BEFORE and AFTER House Transformations

While I intended this to be a six part series, life got in the way and I got so busy I didn't get the series updated as quickly as I had planned.   This is number two in the series.  

I personally love the look of red tiled roofs and stucco.  Having lived in California, this is the house style we thought we would end up in after we finished out our rental lease, but then life took us for a spin and we ended up moving to Tennessee.  Not an over abundance of stucco and red tiled roofs there.  

Because I like the stucco look and I've had my fill of brick, siding, rock and other style houses, my personal preference is more the 'before' look than the after.   But I realize everyone wants what they don't have... so something "different" was probably the plan for this one.  

Had this been my house, I would have opted for the landscaping clean up  (love the cleaner look!)  and while I like the look of stone on the entryway arch and columns, I think I would have kept the stucco look on the rest of the house, but would opt for a lighter color than the flesh color they currently had.  Blending a mixture of stone and stucco.  



You might be interested in;

Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise between the Sidewalk and the Curb
Amazing Landscape Transformations (Volume 1) By: Paul Nordmark
Amazing Landscape Transformations (Volume 2) By: Paul Nordmark


BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS - Houses undergo transformation!

This morning I was looking through files I had saved in a folder and came across a handful of "before and after' photos I must have found somewhere over the last 2 1/2 years we've lived here, and saved.   We don't currently live in a home that could really undergo much of a remodel -  nor would we want to... nor could we ever afford to.  But our plan is to hopefully downsize with the next relocation and therein lies the interest in purchasing a home at a good price in a location we love that may or may not need work.   Hence the before and afters.

It's a good thing I labeled them "before1" and "after1" in regards to the photo numbers as there were a few in the set I couldn't recognize as the same house!  That is a testament to a great job they (someone?) did!!!   

Here is the first one;  Mostly landscape transforms this one.  Removing an overgrown tree and bush while adding bushes with color to the front.  Really brightened up the house!  I can honestly say I wouldn't give the first version much of a second glance on a 'drive by' but the addition of color and brightening it up by removing the overgrown landscape really made me want to see more of it.  

Related items;

Software Design Programs (downloadable)
HGTV Ultimate Home Design with Landscaping & Decks 3.0
Punch! Home & Landscape Design Premium v17.5 [Download]
And hardcover book form:  
Ranches: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Buil (Updating Classic America)



... and the least corrupt states in the US are......

My previous post was on the 10 most corrupt states in the US.  The study also found the least corrupt states too. Citizens of these states–Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Vermont, Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Kansas–can take solace in the fact that they’re not getting ripped off as badly as the rest of us.

Is your state on the list? The 10 Most Corrupt States in America.....

Bopping around the internet news tonight I saw an article at Fortune.com regarding the top 10 corrupt states in the USA.  Without looking at the list I had a strong feeling I knew a few of the states that would be on it!  Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi!  Sure enough, they showed up on the list - gathered from a new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University.

For the record, I did think Georgia and South Carolina would be on the list, but they are not.  Basically, after living in two of the 'deep South' southern states, I find the good-ol boy network to be alive and well.  If you aren't good friends with Bubba the police chief, married to his cousin, or grew up with him since you were knee-high to a grass hopper, you are going to have a target on your back.  It's all about who you know in the South.  Or... who donates the most money to your cause - in the case of the corrupt city officials and board of directors.  HUGE HUGE problem down here.  (This from someone who has also lived in two (2) of the LEAST corrupt states in the US - from the same study - so I have a good comparison.)

The study estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year.

The researchers studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union. Based on this method, the the most corrupt states are:

1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

That these places landed on the list isn’t exactly surprising. Illinois, which has gain notoriety for its high-profile corruption cases in recent years, is paired with states like Mississippi and Louisiana, which are some of the least economically developed in the country. The researchers also found that for 9 out of the 10 of the most corrupt states, overall state spending was higher than in less corrupt states (South Dakota was the only exception). Attacking corruption, the researchers argue, could be a good way to bring down state spending without hurting services that people need.

Researchers also found that spending in these states was different than their less corrupt counterparts. According to the report, “states with higher levels of corruption are likely to favor construction, salaries, borrowing, correction, and police protection at the expense of social sectors such as education, health and hospitals.”

The paper explains that construction spending, especially on big infrastructure projects, is particularly susceptible to corruption because the quality of large, nonstandard projects are difficult for the public to gauge, while the industry is dominated by a few monopolistic firms. Corrupt states also tend to, for obvious reasons, simply have more and better paid public servants, including police and correctional officers. The researchers argue that the need for correctional officers is greater in corrupt places too because “the overall extent of corruption will be higher in states with higher numbers of convictions of public officials.”


Safest Cities and Most At Risk Cities to Live in the US: Natural Distasters

We currently live in an area of the country that is hit hard with severe storms.  This morning I was thinking about all the places we've lived across the United States, all the different natural disasters that each region is prone to and where the safest and least safe areas of the country are.  Sure enough, there have been numerous studies about this topic.  I found a really easy to read list released by Sperlings.  

Interestingly enough, most of the lowest risk places for disaster are on the upper West coast - however, I couldn't personally live there because that area gets so much rain and has so many cloudy days.  I'm a gotta-have-sunshine or it effects my mood kind of girl and although that area of our country is unbelievably gorgeous, it's not my first choice for a future relocation.

Here is the list of cities with the lowest risk of natural disasters and highest risks;

Here are the top ten metro areas with the lowest risk:
1.       Corvallis, OR
2.       Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA
3.       Bellingham, WA
4.       Wenatchee, WA
5.       Grand Junction, CO
6.       Spokane, WA
7.       Salem, OR
8.       Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
9.       Yakima, WA
10.     Olympia, WA

And here are the places most at risk from natural disasters:
1.       Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
2.       Jonesboro, AR
3.       Corpus Christi, TX
4.       Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
5.       Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
6.       Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
7.       Austin-Round Rock, TX
8.       Birmingham-Hoover, AL
9.       Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
10.     Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL