In this unique time of social distancing, working from home has become part of the new norm. We find ourselves in Zoom meetings, typing away on our home keyboards, and making office calls while making breakfast for the kids. It is the way of the world now and very possibly a new way to do business for the future. We find ourselves unprepared for disruptions, unable to stay focused, and drifting off to do household choirs instead of that next spreadsheet that our boss needs. These are real problems that the American workforce is now facing. Building a home office can help you tackle these distraction issues and help you stay organized in ways you never thought possible. We put together some great home office tips that are functional, stylish, and game-changers for your future as a stay-at-home employee or boss.
1) Consider the space. Do you have an extra bedroom? Or do you have unutilized space that can convert into a home office? A good-sized home office space should be a minimum of at least 100 sq ft or a small bedroom size. For those who do not have any spare space, consider adding an addition to your home or converting a garage into an office space. Speak to your accountant about possible tax write off.
Wherever space is, make sure that you are considering traffic flow and your ability to withstand distractions. Do not put yourself into a closet with smushed seating. This will be your area to work for many hours each week. Your home office should take priority over the rarely used guest room or a toy area for the kids.
2) Consider Lighting. You will want good lighting in your home office. A small table lamp will not be enough light for long hours of work. Does the area have any natural lighting from a window? If not, can you have a window installed? Do you have good quality ceiling lights? Planning for the light in your home office is essential to help avoid headaches and eye strain. If your room does not have the lighting you need, consider contacting a professional to improve the situation.
3) Connectivity– Unless you are working strictly from paper, a home office will need to have the ability to connect to the Wi-Fi internet and possibly fax machine and or phone. Be sure that the space you have decided on has a good connection and several outlets. Your internet service provider can help you to install the proper equipment and set up your devices. We searched the web for recommended equipment and found that PC Magazine’s article, https://www.pcmag.com/news/working-from-home-101-must-have-devices-for-your-home-office-setup“, is full of great options for your home office.
4) Focus on room layout. Now that you know where your office will be and have determined your lighting and connectivity needs, it is time to plan the room layout. You will want to have space for shelving to hold any manuals or books that you need to reference, a place for a desk, and a comfortable chair, as well as where you want to place office equipment such as a printer, fax machine, phone, etc. It is a good idea to design this on paper first to avoid holes in the walls and back strain from moving the furniture too much.
5) Furnishings- Time to move into the home office with some solid, sensible furnishings. Choose a chair that is both comfortable and supportive to help avoid back and neck strain. Find a desk that works not only at the height you will need but will provide storage for pens, papers, files, and other staples. Computer, mouse pad, speakers, shelves, and a few personal items such as a plant or photos will complete the space.
Remember, this will be the hub where you will be working for many hours to come. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that the corner of the kitchen under a cabinet will be the best place for you to do your work unless you work great among the chaos, dirty dishes, and chocolate chip cookies left out. You deserve to make your home office the best possible working area.
When considering adding an outbuilding to your property such as a garage, pool house, stable, garden shed, She-shed, storage shed, or home office, it is imperative to plan out the design to create visual harmony between your existing home and the outbuilding. Failing to do so will cause the outbuilding to look misplaced and shatter the flow and feel of the property. High Quality Contracting Inc of Franklin, Wisconsin, are experts in designing and building outbuildings that enhance the look and feel that you want for your home. Our design and construction team has put together some tips to help you achieve success in your outbuilding project.
The planning stage of your project is the time to address all of these considerations.
First off, choose a place in your property to give you the best possible outcome for your outbuilding. A She-shed or home office will need to be located in a more private area than a garage. Take into account the size of the building, while you are determining the location.
Identify some of your home’s exterior details, such as the type of roof it has, colors, and the materials used in the building. Use the characteristics that your existing home structure has and implement these same details in your outbuilding. If your house has a copper or slate roof and your garage has a composite roof, the buildings will not match, and the flow will be off.
Next, while planning, you will want to familiarize yourself with any architectural review board or HOA requirements that are standard for your neighborhood. Going back to the architect a second or third time to change construction plans because you did not include this information, the first time can become costly. If you are in a historical zone, outbuildings are carefully monitored, and you may not be able to obtain a permit. Even if a license is given and the design is too modern for the area, a zoning board may fine you or force you to remove the outbuilding after it is already complete.
Heating and Cooling are also major considerations that you need to decide upon while planning your outbuilding. Air conditioning and heat may seem like a luxury for a garage or a She-shed, but, there are a lot of advantages to installing these systems now rather than later. The cost may be less in the long run and the units more efficient if you install while building. The buildings will not have the humidity issues that they have when no AC or Heat is installed. It also gives the building more use in cold or hot weather. Tools also tend not to rust as easily in a non-humid environment.
Deciding on what type of flooring to install is also important for any outbuilding project. Will you be doing a lot of mechanical work in your garage? Then a heated concrete floor is a good idea. Will you want a cozy space to relax and read? Then perhaps a nice hardwood or carpet flooring would be a better option. If you are thinking of doing gardening in the space, perhaps a nice strong tile with a good drainage system installed would be the best option. The functionality of the building’s requirements needs to be considered at all stages. It is not always the best choice to lay down a solid slab of concrete.
Windows and doors are other items that need planning. Will the garage work best with a garage that can open on both sides giving it drive through abilities? Would a standard garage door work or do you need something that allows for a higher door opening so that vehicles that carry ladders or sporting equipment can access easily. Does your home office or She-shed need windows to look out onto the property? If you are building a garden shed, would multiple skylights help improve your plant’s growth? Do you need any of these doors to open automatically or do windows need to be double-hung?
Before construction starts, please verify that the new building looks like it belongs to the property. Perhaps the materials you will need to complete the project may take a little longer to get in, or you may have to wait to get the right tiles or features. However, in the long run, careful planning with a reputable contractor will save you a lot of heartache and problems in the future. An adequately built outbuilding should feel like it belongs and is not an afterthought. It will increase your property value and give you pleasure for years to come.
The holiday season is fast approaching. Halloween is right around the corner and then boom– Time to Celebrate! Family, friends, and festive meals are everywhere. Is your home ready?
Before you string up the lights and start baking that cranberry orange bread, maybe it is time to remodel. This seasons remodeling can take your home to new levels in entertainment, functionality, and peace of mind.
Consider our holiday remodeling tips to prepare your home for the busy season ahead!
Home Renovations to Consider
Before inviting everyone over for the holidays, you first need to decide where to start with your remodeling. We have put together the key areas of every home.
The center of every holiday is food, and so we begin with kitchen remodeling. There are areas that you should consider when remodeling your kitchen, such as:
- Flooring -For effortless cleanup and durability consider hardwood flooring or tiles.
- Install new counters – Granite, tile, quartz, and butcher block countertops update the focal point in your kitchen.
- Upgrade appliances- New Smart Appliances can help assist you in your holiday meal planning.
- Install new cabinets- Replace cabinets with organizational cabinets that allow for a space for everything.
- Install new lighting- Nothing worse than working in a dimly lit kitchen. Adding new upgraded energy-efficient lighting can help.
The next space that is often used is the bathroom. Impress your guests with an updated area.
- Update old sinks and tubs
- Consider a stand-in shower with high-quality tiles.
- Replace outdated flooring and add new tile flooring.
- Install new cabinets or more cabinets if you do not have enough storage space.
After a good meal, the guests can enjoy the quality time together in a great new entertainment area.
- Add a built-in movie theater room.
- Create a gaming room with a billiards table.
- Build in a custom bar with seating for everyone.
- Install surround sound for music and sporting events like Thanksgiving football.
- Perhaps if you have a hunting sportsman in the family, a trophy room would be nice.
- Don’t forget a play area for the kids. Include a gaming system, surround sound, and comfortable seating.
When guests first enter your home, the first thing they see is the entryway. Make that space, both useful and welcoming with some of these great ideas:
- Add a mudroom with space for coats, umbrellas, hats, and boots.
- Upgrade your front door to a stylish energy-efficient door.
- Upgrade entry windows with energy-efficient windows.
- Add new floorings such as tile or hardwood.
- Create built-in shelving or custom closet space
- Decorate with holiday decor.
The holidays do not have to be hectic. With a few great remodeling projects, your home can be both inviting and functional. For your holiday updates, contact High Quality Contracting today at 414-405-7542.
We all want home renovations with high ROI. If you are trying to decide which home projects you should do first, or if you are considering listing your home soon, you may be interested to know which home renovations give you the best bang for your buck. You may be considering updating appliances, carpeting, and paint to be the place to spend the money, but, don’t be so quick. According to a recent article in US News and annual reports in Remodeling Magazine, you may be better off spending your money in other areas instead.
Here are six great projects to consider that offer the best return on your investment.
It is true that the hub of any home is the kitchen. A kitchen remodel can recoup anywhere from 65- 80% and add value to your home quickly. It is a crucial selling point for most buyers as well. When remodeling your kitchen, consider upgraded modern countertops, cabinets, flooring, and lighting. You do not necessarily need to make a complete overhaul of the kitchen, however, consider at least a few of these options to get that updated look. If the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the house, look at opening up a wall to allow for an open concept. This may mean the difference between a quick sale or one that sits on the market for months.
Another prime area for investment is the bathroom. Remodeling a current bathroom will recoup a higher return than adding a bathroom. However, according to Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors, if you only have one bathroom and multiple people are sharing it, an additional bathroom may mean the difference between a sale or not.
When considering upgrading your current bathroom, updated tiles, tubs, sinks and cabinetry is vital. Increase lighting and space where possible. If adding a bathroom, the placement of where this bathroom is can be significant. Many people enjoy having an en-suite to the master bedroom. Your High Quality Contracting, Inc. remodeling expert can help design the perfect bathroom for you.
More Square Footage
According to the National Association of Realtors, a home renovations with high ROI include increasing your square footage. A homeowner can expect to recoup upwards of 69% for refinishing a basement, attic, or other space in a home. By increasing the livable space in a home, you can assure that you will dramatically improve your home’s value.
Research the going rate per square foot for living space in your area to get an estimate for the value of the increase.
Remodeling Magazine states that you should not invest in the top of the line for a window upgrade if you are planning to sell. Instead, invest in a midgrade product that is energy efficient. It increases the possibility for a faster sale, as well as brightens the room. You can expect to recoup upwards of 74% on vinyl replacement windows.
2017 Cost Vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine reports that the number one ROI investment into your home was professionally installed attic insulation. Because of the substantial improvements in insulation products becoming more energy efficient and lasting longer, this upgrade makes sense if you are planning to stay or leave. Not only do you lower heating and cooling costs, but, you ROI is roughly around 108%.
Updated Home Siding
This one is just common sense, one home renovations with high ROI is home siding. Updating your home siding can improve many aspects of your home as well as enhance the chances of a sale. Realtors insist on creating curb appeal when selling your home, first impressions count. So what is the ROI for the siding change? That depends on the product you choose as well as making sure it is professionally installed. The foam-back provides at least three times the R-Value as the hollow-backed siding. This reduces the overall heating and cooling budget for the home. The price is higher than the hollow-backed siding, but, it pays off in resale value and energy costs. Choose from a wide array of colors and textures to meet the structure of your home. If you are a little unsure as to what products would best fit your home and budget, one of our siding experts can help you decide by explaining the options.
There are many other projects that you can do around your home that have a good ROI; however, these are our top 6 for this year. If you are considering selling your property, give us a call and set up a free consultation. High Quality Contracting Inc. can assist you in deciding which projects might best help you increase your resale value.
Pump up with a new home gym. Gym memberships keep going up in price, and you do not get a lot for the money these days. With crowded gyms, breaking equipment and working around their hours of service, sometimes what you end up doing is paying for something you don’t use. So, why not put that money where you will use it? A Home Gym will not only make your home value increase but will help keep you and your entire family in shape while you stay within the comforts of your home. No traffic, no crowded showers and shower shoes, just a great space and a great work out.
So how do you get started creating a perfect Home Gym?
We have compiled some great ideas and tips for making your extra space into a time saving, money saving, health improvement area.
Determine Your Space:
Determining how much space you’re going to need is key to creating the best possible work out space. What type of equipment do you plan to have: a treadmill, work-out bench, dance bar? Each area you plan to use requires a different amount of space. Your High Quality Contracting Inc agent can help you plan this out. We are experts in using lost space and putting a room’s square footage to the best use.
Remember, working out bodies sweat. Your home gym needs proper ventilation. If you are using an upstairs space, windows are an option. If you are using a basement area, consider some ceiling fans.
Rubber flooring seems to be the range for home gyms, but that leaves the gym area a little less than appealing. Consider carpeting laid over rubber flooring. Another consideration, if this is a dance/yoga area, installing a heated flooring system will make it warm and cozy.
Lots of Lighting:
Building energy for a workout requires good lighting. Take advantage of natural light if possible with large beautiful windows or skylights. If this is not possible, be sure to install bright, cool white overhead lighting. There are many great products on the market in a variety of designs.
Colors Make a Difference:
Wall colors matter. Consider either painting the walls with bright or even fluorescent paint colors or with bright natural tones. Avoid using dark greys, blacks and deep blues on the walls. The dark colors will reduce your energy levels and make it more difficult to get yourself going during a workout.
Don’t leave the walls empty with no décor. Putting up motivational posters, photos, and framed pieces can help to keep you inspired. Add large beautiful mirrors to the walls. Put some live, large, indoor plants in the corners to help with the air and the atmosphere. All-of-these things help make the space welcoming and motivational. Don’t forget to install either a water dispenser or cooler to the area to stay hydrated.
Choosing your equipment can be daunting. But, we have tips for that as well. First, consider your space. Do you have enough room for that treadmill or that weight bench? Second, what are your fitness goals? Do you want to build muscle, lose weight, build stamina or tone your body? Different types of equipment can help you achieve different goals. Finally, the budget. Review your budget and look for seasonal sales that are heading your way. Don’t forget the small stuff like Yoga mats, free weights, or exercise bands.
Although a sound system is not required for a good work out, it can sure help with motivation and focus. Decide if you would like a surround sound system installed with good speakers, or if a simple radio will do. Why not opt for the big system and enjoy the music? If you have the system installed, be sure that the installer hides the wires where possible.
We hope these tips help you to create the Home Gym of your dreams. Don’t wait until January to get going! You can get a free estimate by contacting your High Quality Contracting Agent today. Start the year with the gym already set and get yourself back into shape! Stop wasting cash and time at local gyms when you can have it all at home!
Creative home theaters take the Friday night movie to a whole new level. We compiled some awesome ideas for your home theater that will make going to the movies obsolete and give your family and friends years of enjoyment.
Start with the walls-
A good home theater has good walls that are soundproofed to keep the noise in while the rest of the house stays quiet. No one wants to wake the baby while watching the latest action thriller. To do this, a framed space should have proper soundproofing materials insulated into the walls and possibly the ceiling to lock in sound. The market is full of great products right now such as Acoustic panels and Sound Proofing Foam. These products should be installed by a professional. Also, do not forget that outlets and leaks should be insulated as well.
Hit the Ceiling-
No, not literally, but a beautiful theater room can have added zing added to it by updating the ceiling. Consider laying back and listening while the ceiling has amazing home theatre ceiling tiles from Armstrong or fun lighting options that illuminate the area in just the right places to encourage a relaxed feel. Pay attention to the details, such as the trim or decorative beams as you are laid back in your comfy lounge chair.
Floors are important. Depending on where the home theater is located this may need soundproofing as well. If you are in a basement, the soundproofing may not be needed but perhaps a heated floor is in order to keep toes cozy during the winter months when you spend more time in the theater. Look for comfy carpeting or nice hardwood that will bring a warm and inviting feel to the space.
The home theater system –
Do not skimp when it comes to the home theater system. Make sure you get high-quality speakers that can produce surround sound. Get them installed professionally to ensure a quality experience. A large screen can add to your better than commercial cinema performance. Wires should be hidden to prevent children or pets from pulling on them. Add a control system that adjusts for lighting, sound and the touch screen controlled movie system.
Here the sky is the limit. Home theater seating, a commercial grade popcorn maker or even a beverage cooling system can be installed into a bar or a side area for snacks. Some home theaters also have a small eating area for a table and chairs to eat while watching your movies. There is no limit as to the number of ideas we can create for your home theater.
For a creative home theaters , contact a High Quality Contracting expert today for a no-cost quote. We specialize in creating a truly unique design for your home and will work with you to assure the best possible result for your space.