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General Article

Put Life Into Your Bathroom by Remodeling It

Put Life Into Your Bathroom by Remodeling It

In many homes, their idea of a bathroom renovation is by adding simple accessories like bathroom vanities to the space, forgetting that a good-looking bathroom reflects in the bath products found in it and not just its accessories.

Your bathroom represents you, your bathroom is a sacred place where you go to relax and be one with yourself, so your Bathroom should look as good as its functions.

Your bathroom is one of the most sensitive parts of the house and so should look appealing to the eyes. A well-renovated bathroom also increases the market value of a home. A well-polished house with a remodeled bathroom is an investment to the homeowner. The better your bathroom appears, the higher the value of the house will be.

There are a couple of ways that could add life to your bathroom to make them flourish like you intended, and one of such ways is to take off every old bathroom item from the space and then replace them with brand new ones.

To give your bathroom that unique sparkle, you have to make sure that you remove every old item in your bathroom. You do not want to mix old bath product with new ones. Mixing an old product with brand new ones will make the room look dull and clumsy.

Secondly, ensure to install all the necessary fittings and fixtures that need to be in that space like basins, sinks, toilets, taps, faucets, shower, and more. There are so many beautiful and necessary bath products that you will find in an online bathroom store. Browse a bath store website for the many bath products that you will need to remodel your bathroom.

Thirdly, get an expert who understands fully the act of remodeling to design your bathroom for you. You need an expert who knows how to mix and match bath product colors especially if you want to use colored products in your bathrooms to make them livelier. However, if you want your fittings to be in a single color, ensure that your designer understands how to place each product in there perfect positions to make the beauty of the room appear fresh and clean.

You can also remodel your bathroom yourself especially when you are using single color design. For an easy self-bathroom design, go for white bathroom fittings.

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Renovation Costs

Things You Should Look For With Remodeling Contractors

Whether the homeowner is do-it-yourself savvy or would simply prefer leaving everything in the hands of experts, the homeowner at one point or another would need the help of home remodeling contractors for their home renovation needs. Whatever project it may be: bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling or even custom-built additions to your home – the right kind of contractors would be available to tackle all your home improvement needs. 
However, choosing the proper contractors for your home remodeling project is not as simple as choosing the lowest bidder but it should take into consideration several other factors and elements to ensure that you have the right people to do the job. Making a choice without putting extra time and thought into the selection process would find you ending up with sub-par results that will not only be inconvenient for the whole household but would also entail extra cost.  
Considerations to Take in the Selection Process 
When choosing contractors for your home remodeling project, you should take into account the fact that these people will be coming in and out of your house more frequently during the course of the project. Security would be a number one reason so you must enlist the services if reputable companies that are registered in your state’s Better Business Bureau. Another thing to consider is that the project may be undertaken while your household is normally living their lives under the same roof, so it would be best if you can get along well with your contractors and their crew. 
A safe way of choosing home builders is to get recommendations from friends and family, particularly those whom they have worked with in the past. You can also ask your real estate agent, your architect or your interior designer for other recommendations and they would surely recommend someone whom they have worked with on previous projects and can get along well with.  
Understanding the Functions of Contractors 
In the strictest sense, a contractor is someone who agrees to perform some work for you as part of a legally binding contract or agreement, but the term has been used extensively in the construction industry. A project usually involves some bidding where a contractor declares a proposed budget that can include the materials, the labor costs, payments for subcontractors, and the overall contractor’s fee. 
Depending on the scope of work, contractors have the option to hire qualified subcontractors to help them complete the project. These subcontractors may be construction specialists who are focused on a particular type of work like cabinet making or plumbing, which may be beyond the specialization of the contractors themselves. However, the quality of work and overall management of the subcontractors would fall under the responsibility of the contractor and he shall be liable for any work done by these subcontractors. 
Contractors are also expected to work closely with the architects or interior designers and should discuss any design elements that needs clarification or confirmation. This is why it is important that during the bidding stage, the contractors should understand the scope and complexity of work required, particularly if there are several custom design elements inclusive in the work. The success or failure of the home improvement project would depend on this.

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General Article

Save Money on Your Bathroom Renovation

Save Money on Your Bathroom Renovation

You can save money on your bathroom renovation with a few tips. You may be selling your home soon and you want to update the look, but not spend a lot of money. You know you have to improve your bathroom(s) if you want to sell your house a lot quicker.

The first thing to do is look at your bathtub. Is your bathtub an old fashioned color such as pink or lime green? If so, you may want to have someone paint your bathtub. This should only be done by a professional as they are highly experienced. You do not just go out and buy yourself a gallon of white paint and paint it yourself. The professional will paint your tub the color of your choice and complete the task beautifully. You will never be able to tell by looking or sitting in your tub that your bathtub was originally a different color. Having your bathtub painted by a professional is cheaper than buying an entirely new bathtub.

The second item in your bathroom you should look at when bathroom renovating is the countertop. Is your bathroom countertop out of style/out of date? Do you have chips in the bathroom countertop? Are the edges of the countertop unsafe? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you may want to replace the countertop. Simply call a professional to come in and measure the countertop size. He or she will check your sink and you can replace the plumbing if needed. The professional can help you find the best deals on a bathroom countertop and point you to the correct area on where to find the many different choices of styles and colors. You may opt for something modern, something simple and white, stone-looking, etc.

After the countertop is installed you may want a new faucet. Your other faucet may have rust stains on it or simply not look right with the new and updated countertop.

Another item to look at is your vanity cabinets. Are they pleasing to the eye as well as no holes or other damage? If not, you should replace them. You do not have to purchase an entirely new vanity, you can just choose new cabinet doors to update the look. It is best to hire a professional to do this as he or she can help you with the design choice as well as replace the cabinet doors.

Save money on bathroom renovation when you choose a new floor to put into your bathroom. The least expensive flooring is laminate style that is one piece of flooring that rolls out. You can have the look of large tile, wood, brick and many other styles of flooring with the roll out laminate flooring.

You can save money with bathroom renovation if you install a carpeting as well. Carpeting is an excellent idea if your bathroom is in an area of the house such as the basement. The carpeting will help to keep your feet from being cold and give the bathroom a much warmer feel. Make sure you choose a carpeting that you can have made stain-resistant to help you out in the long run.

There are many alternatives to save money when you are having bathroom renovations done in your home when you hire a professional.

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Home Improvement Contractors

Laneway Housing in Vancouver

A new pilot housing project has just received the green light in Vancouver. Over the next three years, Vancouver homeowners will be allowed to convert their garages into small living spaces. Once the three years are over, or 100 of these small residential units have been built, City Council will review the success of the project, and determine what (if any) changes should be made before letting everyone living in single family zones build these suites.
These living spaces are known as laneway houses, and have become part of the landscape in several cities, including Toronto and Montreal. Approved laneway units must be less than 750 sq. ft, and can be up to 1 1/2 stories tall. There must also be 16 feet of space between the back of the house and the front of the laneway suite.
Proponents of laneway houses argue that as Vancouver real estate prices continue to rise beyond most people’s means, innovative housing strategies like laneway suites will soon be necessary. This is particularly true in the current economic climate, with people losing their jobs and struggling to pay their bills.
Retirees and students are in particular need of affordable housing options, and laneway housing could offer one solution. Aging parents for instance, could move into their converted garage and rent out the main house to family members or tenants. This would not only help them out financially, but would also reduce the amount of upkeep they have to perform around the property. In addition, there’d be the comfort of knowing that if anything happens, there’s someone close by to help.
Parents of college-aged kids could build a small home on their property and offer it to their children. This would greatly reduce their living costs, while still offering privacy to both parties.
Not only does Vancouver sorely need affordable housing options, but there also needs to be an increase in the available inventory. Particularly in the downtown core, where there’s nowhere left to build, there are very limited rental accommodations available. Laneway housing could be one answer to the vacancy problem.
Opponents of the proposal argue that laneway housing would have a negative impact on the neighborhood landscape, and would result in areas that are too densely populated. Many neighborhoods consist primarily of single family homes, and many residents want to keep it that way. They also believe that there’ll be much greater demand put on resources such as water and electricity if every house has a suite attached to it.
The next three years will be an interesting experiment to see how effective laneway housing is at tackling Vancouver’s residential woes.

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General Article

Budget Bathroom Makeover – Planning is Key to a Successful Redo

Budget Bathroom Makeover – Planning is Key to a Successful Redo

Our house is 20 years old and we have renovated two bathrooms. When we decided to update the downstairs bathroom, we were dismayed to learn the construction company we had been using was out of business. So we decided to act as our own contractors. Our goal: Update the downstairs bathroom tastefully and cheaply.

Alex Brooks writes about bathroom makeovers in his article, “Back to Basins,” published on the Renovation Planning Website. “Bathrooms are a bit like high-waisted jeans,” he writes. “What looked good a decade ago stands out like a sore thumb when trends move on.” According to Broos, people renovate their bathrooms every 17.9 years.

Before you do anything, Brooks says you should decide how much you are willing to spend. If you are thinking about updating a second bathroom (in our case, a little used basement bath) you may not want to blow $15,000.

Susan Rich writes about bathroom makeovers in her article, “It’s All About You,” published on the Northwest Renovation Website. “The bathroom is the second-most remodeled room in the house,” notes Rich. Before you start a project, she says you need to decide if you need a full re-design or partial makeover. “Make sure you organize trades people in the correct order,” Rich advises, “otherwise there may be costly revisits, extra work and additional costs.”

To stay within our budget, we decided to keep the existing shower and cherry vanity. The makeover began with the removal of a giant mirror over the vanity. A local glass company was willing to do the job for $92 per hour, which included the removal of broken glass. As it turned out, the job took less than an hour and our bill was $62, a bargain as far as we were concerned.

A new mirror was next on our makeover list. After comparison shopping at local home stores, we found a horizontal, beveled mirror that matched the vanity. Talk about luck! We felt even luckier when we saw the half price tag. Lighting was next on our list and we bought a brushed nickel fixture that was a cross between traditional and moder design.

Scheduling is key to a successful bathroom makeover. Steven Carter addresses this issue in his article, “Renovations: A Work in Progress,” published on the Cooperator Website, which serves co-op and condominium owners. You should figure out the square foot cost before work begins, according to Carter. “Scheduling is especially important in co-ops, where there are usually strict guidelines about the use of freight elevators, placement of dumpsters and construction hours,” he explains.

Scheduling can also be important if you live in a neighborhood that has covenants. Check neighborhood and city restrictions before you start your makeover. Your city or town may have restrictions on how long a dumpster can be in front of your home, for example. Trades people go from job to job and you need to contact them well ahead of time to get on their schedule.

We are hiring a professional carpenter to raise the vanity to comfort height and install a Formica top, a plumber to install a comfort height toilet, and a mason to lay the tile floor. Our neutral color scheme will appeal to buyers when we have to downsize. Thanks to planning, our budget bathroom makeover is on time and on budget. Planning will help you transform your dated, ugly bathroom into a beautiful swan.

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson