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Most of the books I read are library books - Discarded Library books sold for cheap on They have saved over 143 MILLION book from going into landfills.

Yes, I have too many books. But with parents doing well and into their 90's, I may have time to read them all once and some multiple times.

16 hours ago     
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Great Spaces LLC
Fiction books I return to the library where I got them unless they are classics I found cheap or for free. They are organized by their publish date, not by author. I did this because the arts reflect culture and so I put them in this chronological order. Non-fiction books are cheerfully shelved by subject matter and referred to as needed. I don't consider myself a book collector. I only keep books I have use for. I don't necessarily have to have completed sets or first editions.
9 hours ago   
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Debbie likes 5 comments on an ideabook

Contractor Tips: Top 10 Home Remodeling Don'ts

Help your home renovation go smoothly and stay on budget with this wise advice from a pro Full Story
     Comment   18 hours ago
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John Whipple - By Any Design ltd.
Great article. I love the comment about the pets.

Last week my clients dog nipped at my calf. Had the dog bit me hard - there would have been a long delay while my leg mended....

Now when I'm carrying in my tools I'm more concerned about being bitten than I am about protecting the walls from harm. It's hard to be careful when the dog is allowed to roam free and charges me almost every time I show up at the home.

Typically dogs don't scare me - there is just something about Pit Bulls that makes me a little nervous. I should be worried about my showers being built right - not about my safety on a job site.

September 6, 2012 at 7:42PM     
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"Don't buy your own materials"....I have to disagree. In building my Greene & Greene style home, if I had not researched & located many items, I would not have gotten what I WANTED!
September 7, 2012 at 8:25AM     
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Jason Shepard
I REALLY dislike #4 and #9. This is MY HOUSE we are talking about. I am going to LIVE THERE. What part of that is so hard for employees to understand? If I want a kitchen that far outdoes the neighborhood average, that is my choice - it's what I want, period. If I want to rehab a home/warehouse/whatever rather than demolishing it, even if demolishing it would be money better spent, it's MY MONEY and it's my choice. I despise contractors, architects, designers, etc. that come into MY PROJECT, seeing that I already have CAD designs drawn up for it and most of the finishing supplies (faucets, door handles, etc) bought and then try to tell me that my way isn't right "according to the market and local comps." I really, truly, completely DON'T CARE about the market or about local comps. It's going to be my home and I want to ENJOY it.

I apologize for all the emphasis caps, but there are obviously some employees in this world that just don't get the concept of being an employee and don't understand what I've emphasized here. I've fired 3 contractors, 2 designers, and 1 architect on my most recent job. We've given up and my father and I are doing it ourselves the way we want. I'm tired of so-called "professionals" telling me what to do with my house based on a market and neighborhood comps that I could care less about. Come in, do the job you are being paid for, and get out or don't bid the project. I've even said all of this UP FRONT to those that I requested bids from and I told them UP FRONT I would fire them if they argued with me on any of the points I've brought up in this post. Yet, they all seem compelled to tell me what to do based on those two nasty concepts: market and neighborhood (and a smattering of "cost analysis" when they determine that the building isn't worth saving even though they bid on the project). I really wish we could go back to the days when you could get something done the way you wanted it instead of having to fight every single step of the way and waste tons of time/money...

When did EMPLOYEES become the bosses???
September 9, 2012 at 11:37AM     
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With regard to purchasing your own materials... I know many comments have already been made, some insults have been delivered, and I risk the wrath of experts railing about profit, but my recent experience has shown me that every project has its own unique issues. Our builder (custom homes, high standards and good quality material) is a gem, and an uncontested expert in his domain. He does not have the time or desire to source the faucets, sinks, light fixtures, wall switches and vintage stained glass windows that we wanted. He had his plumber give us a "sample list" of the faucets, sinks and tubs that he usually orders, and we were horrified. The prices were three times what we could get ourselves (same model numbers) and I'm not talking from dodgy online resellers. So I put in over 200 hours of time researching, travelling, ordering, picking up, delivering, and dealing with the companies myself. We saved thousands on the ridiculous prices the plumber quoted, and now the plumber wants to up his installation charges because we didn't order all of the plumbing fixtures through him, paying his markup. This is the problem with one-line item quotes in a contract, as a commenter said earlier. Our builder itemizes all of his costs for us (every joist), but if his subs only give him one-line quotes (i.e. $10,000 for plumbing) then we now have a problem.

If I hadn't sourced some items myself (especially sinks and faucets) then we would have had to settle for products from the only two lines that the plumber uses and at twice the book price. My time and effort was worth money too. If you are writing the cheques, you have a right to a detailed estimate AND to order your own materials when the builder or subs either can't supply what you want, or won't supply it at a reasonable mark-up. Yes, you do take on all responsibility for delivering the items on time to suit the builder's schedule. But you should absolutely not be penalized for it. And before somebody plays the "hire a designer" card, there are no designers within 300 kilometres of where we live.
September 9, 2012 at 7:33PM     
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Mr. Tasch,

Hello and thank you for encompassing my concerns in your replies. I can definitely understand that any tile contractor would want to be certain that the foundation was done properly so that he or she could guarantee the work with confidence. We haven't started asking yet, so I was just concerned that I would start getting "no's" right away and wondered how you might handle such a request.

I must say, however, that while I appreciate that you have overhead costs, and that we would happily pay for a qualified contractor's considerable skills and experience in addition to labor and materials, your extensive list simply includes "the cost of doing business."

Most of the things listed are well known to customers and unspoken in normal transactions...and we assume they are figured into the contracts you write. Otherwise, you would not be able to afford to stay in business. All businesses have these general costs and their own industry specific costs, so I always find it a bit insulting to my intelligence as a consumer for a vendor to use this to justify whatever they want to charge. It sounds defensive and it makes me suspicious, like a diversion that will make me research the vendor's line items that much harder to make certain everything is as it seems to be.

Again, thank you for including me in this conversation. You have given me some great insight from the contractor's point of view and it will help me to be more considerate of and thougtful about who I choose.
September 9, 2012 at 9:38PM     
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Debbie commented on an ideabook

Checklists for a Well-Stocked Home

Thank-you notes, first-aid kit, clear glass vases ... It’s easy to go with the flow when you’ve got the items you need at hand Full Story
     Comment   20 hours ago
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Beth Zucker
Thank you .
23 hours ago   
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Ok...I just have to jump in and add my post....I rarely drink (never beer, simply because I don't like the taste, let alone the smell of it)(I do buy it for our guests)...But--I love seeing those different shaped hard liquor bottles, and do entertain company and family that do like their mixed day, I cleaned the "normal" stuff off the extra long side-board, and put out the hard liquor, different bar-ware...and had opened the drapes. ...When my sweetie came home from work, he rushed in the house and started closing the drapes saying: OMG, from outside, looking in, it looks like we've opened a bar! Omg...what would____think? (btw-*He's in his mid 60's!!) I am chuckling over that! and NO I do not care what anyone thinks about our well-stocked hard liquor, or our well-stocked wine that we've moved and downsized (everything but the booze has been downsized!) I turned the hall closet, closest to the kitchen into a Wine and Liquor it awesome? you bet'cha! Do we drink more because we have the booze--No!
As to the other must-have-on-hand lists, I agree---we have a well-stocked First aid tub, a well-stocked food pantry, a well-stocked freezer in garage, and yes, I do hand write Thank you notes---and yes, I do keep my desk well-stocked w/cards for all reasons/seasons/holidays/anniversaries/b'days/sympathy...I guess that makes me "old"?
Various games for kids and adults--check! Beach towels for guests to use @ the beach--check! Kites to fly @ beach for guests--check!
And above all, 3rd drawer down (in kitchen) stocked w/candy and granola bars for the kiddos (just like my grandma had a 3rd drawer down for us kids growing up!)
20 hours ago   
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Debbie updated their profile
August 13, 2014
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