Did you know that for the third year in a row, 2011 remodeling spending exceeded spending on new construction in the U.S.? We didn’t until this article in the December issue of Builder magazine enlightened us.
Between homeowners staying put and foreclosures in need of repair, remodeling continues to eclipse new-home construction spending. To start, tax credit incentives to add or replace energy-efficient items (like lighting) have led many to remodel rather than move or build a new home. And a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that foreclosure remodeling activity is on the rise – 15% of remodelers and 17% of single-family home builders work with foreclosed homes.
According to the article, most of the remodeling trends are likely to continue, although single-family construction will eventually rise again as consumers regain confidence.
We’d love to hear our readers’ perspective. Homeowners: do these facts reflect how you feel about remodeling vs. moving or building? And builders, are you also seeing these trends in the field?
Did you know that, while often overlooked, undercabinet lighting is a critical source of task lighting in any kitchen? In particular, energy efficient LEDs are a growing option for undercabinet lighting. They contain no mercury, give off less heat than alternative sources and many are dimmable.
Considering adding undercabinet lighting to your kitchen? Keep the following tips in mind:
- Place lights properly. Include one 12-inch undercabinet light fixture for every 4-feet of countertop. Install fixtures toward the front of the cabinets so that they light as much of the work surface as possible.
- Consider saving on installation. If you want to avoid the time and cost of hiring an electrician to put in hard-wired lighting, consider plug-in lighting instead.
- Factor in the counter material. Some undercabinet lighting may cause a reflection off a dark or glossy countertop. Choose fixtures with a frosted lens to help minimize glare.
Have additional kitchen lighting tips? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
You may have the best-designed kitchen layout in the world, but if it’s poorly lit, you won’t enjoy working in the space. So when we came across a great set of tips for properly lighting kitchens in Consumer Reports’ most recent Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide, we knew we wanted to pass along this information to our readers.
Good lighting is all the more critical in today’s busy kitchens, which can host activities from cooking to crafting to paying household bills. With this in mind, three types of illumination combined are necessary for function and effect.
- Ambient (or general) – This type of lighting provides the overall illumination for a room. Good ambient lighting is bright but not glaring, and it can come from ceiling fixtures, pendants and chandeliers and wall-mounted fixtures.
- Task – Task lighting is focused directly on a specific area where activities such as food prep, cleanup or reading take place. This kind of illumination can come from pendant, undercabinet, recessed or track fixtures.
- Accent – This kind of lighting adds visual interest to a room by accentuating specific design elements, such as artwork, architectural details or items displayed on shelves. It’s typically provided by wall-mounted lights or pendants and should be significantly brighter than the ambient lighting surrounding it.
Do you have ambient, task and accent lighting in your kitchen? What types of illumination would you like to add to this space in your home?
When the Home Builders Association in our hometown of Greenville, South Carolina wanted to give former Marine Sgt. Michael Batton and his family a new kitchen in honor of his service, we knew we wanted to help.
As part of the Wounded Warrior Project, the surprise home remodel is bringing together several local companies and manufacturers who are donating products and services for the project. We are supplying five lighting fixtures for the Battons’ new kitchen, including a kitchen fluorescent, dining room light, two mini pendants and an undercabinet light.
Check out photos from the event held earlier this month when Michael was surprised with the news – and we can’t wait to see the finished kitchen!
‘Tis the season of winter storms and high heating costs. We were reminded of the upcoming seasonal woes in a recent local news article.
Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, it costs more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light and live in homes across the country?
While high utility costs are expected during the colder months of the year, if your home isn’t heated properly, you could be sacrificing energy – and dollars. Here are a few pointers to help ensure your home’s efficiency:
- Seal air ducts and duct leaks
- Make sure your home has enough insulation
- Check problem areas, like spaces around drop-down doors, plumbing entrances and around electrical outlets
Many of these repairs can be done yourself (especially for our DIY readers). Have you assessed your home’s efficiency for the season? If so, do you have any tips to add to this list?
During October we held our DIY Lighting Giveaway contest asking Progress Lighting’s Facebook fans to show us their best do-it-yourself home renovation project. We are excited to say that we had some great entries, and a very deserving group of top 5 winners. Each winner will receive a Progress Lighting 3-light bath and vanity fixture from our Renovations collection.
Take a look at their handy work!
Erica Yingling: “getting new windows…finally”
Becca: “From Start to Finish!”
Catherine Horner: “Spare Room, getting ready for company”
Jody Arwood: “Bathroom”
Kevin Grove: “Laminate Flooring Installation”
Which home DIY renovation is your favorite? Be sure to stay tuned on our Facebook page to learn about our upcoming promotions!
When you’re serious about starting a kitchen or bath remodel, “planning” is the magic word – it ensures you money doesn’t run down the drain (no pun intended). Follow the planning pointers below – as shared in Better Homes and Gardens’ Kitchen and Bath Makeovers – to take the guesswork out of budgeting for a remodel.
- Ask questions upfront. What do you want to accomplish with this remodel? What are your priorities? How much can you afford to invest?
- Figure out financing. Several options are available to help you cover the cost of your remodel – like refinancing, home equity loans and personal loans. Do your homework to determine which makes the most financial sense.
- Get estimates. Obtain thorough quotes from designers and contractors. Make sure they visit your home to evaluate the site, and ask them to provide references and examples of past work. Even if you’re a DIYer, it’s worth it to consult a professional.
- Sweat the small stuff. Even seemingly minute details – such as the placement of electrical outlets – need to be addressed ahead of time to prevent snap decisions and costly mistakes mid-project.
- Expect the unexpected. Unforeseen conditions can wreak havoc on a remodeling budget. Including a 20% cushion in your budget at the beginning of a project can offset surprises that often happen as the remodel progresses.
For our readers who have recently completed – or are in the middle of – a home remodeling project, what other suggestions would you add to this list?
Getting on board with green living can be easy but costly at the same time. Thanks to Re-Nest and HGTV Remodels, we found these 5 quick tips for remodeling your home green. Both budget and eco-friendly, we hope you find these tips helpful!
1. Reduce your air conditioning bill by avoiding east and west facing windows.
2. Landscape using native plants, as they won’t require as much irrigation.
3. Use exposed areas of your home, such as wooden beams, as design elements.
4. To avoid the possibilities of mold, opt for uncovered wooden or concrete floors instead of carpet.
5. Switch to water efficient equipment to both save on costs and conserve this natural resource.
To all of our budget-savvy readers, do you have any other tips to add? We would love to hear them!
The Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon was held September 23-October 2 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 19 teams of college students from across the globe competed to design eco-friendly, cost efficient and desirable homes.
When Team Florida needed energy efficient ceiling fans with light kits, we knew we wanted to help! We contributed two Energy Star-qualified P2530-30W ceiling fans to help in their design and construction efforts. Team Florida consisted of four universities including Florida State University, the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida. Their house was creatively named the FLeX House, as their prototype was designed as a pre-fabricated, sustainable home, flexible and adaptable to numerous situations.
We are excited that we were able to be involved in this innovative design competition. Great job Team Florida!
To see images of Team Florida’s FLeX house, visit http://www.solardecathlon.gov/gallery_florida.html.