Thanksgiving, Kitchens & Entertaining

Thanksgiving has changed a lot over the years, along with major lifestyle changes. Our homes are changing too, although it’s not always clear if our houses are enabling lifestyle changes or reacting to broader changes in the world around us. People aren’t moving as much, and many more are working from home at least a few days a week.

As most people are focused on traveling plans (we’re not travel agents) and/or cooking (we’re not chefs) for the Thanksgiving feast, we thought it would be fun to use this holiday as a dry run to make sure you’re prepared for the... 

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Who Owns the Fence?

We sometimes get asked to help solve a fencing problem, and it’s not always a technical problem. Many homeowners aren’t happy with their neighbor’s fence, or want to install one for a new pet but aren’t sure how to address their neighbors concerns. That’s where we can discuss options, although we don’t have a lot of personal experience. My preference is to keep spaces open so we can all enjoy them. In one house, I did appreciate not having to walk our dog and we simply added a dog door for easy access to the fenced yard.

When I... 

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Kitchen Updates for Entertaining


Most of us look forward to the year end holidays, when we spend more time visiting with friends and family. It’s also a time when many homeowners look at their homes and wonder if they should update their flooring, light fixtures or give their kitchen a totally new look. That’s because kitchens truly have become the heart of the home, not just for family time but also for entertaining at home.

There are many ways to give your kitchen a fresh new look. You might save up for a complete kitchen remodel, or you can make smaller changes incrementally... 

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Home Automation and Our Changing Lifestyle

We hardly notice the impact home automation has had on our lifestyle. At first glance, it appears that home automation began with incorporating electronics into small appliances. For example, microwaves cook food in minutes and coffee makers greet you upon wakening with a freshly brewed  cup.

A closer look reveals that home automation has been around for many years, creating homes that help us with routine tasks like cooking and washing clothes. According to Wikipedia, home automation is “… automation of the home, housework or household activity …  to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.” Wikipedia also points out that... 

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Organize Your Basement (or Garage) Storage

When you

What’s in your basement? Your garage? Are you using this bonus space in your home to make things easier or more difficult?  Are there enough shelves so everyone in the family knows where to store things and find them when needed?

It’s so quick and easy to pile the clutter you’ve accumulated in the basement or garage when you’re cleaning up for company.  You close the door and, like magic, the clutter disappears.

Unfortunately magic tricks don’t work in real life.  How often do you go back and sort out all that stuff that conveniently disappeared?  The piles get bigger and... 

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Swing Set Installation Tips

Backyard swing sets are for kids to dream about the possibilities

Every year families with young, energetic children purchase swing sets which have to be assembled and set up. Although setting up a swing set isn’t difficult, it requires more patience and time than than you would expect. A touch of realism will help homeowners assess how much time it will take to assemble the swing set and decide whether it’s worth it … as smaller, simpler swing sets or pre-assembled ones are just as much fun.

Double the cost of a swing set to cover paying someone to set it up – does it fit your budget?

This approach gets the swing... 

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Repairing Water Damage and Wood Rot in Doors

Doors have a high rate of wood rot due to backsplash from landing immediately below

Door thresholds, kick plates and surrounding trim are susceptible to wood rot. When water splashes up from the landing just below the door and gets into the cracks, and the wood doesn’t dry out, wood rot happens.

All exterior doors must have a landing in compliance with building code safety requirements. Typically there are only 8 inches between the landing and the door threshold, setting the stage for water to splash up and hit the house. Water run-off from the roof makes the problem worse by adding to the amount of water hitting the landing. That means even more water... 

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Estimating Repair Costs for Rotted Window Sills and Trim

Estimating home repair costs is challenging

When the extent of the damage is not visible, estimating home repair costs presents a challenge. One of the most common handyman projects is repairing rotted window sills. The  extent of the damage in these repairs is often hidden until the rotted wood is removed. Most wood rot is preventable if home owners understand how critical routine, annual maintenance is to protecting their home.

We are accustomed to protecting ourselves from getting wet, except when it’s fun and intentional, like at the beach or  pool. We use umbrellas when it rains. We put wet stuff in plastic instead of brown paper... 

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Does Your Home Need Any of These Wood Rot Repairs

wood rot is a common home repair

Everyone knows we’re getting lots more rain and snow than normal. Hopefully your house is watertight and none of the water has gotten inside your home. Because when water gets inside a house and doesn’t have a way to escape, you’re likely to get wood rot and that’s never good.

The worst part about wood rot is that it gets worse, year after year, so the sooner you find and make needed repairs, the less costly it will be.

So first you might want to understand how this happens. Wood rot is caused by wood destroying fungi that break down the wood cells... 

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Fun Projects to Spruce Up Your Yard

home features to spruce up your yard

We can spend a lot of time cleaning up the yard after a long winter, pruning trees and shrubs, laying down mulch and so much more. At the end it’s always nice to have a fun project, so we thought it would be fun to share these ideas with you.

We’ll start at the street the way visitors or prospective home buyers might view your house. That’s a good perspective to keep in mind when trying to decide which home improvements to make. Of course they should all be ones you’ll enjoy, but why not pick ones that will also pay... 

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