MicrowaveWhen the power is restored after a power outage, a sudden surge can wreak havoc and even fry your computerized appliances.

To protect your appliances after power loss:

  • Turn off the appropriate breaker switches at your electric panel box. This should protect your appliances against any power surges that may occur when power is restored. This is the most cost effective method; provided you are home during the power loss and you remember this tip.

For more complete protection:

  • Provide surge protection for your appliance outlets ---you may want to consult an electrician for this.
  • Consider surge protection for your entire home at the electric panel box—definitely consult an electrician!

If you are fortunate to have a back-up generator, carefully read your Owner’s Manual when installing and connecting your new appliances. This will help you avoid compatibility issues, such as, understanding what happens when the generator self-tests or the battery is charging.  It’s also a very good idea to consult the electrical company completing the installation.

Love this space saving idea....

This bathroom is fairly small and typical for a hall bath. The available floor space is about 5' 1/2" X 2' 1/2". I want to optimize the space better by removing the traditional, in-swing interior door and replacing it with a sliding barn style door. I like the idea of the door being exposed along with all of its chunky hardware instead of using a pocket door. Good looking doors are like artwork. There are hundreds of choices in doors and hardware. Reusing a door from a second hand store is also a·great idea with endless possibilities. This small remodel project will bring some zing to the drab hallway and help preserve precious square footage in the small bathroom.

As built photo and preliminary idea sketch....

Bathroom Door Replacement Sketch_2

As built photo, front facing elevation and preliminary idea sketch showing barn sliding door and detail of built-in bookcase to finish the space.

Front_Elevation_Before Sketch_1

Jeffrey Hall, owner of Villa Builders, was recently recognized for completing the first leadership track in Toastmasters International Leadership Program. Jeff served as club president for a year, and then as a membership officer.


Jeff has been a member of Toastmasters Annapolis Club for 2 1/2 years. He joined Toastmasters to improve and build his confidence in public speaking. He has also enjoyed meeting people with similar goals.

Live at home longer.

There isn’t any other way to say it: All of us are getting older. Today we feel great, look great and have interesting and active lives. We work to maintain our health and fitness, and especially to hold onto our independence as long as possible.

If keeping your independence means being able to live in your current home through more of your senior years, remodeling your home now may make it easier to do just that.

Whether your changes are structural or cosmetic, remodeling allows you to give your house that “new home” feeling without having to move. Many building materials and fixtures today typically have a 20 to 30 year life expectancy. This makes homes from the 70s and 80s overdue for a variety of improvements.

Single-level living is growing in popularity, including having a first floor master bedroom suite with a full bath. Depending on the layout of your existing home, creating a first-floor master can often put all the necessary living spaces on one floor, minimizing the need to climb stairs. Single-level living has become increasingly popular with people for a variety of reasons, including the additional privacy it provides.


Of course, when you think about remodeling your home for your more senior years, there are many factors to consider beyond having your bedroom and kitchen on the first floor. Some considerations may include the width of doors and halls, height of the countertops and placement of outlets and light switches, which may need to be adjusted to increase mobility and minimize safety issues such as reaching and bending, particular for those in wheelchairs. If not for now, but for later, walk-in showers and grab bars are an excellent idea. Simple changes, such as lever handles on faucets and doorknobs, programmable thermostats, better lighting and more accessible appliances are just a few things can make a big difference in how comfortable you are in your home as you get older.

Remodeling offers numerous benefits besides adding aging-in-place features. Updating your home can improve your physical comfort and save you money. Rising fuel costs make energy efficiency a must-have today. New materials used in windows and doors, better insulation, more efficient heating and air condition systems all serve to lower costs.

Exterior elements shouldn’t be neglected either. Adding low- or no-maintenance exterior features like fiber cement siding and Azek polymer trim can increase value and minimize maintenance expenses. These products are designed to last a lifetime.

Thank you for reading, Joanne

Leaks that only occur under very specific rain conditions can be frustrating for homeowners and difficult to troubleshoot. Heavy and wind blown rains can often exploit very small openings or ‘holidays’ in materials, joints, or aged areas. Water can blow in and up until it finally makes it way inside.

skylight surrounded by debris, and with tree growth“The only happens when” leak usually require some investigating to find the culprit.

Following recent and violent storms, we helped several homeowners with unwelcome leaks from skylights to basements. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you.

  1. Look at how old and degraded components of a system are.
  2. Are things installed properly?
  3. Caulk is a necessary item. If you see old and/or multiple layers of caulk, it should be suspect immediately. Old caulk needs to be cut and scraped away. Applying new caulk over old and existing caulk never seals properly. Water can get forced, blown and pushed into cracked areas.
  4. Have you missed regular maintenance? Is debris clogging the pathway for proper drainage?
  5. Make sure window wells and gutters are clean and clear.
  6. Maintain proper fall grades around foundation. Are low areas hidden by mulch?
  7. Check your sump pump. Is it working properly? Is the float stuck against the side of the sump pit?

Contact Us Today

Call us at (410) 604-2283 - Let's talk about your home’s potential and your home remodeling inspirations. Or, if you'd prefer send us an email to jhall@villabuildersinc.com

What to Expect

Here's what happens when you call us-

  • We will talk a bit about what's bugging you with your home.
  • If you are comfortable after our first chat, you can invite us to take a closer look. This appointment usually takes place within a couple of days of your initial call.
  • During this visit, we will listen and take lots of notes.
  • Depending on your remodeling project, your needs, and your questions; our first visit typically takes about 1 - 2 hours. We will share with you how our design process will address your needs and your budget. There is no charge for this visit.

    If you decide that everything we talk about works for you, then we will take the next step where we will dig in and get your project moving.