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Why Remodeling for Aging in Place is a Great Investment

May 23rd, 2023 |

If you own an investment property, you want to attract renters who plan to stay. With more than 3 out of every 4 seniors preferring to remain in their homes, an aging in place remodel may be just what your property needs. Read the following blog post to learn how modifications and additions help make a home livable for renters of all ages.


The first priority should be the bathroom, where water and slippery surfaces can increase the risk of falls. The bathroom should be easily accessible and safe. To prevent falls, install a textured floor surface and grab bars near the toilet and shower. A higher toilet seat makes it easier to sit and stand up. Since many seniors have a limited range of motion, consider installing a bench in the shower or tub.  

Ensure a bathroom is on the ground floor of a multi-story home. Adding a bathroom is expensive but can be less costly than a stairlift or elevator. 


A busy spot in any home, the kitchen is another high-priority area for an aging in place remodel. Accessibility and safety are the goals. For example, lower countertops allow seniors to work while seated. Under the counters, ample drawer space provides easy access to heavier dishes. In cabinets, sliding shelves keep items within reach. Non-slip flooring or mats near the sink help prevent slips and falls.

Window Treatments 

Window treatments help regulate lighting and temperature in a home. However, trying to reach and operate tangled cords can be frustrating when adjusting blinds or shades. Even worse, it can result in a fall. Consider installing motorized window treatments that allow adjustment by pressing a button. You can even raise or lower all the shades or blinds in a room with multiple windows. 

Doorways and Hallways

Make sure that doorways are wide enough for a walker or wheelchair. Doors should have lever-style handles that can be opened with an elbow.  

Hallways should have bright lighting, with switches at both ends. While at it, make sure staircases have switches at the top and bottom. Install handrails along every hallway to improve safety.  


Hardwood floors are attractive but can also be slippery and tough on aging feet. A soft, low-pile carpet is a better solution than area rugs, which can slide on a wood floor. The carpet will provide a non-slip surface and help keep feet warm and comfy. 

Home Exterior  

Front and back entrances often have steps that can challenge seniors. Ramps make going in and out of a home easier and safer. Replace exterior steps with ramps that can accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. A ramp should have a non-skid surface to prevent slips during wet or icy weather. 

Are you planning an aging in place remodel for your Boston-area investment property? At RH Blanchard, we have the general contracting expertise and skills necessary for senior-friendly upgrades and additions. Contact us to schedule a consultation and get a free quote.

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6 Creative Ideas for Small Outdoor Spaces

May 17th, 2023 |

Whether it’s an apartment balcony or an enclosed courtyard, you can make the most of your small outdoor space. Colorful tiles, rustic pavers or a privacy wall are just some of the ways you can transform that tiny porch or patio. Read the following post to discover small outdoor space ideas.

#1 Enclosed or Open Porch

For relaxation, you can’t beat sitting on a porch. A screen-enclosed porch lets you enjoy the cool evening breeze without dealing with mosquitos. An open porch allows friendly conversation with neighbors.  

If your porch measures 8 feet by 10 feet, you have room for a table and chairs. Simple touches, such as colorful pillows or a blanket, can turn your small porch into an inviting space.  

#2 Balcony 

Located outside apartments or on upper floors, balconies usually measure only 2 or 3 feet wide. That leaves virtually no room for furnishings. You can still use creative touches to make the most of this tiny space. For example, add a pop of color with a tile floor or install French doors for an elegant access point.  

#3 Gallery 

Slightly larger than a balcony, a gallery measures 3 to 4 feet wide. Supported by columns, this outdoor space provides room for minimal furnishings. A sleek, modern chair, for example, adds style without crowding. A container plant, such as hydrangea or jasmine, can dress up a gallery with color and fragrance.  

#4 Patio 

An article about small outdoor space ideas wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the patio. Even the tiniest patio can look elegant and stylish with the help of textures, colors, and various materials.  

For example, flagstones create a rustic look, while a pergola provides shade. Consider installing a wooden wall for privacy. The cozy atmosphere is perfect for inviting a few friends for cocktails or just getting away from it all with a good book. 

#5 Rooftop Garden

Does your home have a flat roof? If it does, you can turn that space into an outdoor gathering place for dinner guests or your star-gazing oasis. A rooftop garden can include shrubs, small trees, raised beds, and ground covers. Preserve the open and airy feel by installing clear glass instead of a solid wall. Seating and a table invite outdoor dining or tranquil morning coffee.  

#6 Courtyard 

Depending on the shape of your home, you may be able to create a courtyard. For example, a horseshoe-shaped building provides space for a partially enclosed, roofless courtyard. Some courtyards are completely enclosed in the center of the home, although this style is often found in Europe. 

A courtyard provides the best of both worlds: the fresh air of the outdoors with the privacy and comfort of an interior room. A retractable awning creates a cooler, shaded space. Paver stones retain less heat and help maintain a comfortable temperature. If plants are in the courtyard, install a temporary roof for winter protection.

The general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard are here to help with your small Boston-area outdoor space ideas. Get in touch today for a free quote!

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The Importance of Curb Appeal — Plus, 6 House Painting Tips

April 10th, 2023 |

When it comes to your property, curb appeal can add more than a great first impression. Good looks can add significant value to a home, whether it’s an attractive front yard or a fresh coat of paint, and can account for up to 7 percent of a home’s sale value. A professional contractor can safely and expertly paint your home exterior to help boost curb appeal and ensure your property looks as good as possible. These house painting tips will help you get started. 

#1 Choose Paint Color

Opt for paint colors that match the architectural style of your home. Home decorating magazines and websites are good places to start researching exterior colors. Paint company websites sometimes let you upload an image of your home and sample various colors. Before you start your painting project, buy a small amount of your chosen color and paint an inconspicuous area of your home. 

#2 Choose Paint Type and Finish

Besides color, you’ll also have to choose a paint finish and paint type. Satin or eggshell finishes have a light sheen that makes them fade-resistant and easier to clean. However, a flat finish may be best if you plan to take a break in the middle of your exterior paint project. Flat paint won’t show overlapping seams, so no one will notice where you left off and pick up again.

Water-based latex is a popular type of paint. However, oil-based latex works well on wood steps and steel railings. 

#3 Gather Tools

You can’t beat the old-fashioned brush and roller for DIY exterior paint projects. A sprayer may seem fast and efficient, but spray painting requires extensive preparation. For example, you must tape every surface that will not be painted. If saving time is a priority, consider using a brush and roller.  

#4 Take Time to Prep

Of course, you want your exterior paint to adhere to the surface. There are no shortcuts to the prep work if you want attractive, long-lasting results. Scrape off peeling paint. Remove rotten wood or apply hardener and wood filler. Clean, dry, and sand all surfaces that you plan to paint.  

#5 Apply Primer and Paint

Most exterior surfaces require two coats of paint. Apply an acrylic primer to most types of wood to create a smooth, sealed surface. Use an oil-based primer for redwood or cedar surfaces. After the primer dries, apply two coats of acrylic latex paint over the primer.  

#6 Work Smart  

This is one of the most important house painting tips we can offer. Some parts of your exterior paint project will be fun. Other parts, such as under the eaves, will seem like drudgery. Work on the most difficult and boring sections first while fresh. Then you can reward yourself by painting the house’s fun, most visible parts.  

Plus, maximize your time at the top of your extension ladder. To save time climbing the ladder, try to paint as far as you can safely reach while you’re up there.  

RH Blanchard has a skilled general contracting team available for your Boston-area exterior projects. For a free consultation, get in touch today!

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Laundry Room Remodeling: An Unexpected Investment

March 16th, 2023 |

The laundry room has evolved from a forgotten basement corner to a stylish yet functional part of the home. Upgrades can save space and make laundry day more convenient. In this blog post, we list remodel ideas and explain why a laundry room remodel should be on the agenda for your investment property.

Folding Station

A folding station next to the washer or dryer can save space and time. You can move clean laundry from the dryer to the countertop in one easy step. You can include other features to create a multipurpose folding station. A hanging rack or coat hooks, for example, let you hang shirts to prevent wrinkling. Rolling storage bins can fit in the space beneath the countertop. 

Generous Storage Space

Whether it’s cabinets or open shelves, storage space lets you keep laundry essentials within reach. There’s no need to hunt for dryer sheets, stain remover or fabric softener when you can keep the laundry room organized. While you’re at it, make the storage area attractive as well as functional with a fresh coat of brightly colored paint. 

Colorful Tile

A laundry room does not have to look drab. Consider jazzing up the space with some multicolored tile. A brightly patterned tile wall or floor adds cheer to the room, making sorting and folding a little more pleasant. Ceramic tile is an excellent choice for the laundry room because it is water-resistant, slip-resistant and easily cleaned with a wet cloth. 

Utility Sink

Not all laundry items are machine washable. A utility sink lets you wash delicate items without leaving the laundry room. Keep hand wash supplies in a convenient space on a shelf or in a bin. The utility sink also makes it easy to clean the laundry room when needed.  

Wood Tones

Wood accents add warmth to any space, so why not make the laundry room more inviting? For example, wood cabinet doors combined with white appliances and a black tile floor can transform the space from utilitarian to downright stylish. Choose from a wide range of hardwoods, such as oak, cherry or maple. Wood is compatible with many styles, from contemporary to rustic farmhouse.  

Convenient Location

It’s not easy to fit laundry into a busy schedule, especially when you must run upstairs to pick up bathroom towels you forgot. Make laundry day easier by placing the laundry room in a location that will save steps. Renters or buyers will appreciate having their washer and dryer near bedrooms or closets. Get creative by building the laundry in an unusual spot, such as the cozy space under the eaves.  

Return on Investment 

The cost for a laundry room remodel depends on the type of work involved. For example, a countertop can cost an average of $300 to $1400, while flooring will run you an average of $280 to $840. The average ROI of 50% to 75%, however, can make the investment worthwhile.  

Ready to remodel that laundry room in your Boston-area investment property? Contact RH Blanchard for a free quote from our general contracting team.

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How to Stage Your Investment Property

March 8th, 2023 |

When it’s time to sell, you want the best price for your investment property. Home staging can make your property stand out. According to the National Association of Realtors, 23 percent of sellers said that staged homes received 1 to 5 percent higher offers than non-staged homes. How does home staging work? Read on to find out. 


Getting rid of clutter lets you dramatically improve your property’s appearance without spending a fortune. The last thing you want potential renters to see is stacks of paper and crowded counter space. Consider putting extra furniture and accumulated garage junk in storage. You can always sort through stuff later. Right now, focus on decluttering your property. 

Keep it Clean

Now is the time to do that deep cleaning. Sparkling clean rooms create a positive first impression. Make those windows shine, dust the furniture, polish the floors and steam clean the carpet. Even door knobs and light switches need attention. Let potential renters or buyers see that you take care of your property. The last thing you want them to notice is a stained carpet or a collection of dust bunnies under the sofa. 

Choose the Right Color Scheme

Your rental doesn’t have to be awash in neutral tones, but a monochromatic color scheme, such as soothing shades of blue, is usually appropriate. Prospective renters can view the home as a whole without being distracted by a particular wall or ceiling. On the other hand, you may want to be a bit more adventurous with colors if your property sits in an arts district. 

Enhance Lighting

You want every room in the property to look bright and inviting. Make the most of your available natural light by washing the windows and opening the blinds. For lamps and ceiling lighting, choose higher-temperature LED bulbs that mimic the look of daylight. Maximize the sunny effect by cleaning your light fixtures. 

Repair and Refresh

Walk through your property and take note of items that need repairs. Make sure all light fixtures and bulbs work. Refresh the living room with new sofa cushions, or update the bedroom with a new comforter. Have pets scratched or chewed on the furniture? Could the walls use a new coat of paint? Simple repairs can make a big difference when staging a home.  

Remember Curb Appeal 

Of course, people will see the exterior of your property before they can enjoy the monochromatic color scheme and spiffed-up carpet. Therefore, don’t forget to consider curb appeal when staging your investment property.  

First, stand at the curb in front of the home and look for areas that need improvement. Check the lawn, planting beds, and front entry. The exterior walls, patio, and driveway could probably use good pressure washing. Mow the lawn, pull weeds, put down fresh mulch, trim the shrubs, and paint the front door. While you’re at it, a new mailbox and doormat wouldn’t hurt. 

How does home staging work? The general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard can answer your questions and make your Boston-area investment property shine. For a free quote, get in touch today!

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Pet-Friendly Remodeling: 7 Ideas to Keep in Mind for Your Furry Friends

February 14th, 2023 |

Pets are a growing trend in American households. A 2021-2022 survey found that 70 percent of US households include pets. A pet-friendly home keeps your four-legged family members happy. Plus, your home may appeal to pet owners if you decide to sell. Learn more from these 7 tips!

1. Sleep Nook 

Give your dog or cat a cozy space with a built-in bed. Whether under a stairwell or incorporated in a cabinet, your pet can get away from it all without feeling isolated. You won’t have that dog crate or cat bed taking up floor space. Build the bed at floor level or install a ramp for older pets.  

2. Feeding Station

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, why not add a feeding station for your pet? You can install it below the cabinets or at the end of the island. Include a bottom shelf for food and water bowls, drawers, and shelves to store food and treats. The feeding station can be located off the kitchen to avoid crowding if you have large dogs or multiple pets. 

3. Mud Room With Storage

Connect your front entry to a mud room that can withstand muddy paws and wet fur. Install shelves, cabinets, or hooks to leashes, toys, bags, and towels within easy reach. Pets shake out their fur when they come in from the rain, so the floor and walls should be water-resistant. 

4. Pet-Washing Station

Why struggle to lift your dog into a sink or tub when you can have a specially designed pet-washing station? Many people are opting for this pet-friendly home feature. It is about half as high as a shower stall, including a sprayer, floor drain, and storage shelves. The laundry room, mud room, or bathroom are ideal locations for a pet-washing station.

5. Pet Door

When you install a pet door, your dog or cat can go outside and back indoors on their own. That means you don’t have to worry about getting home in time to let them out. Without assistance, your pet can enjoy the fresh air or return indoors if it’s too cold or hot.  

6. Screened-In Porch

For a little more security, create a screened-in porch with a comfy bed for Fido or Fluffy. When you’re not home, your pet can safely relax in the sunshine and watch the world go by. Consider installing a tile floor to keep your pet cool. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pet is safe and happy when they’re alone. 

7. Cat Walkway  

Cats love to observe the world from elevated perches. Besides the usual “kitty condos,” you can install a cat walkway with on-and-off ramps. Install the walkway above eye level and the ramps no higher than two feet off the floor. Unvarnished wood is an ideal material because it is less slippery than plastic. 

The general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard can make your home a haven for your dog or cat. Contact us today for a free quote.

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8 Must-Know Tips to Make Your Whole-Home Remodel a Success

February 8th, 2023 |

Are you considering a whole-home remodel? From design to building codes, there are many factors to consider. Read the following tips for a successful remodel.

#1 Decide How to Fund Your Remodel

Depending on the work involved, the average cost of a whole-home remodel ranges from $18,000 to $165,000 or more. Cash and liquid assets are a great resource for funding your whole-home remodel. However, you can apply for a loan if you don’t already have the funds.. A home equity loan lets you use your remodeled home as collateral. The main drawback is you could lose the home if your payments are late. Credit cards are less desirable due to high interest rates. If you borrow from family or friends, make sure you have a clear repayment plan. 

#2 Hire Experienced Design-Build Contractors  

Reliable design-build contractors are indispensable for a large remodel project. Your best bet is to hire an experienced and skilled in-house team. A design-build team will have an organized system and efficient workflow. On the other hand, you may want to hire individual subcontractors if you need specialized work, such as a kitchen remodel. 

#3 Choose Your Style

Now is the time to rethink your home’s style and interior design. Is there a particular style — such as farmhouse, Early American, or mid-century modern — that you prefer? Areas where people gather, such as the living room and kitchen, should have the same theme. Discuss your style preferences with your design-build contractor. 

#4 Understand the Structural Requirements

Your whole-home remodel must meet local structural requirements. Any changes to the home must not interfere with the structural support of the building. The remodel must adhere to your area’s building code and other requirements.

#5 Apply for Permits 

Speaking of building codes, you’ll want to apply for the required permits as soon as possible. You don’t want to delay your project while you wait weeks or months for permit approvals. Plumbing, electrical and structural changes are examples of projects that need permits. General contractors will often do the paperwork for you. 

#6 Budget for Unexpected Issues

An extensive remodel is almost guaranteed to run into unexpected issues. Even the best plans can be sidetracked by complications, whether it’s plumbing or foundation problems. To avoid panic, make room for the unexpected in your budget and timeline. 

#7 Factor in Utilities

Your utilities may partially determine the extent of your remodel. Water, gas, or electrical systems have requirements that may limit some structural changes. Consult an experienced contractor about utilities in the early planning stages.

#8 Plan for the Future  

Keep the future in mind when planning a whole-home remodel. For example, current and future tenants will have to live with the remodel results. Will upgrades be necessary if you sell the property in the future?

At RH Blanchard, our experienced general contracting team is ready to get started on your Boston-area remodel. Contact us today for a free quote!

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Best Neighborhoods to Live in Boston

January 17th, 2023 |

You can’t beat Boston neighborhoods for history, charm, and culture. Property investors, however, must consider many other factors when looking for the best neighborhoods to live in. What is the likely return on investment (ROI)? Are home prices and rents increasing year-over-year (YOY)? The following sections look at 6 investment-worthy Boston neighborhoods. 

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