Irvine Construction Blog

Is Replacing your Historic Home’s Windows Worth it?

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James R. Irvine Construction company specializes in historic home restorations in Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania.  We love being able to breathe life back into older homes, but we always hear the same things from homeowners: ‘First thing is to replace those old windows.’ We agree that older windows can be drafty and inefficient, but there are a few reasons why we think keeping those old windows are a better option. Aesthetics There is a reason the older windows make the home look beautiful. Those windows were the originals, with the proper proportions and delicate, unique touch that you lose when…

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Crawl Space Design

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All about Crawl Space History Crawl spaces, cellars, and sub-cellars have a long history in building design. They are common in areas where it is easier to dig into the soil and where there are no or infrequent earthquakes, tornadoes, or flooding. Their main function was storage, for both food and household items, much like it is today. Once industrialization took hold in the US, it became more common to build a basement or partial basement in new buildings. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that basements started to gain popularity in the United States. By this time, people began…

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Keep Your Historic Home Cool This Summer

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Maryland’s weather can be extreme, and May has had some extreme cold and hot days so far. This week especially reminds us that the summer heat is starting to officially set in. Many homeowners, especially those who live in historic homes, are looking for ways to stay cool without paying their entire paycheck to the utility company. Here are some low-cost ways to turn your historic house into a cool, energy efficient, and relaxing space. Provide Some Shade Keep your blinds down, window shutters closed, and curtains drawn! The California Energy Commissions estimates that 40% of heat buildup in homes…

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Affordable Home Renovations That Make a Big Statement

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There are quite a few home improvement ideas that can be done that keep your home current and fresh.  Contractors are seeing an increase in simple home renovation over large scaled renovations.  It can be costly to re-do a kitchen or a bathroom when a fresh coat of paint, some new shelves, and eco-friendly appliances can update the same space at a quarter of the cost.  Learn how to update the look and feel of your home with minor home improvements that won’t leave your wallet empty. Fresh Paint A new color freshly painted on the walls can transform any…

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Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

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Nothing feels better than being outside after a long winter. It’s so invigorating, even household chores are refreshing. So while you’re reveling in clean spring air, get after these simple maintenance jobs that fend off potential moisture problems, prevent costly repairs, and pave the way for a trouble-free summer.   Clean Gutters Consider this the early-spring edition of a (at least) twice-yearly outdoor maintenance. Look in gutter bottoms for loose granules that signal your asphalt roof may need replacing.  If you have dirt or gunk in the downspout gooseneck, you can flush it out with a garden hose. Take off…

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Steps to Take Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

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Maybe your kitchen is outdated. Maybe there’s just not enough room for everyone. Or maybe you just want a change. Sound familiar? Kitchen renovations are perhaps the most popular project for homeowners, but also one of the most elaborate and stressful.  It’s important to know what you need before starting any renovation. Don’t start ripping out cabinets or tearing up the floor just yet! Here are a few necessary steps to take in the preparatory phase of remodeling your kitchen. Organize your wants, needs, and desires. The first step before your remodel is to think about your priorities. Ask yourself…

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Deck Upgrades in 2017

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Come spring, everyone wants a backyard deck to extend living space outdoors. Once you have the structure built, there are plenty of ways to customize it to fit your needs and design aesthetics. Here are 10 ideas to make your deck more beautiful and functional this year. Give your wood a quick makeover with new stain. Before you add anything to your deck, you must first create a solid foundation. Even well-planned cosmetic changes can’t hide a deck in disrepair or dirty, grimy boards. Set time each year to clean and re-stain your deck flooring to ensure it stands up…

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Make your Old Home More Energy Efficient

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When your house is older than your grandparents, you may assume you’re destined to live with high energy bills. However, with the right updates, an old house can be just as efficient as newly constructed homes. These five updates range from quick fixes that can be completed in a day to major projects that require more time and a greater investment. 1. Replace lightbulbs and light switches If your home is still lit with incandescent bulbs, the easiest and cheapest way to make your house more energy efficient is to swap those out for CFL or LED ones. They are…

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Adding Rustic and Re-purposed Lighting Features to Your Home

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Some people look for a beautiful place, others make the place beautiful. Be the second one and use your imagination to create a perfect home decor. Lighting décor can help create the perfect rustic look to any home, and what better way to do that than to re-purpose old items. Here are some of our favorite lighting features that really tie the room together.   James R. Irvine Construction Company specializes in home additions & remodeling that will transform existing residences into beautiful, new living spaces. Whether you need a kitchen addition to accommodate more cooks or an overall home…

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To Build New or Remodel

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The house is too small, too cramped, or maybe the layout isn’t working anymore. Time for the age old question in real estate: Should you build new or remodel? Truth is there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It goes beyond construction costs; there are many things one needs to consider. The most important issue is location. Is staying in your current neighborhood important to you, and, if so, does the kind of home you want exist in that neighborhood? If not, can you legally create that ideal home on your budget? The second major question is budget: Is it more economical…

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