This family needed an in-law suite for their colonial style home in Hillsborough, New Jersey. The space over the garage was a perfect location for the bedroom suite. The project included a large bedroom with a sitting area, two closets, and a roomy, three-fixture bathroom. The new space has access from the existing hall and stairwell plus a rear entrance from the first floor deck below.
The access steps leading up to the suite had to come of the existing stairway landing. The placement of the rooms in the space also had to be done with consideration of the rear door and exterior stairs to land properly on the existing first floor deck. (more…)
If you buy a new bicycle you take it for a ride. When you buy a new baseball glove you break it in having a catch. Well, then it makes sense that if you have your kitchen remodeled you christen it with a neighborhood cocktail party! That is exactly what happened at Sue and Scott’s home in North Plainfield, New Jersey. The Design Build Pros designed and developed kitchen and bathroom remodeling plans for their 1960′s ranch style home in Somerset County. ProSkill Construction, a DBP Preferred Remodeler, performed the renovation expertly according to the designs. (more…)
Today’s mud room may have more possible uses than any other room in the home. That is why it should not be overlooked or just casually considered when designing a new home or major first floor remodel. Over the past year, wish list requests from homeowners planning construction projects include mud rooms more than ever before.
A mud room creates a break or transition from the outside to the main part of the home. The name is a reference for a place to remove muddy (or wet) footwear. It is generally a side or rear door access as opposed to the front, main entry door and foyer. The mud room may be a self contained room with a passage door separating it from the next room. This will provide a weather break to the outside preventing a gust of wind or hot/cold air from affecting the other rooms. The mud room can just be a mud room area, without the interior door, done as an alcove, nook, or small hall access and transition space. Most commonly the mud room is off the kitchen, but can also lead to a common area such as family room or main hallway. (more…)
In a recent interview, Neil Parsons, owner of Design Build Pros, was asked the following questions about basic home improvement projects that may be achieved for less than $1,000.
Q: For homeowners looking to make home improvement upgrades, but only have a $1,000 budget, which areas of the home should they focus on? Why?
A: First, I believe that all homeowners should have a list of projects that need to be done. As we all have learned, anything committed in writing is more likely to get done. The list should be broken in two categories: things that need to be done and things than you want to have done. For example, you need to address a leaking faucet or pipe but, you want to change a kitchen countertop. I always suggest completing the needs before the wants for many reasons. One reason is goal setting. People will want to get through the needs as quick as possible to be able to start on the wants.
Q: What type of updates can you do in the kitchen for $1,000 or less? (more…)
The Jersey Shore (“The Beach” to locals) has undergone an evolution in its identity. Since 2009, the polarizing TV show associated with it has given the coastal communities a caricature of their personas. The shore has became one of those places that “is not like it used to be.” I believe that in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, the people of New Jersey will want to recapture the memories of a person’s youth, or to create new ones for their family; creating an environment for local businesses to thrive.
Everyone in and around New Jersey has memories from the beach; whether it was where you grew up, where you spent your summers, or where you just took day trips to, it has been a part of your life and your family. What I have learned from this storm is that those memories are precious, and the only things that supersede them are the new memories you can form for your family, for your children, and one day, their children. Most people I have spoken to agree with me. There is a desire to ensure that every memory is kept intact, and that new ones are made. There is a feeling of Jersey Shoreism in this post-Sandy time, much like the Patriotism following 9/11. People want to be a part of the shore, the rebuilding, the new memories. (more…)
INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE REMODELING INDUSTRY (NARI.ORG)
Did you know that the air inside your home is, on average, two to five times more polluted than the air outside? Because we spend the majority of our time indoors, homeowners are quickly realizing the importance of keeping their indoor air as clean as possible.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are one important contributing factor to poor indoor air quality. VOCs are emitted as gases from many everyday items, including paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, furnishings, building materials and cleaning materials.
VOCs can have a detrimental effect on your health. In the short-term, they can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination and nausea. Over the long term, VOCs have been attributed to damaging the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some are also known to cause cancer. The compounds have a particularly damaging effect on people with asthma or other breathing issues.
Thankfully, there are ways you can reduce your exposure to VOCs:
• Buy products that are labeled no- or low-VOC, including paint and cleaners.
• Increase ventilation when using products that emit VOCs.
• Use household products according to manufacturer’s directions.
• Throw away unused or little-used containers safely and only purchase the amounts you need. VOCs can “leak” out of closed containers you have stored on shelves and in cabinets.
There are also home maintenance activities you can do to help lower the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home:
Open your windows. Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the amount of fresh air coming into the home.
Install fans. Bathroom and kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate. Consider installing a mechanical ventilation system, which introduces fresh air using ducts and fans, instead of relying on holes or cracks in the walls and windows.
Add an air cleaner. There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from inexpensive portable models to sophisticated whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most tabletop models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants.
From the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI):
Winterize Your Home on Any Budget
Soon the weather will be frightful and Jack Frost will be nipping at your nose. Old man winter is just around the corner, and securing your home against those cold blasts should be at the top of the “honey do” list. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure that your family stays comfortable and warm without busting your budget. We’ve rounded up tips to winterize your biggest investment at three price points.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates you can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat. Do it while you’re at work during the day or under the covers and night and you might not even feel it. If you annual heating and cooling bill is $1,000, moving the thermostat down will save you around $100 a year. (more…)
Eureka! I struck gold. I stopped in the liquor store to pick up a wine for dinner. Unfortunately I was in a rush and I usually like spend some time to browse; the kid in a candy store thing. I headed for the California Pinot Noirs to pair with the grilled salmon I had planned for dinner. As I drifted down the aisle I found myself in front of the California blends. Before I had the chance to step back to the Pinot Noirs, a wine and label new me was eye level and accented by one of those “why to drink me” tags hanging from the shelf edge. Impulse and intrigue won and I grabbed the California blend with the cool label and interesting name – Apothic Red.
Haste, certainly was not a waste. Expecting it to be heavier, I did not have the wine with my salmon dinner as I opted for just water instead. I opened the bottle later in the evening. The aroma was powerfully pleasant. The taste was similar with heavy fruit flavors with hints of vanilla and mocha. The finish was excellent. The blend is primarily Zinfadel with Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot. It seemed strong to me. Listed as 13.1% alcohol content the bottle was enjoyed over two nights.
According to the website, the name Apothic was inspired by “Apotheca,” a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe.
Combining the experience with the price (under $15), Apothic Red is now on my “go to” list and I expect will be on my table again very soon. ~ reviewed by Neil Parsons
The Design Build Pros, brothers Jason Parsons and Neil Parsons, actually do have personal lives…sometimes. One of their hobbies is wine tasting (drinking!). They are amateur wine enthusiasts, that prefer red wine. While they have experienced and thoroughly enjoy expensive bottles, “value” is definitely a consideration in their evaluations. Regular guys like discovering a great, inexpensive find. Plus, the discovery “process” is very relaxing and fun!
The Design Build Pros design and develop many master bedrooms for both new space and remodels. One of the development steps involved is the client filling out the DBP Project Profile Checklist. This form helps with the customization of the project for the preferences, styles, and needs of the individual person or family. Wish list desires are addressed. “Must have” and “do not want” items are noted. Very common on the must have side for today’s master bathroom is more storage and better organization. Typically this request is addressed through the effective use of vanities, wall cabinets, shower niches, towel cubbies, hooks, and racks.
Another request, especially for bathrooms to be used by more than one person, is a private or semi-private area for the toilet. This is achieved with a partition wall or a wall and door, also known as a water closet. A water closet is technically defined as a room with a toilet and possibly a sink. Therefore, what many refer to as a powder room would be a water closet. Add a tub or shower and now it is considered a bathroom. Within a bathroom, a water closet creates a private room for a toilet. (more…)
I will admit that I discounted this film while it was in theaters, and after, as a “chick flick” even with the critical praise, Oscar Award (Natalie Portman for Best Actress), and the recommendation of friends. So, in search of a free movie, I watched the trailer and realized I may have been very wrong in my pre-judgement.
Black Swan is intense and suspenseful. Portman was excellent and the story line was very good. Portman, the queen swan, is tormented by her inner self as well as the many antagonistic characters, real or perceived. The movie offers twists and look-away, cringing moments in a well done script and acting. It reminded me a bit of the lesser Single White Female (1992).
Who knew there was so much blood, violence, and sex in the world of ballet? I am now a fan of the ballet…as long as Mila Kunis is in it! Come on, you must have expected me to reference her role in movie and the audience draw that she, and the actions of her character, created. ~ Reviewed by Neil Parsons 2012-09-10
The Design Build Pros, brothers Jason Parsons and Neil Parsons, actually do have personal lives…sometimes. One of their hobbies is movie watching. While their tastes are similar, there are personal lifestyle differences and demographics that influence the movies they watch and like. Neil is 15 years older than Jason and has one son in college. Jason has three young sons very close in age.