How to Chose Colors for Your Home

Choosing color for your home can be a challenge.
Here I can show you where to place color and also
offer you some color suggestions.

When I design a color palette for my clients, I refer to the interior as a ‘tree’. The Foyer is the trunk which is the core of the home and the rooms are the ‘branches’. This is like a ‘color map’ which helps my clients visualize the layout of their home instead of being so overwhelmed with color placement.

The foyer is usually a neutral color. Most of the foyers where I live are very open and continue up to the second floor. Keeping that in mind, a light, neutral color seems to work best.

I also like to put the foyer color in the hallways. Most hallways that I’ve seen have very poor lighting thus having a tendency to be shadowed. To compensate for this, it’s best to keep the color here fairly light.

In most cases, the dining room is to the left or right side of the foyer. Now again, most of the homes in Charlotte follow this type of layout which is also called an open floor plan. Don’t have a home with an open floor plan? That’s ok! You will still have an entrance way and hallways where your color will work.

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DIY Declining as Homeowners Look to Hire Professionals

Three-quarters of homeowners plan to hire out their remodeling projects

Remodelers will be happy to hear the latest optimistic news from The organization’s Spring 2013 U.S. Remodeling Sentiment Report shows strong growth in higher-end projects and a decline in the do-it-yourself remodeling that grew during the recession.

According to the latest survey results, 58% of homeowners report that the economy is having minimal effect on their remodeling plans. This is up from a mid-recession low of just 33%. Additionally, three-quarters of homeowners (73%) say they plan to hire a general contractor for their project, and more than half (55%) will hire an architect. A full 80% of respondents say they plan to do little to none of the work themselves.

It’s little surprise that kitchen and bathroom remodels tie for the most popular projects with 57% of homeowners reporting that these projects are part of their remodeling plans. The report shows that the average estimated cost for planned remodels has reached $114,000 to remodel or add on an average of 3.6 rooms, which is up from $80,000 and 2.6 rooms at the lowest point of the recession. says that the “wealth effect” is helping to fuel the recovery in home remodeling. Survey respondents reported having an average home equity of $130,000 — the highest amount since 2009.

Implications for the Future

While the current data is promising, a correction back to higher DIY numbers could be in the cards. “Do-it-yourself home improvement has been, and will likely continue to be, a feature of the U.S. home ownership picture,” says in its report, noting that the recent decline in interest is likely a short-term result of the economic recovery. “Homeowners who are better off financially are proceeding with their remodels by hiring others to do the work, while homeowners who are more budget-conscious and more inclined to do some of the work themselves are slower to start their remodeling projects. It is likely that as the economic recovery expands, more homeowners interested in DIY will begin planning remodels and the sentiment report will show a ratio of DIY and hire-it-done more in line with pre-recession numbers.”

Remodeler Kevin Anundson is president of the OAR Group in Milwaukee, Wis., a company that specializes in owner-assisted remodeling. Because of the company’s focus, Anundson says that OAR has a disproportionate number of projects in which the homeowners want to get involved, but the company also has numerous start-to-finish renovations without homeowner participation.

“The economic challenges we’ve had over the past several years caused the higher-cost remodeling projects to be placed on hold for quite a while,” Anundson says. “Typically, even the homeowners who want to get involved do not do much in the larger projects because their involvement would likely cause delays and not result in significant cost savings compared to the cost of the overall project. Now that there is at least a perception by some that the economy is recovering, they are tired of waiting and are finally pulling the trigger on getting going. This is great news for all of us in this industry.”

Anundson says that homeowners with funds available to start spending on remodeling projects again will help kick-start both the industry and the economy. “From there, the engine starts running a little better and a little smoother each day,” he says. “The fact that [homeowners] prefer not to do any of the work themselves is also great news for [service providers]. We’re thrilled to trade our expertise for our clients’ hard-earned dollars, and the less they choose to take on themselves, the faster we rebuild our economy. It’s an awesome circle.”

—Lauren Hunter, senior editor, REMODELING.

*Tip Tuesdays* Keep Your Stainless Spotless

Keep The Stainless Spotless

-Ted Smith, Dexter MI-
"The secret to cleaning stainless-steel surfaces is never to use stainless-steel cleaner," he says. Most of those products contain naphtha, which leaves an oily film that attracts dust and smears every time you touch it. Instead, Smith recommends using a glass cleaner that contains no ammonia or alcohol, such as the ones made by Restore or Method.

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Zillow Users Beware

How Zillow Digs Creates Its Remodeling Numbers

When a website that claims nearly 35 million unique viewers each month rolls out a service estimating the cost of remodeling projects, odds are a potential customer is going to cite those numbers to you when you negotiate prices. But that new service from Zillow, called Zillow Digs, isn't as robust as Zillow implies given the company's size.

"With Zillow Digs ... users can browse tens of thousands of photos and see Zillow’s proprietary Digs Estimates for the estimated cost, based on where they live, of the actual bathrooms and kitchens they are viewing," the company declared Feb. 5 in a news release. You can view the Digs estimates on the Web or via an iPad app.

However, it turns out that those estimates on kitchen and bath jobs are based on numbers provided by just "a couple dozen contractors," a Zillow spokesperson told REMODELING in an email on Feb. 21. Those contractors "looked at actual photos of bathrooms and kitchens, and gave us estimates on material things like room size, flooring, appliances, countertops, cabinets, and labor components such as quality of workmanship and project size," she added.

As for the proprietary Digs estimates customized by location, Zillow currently gives numbers for just 33 metropolitan areas across the country. And the adjustments it makes come in part from federal data on local wage and hour rates.

The spokesperson noted that some of the Digs Estimates are the actual costs of the project because the contractor interviewed was the one who did the work. But in general, she said, a Digs Estimates "is a starting point in determining a project’s cost and does not include structural or utility work, permits, or taxes." 

As for providing more localized data, such as numbers for neighborhoods rather than metro markets, "narrowing the range is on our list," she said.

Zillow's news release touts Digs as "a revolutionary new tool" that "helps home shoppers and homeowners create more realistic budgets appropriate for their specific markets. But based on what's under the hood now, Zillow Digs clearly also is a work in progress. —Craig Webb, editor in chief, REMODELING.

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