Friday, December 5, 2008

Catching Up...

OK, so I am new to this, have gotten distracted and failed to update my BLOG. After a few technical delays with the closing on our recent project in Reynoldstown (not construction related) we handed off the newly renovated house to its final residents. Then, off we went to Breckenridge, CO for Thanksgiving. A little skiing and turkey you would expect? Not for us! Although we did ski a bit with my son and ate some large roasted fowl with Terry's brother and sister-in-law, it was just days later that we ripped out our one-and-only bathroom in our tiny ski house. No rest for the weary! And, we hate to admit, we did so with very little planning and budgeting. We are the experts, so of course we could renovate a little bathroom and do some upgrades to the house, no problem. Since we never do this to our clients, we are fine with admiting our foibles and their consequenses for two reasons. One, you DIY'ers will enjoy laughing at the mistakes of a pro and for those of you hiring contractors, maybe you can understand why we press so hard to get finish selections, fixture choices and cabinetry plans completed. Lead times drive schedules that drive cost... you get the picture. Here they are-

1. Always have all your plumbing parts available before tearing out your shower. We had the trim for the shower fixture but knew we needed the shower valve. No big deal we thought, it's a Hansgrohe and readily available. Ha! Calling to schedule the pick up with a Denver supplier, I found out it was on back order and 3 weeks out. Yikes! I race to my computer and find one in Minnesota that was shiped overnight. Consequence = 1 day delay $50 shipping. We were lucky.

2. These bankruptcy's are creating delays in getting parts for common items. Needing a converter to switch our gas service from propane to natural gas (which just became available to our neighborhood) we stopped into our fireplace supplier to place the order. "Oh, that part is only about $50 and stocked by the manufacturer but they are in bankruptcy and so are not shipping normally. It could be 3-4 weeks for delivery. " After a lot of begging we are supposed to get it next week before we have to head back to Atanta. We'll see. Consequence = still don't have the part, could have to order more propane at top dollar.

3. Athough it is great to be able to pick up cabinets, fixtures and tile/stone off-the-shelf it is much more cost efficient and quality conscious to research and order. We are happy with the overall design of the bath, but settled for a vanity cabinet we don't love. Also, we probably could have done better on some of the stone accents pieces. We ALWAYS do this stuff ahead of time for our clients and are reminded of why. With the internet and easy shipping, you can get great finishes and fixtures and nice prices by giving yourself some lead time. Consequence = Average vanity cabinet and increased cost of probably $200 or so.

All-in-all we are having a great time. The powder was awsome this morning. We had to take a break and we couldn't shower anyway so why not pile on the clothes and play in the snow. We are back at it now and hoping for a shower (water, not snow) soon. The cold weather is working in our favor :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Website!

The new website is live! We tried to keep the same look and feel but added a few new pages that we hope are of interest to our clients. The Home Buyer Programs are the most exciting. Lots of stuff is in the works to make it a really great market for first time buyers. Prices are right but properties need work so we are at the ready! HUD is dumping money in the system and we are watching it closely, attending meetings and making sure we are ready to participate.

Terry didn't fix anything unusual this week that I know of but we are heading to our Colorado house next week and I'm sure will have lots to report on from there. A minor bathroom renovation is planned along with a few structural repairs. No telling what will happen. Hopefully we will get to ski a bit too! Keep an eye on our website for photos...

Now is a great opportunity to make sure the deferred maintenance on your home is brought current. You can benefit from good pricing due to the slow construction market and enjoy your improvements in the interim. So many of these projects get deferred until it's time to sell the house. Painting, flooring, electical and plumbing upgrades always have a good return on investment. There is the added benefit of keeping good subs in business. We are happy to refer ours for your small project.

Always (playing house),


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Started!

You would think at the ripe old age of 46, more than 20 years in business, an almost 17 year old son and a decade long business/personal relationship that "getting started" would NOT be a phrase in my vocabulary! Au contraire, mon amis...

Environs, the company I own along with my long-time partner in love and crime, Terry Kitts, is finally launching a Blog so we can share our wealth of knowlege and experiences with anyone who might be interested. I'm hoping to get him set up with his own Blog as well but for now, I'll be posting my own stories and information along with some from him. Frankly, his are generally more interesting. For example, yesterday, while investigating a malfunctioning furnace at one of our rental properties, the cause was determined to be an unlucky bird who found its way into some part of the equipment, apparently some time ago. Yuk! Today, after much thought as to what was making our leaky, but perfectly sized, coffee pot leak, he clipped a wire and fixed it! Most of us would have tossed it and spent endless hours shopping for another.

I, on the other hand, spent countless hours yesterday organizing email lists, producing marketing material (not my expertise) and accounting for the dollars flowing in and mostly out, of our business. Not so exciting. I'm hoping to have more entertaining entries in the future that can be helpful, informative and sometimes just plain fun. dawn