Archive for December, 2010

A Heartfelt Holiday Thank You

Posted on 23 December 2010 | Category: General


The most wonderful time of the year is here! It’s the season when heart warmth blossoms as the outer world waxes cold — a time to count our many blessings, and give thanks for each and every one.

And so, from all of us here at Get Dwell, a warm and hearty thank you! We’re deeply grateful for the many relationships we’ve built over the past year; grateful for your business and your trust.

This is the time of year that your relationship with Get Dwell pays off. Whether it’s having fixed those troublesome doors that don’t close right, getting the exterior of your house buttoned up for winter or making your home more comfortable with quick energy efficiency fixes, you know that your home will be a warm and secure sanctuary against whatever winter weather brings your way.

So as you gather with your family and friends, thank yourself for letting us help you be prepared for a festive holiday season! Your house thanks you too!

While most of you only ever meet one or two of us, Get Dwell has grown over the years. A lot of teamwork goes into every one of our projects. All of our project managers are top craftsmen with many years of practical experience; each of them brings a unique field of expertise to the table, guaranteeing that whatever your home needs, we’ll be able to partner with you for a successful project.  We understand the importance you place on trust, professionalism and accountability when working with us and we work hard every day to hold ourselves to the same high standard. We’re proud of our team and we are ever so thankful for the great clients we get to serve every day.

We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

Avani Mehta: A Passion for Design

Posted on 23 December 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

AvaniOne of the most exciting aspects of our business is our ongoing work with interior designers; putting our team’s skilled craftsmen to work in helping realize the imaginative ideas of some of Chicago’s most creative design professionals. We’re especially proud when we can team up with a designer who’s both extremely artistic and committed to sustainability. Our work with Avani Mehta is just such a match.

Avani (pronounced Avni) is a passionate woman; passionate for beautiful old homes, stunning interior design and the importance of being a responsible, energy conscious homeowner. She has a certain wise warmth about her, a timeless vibe that lends itself well to historic preservation and restoration of the unique older homes so Avani2common here in the Chicago area. Her name, Avani, is a Sanskrit term meaning something very close to “Mother Earth.”

“I am a mother,” she chuckles, “It’s what is most important to me. But homes are my passion.

“Over time, working with so many homes – including five of my own — you learn a lot. What to keep and what just doesn’t work.” As a responsible home renovator, she has also learned how being green can best influence her designs. “I want to make these homes as energy efficient as my clients’ budgets and capabilities allow. I seek to bring these old houses back to life; to make them feel like homes. Even for my new construction clients I always think antique or vintage elements in the design give their homes a more authentic feel.”

Avani3“I’ve always re-used things.” says Mehta. On one project when she noticed the cedar roof sheathing was in panels, it ended up as an attic floor. She points to an elegant eighteenth century wooden chair, and invites us to look at the cushions. They’re stunning; done in a luxurious fabric, rich and laden with magnificent, muted colors. With a smile, she says, “I had the cushions on this chair upholstered in an antique drapery panel I saved from a previous house. Some things you just can’t throw away.

“I am Indian,” she adds. “We love color!”

She had just such an idea for a client in River Forest. She envisioned a surround mantle for the fireplace made from the 6” x 9” Douglas Fir timbers she had salvaged from her latest house renovation. And that’s when she called Get Dwell.

MantleProject Manager Chris Goodnight tells the story: “Avani told us what she had in mind, and asked if we could take a look at the timbers to see if her idea was even possible. My goodness — when I saw the wood I got really excited. It was old growth Douglas Fir with a density — a richness in the grain — that’s just unavailable in what you can buy today. So I told her, ‘Yes. This is possible.’

“First I inspected the timbers to see what we had — sometimes there’s rot inside from when it was still a tree. Once we determined the amount of useable wood we had to work with, we got down to the really fun part; making Avani’s bold design work, figuring out the best way to create a the look she wanted while making sure the piece – it’s a weighty, free-floating design — would be structurally sound. After removing every nail, screw and piece of embedded metal — and some of those nails were handmade pig iron — I cut the timber into 4” x 5″ and 4” x 2″ planks. Once all the planks were Mantle2milled, mitered, fit and assembled, I brought out the metal saw horses and a large torch to raise the grain, giving the piece an aged appearance, and bringing out the rich, earthy brown color Avani wanted.

“Bringing these old timbers back to life — in this case, back to a look that would normally take 150 years to achieve — is what it’s all about… and it’s a lot of fun.”

Avani Mehta is not just crazy about green design, she’s proving to be certifiable! Her own home is expected to reach silver status in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), an internationally recognized green building certification program. She’s been featured in This Old House and has a long track record of exceptional projects and excellent relationships throughout the region. “I’m blessed to have built a business doing what I love,” says Mehta. “I Mantle3have a large commercial client — well large for me — that I have had for years. But the mainstay of my business, and the part of it I love the best, has always been the home.” Avani can be reached via email or at 847-436-0345.

December: Winter Tips

Posted on 23 December 2010 | Category: Tips

Mold – The Grinch in the Attic

storageIn over 20% of the new or newly remodeled attic spaces we inspect, we find mold. The vast majority of these homeowners didn’t realize they had a mold issue. Mold in attics is usually the result of moisture-filled warm air finding a way into the attic space before it can be effectively ventilated out. If you suspect that this may be the case in your attic, call a professional. Get Dwell would be happy to give you a free consultation.

Spigot Vigilance!

“Frost-free” hose bibs (spigots) do not require an interior shut-off valve to be turned off in the cold weather; but please beware that if you have not removed the hoses, sprinklers or irrigation devices that are hooked up to them, you may be courting trouble. Every year, clients wonder why their maintenance free or “frost-free” hose bib has sprung a leak; typically, it’s hosebibbecause the hose is still hooked up allowing the water to be trapped. Once that trapped water freezes it needs to expand somewhere and unfortunately for many homeowners that expansion may mean a leak. So if you haven’t done so already, be sure to take care of this as soon as possible. If you have a leak already, it’s typically the O-rings that have failed. Replacement O-rings and complete “frost-free” hose bibs can be found at your local hardware store. On the North Shore we recommend Millen’s, where you’ll always find someone knowledgeable to help you.

Avoid Ice Damming

iciclesIce dams can be nightmares, potentially causing extensive water damage. An ice dam is caused by the freezing and thawing process of snow and ice. Ice forms, causing the melting water behind it to build up, backing up under roof materials and leaking into the house below. Causes range from the unplanned consequences of complex roof designs to inadequate insulation; from incomplete air sealing to lack of proper ventilation. Sometimes it can come from an incorrectly installed recessed light or bathroom fan. So examine your roof and gutters when it snows. Is there excessive ice at the gutter line, are there large and numerous icicles or build up in the valleys? Is the snow melted from the peak of your roof but not from the lower portions? All these can be signs of a potential ice dam and may deserve a closer look.

Look for Weatherization Opportunities

greendream4Are there areas of your home that are uncomfortable because of cold or drafts? Can you feel a breeze around doors or windows or other problem areas like outlet/light fixtures? Is your heat source generating heat properly? The cold temperatures make it a great time to assess your home’s uncomfortable and energy loss areas. If you need help winterizing problem areas of your house, call Get Dwell. We can make your home more comfortable while saving you money. If you want a complete and accurate assessment of your entire home consider a home energy audit from the Green Dream Group. Their professional assessment is invaluable in ensuring that you are doing everything you can to be as comfortable and as energy efficient as possible.