Sylvestre Construction, Inc.

In This Issue

• Making Your Home
  Better – When You
  Can't Make It Bigger

• This Month's Tip

• Pass It On!

• What’s the Story?

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Construction, Inc.

7708 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55423

Ph: 612-861-0188
Fx:  612-861-0190

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Member, National Association of the Remodeling Industry

GuildQuality Member

Member of Builders Association of the Twin Cities

Member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association


  Members of our staff hold
  the following industry

• NARI Master Certified
• NARI Certified Remodeler
• NARI Certified Lead
• NARI Certified Kitchen and
  Bath Remodeler
• NKBA Certified Kitchen
• NAHB Certified Aging in
  Place Specialist (CAPS)

January 2015

5 Remodeling Tips for Making Your Home Better – When You Can't Make It Bigger

Many homeowners think they can't get the space they crave without moving to a larger home or putting on an addition. But if you don't want to move and adding on isn't an option because of lot size or other considerations, you can still make your home feel lighter, brighter and more spacious than it is now!

We have some remodeling tips that we can utilize to make even the smallest house feel roomier for your family and more welcoming for your guests. Here is what we mean...

1. Corner the Market on Light
It's not surprising that new windows can help lighten up your home. Today's energy-efficient windows make it possible to swap out small windows for larger areas of glass, but still keep your home comfortable and save money on energy costs. Expand your views even more by installing windows that wrap around a corner. Skylights and solar tubes bring sunlight into dark recesses. Replace an old sliding patio door with a folding glass wall that practically disappears when opened, for seamless indoor/outdoor integration.

2. Nothing to See Here!
A staircase that seems to float, with no risers and an open balustrade, extends your sight lines from the foyer through the entire first floor. Glass-door, see-through cabinets between the kitchen and dining area maintain your storage space while keeping that open look. In a tiny powder room, a pedestal sink or small-scale console vanity are both better choices visually than a cabinet vanity.

3. Phase Out the Maze
Narrow hallways break up your home into smaller, separate areas that can make a home feel constricted. We can remove or reposition non-load-bearing walls to give you the flow you crave. We can even put in half walls, columns or low built-in cabinets to define rooms while maintaining a more spacious feeling.

4. Elbow Room for Everyone
Have you noticed that your breakfast nook feels cramped while your dining room stays empty for months at a time? If so, consider combining these two rooms into one comfortable and functional dining area that can be used both for everyday dining and for guests on special occasions.

5. Flooring Adds Flow
Using different flooring in each room breaks up your home visually and makes it feel smaller. Select the same flooring material for multiple rooms on the same level to increase the perceived size of your home. Hardwood flooring throughout, in place of tired wall-to-wall carpeting, not only creates a nice flow, it provides a fresh, up-to-date feel.

So if you'd like to make your home feel more spacious and welcoming, call us today. We will be happy to share our ideas for making your home feel just right.

Maintenance Tip: Snow and Ice Melt Suggestions

Salt and ice-melting chemicals might be easy to use on your sidewalk and driveway, but they can be harmful to pets, plants and concrete surfaces. An eco-friendly alternative is to use sand or kitty litter to improve traction on icy areas. If you decide to use chemicals, follow package directions carefully, apply thinly and evenly, and use the least amount possible. It's also helpful to pre-apply the product before ice forms.

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Musk Oxen

Where are you headed for your summer's adventure? 

What's the Story?

I love the topic of "Making Your Home Better – When You Can't Make it Bigger." Going to school in the 1970's, I spent a lot of time in the "energy studio" in architecture school. We worked on passive solar designs, wind energy and solar electricity. Interesting isn't it, how these topics are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago! What we had to do to get electricity for home use then is nothing like today. We had batteries and inverters and really low expectations. Today, you have an inverter that can send power directly back to the grid . It is so easy! At the same time we referenced the book "Small Is Beautiful" by E. F. Shumacher where his mantra was always "do more with less, and bigger is not always better.". Sarah Susanka, a well known local architect has followed along with that theme in her series of "The Not So Big House" books, again saying that we should do more with less – have smaller spaces but the smaller spaces should be the highest quality and we should concern ourselves more about the finish and detail of smaller spaces then in having larger space. The bottom line: make the space a space you feel comfortable in and love to spend time in. These are great things to think about in making your home better.

Home remodeling - shaft with pipes Home remodeling - elevator shaft
Selected location for the elevator shaft in our current project. Les said "You want to put a shaft here?
Every pipe in the house goes through this space!"
Elevator shaft 
roughed in...who said 
it couldn't be done? 

With the holidays a few weeks behind us , it is nice to get back to the usual cold January temperatures. I was able to spend a lot of time at our cabin and worked through a number of punch list items (for the building inspector) as well as did some skiing and hole drilling. Right, I don't call it ice fishing, I call it hole drilling and I have drilled 35 holes and caught 1 fish this winter! Where are the fish and where have they gone? I am having a tough time. The good news is that there is more of winter to better my 1/35 ratio. I am heading to Seattle this month to ski. I will bring back a report for our next newsletter.

Albino Rainbow Trout
The Albino Rainbow Trout 

Last month's contest was a great success and I received a number of replies about the type of fish shown in the photo. »

For those of you that are interested – it was an Albino Rainbow Trout and the answer was from a friend who remembered his science teacher in high school talking about it. Check out this article for more information.

My wife and I really enjoy bird watching and the many varieties and habits of the birds at our feeders. We got a finch feeder for Xmas and they are so fun to watch, especially since they almost always show up in pairs. Send me a bird photo, comment or story and I will put it in the next newsletter and send you a coffee card for your effort.

Until next month,

John Sylvestre