Buying, selling or thinking about remodeling your home?

I just found out about EcoBrokers (certified RE brokers) – they can help you buy or sell your house with a “Green” emphasis. A link from a local EcoBroker took me to a article on website I haven’t seen for a while – the Sierra Club. The article reviews many steps you can take to remodel your house to make it more energy efficient and therefore – “Greener” whether you are thinking about selling or staying put. We have a link on our website to resources where you can find green and beautiful fixtures, finishes and other products to help you remodel “Greener”.

It seems that I keep reading about more and more industries that have people that are not only eco-conscious, but can be certified! In the building industry the USGBC sets LEED standards; that was truly a grass-roots effort. Now it really has cache for buildings (commercial and residential) to be LEED certified and a person to be accredited. Take a look at the Green Home Guide that the USGBC put out for some tips for your home. Enjoy.Green Home Guide


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…and now, a little more on color.

On a Mazatlan StreetOn a street in Mazatlan

It seems that January is the month to talk about color. Maybe it’s that we feel the need for brightness and color in the month that can be the darkest and dreariest. Pittsburgh Paints has come out with their “Hacienda Colors”. The colors are warm and evoke the sunshine of Mexico. I managed to miss Portland’s massive snow storm in December —- we left JUST before the BIG storm and were sitting in the sun in Mazatlan and Oaxaca. I can attest to the warmth of the colors and how inviting they feel. But, you can bring that warmth to your space by choosing a color palette like the Hacienda colors. You can also choose your color scheme in no-VOC paints, like Benjamin Moore’s EcoSpec. Enjoy!

Whimsical animals full of colorWhimsical animals full of color

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Up-to-date or Over-the-top

I was watching Color Splash the other night. The host was taking a lovely pre WWII home and painting the moldings and built-ins lime green. The worst part of this was what I was thinking: “Wow! That looks really good.” Okay, to my own defence, it was not just the lime green, but the whole color scheme.

my_pet_elephant

Is it okay to do this to these old houses? Or should we really be conservitive like This Old House. I guess my answer is that if you like it, then it can’t be that bad. And if it looks good–then what the hey! Go for it. In this day and age, I think we need more color. So call your color designer and start splashing!

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Remodeling that can help you sell your house – even in today’s market

I was reading my email this morning, after putting down the newspaper and its only distressing news, and came across a list from BHG on “Projects That Pay”. As we all know, when the same information keeps repeating, year after year, there must be some value in it. A small addition, to make a space a little grander – inside or outside can help resale value. Even today, if you can’t afford to add a room or completely redo a kitchen or bath, there are many smaller projects that will help to perk up a room: new paint, new hardware, new fixtures. Slightly more expensive, but it instantly upgrades a kitchen or bath, are new counters or flooring.

This is a starting point for thinking about selling your home. And if you are not ready to sell now, you might think about these projects – enjoy the benefits of some updating and have a better chance of selling when you are ready.

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A Greener World Means Using Greener Wood

I came across an article on Market Watch about the sustainablity benifits of using wood in construction. In today’s modern age, there are a number of other building materials available, but none of them leave as little a carbon footprint or can be “renewed” like lumber. If forests are harvested resbonsibly than there is little reason why we shouldn’t be using more of this “green” product. You can read more about sustainable forestry at Sustainable NW and the FSC.

Oregon Forest
Oregon Forest
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NOW is a good time to remodel?

I was trying to think of what to write today–with all that is happening in the economy, even my brain feels slowed down. Then I remembered hearing someone say “Could there be a better time to remodel?” This struck me as a strange thing to say (even though I want it to be true), so I decided to see what others are saying:

I found this article on Google,

“Despite the market, remodeling actually retains and increases the value of the home and puts the home owner in a better position when the market begins to be favorable again. In addition, the homeowner gets to enjoy the freshly updated living space.”

I never thought of remodeling your home as a way to “retain” value, only as a means to increase it, but this makes sense. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that just because house pricing fell, doesn’t mean that remodeling prices have. An interesting article from LA Times talks about this.

Remodeling
Remodeling

What you need to keep in mind is that remodeling prices are based on labor and materials–neither of which was inflated during the housing bubble, and thus are not going to deflate. I have listed some good estimates on my website on what remodeling costs are.

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What’s your preference: Low or No VOC paint?

Low VOC Paint
Low VOC Paint

Back to the VOC issue: There are questions about whether a paint retains its “Low VOC” label once colorant has been added. Paints that advertise themselves as a “low VOC” or “no VOC” might only be that in the base color. Some pigments may add VOCs, negating the benefits, BUT, I think it’s better to at least start with the low or no VOCs. Here’s the balancing act: No VOCs, but not a great paint, or some VOCs and great coverage (using less paint). Again it comes down to research and choices. We have found that Benjamin Moore’s low VOC, Aura paint goes on and covers very well; we often specify it. There are no VOC paints – Home Depot’s Freshaire that, as I understand, uses soy-based colorant, and locally owned YOLO found at EcoHaus (and other dealers) and also is Green Seal Certified (which qualifies it for LEED certified projects).

Learn More about our Portland Interior Design Services

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Building it Green

I read a good article this morning about sustainable building practices for new homes. They mention some great tips, but don’t mention the “greener” aproach of not building, and remodeling instead. You can incorporate all the things they reccomend for a new building in your existing home. It will make your house more energy effiecent, healthier, and keep from building on undisturbed land. I can’t stress this enough–it is better for everyone if you improve the home you are in rather then building something new.

Rebuilding an older home
Rebuilding an older home
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