The Benefits of Designing Your New Home

So many homebuyers these days are trained to think somewhat backwards about purchasing a new home; instead of viewing a home and thinking “This is the home that suits me” we think, “I could learn to live in this home.” Instead of adapting a home to their needs, they adapt their needs to a home. While there are a great many homes that are “suitable” for you, how many actually suit you? Following are some of the best reasons to design your home to fit you instead of trying to adjust to a pre-existing home:

Anticipate no renovations once the home is done

Oftentimes, buyers will purchase homes with various renovations and projects in mind to make the home more accommodating to their needs; this can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars in addition to the already high expense of the home purchase itself. When you design your own home, you’ll have everything you need already in place right from the start, saving you ample time, money, stress, and effort.

Enjoy full customization of your home

No two families are alike; therefore, no two homes should really be alike! This is not the case, of course; however, when you design your own home, you’ll be able to make sure that your house will be completely receptive to your needs, the flow of your family, requirements for privacy and space, and more.

Use a flexible budget

The ability for you to be completely aware of finances throughout the duration of your project is an option that you can only enjoy when you design and customize your own home. When buying a prefabricated house, buyers are limited in their ability to decide a price; they are offered a price and they can either accept it or not – that’s about it.

Add modern efficient options

Including the perfect modern technologies into new construction is a privilege reserved for those who are designing their own homes. While it is true that any builder can incorporate modern marvels into any home being built, only you are able to choose the ones that are best for you and your family – and you can do this when you design your own home.

Carry out construction management

You’ll be able to check on progress any time you please and as often as you please. Your builder devotes more time to making sure that it is progressing up to your standards. In addition, by designing your own home, you are naturally more involved in the entire building process, thereby becoming more attached to your new living space.

While at first, the amount of freedom that comes with designing your own home may feel overwhelming, it’s important to remember that builders and architects do realize that the process is intensive, and they are more than happy to help design your home with you. Many home buyers look to a Chief Architect Tutorial for step by step instruction for 3D home design with CAD, such as Chief Architect X10. When all is said and done, your custom-built home will feel uniquely yours and will serve as the foundation of your everyday life.

What to Look for in a Home Renovation Team

How to Develop a Healthy Relationship with Your Home Renovation Team

When you hire someone to renovate your home, you need to make sure that you’re working with a qualified professional that has a proven history of generating results. Renovating your home can be extremely expensive, so it’s important that you make sure you’re getting exactly what you have in mind. Otherwise, you could end up paying a great deal of money for lackluster results. Whether you plan on staying in your home or putting it on the market, choosing the right renovation contractors will make all the difference. Use these tips to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Being Upfront About the Renovations Process

As the homeowner, it’s your job to come up with a plan for the renovations process. If you’re still looking for ideas on how to update your home, you can find some inspiring examples online. There’s nothing wrong with talking to an interior designer or a general contractor for advice or ideas, but, at the end of the day, you’re in charge of the operation. This means that you need to have a clear idea in terms of your expectations for the home renovation project.

Contacting the Best Candidates

Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, you can start looking for qualified candidates in your local area. A quick Google search can be a great place to start. Make sure that the candidates you’re choosing are licensed, bonded, and insured. They should have a long history of delivering quality customer service to their clients. You can try looking up the business on review websites like Yelp or Google Reviews to get a better sense of their reputation. Look for portfolio samples and make sure that some of their previous projects align with your expectations.

Setting Up an In-Person Interview

Once you have some candidates in mind, it’s time to start setting up some in-person interviews. Some contractors may not have enough time in their schedule, so having several different options can be helpful. When interviewing the candidates, try to get a sense of who you’re talking to. Ask yourself if you’ll enjoy working with this person weeks or months down the line. Renovation projects can take a long time, so it’s important that you’re hiring someone that you trust and respect.

Making Yourself Available

Once you’ve chosen a contractor, try to make yourself available at least part of the time, especially when the project is just getting underway. The contractor may have some questions as they settle into your home. No one wants to be micromanaged, but you might want to keep an eye on the crew to make sure that things are going smoothly. Once you feel that you can trust your renovation contractors, you can give them some more freedom as the project nears completion.



Should You Remodel, Renovate, or Just Move?

We all know how expansive of an undertaking it is to move – the packing, the selling, the buying, the moving, and settling into a brand-new place takes an exhaustive amount of time and effort. You’ve been thinking for a while now that you might need more space, or a more updated home, or a home with different or upgraded features – but do you opt to remodel your current home, or should you move to a new one instead?

The truth is that there is no single easy answer, of course. You’ll have to contemplate and consider several different things, like whether renovating will bring a good return on the investment you’ve made in your home, whether you can afford to purchase a different home, and if you have a deep emotional attachment to your current house or not. Experts help us decide further with a few key essentials that are not to be overlooked when you’re trying to decide on moving or home remodeling:

To Choose Home Remodeling or Moving?

Do you love where you’re at?

Before you pull out the mortgage calculators and real estate listings, consider how you actually feel about your current home. Take some time and consider what kind of relationship you have with your neighbors, and how you feel about where you are and the entire surrounding area. You may want to consult a residential architect for help; he or she could present to you some upgrade options you may not have even thought of, and can help you get maximum functionality out of your current home. Not sure how to pay for improvements? Consider tapping into your home’s equity for a loan for them.

Do you have the budget to renovate or move?

The ability to budget accurately and realistically is vital when making the decision to move or remodel; you need to consider not just the present, but the far-off future, as well. Many homeowners don’t know exactly what they want when it comes to renovations, and when minds change and things don’t go as homeowners thought they would, budgets get blown up.

Do you need more rooms or more room?

Many people decide whether or not to sell based on their need for more space. Keep in mind, though, that smarter layouts that add rooms without adding a lot of square footage can make a lot of sense, and help some homeowners decide against moving. Many three-bedroom homes could be converted to have four bedrooms, allowing a more efficient layout without having to expand into yard space they don’t have or don’t want to sacrifice. If a new room isn’t an option, then it may be time to sell.

Timelines and Problems

Consider whether moving to a new home will actually solve problems you’re having with your current location: are you stuck next to neighbors that are intolerable? A school district that isn’t real great? A cramped neighborhood with no yard and no privacy? If things like these are the main issues, you should move to alleviate them. Consider how long moving would take versus how long a renovation project would take, and keep in mind that many people overlook the fact that renovations can take serious long-term commitments. A bathroom remodel can take up to three months; a kitchen home remodeling project involving new everything can take three to six months!

Would a renovation earn you your upfront costs back?

You always want a return on investment when it comes to home remodeling; that way, when you eventually go to sell your home, you’re able to recoup the costs of the work that was done. You want to get your money back, basically. Some renovations can recover up to 90% of their costs, while others barely recoup 20%.

Be sure that, if you’re weighing your option to move or remodel your home, you take the time needed to really consider all of your options. Think about the issues presented above, and be sure that you can afford the time, effort, and money it takes to do these types of projects. If you’re looking for some ideas for home design, you can visit Chief Apprentice for training books for the in-home design software, Chief Architect.

Chief Architect X10 Training Books coming soon!

How to Create the Ultimate Home Environment with Light

Light is one of the most overlooked elements of interior design. If you’re a new homeowner, it’s important to remember that lighting is about more than just adding the right accessories. It combines a multitude of factors, including functionality, electricity, design, and sustainability. Below, we’ll go through some of the most important considerations when designing your home’s lighting setup.

Creating the Right Environment

Your first step should be to consider how the room is going to be used. Make a list of all the activities you can envision taking place in the room. Is it a stimulating environment that’s designed for productivity, or is it more of a relaxing space geared towards entertaining guests and spending time with loved ones? If you’ve just moved in, spend some time in the room at different times of the day. How much natural light comes into the room? Are there any dark spots that could use some fill? Creating the right environment is all about identifying your personal preferences based on your current lifestyle.

Maintaining the Flow of the Space

Lighting a room requires some insight into how people will interact with the space. How will they move through the room going from point A to point B? You don’t want your lighting fixtures to interrupt the flow of the space. If space is limited, you can always hang some of your fixtures from the ceiling. In order to do this properly, you need to consider the weight and size of the fixture. Bulky chandeliers and lights will need the support of a larger junction box.

Technical Considerations for Your Light Fixture

Before you get your heart set on a particular fixture, you need to consider a few technical specifications. How much voltage will the lighting fixture need? Some fixtures may need a transformer installed on the outlet. You also need to consider the wattage limit of the fixture. Store-bought fixtures should include this information. If you’re buying a fixture from a farmer’s market or an antique store, try to get as much information before leaving the store.

Use these tips to make the interior of your home more functional and attractive. If you want to take your home design skills to the next level, visit Chief Apprentice for your Chief Architect X9 training book, the best in home design software.

Learn How to Make Better Use of Your Outdoor Living Area

Having an outdoor living area is one of the best perks of being a homeowner. Unlike living in the big city or renting an apartment, you can soak up some sun and feel the breeze on your face as you lounge in nature. But so many homeowners overlook their backyard space, failing to capitalize on the natural beauty that surrounds their property. If you’re anxious to spend some more time outside when you’re at home, use these tips to transform your outdoor space into a world of wonders.

Nurture Your Green Thumb with a Home Garden

Gardening is a fabulous way to enjoy your backyard. You’ll have the satisfaction of growing your own flowers, herbs and vegetables. Even better, adding a garden to your backyard is a simple way to fill the space with luscious greens. You don’t need to spend a fortune to set up your home garden, just some fertilizer, seeds, and a barrier to protect your bounty from weeds. If you like to work with wood, you can quickly build a few raised garden beds to house your plants. Do some research to find out what kinds of plants are best suited to your geographic region.

Accent Your Property with Creative Landscaping

If you’re looking to shakeup your backyard, landscaping is a great way to show off your creative skills. You can guide your guests through the space using a series of stone walkways. To dazzle the eye, you can plant shrubs and bushes along the back of your home or the edge of your property. If you’re feeling ambitious, you might also want to think about adding a pond or a soothing waterfall. The sound of trickling water will help you unwind every time you step out of your house.

Get the Best of Both Worlds with an Enclosed Outdoor Space

Building an enclose space gives you the freedom to enjoy the outdoors without completely exposing yourself to the elements. You have so many options when setting up an enclosed space, whether it’s a sunroom off the back porch or a four-season room that you can enjoy all year long. Choosing the right enclosure all depends on the local climate and how much you plan on using the space. If you’re not worried about winter, you’re better off going with a classic sunroom. Adding a few screens will keep the bugs at bay without impeding the breeze.

If you’re not sure how to design your own enclosure, you can expand your knowledge with Chief Architect x9 for dummies. You can master your skills as a designer using the program’s tutorials and training sessions. From routine maintenance to designing an architectural wonder, you can achieve your home design dreams with one of the Chief Architect training books. Visit Chief Apprentice today to learn more!

4 Things to Consider Before Replacing Home Windows

New windows can do wonders for your home. They look nice, cut down on drafts, and potentially save you some money on your monthly energy bills. But, before you rush to spend a considerable chunk of your hard-earned cash on new windows, it’s important to do your homework. Here are 4 key things everyone should know before beginning a window replacement project:

Replace or repair?

Many people make the mistake of opting for a full window replacement before even considering whether or not their windows could be repaired. But, unless your old windows are completely falling apart, chances are they can be fixed. From replacing cracked panes, to adding new sash cords and hardware, to weather-stripping, glazing, and painting, an experienced handyman, carpenter or window specialist can make your windows look and function like new. So, before you go all-in on a replacement, look into repair, especially if you have an old home with nice wooden windows.

They won’t necessarily pay for themselves

A window replacement can be costly, but many people believe that new windows will automatically pay for themselves in the amount saved on heating and air conditioning bills. While this is possible, it is not universally true. If you have old single-paned windows in your home, new windows can make a significant impact on your monthly bills. That’s because newer dual-paned windows are roughly twice as effective at retaining heat and air conditioning than older single-paned windows. However, if your single-paned windows already have storm windows over them, your new windows are probably going to be somewhere closer to 15 percent more effective than your old ones. Which means it could take a lifetime to earn back your investment (up to 70 years according to some estimates).

Resale value

When it comes to getting a return on your window replacement investment, it’s important to consider aesthetics. That’s because, according to a 2016 cost versus value study by the national association of realtors, homeowners stand to get about 73 percent of their replacement window investment back when they resell the house. So, while your windows won’t necessarily pay for themselves via energy savings, they can really boost your home value. However, this all depends on what type of windows you choose. If you replace your original wood windows with a cheaper, less visually appealing style, your new windows can actually downgrade home. That’s why it’s best to choose windows that match the materials and aesthetic of your home.

Consider a retro-fit

If your windows are in bad shape, but you don’t have the budget for a full replacement, you might want to think about retro-fit windows. Retro-fit windows will leave the original frame in place, so they do not involve any demolition or damage to the surrounding wall or stucco. However, since retro-fit windows are designed to fit inside the existing frame, they will be slightly smaller than the old window, which means they are often less aesthetically pleasing than new windows.

Keeping these considerations in mind before your window replacement will help you avoid overpaying and/or getting stuck with windows that don’t add value to your home. And if you’d like to further enhance your home-improvement knowledge, or get into more advanced homebuilding and designing, visit today and pick up your copy of the chief architect x9 training book. From remodels, to additions, to a complete new home build, our chief architect x9 tutorial guides will take you step by step through the whole process.

7 Quick and Easy Home Maintenance Tips

It’s perfectly understandable that many people are intimidated by home maintenance. You don’t want to break anything, or make a small problem worse. But, there are a surprising number of simple home fixes that anyone can handle regardless of their experience level. So, if you’re looking to spruce up your home, or just save a few bucks on basic home repair costs, take a look at these simple maintenance tips before you spend any of your hard-earned money on hiring a handyman:

  • Noisy doors

If you’re getting that haunted house sound every time you open your bedroom door, all you need to do to fix it is grease those door hinges. Just spray a lubricant, such as wd-40 onto the hinges while moving the door back and forth to help work the lubricant into the nooks and crannies. No wd-40 on hand? Try rubbing the hinges down with petroleum jelly instead.

  • Noisy hardwood flooring

If you don’t want to go through the trouble (and expense) of refinishing your floor, you can temporarily fix your squeaky hardwood by spreading some talcum powder over the noisy areas and sweeping it into the cracks between the panels. Just make sure that you remove all of the powder if and when you do decide to refinish the floor.

  • Sticky vinyl windows

If your vinyl windows or sliding doors aren’t opening and closing smoothly, it’s probably due to buildup in the channels. To get them sliding easily again, try spraying a dry ptfe lubricant, such as wd-40 specialist dirt and dust resistant dry lube, on the contact points and then wiping it off with a rag. You’ll want to avoid oil lubricants, which can attract dirt and sometimes damage the vinyl, which will only make your problem worse.

  • Broken or leaky shutoff valve

If you have a leaking or broken shutoff valve under your sink or behind your toilet, there’s usually no need to call the plumber. Most shutoff valves are quite easy to fix, and even easier to replace. First, you’ll want to turn off the main water valve to your home (if not, you’ll be in danger of flooding your bathroom or kitchen the moment you unscrew the shutoff valve). After your water is shut off, loosen the compression nut on your shutoff valve, and then unscrew the stem, remove the washer and take the washer to your local hardware store to find a replacement. Be sure to clean out the valve body before inserting the new washer. If you’re still having problems with your valve after that, simply remove the whole thing and buy a replacement at your hardware store (usually around $5-$10).

  • Scuffed linoleum floors

If you want to get rid of those unsightly scuffs on your kitchen or bathroom linoleum, all you need is a little good old-fashioned toothpaste. Take some white toothpaste and a dry cloth, and simply rub the scuffs away. If that doesn’t work, spray a little wd-40 on a towel and rub the scuffs lightly. Just make sure you get rid of the leftover wd-40 afterward with a little soap and water to avoid slips and falls.

  • Water stained walls and ceilings

Most people go straight to repainting a wall or ceiling to get rid of a water stain. But, some water stains can be erased with this simple and easy trick: fill a spray bottle with a bleach and water solution, using 1-part bleach to 10-parts water. Then just spray the unsightly spot and wait for about a day or two. Note: protect your eyes and skin from bleach with gloves and goggles, and cover your floor with plastic to avoid bleach spots. If the bleach doesn’t do the trick, you can also try a mold and mildew remover, which can be found at most grocery and home goods stores.

  • Hone your home improvement skills

These tips will help you liven up your home and keep it in tip-top shape from day to day. But, if you really want to ramp up your home improvement skills, or progress from simple maintenance to building and designing, visit today and get your Chief Architect X9 training book. Whether you’re looking to redesign your closet and shelving space, thinking about a full kitchen remodel, or looking into designing your own home from top to bottom, our chief architect training guides will take you step by step through the entire process.

Low Cost Ways to Improve Your Kitchen

Fast, Easy Remodeling Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of, if not the most important room in everyone’s house. We use it at least three times a day to feed ourselves and our loved ones. But an outdated or disorganized kitchen can be more of a nuisance than a luxury. Cooking a healthy meal at home might seem inconceivable if you don’t have the space or the tools to get things done. Even if you don’t have the kitchen of your dreams, you can still upgrade the space you have using a few DIY tips and tricks. The next time you find yourself avoiding your kitchen, try using these simple, low-cost ideas to make the most of the space you already have.

Hit the Reset Button with Cabinet Liners

The insides of cabinets often go unnoticed. We pile boxes and cans onto the shelves without a second thought. Meanwhile, dust, dirt, and bits of food can hide in all sorts of unusual places. Overtime, cabinets can become sticky, greasy, or simply disorganized. You can do your cabinets a favor by taking everything off the shelves and adding a new set of cabinet liners. This is a great opportunity to reorganize the storage space in your kitchen. You can scrub away those tired old stains and sticky spots. When you’re done, you’ll feel more organized and in control of the space.

Add a Permanent Cutting Board

If you’re dissatisfied with your countertops, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars remodeling the surfaces in your kitchen. You can cover large sections of your counterspace by adding an oversized ceramic or wood cutting board. You can wipe it down like an ordinary countertop or toss it in the dishwasher when it gets too dirty. Large cutting boards usually go for about $30 or more, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money.

Install a Hanging Rack for Pots and Pans

Most people complain about not having enough space in their kitchen. If you’re low on storage space, you can get those heavy pots and pans out of the way by hanging them from the ceiling or the wall. Large skillets eat up a lot of room with their large handles and awkward shapes. A series of sturdy hooks or a hefty hanging rack will help you free up some of that cabinet or counter space so you can make room for new items.

Get Remodeling Ideas with the free tutorials and tips at

Remodeling your kitchen or building a new one from scratch is a massive project. If you are saving up for that dream kitchen that you’ve had your eye on, you can start preparing for the big day with Chief Architect tutorials from Chief Architect is a low-cost professional 3D residential design software that you can use to design and fully realize the ultimate residential kitchen, so you’ll know exactly how to make your cooking dreams come true. Learn the ins and outs of basic 3D residential design today with a copy of Chief Architect x9!

Quick Decorating Tips to Improve Any Room

Decorating your home can be fun, but it can also be time-consuming and even a bit stressful. Fortunately, there are some great strategies and tricks that can make the home design process go a lot smoother and result in a beautiful, unified space. Here are seven quick decorating tips that can help you improve any room.

1. You don’t need to choose a theme

Nautical? Beachy? Black and white? If you want to center your décor around a theme, go for it, but rest assured that it’s not necessary. There are also ways to subtly incorporate a theme without following obvious clichés. For instance, it’s possible to achieve a coastal vibe by incorporating certain colors and materials into the design; you don’t need to seashells and paintings of the sea to say “beach.”

2. Move furniture away from walls

Pushing furniture against the wall may give you more space to walk around, but if you have a small room it’s actually a good idea to pull furniture away from walls. This creates the illusion of more space and depth in a room.

3. Bring tired furniture back to life

Have an old upholstered chair? No need to get rid of it. Re-upholstering an old chair with a new, interesting fabric can brighten up a room.

4. Visually expand your space

Using light colors, letting in lots of natural light, and hanging large mirrors can all amplify your space.

5. Choose your paint color last

Many homeowners and renters think one of the first things they have to decide is the color of the walls. While it may be convenient to pick a color before you move in, keep in mind that each color looks different from home to home due to differences in light sources. You want a paint color that complements your rug, upholstery, artwork, and more, and you can only choose this color with everything in your home.

6. Hang artwork at the correct height

The average human eye level is 57 inches, and museums and galleries hang art so that the midline of each piece is 57–60 inches. This is also the height you should hang artwork at home.

7. Select a focal point

Choose one center point for your room and anchor everything else around that. Other items shouldn’t compete with this focal point for attention; rather, they should play secondary roles. The focal point can be items such as a headboard in the bedroom, a piece of artwork the dining room, the fireplace in the living room.

Try several of these tips to expand, unify, and liven up your room—all without too much effort. If you’re looking to ramp up your home design from decorating to building, visit to pick up your Chief Architect X9 training book.