeric caulk is a better remedy because it has great elasticity, so it will move with cracks if they widen, and it will help prevent water from seeping through the cracks.  Covering an entire wall with elastomeric paint, on the other hand, could make your problem worse.  Elastomeric paint is so watertight that it prevents the walls from "breathing."  So if water does manage to find its way into or behind your walls, it will get trapped there.  That can cause problems like bubbling paint and mold growth.  Use the caulk instead to repair cracks, but touch up the paint using a 100 percent acrylic paint.  
  4. Paint stucco at least every five to seven years to keep your home more waterproof.  Stucco alone is not waterproof, yet so many homeowners never or rarely repaint it.  Use a high acrylic paint to ward off problems from internal water damage.
Saltillo-tile tips

  1. Saltillo tile is thick and clay based, and its less-than-exact character is one of the things that make it authentic and charming.  Those same natural flaws make the tiles a tad uneven though, so don't be surprised if your table and chairs are a bit wobbly when they're placed on them.  Likewise, most manufacturers do not "rectify" the tiles, which means each piece might be off just a hair from the others.  Susan Hoblit, general manager of Tuscon Commercial Carpet Flooring America, says you'll need more grout between tiles than you would with porcelain tiles.  
  2. Seal your porous Saltillo every year to avoid stains from spills, and consider installing it in low traffic areas in your home.  Hoblit, who's company installs tile and not Saltillo steers people away from using Saltillo tiles in kitchens, where most spills and traffic occur.  If your Saltillo patio has a shade cover, seal it with a penetrating sealer.  Keep your sprinklers clear of this tile or you'll be dealing with the same efflorescence that plagues your stucco.
  3. If you're removing Saltillo tile from a large room, consider staying elsewhere until the job is done.  When Saltillo tile breaks, it crumbles, and that creates an awful lot of dust.  Ask your contractor to close off the room with plastic and tape. 
  4. If you love the look of old Mexico but your bare feet can't tolerate a Saltillo-tile patio that's muy caliente, set your tiles upside down.  The undersides of Saltillo tiles are unglazed and courser than the glazed tops, so they feel cooler to the touch.  
  5. And if you love the look but can't bare the thought of maintaining your authentic clay tile, consider using faux Saltillo made from porcelain.  Hoblit notes that Saltillo-look porcelain tiles come in a wider variety of sizes than the real deal - up to 18 by 18 inches - so you can opt for fewer grout lines.  And the porcelain version is level to prevent wobbly furniture, and rectified, so each tile is the same size.  
To purchase your copy of Remodeling Hell click HERE.  

*Article from Rosie Romero via the Arizona Republic

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 BIG Mistakes Do-It-Yourself-Ers Make!

I ran across an interesting article from the Arizona Republic that I thought would make a great blog post.  The topic is 5 BIG mistakes that do-it-yourself-ers make that can cost you in time, money, frustration, quality of end product, and as the article states, "dirty looks from your spouse."  :)

  1. You didn't make a plan!  One of the main reasons do-it-yourself-ers start more jobs than they finish is because they don't realize which materials, how much time, the amount of money, or kind of expertise they really need to finish a job - before they start it.  An example?  You want to turn an unused room into a home theatre.  You think all you need are some comfy chairs, a huge t.v. on the wall, add some DVD's and some speakers and you are good to go.  Did you consider whether or not the room needs sound proofing, or black out drapes, or perhaps path lighting on the floor for people to come and go in the dark?  All are things that could stall a project in progress!
  2. You didn't get a city permit!  Maybe you think a do-it-yourself-er can modify their own house without letting the city know, but that isn't always the case.  If you are adding a room or putting in a hot tub or pool, or maybe adding a structure - like a shed- you need a permit.  Even some plumbing and electrical jobs require permits.  If you're messing with a gas or sewer line, you need a permit.  So before you start digging a big hole, or knocking down walls, call the city and let them know your plans.  You should always get the required permits before beginning because it would be awful if you had to dig up everything you did in order to sell your house later, because it doesn't meet code.
  3. You're doing a job you don't know how to do!  It's okay to admit that you don't know how to do everything.  You aren't knowledgeable about electricity wiring?  That's okay.  Better you call and pay someone that does know what they are doing as opposed to risking a fire or shock because you are too proud to admit it isn't your area of expertise.  
  4. You don't wear safety gear!  You've used your power tools dozens of times without putting on safety goggles or a hard hat and you've never had any problems so you don't need it, right?  Wrong.  The thousands of DIYers that wind up in the emergency room every year after they're injured using their chain saws would disagree with you.  Not to mention since the economy tanked, the number of DIYers visiting the emergency room has sky rocketed because we all need to take care of our own home repairs when possible to save money.  Before you pick up that power tool or even a hammer, make sure the job you are about to do is one you can do safely.  If you aren't sure, hire a pro.  Saving a few bucks, isn't worth a potential hospital visit.  If you are confident that you can do the job yourself, then suit yourself up for it, so if a hammer falls on your head, it won't knock you out!
  5. You don't get around to the small stuff!   That air conditioner that's acting up, could leave your family sweltering in the middle of July and cost you thousands of dollars if you ignore it and don't figure out what is going on before it goes out completely.  That dripping faucet isn't really hurting anybody and can wait, but you could end up with a pricey water bill!  Sure those small projects aren't as much fun as the big ones, but letting them go will make those small problems become big ones before you know it.  Fix them while they cost little time and money, and save your weekends and cash for working on the fun stuff.  
 For more household tips and tricks, order your copy of REMODELING HELL by clicking HERE now! 

Article credit to Rosie Romero

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10 Tips For Updating Your Kitchen!

In a recent survey, 50% of home owners would update their kitchen out of all the rooms in their house, if they had the money to do so.  Are you one of those 50%?  Is your kitchen in need of a makeover, but you don't have a huge budget in order to make the changes you want?  That's okay!  Check out these 10 ideas for updating your kitchen, which will give it a whole new look, and be easy on your wallet.

 1.  Update your kitchen towels and/or oven mitts!  Adding new, fun and bright colors to your kitchen with towels, mitts or even your kitchen blinds, can change the whole room.  Target or even Walmart carries very bright and fun kitchen towel packs that can brighten a room for around $10.00 for 5.

  2.  If you don't need new towels, how about new table linens?  With the Fall holidays approaching, stores like Pottery Barn and Kohls are carrying beautiful table linens that would add elegance to any table.

3.  Perhaps all your kitchen really needs is a little paint.  Adding paint to one wall -or every wall- in your kitchen can completely change the whole room and make a dull kitchen look brand new.  Don't be afraid to use bright, bold colors!

 4.  Have kids?  How about using blackboard paint for the back splash area above the counter tops?  I've even seen people paint it on the front of old refrigerators to give it new life.  You can write notes to your kids, keep a grocery list, or even have your kids make beautiful masterpieces so they can leave their own mark on your kitchen decor!

5.  Replace your kitchen faucet.  If your budget won't stretch to replacing the entire sink, changing the faucet in your kitchen can give a new fresh look.

6.  Give your kitchen appliances a face-lift!  Try ordering new doors or face panels from the manufacturer of your favorite appliances.  Appliances out dated?  Start replacing them one at a time.  Buy a new toaster one month and a new blender the next.  Many companies are  now coming out with fun colors and designs on their appliances that are really neat and fun.

7.  Update your lighting fixtures.  You can replace ugly outdated fluorescent lighting with track lighting for about $50. Your local Home Depot or Lowes has professionals there to help answer your questions and choose the lighting that would be right for you.

8.  A bowl filled with fruit or a vase filled with fresh cut flowers, placed on your kitchen island, can bring color to the room instantly!

9.   Update door hardware.  Door knobs typically sell for $2-$5 ea.,  so you could easily replace any outdated hardware on your cabinets for under $100!

10.  Another way to completely change the look of your kitchen, is to paint your cabinets!  If the doors are in great shape but you don't like the outdated oak finish, consider painting them for a completely different look.  Black and white are colors that would work with anything, but painting them bright yellow or red, could be completely fun and brighten the whole room and be just the change you need!

I hope you like the fun ideas for brightening and changing your kitchen on a budget!  If you have any ideas not listed, please share them in the comments, I would love to see them and share with readers!  If you haven't read Remodeling Hell which tells the story of building my dream home which turned into a 2 year nightmare, be sure to check it out!  My book has additional money saving ideas for you, and will walk you through my experience offering lessons on what to do and not do when building or remodeling your home!   Click HERE to order now! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making a fabric covered lampshade

Do you have a room that could use a little something extra? Or maybe you have an old lamp in need of a makeover. I found this do-it-yourself tutorial on how to cover a lampshade in a fabric you love. Take a look below, and if you do this, send in your pictures!

Materials Needed:

  • lampshade
  • 3/4 yard of fabric per shade
  • 3 yards of ribbon trim per shade
  • fabric glue
  • temporary fabric pen
  • clean-release tape
  • small paintbrush
  • scissors

Cut Fabric

Place lampshade on front side of fabric. Roll shade along fabric, cutting two inches above and below edges of shade. Once finished, wrap fabric around shade and trim off excess fabric, leaving two inches for overlap.

Glue Fabric to Shade

Run a line of fabric glue along the shade's existing seam and press one end onto glue. Secure end with clean-release tape and allow glue to fully dry for 1/2 hour. Tip: Place new fabric's seam over existing seam for a clean finished product. Holding the loose end, wrap fabric snugly around shade, overlapping the glued end. Temporarily secure excess fabric with clean-release tape to prevent fabric shifting. Fold excess fabric towards inside of shade and mark top edge with a temporary fabric pen. It's best to work on one end of the shade at a time; start with the top side. Remove excess fabric by cutting roughly 1/2-inch beyond the line drawn with fabric pen.

Tuck Cut Fabric Edges

Create a clean edge by folding cut fabric under 1/2-inch and inserting between fabric and shade. Check finished seam as you go to ensure that the amount folded under is even, creating a consistent edge. Run a thin bead of fabric glue between folded fabric and shade. Firmly press fabric into place. Turn shade over and repeat steps five through eight on bottom side of shade.

Create a Finished Side Seam

Remove tape holding excess fabric in place. Turn cut end under 1/2–inch to create a finished edge and secure with glue. Apply glue to underside of finished edge and firmly press onto shade

Embellish With Ribbon

Beginning at side seam and working in small sections, brush fabric glue onto shade's top and bottom edges. Cover glue with ribbon working your way around shade back to seam. Turn under ribbon ends to create a finished edge and glue onto shade.

Finished Product

I hope you enjoy this tutorial found at HGTV. Have fun creating your new lampshades!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

4 Remodels Not To Do Yourself

Attic Weatherproofing and Sealing
Most attic insulation and air sealing jobs are better left to the professionals. If your house has frequent ice or condensation buildup at the top of the house you should contact a contractor to design a system to insulate the main floors and vent the attic. Homes with recessed lighting may need the assistance of a professional to insulate without creating a fire hazard.

Bring More Sunlight Into Your Home
Installing skylights and newfangled light pipes can instantly bring natural light to your home and save money on your electric bill. Unskilled homeowners should not attempt the difficult roofing and structural issues involved in installing these fixtures. Contractors typically charge from $1,000 per skylight, and many guarantee their work against leaks and air gaps.

Change Your Water Heater
Heating household water accounts for more than 15 percent of the energy costs for a typical family. You can lower your utility bills by as much as half by choosing tankless on-demand units and heaters that work on propane or natural gas. Unfortunately, switching to a whole new water heating system requires a professional.

Seal Your Ducts
For homeowners with forced air heating and cooling systems, there are a few options for sealing up leaky ducts. One of the most effective ways to fix leaky ducts is a unique service called Aeroseal, which sprays an adhesive coating on the interior of all your ducts. According to Aeroseal, it makes areas 90 percent airtight. Aeroseal contractors are nationwide and costs for a typical house range from $500 to $900.

4 Tips to Remodeling a Nursery

Decorating a nursery for the new addition to your family can be overwhelming at first. Luckily, all you need is a bit of creativity and a plan. Every nursery will need three main areas: a place for the child to sleep, a place to change the baby and finally a place to feed and hold the newborn.

1. Color
Many times nurseries are painted in pastels, blues, pinks, yellows or greens. There are also a wide variety of themes to choose from, such as princess, fairy tale, sports, pirate or jungle. You can also use stencils to add some variety to the room. Stencils are easy to use and find in a variety of styles and shapes. Finally, you can also use wall decals which are easy to peel and stick to the wall.

2. Sleeping Area
A child's sleeping area will need a crib. Ideally the crib will be close to the door of the room but a distance away from windows to avoid sunlight and breeze. For safety, keep the crib area as simple as possible. To block out the lights when the baby is napping, add curtains or blinds to the windows. You can use colors in the window fixture to further brighten the room.

3. Changing Table
In the changing area you will have your changing table. To avoid overcrowding your room, consider using a changing table that is also a dresser. These come in a variety of colors and prints and can be matched to your chosen colors and themes. White changing tables can be decorated with stencils or decals as well.

4. Feeding Area
The feeding and holding zone will need comfortable seating for you and a small side table, for resting the baby's bottle on. You can match your chair and side table with the changing table and crib. Consider buying a rocking chair that will be ideal when holding the baby and trying to put it to sleep. The motion of the rocking chair will be a perfect movement for you and child to bond in a peaceful way.

5. Fun Mobiles
This can be another way to complement the ongoing theme of your room. Many are reasonably priced and come in many different shapes and colors. This room is all about the fun and care of the child, mobiles will ensure they enjoy it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

5 Tips to Choose Your Remodeler

As you are planning out your dream kitchen or remodeled bathroom, be prepared to find a contractor. It is important to be ready when deciding to use a professional remodeler. Below are five steps to ensure that you find the best person for the job. Be sure to do your homework and research all of your options before making your final choice.

1. Collect names of remodeling companies in your area
The National Association of Home Builders' Directory of Professional Remodelers* is a good place to begin your search. The directory will have a list of remodelers for you to contact. Also network between your friends and family. They can share their experiences with you.

2. Discuss your project with several remodelers
After you have narrowed your search to a few names contact the remodelers and discuss your project. Describe your vision of the remodel and ask for estimated quotes of prices.

3. Important questions to ask include:
Does the remodeler have a license, if required in your state? Do they have general liability insurance in case of an accident on the job? Do they guarantee their work? How do they handle any problems that may arise on the project?

Having these answers before the start of the project will prevent future issues and help you to select the best professional remodeler for the job.
4. Check the references and background of the remodeler
After you have found remodelers with the experience to match the criteria of your home's needs, the next step is to perform background research. Ask the contractor for a list of references to contact. Also check with the Better Business Bureau and ask if the remodeler is a trade association member.

5. Don’t fall for the lowest bidder
Many people may be lured by the lowest price to their remodeling project, thinking that they have found a great deal. But beware of these alluring low prices. Many times extreme low prices are equivalent to the contractor cutting corners. In the end it will cost you more to make repairs. Unfortunately, the lowest price may not be the best value for your home.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Remodeling Showroom on Wheels

A Florida remodeling company began something new in February of this year: The Showroom Express. The Showroom Express is a building and remodeling store on wheels and is meant to make remodeling easy for everyone, specifically the busy and the elderly.

The Showroom Express is a 32-foot-long truck that rolls through neighborhoods with samples of tile, carpet, plumbing fixtures, wood and laminate flooring, moldings, paint colors and many other materials. The company was created by a general contractor and president of the National Home Building and Remodeling Corporation, Gary Slossberg.

Customers have reported positive reviews of the company, the ease and the materials available.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Remodeling

If you have decided to remodel your home you may be looking at large projects in your future. While in the midst of your project remind yourself that much of what you replace will be regained when you sell your home. Although it is important to remodel to your own tastes.

Green updates to a home are beneficial for you and future owners of the home. Remodels such as these will make give your home a competitive edge in the market.

Solar water heating and power systems are more costly upfront, but prove to be an economic investment through time. More simple examples include energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs. Other 'green' remodels include additional insulation and double paned windows. Both will hold in heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

You can also consider upgrading your floors. Currently, there are many options for bamboo and laminate flooring.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Four Innovative Design Styles

As home owners are planning their home renovations, they should consider the current trends. Below are four of the more popular trends for 2011 in home decorating.

Bold Color:
Color can make a more traditional piece look fresh and new. The new American way uses dynamic color paired with sensibility. Together, it will bring a mixture of elegance and vibrance to a room.

Gathering Place:
Many families tend to gather in the kitchen of a home. This being said, the newest trends for kitchens, involve creating a cozy family space. It is a cross between a coffee house and a cocktail lounge. It is comfortable and versatile, informal for family dinners but chic enough for a dinner party.

Soft Modern:
Industrial and severe is out and the softer side is in. The newest trends include clean lines and geometric shapes. It involves organic materials and handcrafted details. Soft modern brings in trends from the kitchen as a gathering place and is considered warm and tactile.

Mixed Design Styles:
The final trend includes a mix of design styles. A coherent assemblage of different styles from different periods of time. It has an air of improvisation, such as blending coastal, modern and antique.

Monday, April 18, 2011

5 Remodeling Myths Revealed

Many home owners find themselves in need of renovating parts of their homes. Whether it be dated cabinets or mismatched hardware, updating a home can almost always encourage a larger resale value. Unfortunately, there are some myths surrounding home renovation that owners should be aware of before entering into a project.

Myth: Any remodel is a good one
Fact: Most home owners think that any remodeling project for a home is a good one yet this may not necessarily be true.

Not every home remodeling project is beneficial. It is important for home owners to research how the renovation will effect their home and weigh their options before entering into an expensive and timely project.

Myth: Interior improvements are better than exterior ones
Fact: Just because we spend most of our quality time indoors does not mean that the outside should be ignored. Both the interior and exterior are equally important.

Myth: Always follow the latest design trends
Fact: Many house owners think it’s a good idea to always fit in with the latest design trends. Home owners should try to think more carefully about how the remodel fairs in the future.

Flat roofs are among today’s common roof design trends but the engineer says that although this is fashionable, flat roofs may not be fashionable in ten years. Also, flat roofs do not fair well and are not safe for areas with large amounts of rain.

Myth: Cracks in walls indicate big problems
Fact: Most cracks are a result of expansion and contraction and are a sign of structural failure, especially if a proper dump proof course was not used while constructing the foundation of the structure. The expansion and contraction is natural for many houses and in most cases once the crack is fixed the problem is solved. However, if the crack continues to expand there could be a structural or foundation problem.

Myth: Retail hardware shops are cheap and better places to buy home improvement materials
Fact: When it comes to buying small hardware like bolts and locks, retail hardware shops offer a wide selection to choose from.

However, when it comes to large scale home remodeling projects, retail hardware shops may not be the best place. Home owners should consider consulting a construction professional as well. Some materials found in most retail hardware shops are substandard; only a construction engineer or material testing laboratories can rule out counterfeit products.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bathtub Reglazing

When home owners are looking to spruce up dated bathroom tile, reglazing the tub and shower is an option. For many bathrooms, to 'gut' and refurbish the room would be upwards of several thousand dollars. Reglazing the tile in the bathroom will pull it into this decade without breaking the bank.

Typically, reglazing will cost approximately $1,000, but has the ability to transform the old into something new. Reglazing a bathroom should be performed by a professional. The process uses many chemicals that are too toxic for an amateur to handle safely.

The reglazing process should take a professional roughly about 10 days. The video below shows the drastic change that reglazing can offer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Renovate Your Kitchen Cabinets for Less

When considering renovating the cabinets in their kitchens, many home owners are presented with two options.
Option A: Tear down all cabinets and replace them with new ones
Option B: Strip the paint from the original cabinets and repaint them with either matching color or wood stain
While option A may sound great, it is the more expensive of the two. When this is out of a homeowner's budget, they should look towards option B. Option B allows for older cabinets to be freshened up with a new coat of paint and can bring new life to your kitchen. Although it is the less expensive of the two choices, it is also the more time consuming.

If your cabinets are made of wood and you enjoy the craftsmanship then perhaps a new coat of wood stain would be better. Either way all cabinets will need to be sanded down to remove previous paint or stain and to allow the wood to be porous to new color. Below are a few tips to choosing option B.

Cabinet Painting Tips:
1. Take all doors off of the cabinets and remove all of the hardware
2. Clean everything with a household cleaner, for paint to apply well all dirt needs to be removed
3. Sand down all surfaces where paint will be applied
4. If painting the cabinets a color, prime every surface. If you are applying it to wood, use an oil based primer.
5. Paint away! Depending on the wood's original coloring and the color of paint or wood stain you use, the cabinets will need between 1 and 3 coats of paint.
6. Wait till all paint is dried to hang the doors again. This can take up to four days.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How to Use Lighting

Fluorescent lighting is made in many different levels of brightness. Each level is acceptable in different areas and arenas. For decorating purposes it is important to match the light color and level of brightness to the home or business. Fluorescent lighting color is described by the Kelvin rating or how cool or warm the light is. There are six different levels of fluorescent lighting and all are listed below with suggestions for rooms to use the levels in.

• 2700
This level is a warm white and a lower level of brightness. Lighting at the 2700 level should be used in private rooms in the home, counseling offices and restaurants. It presents a more intimate level of lighting and promotes trust.

• 3000
Lighting of 3000 Kelvins are called soft whites and mostly used in home furnishing stores and waiting rooms. This type of lighting allows for people to feel comfortable, but is less intimate that lighting at 2700 Kelvins.
• 3500
This lighting is in the middle of warm to cool lighting and should be used in commercial, retail stores and offices. This color temperature performs well when paired with a silver lens. It will brighten the flatness of the fluorescent light.

• 4100
This level begins the cool white lighting. This temperature represents the lighting of an overcast, winter day. This level is not often used.

• 5000
The 5000 Kelvins lighting is most used in hospitals, laboratories and doctors office. The lighting is crisp and harsh.

• 6500
This is the bluest and coldest of the lighting. The 6500 level of lighting used mainly in jewelry and accessory stores where specific and minute details of the product need to be seen.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

3 Tips for Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has become increasingly more popular for both economic and ecological reasons. This type of flooring can be used in multiple rooms and is a cheaper compliment to wood flooring. It is also one of the easiest home renovation projects to do yourself. To install the flooring yourself, you will save hundreds of dollars on installation but will need to be prepared. Below are three tips to better prepare you to install your laminate flooring.

1. Be Organized
Plan out what you want to accomplish and check that you have the necessary tools and accessories at hand to complete the job. You will need enough flooring to cover the square footage of the room, proper underlayment, transitions, moldings and glue. Be sure you have a complete understanding of the project and the expectations before starting.

2. Inspect the Flooring
Inspect the flooring before installation to ensure you have the correct pattern, style and color you want for the room. Check all laminate planks for visible defects. Do not install laminate planks with obvious damage. Your flooring may come with a manufacturer’s warranty and the company may be willing to replace the damaged planks.

3. Basics are Important
○ Check your subfloor prior to installation
The subfloor will need to be in proper condition before installation. Replace damaged areas that are loose or have been damaged by moisture. Clear all loose debris and dirt before laying the foam underlayment.

○ Acclimation
Laminate flooring must be conditioned for at least 48 hours before installation. This type of flooring will constrict or expand depending upon the moisture in the air. Cross stack the unopened boxes in the room where the flooring will be installed. Do not allow the temperature in the room fall below 65 degrees.

○ Use proper underlayment
Laminate flooring will need proper underlayment installed underneath. Use regular underlayment when installing laminate over wood sub-floor. Use vapor underlayment for cement sub-floor, wood subfloor over crawl space, in manufactured houses, vinyl installed over concrete and radiant floor.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feng Shui Home Renovation Tips

When remodeling your home consider following feng shui tips. Feng shui allows the home to have a balanced space for each family member.

Feng shui allows those who use it to attain positivity in their homes and lives. The focus of this Chinese philosophy is to control the flow of energy. When using this concept it will help home owners to arrange their rooms and furniture in a way that will help to gain positive energies in the home. Below are four tips to help home owners utilize feng shui.
1. Balanced space for each family member:
It is important to establish balance in spaces such as the children's bedroom. Children's rooms should be of equal size. This will avoid fights of inequality between the children. Using this technique will also establish an equal amount of love among the children.

2. Location of the kitchen:
The kitchen is the heart of the house, meaning the location of the kitchen is a vital part of the house. In order to achieve a positive flow of energy the kitchen should not be seen directly after entering through the front door or from a bedroom. It should be more centrally located.

3. Figure out the lighting:
Another essential of feng shui is lighting. When performing a home renovation, consider the lighting and the arrangement of the lighting fixtures. Focus on areas inside the house that is not endowed with natural light. This will help to light your house evenly.

4. Know the basics of feng shui:
Familiarize yourself with other aspects of feng shui, such as ba-gua. Ba-gua helps to analyze the energy of a certain space while using feng shui. Also, consider introducing five elements wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Be aware of the colors that fall within these elements, such as red, orange and pink which are fire colors.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

5 Bathroom Remodeling Tips

In effort to stay current with the trends, the most common room to be remodeled is the bathroom. This is because, many bathroom remodeling projects are relatively easy and inexpensive in comparison to other room remodels. Below are eight, economical tips to consider when remodeling your bathroom.

• If you are looking into a bath tub replacement, first consider reglazing the tub. This can save you more than half the cost of a tub replacement and is a much cleaner, quicker project.

• If you are replacing or adding a tub surround, consider cultured marble sheets. It will save you money on the installation costs and marble sheets are easier to clean.

• If you have limited space and are hoping to create more room, there are multiple options for you. Try purchasing a jetted tub and shower combination. Also you can use a pedestal lavatory instead of a vanity cabinet with a sink. Both options will open up the bathroom.

• If you are planning to add a large jetted tub to your bathroom, you may also want to consider adding a water heater dedicated to that tub. Large tubs can hold up to an average of 75 gallons or more of water. This can overextend your existing water heater and cause problems in the future.

• One of the most important pieces of advice, is to gain as much knowledge as possible. Know your options, develop a plan and research ways to execute it. If you plan to use a contractor, get multiple bids and check the credibility of the contractor.

For more tips on remodeling, check out the FREE Remodeling Salvation Guide from Irion Books LLC.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Top 10 Remodeling Trends of 2011

As the New Year begins so do new trends of remodeling. While houses may not be selling, homeowners are still looking to modernize their homes and stay with the current trends. Below is a listing of the top 10 remodeling trends that are expected in 2011.

1. Bathroom Remodel: Bathrooms are the most cost effective rooms to remodel. Many require only small fixes, such as new tile or appliances. Meaning 2011 is the year for a bathroom update

2. "Must Do" Remodeling Projects: Also in an effort to be cost effective, home owners are predicted to complete projects that 'need' to be done, such as a roof that leaks. People will be working towards completing their "have-to" projects instead of their "want-to" list.

3. Warm Up the House: Interior decorators are noticing more warmer colors and tiles in recent decorating. People are moving away from minimalist, white designs and are in favor of cozier, earth tones. The new trend is a mix of earthiness and modern design.

4. Backyard Deck: Homeowners have also begun to increase their outdoor space. Many people enjoy being outside and are spending more time at home.

5. Opening Up Rooms: Open floor plans are in and many homeowners have removed interior walls to enlarge and modernize older spaces. Open floor plans help families be more flexible with the square footage they already have.

6. Bronzing: Metallic features are also moving towards warmth. Oil rubbed bronze, aged bronze or distressed hardware are becoming increasingly more popular.

7. Going Green: Bamboo floors and bark siding are some of the newest and more popular green home products. Homeowners are looking for greener and more energy efficient appliances. Some homeowners have even moved towards tri-pane windows.

8. Industrial Flair: Exposed beams will continue to be popular, but so will stainless steel cable and architectural products. Many homeowners have begun to work from home, meaning homes will take on a more industrial or commercial look to enforce business credibility.

9. Relaxation Space: Tranquility has become a more common need for homeowners as of recently. More people are looking for 'zen like' bathrooms, with works-steam, seats and body sprays.

10. Planning Ahead: Finally, many homeowners are looking towards the future and to their retirement years. People are adding ease into their homes for their later years through easy opening cabinetry, hand held showers and more accessible kitchens and baths. They may not be in need of the products now, but homeowners are increasingly thinking about their future with these additions.