Archive for November, 2010

November: Tips For The Holidays And Beyond

Posted on 19 November 2010 | Category: Tips

Holiday Lighting

tips_lightsLED vs. regular incandescent bulbs? One of our clients used an energy meter to measure the 150 bulb colored light strand that they normally used in their home. The verdict?  A staggering 1050 watts! With the new LED bulbs, a 150 bulb colored light strand measured only 15 watts.

Today’s LED bulbs come in “warm white” if you prefer the more traditional look. The colored and cool white bulbs are vibrant, and the shapes and sizes are much more varied than regular incandescent lights. Plus, you can string many more strands together since the wattage is less. Please note: be aware that Lights made in China and other foreign countries should be avoided because there are no restrictions against the use of lead in consumer products. Lights that are manufactured in the United States are likely to contain smaller amounts of lead.

tips_lights2If you have any concerns about how the various lights will look, stop by your local retailer.  On the North Shore, Millen Hardware has all the lights displayed so you can look before you buy. Or, give Get Dwell a call and we would be happy to help you with your lighting design.

A Note on Recycling: Be kind to the environment!  Recycle your unwanted holiday light strands rather than discarding them in a trash bin destined for landfill.  More and more municipalities are doing their part. Beginning the first week in December, there will be a holiday light recycling bin at the Wilmette Public Works Dept site, and another one at the Wilmette Village Hall.

$1,500 Tax Credit ends on December 31st!

There is still time to add insulation to your home and receive 1/3 back in a federal tax credit. However, the window to purchase and install qualifying doors, windows and skylights is closing fast.  Take note: if you are interested in having 1/3 of your purchase price of these items given back to you — you will need to act now. It looks like there will not be a better time to add insulation.

Gutters, Gutters, Gutters

WinterArticle_Photo5Keep in mind that 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 Millen Hardware in Wilmette.

Ladder Safety

WinterArticle_Photo3Some 222,000 people end up in the emergency room every year due to ladder-related injuries.

“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, IL, 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 to 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 about 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.

WinterArticle_Photo2For 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, it’s important to do the following:

  • Check 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.

If 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.

November Specials:

general-hfh-logo$25 off weatherization projects

$30 off gutter cleaning

$25 off Gutter Stuff installation

$100 off storm window replacement projects

$50 off holiday lighting design and installation

This month recommend a friend and we will donate $50 to Habitat For Humanity (on projects over $200)

Making The Most Of Interior Spaces

Posted on 19 November 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

mantle2When the frost is on the pumpkin and the nip is in the air, it’s time to fully embrace the interior spaces of your home.  Get Dwell’s team of talented professionals can help you bring the family together, by transforming your living spaces in optimal ways. Use these examples to get your ideas flowing.

Home Is Where The Hearth Is

It was Frank Lloyd Wright who observed, “The hearth is the psychological center of the home.” We have helped many clients transform the look and usefulness of their fireplace.  One client was captivated by a mantle she found at a flea market and she just knew it would be perfect for her home. A custom fit was needed. mantleOur expert craftsman made the mantle look like it had been there forever, and it gave the entire room a fresh, new and striking look. Another client gave us drawings to fabricate a mantle out of old douglas fir beams that came out of her house during a recent remodel. We will be fabricating the mantle and incorporating a beautiful tile insert which the family will be enjoying before the holidays.

Kids Room By Day … Man Cave After Dark

Craving your own special place of refuge?  Get Dwell’s staff can work with you to transform even the most unique opportunities into your perfect dream space. One client had an 1870’s home with an old horse stable that was kidsroom3being used as a garage.  We helped transform the space into a kids’ room by day and man cave at night – not only the perfect “mantuary” retreat, but also a great place for overnight guests to stay.

Enliven Your Space With An Entertainment System

We all have busy lives.  Home theatres and media rooms can help us relax by providing an experience so enveloping and mesmerizing that we are forced to slow down and take notice.  Well planned, a home theatre or media room can provide experiences so interesting and exciting that we can make a refreshing escape from the cares of the day.  And there is more than one way to achieve this result.

bigpicture2The Big Picture Home Theatre Company located on the North Shore specializes in audio/video system design and installation, and they have worked successfully with many Get Dwell clients to transform their interior spaces.  Here are some ideas from the experts at The Big Picture about bringing A/V into your environment:

Dedicated Rooms. The Big Picture can design and install a private screening room where movies come alive with the immersive sights and sounds the director intended; or a media room, equally suited to movies, sports and video games, with an immediacy that takes you into the heart of the action. Its staff is expert bigpicturenot only at identifying the proper audio and video equipment for these spaces, but also in room design and execution, including acoustics, soundproofing, lighting, seating and cabinetry, so that all of the room’s elements work together for an extraordinary experience.

Living Spaces. Family rooms, living rooms, bedrooms and home offices can be wonderful places to enjoy your favorite movies and music. But no one wants those spaces to be dominated by audio/video equipment. The Big Picture is expert at integrating home entertainment with living spaces, providing products that blend aesthetically with the surroundings or disappear entirely: living rooms where the music speakers look like the walls themselves; family rooms where the television disappears behind a painting; and master bedrooms where all bigpicture3electronic gear is neatly hidden away. The company specializes in systems that are high in performance, low in visibility.

For more information about enhancing your interior spaces, give Get Dwell a call today.

Winter’s Coming … Is Your Home Warm and Cozy?

Posted on 19 November 2010 | Category: General

Winter’s blustery chill is just around the corner. How ready is your home to withstand it? Think back to last winter. Memories of that less-than-gentle breeze coming through the family room and those curiously high heating bills may have faded. But now is the perfect time to focus on being comfortable at home during this season of living indoors.

As homeowners, we typically know very little about our homes. What we do know is how much it costs to heat and cool the home, what areas are uncomfortable or downright drafty, and that some improvements could probably be done to make things better. The question is, where do you start?

This is where our friends at Green Dream Group come in. This independent, scientific building performance verification firm specializes in home audits that help homeowners lower heating bills, while increasing their home’s comfort and energy efficiency in an environmentally friendly way.

Giving Your Home a Physical

greendream2We at Get Dwell often partner with Green Dream Group on many homes to help homeowners upgrade in focused, verifiable ways. The advanced testing applied in Green Dream’s Comprehensive Home Performance Assessment will pinpoint the exact opportunities for improvement, where to begin, and how to prioritize when making these improvements. It would be like sending your home to the doctor’s office for a complete physical exam! And when you, the homeowner, are armed with the knowledge of what your home needs, you can avoid costly upsells and unnecessary work that would give you little, if any, payback.

Imagine what would happen if you called a furnace expert about your home being cold and your energy bills being high.  “You need a new furnace!” is what you would be told. What if you called an insulation expert, a window company, or any one of many companies that promise energy saving miracles with their one product?  You get the picture.

greendream3The most important thing to remember:  your home is like your body. It’s a system of parts working together. It’s doubtful that one thing, even as big and costly as replacing all your windows, will successfully bring your home up to optimum performance. Green Dream Group will, like a health expert, give you a complete plan for optimum performance. And it doesn’t stop there. As a client of Green Dream Group, you’ll enjoy continued support by phone until you move out. They even include a return visit, after the work has been done, for quality assurance.

For Get Dwell, a home energy audit from Green Dream is invaluable in ensuring that we’re focusing your home-improvement dollars wisely. During the holiday season Green Dream Group is offering Get Dwell’s customers a greendream4‘Friends and Family $50 Discount’ on Comprehensive Home Performance Assessments. Get your home in shape before winter sets in. Keep the cold out – and the comfort in! Want to know more? Give Get Dwell a call today.