Home In Bay Area

Home Improvement

Latest Posts

Easy DIY Home Improvement Ideas

wooden fence
Image by Theen …
Many enthusiasts of DIY home improvement differentiate between two specific classes of projects. The first class involves major renovations in the house, including:

* Replacement of floors

* Installation of new insulation

* Installation of a new roof

* Installation of wooden fences around a yard

The second type of DIY are smaller projects that delivers creative pleasure to the ones engaging in them. These small projects typically involve adding small yet useful objects inside the house. Though most of them involve one form of furniture or another, these smaller projects are recommended for those who are just beginning with DIY home improvement.

Small ideas but nice results

Free time, a bit of cash and a lot of good ideas is all you need to think of your own DIY home improvement project. Here are some ideas to get you started:

* Windows- if you’ve been thinking for the longest time that the windows in your bedroom are creepy at night, why not replace them? Contrary to popular belief, it is easy to replace windows. All you need are a few traditional tools like a crowbar and a hammer, or a saw in some instances. Simply measure the window’s dimensions and purchase a window of the exact same size. Take down the old window frame, taking utmost care not to damage the glass. Then simply install the new window sets using window glue and a few bolts or nails.

* Gates- gates can be customized. If your own gate allows it, you may attempt to install name plates on your own gate, to identify your house easily. This would be a great idea especially if you live in a housing neighborhood, where houses generally look alike.

* Extra utility table- If you don’t have enough table when you go out for a yard picnic, why not build one yourself? All you need would be small planks of wood and a little ingenuity. First determine what particular table size you want. After making the proper measurements, simply follow the configuration of picnic tables you see everyday and voila, you have your own picnic table. DIY projects that involve wood are often durable because wood is a sturdy material.

* Floor design- tired of visible scratches on your floor? One way to successfully remedy old floors is simply installing new vinyl. Vinyl comes in a variety of colors and designs so you would be having a lot of fun and choices by simply choosing the design you like. The installation of vinyl is even easier- you simply need contact cement or other forms of strong adhesives to attach the vinyl to your floor. Just find the center of the floor area using a nylon thread and divide each area into quarters. Start with 1 quarter and finish by cutting to size when you reach the edge.

* Wall design- wallpaper is still in. You simply have to know how to install wallpaper properly. First, the walls must be free from dirt, moisture or grease before the application of the adhesive. Let the adhesive dry a bit first before attaching the wallpaper in small, manageable strips. Watch your bedroom or your living room come alive with the new look.

Home Renovations to Save Energy

28092014-0114-HDRRenovating or upgrading your home can be fun, especially when incorporating energy efficient upgrades, which saves you money and makes your home less susceptible to mold and allergens. In fact, the average homeowner can save up to 96 percent on their heating and cooling bills simply by making their home more energy efficient.

 

Whether you are renovating your home to make it more appealing, or you simply wish to enjoy an increase in energy savings, these energy saving tips will provide maximum savings while enjoying your beautiful, new home.

 

Inspect for Condensation, Water Leaks and Excess Moisture Before You Begin

 

Water leaks and excess condensation and moisture cause mold. Prior to your project, inspect for signs of excess moisture. Addressing those issues first, can help improve the interior air quality of your home.

 

Insulate Upstairs

 

According to research, about half the homes in the U.S. are not fully insulated. Insulation helps keep your home comfortable year round. When renovating your home, don’t forget to insulate upstairs, and while you’re at it, you should also consider insulating your water pipes, ducts, attic spaces and recessed lights above the attic for even more savings.

 

Replace High Energy Use Equipment with Energy Efficient Ones

 

Replacing old ventilation, heating and air condition units with more energy efficient ones can decrease your monthly energy costs. It is important to have your home well insulated and sealed in addition to this project, in order to reap maximum benefits.

 

Renewable Energy

 

Renewable energy is obtained from natural processes such as wind, sunlight and water etc., that are replenished at a greater extent than they are used, which means lower power plant and fossil fuel costs and greater savings passed on to consumers. According to Spark Energy, renewable energy is on the rise in the transport, heating, cooling and electricity sectors worldwide, and is predicted to account for approximately one third of new electricity generation in the U.S. over the next three years. In fact, over 65 countries already have policies in motion involving renewable energy.

 

Seal the Ducts

 

If your home relies on forced-air cooling and heating systems, approximately one fifth of the air could be escaping through leaks in the ducts. To address this issue, use duct sealing to seal gaps or leaks in the ducts. If you need to, seal around windows and doors as well. And don’t forget the basement and attic, to also help lower your heating and cooling bills.

 

Install Energy Efficient Water Heaters

 

Water heating makes up approximately 15 to 20 percent of the annual energy usage in a home. Installing energy efficient water heaters can help drive down costs.

 

Replace Drafty Windows with Energy Efficient Ones

 

Replacing old, drafty windows with energy efficient ones can increase energy savings. When replacing your windows, opt for wood instead of aluminum framed models. If you are low on funds, consider installing lower-cost storm windows instead. As long as your interior windows are in good condition, installing storm windows provide a quick and easy way to make your windows more energy efficient without the hassle and cost of full-blown window replacement.

 

Install Energy Efficient Doors

 

When installing energy efficient doors, avoid using hollow metal doors because they allow air to penetrate right through.

 

Install a Programmable Thermostat

 

Programmable thermostats save about 10 percent on your cooling and heating costs, which more than pays for themselves in just a few months, and they allow you to cool your home at warmer temps, while you’re away.

What is a Home Designer? (and How to Choose One)

home design

Image by JoeInSouthernCA

A home designer specifies the design, materials, stylishness, as well as interior details for residential building projects. In lots of states in the US home designers aren’t mandated to have an architectural diploma or architectural license.

Many people may think that these kinds of home designers not having specific qualifications is an undesirable factor, but that’s not even close to the truth. A professional within the field of non commercial design, a “home designer” is the most suitable choice that will lead you through the design and building process from start to finish.

A great home designer generally possesses years of expertise not only designing and drafting the construction docs , but in addition will often have put in many years on actual construction sites performing the actual job themselves. Now this isn’t at all times the situation however, these people with this kind of knowledge are usually best to design your home. Not just because of their experience and expertise in the profession but their rates tend to be more affordable when compared to a registered architect’s charges will be.

The rates a home designer, as well as an architect command has proven to be completely different. Architects attain four years or more of college getting an education and studying the particulars on architect home design as well as architectural design of almost everything else all varying from little homes to large high-rise buildings. Architects are registered to approve numerous facets of building not employed for individual houses. Because of these two details architects demand very high service fees to create an architectural design in addition to a set of construction drawings for houses. The majority of architect’s charges vary from 7% to 15% (sometimes greater) for his or her services on a housing project. Almost all home designers’ rates for this exact same service vary from 3% to 8%. This particular large variation in rates combined with the undeniable fact that each commonly possess the identical or the same level of expertise in residential design is actually the reason why the majority will probably select a home designer above an architect for their housing project.

Even though design capacity can virtually, be trained, the most effective jobs are the effect of a mix of skill and knowledge, therefore your choice in who to employ shouldn’t be exclusively selected simply for their reduced rates or education. A home designer needs to be selected as due to their outstanding results of their labor.

Home designers make use of numerous sources and instruments accessible to them to assist in communicating their architectural designs as well as the construction documents into the completed product. Many home designers continue to utilize pencil and paper in addition to numerous types of color goods to symbolize and express their design to their clientele. Even though this can be a great method of communicating a design to a customer it really is outdated and doesn’t consistently accomplish the job the home designer developed it for, to help the customer to fully grasp and picture the design. Nowadays there’s a large amount of computer programs that enable a great house designer to provide their house design to their clientele. These types of graphic tools as I prefer to refer to them include things like 3D colored renderings, walk-a-rounds, as well as walk-throughs.

Therefore, when you’re looking to select a designer it’s also advisable to consider exactly how they show their designs to their clientele. Not everybody can easily figure out a conceptual drawing of a 2D floor plan. In fact ultimately it will come right down to what home designer you sense you might have more suitable connection with and you feel the most confident with.

Building a residence signifies one of the biggest monetary assets the majority of people is likely to make within their lifetime and very few comprehend just how complicated the procedure will be till they’re involved with a lot of restricted covenants, construction requirements, zoning ordinances, design and style choices, material options, suppliers as well as builder options and so forth. Do your family as well as your bank account a favor and locate a home designer to partner with and to who you’re confident with.

Sustainable Homes and the Environment

CITIB-projektorThere’s no doubt that though the 21st century has brought us many post millennium technological innovations. It has also come with its fair share of environmental issues, which seem to be gathering momentum as time goes on. The reduction of carbon emissions, which are a key contributor to the greenhouse effect and therefore global warming, is certainly something that has had a lot of exposure in the media in past decade or so. And as a result of this exposure it seems that many car manufacturers and even property dealers have begun taking these pressing environmental issues into account.

Though many people might not realize the extent of it, the way that we choose to power our homes has a massive impact on the environment, and this is not just true locally but also on a global scale. In the United Kingdom our homes account for 27 percent of total carbon emissions. Fortunately any improvements that we make regarding energy efficiency in our homes won’t just benefit us, but also the environment globally. So by making our homes cheaper to heat and power, and by choosing to run on clean energy people, places and wildlife all around the world will be less vulnerable to changes in climate.

The push for sustainable homes and lifestyles is something that is becoming increasingly real and on the 13 of December 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government launched the Code for Sustainable Homes – a new national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes. This code measures the whole home as a complete package assessing its sustainability against nine categories including energy/carbon dioxide, water, materials, surface water run-off, waste, pollution, health and well-being, management, and ecology.

There are a number of different techniques that are now being implemented to make new homes more sustainable. Normally the first factor that is considered is regarding insulation, this is sometimes referred to as the “fabric first” approach, where the construction of a home is considered and insulating techniques are used to make it economical and therefore energy efficient. The use of natural light is something else that is now considered when the orientation of homes is decided, maximizing the amount of natural light that is let in and therefore reducing energy consumption. Renewable energy resources are also taken into consideration too, and features such as wood burners, which are very economical, are considered. Location is also taken into account and important environmental factors such as wildlife corridors are not blocked.

3D Home Design for Everybody

Modern_Homes_in_Richardson_Fields_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1191235 (1)3D Home Design is a different way for architects to design homes, it is not far from the conventional 2D way of designing, but is more competitive. 3D Home Design, just like the traditional way also includes the floor plans, elevations and the perspective of the project. The only difference is that 3D Home Design features 3D Floor Plans and 3D Elevations instead of the conventional 2D.

3D Home Design in an Architect’s point of view

For architects, presenting for a client using 3D Home Design can be a great advantage since the presentation will be able to capture the client’s attention from the beginning, with the color rich presentations of the floor plan and elevations.

3D Home Design in a Client’s point of view

For clients having no background in architecture, watching an architect’s presentation, especially with the architect showing boring 2D drawings and talking about it in technical terms that you don’t even understand a bit, can be a boring task. But when an architect presents you with a 3D presentation, you will be able to understand right away what the architect is conveying. There is no need to decipher the technical terms and the plan drawings, you just need to look at the presentation and you will have an idea of what the project will look like.

3D Home Design and its components

Presenting for a client consist of 2 phases, the primary phase and the major phase. The primary stage is the presentation of the floor plans and elevations, which was discussed in an earlier post. The major phase includes the presentation of the interior and exterior perspectives.

3D Interior

3D Interior presentations include views of the inside of the house in certain parts. It is for the client to see and feel how the house will look like, and if the spaces will work according to their preferences, it can also serve as an attachment to the floor plans if the client need some verifications on how a certain space in the house will look like.

3D Exterior

3D Exterior presentations include views of the outside of the house as a whole, including the background to apply the environment where the actual house will be built. It can also serve as a medium for the clients to see how the house will look like and it gives the chance to the client to tell the architect whether they want to change some colors or part before the construction begins.

DIY Furniture Projects

furniture builder
Image by IndoGemstone

The reality of life is that everything has a cost. This is true no matter what you need to buy. But what if you need, say, some new furniture, and don’t have the money – but you do have the time to try to make it yourself?

There’s nothing wrong in doing DIY furniture projects at home. It saves money, increases one’s skill, and it builds one’s confidence in doing things by themselves. Furniture is no-doubt, an expensive item to buy. For people who are either newly-married, recently moved out of the house, or are starting out after a major life catastrophe, buying new furniture can be a bit of a stress.

Of course, people want to fill out their new space with good-quality furniture but it takes a lot of work to buy each piece one by one. Imagine working non-stop just to buy a couch for this month, while saving up for a cabinet next payday. While that is possible, it involves a lot of passing time and hard work. Why not just make some furniture of your own? Buying in shops and stores means that you are also paying for the laborers and distributors who have shared their time and effort in the production of a basic furniture item. Whether it’s the coffee table or cabinet that you’re eyeing, chances are the prices of these items are high because of the added costs.

In making your own DIY furniture projects, you are saving up in precious bucks. This of course, requires a person to sacrifice their time and effort in the building process of the furniture. If time is not a problem, then one would discover that making furniture from scratch is actually an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. The basic things one will need in creating their own furniture are a plan, tools in building, and the materials. Many of the tools that one will need are available in the hardware stores in reasonable prices. Ordering the wood and paint is easy as well. In a matter of days, the company will deliver the materials right in one’s doorstep. The plan is easy to buy as well, but customers must look for one that can be returned in case it’s too hard to understand.

After the materials in tools are in check, one can now build the chosen furniture project. Some of the easiest furniture items to build include chairs and tables. Harder projects meanwhile, include cabinets, cupboards, or anything that has a lot of doors and pockets.

Doing DIY furniture projects also enable one to customize the item early on. This can be done by painting the furniture item with paint or wood varnish to give it a glossy finish. One can even add engraved patterns into the items as designs though this would take time and skill to do. To jazz up chairs for example, one can buy golden knobs and accents to beautify the project. For tables, buying glass to put on the face will make the project look like it was bought from the shops. Cabinets can also be decorated by buying handles and knobs with intricate designs on them. In the end, it all depends on one’s preferences.

How to Start a DIY Home Improvement Project: Tips & Tricks

 

hammer and nail
Image by KingTyrone

 

Do it yourself projects are efficient ways to minimize cost, and to a certain degree, tap into your creative side. Home improvement is just one area in the wide and complex world of Do- it- Yourself.

In a way, home improvement should be done by the homeowners themselves, because the property is theirs, and if something succeeds or fails, the homeowners take full accountability for what happens. How does one begin a do it yourself project? The following is a step by step guide in determining your general path for future DIY projects.

1. Examine your house- a house that has stood against the elements of nature for at least three years probably has suffered some form of damage. When was the last time that you stopped to inspect whether your house is still safe to live in, or if there is something that you can still do to improve it?

A thorough evaluation of your house and all its parts would definitely give you great ideas for your future DIY project. With you some paper and a pen, list down everything that you think must be repaired, replaced, improved or taken down completely. Be critical of how furniture and electrical wires are placed in your house.

After making your list, start sifting through them. What is it that interests you at the moment? Do you wish to make a new gate made purely of wood, and coated with varnish? Do you think that old door needs sprucing up? Whatever you might choose to do, remember that you have to take into consideration time and budget constraints.

2. Plan first, and plan well- do not commit the mistake of not being able to plan before you try your hand in DIY home improvement. Any project, executed without a clear plan in mind is bound to either fail or finish unsuccessfully.

How does one begin a work plan for a DIY project? First identify what needs to be done. Make a list of the things that have to be done prior to the DIY project. Then proceed to make a list of the things that you need to do. This includes even the smallest of implements in the DIY project, like nails and paint.

After determining the materials needed for the DIY project, begin to compute how much all this would cost. A good and reliable computation should not be based on estimates alone. If you can, make the computation when you’re at the hardware store.

If something seems to be too expensive, then try to find an alternative brand, or if it’s not possible to do this, try to find an alternative, material to replace that which you cannot acquire due to cost, a good example will be thinner gauge plywood for sidings and non load bearing structures.

3. Timeframe- never forget to make a timeframe for a particular DIY project. Failure to do so might mean the project might take too long to finish, or in some instances, it might not be completed at all. A timeframe would tell you what to do and what to complete in a day.

Equip your homes with the best home automation systems

 

home
Image by building construction partnership

 

You might have come across many friends who have upgraded their homes with home automation systems and gained access to all the lighting systems, security, temperature controls and audio video control with the use of internet and telephone. You would have been always of the idea that this automation system would require you to spend a great deal of money and hence can be the choice of only the upper class. But after doing a bit of research, you are sure to be amazed at the low cost in which they are actually priced and might become awe struck with the fact that they cater to the needs of every individuals in the society. You can get your equipped my home for just $ 600 and can feel quite happy about it. This way you could operate the working of all appliances in your home through a central controlled system that is reliable and secure.
After having a home automation system installed in your home, you will feel that you look forward to getting to your home each day with a sense of eagerness or longing. This is because anyone would feel that their home is the perfect place for them to unwind. And when it is well equipped with home theatre and other such items your stay will turn into a pleasurable one. You are sure to beam with pride when your friends and colleagues compliment you for your home.
There are some DIY home automation systems also available in the market. You will also find that there are various catalogues available to cater the budget requirements of all people and each are tailor made to suit each person’s spending capacity. While installing an automation system, a team of professionals will guide you in placing your gadgets to enjoy very good audio and video quality. Also the experts are well aware of the ways such as how to handle them, and know the technology with which it works. During the installation at your home, you can require them to fix a security camera. The experts are sure to deal it with much ease and also provide you with tips and tricks that might come handy when you face some trouble shooting problems.
When you do your share of research you will come across advises by people such as your relatives and friends who might have already installed home automation systems at their homes. They might advise you to prefer the services of CEDIA certified personnel as they are well experienced and well trained and are skilled enough to arrive with immediate solutions for any problems that may arise during installation and which will not be an inconvenience to you.
If you are planning to install a home automation system at your home, then the best thing you can do is to search the World Wide Web for the latest products that has a new use or new advancement as the technology is getting enhanced every single day. Also make a visit to a few electronic stores to find DIY home automation systems and enquire about the quality and price and also learn about the guarantee available for such products. This will enable you to get it replaced if any repair or damage arises.

Flipping Out – Home Design As a Life Lesson (An Opinionated Review)

home
Image by lorenkerns

 

There is something totally appealing about Flipping Out, a Bravo TV reality show based on LA real estate speculator Jeff (I Can Still Move My Eyebrows) Lewis. Watching it is akin to taking a bath in the narcissistic, self-absorbed world that only a place like Southern California could produce. It is a visual and sensual homage to LaLa land and neo-narcissism; me to the power of a billion.

Home design as fodder for great comedy or should that be Greek tragedy? For there is something innately tragic about this program; maybe it’s the real human sentiment that’s running just beneath the surface of all that buying and flipping, not to mention all that firing and hiring.

It is also a testament to how far human evolution has progressed – where’s that meteorite when you need it? If Jeff Lewis is a symbol of how far we have come as a species — Darwin would not be amused; but then again, maybe he would be tickled pink — maybe this is just what we (mankind) rightly deserve.

Point is, Flipping Out is as entertaining as it gets. The characters are much more enjoyable than anything you will find on today’s hodge-podge of TV shows… only House comes anywhere close to capturing the quirkiness that is human nature at its finest.

Actually, it’s extremely hard to believe this reality show is not scripted. The characters are so odd-ball only a well marinated screenwriter could produce them in such abundance, or maybe real life in Southern California is such a magnet for eccentricity, anything is possible. Even then, to assemble them all in one reality show is a masterstroke, from Zoila the sassy Nicaraguan housekeeper to Chris the bumbling trash guy to the well-grounded partner Ryan; they all come across as solidly sketched and etched in our minds.

The only TV comparison that comes close to Flipping Out is Seinfeld. Perhaps this comparison is inevitable since Jeff’s sidekick and personal assistant Jenni bares an unnerving resemblance to Elaine. She calms Jeff down through one crisis after another… whether it be a foul-mouthed client, to removing human feces left behind by renovation workers, to buying the next multi-million dollar property.

While Jeff has an obvious talent for finding run-down real estate properties and totally re-designing them into highly profitable ones — he is, without a doubt, one of the most selfish and self-absorbed people you will ever have the pleasure of viewing. Everything in this neatly controlled world centers around Jeff and Jeff’s needs. Ordering take-out (which is the show’s favorite past-time) takes on a whole new meaning in this reality show. Hundred and Forty Degree Coffee, Anyone?

Watching Flipping Out is highly addictive; like any good reality-based show we are drawn into the characters’ lives without any holdbacks. We see all of Jeff’s flaws magnified: his obsessive compulsive disorder, his childish behavior, his self-absorbed personality, his obsession with balance and detail… he makes Holmes on Homes look like an amateur DIY builder. Well, not really but they do share the same passion for true build-quality that’s totally reassuring in today’s mortgage closure wasteland, aka mainstreet USA.

Jeff gets no respect, at least not from his employees whom he treats more like personal slaves than anything resembling equal human beings. From Jeff’s own admission, he consider himself the biggest babysitter in all of California rather than an employer. That’s probably for the best because the way he treats his employees it’s amazing how anyone could work for him and keep their self-respect intact. Just make sure you quit before he fires you so that you can hold on to that last hanging chad of human dignity.

Why Jeff comes across as ultimately a very likable guy is a total mystery. Maybe deep down we see more of Jeff in ourselves and our own actions than any of us would like to believe or even admit to — through empathy comes compassion. Who doesn’t want to be a total selfish jerk every now and then? Hedonism does have its takers, and narcissism does have more than a bit of fascination for the inner child in all of us. OCD aside, Peter Pan and Jeff Lewis got it right; nobody ever really grows up.

Who would have imagined it, home design as a life-lesson for all of us. Only in a reality TV show could such profane silliness be captured and enjoyed. Don’t be bothered that you should be bothered that bothers you… just welcome yourself to Flipping Out.

Home Renovation and Real Estate Shows Becoming More Popular

home
Image by dacran

 

TV Shows on HGTV are getting more popular recently, as more people look to self renovating their home. It isn’t just HGTV that is capitalizing on this trend however, there are several other networks that are now featuring TV shows that relate to real estate, real estate investing, or home and garden design.

Many of the most popular home shows focus on either home renovations, home sale, or home purchase. Many of the shows, particularly on HGTV also revolve around a combination. As an example the show Love It or List It features renovating your current home, and shopping for a new one. The renovation of the current home makes the decision as to whether or not to ultimately list it more difficult, but it can also fetch a higher price for the home than they would have gotten prior to the renovation. There is also a show called Flip or Flop that features a young couple who are real estate agents who buy foreclosures, fix them up, and try to sell them to the average home buyer in California for a profit. Another popular show is called Income Property. This show features Scott McGillivray, and shows people how they can purchase homes that have income suites in the basement, duplexes and triplexes,and live for a or free mortgage payment, and occasionally even live at a profit.

The real estate shows all give you ideas for open concept home designs, what trends are in the current real estate market, and what type of things to look for when buying , selling, or renovating a home. These programs can actually be quite educational, although I must advise that they probably make real estate investing seem easier than it is. Particularly the flipping shows, have led to a lot of people to believe it is easy money and end up way over their head in an investment.

Flipping shows are probably the most popular show as well, as it seems like every TV network out there has their own version of a house flipping show. Remember to take these results featured in the show with a grain of salt, as the results may be exaggerated or the truth may be stretched, or they may only be showing the profitable homes. Keep in mind the flipper is being paid to be on the TV show as well, so they have much more leeway with costs then the average person doing this would assuming they’re not also filming a television show.

As you can see there is a lot going on in the television world in regards to real estate. For some reasons these shows have become extremely popular lately, including in both the US and Canada. These shows can also be educational, which makes watching them an added bonus. You can checkout your local television listings, search on google and more to check out what real estate shows you have available to you in your area.