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Home Improvement Projects for the Environmentally Conscious

December 8, 2017 11:30 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Are you looking to renovate your home but worry about the impact your home improvement project will have on the environment? Luckily, there are eco-friendly products and materials you can use for virtually any project. Your home improvement project doesn’t have to take a toll on the environment. There are eco-friendly ideas and options for every stage of the project. Let’s take a look:

  • Plan for eco-friendliness – The first step to any remodeling project is the planning phase. This is when you brainstorm ideas for the specified project, including looking at hiring environmentally conscious professionals, such as the team at Asher Nichols & Craftsmen. Throughout the entire project, we are constantly thinking about how we can leave the smallest carbon footprint while still producing a quality finished product. Some of our best practices include using barrels and waste haulers instead of those harmful black plastic bags, as well as working a 40-hour week in just four days to reduce carbon emissions during the commute, which increases productivity by 20%.
  • Selecting the right materials – The next step in the process is to decide on which materials you want to use. Environmentally-friendly materials are widely available and without breaking the bank. Some of the most common options we recommend are replacing the bulbs in your home with LED ones, using Energy Star-certified energy-efficient appliances, and using low- or zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, caulking, and sealants, which are much safer for your family and home than traditional options.
  • Cleanup: The Final Act – The last stage of the project, once it’s finished, is the cleanup. This is arguably the point when the environment is neglected, as many people just want to be through with the project. As previously stated, Asher Nichols opts for barrels and waste haulers in place of plastic bags that just end up in landfills. Of the materials you have left over at the end of the project, look at what can be recycled or saved for another project down the line.

Your home improvement project doesn’t have to come at the cost of the environment. There are eco-friendly options and materials our team at Asher Nichols can use to give you the perfect finished product you’ve been dreaming of. For all your home improvement needs, questions, and concerns, call Asher Nichols & Craftsmen at (617) 417-0020, or fill out the form on our contact page.

New Kitchen Technology for the New Year

November 16, 2017 2:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Just in time for the holidays and the new year, the big brands have released some great, new technologies in the world of kitchen appliances. This line up features trash compactors, a door-in-door refrigerator, and some new wine refrigerators. Each of these have their own advantages and benefits to make your life a little easier this holiday season, and all year ‘round. Let’s take a look:

 

  • Trash Compactors – Who enjoys taking out the trash? Not me! It’s gross and smelly, and even if you’ve bought new curbside barrells, they’ll get the same way soon enough. A fairly recent invention to help cut down on trash runs is the kitchen trash compactor. There exist both built-in and freestanding compactors, depending on your preference, and a lot of the big guys (e.g., Kenmore, Electrolux, Whirlpool, and KitchenAid) have their own models for sale. Trash compactors work via a foot pedal, which, you guessed it, squishes the trash in the bag down, reducing the size of it by 80%. And best of all, it’s all contained in an appliance that is surprisingly smaller than a dishwasher.
  • LG’s new InstaView refrigerator technology – If you’re anything like me, a late-night forager, you probably open your fridge in an endless search for food that isn’t there. Then you give up on the once-trusted appliance, and move on to the kitchen cabinets or pantry, only to end up back at the fridge not even five minutes later. This cycle is almost endless, and just think of the energy and electricity you waste while staring blindly into the abyss we call a fridge. There’s got to be a way to reduce this consumption. Well now there is. Trusted brand, LG, has recently released a new door-in-door refrigerator featuring InstaView technology. What does that mean, though? Let’s break it down. InstaView refers to a glass pane on the exterior door, which lets you look at the contents of the fridge without actually opening it. Door-in-door means that there is another door inside the fridge, between the exterior door with the glass pane and the rest of the fridge (i.e., the back with all the shelves). Just knock, yes knock, on the fridge a few times to activate the lights inside so you can get a good look at the contents of the fridge. No more guessing games when it comes to your late-night refrigerated snack. Inspect the contents of your fridge from the outside looking in.
  • Wine refrigerators – A nice appliance to accompany the LG fridge is a freestanding or countertop wine fridge, and just in time for the holidays, too! If you host holiday parties at your house, this appliance will make storing wine so much easier, as well as freeing up some much-needed refrigerator space for your pre-made dips, dishes, desserts and, of course, leftovers. Separate your bubbly from your food with a stylish and attractive wine fridge. You’ll receive compliments on it, and your guests will consider buying their own.

 

 

Who doesn’t love a nice kitchen appliance? Each new appliance promises an easier life, at least in the kitchen, but do they actually deliver? I know these appliances will! So what are you waiting for? Order your new trash compactor or refrigerator online today, and maybe even surprise the family with it for the holidays.

What you Should Know Before Buying/Renovating a Historic Property in MA

November 2, 2017 2:32 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As outlined by the National Park Service, the body in charge of historic house listings in the U.S., in order to qualify for historic listing, a home must be at least 50 years old and still look the same as it did when it was first constructed, and it must have some historic significance within its history. If you’re looking to buy/renovate a historic home, there are some things you should know before you begin, according to both federal and state laws and regulations, as well as some general guidelines. Let’s take a look at both Federal and State, and choosing an appropriate color scheme:

 

  • Federal – Let’s start with Federal laws and restrictions. As long as there are no federal licenses or permits, and no federal money is attached to the property, a non-federal homeowner is free to complete any project involving the property, including demolition. If, however, the historic property is federally funded, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation must be allowed to comment on any and all changes and/or renovations.
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts – If the renovation of your historic property requires a building permit, funding, or licensing from the state of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) must review and approve it. Information  for all other states and territories can be found on the National Park Service website. Contact info for every State Historic Preservation Officer is provided through clicking the link for each respective state and territory within the United States.
  • Repainting – It is best practice to either stick with the same, original color scheme, or to choose a color scheme that was appropriate at the time of the house’s construction. Although this will cost a pretty penny, it would behoove you to consult an experienced painter who can analyze the house’s original color scheme to help you choose the same or period-appropriate color(s), considering the age, look, and architectural style of the house.

 

As with any home, the choice to buy and/or renovate a home that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is a commitment and should be well-planned in order to preserve its history. Do your research, depending on the state, and complete the project accordingly. Once purchased or paid off, the property is federally yours to do with what you please, but limitations may exist within your state as to what you can do with a historic property.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips

October 10, 2017 2:30 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Kitchen remodels are the most common type of home improvement project, which explains why homeowners spend the most money on them. The kitchen is the center of the home, and most everyone takes pride in theirs. Here are some of our best tips for making the most of your kitchen remodeling project:

  • Plan ahead – The time you take to plan your kitchen remodeling project should be more than it takes to complete the project. A recommended amount of time just for planning is six months, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. This way, you’ll know exactly what you want and you’ll avoid surprising the construction crew with new ideas, which would further add to the cost of the project.

 

  • Keep to the same area – It is very expensive to knock down walls and relocate pipes and outlets. Know the area of your kitchen, even look at the blueprints, and stay within the perimeter and measurements of your original/current kitchen.

 

  • Appliances – While you may be allured by the sophisticated style of a large stove range and top-of-the-line refrigerators, there’s a reason why you find them in restaurants and not in the average home kitchen… they’re used by the professionals! Unless you are a chef yourself, stick to basic or smaller appliances, but still read customer reviews to make sure you get the best. Focus your attention instead on the functionality and design of the kitchen itself.

 

  • Adding storage – We’re all privy to the fact that, over time, our cabinets seem to lose their storage space. What once held a seemingly unlimited amount of plates, food, tupperware, and small kitchen gadgets, are now spilling over. What happened?! To put off the inevitable overflowing cabinet, consider extending the height of your cabinets to reach the ceiling. This will also eliminate the need for annual dusting above the cabinets.

At Asher Nichols & Craftsmen, we employ only the most skilled craftsmen and carpenters who are passionate about what they do. Let their passion lead the way to a kitchen transformed with your needs in mind. Call Asher Nichols & Craftsmen today for all your home improvement projects, at (617) 417-0200, or fill out a Project Description Form on our website.