Northwest Renovation Magazine

A Home Improvement Magazine


When remodeling clients’ homes, one of the primary challenges we contractors encounter is mold. Pooled moisture leads to mold and mildew, often followed by bacteria, which introduces the possibility of termites and other vermin. While you may have entered the home expecting to take down and rebuild based on the customer’s plans, your job can suddenly change from remodeler to cleanup specialist. Handling mold and preventing further infestations are essential parts of a job well done, so employing... more

We renovate our homes for many reasons — whether for making better use of existing space, adding space for growing families, general upkeep, or increasing value. Ideally, renovation projects should start from the foundation up. Nobody would just paint over failing siding or shingles. The same applies to renovating a house sitting upon a deteriorating foundation. Today, many older foundations have decayed beyond repair, and the days when bad foundations were superficially repaired with a skim coating... more

Looking to get more living space out of your home and don’t know whether to go up, down, or out? We asked Anne DeWolf, co-owner and designer of Arciform LLC for her advice on what a homeowner needs to know before you “go below.” If you’re like most people who own older homes, your existing basement is a dark twisting maze of ductwork, low-hanging pipes, and wires, with limited headroom and a jumbled assortment of water heaters, furnaces, and chimneys (maybe even your... more

Shrinking polar ice caps, rising sea levels, ever-riskier oil and gas extraction — how, as responsible home dwellers and builders can we respond to these problems? Certainly we reclaim and recycle materials and strive to meet green building standards like LEED to make careful materials choices for our homes. But what can we do to ensure that our living spaces are embedded in sustainable patterns of community life? And how, as we emerge from recession, can we also sustain ourselves and our local... more

Previously in this column, we discussed Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in our entry titled A Little Place for Mom.  ADUs are often called “mother-in-law” apartments, and a major hurdle for homeowners in constructing one is the $7,500 to $12,000 in city systems fees imposed. The Portland City Council passed an ordinance on March 3 that waived the System Development Charges (SDCs) for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) beginning April 15, 2010 and ending June 30, 2013. So, during this period, the... more

Wet basements are the bane of many homes, especially older ones. Moisture in a basement can breed ruinous mold and mildew, impart a musty odor to storage items, and render valuable square footage unusable. Clogged rain gutters and downspouts, broken or leaking pipes, seepage and condensation are among the causes of wet basements. Fortunately, there are a few simple things homeowners can do to diagnose basement moisture and keep it from developing into a serious problem. Water damage in a basement.... more

Today’s musings from across the architect’s drawing board will answer the very important question, “Is there treasure beneath my feet?” Finishing a basement is a fantastic way to gain much needed living space. It can save both time and money if your basement meets certain conditions, thus allowing your remodel to be done with minimal structural changes. And, with a little bit of input from a designer or architect, you can unlock the treasure beneath your feet. Most jurisdictions have relaxed... more

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