Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FALL MAINTENANCE TIPS

Fall is officially here!! Now is the time to get outside and provide some important maintenance to your property.

As the weather grows colder,  and the days get shorter here in Marin and Sonoma county, it’s important to start preparing for the fall and winter months ahead by completing your outdoor home maintenance chores.  
 
I have listed some fall preventative home maintenance tips that every homeowner should follow:
  • Gutters should be cleaned at least once a year to rid them of clogs from damp, heavy, fallen leaves. Gutters that are not properly cleaned are havens for insect infestations. Clogged gutters can also lead to much more costly repairs due to water damage and wood rot.     

 
  • Windows and doors can cost you lots of money on your heating bills. You don't have to replace your windows and doors, but just by simply replacing seals and caulking around them can help improve on your energy costs. 
 
  •   If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, you want to make sure that they have been thoroughly cleaned and inspected before use. This should also be done annually before you start burning wood. Make sure that the chimney is also free from excessive creosote, which could lead to chimney fires.
 
 
  • Before the cold weather sets in for the winter, it's important to be sure to inspect all of your duct work and your heating system. Be sure to also open up the vents and vacuum out any debris. Change your filters before firing up your furnace for the first time this year. 
 

  • Be sure to check your roof for any leaks or missing tiles. You will want to replace the problem tiles and/or shingles that need to be replaced, and patch any holes to help prevent further damage from the wet winter weather. 
 
  • It is also important to make sure all wood decks, fences and outbuildings have been properly stained and sealed for the upcoming wet weather.

  •   Install a ceiling fan or two.  Not only can it help reduce air conditioning costs in the summer months, it also helps to circulate warm air in the fall and winter months as well.  In addition to saving on utility bills, installing a ceiling fan also adds decorative appeal to any room and can also serve as additional lighting.
n addition to saving on utility costs, installing a ceiling fan also adds decorative appeal to any room.  Ceiling fans can enhance your room's current aesthetics and can also serve as additional lighting.  - See more at: http://www.mrhandyman.com/handyman-services/electrical/ceiling-fans.aspx#sthash.JR9eN3vU.dpuf
reduce air conditioning costs in the summer and circulate warm air in the winter - See more at: http://www.mrhandyman.com/handyman-services/electrical/ceiling-fans.aspx#sthash.JR9eN3vU.dpuf
reduce air conditioning costs in the summer and circulate warm air in the winter - See more at: http://www.mrhandyman.com/handyman-services/electrical/ceiling-fans.aspx#sthash.JR9eN3vU.dpuf
reduce air conditioning costs in the summer and circulate warm air in the winter - See more at: http://www.mrhandyman.com/handyman-services/electrical/ceiling-fans.aspx#sthash.JR9eN3vU.dpuf
 
 
 

  • Finally, fall is also a good time of the year to do any interior painting. Give your walls a fresh new look.  If you have dull, dark rooms in your home, this is the time to brighten them up with a fresh new coat of paint. 


Performing these home maintenance tips in preparation of the coming fall and winter months  is a great way to save yourself money as well as any potential winter setbacks.  Many of these items are great for DIY'ers and for the one's your not comfortable doing yourself, be sure to hire a professional handyman.
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

FIRST IMPRESSIONS


“It’s what’s on the inside that counts”…. I’m sure you’ve all heard this at some point in your life; but when it comes to your home, the outside is surely just as important.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression and having an attractive front-entryway instantly enhances your home’s appearance and can leave a very positive first impression as well as greatly increasing the resale value of your home.

What do you see when you approach your front door?  Remember, when your guests arrive, they probably spend a bit longer staring at your entryway while waiting for you to answer.  Does the thought of this make you cringe? If so, you don’t have to spend a bundle to get that fabulous first impression your hoping for.

Let’s take a look at the door…could it use some TLC?  Does it need to be replaced all together or simply need a ‘face-lift’?   Is the existing door a wood door?  If so, it most likely can be sanded, re-stained/painted and sealed for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new one. 

 Take a look at these before and after photos and let me know what you think?

Before - San Anselmo, CA
After, San Anselmo, CA
After - Novato, CA
Before - Novato, CA


If your front door is a steel door and has dents, rust or faded paint, then installing a new exterior door may be a better way to go (though these can be painted as well).   There are many doors to choose from if you decide to replace it.  The three most common materials are Wood, Steel and Fiberglass Doors.

Let’s take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of the three:

Wood Doors:

Advantages:       Beautiful Wood Grain
                              Easy to repair if scratched
                              High end look
                              Warm feel to touch

Disadvantages:  Expensive
                              Absorbs Moisture
                              Fades
                              Non Energy Efficient
                              Requires regular maintenance

Steel Doors:

Advantages:        Less Expensive
                              Good insulation value
                              Secure
                              Energy Efficient

Disadvantages:  Easily Dented
                              Paint chipping
                              Reacts to outside temperature: cold or hot to touch
                              Scratches and rust

Fiberglass Doors:

Advantages:        Both wood grain and smooth finish
                              Resistant to scratches and dents
                              Energy-efficient
                              Can be painted or stained
                              Secure
                              Good Insulation

Disadvantages:  Low life span compared to other materials 

Replacing an entry door altogether can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars depending upon the style you choose along with the hardware.   So, sometimes a simple, less expensive 'face-lift' is all that is needed to add curb appeal to your home and get that positive first impression you so desire.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

KITCHEN FACELIFT WHILE ON A TIGHT BUDGET

As you probably know, a kitchen remodel is often the number one upgrade to your home…and is often the most expensive.  However, many of us are stuck with outdated cabinets, counter tops, flooring, etc and a very limited budget.  So, what are we to do?  Your kitchen is the heart of your home.  It should be a place that you love to entertain and no matter how small your budget...you CAN have a beautiful kitchen that reflects your style and personality.  So…let me show you how you can update your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Let’s start with lighting…our home was built in 1978 and came with only two dome style lights in the ceiling that did not provide much in the way of lighting.  We had an electrician friend come out who gave us some free advice on where to place the new LED Recessed lights.  (Check out my You Tube video of the installation of these).  I removed the existing dome lights and replaced with five  3" LED lights for a total cost of $250.00 in materials.  This includes the lights, wiring and materials to patch the old holes in the ceiling.  
Before photo


After 3" LED Lights were installed

Next up was to tackle our counter tops.  We looked at replacing with Granite or Corian or even putting new Formica back on to save money, but the price was just more than we wanted to spend.  While researching our options we read that Rustoleum puts out a product for re-surfacing your counter tops.  We were a bit leery about trying this but figured we had nothing to lose.  If we didn’t like it we could go back to our original thought and rip out the counter top and replace it was something new.  Believe it or not…to re-do all our counter-tops only cost us $250.00 plus tax and we did it in less than two days.  Check out the product here and see the before and after photos below.

Before (Old Wood Grain Laminate Counter tops)
After (Java Chip Rustoleum Transformation)

Now we move on to the cabinets.  We looked into replacing the doors but the cost was, again, more than we wanted to spend; but we had to get rid of those ugly door handles in the middle of each cabinet and staining wasn't an option.  Since we were so impressed with the Rustoleum Counter Top Transformation we decided to use the Cabinet Transformation Kit.  The process was a bit more labor intense than the counter tops taking about a week to complete, which consisted of cleaning, de-glossing, light sanding, painting (2 coats), glazing (to get the antique look) and a clear top coat.  We then added new hinges and door knobs to complete the look.   Total cost of the cabinet re-facing was approximately $250.00.   This included two of the Rustoleum Kits (about $80.00/ea), extra brush and tape as well as the new hinges and knobs (we were able to purchase these in value packs).  I almost forgot to mention that I added some crown molding above the cabinets to give it a more finished look.  This additional cost was approximately $60.00.

Before Photo of Cabinets


After Photo using Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation

After the backsplash and hardware were added
A few additional items we bought to complete our kitchen facelift was a peel and stick backsplash for $200.00, a new sink for $250.00 and finally a new faucet for $80.00.  

Total cost for our new kitchen was approximately $1,340.00 for materials.  Remember, with a little thought, time and effort, remodeling your kitchen as we just did, can certainly be accomplished with a low budget while still achieving amazing results.






Friday, January 24, 2014

Installing 3" Recessed LED Lights in Kitchen


Here's a quick video on how to install Recessed Lighting.  I removed two domes lights in a kitchen ceiling and installed five (5) 3" LED Recessed Lighting boxes.  My electrician friend came by who works with lighting designers and gave me a few pointers for "task lighting" in a kitchen.  

We decided to install two lights above the kitchen table to replace the one dome light that was originally installed.  Next, we removed the remaining dome light that was in the middle of the kitchen and installed one light directly in the middle of the large kitchen counter as well as just two lights directly above the edges of two other counters.  What a difference these LED Lights make in lighting up the kitchen.  





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!



The Holidays are officially upon us, which means time to celebrate the season with friends and family.  Why not go beyond the normal cleaning and organizing and create a festive and comfortable environment for your guests. 



Here are just a few do-it-yourself projects, that won’t deplete your gift giving budget, and are likely to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere to any room.
 
Let’s start with the front door…not only will this improve the curb appeal of your home, your holiday wreath will look better hanging from a freshly painted or stained door.

Lighting:  Bright lights are great for entertaining and everyday activities, but if you are looking for a quieter, more intimate environment, try dimming the lights.  Dimmers can range from low candlelight glow to daylight bright.  Another aspect to consider when creating mood lighting is layering.  By adding floor lamps, wall sconces and accent lighting, which could be as simple as lighting candles or having your displayed art lit up, this will help to set the mood you desire. Another option is adding a small table lamp in the guest bedroom instead of just having an overhead light.  By offering several sources of light, you can change any room from an energetic place to a more peaceful and intimate atmosphere.

How about a fresh coat of paint to the living room, kitchen, dining room and/or guest bedroom?  Paint is one of the most economical ways to revitalize a tired and dingy room.   If you don't have time to do the entire room, just do an accent wall....you only have to do one wall to make a big difference.  If your living room has a fireplace, just paint that wall to really make the fireplace pop out....especially if you really dress up the mantle for the holidays.  A fresh coat of paint will give a room a like-new appearance and provide the perfect backdrop for your holiday d├ęcor.

And finally, is your guest bathroom kind of drab or otherwise boring?  How about adding some new fixtures or hardware such as stylish knobs to your cabinets to dramatically impact the feel?  Don’t forget to add some festive holiday towels to the new towel bar you just installed, while you’re at it.

By taking care of some of these simple do-it-yourself projects....you are not only making an immediate impact on your friends and family, but think of it as an early Christmas gift to yourself.