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Welcome Warm Weather!

by Michael Francis on 05/24/17

Like most homeowners, we have a laundry list of projects that need to be done at any given time.  Sometimes the list is full of general maintenance projects, and sometimes our priorities are decided for us (thank you, broken AC).  Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is a great time to check some of those items off of your list. 

Here is a list of our top 5 summer projects:

Decking – Entering into the summer season is a great time to re-stain and make any needed repairs to your decking.  It will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but regularly sealing your deck will also protect it from the elements and will help keep repairs to a minimum as the years go on. 

Outdoor Living Spaces – Have you seen some of the outdoor kitchens that have been popping up?!  Built in grills, bar areas, built in fire-pits!?  This is a trend we can fully get behind and absolutely love and the beginning of the season is a great time to get a project like this going. 

Power washing – Now that you are going to be spending so much time outside with your newly sealed deck, and daydreams of your outside kitchen, let’s get those surfaces clean!  Power washing your walkways and siding is an easy (and inexpensive) way to give new life to your home’s exterior.  You don’t even have to buy a high powered sprayer, you can go to your nearest home improvement store and rent one.  

Ceiling Fans - Installing a ceiling fan is an inexpensive and efficient way to cool your home.  Granted, they will not do the same thing as your AC, but they will keep that cooler air circulating so your AC doesn’t have to work as hard. 

Kitchen renovations – Hear us out on this one…One of the biggest inconveniences during a kitchen renovation is how to prepare meals.  During the warmer months, give your grill a workout while your kitchen is getting redone.  Between the grill and the crockpot, it can save you from eating out every night.   A side note…the ROI on kitchen renovations is upward of 80%, so it is money well spent any time of the year.


SNOW!

by Michael Francis on 03/13/17

I am not sure if you have heard, but we might get a little bit of snow tonight into tomorrow afternoon… 

Depending on where you get your weather, we could be getting anywhere from 6 to 12 inches, or if you go by the bets taken in our house, we could wind up anywhere between a purely rain event and ‘a whole lot’ of snow (we have a 3 year old…he doesn’t quite get the measurement idea yet). 

Regardless of what actually hits us tonight, our first concern for all of you, is to stay safe.  We have put together a quick list of action items you can take to make sure your home and its contents (you and your family!) are protected.

  • The strong winds coupled with the heavy snow they are calling for, could potentially lead to downed limbs and power outages.  Make sure you have your electric company phone number handy to report any outages.  It is also a good idea to know where extra blankets, flashlights (and batteries) are kept. 
  •  If we do get significant amounts of snow, make sure you remember to keep it cleared away from your windowsills and any doorways.
  • Make sure your any exhaust vents are cleared around the house.  On that note, make sure the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors are good. 
  • Although this is a general cold weather preparedness tip, now is as good a time as any to remind you to keep your pipes insulated.  If you have pipes in crawl spaces or that have a tendency to freeze, please be aware of them and take appropriate steps to keep them insulated and the water moving.    
  • Lastly, know your limits.  The snow can be heavy, and if you need help getting rid of it, ask for help.  On the other side of that, if you have elderly neighbors, ask them if they need help! 

Enjoy the snow, and remember, Spring is almost here…we promise!

Tips for more effective painting

by Michael Francis on 03/02/17

We know; painting your living room is not quite as exciting as using your artistic abilities to become the next Picasso, but it can still be pretty rewarding.

Over time, the paint in our homes can start to feel stagnant, loose its luster, and quite frankly, sometimes we just get tired of it and need a change.  Entering into the new season is a great time to do this, particularly since many of us tend to purge during spring-cleaning. 

Here are 5 tips for maximizing the effect and minimizing the effort needed to do this DIY right:

Don’t skimp on the supplies – Invest in some good brushes, rollers, and painters tape.  The last thing you want is to spend the money on good paint and wind up with streaky brush and roller marks.  Investing in quality brushes and rollers will also help give good coverage,which will reduce the need for re-application. 

 Inspect the walls - Wipe down any greasy spots on the walls, fill any empty nail holes with spackle, and scrape or sand off any loose paint.    

Prep, Prep, Prep - Cover anything you do not want painted.  Remove all electrical and light switch covers.  You will thank yourself later when your floors, furniture, and fixtures remain paint free and minimal clean up is needed.

Use Primer – Primer is not always necessary, but there are times that it will be.  This is particularly true if you are trying to paint over semi-gloss paint or a darker color.  In these situations, don’t settle for a paint & primer combo; go for a regular old primer (we use KILZ Premium). 

Roll from the top – We have two words for you…PAINT DRIPS.  By starting your rolling from the top, you roll in the drips as you go.   Genius, right!? 

Bonus tip:

Have fun and get creative!  Bring out your inner Picasso.  Not sure how?  Pinterest has many great ideas to get you thinking (and overwhelmed, so tread lightly).  Try an accent wall, go get some stencils, or experiment with color combinations between your walls and trim.  It’s only paint…Testimage

Little hands, little helpers!

by Michael Francis on 02/19/17

Home projects can sometimes be daunting.  This is even truer when you have little ones running around.  These are also great times to get them involved!  If you are painting, hand them a paintbrush (make sure your floor is well protected).  Doing some demo?  Give them a pair of safety glasses, some closed toe shoes, and a hammer and let them bang it out with you (keep them away from power tools).  Working in the garden?  Give them a pair of gloves and let them play in the dirt with you. 

This is also a great time to talk to them about tool safety and what they can and cannot touch…and why. 

Having our little ones work with us on these projects helps them feel included and gives them a sense of pride.  It also teaches them that a little hard work is never a bad thing.