My wife and I have been intrigued by the idea of a neighborhood library for awhile - an interest piqued by the growing Little Free Library movement. Perhaps you've seen them around - little boxes or buildings placed in a yard, each encouraging neighbors to take a book or leave a book for their neighbors to enjoy. Until now, those libraries were either built buy their caretakers or ordered from craftsman - but for inexperienced builders such as myself, none were really simple or affordable enough to make me pull the trigger. Then came some news out of Ohio that the team at The Simplay3 Company were working on a solution - a simpler option "for folks wanting to make a positive impact in their community." Their new Simplay3 Sharing Library is the end result of designers who found themselves inspired by the Little Free Library movement and wanted to get them into as many neighborhoods as possible.
Updated to "Do Not Buy" Status: Our projector has malfunctioned after just three weeks of normal use. While we are awaiting a resolution (if any), in the interest of sharing my true experience, I feel it necessary to update this review. First the motion function failed, and three days later the projector was completely dead. As of this writing (12/11/2016), the projectors had been marked-down on the Deck the Home site from $129 to $79, and as low as $59 on Amazon. We are not alone, as "1-Star Reviews" are stacking up on Amazon.
Every few years there's a "revolution," or more accurately - a super-hot trend when it comes to holiday lighting that everyone wants to get in on. Back in the late 90s, I was working "Big Box" retail when icicle lights first came out, and I remember the frenzy those first two years in which everyone just had to be like the neighbors. Right now the trend is laser light shows, and this is one I've been waiting for the right chance to get on-board with - an easy way to cover a lot of area at once, while finally reaching those high-up spots that I'm too cautious to mess with (pre-kids, I would've climbed all over the place). So while the neighbors may all have starfields of red and green, the folks at Deck the Home have upped the game, presenting the first-ever licensed Laser Light Projector, and they couldn't have picked a more perfect property to do: A CHRISTMAS STORY.
They say that one thing leads to another... and in the case of our home, that's absolutely correct. The entire #RockFatherRemodel Project was spawned by one major problem - a leaking bathroom that came through the ceiling of our family room/play room. That was just the beginning, as various components of that overhaul led to further projects, and as we sit right now, the process is ongoing. The full remodel of the Master Bathroom was a must-do, and a daunting task despite bringing in professional help for the bulk of the work. If you're like us and live in a modest, suburban home, our projects will hopefully serve as inspiration that a home can improve with age.
As we continue the #RockFatherRemodel project here at Rock Father HQ, many gallons of paint have been used, and color has been taken into careful consideration. While I wouldn't say that my wife and I have paid attention to trends when it comes to our colors, one on-trend choice (or a variation of it) has made Better Homes & Garden's 2016 Color Palette of the Year, and that's Gray. Specifically, we went with the BEHR Marquee "Silent Film" variety from The Home Depot (you'll be seeing it soon when I unveil our new family room/playroom here on the site), but for those looking for what other splashes of color are making waves this year, look no further that the BHG list. The colors pictured above and detailed below are all featured in the third annual Color Issue, which is on-stands now.
It was nearly six years ago that we moved into the house that would become our home - the home that would become known as Rock Father HQ. Little Adalyn was less than a year old, and Finley was still about two years off. We weren't first-time buyers, but the decision to buy our first single-family home was one wrapped in many things - like affordability, area, the house itself, and most importantly for us, the school district. It was my wife who fell in love with the house - I was more excited for the yard. The house was nice, but would need some improvements, a quick $10K spent at The Home Depot up the road on some immediate things (lots and lots of paint), and we were in business. But, like any aging house that's changed hands a few times, there were things that would eventually need to be addressed... just as there were things that we'd eventually want to address. And sometimes those "wants" end up being prompted (or accelerated) by unexpected needs. That's exactly how The #RockFatherRemodel Project began. As things needed to be done, I realized it was time to start tracking the progress.
Home Improvement: The Complete Window Replacement of Rock Father HQ - Part IV: Pulling the Trigger & InstallationWritten by James Zahn
If you've been following along, you know that we recently completed our first truly major enhancement to Rock Father HQ (sans the garage door a few years back) - total home window replacement. With not a ton of information available online about the true reality of the process, my wife and I decided that I would document the experience here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine in four parts (Part I: Beginning, Part II: In-Home Consultations, Part III: The Vast Realm of Pricing), this being the final installment. After careful consideration taking into account the sales approach, style, quality and pricing, we ultimately decided to hire...
Home Improvement: The Complete Window Replacement of Rock Father HQ - Part II: The In-Home Consultations...Written by James Zahn
As I posted earlier this month, my wife and I are finally about to start tackling some of the home improvement issues that have been lurking within the property lovingly dubbed, "Rock Father HQ." If you're just joining us, the basic gist is this: In 2010 we purchased a 1,300 sq. ft. home in Chicago's Northern Suburbs, a house that was built in 1990, and one we knew had some issues. Like most homes, it looks pretty good on the surface, but when you dig deeper, there's some things that are pretty bad - several of which stem from the previous owners, two of which fancied themselves to be "handy" - and one of whom shoddily put in windows because he "got a deal" on them. Our first project is fixing said windows, and today I'm going to walk you through my in-home consultation experiences with Pella Windows and Doors, The Home Depot, Renewal by Andersen and Feldco. The fun part? I didn't tell any of these companies that I would be writing about this experience. Out of courtesy, I did reach out to the PR team for the company that did score our business, but only after my wife and I had already done the deal and paid for the job. Bottom line: This post is not sponsored by anyone.
It's time to start improving our home... and that means I'm going to write about it. That picture up top? That's Rock Father HQ. Pretty on the outside... but some evil lurks within...
When my wife and I bought this house five years ago, we knew that there were some issues. On the surface and in the listing, the house looked nice - a somewhat "normal," generally modest 1,300 sq. ft. home in Chicago's Northern suburbs. The two-level (three, if you count the two steps down to the family room) house was built in 1990 as part of the subdivision boom of the era, and like many homes of the time, probably went up quick and with some corners cut. I would've loved "newer" and "bigger" (really wanted a basement), but my wife and I agreed that the house was good, the price was ok and it had the good size yard were hoping for - but most importantly - it had the schools we wanted and we could make it beautiful. As with any home purchase, the inspection found some problems, a few of which we knocked-out right away, and some others that were destined to sit for a bit. Maybe even a bit too long.
As we're experiencing record-highs here in Northern Illinois this week, my daughter and I have been seizing the opportunity to get outside and start working on our garden clean-up. After all, Spring is technically just a few days away. For those of you that are ready to get your Little Gardener ready for 2012, our friends at Melissa & Doug have sent The Rock Father™ word that you can now Save 15% On Any SUNNY PATCH Order At MelissaandDoug.com! through 3/31/12 Code: SUNNY15. They're also running a free shipping promo right now as well!