You may have heard me say “I gotta …
February 10, 2012
Have you got the power? It takes will …
May 24, 2011
Can you imagine yourself buying a house like …
September 16, 2010
Apothecary cabinets with glass doors and a simple …
January 26, 2010
Plumbing leaks aren’t supposed to happen. They’re more …
January 26, 2010
When confronted with a crisis, the outcome is …
January 23, 2010
Remodeling’s “Cost vs. Value Report” is out and …
December 17, 2009
Just got word our bid was accepted! This …
October 16, 2009
A complex commercial project. Extensive termite damage has …
October 16, 2009
We’ll be transforming an attic to a beautiful …
October 16, 2009
Category Archives: Our Work
You may have heard me say “I gotta be in Springfield” lately. What’s in Springfield?
A 1,400 square foot second-story addition and all-new windows throughout the house.
Some of the noteworthy features of this project include:
- complete master bath, with standing whirlpool shower (with body sprays)
- a clean kids’ bath
- a whole house fan
- hardwood floors
- upgraded trim work
- office nook under the staircase in the kitchen
The homeowner/customer is wonderful and has been taking lots of photos. Here’s how the exterior has transformed…
Remodeling’s “Cost vs. Value Report” is out and I’m surprised at how well “attic bedroom” projects ranked. I’m not surprised at how well the “entry door replacement” did — adding absolute value in some regions.
Although the survey’s methodology isn’t as “real” as one would hope, it nevertheless is a good indicator of what’s happening in the marketplace. The 2006 report, called the housing downturn…
Over the years, the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report has been a reliable gauge of the general temperature of the residential remodeling and real estate markets. Typically, it is retrospective, but at times it has served to forecast a trend, as it did in 2006. That year the cost-to-value ratio dropped more than 10 points, a downturn that most remodeling professionals didn’t begin to feel until a year or more later. That 2006 Report was even out ahead of existing home prices, which in most markets didn’t start to drop until 2007.
Last year, the deepening housing crisis and fourth-quarter financial market meltdown made it difficult to interpret the Cost vs. Value data, which was collected over the spring and midsummer. The results seemed to indicate that remodeling activity was about to reach bottom and start turning up, but after the declaration of a U.S. recession, all bets were off. For many remodelers during that time, it was as if a switch had been flipped; existing business was cancelled or indefinitely postponed, and the prospect of new business simply vanished.
Fortunately for us, we’ve kept ourselves very busy throughout the last year or so, with both simple and complex projects. Well, then again, there’s so such thing as a simple project — we just make it look that way for our customers.
Here are the Top 5 in terms of cost recouped for the Mid-Atlantic region (NY, NJ, PA):
97.50% Entry Door Replacement (steel)
81.20% Siding Replacement (vinyl)
76.80% Window Replacement (vinyl)
74.50% Window Replacement (wood)
73.10% Attic Bedroom
79.40% Siding Replacement (fiber-cement)
78.50% Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl)
73.40% Window Replacement (vinyl)
67.20% Window Replacement (wood)
63.80% Grand Entrance (fiberglass)
Thinking about getting one started? I can help; call me.
As a registered Master Plumber in Philadelphia, I’ve seen decades of history in the buildings we’ve renovated. While some may be too old to stand and need to be completely rebuilt, others need to comply with local “historic” building codes.
A Qatari prince’s plan to restore a 17th-century mansion in Paris was blocked yesterday by a French court, which said it may mar the historical monument.
The Paris administrative court said work on the mansion, formerly owned by the Rothschild family, must be suspended. Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullah Al-Thani, a brother of the Emir of Qatar, bought the mansion for about 60 million euros ($88 million) in 2007 and had begun a 40 million-euro restoration.
The court battle was initiated by a heritage protection association that says the bathrooms, elevators and parking planned by the sheikh for his Paris home will threaten the mansion, which dates back to King Louis XIII.
“The sheikh is starting to regret having bought the house,” Eric Ginter, the prince’s lawyer, said in an interview. “This court decision suspends work for maybe two, three years. My client was ready to make such an effort to restore it.”
The three-storey building is located on Quai d’Anjou on the Ile Saint Louis in the heart of old Paris. Known as the “Hotel Lambert,” it was built in 1639 by Louis Le Vau. Some of its galleries and rooms have been decorated by artists such as Le Brun and Le Sueur. In the 19th century, composer Frederic Chopin and his partner George Sand were guests there.
Hotel Lambert has been at the center of a battle between the sheikh and the association ”Paris Historique” that pledges to protect Paris’s heritage. Since the sheikh’s purchase of the stone mansion located on a Unesco World Heritage site, he has faced opposition from many heritage associations. The Ministry of Culture said in June it supported the project.
That project has Excedrin written all over it.
In New Jersey, residential building permits are less than half what they were last year, with the biggest decline in structures with three or more units. Permits for two-family houses have been going down by half for three straight years, according to U.S. Census data.
“We’re very excited about Share Your Project,” Repair-Home.com spokesman, Mark Fisher said. “We wanted to provide an element to our site that would allow our users to easily share their home renovation projects with friends, family, and the online community.”
The Share Your Project feature allows users to upload their home renovation projects directly to the site; homeowners can easily share their projects with interested parties in the Repair-Home.com community. Contractors looking to show potential clients their past work are also encouraged to use the feature. Additional planned features include geo-location project-based search and enhanced user interaction.
Hmm, contractors, too? Maybe I’ll submit some of my “before & afters.” In the meantime, check my gallery for finished work.
With its organic good looks and eco-friendly pedigree, this solid bamboo vessel sink adds unexpected elegance and a natural warmth to any bath design. This bamboo crafted sink is also incredibly durable and easily withstands the rigors of daily use. Each sink is professionally sealed with waterproof polyurethane to create a maintenance free finish. The sink measures a generous 17″ high by 6″ deep with a 1-3/8″ thickness. Pair it with your choice of plumbing hardware to create a custom look that is destined to become the focal point of your bathroom decor.
Bamboo isn’t for everyone — nor are vessel sinks — but this one is truly unique. When my customers choose their own fixtures, it makes my job all the more interesting.
New US residential building fell to the lowest level since 1959 last month, suggesting the stricken housing market may have further to fall.
Housing starts fell for the ninth time in 10 months, dropping by 12.8 per cent to an adjusted annual rate of construction of 458,000, commerce department figures showed yesterday. The fall dashed analysts’ expectations of an increase in new construction, but many pointed out that the overhang of housing inventory must be cut before the market can recover.
The monthly fall was due to a steep drop in multi-family home construction, such as apartment blocks, which fell by 46.1 per cent.
Multi-family starts are off my 46.1%? That will drag down the total number for sure. Oddly, the FT missed the “up” number in the report. Take a closer look at the Commerce Department report (opens in PDF) and you’ll see single-family home construction is up 2.8%.
Not ready for an new home? Start putting on additions — that’s where I can help.
Today’s press release from Moen caught my eye — and not only because it’s well-written:
It’s where the typical family begins and ends their day, and truth be told, it’s where they spend a good chunk of their time throughout the day, as well. Whether it’s preparing meals, finishing homework, surfing the internet, or even wrapping gifts, the kitchen has become the real living room of the home. Curious about this hub of daily activity, Moen Incorporated, the number one faucet brand in North America, began to wonder how real life played out in this space and recently conducted an online survey to query consumers about everything from kitchen pet peeves in and around the sink to what they would like to change most about their current kitchens.
Loved the responses to “desired changes:”
- 43% – replacing existing countertops (ranked #1)
- 40% – making the kitchen larger
- 39% – adding more storage space
- 38% – replacing appliances
- 37% – installing new flooring
That where I come in to help you with small, medium or large kitchen projects. Give me a call; I can help you plan it and build it.
That’s right: I love to cook. Having worked in restaurants as a chef, I continue catering private parties from time to time. This week was especially busy.
On Sunday, my Godson received his First Holy Communion. We subsequently entertained 30 adults and 12 kids at my sister’s house in Metuchen. Then, on Tuesday, I catered a broker open house in Asbury Park.
- Rock shrimp with spring vegetables sauted with garlic and basil, served over fettucini.
- Veal, pork and beef mini meatballs in a porcini and morel cream sauce.
- Hickory-smoked ham with brie and olive tapenade canapés
- Herb tuna salad rolled inside Boston lettuce
- Vidalia onion toasts
“Fresh and Light” for real estate agents on the go. Who, by the way, are not any less active than before this recession we’re in. From what I’ve heard from the realtor community, the economy is beginning to rebound.
A little about how I prepared the menu…
Low-fat, with only four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to saute the shrimp and vegetables. A half-bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay was poured in and allowed to reduce, the sauce was left loose to keep it light — allowing the vegetable and the shrimp flavor to dominate.
Ah, here’s the secret: I used my grandmother’s recipe. The complex flavor of the mushrooms complemented the meatballs’ tender character.
The hors d’œuvre were reminiscent a version of a traditional lunch. The ham canapés and tuna rolls were small yet satisfying, beautifully assembled — a work of culinary art.
Everything was garnished with fresh vegetables with beautiful herbs, most of which are in full bloom now.
Having a private affair? Give me a call: I’d love to hear from you.
Look at that tile job, it’s perfect! Most of us would say something similar after it’s finished.
Fast-forward two years of wear, with kids, pets and you-name-it. If you don’t make an effort to keep it clean, it won’t look as good. I recommend routine washing; don’t let it build up.
She cleans it with water. Here are her secrets:
• 1. “I use my ACT Natural microfiber mop,” says Cobb, who sells the miracle product on queenofclean .com. The microfiber traps the dirt and dust, she says, while other mops just spread the dirty water into impossible places like grout lines.
“When I found this microfiber, it was one of my magic moments,” Cobb says.
• 2. Rinse well, and rinse often. Keep your cloth clean, she says. Machine wash microfiber cloths separate from other items without fabric softener, bleach or other additives. They’ll last for years. And your mop handle, by the way, “should just reach your shoulder,” Cobb says.
• 3. If the grout gets really bad, Cobb busts out her SonicScrubber and a locally made product called Clean and Shield Bath Scrub (sold at Whole Foods Market). The SonicScrubber boasts “3,600 scrubs per minute,” Cobb says.
• 4. We should also mention that the Queen of Clean has a cleaning lady now. Cobb is busy. She travels. She needs help. Her cleaning lady is “even more anal than I am,” Cobb says. As for the cleaning lady’s phone number? That remains a secret.
Fallen behind on maintenance? Go green, via Mother Nature News:
To tackle mold and mildew without harsh, toxic cleaners, first mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray the affected area. Let it sit for an hour. Next, mix a cup of baking soda with just enough natural liquid detergent (like castile soap) to create a paste. Give it a good scrub and your tile will look as good as new.
Too late for cleaning? Let’s do it over. Give me a call and we’ll talk about what’s best for your situation.