Category Archives: Uncategorized

Winter is Coming

frozenhomeIt’s that time of year again!

Winter weather is here, whether it is welcomed or not! Harsh winter conditions can do a number on our homes, especially if we don’t take the time to prepare for it.

We’ve put together a few easy home winterizing tips that you should do in order to protect your home this year:

  • Clean out gutters - Keeping your gutters free of debris can help prevent damaging ice dams from forming. It also helps them drain correctly and prevents water from seeping into your home’s foundation
  • Have your roof inspected - This is important especially for older roofs. Finding problem areas now is much better than finding them during a rain storm.
  • Locate your generator - Make sure your backup generator is in an easy to get to location, and fire it up to make sure it is in working condition
  • Add fuel stabilizer to all gas power tools and generator 
  • Remove your window screens - Regular window screens can actually trap moisture and build up an ice layer on them. This can damage the screen and also cool your home down
  • Educate your housemates - locate the main water shut off for your home and make sure everyone knows where it is
  • Clear driveways of leaves and debris - Clear off your driveway frequently before they freeze or snow hits
  • Re-caulk where needed - Check around windows and doors for drafts. Caulk inside and out where necessary to keep heat from escaping.
  • Unthread any hoses - disconnect any hoses from the outside hose bibs (faucets)
  • Turn off valves that protect plumbing in outside areas and cold walls
  • Insulate hose bibs  - In extreme cold conditions insulate the outside hose bibs
  • Winterize BBQ grill - If you’re not planning on using during the winter
  • Mow the lawn - Mow the lawn one last time so you don’t have to during the one warm spell we’ll get in the winter
  • Put away patio furniture 
  • Mulch with raked leaves - Mulch your gardens with raked leaves (instead of throwing them out), it will help control weeds and will compost over the winter
  • Remove old tomato plants - Removing these plants will help control disease

These tips are fairly easy to do and can be done in one weekend if you plan it out right. Prior planning and preparation is your best tool against surprise home disasters.

Please remind friends and family to winterize their homes as well. Happy winter!

 

*photo cred emergency.cdc.gov

Cabinetry Options in the Kitchen

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There are three main types of cabinetry options homeowners have when considering a kitchen remodel. There are advantages and disadvantages to each category, and we’ll briefly talk about about each one.

The three main categories of cabinetry for a kitchen remodel are:

  • Stock cabinets
  • Semi-custom cabinets
  • Custom cabinets

owk150413s

STOCK CABINETS

The most economical type of cabinetry is stock cabinetry. They are mass produced and can be purchased and installed for a lot less money than the other categories. Stock cabinets are pre-made and come in set sizes, colors and finishes.

While this option may work for some people on a very tight budget, it won’t give the homeowner much flexibility.  There typically aren’t many options for hardware and door styles with stock cabinets, and it is basically a one size fits all option for your kitchen.

Stock cabinets can be ordered, delivered, and installed typically much quicker than the other types, but the quality usually isn’t as good.  Not all stock cabinetry is made the same, and it is important to ask your contractor if the options you are ordering are getting you the best quality for your money.

SEMI CUSTOM CABINETS

Slightly custom cabinets take at least one month to order and deliver. Semi custom cabinets can give you more flexibility than stock cabinets. Semi-custom is the most popular type of cabinetry used in kitchen remodels today. It gives the homeowner flexibility while still staying affordable.

Semi-custom cabinets typically offer a greater variety of finishes, wood choices and door styles to choose from. They can also be ordered at different sizes to help fit your space.

CUSTOM CABINETS

While custom cabinets are usually the most expensive and time consuming option, they can really help create a unique and special kitchen.  Custom cabinets are created by expert craftsmen, and they are built to the exact measurements of your kitchen. They typically last longer because of the high quality materials used in construction. These custom built drawers and cabinets are a great option for any size or shaped kitchen.  They allow you to customize your entire kitchen, drawer-by-drawer, cabinet-by-cabinet.

Custom cabinets help create a one-of-a-kind kitchen that works for you and your family. The finishes, accessories and everything can help compliment the rest of your kitchen and home.

owk150413dIf you have questions about which cabinet option will work best for your kitchen remodel give us a call.

Dormer Types

Dormers can be a great option to add space and add charm to a home.  Dormers are windows with their own separate roof that come out away from the existing home’s roof. Dormers can be used in just about every architectural style.

The word “dormer” comes from the French word “dormir”, which means to sleep. Francois Mansart was the inventor of dormers.  He first introduced mansard roofs which are very steep, and the area in the attic was primarily used for sleeping.  To bring in light and add extra room to these sleeping attic rooms, he developed dormers, and that is where the name came from.

Dormers come in many sizes and shapes, including flat, shed, gabled, pedimented, deck, arch, oval, inset, and eyebrow.  Depending on the style of architecture, one style or the other may fit your home’s design best. The most common types of dormers are gabled dormers, hipped dormers and shed dormers.

gabled dormer

Example of Gabled Dormer

Arched Dormer

Example of Arched Dormers

eyebrow dormer

Example of Eyebrow Dormer

 

End of Summer Cleaning

Now that summer is winding down it’s time to check out your gutters and prepare them for the rainy months ahead. Cleaning your gutters while they are fairly dry makes for a much easier job than when they are soaking wet and clogged with debris.  Before the rain sets in, get out the ladder (remember – safety first!) and inspect your gutters and downspouts for clogs and damage.

Pine needles, leaves and acorns are just a few of the things you will probably find littering your gutters and roof after powerful summer storms and winds.  The buildup can prevent water from properly draining and eventually cause major damage to your home’s structure and surroundings.

It’s important to keep your gutters clean and clear all year around, but making it a habit to check and thoroughly clean them at least once a year will help keep you on schedule and your home in proper order.  Doing so at the end of the summer will be easier and will help you prepare for the Northwest’s rainiest season – Fall.

Washington is “Best State to Make a Living In”

Forbes ranks Washington state #1 in their article “Best and Worst States to Make a Living In“.  They took in account factors such as workplace conditions, cost of living, taxes, income and unemployment rate to rank all 50 states. We’ve always loved our home state, and it’s nice to see some recognition nationally for something besides our rainy weather.

In 2012, Virginia held the #1 spot but we knocked them down to #2 this year! What state has the worst rating? Hawaii.  Even though they have the best workplace environment score, their high cost of living  offset it to put them at the bottom of the list. It looks like the results would have ended up a lot differently if weather was to play in this list!

Top Floor Addition Before and After

Here are some before and afters of a project we did a few years back. This family loved where they were living & didn’t want to move, but needed a bonus room for their growing family.  We took off the roof and went up to add this amazing space. We know some of you have already seen these before but it never hurts to revisit.