@home On Cape Cod Newsletter. November 2012

@designREMODEL Newsletter My heartfelt THANKS! to you for helping us have another great year! And this thanks goes out to all of our clients, trade partners, suppliers and friends because each and everyone of you have contributed to our success in big and small ways.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Willy Wonka. A Family Affair...

Willy-Wonka-Poster-Art-201x300Do It At Cotuit! has become the catch-phrase for this powerhouse of live theater and a wide variety of arts and media. Located right on Route 28 in Cotuit, they have an ever changing art gallery, multiple venues for live shows, and educational classes & workshops are also on going. So there is always something happening. And speaking of shows, this year's holiday production features the zany fun of Willy Wonka with a good number of families participating as cast and crew.

This year, my daughter KatieBeth performs in "Willy Wonka" as an Oompah Loompah. This is her second holiday production at Cotuit. Her first was performing as Zuzu in It's A Wonderful Life. In addition, my better half Tara, takes yet another turn as the production coordinator for the entire show. A position she has volunteered for many times.

I will serve a supporting role as one of the stage hands working back stage. For our family, Willy Wonka will provide much fun together at the holidays!

If you want to enjoy Willy Wonka, don't delay ordering tickets. As many shows are of big city caliber and tickets sell out fast! There will be 12 shows spanning Dec 7-23rd. Tickets can ordered online at the web link below.

If You Go:

Cotuit Center for the Arts 4404 Falmouth Road (Route 28) Cotuit. 508.428.0669


Getting Ready For Winter

With Winter around the corner, here are some reminders to prepare you for the cold, snowy months ahead.

1. Locate and place in an accessible location.

Ice Scrapers Snow Shovels Ice Melt Jumper Cables

2. Shut off any exterior water supplies and disconnect any hoses hooked up to frost free spigots.

3. If you have a fire hydrant near your property, mark its location with a tall stake and be sure to clear it out after any snow storms for access in case of a fire.

4. Clean out your gutters...again! Ice build up over clogged gutters can lead to leaks.

5. Protect any prized shrubs exposed to winter winds with a stake and burlap surround.

Our Next Issue

In our next issue of @home, I will share Cape Cod Winter Living... How To Survive!

@home Tip

Nest Thermostat in Cape Cod RemodelingAre You Ready For a Nest?

Recently, I left a job-site early on a chilly fall afternoon. I picked up my iPhone and with a few taps, turned up the heat so the house was toasty warm upon arriving home. Then later that night, I felt a bit too warm so I turned the heat down using the my iPhone that was on my night stand.

For some this might seem like old hat. But for others, this is something right out of Star Trek. From one of the designers of the iPod, we can now have much improved control over how we heat or cool our homes thanks to a well-designed piece of technology called NEST.

NEST is a digital, self-learning thermostat that can be controlled by any device that has online access such as a smartphone, computer or tablet. The beauty lies not only in its good looks, but also in its ease of use and simplicity.

Once installed, you use it as you normally would any thermostat adjusting it to suit your comfort. After about ten days, the NEST will start setting itself based upon your usage pattens. It will also go in to an away mode if it senses that no has occupied the space for a certain length of time.

In a nutshell, NEST is a worthy technology for your home because:

1. NEST looks fabulous on any wall. No clunkiness here.

2. No complicated use or programming instructions.

3. Turn it up, turn it down. Done.

4. Nice big numbers that are easy to read.

5. Cool Tech to show off to your friends!

For more details on NEST, read the Slate.com review.

Go to the NEST website.

For clients of @designREMODEL, I'll be happy to help you decide if NEST is right for your home. Just give me a call or shoot me an email.

@home On Cape Cod Newsletter - September 2012

The first delicious tingles of fall are here. Love those cool mornings and warm days! In this issue, We're about cooking pizza, peels and a local gem for those who love working in the kitchen. And I'll share a cool website for serial remodelers to visit and wrap it up with a question for you: Do you have money holes in your home?

This newsletter allows me to share about living life on Cape Cod and also keep in touch with our many fabulous clients. Please enjoy!



An A-Peel-ing Place to Visit on Cape Cod

With busy lives, pizza is often a great quick meal that everyone enjoys. And lately, we've taken to making our own as finding good ones, either take-out or store bought have been less then satisfactory. And making a delicious pizza is really simple as I start with a pre-made crust from BOBOLI and top it with some marinara  sauce. On top goes either turkey sausage or pepperoni. And we round it out with a nice layer of mozzarella cheese. For fun, I've experimented with different items from the pantry such as diced tomatoes or assorted spices. Tomatoes were good...Spices well, I need to work with pinches rather then spoonfuls...

Ten minutes in the oven and the pizza is done. Especially when using the pizza stone that my wife Tara bought home one day. So all was good in making pizza.  But sometimes getting a loaded pizza out of the oven was a challenge. Tara suggested that we get a peel. "A peel?" I asked my lovely wife,  "Is that a long handle thingamajig used in pizza parlors?"  "Yes, and I know exactly where we can get one." she responded with a hint of delight at a possible shopping expedition.

The following Saturday found us heading into Hyannis on a mission to acquire a peel to round out our collection of pizza making tools. (We had already upgraded from the small wobbly pizza cutter of my bachelor days to a stainless steel, ribbon slicing, take no prisoners  and cut in one pass pizza cutter.) As per the missus's directions, we drove around on one way streets until we ended up on Main Street Hyannis. Opposite the train station, where we had boarded the dinner train one year for a memorable and delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

We parked right in front of our destination, which had a glass store front and style of building that recalled a earlier, slower time.  Hanging in the front, was the sign that said All Cape Cooks Supply. I thought..This should be fun... Not.  Going in the front door, we were greeted with a tsunami of cooking paraphernalia.  There was stuff everywhere!  Bowls, ladles, glassware, very large cooking pots for very serious cooks. Appliances and gadgets. Lots of grilling tools. Tools to slice and tools to dice. And our purpose for visiting. The Pizza Peel.

All Cape Cooks Supply. Main Street. Hyannis.
Tin Ceiling With Peeling Paint Adds Charm

We found a nice selection of Pizza peels. Short ones. Long ones. Thick and thin. We chose one that was about 24" long with a thin, yet sturdy aluminum blade and a solid wood handle. Mission Accomplished! But then I spied the electric teapots, while Tara dashed off looking for a special fruit colander. So along with our pizza peel, we walked out with a fabulous glass electric teapot from Germany, a new well made colander and a small rack for baking fish on a cookie sheet. (Fish cooks perfect this way. FYI)

What made this store so fun to visit, was the charm of the location and the almost overwhelming selection of anything to do with cooking. That, plus the thrill of discovery of something you had not seen before. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys cooking!

If You Go.

All Cape Cooks Supply 237 Main St. Hyannis

A Website for Serial Remodelers

Houzz Cape CodThis is an idea that I wish I had come up with. A website for serial remodelers. You know who you are. You look at a house, a room, a corner and think about how you would remodel it, change it, make it better. Well, do I have a website for you! Houzz.com This is the website for those of you who enjoy looking at pictures, reading stories and getting ideas for remodeling and makeovers.

One of the coolest and most useful features is called Ideabooks. This is where once you have set up an account, you can start creating your own Ideabooks of assorted projects for later reference.

Pictures and ideas for baths, kitchens and more abound. 74,000 pictures of bathrooms, 126,000 pictures of kitchens, 61,000 pictures of home exteriors and 36,000 pictures of landscaping! Lots to see and enjoy.

@designREMODEL has set up an online portfolio to start showcasing some of our work in hopes of connecting with new clients. If you have a few minutes, please write a review of the work we did and your experience of working with us. Click this link to write your review. Thanks!

Next Issue

In our next issue, I will share some annual tips on how to get your home ready for the winter season. Plus, you'll hear about an upcoming holiday production at the Cotuit Center for the Arts that will involve my family! A great show to look forward to for the Holidays.

@home Tip

Does Your Home Have Money Holes? Money holes is a term I came up to describe the big gaping holes in your Home's insulation barrier that are costing you money. Here are some examples.

hatchAttic Access. Do you have pulldown stairs? Chances are they are un-insulated and allowing air and heat to flow out of your home through the attic.  A simple cover like the one pictured to the right, properly installed will go along way to blocking heat loss.

If you have a hatch entry cover that you lift up and out of the way to gain access to your attic, you are losing heat if it's not insulated. Adding 2-3 layers of rigid foam to the backside of the hatch cover, will go a long way towards reducing heat loss. It's also important to use weatherstripping to block air movement.

Fireplaces Many times fireplaces are overlooked as source of heat and energy loss.  Make sure the damper is closed when not in use. Also consider installing glass doors to create a secondary air barrier.  And if you rarely use the fireplace, place some fiberglass insulation inside a large garbage bag and tuck it up inside the chimney.  (Leave a tag on the damper handle to remind you that you have insulation inside the chimney flue.)

Basement Doors Many homes on Cape Cod have exterior basement access though bulkheads.  The thin steel found in the doors of these bulkheads is the only barrier between the basement and the elements.  Time and again, when we have installed an insulated door at the bottom of the bulkhead steps, clients have told us what a tremendous difference the new door has made in keeping their basement warm!

@home On Cape Cod Newsletter - August 2012

Dogs on the Job

I am a life-long dog lover, so it's always a pleasure to meet different dogs when we're working on our client's homes and meeting the many different dog personalities.

The first one that comes to mind was Baxter of Marston's Mills, a lovable and beautiful Golden Retriever that greeted me everyday with his tail wagging madly while leaning in against my legs. His owner Wendy, said that Baxter was so friendly, that if a burglar broke in, Baxter would greeting them with lots of body leaning and a paw out for a shake!

In Falmouth, my dog Blackie enjoyed hanging out with Woody, who is full of boundless energy and is a good soul like so many of my client's dogs. I got a big kick out of watching Woody drag his small dog bed into whichever room he was hanging out and tucking himself in. This is a big dog fitting into a small round bed!


Sabai Recently, we we're greeted over in North Falmouth by Sabai an Australian Labradoodle. Wow! what a ball of fun with a warm personality and just a great looking dog!

Recently, we we're greeted over in North Falmouth by Sabai an Australian Labradoodle. Wow! what a ball of fun with a warm personality and just a great looking dog!


And this is Blackie, our family dog and my constant presence on just about every project when it's not too hot. He's a gentle soul who is happy to hang out in the truck knowing that people are nearby. He came to us by way of a dog rescue back in 2000 and driving home with us, he sat (all 93 pounds) in my lap head hanging out the window loving it all! Whenever he hops out of the truck on the job, he invariably finds his way under the table saw and ends up covered in saw dust!

We introduced him to the Ocean and he lives to visit the beach! With the warm weather, he hangs at home with Emerald the cat, a new addition that Blackie accepted whole-heartedly and we often find them snoozing near each other!

I've found that with all my clients, their dogs reflect who they are. Good Souls! and Good folks to work for...

Around the Cape

Heritage Museums and Gardens

During our most recent vacation this past July, we took a trip to Heritage Museums and Gardens, located in Sandwich. This is a hidden gem. What was there not to like? We enjoyed visting Hidden Hollow with our daughter Katiebeth. We appreciated the efforts and craftsmanship of the carpenters from the Upper Cape Cod Technical school, that went into building the gigantic treehouse that over looks the children's play area. Quite a fun project!


We also enjoyed learning about and viewing the work of Norman Rockwell. For those that are not familiar with how he created his work, you will be in for a surprise as I was. Seeing this exhibit with some of his actual works and the stories behind them, was well worth the reasonable cost of admission. Highly recommended!

The gardens in bloom have a very cool water feature that I would love to replicate in my own garden The gardens must be truly spectacular when the rhododendrons are in bloom as they are everywhere across the grounds.

A real delight to round out our trip, was the round house that contained lots of vintage cars that were just a feast for the eyes. Definitely a worthy stop for car buffs. Did I also mention the merry-go-round that is much beloved by kids and adults?

If You Go: Heritage Museums & Gardens

Wellfleet Oyster Festival

This is an event we're hoping to make this year as we love going "down cape" especially in the off season. Be warned, as this is a very popular event so you will need to make a day of it. Event Dates are October 13th and 14th 2012

If You Go: Wellfleet Oyster Fest

@home Tip

Is your home properly protected from power surges? With Summer's onset, frequent lightning storms across Cape Cod put your TV's, computers and cellphones (when plugged in for charging) at risk.


An article at ThisOldHouse.com states that many homeowners mistakenly believe that they are protected when they plug a device into a power strip. To fully protect your electronics and the like, you should have 2 layers of protection: 1. Have an electrician install a whole house surge suppressor at your electrical panel and 2. Plug any and all electronics into a properly labeled surge suppressor.

In fact next to my desk, I have my computers and cellphones plugged into a power strip labeled Surgemaster II with phone line protection. I also have my washer and dryer plugged into a surge suppressor as they contain electronics vulnerable to power surges. And at my electrical service panel, I have a whole house surge protector installed like the one pictured to the right.

If you would like to have a whole house surge suppressor installed, feel free, to call our Electrician Richard Cook at 774.238.0899 to schedule a service visit. You can also find out more about protecting your home with a surge suppressor at the This Old House website.