Below Your Feet

When you walk into a kitchen, what catches your eye?  Cabinets?  Counter tops?  What about the floor?

Bunte - General picture

If you’re considering updating your kitchen, the kitchen flooring you select is a major decision.  You want your kitchen floor to be low maintenance and one that can stand up to a wide range of spills like water, food and even dropped dishes.

 

 

 

 

Bamboo

If you like eco-friendly products, bamboo is a great kitchen flooring material.  Bamboo is one of the strongest of the natural materials on the market.

Ross-Cali bamboo

The Positive: Durable, beautifully grained, eco-friendly.
The Drawbacks: Some bamboo flooring can dent easily.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is an affordable and durable kitchen flooring idea. The top layer can withstand most abuse, and if you add padding beneath, you have a soft, ergonomic floor.

Dodszuweitz, Kitchen, Various small projects

The Positive: Durable, cost effective, wide variety of options.
The Drawbacks:  May be slippery, noisy, cannot refinish.

Stone

Because of the variations in pattern and color, stone gives your kitchen flooring a unique, earthy look.  Stone flooring is naturally cool, which is perfect in hotter zones.

The Positive: Hard, durable surface, easy to clean.
The Drawbacks: Certain stones may stain, requires routine sealing, some fragile stones like slate may chip easily.

Tile 
Tile is a great, low-maintenance solution for a kitchen. It’s easy to clean, durable and has a reflective quality that expands the appearance of space in a kitchen.

Hagar - ceramic tile

The Positive: Durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, available in a large assortment of styles, shapes and colors.
The Drawbacks: Grout lines may be difficult to keep clean, dropped items like glassware and dishes will likely shatter.

Vinyl

Vinyl is affordable, comes in a variety of textures and styles and is one of the most water-resistant kitchen flooring options.

Hoover - Vinyl

The Positive:  Water resistant, certain styles look just like wood.
The Drawbacks:  requires a flawless subfloor to install on, can gouge easily.

Wood
Wood has a high-end, warm look that’s unique according to grain and age. But wood in the kitchen requires special protection from excess moisture.

Buckwalter - oak

The Positive: Adds resale value, attractive, durable, can be refinished.
The Drawbacks: Can be noisy, needs periodic refinishing, may dent or scratch easily.

Whatever the material you decide to use, we can help.  Call us for a free consultation with one of our professionals.

From Storage Space to Living Space: Attic Conversions

If you’re looking to expand your living area, look up.  An attic conversion can give you a master bedroom, a private office, or TV room.  But before you determine if converting your attic is right for you, or even doable, there may be obstacles. _DSC0088

Building Codes

Because local codes vary, a building inspector can provide a list of codes and required inspections for your new attic conversion.  Inspectors will take into consideration ceiling codes, joist codes, if rafters can support drywall, lighting, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC system components.  They also examine egress codes.   Regular bedroom egress codes typically require at least two exits — a doorway and usually a window. An attic bedroom requires both a window and a staircase to the level beneath.

Support Systems

The structural framing under your roof will determine if you can add an attic room.  Rafters, internal beams extending from the peak of the roof to its eaves, provide a center open space that you can easily remodel.  Trusses, W-shaped framing that supports the roof, make it harder to achieve room you want.  You might have to cut through, shore up, and alter the very structures that are holding your roof up.  If you have trusses, you’ll be better off looking for other areas in your house to expand.

Extending Systems to Your Attic Conversion

Electrical: You will need to determine if your electric panel has room for additional breakers and can handle the increased load of an attic conversion.

Plumbing:   If you are planning a master suite with a bathroom, it’s a good idea to locate the new bathroom close to the main stack. This reduces the length of pipe you’ll run between sink-shower-toilet drains and the stack, which will cut costs.

HVAC:   Will your forced air blower move enough air to both heat and cool your attic conversion? If it doesn’t, electric baseboard heating and a window air conditioner may suffice. This is information that the electrician will need to know to determine the total electrical requirements.

Gaining Access

An attic conversion requires a standard staircase to meet code.  Adding a staircase will take up space in a room below the attic, so consider converting a closet. You may be able to regain that storage space by using space under the new staircase.

Insulation

How does a space that reaches sweltering heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter transform to your new living space? Insulation!!!  The cost of insulating will also need to be figured into your attic conversion.

If you can overcome these obstacles, attic conversions hold tremendous appeal for homeowners seeking more living space under their own roof.

A Great Finish

You want to give your house a makeover but can’t decide whether you want to hire a professional painter or do the job yourself? Taking on the job yourself could save you money but there is no guarantee you’ll be satisfied with your painting job. So… should you hire a professional?

Quality Work 

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There’s a vast difference in appearance and durability between a do-it-yourself painting and one applied by a pro. Professional painting will produce lasting, picture-perfect results that make your home pop.

 

 

 

Detailed to Perfection                                                                       

Professionals spend unbelievable amounts of time prepping surfaces.  They follow a multi-step process that includes sanding, masking, caulking and filling, then priming, sanding, and caulking and filling again.   High powered lights are used from all angles before they apply finish coats. The final appearance has as much to do with prep work as it does with paint.  _DSC2466_ web

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing What to Use

Pros stick with paints that have proven themselves over years, and they have the experience to know which ones work best where. They understand the differences in sheen and coverage between different products, as well as what kind of surface each covers best and in what conditions. They know how to make crisp lines at edges and intersections, and how to create even looks over multiple surfaces.  finished job

 

 

 

 

 

The Right Tools

It’s no surprise that pros also invest in high-quality tools. There are an overwhelming number of choices in rollers and brushes and it takes experience to learn which ones will provide the exact look our Clients want, whether that’s a traditional brushed finish or one with a glass-like sheen.

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The payoff is a finish that looks great and stands the test of time. Careful preparation, the right materials, and a finish applied by a skilled painter will last much longer before it needs painting again, which of course lowers the long-term cost, and frees you up to do the things you love.

Light it Up!

With so many activities happening in your kitchen, sufficient light is a must.  The most effective lighting for the kitchen involves four layers blended together: task, ambient, accent and decorative lighting. The result is a warm and inviting room that works with your other design elements to create a practical work space and entertainment area.  Consider these options when lighting your kitchen.

Recessed lights are perfect for ambient or general kitchen lighting.

recessed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pendants provide great task and accent lighting for islands or dining areas

pendant - buckwalter

Chandeliers add a light touch of elegance to accent your kitchen or dining areas. 

chandelier - Heacock

Under Cabinet Lights add task lighting right where you will be chopping, slicing and reading recipes. These lights also provide soft ambient lighting to give the room a warm glow with the touch of a dimmer switch.

under cabinet - heacock

Track Lighting.  Move, swivel, rotate or aim to provide ambient, task or accent light.

track

Ceiling Lights are easy and attractive lighting that mounts flush or close to the ceiling.

ceiling ross

Simple Home Improvement Projects for Memorial Day

The Memorial Day weekend means trips to the beach, the mountains, or a fishing trip on a lake.  It also means it’s time to spruce up your home to get it ready for the summer season!  So if you’re staying home this Memorial Day weekend, here are some projects to tackle around your house before the hot summer season begins!

We all want to spend time outside over the Memorial Day weekend!  Go outside and look around – there’s plenty to do right in your own back yard.

Gardener holding wooden seedling tray in vegetable garden, with plants for cutting garden and vegetable patch (zinnia and pea).

Take advantage of the sunny weather by preparing your garden and landscaping for summer. Don’t be afraid to get dirty!  Get in those gardens to pull weeds, mulch your flower beds, trim shrubs or bushes, or plant flowers or vegetable plants in the garden or planters.

 

 

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Clean driveways and outdoor areas to get rid of the winter and spring dirt that was left behind. Hose or sweep off your deck, sidewalks, and patio. If needed, stain or clean your deck and fix any loose boards or nails. Use a power washer and rediscover the real color of your driveway, porch and patio!

 

 

A fall tradition - cleaning the gutters of leaves. Here, we see them clogging the gutters of a traditional home. Could be used for advertising/clean up articles/etc. Narrow DOF

Your gutters have been collecting leaves and other debris for a couple months, so Memorial Day is an ideal time to clean out your gutters. This should be done at least twice a year. Scoop everything out by hand then spray a hose into the gutter to wash it out.  This will keep your gutters clear and ready to handle summer time down pours!

 

 

BBQ_Patio_Cleanup

 

Prepare your patio furniture and barbecue for all your summer parties. Take your outdoor furniture out of storage and set it up; then clean each piece thoroughly. Wipe down your barbecue and scrape away any grimy or crusty substances that may still be on your grill.  Now you’re ready to host your first barbecue… and Memorial Day is a perfect time to do it!

 

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, and you’re stuck inside, don’t worry – there are plenty of rooms inside waiting for your attention!

 

 

tidy-garage

 

Tidy up your garage. Memorial Day weekend is a great time to organize your garage and sweep out its floor. If you’re tired of all the clutter, you may even want to put up shelving units or storage bins. If you haven’t used something for a year, then throw it away, or plan to have a yard sale to get rid of things you no longer need or use.

 

 

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You don’t necessarily need new appliances, after a good cleaning, they’ll be as good as new.  Use your long weekend to wipe down interior surfaces of your refrigerators and freezer, stove tops and ovens.  Use your vacuum attachment to clean out all the refrigerator coils.

 

 

Perfectly-Organized-Closet

 

Organize your closets. Are you ever going to wear that sweater again?  Open up some space in your closet by donating clothes, shoes or handbags that haven’t seen the light of day in years.  Rearrange your entire closet by swapping out your winter clothes for your summer clothes so you’ll have them easily available for warm weather days.

 

 

And after all your chores are done, sit back and enjoy your clean, organized, beautifully landscaped home – you earned it!  Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day!

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