Jill Finkelstein - Compass



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 6/7/2020

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Most everyone would love to gain some extra room, especially those in small homes with limited space options. Here are three home interior DIY projects to help you maximize your space.

1. Transform a Closet into Workspace

If you’re lacking the room for a home office, transform one of your closets into a mini-office. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to give yourself a dedicated workspace.

  • Remove the door and hinges.
  • Empty the closet and give it a good wipe down.
  • Disassemble hanging rods.
  • Touch up or repaint the closet’s interior.
  • Add two to three shelves—a deep one to serve as your desktop and additional ones for storage.

If you prefer a traditional desk and your closet is wide enough, slide one in and eliminate the need for a deep shelf.

2. Mount Your TV

Modern styles are all about minimalism and entertainment centers don’t exactly fit this look. Besides, media consoles take up a ton of floor space. An easy way to reclaim this useful space is to mount your TV to the wall or above a fireplace.

  • Choose a mount for your TV—this will be a tilting mount, low-profile mount or full-motion mount.
  • Select a location and determine the best viewing height—be sure you have sufficient outlets and access to cable connections you need.
  • Cut out a piece of TV-sized cardboard or poster board and tape it to the wall to get a “visual” of your TV’s position.
  • Locate a stud and mark it. (If mounting to a fireplace use masonry anchors.)
  • Before you drill, use a level to ensure the wall mount is even.
  • Drill holes, attach your mount and secure it so it doesn’t collapse.
  • Add a cord cover to hide unsightly wiring.

Media consoles were useful before flat-screen TVs became the norm, but most people today can easily get by with a wall-mount and a shelf to hold cable boxes, media players or game consoles. If you need additional storage, add a small table with cabinet space.

3. Build Window Seats

Adding window seats to any room eliminates the need for extra seating on the floor, gives a cozy look and offers additional storage space.

  • Buy two wall cabinets about 30 inches wide by 15 inches high. You can purchase new or, to scale back costs, check secondhand stores, such as Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, for used cabinetry.
  • Use plywood (2x4 or 2x6) to serve as a perimeter base, nailing these pieces of wood into the floor to create a toekick. Be sure your outline’s depth is large enough to hold your cabinets, and leave a little extra room to pull your cabinets away a few inches from the wall beneath the window to save space for your seat.
  • Place cabinets on top of the toekick and clamp the two cabinets together. Be sure your screws are strong enough to hold the units together.
  • Clamp and screw cabinets to the toekick.
  • Place hardwood plywood on top of the cabinets to widen your seating area. (Sand and paint, if necessary.)
  • Add cushions and pillows.

Tip: Be sure to avoid positioning your seat over an HVAC vent or baseboard because you don’t block out your heat or A/C.

If you’re working with some tight spaces, you can better utilize it by transforming your existing space.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 12/15/2019

Photo by SpeedKingz via Shutterstock

Living green is the goal of many young homebuyers. Once in their new home, they want to take steps toward improving their homeís efficiency. The first step to improving your homeís energy efficiency is to choose the right house.

Solar panels and LED light fixtures aside, the most efficient form of housing is an attached home. When your house nestles between the walls of adjoining homes, you share their heating and cooling through ambient temperature exchange. When a home sits above another home, their heat rises in the winter to warm that home. If itís below another home, itís cooled by the temperature set by the neighbor above. When energy efficiency remains a high priority for your home location, choose a condominium, townhome or duplex to improve your heating and cooling properties.

Improving an Existing Home

If you own a typical single-family, detached home, youíll find a lot of wasted space being heated and cooled. But address these areas, and youíll see a marked improvement in your energy consumption and costs:

  • Pile on the insulation. Many homes have expansive attics with high roofs above the ceiling joists. The deeper the insulation, the more your winter warmth stays in your home to keep you cozy. But along with adding insulation to your attic, improve its airflow so that summer heat escapes to the outdoors, helping your cooled air circulate.
  • Smarten up the windows. Older homes often have single-paned windows, and even those with double panes leak or have broken seals. Replace windows with thermal dual or triple-paned options to see an immediate improvement to those drafty winters and summers where youíre forced to keep the blinds closed. Along with thermal panes, look for smart windows. Buy windows coated with a substance called vanadium oxide (VO2) that adjusts to the temperature to either reflect or let pass infrared light to keep your home warmer or cooler.
  • Monitor your HVAC with a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats adjust your homeís temperature based on learning when youíre at home and when youíre away. Some can also detect the humidity and adjust the temperature to compensate.
  • Install automatic blinds. Adjustable powered window coverings open and close automatically throughout the day to offset outdoor temperatures.

Try These Simple Things Today

While they wonít make a drastic different, you will see an improvement in your energy bills.

  • Change incandescent bulbs for LEDs throughout the home.
  • Turn the thermostat up two or three degrees in the summer and down two or three degrees in the winter.
  • Lower your water heater to 120įF.

If your goal is to purchase an energy-efficient home, let your real estate agent know. That way, you wonít waste energy looking at ones that donít fit your desire to leave a lighter footprint.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/24/2019

When buying an older home, you might wonder how to get more livable space out of that low-ceiling basement. There are two ways to gain height: raise the foundation or lower the floor. Raising the foundation requires lifting the entire home off its current foundation, building a new foundation, and resettling the home. For most homeowners, the sheer number of things that can go wrong with a project of this magnitude makes it an unlikely option. An alternative is bench footing, a method of lowering the floor of the basement that results in a higher ceiling.

Bench footing is a straightforward technique regarded by contractors to be an optimal approach for supporting your building while providing room for more structural support and depth. With bench footing, professional contractors do not need to dig deep into the homeís foundation. Instead, they can lower the basement floor and add structural support from there.

How Is It Done?

The process is straightforward, but donít try to do this one yourself: Hire a professional contractor. Bench Footing costs less than other methods because it doesnít require you to dig underneath the existing footings. Instead, a new floor is dug through the existing basement floor. A new foundation is laid inside the existing one, creating your new basement floor and an additional wall inside your existing basement. It is important to consider that the width of your bench footing is determined by the depth you want to add to your basement.  For every foot in depth that you add, you will need about a foot of width for your bench footing.  The floor space of the basement will decrease in area by the thickness of the new wall. 

The result is a ledge or ďbenchĒ all the way around the outer wall of the basement. Thatís why they call it Bench Footing. A savvy contractor can make use of the space above the bench by installing cabinets, reading nooks and other built-ins. Others simply inset the entire wall to the new location. 

Why Choose Bench Footing?

If you need to increase your usable space but you are unable to add another story or extend your home on any side, making better use of your basement is the most valid option. In addition to being less damaging to your existing home, bench footing is less costly to complete and doesnít change the exterior aesthetic of your home. This is particularly important if your home is in a historic area or has a strict association.

To get the best results with your bench footing, hire a professional contractor with several years of experience and with many positive reviews. Consult with your real estate agent for recommendations for a local contractor who can help you with your project.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 8/4/2019

Windows have both aesthetic and functional uses in the home. They help the keep the fresh air in the house and the elements out. Windows are also an essential source of security in a home, and poorly secured windows can be dangerous for you. Many people do not plan enough for windows when building or renovating a house. Here are some things that you must consider when selecting windows for your home:

Type and Quality of Materials

The quality of window production materials is critical to note because it plays a vital role in the lifespan of the windows. Windows made from vinyl frames, and high-performance low-E4 thermal glass, are excellent for adding energy efficiency. They possess strength with the ease of vinyl. They're resistant to rot, cracks, and corrosion.

Personal Style

Windows come in many unique styles. When it comes to window selection, there is a wide array of window types for you to choose from for your home. These include styles like classic double-hung and casement windows to a dynamically beautiful bay, bow, or picture windows. Also, you can get specialty windows which are custom built for unusual-sized or shaped openings. No matter the type you desire, be assured that your choice of selection fits your style and convenience.

Cleaning and Housekeeping

You may not consider cleaning windows as a tedious task. Still, it could become so if you have too many windows around the house. While making selections, ensure that windows you choose have features like tilt-in sashes and easy-to-operate handles. These are standard accessories you should find on most double-hung, sliding, casement, and specialty replacement windows. They also make windows easier to clean.

Contractor Installation

If the contractor in charge of the job does not install your windows correctly, the window might likely not look the way you want. If you choose your windows and the contractor carefully, then it's a sure bet that you'll be satisfied with your purchase even after many years.

You can go to the local home hardware store to look at the many styles available, ask questions, and also ask for information about contractors and window installers. You may also be able to buy directly from the manufacturer and save some money depending on the quantity you are buying. You also get to know first-hand what you are buying and how to get the best out of it.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 9/18/2016

Are you a procrastinator? If so, you're not alone! It's human nature to postpone tasks which you consider to be boring or unpleasant. However, it's also frustrating when you're making little or no headway on a project you know needs to get done ASAP. Whether it's cleaning out the basement, painting a bedroom, or pruning those overgrown shrubs in front of the house, it can sometimes take a lot of resolve to get the project underway and completed! In most cases, the longer you wait, the harder it is to get started. Perhaps Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion explains why it's so difficult to start a project and stick with it: He stated that ďA body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.Ē* Motivating Yourself to Get Started So the question is: What kind of "external forces" do we need to overcome procrastination? After all, those closets aren't going to clean themselves! Well, the following techniques aren't rocket science, but they can produce the psychological nudge you may require to get that home project started and wrapped up.

  1. Make a list: If you don't have a to-do list that you revise and update on a daily basis, then many of your objectives and goals will fall by the wayside. When you commit something to writing and place it high on your list, it has a much stronger likelihood of getting done. Maybe it's the "squeaky wheel" principle or just the power of suggestion, but when you're reminded to do something on a daily basis, you almost feel compelled to take action and get the process underway. (The exception to that would be if you're opposed to doing it for any reason, or you're being nagged.)
  2. Invite friends or relatives over: For some people, nothing motivates them to mow the lawn, paint the bathroom, or clean the house more than knowing that company's coming over in a few days! Since most of us have been conditioned to care about what other people think of us, then why not use that impulse to your advantage? (Maybe that's the reason some people tidy up before the cleaning person arrives.) Schedule an upcoming dinner party, family gathering, or backyard barbecue, and watch how fast that lingering project gets prioritized, acted on, and completed!
  3. Announce your intentions: If you tell your spouse, your parents, or your best friend that you're going to tackle an overdue project, this weekend, then you almost have to do it -- or your credibility will be at stake. When you share your intentions with someone else -- especially a person whose opinion you care about -- you're taking accountability for your plans. It's a technique that's often used for getting started on an exercise program or diet, but it could be equally effective for motivating yourself to fix the back steps or clean the garage.
If you're having difficulty getting started on household projects, sometimes all you need is a little push from an "external force" to spark that extra bit of motivation. *Source: Livescience







Jill Finkelstein