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Make a Top 10 List

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Recently a powerful desert Monsoon thunderstorm hit our neighborhood. Within minutes, the wind was blowing through the trees bending them like tiny twigs. Then it happened, a sudden violent microburst of rain, wind, noise, and natural power turned the view out the window into a blurry sheet of water. As we watched the violence transform our landscape and break tree limbs, I could not help but wonder how much this beautiful act of Monsoonal nature was going to cost me!

When the torrential rain subsided, I made my way outside to assess the damage. I looked upward toward the roofline along the second story of the house and noticed the damage left by our violent visitor. An entire section of roof tiles had been peeled back from the roof’s edge.

After my initial angst with mother nature, I ruled out reporting the damage to our home owners insurance company. I did not want to call a roofer I did not know because they would already be inundated by similar emergencies. So, I called my trusted roofer listed in my cell phone directory. I had worked with him over the years on several custom homes. He came by the next day to fix the damage. I was fortunate to have his number on hand, it saved a lot of stress and time.

It is a very good idea to make a list of professionals you can call on at a moment’s notice for those unexpected emergencies and repairs that occur around the home. With a little prior planning, the stress of home repairs can be lessened by being able to quickly call on professionals you already know or have been referred to by friends. Here is a list of the top 10 professionals you may want to include on this list:

  1. Plumber
  2. Electrician
  3. Roofer
  4. Arborist (Gardener)
  5. Carpenter
  6. General Contractor (for major damage or repairs)
  7. Heating & Air Conditioning
  8. Handyman (for minor repairs and maintenance)
  9. Tile, Stone, Flooring contractor
  10. Mason

A Life Less Cluttered

Monday, July 20th, 2009

A Life Less Cluttered

In a recent article about a mom who was trying to organize her kids’ stuff, a friend proclaimed, “I feel that if you’re organized, you are a better person.” This statement may sound a bit smug and somewhat self-righteous. After having worked on many organization projects myself, I see truth in this comment. 

How does getting organized help you to become a better person? Maria Garcia of Get Organized Now! gives 10 little-known benefits of becoming organized: 

  1. more time to relax
  2. more time for yourself
  3. more time for your loved ones
  4. a good feeling about your environment
  5. a better role model
  6. a healthier lifestyle
  7. ability to breathe better
  8. ability to do better professionally
  9. save more money
  10. achieve more 

Any efforts you make to improve your living space will reap great rewards. Think about the life you have envisioned for yourself. How much of that life are you living now? There are so many good things that you can spend your life doing and being instead of constantly wading through piles of magazines, swimming through kid’s toys and papers or drowning in excess stuff you don’t really need. 

Decide to begin today to improve one space in your home. If you are so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to begin, start in your master bedroom. Give yourself a clean space to retire to at night and awaken to in the morning.   

You will find that a transformation will take place in your life by taking charge of your stuff instead of letting it control you. 


Organizing the Home, Garage, Office or Life

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Organizing Your Home: Getting Started

Your home is a sanctuary; a place to relax, rejuvenate and recharge. However, a home filled with clutter and “stuff” can not only rob you of peace and tranquility, but, most importantly, your life.

Stephanie Denton, author of The Organized Life: Secrets of An Expert Organizer states, “Being organized is about living the life you want to live. It’s more than creating a beautiful space or getting things done fast, although both are extremely valuable results of getting organized. Being organized is about reaching for your dreams and having an environment that supports your doing so.”

Here are some tips to help you get started:

• Begin with the room that, if organized, would make the most difference to you. This is usually the room in which you spend most of your time.

• Always have a garbage can, recycling bin and donation box handy when you go thru stuff. These are three of your most important organizing tools.

• Take on one small space at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. Tackle a drawer or a shelf. You can always do more if you still have energy and are motivated.

• Assign a home to every object. Always do this before you go out and purchase containers or bins. This way you can be sure that the object is in its best place and your containers will fit.

• Purge regularly. Start with things that are most current and then tackle older projects. Maintenance is key so as things come into the home, such as mail, take care of it immediately by disposing, filing or creating a space for it.

Your home can and should be a place for dreams. You will be surprised how much peace you will experience when your home is organized and clutter-free. 

If you would like advice and expert coaching through any organization project, give us a call or email. We can assist you in navigating this process and getting your home, office, garage, or life organized. An expert coach is an invaluable asset, no matter the task or goal. 

Keeping the Home and Family Safe & Secure

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Summer is coming fast. Especially here in Arizona, where it is expected to top 106 degrees today. With summer comes extended time away from home on vacations, kids playing unsupervised throughout the neighborhood, and a relaxed approach to the day. Let’s keep our Dream Homes from becoming anything less through some added vigilance and perspective regarding home safety and security.

It’s said that locks and deadbolts are installed to keep the “honest” criminals out; if someone really wants to get in, they will. Unsettling, yes; however, there are several simple steps all home owners can take to make a criminal’s life a bit more cumbersome. Criminals do not like to be delayed, seen, or heard. By making it unpleasant for them to be near or in your home, they will move on, or at least be delayed long enough for help to arrive. By taking a few simple precautions you can increase the level of safety and security in your home.

1. Lighting: The greatest asset to any criminal is quiet, concealment, and surprise. One of the simplest ways to disrupt this set of ideal circumstances is through appropriate lighting. Keep the front of your home well lit. Your driveway does not have to look like an airport approach beacon, but keeping it lit most of the night will add to the security of the home. Lighting while away from home is especially important. Install automatic timers on light switches controlling the porch and driveway area lights. These are inexpensive upgrades available at most home improvement stores and installed in your existing wall switch boxes. They are fully programmable freeing you of remembering to turn the outside lights on or off. This is especially useful when away from home. Additionally, side and rear-yard motion sensor flood lights are very effective. This alerts you immediately to movement within your yard, not to mention, it scares off the unsuspecting prowler.

2. Security system: Security systems are an effective means of deterrence, especially when coupled with noticeable signage in the front yard and stickers affixed to each window and door. As a prowler identifies his next target, he will likely pass over homes advertising the presence of a security system. Systems range in price and room coverage areas. For a few hundred dollars, a professional security company can install a quality system. Off-site central monitoring services keep your home under constant watch for alarm activations for a monthly fee.

3. Deadbolts and locks: No matter how thick and heavy the door, it is only as strong as the door jamb it is attached to. Install extra long screws through the strike plate on the door jamb. The strike plate is the rectangular metal piece through which the dead bolt slides into when locked. The extra long screws (3″ minimum) will anchor the strike plate to the wall studs behind the thin door jamb adding some extra strength.

A locked front door does not slow down entry into a home during an emergency. Usually, all that is keeping the door closed and locked is a thin piece of wood approximately one-half of an inch thick. Also, add a padlock to the side yard gates. If a criminal’s only path to the rear yard is over a gate, the noise associated with such a jump will likely send him elsewhere.

4. Keep doors locked during the day while at home. This one may not be as obvious, but a true-story may illustrate the point. As officers attempted to stop a stolen car driven by a known criminal, a dangerous pursuit ensued through rain-slick city streets. After several minutes, the suspect crashed the car and ran into a quiet neighborhood. In his attempt to hide from pursuing officers, he entered a home through an unsecured front door. With astonished officers following close behind, they found the desperate man had taken an elderly couple hostage, threatening to shoot the home owners if the officers do not let him go.

As the officers took careful aim at the deranged man positioned behind the elderly couple, their negotiations quickly proved useless. The officers were forced to take this criminal’s life in order to save the elderly victims, who only seconds prior, were enjoying the quiet solitude of their home.

The chain of events can be that quick, and sudden. When at home, keep the doors locked. If nothing else, it can slow down the intruder allowing you time to call for help.

5. Children answering the door: Do not allow young children to answer the door alone. Always be in sight of the door if your children are going to open it. Taking such precautions will teach your children a basic rule of safety; stay within sight of mom and dad. The most unlikely and innocent situations are usually ideal opportunities for criminals. Yes, children have been “stolen” from inside their homes, i.e. Polly Klaas in Petaluma, CA 1993.

6. Emergency procedure and practice: Hold regular practice emergency drills with your family. Teach children the procedure for calling 911, and practice the steps in detail. Highlight the numbers on the keypad. Have them practice giving their address and home description over the phone, such as single story or two, dark or light color etc. This can be a lifesaving skill whether the emergency is criminal, medical, or a fire. Prior planning and practice will pay-off in a critical situation.

7. Vacation checks: Most local law enforcement agencies offer increased patrols and vacation checks when requested by residents. If you suspect something suspicious in the neighborhood, anonymously ask for a higher patrol presence. Getting to know your beat officer is a great way to keep current on local crime trends and happenings. Simply call the non-emergency number for the local police agency and request a brief visit with the officer at your home. A positive contact such as this always a welcome request.

Also, when away from the house for a few days, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up the newspaper and collect your mail. Nothing broadcasts that you are away more clearly to a would-be burglar than a pile of newspapers in the driveway, or an overflowing mailbox.

As a whole, our communities are safe and secure thanks to the vigilance of our local police departments and watchful neighbors. While you may never fall victim to violent crime, a heightened awareness of the steps and procedures to remain safe will always pay off. Our home is a coveted sanctuary from the busy world around us. Practicing these techniques will help keep it a safe and secure refuge. Preparedness is half the battle.

How to Choose the Best Home Builder, Designer, and Architect

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Here are few suggestions on how to find the best home builders, designers, and architects no matter where you live or relocate to. 

1.  It is best to start by making a list of the professionals you will need in order to accomplish your particular goal.  There are many specialized industry technicians who can be of service in the construction of any home; however, all these services are not necessary for every home built.  It is important to decide how specialized you would like to be in developing your team of building professionals.  For example, you may be able to bypass an architectural firm and use a draftsman to produce a working set of construction plans.  This alone has the potential of saving thousands of dollars. (more…)

How to Have a Smooth Relocation

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Relocating has been identified as one of the top ten human stressors, right up there with death, public speaking, marriage, and child birth.  With that being said, it is unfortunate how many people go about a move and relocation on their own, learning by trial and error, without the assistance of a professional or expert.  Offered here are a few valuable tips and suggestions for people looking to relocate and/or build their dream home, whether it be local or across the country. (more…)

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“Home is where the heart is” Fact or fiction?  For me, a definite truth. 

In essence our perfect place, our home, is anywhere we feel most loved and secure.  George Moore is quoted as saying, “A man travels the world in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”  The physical environment surrounding this personal utopia of happiness can have a dramatic impact on our feeling complete in all respects.  (more…)

“The Perfect Place” Home

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“The purpose of life is a life or purpose”  ~ Robert Byrne ~ 

Webster’s defines “perfect” as, complete in all respects; without defect or omission; sound; flawless.  Rarely in our adult life do we come across something, someone, or someplace which is “perfect.”  For those fortunate enough to recall a worry-free blissfulness of childhood, or a passing sensation of complete wholeness with life and our surroundings, the definition mentioned above will instantly transport us to such a moment.  (more…)

10 Boomer Trends in Custom Homes

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with retiring couples, actively employed seniors, and those categorized as “boomers”.  These people are extremely giving and warm.  Many have worked for decades creating a lifestyle for themselves based on family, friends, and nostalgic memories.  I would like to briefly share a few characteristics which have consistently been an essential living trait boomers want in their DREAM HOME.  (more…)

Custom Home Building (Stages of Construction)

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

The general construction of your home will proceed through a variety of phases. As you watch the “parade of trades” flow through your construction site, you will begin to see the dream take form right out of the ground.

The stages of construction will usually follow a straight forward progression. Your general contractor will establish a detailed schedule of all aspects of construction broken down into categories such as site work, framing, interior, exterior etc. I have included for you a basic progressive list of the order in which a home will typically be constructed. This list is not all inclusive, but is presented here to give you an idea of the general steps involved in typical custom residential construction.

Click Here Custom Home Construction Phases (Sample)