Friday, April 17, 2015

Springing A Fence

Neighbor measuring for deck
Spring is here and so is the season to add a fence or deck!  It seems like everywhere I turn, someone is adding one or both to their home.  It is nice to see all the different styles that people decide on and how it enhances the look of the yard.  

As you know, we have a small little backyard (not uncommon for our area), but we knew right away we needed and wanted to add a fence.  After getting a few quotes, we have our guy.  I should also note that we are pretty restricted as to what type of fence we can install.  According to our HOA documents, we have to install the white vinyl fence and no wood is allowed.  It's a restriction based off where we are located within the community.  I thought vinyl would be cheaper...ha...fooled me again.  Since starting this fence process, I have learned a lot.  Both, wood and vinyl, come with their own set of pros and cons.  Vinyl is less maintenance in the long run but there are surely more options with wood.  Be sure to get what is best for your needs and wants.      

Sidebar: If you live in a townhome, go ask your neighbors if they too would like a fence.  Most companies will give you a discount if they can do more than one fence at a time.  This way, you can save a few bucks by sharing the cost of connecting fences.  If you like discounts like I like discounts, this pointer will be your friend!!!  Our example of cost savings is as follows: our connecting fence is 18ft long.  Instead of us paying the full cost of 18ft, we are paying for 9ft and my neighbor is paying for the other 9ft.  If you have to share a fence anyways, why not share the fees too right?

The good thing about the guy we decided to go with is he had recently quoted my neighbor a few days prior to us calling him out.  This was great!  The fence guy and I went over to my neighbor's home and had a great conversation about getting this work done.  It worked out for both of us and I can't wait to see the finished product.  We have some travel coming up soon, but once completed, I will update you.  

My neighbor will also be getting a deck installed, but there are lots of options that we have not yet discussed.  I am sure this will be a future project for us, but likely not this season.  So far we are looking at deck quotes in the $12K-$13K range.  whew... Perhaps once the BBQ season pass, I can get a nicer quote.  

Are you all thinking about adding a deck or fence?  If so, what are your thoughts on vinyl vs. wood?  If you have already added one or both of these, what has been your experience? 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

...And then there was light...

Hello again!  I have really missed talking with you all!!!  It has been a long while since I blogged about updates.  Between planning our belated honeymoon (because we kind of purchased a house during the 'normal' honeymoon phase), trying to piece together ideas, and working, this gal has been super busy.  Most of our ideas are in-progress, which basically means nothing is finished!  HAHAHA

So why not show at least one of our in-progress projects right?

So without further hesitation, we have lights!  We decided to changed all our builder grade lighting to LEDs.  Many of you have read about the install of what I like to call the 'Entertainment Package'.  One of the many features of the Savant system is to customize the lighting controls throughout the home.  For instance, if I wanted to watch a movie in my 'Woman Cave', I could press a button and the lights in that room or on the entire level, could dim to my specifications.  

In order to make that happen, we would need to install dimmer panels throughout the house as well as dimmable lights.  

First we replaced the switches and switch plates with custom colors to match the wall color from Lutron.  I will spare you the details, but ladies and gents...this requires electrical work.  My husband installed these and he is not an electrician.  Are you wondering if he got shocked during this process?  Well YES, he did.  Even thought I told him to cut the power off to the entire house, he decided not to listen and voila!  I was headed to Target anyways...and I can stay in that place for hours so it would not have ruined my day.  But nooooo...he's a man...he "got this"...and he got shocked!  LOL LOL LOL  My poor husband.  He wasn't hurt but I was worried about him.  I can laugh about it now, but I would hate for something serious to happen to him.  After a couple of days, most locations were installed.  We are still awaiting delivery of some panels and switches so we have more to do before it is complete.  

Next, we needed to replace all the lights in these dimmable areas.  We replaced all the builder lighting with dimmable LEDs.  This is not a cheap replacement because those bulbs can add up quickly, but once you invest upfront, you should be good for about 10 years!  They will pay for themselves in no time! 

I tested the dimmable action in the kitchen and the LEDs really made a huge difference.  The lights are now LED bright whites which really show the true color of our paint selections.  I am soooo happy these worked for us.  To our surprise, they actually made the kitchen appear larger.    

Here are just a few pics of how things really look!  Yes, these are real life pictures and sometimes I am afraid to turn off a light.  HA!  Silly looks unfinished so deep down I don't know if I will be shocked or not!  HAHAHA  Just kidding (but not really)!!!  

Lutron dimmer install 

Lutron dimmer install


Installing LEDs bulbs in kitchen

LED arrival
After everything has been installed, I will update you all.  I believe we will be doing some patch work or caulking because the Lutron wall plates are smaller than the builder grade plates.  We want to make sure we have a finished look when complete.  

I should point out that we will be doing soft lighting in the bedrooms instead of the bright white lights.  

I have a few things started but unfinished.  I can say our guestroom is 95% complete.  If you want to see that, I would be happy to show you.  We just hung the window panels and love it!  

What about you?  Do you have any in-progress projects that you are excited about finishing?  Also, what are your thoughts on lighting?  Do you prefer soft white or bright white LEDs, or do you even have a preference?