Home Improvement

Welcome to our Home Improvement Section. We’ve partnered with Houzz to bring you the best content to help you improve your home.

Your Guide to a Smooth-Running Construction Project

April 27, 2014

By Jeffrey Veffer, B. Arch, MBA, Houzz

Imagine walking into your newly built or remodeled home and seeing it exactly as you had imagined it at the start of construction: the windows are all in the right places, the flooring is the right color, and the kitchen cabinets are a perfect fit.

Now allow me to pinch you on the arm, because for most people, reality is often different from that idyllic scenario. You might see missing trim around the bedroom doors or wonder why that small change in the kitchen cost so much.

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6-Step Checklist for Writing a Design Brief for Your Remodel

April 6, 2017

By Mark Gregory, Houzz

If I’ve learned anything during the 15 years I’ve spent designing houses for other people, it’s this: What you need and what you think you want are not the same thing.

Before you can even begin to design your own home (or design anything for that matter), you need to establish a clear brief for the project. This is more than just a wish list — it covers all aspects of the project: size, appearance, location, orientation, sensory qualities, cost, construction methods and much more. Let’s take a look at writing a brief in detail.

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7 Builder Upgrades to Skip in a New Home

April 1, 2017

By Nicole Jacobs, Houzz

When selecting builder upgrades for your new home, you need to be strategic. You want to choose the upgrades that will save you hassle and money by doing them upfront. But many potential upgrades will have to fall off the priority list as your budget reaches its limit. Here are seven that you can feel comfortable skipping.

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What to Ask Before Meeting a Home Remodeler

June 27, 2017

By Anne Higuera CGR CAPS, Houzz

As professional home remodelers and builders, the people at our firm field many phone calls from potential clients. One of the first things that many people ask us is when we can set up an in-person meeting. But meeting in person about a remodeling project is a significant time commitment for all involved. These meetings are typically one to three hours, including travel time, and often occur in the middle of a busy weekday. So before setting up that appointment — and committing to what’s involved — it’s best for homeowners to ask a few key questions by phone or email to help ensure that an in-person meeting will be time well spent.

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How to Hire the Best Contractor for the Job

August 3, 2017

By Dylan Chappell, Houzz

Building your dream home is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do, but all that excitement comes with a lot of responsibility. Hiring the best general contractor for you and your project is an extremely important decision. That choice will determine the quality of craftsmanship and will minimize emotional stress and unexpected costs. Bringing in the right contractor early in the design process is one of the most important ingredients in staying on budget and on schedule during construction.

Here are five simple steps to help you hire the right contractor for your project.

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Finding the Right Architect

August 23, 2017

By Dylan Chappell, Houzz

Few things are more exciting than building a new home or watching your old one change before your eyes. And the person who will affect the outcome of your project the most is usually the architect. His or her plan will dictate the ultimate appearance and function of the home, as well as the financial costs and emotional toll involved in its construction.

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The Right Way to Read a Floor Plan

August 28, 2017

By Bud Dietrich AIA, Houzz

The floor plan, or plan, is the most common of all architectural drawings. From builders to architects, Realtors to appraisers, everyone uses a floor plan. More than likely this is because the floor plan is the one drawing that tells us the most about a house. From the type of house to the size of the house, a floor plan reveals area, structure, circulation pattern, stair location, door and window locations, room layout and so much more.

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The Top 7 Features for a New Kitchen

September 9, 2017

By Barbra Bright, Houzz

Embarking on a kitchen remodel is both an exciting and daunting endeavor for most people. My goal as a kitchen designer is to guide my clients through the multitude of decisions that need to be made. To begin, I always ask what they envision in their dream kitchen. Not surprisingly, there is a universal chorus on their requirement list, unlike their wish list, which is diverse and based on their specific desires. Read on to find my most requested kitchen must-haves.

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