7 Action Steps for Making Your Home More Earth-Friendly
Jan05

7 Action Steps for Making Your Home More Earth-Friendly

It seems that there’s a growing wave of concern over the earth’s environment and man’s impact upon it. It’s a topic that generates lots of energetic discussions because not everyone agrees about the extent to which mankind’s actions impact the environment. No one can argue, though, that we don’t have some degree of impact on the health of the planet. And similarly, no one can argue that minimizing that impact is a good thing. But what can one person do? If you’re a homeowner, it turns out that there’s quite a lot that you can do. The following action steps will get you started. And as a nice bonus, most of these steps will save you money, too. #1: Plant Trees Planting trees in your landscape helps in several ways. Trees, of course, consume carbon dioxide and generate oxygen – both good for the environment. But the trees you plant will also provide you with some more direct and immediate benefits. The trees will help to shade your home, and when strategically located, minimize the impact of winter winds. You’ll save money on heating and cooling bills as a result. #2: Go Native Redesign your lawn and landscape so that you’re using mostly native plants – plants that are naturally adapted to your local microclimate. Native plants, on balance, require far less inputs in the form of pesticides, fertilizers, and water. All of which helps to keep both the environment and your bank account healthier. #3: Go Low-Flow You can help to minimize your water usage by installing low-flow showerheads and toilets in your home. And in your landscape, you can dramatically lower water usage by converting your sprinkler system to a smart system, such as Hydrawise. #4: Go Solar Advancements in solar-fueled power generation have made solar power more and more viable for residential applications. It’s not right for every home, and for every homeowner. But for many it’s certainly worth considering. If you want to look into the possibilities of solar for your home, the U.S. Department of Energy’s solar website would be a good place to begin. #5: Go On Leak Patrol Is your home leaky? Drafty? Most homes are. But letting outside air leak in, and inside air leak out, increase both your energy bill and your environmental impact. So reducing your home’s leakage will be doubly beneficial. Beefing up caulking and weatherstripping where needed can make a big difference. #6: Reduce Appliance Electrical Consumption Upgrade your home’s appliances to more energy efficient models. It’s unlikely that you’ll want to discard older appliances that are working just fine. But when an appliance fails and must...

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Makeover Magic – It Works for Garages, Too!
Dec27

Makeover Magic – It Works for Garages, Too!

Transforming something from old and stale to new and fresh. Replacing boring with exciting. Breathing new life into something that has become humdrum. Making something better than new. All of the above could be used to describe the word ‘makeover.’ And all are part of the reason that makeovers are so magically enticing. Makeover Mania The concept of the makeover has been around for a while. But in recent years, it seems, makeovers have gone a little bit manic. Makeovers are everywhere, and applied to everything! If you want some proof about the popularity of makeovers, all you have to do is turn on your TV. Makeover reality shows have exploded in popularity. Makeover focused TV shows include titles such as: The 60 Minute Makeover Ambush Makeover Extreme Makeover Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Mission Makeover Pimp My Ride Remodeled The Swan What Not To Wear The list seems to be endless! Why All the Excitement? What is it that’s so appealing about a makeover? Why has the concept of the makeover become such a large part of popular culture? It’s all about second chances. No matter the rut you may have fallen into. No matter your dissatisfaction with what you see in the mirror. No matter the boredom you may be battling. It’s all fixable. It can be reversed. And that’s the magic of makeovers. Makeovers give us a chance to start anew. Though a certain aspect of your life may not have turned out quite the way you want, it can be fixed. Makeovers offer that hope. It Works For Garages, Too Look at the list of makeover TV shows above, and you’ll see that makeovers apply to many aspects of life: Fashion Personal grooming Pets Cars Homes Makeovers apply to garages, too. And if your garage is like most garages, it’s sorely in need of a makeover. The longer you’ve been living in your home, the more likely that is to be true. Because garages just naturally seem to accumulate lots of stuff and clutter as the years go by. When you first moved into your home, your garage probably seemed large and spacious. And now? Not so much! If that describes your garage, it’s time for a makeover. The Special Magic of a Garage Makeover Just like all other types of makeovers, a garage makeover offers a second chance. A fresh start. And the special magic of a garage makeover is that it’s absolutely painless. That sets garage makeovers apart from many other types of makeovers. Because most makeovers require a sacrifice or effort of some sort. If your makeover involves weight loss, for example, you’ll...

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Basement Remodel Offers Perfect Solution to Cramped, Growing Family
Dec08

Basement Remodel Offers Perfect Solution to Cramped, Growing Family

Have you ever even idly considered the possibility of having your basement remodeled? If so, I think you’ll be interested in a story I came across about another family that was interested in a basement remodel. That family is the Shepard family, in Arizona. They’re a young couple with two young children. They were living in a snug and cozy home. It was an older home, built in 1922. But they were quite happy with where they lived; they didn’t want to move. And they had recently done some remodeling in their master bedroom suite. But with two additions to the family coming in quick succession, they found that their growing family was beginning to be a bit cramped for room. And it so happened that there was a lot of room available for them to expand their living area. And you know where that extra room was located… Their Basement Offered LOTS of Potential That extra room was right beneath their feet, of course, in their basement. Now it was an old home – nearly 100 years old. So you can imagine that the basement wasn’t in the best of shape. But even so, that old basement offered what ALL basements offer: A huge amount of extra space. Just what the Shepards needed. They knew that their basement was the key to staying in the home they loved. With all the space that basement offered, the Shepards would be able to make plenty of room for their family at its current size, and have plenty of room leftover for future growth. Big Project, Big Changes So the Shepards got busy. They hired a contractor. They also hired an architect to custom-design their basement renovation. And the remodeling process began. They added a bedroom. They added a bathroom. That gave them a home with four bedrooms and three full bathrooms. More than enough room for their current family, with space left for future expansion if needed. They also wisely upgraded the staircase leading into the basement – a component of basement renovations that’s sometimes overlooked (though a staircase renovation is not always necessary). As is common in older homes, the staircase in the home was rickety, narrow, and really kind of dangerous. And it didn’t meet modern building codes. So a staircase rebuild was part of the basement renovation project. Just Another Satisfied Customer The Shepards family wasn’t our customer, of course. But this story just caught my eye because it so closely mimics what we’ve seen countless times from our own customers: A growing family cramped for room, but doesn’t want to move. And a basement renovation comes...

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