Home Living Home & Gardening “Calling it Home” with Chris Bailey

“Calling it Home” with Chris Bailey


I have always said that, as a home owner, you need to complete one project a year or you will get behind on maintenance and remodeling. These projects can be anything from a few windows being replaced, new appliances to a full-gut and remodel of a basement. It is always difficult to decide what to do. But after you make that decision, you will often find that you need to research and answer dozens more questions.

I switched careers a couple of years ago after working in restaurants my whole life. I now work for a bathroom remodeling franchise that is locally owned and operated. I love that I get to help people everyday with their decisions on material choices and scope of work. Speaking from that experience, I think you will find that every company is unique and does things slightly differently. You will want to ask your questions up front and have them answered in order to feel comfortable. When making a final decision, that is usually what it comes down to is this: what are you comfortable with?

You want to be comfortable with the people you are working with, the company you are hiring, the material, color and finish choices made, and a big one is the budget. You need to know where to get the cheapest specialty equipment for specific jobs – for example, where to find air compressor reviews to rent a cheap one locally. Costs vary greatly, even for the same type of project, depending on factors such as the age of your house and how much you are planning on doing yourself vs. hiring a contractor.

Be wary of anyone willing to give you a bid without looking at the project and talking about what your dreams are.

And remember: “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – John Ruskin

In order to get an accurate bid the contractor needs to gather all the info they need for scope of work, your material choices and what exactly needs to be done. They should give you their suggestions and tell you what they might do if it was their house. I always put myself in my clients’ shoes, while keeping in mind their wishes and needs.

One way to get started is coming up this weekend with the 2013 Home, Garden and Remodeling Show. The event is put on by the Anchorage Home Builders Association (AHBA). It is at the Sullivan Arena at the following times:

  • Friday, March 8: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 9: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 10: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

There is a general admission fee, but parking is free. The cost is $10 and discounted to $8 for those over 62, active and veteran military. Kids 12 and under are admitted at no cost.

Check the March 8th edition of the Anchorage Daily News for a list of vendors and seminars.

Coming up, I will doing some features on different remodeling projects around your house to complete, information on the materials and process, and of course my personal recommendations.

A question for you, reader:

What projects do you have the need or desire to complete this year?

Give me your suggestions and I will do my best to give you all the information available in an up coming post. Also don’t be shy to stop by and say hello if you see me at any of the booths at the 2013 Home, Garden and Remodeling Show.

Chris Bailey is your average Alaskan newshound and reluctant politico. He is known for his - read independent - mix of biting wit and insight on local issues. As each election season heats up, look for him to join the ranks of eager volunteers occupying phone banks and neighborhood canvassing teams. A diehard American, Bailey is so wedded to the democratic process that he contributes to Alaska Commons despite crafting a “progressive”-Republican mind-set. “I really want to highlight that I love and respect ALL people. This love for humanity leads me to believe more in local governance structures than the national governance model.


  1. I want to change out a faulty light switch in my bathroom. Is that something I can safely do myself, or do I have to hire an electrician to change out a switch?

    • Personally I’m not a fan of electricity, so I leave it to the professionals. It could be a number of other things rather than a faulty switch. If you do tackle it yourself, turn off the breaker switch!

  2. Erin,
    That totally depends on your comfort level with electricity and your understanding of it. Many homeowners change out their light switches and outlets themselves. However, if you are in any way in doubt or even remotely uncomfortable, I would recommend that you get a professional.

    • Mr. Roberts, it would be greatly appreciated if you could frame your comments in a more constructive manner. We don’t expect our readers to agree with everything our contributors produce, but the negative nature of your commentary is not adding to the conversation, it is detracting from it. For clarification about our commenting policy, please click HERE.

      That goes for your other accounts, too.

      • My reply reflects my response to a column penned by someone who sets themselves up as some kind of careerist in home remodeling who specifically asks of any possible readers;


        “A question for you, reader:

        What projects do you have the need or desire to complete this year?

        Give me your suggestions and I will do my best to give you all the information available in an up coming post. ”

        The first person to respond to that request is rather perfunctorily dismissed with the kind of reply that is representative of the type of response described in the popular idiom, aka just ‘being phoned in’.

        I felt Erin deserved a more professional and a much more respectfully detailed response.

        A response that didn’t appear as if it was just phoned in.

        The comment box begs the question, ‘what do the readers think? ‘.

        I am going to assume that neither incongruity nor paradox have been the vocabulary word of the day lately.

        • You’re welcome to reply to the question. We’re simply asking that you tone down the antagonistic nature with which you have been choosing to respond to the question. If you find it difficult to respond to the question in a less antagonistic nature, you are invited to refrain from commenting.

        • In response to Erin’s question I plan on doing my first piece on electrical updates. Not being an expert I felt it was not prudent to give advice before researching and asking the experts. I don’t want to be liable for bad advice.

          • Would it not have been prudent to respond to Erin with the information that you plan to address her question more fully in the future rather than to have responded with what you did respond with?

What do you think?