When deciding on which contractors to use for your project, you’ll need to compare prices, which means asking each potential contractor how much they will charge. There are several ways a contractor or supplier can outline cost: an estimate, a quote, and a bid.
Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important distinctions that we should understand. That’s what we’ll talk about in this mini lesson— the difference between an estimate, a quote and a bid.
Flattering Lighting for Your Home: Make Everything and Everyone in Your House Look Prettier—BYHYU 207
Do y’all remember that episode of Seinfeld where the girl Jerry was dating looked either really pretty or really unattractive depending on the lighting she was in? That bad lighting is what we want to avoid, especially in our homes. Although I don’t consider myself to be overly concerned with looks, I’d rather avoid the spooky, ghoulish shadows on faces that can show up because of poorly designed lighting.
It used to be that only models, actresses, photographers and entertainers were aware of what type of lighting is most flattering. But in this new era of selfies, social media posts, and You Tube channels, lighting our homes in a way that flatters us and our surroundings has become top of mind for even the average Jo(e).
I’ve done a basic lesson on the terminology and logistics of lighting, in episode 103 called Lighting 101, but I thought it would be helpful to come up with a list of tips that would we can incorporate into homes to not only make the lighting design functional, but also flattering. If we can do relatively simple things in our homes to make us look and feel our best, why not? I mean, we need to include lighting in our houses anyway, so why not use and place fixtures so that they shine the very best light on ourselves and our guests?
In the last episode/post we began a mini lesson on range hoods, also called vent hoods and exhaust hoods. We talked about how you should properly size and position your hood, and what amount of power you’ll need. And I strongly recommended that, if at all possible, you should choose a ducted system that takes stale air outdoors. In this week’s episode, we’ll talk more about vent hoods and how we can make them quieter.
As I told you, the range hood can really shape our experience in and around the kitchen, for better or worse. If you don’t choose an exhaust hood that is the right size and power for your stove, you’ll be hot, and your hair, clothing and adjoining rooms will smell like whatever you cooked. Ever go to a restaurant and leave reeking of food odors? That’s because the restaurant didn’t have proper ventilation. So, we definitely want a strong vent hood. But as you probably know, a strong vent hood can be annoyingly loud. This week, we’ll discuss what we can do to make our vent hood less obnoxious. How we can make them as quiet as possible.
We typically give quite a bit of thought to most of our kitchen appliance choices. But exhaust hoods, they get much less love. Most people don’t give range hoods the attention they deserve. They might think some about the aesthetic design of the range hood, but not a lot of people think through how to size and position their hood, and what features they should look for in a range hood that will give them the the perfect balance of suction power and quietness.
If you think about it, the range hood, also called an exhaust hood and a vent hood, is one of the more hardworking appliances in the kitchen. Because it removes irritating fumes, smoke, heat, odors and potentially damaging moisture, the exhaust hood allows for a safer, more comfortable, cleaner, less smelly, and more enjoyable kitchen experience. So in this mini lesson and the next one, we’ll discuss few things that will help us make informed decisions about what sort of hood we should choose.
This week we have the second half of our list of design tips that should help us start thinking through the interior decor for each room of our homes. Last week, we talked about some of the first things we should consider when starting a room design.
I suggest you take a listen to last week’s episode if you haven’t already because we discussed some foundational design guidelines that will help you know where to start decorating a room or house. Knowing where to begin is sometimes the hardest part of choosing your decor. If we can figure out our starting point, the rest of the design will often fall into place.
When building a home, there are so many design decisions to make that it can be overwhelming. And even for those of us who love designing, it’s hard to know where to start, especially when you have an entire new house to decorate. So, in the next two episodes, we’ll go over a few tips that should give you some general design direction, including where to start.
Now, if you don’t enjoy decorating, or you have no interest in choosing furniture and accessories for your home, you probably want to consider hiring an interior designer. To help you decide whether working with a designer is the way to go, take a listen to episode 132 called “Should I Hire An Interior Designer?”
Even if you decide you want to work with a designer, this episode/post will still be helpful to you because you’ll still have to answer the designer’s questions about what you like and dislike. And although the designer could make all your final decisions for your home’s interior, you’ll still need to articulate how you want your house to look and live, to guide the designers selections.
The earlier we start thinking about our home’s interior design, furniture placement, and style, the better. Soon after, and preferably, during the creation your floor plan, you should be thinking about your interior design. The reason you want to put thought into your home’s interior decor so early is because certain design decisions can effect the framing, plumbing, mechanical and electrical plans for the house. For example, floating shelves need more structural support than regular shelves or built-ins do. And where you place tvs, lamps and accent lighting will obviously have a bearing on your electrical plan. Do you want a wall-mounted bathroom faucet? Well, it’s helpful for the plumber to know that before the framing is complete to make sure he has the necessary access for pipes.
In the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, now more than ever, we’re aware of actions we can take to help prevent the spread and growth of viruses, bacteria, and other illness-causing microorganisms. And that got me to thinking, are there ways we can design our houses that will also help fight and prevent germs? Obviously, we can’t completely eliminate microorganisms, and we shouldn’t want to, because some of them are beneficial. But what can we include in our new builds that will decrease the chances of unhealthy bacteria and viruses living and thriving in our homes?
The novel Coronavirus COVID 19 is on everyone’s minds. And for those of us in the middle of construction, or simply planning a new build, it’s natural to wonder how the pandemic might affect our homebuilding plans. I stress the word “might” because no one can be sure how long this pandemic will last, or what or how long-lasting its effects may be.
In an effort to better understand what could possibly happen in residential construction in the near future, I talked with a small custom, local builder and scoured the internet for articles on the subject. Most of the information I got came from newspaper articles from different regions of the US, BUILDER magazine and Architect Magazine.com.
I thought long and hard about whether I should do a special episode for our 200th show, but I didn’t really have any profound ideas, so I decided just to do a regular episode. What I do want to do though is sincerely thank you for listening to to my little lessons that I helped me learn about homebuilding, as I was hopefully teaching you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kind emails and reviews. Thanks for telling friends and family about the podcast and for encouraging and supporting me these last several years.
My project has been more challenging than most, and has had a very slow start, but as we move forward, I’ll be getting busier and busier. So, I may only be able to put an episode every other week. It depends on my what else I’ve got going on. For weeks that I don’t put out a new episode, you might want to listen some of the episodes you’ve missed, or take another listen to shows you’ve heard before. I’ve told you this previously, but even though I’ve done the research for and recorded these episodes, I need to review them because there’s just so much information to remember. The other thing I'd advise you to do is subscribe to the podcast, so new episodes, as soon as they are released, whether that’s 2,3 or 4 times a month, will be added to your podcast library or email.
Alright, let’s get to this quick lesson.
According to residential construction expert Mike Holmes from the show Holmes on Homes,
“If your garage is attached to your house, the most important thing is to make sure it’s sealed. You must keep fumes, exhaust and carbon monoxide out of the house.”
This episode was inspired by a question that I got about garages from Joe, from my home state of Virginia. Hey Joe! This week we’ll talk about the pros and cons of an attached vs a detached garage. Now, many of you might think, why would I build a new house with a detached garage? Doesn’t everyone want the convenience of an attached garage?
It’s important to realize that there are advantages and disadvantages to both detached and attached garage structures. And that’s what we’ll briefly discuss. There are many factors to consider when making your decision, including your budget, your lot size and shape, your desired level of personal and home security, and your sensitivity to chemicals and fumes.
Quick episode/post this week giving you some suggestions that will help you save money on your cabinetry. The things I’ll mention won’t give you the most durable, beautiful or practical cabinetry, but if you’re willing to sacrifice some beauty and convenience, you can save quite a bit of money. Keep in mind, you don’t have to use all the suggestions to save. Incorporating even one or two of these design features can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
1. Choose simple profiles.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and one of the hardest rooms in the house to keep clean. You’ve got crumbs, smoke, grease, dirt, dust, stains, spills and splatters to deal with. But there are practical ways to design our kitchens that will make maintaining and cleaning them easier. I have a list of 20 tips. And many of these tips can also work for bathrooms. Let’s get right into it…
1. Keep lighting fixtures away from the stove
Those of us who want to build a well-constructed, energy efficient home should aim for a tight building envelope that minimizes air leakage (meaning it's "airtight"), controls moisture, and has a generous amount of insulation.
In episodes 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31, we looked at several different ways to insulate a house, but this week, we’ll consider how much insulation is enough and whether over insulating a house is a thing. Jeremy, this one’s for you.
Let’s get right into it.
IBS, The International Builders Show, is the largest yearly residential and light commercial construction tradeshow in the world. Typically more than 1400 construction manufacturers and suppliers showcase the latest and most in-demand products and services in the industry.
Although I love seeing homebuilding products on the showroom floor of IBS, my very favorite part of the show is touring the 2 official idea houses they build every year — The New American Home 2020® (TNAH), and The New American Remodel™ (TNAR). You know I love a show home, especially one that’s been built with energy efficiency and quality construction in mind. We can get ideas for pretty decor almost anywhere, but it’s so much more valuable for us to look at examples of houses that are not only pretty, but well-built. High performance concept homes like The New American Home can give us ideas about material and methods that we can either use, or adapt for our own projects.
Whether you have small children living with you full-time, or you’re an empty nester who will have grandchildren, or nieces and nephews visiting on a fairly regular basis, you should consider incorporating kid-friendly design into your new house. This includes features and decor that are safer and more practical for little ones. This week we’ll talk about 12 kid-friendly design features.
Before we move on, shouts out go to Larissa and Brian. Thanks for letting everyone on iTunes/Apple Podcasts know that you think this podcast is “A must listen for anyone building their home.” I’m so glad the show has helped two and I’m grateful for your encouraging words. I also want thank all of you who have followed me on instagram
@ultimate idea house. I appreciate you for helping me out.
Alright, let’s get to our list of 12 kid-friendly design features.
Back on track after unavoidable pre-construction setbacks, my homebuilding journey has had its share of challenges, even before the foundation was placed. But delays have been used as opportunities for design improvements that will make the house even more resilient than originally planned. This episode is kind of a construction update. I’ll tell you about our delays and what we did to make lemonade out of lemons.
Before we move on, I wanna give many thanks to Ginalupeho and Ben14826 for our latest Apple Podcasts 5 star ratings and reviews. They titled their reviews “Best Beginner Podcast I’ve Found” and “Best Home Building Podcast.” You two wrote such persuasive reviews. Anyone remotely considering listening to the podcast will definitely be inclined to give it a try because of reviews like yours. Thank you for writing such kind words. I don’t know if you realize it, but this podcast is a lot of work and when I get tired, or tempted to think it’s not really making a difference, it helps me to read your positive feedback. I’m grateful to all you who have ever left a nice review or sent me a kind email. Thank you. Thank you for giving back in that way.
Ok, let’s move on to this week’s show.
Do you know what you should consider when choosing your home site? After deciding to build instead of buy a new home, many people are so focused on the house design and that they give little thought to the LAND on which they will place their future home. But what lot you choose is a major factor in determining how much it will cost you to build and maintain your home, and how much you will ultimately enjoy it.
I’ll go into more detail momentarily, but as always, let’s start with todays Pro term.
Pro Term: Easement
What’s the best place for your washer and dryer? I’m a fan of putting them near bedrooms and bathrooms where there is easy access to where dirty clothes are taken off and clean clothes are stored. But there are also some benefits to locating the laundry room in other parts of the house, such as the near the kitchen, in a mudroom, in a hallway closet, or even a basement. This week we’ll talk about the benefits and disadvantages of locating your laundry room in different areas of the house.
Before we get to that, I want to sincerely thank popsicle puppy for your iTunes/Apple Podcasts 5 star rating and review. I’m so humbled by your kind words. He or she says, in part, "I have been working in the construction field for 10 years now and I wish I could rebuild some of my projects with the information I have gleaned from you!" That’s one of my favorite reviews ever! Thank you so much.
As I was going over the lighting plan for my new house, I wondered if there were different rules for lighting rooms with tall ceilings as opposed to standard 8 foot ceilings. Is ok to use the same type and average number of recessed lights throughout your house, no matter a room’s function or ceiling height? Does a 2 story foyer or rooms with vaulted ceilings need special lighting considerations?
One of the biggest problems with the house I currently live in is that the rooms are dark. The lighting is not bright enough and it’s too yellow. In the house that we’re building, I want to make sure that we choose recessed lights and lighting fixtures that will adequately illuminate our house (which I’m finding becomes increasingly important as I get older and my eyesight gets poorer). I don’t want to have to pull out my iPhone light, like I do now, to tell the difference between navy blue and black pants, or to do certain tasks. I want to be able to turn on a room light and see everything I need to see.
Worse than not installing enough canned lights and lighting fixtures, is wasting money by having an appropriate number of fixtures, but fixtures that don’t put out adequate light in specific situations, like in rooms with tall ceilings. I did some research about how to light rooms with tall ceilings, which many of us will have in our new builds. The information was much harder to find than I anticipated. But, after days of searching lighting design, electrician, lighting manufacturer, and retail lighting websites, I came up with a few tips for some basic guidelines for lighting rooms with ceilings greater than the standard 8 feet.
This week I have a review of one of my most popular post/episodes. It’s a mini lesson packed full of information. It covers lighting design basics and lighting terminology. This is a good review for next week when I’ll have a brand new episode that will discuss lighting specifically for rooms with tall ceilings, that is ceilings that are 9 feet or higher. Basic lighting design principles need to be tweaked a bit for rooms with high ceilings, and we’ll talk about that next week. But have a listen/look to Lighting 101 now, so you’ll be ready for next week. And quiz yourself, if you’ve listened before.
I love lighting fixtures. I’d have a beautiful chandelier in almost every room of the house, if I could. But there’s more to lighting than pretty fixtures. Lighting is first and foremost functional. I briefly covered lighting in episode 25 called "8 Kitchen Design Mistakes to Avoid". Mistake #6 was “Going Light on Lighting.” That’s not what we want to do in the kitchen, or any other place in the house.
In this week’s mini lesson, we’ll go over some basic rules to follow when choosing lighting for your new home. Now, an electrician or lighting designer will be invaluable in making specific suggestions your project, but today we’ll cover some general guidelines.
As with most guidelines, experts sometimes disagree. I noticed when doing my research that one website might have slightly different guidelines and advice than another. So the tips and rules that I’ll outline today may be just a little different from what you read or hear elsewhere, but this information should help you give you some basic, practical tips that will get you on the right path to a well-lit home.
We’ll go over the different categories of lighting, where to put warm white light as opposed to cool white light and we’ll get into what size recessed lights are best and how you should space them.
Before moving on to our mini lesson, let’s go over a few Pro Terms: Ambient lighting, Task lighting, Accent lighting and Decorative lighting. These are the 4 major categories of lighting.
This week we’ll review a previously built energy efficient home so we can consider some of the materials and methods for our own homes. The case study house is an affordable green house that cost $114 per square foot to build and is located in Seattle, Washington where the average house is $200 per square foot.
You probably know that Seattle, Washington is a fairly damp region with 38 inches of rain and 5 inches of rain per year. The summer average high temperature is in July and is around 76 degrees F and the average winter low is 37.
Remember, It’s important to consider the climate where a house is built so you can compare it to the weather in the region you plan to build. That way you can use or tweak the methods and materials in the case study homes and make appropriate choices for your climate.
Whether you want to a hire a professional to design and install the landscaping for your new home, or do it yourself, there are a few basic tips and rules that will help you plan outdoor spaces. Let get right into them.
1. Identify the feelings, style and functions you want for your yard.
Even if you plan on hiring out some or all of the work, you need to think about how your landscape will be used and how you want it to look and make you feel. Do you need areas to entertain guests? Are you looking for solitude and privacy? What color combinations do you like and what would go well with the exterior of your house? Do you prefer a garden that’s cozy and cottagy or formal and dramatic or zen and more minimalistic? The answers to these questions will help you define the parameters of your landscape design. Your preferences, needs and budget should drive your landscape design whether you hire a professional or not.
BEST OF BYHYU: 20 New House Must Haves— Design Features that Homeowners Most Often Request in New Homes—BYHYU 186
This week we have a list of features that many homeowners are requesting in new homes that they’re buying or building. This is according to an article in Professional Builder magazine where builders, architects, designers and other industry experts were asked about must have features that today’s homeowners want. Take a look and see how many things on the list will be included your new home. You may not want to include all these elements, but consider the ones that are best for you and your family.
Before we go any further, let’s go over this week's pro terms:
Built-in, Overlay and Integrated Refrigerators
How should you coordinate/pair your backsplash and countertop? Should they be matchy-matchy or contrasting? Which should you choose first? And how much influence should your flooring and cabinet choices have on your choice of backsplash and countertop? This week I’ll give you a few quick tips to help you with making your choices for these two major surfaces of the kitchen (and bathroom).
It’s one thing to see small samples of countertops, tile, paint and flooring in a showroom or retail space, but to see those design features displayed in new houses is so much more helpful. Not even full sized samples such as doors, plumbing fixtures and lighting fixtures have the same impact in a showroom or a photo as they do up close and personal in real life applications. That’s why I take as many opportunities as I can to go to new homes around the country. I want to stay on the pulse of what's new and trending, and what design features seem to be here to stay for the foreseeable future— the ones that emerged several years ago, but don’t seem to be going anywhere (like linear fireplaces).
I recently went to 2 parades of homes—one in Kansas City and one in the Memphis, TN area.
I visited about 30 different brand new homes, about 6 in Memphis and the rest in Kansas City. Many of the features that I saw we’ve talked about on other design trend episodes, but I think it’s important to keep revisiting the topic of home design so we don’t build and decorate a brand new house in a way that looks dated soon after we move in. Here are some of the top design elements I saw in those parades of homes…