Archive for October, 2010

October: Winter’s On Its Way

Posted on 27 October 2010 | Category: Tips

ChangeArticle_Photo1As nighttime temperatures dip and furnaces are fired up, it’s time to face facts: winter will soon be upon us. Now is the time it’s essential to prepare your home for coming cold. Ice, snow, wind and freezing temperatures can cause a host of problems in homes that are ill-prepared for them.

So here are some ideas for getting your home in it’s best possible shape for what’s certain to be another unpredictable Chicago winter.

Gutters, Gutters, Gutters

WinterArticle_Photo5Remember, if your gutters are not clean before the leaves fall, you may be headed for some water trouble as fall storms roll in. Now is the time to get your gutters, downspouts and external watershed system analyzed before fall thunderstorms lead to sudden water events that can cause serious problems.

In the past, Get Dwell was hesitant to recommend any gutter guards, which are designed to keep leaves and other natural debris out of gutters, primarily because our clients have had mixed results. The most significant drawback is that during a large rain, water can glide or shed over some guards. This can lead to flooded window wells, basement flooding and water against the foundation, among other things. But for the last three years we have been analyzing  a product called Gutter Stuff, which has been installed in some of our clients gutters. During this time we have received no client complaints and a few accolades from folks who have used other products in the past. Gutter Stuff is easy and quick to install and comes with a five-year warranty.  It is available locally at Millens Hardware in Wilmette.

Ladder Safety

222,000 people end up in the emergency room every year due to ladder-related injuries.

WinterArticle_Photo3“The number of emergency room visits from ladder-related injuries totals more than those for lawn mowers and home workshop saws combined,” warns John Drengenberg, Manager of Consumer Affairs at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Northbrook, Ill., a not-for-profit product safety testing organization.

At Get Dwell, we see this kind of injury firsthand every year. The fact is, once you reach the age of 35-40 you increase your chances of a ladder injury or fatality. As we age, our core strength diminishes, our sense of balance is not what it used to be, our reaction times slow and a sense of vertigo is more likely. It can be a deadly combination. Please be careful out there and if you have any doubts of your capabilities, please leave the gutter cleaning or other outside ladder work to professionals.

Storm Windows – a Realization!

WinterArticle_Photo4Finally — you don’t have to take storm windows on and off every year — thanks to an ingenious product from Spencerworks. It provides the look of traditional storms but has a hidden screen, which is opened in the warmer weather. This product is perfect for homeowners who don’t like the look of triple-track windows on their exterior. Call us or contact Spencerworks for more information on this beautiful, functional and money-saving storm window.

Keep Your Basement Dry

Some basements need a professional waterproofing company, like Permaseal, to stay dry. Their patented technologies, specialized tools and professionalism make them a great choice for our clients with basements that need that kind of protection.

For others, you need to understand the basics of how and why a basement floods and what you can do about it. In order to keep your basement dry this fall it’s important to do the following:

  • WinterArticle_Photo2Check all areas where the foundation wall has been compromised — window well, stairs below grade are excellent areas to start. Make sure those areas and drains are clear and protected. We recommend specialized domed drain covers on these drains because we have been called to more than one flooded basement where an errant grocery bag has covered the drain, only to cause catastrophic flooding.
  • Make sure there is an adequate back-up system for your home. That may involve a back-up sump pump or in-home generator.
  • Make sure the grading is appropriate and water will not flow over the foundation wall or window well.
  • Check that gutters are pitched correctly, that gutter seams have not failed and that downspouts are not clogged.
  • WinterArticle_PhotoIf your watershed system drains run underground, they will need to be maintained periodically. It’s not a question of if they will fail, it’s a question of when.

October/ November Specials:

$30 off gutter cleaning

$75 basement flooding assessment

$25 off Gutter Stuff installation

$100 off design projects

$100 off storm window replacement projects

Recommend a friend and Get Dwell will donate $50 to Habitat for Humanity (on projects of over $200).

Change in Design

Posted on 27 October 2010 | Category: General


At Get Dwell, we’re always looking for excellent local craftsman who can help our clients reach their home repair and redesign goals. And when your needs change, one company clients in our area recommend is Change Design Group. Jeff Burch of Change Design Group explains what people are looking for today and what trends they are seeing.

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“As the seasons change and 2010 comes to a close, homeowners are excited about finishing up some projects before the holidays and looking forward to new projects for the new year. The current economy has shown many homeowners the value of making their home into a beautiful refuge for their families. Homeowners are looking a little more inward at just how to remodel their home and create as much value as they can.

ProjectArticle_Small_Photo“One of the current trends is the continued focus on green design. Using natural materials such as wood, bamboo and cork, as well as recycled and reclaimed materials can not only improve the atmosphere at home, but can also conserve natural resources. Homeowners are looking for appliances and faucets that conserve both electricity and water. Our clients depend upon us to recommend the products that will bring them the right balance of design, function and energy efficiency.

“Specialized work areas are a strong trend in kitchen design. Designated areas such as baking areas, a coffee area and organizational areas for charging devices and for messages work well for many families. As children grow, the design of a kitchen or living space must anticipate the changing needs of a family. Determining a particular family’s needs and creating a beautiful, custom solution for that family are Change Design Group’s greatest strengths.

ProjectArticle_Small_Photo5“A strong design trend is a greater focus on lighting. The ability to create several different functional and aesthetic moods is very appealing to homeowners. Since the kitchen is the focus of so many living areas, Change Design Group is well-qualified to help their clients choose fixtures and locations to transition from bright, functional lighting to a softer lighting scheme more suitable for entertaining. Energy efficient lighting such as LED lamps bring warmth to a space without creating the heat like other types of lighting. The LED bulbs will also last for years without changing, bringing long-term value to the home.”

About Change Design Group

ProjectArticle_Small_Photo2“Change Is Good” is the motto of Change Design Group based in Wilmette and co-founded by Mike O’Brien and Jeff Burch. They each bring a passion to the art of design and the attention to detail their clients deserve. The focus of Change Design Group is to provide design and space planning, custom cabinetry, millwork and installation for residential kitchens, libraries, offices, mudrooms and theaters. From concept to reality, Change Design Group will transform your current rooms into beautiful, functional spaces where family memories will be formed for years to come.

Mike O’Brien was classically trained as an architect at both the University of Illinois and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. Before partnering with Jeff Burch, he spent 15 years with de Giulio Kitchen Design in Wilmette designing hundreds of projects of all styles. Mike’s extensive experience, phenomenal artistic abilities and relaxed approach to the design process make working with him a pleasure. He is an excellent listener and will seamlessly transform a space into something beautiful that also addresses the specific needs of the homeowner.

ProjectArticle_Small_Photo3Jeff Burch earned a business degree from Bradley University, but soon discovered after college that his true talents were in finish carpentry and project management. Jeff is a talented craftsman, extremely detail-oriented, and strives to exceed the expectations of every client. He has been involved in hundreds of projects over the course of his career and spent 6 years at de Giulio kitchen design, where he and Mike met.

Change Is in the Air

Posted on 27 October 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

With the change of seasons, we here in the Chicago area realize the lazy days at the beach are over. With the kids back at school and work demanding more attention, its time to look at the changing needs of our home.

As Chris Wiedrich of All the Comforts of Home notes, A well-designed home will work well for its owners year round. It accommodates a family’s changing needs each season. Every aspect of a home big or small has the potential to increase our enjoyment of the seasons or create discomfort and challenges. This is particularly true in older homes that lack many of today’s must-have amenities. However, its possible to create spaces that meet our various needs throughout the year with just a few simple adjustments.

ChangeArticle_Photo4For example, she points out that in most households, the kitchen table is the heart of the home. In addition to hosting family dinners, its a place for kids to do homework during the school year, families to play games in the winter, and vacations to be planned in the summer. If space is tight, built-in seating can provide room for more people, and, with the addition of hinged lids, offer storage for games, barbeque tools, craft supplies and the holiday cookie press. If there’s a bit of wall space, hanging pockets or baskets can hold paperwork, bills, permission slips, recipes, and all of the other papers that threaten to overtake the eating area. In homes with southern exposure, window blinds or shutters can eliminate the glare that occurs when the sun is lower in the sky in winter, as well as keep the heat in during the winter months.

ChangeArticle_Photo3If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then a mud room entry is its brains. When a mud room is properly configured, spaces that corral wet flip flops and sandy beach bags can also hold snowy or muddy boots in fall or winter. Beaded board walls coated in enamel paint with a row of hooks can stand up to wet towels in the summer and wet coats and snow pants in fall and winter. The same baskets that hold ball caps, sunglasses, sunscreen and water bottles can hold hats, gloves, small Kleenex packages and hand cream in the winter. The key to making these seasonal transitions easy is to have plastic bins of similar size and a place to store them in the basement, garage or storage closet. Then one can simply rotate items between the two places as needed.

ChangeArticle_Photo2For those who don’t have a mud room, a similar set-up can work in the garage on either side of the door going into the house. With a row of hooks on the wall, coats, boots, umbrellas and other wet things can be disposed of before entering, and a shelf high enough to walk under but still reachable can hold storage baskets or bins. Well-designed storage is easy to reach, easy to use and easy to clean. That means having enough shelving so that items are not stacked on top of each other, and keeping things up and off of the floor.

Money invested in creating a flexible, comfortable home is money well spent. The world in which we live is increasingly busy and stress-filled. A home that accommodates our daily activities as well as special occasions that occur throughout the year can bring peace to otherwise harried days.

For those looking for a quick and dramatic change, Donna Plotzker of Urban Environments Interiors, Inc. suggests that color is a great change agent. Many of my clients are starting with a quick color analysis and getting maximum change with a minimum of time and expense.

ChangeArticle_PhotoJudy Ruddy of Glenview is ecstatic with the changes she made at her home. I was putting my home up for sale and I had some specific design needs. The master bedroom bath was definitely in need of updating and the downstairs powder room had a tile color that was overwhelming a cohesive design effort. Get Dwell brought in a designer and one of the their Project Managers and I felt like I was on one of those HGTV shows. In no time at all, we had a design and a plan. It was quick and efficient and now I have lovely master bath and a powder room color scheme that totally works with the decor.

If youre ready to make a change to your home, talk to Get Dwell. Our experts can help prepare your home for the coming season, and all the other seasons ahead.

October/ November Specials

Posted on 27 October 2010 | Category: General

$30 off gutter cleaning

$75 basement flooding assessment

$25 off Gutter Stuff installation

$100 off design projects

$100 off storm window replacement projects

Recommend a friend and Get Dwell will donate $50 to Habitat for Humanity (on projects of over $200)