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Helping Out: Building Industry Executive Brings his Expertise to Habitat for Humanity Projects October 27, 2010

Posted by CraftmarkHomes in Press Release.
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Kenneth Malm

President of Craftmark Group, a private builder based in McLean.

Charitable giving highlights: Gives personal and corporate financial contributions to and does pro bono projects for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, the local affiliate of the organization that builds affordable housing.

Personal: Lives in Bethesda with wife, Nancy. They have three grown children.

I’m a builder. I’ve been in the industry since I was 16. I was raised to always be kind and give something back to the community.

Habitat for Humanity was the natural fit for me. Of course, I can help folks by writing checks, but with Habitat, I can be more helpful because we are both builders. In addition to helping to fund their activities, I can help them find projects to build, design those projects and let them use my plans to build. It makes it easier and safer for Habitat to look at a new community and figure out what they can pay for and the cost of the product they’re going to build. That’s where I can step in.

My first significant contribution was a financial donation along with a donation of our four townhouse building lots in Montgomery County. I also gave them the plans to build it.

Now I’m very involved in helping them figure out what they are going to build, where in Montgomery County they are going to build it and how they’re going to get it done.

Besides the fact that I know where all my efforts are going all the way to the end, if you talk to some of the folks that move into these homes, you realize what a positive life-changing experience it is for them. The kids of these families get to grow up in a safe environment and attend schools where they can get a decent education compared to where they were living before where they probably received none of those things. It’s a big deal for these folks and life-changing for their children.

I remember one time we had a breakfast and one of the families spoke about the difference it made for the children. One of the children had just graduated from Harvard because the new home gave them a pathway to go to better schools.

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Three Great Interior Home Improvement Projects for the Fall! October 15, 2010

Posted by CraftmarkHomes in Home Decorating, Home Design.
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Fall is the perfect time to start some new small home improvement projects around the house in order to get your home ready for the upcoming winter holidays when you’ll be too busy to dedicate much time to fixing up your house.

Autumn is traditionally a slow time for a lot of home contractors and home improvement stores and the slumping housing market means that hardware stores and home contractors are hungry for work and many are willing to lower prices on products and services just to stay busy. You can take advantage of this situation by completing some small interior projects around your home while the weather is still nice enough to have the windows open.

Here are three great projects that quick and easy to do for the fall season:

Prep your heating system for the winter months: Even though the weather is warm and sunny now, winter is right around the corner and there’s no better time than the present to get your furnace or heating inspected and checked out by a professional before it’s too late. A simple inspection could save you lots of money and cold nights in the middle of January. If you have a forced air heating system then you’ll want to check air filters, make sure there are no leaks or loose ducts and generally give everything the once over because it probably hasn’t been used in six months or more. If you have to buy any sort of fuel oil then you may want to take this opportunity to look over the tank and valves and make sure you don’t have any leaks or drips.

Add insulation to your home: If your heating system is going to warm your home then the insulation in your walls and attic will help keep the heat locked in tight. Most homes could always use more insulation and it’s much easier to climb around in an attic when the weather isn’t pushing 90 degrees outside. Attics that are free of debris are easy to put new insulation into, whether it be rolls of fiberglass insulation or blown insulation. You can also put additional insulation in your exterior walls, but this can be a large job requiring some specialized knowledge and equipment and is almost always better left to professionals.

Paint those rooms: A lot of people have friends and family visit for the holidays and there isn’t a less expensive and faster way to give a room a fresh new feel than with a new coat of paint. It’s best to paint during the fall and spring because you can open the windows and let the fresh air take care of the paint fumes and dry the walls faster. Paint is relatively inexpensive but if you’re in a hurry and really want a nice finish you can look into hiring a professional painter who can be sure the job is done right and quickly.

All three of these projects will help make your home a warmer and happier place to be for upcoming holidays and long winter nights!

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