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