~Originally Posted February 2010
Since the 1950’s the average square footage of American homes has more than doubled! Having a large home has become a status symbol of a successful life. What most families have ended up with is a huge home with three or four rooms that are used on a daily basis. In recent years however, families have begun to decrease the size of their homes. Many families are eliminating formal dining and living rooms, opting instead for larger common areas with multiple uses. By building or purchasing smaller homes families have smaller mortgage payments, as well as lower upkeep, and utility costs. This article Home Downsizing on About.com discusses the Pros and Cons of downsizing your home.
Is the American perception of “bigger is better” changing? Is our current economic situation driving this downsizing trend? Or is it something else? We welcome your opinions and input
Why is it that when our home renovations are complete, we aren’t 100% happy with the results? For some reason the reality of the room doesn’t always live up to our expectations. I believe the reason for this is that we don’t “go for it” when we are picking out our paint colors. We tend to tone down our choices for fear that what we really want to do will be too drastic, too bright, too dark, too vivid…. The “toos” go on and on. And when the job is complete, we end up just short of what we really wanted.
After years of watching shows like “Trading Spaces” “While You Were Out” “Design on a Dime” and many others, I had learned that being afraid of color can limit your design options. I knew that my husband would have a fit about what I wanted to do in our home, so I started redecorating during his deployment. Boy, was I glad I did. The color I picked for the ceiling and top half of the walls of our Living Room was called Baritone, it was a really deep purple. The first coat looked like “Barney” purple! But I didn’t stop, I had a picture in my mind and knew that if I changed anything, I wouldn’t get that picture. Besides, I already had the paint, I might as well finish, and if I didn’t like the results I could always adjust afterwards. I’m so glad I followed through. The Living Room turned out beautifully as did the Dining Room that we did the following year.
Visit Behr, Glidden, Benjamin Moore or any other paint manufacturer for ideas for your renovations. Get inspired and go for the picture you have in your mind!
Here in the Northeast, we are “experts” in home winterization. Each Fall, homeowners flock to the local hardware, building supply and department stores to load up on plastic window kits, weather stripping and door draft stoppers. With the new Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency, now may be a good time to do more permanent changes to our home, than the standard annual buttoning up many homeowners do.
To help you get the most bang for your buck, it is a good idea to start your project with an Energy Audit of your home. You might believe that your windows need to be replaced but in fact they may need to be reinstalled with proper use of caulking, ice and water shield, and insulation. An Energy Audit will help eliminate the risk of spending money on products and services you don’t need. Here is a link to information about how an Energy Audit is conducted, and what the purpose of an audit is. Energy Savers: Home Energy Audits.
When your Energy Audit is complete, you may be able to complete some of the updates with a little bit of knowhow and a few trips to the local building supply store. DoItYourself.com has an in-depth article on weatherizing your home including a materials and tools checklist and list of different types of caulking and their pros and cons. How to Weatherize Your Home.
ThisOldHouse.com is always filled with relevant home improvement articles. 10 Ways to Shrink Your Energy Bills has some great ideas regarding improving the efficiency of your home. New Insulation Options describes types of insulation, explains their ingredients and performance.
To wrap up this fairly long blog, if you are looking for more energy efficiency ideas that you don’t need to search through multiple websites to find, you will not find a more comprehensive source than The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings. This book is published by on a yearly basis and is filled with up-to-date ideas that can be applied to new construction as well as renovations.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 1 in every 4 Americans suffer from Asthma and/or allergies. 40 Million Americans have indoor/outdoor allergies. With statistics like these, chances are someone in your household is affected by Asthma/allergies. The most common known triggers for symptoms are pollen and pet dander. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to eliminate the triggers from your life. You can; however, lower your exposure to them while at home with the use of an Air Filtration System.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has a webpage with information about Air Filtrations Systems. Their page is filled with information about how systems work in direct relation to how they can help asthmatics and allergy sufferers. Information about Air Filtration Systems from the AAFA.
The EPA also has information about Air Filtration Systems. This page has more technical information comparing different types of systems and their purposes. It also explains how to measure the performance of a system. Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home from the EPA
The best part of each of these websites is that neither promotes a specific system. These sites have general information you can use as you to compare different systems to find the right fit for your home.