Top Celebrity Home Designs

If you are thinking of doing some remodeling around your home, it might be nice to pull some inspiration from homes of the rich and famous. Here are some home designs that might give you some ideas for your humble abode.

Bundchen and Brady’s chateau-inspired hovel

Calling it a hovel would make you turn your neck, but the LA based house raises eyebrows because of its elephantine size with eco-friendly systems. The remodeling involved installation of solar panels, rainwater-recycling technology, and energy efficient appliances. Can the eight bedroom and six car garage castle still be green? At a cost of $20 million, anything is possible. Adding to the French castle inspired design within the middle of an estate; the house is an architectural trophy.


Larry Hagman massive mansion

There is nothing more outstanding in housing than a 1992 18,000 square foot space. The material and design of the house is outstanding. What stands out about the house is the architectural design that depicts an ancient simple mansion within a modern context. The recently passed actor was also energy efficient in his design choice.


Lisa Ling

Lisa ling is an acclaimed television journalist who hosted the CNN’s documentary “who also has a taste for house concepts”. Her Santa Monica home is based on the Marco DiMaccio concepts. The house is the first carbon-neutral residence within the entire city of Santa Monica. The impeccable workmanship and art concepts of the Santa Monica home are comparable to the ancient churches.


Tricia Helfer heaven

There has not been much about “Battlestar Galactica” celebrity beauty. Probably because she has been taking comfort in her spacious and uniquely designed house. The Canadian native has a house made of straw. The design and structural standing of the house is impeccable. They opted for a straw house that is self sufficient for a glass house.


Ed Begley Jr.

His house would probably get a nod from environmentalists. The remodeling of Ed Begley Jr. is unique because it is ranked as North America’s greenest and most sustainable house. The entrance of the house has a majestic walkway that ushers you into what would stand out to be the glamorous ovation you would get into someone else’s house. The now elderly gentleman built a house with one of the highest roofs from the ground among Hollywood’s homes.


Maybe your home will not end up looking like a celebrity palace, but you can still have a great home design. Start researching yourself, and then consult with a home remodeling specialist to create your own unique home design. Good luck and thanks for reading!


Choosing a Roofing Specialist


Getting a new roof or making repairs can be a big investment, so its important you find the right roofing contractor for your needs. Here are some things to look for in a roofing specialist to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

  • Make Sure They’re Legit: A contractor should have a legitimate business name, address, and phone number for their company. Not only will this allow you to check on their legitimacy as a business, but you can check on the company’s previous clients and dealings.
  • Experience is Key: Ask them how long they have been in business. In roofing, a contractor’s experiences can be just at, if not more important than the quality of materials they use. An improperly installed roof will be short-lived and could result in water or structural damage to your home.
  • Get References: Ask the contractor for some professional references, or do a little digging yourself on the internet or through the BBB, Either way, make sure that the specialist’s past performance is up to par with your standards.
  • Paperwork: It’s important to make sure that they licensed contractors and have met all of the legal requirement to do work where you live. Having insurance is also very important. If they do not have adequate workers comp and liability insurance you could be held liable for injuries or medical expenses.
  • Materials: Make sure that the materials the contractor uses are to your standards. Ask about the quality, price, components, anything you have to to make sure you will be happy with your new roof.
  • Employees: Ensure that your contractor’s employees have proper training and experience. Even if your contractor is experienced, that does not guarantee that everyone working on your roof will be and could still lead to an improperly installed roof.
  • Work Ethic: Your contractor should have a good work ethic and be enthusiastic about their work. Finding a contractor that takes pride in their work will increase the chance that the job is done to your liking and everything goes smoothly.
  • Get It in Writing: Get all contracts and guarantees in writing. Contracts should cover the entire project: list of materials, start/end dates, costs etc.

Lastly, make sure that your contractor is simply someone you like and would be able to trust and communicate with. After all, you’re the one shelling out the money, so make sure it is a decision that you are comfortable and happy with. Check out a company like Gopher Roofing & Remodeling for an idea of what you might need in a roofing contractor. Good luck and thanks for reading!

Tips to consider before you remodel

SCC Kitchen Remodeling

Choose the Best Options for Your Remodeling Project

When you are considering a home remodeling project, it is very important to plan appropriately. This ensures that you end up choosing the right materials and getting everything done within your budget. Once you have done the initial checklist, there are a few more things that you should consider before you start tearing down walls. Here are some lesser known tips to consider before beginning your remodeling project.

  1. Don’t Under Design: It is no fun to check out your neighbor’s house and end up seeing the exact same interior design as you have in your home. Everyone likes to have a customized home experience. However, it is important that your design does not stray too far from the designs of the neighborhood. The value of your home can drastically affected. If you under-remodel, then you may end up lagging behind the design curve.
  2. Don’t Over Design: It can be just as bad to go the other direction. If you end up overdoing it and vastly out-designing everyone in a ten mile radius, then you may certainly procure bragging rights. The issues is that your home value will be pulled down since your home is surrounded by those with a lower value. Try to stay within a reasonable distance of your neighborhood when it comes to remodeling.
  3. Triple Check Who Is Doing the Work: The best remodeling professionals will have certifications and an extensive portfolio to show you when you consider working with them. Make sure to evaluate your options for getting the project done multiple times before signing a contract. It can save you money, and get you a better end result for your remodeling project.
  4. Stay With the Times: Some remodeling trends are nothing more than a fad. Make sure that you are not jumping on a remodeling bandwagon when choosing your design. If your remodeling becomes dated, it can end up becoming wasted money down the road. Choose timeless remodeling designs so you will not need to do the job again the next year.

There are so many aspects to consider for your remodeling project, use the steps in this checklist to ensure that you have made the best design decisions for your home. Good luck and thanks or reading!

5 Tips for Environmentally Friendly Landscape Design

A great yard can add a lot of value to your home but what kind of effect does it have on the environment? Everything that you alter and all of the chemicals you use for landscaping are going to have an impact on the land they are exposed to. Here are 5 things that will keep your yard looking great and the environment healthy.

  1. Conserve Energy

If you plan on having using landscape lighting, look into products that are solar powered. There are other ways of conserving energy in your home while landscaping. For instance, if you are planning on putting new trees in your yard consider their placement. If you have trouble cooling your home, place the tree so it blocks sunlight. If you have trouble keeping your home warm consider putting trees so they block winds. Having proper exhaust from your home heating source can help with landscaping as well. That way home heat is not wasted, and it will not potentially damage your plants.

  1. Choose Native Plants

Plants native to where you live will require a lot less maintenance from you. This means they are resistant to the pests and weather in your area, and do not require any special chemicals that can be harmful to the environment to survive. Native plants attract native wild life, which includes beneficial insects.

  1. Consider using Synthetic Turf

Bringing in non-native turf can be costly. This is because it’s difficult to maintain grass in a place it doesn’t grow naturally. This will not only conserve water, but it will be must less costly.

  1. Consider Xeriscaping

This refers to a type of landscaping that involves choosing and designing based on what will have the least need for watering. While this requires a lot of planning, the benefits will be worth the effort.

  1. Add Mulch

Adding mulch where you are growing plants will deter weeds and eliminate the maintenance that comes along with removing weeds. Not to mention the possible use of weed killing products. Most types of mulch will eventually decompose and enrich the soil.

5 Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplace Design | Fireplace Safety

Fireplace safety ensures that you have a great fireplace experience.

Lighting a fire in your fireplace is one of the most relaxing things you can do, especially during the cold Midwest winter months. It adds a warmth and atmosphere to a room that you can’t get any other way. While it provides a great gathering place for your family, it can also be a risk if you do not take proper precautions. If you haven’t lit many fires in your life, then you may not be aware of what it takes to maintain your fireplace so it’s safe to use. Here are 5 fireplace safety tips.

Keep Children Away From the Fire

This goes for pets as well, but never leave a fire unattended when there are children around. Depending on the age of your child, be sure to teach them about fire safety as well so they understand the risks involved. While it seems fairly intuitive to keep children away from a fire, make sure that they do not play around the fire or with tools around the fireplace. Even if the fireplace is covered with a glass plate, these can still become hot enough to cause injuries.

Make Sure the Damper is Open

If you have used a fireplace before you most likely know this. A good way to check if your damper is open or not is to light a match in your fireplace with the window open and blow the flame out. If the smoke goes up then it is open, if it goes out of the fireplace then it is closed. If the smoke rises, it is vital to make sure that the opening of the chimney is not blocked by debris or an ice dam.

Don’t Put Anything in the Fireplace that Shouldn’t be there

Don’t try and dispose of any extra paper or trash in your fireplace and certainly don’t try and cook anything in it. In this case I think the most common mistake people make is that they overload their fireplace. Don’t put too much wood in your fireplace, if anything put less and you can add more if needed. Don’t put anything near the fire that’s combustible.

Have your fireplace Cleaned at Least Once a Year

If you are building fires in your home it is essential that you have the chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year. If you just moved into the house and have yet to use the fireplace be sure to have it checked. Flammable material can build up in your chimney and become a fire hazard.

Have the Proper Set up

You don’t want to have a burning log that needs moving and realize you don’t have the tools to do it. Having the correct tools for a fire. Setting up a metal screen on your fireplace can prevent burning embers from falling and catch shifting logs.

Dealing with Ice Dams

Ice Dam Removal

Ice Dams in your gutters are quite commonplace in Minneapolis.  While the icicles hanging from your gutters are a beautiful reminder of the winter season, they can cause significant damage.  Left untreated, ice dams can cause serious damage to your roof, paint, gutters, insulation, shingles, and drywall, even the structural integrity of your roof!  They can also cause mold, which can trigger allergies and respiratory issues in your family.

An ice dam forms as snow on your roof is melted by the sun, and then freezes again at the end of the roof.  Snow will begin melting when the outside of your roof, or the temperature outdoors has risen above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.   Oddly enough, snow will act as a great insulator, maintaining the temperature that your roof is absorbing from your attic.  This will cause snow to melt significantly more quickly, leading to larger ice damns.

As this continues, the ice will begin working it’s way back up the roof.  This can get under shingles, melt, and then leak into the exterior walls of your home.  Damage may not be easily detectible.  Insulation may become wet, causing it to not work to keep your home warm.  If humidity and the correct temperature exist, mold can begin growing in your attic.  Paint can blister months after the ice damn has completely melted, and in some cases, begin to bow your walls or ceilings.

How Things Go Wrong

  1. A large winter storm hits hard, and snow and ice are on your roof.
  2. Heat from your home and the sun cause the snow to melt.
  3. Melted snow runs down the slop of your roof.
  4. The melted snow will refreeze as ice near your gutters.
  5. As temperatures rise and fall, the dams and icicles will grow.
  6. Icicles become a safety concern.

One of the most effective steps that a homeowner can take to prevent ice damns is to reduce or eliminate heat sources in the attic, and ventilate the attic rooms.  This will prevent heat being insulated by snow, and allow for natural reduction of ice dams, often preventing them altogether.

There are other options to removing and preventing ice dams, as inventive roofers and other ice dam removal specialists have begun to develop products and chemicals designed to protect your home, many of which have proven extremely successful.  These products can include:

  • Heated gutters, designed to melt ice before it starts.
  • Heated cabling systems.
  • Ventilation processes.
  • Chemical sprays.

Each of the preceding solutions come with pros and cons, which should be thoroughly evaluated before deciding what works best for you and your family.

By taking precaution in the summer or fall months, you could prevent thousands of dollars in damages that can happen in the winter.  We all know the temperature fluctuation that we deal with in Minneapolis over the months of November-April.  A bad ice dam can cause your family thousands of dollars of damages.  Take the appropriate steps to shore up your home today.

Chimney Repair Tips

Brick Fireplace

Brick and other chimneys are prevalent all over the world.  For centuries, they’ve provided a beautiful and functional way to vent smoke from a fireplace, out of your home.  They can come in all shapes, sizes, and materials; the most popular of which is brick.  Often times, weather, falling trees, or vandalism can damage a brick chimney.  The following tips can help you to repair your chimney with little effort.

Replacing Bricks

When your brick chimney has been damaged, the first thing you’ll want to do is to find a safe time to climb onto your roof.  You don’t want to risk being on a sloped roof when it’s rainy or icy.  When you’ve accessed your roof, you’re going to want to remove any loose debris.  This could include broken bricks, mortar, stones, or tree branches surrounding your chimney.  Most loose debris on your damaged chimney can be pulled away using your hands, but be careful not to harm the structural integrity of the chimney.

Next, you’ll want to break away any lodged brick and mortar using a hammer and a brick chisel.  The area that you’re planning to repair must be cleaned prior to making the repairs.  Once the damaged mortar, brick, and other debris have been removed, you’ll want to use a wire brush to sweep away as much dust as possible.

Next, you’ll want to wet the area you’re going to repair with a dripping sponge.  This will allow the mortar to effectively bond the old bricks with the new ones that you’ll be using.  Once you’ve replaced your brick, allow it to dry, and clean up!

Chimney Liner Repair

It is the opinion of most chimney professionals that repairing a cracked or broken chimney liner should be avoided, and a wholesale replacement is necessary.  There has been heated discussion in the industry on this issue for many years now.

If you plan on repairing your chimney liner, it is our opinion that you give a qualified chimney professional a call to complete the work.  They can provide you with their years of experience to determine if your lining can be repaired, or if you need a complete overhaul of your system.  There are many scams out there relating to chimney liners, so it’s best to remain vigilant, and choose a repair partner that you can trust.

If you feel that you need chimney repairs, and you’re not a do-it-yourself type, give our offices a call today.  One of our friendly customer service representatives would be glad to assist you and schedule a no-risk consultation with our expert chimney sweep team today.