Renovation and Design Entails More Than a Fresh Coat of Paint

deckFor many Los Angeles clients of mine, I’ve found that the adventure of remodeling is a roller coaster that begins on a high note, drops to a stomach-churning low point, and then settles out at the end with a feeling of exhausted accomplishment. Recognizing that interior design and renovation are more than just slapping a new shade of paint on the walls and actually demands expert planning and a realistic budget will reduce unpleasant surprises and improve the atmosphere for everyone involved in the re-design. 

Predictable Steps:

Every renovation-whether for a single bathroom or an entire home-has the same carefully executed steps:

  • Organize
  • Budget
  • Execute
  • Inspect

Each step, of course, has details to it, but keeping a sense of the overall scheme of progress will help you to weather any momentary setback and keep an eye on your goal. I’ve found that keeping the long term goal in sight and charting out the renovation in a detailed plan will help reduce getting side tracked and deadlines are met with the desired results to show for it.

 

Organization:

If you’re like many clients of mind and a kitchen remodel is the plan, I highly recommend you organize and plan for a temporary kitchen elsewhere in the home. Before a sledgehammer swings, you’ll want to make sure you’ve set yourself and the rest of the project up right. Too often, I see people just jump in and start tearing down wallpaper or pulling down drywall with no plan beyond demolition. I’ve seen homeowners undergoing renovations start breaking things down and have gotten too deep into it to a point where it’s hard to get out of and make any fixes.

 

Budgeting:

Part of organizing the renovation is an appreciation of cost and affordability. Don’t skimp out on quality! Remember, this is an investment, so invest in quality materials (green ones whenever possible), use a reputable contractor, and challenge unexpected costs.

Using a licensed contractor will actually save you money over time. An easy way to check credentials is with the California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board. For example, D. C. Keeton is a registered, professional contractor, License Number 715043, fully bonded and insured.

 

Return on Investment:

Some projects provide a greater return on investment (ROI) than others. If you want to boost up your property to make the most of resale value, I like to suggest considering one of these renovations:

  • Attic bedrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Baths
  • Home offices
  • Sunrooms

 

Interior Design:

A good contractor will recognize limitations and engage trustworthy subcontractors to handle some tasks, such as landscaping or even interior design. Lighting is often overlooked until late in the process, when it should be incorporated from the beginning, since it requires changes to the electrical system.

Think about how trendy a home you want to live in-fads have low resale value and become grating for day-to-day living. Depending on the room you’re designing the interior for, you can get trendy and modern, but don’t skip out on functionality. For example, if you’re revamping your kid’s bedroom, opting for quality kid furniture specifically, such as bunk beds or themed accents would be ideal, but I recommend looking into styles that can still be utilized as they grow older such as detachable bunk beds and dressers that will appeal to them at any age. If you’re redesigning for a standard guest bedroom, maybe look at neutral styles with trendy accents like pillows, rugs and window dressings. These items appeal to any guests, keeping the style unisex and are easy to interchange if you ever want to revamp again.

 

Permits and Inspections:

Good planning means proper permits and inspections from plumbing to electrical to structural. Don’t skip out or avoid permits! I can’t stress this enough to those looking to perform a thorough renovation. A common error is to ignore code-required updates to the electrical system. Be wary of any other contractors that tell you a job does not need a permit. Avoiding permits during your renovation can hinder your chances of getting back that ROI I touched on earlier if you ever look to sell the home, not to mention there are major consequences if you get caught without a permit.

 

Final Thoughts:

Renovation can be a rewarding feat to accomplish. And when it’s done properly due to excellent planning and organization, execution, and having the permits to show for it, you can sit back and declare a “job well done.” The ROI and new appeal of your freshly renovated space will start to flow in and you’ll be thanking yourself and your contractor for having kept to such a well thought out game plan, making you ready for any and all other renovations to come.

 

CALL TO ACTION

1.   Visit my website (dckeeton.com) to learn about my company.

2.  Reach out to me at: davidkeeton68@gmail.com with any questions you may have.

3.  Call me at at:  213-232-4783 for a personal conversation.

4.  Have a GREAT summer!

Renovating Your Sunroom into Something More

Sunrooms are probably one of the most underutilized rooms in any home that has one. They’re most commonly occupied by a decorative patio table set or a couple chairs for lounging, making them perfect areas to host a get together or sip your morning coffee while enjoying the weather. But this particular space in a home makes me want to explore other ways it can be enjoyed or at least optimize the recreation it has to offer. Here I list some unique examples of how to enhance and reform your average sunroom into a personal and more functional living space.

From Sunroom to Office Space

Whether you work out of your home full-time or operate your business as supplemental income, these days most everybody has special projects, products, and services they work on from home. Imagine creating a custom business space that you can’t find in any typical corporate or private location that’s just a few paces from your own bedroom. How many offices do you know of in LA that allow you to enjoy the scenery and convenience of your own backyard? But sometimes, you can’t work at your desk if certain weather conditions don’t allow it.

o if you’re like most home owners with a decent sized sunroom, I recommend upgrading from screen only windows to installing actual window panes that give you the option of letting all the weather has to offer in on a good day and keeping out the chillier weather as the colder season sets in while still enjoying a personal backyard view.  You’ll still want to ensure the entire area is properly sealed and secured to avoid any leaks going out when windows are closed or more importantly, to keep anything out that shouldn’t make its way in. As to the flooring of the space, especially if you’re looking at bringing clients into your new office, there are many other flooring options to look into such as carpet, hardwood, laminate, vinyl or ceramic tile. Industry experts will tell you, though, that with each of these options comes much needed floor care and maintenance in order to protect them from damage and wear, especially in areas that absorb as much sunlight and weather as this room does. So if you’re willing to make this sunroom-to-office renovation a success, be prepared to put in the extra work to make it presentable and long lasting.

From Sunroom to a Game Room

A cozy couch set and a decent rug are perfect for the average sunroom. It occupies the space and makes it functional and appealing whenever you pass through or want to get away to be alone and cozy up to a book, have a private conversation with a friend, or simply relax without interruption.

ut I want to take this up a notch or two or six and make this a much more active environment for everyone in the family to use. Here, you can create your own entertaining cave without going over any budget. Throw together an old couch, TV, some entertainment pieces like books, movies, and gaming systems and you’ve got the perfect place for your teens to hang out with their buddies without being too shut off from the rest of the home. For younger ones, create spaces in the sunroom for them to play dress up and add shelves for their board games and books. Again, the perks of having the sunroom completely transparent and attached to the home gives kids the space to be alone and play by themselves while still allowing the parents to check in with ease.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the “big kids” either. You can get real fancy here and along with a comfortable seating set and TV, hang up team plaques, trophy shelves, pictures for the wall and throw in a mini fridge. Heck, why not install a custom mini bar while you’re at it and now your sports fans in the family have a new go-to man-cave to watch the big game or now you have the perfect room to entertain when visitors want to come and share in all the enjoyment.

From Sunroom to Personal Gym

There’s a reason why California is one of the Top 10 Most-Fit States in America; we love to workout, stay strong, and be fit!  Creating a designated area on your property for the sole purpose of working out is a convenient motivator to inspire you to work out even more! Start by clearing the sunroom space completely out and start planning your layout. Gather all your home gym essentials and figure out exactly what you want where in order to optimize your workout experience.

For example, if you have a treadmill or machine you’ll want to bring in, I recommend having it face the outside scenery to give you something to enjoy while getting your sweat on. For gym-friendly flooring, I recommend opting for thinner carpet installation or large area rugs. Remember that you’ll probably find yourself on the floor from time to time depending on your workout and you’ll want something with comfort and grip. More importantly, you’ll want flooring that will be able to withstand a constant beating from heavy weights being dropped. Another important factor I like to remind those seeking an in-home gym, try to have a wall that’s completely mirrored. This definitely ties the whole gym effect together. Lastly, because it’s a personal gym, I can’t stress enough how perfect a screened sunroom is for proper ventilation. Keep in mind that you may want to add windows to keep the room sealed during cooler months as you would with any of these suggestions, but at least you can have the convenience of the gym in your own home without letting it smell like one.

From Sunroom to Conservatory

The key to a proper conservatory is sunlight. What better room to attain this vital component than, well, a sunroom. A sunroom is perfect to use as a greenhouse and it’s actually not that uncommon at all to utilize this attached area of the home to shelter plants. If you’re looking to get super active in your greenhouse and plan on making a few messes, I highly recommend taking out any carpet or delicate flooring and sticking with cement if that’s the foundation or installing laminate flooring you don’t mind wearing out.

This flooring choice will prove to be extremely convenient to hose out excess dirt or messes and can take the moisture that will come from daily watering. Your plant setup should be based on areas of the room that will get the most sunlight depending on the direction of the rising/setting sun. Keep plants that will

5 Summer Home Maintenance Projects

We’re all aware of the intense maintenance spring cleaning demands, but summer is also the perfect season to maintain your home and your property – especially since the season can also bring scorching temperatures, strong winds, and heavy rains that can take a major toll on your house. So while you have some time during these lazy days of summer, I should like to recommend making it a priority to get these five projects done to make sure your house is in good shape not only for these hotter months, but for the upcoming fall season as well.

Project 1: Maintain Your Bathroom

As a contractor for well over two decades, it’s no surprise to me that bathrooms are notorious for getting grungy, which is why you need to make sure that you give it some TLC this summer. Plumbing can get pricey, so checking your drain pipes and keeping them clear and clean regularly is crucial if you want to avoid serious damages in the future. Clean your sink and shower drain pipes with baking soda and vinegar every so often to prevent build up and odor, and check under the sink for any leaks regularly.

With countless remodeling and renovation projects under my belt, I can’t stress enough how great opting for newer, more innovative appliances and systems can help with the long term efficiency of a home while saving money as well. For instance, if you want to save costs and upgrade for the long term, then consider having a professional plumber install a tankless water heater for water usage in all areas of the home. These water heaters can significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to source hot water and cut your costs by almost 40%.

Project 2: Clean Your Patio and Surrounding Areas, Often

Though you may have already done this once this summer, that’s not enough. Whether it’s the 4th of July, Labor Day, or just a group of friends and family getting together, you want to make sure you’re patio area is able to hold up to the wear and tear from weather and usage all year round for decades to come. Depending on the materials and surrounding area you’re working with, I advise being cautious when treating your patio space and the types of cleaners and tools you use because not every patio is built the same. Often times, taking a power washer to your patio once or twice a month along with regular sweeping of the area to prevent buildup of dirt and debris can help with preventative care and can help reduce the chance of having to resort to chemical treatments or intense scrubbing in the long run. Just be sure that it won’t lead to rusting or degeneration of any wooden decking, stained concrete, outdoor tile, or stone pathways with surrounding greenery.

Project 3: Get Your Roof Inspected

This is one that you’ll be tempted to not want to think about because the whole process seems so daunting, but don’t fret; I’ve seen it time and time again and a yearly roof inspection helps prevent much larger problems from occurring down the road. According to Buildings.com, your roof is going to be at its best for the first few years after it’s installed, and then it starts to deteriorate more quickly during the last quarter of its life, depending on what materials were used. One of the obvious problems to avoid is leaking water, which can cause extensive damage to attic and ceilings, but a damaged roof can also be hazardous if it starts deteriorating and collapsing. If you’re squeamish with heights or it’s already worn down to an unsafe level, professionals like myself have the tools and experience to handle the situation and can give you everything about roofing you’d ever need to know if you needed a full or even partial repair.

Project 4: Clean Out Your Rain Gutters

If you’re on the roof anyway, you might as well tackle those clogged rain gutters! Make sure to clean your gutters of any debris such as leaves, sticks, or animal nests that may have accumulated there during the fall and winter. Summer can bring heavy rains for some areas and you want your house to be prepared for all of that extra water that’s going to need somewhere to go. Not just that, but it’s very well-known that severe buildup of dried debris in gutters is just begging to evolve into a serious fire hazard. Keep those gutters clean and check them at least once every season, more frequently if you have trees or tall plants nearby.

Project 5: Trim Your Trees

Maintaining your home this summer also encompasses maintaining your property. Make sure to get your trees trimmed this summer so that heavy rains and wind don’t knock any branches off and into your house. While this is most important to do for trees close to your home, now is a good time to trim all the trees on your property to avoid clean-up after the rains roll through.

I like to keep in mind that maintaining a home properly and keeping it in the best condition requires attention not just in the spring time, but all year round. So taking time each month to do a little around the house and taking care of these bigger to-do projects once every season will keep your home running smoothly and help prevent having to fork up larger costs for repairs in the future. So after you conquer these projects on your checklist, you’ll be able to truly enjoy the summer stress-free.

To talk to a reputable Los Angeles contractor about any remodeling you are thinking of doing to your home, please give me a call at (213)232-4783 or contact me here

10 Ways To Turn Off A Potential Home Buyer

sell-10

If you have decided to sell your home, the last thing you want to do is not to have it in its best shape for anyone who comes to take a look at it. Home sales are a competitive field, and no matter how great you think your house is, you are doing yourself a disservice by not making it as presentable to potential buyers as possible. For that reason, you should do everything in your power to avoid anything that may turn off someone who comes to look at your home.

Here are 10 surefire ways to turn off a potential home buyer that you want to avoid at all costs:

1. Keeping a Dirty Home. I know it seems like people should be able to look past dirt, knowing that they will keep a cleaner house than you do. But that isn’t how the human mind works. When a buyer comes to look at your home, it should always be spotless. That means hiring professionals to clean the carpet, scrub the dirt and grime from your bathrooms and kitchen, and simply just making the place shine.

2. An Unkempt Yard. One of the keys to selling your home is creating a “love at first sight” scenario. If your potential buyer gets out of their car and immediately has a great feeling before even setting foot inside, then you are already ahead of the game. That’s why you should keep your hedges trimmed, your grass watered, and your kids’ toys in the garage.

3. Popcorn Ceilings – that squisky stuff on your ceilings:  Many of us grew up with these types of ceilings in our homes. But nowadays, they make a house look incredibly dated. That’s why you should have your local contractor come out and get rid of them, which can make a major difference in the amount of buyers you will attract.

4. Odd or Bad Smells. Raise your hand if you want to live in a smelly house? None of you? Yeah, I thought so. When a buyer comes to look at your home, make sure it smells nice (or doesn’t smell at all). Even if you tell them the bad smell is temporary, most people won’t want to chance it.

5. Old Fixtures and Hardware. If you have old fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom, I think it’s a good idea to replace them before you start showing your home. Changing out the knobs on your kitchen cabinets won’t cost you a ton, but it can be the difference between a sale and a pass.

6. Too Much Clutter. When you put your house up for sale, one of the first things you should do is pack away some of the knick-knacks and other personal items that may be cluttering your home. The more of that stuff that’s lying around and taking up space, the harder it will be for a potential homeowner to picture themselves there.

7. ‘Hawking’ Around the Buyer. To me, a person’s home is a very personal subject. Because of this, it is to the seller’s benefit to let a potential home buyer look through the home at their own speed. Let them imagine themselves living there. Don’t hang around and knock them out of that fantasy!

8. Old Appliances. Outdated appliances can really hurt your ability to sell your home. Nobody wants to move into their new house only to have things start breaking on them. It may be a good idea for you to replace these appliances before putting your house on the market.

9. Carpeting. This is another home item that can make your house look incredibly dated, especially if the carpet is in every room. If your home is carpeted, you may want to talk to a reputable flooring contractor about replacing it. In my opinion, your best bet would be to rip it out and lay a hardwood floor, which everyone seems to love these days.

10. Misrepresenting Your Home. Simply put, you should not lie on your real estate listing. And when I say lie, that includes Photoshopping pictures of your home to make everything look larger. There is nothing that angers a buyer more than taking time to look at a home they thought they were interested in only to find out it’s nothing like the listing.

To speak to a reputable Los Angeles contractor who can help you get your home ready for sale so you can avoid turning off buyers, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

10 Ways to Turn Off a Potential Home Buyer

sell-10

If you have decided to sell your home, the last thing you want to do is not to have it in its best shape for anyone who comes to take a look at it. Home sales are a competitive field, and no matter how great you think your house is, you are doing yourself a disservice by not making it as presentable to potential buyers as possible. For that reason, you should do everything in your power to avoid anything that may turn off someone who comes to look at your home.

Here are 10 surefire ways to turn off a potential home buyer that you want to avoid at all costs:

1. Keeping a Dirty Home. I know it seems like people should be able to look past dirt, knowing that they will keep a cleaner house than you do. But that isn’t how the human mind works. When a buyer comes to look at your home, it should always be spotless. That means hiring professionals to clean the carpet, scrub the dirt and grime from your bathrooms and kitchen, and simply just making the place shine.

2. An Unkempt Yard. One of the keys to selling your home is creating a “love at first sight” scenario. If your potential buyer gets out of their car and immediately has a great feeling before even setting foot inside, then you are already ahead of the game. That’s why you should keep your hedges trimmed, your grass watered, and your kids’ toys in the garage.

3. Popcorn Ceilings – that squisky stuff on your ceilings:  Many of us grew up with these types of ceilings in our homes. But nowadays, they make a house look incredibly dated. That’s why you should have your local contractor come out and get rid of them, which can make a major difference in the amount of buyers you will attract.

4. Odd or Bad Smells. Raise your hand if you want to live in a smelly house? None of you? Yeah, I thought so. When a buyer comes to look at your home, make sure it smells nice (or doesn’t smell at all). Even if you tell them the bad smell is temporary, most people won’t want to chance it.

5. Old Fixtures and Hardware. If you have old fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom, I think it’s a good idea to replace them before you start showing your home. Changing out the knobs on your kitchen cabinets won’t cost you a ton, but it can be the difference between a sale and a pass.

6. Too Much Clutter. When you put your house up for sale, one of the first things you should do is pack away some of the knick-knacks and other personal items that may be cluttering your home. The more of that stuff that’s lying around and taking up space, the harder it will be for a potential homeowner to picture themselves there.

7. ‘Hawking’ Around the Buyer. To me, a person’s home is a very personal subject. Because of this, it is to the seller’s benefit to let a potential home buyer look through the home at their own speed. Let them imagine themselves living there. Don’t hang around and knock them out of that fantasy!

8. Old Appliances. Outdated appliances can really hurt your ability to sell your home. Nobody wants to move into their new house only to have things start breaking on them. It may be a good idea for you to replace these appliances before putting your house on the market.

9. Carpeting. This is another home item that can make your house look incredibly dated, especially if the carpet is in every room. If your home is carpeted, you may want to talk to a reputable flooring contractor about replacing it. In my opinion, your best bet would be to rip it out and lay a hardwood floor, which everyone seems to love these days.

10. Misrepresenting Your Home. Simply put, you should not lie on your real estate listing. And when I say lie, that includes Photoshopping pictures of your home to make everything look larger. There is nothing that angers a buyer more than taking time to look at a home they thought they were interested in only to find out it’s nothing like the listing.

To speak to a reputable Los Angeles contractor who can help you get your home ready for sale so you can avoid turning off buyers, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

Can’t I Just Skip the Permit?

permits

So, it’s time for your next home remodeling project. Maybe it’s a roof replacement. Or a whole new kitchen. Or even a brand new room being added on to your home. As a contractor in these situations, I sometimes hear the homeowner say things like “Can’t we just skip the permit” To this, I always respond with an absolute “no.” Yes, I know a permit can sometimes delay the job while waiting for your municipality to approve it. Yes, I understand that permits are not free. I even realize that inspectors are not always easy to deal with. These things don’t benefit me as the contractor either. Yet, I still won’t do jobs that require a permit without one. And you as the homeowner should not want your remodeling job done without a permit either. Here are 4 reasons why:

1. Contractors who do unpermitted work may be less reputable. When you are having any type of remodeling work done to your home, the most important thing you need to do is hire a reputable contractor. And one of the ways to tell if that contractor is reputable is by finding out if they will permit the job. In order for them to pull a permit, a contractor needs to have the appropriate licenses and insurance. Therefore, at least you know your municipality approves them if they are able to permit your job.

2. Inspectors are there for a reason. Yes, inspectors can sometimes be a pain in the neck. But they are also there to ensure that your contractor has done the work the right way. To me, that is a very valuable thing for a homeowner to have. It also makes me feel good as a contractor to know that someone is there to catch the rare mistake so I can correct it right away.

3. Getting caught is a big problem. Simply put, the penalties you might face when getting caught doing work without a permit should be enough to make you want to permit your job. As a contractor, I certainly do not want to face the possible fines I could incur. As the homeowner, you could also face fines. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. You also may be forced to have whatever improvements have been done so far demolished. Ironically, this demolition will probably have to be permitted as well. Then, you still will have to get the permit you should have had in the first place in order to restart your job. Now that’s pain in the neck and the wallet!

4. Non-permitted work could affect a future home sale. This is one that I bet a lot of homeowners don’t know about. You may have a job done without a permit, think you got away with it for years, and still get caught. That’s because if a realtor or inspector notices unpermitted work during the sale of your home, the whole sale could be put in jeopardy! You may be able to go back and have a permit pulled, the job inspected, and the permit closed in some cases. But in other situations you could be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If those reasons don’t convince you that you need to be sure to have your contractor pull the appropriate permits on your home remodeling job, I don’t know what will.

To talk to a reputable Los Angeles contractor about any remodeling you are thinking of doing to your home, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

Kitchen Cabinets: Custom vs. Off-The-Rack

cabinets

The last time I remodeled my own home, the room that got the most attention was my kitchen. To me, the kitchen is the best canvas when it comes to deploying creative home design ideas. And as the room that actually provides nourishment and fuel to my family, I always feel that my kitchen should be up-to-date in terms of both technology and style. When it comes to remodeling a kitchen, there are a few areas that seem to get the most attentionThese areas are countertops, flooring, appliances, and cabinets. Today, I want to focus on kitchen cabinets.

When a homeowner decides to replace their kitchen cabinets, there will be a bunch of choices they need to make. From color, to size, to style, the options are endless. But before you even get to making those types of design choices, there is another important decision you will have to make with regards to your new kitchen cabinets. That choice is whether to go with custom cabinets or pre-fabricated off-the-rack cabinets. Before making this choice, you should definitely speak to a reputable home remodeling contractor. But before you do, take a look at some of the benefits of each of these two types of cabinets.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

1

In my opinion, the biggest advantage to selecting custom kitchen cabinets is right there in the name. These cabinets are CUSTOM made from scratch, resulting in kitchen cabinets that look exactly how you want them to. There are no major limitations when it comes to size, shape, and color. There are also many different wood types for you to choose from, such as mahogany, maple, pine, cherry, and oak. You can even go with a different type of material altogether, like laminate or stainless steel, if that’s the look you prefer. Basically, your kitchen remodeling contractor will come to your home, take some measurements, and work with you to get you exactly what you want. And because of all of the options at your disposal, custom kitchen cabinets are perfect not only as a piece of a major kitchen redesign, but also when you only want to change a few things in your kitchen. That’s because they can be designed to fit the style you already have.

Off-The-Rack Kitchen Cabinets

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If you are trying to save some dollars on your kitchen remodel, I think a great place to start would be to purchase off-the-rack kitchen cabinets (also called prefabricated cabinets). The main negative to these prefabricated cabinets when compared to custom ones is that they are not made to your exact specifications. But from my experience, there’s such a huge and varied selection available on the market that your contractor will definitely be able to find you off-the-rack cabinets that meet your size and style needs. You may also be able to get them installed sooner than custom cabinets because they do not need to be made from scratch. Your contractor will travel to your home, take some measurements, and present you with prefab cabinet styles for you to choose from. They will then order the ones you want to the correct size specifications, then come back and install your new cabinets when they receive them.

To speak to an experienced Los Angeles contractor about kitchen cabinets and other home renovation ideas, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

Also, you can visit Google ‘Images’ and search for these two types of cabinets.  You will be amazed at the number of pictures that will appear.

IT’S TIME TO GIVE!!!

Christmas, that time of year to celebrate with family, friends, co-workers, employees, clients – well, just about everyone!    And it’s time to honor these folks with a gift.   Here is a unique idea for these gifts:  Give your Mom a goat, give your kids a trio of bunny rabbits, give your wife, husband or significant other a cow, give your clients a flock of chicks, and give your employees an Ark (22 species, two by two).

No, they won’t have to worry about where to shelter their gift animal, what to feed it, or how to keep it healthy, because you, like so many others, are choosing to honor those near and dear to your heart by donating a gift of livestock and training through Heifer International.

Heifer International works with small holder farmers in more than 40 countries, providing gifts of livestock and training to empower self-reliance and ensure nutritional and economic security.   Since 1944 Heifer International has assisted more than 18 million families – 79 million people – move from poverty to prosperity with the help of its supporters.  Heifer project participant families are trained in eco-friendly agriculture and how to properly care for their livestock and living assets, to improve not only their lives, but their communities as well.

In turn, Heifer families agree to “Pass on the Gift,” by presenting the first female offspring of their gifted livestock – and the training in its care – to another family in the community.   With that, the gift of a single goat can soon become four goats, then eight goats, then 16 goats, helping even more families struggling daily to escape hunger and poverty.  This not only extends the impact of the original gift, it allows a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in their community’s sustainable development.

When you honor those in your circles of family, friends and others, you are creating what I call a ‘Win-Win-Win-Win’ situation because:   You are giving a gift; someone is getting a gift, somewhere in the world a family is receiving a gift of an animal; and, you are introducing someone else to Heifer.

Heifer will even provide you with free Honor Gift Cards that you can give to those you have chosen to give the gift of animal.   And it is so easy to shop – just go to www:heifer.org/gift and everything is laid out on your screen.

 I cannot think of a better gift at this special time of year.   We who are fortunate enough to reside in the United States, undoubtedly the richest country in the world, have a duty, a responsibility, an obligation, if you will, to help those born into less fortunate circumstances.   When over half the world, more than 3.5 billion people, live on less than $2 a day, the gift of an animal means so much!

May you and your circle of friends, family and others have a blessed Holiday Season!

With much hope,

David Keeton

 

BEYOND
HUNGER!

Click on the picture above to view the slideshow.

Playing with Tile in Your Bathroom: 3 Modern Styles You Should Consider in 2013 and Beyond

tile

Up until relatively recently, style wasn’t a major consideration for most people when it came to bathroom design. They wanted a room that had all the necessary components, but were just plain not worried about it looking modern or interesting. Most of that could be attributed to the feeling that bathrooms were there to serve a purpose, and would be locked away when not in use. Personally, I never really agreed with this thought because, of all the rooms in my home, the bathroom was the one room I knew I’d use every day. See, if I had a long day at work and went out for dinner, I may not set foot in my kitchen or living room. But I’d start each day with a nice hot shower, and finish it by brushing my teeth and washing my face before bed. So I always made sure my bathroom was a room that was comfortable for me to spend time in.

In addition to things like sinks, showers, and toilets that are a vital part of everyone’s bathroom experience, there are also style elements that can make or break your bathroom’s look and feel. One of the most important is your bathroom floor, where tile is usually the best option for most homes. But you no longer have to use cold, bland tile in your bathroom. Here are 3 modern bathroom tile styles that you should consider in 2013 and beyond:

1. Large Format Tiles.

If you’d like a more modern look in your bathroom, get rid of all of those tiny tiles that cover your floor and replace them with large format tiles, which is a style I just love. Large format tiles start at about 12” by 12”, but can range through 12” by 24” and all the way up to sizes that are just gigantic. Obviously, your bathroom layout will determine how big you can go. But I say, the bigger the better! And in addition to creating a more modern look in your bathroom, the other benefit of large format tiles is that there are less grout lines for you to have to clean.

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2. Faux Wood and Stone Tiles.

If you want to create a warm feel in your bathroom, while still remaining modern, faux wood and stone tiles may be the perfect option for you. These tiles are created from common tile materials such as porcelain, but still give off a great, natural wood or stone look. And one of my favorite things about faux tiles is that they are available in a ton of styles, shapes, and colors to fit your design tastes. They are also more durable and water-resistant than real stone or wood, which makes them a perfect choice for the bathroom.

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3. Color Pops.

As I mentioned earlier, creating a nice visual style in the bathroom is a very modern concept. And one of the things I love to see homeowners add to their tile pattern is a color “pop.” This is the perfect design technique to use when you still want to stick to a classic tile color in your bathroom, but would like to spice it up a bit. In this case, you would pick a brighter color like blue or yellow that suits your tastes, and add some tiles of this color throughout the bathroom. This can be done within the floor pattern itself, or maybe with a border around the whole room. Once it’s done, most homeowners like to go out and get accessories such as bath towels that match this color, tying the whole room together.

 

To speak to a creative Los Angeles contractor about modern tile styles for your bathroom, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

Also, you can visit Google ‘Images’ and search the above tile styles.  You will be amazed at the number of pictures that will appear.

Fluff & Puff Your Kitchen Without Breaking the Bank!

In my home, I consider the kitchen to be the most important room I have. The crown jewel, if you will. Admittedly, part of the reason for that is because I love a good meal. But it’s also because the kitchen literally provides the fuel that my family runs on. And to me, there’s nothing more important than keeping my family happy and healthy.

As I’m sure most of you have noticed, the past decade has brought about a major shift in the way kitchens are designed. No longer are they bland, sterile, and utilitarian. On the contrary, most new kitchen remodels end in a room that provides just as much beauty as it does usefulness. From shiny modern plumbing fixtures, to gorgeous quartz countertops, to perfectly matching cabinets, you can create a room that makes you smile every time you enter it. When I tell this to homeowners, they often react like they think getting a great kitchen is going to cost them an arm and a leg. But if you come up with a budget, and hire the right contractor to advise you, you can fluff and puff your kitchen into whatever style you dream, without even breaking the bank!

Doesn’t that sound amazing? Good. Then here are a few options you may want to consider when remodeling your kitchen on a budget:

 

Modern Plumbing Fixtures 

I know it sounds odd, but I just plain love washing my hands in a sink with a beautiful chrome faucet. A simple pleasure, I know. But a pleasure nonetheless. And although these sleek, modern fixtures look like a million bucks, they can be had for much, much less than that. That’s because the rise in popularity of designer plumbing fixtures has resulted in an increase in the amount of companies that produce them, which has in turn caused them to go down in price. Add this to the fact that some of these companies are targeting more budget-conscious consumers, and that’s what I like to call a buyer’s market with plenty of style options for you to choose from!

 

Laminate Flooring

From my experience, one of the most popular upgrades being done during kitchen remodeling jobs is the installation of new flooring. Obviously, old tile floors with dirty grout can really hurt the look of your kitchen even if you redesign everything else. One great option that I love installing in clients’ homes that won’t blow your budget out of the water is laminate flooring. It is extremely durable, which is perfect for your kitchen floor. And the best part is, it is available in basically any style and color you can imagine. Want cherry wood floors in your kitchen? There’s a laminate option for it. Want more of a tiled look? No problem.  Laminate floors are just plain versatile, which is why I consider them a great option for any kitchen.

 

Refaced Kitchen Cabinets

Old kitchen cabinets can really drag down the look and feel of your home. But no longer must you spend top dollar to have new cabinets designed from scratch to replace your old ones. Now, you can save a ton of money by having an experienced contractor completely reface your current cabinets so they look as good as new! You can change out the cabinet doors, have the entire cabinet painted both inside and out to fit your new kitchen design style, switch to more modern handles, and even add new and modern lighting. Then, you can top them off with some quartz countertops, and in my opinion, nobody will ever recognize them as your old cabinets! Plus, you won’t even have to have your contractor pull out your old cabinets, saving you money on the demolition part of the job.

If you’d like to talk to an experienced Los Angeles contractor about these and other ways to fluff and puff your kitchen without breaking the bank, give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

Also, you can visit Google ‘Images’ and search the above products.  You will be amazed at the number of pictures that will appear.