Thursday, July 28, 2011

Family Room or Man Cave?

We have decided it is finally time to do something about our family room.  We have talked about doing this almost since we first moved in 3 years ago but other things have taken precedence, like spending all last summer building our gazebo, 2 raised bed gardens and putting in a path from our porch to our gazebo.  We have been enjoying our back yard immensely and have become bee-keepers this summer, too.  Now it's on to working on our house room by room.

We live in a small brick ranch home in Englewood.  One of the previous owners added a family room onto the back of the house which we haven't really used all that much for a number of reasons.  We want to turn the room into something that is functional and that we can enjoy.  It will most likely be more a room for my husband, hence the "man cave" comment in the title, since that is where we plan to move the TV.

There are a couple challenges to start with.  The room has the most hideous brick wall with a hearth that runs the width of the room. The hearth sticks out from the wall about 2 ft making that entire wall useless for placing furniture. There are not words strong enough to describe how much I dislike that wall and hearth. 

The next challenge is the entry door, which we use all the time.  The door is smack in the middle of the long wall making the room feel like a huge entry way rather than a nice comfy room. We will need to come up with some way to make this door less of a problem.  We have some ideas which I will share here.

We also have to remove a huge brick 'step' that is at the entry from the kitchen into the family room. Another 'feature' I can't stand.

I will be posting on our progress as I did with the gazebo. I'm always grateful for comments and suggestions.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Denver Tree Pruning Guidlines

The entire post can be found at ArborScape Services website. 
Thanks go out to Matt Johnson and Arbor Scape Services for the excellent information and services they provide.
Unlike most major cities, in Denver, property owners are responsible for the care of “their” street trees even though they’re technically owned by the People of Denver.
That means you are responsible for obeying city tree pruning ordinances. Private trees, such as those in your backyard, have fewer restrictions, but you still are required by city ordinance to maintain and prune trees to ISA standards.
Here are the top 10 rules and guidelines you need to know if you’re pruning a tree in Denver.
  1. A permit is required to trim or remove any street tree, even if you do it yourself. There is no charge for a permit.
  2. If you have a dispute with a neighbor over a tree, it is a negotiated civil matter.  City arborists can not intervene unless a tree is a legitimate structural hazard.
  3. Right of way trees abutting your property are you’re responsibility. That includes removing diseased trees.
Read More Here

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Simple Summer To-Do List

We all have things we'd rather be doing this summer than taking care of home maintenance tasks but there are a few simple things you should be doing just to make sure your home is running smoothly.

Cooling Your Home
  • If you have central air-conditioning don't forget to change your furnace filter throughout the summer.  Your air-conditioning system uses the blower in your furnace and the same duct work as your heating system to distribute cool air throughout your home.
  • Periodically check your condensing unit (it is the big cube outside your home) to be sure there is nothing blocking the unit that will reduce air flow.   
  • Check that the insulation on the coolant line is in good shape. Also check to be sure the condensing unit is sitting on a pad that is level.   
All of these things will help your air conditioning system run at it's peak efficiency.
If you have an Evaporative (Swamp) Cooler find out how to maintain it here:

Drainage, Drainage, Drainage 
Take advantage of the afternoon rainstorms to walk around outside your home and check to see where all the water is going.   
  • Check your gutters to be sure they are not overflowing, that there are no leaks at the seams or water running down behind the gutters.
  • Check your downspouts to be sure that they are not clogged or damaged and that downspout extensions are in place to direct all water away from the foundation
  • Check the paths and soil around the foundation of your home to be sure no water is pooling at or running back towards your foundation.
Be sure to address any problems as quickly as possible, water can do a lot of damage to your home and drainage issues are the #1 problem I find on a typical home inspection, whether the house is 5 years old or 95 years old.   

Here are some links to more information you might find useful:

At Workshop for Women we offer fun hands-on classes in basic home maintenance and improvement skills for women. If you are interested in learning more about how to maintain your home, and live in the Metro Denver area, consider registering for our class, "The Morning After Closing - Basic Home Maintenance".