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