Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fixing up the Nest

The birds are starting to move back to town, and they are gathering just about anything they can find to build their nests.

They don't seem to be very picky about color, or even material...not like us...

We know what we like, and we know what we don't like.

So why is it so hard to decide how to decorate our own nests?

Try this quiz, and please let us know if inspiration hits and you need a little help...


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Q&A - Windows

Abe answers your questions:

What's the difference between a "replacement window" and a "new construction" window?

A New Construction window includes nailing fins used to fasten the window in place and to flash it, helping to make it airtight and waterproof. This usually requires installation of new interior woodwork, and sometimes touch-up painting of the interior drywall. It also can require removal of the siding around the window, or new wide trim installation, depending on circumstances.
A replacement window fits inside of the current window frame, leaving the original exterior & interior window frame & trim in place. This is a quicker and less expensive method of replacing windows. But it can also leave existing problems in place. IE, if there is air leakage between the existing window jamb and rough opening, a replacement window will not solve it. If there is rotted wood, the rotted wood often gets covered by aluminum cladding but is not necessarily removed/repaired.
There are some good companies who do a good job of replacement windows and I'm not putting down the good ones. There are also some really bad ones, who sell throw-away window products that are a good stop-gap measure. IE, replace 2 worst windows while you wait to replace the entire house full of windows and do new siding and energy improvements all at once.
For this reason, my company almost always installs New Construction windows and usually does so at the same time as a whole-house improvement with better insulation, air sealing, and new siding-soffit-fascia as well. It's the best practice if its what your home needs and you can afford to do it right. I suggest saving up to do it right, even if you need to live with a deteriorating product a little longer. It's better for your home in the long run, and better for our nation's housing stock as well!
The photos below show before, during, and after-- a new construction window, without installing new siding. 
Showing some rough-construction photos too of the type of damage that we often discover and fix. How we install peel-n-stick flashing to make a window replacement be "as-good" as a new home construction. If we're replacing the siding, we can literally do so. Without replacing siding, we're limited to the amount of surface we have exposed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trouble with a Tiny Bathroom?

Small Bathrooms...

You would think that the smaller the space, the easier it would be to create an effective design. But in practice, the opposite is true.

Small spaces, especially those with strict requirements (like a half bath--it must contain a toilet and a sink!), can be especially troublesome. They also happen to be the most crucial to get right the first time.

Over the years, we've employed a number of different strategies for these tiny, essential rooms. Sometimes a clever design is key, and while this one to the right is not one of ours, we certainly appreciate the amazing tile work and the echo of the design in the window.

The solution doesn't have to be difficult. Even something as simple as a clever lighting plan can do the trick. 

The picture to the left is from our parade home last year. Notice how the cabinet hovers over the floor? The under cabinet lighting is installed below the base cabinet. The soft glow provided by this unexpected light source serves as a much elevated version of the standard nightlight, while adding interest and a sense that there is additional floor space. 

It is also pretty nice to be able to get the dust mop all the way under the cabinet! No dust bunnies here!

Do you have a favorite small bath feature? Have you done something innovative? Creative? 

Please share it! Comment on this blog, or find us on facebook at facebook.com/degnandesignbuilders