Outdoor living spaces are more important than ever. Most folks building new homes want a deck, porch and/or patio where they can entertain or just relax as a family.
This week we'll go over the pros and cons of these different deck, patio and porch materials: Natural Stone, Concrete Pavers, Poured Concrete, Tile, Brick, Wood Composite, and Wood. When choosing the materials for the construction of your porch, deck or patio, the style of your home and your personal preference should definitely be considered. A traditional home would look nice with a brick patio, for example, whereas a more contemporary house might look better with an outdoor space made of poured concrete or sleek pavers.
But, in addition to aesthetic considerations, we should also think about maintenance and the cost of different patio and deck materials. So, let’s get right to it. Starting with natural stone.
This week I have a quick episode telling you about 7 house layout mistakes you should avoid when designing your home. Most of them are mistakes that I almost made, until I mentally walked through the house. Some of them are mistakes that my architect didn’t even see until I brought them to his attention. So do your due diligence, even if you are working with a professional, and literally study your house plan before you finalize it.
Before we get to this week’s list of mistakes, I want thank Kotton for listening to the last week’s episode called Lighting 101. He brought to my attention that I didn’t mention the efficacy of LED light bulbs. NoT efficiency, but efficacy. Technically, the word efficacy, not efficiency, should be used when talking about the amount of light an LED produces per watt. Sometimes efficacy is called luminous efficacy. You’ll see efficacy listed on almost all LED light bulbs. We’ll pay more upfront for bulbs with greater efficacy, but we’ll save money in lower utility bills over the life of the bulb. A good efficacy standard is at least 100.
Thanks Kotton for that additional information. Much respect to you too.
Now, let’s go over the 7 layout mistakes to avoid when designing your house.
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.
I haven’t started the fun, exciting part of the building process yet, but as I'm heading toward the end of the planning phase, I'm starting to reach out to folks who I'll need for the actual construction phase. So, today I called a building inspector. In this week’s very quick post, I’ll tell you what happened.
Hot Home Trends 2018— Lessons Learned at the International Builders Show and Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Show 2018—BYHYU 101
Many of the trends that I saw at this year’s Design and Construction week are a continuation of the what I saw in 2016 and 2017. I’m finding that homebuilding trends don’t typically change abruptly from year to year. So the trends that I talked about in episode 5 and episode 55 still hold for this year. But here is a list of a few new trends for 2018.
1. Matte Black— Matte black was one the hottest finishes seen this year. Matte black was seen in bathroom and kitchen faucets, on bathroom, kitchen and closet cabinetry, in lighting fixtures, hardware, on interior and exterior window finishes, interior and exterior doors, and in tile and countertops. Silver (chrome) and warm metal (brass) finishes are still very much on trend, but matte black was the newest kid on the block and was featured by many brands.
To commemorate our 100th episode, I want to give you some of my favorite homebuilding and design tips that I’ve learned over the past 2 years of this podcast. I’ve learned so much, but these are some of the most relevant things.
We’ll go over 50 tips in this week’s mini lesson, but since this is the 100th episode, it only makes sense that I give you a list of 100 of the most important pieces of homebuilding knowledge that I've gained. So we’ll go over 50 tips now and I’ll send you 50 more tips and tricks if you email me at info@BYHYU.com or you can get in touch with me through the "Contact Us" tab above.
All you have to do is type the number "100" in the subject line and as a thank you for helping me get to episode 100, I’ll send you a PDF of a list of 50 bonus tips, plus the 50 tips that we’ll cover in today, so you won’t have to take notes. You’ll end up with a list of 100 of my favorite bits of homebuilding information. Now don’t worry about me spamming you. I wouldn’t do that.
Before we get to the first 50 tips, I want to sincerely thank you for your loyalty and support and for encouraging me to keep the podcast going with your awesome reviews and kind emails. I especially want to thank you for sharing the show with friends, family and coworkers by text, email and on social media. You are the reason the show is doing so well. Since I’m not great with social media, I’ve been counting on you to spread the word about the podcast/blog and you’ve done that, so thank you.
As we move forward with the podcast/blog, I’ll continue to give you quick tips, mini lessons and interviews that will help you make informed decisions about your homebuilding options, but when I actually break ground on my own project, I’ll be doing more regular project updates and I’ll tell you what materials, appliances, fixtures, and methods I’ve decided on and why. Thank you again for all that you’ve done to help me over the past 2 years.
Okay, let’s get into the first 50 most relelvant homebuilding tips.
Solar energy harnesses the energy of the sun to power your house. A 2017 report from the International Energy Agency says that solar energy has become the world's fastest growing source of power--marking the first time that solar energy’s growth has surpassed that of all other fuels.
Most people who want to install a solar panel system are motivated to do so because either saving the planet is important to them and/or because saving money on their utility bills is important to them. Either way, solar panel systems are tremendously beneficial.
This week you'll get a basic overview of solar power systems, including the pros and cons of the different types of solar panels, the average cost, and the amount of maintenance needed. We’ll also talk about leasing solar panels.
Before we get to the mini lesson, let’s go over a few Pro Terms:
On the grid, zero energy homes and off the grid.
The refrigerator is one of the hardest working, most used appliances in a house. Back in the day, all they had were refrigerators with freezers on top and the main choice they had to make was color. Remember harvest gold and avocado?
Today, we have so many choices in refrigerators that I thought I’d do a quick episode covering the pros and cons of each type of refrigerator to help us choose the best fridge for our new homes.
We’ll talk about top freezer refrigerators and bottom freezer refrigerators, french door refrigerators and side by side refrigerators, counter depth fridges and full refrigerator columns. Plus I’ll tell you the rule of thumb for the amount of fridge space you need in cubic feet.
A few weeks ago I had to go to my architect and tell him I had completely forgotten to put a very important space in our house plan. It hadn't even crossed my mind until I saw my husband putting up our Christmas decorations. He’s the Christmas decorator, not me. And he is quite the decorator. He goes all out, so we will definitely need a dedicated space for our Christmas decor. Just a couple of weeks ago we added a Christmas nook to our attic.
This week I'll give you a few quick tips to help you design and build a house with the holidays in mind. Putting in a little extra thought and planning in before we build will make holiday decorating a lot easier and more enjoyable. Now, I’ll be referring to Christmas for most of these tips, but these ideas should be helpful for those celebrating Hanukkah and other seasonal holidays.
Lets get right to those quick tips.
If you’re like most of us, you’re dreaming of a spacious, well organized master closet. A walk in master closet is what most people will op for, but if you’re limited by space or budget, you might have go with a reach in closet. This week we’ll talk about the advantages of walk in closets versus reach in or wall closets, whether flat shoe shelves, slanted shoe shelves or shoe cubbies are better. And we’ll go over open storage versus closed storage, plus the different materials used to fabricate closets.
Before we get to the mini lesson, let’s go over a couple of pro terms:
Wall Hung Closet Systems and Floor Mounted Closet Systems
Well BYHYU, I’m still coughing and a little hoarse, so I’ll make this post/podcast a really quick one, but I want to give you an update on my project and give you a few things to think about when designing your house.
First, let me address the Private BYHYU Facebook group I asked you about a few weeks ago. I think it’s best to hold off on it for a while. I’ll revisit that decision in a few months, maybe when I actually start building. But thanks to all of you who wrote in expressing your interest in a group page. I think it’s a great idea, and maybe we’ll have more people willing to participate in a few months. You can still contact me to let me know that you're interested in participating in the Facebook community group page. Just message me through the contact page on this site or on the regular, public BYHYU Facebook page
Okay, let’s get right into that project update.
I recently wrote a guest blog post for a home improvement site called Kukun. I thought you might like to hear the tips that I gave them for finding a good subcontractor (the post was actually on how to find a good electrician, but the tips apply to finding any good sub).
I’ve covered many of these tips in several different previous podcast episodes, but I want to go over all those tips in one single show so you can reference this week’s show notes when it comes time for you to search for your subs. Plus I’ll give you a couple of new suggestions.
Okay, let's get right to it.
Most of us have to consider budget when making decisions about our dream homes. And some budgets are tighter than others. So this week, I’ll give you some tips on the best places to save when building a house versus areas where you should splurge.
Before we get to that, let's define a Pro Term: Value engineering.
Value engineering is term that you might hear some architects and contractors use when talking about saving money when building a house. Value engineering is an economical way of building that removes excessive costs, but preserves good design. In other words value engineering aims to lower the cost of building without lowering functionality. That’s achieved by spending in some areas and saving in others.
So, our tips this week will focus on value engineering. Let’s get to it.
Since we compared front load washers and top load washers in last week’s mini lesson, it only makes sense that we cover dryers this week. We’ll talk about gas versus electric dryers and cover some of the more popular dryer options, such as steam dryers and dryers with moisture sensors. Plus, we’ll go over some best practices for installing the dryer vent system— what you can request that will decrease your risk of a dryer fire.
Too often I hear homeowners talking about washers as if they were solely decorative items. I'll often hear questions like “Do you like the burgundy or the navy blue washer better?”
Listen, I like beautiful appliances as much as anyone else, but it’s also important to strongly consider functionality and performance when purchasing an appliance that’s as hard working as a washer. This week we’ll compare traditional top loading washers with front loading washers and I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of each.
But let’s start with 2 pro terms this week. We haven’t done that in a while.
Our pro terms this week are agitator and impeller. Both agitators and impellers are used in top load washers to help get clothes clean. Let’s start by talking about agitators.
Oh My Goodness. I’ve had such an eventful month. First of all, my computer died last week, which is why I didn’t have an episode for you. But I got a new MacBook Air a couple of days again, and I’m back in business.
Because of trouble with my computer and because I wanted to do something a little different, I spent more time away from the internet and library this month. I did more research out in the field.
At the beginning of the month, I went to the Kansas City Parade of Homes. And this past week, I ventured out to different homebuilding job sites in an attempt to gather names and contact information for some subcontractors who I could potentially hire for my project. So, this episode will cover some lessons that I’ve learned this past month.
Let’s start with the most shocking thing that I was informed about, which inspired the title of this episode.
This week we’ll learn some interior design basics, especially as it pertains to new and remodeled homes. You’ll hear my conversation with Betsy Helmuth, owner of Affordable Interior Design and host of her own interior design podcast called Big Design, Small Budget. It’s one of my new favorites. I just love it and here’s why: In the same way this podcast simplifies and demystifies homebuilding concepts, Betsy, on Big Design Small Budget, simplifies and demystifies interior design. So, to go along with BYHYU’S tips and tricks for building your dream house, Betsy gives strategies for decorating your dream house.
And she really knows her stuff. She’s appeared on the Today Show, HGTV, DIY Network, CBS, NBC, plus she’s been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers.
Today you’ll hear her expert opinion on what to do and where to start when designing rooms from scratch. Betsy will tell us what fixtures and finishes should stay consistent throughout the whole house, and when it’s ok to add in different color palettes and styles. We’ll also hear why Betsy says that investment furniture and an all-neutral rooms are no-no’s.
I recently got a request from a listener named Don. He asked me to discuss home generators. On the heels of so many storms that have affected the United States and the Caribbean, we definitely need to at least consider installing a home generator. They can provide power during the outages that often accompany major storms. Thank you, Don, for a great show idea. Let’s get right to it.
There are 2 general types of generators that can be used during power outages— standby generators and backup generators.
So this week I have a project update. A few weeks ago I told you about the trouble that I had getting my house plans started in episode 79 called My house plans— back to the drawing board.
But now, I have a good report. I’ll tell you about the treasures that I’ve found since recording that episode, including a markup tool that I used to tweak my house plan and the person that I’ve got helping me.
Fireplaces 101— Pros and Cons of Wood burning, Gas, Electric and Alcohol/Ethanol Fireplaces— BYHYU 086
You’ve probably dreamed about having a fireplace in your living room, master bedroom, your outdoor living space, or even your master bathroom. Fireplaces these days are far more than a practical source of heat. That’s why people not only in Vermont and Michigan want them, but people building homes in California, Texas, and even Las Vegas plan to have fireplaces installed in their dream homes. Fireplaces add beauty, character, coziness and drama to almost any space and they also add to the perceived value of a house.
This week, we'll go over the pros and cons of the different types of fireplaces, including wood burning, gas, electric and alcohol burning/ethanol fireplaces.
Let’s start with wood burning fireplaces.
Swimming Pools, Part 2—Should You Go With Chlorine, Saltwater or Ultraviolet Light Sanitation? — BYHYU 085
Last week we talked about the pros of cons of the different types of pool construction. After you decide what type of pool structure you want, you’ll have to decide want type of sanitization system you’ll use to keep your pool free of bacteria, viruses and algae.
The most common systems are chlorine, saltwater, and ultraviolet light. Let’s briefly go over each system and discuss the advantages of each.
Swimming Pools, Part 1—Should You Go With Vinyl, Fiberglass or Concrete (Gunite/Shotcrete)?—BYHYU 084
This week’s episode will give you the pros and cons of different types swimming pools in hopes of helping you decide whether your dream house should even include a swimming pool, and if so, what kind. We’ll compare vinyl, fiberglass and concrete pools this week, and next week we’ll talk about sanitation systems, including chlorine, saltwater and ultraviolet light systems. Let’s begin today’s lesson by briefly discussing how a pool might impact the resale value of your house.
Even if, like me, you want hardwood, tile and/or vinyl flooring throughout most of your house, many of us love the warmth, style and soft surface that carpet provides, especially in bedrooms. Carpeting also muffles sound, so it can be especially practical in kids bedrooms or playrooms.
This week’s episode will give you a better understanding how to choose quality carpeting. Carpeting that should last you at least 15 or 20 years.
This week we have the final part of my interview with Sue Burkett, Strategic Marketing Leader for Owens Corning. She’s educating us about how we can make a statement with roof color, using Owens Corning roof shingles.
The roof plays a huge part in your home's aesthetics. If you think of the front of your house as if it were a face, then the roof is like hair. And roof color, like hair color, can drastically alter overall appearance and reflect your personal style.
Let’s take a listen/look at the final part of my interview with Sue, as she tells us how roof color can make our homes uniquely personal.
Too often we think of our home’s roof as only a structural element, when, in fact, choosing roofing that’s also stylish and unique is a great opportunity to make our house stand out from others in the neighborhood. On average, a roof accounts for 40% of the home’s exterior appearance. So choosing the perfect roof color is vitally important in building a distinctive and attractive dream home.
This week, and next week, we’ll hear about Owens Corning Roofing. Now, you probably know Owens Corning’s insulation by its signature pink color. But they also produce other products for the home, including roofing. Sue Burkett will tell us about Owens Corning roof shingles, which come in many beautiful hues that are tasteful, but far from ordinary.
Let’s get right to it. Here’s the first part of my interview with Sue Burkett, Strategic Marketing Leader for Owens Corning.
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