Spend Less and Stay Warm

We’re all spending a lot of time at home this winter, and thinking about ways to save money there- i.e. saving energy. It’s attractive to think new windows would save a lot- and window companies are banking on that idea. Most times the best way to save energy and money is to spend less money. Yes, I said it. You can spend LESS and SAVE more.

If you do an energy audit, CAULKING- air sealing, will be the primary recommendation. Windows will be further down the list because they DO NOT save as much utility money, due to their high initial cost. Caulk is cheap, and you can even do it yourself!

If you need to replace your windows for other reasons, there are two main factors to consider: 1 – what kind of windows do you currently have? and 2 – what kind of windows are you installing? See the graphic for payback data on these factors.

Cost is always a consideration, and vinyl is often the least expensive. Vinyl is designed to expand and contract, but warping does occur and ultimately compromises the weather seal- especially if sun shines on the windows! This will require the windows to be replaced yet again- in the industry the joke is “they’re called “replacement windows” because you have to replace them again”. If you DO go vinyl, select “welded” not screwed construction. 

If your windows are largely intact, we recommend caulking around window openings and casings- and installing storm windows for the least amount of initial investment and greatest improvement of energy efficiency. In the graphic you’ll see a payback period of 4.5 years! Minor repairs can be made and you’ll keep your better-quality wood windows out of the landfill!

AMAZING- installing storm windows will give you the most bang for your buck, even without considering old growth/new growth timber, off-gassing of new materials, embodied energy, etc.

Quick Entryway Lift

Drywall repairs, painting, and theis FAB fixture in client’s stairway – all while he was out of town! #DinaGetsItDone

A Little Eye Candy!

A little eye candy for your kitchen or bath!
(pssst…coming soon to a fab jewelry store wall) #DinaGetsitDone

Water and Ice – Look Closer!

With all of the crazy weather we’ve been having, we’ve been getting a lot of calls about leaks. Water and ice don’t always behave in predictable ways – freezing and thawing outside temperatures, heated and unheated inside spaces and more factors contribute to the causes and exact locations of leaks.

That said, there are a few preventative measures we recommend to help avoid some long term problems, as well as solutions to repair. Across the board, clean your gutters and downspouts, even if it is just once a year (ideally before the first snow.) This allows your roof drainage system to effectively divert the water away.

In the following images, a northwest side home’s scenario is explored.


The room below this roof section is leaking and the client assumed it was due to ice dams, as widely discussed in the recent weather. However, closer inspection revealed otherwise. The leak did not follow the line of the snow in this photo- it is under the white sided wall (dormer).

1. The dormer is not flashed properly- the joint where the dormer meets the roof is leaking (see next photo).

2. The gutters and downspouts should be cleared out to allow the water to flow freely- again, clean your gutters in the fall- and you may have to rod the lines that the downspouts go to occasionally!

3. The downspout on the dormer could be redirected around the lower roof to go directly to the ground and thus not overload that gutter- reducing exposure to potential problems.


Inside the attic crawl space, we can see that water has accumulated here at the base of the wall below the dormer- more than once based on stains on the framing and drywall. We can also see that the insulation is probably holding water because it’s sagging. It needs to be replaced- it won’t do it’s job wet- and can cause other problems.


In this image (from the other side of the improperly flashed dormer) we are beginning to see the result of water infiltration where the wall meets the ceiling- where the paint is bubbling but not yet broken or yellow (the tell-tale sign for water).


Celebrating 20 Years

We had the pleasure of celebrating 20 years in business earlier this week. New friends and old joined us for holiday treats, memories and plans for the future.  Our Urban Times spoke with Dina about this milestone in her ongoing career.

Fine Fall Textures

Slubby wool area rug with 4″ navy border- and FAB chair in the multi fabric- coming soon to a Wicker Park bach pad!

Photo: Slubby wool area rug with 4" navy border- and FAB chair in the multi fabric- coming soon to a Wicker Park bach pad!

Streeterville kitchen client delighted!

Streeterville kitchen is ready for cleaning- and the client is delighted!  With Littlerock managing the project, they only visited the project once while it was under construction.  #DinaGetsitDoneP1390313web