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2013 Remodeling Trends

top home remodeling projects enhance curb appeal ( came out with their 2013 Cost vs Value report in January, so we wanted to give you an update. The big news is homeowner confidence is up, and that’s reflected by rising home prices and a corresponding uptick in the returns you should get for home improvements you make to your house. All 35 projects included in the report had higher Return on Investment (ROI) that the previous year.

Similar to previous years, the exterior renovations (windows, doors, siding and roofing) are at the top of the list with respect to ROI, taking 7 of the top 10 positions. This... 

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Do You Love Open Floor Plans?

Stairs become part of a home

When you think about an open floor plan, you are likely to think of a kitchen/family room combination and if it has tall ceilings, you might call it a great room. Unbelievably, barns offered the first open floor plans with their post and beam construction allowed large, interior spaces without traditional walls to create separate rooms.

Frank Lloyd Wright introduced the “open plan” concept in the design of his Prairie Houses (beginning in 1900). These houses had extended low buildings with shallow, sloping roofs, overhangs and terraces, and tall windows that connected the home’s interior with the outdoors. Wright was... 

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Build Blocks Teach Building Concepts


When you’re struggling to understand how your home is built, sometimes it’s better to forget the details and go back to the basics. Your home is very complicated but only when you try to absorb all the puzzle pieces together. When you separate out the individual systems and components, it’s a bit easier to learn the basics.

Do you remember building things as a child? Did you enjoy the challenge of balancing building blocks to see how high you could stack the blocks before they’d tumbled down? The reason why we can learn and transfer these concepts is that gravity and... 

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Picking Great Kitchen Flooring

Kitchen floors help pull a kitchen together & integrate with other rooms

Kitchen remodeling was one of Remodeling Magazine’s top 10 remodeling projects for this year. Flooring was one of the kitchen features included in the remodeling project so we decided to review the best types of flooring for a kitchen where people tend to stand on their feet more, and there’s a greater chance of water and food getting spilled on the floor.

This article not only introduces the 5 most popular types of kitchen flooring, it also identifies the things you want to consider when researching flooring products for your kitchen or any room in your house. We’ll probably need to... 

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Bathroom Remodeling: Cost vs Value

Bathroom remodels are popular from painting to bathtubs and showers

Remodeling a bathroom is different for every home owner, as we have different lifestyles and needs. For some people making over their bathroom might mean a fresh coat of paint and new towels. For another home owner it could involve taking the walls down to the studs and rebuilding a dream bathroom with a walk-in shower, tile surround and marble floors.

You get to decide how much you want to spend on your bathroom remodel and some research will help you pick the most appropriate features, ones that fit your lifestyle and give you the highest payback when it’s time to... 

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Top 10 Remodeling Projects for Value

Kitchen remodeling can be done in small steps like this tile backsplash

Every year Remodeling Magazine conducts a survey to identify the most cost effective investments home owners can make to their homes. The report is a great way to compare your remodeling budget against projects being done by other home owners.

Learn what projects typically cost so you don’t overspend. Learn what’s typically include in a kitchen or bath remodel. Learn how much of your investment (what you spend) you are likely to recoup when you sell your home.

So let’s explore the top 10 remodeling projects for the latest survey and we’ll suggest why we think home owners have picked these projects. You’ll find... 

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Windows: How to Buy the Right Ones

Double hung windows are the most common window style

You’re likely seeing lots of advertising for replacement windows to save energy which means lower bills for heating/air conditioning. Newer windows are more energy efficient – we saw manufacturers jump through hoops in 2009 when they raised the bar for windows and doors to be eligible for the federal energy tax credits. Replacement windows are one of the top 5 remodeling projects every year (see Remodeling Trends Focusing on Lower Costs). We’ll add an article here soon with the latest data from the 2010 to 2011 Remodeling Cost vs Value survey.

There are several challenges though around the decision to replace... 

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Bathrooms, Bathtubs and Showers

Old fashion clawfoot bathtubs are becoming popular again

We all lead pretty busy lives so unless you’re a lover of bubble baths, chances are you take showers and the bathtub in your master bathroom rarely gets used. As homeowners start to plan a remodel of this bathroom then, the big question is whether you can take the bathtub out to free up space for a large, spacious shower?

You’ve probably got another bathtub in the hall bathroom so the kids will always have a bathtub. Americans though are still reluctant to remove the master bathtub in fear that it will make it more difficult to sell their home. Unfortunately... 

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Interior Home Features & When to Replace Them

Homeowners often update their flooring with bamboo or a locally grown hardwood

Most of your inside home features aren’t as critical as your roof, although a furnace that stops working in the winter or an air conditioner on a 90 degree day would be a problem. You can probably survive with a microwave if your stove stops working but what about your refrigerator? You’ll have to scramble and buy a new refrigerator fast or you’ll lose your food. It’s really better if you don’t get caught in this situation, as you might end up with a new appliance that isn’t ideal but it’s the only one they can deliver tomorrow.

There are 2... 

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Deconstruction Saves Money

You can save money & help save the environment by making more conscious buying decisions

We’ve all heard about the green movement. There’s earth day, ride your bike to work day and more. We all thought going green at home would start slowly because it costs more. Amazingly we’re seeing more stories that show “thinking green” saves you money.

Thinking green means changing how we approach things. When buying something, we’re finding more recycled and sustainable products like bamboo and cork. There’s also more emphasis on using wood from local forests to avoid the cost/impact of transporting bamboo from Asia.

My inspiration for this newsletter came from the REX Project, for Reuse Everything Experiment (click for video... 

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