home renovation

Three Astoundingly Simple Solutions

For Big Renovation Challenges
Americans are renovating again.
In fact, the remodeling market hasn’t been this robust since 2004, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index. Yet even the most enthusiastic homeowners-turned-renovators may hesitate when faced with certain common challenges – be it adding a bathroom in a problematic location or figuring out how to bring natural light into an interior room.
But virtually every renovation challenge is solvable, and sometimes the answers are surprisingly simple and cost-effective. Here are three common issues you may encounter while renovating, and the astoundingly simple ways to overcome the obstacles:
The challenge: Adding a bathroom over concrete flooring or in a tight spot where traditional plumbing doesn’t work well.
The simple solution: Up-flush plumbing. Bathroom renovations or additions offer a high return on investment – as much as 56 percent of the initial investment when you resell, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. But conventional plumbing can be costly and time-consuming, even in the best circumstances. If you want to add a bathroom in a basement where the floor is concrete or in a smaller space with no room for traditional piping, an up-flush, or macerating, toilet is a simple, cost-effective solution.
Systems like Saniflo’s macerating toilet and plumbing technology eliminate the need to cut through a floor to install new drainage. And the systems fit easily into areas as small as a closet or dead space beneath a stairway. A macerating pump reduces waste and paper from the toilet and sends it under high pressure through piping directly into the septic or sewer system. No waste is stored, and the systems are comparatively low-cost compared to traditional plumbing. Visit www.saniflo.com to learn more.
The challenge: Introducing natural light in a room with no space for windows.
The simple solution: Skylights. The benefits of natural light are well-documented, from improving mood to reducing dependence on artificial lights. Yet some spaces, such as interior powder rooms or walk-in closets, don’t lend themselves to windows. When you want natural light in a room where a lack of wall space precludes a window, or in which privacy is an issue, a skylight can be a great solution. Tubular skylights even allow you to bring natural light into ground floor rooms.
The cost of installing a skylight is comparable to adding quality windows in a room. Choose energy-efficient skylights and you may also reduce home cooling costs in spring and summer, and lighting costs in winter, too.
The challenge: Privacy in a doorway where a swinging door doesn’t make sense.
The simple solution: Pocket doors. A swinging door may not be right for a space for many reasons. Perhaps you need to close a door in a spot so infrequently that a swinging door isn’t needed. Or, maybe the space around the doorway is too tight to accommodate a swinging door, such as in a laundry space tucked into a hallway. Or, perhaps a traditional door will ruin the aesthetic of a space. In all those situations, a pocket door is a great way to achieve privacy without compromise. Because pocket doors tuck away inside the wall, you don’t need to worry about having enough space to open or close a traditional door. Plus, when left open, pocket doors are hidden inside the wall so their visual impact on decor is minimal.
While these solutions may be beyond the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers, reputable contractors can accomplish them easily – and help you decide if one of these options is right for your renovation project.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Choose Quality Over Quantity

To Create The Bathroom Of Your Dreams
While your dream bath may be a sprawling space, the reality is that the typical bathroom is 100 square feet or less. According to recent home builder statistics, the average home size has seen a 6 percent decline in recent years. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dream bath. A large bathroom footprint isn’t always the answer to a better bath. Focusing on quality products can create a luxurious look, even in a small space.
Free up floor and counter space
You may not be able to create more space but there are many ways to create the illusion of more space. Adding a pedestal sink or a furniture-style vanity with legs gives an increased line of sight, making the space appear larger. Similarly, clutter takes up valuable space. One way to free up extra room on the countertop is with a single-handle or wall-mount faucet. Doors can also make a room feel constrained. Rather than a traditional swing or hinged door, opt for pocket doors; which frees up approximately 10 square feet of floor space.
Focus on fabulous fixtures
We all need storage in the bath, but don’t limit yourself to the horizontal surfaces. Make the most of your vertical space by adding bath accessories, as well.
“When updating the bathroom, many homeowners take inspiration from upscale hotels,” says Tim Bitterman, director of marketing and new product development, Moen Accessories. “Moen offers a variety of unique ‘hotel-style’ accessories to add functionality and enhance the style of your bath.”
Adding a hotel shelf, which combines a towel bar with a shelf, offers an excellent storage spot for towels. A wall-mount hair dryer holder, a pivoting wall-mount makeup mirror, a curved shower rod and robe hooks are all excellent hotel-inspired accessory options.
Dominate with dual-function
Dual-function products are perfect for smaller baths because they offer added benefits without taking up more space. Update your toilet paper holder, towel bar and in-shower shelves with newer versions that integrate a grab bar. Moen Home Care offers stylish grab bar designs featuring a paper holder, a towel bar and two shelf designs; all in a variety of finishes to help you update these bathroom basics while adding storage, safety and style.
Swap soaking for a sensational shower
Sixty-three percent of Americans shower at least once a day. Since we tend to shower more than soak, creating one sensational showering space and possibly eliminating the tub, is a wise use of surface area. For an easy upgrade, swap your showerhead with a new, high-quality model. Or, for a more luxurious remodel, install a vertical spa complete with components like body sprays and a hand shower on a single wall.
And, no matter how large or small your shower, there’s always room to add seating, which increases safety and ease while shaving and washing. The fold-down teak seat from Moen Home Care is a great option since it features a unique wall-mount design that folds down for a comfortable and secure shower seat to avoid slips and falls. When not in use, it folds up to a thin, compact profile.
It’s all smoke (and light) and mirrors
There are more benefits to mirrors in a bathroom other than a place to check your hair and make-up. They can actually make a room appear twice as large as the actual size. In addition to your vanity mirror, consider hanging a full-length mirror on a door. Similarly, bringing in more light will open up the space and make your bathroom come to life. A skylight is a unique addition, since it utilizes the often unused ceiling space. Lighting fixtures are also an ideal way to brighten the space, but don’t settle for boring basics. Try more stylish options, like sconces, which can add a more designer, upscale feel.
Remember to shop for quality over quantity when updating your bath and soon you’ll enjoy the serenity of a stylish and organized space. For more information, visit moen.com or call 800-BUY-MOEN (800-289-6636).

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Paint Like A Professional With DIY Simplicity

Think your favorite room is due for a new paint color? To get a result that looks like it was plucked straight from a home improvement magazine, you don’t have to hire an interior designer or professional painter. You can do-it-yourself with a few tricks of the trade.
Choose the right color
Even a perfectly painted room is a failure if you are unhappy with the color. With thousands of designer-inspired palettes on the market, it’s easy for homeowners to get confused when it comes to selecting the right hue. Some homeowners try taping color chips together to view their colors while others will paint a sample directly on the wall. While putting actual paint on the wall is considered the truest representation of color, no one wants to live with a wall marred with a patchwork of several different paint samples for very long.
Make selecting the right color uncomplicated by using SureSwatch, a removable peel and stick DIY paint swatch. Simply paint the 9-by-12 inch clear SureSwatch film and place on any wall (or even the ceiling) to get a better idea of what the color will look like. To avoid color regret, the paint swatch should be viewed multiple times during the day, in the daytime as well as at night.-A clear film provides color accuracy and allows you to see how your new color choice will appear when it’s painted out over your current wall color. For less than $1, it’s an easy and affordable way to feel confident about your color selection. Visit the paint counter at your local Home Depot or www.sureswatch.com for more information.
Use high-quality paint tools and supplies
Start with a premium paint which can save you money in the long run. High-quality paint covers better, provides a richer hue and tends to be more durable.
Next, select a quality applicator.- There’s a reason you don’t find professional painters using a dollar brush or roller – they don’t provide the best results and can sometimes make the job more difficult. To ease your DIY task and ensure a professional outcome, choose premium tools that allow you to paint spaces much quicker and for even coverage. It is well worth the investment.
If you currently have a dark-colored room or a pattern on your walls, priming is a good idea. A good primer will transform your walls into a blank canvas so the new paint color can adhere properly and the true hue will be represented once it dries.
Prepare properly
Every expert painter knows that preparation is just as important as paint application. Start by scraping any chipping paint and fill nail holes. To ensure paint adheres well, clean walls with a sponge and mild soap. Dust and grime may be present and could affect the paint’s ability to adhere properly.
Next, remove all wall plates and tape off edges and electrical outlets with a good quality painter’s tape made specifically for getting sharp edges and easy removal This extra step may take some time, but it is one of the best ways to get a paint job that looks professional rather than amateur. Remember to cover flooring to protect it from any drips.
Apply paint like a pro
To ensure you get flawless coverage, start applying the paint with uniform pressure in a “W” or “N” pattern. Continue spreading with up and down strokes making sure to finish with strokes in one direction. This helps achieve the most even coverage. Paint typically dries unevenly, which gives the illusion of spots and streaks. Avoid going back immediately to touch up sparse spots. Painting too soon will result in unevenness. Wait until it’s fully dry to apply another coat. For sharp, crisp edges, remove tape after the paint is dry and you are completely satisfied with the results.
Paint can completely transform a space in a matter of a few days. By keeping a few expert tips in mind and choosing the right color, you’ll enjoy beautiful results without the stress, and guests will never know you didn’t hire a professional.

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

10 Tips For Making A Small Bathroom Feel Larger

Is your tiny bathroom cramping your functionality and style, leaving you longing for the enormous bathrooms gracing the pages of design magazines? Even if your bathroom is a fraction of the size, all it takes is some design savvy to make the most of the space you have. Consider these 10 smart tips that will help your bathroom look, feel and function like those larger contenders.
1. Get creative with corners
Space is at a premium in small bathrooms, so it’s important to maximize every inch. Corners, for example, provide extra space for shelving, storage units and even hooks. Get creative and install unique design solutions that are not only functional, but also eye-catching.
2. Rethink your toilet
Every bathroom needs a toilet, but is your current throne hogging space? A sleek, wall-mounted model, like Kohler’s Veil wall-hung toilet, reclaims up to 12 precious inches of floor space. Concealed mounting hardware provides a seamless look that is comfortable and makes the toilet easy to clean.
3. Let solid colors shine
Busy patterns have a shrinking effect and make small bathrooms seem even smaller. Conversely, light natural hues make a space feel more open. If you’re itching to get creative with design, experiment with textures but keep overpowering patterns to a minimum.
4. Maximize your bathtub
A bathtub takes up a significant portion of the room, but modern, compact options with curved basins, can make the tub feel larger when in use, all while conserving space.
5. Select a smaller faucet
A faucet is jewelry for the bathroom. And just as accessories can overpower an outfit, a big bulky faucet isn’t flattering in a small bath. Single-handle designs conserve counter space, while a wall-mount installation frees it up all together and can create quite the wow-factor, if the budget can accommodate the required changes to plumbing behind the wall.
6. Make vanity storage simple
If you’re in a storage war with your small bathroom, you’re not alone in the battle. Toiletries and personal supplies without a place to call home only add clutter and chaos. Store smart with a space-saving vanity, like the Robern Compact Vanity. Equipped with glass drawer organizers and customizable components such as in-drawer electric plug-ins, staying organized and cutting clutter is simple.
7. Show off the shower
Shower curtains may be pretty, but they interrupt the visual flow of a bathing space and make it feel significantly smaller. In bathrooms with small footprints, opt for a clear glass sliding shower door that doesn’t require the clearance of one with a hinged design. If you’re embarking on a big remodel, create the illusion of more space by using same tile in the shower that’s used throughout; instead of seeing them as two separate zones, the eye will read them as one.
8. Discover the treasure of hidden storage
Work with a contractor, and you just might find some serious storage potential hidden behind your walls. Whether it’s utilizing space between the studs for shallow shelving or a creating a small linen closet by annexing space from an adjacent room, even small additions can make a big difference.
9. Use angles to your advantage
Tile is a beautiful, durable addition to any bathroom. For dainty spaces, consider installing tile at a diagonal to accentuate the longest wall.
10. Choose the right lights
Strategically install light to reflect and brighten a small bathroom to make it appear larger. Recessed lighting is an affordable solution for tiny rooms, offering ample light while taking up little space. Wall sconces alongside a mirror also reflect off the walls and make a room feel bright and airy.
 

Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Do-It-Yourself Weekend Warrior Survival Guide

It’s the do-it-yourself dream: deciding on the perfect DIY project just as the weekend finally arrives. All the supplies have been purchased and you’re ready to dive right in. However, the enthusiastic start of the project doesn’t always end in completion.
“Knocking out a big home improvement or do-it-yourself project in one weekend can be a rewarding task, but it is also challenging and can be taxing on your knees, feet and back when standing in the same position for several hours,” says Mark Clement, home improvement expert and co-host of the national radio show MyFixitUpLife.
Whether you are woodworking at your workbench or staining a piece of furniture in the garage, Clement offers these tips to make the most of your DIY weekend projects while also feeling comfortable enough to successfully finish them:
Focus on form and technique. When learning a new technique, go slowly, step by step, until you’ve mastered it. Allow your body to become accustomed to the various motions required. Moving efficiently is one of the best ways to avoid injury.
Stay hydrated. Make it a priority to drink at least 125 ounces of cold water each day. Staying hydrated is important when exerting DIY energy, especially in the summer heat. So whether you’re digging up the garden, roofing the shed, or wrenching in a no-AC garage, keep a water bottle or sports drink close by.
Create a comfortable workspace. Be conscious of how long you are standing in the same spot working on your project and how your back feels. To relieve pressure and soreness on feet, knees and back, use a durable mat like the Stanley Utility Mat that is engineered with an optimal balance of cushion and support.
Dress appropriately. Flip-flops and sandals do not offer the balance, protection and support that a sturdy closed-toe shoe or work boot does while tackling home improvement projects. Even if you have the grace of a ballerina in the workshop or yard, it is remarkably easy to drop things on your feet and it only takes a small distraction to create a big problem.
Know your limits. When you only have a weekend to finish a big project, you might be feeling the pressure. Before the project even starts, accept that it may not all go according to plan. Plan for a few different scenarios and remember that you can always ask for help.
Have a first aid kit. Even if you are being extremely cautious, accidents can happen and it’s best to be prepared. Keep a first aid kit with all the essentials (antibiotic ointment, bandages, burn cream, etc.) near you at all times and seek professional medical help if necessary.
For more information about the Stanley Utility Mat, visit stanleyutilitymat.com/ and to tune into MyFixitUpLife visit http://myfixituplife.com/DIY/.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!

Home Remodeling For The Long Haul: Making Your Space Work For You

As more people choose to stay in their current homes longer, Americans are diving into large remodel projects. Forty percent of homeowners plan to remodel or build an addition to their existing home within the next two years, with kitchen and bathroom projects remaining the most popular remodeling jobs, according to the 2013 Houzz and Home Survey.
Home remodeling for the long term can be challenging, as newer designs may clash with the existing style of the home. The key to a successful remodel is to choose elements that will create a cohesive design throughout, yet remain fashionable and functional well into the future.
“Whether it’s upgrading their existing home or renovating a newly purchased one to fit their long-term needs, homeowners are settling in and want quality products that will look great, provide design flexibility and perform well over time,” says Andy Wells, vice president of product design, MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.
Here are a few tips to help make your remodel work for the long haul:
Keep your space flexible with neutral color choices
As homeowners stay in one place longer, they are passing on bright, bold colors, especially in the kitchen and instead choosing neutral colors and clean styles that work well with a variety of design elements. Many new earthy, neutral color palettes provide visual warmth while seamlessly blending with the rest of a house. Moreover, neutral hues can increase dramatic impact when carried throughout the kitchen in various textures, such as flooring, a backsplash or cabinets.
Decora Cabinets recently partnered with Sherwin-Williams to create a custom color-matching program for cabinets, which offers more than 2,000 shades of color to choose from, including a wide range of neutrals that can be easily adapted to specific design tastes. Give your kitchen a warm, cozy feel with Decora’s Down to Earth series of soft browns or create a trendy, elegant feel with the Quiet Sophistication line of blacks and greys in your cabinetry.
Complement existing design elements with transitional styles
Modern cabinets can clash with traditional elements in other rooms, especially when remodeling older homes. Choose cabinets with design elements that easily transition across differing styles and bridge the gap between your desire for a contemporary kitchen and the traditional reality of an older home.
Cabinetry manufacturers are offering many new styles that help create flow between old and new spaces within your home. Consider the new Aristokraft VanWyke Thermofoil cabinets or Omega Perrini cabinet door styles. These simple cabinet doors can adopt a contemporary feel in a kitchen or complement a traditional style in the bathroom, all while maintaining a continuous, polished look across your home.
Create a functional, organized space
Functionality is essential to a kitchen or bath that will continue to meet the changing needs of your family over time, whether it’s ensuring there’s enough storage space for a growing family or making the home more accessible for family members of all ages and abilities. Remodeling for the long haul also means creating a planned, practical space and many new products are available that can help improve the organization in your home.
Diamond Cabinet’s Logix product line offers a wide variety of innovative organizational cabinet solutions for the kitchen. One original space-saver is the new Diamond Wall Pull Down Spice Rack, which brings items down to eye-level from three chrome basket racks inside the cabinets, putting your favorite spices and other items right at your fingertips for easy reach.
With these tips and a wide breadth of cabinetry, colors and styles designed for today’s transitioning homes, remodeling for the long haul has never been easier.
Reid Guthrie has owned and operated his Home Inspection Seattle company, The Home Detective, since January 1995. As a licensed home inspector, Reid covers Seattle and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know are looking for a thorough Seattle Home Inspector, look no further than The Home Detective ~ The More Thorough We Are, The More Defects We Find, The More Money You Save!