Home Projects

Summer Projects: Who you gonna call?

It’s a Friday morning in the beginning of August and you’re cleaning and prepping for a fun filled weekend with family and friends before the craziness of back-to-school and then it happens. You feel the temperature rise in every room; the air conditioning unit you trusted for the last few years has failed you. Now your well planned weekend has turned into a frantic search for a trusted AC repairman. Where do you start?
If you’ve already already started google searching, you’ll see hundreds of choices come up. Do you trust the iffy 4.2 star ratings or call everyone in your phone book in hope they’ve had an experience recently...

How to Hire a GC in Austin Part 2


You have decided it is time to do a remodel and you do not want to be the general contractor. You have gotten some names from reliable sources but aren’t certain how to proceed.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Do your homework. Just because your best friend has referred a general contractor, you have every right to be judicious.  Learn as much as possible before hiring someone and signing a contract.

You should:

-       Interview the general contractor

-       See if they are listed on the Better Business Bureau website

-       Check out any testimonials made online

-       Look at their website

-       Review their credentials

-       Determine if they are...

How to Hire a GC in Austin

To Be or Not To Be The GC….That is the Question

While spring has not officially sprung in Austin, the sunny weather is deceptive. With January temperatures in the mid-sixties, even the tulips are being fooled into early activity. Some homeowners are still taking down Christmas lights while other homeowners are beginning to plan their next home improvement project.

Now is a good to begin renovations. Construction projects are usually a bit slower this time of year so it is prime time to begin doing research. While we like to do a good number of things to our house - Gene really is quite handy; when it comes to major projects that include plumbing, electrical or dry walling, we like to hire professionals.

Tips to get you started:

To be or not to be (the GC)….well that is the question. I have acted as General Contractor on many projects, hiring every portion of the project out and staying on top of scheduling. I know enough excellent electricians,...

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood, is it a fad similar to the paneling craze of the 70’s or is it here to stay? Unstained wood has definitely found its place in modern décor. 

It seems since Restoration Hardware introduced us to their line of imperfect, unfinished, repurposed wood pieces, everyone has embraced the style and is clamoring for that look. The complementary use of organic linen, monochromatic color palettes and sparse furnishings is still trending however, it’s evolution includes creating something new and marrying it with something old. 


Much of this style is Belgian influenced and many credit its success to Axel Vervoordt, a renowned Belgian designer. He has been quoted as saying “the only decoration is proportion…no one does proportion like Mother Nature.”

Well Texans love the nature and there is something about reclaiming a piece of the outdoors to bring the natural feel indoors. Our love of reclaimed wood...

Remodeling Returns

We have lived in many homes over the past years. In fact, we tend to move quite regularly yet I feel that we have finally found a home that we will live in for many years to come – fingers crossed!

That being said, the majority of the homes in the Four Points Area, on average, tend to be around 10 – 20 years old. If you haven’t given thought to it before, it may be time to think about re-modeling or simply updating your house.

Updating can be done in varying stages. You can choose to make small changes, like replacing old cabinet handles with new ones; removing blinds to add shutters or simply replacing the carpet. 

Or, you can focus on a larger scale project like maintenance or remodeling.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to renovating. One is to view the cost you put in your home as an investment. You should know your return on investment as well as the time it will take to recoup your investment.  Typically, you want to remain in your...

Home Smart

As a follow up to our “Smart Home” article that appeared in the Four Points Newspaper, here are a few products a DIY homeowner can consider for home automation projects. Many of these products have received positive reviews and allow multiple options to consider when you want to install new home technology yourself. 

WeMo Switch by Belkin – we find this toggle light switch to be sleek and attractive and this highly rated product has recently introduced a new and improved application. The app is free and the switches run about $49.99.  Sleek Toggle Switch, Gene Arant Team, Austin Texas Real Estate

Some of its cooler features include sunrise/sunset mode, away mode settings and a more customizable program to control particular lights at various times.  The WeMo uses the Wi-Fi...

Smart Living

“Gadgets” have never been too interesting to me. A remote control, whether universal or not, isn’t something that falls on my radar. As long as it turns the TV on and off, I’m satisfied. Yet, the introduction of smart home technology has captured my attention. It is now easier and more affordable to run our household in an efficient, stylish and yes…fun way.

With a slide or swipe of your Smart phone, you can now instantly link to your smart home. With the barrage of competing programs and apps, it is much easier for consumers to install DIY technology.

First, determine the scope and budget of your project. Do you wish to begin with one project such as programming your doors or lights, or do you want to integrate your entire home? By answering these questions, you narrow down which application best suits your needs. 

My favorite smart home addition is the Nest.  It is a sleekly designed thermostat that learns the behaviors of your home. It is easily...

Austin Energy Offers Rush Hour Rewards through Nest

Understanding Rush Hour Rewards and How it WorksNest - Austin Energy Rush Hour Rewards - Home Projects, Gene Arant Team, Austin Texas Realty

Austin Energy offers a Rush Hour Rewards program to help your household earn a rebate or money back by using less energy when in peak periods. If you have a Nest, Rush Hour Rewards is available to you through Austin Energy.

To participate in Rush Hour Rewards you must own a Nest Learning Thermostat and sign up with Nest’s energy company partners.

After signing up, homes with Nests will receive messages displayed on their Nest with information about upcoming energy rush hours. This information allows Rush Hour Rewards to effectively anticipate rush hours and help maximize your rewards.

To understand peak energy hours, or energy...

Lighten Up

When it comes to interior decorating, one of the first things on your list should be lighting. Understanding its importance is key when planning your room.  Long before Edison made light bulbs an affordable, commercial invention, lighting has played an essential role in people’s lives. Benjamin Franklin introduced Daylight Savings Time to maximize natural light and make candles last longer.

Interior designers will tell you that “layering your lighting” creates interest and dimension in your room’s design. There are three categories of light – ambient, task and accent.  Ambient lighting is your base layer of light and should illuminate most of the room through the combined use of sunshine and overhead light. This light source typically comes from chandeliers, ceiling fan fixtures, can lights, etc. It is best if your ambient lighting is soft.  Too often, ambient lighting is harsh and is the only light source in a room – don’t stop here, this is just your...

Lighten Up - With Table Lamps

There is so much that can be written about lighting.  It is an essential element in creating the mood of our home yet too often, people are left “in the dark” when choosing their lighting.

In the previous article, Lighten Up, which appeared in the Four Point Newspaper, the topic of “layering your lighting” was discussed. It provided an overview of the three types of lighting - ambient, task and accent lighting.  Most of us have ambient lighting and with the help of our previous article, you have learned how to enhance your ambient lighting. This article helps you understand how to create and place task lighting  - more specifically, table lamps.

Table lamps are a simple way to provide functional elements while adding stylish design to your home.  Think of table lamps as the jewelry or accessories of your room.  These lamps should be considered “eye-candy” – you should like the way the lamp looks whether it is on or off.