You’re about to remodel, renovate, fix up, DIY or call a pro, and you’ve got questions! Get answers from design-build expert Mason Hearn, owner of Central Virginia’s HomeMasons.

Sep 12
2008

Home Advice from a Realtor


Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: value, resale value, kitchens, bathrooms

Everyone is familiar with those shows on cable television, following the processes wherein homes are bought and sold.  Designed to Sell, House Hunters, Curb Appeal, and others have become Home & Garden TV phenomena.

While so much of home improvement television is deeply rooted in fantasy, these shows have some real-world applications.  Richmond's own Nancy Frazier of Long & Foster Real Estate is likely one of the most experienced and successful agents in our area.  Over the course of hundreds of listings, sales and buyer representation, Nancy has learned exactly what attracts buyers, and makes

Sep 08
2008

Granite Countertops Safety Scare


Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: safety, kitchens, granite, countertops
 

Mason,

I have read and seen a lot in the media recently about the dangers of radiation from granite countertops.  I have always thought that stone tops would be a great improvement to my own kitchen, but now I am concerned.  What do you think?

Lisa C., Richmond, VA

 

Lisa,

I recall way-back-when, we made fun of the saccharin / cancer scare.  How many pounds of sweetener could one possibly gorge a lab rat with, and did that have anything to do with our own use?

Well, I have not dedicated years of my life to the type of scientific research that generates these assertions, so my opinion is based on

Sep 02
2008

Barnwood Restoration


Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: repairs, renovation, preservation, millwork, kitchens, DIY

Question for Mason:

We are finally after 4 years re insulating our kitchen walls. The drywall has been removed as well as a layer of old barnboards.  We have reinsulated and the vapor barrier is in place.  I like the idea of putting the barnboards back and having a rustic looking kitchen wall.  My question is how would you refinish barnboard? (this board is really old and has a rough dark colour to it).  And what would I use to fill the gaps between boards? 

-Tracy H

 

Tracy:

Wow!  This sounds like an exciting project with the prospect of adding a very unique finish to your kitchen walls.  I love

Aug 24
2008

Why Invest in Remodeling, In Today's Market?


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

Some of the earliest signs of the present economic troubles appeared in the nation's housing industry.  Presently, new home starts (as indicated by permit activity) have dredged 25-year lows, and existing home sales have fallen even as they become seemingly more affordable amidst heretofore unseen devaluation.  As lenders tighten their practices, real estate finance has become markedly more conservative, decreasing the ability for many to obtain credit for purchases and improvements.

While the daily headlines emphasize these and other domestic economic problems, is it any surprise that

Aug 24
2008

Is there Such a Thing as K-Y Jelly for Appliances?


Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: kitchens, handyman

Mason,

About 12 years ago we had our kitchen remodeled in our 1925 home in Northside. It's a very narrow galley-style kitchen, and it requires having a side-by-side refrigerator--there's not enough swing space for a full-door model. We dislike the side-by-side because you can't really fit anything of any size in either side, but at the time that was our best option. So now, the fridge is dying, and we've started looking at 3-door models with the freezer on the bottom.

This is great, except that we can't seem to find one that will fit into the space that our current 66-1/4"-high model tucks

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