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Archive >> June 2008

Jun 15

Poker & Unlicensed Contractors

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: value, select contractor, repairs, renovation, remodeling, contractors

Who thought the interest in gambling would be so great that the World Series of Poker would be televised on ESPN?  Obviously, somebody's watching.

An interesting point in that regard, quoting Pug Pearson, 1973 World Series of Poker champion, made this observation about human nature:

"The real thing to know is that folks will stand to lose more than they will to win.  That's the most important percentage there is.  I mean, if they lose, they're willin' to lose everything.  If they win, they're usually satisfied to win only enough to pay for dinner and a show..."

I was thinking about this

Jun 08

What is the Value?

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: value, repairs, renovation, remodeling

One of my favorite entries was lost during some recent website updating, so I thought I'd re-post it here.  The theme appears to be more pertinent than ever as home values have taken a turn unlike that seen in previous years.  Read on...

Somewhere during early conversations with almost every client, we are asked something to the effect of "Do you think we'll build value with our proposed renovation?"

Naturally, I have had plenty of opportunity to build (what I think is) the proper response, which asks the homeowner to dig deeper regarding his or her definition of value.

From my perspective,

Jun 01

One COOL Room - Spot Air Conditioning

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: HVAC

Dear Mason,

We do not like to run our central air during the summer.  Too expensive, and the house stays pretty comfortable without it.  While this anti-AC policy works for most of our living space it is posing a problem for our music room which, for the sake of protecting the instruments, is kept closed off from the rest of house.  No AC means that during the summer, this 12x15 room gets stiflingly hot and stuffy, borderline unusable and very bad for the instruments.  We have considered purchasing a portable air conditioner which has the added advantage of dehumidification. But alas, the

May 31

Heating and Air Equipment Replacement

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: HVAC

We have a Carrier gas heater/AC on the first floor of our house which presently is working fine. On the second floor we have also have a Carrier heat pump/AC that needs to be replaced (coils are bad). We got a quote from a local heating/AC company saying that they could replace our upstairs Carrier unit with a Goodman Heat Pump and Air Handler for $3,200 vs. a $4,200 Carrier unit. My question is should we stay with the Carrier units throughout the house since the first floor unit may need to be replaced eventually too or go with the lower cost unit.? How difficult and costly would be it be

May 31

Driveway Reminiscent of Dan Akroyd, Refrigerator Repairman

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: repairs, driveway, cracks

We have a 13 year old aggregate driveway that has a number of cracks throughout. They are not severe, but I am afraid they will get worse with time. Is there a way to repair them or do we have to replace the driveway with a new one?

Robert S.; Glen Allen, VA



We get so many inquiries here regarding domestic cracks of all sorts... perhaps there might be some business plan that might be written around these.  Hey, do you remember Dan Akroyd in that very old SNL skit, the refrigerator repairman?

If the extent and nature of the cracks is indicative of settlement (ie: the original subgrade

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