Getting the Family and House Ready For “Back-To-School” Season

August is all about getting the family and home prepared for the upcoming school season and the new routine for the next several months. Check out these tips and ideas to start your preparation!

During morning and evening routines, the kitchen will be a focus point during the school year. Have a designated cabinet that is dedicated to pre-bagged snacks and Tupperware. This will make the hustle of the morning easier to manage when packing lunches if you did not pack them the night before.

Also, create a schedule of what dinner plans will be throughout the week. This will not only help you at the grocery store but also will help you plan easy dinners if you have a late soccer game on Thursday evening.

Bedroom and Closet
As kids are growing, it may seem like their clothes are shrinking. Before the summer ends, have your family go through their closet to donate clothes they do not like or clothes that no longer fit. Once you organize the potential for hand-me-downs, it is a lot easier to go school shopping when you know Billy needs new jeans and Sadie grew out of all her shoes.

Another trick to make the mornings more efficient is to create cubbies or shelves for each of your kids with the days of the week labeled on them. On Sundays, help them pick out their clothes for the week according to estimated weather and after-school plans.

Homework Space
Creating an area in the house that is quiet and full of all the school supplies that kids need for homework and projects will help with the focus of your children. Studies have shown that doing homework in bed can affect the feeling of sleeplessness in children if they are correlating stressful homework to their sleep space. Try to avoid this and make the dining room table or play room have a desk for school work to be focus upon.


Spring Cleaning for Your Kitchen

Cluttered cabinets, a dusty refrigerator top, and an oven that smokes every time you bake are not the components of an ideal kitchen. The kitchen is often one of the most-used living areas in a family’s home and kitchen cabinets can quickly become coated in a layer of grease, dirt and grime from constant use and cooking. We think that these three things are crucial to the spring cleaning process, so don’t overlook them this year!

1. Dust and Wash the Walls
Anytime you cook, open the window, or spray cooking oil on a pan, particles adhere to your walls and create a thin, mostly invisible but greasy layer of dirt and dust. To counter this silent but dirty phenomenon, it’s time to wash your walls using your favorite products, or simply clean with a hot, sudsy sponge and cool water rinse to remove grease in the kitchen. Rooms with flat paints require less vigorous cleaning methods. To avoid wearing down the paint: use a damp clean cloth or a moistened-with-water only soft sponge to clean flat-painted walls.

2. Spruce Up Your Curtains and Blinds
Over the course of the year, dust, dirt, grease, and grime can build up on your curtains, drapes, and blinds. To remedy thus, take them down to spray them down! Curtains and drapes should be vacuumed with a special attachment, put into the washing machine with cold water so they don’t shrink, or taken to the dry cleaners. To clean your blinds, take them outside and soak them in hot water with automatic dishwashing detergent with some Pinesol to rub away grease.

3. Clean Out Drawers and Kitchen Cabinets
Over the year, your drawers and cabinets go from an organized space to crazy and chaotic. It’s time to take out anything that isn’t being used on a regular basis, organize your flatware, and consider installing drawer and cabinet dividers to keep your kitchen more organized. Once everything is taken out, scrub down the insides of your drawers and cabinets with a mixture of grease cutting detergent and warm water, and the outsides with vinegar and water to remove the sticky film. Finish by rinsing both areas with plain water to remove soap residue.


Master Bedroom Renovation

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we are taking some time to focus on the most private room in your home. The most intimate room in your home is likely the master bedroom, but if the space doesn’t have a fresh look, it might not feel so intimate. You and your partner plan to spend a romantic evening at home for the upcoming holiday, but also realize it’s time to give your bedroom a makeover. Whether the color scheme is off, you need to block interruptive noises, or you need more space, changes are necessary for you to regain positive feelings in your room.


If you walk into your bedroom and realize the general design of it is making you unhappy, it’s time to renovate. Room color is proven to affect your mood and thoughts, so changing your color scheme needs to be done wisely. Green is a smart choice for bedroom color because not only is it believed to relieve stress, it is also believed to help with fertility.

In addition to color choice, the amount of space you allow yourself is also important to consider. When moving furniture around just isn’t enough, make the decision to tear down interior walls or conjoin two smaller rooms for extra space. This could turn out to be extensive construction, but worth it in the end.


Right now you want to renovate the master bedroom to create your own personal retreat, but eventually you’ll want this room looking great for potential buyers. Giving your master bedroom a fresh look can give you a return on your investment (ROI) between 40-80%. Experts say that focusing on expanding your closets and creating larger master bathrooms are the top features homeowners desire and that will yield a higher ROI for you.

As you dream about your new master bedroom, call our team for a consultation. We will prepare design sketches for the space, establish the budget with you, assist and the ordering of materials, and manage the project as a whole. Give us a call today, 937-567-0606.

We encourage you to join the conversation and describe your dream room on our Facebook page!



5 Tricks to Beating Stress During Home Projects

Stress comes naturally with home renovation, but your stress shouldn’t control the situation. There are many renovation items to consider and complete, which may  seem overwhelming at first. Tackling your to do list will be a project in itself, but that doesn’t mean it should be the cause of ongoing tension. If you are currently in the midst of a renovation project and feel like the world is coming to an end, take a step back, take a deep breath, and follow these suggestions!

  1. Realize the benefits of the long run.

Limited amenities, the unexpected passing through of strangers, and dust everywhere are all typical traits of home renovation. Although these frustrations will inevitably get in the way during your home project, realize that they won’t be around forever. The purpose of renovating is to make your home a better place to live and that will happen in the long run.

  1. Keep in constant communication with your contractor.

You have the vision of your project and your contractor has every intention of turning that vision into a reality. Come to a general agreement with your contractor on every last detail of the project, and there won’t be back to back problems.

  1. Expect the unexpected.

Sometimes your contractor doesn’t stick with the plan because he or she thinks there is a better fit for the project. If you don’t like what he or she is putting into effect, tell them you want it done a different way. Remain in control of the situation, but also be open to your contractor’s suggestions.

  1. Set your budget and stick to it.

While estimating the budget for your home project, make sure to allocate some of the budget toward unplanned expenses. If your contractor makes constant alterations to your project plans, it is likely that your budget will be way off. Even if you stick to the plan, there is a good chance that the budget will still need modifying.

  1. Make your overall experience a positive one.

Commit to a contractor who you know is reliable. Research leads provided by family or friends before you make the final decision to hire. Your contractor should prove that he or she is fully insured and give you samples of previous projects. If you can find the right contractor for your project, stress won’t play a role in renovating!

Looking for the right contractor for your next home renovation project? Message us on Facebook!


How to Relieve the Stress of Holiday Renovation

The holidays are busy times, and if you are in the middle of a home project, they are even more chaotic. Putting your project on pause while all of your festivities are going on may be an option, but it also might be a bad idea if you want the project to be completed as soon as possible. Even if you aren’t having guests over, the construction might be overwhelming for you and your immediate family. Here are ways to keep a renovation project going without interrupting your family or festivities.

Provide a schedule.

Check the schedule that your contractor has to stay on task and keep up with deadlines. You should add any additional notes that you feel will help the contractor out during the build. For example, if you are hosting a get together, you should tell your contractor to stick to the quieter tasks and make note of the hours of the party. Have the contractor review the schedule days or even a couple of weeks before your festivities take place, otherwise there will be holiday disruptions.

Stay on the same page with your contractor.

If you practice effective, face-to-face communication with your contractor you will save yourself a lot of hassle. Going by the same schedule is great for making your contractor aware of holiday plans, but talking through the project together will help get you both on the same page.


Just because your house is getting an upgrade doesn’t mean you can’t spruce your rooms up with some holiday decor. Set up the Christmas tree, drape the lights and feel free to hang stockings from the half-finished staircase remodel. As long as your family is safe, decorations are not only okay, but necessary.


We encourage you to remain open and flexible to new ideas from your contractor, because they might lead to a better end result. The James Construction & Renovation team of professionals will be respectful of your home and your time while we work.

Check out some of our remodeling projects here as inspiration for your next renovation!


How to Stay Sane During Home Renovations

Coming up with ways to improve your home is one of the great joys of homeownership.

Actually making those improvements? Not so much, when you have furniture to move, plastic sheeting to hang, family and pets to keep out of the work area, and can’t use your water or power for hours on end.

Here’s some tips to make realizing your dream less painful:

– Call in a team of professionals. This definitely speeds up the process. Their experience, resources, tools and connections make for fast work done right the first time.

– Use a good calendar program. Not only will you know exactly what to expect throughout the project, you can coordinate your family’s schedules and events around the work being done.

– Make it a vacation. Make sure to schedule time to rest and relax! That may include slipping away to grandma’s or a nice hotel during the most disruptive work.

– Don’t go it alone. Ask for advice from friends, family and colleagues who’ve been through this before. Neighbors might offer laundry or bathroom access until your space is back to normal. Your contractor may have great tips on how to balance your family’s needs with the ongoing house projects – after all, they’ve seen plenty of other homeowners tackle life + home improvement.

– Delegate. Even if you’ve hired a contractor to handle all the details, managing a project takes time and energy out of your day. Call in the troops to assist with tasks that make life easier and your home more livable until the work is done.

– Celebrate! When the dust is clear, take a moment before plunging into the next project to enjoy the benefits of your dream come true. That memory will help keep you motivated when you’re in the middle of a full-scale renovation later on.


Going Green Brings In the Green

What’s the top priority on today’s homebuyer wish lists?

Green and energy-efficient features. That includes anything that conserves energy, water, and materials, while preserving both indoor and outdoor environmental quality.

For the first time, industry surveys show that the majority of both single-family and multi-family home developers are building at least 15 percent of their projects to green standards.

One in five single-family developers build more than 90 percent of their homes that way.

What does this mean for you?

If you have an older home, one of the best ways to build its resale value is to incorporate energy-efficient and green principles into any remodels or home improvements. That’s especially important around heating, cooling and appliances. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the age of a home has a major impact on how many BTUs (the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit) are used each year:

Homes built in the 2000s – 37,100

Homes built in the 1980s and 1990s – 43,500

Homes built prior to 1940 – 51,600

If you’d like to find ways to make your home more efficient, environmentally friendly and attractive, call us for a free evaluation. (937) 469-2852