Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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The Remodeling Process

Remodeling is a big event, whether it's a room or your whole house, and most projects require similar steps. This outline will help you be prepared.

Step 1: Design

Map out your plans for your home.
  • Decide if you want to use an architect, a designer-builder, or other professional to translate your remodeling vision. Come up with a design that you love and that is within your budget.
  • If you designed the space yourself, select a contractor with whom you have a solid working rapport.
  • Finalize a budget and stick with it.

Step 2: Implement

  • Meet with your contractor to review the design plan for feasibility and/or suggestions that may improve flow or conserve costs.
  • Select materials and products for the project, especially those that are needed right away and those that require several weeks' lead time (such as cabinets).
  • Give the contractor time to draw up a detailed construction schedule, apply for building permits, and round up construction crews.
  • Meet your contractor's job-site supervisor or production manager and develop good communication. This person will likely be your key contact throughout the project.

Step 3: Confer

  • Arrange a preconstruction conference at your house for you, the contractor and his or her job-site supervisor, the architect or designer, and any key subcontractors who will be working on your project -- in short, anyone who needs to be in the loop.
  • Tour your house with the key players and go over exactly what needs to be done. Take notes and send follow-up memos if anything changes from the plans.
  • Set the ground rules for your project between you, the contractor, and the job-site supervisor.
  • Figure out a communications plan:
  • 1. Decide who your primary contact person is (usually the job-site supervisor)
  • 2. Place a contact notebook in a prominent location; review it each day for comments from the crew, and include your comments and questions as well.
  • 3. Set up a weekly contact schedule between you, the contractor, and the job-site supervisor.

Step 4: Set Up

  • Remove personal belongings from the work area.
  • If appropriate, set up a mini kitchen in another part of the house.
  • Set in place a trash bin, portable toilet, and construction fence.
  • Make room for large supplies, such as rafters or drywall, which are delivered at this point.

Step 5: Demolish

Knowing what to expect during each remodeling stage helps produce happy results.
  • Your room or house gets the treatment from the wrecking crew.
  • Plastic sheeting seals the demolition area from the rest of the house; check it frequently to make it as airtight as possible, or you will have dust and debris everywhere.

Step 6: Rebuild

  • The crew prepares the foundation; frames the walls, floors, and roof; and installs windows.
  • The plumbing is rouged in; electric, phone, and cable lines are run; and conduits for HVAC systems are installed.
  • Insulation between studs and rafters is applied; drywall on walls and ceilings is installed then taped, mudded, sanded, and primed; and underlayment on floors is installed.
  • The house is roofed and sided.
  • The crew finishes wall and ceiling surfaces; installs cabinets, counters, and window trim; and hooks up appliances and light fixtures.
  • The top layer of flooring is installed, and plumbing and electrical systems are finalized.

Step 7: Follow Through

  • Tour the remodeled space with your contractor, itemizing any details that need to be finished and any mistakes that need to be corrected; keep a detailed list.
  • Complete a final inspection with the contractor, checking off the items from your preliminary walk-through.
  • Go over instructions for equipment and discuss warranties.
  • Let the new space settle in for a few months. Make sure all systems work properly, and watch for drywall cracks or nail pops. Call back the contractor for any follow-up repairs; good contractors will check back periodically to make sure everything is right.

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