Home Improvement

Make Your Home Work For You

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

We’ve been talking about removing some cabinets around the bay window in our kitchen and replacing them with open shelving.  It’s something I’ve been considering for a while since I’m loving that style lately, and I might have Matt on board to tackle that project this weekend!  Speaking of tweaking your home to suit your style, I’m also excited to welcome back contributing writer and expert home flipper Liz from It’s Great to Be Home

Liz is a wealth of information when it comes to changing out spaces to suit your lifestyle and she’s back with her six smart tips on how to make your home work for you right now.   Please welcome back Liz!

  make your home work for you

 

“Whether you’re planning to live in your home for all of eternity or sell it tomorrow, it’s always a great idea to adapt your home to work with the way you live, and unless you’re living in a house that you built yourself from the ground up, chances are your abode could use a few tweaks to fit your lifestyle.

So when you find yourself faced with a spare afternoon or weekend, think about tackling one of these six projects to make your home work for you – they’re easy, not too expensive, and can be conquered without busting out the serious power tools.  

1.  Create an Entryway.

How many times have you entered a house and walked straight into the living room?  It’s especially common for homes built in the 50s-70s.  While there’s nothing wrong with that layout, wouldn’t it be nice to have a proper entryway or at least a space that functions like an entryway? Everyone can use a place to drop their keys, check their hair before they walk out the door, and maybe even greet guests without making them feel like they’ve walked straight into your personal living space.

So how do you go about creating an entryway?  Just follow this simple formula to create a basic entryway: add a mirror + ledge or console + bowl or tray for stuff!

entry console mirror bhg

Better Homes & Gardens

the marion house entry

House and Home

Of course, there’s always room to gussy things up!  If you have the space, you might want to add a little seating by tucking a bench or ottoman under the console. You can also up the amount of storage you have with baskets and storage ottomans.  Finally, think about dividing up an open floor plan by positioning furniture to create a sort of "hallway" coming from the front door.  It’s easy to do this by using the back of a sofa or chairs to divide the space. 

 

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Boost Your Roost Contest Winner

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Hey there everyone!  I’m excited to announce that after all the votes are in, the winner of the Boost Your Roost Contest sponsored by House Logic has been chosen as the worthy Smith family.   House Logic has awarded the family a $20,000 renovation which will include building them an accessible backyard the family can enjoy together.  

smith family winners

 

byr sweepstakes

 

Throughout the next five weeks a portion of the backyard renovation will be revealed and readers who watch the video documenting the makeover will have the chance to enter to win $1,000.  To enter, readers watch videos and answer quizzes, and after all of the videos have been revealed, a winner will be announced.  All the details can be found over at House Logic.

Hop on over to House Logic to meet this sweet family and see the beginnings of the remodel, and enter yourself for a chance to win $1,000!

 

*This post is sponsored by HouseLogic, a website for homeowners from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. HouseLogic offers solutions to help you enjoy, improve and maintain your home while connecting with others who also value homeownership.

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Tiling Around a Window

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I showed up at the shelter kitchen we revealed earlier this week to make sure the mosaic tile backsplash was getting installed by a skilled volunteer, but unfortunately the tile guy never showed up.   We never got an explanation as to why he didn’t show, he just didn’t.  With an inspection looming, Warren (our partner at COTS) and I looked at each other and decided we would just get ‘er done ourselves that day.

Installing a tile backsplash is not difficult, and it involves following just a few steps from prepping the wall to applying the thin set adhesive, cutting and setting the tiles, and then grouting and sealing.  The more challenging part is tiling around a window with mesh tile so that the grid stays perfectly aligned.  At first glance you’d think it all lines up easily (basic math right?) but we learned that’s not the case – here’s how we got it just right.

tiling around a window

 

First, I’ll apologize for the quality of some of these in progress photos!  I had no idea on this day I’d be tiling when I showed up to the house so I didn’t bring my good camera.  Many are shot with a cell phone in bad light, but hopefully they will be illustrative.   The project took two days, with me working one side of the kitchen, Warren working on the other, and then we paired up to tackle the feature wall together.

There are plenty of detailed tutorials online for installing a simple glass mosaic tile backsplash, including this one from This Old House, but I’ll do a quick review.  What you’ll need:  paper or drop cloth to protect countertop, tile, thin set mortar, V notch trowel, tile saw, grout, grouting sponge, level, acrylic caulk.

First, prep your walls so they’re smooth and ready for tile and double check you have enough tile to complete the project.  (It’s good to have 10% more than your square footage for horizontal or mesh installation, more like 15-20% extra with diagonal installation due to all the cuts.)

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