Posted by: jeb1 | February 6, 2012

JEB Design/Build: 10 Biggest Remodeling Mistakes

  1. Completing a project without a final written punch list and paying a contractor or sub contractor the final payment without complete work.
  2. Allowing a contractor to remodel or build your project who does not know how to communicate well.
  3. Starting a project without clear plans, schedule, or selections.
  4. Signing an incomplete construction contract.
  5. Not using 3D design and having a complete scope of work to accurately see what your project will look like and what will be included in the final price.
  6. Allowing a contractor to work without obtaining permits or licenses.
  7. Beginning construction without a written, firm price of the project.
  8. Choosing a bank for financing that has little or no experience with remodeling loans.
  9. Not having a realistic budget.
  10. Getting remodeling or building advice from too many friends.

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Posted by: jeb1 | February 3, 2012

2012 Trends: Tile

Posted on: January 24, 2012

Source: Gold Notes 

The last few years have brought with them something close to a revolution when it comes to what’s available in the world of tile. The ability of tile manufacturers to print more and more different patterns has led to a great variety of products. These can lend any room a distinctive and long-lasting feel that will be in style for years to come.

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JEB Design/Build

Posted by: jeb1 | February 1, 2012

JEB Design/Build Fish Fry

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Source: Housing Zone

Remodeling sentiment rose to the highest level in five years, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) for the fourth quarter of 2011.  Read More

JEB Design/Build

Posted on: January 25, 2012

Source: Fast Company

Motivation is a hot topic year-round, but particularly in January, the month of fresh starts, checklists, and lofty goals. It’s the time of year we try to figure out how to prod our employees to excel, to hit and surpass ambitious targets. Happy, motivated employees are, simply, good for business. So what’s the best way to get it done?

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JEB Design/Build

Posted by: jeb1 | January 25, 2012

A Window Above the Bathroom Sink: Feature or Flaw?

Posted on: January 23, 2012

Source: Houzz 

I think it’s safe to say that most people love a window above the kitchen sink. But put that window above a bathroom sink, and I think most people would find that to be a flaw. A mirror right above the sink is pretty handy – you can see what you’re doing when you brush your teeth or shave your face. So if you have a window there instead, what can you do? Check out 16 bathrooms where that window above the sink is a not a flaw, but a feature.

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Posted by: jeb1 | January 23, 2012

Nine Ideas Coming to a Kitchen Near You

Posted on: January 18, 2012
Source: Houzz

This year, the driving force behind what we want in our kitchen is our need for calming spaces and improved functionality to reduce stress in our busy lives. All of these trends either make our kitchen-related tasks easier, or they aesthetically move the look just a little more in a minimal direction.

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JEB Design/Build

Posted by: jeb1 | January 16, 2012

Job Opening at JEB Design/Build!

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Posted by: jeb1 | January 13, 2012

Tips for a Comfortable Backyard Patio or Porch

By: Jeb Breithaupt

A porch or patio that overlooks your backyard can add an extra room to your home for entertaining, eating and relaxing. And if you build it right—or remodel your existing porch—you can use it year-round.

            Make the patio your favorite room of the house. Here’s how:

            1. Right-size it. You’ll need enough room for everything you want to do outdoors on pleasant weekend afternoons and warm evenings. If you plan to cook and eat on the porch, carve out spaces for an outdoor mini-kitchen and a dining table with chairs. If you like to throw parties, make room for guests to both sit and move around. On the other hand, keep the size of the porch in proportion with the size of your house so it looks like it “fits” on your property. A tip: If you like a grassy lawn and landscaping, avoid building a patio so big that it takes up the whole yard.

2. Shed some light on it. The latest low-voltage patio and deck lights are as pretty during the day as they are when they’re lighted up after dark. Plus, they’ll help your guests navigate your porch safely if you install them near stairways and on railing posts. A tip: Shed plenty of light on your cooking and dining areas.

3. Warm it up. To make yours a four-season porch, a fire pit, chiminea, fireplace or a at least a propane-powered patio heater is a must-have. A tip: Pre-fab stone fireplaces and outdoor ovens look just as nice as custom-built and come in kits that take just a couple of hours to install.

4. Cook on it. Every backyard porch or patio needs a grill. You can spend a little or a lot for anything from a kettle grill to a top-of-the-line gas grill with an multiple, high-powered burners. You can even convert your simple back porch into an outdoor kitchen by adding everything from a stainless steel refrigerator to a wine chiller to a pizza oven designed specifically for outdoor use. A tip: Look for  outdoor appliances with a safety stamp from Underwriters Laboratories that ensures the appliance is safe to use outdoors.

5. Make it easy. You’ve got nearly as many choices for your patio floor as you do for the floors inside the house. Low-maintenance concrete styles range from plain slabs to etched and acid-stained in nearly any color. Concrete pavers come in styles that mimic every kind of stone. A tip: Wood floors don’t hold up well under the hot Louisiana sun, and require more maintenance than stone and concrete.

6. Cover it. A roof, awning, pergola or even some leafy trees around your outdoor room will help block the heat and sun and make it more comfortable during the summer. A tip: Try to match the porch roof to the one on your house so the addition looks like it’s part of the original structure.

7.  Match it. Repeating design elements from the interior rooms to your outdoor room will help the space “flow” from the house as if it were out there all along.  Columns and archways, colors and even built-in elements like countertops and benches can mimic the indoor design and make the outside space feel more like home. A tip: If you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the porch, that kitchen will get a lot of wear and tear. Consider creating an alternative entryway from the house to the patio.

8. Keep it dry. Add gutters to the patio roof to prevent rain runoff from pouring onto your indoor/outdoor furniture—or on you, if you’re enjoying a light rain under the shelter of that roof. A tip: Subtly slope the porch floor so water will run off of it instead of pooling.

9. Wire it. Spending time outdoors while watching LSU football is an unbeatable combination. Consider investing in a TV or theater system designed with safety features that make it suitable for outdoor use. Hire an electrician to calculate how much electricity and how many outlets you’ll need to power your patio. Think about lighting, appliances, the heater, and the radio, stereo and TV you’ll use outdoors. A tip: Upgrade your indoor modem to a wireless system so you can get a signal on your laptop or iPad while you’re sitting outside.

10. Plan it. Even if you want to build your own patio, get some advice from a pro before you start. A professional remodeler can recommend materials that hold up well outdoors. A lighting specialist can help you create a dramatic scene around your deck or patio.  Plumbers and electricians can install your utilities properly and advise you about which permits you’ll need for the job. And landscape designers can recommend low-maintenance plants.

Jeb Breithaupt has been president of Jeb Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting

Posted by: jeb1 | January 11, 2012

Update Your Older Home

By: Jeb Breithaupt 

If you’re tired of your older home’s outdated floor plan and avocado-green or harvest-gold appliances, but you don’t want to move away from a neighborhood you love, there’s a lot you can do to update so you don’t have to uproot.

A lot of the homes in Ark-La-Tex were built in the late 1930s and ’40s, right after World War II during a building boom created by returning soldiers eager to start families and to take advantage of the new 30-year mortgages available from lenders.

Most of those homes were built to last, back when lumber was cheap, and they have held up pretty well, so their owners haven’t had to make a lot of changes over the years. Lately, though, we’ve had a surge of requests for renovations among owners of those post-war relics, and that’s a good thing—because they need a lot of work.

It’s tempting to start by overhauling the kitchen and bathrooms to immediately make your home look more modern, add much-needed storage space and impress your houseguests. But here’s a caution: Before you do the “pretty” part, make sure the “bones” of the house are sound.

Here are eight updates to consider if your home was built in the 1940s, 50s or even 60s:

1. Add insulation to the walls and attic. Because electricity back then was so cheap, it’s likely that your builder added very little—if any—insulation in the walls and attic. Even if he did, that insulation probably has outlived its usefulness by now, and it’s time to replace it or add to it. Properly installed insulation can slash your air conditioning bills.

2. Replace the clay pipes that lead from the house to the sewer with plastic. Clay pipes are sturdy and can last for 100 years. But they’re porous, breakable and have multiple joints, so tree roots gravitate toward them. If they wrap around the pipe, they can crush it, and if they get inside, they can block it. Once the problem starts, replacing the pipe is more effective than trying to constantly clear it.

3. Prop up your sagging roof. The typical postwar roof has a fairly low pitch, and some are even flat. Flat roofs require regular maintenance, and even then can collect ponds of water when it rains—and that can lead to leaks. Choose a new roof with a good “pitch”—or slope—so water can easily drain off of it. If your roof already is pitched and covered with long-lasting shingles, you’ve probably had to replace at least some of them over the years. But if the roofer laid new shingles right over the old ones, the multiple layers can weigh more than the roof was designed to support. Remove all layers of shingles before adding new ones.

4. Swap your leaky, single-pane metal windows with double-pane, low-e glass. The new windows will cut down on drafts, keep the hot air outside and even make your house quieter.

5. Update your electricity. Back in the ’40s and ’50s, we didn’t build homes with grounded outlets, so if your home has its original wiring, you don’t have them. Call an electrician to update your outlets and also to inspect and possibly upgrade your circuits. Older homes aren’t equipped to deal with the demands of today’s energy-intensive equipment, from digital coffee pots to treadmills to home theater components.

6.  Inspect your ductwork. Old air ducts leak—and that can force your central air conditioning system to work harder and less efficiently. It might be time to replace the ducts. And consider having an “energy audit” at your home. It’s amazing what modern energy-efficiency tests can discover.

7.  Fix your plumbing fixtures. I’ve seen a lot of 50-year-old toilets in older houses. And while it’s amazing that they have lasted for so long, it’s time to replace them. A toilet that’s more than 17 years old is a water hog. New models use as little as 1.1 gallons of water per flush, and the standard is just 1.6 gallons. Your old one probably uses five gallons per flush. That is especially relevant now, when our area is experiencing drought conditions and our water supplies are maxed out.

8. Check for termites. Don’t wait until your favorite remodeler is poking into the walls of your older home to find out that they’re riddled with termites. Find and treat any problem now so the bugs won’t delay your renovations—or cause further damage. I well remember one remodeling job where we found termites after tearing into a wall, and they had already spread to  three of the home’s rooms.

Once you’ve made your home safer, sounder and more energy-efficient, you can get started on the “pretty” renovations. New, stainless steel appliances, solid-surface or stone countertops, and beautiful tile floors will seem even more special if you install them in a home that operates as nicely as it looks.

Jeb Breithaupt has been president of Jeb Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting

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