EP48 – March 3, 2018: DIY Confidence, Wood Floor Inspiration, Front Porch History, and DIY Porch Projects

Everyone has to start somewhere! If there’s one thing we could say to everybody out there it would be that. Nobody is born with the innate ability to build or fix or paint or DIY like there’s no tomorrow! It’s learned over time, through experience. Today we interview Bob Snowden from Snowden Builders in Grandville about exactly that! If you don’t have the confidence to jump into that next project, give this episode a listen!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 048:

We've all been there. We want to work on our house. We think the project we choose should be easy enough. But then we talk ourselves out of it because what if we CAN'T do it?? What if we screw something up or run into a problem. To help us ALL gain a little confidence when it comes to tackling home projects, Bob Snowden from Snowden Builders stops by to give us all a DIY pep talk.
Ok, so a week or two ago we talked about refinishing wood floors. That prompted us to make a wood floor display for an upcoming Home Expo. It started out as a simple idea but grew when we decided to add a stenciled border. What we ended up with is something we are so proud to show off! This project also got us thinking...why stop with the floor? What else can we use this for? It seems so versatile. It could be used on anything from furniture (wood is recommended!) to ceilings. We just recommend you buy the stencil adhesive to be sure you don't have any issues with bleed through (or under as it may be).
Dan and Betsy both LOVE front porches. Dan greatly misses the front porch at his old house with the couch for reading. And Betsy has always wanted a farm house with a giant wraparound porch. It was this mutual love of porches that led to a brief conversation in passing with Sharon Ferraro, the Historic Preservation Coordinator for Kalamazoo. It was instantly clear that a front porch history segment was necessary. So, without further ado, we give you "The History of Front Porches."
Well, we had a stroke of genius this week. Our conversations with both Sharon and Bob inspired us to mash their topics together to bring you one amazing final segment! Warmer weather has us looking at front porches as we drive around town and we have noticed a number that we can't imagine are usable. They look like they could use a little TLC. But porch projects in particular can seem a little daunting. They seem like they might require a bit more skill than we think we have. This is why we did a little research to get you started. Here is a great blog from the Home Repair Tutor about repairing cement steps. They tell you all the tools you need and walk you through the process, step by step. This Old House has a fantastic article that tells you how to replace porch decking boards easily. Trust us, it isn't nearly as hard as you think! And finally, how about those windows that are painted shut? Don't go just yanking on them until they either spring open or the glass breaks! Watch "Simple Steps to Working Windows" FIRST, then try opening them with confidence.



EP46 – February 17, 2018: Hot Tubs, Finding the Right Brush, and the Beauty of Older Homes

Old homes can surprise us. Sure, buying one can sometimes involves some work to get it to the condition we prefer, but the benefits to doing so can be huge! They’re full of character, timeless beauty, and they’re often constructed of superior building materials! On this episode of the RepcoLite Home Improvement Show, we’re in the studio with Sharon Ferraro, the Historic Preservation Coordinator of Kalamazoo. She’s a wealth of information and will talk about everything you need to know when looking at an old home!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 046:

Hot tubs look relaxing, fun, exciting, cool, and honestly, just plain awesome. But, how much do they run? How expensive are they to maintain? Can you install one on a raised deck? There are a LOT of questions!

Today, we're in the studio with Zagers Pool and Spa and we're going to get the answer to all of this and more!

OK. The fact of the matter is that the Brush Aisle in any paint store is a confusing place. A lot of headscratching occurs there! However, it's not as random or haphazard as it may look. There's a method to the madness. And once you understand a few brush basics, you'll be choosing the right brush for your next project with no concerns!

There is a timeless beauty to old houses. The old wood floors, the beautiful woodwork, the character and history draw many of us in.

Today we are in the studio with Sharon Ferraro, the Historic Preservation Coordinator for Kalamazoo and we talk about everything from the difference between an old house and a historic house to the reasons why an old house might be the perfect "new" house for you!

EP44 – February 3, 2018: Finding the Right Builder, Wallpaper Hanging 101, and The Walls of Death!

Did you know that wallpaper not only could kill, but quite literally has killed? In a strange historical story from wallpaper’s checkered past, we learn about one of the most bizarre episodes in decorating history. We’re also in the studio with custom home builder, Bob Snowden to discuss how we can make the best choices when it comes to hiring a contractor!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 044:

Building a new home or remodeling your existing home is often one of those projects that often require an expert. But when that time comes, we're faced with a tough decision: how do we find the right expert? There are so many out there, which builder or contractors is the one with whom you'll work the best?

We sit down with Bob Snowden from Snowden Builders and talk about some of the key qualities to look for when you're making your choice. And while he highlights some of the basics, he feels the main quality to look for is . . . .  Well, you'll have to listen to find out!

And by the way, the creepy intro music we used was a song for free use on YouTube. Here's the legal stuff: Medusa by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby4.0)

I want to paper one wall in my 1/2 bath. What is the most important thing to do before I start and while I'm hanging?

It's a great question that came in on our Facebook page and we decided to give it the full, on-air treatment! Listen for the full response, but here's a quick summary:
  • Choose the right paper: make sure it's suited for a room that could experience moisture.
  • Size the walls: A lot of people skip this step, but it is very beneficial. It'll make it a little easier to put the paper up (the paper slips on the sizer and you can move it around). It also makes it easier to remove!
  • Start with a straight line: when hanging the paper, make sure you start with a straight line (use a level or some other method). Don't just assume that the corner is straight!
  • Get help: work with someone else! That means you've got a second brain on hand, a second set of eyes looking at the work, and more importantly, someone to refill your beverage when necessary!
  • Snap a new razor blade EVERY TIME you make a cut! This will help make sure that you don't tear the paper because of a slightly dulled blade!

This is easily one of our favorite segments of all time! It's a historical look at a crazy chapter in the world of decorating...

To summarize (without giving the whole fun story away), in the 19th Century arsenic was used to create vivid pigments that were then used in dyes and inks, on clothing, in paint, on food, and on wallpaper! Turns out, installing arsenic-laced wallpaper was actually a poor decision when it came to the health of you and your family! (Who would have thought!)

It's an interesting segment and is definitely worth a listen!

Shadows from the Walls of Death!

On the show, we talked about a rare book that you can view in the rare book collection at MSU. There were 100 copies produced in 1874 and now, only a handful remain. One of them is at MSU. Another is at the U of M. At any rate, the book actually contains actual arsenic-laced samples of the wallpapers that were common in the early to late 19th Century. It is a piece of bizarre decorating history you can hold in your hands! (And the pages are now encapsulated in plastic, so you're safe!) However, if you're not up for a road trip, here's a link to a beautiful full-color scan of the book! Check it out!