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Renovation Ideas
Developing renovation ideas requires that you look at, and really see, your house.  You may believe you know it intim...
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Complying with the Code
A building code is a collection of regulations regarding building construction that is intended to ensure public safe...
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Contractors, Contracts, and Costs
Dankmar Adler—architect and partner of the great Louis Sullivan in the firm of Adler and Sullivan—once remarked that ...
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Getting Professional Help
In order to be assured that you're not embarking on a trip straight to debtors' prison, it's a good idea to consult a...
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Contracting the Contractors
Do you need contracts? Yes is the short answerContracts are a crucial part of the paper trail that will help assure t...
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The Building Permit
There is one last piece of paper that you'll need: a building permit. A general contractor usually handles the permit...
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First Step: Get a Permit
Building application and approval processes vary from town to town and district to district, but most municipalities ...
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One Warranty for Everything
If your furnace dies on a blustery winter morning, you’ll need a few hundred dollars to get it fixed or, worse yet, a...
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What Your Contractor Won't Tell You
Licenses, bonding, and insurance: Every contractor is required by law to have these essential documents in order, but...
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The Case for Flood Insurance
Nothing underlines the importance of flood insurance like a Major Weather Event. The damage inflicted by Sandy—the hu...
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Your Insurance Punch List
It's a home improvement project. What could go wrong?Better not to think about it. That's really a job for the agent ...
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Construction Contract Checklist
All contracts you sign should begin with the parties to the agreement. Your name and address and that of the contract...
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Bob Vila Radio: Homeowner's Insurance
Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing)...
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What Makes a Room a "Bedroom"?
Defining the BedroomDefining the bedroom space is important for two main reasons: home value and safety. The value of...
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The Insurance Certificate
When you hire a GC, subs, and other on-site workers, ask whether they have insurance coverage. Each should have a bla...
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A Recipe For Renovation Contracts
All contracts you sign should begin with the parties to the agreement. Yours and the contractor's names and addresses...
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Know the Rules for Finished Basements
Converting your basement is like finding new space, fully equipped with plumbing and heat. Before you begin your remo...
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Homes That Can Survive Hurricanes
Bob joins Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH -- Federal Alliance for Safe Housing -- to look at two homes on the same street. One was completely destroyed the o...
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Building the Fireplace
Bob talks with general contractor Ted Riley about the fireplace construction.
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Reviewing Attic Conversion Plans
Bob meets structural engineer Steve Siegel on the attic floor of the Medford, MA home to discuss the owner's desire for an office with cathedral ceilings.
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Building Code Check
Bob meets with the general contractors and the architect for the project house to discuss mid-construction changes to the building plan.
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Fire Codes and Installing Fireproofing Material
Bob and carpenter Bob Ryley review the interior construction, which must satisfy stringent fire codes.
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Building a Porch Railing
Carpenter Bob Ryley and George (from Crosswinds Enterprises) collaborate to build a porch railing for the accessible home. Looking on, Bob discusses the building ...
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Installing a Grade Beam
Bob oversees the installation of a grade beam in the garage, which is in compliance with California seismic code.
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Incorporating California Building Code
Bob and contractor Joe Fitzgerald discuss the structural work taking place at the Malibu beach house, as well as California's tough building codes for earthquake ...
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Insulating the Victorian
Bob and the insulation contractor review how different types of insulation are used in different applications. Blown-in insulation is put into the existing house,...
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Wiring the Home Addition
Electrician Steve Bradley is on hand to install the electrical wires and boxes for the addition. Bob discusses the codes regarding receptacle placement and Steve ...
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Building the Porch Rail
The carpenter shows Bob the new railing on the deck off the master bedroom, explaining that code requires that it be 36 inches tall. The carpenter then builds a p...
Deep blue grays like the shade shown in this example "have a nautical, serene feeling," says Amy Hendel, designer for Hend... Built on a rocky island in the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia, this wooden house was cobbled together ... Large steel-framed windows flood the interior of this remodeled Michigan barn with daylight. The owners hired Northworks A... Edging formed with upside-down wine bottles is a refreshing change. Cleverly and artistically involving recycled materials... A Washington State couple called on BC&J Architects to transform their 400-square-foot boathouse into a hub for family bea... Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy... Few projects are more fun than upcycling a vintage piece in a surprising way. Outfitted with a sink and a delicately tiled... The thyme growing between these stepping stones adds a heady fragrance to strolls along this lush, low-maintenance garden ... Decoupage is an easy way to add any paper design to your switch plate, whether it is wallpaper, scrapbook paper, book page... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... When securely fastened to a tree or the ceiling of a porch, a pallet and some cushioning make the ideal place to lounge. V... Reluctant to throw away any of those unidentified keys in your junk drawer? Hang them from a few chains attached to a simp... A stripped-down model, sans screened porch, starts out at $79,000. Add the porch, a heated floor for the bath, and all the... Salvaged boards in varying widths and colors make up the dramatic accent wall in this attic space. The high-gloss white of... This garden shed has been decked out to the nines. Designer Orla Kiely created the intimate home for a flower trade show, ...
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