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This winter started off so warm, many of you may have forgotten all about the cold and snow! Here are a few last minute tips to double check for this weekends possible storm.

 

Caulking Door

1. Seal doors and windows. Want to keep the outside out?  Everyone knows about this one, and yet somehow so many people put it off or never get around to doing it at all! Click Here, to learn how to find leaks and what to do about them!

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2. Check your heating, ventilation, and ac (HVAC) system. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling, so you really want to make it count. It is prudent to have your HVAC equiptment and your boiler cleaned by a professional on an annual basis. They will also be able to determine if there are any additional items that need to be addressed prior to a more serious failure which can lead to a lack of heat.. Learn more here.

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3. Clean chimney. This is just a safety concern, if nothing else. Every 50 fires, or once a year, whichever comes first, is a good rule of thumb. If you can get ahead of the game on this one, the best time of year to have it done is in the spring.

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4. Inspect roof, gutters, and Downspout. This should be done at least twice a year, but also after any damage is suspected or nearby trees lose a lot of leaves. Keeping your gutters free and clear of leaves, pine needles etc will ensure the proper flow of water to the downspouts. This will aid in preventing ice dams during winter.

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5. Insulate your pipes. This may allow you to turn down your water heater, and therefore save dollars.  This is one of those items that is an energy saver.

Red plastic shovel with black handle stuck in fluffy snow.

 

6. Prepare the yard. Avoid having your yard turn into a mud pit but performing a bit of maintenance to clean it up a bit. Trim trees and bushes, put away furniture and planters, and occasionally shovel away snow and ice. You don’t need to do this last bit all at once, but a little at a time will make a big difference.

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7. Put the Ceiling fan in reverse(Clockwise) on low speed. Hot air rises. Reversing the air flow pushes the hot air back down into the room, while avoiding giving you any wind chill.

 

Digital thermostat

8. Keep the heater temp down. Dropping the temperature at night while you’re sleeping is a great way to reduce the heating bill without heating the whole house. You can utilize a space heater (make sure they are UL rated) just in the rooms you really need, or even just pull out an extra blanket.

Bonus: Often times when homes are built, they are required to carry the proper snow load for the region. Unless your house has flat, or a minimal pitch, you should carefully consider whether to remove snow or not. Removing snow from your roof can be a dangerous job due to slippery conditions, be sure to consult with a professional before doing so.

 

The Williams Job in North Kingston is now finished, and here are the final photograph’s of the completed work with Robin, Matt, and the Williams themselves!

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Matt, Mitzie, and Scott, with a full view of their wonderful new sunroom!

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Mitzie, Robin, and Scott

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Everyone together! Smile!

Now they’re ready to enjoy a wonderful new space in their home. We hope it brings them happiness for years and years to come!

We talked with a few local businesses in the greenhouse/nursery business, and over the coming weeks we’re going to be sharing these interviews with you!

First up is Jennipher Sheridan, from the Norwich Agway.

Jennipher has worked at the Norwich Agway her entire career, and has managed the nursery for the last 5 years.

What types of plants are good for New England winters, in a sunroom or greenhouse?

It depends on if there are children or pets, as most tropicals (easily grown in greenhouses) are poisonous. Some holiday favorites like Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis, and Paperwhites are popular.

Are there any low maintenaince herbs/vegetables/plants that do well in the winter?

Basil, parsley, and rosemary are some of the easiest, as long as you have a south facing window. They love SUN! Lettuce, shallots, and peas are great veggies to start indoors.

What should you avoid in the winter?

Dry, cracked skin!

 

Creative Enclosures Eight Steps to Planning a Successful Sunroom or Addition to Your Home.

1. Needs definition

The first important decision when planning to add space to your home is “defining the use of the space”. This sounds easy but many times it is overlooked. Sit down with your significant other(s) with a pad of paper or computer and discuss your top three to five uses of the space and write it down. Simply, how are you planning to use your new sunroom or addition? Sitting, reading, painting, exercise, plants, dinning, hot tub, home office, extension of the adjoining room, entertainment, a space to view your yard? The list can go on and on. Defining these uses will aid in the design and development of your new space.  Once developed you are on the way to a clearer, more successful job. Share this list with the design consultant who meets with you to begin the process.

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2. Location of your new addition/sunroom

The location of your additional space should be consistent with your needs and wants. For example if you want to use your space for artwork/ painting then locating the space with a northern exposure will offer you the best light for your working conditions. If growing plants is your key need then maximum light is important, you should focus on a south facing location. When deciding on location, if possible try to stay away from air conditioning condensing units, septic & well locations, and exterior basement steps. In many cases these items can be relocated, however, this adds additional costs to the job which can drain your budget before we get to the fun stuff.

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3. Exploratory meeting


You are now ready to have a design consultant meet with you to begin the process. When I meet with my customers these initial meetings are critical to drilling down on wants and needs. The job of the consultant here is to listen, write down your concerns, wants, needs etc. I have found this meeting can be as little as two hours and can be a long as three meetings. These meetings can include a design review with revisions of a drawing concept showing what your addition/sunroom will look like. Take the time here to understand the design and insuring the location of doors, windows, and rooflines is what you want. It is the design consultants’ job to insure the new sunroom/addition blends seamlessly with your homes existing design.

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4. Site inspection

Your design consultant is now ready to go outside to the location where you want to build. This is where size development is determined, attachment points are evaluated, slope conditions examined and site accessibility reviewed. All of this plays into how the job will be completed successfully, be sure you are given time here to understand how your added space will be interfacing with you home.

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5. Product evaluation

There will be many components that make up your new added space. This will be windows, doors, lumber species, foundations, electrical, flooring, wall finishes. When I’m meeting with our customer I will show them a host of items/samples of the products that make up their job. This process allows you to see the items, decide if you like it or not, recognize the quality (or not) and determine if it is right for you, your family and your home. In the building and remodeling industry there are product lines that range from very inexpensive (cheap) all the way to highest of quality (expensive). If your intension is to have many years of trouble free enjoyment in your new space, it is best to stay away from the cheap products and services some companies offer. Usually good quality can be found in the “mid-range” price points.

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6. Estimate development

Your design consultant should now be able to develop your accurate estimate. No matter what you have done to your home, you should receive a clearly written out agreement that you and the remodeler agree to and sign. This protects and insures you are getting what you have previously discussed. The cost of the job must be listed with a schedule of payments for the job. We require a 20% deposit down on any sunroom or addition, if a company is asking you for a deposit of over 30% it is not necessary and you should question it and be hesitant.  On your agreement there needs to be three dates listed: Start date, completion date and a contingency date which states if nothing has been performed by this date you are entitled to a full refund of your money. Keep in mind that in the building and remodeling industry it is difficult to pin down exact dates, therefore a range of dates is delivered here with the understanding that your project will be completed within these dates. Our company’s agreement states that “once we start your project we do not leave it until it is complete”, you should insist on this with whomever builds your job.

7. Pre-Construction conference

Prior to the start of your job your design consultant, project manager and lead carpenter should have a meeting with you just prior to any construction taking place. This meeting is simply to make sure all parties are on the same page. Where do the men park, lumber and material placement, dumpster placement, bathroom use, plan review etc. This meeting sets the tone for a successful build and high level of client satisfaction. We understand that we are on your property disrupting your daily lifestyle so insuring clarity here is critical to keeping your satisfaction level high.

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8. Completion and final walk thru

When the job is complete the lead carpenter/production manager or design consultant must do a walk-thru with you to insure all items are completed to your satisfaction. Many times there are small items that need to be adjusted, installed etc. It is in everyone’s best interest to bring closure here.  At this point, move in your furniture and start enjoying your space in good health!!!

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Yesterday on my way to an appointment at our clients home in West Hartford I found something that I normally don’t have, an extra 45 minutes before I needed to be there.

So as I headed down Asylum St. in Hartford I thought, why not stop at Elizabeth Park and take a walk around and enjoy the fall colors and of the wonderful display of flowers they always seem to have.

My stop did not disappoint!

The fall flowers were beaming in an array of colors, the surrounding trees are showing off their “best of fall” and the greenhouses are truly visual pleasure to see nestled amongst the unique trees, shrubs and flowers.

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The one greenhouse with the curved elegant glass was manufactured and designed by Lord & Burnham Company.

This company was the one of the first to be building here in the USA and has been known for its greenhouses at many notable public gardens around the country.

This particular one was donated from a family who purchased one of the homes on Prospect st down from the Governor’s mansion.

They did not want it so they donated it to the park and they erected it and have made it so much a part of the landscape.

Elizabeth Park Lord & Burnham

 

The Lord & Burnham company began in 1849 when Frederick A. Lord, a carpenter, started building wood and glass greenhouses for neighbors in Buffalo, New York.

It became Lord’s full-time profession in 1856 as production moved to Syracuse, New York and then to Irvington, New York to be closer to his customers in the large Hudson River estates.

Learn more here!

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What so interesting is today this design is not far off of our curved eave sunroom or our Victorian conservatory.

Today we find our clients use these spaces more as living environment’s with plants accenting the room.

What is truly wonderful is having a space you can enjoy the four seasons all year long from the comfort of your home.

Elizabeth Park

 

If you would like to learn if a sunroom or conservatory can

work on your home or business click here or give us a call.

It would be my pleasure to come out and meet with you to discuss!

Last week had such nice weather!

For us to be building Scott & Mitzie Williams wonderful Cathedral Sunroom out in North Kingston, Rhode Island!

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Robin is admiring his hard work!

Drilling

Robin is drilling.

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and drilling…

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And drilling some more!

Dennis and Robin

Dennis is standing on a plank to look taller next to Robin!

Dennis Jalbert and Robin Hopkins making it happen out in the field! Thanks for all of the hard work, guys!

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