Design Build in The Process

Technology is everywhere these days, for better or worse. You read a lot of how it’s influencing construction and we agree it can help, especially in the visualization process. Although, we are not done with this specific project (2nd Story Addition) it’s coming along quite nicely thanks to a cooperative client.

This Second Story Addition located in Lakeside & SJB has been working on it for over 6 months now. Using our designer and the clients creative ideas we’ve been able to assess some of the 3D renderings before and after the job and they are looking pretty sweet thus far.

Note: Some details changed such as colors.

3D Rendering Living Room Perspective

2nd Story San Diego 3D Modeling
3D Model of Staircase and Hand Rail Prior to Demo.

 

second story after
Starting to Come Together.

Kitchen Design Build san diego

3D Rendering Upstairs Floor (Handrails)

3d render

Framing Out The Handrail

2nd story handrail
Second Story Handrail

handrail

 

Stay posted for more!

 

Add Certified Project Manager to Your Credentials

This year with a boom in building and a healthy economy, there is an increasing need for Construction Project Managers. If you are newly entering this field, or you want to add to your credentials, you should definitely consider getting certified.

Project managers supervise construction projects from start to finish, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. An understanding of the construction process, business and the ability to work in a fast-paced, ever evolving business and adhere to tight deadlines are crucial. Work experience in the industry is one of the most important requirements for this field. Bachelor’s degrees are becoming more common and many construction project managers pursue certification also, even though this is optional.

Project managers control costs, time, and the quality of construction ventures. They handle all kinds of projects from residential, schools and commercial buildings to industrial buildings, roads and bridges. They plan and coordinate every aspect of the construction process, from hiring contractors, working with engineers and architects to dealing with vendors. One project manager may oversee an entire construction project, or there may be multiple managers overseeing specific parts of a project. Project Managers usually start out working for a construction firm, but often branch out to own their own company. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that construction managers earn, on average, $92,700 a year. The outlook for Construction Project Management jobs are anticipated to grow 16 percent from 2012-2022, making this quite a lucrative and promising career.

Construction project managers are increasingly expected to have a bachelor’s degree in some construction-related field like building science, construction management or civil engineering. Years of construction experience is still needed to enter this profession and can be gained through working as an intern, some area as a crafts man or supervisor on a construction job. Working closely with other project managers is important to gain real world experience and industry knowledge.

Earning a master’s degree in a construction-related field could open the door to higher paying jobs at large construction firms, but is certainly not required. To greatly improve one’s marketability in general as a Project Manager in construction, earning a certification is highly recommended. Visit The American Institute of Constructors website to see their offerings for Associate Constructor and Certified Professional Constructor certifications. The Construction Management Association of America offers a certification for Certified Construction Manager. Also, the Project Management Professional is a widely industry-recognized certification for project managers in construction areas. The PMP shows employers and clients alike that you speak and understand the global language of project management.

Getting certified in one or more of these disciplines will help you to adopt practices for exploring a variety of perspectives. Here are some crucial points that you will learn upon becoming a certified Construction Project Manager.

1. We assume we see what we see, but we really see what we think. Make it a habit to inquire what others see. Together, you can see more and it will make efforts on the project much more efficient.

2. Stay close to your customer. Clients’ concerns will grow and change over the life of a project. Keep communication open with them to assure you deliver above and beyond what they expect.

3. Take care of your project team and they will take care of you. We can’t take care of the customer properly if we aren’t taking care of our project team. It comes down to taking care of each team member as individuals, ensuring they feel heard, nurtured and valued.

4. Keep your eye on your project promises. Deliver what you promise and be careful not to promise what you don’t know you can deliver. Project work can be difficult. Remind yourself as well as your team of the your promises and what you are doing to fulfill those promises.

5. Build relationships intentionally. Yes, build client and team relationships with purpose and put forth the work to nurture those relationships. To do great work, innovation, learning and collaboration requires people who like each other and care. Don’t leave that to chance.

6. Learning and action go hand in hand. Projects are fantastic opportunities to learn. You should make it a habit to incorporate learning into all of your project activities. Your team will appreciate it and your customer will undoubtedly benefit from it, as well. Not to mention, it will make your job easier.

7. Coordinate precisely. A construction project is an ever-evolving network of commitment. Tend to the critical conversations to keep these networks active. Make sure that people are making clear requests, completion dates for all requests and promises, and share anything that can change the advancement of the project.

8. Collaboration is key. As the project manager, it should be your rule to plan with the very people who will be the performers of the plan. Don’t wait until it is too late and the project is in trouble before you seek their help. Continue collaborating with these key players throughout the life of the project.

9. Listen actively and generously. For the most part, people are good and well-intended. Give people the benefit of the doubt, even when they may have cost valuable time and money. Take the time to listen to them, both clients and team members. Ask questions. Seek their opinions and ideas. Be generous with yourself, at the same time.

10. Expect the unexpected. Even a perfect plan cannot plan for every single thing. There are plenty of situations that simply cannot be anticipated and planned for. Be flexible and resilient, no matter what life may throw your way. Even in the harshest of setbacks, you and your team will learn something. When you do take a setback, and it will happen, review the previous nine rules for ideas on how to work your way out of it.

 

 

Essential Tools for any DIY Project and Homeowner

Looking for a quick weekend craft? Want to find a way to make those do-it-yourself projects even easier? Then you should take a few minutes to locate and reassemble all of your crafting tools. That way, you have an idea about what tools you already have and what tools you might want to get.

Check to make sure that all of your tools are in good working order. Make sure that there are no items that need replaced, updated or if you are missing any of the pieces. Here is a list of our favourite craft, covering basic and essentials tools that every DIYer should have on hand.

Power Tools

Hammer Drill: This tool is vital if you are going to hang art or anchor furniture. It is priced from $70 and up.

Cordless Drill: While a screwdriver will work just as well, sometimes you just need the speed that a drill has. It will help cut down on your DIY project time, leaving you more time to enjoy your weekend. We recommend an 18 to 20 Volt drill. These will cost you around $100.

Orbital Sander: This tool is perfect for getting the finish off of those furniture pieces that you want to repurpose. And it does this rather quickly, so you can focus more of your time on other things. Finding a decent sander at $60 is easy.

No Electricity Needed Tools

Level: Investing in several different sizes of levels is always a good idea. Also, make sure that your levels have horizontal and vertical vials.

Measuring Tape: Having both a small and large tape measure in your tool collection will make DIY projects easier to do. The little ones can fit comfortably into your pocket and will make measuring an easy task.

Jigsaw: Adding your personal touch to DIY projects is a key component, so having a jigsaw will allow you to do that just. Avoid low-quality brands, if you plan on using it frequently, check this guide to know the popular jigsaw brands and how to select the best one for your project.

Screwdriver Set: Screwdrivers are better able to fit into small spaces and are quiet so any late night projects will not wake up the whole house. Having a set that comes with interchangeable bits will offer you more flexibility.

Step Ladder: Sturdiness is an important thing to consider. Think about investing in a ladder that can be folded up into a smaller space, so it does not take up a lot of your project area.

X-Acto Knife and Cutting Mat: Not every project will require using a saw to cut things, sometimes you need to have a tool that can cut those corners.

Staple Gun: A staple gun is a secret tool for being able to finish your projects quicker. They also come in handy for those small household temporary fixes

Hammer: Make sure you pick a hammer that can be multifunctional. You are going to want to use it to hang pictures and tear things down.

Conclusion

Having a well-rounded tool selection will make any DIY projects easier and quicker. Do check online often for DIY-crafted idea to improve your home.

About the Author: This is a guest post by Jimmy, from Air Tool Guy. He is a DIY enthusiast, and loves tinkering with home improvement projects in his free time.

12 Steps to Prevent Mold Build Up

2Note: This post was a guest contribution by Skylar Lewis

It’s not always convenient or necessary to call the big guns (i.e. Us) in to handle your mold situation. This is especially true, if you haven’t had any recent major water damage or recently had a problem solved by us.

While we recommend calling in professionals to handle any major mold issues, there are a few simple steps that you-the homeowner- can take to stop mold it its tracks…or at least hold it at bay.

Here are twelve simple steps to prevent mold growth.

Step #1 Never Leave Standing Water alone

This is probably very obvious to the more mold-conscious of us, however, there are some people who still allow standing water to remain for long periods of time. Mold grows very quickly; some molds can see significant growth in as little as 24 hours.

If you need proof, smell your wet laundry the next time you’ve left it out for a few hours without drying.

I know…gross, but we’ve all had rough weeks.

Back to the point. If you detect a faintly musty odor on your clothing, mold has already begun to grow in due to the moisture left behind.

Step #2 Regulate Your Humidity

This step may be arguably new to most of you since we rarely consider our humidity levels.

Humidity becomes a problem mostly during the summer and spring. The EPA recommends, maintaining humidity between 30 and 60% to prevent mold growth. Using a humidity meter, you can measure the humidity levels in your home. If they are above 55%, you may want to consider buying a dehumidifier or air conditioner to help maintain safe levels.

Step #3 Ventilate Your Homes

Mold THRIVES in homes that have poor ventilation.

This happens for two reasons. First, mold spores are transported by drafts and breezes, meaning they exist pretty much everywhere. Not having good ventilation means that mold spores brought in on the breeze, have more time to settle and grow in areas of moisture.

Second, poorly ventilated areas tend to allow condensation build up. Hot showers, venting dryers, cooking or even washing dishes with warm water, can cause condensation build up that could facilitate mold growth.

Step #4 Buy proper Air filters

Using a few filters spread out around the house, or a house-wide air filtration system can drastically reduce the number of mold spores flying around from room to room.

Step #5 Insulate your Ducts

Any ducts that carry air that is a different temperature from the rest of the house, can cause condensation build up if they aren’t properly insulated.

Because these things usually run in corners and dark places in your home, they can often create the PERFECT conditions for mold to grow and remain undetected for long periods of time.

Step #6 Stay on the Lookout for Stray Water

Being constantly alert for signs of any leaks can go a long way to preventing mold growth. Some signs of leaking are: persistent dampness, peeling paint, strange odors and discoloration of surfaces.

Step #7 Keep Your Fridge and Freezer in Check

Taking steps to maintain properly a properly functioning fridge can drastically decrease your chances of developing a mold problem. Fridge and freezer doors that fail to close properly and malfunctioning drop pans are potential sources of moisture for mold growth.

1Step #8 De-clutter your house

Remember, mold loves dark, moist places. Having an overly cluttered home can cast shadows that then become a perfect home for mold to move in to. Clutter also blocks proper airflow, thus allowing mold spores time to find purchase on household surfaces.

Step #9 Try plastic plants

Yes, having indoor plants can be a great thing for your home. They bring oxygen and life to an environment. However, the soil that they need to survive, is ofte- no, DEFINITELY a breeding ground for various types of mold.

So instead of taking the chance, why not pursue some near-to-life plastic plants as replacements?

Step #10 Avoid Carpet floors

Carpets are perfect places for mold spores to get lodged in. They are also moisture vacuums and can create pockets that allow for moisture build up that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Know that musty smell you get in old houses? Yeah, it’s probably mold.

Step #11 Mold resistant products

If you’re building a new home or replacing parts of an older one, using products like mold-resistant drywall and mold-inhibitors in paint may be a smart decision. Especially if you live in a moisture prone area.

Step #12 Guide water away from your home

Rain and melting snow can cause problems for you, if the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from your foundation. Try installing ground drainage to help prevent water build up in your yards.

Step #13 Don’t Go Too Crazy (Don’t worry, it’s an easy one)

Using just a few of these steps can dramatically lower your risk of developing a mold problem. While it may be better to use all of them (if they all apply to you), it’s pretty impractical. So don’t stress too much, choose a few and get started!

Always remember, if you discover a serious mold problem in your home, contact a professional team to let them handle it for you.

Author Biography

Skylar Lewis

Skylar Lewis has built Superior Restoration into a dominant force in Southern California through a constant growth mentality. Follow Superior Restorations on Google + to get the latest water, fire, and mold damage prevention tips.

 

You’ve Found a Plumbing Problem: What’s Next?

Sooner or later, virtually all homeowners encounter some kind of problem that interferes with the smooth function of their household plumbing systems. Unfortunately, like many challenges in life, plumbing problems can occur at unexpected times and trigger significant disruptions in your tightly scheduled daily routine. Once your plumbing starts giving you trouble, the key question is: What you can do to minimize the disruption and return your system to good working order as soon as possible? Luckily, you can follow a few simple steps to uncover the extent of the problem and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Troubleshoot the Cause of the Problem

Most plumbing-related issues have more than one potential underlying cause. Before you decide to call a plumber or take care things yourself, consider taking a little bit of time to troubleshoot the specific source of the problem. The information you gather may provide vital clues for any professional you hire to carry out a repair. It can also form the basis for your own cost-effective, do-it-yourself repair efforts.

Troubleshooting High Water Usage

One of the most common, but overlooked, indications of plumbing problems is an unexpected increase in your household water usage, which typically translates into an unexpected increase in your monthly water bill. If you discover unexplained high water usage, start your troubleshooting efforts by listening for leaking pipes in your kitchen and bathroom(s). Since the average home is quite loud during busier parts of the day, you may need to perform this task toward bedtime or when you first wake up in order to catch the relatively subtle sounds of a slow leak. If the tank on a toilet is the source of your leak, you may have an easier time detecting the sound of constantly running water between flushes.

Troubleshooting Slow Drains

You may first notice the existence of plumbing problems when the water in a sink or bathtub starts emptying at an unusually slow rate. Naturally, you might assume that the problem is a localized clog in the connected drain line. In many cases, such an assumption would be correct. However, in other cases, the draining problems you notice in one sink or bathtub actually affect a larger portion of your plumbing system. You can distinguish localized problems from bigger issues by pouring water down multiple drains throughout your home and comparing the results.

Troubleshooting Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is another fairly common plumbing issue. First, take the time to determine if pressure problems are affecting just one fixture or several fixtures throughout your household. Also take the time to determine if both the hot and cold water taps of each fixture have the same pressure issues.

If you have low water pressure in more than one area of your home, you may have a system-wide problem caused by things such as undetected leaks or mineral accumulations inside your plumbing lines. Other potential problems include a faulty system component called a pressure reducing valve or a faulty water meter shut-off valve. In some cases, the water pressure problems you experience may actually be caused by issues outside your home, such as leaking or broken water mains in your area.

Fix Minor Problems Yourself

In many cases, you can follow up your troubleshooting efforts with a do-it-yourself repair that helps you avoid calling for professional help. Depending on your willingness, personal experience and comfort level, common plumbing issues that may fall into the DIY category include dripping faucets, clogged drains, constantly running toilets, leaky pipes and low water pressure. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you want to put in the time and effort required to successfully address these issues.

Repairing Dripping Faucets

Faucet dripping is commonly caused by wear and tear in the silicone or rubber washers that normally help form a watertight seal when a tap closes. You may be able to replace a damaged washer fairly easily. However, problems that extend beyond simple washer damage may require a plumber’s expertise. You also probably need a plumber if your dripping faucet has a ceramic tap.

Fixing Running Toilets

In most cases, you can successfully repair a constantly running toilet by replacing worn-out components located in the toilet tank. Essentially all hardware stores and home improvement stores sell kits that make the replacement process quite straightforward. If component replacement doesn’t fix the issue, you may need to call a plumber.

Fixing Leaky Pipes

Sometimes, you can temporarily stop pipe joints from leaking by applying something called a fitting compound or a joint filler. However, as a rule, only replacement of the leaking section will produce a permanent solution. Unless you feel confident removing a section of pipe, schedule an appointment with a plumbing professional.

Fixing Clogged Drains

Many people attack drain clogs with a chemical-based commercial drain cleaner. While these products often get the job done, they can damage your pipes if you use them frequently to deal with recurring clogs. As an alternative, you may want to try enzymatic drain cleaners, which use a combination of naturally occurring enzymes and bacteria to bust clogs. However, repeated clogging usually indicates that it’s time to contact a plumber.

Call a Plumbing Professional

As we’ve seen, you may need to call a plumber in order to successfully address some of the more minor problems that can affect your household plumbing. There are also times when you should avoid DIY solutions altogether and make a call to a plumbing professional your number one priority. Typically, these situations arise when the issue affecting your system is too complex or too hazardous for you to deal with on your own.

One of the prime examples of a situation that immediately calls for a plumber’s expertise is a leaking or collapsed sewer line. Failure to handle this hazardous scenario correctly can lead to contamination of your drinking water supply with pesticide residue or disease-causing microbes such as Salmonella or E. coli. Other situations that require expert plumbing assistance to ensure safety and high-quality work include leaks in a septic tank, malfunctions in your household water heater, and the installation of any new plumbing lines, new bathtubs/showers, or new sinks.

Second story addition done in San Diego

Second Stories – They Aren’t Always What They Seem

We’ve had the privilege of building so many second story add-ons in San Diego. They are super fun to build but definitely require more skill than a one-story room addition. Tying into an existing building and ensuring that the new floor is supported structurally is the primary concern. Both the code and General Contractor involved is focused or should be building the new room to be supported by the existing foundation. These days with the DIY, Houzz and remodeling glamour shows it seems to have created an ideology that contracting can be done by anyone with a pneumatic nailgun, some laborers and material/hardware. This, in fact couldn’t be farther from the truth. To find a good carpenter, general contractor is a craftsman that has an engineering mind but can gracefully transition the new structure aesthetically, while passing the inspection phases with flying colors. Although, we are still working on this second story here are some items most homeowners do not assume that can be extremely stressful/require talent to build. These are just a few misconceptions I’ve found that are usually lost from the conceptual idea to how building really happens on the field.

Are You Including A Deck?

Floor-ExampleGreat, I love to sip a cup of coffee in the morning outside too. But…keep in mind you will need a different elevation for these outdoor hangouts. With rain and other outdoor elements you need to channel water and debris toward one side (with drainage) so you do not have stagnant water. Controlled water is your best friend in construction, un-controlled water this is where you have issues. So it is essential you pitch the floor to avoid moisture issues and damage to fluid that would otherwise settle. Why are two elevation differences on one floor plan difficult? Well, just think in these terms – anytime you are doing more customization and do not build homogenously things get tricky. You will have to take the framing by each phrase and stop, build and carry on. It is much easier to build one uniform elevation where you have a production line of someone cutting your joists, someone passing them and someone installing. With a deck you likely need to take your time and complete one-phase looking at specific engineering plans and having the team cool there jets to avoid building errors.

Is There an Existing Foundation or Structure To Build On?

Are you breaking down the entire frame or do you have something to build off of? Remember matching or adding on to structures is not as easy as “new construction”. Many homeowners want to build a new room on top of a garage or existing structure and think “this should be easy, in fact – the work is already half done…just build on top!” Again, this isn’t true.

Let’s take building on top of a garage for example. Yes, you will have an existing base/structure assuming it is not effected by termites or in solid condition to build off. You need to take into consideration that the new floor to support the second story is likely to require different specs for the new weight and foot-traffic. After all a garage roof has the occasional roofer but mainly just has some wind and rain so of course adding furniture and other heavier items will likely change how the floor should be crafted. When taking out the existing garage roof you need to be cautious. Likely the garage door is fastened to the roof so how will you keep this in place or dis-assemble? Also when you take the roof out, you must tie off/support the existing walls. All of this may sound easy but in fact it requires an experienced specialist to avoid any injuries or huge damage to the house.

Do You Have Existing Architectural Plans/Designs?

DSC02094Taking imitative is a great trait and also it is very cool to work with homeowners that have an interest in remodeling. However, it is not always advised to take too much charge on remodeling. Again, be careful what you’ve watched or seen on TV. Most general contractors have a network of subs and vendors who they’ve worked with for years after filtering through and building trust. We’ve worked with our engineer/architect for over 10 years and it’s unlike a relationship that you can get from just handing over plans after one session. Our advice is to find a contractor or if architect you hire as a team. This is much smarter and will yield a much more professional timeline and save you money. By not having to redo plans or avoiding miscommunications you are streamlining your project. Also if you hire a general contractor that works with an architect they can refer to each other in regards to the carpentry, design and code vs having a disconnect during the project. You’ll want to hire a general that has subs that get along and make the project fun and structurally correct.

So there you have it, here are just some nuances I’ve seen that homeowners tend to overlook. With building back up it is as crucial as ever to hire an experienced professional as many contractors are getting back in the game. A good team will get your project closer to your ideal dream and you will save a great deal of money doing the task once, paying for materials and labor once.

 

Countertop Options: Marble or Laminate?

Countertop for kitchen San DiegoWhite marble is one of the most popular countertops right now. Out of every other countertop on the market, the white marble is sought after by so many. It’s been done quite well, over the years. While White marble is a favorite, there are pros and cons to using it. Below is a detailed account of the different pros and cons for the white marble countertop.

THE PROS:1) It’s a lot cheaper then some of it’s contemporaries. Look around and do some window shopping. You will find that white marble is one of the least expensive materials to use for your kitchen countertops.2) It looks nice. When you see the pictures of it online, the images hardly do it justice. You need to see it up close and personal. White marble will add a brightness to the room that you never had before. It’s also a natural brightness. Other materials have to try harder, sometimes too hard. White marble doesn’t have to try, it just does.THE CONS:

1) One of the more obvious cons is that it stains. Nothing is perfect, not even white marble. If you leave something on the counter and it picks it up, you will have to work to get it out. You won’t have to spend all day on it, but you will need to use some elbow grease.

Laminate is another material that is used in the kitchen. It does look quite nice. Never underestimate the power of laminate. If you do use laminate, I have some tips on keeping up with the maintenance. As with any countertop, it does require some maintenance and laminate is no different.


THE PROS
:
1) Laminate countertops are non-porous. That means they won’t pick up the bacteria. This is a good thing. For this reason alone they are considered very low-maintenance. To clean the top, all you do is take a wet wash cloth and some mild soap. You can also use dish detergent, but make sure it’s mild. Once you have finished wiping it all down, wash it off. You need to clean up any leftover soap residue that is sticking to the surface. You will cause more damage to the surface by not doing this.

THE CONS:2) Dry it all off after rinsing. You don’t want to have any pooling going on.3) Never use bleach. If you do, only use a small amount. Bleach will cause major discoloration to the surface, as would any strong chemical. It’s also going to cause scratches on the surface and make it look nasty. After that, you might as well get a new one installed.4) For stains, use the 3:1 ratio. Take baking soda and water, mix into a paste. Smooth over the stained areas and let sit for about 5 minutes. Once done, smoothly wipe away the paste. Never rub, that will cause more damage to the surface.

To keep the laminate surface looking new, never put hot items on the top.

Image Credit: White Marble Countertop – http://rickrobinsonbuilders.com

The Best Home Remodeling Ideas For Entertaining Next Year

Home remodeling contractors San DiegoDo you love to entertain at the holidays but feel your home lacks the right look, space or feel to accommodate a houseful of guests? There are plenty of easy remodel ideas to get your home holiday-ready for family and friends next holiday season.

Kitchen – Are you in the market for some new countertops? Granite countertops are rich looking and extremely functional for entertaining. If your kitchen has the space, adding a nice island can will you more cooking room for prepping for your gathering, and more serving-up space for goodies when guests arrive.

Good lighting in the kitchen is essential. Overhead lighting is practical for overall kitchen light, while under cabinetry lighting is more functional for cooking tasks on the counters. If really love to entertain and whip-up big meals for friends and family, consider upgrading your appliances to accommodate feeding larger groups of people. Stainless steel is always a hit, especially when it comes to resale value.

Dining room – A drab dining room doesn’t exactly give your guests a warm gathering place to eat their holiday meal. You can remodel your dining room with some simple changes to give it an eloquent, inviting appeal where guests can eat, mingle and enjoy the holidays with you.

Plain white walls can give the room a sterile feel rather than a warm welcome. Add some color by painting the walls a darker color than the ceiling. If you don’t have trim or a chair rail, either will give your room a luxurious look and with a chair rail, you can two-tone your walls with a choice of lighter shade of paint above the chair rail and darker shade below.

Hanging an eloquent chandelier above the dining table adds a dramatic look and focal point to the room. With light dimmers, you can control the amount of light for the type of entertaining you’re doing – brighter for more casual gatherings, and dimmer for more quaint.

Great room – The great room is where many people mix and mingle. You can remodel a great room starting with adding a warm splash of color to the walls. Create your focal points in the room, whether it be a large wall with large pieces of art, or your fireplace. You can change the look of your fireplace by adding a new mantle to give your fireplace a new appeal.

Arrange your furniture so guests can visit easily. Not all rooms work best with furniture butted up against the walls. In larger rooms, bring furniture in closer to create a more quaint setting for visiting.

Have room for a free-standing bar? It’s not always easy running back and forth to the kitchen to keep your guests’ drinks refilled. If you entertain often, consider remodeling a corner of your great room to accommodate a stylish bar and stools. You not only have easy access to beverages, but extra seating for your guests.

Outside lighting – Welcome your holiday guests with a well-lit sidewalk and entry. Lighting plays a big role in many aspects of your home: it will help accentuate the outside of your home, provide a welcoming entrance, and adds security measures to your property. Next holiday season your guests will love walking to your front door.

Image Source Credit: http://www.hgtv.com/design/hgtv-smart-home/2014/great-room-pictures-from-hgtv-smart-home-2014-pictures