Summer Newsletter, 2015

Keeping it Tight

By: Wayne Coolidge
   Back in the 80’s & 90's, I had as many as 19 employees. The construction industry was booming and anyone who had a pulse was a carpenter. I was on my way to being one of the largest construction companies in the Seacoast. I had to take my carpenter’s belt off because I was spending my days babysitting and running from job to job. I was a slave to my business; chaos was the norm; and quality control was a challenge.
   Over the past thirty years, I have grown to realize that bigger is not always better; though that persona seems to have followed me. Jim, a friend of mine, who was referring me to a potential client who thought we were big, said, “Wayne has a small company, he keeps it tight, and he keeps his hands wrapped around it”. With the way we have evolved, I couldn’t have said that any better. These days I just have a handful of employees; I wear my carpenter’s belt on site; and quality control is my modus operandi.
   There are downsides to wearing my belt and being on site all day-I don’t have time to do the necessary office paperwork. I’m too exhausted to get anything done after work, so I now get up at 5 am to head into the office. I thought only old people got up that early- so I look at it as more of a choice than an aging process. I have a cup of coffee, put on the tunes, and complete as much as I can before the phone starts ringing and the day’s events begin. Twelve hour days have become the standard but it is well worth it and the only way I can find to keep my hands wrapped around it. I still can’t get caught up, but who ever really does?
   I do feel like I have taken control of my business, instead of the other way around. I have all the right people in place that enables me to keep it small, keep it tight, and keep my hands wrapped around it.

Tip: Check Your Foundation

   Check to see if you foundation is straight by looking down the length of the wall from each corner. Use a level to check leaning walls. If there is a bulge or curve in a block or poured foundation, this could be a sign that the soil surrounding it may be expanding and contracting, which is putting pressure on the walls. Secondly, check for any chips or flakes and use a screwdriver to poke at them. The concrete should be hard enough so that you cannot damage it. If you do manage to chip or break a piece off, the concrete could be deteriorating and will most likely need attention. Lastly, check any and all structural components. In your basement or crawl space, look for supports or posts. Make sure they are firm and straight, and that there are no puddles around the beams or rot, which could be a sign of a moisture issue. 

Small Space, Big Patio Dreams

   Wishing you could add a patio to your yard, but don’t think you have the space for it? Here are some tips for designing a patio to fit even the smallest of spaces!
   The first key to a nice patio is to have designated areas. Separate your dining area from your relaxation area and that from your yard. You want to make the most out of your space, and by keeping each section well defined, it will make the area more functional. You can also design tiers of patio and use a mix of ground materials to create dimension and contrast to the area, making it feel larger. Built-ins are perfect for this project because you can fit in more storage while not creating clutter.
   You will want to determine what the purpose of your patio will be. Do you want a welcoming space for entertaining others, or more of a private sanctuary for yourself? If you are looking for privacy, adding cedar screens around your patio could be a great option. This is easy to do in even the tiniest space because all you need are some screens and a comfy chair with a side table. The other option is to expand the space to its fullest and use it for entertaining. You will still want to scale down furniture- otherwise you pose the risk of cluttering the space. Bench seats work well for fitting more people in a small space and can easily be built into corners or attached to walls. Another option is to keep seating stored nearby that can easily be brought out when guests are over.
   To make the area feel more connected to the nature surrounding it, choose colors that match the shades of surrounding trees and foliage. Potted plants are a good option when space is limited, and you could create a vertical garden to add more. Keep decorations calming and simple; too much can be overwhelming in a small space. Add soothing features like water fountains, stones, or gardens and bring your patio dream to reality!

Making the Most of Your Garage

   With summer here, many of us will spend a lot of time out in our garage. And how frustrating is it to be working on a project when you need a certain tool, but not be able to find it? Here are some tips for keeping an organized garage where you can always find things when you need them.
   The first step is to sort everything into like piles. Sort collections of house supplies, sports equipment, holiday decorations, etc. and figure out what needs to stay in the garage full time, or what can be stored out of reach. The goal of storage in your garage is to have enough shelving to store everything, but not have it wall to wall where it looks cluttered. You will still want to save enough countertop to work on and wall space to hang tools. Create storage where everything has its own place, so you can find it easily. The biggest key, however, will be to put everything back where it belongs- in order to keep it organized.
   There are many different storage solutions available to suit your needs. One of the most popular is steel panel pegboards. They are strong and magnetic, and can hold more than you would expect. Wire grids also offer endless possibilities, as you can add on hooks, shelving, buckets, and more. Don’t forget to store overhead by using ceiling mounted storage units. You can put totes and more out of sight and still have room underneath to hang additional storage from, like bicycles and ladders.
   If you don’t want to spend the money on buying new storage racks or cabinets, consider what you may already have on hand. Maybe you have old cabinets or dressers collecting dust in the attic that would be perfect. You can repurpose them and turn them into a storage unit in your garage. Another tip is to turn storage into artwork. For example, hang your snowboards in a row to make them eye-catching. By bringing in decorations or bursts of color, you can divert attention away from the storage and still make it feel like a livable area. Try adding an entry rug with a coat rack and boot mat to instantly create a warm welcoming into the space.

Fun Suggestion

Build a vertical garden wall
This project is especially great if you want to add a garden to a small area.
1. Attach burlap to the inside of one side of a pallet.
2. Use staple gun to attach garden film around back side and 3 edges. Leave one short edge open to fill.
3. With open side facing up, fill entire pallet with planting soil.
4. Make small cuts in burlap to plant seeds or seedlings.
*Tip: Keep pallet horizontal until plants are well established.
Google Plus
Copyright © 2015 W.A. Coolidge Company, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1701
Dover, NH 03821-1701