Posts made in September, 2011

Home Renovation Survival Guide

Posted By on Sep 23, 2011

Renovations can reek havoc on families.  Upsetting schedules, interrupting the normal flow of family life, and causing inconveniences not planned for.  Many homeowners approach home renovations unaware of the stresses involved.  Read on for tips to help you weather the renovation upheaval.

1. First and foremost: know your budget!  We can’t stress this enough.  Develop a budget, then work down from the most important item.

Example: Room to renovate: Living Room
Budget amount: Max figure you are willing to spend on renovation.
Must haves: Deduct from your budget first.
Would likes: Deduct from your budget after must haves are taken care of.

Be as precise as you can be in your budget (if you are putting up new sheetrock, make sure you budget for sheetrock screws).  The goal is to spend your budget on paper before you purchase any materials.  If you are using a contractor for your renovation, this step maybe a little easier.  However, be sure you understand what the contractors quote includes ie: materials, labor, clean-up, etc.

2. As you build your budget, do some window shopping.  Consider your decor ideas and compare different materials and products.  Maybe the pre-painted white bead board will give you the same look and feel as the clear pine, but will cost 1/2 as much.  Be sure to check out lighting options!  Fixtures can add up quickly.  If you are working with a contractor compare their allowances with the actually cost of the product/materials you want to use.

3. Take a close look at the timeline for the renovation compared to your family schedule.  If your kitchen will be unusable for 1 1/2 weeks while new cabinets & counters are installed, how will you deal with feeding your family? Should you start the bathroom remodel after your sister’s wedding?  Maybe planning a family camping trip during the refinishing of the living room floors would be a good idea.  Always, Always, Always look ahead to the next few weeks after the renovation is supposed to be complete and make some general plans for delays in the process.

These three steps will help to make the renovation much less stressful.  For every hour spent preparing, you could be saving yourself two hours of stress!

Read More

Decorating Traditions

Posted By on Sep 9, 2011

I have never been a homeowner that decorates the exterior of the house, probably because the house is perpetually under going renovations.  However, each year the kids and I put together a harvest display at the entrance of the driveway.  Maybe this stems from the generation of farming blood flowing through my veins, but this is a tradition I look forward to as much as decorating our Christmas tree.

Our family uses corn stalks, hay bales, garden benches, pumpkins & gourds, colorful mums, etc.  We don’t spend a lot of money, but take the time to arrange and rearrange to get just the right look.

Does your family have a tradition such as this?  Maybe it is red, white and blue banners at Independence Day or a creepy Halloween walk-way…

Here is a link to a great site filled with Fall Yard Display Ideas.

Read More

Next Phase for Team Massachusetts

Posted By on Sep 7, 2011

Plans have recently changed for Team Massachusetts.  The 4D Home will be going directly to Washington for the Solar Decathlon 2011 competition.  The original plan had been to set the home in Boston, due to weather and time constraints, the 4D Home has been set at Epoch Homes for completion of final details.  After this “dry run set,” the home will be transported to Washington for the competition.

Team Massachusetts has an ongoing photo dialog.  Check out this link to take a peek at this amazing project: Team Massachusetts’ Photostream.  You can see the excitement building for team members, as well as the intensity!

There is a send off party planned to kick on the final stretch of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 competition.  The party will be complete with live music, refreshments, and displays of Team Massachusetts innovative work.  For more information about the send off party Click Here.


Read More