How To Make Your Kitchen Senior-Friendly

Safety concerns and the challenges of staying in our home increase as we age.  We all value our privacy and our independence, but these shouldn’t come at the expense of our health and well-being.  Of particular importance are adjustments to our kitchens, since that’s a room in which we spend a good amount of time and engage in a variety of potentially risky tasks.

The costs of a kitchen remodel can range from small to large; the following list provides some helpful ideas of senior-friendly alterations, and how involved and expensive each is likely to be.

Slip-Resistant Flooring

Falls account for a majority of injuries sustained by seniors in all areas of the house.  Remove any mats or rugs that present a tripping or slipping hazard.  A rug in front of the sink may be keeping your floor cleaner, but it’s hardly worth the risk you face of taking a serious spill.  Likewise, flooring should have enough texture to grip your feet. Consult with the clerk at your local hardware or home repair store for suggestions on the best types of slip-resistant flooring available.

Increase Lighting

Another fact of life is that as we grow older, our eyesight becomes poorer.  In the kitchen, where a lot of tasks require using knives, gripping pans, and transferring hot items, maximum lighting is essential.  This may be achieved with something as simple as increasing bulb wattage, or with something as complex as installing motion-sensor lights, or light switches that can be operated with a simple nudge.

Allow more than Adequate Clearance Space

Kitchens are particularly prone to acquiring clutter.  Look around to see what items (step stools, chairs, pet dishes) may be impeding your movements, and determine better locations for these things to “live.”

Make Appliances and Utensils Easier to Reach

One of the common laments voiced by seniors is the difficulty of reaching into both upper and lower cabinets.  Obviously, everything can’t be kept at waist level, but the most commonly used items can be made more accessible.  Place the microwave at or just below counter height.  Consider installing pull-out shelves which allow you to retrieve items without stretching or bending.

A side-opening oven door enables you to insert and remove items without having to lean across the standard lowered door, especially when the surface is hot.

Shallower sinks make it easier to rinse dishes, fruits and vegetables.  Single-lever faucets reduce the risk of scalding with hot water.

Replace smaller knobs and handles on drawers with larger, easy-to-grip ones.

When the time comes to replace an appliance, look for newer models with larger, easy-to-read controls.

If you are contemplating making changes to your kitchen—whether to make it “senior-proof” or for any other reason—the Handyman Matters craftsmen stand ready to consult and to assist in all aspects.  To find the office nearest you, call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME, or go to www.handymanmatters.com and enter your zip code.

Roof Repairs and your Home Winterization Checklist

Roof Repairs and your Winterization Checklist
A key part of the winterization process is to make sure that your home is prepared for a storm.  Perhaps it’s a monsoon, a blizzard, cooler temperatures, or just strong winds; preparing your home for the winter means to batten down the hatches.  Roofing can take the heaviest hit during the winter months, and if you ignore your home maintenance and roof repairs, you run the risk structural and interior home damage.

So how do you know what repairs to make?

  • Replace/Add Shingles Not all roof repairs need to be full overhauls.  Sometimes, a mere roofing inspection followed by the replacement of a few shingles will suffice.
  • Layer Cutoff However, the cut off point for just adding new layers of shingles to forego a roof replacement is 2 layers.  Once you hit 2 layers you are required by the International Residential Code to replace your roof.
  • Type of Shingle A roof replacement can also allow you the opportunity to opt for a heavier shingle.  Many store bought options are not optimal for roofs in high-wind areas.  If you notice your shingles blowing off, replace your roof with a sturdier shingle and cut out the regular repair costs.
  • Safety There’s a lot that can go wrong with an old roof.  Sagging and leaks can be symptomatic of larger structural issues.  Especially in higher snowfall areas, repairing compromised roofs before the weight of accumulated snow is important.  Ultimately, having a roof fall in on your house is way more problematic than the cost of roof maintenance.

While new roofs may be an expensive renovation, it’s one that can save you a lot of time, money, and stress repairing an outdated roof.  It’s these kinds of home maintenance investments that will ultimately improve the longevity of your home.  Call Handyman Matters today to get started on your roof repairs and winterization checklist, 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Best of the Internet – Entryways

The entryway serves an important purpose in every home.  It’s akin to a waiting room, the limbo between being fully invited into a home, and standing on the porch.  It’s also probably the first thing that gets cleaned when unanticipated company is driving up the block.  What is the importance behind this room?  The entryway is your home’s first impression.  If all your guest sees is the first 50 ft. of your home, what conclusions will they draw?

Handyman Matters believes in opening up your entryways to positive interpretations.  We believe in taking this home element and transforming it into its once elegant standing as, the foyer.

But to transform an entryway to a foyer, you must consider a few key elements…

  • Space

Clear a wide doorway radius.  The more initial space, the less disorienting it will be for newcomers to step into your home.  You should try to have enough space to accommodate the special makeup of around 4 or so people.  Give your guests a second to chat and to acclimate in this open area before moving onto the rest of your home.

   

  • Organization

Like most rooms in your home, the foyer serves a specific purpose.  It is the first and last stop in and out of your home.  This means it should carry your necessary outdoor items, such as a spot for shoes, keys, jackets, umbrellas, etc.  Having a cubby system, a bench, or wall hangers will be key to getting your home organized, and at its most efficient.

   

  • Design

Similar to having extra space, it is important to not initially overwhelm your guests with design.  However, the foyer provides a unique opportunity to highlight paintings, vases, and flooring.  The key is to keep your foyer design minimal and then pick one aspect of it to highlight.

And don’t forget about lighting!  Organization is nothing without a well-lit room.  We love pendant lamps and chandeliers when it comes to lighting in your entryway.

   
Thinking about transforming your entryway into its best self? Handyman Matters is here to help.  Our craftsmen are skilled at large overhauls, and even small installations.  Give us a call today at 866-FIX-MY-HOME to begin enhancing your home’s foyer.

 

Ready for a Change? It can be as Easy as Switching up your Floor Plan.

Are you a recent empty-nester?  Have you just finished decluttering the house?  Or maybe you’ve simply been contemplating the current floor plan of your living space and you wonder if there could be a more efficient—or a more attractive—way of arranging your belongings.

You could, of course, put your home on the market and find an entirely new place to live, but if you’re looking for something a little less disruptive and involved, here are a handful of smaller suggestions to consider.

Open Living Room Layout

    • Expand an existing room – Is there a room in your home that’s rarely used these days?  Consider the idea of knocking down the wall between it and an adjoining room to make a more open and welcoming space between the two. Think about creating an open living room connected to your kitchen.  Interestingly, a larger expanse can give a stronger sense of intimacy!

 

 

 

 

 

Walk-In Closet

 

    • Add a closet or increase the size of your current one – Maybe it’s time to consider turning that small, cramped space into a walk-in closet where your clothes, shoes and other paraphernalia aren’t competing for visibility.  Walk in closets are one of the best ways to treat your room to a little luxury. Examine your options:  is there some adjoining space that could be better served by making it part of a larger closet?

Installing Cabinets

 

 

 

 

    • Adding or moving cabinets – Every home seems to have that catch-all cabinet and/or that junk drawer, the place where everything that has nowhere else to be winds up.  Even those storage spots that have an assigned purpose tend to accumulate items that don’t belong there, because they don’t quite seem to fit anyplace else.  Conduct a walk-through of your home for the specific purpose of inventorying cabinet/cupboard locations and their contents.  It’s probably been awhile since you actively considered whether things are stored in their most convenient spot.  You’ve simply become accustomed to retrieving them as needed without much thought about how far you have to walk, or how deeply you have to dig.  Consider these areas of interest when considering moving or installing cabinets: laundry room, garage, mudroom, kitchen, or billiards area.

Storage Platforms

 

    • Floor storage platforms – In homes with higher ceilings, a recent and popular option is to install platform floors which allows for additional storage space.   These can be stylish, as well as unobtrusive, adding to a room’s appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • Baseboard drawers – A particularly innovative recent practice has been the installation of drawers along baseboards.  This might be a good option for storing things you don’t need on a regular basis, or that you don’t mind bending all the way down to the floor to retrieve.  Otherwise, this may not be the most convenient choice for you!

 

 

 

 

 

Built-in Shelving

 

 

  • Wall storage – Rather than adding shelving that extends out from a room’s wall (thereby robbing the room itself of space), built-in shelving creates additional storage capacity that allows you to display knickknacks or to keep items like books, games and DVDs at the ready. Built-in shelving can also add more architectural character to your home’s layout.  Think offices, libraries, bathrooms, and living rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

These are just a few of the options worth considering if you are looking to upgrade your home with an eye towards space reconfiguration.  Our many Handyman Matters offices have qualified craftsmen who can help you decide what the best option for your home may be, and to help you complete the job to your satisfaction.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the phone number of the Handyman Matters location nearest you.

 

The Benefits (as well as Things to Consider) of a Walk-In Shower


Years ago no one would have considered the concept of a walk-in shower in their house’s bathroom.  Such things were reserved for locker rooms and health clubs.  Now they’ve become a popular trend in private homes for a number of appealing reasons.

Walk-in showers offer extra space as well as giving your bathroom an open and airy appearance.  They are easily accessible and user-friendly. The elimination of thresholds makes them safer alternatives for children, seniors and for anyone dealing with mobility-restricting challenges.

  • Benefits…

With fewer parts where grime and soap scum can accumulate, they are easier to clean.  For these same reasons, the threat of mold is greatly reduced, with fewer places in which it can gain a foothold.   Showers can be designed with or without glass partitioning, depending on personal tastes.

Walk-in showers require no special ventilation or lighting.  The placement of accessories (shower heads, wall niches, grab bars) can be tailored to suit the homeowner’s needs and aesthetic preferences.

  • Things to consider…

Because this type of shower has an opening to the rest of the bathroom, its walls should be water-proofed or tiled at least as high as the shower head, and the fixtures adjusted to confine the water’s direction to within the stall area.  Just a small degree of slope will prevent water from flowing out into the rest of the room, yet not alter the floor enough to prohibit easy access.  Your shower’s stall space should have dimensions no smaller than 36 by 36 inches, and ideally, 42 by 60 inches.

Unless you are skilled in bathroom remodeling, this isn’t a do-it-yourself job, since significant structural and plumbing issues need to be addressed.   Your local Handyman Matters office is happy to offer guidance and expertise if you are considering this type of upgrade.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or locate us at www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the phone number of the office nearest you.

Considering the (Hidden) Costs of Finishing a Basement…


The popular concept is that refinishing your basement is a good way to obtain additional living space, as well as increasing your home’s resale value, and this is certainly true.  But before you plunge full-tilt into a remodeling project, it’s important to check carefully for all the possible—and expensive—stumbling blocks that you might not unearth until you are midway through the renovations.  When it comes to home improvement, research is key.  Consider these hidden costs before you begin finishing a basement…

  • How many support pillars are present in your basement?  What kind of remodeling do you have in mind, and will the current structure support the changes you want to make?
  • Window egress.  If your remodel plans include adding a guest or bedroom, ample egress is legally required.  There must be easy escape from these rooms, so if the basement doesn’t already have these, add the cost of installing additional windows to your bottom line.
  • Are the floors level and the walls straight?  How much reconfiguration will be needed to install flooring, paneling, etc. so that it doesn’t warp or shift with time?
  • What potential drainage and ventilation issues might you encounter?  Particularly humid climates may require the addition of a dehumidifier to keep the location dry and usable.
  • How much of the pre-existing materials can be used in the remodel?  How much new materials will be required?

Know what you’re up against before you begin finishing a basement.  When you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how much you need to budget for the home improvement project, and whether the ultimate cost can support your plans.

And remember that Handyman Matters stands ready to assist you with this and with any other remodeling or repair projects around your home.  Contact us at 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code on our website to start your home improvement project’s free estimate!

Ideas For Your Master Bedroom Renovation Or Update

    

The master bedroom, the best room in the house, just for you, and full of amenities – or at least, it should be.  If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the term “master bedroom” now’s your chance.  Even with the simplest update, you can turn your bedroom into the cozy haven it was meant to be. Here are our tips for updating your master bedroom…

    • Ceiling Fan – White noise… A cool breeze… what’s better for sleeping than those two things?  Disguise the fans in your home by installing ceiling fans.
    • Closet Built-ins – Sometimes organizers aren’t worth the fuss.  Don’t lose crates to the back of your closet, or overfill flimsy, stackable shelves.  Whether your closet is on the smaller side or is a walk in, creating a built-in interior will help add structure and visibility to your organization plan.
  • TV Built-ins – While having a TV in the master bedroom is a wonderful amenity, it shouldn’t be the room’s focus.  Tuck your TV out of the way when it’s not in use by having a cabinet to store it in.  Built-ins can not only hide your television, but can also act as secondary storage, providing shelving and drawers for books, seasonal clothing, or your favorite tchotchkes.
  • Bathtub Upgrade – It’s the simple things – like jets in your bathtub – that can improve your mood, your bathroom, and even your day.  Relax after work in a bathtub fitting of a master bedroom.
  • Lighting Installations – Even though it may not seem like it, lighting can drastically effect how a room is perceived.  Harsh, overhead lighting, or yellow-y bulbs can strain your eyes.  In a room made for comfort, make sure your wattage and positioning reflects that.  Have multiple lights at various levels, this will help even out brightness of your room.  Each main surface in a bedroom should have a light, and provide extra watts to the places where you get ready the most or the places where you read at night.

Not feeling that DIY? Let us take care it for you!  Handyman Matters specializes in master bedroom renovations.  Give us a call today to get started on your free estimate – 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Ideas For Your Summer Bathroom Remodel

The most telling room in any home is the bathroom.  Whether it be a master, a full, a ¾ bathroom, or a powder room… the state of the water closet is like peering through a keyhole to the condition of the rest of the home.  Is it outdated, dirty, or broken?  Bathrooms should inspire a feeling of cleanliness and hospitality, not of unease.  Take care of your home and its inhabitants by having a relaxing lavatory.  Handyman Matters has identified a few bathroom ideas, to improve each powder room in your home.

  • The Master Bathroom – Vanity

     
The biggest challenge for the master bathroom is organization.  For a room designed for the daily routines of (typically) two people, storage can be hard to come by.  For those of us with more beauty products than we know what to do with, there’s the bathroom vanity.  In modern bathroom designs, the vanity can be tucked away, between sinks, in extra counter space, or it can stand out as a small table.

  • The Full Bathroom – Free Standing Tub

     
A full bathroom is designated as having a shower, a tub, and a toilet.  When you have a full bathroom you typically have a spacious room.  What’s better in a large space than a statement piece?  The latest design trend for the modern bathroom is the free standing tub.  Whether it be Victorian inspired, contemporary, or more of the Jacuzzi vein – there’s a variety of kinds to help you bathe in style.

  • The Powder Room – Wallpaper

     
The smallest bathroom is the powder room.  When it comes to the ½ bath, the powder room has just a toilet and a sink. It may be small, but it is one of the most functional bathrooms in the home, most commonly serving the needs of your house guests.  Although this room is compact it doesn’t have to be bland.  The best way to add interest to a small bathroom is by installing printed wallpaper.

  • The ¾ Bathroom – Tile

     
Just the essentials in this room: a shower and toilet.  Smaller rooms with showers often fight the effects of humidity.  For this room think water resistant, think tile.  Unlike wood flooring and wallpaper, tile rarely warps or peels due to water damage.  A bonus feature is that there are many graphic options for tile to add a little intrigue as well as functionality.

Add a little luxury to your life and the lives of your house guests with a bathroom remodel.  The summer is a great time to revamp different areas of your home.  Whether you need repairs, extra cabinets, new appliances, or an accessible install – Handyman Matters is here to make that a reality.  Call us today to schedule your free estimate, 866-FIX-MY-HOME, or head to handymanmatters.com.

You Don’t Need to Wait Until Spring to Start Your Garden!

Punxsutawney Phil has predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  Does this mean we should restrict ourselves from sunbathing and gardening? Handyman Matters doesn’t think so.  Here’s our guide to creating springtime indoors.

  • Kitchen Herb Gardens

Notoriously small, notoriously helpful.  Herb gardens are the tiny bits of life that can be squeezed into almost any home space.  If you have a window in your kitchen, hang a small rack to place these small pots in.  Improve your cooking and your kitchen aesthetics!

  • Seeding a Vegetable Garden

Start your outdoor garden, indoors!  Seeding a garden before you plant one outdoors will help insure its success.  To get started, install a large shelf and hang grow lights at the top.  Make sure the seedlings are getting enough light and position their trays accordingly.  Here’s some more information on planting techniques and shelf examples.

  • Building a Greenhouse

Are you looking to grow less practical plants?  Would you prefer to fill your home with flowers, succulents, or trees?  Greenhouses are perfect for creating the humid, tropical forest you’ve always wanted.  Green houses can vary from small home installations, to large backyard structures.  

  • Creating a Sunroom

It’s the living room version of the greenhouse!  When you want to live amongst the flowers and the sun – you build a sunroom.  Typically added as a home extension, these living spaces are glass enclosed rooms that allow you to enjoy the warmth of the indoors while also soaking up some rays.  Plants thrive in this kind of set up, so the more the merrier.

It may still be winter, but that doesn’t mean your home has to reflect that.  Spring can come early to your home with a few simple steps.  Thinking about adding on a sunroom or greenhouse to your home?  Looking to install an indoor garden?  Handyman Matters can help.  Call us today for a free quote (866-FIX-MY-HOME) or fill out the free quote form above.

Load Bearing VS Non-Load Bearing: The Essential Guide to Removing Walls in Your Home

PaintingHome renovations often become small demolition projects, especially when it comes to living spaces and kitchens that have too many walls.  Modern day homes are open spaces.  Pretty typically, only the bedroom and bathroom occupy a separated space from the rest of the house.  Layouts are now more determined by the layout of furniture than by actual wall dividers.

So you have decided to join the buzz and tear down a wall.  Before you do that, make sure you read this! Some walls in a house are absolutely essential they are what helps keep that roof up!

Here are the keys to determining the load bearing versus non load bearing walls in your home:

Floor Joists

These are the horizontal supports that appear under a floor, in a ceiling or on top of the houses foundation. Unfinished basements provide the best visibility for spotting these joists.  Go downstairs and just look up!  Once you have them in your sights, take note of the direction that they are running.  Are they north/south, east/west?  Their direction will help signal where a load bearing wall probably is.  Load bearing walls typically run perpendicular to floor joists.

Beams

While you are in the basement, look around to see if you notice any beams. These are typically made of sturdier materials and run vertically from the foundation upwards.  If the beam is coming out of the wall, that segment of wall is load bearing. The same goes for if you see a beam running across the ceiling on one of the levels of your home.  The walls that that beam is connected to are more likely than not, essential to the integrity of your home.

Upstairs

Does your house have more than one floor? If so take note of the walls and their locations on the first floor, then head upstairs.  On the next level notice which walls have the same placement as the first.  If there are more stories, keep going up and note the walls that continue all the way to the top – these are likely your load bearing walls.

Blueprints

If you have the blueprints to your home: your life is easy. Open up your blueprints and look for the structure section often indicated by the letter “S”.  The framing plan will help you have a more reliable look and your homes interior plan.  Look for beams, and the direction of floor joists.  If the wall you’d like to remove is not connected to a beam, or running perpendicular to the floor joists in its room: then it’s more than likely not a load bearing wall.

Watch This:

Need More Help?

Removing the wrong wall in your home can have disastrous results.  Don’t accidentally demolish your home.

When you are looking to remove a wall, contact a craftsmen to take a look first.  Handyman Matters wants to be your local resource for any home improvement projects or questions.  Give us a call today! 866-FIX-MY-HOME.