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The Higher Price of Electrical For Your Home

A special kind of circuit breaker is now required for most circuits in your home.  Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) have been required for circuits in bedrooms under the National Electrical Code since 2002, but are now required on most other circuits as well.    Their steep price tag will mean an increase in electrical costs for homeowners remodeling, adding onto their homes or building new homes.  The NEC code is adopted differently and with varying timing depending on the jurisdiction in which you live. The AFCI breaker is far less well known than the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), which is … Continue reading

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KBIS & IBS — Design & Construction Week

For the first time, two of the biggest national design and construction conferences met at the same time in the same place.  The result was Design & Construction Week 2014–an event at the Las Vegas Convention Center that drew tens of thousands of designers, architects, builders, remodelers and the vendors who sell to them. The Convention Center appeared to be nearly at capacity, with three halls filled with vendors from the US, Canada, other international suppliers and a special section devoted just to China.  The “village” outside included model modular homes and an Ultimate Kitchen display. The Kitchen & Bath … Continue reading

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Seattle Remodeling Expo

We are making our second appearance at the Seattle Remodeling Expo this weekend at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.  A couple of thoughts after being at our booth for two days and a few tips if you are planning to come tomorrow: There was an excellent turnout today on a beautiful, sunny day.  This tells us that lots of people have remodeling on their mind.  There are a wide variety of projects that are either being actively planned or are just in the first stages of conceptualization.  We talked with dozens of couples and families whose projects … Continue reading

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Lumber Prices Up and Down and Up Again

If Seattle had an official bird, it might be the crane.  Well more than a dozen of them dot the downtown area with long arms and flashing lights above.  West Seattle alone is about to have its third crane go up in the Alaska Junction.  It’s a sign of strong commercial construction, but residential is also booming. That is also a harbinger of the predictable roller-coaster of lumber prices that follows high activity in construction.  Prices have actually already been up this year, per the National Association of Home Builders’ weekly board foot lumber price survey.  Lumber hit a peak price … Continue reading

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articles written for Houzz.com


6 Lessons Learned From a Master Suite Remodel - One project yields some universal truths about the remodeling process

Construction Contracts: How to Understand What You Are Buying - Learn how plans, scope of work and specifications define the work to be completed

Construction Contracts: What Are General Conditions? - Here's what you should know about these behind-the-scenes costs and why your contractor bills for them

Construction Contracts: What to Know About Estimates vs. Bids - Understanding how contractors bill for services can help you keep costs down and your project on track

9 Questions to Ask a Home Remodeler Before You Meet - Save time and effort by ruling out deal breakers with your contractor before an in-person session

Contractor Fees, Demystified - Learn what a contractor's markups cover — and why they're worth it

What to Shop for in Cabinet Hardware and Millwork - Learn about finishing touches for kitchen and bath cabinets to pick the options that will work best for you

10 Things to Discuss With Your Contractor Before Work Starts - Have a meeting a week before hammers and shovels fly to make sure everyone’s on the same page

Painted vs. Stained Kitchen Cabinets: Help for Deciding - Learn about durability, looks, cost and more for wooden cabinet finishes to make the right choice for your kitchen

Learn the Lingo of Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles - Understand door types, materials and cabinet face construction to make the right choice when you shop

Choosing New Cabinets? Here’s What to Know Before You Shop - Get the scoop on kitchen and bathroom cabinet materials and construction methods to understand your options

Learn the Lingo of Construction Project Costs - Estimates, bids, ballparks ... know the different options and how they’re calculated to get the most accurate project price possible

9 Hard Questions to Ask When Shopping for Stone - Learn all about stone sizes, cracks, color issues and more so problems don't chip away at your design happiness later

Must-See Mock-ups for Your Remodel - Avoid 'oops' and 'oh, no' with real-life tryouts of any design elements in question

6 Steps to Planning a Successful Building Project - Put in time on the front end to ensure that your home will match your vision in the end

Decking Materials Beyond Basic Lumber - Learn about softwoods, tropical hardwoods, composites and more for decks, including pros, cons and costs

7 Bad Things Your Home May Be Hiding - What you don't know about your home could cost you during a remodel. Here's what to plan for

10 Questions to Ask Potential Contractors - Ensure the right fit by interviewing general contractors about these topics that go beyond the basic

5 Common-Sense Ways to Get a Greener Home Design - You don't need fancy systems or elaborate schemes to make your home energy efficient and sustainable. You just need to choose wisely

5 Remodeling Monkey Wrenches and How to Prevent Them - Avoid delays and cost overruns by planning certain parts of a home remodel extra carefully. We show you which ones and how

10 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before You Start Your Project - Ask these questions before signing with a contractor for better communication and fewer surprises along the way

Movin' on Up: What to Consider With a Second-Story Addition - Learn how an extra story will change your house and its systems to avoid headaches and extra costs down the road

The Benefits of Building Out — and What to Consider Before You Add On - See how heading out instead of up or down with your addition can save money, time and hassle

How to Dig Down for Extra Living Space - No room for a ground-level addition? See if a finished basement is a good idea for you

Get Creative With Your Bathroom Floor Tile - Add movement, definition and interest to a humble bathroom floor by sidestepping uniform tile in favor of an unusual design

Travel Guide: Seattle for Design Lovers - Pioneers of the past and high-tech titans of the present make for an eclectic mix of architecture, museums, hotels and eateries

10 Amenities to Make Your Bathroom Extraordinary - Go beyond the basics for a luxury bathroom experience, with extra-special options starting at only $25

11 Things to Expect With Your Remodel - Prepare yourself. Knowing what lies ahead during renovations can save your nerves and smooth the process

How to Paint Your Hardwood Floors - Know how to apply nail polish? Then you can give your wooden floors a brand-new look

10 Tips to Maximize Your Whole House Remodel - Cover all the bases now to ensure many years of satisfaction with your full renovation, second-story addition or bump-out

Should You Stay or Should You Go for a Remodel? 10 Points to Ponder - Consider these renovation realities to help you decide whether to budget for temporary housing



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