The Perfect Summer Shade

As the warm weather begins to roll in, many homeowners look onto their backyards in horror at the damage winter has left on their outdoor spaces. Most backyards are the center of a family’s summertime fun. Whether you have a pool to cool off during the over-heated summer days, or a beautiful garden that all your neighbors are jealous of -spring is the time to clean up and revamp your backyard or patio area.

 

A great way to completely change the look of your backyard or patio is to add a pergola. Pergola’s not only offer shade but also a decorative touch to any outdoor setting. With lights, outdoor curtains and even climbing plants – a pergola can be the show-stopper statement in your outdoor space.

Pergolas comes in various shapes and sizes. While a general contractor (like our very own Jerry Burdi) can assist you in drafting and construction – if you are an experienced DIY-er, then a ready-to-assemble kit is in your near future.  The beauty of a pergola is in the customizable appearance and function. A pergola can be used to enhance an entrance, create a sitting area or enhance your garden.

While traditional pergolas have a crisscross effect – you can always space rafters and beams farther apart for a more modern look.

An avid gardener will love hanging baskets and planting vines to grow on their pergola for shade, privacy and function. If you are not blessed with a green thumb, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. Adding outdoor curtains allows for extra shade, privacy and adds the illusion of a canopy setting. If you lean towards the artistic side, create privacy and shade with structural posts or artwork alongside the posts.

Allow the pergola to be the base of your creative expression.

If you are interested in a consultation for your design and build home remodel please call us at #516-775-8696.

Visit us

DJ’s Home Improvements

              

* DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards. Visit us at www.djshome.com

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc. Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H”

Bathroom Organization to Save Your Home

A perfect bathroom is a combination of style, luxury and most of all function. Most homeowners struggle with creating or updating an existing bathroom to include storage for the wife’s makeup, the husbands facial essentials, the kids’ bath soaps, daily toiletries and cleaning supplies; all in a stylish and easy to find way.

Many will look at their bathroom and think “if only I had a bigger bathroom, then I could organize better”. But some of my favorite bathrooms have been those with the smallest square footage. The size of the bathroom is not important – don’t get me wrong it helps, but as they say, the greatest things come in the smallest packages.

Bathroom organization is about being creative as using unexpected places to create a grand storage space that not only functions but looks A-MAZ-ING!

The first and easiest way to create storage is acquiring a vanity with ample storage underneath. Most standard vanities in your bathroom have a single storage space with a double door opening. These often get turned into a “throw it and hide” space as you usually just toss things in and close the door to hide the mess. Obtaining a vanity with multiple drawers where you can separate your items by category will be a huge stress reliever when searching for a particular item.

Along with an enhanced vanity, why not use the space along your mirror or medicine cabinet. Most medicine cabinet spaces are notorious for being a messy dump ground. But by building storage shelves at an angle on both sides of the mirror it saves time and uses space ordinarily forgotten and unused.

Making your bathroom look elegant is the key to organization. Beautifully placed built-ins will not only enhance your space visually but you will also want to keep the storage unit nice and tidy. Built-ins allow you to showcase your style with colorful towels and baskets which can be handy for a family with multiple children or even overnight guests.

DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards. Visit us at www.djshome.com

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc. Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H”

Laundry Room Organization

This is my DREAM LAUNDRY ROOM!

Don’t you love it?

But like 95% of the general public, I don’t have a massive room to dedicate to my laundry area. While not a huge room like the inspiration picture above – I am lucky enough to have a designated area for my laundry. My laundry room works great but only because I find ways to use up every space in the most optimal way.

– ♥ –

If you have a big family then create a shelving space where you can fold clothes and separate each persons pile into their own basket. This is a great idea for young kids. They pick up their basket, go to their rooms, store everything away and bring the basket back. Saves mom some time and kids get chores done fast.

If you love the picture above but aren’t the “handy-type” and don’t feel like hiring a handy man – don’t worry, there is another way!

This picture shows you a great cost-effective alternative! Go to your local Big Box Store, get your laundry baskets and two wide shelves with hanging attachment.

Your assembly will be (bottom to top):

        1. baskets on floor
        2. shelf
        3. baskets on shelf
        4. shelf

If you lack horizontal space, like me – go VERTICAL! You can either get smaller individual shelves and build up or buy a free-standing drawer/shelf unit. Check places like Target or the Container Store, they always have fantastic options.

Love to air dry your clothes but its snowing outside – hang a ladder! I love this idea instead of buying one of those plastic drying racks. Keeping storage off the ground makes your space feel more open aka bigger!

Is sorting your laundry a headache? Before this nifty idea, my floor would be covered in a dozen little piles. Now tossing laundry into the baskets is a fun little game and best of all – it looks clean!

If you are interested in a consultation for your design and build home remodel please call us at #516-775-8696.

Visit us

DJ’s Home Improvements

              

* DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards. Visit us at www.djshome.com

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc.
Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H”

DIY: How to Build Sink Storage

Yes!! Finally! Thank you storage gods for creating an amazing storage solution. Yes, it is true! You can have organization under your sink. Yippe!

Special thanks to our friends at The Family Handyman, for this amazing tutorial.

Why should you follow this tutorial? Because:

  •  It is a simple weekend project
  • No major construction tools needed
  • Variations included for better fit in your own home
  • Cost: $50-$100

For exact instructions, visit our friends at The Family Handyman

Weekend DIY project: Under-Sink storage

 

If you are interested in a consultation for your design and build home remodel please call us at #516-775-8696.

* DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards. Visit us at www.djshome.com

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc.
Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H”

 

Must-Haves for the ToolBox

Homeowners should always have a toolbox on hand for small repairs and those never-ending weekend “to-do” list.

If you already have a hammer and screwdriver your off to a great start but don’t put away your checklist just yet!

See our list of must-haves:

Philips screwdriver. A Philips or X-shape screwdriver is probably one of the most common tools in any toolbox. If you have a handle that accepts interchangeable tips, you can cover a wide range of screw types and sizes.

Flathead screwdriver. A flathead or straight screwdriver is invaluable; most light switch plates use straight screws, for example. Having the right size flathead can make a difference, so start with at least a set of three (small, medium and large) to be able to handle most jobs.

Tape measure. Your tape measure is indispensable for estimating material quantities, figuring out placement of objects, and calculating floor plans and furniture sizes. It’s always a good idea to measure more than once to make sure you’ve got it right.

Level. Some people are good at eyeballing whether something is level or not, but this tool takes all the guesswork away. It takes only a slight error to make objects look off-kilter.

Utility knife. From cutting paint around windows that are stuck closed to opening boxes, scoring drywall or even trimming the edges of carpet, the uses are so many that you’ll be surprised how you ever got by without one.

Hammer. Pounding nails, pulling nails, crowbar action, tapping things into place — it almost goes without saying why you need hammer. An expensive hammer is long and lightweight; its leverage can assist you when you take that wall down.

Pliers. The serrated jaws of pliers assist with holding objects firmly, as well as with pulling, pinching or bending metal.

Adjustable crescent wrench. There is a screw built into the head of this wrench; turning it adjusts the size of the opening, so that it fits onto most any hexagonal nut. Turning a nut with pliers just strips the edges, making it harder and harder to get a good grip when tightening or loosening it.

Wire stripper. This wire stripper has a blade for cutting wire to the proper length and several notches for scoring the insulation around wires of varying sizes, which can then be pulled off. Wire has to be exposed without the plastic coating to make electrical connections.

Electrical cord. A rugged, well-insulated indoor-outdoor power cord for high-amp tools will help you extend the limited cord of your tools to your job site — and it’s suitable for yard work too.

Flashlight. Necessary repairs can happen in dark, cramped spaces and even when the power is out. Plus, everyone loves to help by holding the flashlight for you. They don’t work without batteries, so have extras on hand.

Ladder or step stool. Painting, reaching the lightbulb, changing fixtures, trimming the hedge, stringing lights, getting into the attic and many more activities require the aid of a ladder.

Broom and dustpan. When projects get messy, save your household broom from harsh debris by having a dedicated set.

Music.

Why?

BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS BETTER WHEN YOU PLAY MUSIC!!!

Just ensure you place your stereo away from dangerous pathways or get a construction boombox, yes they exists.

 

If you are interested in a consultation for your design and build home remodel please call us at #516-775-8696.

* DJ’s Home Improvements is an award-winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 23 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards. Visit us at www.djshome.com

DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc.
Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H”

Conquering Larsen Syndrome With An Accessible Kitchen

See Emily discussing the challenges of and overcoming her spinal condition in the video below.

After meeting a family affected by Larsen syndrome who expressed a desire for a new kitchen, we learned that a member of the family was wheelchair-bound but had a passion for cooking. As we gained a solid idea of what they were looking for in cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and all the other accessories that would enhance the space, we offered our suggestions and put our plans in motion. The kitchen project would not only be aesthetically pleasing and highly functional, it would also provide for safety and universally accessible throughout.

All the new features added up to making the family extremely happy. Where once it was inconvenient for anyone in a wheelchair to reach appliances, cooktop and counters because they were too high, now every newly installed item was easy to access and there was free range of motion in the kitchen.

Universal Design Kitchen – CAD Proposal of New Kitchen Remodel

The previous kitchen made it impossible to reach into drawers or countertops, find kitchen tools, or remove food from the refrigerator/freezer. Since the completion of the renovation, the family has donned their chefs’ hats many times, and is overjoyed to be cooking together.

Using the new drawers is easy when you can roll right up to them.

Emily, a 19 year-old college student, is thrilled to be spending quality family time with her parents in the kitchen. While a good part of the kitchen design concentrated on meeting her needs, her mother, Ellen, points out that while the new kitchen facilitates Emily, it also helps her out tremendously, as well.

Emily is thrilled to be using their accessible kitchen. Although it’s been nearly a year since it was installed, she explains that it is still new and exciting each time the family works together in the kitchen.

Since the renovation was completed, my own abilities have diminished somewhat and recent bouts with a painful foot condition and acute tendonitis made me thankful that our kitchen is so chair-friendly”, says Ellen. “Even better is that we didn’t have to sacrifice beauty and style for function. Vita and Jerry made sure our kitchen was the most attractive and inviting room of our home.

Utilizing Universal Design standards, we designed a kitchen with quality products and special features that took into consideration the structure and environment that would make our clients feel comfortable, regardless of age, ability or situation.

We enhanced the space by creating a separate accessible section with no barriers between the sink, cooktop, and storage areas. Wheelchair accessible toekicks and a lower-placed wall oven, as well as an induction cooktop, were installed with safety features to prevent injuries. Cabinetry and countertops are steel reinforced and provide five feet of clear space for unobstructed wheelchair access.

Cabinetry and countertops were also installed at a lower height for convenient access. Additional easily-accessible electrical receptacles and switches were placed below the countertops.

New Cooking Skills in A Newly Accessible Kitchen – “I’m so happy to have a place where I can spend quality time with my mother when I come home from college. With her guidance, I’m improving my cooking skills and making food the whole family can enjoy”, says Emily.

DJ’s Home Improvements received a 2012 CotY Regional award as a “Universal Design Project Recognition” from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for the above-mentioned kitchen renovation using Universal Design principles.

Emily discusses the challenges of and overcoming her spinal condition

* DJ’s Home Improvements is an award winning design and build remodeling company. Vita and Jerry have been staples of the Franklin Square community for 30 years. As homeowners and business owners for over 21 years in Franklin Square, we are also members of the Franklin Square Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, plus the National Kitchen and Bath Association and awarded Big50 in Remodeling. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 we have received the Contractor of the Year awards.

If you are interested in having us design and build your home remodel project please call us at #516-775-8696.

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DJ’s Home Repairs & Improvements, Inc.
Nassau Lic. #H18C4240000 – Suffolk Lic. # 46377-H

Michael S. Smith “Kitchens and Baths”

I recently went to the Ann Sacks Tile Showroom, in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan, for the book signing of Michael S. Smith’s newly released book, Kitchens and Baths. It was a little chilly that day and after a drive into the city a nice glass of wine at the showroom was a welcoming touch. Including being a world renowned designer, the interior designer to the Obamas in the White House and author, Michael S. Smith is just the nicest person you could ever meet. If I look and sound like a fan, it’s because I am.

This is a third book by Michael S. Smith. “The newest book from acclaimed designer Michael S. Smith showcases his exceptional take on kitchens and baths, the busiest yet most personal rooms in a home. Legendary designer Michael S. Smith has stories to tell about kitchens and bathrooms – those he has designed himself, and those that inspire him. In this fascinating and inspirational book, Smith, who has his own line of kitchen and bath fixtures for Kohler, explains how these rooms define a house. “

Kitchens and Baths by Michael S. Smith

The book is a great inspiration to me, as a Certified Kitchen Designer and Certified Bath designer. The book is also split into different categories like “Beach”, “Town” and “Country”, each bringing the reader into a different but equally stunning experience. I encourage everyone to pick up a copy at the bookstore or online. Share with me your feeling of inspiration, from Michael S. Smith’s Kitchens and Baths book, to redesign the most utilized and most important rooms in your home.

* Vita Anne Burdi, Certified Kitchen Designer, Certified Bath Designer, is the co-owner and vice president of DJ’s Home Improvements, a design-and-build company licensed and insured in Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island, NY, since 1990. Her dedication and experience lends her to create and design, innovatively, all projects in home remodeling, including specialties in kitchen remodels, bath remodels, additions of dormers and extensions, decks, basement remodels, and many more upgrades in home improvements. Vita is a leader and designer of award-winning projects and has been featured and quoted in publications such as The New York Times, Newsday, Remodeling Magazine, Remodeling News, and Lowes for Pros. Vita is also an active member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Please visit www.djshome.com for more information and to view some of the awards designed by Vita.