Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remodel a home? Why?

Why do a remodel? Is it to change or improve the function? Is it the necessity for more space? Perhaps it is simply for investment purposes. It could be a combination of all three needs and maybe more. Identifying your core purpose(s) for a remodel will assist you in establishing your goals and boundaries.

Increasing functional living space is probably the number one reason behind a remodel; whether it be a new addition to the family, maybe the parents don't have the energy any longer to care for their own home, maybe you need dedicated office space, maybe there's a new hobby, or you simply need more storage. Either way, more space is a necessity....whether it be a reconditioning of non-functional or unused space, or simply "adding-on". Dependant the floor plan, the age of the house, the lot size, building restrictions and codes, all will potentially influence and impact your decisions for the intended function and size of the new living space.

Another popular reason for remodeling is to improve or modernize existing living space; not add space but simply upgrade it; your kitchen with new lighting, plumbing, cabinets, counter tops, windows, or even change your flooring; maybe you are focusing on enhancing your master bedroom and bath with marble or granite, adding a jetted tub, creating a more elegant and spacious shower; upgrading your family room with French Doors, sky lights, built-in entertainment centers. The opportunities are endless. You don't necessarily have to change the amount of space you have but re-interpreting it could very well increase its functionality.

Remodeling can also be an investment. Some people buy "fixer uppers", remodel them, and sell them in their community, making a very good living doing so, especially now when there are so many homes being forced on the market through Short Sales or Foreclosures. The key to this is to know the market value spread of the neighborhoods of the the subject properties and which improvements to make providing you the best possible return on your investment. Know what sells best in your focus neighborhood, what your financial objectives are, have a strong team (contractor, interior designer, real estate agent, etc.) in place, and how to find the diamond in the rough. Remodeling your existing residence can also be a superb investment. The average buyer is over-whelmed by the home purchasing process. They don't want to have to think about "fixing up". They want something they can move in to immediately....they can visualize a happy, comfortable lifestyle. A remodel will certainly spruce up your home, increase it's first impression appeal, and give buyers less to knit pick in an attempt to negotiate the sales price down. Often times, it does make sense to do a remodel before looking to sell.

Bottom line - remodeling can be fun, very rewarding, and profitable. Often times a remodel will incorporate a reinterpretation of space, an enhancement of space, and adding on to your existing space; all three combined but not all proportionate. Make sure you know and thoroughly understand your motivations, know your goals, know your budget, and get opinions, especially from professionals who are active in your neighborhood; these are the experts who understand the nuances of building and remodeling homes similar to yours, preserving the architectual flavor and community symmetry.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Always Something Cool in LA!

Thinking about getting out of town? Well, here's a great reason for a trip to LA!
Dwell On Design '09
The West Coast's Largest Modern Design Event. Friday June 26, Saturday June 27, Sunday June 28. Los Angeles Convention Center.

ON STAGE Design conference, continuing education classes for design pros, round-the-clock seminars for design seeking consumers.

EXHIBITION Prefab Homes, Outdoor, Food + Wine, Kitchen + Bath, Furniture + Accessories, Energy + Solar, Design Materials, Modern Family, Modern Lifestyle, Design Technology.

HOME TOURS Tour some of LA’s most modern and livable homes.

SPECIAL EVENTS Restaurant Design Awards, Film screenings.

June 26th
10:00am - 8:00pm
Dwell on Design Exhibition - open to Trade only

9:45am - 6:00pm
Dwell on Design Conference - General Admission

6:00pm - 6:30pm
Restaurant Design Awards produced by AIA Los Angeles Chapter

Saturday 27 June

10:00am - 6:00pm
Dwell on Design Exhibition

11:00am - 4:00pm
Sustainability Forum

11:00am - 4:00pm
Design Innovation Forum

Dwell on Design 2009 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center SOUTH HALL.
1201 S Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90015(213) 741-1151

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ten Students Build Arizona’s First NZEH

Hands on. This 1,200-sq.-ft. net-zero-energy home was built in Chino Valley, Arizona, by students in the Yavapai College Residential Building Technology program, in collaboration with the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Prescott. Construction began October 25, 2008. The home’s net-zero-energy performance is also a first for the project’s principal collaborator, Habitat for Humanity

One of the surest ways to generate interest in net-zero-energy homes – and the construction techniques and materials used to build them – is to put one in the ground for a high-profile client and then invite the public for a look. That’s what 10 students in the Yavapai College Residential Building Technology program did a couple weeks ago in Chino Valley, Arizona, where the 1,200-sq.-ft. NZEH they built for the Prescott affiliate of Habitat for Humanity went on public display.
In addition to its energy efficiency and relatively low cost (one estimate put its value at

$125,000), the house has the distinction of being first in a number of categories: it not only is the first NZEH constructed by students in Yavapai’s RBT program, but also the first such home built for Habitat's Prescott affiliate, and the first in the state of Arizona, according to a story published by Prescott’s Daily Courier.

The house features a Styrofoam-insulated slab, 2 in. rigid insulation in the walls, high-performance windows, a heat pump, balanced fresh-air ventilation, a solar-powered hot water heater, a PV system, and Energy Star appliances and lighting.

Robert Bolding, owner of a Prescott-based home inspection company who works as a volunteer building Habitat homes, told the Courier he came to examine the home’s construction because he may have to inspect more like it in the future. Bolding, who also works as a general contractor, added that he wants to understand more about the cost effectiveness of green construction.
"I think this technology is moving from the East Coast to the West Coast," he told the paper. "Arizona residents may not be using as much solar energy as they could be because electricity is a lot cheaper here."