All Posts By

John Canty

In-Law Apartments

By Remodeling

In-law apartmentIn today’s society there seems to be a growing trend of multiple generations of a family living together in the same household. Though it is nice to have all of your kin under one roof, at times some may desire some extra space and privacy. An in-law apartment is a perfect solution to this conflict. This kind of dwelling can create a means of having an individual’s desires addressed meanwhile remaining in close proximity with their loved ones. These spaces are great for someone’s older parents who may need a hand with daily pressures of life, an adult child that is moving back into the household, or even a long-term visitor that one plans to have stay in their home.

There is no one look for this type of apartment. There are a multitude of options to fit your needs for an in-law apartment. First, you must answer the question: what space would be used to create this apartment? Some ideas include:

  • A garage can be used to make an in-law apartment. Depending on the size of the garage, you may be able to put in a second-story or could add space vertically to create a second-story apartment to satisfy your needs for the apartment meanwhile maintain garage space.
  • You could combine two bedrooms to make a suite. This way, no additional space would need to be added to your home, you would simply be working with what you already have!
  • A basement is a great option for an in-law apartment. This gives the resident a great deal of privacy being on a separate floor all while providing you with a much nicer purpose for a  basement rather than mere storage space.
  • Even a porch area could be enclosed to become a homey living space.

Next, one must answer the question of what you would like to be included into the new apartment. There is no one way to build this. Depending on your budget and the amount of available space, there are many choices to make involving the inclusions you wish to have. If working with limitations, this suite could simply be a bedroom and bath located in solitude. However, the bedroom and bathroom could be just the start, as it is possible to have an apartment complete with additional living quarters, kitchen, closets, and more.

Some other points to consider:

  • If building this space for an elderly guest or relative, make sure it has their needs in mind. Should the space be located on the first floor? Is there ample lighting as well as easily maneuverable space for a wheelchair or walker? Have you included any grab bars to prevent potential falls? Are the kitchen and bathroom drawers easily opened? These are question you may want to ask yourself if this is who you are designing the space for.
  • What will your budget and space allow? Could you potentially include a washer and dryer in the unit? How much kitchen space could be available to you; is there space for all kitchen appliances or will you have to be selective?
  • Most importantly, do NOT forget to check local planning and subdivision regulations! Different towns and cities have different rules, so it is very important to find out about building codes and zoning laws before considering this project.

Just because you are living with many people in one household there is no reason for your privacy to be sacrificed! There are many plausible options to make an in-law apartment right for your home. Not only will no one have to compromised their independence, but it will result in a great means for increasing the value on a home!

Building a garage

By Remodeling

Looking for a new project for your home? Considering a new garage can add many benefits to your home that you may not have even thought of! A new garage can be much more than a space for your car, it can add available storage or living space to your home, and it will increase the value of your home as well. There are many potential options for the look and location of your new addition, so be sure to consider all of your options.

102_0973 resizedBefore getting into specific details of your garage, the first step is to find out what you will be permitted to build. Different towns and cities have certain requirements and restrictions as far as building structures on your property. So, to begin your project, you must find out how much space you have to work with based on the area of your lot and how close to the edge of your lot you are allowed to build. Check with your town for the local rules and codes, and then you will know how much area you have to work with. This will assist you in deciding whether you will have your garage attached to or away from your home. With this, you will then be able to make plans for how your driveway will flow from the garage to the street, based on the city codes and your desires.

Depending on what you find for your restrictions, you can then start deciding how you would like your garage to look. There are many options for the size and structure of your new garage which present different advantages. If you are working with a limited space, perhaps a simple, one-car garage would be right for your home. This will still give you the benefit of protecting your vehicle and allow for some additional storage space without exceeding your limitations. Have unlimited space? You may want to have a multi-car garage that even has a second story. This will create a multitude of possibilities. With a second floor in your garage you may create a new office space, a home gym, a workshop, or perhaps even bedrooms or additional living areas. You can really make this floor anything you want it to be!

IMG_0057 resizeFurthermore, you have flexibility to decide the look of the outside of your garage as well. There are many options for the appearance, size and number of doors ( You also have decisions to make for the quantity of windows you would like to include, as well as the look of the roof. Also, if space allows, you may want to set the garage so that the doors are on the side. This way you can create a more cohesive look with your home, having the garage almost appear as a continuation, matching the siding and windows to that of the house. As you can see, there are many options one should consider when designing their new garage, so be sure to think about everything you would like to include when planning your new project.

Bedroom Remodeling Ideas

By Remodeling

Of all the rooms you may have on your home remodeling schedule, planning a bedroom renovation can be the most fun of them all. That is because unlike remodeling a kitchen, a bedroom for a guest or a child, or rooms where you entertain visitors, remodeling the master bedroom is all about your own desires. This is your opportunity to indulge yourself in your dream bedroom. As long as you have the space and/or budget, you can let your dreams go wild in what you include in your bedroom upgrade.

You can probably remember some great bedrooms you have either been in or seen. These can serve as helpful examples to draw ideas from. Since the heart of the bedroom is the bed, that is a good place to start. If you have a simple queen or full sized bed, it bedroom copymight be time to consider replacing it with a very large and expensive bed with a beautiful headboard and maybe even a canopy if that is part of the dream. Of course, if the room will not accommodate that size bed, your project may call for annexing another room to double the size of the bedroom. This is a wonderful, albeit dramatic remodeling step, which would be well suited for couples in those “empty nest” years. By taking down a wall, the space that was once your child’s bedroom can now serve another purpose as it will change your ordinary bedroom into a luxury suite for the king and queen of the household.

Once you are happy with the bed accommodations, perhaps the next step will be the entertainment center. For, despite how one may think that a bedroom is all about sleeping, most utilize the area for much more than that. Many couples relax by laying in bed, enjoying the luxury of a big screen TV to watch a movie on while snuggling down in the sheets. Where you put the cabinetry to hold that TV and perhaps the DVD player as well as stereo equipment is an important decision to make early on as you are planning your new bedroom masterpiece. You may also wish to consider what types of lighting would be suited to your needs in this area. To assist you in these decisions:

From the entertainment center, one may want start figuring the master bathroom. Putting in a Jacuzzi and an alluring double sink area ( designed with an emphasis on quality and beauty can evolve the bedroom area. Your space will now begin to take on the feel ofbedroom - Copy a high quality hotel suite. Now, all that remains is simply a matter of expanding your vision to accommodate just about any wish you may have for that special place. A deck off the back equipped with a private hot tub is a wonderful addition. A walk in closet with room to change clothes, sit and try on shoes and take your time with your wardrobe is a treat you can reward yourself with on account of all your hard work. So may your imagination have no bounds in the design stage of your ideal bedroom. It may take some time to afford all of the luxuries you want in that bedroom, but it doesn’t cost a thing to plan and dream!

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

By Remodeling

Have you ever walked into someone’s bathroom when you are a guest in their home and just said “Wow”? Now ask yourself if you think people get that “Wow” feeling in your bathroom. If not, you may be able to add some real pizzazz to your bathroom with a few simple modifications that can alter the nature of the room entirely.

If you think you might be interested in a major overhaul to the bathroom, there is nothing like coordinating the tile, the shower and the sink area in one striking color combination. One option would be to combine black tile and shower as well as a black marble look to the counter tops with a pure white porcelain sink to create an offset that will be sure to grab the attention of anyone who walks into that room. With the addition of some red towels and throw rugs, your bathroom now becomes a real visual treat.

Many times guest bathrooms can look very enclosed and small, so anything you can do to open up the room is a great step in your remodeling plans. If there is an exterior wall that you can use to install a window, this will allow sunlight in during the day, which can make that bathroom look twice as big with just one simple improvement. If you then follow that revision with the addition of a sunlight up above, that little bathroom will seem open to all of Mother Nature. Your bathroom will have a completely different feel about it with just those two adjustments.

Another great way to evolve the nature of a bathroom is to transform it from a humdrum bathroom into a spa. With a couple remodeling steps you can make it so that your bathroom not only looks great, but so it also serves as a means of luxury for you and your family. If the bathroom is small, you may want to consider the option of annexing it with an adjoining room to add space. This way you can convert that tiny restroom into a place people will want to linger.

The things to change include…

Double or triple the floor space of the bathroom by taking out a wall and expanding the plumbing to accommodate the new improvements.

  • Take out that little bathtub and put in a Jacuzzi sized tub instead.
  • Add a hot tub or steam room.
  • Add lots of lights, floor space and mirrors so there is plenty of room to have a luxury bath time in that area.

While most of these changes will be enjoyed by you and your family, the revamped look of your bathroom will be truly impressive to all. So don’t be surprised if people disappear into that bathroom for a while, for they may want time to soak up the atmosphere themselves.

Green Remodeling

By Remodeling
Green Remodeling

Integrate green principles in how you plan your home renovations

The “green movement” which encourages us to think of environmentally conscious ways we can go about our everyday lives has taken hold in a new way in the last decade.  The motto of “think globally, live locally” is a beautiful way for us to implement green living principles because in truth we can only really make a difference in the daily decisions we make each day.  So when the time comes to put together a remodeling project, if you can integrate green principles even in how you go about planning to renovate your home, you can do your part to save the planet.

At a procurement level, we all can look for ways to buy green technology materials or materials that were made with recycled materials.  This is especially important if you are rebuilding walls because if you can use recycled materials rather than freshly produced lumber or wallboard, that cuts down on the amount of manufacturing work that has to be done to make building materials from scratch.  It also reduces how much the lumber industry has to kill trees to provide for our building needs which reduce our carbon footprint just one more step.  And step by step is how we win this battle to save our environment. http:///

If you are thinking about way to make your home environmentally friendly during the planning phase for your remodel, that is an excellent point in time to begin to integrate new technologies into your daily life.  The simple step of putting solar panels in the roof while you are having your roof redone gives you the ability to go solar.  In doing so you reduce the amount of energy you have to pull from power companies who are producing that energy by burning fossil fuels or gas.  On top of that benefit, by producing your own energy, you save money because you become more self-sufficient.  In fact, many homes that produce solar energy make so much electricity that it is more than is needed for one home so they sell that energy back to the power company.  Yes, going green can even make you money.

When you have your walls or ceiling tore up during a remodeling project, this is a perfect time to put in extra insulation as well. This one step can reduce the use of energy to heat or cool your home noticeably.  Your utilities bills will fall which is money in your pocket.  But more than that, your lower utility bill means you are using less energy to take care of your home, which means you are doing a good job of going green.  By being on the look-out for the many ways you can use green technology in the design of your home renovation, you can make a huge leap into the future by starting to live green locally to benefit the earth globally.


By Remodeling

There are three main ways to add onto a house:

100_0235 - CopyBuilding Out: The vast majority of additions involve increasing the footprint of the ground-floor level of the building. That’s largely because so many additions are first-floor additions — whether you’re expanding the kitchen, adding a family room, or simply live in a one-story home.

Additions should be placed to the rear of a building wherever possible. An extension along existing building lines toward the rear usually does not require a zoning variance, though it could if too much of the lot area is covered by the building.

  • Pros:  Building out typically involves the least disruption to the existing space  and to your life if you’re living at home through the project  because you’re not supporting the new space over the existing structural framing or foundation.  
  • Cons:  Building out means losing some of your yard, and might even require a zoning variance from the town if you’re within the legal property line “setback” from the neighbor’s property.

Building Up:

building upThere are many ways that additions can happen without expanding the footprint of the house: You can add another story onto a one-story home. You can expand an existing top floor by installing large dormers in a pitched roof to gain useful living space. Or you might add living space above an existing garage, porch or other one-story wing.

The stair is the one element that connects two levels together and it becomes an opportunity to create a dramatic space. Consider adding skylights at the top of the stairs so light floods down through to lower levels.

  • Pros: You won’t lose any yard nor bump into zoning restrictions about setbacks or floor-area-ratio limits.
  • Cons: Many towns limit the allowable height for houses, which can be an issue when building up. 

102_0660 - Copy
Bump out: A “bump-out addition” A bump-out can be a cost- effective way to open up the space in an existing room, making it feel larger, allowing in more light or even adding access to the outside. The entire flow of a space can be changed with a simple bump-out.

That may be enough to add an eating area to your kitchen or a separate tub and shower to your master bathroom.

Springtime projects

By Remodeling

Start thinking about major outdoor projects now, because spring time is the best time to work on those home improvement plans you’ve been talking about for the past couple of months.

Front door:  Freshen your home’s first impression with a new front door.  Your front door is the main focal point for curb appeal.

Build a Deck: An old deck with a sound structure doesn’t have to be torn down. You can remove the worn out decking and railing, and then replace it with new decking. Decks let you to fully enjoy the sun and work as a great place for socializing and dining.

Construct a patio: A patio can be more than a place for a table and chairs. It can offer your family and friends a spot to gather and enjoy meals. A patio can be a place for100_1331 - Copy quiet seclusion or a spot to enjoy a favorite outdoor activity.

Update the Siding: Your house’s exterior was experiencing the winter’s harsh temperatures and intense weather conditions.  There are many reasons for installing new siding on your home.  You may want to replace damaged siding, make your home maintenance free or make it more energy efficient.

Install an Enclosed Porch: You don’t have to live down south to enjoy an enclosed porch addition. Create a three or four season living space with energy efficient windows that make full use of the sun and create a window on the outside world.

100_1276 - Copy

Repairing the Roof: This year’s record snowfalls took a toll on your roofs. Your home’s roof may have suffered damage such as moisture seeping in between the cracks and creases. Curling, peeling and even crumbling of the shingles can occur if the roof is not inspected and repaired.

Clean and check for window damage: Replacing broken window panes is inexpensive and goes a long way to making your home more attractive and energy-efficient.

Add insulation: If you home wasn’t quite as warm this winter as you would have liked it to be, perhaps it’s time to beef up the insulation in your attic. Adding an extra layer of fiberglass insulation on the floor of your attic is another easy home improvement project.  Attic insulation also helps to keep the top of your house a constant temperature, which is useful in preventing ice dams, a major source of winter water damage.

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

Remodeling Software

By Remodeling

Remodeling Software

If you are thinking about doing some remodeling, sometimes the hardest part is visualizing how your home will look with a new design.site1024  Some have gone so far as to create a little schematic of their home with large sheets of graph paper and little cut outs of their furniture which they can move around and rearrange the walls and other features until they get a remodeling design they like.  This was an exercise that screamed out for a software program to make the envisioning part of remodeling more efficient. 

We can be happy for an application that engineers called CAD which stands for “computer aided design” because a software application that literally allows you to recreate your home on the computer screen along with furniture, lighting and anything else pertinent to your home design.  Then this software lets you begin to make changes and literally, “redesign” your home right there on the computer screen. 

At first, this can be a little spooky when you look at the screen at a computerized model version of your home.  You almost expect a little computer animation of your family to wander through on their way to supper.  But this software is a terrific way to work out how your home might look after different types of remodeling ideas have been implemented.  Not only does this make the process of imagining how your redesign plans will play out, it is a tremendous amount of fun too.

The software that lets you remodel your home allows you to do some pretty dramatic things to your home all with a point and a click.  You can move walls, replace kitchen counters and install new lighting with a click of the mouse or by dragging and dropping components of the home to another part of the layout.  This is a luxury that we could never have had without the genius of software designers who made it available to us.

Not only can you remodel the structure of your home on the computer screen without ever taking a hammer to the wall, you can change the furniture, the plumbing, the lighting, the carpet or just about anything else you can think of to create design after design of how your house might look.  Like a design but want to try another?  Save the one you have and start over.  Hate a design you just came up with?  Hit the delete button and it never happened.

This software is not hard to get or to use.  It is designed to be used by normal people like you and I.  You can see it at home remodeling stores  or you can find examples of it online that you can use right from your Internet connection

There are even versions of this software you can buy to install on your computer so you have your own copy to play with to your heart’s content.  It really is an amazing way to experiment with how you might remodel your house safety and cheaply as well.

Shower Remodel

By Remodeling

100_0601 Of the many areas of your master bedroom suite that you might consider for remodeling, often the shower in the master bathroom gets attention last. It just seems that there is very little you can do with a shower. But if you have looked at some of the really creative bathroom renovations that have been done by skilled remodeling experts, that shower can be the jewel of your bathroom. Not only that with a well designed redesign effort, your shower can become a place of luxury and pleasure rather than just the place you go to clean up and get it over with.

Most standard showers use a molded plastic form to make up the sides of the shower. This is functional but hardly something you would want to show off.  So one step you can take to transform your shower from something ordinary to something special is to look to put in a black marble shower shell or some other more ornate and beautiful design to make your look elegant.100_0599

When you perform a complete remodeling of the shower like this, you will see your shower in a completely different light.  Instead of always making sure the shower curtain is drawn to block off the shower from view, that part of your bathroom will be a thing to be admired in its own right worthy of being shown off to guests as much as the stylish work you have done to other parts of your bathroom.

It is always best when you begin to design a new shower renovation to build around the plumbing that supports your existing shower.  But by changing out the facets and shower heads with utilities that are both functional an beautiful, you can combine those accessories with that lovely shower shell to create a unique look that can fit in perfectly with the statement you are making with the rest of the bathroom.100_0604

If you want to think big and you have the budget for it, that shower area can be transformed from just a bathing location to a luxury spa.  If you can expand the floor space that the bathtub and shower take up, you can put in a Jacuzzi so when the time comes for a bath or shower, that event can be a time of relaxation where you reward yourself for a hard day’s work with some self-indulgence in those soothing waters.  These are just a few of the ideas you might consider to make the humdrum shower in your home become something that is far from humdrum.  By putting some creative thought into what can be done with the shower, it can become a lovely additional element of your total home décor and one you will be proud of as well.

Mudroom and Entryways

By Remodeling

You know what they say about first impressions. Since the entryway is what your guests’ will see right away — make sure the paint color, furniture  and seating that you choose send the right message.

 When it’s cold, wet and muddy outside, keeping the house clean and free of leaves, dirt and puddles becomes a near impossible task. Gateway to the rest of the house this is when mudroom becomes the hardest working space in the house. This space is also the most practical spot for outerwear, boots, scarves, pet gear and more. For many homes the entryway functions as a mudroom. 

This website has great ideas and information on mudrooms.

Even though it’s a place in the home that desperately needs it, it seems as though most homes rarely have enough entryway storage. Even those that have coat closets can often still use more. So if your foyer is lacking in storage check out these ideas for creating an efficient and organized entryway.

If you have a coat closet there are ways to make the most of it.

  • Install hooks on the inside of the door for hanging bags or scarves.
  • If it has a shelf fill it with baskets designated for each member of the household. People can use them for storing gloves, scarves, or whatever else they frequently use.

Chest of Drawers
A chest of drawers is a great piece of furniture to have in a foyer if you’ve got the room.

  • Add baskets or dividers in the drawers for each family member to use. It will keep the drawers from becoming a jumbled mess of bags and accessories.

Hooks and Coat Racks

  • A coat rack can be a simple solution for placing coats, bags and scarves.

If not, try hanging a series of hooks along the wall for hanging coats and bags. Make sure you’ve got enough to accommodate as many items as you regularly use. There’s nothing worse than piling so many coats on top of each other that they keep falling off and onto the floor.

Storage Bench

  • A bench that has storage inside of it is a great piece for a foyer.

People can sit on it when putting on their shoes, and lots of items can be stored inside. They’re really great for hiding dirty shoes and boots.


If there’s really no space to put any kind of furniture consider installing some shelves on the wall. Again, use baskets to keep everything organized.

For an added touch, create a comfortable place in your mudroom. This is a great place to cozy up with a book away from the family. Or it can serve as a timeout area throughout the day.

“There is something so gratifying about organizing a space and actually having it function just as you had hoped.”