Archive for the ‘Around the House’ Category

New Screened Porches

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

We recently wrapped up construction on two great screen porch projects! For our first porch, the family wanted a low maintenance, fully screened in unit that they could entertain in while enjoying their beautiful backyard. To accomplish this, we began by installing a durable and easy-to-clean tile floor that would hold up well to the elements. Next, we added vaulted wood ceilings to improve the porch’s aesthetic and give it the ambiance of a finished room. A fireplace was also installed to lend the porch character and provide a functional heat source on cool summer nights. The end result was a beautiful space, able to accommodate nearly twenty guests for conversation and entertaining!

Our next porch project involved renovating an existing space. The family’s outdated porch featured an overly damp interior and immobile windows. To upgrade the area we installed price efficient, rolling windows and added a new storm door. Next, we installed a new decking surround and a glass railing, designed to keep the lake view unobstructed as possible. Finally, a fresh coat of paint for both the interior and exterior resulted in a practical space perfect for outdoor use nearly year around!

Preparing Your Home for the Holidays

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

You know the drill. Every year, right after the holidays have passed you vow to have your kitchen remodeled, your basement renovated or your addition in place in time for next year’s festivities. And yet, every year you get busy. Summer comes and goes and, before you know it, November is upon us again. We know how it goes! This year, beat the cycle and have your project done before the first holiday turkey is placed in the oven by better understanding your project timeline.  Call us now and begin your project to have your home in tip-top shape for the holidays.

Keep in mind that however long your project is expected to take in terms of construction, it is likely that an equal amount of time will be spent in planning and preparation. For example, a one month project will likely take one month to plan in addition to one month of implementation. By allowing yourself plenty of time on the front end, you will help ensure that the project you end up with is the one you want, design mistakes will be eliminated, and you will have time to thoughtfully consider your plans. With that in mind, let’s get started on your holiday projects today! Check out our design galleries for inspiration and contact us today to begin your project planning.

Laundry Room Design Tips

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

washer-dryer

For most people, the laundry room is not their favorite room in the house. However, just like any other room, this functional space can benefit from some thoughtful form. Use these laundry design tips to turn your utilitarian room into a more organized and appealing space.

Thoughtful Layout: Like your kitchen, your laundry serves a very practical purpose. As such, the room’s layout must include work surfaces, storage, and room for the necessary appliances. Since your washer and dryer will likely be the center of your space, begin by placing these two appliances next to each to make for easy clothing transfer. From there, consider your laundry work process and create a designated space for each step.

For example, a sorting and prep station can be created with hampers designated for specific loads – lights, darks, etc. We recommend those on wheels to help make clothing transport that much easier. Next, consider a sorting and folding area. Install a counter at waist height to create a convenient folding station. Above, place storage cubbies with hampers in them to put each family member’s clean laundry in. If your laundry room is limited in size, consider front-load appliances that can fit underneath a counter for space maximization. Don’t forget to install a rod or hooks for those items that need to be air dried. Use a retractable clothing line for small spaces.

Careful Lighting: Oftentimes, laundry room lighting leaves something to be desired. However, this is a space that you will need to work in regularly and, as such, the room needs to be properly lit. Consider both ambient and task lighting when planning your space. Recessed lighting can be installed under upper cabinets for illuminating countertops and work areas, in addition to overhead lighting.

Customize Your Space: Just because your room is primarily used as a workspace does not mean that it has to be dull or drab. To the contrary, walls painted a pleasing color and artwork added to the room can help to make it a space that you want to return to! Don’t forget to include room for a built in radio or iPod dock so you can literally, “whistle while you work.”

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Summer is officially in full swing! With the weather getting nicer and nicer, it is tempting to put off home improvement projects until later in the year. However, as with most things, when it comes to your home, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Check out our summer home maintenance list to keep your space in tip-top shape!

Clean Your Dryer Vents: In the same way that you clean and empty your lint filter after each use, you must also seasonally clean your dryer vents. Use a long-handled brush to clean the hose that vents air from the dryer to the outdoors. Be sure to read your dryer’s manual for specific instructions and to purchase a brush that fits you dryer’s lint trap specifications. Otherwise, this is something you can easily hire a company to do for you.

Clean Your Gutters: Warm summer weather provides a great reason to work outdoors. Take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine to clear your gutters of any dry leaves or debris that may have piled up in the months prior. While cleaning, take time to inspect your gutters for signs of separating from your home, sagging, or dipping.

Check Your Roof: Check your roof for any evidence of damage. Common signs of roof disrepair include curling, broken, or missing shingles. The weight of winter snow can often do damage to roofs – damage that is best repaired in warm weather months.

Spruce Up Your Doors: Our doors are never more open than in the summer, so be sure yours are working smoothly. Spray your doorway’s track generously with a degreasing solvent and use a screwdriver, wrapped in a rag, to clean the track out.

Clean Up Your Exterior: Use a summer weekend to spruce up your home’s exterior. Take a power washer and lightly wash your home’s exterior and deck.

We hope these tips have been helpful! Give us a call if you have any questions about a present or future home remodeling project – big or small, we do them all!

Spring Home Maintenance Tips

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

spring-photoMarch 20th marked the first day of spring and the beginning of the transition from blustery mornings and frosted windows to the season of new growth and spring cleaning. Now that spring has officially sprung, take some time to ensure that your house is as ready for the new season as you are, with these spring home maintenance tips:

Air Conditioner: Don’t let the first hot day of summer be the first time that you test out your air conditioning system. Instead, have a certified HVAC professional check out your system at your earliest convenience. Not only does this ensure that the system is up and running, it can also verify that the AC is running at its manufacturer-rated efficiency, giving you the most bang for your buck on your electrical bill.

Exterior Inspection: Inspect your roof shingles to ensure that winter wear and tear hasn’t done any damage. Then, to help make sure built-up condensation is moving off the roof, clear your gutters of leaves and debris. To avoid basement flooding, check to make sure that all downspouts are directed away from your home foundation. In addition, check your home’s grading to ensure that all water flows away from your house.

Windows: Inspect and replace window and door caulking. Improper caulking can lead to moisture entering your home and walls, and can ultimately lead to mold. If you think it might be time to replace your windows altogether, give us a call and we inspect them for you – giving you our professional opinion.

Sideways and Driveways: Check your home’s pavement for cracks. Finding these flaws early on prevents weeds from taking up residence or from cracks expanding. Deal with any surface flaws with a home patching job or concrete surface filler.

Think Big: Don’t forget spring is a great time to plan your next home renovation or addition. Are you ready to plan your project? Contact us at Sass Construction today to get started!

Give Your Home a Quick Check-Up This New Year

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Helping you keep your home in the best condition possible is very important to us.

Taking the time to check and fix any items that need repair now, could save you headaches and money in the future – so here are some tips on what to check your home for:

· Test your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and check that they have batteries

· Check your heat exchanger in your furnace for leaks (in the winter months)

· Check and drain your hot water heater once a year

· Make sure your exterior weather stripping on windows and doors are correct to stop air leakage

· Check and maintain your furnace (replacing filters will improve the air quality inside of your house and cleaning the humidifier makes it run more efficient)

· Check out the health of your home by looking at your attic insulation and ventilation

· Check the condition of your windows – maybe it’s time to get a price on higher efficient clad windows, then you will never have to paint again and will save on heating & cooling costs at the same time

· Check the condition of your exterior siding – maybe it’s time for a new exterior paint job or even better, a new maintenance free exterior

We will share another list with you as we get closer to spring too, which will include additional outside items that need to be checked.

As always, if you have any questions or need our help with a project please give us a call.

Green Party Planning Ideas

Friday, December 16th, 2011

istock_000017556816xsmallWith the holidays come many holiday events.  When planning this year’s festivities consider adding a new color to your planning palette – GREEEN, as in green party practices.  Use these eco-friendly tips to help reduce your carbon footprint while throwing a fabulous fete!

Invitations: Don’t leave a paper trail to your holiday fun.  Instead, save a tree and invite friends and family using an online invitation.  Quick to create, convenient, and easily customizable, online invitations are the perfect way to get your green party started!  Utilize invitation management sites such as www.evite.com to create invites perfect for you and your event.

Flatware: Trade out disposable plates and utensils for washable crockery that can avoid the landfill and be reused at celebrations time and time again.  Or consider using recycled, compostable plates that will go right into your composter for easy breakdown.  Replace plastic tablecloths and paper napkins with linens to further reduce waste.

Refreshments: For a truly eco-friendly event, purchase food locally.  Not only will your supplies be fresher, local food is often cheaper!   Your area Farmer’s Market can provide an array of fresh meats and cheeses to fruits and veggies to desserts and breads.  The Farmer’s Market can also be a great source of organic and locally grown flowers – perfect for your eco-friendly centerpieces.  Don’t forget to bring your reusable canvas tote shopping with you!

Clean-Up: Make recycling an easy part of clean-up by providing clearly labeled containers for guests to use throughout the night.  After your last partier has left, utilize a nonhazardous and biodegradable cleaning product to give your home a onceover!

Lower Level Finishing Ideas

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

lower-level remodel

Nothing seems quite as promising as the untapped potential of an unfinished space. However, these same exciting rooms can prove daunting when it comes time to determine just what direction you want to go. Consider one of these project options when it comes time to transform your lower level from a dark and dreary space into a room that your family will love to use for years to come!

• Home Theater: Avoid long lines and exorbitant ticket prices by bringing your theater viewing experience into your home. Common elements of a home theater remodel include insulating interior walls to help contain sound, installing wall sconce lighting and other dimming light options, sloping the floors to aid screen viewing, installing theater seating, and of course, creating a focal point for your screen.

• Bar: Are you still looking for that bar where everybody knows your name? Why not build your own? A lower level bar can serve as the perfect gathering place for family and friends. A true wet bar, complete with a sink and plumbing system, will afford the most entertainment options. In addition to the bar itself, great bar projects should also include conversational seating and entertainment in the form of a billiards table, juke box, or television focal point!

• Game Room: Whether you have a board-game loving family or a poker-playing group of friends, a game room is a space that can be enjoyed by all. Create a place with comfortable seating and plenty of floor space for lounging video game players. Make room for a pool table, billiards board or other large components for more traditional gamers. Functional and durable flooring will withstand whatever play time has to offer. By also creating a flexible room that can be easily rearranged to meet different needs, gamers of all types can enjoy the space day after day and through game after game!

• Wine Cellar: Convert your lower level space into a wine cellar to keep your favorite beverage within arm’s reach! Create a climate controlled environment by installing a cooling and insulation system to ensure your wine is well maintained and stored. Construct a storage and organization system to physically hold your wine. Finish the space off with an intimate tasting area for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Are you ready to finish or remodel your lower level? Do you have a project idea all your own? Contact us at Sass Construction, Inc. to get started today!

Get Your Home Winter Ready

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
As temperatures drop outdoors, now is a great time to turn your attention indoors and begin preparing your home for winter.  Take a look at this list of simple seasonal maintenance items that will help keep your house in good shape!


Winterize Pipes: Check your home for any exposed pipes that may pass through unheated spaces like garages, unfinished basements, or crawl spaces.  Pipes in these conditions are prone to freezing and bursting in cold weather.  To prevent this from happening at your home, wrap pipes with fiberglass insulation or pre-molded foam sleeves, paying special attention to vulnerable pipe elbows.


Empty Exterior Faucets: Your home’s exterior faucets need to be readied for winter as well.  First, turn off the faucet’s water supply from inside the house.  Next, drain the water from the faucet by opening the exterior valve.  Remember to disconnect any outdoor hoses and drain them for winter storage also.


Deal With Drafts: 10 – 25% of a home’s heat escapes from the home’s windows and doors.  Before winter weather hits hard, check the weather stripping on your windows and doors and replace if necessary.


Check Your Furnace: Fall is a great time to check your furnace and make sure it is up to par before the heavy-use winter season arrives.  Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.  Don’t forget to stock up on furnace filters and put a reminder on your calendar to change them monthly!


Need additional support getting ready for the winter? Contact us at Sass Construction, Inc. to provide a FREE Home Assessment.

Let’s talk Green…and I don’t mean green paint.

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
 
Is it wood or is it linoleum?
Is it wood or linoleum?

I’m talking about Green Trends, ‘Going Green’ and Greenbacks (money, that is).

 We all want to do our part and reduce our footprint and make less of an impact on the environment. Choosing ‘green’ products to use in you remodeling is a great way to start.

 One of the most popular trends is in flooring. Cork and linoleum flooring is at the top of the list. This isn’t the linoleum flooring from your grandmother’s kitchen. It has come a long way and can look just like hardwood flooring, metal and a wide range of textures, colors and styles. Linoleum has always been popular with hospitals because it naturally has bactericidal properties that can help stop microorganisms from multiplying. Can you say “easy to clean” too. 

The Cork Oak tree is not harmed by stripping the bark.

The Cork Oak tree is not harmed by stripping the bark.

 

 Cork is leading the way as well. It is a renewable product. The Cork Oak trees are stripped of 1/3 their bark, which then replaces itself quickly without harming the tree.

 

So, if you want to remodel and keep up with the new trends, look down and use ‘green’ on your new floors.