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Do-It-Yourself Wood Crate Bookcase

Before | DIY Bookcase, Apartment Living | Boom Brothers Property Solutions, Madison, WI

Apartment living is ideal for many people, but its smaller living space can be seen as a shortcoming. To switch up their living room some, Boom Brothers owner, Mitch, and his girlfriend, Alison, set out on a Do-It-Yourself bookcase adventure. Nothing against the old bookcase, but if you put something against it, it could fall over.

Alison was in charge, and not being particularly handy with tools, she decided to go with wood crates. Wood crates are incredibly easy to make on your own and, generally, one of the cheapest options in storage. Recycling existing pallet wood brings the cost down further and, thanks to a popular pinning website, it has become a hot commodity and can be easily found on websites like Craigslist.

That being said, Alison found some pre-made crates at a local hardware store and decided to go with it. Sometimes the added cost of a pre-made product is justified by the time saved.

Once they got the crates home, some additional prep work was required. Alison sanded down the edges that were left rough, and Mitch used paint thinner to get rid of the sticky coat left behind from the store’s price tags.

Since it was too windy to spray paint, they used regular paint with primer and set up shop inside. As they were confined to their living room and didn’t want to make a mess (no upsetting the landlords!) they cut up garbage bags as the barrier to be laid underneath the crates as they were being painted. The crates weren’t very large and the painting went quickly.

In Process | DIY Bookcase, Apartment Living | Boom Brothers Property Solutions, Madison, WI

When the crates were painted and dry, all there was left to do was stack them how they wanted. The crates were sturdy enough they didn’t need to attach them to each other.

Even though the new bookcase is about the same size as the other, the longer dimension better fits their living room and is capable of adding the taller elements like framed prints or potted plants to get them off of the floor. As an added bonus with crates, if Mitch and Alison want to make the bookcase bigger or smaller all they have to do is rearrange what they already have.

After | DIY Bookcase, Apartment Living | Boom Brothers Property Solutions, Madison, WI

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Make Your Home More Comfortable with Energy Efficiency


Last month we attended a seminar put on by Green Madison to inform and educate homeowners and buyers on maintaining or increasing their own energy efficiency. They had some great takeaways, along with helpful energy saving tips for the everyday homeowner to implement on their own. We’ll touch on a few of those tips so you can get started before cool air becomes a hot commodity this summer.

Update Light Fixtures and Bulbs
Incandescent light loses 90% of its energy to heat, leaving approximately 10% actually being converted into light. New lighting options like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can save 50% to 75% more energy than incandescent lights. LEDs outweigh CFLs in their own right by lasting longer, having no moving parts, and containing no mercury. A simple switch from incandescent to LED or CFL light can make a noticeable impact.

Seal and Insulate
One of the easiest and most energy-efficient solutions for home comfort is making sure your home is properly insulated. Some common areas to check for leaks are:

  • Electrical boxes
  • Areas around pipes and wires
  • Attic hatches

As a first step, we recommend starting with the attic. Plug the large holes, seal the small holes, and use weather stripping around the attic access panel. Check for large holes where walls meet the attic floor and behind/under attic knee walls. You can spot the small leaks by looking for darkened areas in your insulation, where dusty interior air gets filtered by the insulation before escaping.

Great Stuff™ is highly recommended and an industry standard for spray foam insulation. To learn more about the product, visit their website.

Doors and Windows
Keeping on the insulation theme, make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed. Check your window edges for gaps and cracks and seal with rope caulk—this is the cheapest and simplest solution. Weatherstripping can also be added to windows as a special lining inserted between the window and the frame. For doors, weatherstripping should be applied (or replaced, if worn out) around the entire perimeter. If one isn’t already in place, be sure to add a quality door sweep to the bottom. If windows need to be repaired or replaced, consider installing double- or triple-pane windows for further increased energy efficiency.

To get involved or learn more, visit www.greenmadison.org.

Continue To Follow Their Journey

Be sure to stop back and see what else Mitch and Carson and the Boom Brothers team have been up to. If you’d like to contact us in the meantime, give us a call or send us an email.

Insights on Our First Property

Mitch Wendt and Carson Yanna of Boom Brothers Property Solutions in Madison, WI

The owners of Boom Brothers Property Solutions, Mitch and Carson, share their thoughts on what they’ve learned since becoming landlords and renovating at the same time.

What were you expecting?

Mitch: I’ll be perfectly honest in saying that I did not know what to expect. When we got started I thought that being a landlord and renovating our property would be much easier than they turned out to be. Going back in time, before we owned the property, we tried to utilize several grants and programs that would help us buy/renovate. We found out we did not qualify for hardly any of these options making things harder from the very beginning. We also found (and overcame) more surprises than anticipated during the renovation of the units.

Carson: I was expecting to purchase and live in a four unit with my best friend (Mitch) while renting out the other two units. We were all renting, paying someone else’s rent when we could lower our monthly bills by purchasing our own property while taking in some rent to help us cover the monthly debt. In a way it was a way to lower our monthly debt. I wasn’t sure how far we would take it but it would help relieve some financial stress for a while. We were going to get our feet wet, have a property we could put some sweat equity into, while learning a few things about the purchase transaction, being a landlord, etc. If we didn’t enjoy it, we could sell the property for a profit with the updates we had made to the property.

How was it different from what you were expecting?

Mitch: Even with all of the problems and setbacks that were thrown in our path, I never thought that being a landlord and renovating our property would be so fulfilling. I have never felt this amount of self pride than I have with everything we have accomplished. I do want to point out here, with my experience, that I learned how easy it can be to fully immerse yourself into your passion. Not that you shouldn’t, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to make time for yourself and especially your friends and loved ones. One cannot forget that these are the very people that helped you get to where you are, and they should always be near to you and part of your journey.

Carson: We took it a lot further than originally expected and much faster than originally expected. It seemed like we were working constantly, almost every night and every weekend. Mitch and I work as one, when one of us is working on something, the other likes to be helping. When there are things to work on, we feel like we need to keep working until the job is done. Even though we both had full time jobs, we dedicated our free time to improving the property we own and live in to provide a nice building for not only ourselves to live in but our tenants to live in as well. I guess we felt like people were counting on us now and we didn’t want to let anyone down.

We miss our friends a lot but make the most of the time we spend with all of them. I give them credit, it’s not easy to pull us away from work but we appreciate their persistence because we might never get away from work if it weren’t for them. We had a lot more time before we decided to do all of this. We ended up investing in an education program which opened our eyes on everything we could do and were already good at, with the push we could build it and mold it into something bigger and we could grow it faster than we had ever thought possible because we now had the tools to do so. It’s been stressful because of the amount of pressure of managing our day jobs, relationships, and trying to build a business from the ground up which is similar to any of the projects we work on, I guess.

What has been your favorite part since starting your business?

Mitch: My favorite part of starting the business is seeing it come together. All the planning and behind the scenes work really starts to shine once you’ve put all of the different aspects together to work as one. I know it seems silly, but I was ecstatic when our business cards were designed and printed. For the first time I had something tangible to hold and physically show people what we’d been working on, and not just talk about it.

Carson: I suppose my favorite part since we’ve started the business is seeing the progression from where Mitch and I started to where we are now. Still two of the best friends you’ll ever see and we love working with each other, I’m just glad he and I are on this adventure together, because you never know where a path will take you, all you can do is give it your all and see how far you can take it. The business is another one of our projects, and we’ll take it as far as we can while helping people in the process. We both have a passion for helping people and this is a way we can do it while affecting the greatest number of people. Provide quality housing for tenants and homeowners, provide solutions which are not usually plausible, fixing or improving things, and keeping communities strong and I’m able to do all of that with my best friend.

What are you looking forward to learning more about?

Mitch: I am very excited to expand my knowledge about the real estate business and continuing my education with becoming a general contractor and project manager. I am also looking forward to learning more about and expanding my landlord skills.

Carson: I’m looking forward to learning more about green energy, philanthropy, and ways we can solve more problems in the world. I love using green and energy saving materials to our properties because it helps save people money while cutting down on energy usage which is better for the planet. Philanthropy has always been a passion of mine. As the business grows, so will our philanthropy work. We love to solve problems and, needless to say, there are a lot of problems which need to be solved. Having our own business was a way we could reach the largest populace.

Continue To Follow Their Journey

Be sure to stop back and see what else Mitch and Carson and the Boom Brothers team have been up to. If you’d like to contact us in the meantime, give us a call or send us an email.

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