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Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Saskatoon Renovations expert share a Tip on How to Design a Kitchen - PART 4

 TRUSTED SASKATOON RENOVATION EXPERTS  are waiting to help you with all your home renovation projects.

Here they share a tip on How to Design a Kitchen - Eat-in Kitchens:


The formal, separate dining room has passed in and out of vogue over the decades, but the option of eating in the kitchen has always held appeal. The informal, efficient design of an eat-in kitchen is ideal for today's casual, fast-paced lifestyle. At the same time, today's tastes are distinctly more luxurious than they were a couple of decades ago.

Fortunately, unless you yearn for an authentic period home, there's no reason why you can't have a kitchen dining setup that's both easygoing and opulent. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you have a number of choices for creating an eat-in kitchen. Today's savvy design solutions and coordinated products ensure that any option you choose will fit right in and look great.

  • Counter Dining. Where space is slim or where the users have no special needs, a breakfast bar looks great. A breakfast bar's informality and slim silhouette lends itself naturally to a casual, contemporary scheme, but if your kitchen is opulently traditional, using the same materials for the counter and bar will tie it in perfectly. Imaginative counter stools can be great decorating assets. Make sure the counter overhang is deep enough to accommodate knees comfortably, and, if your stools don't have footrests, make sure your bar has a footrest ledge or rail.

    A two-tiered peninsula or island can house a sink or cooktop on the lower, kitchen side with room for two to four diners opposite. If the peninsula or island houses only a small sink, there's usually plenty of room to seat a number of diners on the same level as the work surface. (A cooktop requires more space and, if possible, the barrier of a different level for safety's sake.) Ideally, allow at least 42 inches from the open end to the opposite wall, and don't locate the fridge or wall oven opposite, where an open door would block traffic. Allow at least 18 inches and preferably 24 inches of elbow room for each diner. And if breakfast never will be your thing, rest assured your cozy nook or chic bar will work just fine for after-school and midnight snacks.

  • Breakfast Nooks. If you have a bit more available space or want a more traditional, cozy look, you might consider adding a breakfast area with built-in banquette seating. A bay window alcove, with a banquette serving as a window seat and with pull-up chairs on the other side of the table, is charming if you can manage it. You can create a welcoming air with plump bench or stool cushions that carry your color scheme.

    No matter how small your kitchen or how rushed your schedule, there is almost always a way to work a little breakfast into the equation. The breakfast nook with fitted bench or banquette seating is a cozy solution that works well in ethnic or country/cottage kitchen design schemes. It's also a cute solution in retro settings inspired by a '50s malt shop booth. The table may be freestanding or may be a peninsula, with one end anchored to the wall or to a run of cabinets. The coziest breakfast nook setup features benches that are parallel, with the table between.

    For a more relaxed, open layout, the benches may be placed perpendicular to one another, with the table spanning the open side. A breakfast nook can be a comfortable solution where space is scant, because benches require much less floor space than chairs. If your family includes a mix of young and not-so-young, a breakfast nook may be a perfect -- and practical -- alternative. Benches are safer than counter stools for young children, and, because the table is a conventional height, it is accessible to wheelchair users.


    Eat in kitchens can be the height of comfort and convenience.
    Eat in kitchens can be the height of comfort and convenience.


  • Eat-in Kitchens. For large kitchens, or those that feature a natural alcove, dining tables that seat anywhere from four to 12 people are a good option. You can have fun picking out chairs that complement your own personal taste, from heirloom traditional to classic modern glass-and-metal. Another option you may consider is having an island or table made of the same material as your cabinets or countertops. In keeping with the informal nature of kitchen dining, consider small armchairs all around, not just at the head and foot of the table.

    A round table is a friendly choice and is safer for an active family or in a smaller space. In the dining area of your kitchen, away from the stove, you can define a welcoming space with more elaborate curtains or draperies than you would use at a window in the work area. For continuity's sake, match or coordinate your eating-area window treatments with those in the work area. Coordinate window treatments and tabletop textile colors with seating cushions for an inviting, total look.
In our final section, we look at the very useful and convenient kitchen island.


Find Trusted Saskatoon Renovation & Design Experts!

Trusted Saskatoon Renovations expert share a Tip on How to Design a Kitchen - PART 3

 TRUSTED SASKATOON RENOVATION EXPERTS and are waiting to help you with all your home renovation projects.


Here they share a tip on How to Design a Kitchen - Kitchen Shape Considerations:


In kitchen geometry, the work triangle is the shape that connects the sink, cooktop, and refrigerator. The work triangle is the functional center of every kitchen.

Studies have shown that in the most efficient kitchens, the three legs of the work triangle add up to at least 12 feet but no more than 23 feet. Of course, your kitchen's basic shape and size will influence the type of work triangle that fits best. Regardless of the perimeter shape of the room, most kitchens are organized around one of several basic kitchen layouts, each with its own type of triangle. One's right for you!


Peninsula dining on an angle leaves the kitchen triangle clear.
  Peninsula dining on an angle leaves the kitchen triangle clear.


  • U-Shape: This shape puts the stove, fridge, and sink each on a different wall and offers a very compact triangle that lets you prepare a meal while walking the shortest distance. It works best with the sink (the most-used element) in the center of the "U" and the fridge at one end of a run of counters to avoid breaking up a work surface. This shape works well in a kitchen that's nearly square or in a kitchen where you want to tightly define one end of a larger space as the basic work area, with an island set in the open end of the "U," perhaps fronting onto the family room or breakfast room.

  • L-Shape: This shape uses two walls of the kitchen for the three points of the work triangle. Often, the fridge is at one end of the long leg of the "L," the sink is toward the center of the same wall, and the stove is perpendicular, on the short leg of the "L." In contrast to the U-shape kitchen, the "L" has a long, rather than a short, wall facing into the rest of the room. Room traffic does not cross into the triangle, and, since this design uses only two walls, the triangle is long and relatively narrow, allowing for a more open layout. This setup is well-suited to a large room where the kitchen shares space with a family room. Additional counterspace may further lengthen one leg of the "L."

  • G-Shape: This shape features one appliance on each of two walls and the third appliance on a peninsula that separates the work area from an adjoining breakfast area or family room. If housing the cooktop in the accessible peninsula worries you (for safety reasons), you can always put the sink there instead and locate the cooktop on a full wall within the kitchen itself. Alternatively, put the cooktop on the peninsula, but create a safety margin by making the peninsula a tiered affair, with the cooktop at least six inches lower than the serving ledge.
Whatever your plan, the sink should take central position if at all possible, as it's used more often than either the refrigerator or the stove. If you locate the sink on the same wall as the stove, with the main work area in the middle, you won't drip water on the floor when you go from the sink to the cooktop. When placing the refrigerator, make sure the single-door model, when open, faces into the work triangle, not out of it.

Be sure you've allotted ample counterspace right next to any appliance: You'll want to set down heavy grocery bags near the fridge and slippery wet crystal next to the sink. It's especially important to have enough space (an absolute minimum width of 18 inches, and preferably 24 to 36 inches) right next to the cooktop, range, and oven, and on at least the opening side of the microwave and fridge. If you're using laminate countertops elsewhere in the kitchen, use heat-resistant mate-rial, such as ceramic tile, to create "landing space" near cooking appliances.

Great Little Galleys

Kitchens that work in small or narrow spaces deserve mention because they're able to fit the same essentials -- stove, sink, fridge, work surfaces, and cabinets--into what are often pretty snug situations. Named for the food preparation areas of ships, galley kitchens come in a couple of styles.

  • Corridor. This shape puts two points of the triangle on one wall and the third point on the opposite wall (most often the sink and the stove are placed on the same wall, with the fridge opposite). The length of the room will determine how much space there will be for cabinets and work surfaces.

    Corridor kitchens are often used where there is no other pathway to the next room and the traffic flows right through the work triangle. While this configuration is a step-saving solution, for safety as well as efficiency this setup should be avoided if at all possible, as should any design that allows household traffic to break into the triangle.

  • One-Wall. This shape lines up the fridge, sink, and stove on one wall. It foregoes the step-saving convenience the triangle affords, as the user needs to walk farther from one end of the kitchen to the other, especially if there is to be adequate countertop space. A popular solution is to station one or more islands opposite the wall of appliances. If wiring can be added in the floor, the island can be stationed near the refrigerator and can hold the microwave and other small appliances.

    A tiered island allows for some simple types of food prep on the lower, kitchen side and a snack counter on the higher side, facing into the adjoining room. A one-wall kitchen is a practical choice for tiny spaces. It also can be tucked conveniently behind closed doors in a wall alcove, so it's great for second kitchens in recreation rooms, studios, or even master suites.


Trusted Saskatoon Contractor and Renovations Expert answers the Saskatoon Facebook Fan Pages - PART 3

Planning a renovation in Saskatoon ? Trusted Saskatoon Contractors  can help! They offer a wide range of General Contracting services for all aspects of both residential and commercial renovations. Their management team will work with you to ensure that you get the services you want, within the timeframe and budget that you determine. J.A.B.A. Construction is professional, reliable and skilled to transform your space into something a little more luxurious, functional or enjoyable. Talk to the ExpertsTrusted Renovation & Style show Questions PART 3:

Erica Kramer: I currently have very light coloured oak cupboards in my kitchen. The cupboards were this colour when I moved into the house. I would like to redo them in a darker shade, is there a way to do this that is not going to be very expensive and take a lot of time?

A: Erica, I have not refinished any kitchen cabinets yet to make them a darker color. I would recommend you contact a painting company or paint supplier to see if it is possible to go over the existing finish on your cabinets before you get a product to try. Some finishes may not adhere to the existing finish that you have on your cabinets.

Susan Galenzoski: Our home is old, very outdated, needs new windows, etc. Where is the best place to start when on a very limited income?
A: Suzan, I would recommend because of your limited income that you install PVC Windows. You can look at the option of window inserts but they are not that common in what we do. Either way maintenance free PVC windows are your best option.

Trish Planchot-Voldeng: What is the trends now in flooring and coloring in new homes? Should I go tile, laminate, hardwood and are browns still in or another color?
A: Trish, when we design projects we work with the client on products. What I find works the best is setting up meetings at our suppliers using samples and when this happens most of our suppliers have the expertise with their staff to walk through this part. We have also hired designers in some cases to work with us. I find that in what we do it is mostly personal preference with some help. This usually helps with the budgets that are set if that is the case on products. Some products that are chosen can be affordable and still look good. Keep in mind that a paint color can be changed at any time also whereas flooring, millwork, dorcorative products is a great place to focus when choosing.

Larry Hovdestad: I have ice build up on eaves...I suspect insulation, vapor barrier can it be resolved and what are the procedures to stop and prevent mold issues. 
A: Larry, the ice buildup you have on your home is a common thing this year. I have looked at many homes in the past with this issue. As of today I really can’t pinpoint the exact cause of this. I have also looked at a few homes this year with major ice. It could be ventilation in the attic being blocked off. Ex; snow on roof vents.heat escaping into the attic. Blocked soffit vents etc. The winter element’s in Saskatchewan this year are at the extreme and I am sorry to say there is no simple reason for the ice buildup. When ice builds up on roofs it backs up under shingles as it melts and freezes. This causes water problems in some cases inside the homes or buildings. I have been recommending that the snow be removed from the roof to ensure attic /roof vents are not covered and as nature takes its course you have less snow to melt on the roof to add to this issue.

Greg Sakundiak: I have cold air coming in through my front living room window. What's the best way to fix this?
A: Greg, there can be multiple reasons for cold air coming in or around your windows. The first place I would start is by determining the age of the home and the age of the windows. You can also try to remove the casing and check the insulation around the window and the framing to see if it is insulated properly. Insulate this area and reinstall the casing if that is the issue. We have in some cases removed the insulation and used spray foam insulation to fill the void. In some cases we have used a sealant also at the drywall and window frame opening. This can get messy if not done properly. Negative air pressure in a home can also cause air infiltration around windows. This is common in the winter because of the heating ventilation systems in the home also. It doesn’t happen in the summer months because the air pressure is equal in most homes when windows are left open.

Robin Garder: My son started 'renovating' my house about 4 years ago; it came to a dead stop after mostly destruction; but some rooms are partially done. I do a lot of rescue work with dogs of all sizes; ages and breeds. One huge issue I am seeing in my home is materials to withstand the abuse of say a 180 lb Newfoundland dog versus a litter of starving pups with Mom. Floors not standing up; we will not discuss what puppies can do to drywall. I need HELP. LOL Have been living with just a room no kitchen for 4 years; he ripped my plumbing out and then my cupboards without having plan or leaving $$ to replace; then I rescued some special needs animals who's quality of life come before sink or cupboards! I manage; but am hoping that this year I can get kitchen installed and walls up and finished. Any suggestions on what to install or use that will withstand my life choices please!
A: Robin, I will say this is a first for me. There is a drywall product you can purchase that is abuse resistant. Check online for this also. I am not sure if you can make your home totally damage proof with today’s products to with stand the fun dogs have. Most trims are MDF in lieu of solid wood. It will still get abused and chewed by the dogs. I have seen homes damaged like this before but I don’t think it can all be repaired for this.


The flooring issue you mentioned is always a concern with large animals in the home. Most hardwood product will not stand up on the everyday abuse from dogs in the home. The finish will be damaged as they do what dogs do.


I have a large dog also and in my last 2 homes because of the everyday wear and tear on the floor from my dog I have installed good quality laminate flooring. The finish has never been damaged but is saying this the floor is extremely slippery for dogs when they are running etc.


The issue with not having a kitchen and renovations not completed is quite common when owners do these themselves. A lot of people don’t realize the extent of work involved in renovations and they like to think they can save money by doing them themselves. In your case you have to determine what is more important to yourself based on your questions you have submitted. This will all be determined as to the amount of money you would want to spend addressing your needs to make you home more enjoyable, cost sensitive, as well as less stressful.

Jacey Watt: How can I reduce humidity in my home. 
A: Jacey, the first place I would look at is purchasing a dehumidifier to remove the humidity. Then you have to find out the cause of the humidity and correct the problem. Purchase a humidity meter and see what the humidity is in your home and regulate it from that. I have been to lots homes with ice buildup on the windows and people think it is a humidity problem. In most cases it is because the curtains are closed day and night and the warm air doesn’t circulate properly to the glass. The humidity in your home should be approx. 35 percent when you read the humidity ready. Circulating the air in your home is another option with your furnace fan but the starting point is to determine why you have humidity problems. Did you do any upgrades to your heating system or any energy upgrades, Windows, wall insulation and siding, etc? This will contribute to this also.

Rod Hollinger: When doing basement Reno would lament flooring be better than hardwood flooring?
A: Rod, This type of question you should be able to get a correct response from the flooring supplier. A lot of products that we use in flooring we let the supplier decide on the best product for that application. The reason for this is because if you have issues later with the flooring later you might void any warranties if installed in the home. It all depends on the home, age, humidity, normal use. Also the install application you have to factor in when installing hardwood flooring in basements.

Annalee Bruce McSharbite: Is there a certain reno job in the house where you should always hire a contractor because in the end they will have to come in and take over anyway?
A: Annalee, this is a great question. Me as a renovator I wish everyone would hire a GOOD Contractor but that doesn’t happen all the time as we all know. The response I would have to say on this is it would all depend on the capabilities of the persons doing the work. Understanding fully the complete process from start to finish. Dealing with subcontractors, delays, product choices as well as the actual physical work that has to be performed. Some people choose to do a lot of their own contracting and it shows in the end product. The comfort level as well as the stress involved is something that has to be taken into consideration.


Structural items should be done by qualified persons with proper designs and all applicable permits. I have been to many projects where owners choose to do their own work and they ask for help to finish. Naturally they don’t want to spend the money to complete the project and most choose to do it themselves. If you want to spend the time away from work, work nights and weekends to complete a renovation to save money that is a choice you would have to make. Keep in mind if you do the project yourself and someone gets hurt or an issue with a subcontractor; you are acting as your own General Contractor and have no place to turn for help. Also if a sub-contractor has no liability insurance, WCB you are responsible for anything and everything on this if something happens during the construction. 


Most persons don’t realise this but that is all part of the protection we as a company provide to clients. 


It is called peace of mind for you with protection. But in this beware because there are many companies that don’t provide this. They are 1/2ton renovators with no WCB or insurance. 


This is when you make your choice as to hiring a contractor.


Trusted Saskatoon Renovations expert share a Tip on How to Design a Kitchen - PART 2

TRUSTED SASKATOON RENOVATION EXPERTS and are waiting to help you with all your home renovation projects.


Here they share a tip on How to Design a Kitchen - Kitchen Size Considerations:


Kitchen Size Considerations

Picking out ingenious new appliances and beautiful new cabinets is great fun, but first you and your kitchen professional will need to figure out where those new treasures will be located. Unless your new kitchen is part of a brand-new house, you'll need to decide how much change to make in the "footprint" of your existing kitchen. For big savings, experts advise working within existing load-bearing walls and plumbing lines. And remember that whatever the shape of the kitchen itself, there's bound to be a configuration that gives you an efficient work triangle. You won't have to choose between great looks and great performance!

Whether it's mini, midsize, or massive, your kitchen can be designed to meet your needs and look beautiful, too.

Small, Medium, or Large
  • Small: Cozy and Carefully Engineered. If your kitchen is tiny, try to steal some space from an adjoining pantry or closet, or even a few feet from the next room. If there's just no way to borrow extra square footage, see if you can visually open up the space: Add or enlarge a window, install a skylight, break through an interior wall into an adjacent dining or family room, or even break through the ceiling to create a cathedral that will dramatically create visual expansion.

    To maximize work space, consider an island on casters or a peninsula with hinged, drop-down sections. To make the most of storage space, run cabinets all the way up to the ceiling, and use pot racks and other overhead hooks that make use of ceiling space. Outfit drawers and cupboards with clever interior fittings -- dividers, lazy Susans, and so on -- to keep physical clutter at bay, and avoid visual clutter by using solid, pale colors that blend into one another. For an eat-in option, include a slender snack bar with overhanging counters that allow the stools to be tucked out of the way. And enjoy the advantages of small kitchens: They're naturally step-saving and cozily friendly.

  • Midsize: Convenient and Comfortable. Most homes have midsize kitchens, which, with a modest amount of intelligent improvement, can function like big ones. In both new and older homes, opening the kitchen to an adjoining family room creates a "great room" effect that gives the spacious feeling of an expanded kitchen. Other design tactics can make your midsize kitchen seem even bigger and better. Strive for maximum-length unbroken runs of work space; for example, locate the range at the end of a counter, not in the middle.

    By taking advantage of every clever, in-drawer storage solution recommended for small kitchens, you may be able to save enough space for a big-kitchen option like a second sink or a desk nook. If an island takes up too much space, consider a practical, tiered peninsula with work space on the kitchen side and a snack bar/serving counter on the family room side. Other dining options include a built-in dining nook with bench seating and a peninsula table, or a table with chairs on one side and a built-in banquette on the other. When decorating, keep colors light and patterns simple to maximize visual spaciousness, but if the kitchen opens into an adjoining room, repeat some elements in both rooms for continuity.

  • Large: Impressive and Entertaining. More than ever, today's kitchens are rooms for living. Space for couple or communal cooking, doing homework, enjoying hobbies, watching TV, and more are all part of many people's wish lists, and that translates into bigger-than-ever rooms. Following that trend, today's new homes typically sport generously sized kitchens. In an older home, space for a big kitchen often comes from building an addition. More space allows homeowners to indulge in more work surfaces and more kinds of them (butcher block for cutting, marble for pastry-making, granite for everyday good looks, and so on).

    Large kitchens have ample space for amenities such as strategically placed islands; more than one wall oven and sink; a second dishwasher; and/or a full-size, side-by-side fridge plus state-of-the-art refrigeration drawers located within cabinets anywhere in the room. A comfortable snack bar or breakfast bar, an informal dining area, and a built-in desk or computer workstation are other options. A big kitchen also allows more latitude in decoration and design, including dark cabinets and wall colors, dramatic decorative effects, and sharply contrasting colors and patterns, so you can have it your way. 
A large kitchen like this one can be a space to live in as well as simply prepare meals.
A large kitchen like this one can be a space
to live in as well as simply prepare meals.

Cooking for Two

More and more couples are cooking together just for the fun of it or to feed a horde of friends. In some cases, it's a matter of cooking with, not just for, a crowd, as guests help chop, wash, and prep as well as chat. For many families, cooking is also a favorite group activity, whether they enjoy a weekly homemade-pizza night every Sunday or an annual Christmas cookie bake-a-thon. A successful multicook kitchen includes multiples of at least one basic appliance (usually the sink or cooktop) that creates several separate workstations. These stations may share one or more of the other basics elements, or, if space allows, they may be entirely independent triangles.

The classic triangles have been updated for today's two-cook needs. In an L-shape kitchen-for-two, twin triangles may be created by adding an extra sink and an extra cooktop that share access to the refrigerator. A new U-for-two might feature two cooktops with shared access to an island sink and the fridge opposite, on the enclosed leg of the "U." The new G-shape kitchen might offer dual baking and surface cooking with one work area including a sink and cooktop and the other a sink and the oven, with both sharing access to the fridge.

In a shared kitchen, several people are working with hot, wet, and sharp items in one space. Safety basics include wide-enough traffic paths (at least 36 inches) to minimize collisions; nonslip flooring; and ample, heat-resistant landing spaces on both sides of every cooking appliance. Smart upgrades, especially when youngsters will be underfoot, are rounded corners on cabinets and other kitchen furniture and well-designed knife racks or blocks to discourage chefs from leaving cutting tools on counters.

Possibly even more challenging that size considerations are shape concerns. An awkward corner or irregularity can have you tearing your hair out. In the next section, we will offer you some solutions to this problem.



Trusted Saskatoon Contractor and Renovations Expert answers the Saskatoon Facebook Fan Page Questions - PART 2

Planning a renovation in Saskatoon ? Trusted Saskatoon Contractors can help! They offer a wide range of General Contracting services for all aspects of both residential and commercial renovations. Their management teams will work with you to ensure that you get the services you want, within the timeframe and budget that you determine. Professional, reliable and skilled to transform your space into something a little more luxurious, functional or enjoyable. Talk to the ExpertsTrusted Renovation & Style show Questions 


Kori Black Whelan: My husband and I were thinking of solar panels for our house. Do you know what products are available, best rated and decently affordable at the same time?

A: Kori, this question I would have to ask you to contact some of the different companies that deal in solar panels. I would have to contact companies that would be able to advise me on products. Do your research online and there should be contacts for this.

Adele Bandet: Hello my question is about allergy and prevention,My husband and I have three son's, two of the three have cold induced urticaria, we were told that if they are sleeping and the boys bodies get too cold they could slip into a coma . My question is how do you make sure the heating is equally distributed through out your home? We have placed plug in electric fire places in their rooms- but I'm so fearful about a fire starting, so at 2am I run in and turn it off, and then at 4am I turn it back on so it doesn't over heat, every night my children are all younger -ages 9,7,5. Thank you for easing my mind, even if I don't win a prize could you possible just answer my question, an answer to this is worth far more than a prize of any kind. 

A: Adele, I am not sure if I can answer your question properly. I do ask if you have looked at consulting with a mechanical contractor if there are any settings to keep your home at the constant temperature all the time. You can also look at electric baseboard heaters. In floor heat mats that are controlled by a thermostat. These are just some suggestions but I do wish you luck in this situation.

Shawne Yona: what would you recommend for redoing the siding on a house....stucco or vinyl. It is currently vinyl but has discolored and has a couple of places with cracks. 

A: Shawne, the exterior of your home is all personal preference. We have done both applications, Vinyl or stucco with maybe some decorative stone on the front. There are also many different types of sidings that you can look at. The most affordable is vinyl siding. There are different types of stucco applications also. With any exterior renovation you can also look at upgrading your insulation, windows etc. It is a good investment to upgrade the exterior especially with an insulation upgrade also. When you decide on the products you can also upgrade your home on the front decoratively to give it street appeal.

Kyla Kuffner Pterson: Hi, what is the best way to take wallpaper off that had that special wallpaper glue from the 70's?
A: Kyla, I have looked at many homes with the wallpaper application you have mentioned but I have never removed any because of the glue used in the 70’s. In my conversations and research I have done on this I have only come up with removing the drywall and replacing it. I have also mentioned to go over the glue with a quality primer and skim coat the home with a drywall mud compound. I really can’t say what the proper technique would be for this but maybe someone else can offer a solution.

Miranda Young: Question - when buying a new home, what are the first things to consider before renovating? Are there any tell-tale signs of when it is not a good idea to renovate?
A: Miranda, when people look at a purchase of a new home they always think about the things they can do after they move in. The amount of the new home plus the cost of a renovation right after doesn’t work in a lot of cases for financial reasons. I would recommend that you start at the 2 most expensive areas of the home which are the kitchen and bathrooms. Windows, doors exterior are the next areas to look at. The cosmetic items like painting and flooring can be done over time at a leisurely pace. The other areas I mentioned can become expensive, stressful and can’t be left ½ done after you start.

Rachel Wollf: My husband and I are doing major renovations throughout our 1970s home - We're currently working on replacing the flooring, although this leads to many other questions about the layout of the home in general. We have a wall between the dining room and the living room and were wondering on whether or not it would be a good idea to remove it entirely. My question to you is: when is it a good option to look at removing a wall to make the floor-plan more open?

Neils Thor: What is the cost of putting in geothermal heating after you have built your house?
A: Neils, I have geothermal in my home when I built 3 years ago and I do like it. The cost difference for geothermal was one thing I looked at when I built. It was substantially more than a natural gas system (furnace). In saying that I do like my system.

I would recommend that you contact companies that install geothermal systems in homes and get pricing.

Bruce Volden: When renovating an older house, where is the best place to spend your money if you are on a limited budget?(Wiring, plumbing are all good.)

A: Bruce, Depending on the age of the home and if the electrical and plumbing are all good then I would recommend planning to upgrade the exterior envelope .windows, doors, Insulation. I would then if those areas are ok look at kitchens bathrooms and cosmetic upgrades to the home.



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