We make our budget-conscious Home-Improvements with one purpose…to improve our lifestyle and get the biggest return on investment possible. Learn from our successes that have been inspired by some of the country’s top designers.
Over the past 20 years, we have renovated two homes, each with its own unique floorplans, mechanical issues, and design challenges. Our goal is to be a great resource for those who love their homes and the accomplishment of design-inspired home improvements.
See how we apply Envision It, Design It, Plan It and Build It to every project we undertake as our roadmap to well-designed renovations. Get the insider’s view of the latest design tips and trends that are influencing home designs around the country.
Steve’s abode is a three-story, center entrance colonial, built-in 1947, a continual work in progress.
From the urban chic kitchen addition to the home office makeover under development, you can find great new design ideas and trends for your home improvement projects. From inside the home to outdoor living concepts and curb appeal, this home is jam-packed with great projects that you can implement.
John’s abode is a classic rancher that has been upgraded substantially, with a constant eye on the budget and return on investment. The unique interior faux painting, galley kitchen remodel, and extensive outdoor upgrades are some highlights of this home.
His renovation projects have included the galley kitchen and social room combo, limited storage and reorganization, fireplace renovation, bathroom remodel, HVAC issues, interior door upgrades, outdoor landscaping, lighting, and much more.
This site is all about leveraging your hard-earned dollars into the best projects yielding the greatest results, both in the improvement of your lifestyle and resale advantages.
We update our content on a regular basis as we continue our home improvements so you can benefit from our ideas and experiences for the place you call home.
We’d like to hear from you about YOUR OWN home improvements. Don’t just brag about your work; SHOW IT OFF. This is your chance to get your own home improvements showcased here on our site and receive feedback from our followers. Just click the “Your Stories” button on our homepage.
Feel free to reach out to us at any time. Simply use the “Contact Us” button on the left and submit your contact information. We promise NOT to bombard you with emails or ever share your personal information with any third party. Thanks for visiting us, and have a great day.
So get a nice tall refreshment, sit back, relax, and take a tour through the links below to see how YOU can get the lifestyle you deserve, maximize your return on investment and optimize your resale advantages.
Planning-Steps for Successful Major Home-Improvements
The Right Steps-to-Take in Order
Not long ago, one of our readers asked, “What are the right planning steps to take when you’re planning a major home-improvements project like a new kitchen, bathroom renovation, or a new addition? The planning seems overwhelming!”
We’ve been through several of these major home improvements; our kitchen addition, basement home theater renovation, and a few bathrooms along the way. We knew basically what we wanted and muddled through the process with a lot of help from our designers. We learned a lot about which steps to take when.
This article puts all of the planning steps in perspective and takes you through each of the right steps to take with any major home-improvements project. All we can say is that we wished we had the benefit of Jennifer’s advice beforehand.
We accomplished all of the planning steps that she discusses in her article, but we’re unclear on which steps to take when. For our reader’s benefit, it’s all laid out very logically in this article. Jennifer will clear up any confusion you might have about the right planning steps you need to take with your major home improvements.
The Quick-Improvement Strategy
How They Add Up
A quick improvement here, a quick improvement there, and soon you are enjoying your home and lifestyle with a whole new perspective. We love to make several quick improvements every week to keep our homes fresh and inspiring, both inside and out.
Who says that home improvements need to be complicated? While many can be, these are the ones that tie you over between those other larger projects. They’re a lot of fun, should be very spontaneous, and need to feel like they’re part of your overall design goals.
They also require a very abbreviated Envision-IT, Design-IT, Plan-IT, and Build-IT process. You can do all of this in your head; you don’t need an architect or designer, and can these improvements can be accomplished in little time.
This page is dedicated to our fans that need some inspiration for quick improvements on a weeknight or maybe even squeeze in a couple over a busy weekend. Remember, the strategy here is continuous mini-improvements that accumulate and improve your lifestyle and reselling advantage.
Enough with the Preamble…let’s get to work!
Quick-Improvement Tip #1
Out With the Old–In With the New–Mum’s the Word
We decided to replace the petunias in the planters on the rear deck steps. They were positively beautiful in the early summer, as you see can see. Very sad. So we said goodbye to the petunias and planted some lovely red mums.
We specifically chose these plants because there were very few flowers that were open. To buy them already in full flower means much less time to enjoy them.
We would only have bought them in full bloom if we were having an event and needed the color for the event. We will enjoy watching them mature.
We buy mums every year. A couple of years ago, we decided to start planting them in a whiskey barrel in the backyard once they were past their prime.
This way, they will come back each year, so we get to enjoy them year after year.
We’ll do the same with these once they have gone dormant for the season. We wouldn’t mind eventually having many pots of different colored mums placed throughout the backyard. That would be spectacular.
Quick-Improvement Tip #2
Front Door Wreath–Welcome Home
Nothing says “Welcome” or “Welcome Home” more than a seasonal wreath on the front door. We always adorn our front door with a seasonal wreath. Fall is here, so the Summer fruit wreath came down, and up went the fresh, aromatic Eucalyptus wreath.
I particularly love this one at this time of the year because of the wonderful, fresh scent of Eucalyptus that fills your nostrils every time you open the front door. Its deep purple hues are the perfect complement to the Fall season.
Quick-Improvement Tip #3
Taming the Devil’s Triangle
Fall is finally here, and what a welcome reprieve to the area’s heat and humidity. Now we can get back outdoors and tackle some of those neglected areas.
Spending some time cleaning up and replanting here will go a long way in giving the front yard and surrounds a fresh look. As you see, the area had become overgrown with weeds and crabgrass.
This first photo shows an area between my driveway and the next-door neighbor.
These little areas frequently do not get the attention they need.
The ground was somewhat moist, so that made for easy removal of these weeds.
I brought a little hand rake and a spade as a backup. The spade was useful in helping to dig out some of the more relentless weeds.
Once that was done, I was left with a nice clean patch of ground to work with.
I found a flat of lillirope at my local Lowe’s, which I thought would work splendidly in this area. Lillirope is perennials, and they tolerate sun as well as shade and are drought resistant.
These are very important factors to consider when planting in this spot as it gets a lot of morning sun and is prone to be dry, even when we have rain.
This area is near the street and sandwiched between concrete, which makes it inhospitable to most plants. I planted pachysandra here a few years ago, and it was a disaster. Pachysandra likes shade and water. I don’t know what I was thinking. But, as you can see, it did not make it. I was able to rescue a few plants, but the majority simply died. So, I decided to plant lillirope.
And there you have it. A lovely island of lillirope. What a nice, fresh, updated planting and one that will make it through difficult weather.
Lillirope will stay green through the fall and winter but will not continue to grow.
In early spring, all you have to do is cut it back with a pair of ordinary household scissors to about an inch or two above the ground, and it will reward you with new spikes of green.