A Kitchen That Enhances Your Lifestyle

When starting to think about your Kitchen remodeling project, one of the easiest ways to initiate the process is to work from biggest to smallest. That is to say, establish the largest pieces and then work your way down to the smallest accessories. This will allow you to think about the appliances and how they will fit together then fill in around them with cabinetry.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of design items in largest to smallest order:

1. Refrigerator
2. Range/Cooktop
3. Ovens/Single or Double
4. Warming Tray
5. Dishwasher
6. Microwave
7. Sink – Main
8. Sink – Prep
9. Pantry
10. Utility Cabinet
11. Pot and Pan Storage
12. Recycling Center/Trash Bin
13. Small Appliance Storage
14. Tray Storage
15. Plate and Cup Storage
16. Utensil Drawer
17. Silverware Drawer
18. Spice Rack
Finishes
19. Countertops
20. Flooring
21. Tile
22. Trim

Looking at this list through the lens of lifestyle enhancement means that you have to evaluate each item as per its usefulness and how it adds to the utility of the Kitchen and adds to your quality of life. Taking inventory of how your everyday use of the space places demands on the components of the Kitchen will help you to determine the level of functionality that is required throughout to fulfill those demands.

Each time you enter into your new Kitchen, you want to feel welcomed and empowered, not controlled and restricted. Taking time to evaluate and quantify your lifestyle needs and designing to meet those needs goes a long way towards establishing and enhancing your lifestyle instead of allowing your living space to dictate your lifestyle.

If all of this feels a bit overwhelming, if thinking about all of these things sends you racing for the door, we would recommend working with a professional design firm that can direct the process as well as make practical recommendations.

Remember, your Kitchen should enhance your lifestyle and it speaks volumes to others about who you are.

Happy remodeling!

Next Time…Utility Doesn’t Exclude Style

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Kitchens, Home Within a Home

If you were asked, what is the most used room of your house, what would you answer?
Where does company inevitably end up when you have a party?
Where does the trash pile up?
Where is the place that you put your mail or car keys?
Where do you prepare and eat most of your meals?

The answer that most people would give to these questions is “The Kitchen.”

Think about it, all roads both into and out of your home take you to or through the Kitchen for one reason or another. That is why, when you think about remodeling your Kitchen, you have to take into consideration much more than just, “what color are the cabinets going to be?”

There are lifestyle issues that come into play when planning a new Kitchen. Think about how traffic flow will affect the chef during busy meal preparation times. What cabinet accessories would make the Kitchen more efficient and useful to those who spend the most time there? How will technology be utilized to meet the demands of today’s hi-tech families?

You need to address the issue of creating a home within your home, especially for all those times when you end up entertaining from behind the island. The environment that you create in your Kitchen says just as much about who you are as the clothes your wear or the car you drive.

We will be addressing these and other pertinent issues in subsequent blogs. But in the mean time, be thinking about some of the deeper questions that should be asked at the planning stages of your Kitchen project, so that you will not have any regrets on the other end of the process.

Happy remodeling!

Next Time…A Kitchen That Enhances Your Lifestyle

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Permits

One of the things that you need to address early on in the remodeling process is the need for permits. You do not want to be served with a stop work order in the middle of your project and have to let it sit until you comply with the permit requirements of your municipality.

It is best to be upfront with your municipality. In most cases, they are looking out for, not only your safety and well being, but also the interests of subsequent owners of your property.

While many construction practices have remained the same over the years, there have been some advancements in materials and processes that have precipitated the need for changes in standard construction practices. Your local municipality is given the charge to enforce the current codes that are in place for the safety of the families and individuals that are located within their jurisdiction.

Here are some projects that most certainly would need permits:

1. Additions
2. Decks
3. Patios
4. Porches
5. Garages
6. Basement Finishes
7. Kitchen Remodel
8. Bathroom Remodel
9. Roof Replacement
10. Window Replacement

It may be obvious sometimes that a permit is needed. However, in some cases it may seem that there is no way that the project you are contemplating would need a permit. We recommend that you call your municipality for any project, no matter how big or small, just to be sure. If you are instructed that no permit is needed, you should record the date and time of your call and the name and title of the person you talked to for future reference. This information comes in handy should a municipal official stop into your project and say that you need a permit. As long as the scope of work has not changed, you will have the information pertaining to your initial call to their office.

Some projects may not need permits for everything, but may need permits for its components. Remember, you may not need a permit to remodel a bedroom, but if you are doing some electrical or HVAC work as part of that project, permits may be required for those particular areas of work.

Here is a list of specialty areas that might need permits as part of a smaller project or as sub-categories of larger projects:

1. Electrical
2. Plumbing
3. HVAC – Mechanical
4. Insulation

These specialty areas may also require a licensed professional to complete the work. And it may take time to find one and get on their schedule.

Remember, the permit process, including drawings, may take up to two weeks or more to complete. So don’t wait till the last minute to start the application process.

It is best to work alongside your municipality and view them as an ally and a resource, rather than a necessary evil. A well planned and inspected project will go smoother and will give you peace of mind in the end.

Next Time…Kitchens

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Contract: To Sign or Not To Sign

To a sports figure or an entertainer, the word contract means earning money. In the remodeling world, to the client, the word contract means spending money. But having a contract, a good one, is just as important as the sticks and mortar things that go into your project.

Rest assured that the reason sports figures have managers is to make sure their client’s interests are served in the contract that they sign. In remodeling, you must serve as your own manager, unless your brother-in-law is an attorney. You have to make sure that what you are about to sign is meeting your needs and requirements for your project, no more and no less.

Here is what the PA Attorney General’s Office says are the minimal requirements for a home improvement contract in the state of PA . Other states have similar requirements in place. Check with your state’s Attorney General’s office for their particular requirements.

What must be included in a home improvement contract?
• The contract must be in writing and include the contractor’s registration number.
• The entire agreement between the contractor and the consumer including the date of the transaction.
• The name, telephone number, and address of the contractor and subcontractors.
• A description of the work to be performed including the approximate starting and completion dates of the project.
• The total sales price due under contract.
• The amount of any down payment plus any amount paid in advance for the purchase of special order materials.
• The amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor.
• The toll-free number maintained by the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
• A notice of the consumer’s right to rescind the contract.
What are my rights?
• A home improvement contractor must provide you with a copy of the complete contract free of charge.
• You have the right to rescind your home improvement contract without penalty within three business days of the signing date, except as provided under law for emergency situations.
• A home improvement contract is not enforceable against a consumer if it does not include all of the information required by law.
• A contractor may not demand or receive any payment for a home improvement before the home improvement contract is signed
(Used by permission; materials from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General are provided for educational purposes only and should not be considered an endorsement of any product or service.)

The strength of the contract has a direct bearing on the success of the project. So, even if the document feels a little overwhelming, and working out the wording seems tedious, take heart, developing a good contract is time well spent.

Next Time…Permits

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Qualified Contractor

Some persons might think that these two terms are mutually exclusive, “Qualified” and “Contractor”. However, if you do your homework and put a little effort into making your decision, you can be satisfied that you are getting what you deserve…a qualified contractor.

First, we should define what we mean when we say “qualified”. Webster says,

Main Entry: qual•i•fied
Pronunciation: \’kwä-l?-?fid\
Function: adjective
1 a : fitted (as by training or experience) for a given purpose : competent

By definition there should be some way to quantify if your contractor is “qualified”.

Training. Has your contract attended and fulfilled the requirements to be certified and licensed in their field of expertise? Ask about their certifications and check their standing with the organizations that have issued their certifications. A contractor that is interested in staying current within their industry will take the initiative to be a part of local and national organizations that offer industry specific training that allows companies to gain knowledge about their particular area of expertise on an ongoing basis.

Experience. This component is easy to quantify. Asking the right questions will soon reveal to you how much experience your potential contractor has. Experience is not just the amount of years that the contractor has been in business. Reviewing pictures of past projects of similar scope and difficulty will confirm that your project will not be an experiment or used as “on the job training”. Asking for and following up on the contractor’s references is probably the most important activity that you can do to quantify experience. Interacting with past clients will allow you to ask and receive answers to the questions that are most important to you; questions on performance, quality, delivery, professionalism, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask about unmet expectations as well. If your contractor has performed well, the answer to that type of question will be short.

The most important aspect of picking a contractor is your level of confidence that they are the right contractor for you. Will they deliver the product that you are looking for? Will they create and maintain a professional work environment that will not compromise you and your family’s values? Am I willing to compromise my expectations just for price? Only you can make these determinations.

In the end the choice is yours. You need to ask the hard questions and expect answers because it is your home and your family that will be affected by the choice you make. Choose wisely.

Next Time… The Contract

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

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