Both carpenters and contractors know the nuts and bolts, but they perform very different tasks. A good carpenter can help in countless ways, from building a bookcase to raising a house frame, but don't confuse a carpenter with a general contractor.
Attention to detail will yield tidy trim jobs, and when it comes to trim—the old ways are the best ways. You want to hire a carpenter who knows how to use a hammer. For some jobs, nail guns are the tool to use, but not always for trim. Guns drive nails so fast and hard, you lose the ability to selectively snug a board up against a particular surface.
Living by the shore can take a toll on items stored outside, but the coastal climate can prove just as punishing to possessions you keep inside. Follow this advice for safe, dry indoor storage to prevent problems and avoid costly repairs.
Those of us in the design and building trades enjoy having clients rely on us. But trusting your architect, designer, or builder is not the same thing as abandoning your dream to them. I've seen dreams become nightmares when homeowners had one idea and the people they hired worked in different directions. Building a house is a collaborative affair.
Here's a tip contractors usually don't give you until it's too late: Get a lawyer.
My experience from three decades of building and remodeling homes in stringent Nantucket has taught me it's never too early to check regulations on what and where you can build. The penalty for ignorance—or for being obstinate—is paid in time and money.
Soil tests can predict flooding around your home. But common sense helps, too. Does water collect and stand on your property? Do your neighbors have leaky basements? If it seems water might be a problem, assume it will be a problem, and design in a drain system.
In coastal construction, old ways often really are better ways. But it's nice to talk about a category that's improved by new approaches. Early masons didn't have the advantages of weather-sealing products, concrete blocks, and specially designed flue liners. Yet some time-honored considerations remain.