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Build Your House Yourself University

Wish you knew more about the biggest investment you will most likely ever make? Build Your House Yourself University (byhyu) will teach you to save money and make smart decisions about the construction of the place you and your family will call HOME. We will help you understand residential construction— simplify and demystify the design build process. You’ll come away with successful strategies for building your own house, with or without a general contractor. Become an educated consumer, even if you prefer to buy, rather than build a new house. Complex construction jargon and best practices will be explained in easy to understand terms. It’s not the typical DIY (do it yourself) show. You will learn how to MANAGE the labor, not DO the labor for your new house. Join me, Michelle Nelson, host and fellow informal residential construction student. I’ll share the research I find on home design and building as I prepare to build my home. Together, our community of future home builders, will learn the tips, tricks and trends of experienced contractors and industry experts. I’ll interview owner-builders and construction professionals. During our mini lessons, I’ll inform you about framing, flooring, windows, insulation, kitchen cabinets and countertops…almost anything having to do with new construction homes. You’ll hear about energy efficiency and green building too. There will be product reviews in which you will be introduced to cutting edge, as well as, tried and true products and services. And in keeping with the university theme, episodes will end with short, fun quizzes. If we do our due diligence BEFORE we start construction, we will actually start construction with the most difficult part of the project behind us. Let’s put in the time, effort, preparation and research BEFORE we break ground and building our homes will be much easier and more enjoyable.
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 27, 2017

The refrigerator is one of the hardest working, most used appliances in a house. Back in the day, all we had were refrigerator units with freezers on top and the main choice we had to make was color.  Remember harvest gold and avocado?

Today, we have so many choices in refrigerators that I thought I’d do a quick episode covering the pros and cons of each style of refrigerator to help us choose the best fridge for our new homes. 

We’ll talk about top freezer refrigerators and bottom freezer refrigerators, french door refrigerators, side by side refrigerators, counter depth fridges and full refrigerator columns. Plus I’ll tell you the rule of thumb for the amount of fridge space you need in cubic feet.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Dec 20, 2017

A few weeks ago I had to go to my architect and tell him I had completely forgotten to add a very important space to our new house.  It hadn't even crossed my mind until I saw my husband putting up our Christmas decorations.  He’s the Christmas decorator, not me.  And he is quite the decorator.  He goes all out, so we will definitely need a dedicated space for our Christmas decor.  Just a couple of weeks ago we added a Christmas nook to our attic in our house plan. 

The episode this week will give you a few quick tips to help you design and build a house with the holidays in mind.  Putting in a little extra thought and planning before we build will make holiday decorating a lot easier and more enjoyable for years to come.   Now, I’ll be referring to Christmas for most of these tips, but these ideas should be helpful for those celebrating Hanukkah and other seasonal holidays.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Dec 13, 2017

If you’re like most of us, you’re dreaming of a spacious, well-organized master closet.  A walk-in master closet is what most people will opt for, but if you’re limited by space or budget, you might have to go with a reach in closet, also called a wall closet. In this week’s episode, we’ll talk about the advantages of walk-in closets vs reach-in closets, whether flat shoe shelves, slanted shoe shelves or shoe cubbies are better, and we’ll go over the different materials used to fabricate closets. 

Plus we’ll go over pro terms:  Wall hung closet systems and Floor mounted closet systems

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Dec 6, 2017

I want to give you an update on my project and the private Facebook group and give you a few things to think about when designing your house.   This week we briefly talk about window design and how I got a second opinion on my house plan.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Nov 22, 2017

I recently wrote a guest blog post for a home improvement site called Kukun.  I thought you might like to hear the tips that I gave them for finding good subcontractors. I’ve covered many of these tips in several previous podcast episodes, but  I want to go over all those tips in one single show so you can reference this week’s show notes when it comes time for you to search for your subs.  Plus I’ll give you a couple of new suggestions.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Nov 15, 2017

Most of us have to consider budget when making decisions about our dream homes.  And some budgets are tighter than others.  So in this week’s episode, I’ll give you some tips on the best places to save when building a house versus areas where you should splurge.

Before we get to those tips, we'll define a pro-term: Value engineering.

Value engineering is a term that you might hear some architects and contractors use when talking about saving money when building a house. Value engineering is an economical way of building that removes excessive costs but preserves good design. In other words, value engineering aims to lower the cost of building without lowering functionality.  That’s achieved by spending in some areas and saving in others.

So, our lesson this week will focus on value engineering.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Nov 8, 2017

Since we compared front load washers and top load washers in last week’s mini-lesson, it only makes sense that we cover dryers this week. We’ll talk about gas dryers versus electric dryers and cover some of the more popular dryer options, such as steam settings and moisture sensors. Plus we’ll go over some best practices for installing the dryer vent system— practices that will decrease your risk of a dryer fire.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Nov 1, 2017

Too often I hear homeowners talking about washers if they are solely decorative items. I’ll often hear questions like “Do you like the Burgundy or the navy blue washer better?” Listen, I like beautiful appliances as much as anyone else, but I think it’s also important to strongly consider functionality and performance when purchasing an appliance that’s as hard working as a washer. This week we’ll compare traditional top-loading washers with front-loading washers and I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of each.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Oct 25, 2017

I’ve spent more time away from the internet and library this month and done more research out in the field. 

At the beginning of the month, I went to the Kansas City Parade of Homes and this past week I had some time off from work and ventured out to different homebuilding job sites in an attempt to gather names and contact information for some subcontractors who I could potentially hire for my project. So this episode will cover some lessons that I’ve learned this past month. 

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Oct 11, 2017

This week we’ll learn some interior design basics, especially as it pertains to new and remodeled homes. You’ll hear my conversation with Betsy Helmuth, owner of Affordable Interior Design and host of her own interior design podcast called Big Design, Small Budget. It’s one of my new favorites. I just love it and here’s why: In the same way this podcast simplifies and demystifies homebuilding concepts, Betsy, on Big Design Small Budget, simplifies and demystifies interior design. So, to go along with BYHYU’S tips and tricks for building your dream house, Betsy gives strategies for decorating your dream house.

 

Today you’ll hear Betsy's expert opinion on what to do and where to start when designing rooms from scratch. She will tell us what fixtures and finishes should stay consistent throughout the whole house, and when it’s ok to add in different color palettes and styles. We’ll also hear why Betsy says that investment furniture and all-neutral rooms are no-nos.

Shownotes at BYHYU.com

Oct 4, 2017

I recently got a request from a listener named Don. He asked me to discuss home generators. On the heels of so many storms that have affected the United States and the Caribbean, we definitely need to at least consider installing a home generator. They can provide power during the outages that often accompany major storms. Thank you, Don, for a great show idea.

We’ll discuss the 2 general types of generators that can be used during power outages— permanent, standby generators (also called whole house generators) and portable, backup generators.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 27, 2017

So this week I have a project update. I told you about the trouble that I had getting my house plan started a few weeks ago in BYHYU 079-- My House Plans-- Back To The Drawing Board (Literally!)

But now, I have a good report. I’ll tell you about the treasures that I’ve found since recording that episode, including a markup tool that I used to tweak my house plan and the person that I’ve got helping me.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 20, 2017

You’ve probably dreamed of having a fireplace in your living room, master bedroom, outdoor living space or even your master bathroom. Fireplaces these days are far more than a practical source of heat. That’s why people not only in Vermont and Michigan want them, but those building homes in California, Texas and even Las Vegas plan to have fireplaces installed in their dream homes. Fireplaces add beauty, character, coziness, and drama to almost any space and they also add to the perceived value of a house.

This week, I’ll give you the pros and cons of the different types of fireplaces, including wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces and alcohol burning fireplaces.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 13, 2017

Last week we talked about the pros of cons of the different types of pool construction. After you decide what type of pool structure you want, you’ll have to decide want type of sanitization system you’ll use to keep your pool free of bacteria, viruses, and algae. The most common systems are chlorine, saltwater, and ultraviolet light. We’ll briefly go over each system and discuss the advantages of each.

Cost, maintenance, and health concerns are the main reasons to choose one sanitization system over another. When making your decision, be realistic about your budget and your sensitivity to chlorine and your willingness to perform or pay for maintenance.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Sep 6, 2017

This week’s episode will give you the pros and cons of different types swimming pools in hopes of helping you decide whether your dream house should even include a swimming pool, and if so, what kind.   We’ll compare vinyl pools, fiberglass pools and concrete pools this week and next week we’ll talk about sanitation systems, including chlorine, salt water, and ultraviolet systems.  We'll begin the lesson by briefly discussing how a pool might impact the resale value of your house. 

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Aug 30, 2017
Even if, like me, you want hardwood, tile and/or vinyl flooring throughout most of your house, many of us love the warmth, style and soft surface that carpet provides, especially in bedrooms.  Carpeting also muffles sound, so it can be especially practical in kids bedrooms or playrooms.  
 
This week’s episode will give you a better understanding how to choose quality carpeting.  Carpeting that should last you at least 15 or 20 years.
 
Shownotes at BYHYU.com
Aug 23, 2017

This week we have the final part of my interview with Sue Burkett of Owens Corning.  She’s educating us about how we can make a statement with roof color using Owens Corning roof shingles. 

If you think of the front of your house like a face, then the roof is like hair.  And roof color, like hair color, can drastically alter the overall appearance and reflect your personal style.

What I love about Owens Corning shingle colors is that they have so much dimension.  In keeping with our hair analogy, their shingles aren’t just flat, uninteresting colors.  Instead, the roof shingles have depth, kind of like highlights and low lights in hair color. 

Take a look at Owens Corning.com for inspirational photos of their roof shingles and design tools that will let you test out different roof colors on photos of sample houses that they have on their site or on house photos that you can upload yourself.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Aug 16, 2017

Too often we think of our home’s roof as only a structural element, when, in fact, choosing roofing that’s also stylish and unique is a great opportunity to make your house stand out from others in the neighborhood.  On average, a roof accounts for 40% of the home’s exterior appearance.  So choosing the perfect roof color is vitally important in building a distinctive and attractive dream home.

This week and next week, we’ll hear about Owens Corning Roofing. Now, you probably know Owens Corning’s insulation by its signature pink color.  But they also produce other products for the home, including roofing.  Sue Burkett will tell us about Owens Corning roof shingles, which come in beautiful hues that are tasteful, but far from ordinary.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Aug 9, 2017

This week we're talking about dishwashers. We’ll cover some of the newest and most popular options that you’ll have to choose from when selecting a new dishwasher.  Since most of our homes already had a dishwasher installed when we bought them, many of us have never had to shop for a dishwasher.  I’m hoping these 12 quick tips will help you narrow your choices. 

Show notes at BYHYU.com

Aug 2, 2017

Welcome to episode 79 of Build House Yourself University—BYHYU. I’m Michelle Nelson, your host and fellow student, and together we’ll learn the basics of home design and construction and demystify the building process, so we can ask the right questions and build quality dream homes, with or without a general contractor.

This week I’ll give you the surprising update on my project.  I’ve hit a stumbling block (actually two).   But, I’m working through it.  No one said the road would be easy. 

Show notes at  BYHYU.com

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Jul 26, 2017

If you’ve decided to hire a builder to be a general contractor, site supervisor, or even a consultant for the construction of your new house, there are a whole slew of questions that you’ll want to ask him before you commit to working with him.  There’s the basic list of questions that you’ve probably heard before.  These are questions that most people ask when they are vetting, or investigating, a builder.   I bet you can guess many of them:

Are you licensed and insured?

How many years have you been building?

What kind of warranty do you offer?

How do you handle change orders?

So, there are also a few other questions that I came across last week that go beyond what the average homeowner typically asks. This list of questions is from one of my favorite websites, energyvanguard.com.  That blog post was called “10 questions to ask your prospective builder.”  We’ll cover 9 or those 10 question today.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

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Jul 12, 2017

I know what you’re thinking… Really, Michelle? A full mini lesson on kitchen sinks?  White or stainless steel.  What else is there to think about?  What’s the big deal? 

Well, even if, like me, you don’t cook most days of the week, you do probably use your kitchen sink every single day, and probably several times a day. 

The kitchen sink is one the hardest working fixtures in the entire house.  So, we need to choose the best sink for our kitchen routine and our kitchen design.

Some sink materials are tougher than others.  Taking the time to become familiar with different sink features and materials will help you find a sink that will make your kitchen look great and function well. This week we’ll go over the pros and cons of the most common kitchen sink materials, then I’ll give you a few tips for choosing the best sink size and style for your home and habits.  Plus we’ll go over our Pro Term: Farmhouse sink.

Shownotes at BYHYU.com

Jul 5, 2017

Learning about kitchen faucets probably won’t be the most exciting thing you do today, but it’s important that we get a basic understanding of the features we should be looking for.  Because we use our kitchen and bathroom faucets so often, we’ll want to choose those that will last for a really long time without problems and that work with our house design and preferences.  Here are 12 kitchen and bathroom faucet quick tips.

Show notes at http://BYHYU.com

Jun 28, 2017

What’s up with house shaming people for wanting a larger house?      That's so judgy.  When researching this post, and just talking to people in general about new houses, I’ve run across tons of derogatory statements about larger houses and people who want to live in them.  House shaming people for living in, or building larger houses, is far more common than house shaming folks who like small houses. 

Just like smaller houses, larger houses have some disadvantages, but there are also advantages to living in a larger house.  My feeling is… to each his own.  If you like a smaller house, cool.  Build a small house.  If you want a larger house, and you have the budget to build it, that’s okay too.   

Last week we talked about the pros of living in a smaller house.  This week, we’ll go over the pros of living in a larger house.  Yes, despite what you’ve heard in the media, there are advantages to living in a larger house.

Shownotes at BYHYU.com

Jun 21, 2017

Small is a relative term.  You might think of a tiny house when you hear someone using the term “small house” or you might think of an 1800 square foot home.  Wherever you fall on the spectrum, there are some definite benefits of building a smaller house.

Show notes at BYHYU.com

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