September 2012

Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live

A book about the case for remodeling on a limited scale.

Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live by Susan Saranka aims to show that not every remodeling project has to be big and expensive. If the right changes are implemented in the right ways, a homeowner can express their own sensibilities in their home’s decoration without completely gutting it and without completely emptying their bank account. The book’s main principle is that small changes can go a long way when it comes to home remodeling.

The author mentions her own home decorating experience after purchasing her present home in Raleigh, North Carolina.  She points out that the ideas that work for small-scale home remodeling are not necessarily the best in terms of architecture; rather, they should be geared at providing whatever the homeowner needs. The point is to create a home that serves the purposes of the people who live in it.

Saranka points out that the way to make the most of a limited budget is not only to keep the improvements simple, but also to keep them within the home’s existing footprint. She states that there are many potential improvements to a home that can be made without adding on or altering the basic floor plan. Adding on should only be done if absolutely necessary as it will usually cost considerably more than working within the interior of the home.

With her own Raleigh home, Saranka has made a series of changes that she categorizes as:

'Be Your Own House Contractor: Save 25% Without Lifting a Hammer'

A book about saving money by becoming your own general contractor

One of the secrets of the construction industry is that it is entirely possible for an individual with no construction knowledge to save as much as 25 percent of the cost of building a new home by becoming their own contractor. As improbable as this sounds, author and contractor Carl Heldmann says its true, and that it was so easy that he became a builder after doing it himself with his first home in the 1970s. He has been involved in thousands of contraction projects since that first house and claims that it is possible to save even more than 25 percent.

The Color Idea Book

A book on how to pick the right colors for your home.

A homeowner will face many challenges when decorating their home, none of them more important and difficult than choosing colors. The potential choices and combinations for a home are almost unlimited. The colors used for a home are decided by taste and may be a form of the homeowner’s self-expression, but the color-combinations chosen for a room also provide a dramatic effect.

The colors used in a room can make it seem gloomy and small or bright and large. How does the homeowner find color combinations that they like? By using The Color Idea Book. This book is essentially a collection of decorative examples and lessons to inspire homeowners in their quest for a unique and delightful home.

DIY natural household cleaners

Cleaning your home without harmful chemicals.

Most people have no idea what goes into the products they use to clean their homes. A short study of the industries from which the most common household cleaners come will leave the average person with grave doubts about the safety of the chemicals used in their home.

The unknown long-term effects of widely-used chemicals may seem unavoidable to some, but there are alternatives to using the products on store shelves. Among your options are that you can make your own cleaners. Not only will these cleaners be safer, they will lack many of the harsh allergy-exacerbating ingredients found in commercial products.

If you want to make your own cleaners, where do you start? Matt and Betsy Jabs‘ DIY Natural Household Cleaners: How to Make Your Own Cleaners Naturally has in it many recipes that will help you to create healthy cleaners using basic household products. Note the “DIY” in the title, as self-reliance is one of the many benefits of making your own cleaning products.

Designing your dream home

A guide to organizing your building or remodeling project.

Until you have actually attempted a major home building or remodeling project, it is difficult anticipate all the problems you will face. The fact is that there are many variables, and for those who are attempting to take on a home building project with no prior experience, these can be stressful and frustrating. Does this mean that you simply forego the project or procrastinate? No, you need advice and guidance from someone in the know, like Susan Lang, author of Designing Your Dream Home: Every Question to Ask, Every Detail to Consider, and Everything to Know Before You Build or Remodel.

When paying for the services of a contractor or interior designer, it helps for the homeowner to be educated on what it is these people do. The author states in her introduction that the point of the book is to provide the reader with this education, so that they know what questions to ask. It is easy to underestimate the scale and complexity of a building operation.