Archive for November, 2010

How to do a Green Kitchen Remodel

Your kitchen might be the focal point of your home, and what better way to keep it current than making your kitchen remodel a green one? But doing a green kitchen remodel may be easier said than done. Here are a few tips that can point you in the right direction to getting the eco-friendly kitchen you’ve always wanted.

Start off Right

It can be important to get the right start to your green remodel. When you’re tearing things up and ripping things out, consider what could be reused or recycled. Everything from piping and tile to cabinetry and other hardware may be up for reuse or possibly the recycle bin. When it comes to your old appliances, consider handing them down to family or friends or, if they’re in good enough condition, reselling them, possibly on Craigslist or at a garage sale to give them a second life.

A Green Contractor

If you aren’t doing your green remodel yourself, then you’ll likely be searching for a good contractor. When you’re conducting your search, you might want to look for contractors that have experience with environmentally friendly work and let them know your expectations up front. This way they will know what to expect when it comes to the work they’ll be doing and the products and materials they should be purchasing.

Create an Efficient Kitchen

When you’re planning your green kitchen remodel, there may be more to it than just adding some compact fluorescents light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances. Although that might be part of it, it’s important to ensure your remodel remains conducive to your needs. When designing a kitchen to meet your needs, your green considerations might allow you to reduce waste, use less water, motivate you to recycle, allow you a spot to collect garbage for composting, design your kitchen to let in more natural light and reduce lighting needs with energy efficient-windows, and add eco-friendly accessories.

Conclusion

If you find that your kitchen is your kingdom when you’re at home, then it can be important to find a balance between this space being environmentally friendly and still remaining conducive to your cooking needs. While going green may be important to you, ensuring that your kitchen is functional and efficient when you’re in it can be equally critical to the enjoyment of the space.

Steve is president of a home remodeling company in Houston and has been in business for over 25 years. He has experience in all aspects of the industry from custom home building to kitchen remodeling. To see some of his work visit http://www.uniquebuilderstexas.com.

Find out how Your Kitchen can be more than Just a Kitchen

This is a guest post by Amy Chokshi

Amy Chokshi is a home decor and re-modelling enthusiasts. She enjoys creating beautiful home decor pieces for thematic home decor and re-modelling projects. She has been designing indoor water fountains for 3 years from variety of natural material. To learn more about her creations, please visit the tabletop fountain store.

In the 60’s, the kitchen was a room in your house with a single purpose. Nowadays, all that has changed and, let us face it, people do not use their kitchens just to cook food anymore. If you take a look at modern home designs, you will notice that the kitchen is not separated from the rest of your home with walls anymore. You can blame it on the development of technology or on the growing interest of home accommodations, but most of the modern kitchen designs you will see in any new built house look more like a barely separated booth.

These days food is so easy to order that it makes cooking no longer a part of the daily routine. Surely you can prepare some amazing dishes in the modern kitchen, however because of your working schedule and the variety of menus you can order, people do not see cooking as mandatory. For the modern people cooking is more of a sign to show your appreciation for somebody. Moreover, due to the colors and lines of the furniture, the modern kitchen is seen as a place where you can relax or chat with a friend while having a coffee or a cup of tea.

As stated previously you can still cook whatever you like in the modern kitchen because they come equipped with all the necessary equipment. That is because the design of the modern kitchen addresses both the people that do not have time or do not want to cook and the people that really enjoy preparing meals. The way the modern kitchen is built is to make all the food preparing process easier and more enjoyable.

The modern kitchens allow people to include all cooking gadgets in there and maximize their living space. You can choose all sorts of colors for the furniture that you are going to place in your modern kitchen and, according to the space you have, you can either choose a standard design from a home renovation expert or create the design yourself. Unless you are really good at it, do not start renovating the kitchen yourself. Instead, hire a contractor, especially if the new design you want for your kitchen is not a common one and there is a large number of major changes you have in mind.

Amy C. invites you to browse beautiful collection of indoor fountains to add a touch of contemporary appeal to your kitchen decor.

Green Bathroom Tips

It might seem surprising, but the bathroom can be a great place to go green. There are plenty of eco-friendly tips that can be put to use inside a bathroom. From going organic to conserving water and energy, here are a few areas in which your bathroom can serve as launching point for an environmentally conscious home.

Going Organic

By searching for organic material to outfit your bathroom, you could be going green in a quite comfortable way. Items such as towels, washcloths, bathmats, even your bathrobe are now often available in eco-friendly or sustainable materials such as organic cotton or bamboo.

Ditch the Disposable Dispensers

While those soap dispensers you buy at the store on a regular basis might be handy, they may not be eco-friendly. Consider using environmentally friendly hand soap bars, or if you prefer a dispenser, you might try a refillable one as opposed to the disposables. And if you find that you just can’t live without disposables and don’t want to refill them, at least consider recycling the containers when they’re empty.

Water Consumption

The bathroom can be a great spot for reducing water consumption. From the toilet to the sink and shower heads, low flow options abound. You can even use a water displacer in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water per flush if you don’t want to replace the entire toilet.

Bulbs Galore

When you stop and look around your bathroom for a moment, you might be surprised at the number of light bulbs in use. From ceiling lights to vanity bulbs, there could be a variety of spots in which bulbs are in place, but not necessarily needed. If you have a multitude of bulbs around your vanity or other bathroom space, consider removing a few and seeing if you even notice the difference. You might be surprised. Consider replacing other bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescents bulbs.

Conclusion

Whether or not you choose to follow these exact tips, the important thing is that you are interested in finding ways to go green. Maybe these helpful ideas can assist you to breed green ideas to help turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly space of your own creation.

Pablo is a licensed plumber in Houston that offers services to both residential and commercial customers. He has over 10 years of experience in the plumbing field and enjoys providing tips on anything and everything in the plumbing world. Read more about his company at http://www.texaspowerplumbing.com.

Home Remodeling – Are You Prepared?

This is a guest post by Amy Chokshi

Amy Chokshi is a home decor and re-modeling enthusiasts. She enjoys creating beautiful home decor pieces for thematic home decor and re-modelling projects. She has been designing indoor water fountains for 3 years from variety of natural material. To learn more about her creations, please visit the tabletop fountain store.

Every few years most of us feel they need a change in their life and the easiest thing to change is the environment around you. Usually people choose to remodel only one room in their house due to financial reasons. Nevertheless, if you have the money you should not settle just for one room and start thinking of the benefits of remodeling your entire house. One of the reasons you should redo your whole home is that whenever you start renovating just one room, you tend to start observing the faults and things that need an improvement in the rest of your house instead of enjoying what you just remodeled.

If you decided that you would remodel the house, the next step is to take your time and think about what changes you want in every room of your home. This should not be a hasty decision and you should consult with all the members of your family about what rooms to expand, what changes they need in their rooms, what to do with the space you have and how will the change affect each of them. You should also keep in mind that the needs of your family change over time, therefore think about the changes that can happen in the next few years with you or your family in order to make a decision that will benefit all of you.
If you came to a conclusion and everyone is happy with it, the next step will be to take a close look at your budget and see how much of everyone’s wishes can come true. Thus, if you see that your finance does not allow you to make all the changes you want, then maybe you find an alternative for the change.
At this stage it is also a good idea to talk to a couple of home remodeling experts because they can offer you a clue or two about how to handle a renovation or remodeling that you cannot afford. If you find that you like the idea of one of the experts, learn more about him and then hire his team to work for your project. Also, do not forget that it is important to negotiate a contract with the home renovation expert you choose in order to avoid future problems. Make sure that if you decide to make structural changes you get a permit from your local authorities.

Amy C. invites you to browse beautiful collection of indoor fountains for your home decor.

 

2010 Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency

This is a guest post by James Kenton

James Kenton is owner of Advanced Metal Roofing, a residential metal roofing company featuring ENERGY STAR metal roofing colors that qualify for the 2010 Federal Tax Credit.

The federal government is offering a tax credit for energy efficiency that expires December 31, 2010 through its ENERGY STAR program. This means that now is the time to make home improvements or jump start that remodeling job you’ve been waiting on in order to benefit from the tax credit. It’s important to first confirm with your home improvement contractor that the appliance or parts they are installing comply with the qualifications of the tax credit. You can also check this yourself in order to hold your home contractor accountable.

The ENERGY STAR website provides information on what type of home improvement or home remodeling projects qualify for the energy efficiency tax credit. They point out that products that qualify for the ENERGY STAR seal do not necessarily qualify for the tax credit, but they do ensure that you are helping to make your home more energy efficient while also saving money on home heating, cooling, electric, and/or gas bills. Categories of home improvement projects that do qualify for the 2010 federal tax credit include:

  1. Windows, Doors, and Skylights
  2. Storm Windows and Doors
  3. Metal Roofs with Appropriate Pigmented Coatings
  4. Asphalt Roofs with Appropriate Cooling Granules
  5. Insulation such as Bulk Insulation and Air Seal Products such as Weather Stripping, Spray Foam, Caulk, and House Wrap
  6. Gas, Oil, and Propane Water Heaters
  7. Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters
  8. Advanced Main Air Circulating Fans
  9. Air Source Heat Pumps
  10. Central Air Conditioning
  11. Gas, Propane, or Oil Hot Water Boilers
  12. Natural Gas or Propane Furnaces
  13. Oil Furnaces
  14. Biomass Stoves

The home improvement items listed here each have specific requirements that make them eligible for the tax credit. You can check with your contractor to make sure that the appliance, item, or system you choose will meet those requirements. You can double check for yourself on the ENERGY STAR 2010 Federal Tax Credit website.

Each of these items are eligible for a 30% tax credit of the cost of the item up to $1,500. You may have heard of this tax credit referred to as the 30% Tax Credit or $1,500 Tax Credit. Those are both slightly misleading because you may receive a full 30% if the cost is under $1,500 or you may receive $1,500 if the item cost exceeds that amount. In most cases, the tax credit does NOT include installation costs.

In order to take advantage of this energy efficiency tax credit, you must purchase the qualifying home improvement item before December 31, 2010. Then you must file an IRS Form 5695 with your 2010 federal taxes (this link is for the 2009 version of the form – please check back with the IRS for the 2010 version).

The ENERGY STAR website has more information and answers to frequently asked questions: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index. This post is not a definitive resource. Please be sure to read the ENERGY STAR website thoroughly to be sure you are in compliance with their guidelines and that you follow their instructions in order to receive the energy efficiency credit.

Happy Home Remodeling!

Bathroom Renovations: Bathroom is Your Sanctuary

http://www.hulu.com/embed/uw33Geb8DGQnFq4N6qpOtw

Have you ever wanted to renovate your bathroom but was unsure of what you wanted n such a small space? Well, homeowners Tom and Gary share their quest to turn their master bath from drab and dull to relaxing and sensual with the help from Bathroom Renovations in home remodeling. Tom and Gary are new to remodeling and turned to licensed home renovator Amy Matthews. She had great ideas and options for them, but they ultimately stuck with their vision of large travertine tile with pebble tile accents.

Amy, Tom, and Gary worked together to build the perfect bathroom. Tom and Amy started with pasting mortem, a cement –like texture that insulates and has a shield- like mechanism, on to the walls. They then add a waterproof membrane before adding the pebble, to add the outdoors look and feel that Tom and Gary love so much. Great tips in turning this vision into a reality, after adding the pebble they had to add grout to make this hold. Grouting the pebble can be hard when using conventional tools, using hands works great.

Once the shower is complete, custom nook and the vanity is added to the bathroom. Thereafter, the cherry wood floating vanity is installed, which adds space to store their bathroom items. Given the fact that the counters had to float and were so heavy, they used buckets to stabilize the counter while the used an impact wrench to drill. Too often, then not, regular household items can aide as tools in renovating. Floating vanity and cabinet, leak proof shower, outdoor pebble shower feel, and a wider shower makes this bathroom a sanctuary like no other.

Real Estate Intervention: Make room for baby

http://www.hulu.com/embed/5fX_RV9AtCWArAskNatHcA

The Patel’s have a young baby already and another baby soon coming, wanting to sell their current home to purchase a home with larger space; they’re in for a Real Estate Interventions. Not only will they have a new addition to their family, family will come to stay to see baby. There is no room for this at this time and time is ticking, the Patel’s want to be settled before baby comes.

The Patel’s look into selling options before looking at buying options; Real Estate Intervention walks over the current market and give them realistic options in pricing options and in how to best sell their home. Currently the Patel’s condo has granite counter tops, nice roomy cabinets, hardwood flooring, and a nice sized fireplace which adds value to their condo. However, it is not enough for the price they want. They want 549k when other like condos is selling for 495K. These other condos actually have added benefits so the Patel’s really need to look into their asking price first. The problem, the Patel’s at least wanted to break even.

Not only do the Patel’s have to lower their price, they have changes to make. Their enormous bed and television in their master bedroom should be removed before selling; it makes the room look too small. With the second room being a nursery, buyers won’t see extra room as a defined space of an additional room… Real Estate Intervention recommends adding room furnishings when selling. Many of these tips you can receive from our friends, Short Hills real estate, just as the Patel’s heard from Real Estate intervention. In the end, the Patel’s didn’t list at 495k but listed for 525k. They only received 500k. The Patel’s agree the show was helpful even though didn’t follow Mike’s advise. Had they followed his advice, they may have sold their home sooner.