Have you ever looked around your home and wondered, “How can I make this space feel a little more like mine?” Well, I’m right there with you, friend. If you’re anything like me, you’d like to avoid the cookie cutter, builder-grade, straight-out-of-the-showroom feel. You want unique … custom.
I’m hosting the kick-off of November’s new topic, “Customizing your Home” for the House to Home Haven Blog Link Up!
Organized by an amazing group of bloggers from the Haven Conference, this link-up’s purpose is to connect and share amazing design and renovation ideas to make the most of your biggest investment: your home!
We want to see your ideas too! To get in on the blog link action, drop a link your your IG post, blog post or video at the bottom of this post!
Here are the House to Home Haven Blog Linkup Rules:
Link to relevant content
Link to a specific post, image, or video
Share the love!
5 Interior Design Ideas to Customize your Home
Book Storage – Make a DIY Book Rail
You can easily (and inexpensively) create storage for displaying in your kid’s bedroom or playroom. I particularly love the style of shelves where the covers are forward facing, like the ones we made for our Girl’s Bedroom Makeover.
This was a super simple project and cost a total of $64 and 3 hours total time. Definitely worth it for this space.
Installing trim moulding is a moderately easy customization project you can use to customize your space. There are many different types ways to use them.
Crown moulding, for example, can be used to bulk up or accentuate the look of otherwise bland cabinets. Just look at the difference a little paint and trim made in our office upfit!
Another idea is adding a strip of trim above your basic base molding (or skirting, as the Europeans say) – a simple project that will make your home feel custom.
For more trim ideas on how to go from builder-basic to custom, I suggest following this guy, Phillip on IG – his ideas and work are super educational and impressive.
You simply can’t beat the impact a few cans of paint can make, even if it is just white on white. There’s something about walls with generous moulding all painted in the same color.
Seriously, paint selections make a BIG difference. Although I must admit that I am in the neutral paint fan club, we shouldn’t be afraid of color either. A tasteful paint selection will give you a custom look.
Built-ins are one of those custom features that make high-end homes feel like high end homes. Fortunately, there are tons of tutorials out there for how-to build them in all different styles.
I know HVAC returns are necessary, but goodness gracious, they are hideous. Thankfully, there’s this super cute tutorial by Simplicity in the South that will help you get a custom look and improve your HVAC vent situation.
What are your home’s unique or custom features that you just can’t live without?
Drop a link to your Instagram post, blog post, or video below and don’t forget to use #housetohomehaven in all your inspiring spaces!
If you are anything like me, no space is complete unless it is both functional AND easy on the eyes – and that includes a home office. Recently on Instagram, we shared a part of our Office Upfit Project and the process of taking our wood-toned, dated home office – located smack in the middle of our home – into a light, organized and inspiring space for our small team to gather.
I wrestled through the ENTIRE design and organization process with decisions for this space – so much it was painful! After taking input from our team and a strong collaborative effort with my Inspiring Intern, Kelly, the project is finally coming together.
Given the challenges I faced with the organization and design of our home office, I thought I’d share what I learned along the way. Regardless of whether you are a mom running your household, work from home by yourself or have a team at your side… your home office should be the central hub of functionality and this post is for you!
7 Tips for How to Organize and Design your Home Office
#1 Organize a Bills & Mail Station
Create a System
We developed a little system to organize our bills, documents, and random notes that collect on our desk.
First when the mail comes in, we go through and purge the junk mail. Random notes are separated from bills and project related documents and placed in a separate folder. The rest go in the top bin. Uriah doesn’t open the mail until he’s ready to spend a few hours paying bills.
After bills are paid, they go into the “to-be-scanned” bin. Either Uriah or our assistant will then scan the papers into a cloud based system, according to our digital organization process.
Then, if it is a document where the original needs to be kept in our records, such as a HUD, it goes in the “to be filed” bin. At that point, documents are ready to be filed in our Project File Drawers by our assistant.
#2 Choose a Desk with Storage to Help you Organize
Hopefully your desk has at least two file drawers so you can organize important personal business documents. If not, no worries! You can always purchase file boxes like these at Target and store them on open shelving. You can even use file storage as a part of your styling, like this idea from The Organized Home:
#3 Organization is all about labeling EVERYTHING
When I say label everything – I mean everything: your shelving, your bins, your folders, your cubbies and baskets. After all – you’ve spend all this time on organization so everything has a place. Labeling (in conjunction with self-discipline) is the way to keep it that way! It will also help your husband, wife, assistant, or children know exactly where things go.
We bought cabinet hardware that doubled as a label!
#4 Organize and Look Good Doing It – Put Your Processes and Operating Procedures in Pretty, Easily Accessible Binders
I found floral 3-ring binders like the ones you see above at target – making sure they compliment our brand colors. (The ones linked are similar but not the exact same as mine.)
The binders hold our Office Manual, Company Handbook and Order & Inventory Lists for Open Projects. Notebooks and manuals such as this need to be readily accessible for you or your employees to reference when needed. Because counter space is plentiful in The Inspiring Investment office, we display them in a black mesh rack on the counter.
#5 Design: Home Office
This concept could also be applied for a homemaking office! Have a notebook for meal planning, home or craft projects, or you could even have a Household Manual – a tool you can provide a nanny or babysitters who come into your home. (Would you believe I do this one? #nerdalert)
Start with Neutrals
White space is essential to a visually appealing space – I’m convinced! That’s not to say there isn’t a place for color – or – that walls always have to be white – by no means! Color makes our world interesting and dynamic! But in order for that color to be seen and not overwhelmed by other “noise”, a neutral backdrop is a solid foundation for building a well-designed, balanced space. That is why we chose to paint our cabinets AND walls white. It will be the perfect canvas to put our brand on display.
#6 Design: Home Office Artwork and Decor
Use Artwork and Decor that tells a story
The story you tell through the decor in your home office should be dictated by the reason you use it. I run a small business, so for the purposes of this post I will speak for business owners and branding, but your brand could also be interpreted as your style or values and therefore applicable to a homemaker’s office.
Brand colors, your logo, imagery, meaningful art related to your business, or company benchmarks – all of these things are a part of branding your office. They re-affirm the values of your company and communicate a cohesive message to your employees and even yourself.
#7 – Design: Seating
Use Stylish, but Comfortable Chairs
Ergonomic design is an important factor in furnishing your home office with comfy, stylish seating.
(We are actually incorporating a standing desk option for one of the three work stations in our home office, which is why I’m showing a stool option.)
More ideas to design your home office:
Hang inspiring wall art (support local artists if possible)
Use meaningful objects to your brand or values to decorate
We plan on putting a vinyl sticker of our logo at the top of our office whiteboard, because no one can reach up there anyway.
Additionally, we will be using light blue push pins on a black and white maps of Raleigh, Cary, and Durham to mark all flips we’ve completed in our market, kind of like the one you see pictured above.
In Conclusion …
Working from home is certainly a blessing, but I think we all know it can also have it’s challenges. Investing the extra effort into the design and organization of your office can improve functionality, your personal productivity and communicate your brand’s message, unifying your whole team! It’s time to treat your home office like an actual workplace, don’t you think?
Coming Next …
I’m posting all the design choices we actually implemented to tell our brand’s story in our Office Upfit.
I follow this girl, Kate, and she does a hashtag on Instagram called “Things I’m loving Thursday”. I thought I would put my own spin on it. Things I’m Loving Thursday: House Flipper Style.
As Natalie and I are working through the details of our editorial calendar, it looks like blog posts will publish 1-2 days per week, on Monday and Friday. But today I just got so excited about these deals I found! I bought the following items a few days ago for LaRancharita, so you will see them installed very soon if you follow us on Instagram! Here is the kitchen before cabinets. It’s a blank slate!
Now, these amazon images are affiliate links, which means that if you click on it and purchase it, I get a little commission, but it doesn’t effect the price you pay. I see this as a win-win for both of us: I’m scouring the internet for good deals and you want good deals 🙂 I will only share items I have or would use for my house or our projects. Thank you in advance for your support, loves!
Things I’m Loving Thursday: House Flipper Style
Here is the faucet I talked about on Insta. You will see it soon in the navy, white and gold kitchen that is LaRancharita:
Also, I bought these brackets from Amazon for LaRancharita. It will hold reclaimed wood shelves on either side of the stainless steel hood vent, for storage. Kind of like this beauty:
I bought the wood from a girl on craigslist who got them from an old tobacco barn in North Carolina. Uriah thinks I may have paid too much for it, but I whole-heartedly disagree 🙂 It doesn’t hurt that we’ve done like 3 projects so far with the wood!
Here is a link to the stainless steel hood vent going in at LaRancharita I mean, it was only like $149.99 (at least it was when I purchased) Don’t miss out, this is a great price!
I’ve received some requests for my favorite hardware selections. I definitely have some I would love to share, but sadly, this is about all I can do tonight. The good news is the beautiful navy (yes NAVY!!) cabinets are now installed at LaRancharita and looking fabulous.
If you want to inside scoop on all things home improvement, DIY, design, and real estate investing-related sign up for our email list here. You’ll be the first to know all the good stuff.
Here at The Inspiring Investment, we encourage people to make wise choices with their money. Perhaps for you, that meant buying a fixer-upper and building sweat equity. Maybe you envision a value-add project in your existing home or there is damage to your house that you need to fix. Either way, we are over here cheering you on! Garrett, our amazing Project Manager, is here to share with you some of the basics of framing. Read until the end, because he also gives you a valuable resource!
Framing at it’s core is a simple task. It can be intimidating at first, but with a basic understanding of the components involved and how to assemble them, any capable person can do it. By the end of this article it is not impossible to think that you could frame in a wall, install a door or build out a window. Perhaps, you could even convert that dusty basement into a home theater or play room.
Let’s start with the most basic form of framing, the wall. A wall is really made up of three key components. The first is the sole plate. This is the bottom portion of a wall that rests on the floor. Next, you will have the studs. These are the vertical wooden supports that extend the height of the wall. Finally, there will be a double top plate. This is the trickiest portion of the wall, as it takes some forethought when building. The double top plate is designed to give you the ability to fasten two sections of a wall together, be it a corner or a wall that is longer than your section of lumber.
Once you have your three wall components cut to length, you can fasten the first top plate, the sole plate and the studs together through the sole plate and the first top plate. For 2×4’s you will want to use two nails or screws per side. When using 2×6’s, you will want to use three; and a for a 2×8, use four and so on.
Now that you have your single wall or section built, you can begin to think about connecting two walls. When connecting the second of the two top plates it is important to determine which one will overlap the other. As depicted in the photo, you will simply need to make one longer and the other shorter so that you simultaneously create and fill a void. Where the two meet, it’s a good idea to fasten the walls with four nails or screws.
You know how to assemble a wall and connect top plates. Now you are ready for framing the corners. Connecting your top plates together in corners is the same as two straight sections of wall, but when connecting the sections you will have to compensate for two potential scenarios. The first is that when you connect two walls you will have hidden one of your end studs. This creates an issue come time for installing sheetrock. It is important to anticipate the needs of the sheet rocker, because if they are unhappy, there is a good chance you are about to be. So to keep your sheet rockers rocking, install a stud so that each adjacent side of a corner has a visible stud to which sheetrock can be fastened.This is your main issue when working with an inside corner.
The next issue is specific to outside corners. If you push on a single stud you will quickly realize that it is not very firm. It will have a good amount of flex. On an outside corner it is a bad idea to have a lot of flex. Once the sheetrock is installed, it is far more susceptible to damage if the corner has any significant range of motion. This is, however an easy fix. Simply add a second stud right up against your end stud and fasten them together from top to bottom every foot or so.
If you are building a room, don’t forget to put in a door so you have a way to get out. To prevent any situation of the sort, let’s learn to build a doorway.
This process, like the wall will require a sole plate, studs, and a double top plate, but we will also add in a few other component, the first being the king stud. This is the outside stud of a doorway and it serves as the anchor for the rest of the unit. Next, there will be what is called a header. This is most typically comprised of two 2×6 pieces of wood with shims (thin pieces of wood) sandwiched between to bring the header to the thickness of the stud. The confusing thing about 2x lumber is that it is only 1.5” thick. So a .5” shim is needed to bring a header to the same thickness as the stud. If it is not thick enough, it will warp the sheetrock. Likewise, a header that is too thick will cause bowing. You will want to run three nails on both sides of the header every foot or so to fasten it together. Next, install the jack studs or trimmer studs. These support, or jack up, your header at the desired height of your doorway (typically about 82-82.5” from the ground). Finally, you will install the cripple studs between the top plate and the header. These studs serve to stabilize the door while supporting the top plate. You will want to know the measurements of your door jamb so that you know how wide and high to make the opening. It is pretty standard to make the opening 2” wider than the door jamb and 1” higher.
Building a window is very similar to a door. You will leave the sole plate intact. Once the sole plate, king stud, jack stud, header, and cripple studs are installed, you can then build the part of the rough opening on which the window will rest. This section will be composed of more cripple studs that will extend from the sole plate to the bottom of the window sill. On top of the cripple studs you will attach another top plate. It is important to install a jack stud at either end of that top plate connecting it to the jack stud that holds the header. This will stabilize the window support. Like a door, make sure the opening is about 1.5-2” wider and 1-1.5” taller than your opening to give a little wiggle room for the window installer.
At the most basic level, the tools needed to accomplish framing are pretty simple.
A Hammer, Drill, or Nail Gun
An Accurate Tape Measure
A Quality Level with Plumb Line Capabilities
(It could be helpful to have a chalk line as well to ensure your wall is going exactly where you want it.)
When framing in old houses, basements, or garages, it is not uncommon for the floor to be uneven. Actually, it is uncommon for them to be level. This creates a challenge when trying to decide the height of the studs. To combat this, start by running a plumb line from the ceiling to the floor. Mark each to determine where you would want your top plate and sole plate to sit. Then you can fasten your plates to the ceiling and the floor in advance. If you do not have joists to attach to, you might have to install wood blocks that run between joists giving something to which you can attach your top plate. Then mark out where your studs will go, (code typically requires a stud every 16”). Once you do this you can measure and cut your studs based on their corresponding mark and simply hammer them in place and toenail (nailing or screwing in from an angle) it to fasten it to the top and bottom plate. If you have doubts, look up your local code. In North Carolina, we can access our code digitally.
Typical Code Requirements
Studs need to be 16” on center from one another (on center is another way of saying the center of the stud needs to be 16” from the center of the next stud)
If building in a basement or garage, the sole plate must be treated for ground contact, and it is a good idea to put a foam gasket between the bottom of the sole plate and the concrete floor. This will ensure no moister affects the longevity of the wood.
When connecting to concrete it is important to use appropriate concrete fasteners like ¼ tapcons that are treated for moister contact and are long enough to adequately connect the sole plate to the ground.
For more information, check out:
House Improvements Youtube Page – this is a vast resource of building basics in video format. For the visual learner, this will be your best bet. You will need to check some of the things he says against your local code, but they really know what they are doing.
Best of luck in all your renovation adventures!
By the way … If a DIY project like this is too much, it’s completely understandable. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to renovate a house! Maybe you have too much going on in your life and can’t handle another project? We can help with that: we’ll buy it. We pay cash and buy it as-is! Give us a call. You’ll be glad you did.
Today’s post is written by Garrett, our Project Manager. From the start, he has proved to be a valuable asset to our team and we feel blessed to have him. Learn more about Garrett here. He came to us with a great wealth of knowledge and today, we pass some of that knowledge onto you as Garrett covers a commonly neglected task in home maintenance: the crawlspace. Take it away …
When looking for a home it is easy to focus on the aesthetical improvements over the practical ones. My wife, Shea, and I began looking for a home last Spring. Our “must have” list included things like an open layout or the ability to open a wall, three bedrooms, a functional bathroom and a functional kitchen. So, when the time came to put an offer in on a house, we thought we had all the important bases covered. As it turns out, we didn’t. Our inspector uncovered a crawlspace with $7,500 of water and termite damage. Thankfully, we were fortunate to find that out in our due diligence period, but not everyone is that lucky.
The Enemy Of All Crawlspaces
Once a person is sure the structure of their home is sound, it is important to do everything you can to protect that space. In my experience, enemy number one of the crawlspace is water. We need it to survive but it has no place in the structure of your home. There are a variety of places water can enter a crawlspace, but right now I would like to focus on the primary and least predictable way in which water enters a crawlspace: the ground.
H20, particularly when the ground around a home has become saturated, can evaporate into your crawlspace creating and trapping humid air. Humid air and wood creates a perfect ecosystem for mold, mildew, wood rot and the ever prevalent termite.
Protecting Your Crawlspace
All of these nasty symptoms of water can be prevented. The first line of defense against evaporating groundwater is a vapor barrier. The simplest form of vapor barrier is a 6 mil plastic that is rolled over the entire surface of a crawlspace. This first line of defense will significantly decrease the probability that moisture will enter the crawlspace. There is a significant range in cost and type of vapor barrier. Let’s take a look at your options.
1. Vapor Barrier
The first, and most simple, process is to lay overlapping pieces of heavy (typically 6 mil) plastic across the entire surface of the crawlspace. It is recommended that you overlap each piece of plastic 6-12 inches to assist in keeping the evaporated water from getting through the barrier. These are typically done in vented crawlspaces.
Cost: $70-$100 per 2,000 sq. ft.
Pros: Most affordable. Least time-consuming. Will be sufficient if you can be sure your crawlspace is very dry. Cons: Gases rise and can still find a way through the seams of the vapor barrier. It is also common for moisture to enter through the concrete or cinder block foundation walls, particularly if they are below grade (ground level). It does not address the fact that, especially in the South, humid air is still always going to enter a vented crawlspace and come into contact with the structure.
2. Partial Encapsulation
Although more expensive, partial encapsulation addresses the issue of a below grade space as well as any rising ground vapor. This process involves:
Taping 6 mil plastic to the wall of a crawlspace with butyl tape. If you have ever tried to tape anything to concrete, especially cinder block, you know it will not adhere for any reasonable amount of time. So, to combat this issue we use a product called butyl tape. This tape is double-sided, extremely sticky and will hold for a considerable amount of time. Figure out how far below ground the lowest point of your crawl is, and run the tape at ground level around the crawl. We recommend doing it in smaller sections, because working with butyl tape can be challenging.
Cut the plastic so it is at least 6” longer than the height between the tape and the ground. You will want to be sure to keep your vents free from plastic to allow air flow. If your crawlspace is large enough to require piers to support the structure, do the same process using butyl tape to adhere the plastic at least half way up the pier. Again, be sure that you have six inches of plastic overlapping the ground. Next, you will pin the plastic to the ground using garden stakes, which kind of look like mega staples.
Lay out your plastic vapor barrier. We recommend using at least a 12 mil reinforced plastic. This will withstand much more abuse as you and your handyman crawl under the house to repair any future issues. Again, run your plastic from wall to wall. Make sure it overlaps the plastic that has been taped to the wall at least 6 inches. Like the standard vapor barrier, you will want to also overlap each consecutive piece of plastic 6 inches. Finally, you will then tape all seams using PVC seam tape. It is not uncommon to see duct tape or gorilla tape in crawl spaces, but this tape will deteriorate, losing its adhesion, much faster than a tape designed for plastic seams. Finally, use the garden stakes every several feet to ensure that the vapor barrier is secured.
Cost: $300-$500 per 1,200 sq.ft. Pros: This will ensure no water enters your crawlspace from the ground or walls. It will prevent insects from entering the crawlspace. It is relatively affordable and is a big upgrade from the standard 6 mil vapor barrier. Cons: More time-consuming. Slightly more expensive. Still allows moist vented air into the crawlspace.
3. Full Encapsulation or Conditioning
This method will, by far, be the most expensive. If moisture has been an issue in the past, or you live in a very moist climate, this is going to be your best bet. Full encapsulation nearly guarantees that your crawlspace will be free from humid air. This process is often used in newer homes and old homes can be retrofitted for encapsulation.
Full Encapsulation assists in:
maintaining the structural integrity of the home
This process is almost identical to the partial encapsulation, except you will cover the entirety of the block wall and piers, including the vents with plastic. Many companies will even use an insulation board between the wall and the plastic to improve energy efficiency. It is also common practice to cover the main structural girders with plastic.
Encapsulation is really great at keeping moisture out but what happens if moisture gets in? It is inevitable. Pipes and HVAC systems often sweat, things get spilled, washing machines overflow. So, you must have a game plan in place to remove the water. The best way to do this is to install a dehumidifier. This will either need to be connected to a sump pump, have a line pumping the water outside, or it will need to be emptied regularly. It is not an impossible scenario that a humidifier breaks, or overfills, so they must be maintained to be effective.
Cost: I have seen prices as low as $2000 dollars and as high as $7000. A crawlspace dehumidifier will cost around $800 dollars uninstalled. Pros: Eliminates moist air and is your best defense against the humid southern air, ground water and pipe sweat. Cons: $$$$$. Requires humidifier maintenance. Is the most time-consuming process.
It is important to remember that no matter what you choose to do, a vapor barrier is extremely important for the longevity of your home. Crawlspaces are no fun, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is going maintain its value makes it worth the time in easily the creepiest part of a house.
We hope this article was helpful and would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
ps. If your home happens to be a money pit and you don’t want to take on the task of home maintenance any longer, would you consider selling it as is? We’d love to give you a free home buying consultation. We buy in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and surrounding areas. Let’s start the conversation!
Check out what we did with the back deck at our first house where we were faced with a predicament: a big project with shallow pockets:
Our first “flip” had this gigantic deck, which spanned the length of the house and overlooked the back of the property. Unfortunately, we could not enjoy the space very well because it was in such disrepair – and a safety hazard. The bannister was wobbly, some of the bottom boards were loose, and alot of the boards rotten. The only good thing about it was the main posts were stable. Thankfully, my genius husband had an idea: to flip the boards over and re-install them upside down! The side of the board that had not been exposed to the elements would be in better shape – and more smooth. That way, we would theoretically only have to pay for the materials to replace the bannister. What a cost savings! In reality, we did have to replace about 30% of the boards, but it was much better than the alternative… and its a great idea for anyone who may be in the same situation we were in.
Be forewarned – repairing a deck in this way is tricky business. The key is to work systematically and not fall through the cracks when the deck boards are missing. It is not for the faint of heart – especially if your deck is really tall. ** I feel the need to interject that one should consult a professional before attempting this at home **
When replacing deck boards, be sure to install them with a gap in between, allowing water to flow through during rain. Uriah used a nail as a spacer to keep it even throughout the installation. Also, make sure to install proper deck ledger board flashing where the deck meets the house. This ensures water does not penetrate through.
After the deck repair, we were looking at discolored boards that would definitely show through a regular stain. So, we went with a solid color deck stain that was designed for that purpose. It is called Deck-A-New by Anvil and they carry it at Lowes. I think it turned out pretty good – do you?
I’m thinking of doing something similiar to my current back deck, because… ew.
Looking into more DIY exterior ideas? Check out some landscaping ideas here.
Until Next Time…
I'm Katelynn and this is Uriah. We are accidental real estate investors & home renovators who've been buying houses that need work since the beginning of "us". We see beauty and redemption in taking a home from broken to whole and are leveraging our experience in flipping houses to help you with your house problems. Whether you're knee deep in a home reno, thinking of starting one, or have a fixer upper you want to sell, we are here for you!