12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine

12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine
Under Contract!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Local 188 Brunch ~~ Sundays

This is a great spot on Congress Street to enjoy a great meal and watch all the hipsters of Portland.  The food is delicious and plentiful and the presentation is a treat to the eye.  We had Huevos Rancheros and eggs with toast and homefries.  We began wih dessert~~a giant cinnamon bun with icing and fresh fruit!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

3 Green Home Improvements that Pay Off

By: Karin Beuerlein

Published: February 16, 2011

Forget big savings on your energy bills if you make green home improvements. Instead, choose green retrofits and home improvements that offset rising energy prices.

Investment Low $25–$1,800 (materials)

Insulating your home, including the attic, can shave up to 10% off your energy bills. Image: CertainTeed

If you made green home improvements over the last few years with high hopes for lower energy bills and a quick recoup of your initial investment, you got an awakening: Your monthly bottom line likely held steady—or, worse, went up.

Before you shun green, recalibrate your thinking from expecting fat returns to understanding the new bottom line: Smart retrofits help you hold your ground against rising energy costs.

Why have my green home improvements fallen flat?

Energy prices as a whole have gone up over the last decade, especially in certain regions of the country.

Although natural gas prices have dipped a bit since 2008 and electricity prices have stayed level, the trend line goes up for both from 2011 forward.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates an average annual increase in residential energy costs of 2.3% through 2035.

So…if energy cost projections hold, and assuming an average annual American energy bill of $2,200, you’ll pay 2.3% more each year (that’s $50 the first year) if you do nothing to reduce your consumption. Your bill will inch closer to $4,000 by the year 2035. Ouch.

3 energy saving retrofits that pay off

If the only reason you’re making retrofits is to manage energy costs, look for projects with maximum bang for the buck.

Rule of thumb: Try to beat the 2.3% annual average with green home improvements that reduce your energy consumption by 5% or more but have a modest initial investment. And don’t forget to ask whether your utility or state government offers rebates or tax credits for these improvements.

1. Seal and insulate ductwork that runs through unheated spaces—the attic, a crawl space, a garage. It’s not glamorous, but it can improve the efficiency of your heating system by 20%—a 5% bill reduction overall. If you hire an HVAC pro for this job, you’ll invest a few hundred dollars for labor and materials.

2. Buy a programmable thermostat. Is it possible you haven’t done this yet? For just $25 to $250, the you can save, on average, around 8% on energy bills simply by programming it properly.

3. Add attic insulation and seal air leaks. One of the best energy-saving improvements out there, because insulating and sealing your home can reduce your energy bills by 10%. Upgrading your attic insulation to the R-value recommended for your region costs anywhere from $.25 to $1 per square foot, including materials and labor; it’s less if you do it yourself.

But you won’t get the maximum savings if you don’t seal air leaks, so plan this as a combo job. Caulking and weather-stripping typically costs from $50 to $350, depending on the size of your house.

Karin Beuerlein in more than a decade of freelancing, has covered home improvement and green living topics extensively for HGTV.com, FineLiving.com, and FrontDoor.com. She and her husband started married life by remodeling the house they were living in. They still have both the marriage and the house, no small feat.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/3-green-home-improvements-pay/#ixzz1NSMD7dJt

Saturday, May 21, 2011

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

160.  Art Gallery at UNE on Stevens Ave:  This is a small but interesting gallery with a fabulous display currently running with all sorts of critters.  It is delightful and whimsical and all works are for sale! Check it out: http://www.une.edu/artgallery/

Friday, May 20, 2011

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

159. Phippsburg Maine: An hour dive from Portland and not far from Bath Maine, this coastal community abounds with natural beauty.  Take a drive down the winding roads off Rt 209 and enjot the dramatic scenery.  Then stop for lunch at North Creek Farm with homemade soups and sandwiches like crab bisque and cheddar with pesto.  Browse the shop and pick up some healthy perrenials.  Hens and roosters are very friendly!

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

158.  GR DiMillo's Restaurant has delicious Italian fare with chewy bread and $2 house wine during happy hour for while you are waiting.
We had lasagna with meatballs and chicken Parmigiana.
Both were yummy and plentiful!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Landscaping for Curb Appeal

By: Pat Curry
Published: March 25, 2010

A well-landscaped yard creates curb appeal and helps your property retain maximum value. Here are a few tips and tricks for sprucing up your outdoor spaces yourself.

If you're installing outdoor lighting on your own, remember to highlight the areas you want people to see. Image: CoeStudios.com

A beautiful yard is a head-turner, no doubt about it. The good news is that even if you can’t tell a tulip from a turnip at the garden center, you can still create eye-catching curb appeal by paying attention to the basics of good landscaping. Ignoring your yard—or doing something that’s out of character with the neighborhood—can jeopardize the assessed value of your home.

“We have several categories for design and appeal,“ says Frank Lucco, a real estate agent and professional appraiser in Houston. “That’s where we make those adjustments. Poorly maintained landscaping can be as much as a 5 or 10% deduction.”

Appraisers are quick to praise the allure of a well-tended lawn and good-looking landscaping when it comes time to sell your home, but most do not assign any specific increase in monetary value for upkeep.

“Landscaping is going to add to the appeal of the property and it may sell quicker, but it’s hard to determine value,” says John Bredemeyer, president of Omaha-based Realcorp. “You have to have a number to compensate someone if you drove into their tree and killed it, but is it really market value? Probably not.”

Nevertheless, most professionals agree that curb appeal and a well-maintained appearance prevent your property from losing value. Here are the top suggestions from real estate agents, appraisers, and landscape designers for boosting the curb appeal of your yard:

Green up the grass

If your house has a front yard, make sure it‘s neat and green. You don’t want bare spots, sprawling weeds, or an untrimmed appearance.

“It’s so simple to go to Home Depot, buy fertilizer, apply it every six weeks, and water it,” says Mitch Kalamian, a landscape designer in Huntinginton Beach, Calif. “It will green up.”

If the yard looks really scruffy, you may decide to invest in some sod. According to the National Gardening Association, the average cost of sod is 15 to 35 cents per sq. ft. If you hire a landscaper to sod your yard for you, labor will add 30% to 50% to the total cost of the project.

Another alternative is to plant low-maintenance turf grasses. Turf grasses are durable and drought-resistant. Expect to pay $18 to $30 for enough turf grass seed to plant 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn area.

Add colorful planting beds

Flower beds add color and help enliven otherwise plain areas, such as along driveways and the edges of walkways. In general, annual flowers are a bit cheaper but must be replaced every year. Perennials cost a bit more but come back annually and usually get larger or spread with each growing season.

If you’re not sure what to plant, inquire at your local garden center. Often, they’ll have a display of bedding plants chosen for their adaptability to your area. Also, they‘ll be inexpensive because they’re in season, says Peter Mezitt, president of Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton, Mass. Try pansies in the summer, and asters and mums in the fall to add vibrant color. “That’s what we do around the entrance to our garden center,” Mezitt says.

Valerie Torelli, a California REALTOR® who dresses up her clients’ yards to sell their houses faster and for more money, says that in her market, she can put in a bed of colorful annuals and bark, as well as cutting down overgrown shrubs, for less than $500. “We can buy gorgeous plants for $3.99 to $15.99,” she says.

Add landscape lighting

For homeowners who have made a sizeable investment in landscaping, it makes sense to think about adding another 10% to 15% to the bill for professional lighting. “You can’t see landscaping after dark,“ says Brandon Stephens, vice president of marketing for a landscape lighting firm in Lubbock, Texas, “and buyers are not always looking at houses on a Saturday afternoon.”

The cost of a system runs from $200 for a DIY installation to more than $4,000 for a professional job. If you‘re doing it on your own, the key is to light what you want people to see, such as mature trees and flowering shrubs.

Plant a tree

The value of mature trees is particularly difficult to determine. Lucco says that in his market, mature trees contribute as much as 10% of a $100,000 property’s overall value. In addition, a properly placed shade tree can shave as much as $32 a year on your energy bills. Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a young, 6- to 7-foot deciduous tree.

You can make your own initial assessment of the value of your property’s trees by visiting the National Tree Benefit Calculator. For example, a mature Southern red oak tree with a diameter of 36 inches in the front yard of a house in Augusta, Ga., would add $70 to the property value this year, according to the calculator.

Georgia-based freelance writer Pat Curry writes extensively about housing and real estate for consumer and trade publications. While a fair hand at remodeling, she is hopeless as a gardener. As a result, her landscaping is made up of plants that thrive on neglect.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/landscaping-curb-appeal/#ixzz1Lz5Yqw3V

Friday, May 6, 2011

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

157. The Merry Table in the Old Port~~ A marvelous French restaurant which I am giving my personal 4**** rating.

Everything was perfect from start to finish!  The homemade Sangria was tangy with cinnamon, the bruschetta was very flavorful on crisp slices of French bread, the crepe with Swiss cheese and a side of greens was scrumptious.  My husband loved his entree of salmon with potatoes and spinach.  For dessert we shared a Kir Royale and a crepe Suzette.  Every plate was clean when our darling waitress from Bordeaux picked them up!  Try it...


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Green Bathroom Remodeling

Green Bathroom Remodeling

By: Dave Toht

Published: September 30, 2009

If you want to make sure your bathroom remodeling project is as green as possible, here’s how to save energy, conserve resources, and protect your budget.

Value Added High $10,700 - $30,700

Effort High 2-3 mos (including planning)

Investment High $16,600-$53,800

You care about the environment. You also happen to have a bathroom badly in need of remodeling. How do you get the job done with minimal impact on both our fragile planet and your precious budget? Thankfully, the growth of the green building movement has given rise to many eco-responsible products and resources that allow you to create the water-conserving, healthy, energy-wise bath you’ve always wanted—all without busting your bottom line. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s all about the water
Thinking about greening your bathroom means considering how you use water in terms of consumption and energy. According to the American Water Works Association, your humble toilets are the thirstiest water users in the house, accounting for 27% of consumption. This fact inspired conservation schemes like placing something hefty in the toilet tank to reduce flushing capacity, and those low-flow toilets that too often didn’t flush what needed flushing.

A more successful approach is the dual-flush toilet. It has two flush buttons, one for light work, one for heavy. Long a mainstay in Europe, dual-flush toilets are available in the U.S. for $250–$400, a price in line with top-quality conventional toilets. A dual flush toilet can save 17,000 gallons of water a year—about $50 off your water bill. If you wish to keep your old toilet (a very green decision), you can retrofit it with a dual flush mechanism costing only $70.

The shower is another squanderer of water. Showers use 16% to 20% of a home’s water, most of it heated. The flow rate of a typical showerhead is 2.5 gallons per minute. Switching it out with a low-flow head of 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute still offers adequate cleansing power with a substantial savings in water usage. (If you cherish a really forceful blast of hot water, consider a full-flow showerhead with a lever that lets you shut it off while you lather.)

In addition to conserving water, you’ll want to take a close look at the way your water is heated. Second only to the kitchen, the bathroom is your home’s most intensive energy user, with most of that energy going towards those nice hot showers and baths. Curbing wasted energy can be as simple as adding an insulating blanket to your tank-type heater (reducing energy use by 4% to 9%) and insulating all accessible hot water pipes. In addition, most water heaters are set to 140 degrees; you can turn down the water heater temperature setting to a still-toasty 120 degrees and save up to $60 per year on energy costs.

If your old water heater is nearing the end of its 15-year life cycle and you’re considering investing in a new water heater, you can achieve some handsome energy savings. One smart option is a condensing storage water heater. Using technology similar to that of high-efficiency furnaces, the condensing heater puts nearly every possible BTU into the water instead of sending it up the flue. Currently, a 50-gallon gas unit costs $1,700 (versus $380 for a standard tank-type heater), a price that is expected to drop as demand takes hold. Installation costs are around $400, slightly higher than that of standard units. Those higher costs are offset by a $300 tax credit and an EPA estimated annual fuel savings of more than $100.

A tankless water heater heats water only as it is needed, avoiding the heat loss that occurs with a conventional tank. A unit costs about $2,000 installed, and your annual energy savings will be $70 a year. Be aware that these units take some getting used to; expect a shot of cold water before the hot kicks in.

Move that air

A bathroom remodel is an excellent time to consider installing a new exhaust ventilator fan to remove odors, moisture, and mold spores. Many bathroom fans only vent to the space between ceiling joists, creating an environment for mold and dampness that can damage walls and ceilings. Make sure your new fan vents completely to the outside of your house.

Unfortunately, even properly installed fans that push the moist outdoors can carry away a lot of heated air as well. A clever solution to this problem is a heat-exchange ventilator that uses outgoing air to warm the cold incoming air. Such units cost about $250 uninstalled, twice the price of a standard fan. Whatever fan you have, avoid an on-off switch; it’s too easy to forget to turn it off. Replace it with a timer switch or, better yet, buy a new fan unit with a motion- or humidity-sensing switch.

Selecting green materials

A green bathroom remodel need not stint on style. Classic ceramic tile comes in limitless colors and patterns, and is a green choice due to its low maintenance, durability, and low toxicological impact. Some tiles have high recycled content; recycled glass tiles are a lovely way to do the right ecological thing. Not buying something new can be good green idea too. Consider refinishing your old tub or sink. Use the pros for the best results. Expect to pay $500 for a tub, $300 for a sink. You’ll save as much on installation costs.

LED illumination now produces pleasing light quality in fixtures that sip only 2 to 15 watts, emit little heat, andhave a life span of 15–20 years. They cost about three times as much as conventional fixtures but use so little electricity that the payback can be as short as a year.

Paint and vinyl coverings often come loaded with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that threaten indoor air quality. Look for building materials with Green Seal certification. Green Seal is a non-profit, independent organization that certifies products claiming to be environmentally friendly. Low-VOC options in paints and adhesives can be found at your local home center.

Waste not

Much of our landfill (estimates range from 22% to 40%) comes from construction debris. Any steps that reduce landfill potentially reduce the chance of ground water pollution, the odor and unsightliness of a local landfill, and in some cases the high cost of shipping waste elsewhere. Much of the debris that comes from a remodeling tear-out is not salvageable, but old toilets, sinks, light fixtures, medicine cabinets, and vanities can be donated to an organization like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. In fact, it may be just what someone is seeking for their own green remodeling.

Dave Toht has written or edited more than 60 books on home repair and remodeling, including titles for The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset, and Reader’s Digest. A former contractor with decades of hands-on experience, Dave was editor of Remodeling Ideas Magazine and continues to contribute to numerous how-to publications. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a green addition to his Olympia, Wash., home.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/green-bathroom-remodeling/#ixzz1LVpaBmjI

Monday, May 2, 2011

Otto's Pizza Restaurant

Luscious pizza and superb wait staff!

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

156. Bayside Bowling in Portland~~I guess this would be a fun place to bowl although I am not featuring this spot as a sporting person.  The food however is really good and the restaurant and bar are roomy and comfortable.  There is also live music.  The grilled pizza was good and the burgers are two-handed affairs!  Fries hot and crunchy and dessert of blueberry crisp--FAB!