This month, we’re focusing on the dangers of carbon monoxide. Pillar to Post Home Inspectors expertly outlines the dangers and steps homeowners can take to prevent this hazard.
Each season there are easy steps you can take to maintain your home. Winter is the time to go around the interior of your home and check for any little things you may have overlooked, or perhaps noticed and said, “I’ll get to that later.” Winter is your later. If you have any interior honey-do projects, whether it be painting, building shelves, etc., now is a great time to tackle those as well.
-Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner & the SeattlebyDesign Team
Maxwell Ryan of Apartment Therapy Discusses 12 Things Every Home Should Have
Every home should be different, expressing the individuality and personality of the owner in its own way, but I believe there are a few things that every home should have. These are essentials, classics and key ingredients that make up the foundation of a good home, and if you are just starting out they make a useful checklist for setting up in a new space. Could you add to this list? You sure could, but 12 is a nice even number for the purposes of this post.
Aluminum push pins: Push pins are super useful throughout the home and work well when trying to attach or hang anything from sheet rock, cork or wood. Aluminum ones are easier on the fingers and don’t break (I actually use mine to hang all of the small art on my walls, as they are strong enough and don’t require me getting out a hammer).
All-Natural Cleaning Products: At this point in the evolution of our planet, there is no reason why any cleaning product in a home – from dish soap to glass cleaner to tile scrub – shouldn’t be natural and earth friendly. Even bleach whiteners for clothes and tubs can now be replaced.
One Set of Flannel sheets: You don’t need them for most of the year, but when it gets this cold they become your best friend.
A Landing Strip: I don’t consider a home complete unless it has an area near the front door – it can be tiny – that acts as a “landing strip” where you can hang your coat and drop your keys and mail when you walk in. A full landing strip has a landing surface, mirror, pin board, wastepaper basket and coat hooks.
Real napkins: I switched to real cloth napkins at home years ago and wash them each week. They’re softer on the face, less wasteful and add a really nice splash of style to your kitchen and dining room. Want to do make your own? I’ve been hemming fat quarters (fabric meant for quilting) to make my own and it’s really cheap to do it this way.
3 Lights in Every Room: I find that most homes I visit are underlit. They can be lovely to look at, but they’re dark and filled with shadows. I’m convinced that most people don’t notice this about their own home as they get used to it. The simple solution is to make sure that you have at least three points of light in EVERY room and that you turn them on when you’re home.
Dimmers: This is a simple install whether you own or rent. Dimmers allow you to shift your light and dramatically transform your space with your existing light fixtures. Light control is crucial to making a beautiful space.
A Good Vacuum: Cleaning is essential to a comfortable home and being able to easily, and happily vacuum makes sure that it stays that way – particularly with pets.
Art @ 57″: Most people hang their art too high and do different heights in different rooms (or even the same room). When I see this it makes be deeply uncomfortable as it makes it hard to enjoy the art and the wall it’s hanging on. The easy rule of thumb is to hang all of your art at 57″ on center – meaning the center of every piece is at 57″.
Candles at Meals: While certainly not necessary, I have found it a great and simple ritual to light a candle at meals (even breakfast). There is something very ceremonial and calming about accompanying the meals of the day with a wam and flickering flame. Children really like it and it helps them to stay focused at the table.
Mat Knife & Scissors: I find that I need this almost every day from opening packages to cutting off labels to prepping flowers.
A Plant & Fresh flowers: I’ve always advocated for having fresh flowers in your home as part of a weekly routine as I find they bring an indescribable liveliness and beauty to an interior, regardless of its chic-ness or fashionability.
Plants, whether indoor or outdoor, are a part of this as well. It’s an easy way of keeping me in touch with nature, even with the temperature near zero.
-Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner & the SeattlebyDesign Team
Original Post: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/12-things-every-home-should-have-199606
Preparing your home to go on the market? We have several tips and tricks – so contact us today. Here is just one quick and easy way to freshen up your curb appeal – paint the front door.
“There’s something about a red door that says, ‘Come in. Good things are inside.’ It’s very joyful and welcoming, and gutsy at the same time. You’re drawn to this red. You can’t resist. I’d describe it as scarlet with a hint of terra-cotta. It would make a great toenail polish.” —Raun Thorp
Pratt & Lambert Redseal Scarlet O’Hara 1870
“This is the color of a fresh-cut lawn, frozen peas, or Kermit the Frog. It’s bright, not acidy, and would give a lift to clapboard siding or brick. I see an antique boot-scraper, like one of those long cast-iron dachshunds, in front of it. And don’t bother with any of those potted plants that inevitably wilt. This green is all the life you need.” —Harry Heissmann
Benjamin Moore Grand Entrance Sullivan Green 560
“I recently repainted my front door in a steely gray-blue — a lake blue — using a marine-quality enamel paint so shiny it looks wet. It’s the perfect complement to my sand-color stucco house. Sand and water — great imagery for the humid Houston climate. Serendipitously, it also looks good with my collection of antique delftware on the hall table.” —Ann Wolf
Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac 9225
“To stand out or not to stand out, that was the question. We opted for the latter approach and went with a rich, harmonious neutral, a dark greenish gray that felt more appropriate for our rather traditional neighborhood. It’s also the perfect background for seasonal wreaths or colorful planters.” —Birch Coffey
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Mohegan Sage 2138-30
“Before you even enter a house, the front door tells a story about who lives inside. This citrusy green is not a self-effacing color. It says, ‘I’m confident. I’m a style-setter.’ In the bright California sun, it feels fresh and happy. Add some terra-cotta pots with hot pink bougainvillea, because pink and green are so beautiful together.” —Heidi Bonesteel
Dunn-Edwards Evershield Citron DE5473
“Whenever I travel to London and Paris, I’m always wowed by the dynamite blue doors on all the toniest townhouses. I love the full range of blues, but I think my favorite is this deep purple-blue with a hint of smoky gray. It looks particularly rich in a superhigh sheen with a bold brass door knocker.” —Molly Luetkemeyer
Sydney Harbour Paints Aqua Gloss Enamel Deep Sea
“I like dark trim on houses. But instead of just being black, this is a black-green, which is softer and prettier. It’s also neutral, so it will work with anything you put in the foyer. Most people forget to think about how the color will look in the room, when the door is open. This has the same monochromatic, graphic quality as the silver tea paper on the walls and the faux-zebra rug.” —Jan Showers
Benjamin Moore Impervo Black Forest Green
“Think of this as a Belgian gray, one of those moody colors. Sometimes it looks gray, sometimes sage, and at other times brown. It reminds me of wet cement, particularly when done in lacquer. It would be very handsome paired with chic brass fittings and a limestone surround.” —Robert Brown
C2 Paint Premium Exterior Woodpecker C386
“This is a dramatic, deeply nuanced brown — more chocolate than espresso — with pink and red undertones. Like chocolate, it pairs well with so many things, from brick to stone. It would look fantastic with grayish-blue or burnished red trim. And imagine the flowers you could plant alongside it—heathery purples, pinks, and chartreuse.” —Martin Horner
Benjamin Moore Aura Wenge AF-180
“Somewhere between green and a more classical Palladian blue, this brought a breath of fresh air to a wonderful old house. Colors can be tricky outdoors and many come off as too bright. But this has just enough punch and stands proudly against the limestone front porch. Two white-blooming jasmine trees in lead containers were the final touch.” —Matthew Carter
Benjamin Moore Impervex Covington Blue HC-138
“This blue, with a touch of periwinkle, would make a door feel cheerful no matter the weather outside. As for finishes, the only one we ever do on front doors is high-gloss enamel. It looks newer longer, it’s easier to keep clean, and it’s also the best backdrop for a polished metal knocker and doorknob.” —Julie Kleiner
Farrow & Ball Exterior Full Gloss Lulworth Blue 89
“We wanted to bring that funky 1960s vibe back to a Palm Springs house, so we replaced the 1980s ‘Southwestern’ door with a flat, midcentury-modern door and painted it orange. Finding a bright enough orange was surprisingly hard, but we did it. Now, as you’re landing at the nearby airport, you can actually see the front door from the plane!” —Brian Dittmar
Benjamin Moore Advance Electric Orange 2015-10
Call us today for other tips to help prepare your home for sale! Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner & the SeattlebyDesign Team
Original Post: http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/colors/best-front-door-paint-colors-0214?src=spr_FBPAGE&spr_id=1451_41602652#slide-3
For the second consecutive year, Cost vs. Value data show that the value of remodeling is up for all 35 projects included in the survey. This trend signals an end to the long slide in the cost-value ratio, which began to fall in 2006 and didn’t begin to rebound until last year (see, “Cost vs. Value 11-Year Trend”). For 2014, the cost-value ratio stands at 66.1%, a jump of 5.5 points over last year and the largest increase since 2005, when the ratio jumped 6.1 points to reach its high of 86.7%.
(The cost-value ratio expresses resale value as a percentage of construction cost. When cost and value are equal, the ratio is 100%; when cost is higher than value, the ratio is less than 100%; when value is higher than cost, the ratio exceeds 100%.)
Significantly, for the first time in four years, improved resale value of residential housing had more of an influence in the cost-value ratio than construction costs. A modest 2.2% increase in average national construction costs was more than offset by an 11.5% improvement in average national resale value. This reverses a trend that began in 2010–11, when construction costs dropped dramatically, but resale values dropped even more, driving the ratio down. The situation began to change in 2013, when lower costs were mainly responsible for across-the-board improvement in the cost-value ratio. While this was good news for the remodeling market, costs remained volatile and housing values had yet to stabilize. In what is perhaps the most positive sign in this year’s data, rising resale value is driving the overall market improvement.
There is still some progress to be made before the remodeling market fully recovers, but the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report shows that the national average cost-value ratio is up more than 9%, with 15 projects improving between 10% and 28% compared with 2013 (see “Biggest Gainers”).
The biggest gainer may reflect the market’s response to the year’s unpredictable weather and multiple large storms: Backup Power Generator, an $11,742 project that supplies electricity during a utility outage, increased 28% nationally to its all-time high of 67.5% in percentage of cost recouped, and jumped to 25th in the overall ranking.
More important is the continued presence of several big-ticket projects among the biggest gainers. Attic Bedroom Remodel, with a national average remodeling cost of $49,438, gained 15.6% compared with 2013, reaching a cost-to-value ratio of 84.3% and moving from eighth to fourth in overall rank. Similarly, Basement Remodel, with an average cost of $62,834, gained 10.4% over 2013 to reach a 77.6% cost-to-value ratio, and move from 13th to 12th in rank. Both of these projects have been trending upward in recent years, possibly because, compared with building an addition, they represent an inexpensive way to add living space to an existing home. But the fact that their comparatively high initial cost is balanced by a higher value at resale than at any time since the peak year of 2005 signals a return of confidence in the value of remodeling.
That said, replacements—especially door, window, and siding projects—once again outperformed larger discretionary remodeling projects, when judged solely by national ranking (see “ROI: Replacement vs. Remodeling”). Entry Door Replacement (steel) is once again ranked first, as has been the case since this project was introduced in the 2009–10 report, and is the only project to return more than 90% of cost (96.6%). Low initial cost combined with the positive effect on curb appeal is likely responsible for the high ranking. This is also true of the midrange and upscale versions of Garage Door Replacement, which ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.
At the next cost level, nine of the 14 projects with costs in the $5,000 to $25,000 range are also replacements. (Since the introduction of several low-cost projects to the survey, the Cost vs. Value Report has presented data in four cost categories, making for a better comparison among projects of similar size.) This includes all three Siding Replacement projects, led by Siding Replacement (fiber-cement), an “upscale” project ranked first in this category and second overall, with a cost-value ratio of 87.4% (a 10.2% improvement over 2013); and all four window replacement projects, led by wood and vinyl “midrange” projects with cost-value ratios of 79.3% and 78.7%, respectively.
While the cost-value ratio only occasionally exceeds 100% nationally, this occurs more often at the city level, where it typically indicates either strong appeal for a particular project, or a strong housing market, or both. This year, the cost-value ratio exceeded 100% in more than 300 instances or nearly 9% of the time. (By comparison, 2013 saw just 65 instances of projects exceeding 100%.) Of the 64 markets with at least one project that registered a 100%-plus ratio, 21 had 5 or more. Leading the list of high-ROI projects is Entry Door Replacement (steel), which topped 100% in 38 cities, followed by Deck Addition (wood), with a 100%-plus ratio in 25 cities (see “High-ROI Projects”). Most of the other top-performers are replacement projects, with four notable exceptions: Minor Kitchen Remodel and Backup Power Generator, both of which are under-$25,000 projects; and the two bigger ticket projects mentioned earlier, Attic Bedroom Remodel and Basement Remodel.
This year’s report added 19 new markets, bringing the total number surveyed to 101. (Wilmington, Del., was inadvertently included in this year’s survey. Future surveys will follow the U.S. Census and include Wilmington as part of the Philadelphia MSA.) Performance among these “first-time” markets was split, with 9 performing at or above the national average, and 10 below. Three first-time cities are among the ten markets showing a cost-value ratio above 80% (see, “Top 10 Cities”).
Seven of the nine regions outperformed the national average, a distinct improvement over 2013, when just four regions performed better than average. This result may be partly due to the uneven distribution of first-time cities, but it is difficult to determine how big a role this factor may have played, if any. The Middle Atlantic region, which picked up the most first-time cities, and the West North Central region, which picked up none, rank last among the nine regions (see “2014 Regional Comparison”), but they also ranked last in 2013. On the other hand, three regions that performed below the national average in 2013 and also added first-time cities (East North Central, New England, and Mountain) performed well above the national average in 2014.
Once again, the Pacific and West South Central regions ranked first and second, respectively, but the New England region moved from 6th to 3rd; and the East North Central region, from 7th to 5th.
With a few already-noted exceptions, more expensive projects did not fare as well as lower-cost projects, although all made significant gains compared with 2013. While the cost-value ratio for all projects improved 10% on average, midrange projects improved 10.6% versus 8.8% for upscale versions. (Many projects in the Cost vs. Value Report have two versions, “midrange” and “upscale,” with lower and higher costs, respectively, based on scope of work, complexity, and quality of finishes.) One exception is Two-Story Addition, which improved 9.9% due to a large increase (11.9%) in resale value compared with a small (1.9%) cost increase. The other exception is the upscale Bathroom Addition. It ranked just ahead of the midrange version, suggesting that the market is willing to pay for more square footage and higher-end appointments in the bathroom.
Once again, the best-performing K&B project was Minor Kitchen Remodel, which includes new appliances and countertops, and a facelift for existing cabinets. At $18,856, it is not the least expensive K&B project, but it delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
In general, kitchen projects outperformed bathroom projects, regardless of cost. One indication is the Major Kitchen Remodel: Despite its hefty $54,909 price tag, its cost-value ratio of 74.2% ranks it second among the seven K&B projects, just above Bathroom Remodel, which is about one-third the size. And the $109,935 upscale Major Kitchen Remodel project ranked higher than the other three much smaller bathroom projects.
BREAKDOWN BY PROJECT
Contact us for more information!
Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner & the SeattlebyDesign Team
Who to hire: Although it’s a project that could lend itself to a DIY weekend, you can get a polished look with the help of an interior designer or a professional art hanger. If you want to resize, reprint or change the color of a large number of photographs, a photography lab can make quick work of it. You might also consider using the services of a professional framer.
In this project from David Rausch Studio in Zionsville, Indiana, black and white family photos framed in the same scale and grid pattern as the nearby windows make a big architectural statement.
How: To avoid having to constantly make room for more photos, and to create an instantly finished look, Mughannam will create a display using frames whose contents can be easily changed. “I hang all of the frames the family wants to use, even if I have to insert a landscape photo as a placeholder,” says Mughannam. “As the family grows and changes, they can add or swap out photos.”
Are you in need of a contractor to help you with this project? Are you ready to sell and want to tone down your family pics? Give us a call and we can help!
-Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner & the SeattlebyDesign Team
Original Post: https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/21387870?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u418&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery12
Why: The goal of most wall removal projects is to connect rooms and create a more open floor plan. Removing a wall can also bring more light into a space and create better flow. (An exterior wall can also be removed and the area bumped out to increase space.)
Who to hire: This depends on the structural bearing of the wall and what’s inside it — plumbing, HVAC, electrical etc. An experienced general contractor can do an initial consultation and assess your wall for as little as $100, says builder Jeff Andreson.
But an architect is probably the best bet. “They might have a different way of approaching the situation that may not require taking as much wall out, which can save you money,” says architect Jeffrey Veffer. Removing an entire wall may completely change the character of a space, he says, so keeping parts of the wall might be in your best interest.
A structural engineer may also be required.
Also, it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether a wall is load bearing or not. So it’s always best to call in a professional. “I’ve been in houses and said, ‘I don’t think that’s a bearing wall,’ and then go into the basement and find that it is. It may not look like it, but it’s best to figure out before you start swinging the sledgehammer,” Veffer says.
“It’s difficult to patch that one missing wall area and make it blend in,” says Andreson, whose wall removal project is shown here. Ideally, you’ll replace the floors to make everything match up.
Veffer says he’s seen projects where they were able to match the wood pieces, sand the area and restain it with good results, but not perfect. Carpet is much easier.
Ceilings are another thing to consider. Matching popcorn ceilings or smooth skim is fairly easy, Andreson says, but molding is where it gets tricky. If you have older molding that you want to keep, it’s going to be difficult to match that with the new space.
Plus, he says, you never know what you might find in the walls. When removing a wall in a 1920s house, he found an unused gas line running to the second floor. He had to bring in a professional to remove it — an expense the homeowner hadn’t anticipated.
Cost: It all depends on the kind of wall and what embedded systems will need rerouting. Labor costs also vary by region. Here are Andreson’s estimates:
Whatever your budget, Veffer suggests adding 20 percent for any unforeseen things that may come up inside the walls.
Permit needed: Will vary from city to city. The rule of thumb is that if it’s not a structural wall, a permit is not required.
Say goodbye to the old-style light bulb.
On Jan. 1 it will become illegal to manufacture or import 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs because of federally mandated efficiency standards signed into law in 2007 by then-President George W. Bush.
Traditional 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs were phased out in earlier stages, but the coming ban on 60- and 40-watt bulbs will have a greater impact on consumers because of their popularity for residential lighting, experts said.
That means the sort of general-service light bulb we’ve used for more than a century can no longer be made in or imported into the United States.
It may not be completely noticeable until a few months into the next year when those light bulbs are bought and not replaced, but businesses are expecting to provide a bit of education to consumers unaware of the new change.
What does that mean for you?
On the plus side, it means more choices and smaller electric bills. On the minus side, it means an end to dirt-cheap light bulbs and grab-and-go bulb shopping. Now you need to read labels.
The new lighting standards, part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, were intended to make light bulbs more efficient and reduce the amount of energy needed to power them. They’ve done that, but they’ve also left some consumers confused in the face of all the choices in the lighting aisle.
“You’re used to buying that 60-watt bulb and knowing what it looks like and everything else,” said Cordell Blackmon, manager of the Batteries + Bulbs store in Ohio. Now, he said, customers who buy bulbs in haste often bring them back when they find the bulbs don’t meet their expectations.
Buying the right bulb requires more attention than it used to, Blackmon said. But with a little education and guidance, he said, his customers end up with what they need.
The Jan. 1 phaseout of old-style 40- and 60-watt bulbs is the third step in the change to more efficient forms of lighting. The first step, in 2012, targeted 100-watt bulbs and was followed in 2013 by the elimination of traditional 75-watt bulbs.
Although the lighting law has commonly been called a ban on incandescent light bulbs, lighting experts say that’s inaccurate. The law doesn’t ban incandescent bulbs but only requires them to be more energy-efficient.
What’s more, the law doesn’t affect all incandescent light bulbs, just general-service bulbs — pear-shaped bulbs with a medium base, the kind that for years were used most commonly in the home. A whole lot of bulbs are exempt, including three-way bulbs, 150-watt bulbs and bulbs with narrower candelabra bases that are often used in chandeliers.
The law may be frustrating some consumers, but many lighting specialists and sustainability advocates cheer the innovations it has spurred. The lighting standards “have led to more lighting innovation over the past five years than we saw during the 100-plus years since Edison invented the light bulb,” Noah Horowitz, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s Center for Energy Efficiency, wrote in his blog.
Now consumers have essentially three choices: compact fluorescent light bulbs, LED bulbs and halogen bulbs.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, are long-lasting and stingy on energy use and relatively inexpensive. But they have features some people don’t like, including the inclusion of a tiny amount of mercury.
LED bulbs are illuminated by light-emitting diodes. They last for decades and use even less energy than CFLs, but they’re still fairly expensive.
Halogen bulbs are the most like the old familiar incandescent bulbs. They don’t save nearly as much electricity or last as long as the others, but they’re probably the best choice for people who really don’t want to change, said Terry McGowan, director of engineering for the American Lighting Association.
Consumers will pay more upfront for LED and CFL bulbs, but the new technologies will save homeowners about 85 percent and 75 percent, respectively, on their energy bills. In addition, LED bulbs can last up to 23 years, and CFL bulbs last about nine years.
Enrico Pozzo, Barry Bergner and the SeattlebyDesign Team