5 Tips to Prevent a Stressful Remodel

Some people find that remodeling their home is fun and exciting — making big plans, dreaming about how it will look, selecting design options, picking colors and fixtures, and then watching as your house is transformed into your dream home. But  if you’re someone who finds making design and remodeling-related decisions stressful, and the thought of having people working in your home is anxiety-producing, have no fear!  Though you may have heard horror stories of remodeling projects that have gone bad, we have some tips that can get you through the process — large project or small — without waking up in a cold sweat  in the middle of the night.

1. Priorities. Start by making a list of changes you’d like in your home and then put the items in order of importance: what you must have, what you’d like to have and what you’d like but can live without.  A clear idea of your priorities and budget  helps everyone know what to expect.  We’ll design a plan for your project based on what’s most important to you, so that you’ll have NO surprises.

2. References. Talk to people who have remodeled to find out if they loved their contractor and would refer them.  Hearing someone’s personal experience  can be one of the most helpful factors in giving you a solid basis for making a decision. Think about the importance of the trust factor: learn about the contractor’s licenses, insurance, professional affiliations (such as NARI), certifications and more. We’re happy to have you talk to clients we’ve worked with in the past.

3. Design Guidance. There will be lots of decisions to make during the design and remodeling process. Getting the fine details of a design just right is important. We are always willing to provide you our expert guidance in both design and construction, even when you’re ever feeling overwhelmed or confused trying to select light fixtures or faucets. With the comfort of knowing you are getting the best advice and making the right decisions, any stress you might otherwise have can be greatly reduced — if not eliminated.

4. Communication. The ability to get questions and concerns addressed quickly during a remodeling project is extremely important and calms any fears you may have. We let you know what to expect at each step and what information we need from you. We put an emphasis on clear communications not only between our staff and you, but also among our staff members and our specialty trade contractors.

5. Type of Process:  While we are happy to work with your architect,  we generally recommend a faster, less complex process. We offer the “Design Build” remodeling process for homeowners who would like the peace of mind, simplicity and ease of working with one trusted company from concept to completion and a single company that will be responsible to solve any issues relating to the project. We believe the “Design Build” process is less stressful for most homeowners and for most types of home remodeling projects.

We know our reputation depends not only on providing you with a beautiful, well built, trouble-free project but also on making sure your remodeling experience with us is so good you are comfortable — maybe even eager — to use us in the future and recommend us to your friends.

If you would like to lessen your chance of getting stressed out by your next home remodeling effort, be sure and contact us about the project.  Don’t sweat the small stuff; let us do that for you!

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Home Remodeling: Start With What You Love About Your Home

If you’re thinking about home renovation, it’s easy to start by telling your home remodeling contractor everything you don’t like.  Now, yes, home construction should take into account fixing anything you feel is out of date, broken, or that doesn’t give you the feel or functionality you want. We understand that these things are top of mind because they’re what’s prompting you to remodel in the first place. But from a simple home remodeling project to a whole house remodel, I can tell you from years of experience as a house remodeling contractor that we find it equally important to know what you do like.

So, when you’re making your list of home remodeling priorities, don’t just list things you want to change: also list things you want to keep.  That way, we not only focus on solving problems and giving you new advantages, we also keep what you already love best about your home.

Visit our website for more information about home remodeling services in and around the Western Los Angeles area.

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Should You Build a New Home or a New Home Addition?

Many times, our first job as a home addition contractor is to help clients see if building a room addition or even a second-story addition is the right answer.  In fact, sometimes even the best home addition won’t solve all the problems or provide all the “extras” a homeowner wants. In that case, it’s often better to look at selling the home and buying a new one.  How can you tell if building a home addition is right for you?  Here are a few starting points:

  1. How do costs compare? How big a home addition do you need? Obviously, if you simply want to expand your kitchen or do a room addition, the cost for doing this is going be dramatically less than moving. Sometimes, even building a major multi-story addition can cost less than moving to a new home, especially when you consider real estate commissions, moving expenses and other costs.
  2. How much do you love your existing home? If you love your location and neighborhood, and you love most things about your home, then calling a home addition contractor makes more sense.  With a new room addition or even adding a large in-law or master suite, you may find you can now love everything about your existing home.
  3. Will a home addition work with your particular house? As an experienced home contractor, we can usually find a way to make a home addition mesh with the rest of the house. If the yard is small, we can build up to give you a second-story addition or even a multi-story addition.  But sometimes there are limits that even our creativity as a room addition contractor can’t overcome. Zoning restrictions, for example, may mean you can’t add on the space you really need to make the home addition satisfy your needs. In that case, you may have to move to get that extra breathing room.  Additions, though, can be done quite creatively so don’t rule them out without talking to us!  In the meantime, take a look at our home additions photo gallery.
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Great New Sinks for Your Kitchen Remodel

When it comes to kitchen renovation, a lot of attention goes to kitchen cabinets, countertops and backsplashes. Appliances are also in the spotlight. But as a kitchen remodeling contractor, I think the sink is one of the most important choices you’ll make – because you’ll use it more frequently than any other part of your new kitchen.

Remodeling in the 1980s and 1990s often meant adding small, divided sinks in the kitchen. But if you do a lot of cooking, you’re going to have a hard time using a small sink to wash up large roasting pans and baking racks. And that’s the point – a custom kitchen remodel should be beautiful, but it should also be a beautiful solution for how you cook and how you use your kitchen.

At home shows, kitchen remodeling contractors get to see all the coolest new products, including sinks. From what we’ve seen lately, here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. What shape works best? Kitchen renovation lets you think outside the box, literally. There are, for example, very large, very deep sinks vs. shallower, trough-like sinks. One homeowner, chose a huge, keyhole-shaped sink that she said was the perfect shape for bathing a baby, washing a small dog and cleaning up her large serving platters.
  2. How tough does it need to be? If you’re not worried about juice stains, nicks and scratches, a porcelain sink might be perfect for your kitchen remodel. If, however, you want to be able to toss racks and pots into your sink and drain tomato sauce without doing instant sink scrubbing, a stainless steel sink might better fit your priorities. Kohler even makes stainless steel sinks that come with accessories like cutting boards and prep bowls.
  3. Is one sink enough? With a custom kitchen remodel, you can design in a main sink plus one or even two auxiliary sinks – perhaps one in a kitchen island to help with entertaining and one set off in a drink-bar area of the new kitchen. Contractors can work with you to use these extra sinks not just functionally, but as design elements. For example, a breakfast bar might be the perfect place to use a beautifully painted sink to add some “wow” without making the counters or backsplash look too busy.

For more ideas on sinks and other kitchen remodeling ideas, please visit our kitchen remodeling photo gallery.

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Home Remodeling: What ISN’T Changing

Home remodeling has certainly changed! Home construction is greener, home renovation includes all kinds of new products and gadgets, and from kitchens to whole house remodels, styles tend to be simpler and more streamlined. But here is one thing that hasn’t changed: people still love their books and still want a home remodel to include places where they can store, display and enjoy their treasured volumes.

You might not think that from browsing the pages of current shelter magazines that show such pared down interiors. But the truth is, that even in the age of iPads and Kindles, house remodeling contractors know how much people like to live with their books. Today, when we talk about home construction with clients, they often put built-in bookcases or a reading nook on their wishlist.

If you love living with favorite books, here are a few interesting ideas to consider in thinking about how to include them in your own upcoming home remodel:

  1. Try shelving books in unexpected places: you don’t have to do a whole house remodel to create a mini-library! As a house remodeling contractor, we can design and build interesting shelves to display books in almost any room. In the dining room, for example, books can be great for starting conversations.
  2. Carve out a bit of space for a reading nook: widening a landing, for example, can create a quiet, cozy place to read that’s away from the bustle of the family room or other busy areas of the home. Remodeling that includes a pretty window lets you enjoy sunshine and a lovely view as you read.
  3. Use doors on the front of bookshelves: With doors that slide, open or even roll up tambour-style,  even the most tattered – but beloved – book collection fits in with the sleekest, most minimalist interior design.

We can help you include books in your home – remodeling your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or whole house to the perfect spaces for a few cherished books or hundreds! Want some ideas to get started? Just give us a call!

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A New Exterior: Remodeling Your Entryway

How is your home’s curb appeal? Sometimes, changing your entryway can give your home the feeling of an entire exterior renovation.   Plus, according to REMODELING magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, exterior remodeling – particularly updating the entry — is among the most valuable home improvements you can invest in. In fact, installing a steel front entry door topped this year’s survey for value, letting homeowners recoup an estimated 85.6 percent of the cost at resale. But there’s a lot you can do to your entry that’s way more exciting than just installing a steel door!  Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  1. Raise the height of your existing exterior – remodeling options include installing a window directly over the door and framing it as a single unit.  This adds impact to the entire front of your home.
  2. Small, covered porches not only offer you and your guests protection from the elements, they can also visually and functionally extend your home’s foyer to the exterior. Renovation might give you the chance to build in a swing or covered patio with seating.
  3. Upgrade the materials and the scale. For example, many homes in our area have concrete walkways and steps leading to the front door. It’s a fairly easy exterior remodeling job to cap them with brick or flagstone. Or, for an even bigger impact for your home’s exterior, renovation might include starting fresh with a much wider, more gracious set of steps and replacing a straight, utilitarian walkway with a beautifully curved walk of brick, stone, slate or flagstone.

These are just a few ideas for upgrading your entry and giving a facelift to your home’s entire exterior. Renovation opens all kinds of possibilities!  For ideas, check out our exterior remodeling photo gallery.

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Bathroom Remodels are Becoming Less Conventional

Ask a bathroom remodeling contractor to describe a “typical” bathroom renovation and we’ll tell you that there isn’t a typical one these days.  Like so many aspects of home remodeling today, bathroom remodeling has become all about personalization and possibilities.  Let me give you some examples.

First, I say “personalization” rather than customization.  For instance, we can personalize your bathroom remodel without using custom bathroom cabinets. Instead, we can work creatively with semi-custom cabinets to design bathroom surfaces and storage that’s personalized just for you.

A so-called typical bathroom remodel used to include a tub, shower, toilet and vanity. Now, even a luxurious master bath may not include a tub – some people don’t want to use the floor space since they don’t have the time or desire to take baths. Instead, they want their bathroom remodeling contractor to give them a larger shower enclosure. If tubs are on the wish list, they’re often free-standing ones with an airier feel than built in tubs.

In conventional bathrooms, toilets and vanities were mounted on the floor. Today, wall-mounted bathroom cabinets and toilets are increasingly popular elements of bathroom remodeling. The fact that they “float” makes even smaller bathrooms feel large and uncluttered.

As a bathroom remodeler, I see lots of lists of what’s in and what’s out. But even these lists don’t point to a typical, conventional bathroom. Remodeling’s supposed list of “outs” like vessel sinks or small, square ceramic tile might be on your own list of “must haves.” Back to the point I made about personalization: bathroom renovation is all about what you like, what you need and how you live. No two families are the same – and that’s why today’s bathroom remodeling is becoming far less conventional. Anything goes!

For some ideas on your own bathroom remodeling, start now with our photo gallery.

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Exterior Remodeling to Reduce Maintenance

There’s a big difference in how you feel coming home to a well-kept older home vs. driving up to a home where aging siding, weather-beaten trim, and a cracked cement walkway all cry out for attention. That’s why exterior remodeling can make such a difference not only to the look of your home, but how you feel about it. Plus, with an eye toward new materials and construction options, exterior renovation can also reward you with lower maintenance.

Instead of just replacing a cracked cement walkway, for instance, you could consider exterior remodeling that changes the look of your home and eliminates worries that your new walkway will crack again. Brick or flagstone, for instance, not only give a richer look to your home’s exterior, they are set in sand or bluestone so they can “move” rather than crack like cement often can over time.

If your trim needs attention, replacing the wood and painting it is not your only option the exterior. Renovation could instead be done with products like Azec. From exterior fascias to trim for windows and doors, these products are easy for us to install, come in a variety of colors so we can get the right look for your home, and they never need painting.

If you have wooden siding – or siding that has been damaged or has just started to look old, you can replace it with new materials and even a whole new look. Today’s suite of low-maintenance exterior remodeling products includes everything from brick and stone to never-needs-painting siding. Cement board siding, for example, is not only a virtually maintenance-free exterior option, it also helps insulate your home to increase energy efficiency.

So, if you need to focus some attention on your home’s exterior, renovation options can help you enjoy a home that’s more attractive and easier to maintain for years to come.

Visit our site to find more information about our exterior remodeling services!

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Need Exterior Repairs? Think Exterior Remodeling.

Between storms, harsh weather and aging materials, we all know how Mother Nature and Father Time can be hard on your home’s exterior. Renovation – instead of just repairing or replacing what’s damaged is a way we can help you fix what needs repair or replacement while we also give the exterior of your home a whole new look. Many of today’s exterior remodeling materials also give you a makeover in terms of lowering energy costs and maintenance.

Here’s one example: homeowners who discovered water damage under their vinyl siding decided to look at exterior remodeling options. They ended up choosing fiber-cement siding because it is durable, low maintenance, moisture-resistant and comes in so many different textures, shapes and sizes. Instead of just repairing the damaged siding, they did a cost-effective exterior renovation that dramatically updated the home’s curb appeal. In addition, repairing the home’s water damaged wood created an opportunity to economically enlarge an existing deck which opened up the look and feel of the interior as well.

With an eye toward exterior remodeling, the possibilities can be exciting – and affordable. So before you settle for repairs or replacements, give us a call.  In the meantime, for ideas on what’s possible, take a look at our Exterior Remodeling photo gallery.

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Does a Home Addition Have to Start From Scratch?

You know you want a home addition, but what you might not know is that addition can begin with space you already have.

As a home addition contractor, I talk with so many homeowners who want to add more living space but who may not have the lot size or budget to “start from scratch.”  In these cases, we’re often able to pick a different starting point: space that already exists.

For example, if homeowners want to add on to the kitchen or to create a new family room, an underused screened-in porch might be a perfect “home addition in the making.” Chances are, it already has a foundation, so there’s a major cost-savings right there.  Even more important, however, is the creative thinking this extra square footage offers.  The porch itself could be transformed into the room addition. Even if the space is not located where the actual new living space is desired, integrating the porch into the home’s overall square footage creates space to shift existing rooms to open up interior space for a larger kitchen, dining room, family room or even a first-floor bedroom.

If you have a carport, you have a foundation just waiting to become a garage complete with a multi-story addition that’s perfect as an office, teenage retreat, or in-law suite. The space between your back door and a detached garage can be remodeled into more than a breezeway. It could become a full-fledged home addition with plenty of space for a mudroom, family room or big new kitchen.

We’ve been the home addition contractor for so many homeowners over the years.  Our experience helps us spot possibilities for adding space without always starting from scratch. If you’re thinking of a home addition, why not start by getting some inspiration from our photo gallery?

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