Our Award Winning Bathroom!

We are proud to share with you photos of our recently awarded Local and Regional NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) CotY (Contractor of the Year) award for a Bathroom! The Local Award includes Bucks and Montgomery Counties, and Regional encompasses Pennsylvania through Maine. Here’s the story behind it…

When our Clients moved to Pennsylvania from another country, they knew they would be missing their family, and knew they would want visiting family members to have a place to stay in their home.  Since visits would typically be longer than just weekend, our Clients wanted to turn a first-floor Office space and Powder Room into a Guest Bedroom and Bathroom which would keep their Guests comfortable and give them their own getaway space for their extended stays.

Re-work Hardwood floors                                                                      

When we began the project, our team had to re-work the hardwood floors because of the existing angles of the doorways.  Our goal was to create seamless flooring.  The re-design also provided added space in both the Bedroom and Bathroom.                                                                                                                                                                                








Keeping the Bathroom Accessible to Everyone                                          


Since this Bathroom is also the only Bathroom on the main floor, it had to be accessible to everyone.  Our Clients wanted their Guests to have access directly from their Bedroom but didn’t want to take up wall space by using a traditional door.  We chose a pocket door with a mirror mounted on the Bedroom side, giving their Guests a full-length mirror, and at the same time, creating the illusion of a larger room.


Floating Vanity                                                             

Our Clients wanted the stone vanity top to appear as if it were floating from the wall.  To make this happen, the fabricators had to match the pattern in the top of the stone and wrap the pattern down the apron on the front and side of the floating vanity top.  To hold it in place, we used concealed custom-made steel brackets mounted to the wall studs for support.  The floating vanity creates a clean design that allows the floors to continue throughout the entire Bathroom.


Custom Made Barn Doors                              

As part of the Bathroom renovation, our Clients wanted custom-made barn doors on the Bathroom entrance that would match their fireplace mantel in the adjacent Great Room.  We used poplar wood for the barn doors and stained them the same color as the Client’s fireplace mantel. The barn doors added the functionality our Client was looking for, and the matching stained wood tied them into the fireplace mantel combining them into the overall room design.  The beautiful custom-made barn doors added a rustic touch to our Client’s contemporary modern style.



Our Clients are extremely pleased with their new Guest space for their visiting family members.  And it was smiles all around when we were announced the winners!

Daylight Savings Time is Here!

Yes, there is still snow on the ground, but this weekend Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. And even though we’re losing an hour, we have the joy of knowing that Spring is around the corner with warmer weather and longer daylight hours.  

In honor of this prelude to Spring, here are some fun facts about Daylight Saving Time:

  • Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by 1 hour on April 30, 1916—2 years into World War I. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort. The United States began participating in Daylight Saving Time in 1918.
  • DST was the idea of a bug collector. While some give credit to Benjamin Franklin (who half joked about the concept in an essay as a way to conserve candle wax), official credit goes to entomologist George Vernon Hudson. Hudson got frustrated with how early dusk fell in the summertime because the dim light interfered with his bug collecting.  When he proposed his idea to a scientific society in New Zealand in 1895 it was mocked for being pointless and overly complicated.  Just two decades later, Daylight Saving Time would begin its spread across the world.
  • Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii and most of Arizona. U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and American Samoa also don’t observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • Daylight Saving Time begins and ends at 2am instead of midnight because there is a higher chance that most people are sleeping at 2am.
  • If you thought that DST was created to give farmers more time to work in the fields, you’re not alone — but you’re not correct, either. According to an article on History.com, the agriculture industry was completely against the idea when it was introduced in 1918 because it was disruptive to their daily routines.  Farmers work by the sun, not the clock, so they were stuck waiting an extra hour for dew to evaporate so they could harvest hay.  Cows also weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier, which made shipping schedules difficult to meet.
  • The candy industry figured they could cash in on DST with an extra hour of daylight for trick-or-treaters on Halloween. They lobbied for a law to be passed in 2007 extending DST into November (it had previously ended on the last Sunday in October).

This year, Daylight Saving Time will end on November 4, and you’ll get your hour of sleep back. Until then, enjoy the extra hour of daylight and maybe have an extra cup of coffee if you need an extra kick Sunday morning.

Hear the Beep Where You Sleep

Smoke alarms save lives. It’s easy to take smoke alarms for granted, but they can save your life—and your home.

Most townships require remodelers to install interconnected battery backup smoke & carbon monoxide detectors to approve a building permit for any home project. Interconnected alarms guarantee that if fire is detected in one area of the house, every smoke alarm will go off. So, you’ll hear the alarm even if the fire is in the basement and you’re upstairs. Stand-alone detectors only alert you to danger in the area where they are installed.

Smoke alarms can be hardwired. Hardwired smoke alarms run on your home’s electrical system and typically come with battery backup.  Carbon monoxide alarms wired-in to your home with battery backup can be interconnected to smoke alarms.

Wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke detectors eliminate the need for a wired connection and operate entirely on batteries.  This allows compatible wireless alarms to communicate with each other, alerting you to a problem even when it’s on another floor. The photoelectric smoke sensor reduces the number of nuisance alarms triggered by cooking smoke.

So where should you install them?

  • Inside each bedroom within 4’ from the door
  • Outside each bedroom within 4’ from the door
  • At the top of each flight of interior steps on each floor
  • Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 4’ from each fossil burning fuel appliance; wood burning or gas fireplace, gas or oil furnace, wood, pellet or coal stove, and gas water heater

Incorporate these procedures to keep your family safe.

  • Make an escape plan. Know the shortest exit from every floor. Get outside as quickly as possible and have an outside meeting place assigned.
  • If cooking smoke sets off your alarm, do not disable it. Press the silence button (if available), wave a towel or newspaper, open a window, or turn on an exhaust fan.
  • Test alarms at least once a month. The main issue with battery-powered smoke alarms is that it’s up to you to make sure the batteries are fresh. The same goes for the battery backup on hardwired detectors.  Set a reminder so you don’t forget testing and changing batteries.
  • Replace alarms when they reach 10 years old, or do not sound when tested.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will offer a discount on the premium when interconnected battery backup smoke & carbon monoxide detectors are installed.  But… Safety is #1 – these detectors are proven to save lives.



A Good Fit

Many people will tell you that getting price bids from three remodelers is the way to go.  However, design build remodeling may be a more effective approach when you consider the complexities and uncertainties that go into a bid.

Each project is unique, which is why getting bids from three remodelers can be concerning.  There are hundreds of parts and dozens of product options in just a simple kitchen or bath remodel.   Adding to that is the fact that existing conditions vary from house to house.  This is what makes it nearly impossible to ensure all bids are based on the same assumptions.

If you already have a set of plans, they need to be extremely detailed, including written specifications for each faucet, floor surface and doorknob if you want bids to be legitimately compared side by side.   Your plans also need realistic contingencies for hidden problems the remodeler might uncover after demoing a wall or floor.

Plans like that are rare, so to create an accurate bid, the remodeler would need to ask a ton of questions to draw out the details. This is where paths will diverge.  Each remodeler will lead you in a different direction because their business procedures and preferred products differ. Also keep in mind that each remodeler will present their bid in a different format, making them hard to compare.

Even if your plans were drawn by an architect, that rarely changes anything. Skilled architects and designers can take your vision and turn it into an actual plan, but they often leave spec writing to the remodeler.

If getting three bids is important to you, you may want to hire a remodeler with experience in your type of project to detail the plans and specs, and then send them out to bid. Making this investment would ensure that every bidder works from the same documents, providing a more realistic comparison.  Even then, bidding has another drawback.  It reduces everything to cost. As a remodeler, we can design something you’d love to have in your home, but if it doesn’t fit in your budget it doesn’t matter.

Cost is important in finding a remodeler that fits your budget, but more important is finding a remodeler with the right experience and personality for you and your project. Otherwise the cost may become insignificant.

After working in the remodeling industry for over 42 years, my best advice is to find a design build remodeler you can trust and are very comfortable with. Start by asking around about remodelers to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, local building inspectors, building material suppliers, local NARI chapter, Chamber of Commerce, etc. Check out their websites and online ratings. Place phone calls to the handful of remodelers you want to talk with. Call and spend time with them on the phone asking questions about how they work; this will weed out a few more. Narrow your list down and ask them to meet you at your House. You want to get them on your turf, after all, this is where the project will happen, and it’s where you are the most comfortable.

A good design build remodeler should offer to give you several names and contact information of past Clients without you having to ask for them. Of course, the names given to you may be from projects that went smoothly. Good remodelers get many referrals from their Clients, so ask the references they gave you for other people they know who have worked with the remodeler. You should ask about things that didn’t go as planned or mistakes that were made and how the remodeler handled them.

The first appointment should be as much about getting to know one another as it is about the project. Focus on finding a remodeler who will be a good fit for you, not on price. Keep in mind, you are committing to a business relationship that could last weeks or months, depending on your project.   There will be workers in or around your living space every day, so the remodeler you choose needs to be someone you like and trust and can communicate with easily.  A good match is personal compatibility, but also how they do business. For example, some homeowners like to change things after they start to see their project taking shape, so make sure the company’s change order policy is one you are comfortable with.

Working as a team with a professional design build remodeler from the beginning, allows you to set a reasonable budget and a remodeler that fits your needs.  Something that may not have happened if you had gotten conventional bids.


Basement Versatility

A basement can be the most versatile room in the house, and a basement finishing project can turn the once dingy room into the preferred spot for everyone in your family.    Here are some reasons why finishing your basement should be your next home project.


Multi-Purpose Space

The creative and functional uses of a basement are endless: playrooms, home office, exercise area, laundry room, entertainment center, or guest suite.  Unlike other spaces in your home, basements offer the greatest variety of usage than any other area and can even combine all those ideas into one multi-purpose space.


You Want a Space to Watch Sporting Events


Having your friends over to watch the big game?  Invite as many as you want to your spacious retreat complete with wet bar and a large flat screen TV.  Adding a surround sound audio system will make it will feel like you are really at the game.




Perfect Hangout Place for Your Teenagers

Teenagers love a comfortable space to hang out with their friends.  From playing video games to watching movies, basements make a great space for teenagers.  They have the privacy they want, and you have the peace of mind in knowing where they are and who they’re with.


You Need a Quiet Place to Work

Creating an office in the basement can be a great way to get the quiet privacy you need to work from home. Because it is away from the family activity upstairs, you can be on a conference call and not have to worry about being disturbed by the noise.


Enjoy Your Own Gym at Home

Trying to keep your New Year’s Resolution, but you’re already getting tired already of driving to the gym?  Create a home gym in your basement.  It will be much more convenient and private. And after you add up monthly membership fees and gas, it is less expensive in the long run.


Extra Space for Guests

Spending time with family from out of town just got a lot less crowded and stressful when you give them their own separate area in your home complete with their own bedroom and bathroom.  Giving them their own space means you don’t have to share bathrooms, and they get their own room to spread out and relax.



Finishing your basement is the most affordable way to add extra living space to your home.  If you are ready to begin your basement finishing project, and need some ideas on how to use the space, call us for a free consultation!

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