Embarking on a home renovation project is no easy feat, but thanks to today's advances in internet technology, there is probably a stellar app out there ready to assist with every part of the process.
Below, we rounded up 15 standouts across three categories—plan, design, and expert help—available on iOS and/or Android, many of which are free to download.
1. Home Design 3D: For drawing rooms, testing out furniture all in one app (some features like saving designs and 3D-viewing require upgrades.)
2. Roomscan Pro: For creating floor plans just by touching your phone to each wall.
$4.99 on iOS
3. MagicPlan: For creating floor plans from photos of a room.
4. Photo Measures: For saving measurements directly on your own photos.
5. Handymobi: For organizing home improvement projects, browsing and sharing DIY project ideas; a free toolbox includes a unit converter, level tool, and calculator.
6. Tap Painter: For visualizing paint colors (from major brands like Benjamin Moore, Behr, Sherwin Williams, and more) on interior spaces.
$2.99 on iOS
7. Houzz Interior Design Ideas: For access to over 10 million high-resolution photos of design ideas, plus new features like "View in My Room 3D” (virtually try out over 1.8 million products in your own home) and "Sketch" (add products, notes, and collaborators to photos on Houzz.)
8. Pinterest: For discovering and organizing design and decor ideas (including those found on Curbed!)
9. Chairish: For buying and selling pre-loved home decor, vintage furniture, art, and more; a “preview” feature lets you see items in your space.
Free on iOS
10. Zillow Digs: For even more interior design ideas and project estimates.
Free on iOS
11. Hutch: For virtually trying out curated decor styles in your space just by taking a photo.
12. HomeAdvisor: For discovering and comparing contractors and instant bookings.
13. Smith: Home Remodel, Improvement & Repairs: For getting multiple bids from pre-screened contractors within 24 hours.
14. Thumbtack: For recommendations on contractors for all sorts of home-related jobs.
15. Havenly: For working with a professional interior designer on your project; chat with a designer for free or book a custom project starting at $79.
Free on iOS
Read this article at www.curbed.com
by Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Relax. Here’s how to make short work of every common repair annoyance.
These are the 7 most-needed repair tips every homeowner should know.
1. Fix a Leaky Toilet
Running toilets not only rob sleep, they waste water and jack up your bill. Here’s how to change a flapper — the usual suspect — and solve other likely problems.
Related: How to Fix a Sweaty Toilet
2. Repair Drywall Holes
The hardest part of drywall repair is making the patch flush with the existing wall. A “pumpkin patch” is an easy repair that cuts down on sanding.
3. Adjust Cabinet Doors
Changes in humidity can make cabinet doors rub, refuse to close, or just look cockeyed. Adjusting them is easy and generally requires only a screwdriver.
4. Open a Stuck Window
Windows stick when paint, dust, or moisture builds. Use a utility knife (or a pizza cutter) to remove old paint. Be careful not to gouge the wood sash. If high humidity is making windows hard to move, run a humidifier that sucks moisture out of air.
Related: Save Money with Window Repair Tips
5. Stop a Leaking Faucet
A dripping faucet can waste 5 gallons of water per day. If you can’t replace the faulty part immediately, tie a string around the faucet and let it fall into the drain: Dripping water will silently flow down the string.
6. Silence Door Squeaks
Take the squeak out of doors by lubricating top and bottom hinges with a little WD-40 or white lithium grease. If you don’t have any on hand, olive oil is a quick but temporary fix.
7. Turn Off the Main Water Line
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL.
by Tanza Loudenback, Business Insider Mar. 1, 2017, 3:10 PM
Vermont comes in at #9
The narrative that millennials are eschewing all of the traditional habits of their parents is simply a myth, particularly when it comes to homebuying.
In fact, 65% of millennials still consider buying a home part of the American Dream, more than any other generation.`
But burdensome student loan debt, high rent prices, and low wages are affecting their ability to save up for a down payment, contributing to the lowest homeownership rate in the US in decades.
Still, these factors vary across cities and states, and there are some places where it's more attainable for first-time buyers to enter the market.
New data from Bankrate discovered how first-time homebuyers fare in all 50 US states considering five factors:
- Housing affordability: percentage of median household income for 25- to 44-year-olds that goes toward mortgage payments (using the median sale price)
- Entry-level job market: five-year average unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds
- Market tightness: growth in housing stock from 2010 to 2015 and the percentage of homes for sale
- Credit availability: percentage of home loans rejected by credit lenders
- Millennial homeownership rate: percentage of homeowners under 35
Bankrate weighted each category equally to determine its ranking. States in the Midwest and the non-coastal West proved to be the most accommodating to first-time homebuyers, while California, New York, and Hawaii are the toughest states.
The metrics included below were all used to calculate Bankrate's ranking, with the exception of median home value, which was sourced independently from Zillow.
Vail Buys Stowe!
For weeks, the signs have been there: fleet cars with Colorado plates cruising the Mountain Road, helicopters hovering over Spruce Peak, rumors of Vail Resort’s senior management locked in closed door sessions with the head honchos from Stowe Mountain Resort and AIG.
Today, at 8:00 am Vail Resorts announced it had entered an agreement to acquire Stowe Mountain Resort from Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc. (MMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), for a purchase price of $50 million, subject to certain adjustments. Stowe Mountain Resort will be Vail Resorts’ first mountain resort on the East Coast and complements the Company’s network of 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.
Over the past few weeks, stock prices for Vail continued to soar, rising to 180 as of close on Friday from 168 on January 24 when VT Ski + Ride first broke the rumors of a potential sale (see 8 Reasons Why Vail Would Buy Stowe) Of particular interest were two SEC filings made last week, Amended Statements of Beneficial Ownership that must be made when a person or organization owns more than 5%. The first was by the Vanguard Group. The second was by Abigail Johnson, who owns a home at Stowe’s Spruce Peak development and also happens to be the CEO of Fidelity Investments.
Read the complete story at VT Ski+Ride
Burlington's Seven Days
Vail to Purchase Stowe Mountain Resort for $50 Million
The rumor mill was right.
Vail Resorts is buying Vermont's most iconic ski area, Stowe, the two sidesannounced Tuesday.
The Colorado-based company will pay $50 million for the ski area on Mt. Mansfield that began as a Depression-era trail cutting project and became known as a luxury winter resort.
“We’re thrilled to add Stowe Mountain Resort to our family of world-class mountain resorts. With the investments in both mountain infrastructure and base area facilities that AIG has made over the years, Stowe Mountain Resort has become the premier, high-end resort for East Coast skiers and snowboarders," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "We look forward to working with AIG to continue enhancing the guest experience and to ensure the resort’s long-term success.”
Read the complete story in the Seven Days
By Jonathan Deesing at RISMedia's housecall
Posted on Feb 7 2017 - 10:42am by housecall
You’ve torn out the old carpet and replaced the kitchen cabinets, and your renovation is almost complete. Before you put everything back together, consider including some high-tech features on your list of remodeling must-haves. Adding a few new smart devices is a cinch when you’re in the process of remodeling—why not make a little room in the budget for something that can make your life easier and help cut down on expenses overall?
Here are eight of the coolest smart devices to include in your home remodel:
- Nest Cam
With its wide range of consumer-friendly smart products, Nest has made a big name for itself in the smart home industry—and this powerful little camera is one of the main reasons why. The Nest Cam records in crystal-clear 1080p resolution and streams 24/7, so you’ll never miss a thing. The Nest Cam Indoor also comes equipped with a speaker and a mic and will alert you if you’re not at home and it detects motion or conspicuous noises.
- Philips Hue
Philips Hue LED lightbulbs are smart and energy-efficient, allowing you to control the lighting in your home while cutting energy costs. There are 16 million colors and a variety of smart controls to choose from, making your lighting system as subtle or dramatic as you’d like. Sync your lights with movies or music, set the ambience for concentration, or create a gentle morning lighting routine. With the Philips Hue Bridge, you can link up to 50 lights and other accessories, making a completely customizable lighting experience.
- Vivint Doorbell Camera
Vivint’s sleek Doorbell Camera lets you see who’s at your door no matter where you are. With a 180-degree look at your porch and night-vision capabilities, you always have a clear view. The Vivint Sky app will send you a notification whenever someone rings the bell and allows you to turn the camera on and off and adjust your doorbell chime. You can also lock and unlock the door remotely, and speak to friends and strangers through the doorbell.
- Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener
The Chamberlain garage door opener connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere. Chamberlain says it’s compatible with any garage door opener made after 1993: the only requirement is that it must include safety sensors at the bottom of the track. And prepare yourself—CNET called it a “smart-home gateway drug.”
- August Smart Lock
August’s Smart Lock replaces the interior side of your deadbolt (so it doesn’t throw off the look from the outside), granting you the ability to lock and unlock your door with your smartphone. The Smart Lock doesn’t stop there, though. You can create virtual keys for your family and friends, granting them access as well. The August Home app will even auto-lock the door behind you and unlock the door for you as you approach—you don’t have to do a thing.
- Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest’s Learning Thermostat learns your patterns as you use it—within a week it will adapt to your preferred temperatures and set itself to match your preferences. If you like your home cooler at night and warmer in the morning, for example, the Learning Thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature for you. It will also adjust to an energy-saving mode when you're not home. The company says it can pay for itself in energy savings after just two years.
- Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
This Energy Star-rated refrigerator does things you never knew you wanted your fridge to do. For starters, every time you close the door, three cameras take pictures of the contents inside. You can then check what’s in your fridge from your phone, so you never have to wonder what you need from the store. If you’d rather not go to the store yourself, you can place an online order using Groceries by Mastercard, one of many included apps accessible right from the touchscreen on the door. You can also sync and display calendars and photos on the screen, leave notes, stream music—even watch TV.
- Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo is a 360-degree Bluetooth speaker featuring Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant. Alexa can stream music, tell you the weather, answer your questions, get traffic updates and sports scores—all the stuff you expect a voice assistant to do. The main reason it’s on this list, though, is that it can connect to a number of smart devices from other manufacturers, allowing you to control your lights, locks and thermostat with your voice.
These eight gadgets can add some serious value to your life and home. If you’re already remodeling, now’s the perfect time to try a few out and get a little taste of the future.
What direction will the design of the kitchen take in 2017? That's a question we've been asking ourselves for the past few weeks, and today we're taking a look specifically at materials — all the separate parts, from cabinets to countertops to floors, that come together to make up your space.
A general trend we've been seeing in kitchen design is a movement away from pure, stark modernism and towards a more layered look that mixes traditional and modern elements. Included on this list are lots of materials with a textured, variegated appearance — lovely, tactile elements that will give any kitchen a bit of warmth and history.
Not those heavily varnished dark cherry cabinets you remember from the early 2000s, but cabinets that celebrate the grain and texture of wood. If you're not sure about doing your whole kitchen in this style, mix it with white uppers, or use wood cabinets only for an island.
Shaker-style cabinets (especially painted in greys or dark colors, like navy or hunter green) add instant sophistication to a kitchen. They're a great fit for more traditional or country-style kitchens, but also a nice way to add detail to a modern space as well.
- Cement Tile
- Worn Wood
- Zellige Tiles
- Cement Tile
SEVEN DAYS ☆ December 27, 2016
By HANNAH PALMER EGAN Twitter: @FINDTHATHANNAH
in this article
- Stowe's PK Coffee on the Mountain Road
- Morrisville's Niche at Rogue Artisans Café
- Waterbury's Park Row Café rechristened as Buddy's Famous Burgers
- Elmore-based Black Diamond Barbecue & Catering has opened in a Morrisville storefront
- Stowe's Sun & Ski Inn and Suites opened Stowe Bowl
- the posh new Field Guide hotel opened Picnic Social with casual snacks and lawn games
Looking back on 2016 conjures visions of fake news, resurgent white nationalists, Russian hackers and — love him or hate him — president-elect Donald Trump. All of which is to say, this year has given many Americans reasons aplenty to eat (or drink) their feelings.
Here in Vermont, this dramatic and unusual turn around the sun brought a few tasty reasons to celebrate. We could start with the continued proliferation of good coffee: Single-source artisan roasts appeared in new cafés such as Burlington's Onyx Tonics Specialty Coffee, Essex Junction's Nomad Coffee, Stowe's PK Coffee and Montpelier's Tremolo Coffee.
Meanwhile, upscale chefs continued to play with high-end/lowbrow cookery. While I don't love that concept, Burlington's Monarch & the Milkweed, Morrisville's Niche at Rogue Artisans Café, Jamaica's Honeypie and Waitsfield's Canteen Creemee Company all proved that it can be great when executed with precision.
Other restaurants expanded on their strengths, spinning off new enterprises around single items. In Shelburne, Archie's Grill moved across Shelburne Road — then, this summer, took advantage of the empty adjacent space and started serving its housemade ice cream at the Scoop to great fanfare. In Washington County, the guys from Barre's Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen jockeyed their popular burger menu into a patty joint in Northfield and put a food truck on the road.
In Waterbury, Park Row Café reworked its entire concept around the success of its burger and smoothie menus; in early summer, the casual café rechristened itself Buddy's Famous Burgers.
What did we love, hate and wish we'd never have to see again? Read on for the Seven Days spin on the good, the bad and the ugly of eating in Vermont, circa 2016.
Let's start with a little ambivalence, shall we? ☆ Click here to read the rest of the story.
Don’t break your back shoveling snow. Try these tips to make winter less of a burden.
If you’re a homeowner in a snowy climate, chances are good you rue the winter: All that snow has to go somewhere, and it’s not getting there itself.
Cue the snow shovel.
Barring a move to a snow-free state or barricading your family inside all winter, there’s no way to avoid the endless task of shoveling snow. There are, however, ways to make the process much easier. Here are three simple hacks to make the morning after a snowfall much less stressful.
1. Spray Your Shovel with Cooking Oil
Snow sticking to your shovel makes an already arduous task even more obnoxious. Avoid it with this hack: Lightly coat your shovel with non-stick cooking oil to make snow slide right off. No more time wasted removing snow from your snow remover. (You can substitute a spray lubricant like WD-40, but the downside is it’s toxic.)
2. Lay Out a Tarp Before the Snow
If you like short cuts, this technique, billed as “the laziest way imaginable” to clear snow, according to a tutorial from “Instructables,” has got your name on it. The day before an expected snowfall, lay a tarp on your walkway. When the snow finishes falling, just pull out the tarp, and voilà: an instantly cleared walkway. (Word to the wise: Make sure pedestrians won’t trip on your tarp; include a sign or use this technique in your backyard walkway if you’re concerned.)
The technique requires a tarp, firewood, and twine as well as some prep work. Pre-storm, use firewood to weigh down your tarp — you don’t want it flying away in the wind! — and tie the twine to both the tarp and to a shovel standing upright in your yard. You’ll use the shovel to pull out the snow-laden tarp.
Although this method might be faster than shoveling, it does require manpower. After all, a cubic foot of snow can weigh between 7 and 20 pounds. So don’t get too ambitious with the size of your tarp or you might not be able to pull it once it’s full of snow.
3. Make a Homemade De-icing Cocktail
De-icers make snow removal easier by cutting through the tough, icy layers that are a pain to remove with a shovel. But an easy solution should be easy on your property as well. Many commercial de-icers are pretty harsh.
Commercial ice-melting substances — magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride (salt) — all cause damage to the environment, according to the University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center. They can also damage concrete sidewalks and driveways, which mean hefty repair costs later.
A better solution: Make your own de-icer using rubbing alcohol or vinegar. You’ll save money, too. Commercial melters typically cost $8 or more. Plus, you’ll avoid the hassle of trekking to the hardware store to stock up.
Use vinegar before a storm to make ice and snow removal easier:
- Combine 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
- Spray or pour gently (you still want to avoid runoff into your landscape) before a storm.
To keep the sidewalks and steps from icing after a storm:
- Combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water.
- Apply to minimize runoff.
is a writer and editor with a focus on home improvement and design. Previously, she worked as a web editor for “House Beautiful,” “ELLE Decor,” and “Veranda.”
Read this article at houselogic
When Monica and John Montero moved from Miami to Vermont last year, they brought Cuban home cooking with them. Earlier this month, they began sharing it with their adopted community when they opened Havana 802 at 41 South Main Street in Hardwick.
The opening menu offers about 70 dishes, ranging from tamales and empanadas ($4-6) to sandwiches, soups and entrées ($11-15). The last category includes ropa vieja (a tomato-beef stew) and churrasco (grilled skirt steak) with chimichurri. Once a liquor license goes through, Havana 802 will serve wine and beer, too.
Monica, born to a Cuban American family in Little Havana, does most of the cooking. Her saucy grilled and stewed meats, beans and rice, and plantains (crispy or ripe) are grounded in traditional Cuban cookery, which has a mild spice-ometer compared with other Latin American and island cuisines. John, who moved from Cuba to Florida at age 4, handles business and front-of-house operations.
In recent years, Havana 802's storefront has housed three relatively short-lived restaurants: Vermont Supper Club, Claire's Restaurant and Bar, and A Vermont Place. The Monteros hope to halt the revolving door by offering unique and approachable food at an affordable price point. "Cuban food is not an expensive food," John told Seven Days just after opening in early October. "Why should we charge more than we need to?"
The Monteros say they hope to add live Latin music on weekend nights and perhaps brunch later this fall or winter. For now, the restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Read the complete article at SevenDays
The original print version of this article was headlined "Cuban in the Kingdom"
More insulation, more savings
PureWow — October 25, 2016
When the cold-weather chill hits, there’s nothing quite like coming home to a toasty house. But, ugh, your heating bills last winter were too damn high. Here, seven precautions to take now to help offset the cost of keeping your thermostat up.
Open the Curtains
On a sunny day, pulling back the blinds on any south-facing windows is the most natural (and cheap) way to heat your home. Just be sure to close them again at night to limit the cold-window chill.
Invest in Energy Efficient Window Treatments
For example, roman shades versus venetian blinds. It’s all about curtain density so interior heat—that you’re shelling out big bucks for—doesn’t escape.
Add Weather Stripping Around Drafty Doors
For a grand total of $4, you can tape up any spots where you detect an air leak. (In most cases, you’ll be able to feel a cool breeze coming in with your hand. Or you can jiggle the doorframe—if it’s loose, you’re at risk of drafts.)
...And Seal Off Cold-Weather Leaks With Plastic
Another cheap repair—it’s just $5 for a window insulation kit. All you have to hang the sheets over the frame indoors.
Lower Your Thermostat—Especially While You Sleep
Dropping it as little as five to 10 degrees (say from 73 to 63 at night) can lower your annual energy bill by as much as 10 percent. To make up the difference, just throw on an extra blanket or invest in sheets with a higher thread count for winter snoozing. (The higher the thread count, the greater the warmth.)
Check Your Chimney
When you’re not using your fireplace, an open damper can make the difference between a living room that’s warm and one that’s frigid. (We repeat: When your fireplace is in use, the damper should always be open to let smoke escape.)
Schedule a Check-Up for Your Heating System
The cost of an HVAC technician making a house call can run you anywhere from $40 to $250. But depending on the age of your furnace, a check-up to make sure everything is tip-top condition could be worth it if it shaves dollars off your monthly bill. Just be sure you get an estimate before any repair work begins.
Read the complete PureWow article with photos and links here.
This post is more than a tad after-the-fact, but if you didn't know, and haven't yet been to the Bierhall, read on:
Seven Days Bite Club
Posted By Hannah Palmer Egan on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 5:42 PM
Ten years ago, the Trapp Family Lodge was a stodgy resort for tourists seeking an Alpine escape. In 2010, the family started brewing lager on the premises; by 2014, that operation had expanded its capacity from 2,000 to 50,000 barrels per year. And two years ago, executive vice president Sam von Trapp told Seven Days that workers had broken ground on a new Austrian-style bierhall, which would welcome mountain revelers for steins and sausages, hopefully by summer, 2015.
As with most construction projects, things didn't go according to plan. But after nearly two years of building and preparation, the bierhall opens tomorrow with an all-star team.
Jack Pickett — whose Phoenix Table and Bar, Frida’s Taqueria and Blue Moon Café fed locals for years — is leading the kitchen. Former Gracie’s Restaurant owner Paul “Archie” Archdeacon will run the front of the house. “It’s been really neat bringing two really popular Stowe restaurateurs together,” Sam von Trapp said, speaking by phone on Tuesday.
The menu offers exactly the kind of food one might expect from an Austrian beer hall in central Vermont. Snacks such as pretzels, cheddar-beer soup and savory dips whet a palate for sausages including bratwurst, knockwurst and bockwurst. These can be paired with potato salad, sauerkraut and an array of mustards. “We’re calling it a ‘relatively authentic Austrian bierhall menu,’” Pickett said, adding that he’s firing meats and fish on an Argentine wood grill. The menu also includes seasonal salads and fried vegetables along with burgers and sliders, which are pressed with grassfed or von Trapp farm-raised beef.
Read the rest of the story at SevenDaysVT.com