A Good Deed for a Neighbor

There is a house on my street where an old woman lives. She lives there alone, and she does her best to keep up her home, but she can’t do everything. Her home looked like it had seen better days, with the paint chipping, the gutters overflowing with debris, and the brick being stained. One day, some other members of the neighborhood volunteered to help the woman fix up her home. We got some shutters from a supplier, bought some paint from the local home store, and got all of our tools and supplies to help her.

The woman was filled with joy when we told her about our plan. She didn’t know anyone cared so much about her. She didn’t have any living relatives to look after her, nor did she have any close friends in the area. All of the people that she knew lived in other states. Everyone in the neighborhood had at least one thing they could do to help the woman. Even the little kids volunteered to do her yard work. The woman didn’t own a lawn mower, and she used to hire someone to take care of her lawn on a regular basis, but couldn’t afford that anymore.…

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Design-Build – What it Really Means

Design-Build - What it Really Means

So would you choose a two-legged stool over a three-legged one?

Okay, maybe that’s a silly question. But figuratively speaking, two-legged stools are awfully prevalent in the design-build realm these days.

There’s a common misconception out there that “design-build” equates to contractors that handle all design work in-house with staff designers or architects. Not so. While this inflexible model works for some projects, it’s poorly suited for others and can serve clients pretty badly.

Why? Because it reduces the three-legged stool of project development – client, designer and builder – to two. The result? Lack of balance.

Don’t get me wrong;

the problem is not inherent to design-build. It’s with the warping of what the term really means.

“Design-build” actually refers to a project development strategy in which one entity brings architect, contractor and client together to foster collaboration. Done right, it’s a streamlined process that facilitates timely, meaningful input by all three “legs of the stool” resulting, ultimately, in a stronger final product.

Put another way, it’s about setting the conditions for effective advocacies. For a project to meet its full potential and really shine, it requires healthy, empowered advocacies from all three realms of project development:

The Designer:

Advocates for the way a project’s spaces work and interact with one another, its volumetrics, and its aesthetics.

 The Builder:

Advocates for safety, efficiency, cost containment, and longevity of the building envelope.

 The Client:

Advocates for their needs now and in the future, financial realities, and for all the ways they want the building to serve them.

A good project development process brings all three of these advocacies around one table to work together, advocate for what is important to them, grapple for joint solutions, and ultimately craft a plan that is greater than the sum of its parts. We’re …

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Home Builder Questions to Ask – Top Five

Home Builder Questions to Ask - Top Five

When you hire a home builder, you want to make sure you find someone who will build your dream home. When you decide to hire a builder, you have to ask various questions to make sure the builder will build a house that you can like. So, what are the top five home builders questions that you should ask to keep your home building experience from becoming a nightmare?

1. Are you insured and bound?

This is very important because you want to make sure that if there is a problem with building a house, you are protected. If someone is injured, the builder needs to be insured so you can make sure you are not responsible for the injury. Also, having someone insured and bound shows you that they are more legitimate, which is important with home builders.

2. How was your crew experience?

If the build crew is inexperienced, the work will be seen in your home. You want to make sure your house is built to your specifications and that means having an experienced crew. So, if the home builder has some unskilled workers, the quality will be seen. Make sure that the crew is experienced and you have to find that the quality of the work has improved.

3. Can I see your reference?

This is what you want to get from builders because it allows you to talk to former builder clients, as well as to see the home projects they have been working on. Seeing what builders have done in the past shows you how they will do in the future on your project.

4. What is your policy on change?

If there will be changes to the work plan, you want the builder to let you know in advance. If there will be …

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Plan Carefully The Types Of Tiles You Need For Your Home

Plan Carefully The Types Of Tiles You Need For Your Home

Before you make an aesthetic choice regarding the color, shape and placement of the tiles you are to use in your home, it is a must to know at least the fundamentals about the types of tiles existing on the market and about their basic properties.

When speaking about types of tiles, we have to use a strict criterion for classifying them: the constructive criterion, that is, how or what they are made of, indicating us their durability, so that to be able to match them to the traffic, heat or water they can bear without deteriorating. According to this criterion, without going into further detail given that the resulting properties are the ones you should be interested in, tiles are ceramic, quarry and stone.

What is good about the ceramic tiles is that they come in a wide range of colors and shapes, being able to meet virtually everyone’s tastes and homes. Another advantage of the ceramic tiles is that they are cheap, resistant, don’t stain easily and are also fireproof. They are not ‘pretentious’ either: anyone can install them with a minimum training. Porcelain tiles, a variety of ceramic tiles, are almost waterproof, which make them ideal for swimming pools and bathrooms. Though those used for homes are usually glazed, they may be made anti-skid to be fit for floors as well. They have a modern look, are easy to maintain and, although ‘cold’, in tropical climates people use them for floors even in living rooms or bedrooms.

As far as quarry tiles are concerned, they seem ideal for flooring, having two qualities to this effect: they are basically non-slip, and you’ll not see them worn out. The disadvantages are their limited color range and the fact they are very porous, a property that limits their use. But, …

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New Faucets – A Small Thing For a Big Change

New Faucets - A Small Thing For a Big Change

We always want to remodel and redecorate our homes but many times, we fail to pay attention to small details that can make a very substantial difference. We bypass simple features of an appliance or a décor that can actually give our homes a much more elegant and sophisticated touch. Let’s take for instance, choosing our faucets.

Silver taps are so common that everyone thinks taps should always be silver. Not a lot of people take the risk of choosing something new for fear that their wash areas would not look normal. But why don’t we give it a try, and set our eyes to an oil rubbed bronze faucet for a change? Far from a common valve, it gives a new contrast to our interior and it definitely boosts the classiness of our homes.

It comes in different designs and you can choose from a variety of styles. There are single or double valves that may have a waterfall or shower effect. Some are mountable on the wall or may be installed conventionally.

They do not only come in different forms, but, prices too. Their worth varies and you may choose the one which goes well with your budget. You can get one as cheap as $40 or as high as $500. A wide range of selection is available at any appliance store near you and you can easily decide on which to pick at your convenience.

If we really want to make some change and turn our homes into something more stylish, then it’s time to start on small things. They may be small, but their effects are big. Check your tap now.…

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Supply Shopping Made Simple

Supply Shopping Made Simple

When you decide to renovate your home, you will have to go shopping for building supplies. The best place to find everything you need is the hardware store but you must have a scheme in mind so you don’t miss anything in the list.

To do that, you have to write down all the things you need. Since these will consistently come in different sizes, make sure that you do some measuring first and buy a little more than you did. If you are not sure how to do this, ask your contractor to help you out because they can only do their share of the work if the materials are available.

While some contractors can already offer you the building materials you need, it wouldn’t hurt to see how much they actually cost in the market because the contractor probably made some money by marking up some of these items.

With the list in hand, it is time to head down to the hardware store. So you don’t miss out on anything, go through each row slowly examining each product.

Building materials don’t sell by themselves given that there are different brands to choose from. If you are not sure about the material you are looking for, ask the sales clerk if you can get a few samples so you can bring it home and see if this will match with the overall look of the room that you are renovating.

You may have to buy a few since these are not handed out for free but like the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.

There is a chance that some of the building materials you need may be more expensive in one store or it is not available. So before you buy, do …

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