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!

Resolve for a New Kitchen in 2018

If a new kitchen will be one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, now is the perfect time to start planning!  


Do you need ideas to help get you started?  Or maybe you’d like to know what will be trending in kitchens for 2018?  Read on and find out…



Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops require less upkeep than their granite counterparts so you can skip the sealing and scrubbing. Quartz has the same durability as concrete and granite, but is quite a bit more forgiving, so it won’t chip or crack as easily. In addition, it doesn’t have the same hardness in the feel that some people find unpleasant.

Ceiling Treatments

The potential to add character to kitchen ceilings is often over-looked.  Shallow coffers shake up small spaces, while moldings complementing the shape of an island or work space below can help tie everything together in larger kitchens.

Big, Practical Sinks  

When it comes to sink trends, the emphasis is on function. Generously sized models with a single bowl will contain splashes while also accommodating large pots and pans or other items that require handwashing.

Deep Drawers

Extra-deep drawers, especially by the range, make cooking and storage effortless. They’re more accessible than typical base cabinetry and simple to integrate into a beautiful kitchen design. Add-ons, like pegboard and drawer organizers, help to keep drawers tidy.

Wood Floors (or Wood-like)

Hardwood floors have kept kitchens warm and cozy for years, and that won’t change anytime soon. Wood adapts to any style and connects rooms in an open floor plan. There are alternatives to wood floors if their upkeep is too much for you. Porcelain planks that look like wood provide the same inviting style but are easier to maintain.

Vintage lighting

Vintage lighting fixtures, like aged copper pendant lights, are making a comeback.

Wallpaper-like Backsplash & Wallsplash

Intricate tile designs can add a decorative element to a wall while being more practical than wallpaper.

Will 2018 be your year for a new kitchen?  When you’re ready to start planning, call us to set up your free consultation!

Earning Trust

For many people, their first impression of someone is their most lasting impression.  The same holds true for homeowners searching for the right remodeling company.

A big factor in choosing a remodeler is the homeowner’s comfort with the first person they meet from the company, whether it’s the owner or a sales person. Hitting it off from the start is important, and the homeowner’s gut feelings play a role in their ultimate decision of choosing a remodeler.

That “gut” feeling is typically shaped in the very first meeting.  Professional remodelers understand this, and they make sure to act in ways that earn their clients’ trust.

When choosing your remodeler, ask yourself the following questions.

Does the remodeler…

  1. Look Professional? Someone driving an old pickup truck and wearing ripped jeans and a dirty tee shirt may be a skilled craftsman, but their appearance raises questions. Although a collared shirt and a clean vehicle don’t guarantee a great choice, they’re the first sign of a professional who runs a legitimate business and pays attention to detail.
  1. Follow the rules? You want to know that whoever does your project will do it right. That includes knowing they will follow relevant laws and regulations. Sample contracts, as well as proof of the necessary licensing and insurance, are signs of a diligent company that doesn’t cut corners.
  1. Have compassion? A remodeling project can be an emotional roller coaster or an enjoyable ride. The best remodelers help people understand the ups and downs that may occur during the project. They will have policies on how the crew will interact with you and your family, as well as how they will treat your home.
  1. Have set schedules? When you know what will happen and when during the project, you will suffer a lot less anxiety. You want a remodeler who clearly communicates the schedule, which includes the overall project schedule, the approximate timetable for each major phase, and the typical start and end time of each work day.
  1. Keep you constantly informed? On a long-term project like an addition or major kitchen remodel, a professional remodeler knows that the homeowner will feel more secure, and the job will go more smoothly, if there’s a regular forum for questions and concerns. Weekly meetings with the Project Manager can alleviate anxiety and put the homeowner’s mind at ease.
  1. Have solid references? Any reputable company will provide past client references. In some cases, those clients may be willing to show you their completed project! That’s a sign that they really like the work that was done, and trust the remodeler.

Making changes to your home can be exciting and stressful.  But when you choose a remodeling company who can reduce uncertainty and develop trust, the road to the finished project can be an enjoyable one which leads to a fantastic finish.


Create Your Perfect Basement

Underground, cold, concrete, storage space… although these may be words used to describe your current basement, the lowest floor of your home probably has loads of potential. If you’re dreaming of some extra space, finishing your basement might make it the most popular room in the house—for a lot less cash than adding on.

When planning your basement finishing, consider your space. If you have a large basement, you can probably divide the space into separate rooms. If the basement is small, that might not be ideal. Keep in mind that most potential buyers will prefer an open concept design to small, choppy rooms.

Give some thought to finishes. Do you want carpeting or wood floors? Track lighting or recessed lights? What about decorative touches like crown molding?  Sometimes picking out the finishing touches can be the most fun and it will personalize the room to your liking.

While deciding what to have done, consider where in the basement you should be putting designated areas…

  • The main socializing area should be in a spot that gets the best natural light.

  • If you are adding a bedroom in the basement, you need an egress window, so it should be located at the perimeter of the room.
  • A TV area can be in a darker area, to reduce glare and create a home-theater feel.


Once you have a plan for the layout, you can look forward to the many benefits of a finished basement.

  • Increases livable space – Finishing your basements creates a lot more livable space. Transform unused space into an extra living room, a guest room, a home theater or playroom for the kids.
  • Extra Bathroom – Whether you turn your basement into a play area for kids or a place for guests to sleep, a bathroom can make things run more smoothly. Kids won’t be constantly going up and down the stairs and your guests will feel more comfortable with their own bathroom.
  • Increases resale value – Finishing your basement can significantly increase the resale value of your home. This is particularly true if many other homes in your neighborhood have unfinished basements.
  • Creates a private space – A finished basement can be a getaway from the noise and chaos of the rest of the house. Create a quiet, comfortable space for watching TV, or create an exercise space right in your own home.



If you’ve been thinking about finishing your basement, call one of our experienced consultants to get started!

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