Kitchen Remodeling Tips: 5 Things to Do Before Work Begins on Your New Kitchen

Kitchen Remodeling Tips: 5 Things to Do Before Work Begins on Your New Kitchen

Renovating a kitchen is a huge project that requires proper planning. When it comes to making magic happen, there are a lot of variables to consider. 

So, before you take a sledgehammer and start breaking down walls, it’s important to take a good look at your plan. Is it realistic? Do you have enough leeway in your budget to achieve both your needs and wants?

To help you jumpstart the process, here are five things we recommend you accomplish before starting your kitchen renovation.

1. Decide how you want to conduct the project

Not surprisingly, we believe you should hire a design-build firm. In fact, we can even offer recommendations along that line. Regardless of your approach to your project, we believe it’s imperative that you involve other people to get a broader, more informed perspective.

But remember; even if you’re using professional help, you must still provide your own input. Your kitchen must work for you, which means you have to be involved. 

2. Figure out how much time you need for the project.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips 5 Things to Do Before Work Begins on Your New Kitchen1There are really only two projects: design and construction. It’s important to allow enough time for both but, unfortunately, most homeowners end up underestimating the duration of each phase.

We recommend allowing leeway for incubation time during the design phase.  Set your design aside for a few days and try not to think about it too hard. Chances are, you’ll get hit with a bolt of fresh inspiration after a while—an idea that’ll transform your design from good to great. 

Once you have a full design—including selections—then you can move on to creating a construction schedule. Include everything that needs to be done and come up with a rough time estimate for each. And then add at least 25% of that timeframe to that timeframe.

Is there a deadline—some sort of event that the remodel needs to be completed by? If so, you’ll want to work backwards, starting with your end date, to see when your actual start date should ideally be. If there is no deadline, then you can simply work forward with your schedule. For anything that you’re trying to do yourself, we recommend that you at least double the time you think it’ll take. Speaking from experience, it is not uncommon for us—as a design-build company—to be asked to pick up projects that had previously been abandoned for years.


3. Leave some leeway for the unexpected.

Regarding your timeline, don’t forget to give you and your contractor a bit of wiggle room. No matter how meticulously you plan you’re remodeling, there are variables in a renovation that will always be beyond our control. It isn’t uncommon to come across something that couldn’t have been anticipated. This includes things like rot or unexpected piping in the walls.

Remember to leave room for the unexpected and scheduling adjustments when designing your kitchen remodeling schedule. The smallest adjustment in the project schedule can trigger disruption for the entire thing. For instance, if you add something to the plumber’s schedule that will keep them on the job for an extra day, everyone gets affected. Let’s say that addition should ideally only throw the electrician’s schedule off by a day. However, that one-day delay has also forced the entire crew to postpone by their schedule by another day or two because the plumber and electrician aren’t done. By that time, the AC guy is going to have to push his HSVR back a week just to accommodate the extra days of the whole team.

You can see why construction schedules are so difficult to maintain.

4. Check your priorities.

If your budget does not allow you to make your dream kitchen a reality in one shot, there’s no need to compromise. Instead, do it in phases. Start with the areas you absolutely need to complete immediately. For instance, you’ll usually need your countertops, cabinets, infrastructure, layout, and wiring right away. The little add-ons, however, like appliance upgrades, new tiles, expensive faucets, and fancy light fixtures can afford to be pushed to a later date.

Choose The Right Sink For Your Kitchen Upgrade

5. Create a temporary kitchen.

While your main kitchen is under renovation, make sure to set up a temporary kitchen in another part of your home. This is where you’ll wash dishes and prepare meals for the time being. Having a kitchen remodel doesn’t have to be an excuse to start eating out or ordering in all the time, and you’ll be happy for this temporary space when you need your 7AM morning coffee.

You don’t need a fancy set-up. You just need a countertop or two, a small cooking surface (electric or camping will work fine), a refrigerator or even an ice chest, and a few essential utensils for cooking and eating.

Kitchen remodeling is both exciting and potentially nerve-wracking. You need to invest time, effort, and commitment to get it done, so be sure to cover all the bases before diving in. If you take your time, seek help from professionals, and consider the above tips, you should have little to no trouble getting the results you want.

5 Important Things to Consider When Planning for a Home Addition

5 Important Things to Consider When Planning for a Home Addition

Maybe your family is welcoming a new member or an aging parent. Maybe you’ve grown tired of the small home you’re living in and want more room to breathe. Whatever reason it is, you have concluded that you need more space. But where do you start?

From getting design ideas to figuring out a budget, we have broken down the basic planning process for a home addition into five easy steps. It’s not as stressful if you take it one step at a time, so take a deep breath and let’s start.

Step 1: Property Lines

Before developing a plot plan, you need to locate your property lines. This is an important process because local codes have certain legal restrictions regarding the distance between your home and your neighbor’s property. These are called setbacks.

You’ll need to make sure the new addition is not built outside the jurisdictional setbacks under local zoning laws.  Skipping this step puts you at risk of having difficulty selling your home or even of having to tear down the addition

Step 2: Cost

Before design can begin, a budget must be developed. Unless you have unlimited resources, design must be directed by the budget. There is no upper end to what you can spend. Many people make the mistake of believing that they can add on to their home for the same square foot cost that new homes are built. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. Here are three things to keep in mind about remodeling.

  1. New home construction does not deal with demolition, building old to new or people living in the job site.
  2. New home construction has a huge advantage in economies of scale.
  3. One of the things that most people want to overcome when they are remodeling is cheap builder-grade materials.

Step 3: Prioritize

To manage a budget, you must know your priorities. What are the needs and what the wants. Among the wants, which are most important. Most families looking at an addition have to make difficult compromises to meet their budget needs.

Step 4: Design

Steve Jobs said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” Your home should work well for you and it should be beautiful. Most homes come from generic patterns that do not work for the specific needs of their inhabitants. Take note of what you have and plan to have, what needs storage, what needs wall space. Take note of what evokes emotion for you. Design a space that fits and reflects who you are. When done well, designing your home, or even just an addition to it should be joyful and cathartic.

Step 5: Your Team

Whether you hire a designer and then a contractor, you hire a design/build firm, or you do it yourself, you must have a team.  Home additions are complex projects that require a high level of expertise. We have seen a few DIY projects that turned out well. We have seen far more that did not, even to the point of diminishing the value of the home. In our very biased opinion hiring a design/build firm is the way to go.

4 Reasons Why Home Addition Increases Home Value

5 Tips for Planning Your Kitchen Remodel Budget

5 Tips for Planning Your Kitchen Remodel Budget

Creating a plan for a kitchen remodel can be stressful and overwhelming. Aside from figuring out exactly how you want your space to look, working around a budget, you must also make a lot of selections to create your masterpiece.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

An updated kitchen adds more value to your home. In fact, a significant part of kitchen remodeling costs will be recovered by the value the project brings to your property.

In terms of the average cost of a remodel, a major kitchen renovation—in our region—recovers an estimated 59.2% of the initial project cost when sold within a year. Returns improve over time, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors in 2018.

Learn More about How Much a Kitchen Remodel Costs Here!

Managing the amount you spend on your next kitchen renovation should be a breeze if you follow these simple tips:

1. Choose 3 Goals

Start with a basic idea of what you want to accomplish. This doesn’t usually include specific details such as color and style, but more of a general, overall vision of what you would rather have. For instance, more space to resolve layout conflicts or make way for new appliances. Or more kitchen counters, to better accommodate your style of cooking. Try to come up with three primary goals you’d like to accomplish with a new kitchen, and then make sure you know exactly why you want to accomplish them.

2. Prioritize

5 Tips for Planning Your Kitchen Remodel Budget1For many of us, our wish list is larger than our budget. It’s important to remember that remodeling is an extensive—and expensive—project. Be prepared to adjust your scope of work to match your budget.

One of the advantages of working with a design-build firm rather than an architect and separate contractor is that a design-build firm has firsthand construction knowledge and cost data to help guide the budget process. Architects are prone to overlook necessary steps in the construction process, and the cost tables they use are based on industry averages that do not take into account crucial information such as material durability and finishes.

3. Prepare for Unexpected Expenses

We recommend setting aside at least 15% of your budget in case there are unexpected problems. This is another advantage of using a design-build firm. Having deep building science and field experience on hand during design helps anticipate and account for possible surprises. Our average cost of hiding surprises is far lower than 15%, but we want our clients to be ready for the worst-case scenarios.

4. Make Arrangements for Living Accommodations

A kitchen remodel can be stressful, especially since there will be a lot of renovating, reconstructing, and possible minor demolitions going on. This can prove to be an inconvenience for your family. We recommend discussing this with your family and deciding on a place for your temporary kitchen/dining area while the project is ongoing. Some may prefer to eat out during that time, but this could prove to be quite costly. You can always set up even a minimal kitchen for making coffee and small meals during this time.

5. Work Out a Payment System

Take time to explore your options (i.e. personal loans, refinancing, home equity loans, etc.) for paying the renovation. Be sure to know when the funds will be available as well. You’ll need to know when you can get a hold of those funds to pay for the project. Some forms of lending will not allow the project to start until the loan is secured.

Kitchen remodels are inevitably disruptive, but the end result is always worth it. A few weeks after the project is done, and you’ll have forgotten all about the inconvenience. However, from then until the next big project or move, you’ll walk into your kitchen and appreciate the upgrade in quality of life.

Can a Home Addition Increase the Value of My Home?

Can a Home Addition Increase the Value of My Home?

For many homeowners, it’s practically second nature to think about the value home additions can bring to their property. Whether it’s in the form personal value or marketability, knowing just how much you’ll get back can help ease the anxiety that comes with spending copious amounts of cash on a kitchen extension or sunroom.

But is there a way to strategically analyze which additions are profitable and which ones are just plain unnecessary?

Find out if your home additions can actually propel your property’s market value with these points.

Home Addition Plans

Simply planning home additions off the top of your head won’t magically generate value. Home additions need to be carefully thought-through and extensively studied. Consider the following:

  • Cost-effective placement. What type of home addition should you add? Where will it be installed? How much square footage will it need? Remember that larger areas typically entail larger costs. Most will also entail interior finishes and exterior sidings, not to mention probable excavations. You may even encounter problems with underground pipe systems and soil types, which is why it’s necessary to identify the best placement for the best type of home addition.
  • Location. Different areas have different temperatures; some more extreme than the other. Make sure your home addition can survive your local weather and is, in fact, a pertinent home feature in regards to your area.
  • Utility. Is the addition of use seasonally or all-year round? How much utility can it provide if it’s seasonally used?
  • Outlay versus projected profits. These considerations will all boil down to the outlay and profit you get from the addition. If you invest this much, how much of it will you get back; 50%, 70% or 100%? Will your expenses be worth it vis-à-vis the intended comfort and utility it will provide?


Functionality is one of the most important considerations that add value to your property—if not the most. Most home additions are done because they add space, increase comfort, and improve your quality of life overall. For example, this might mean adding an office or study for people who work from home, a sunroom for people who love the outdoors, or a master suite.

Learn How to Tailor Your Rooms Based on Functionality and Comfort


The completion of your home addition isn’t the end of it; you still have additional monthly bills to pay depending on the type of extension and what utilities they use. For instance, extra rooms mean extending the electrical and HVAC systems. Outdoor kitchens and fountains will mean extending the water supply.

Don’t let this aspect derail you too much, though. An addition that functions smoothly or offers advanced functionality will definitely add more value to your home.


Another important aspect to consider is the maintenance. Is the maintenance cost reasonable or will it be a potential burden? How frequent will the upkeep be?

Maintenance is one of the factors most real estate buyers carefully consider when reviewing their options. It’s understandably that scoring a place with fairly affordable upkeep is ideal. Home additions with frequent and costly maintenance are more of a burden than an asset.

Aesthetic Appeal

Of course, we can’t forget the role aesthetics play in bringing value to your home. A home addition that’s visually captivating can increase buyer interest—especially through online listings. Combined with practical amenities, aesthetic additions are sure to boost your property’s market value.

Moreover, an addition that enhances the beauty of your home gives a special kind of gratification to homeowners who can attest to the improvement it brings in their daily lives.

In a nutshell, home additions can boost your home’s market value, provided they satisfy the above conditions. While additions may cost a significant sum, it’s important that you invest in quality materials and labor. Cutting corners will eventually backfire, costing you more in the long run. And before you start, make sure to run your plans with professional remodeling contractors to ensure an efficient and stunning home addition.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips: Choosing the Right Sink

Kitchen Remodeling Tips: Choosing the Right Sink

Most kitchen work involves the use of sinks; from prepping to the last washed pot. Sinks add to the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen and, of course, are functional. So, for your kitchen remodeling plans make sure to find a sink that fulfills both practical and aesthetic needs. 

What Kind of Sink Should I Install?

Kitchen sinks can be made from several different materials, including; stainless steel, cast iron, solid surface, composite, and acrylic. The material is usually an aesthetic choice but can also affect the function.

High-quality stainless-steel sinks are very sturdy. They are easy to clean and, compared to other sink options, are affordable. On the other hand, they are also one of the noisier ones—especially if you drop your silverware or plastic Tupperware—they easily display dried water spots, and scratches show up almost instantly on their surface. Sound deadening material placed under stainless steel sinks help reduce noise and improve strength. Stainless steel sinks come in varying metal thicknesses and gauges. Keep in mind that a smaller gauge means thicker metal.

Meanwhile, cast iron sinks are easy to clean and maintain. Just like stainless steel, they’re also durable. Cast iron also happens to be incompatible with abrasive cleaners as they can scratch and dull the finish. Enameled cast iron sinks are prone to chipping and scratching.

Solid surface sinks provide seamless joints with counter-tops of the same material. They are also durable, better handle dropped objects, and are easily reparable.

Using composite or artificial stone sinks will give you reasonably scratch-resistant and heat-tolerant option. However, scuffs and scrapes harder to remove.

Acrylic is an economical option. However, it is not heat-tolerant, and can be vulnerable to staining from petroleum-based products.

Want to Have The Best Scheme Design for Your Kitchen? Here are 3 of 2018’s Top Kitchen Trends!

What Size Should I Choose?

According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), small kitchens should consider single-bowl sinks. Larger kitchens can afford to have double- or even triple- bowls.

While large sinks like farm house sinks can be appealing in and of themselves, and functional when washing pans or filling large pots, they also decrease counter space—which is also usually a premium in the kitchen. A large sink that looks great in a close-up picture may look out of place in the full context of the kitchen.

What are the Best Configurations?

  • Depth. If you plan to go heavy on the dishwashing, you may want to use deeper bowls with straight side walls to accommodate washing and soaking large pans and pots. The flat bottom should also add sufficient space for stacking dishes while washing.
  • Sink Divider. When choosing a double-bowl sink, choose the one with a lower-leveled divider. This will prevent overflow while you’re doing dishes as it will allow the water to flow to the other bowl.
  • Offset Drains. Choosing a sink with offset drains will allow for smooth, even draining regardless of what’s soaking in the sink. With the drain to one side, there’s also more space for stacking washables.

What is the Best Mounting Style?

There are three basic mounting styles for kitchen sinks: drop-in, flush, and undermount.

The drop-in style is done by mounting the sink on the countertop. It’s the easiest way to install new sinks into existing countertops. You are, however, left with a rim above the countertop that is more difficult to clean.

In a flush style, the mounting is similar with that of a drop-in. However, it is even with the countertop. More commonly done in the past when laminate counter tops were prevalent, this mounting style employs a metal mounting strip that tends to collect grime.

The undermount sink has become the most popular sink in modern kitchens due to the ease of cleaning. Debris and water can be wiped right into the sink with no obstruction. However, this mounting style does not work well for laminate or tile countertops.

Seven Stylish Bathroom Remodel Considerations

Seven Stylish Bathroom Remodel Considerations

A bathroom remodel comes second to a kitchen remodeling in adding value to your home. Aside from its economic thrust, it brings in a fresher look and ambience to your sanctuary. More so, it can be a great way to pamper yourself as you start the day or after a long day’s work.

Start with your renovation plans today and check out these eight remodeling ideas.


Today, almost every bathroom improvement includes a vanity. The vanity’s use is typically threefold: it holds your sink in place, hides the plumbing, and provides storage. It can be mounted or free-standing, and is celebrated for its functionality and aesthetic value.

Your vanity can be made of stone or wood or both. Most contemporary vanities use stone materials like granite for the countertop and wood for the cabinetry.


Common sink choices include vessels, pedestal, floating, and under-mounted sinks. The most preferred sink today is the undermount known for its sleek look and ease of cleaning. Vessel sinks remain an option for a dramatic flair.


Storage is always at a premium in a bathroom. When designing, it is a good idea to list everything that you want to store in the bathroom and design according to those needs. Most storage is provided by cabinetry including vanities, linen cabinets.

As you crease your inventory list, indicate where in the bathroom each item goes down to the drawer. This will ensure that you end up with enough storage space and a countertop that is less cluttered.

Decorative and Functional Windows

A major decision for your remodel is windows. They provide natural light, ventilation, visual appeal, and connection to the outdoors.

Connection to the outdoors can be tricky, as the bathroom is typically considered the most private room in the home. Privacy strategies include shutters, obscure glass or glass blocks, and even private gardens. But it is worth every effort because you just can’t beat natural light.

One element that we discourage in our hot humid climate is a skylight. Though they have a great appeal, most people will not find that appeal worth the cost when monthly utility bills are considered. 80% of a home’s energy is lost, or in our climate gained, through the roof. Skylights provide a significant amount of heat gain in our climate.


Re-tiling your floor is another point of consideration when remodeling your bathrooms. There are infinite options when mixing and matching accents and trims.

Tile is a common choice for floors, tub surrounds, showers, and backsplashes. It allows for color, texture, and size considerations. For the floor, we recommend either small tiles, especially in the shower, or textured to provide a slip resistant surface.

Schematic Colors

Contemporary trends use minimalist colors with the omnipresent white and complementary light, solid colors. Light colors work well for highly polished finishes as well as natural materials, and provide a cleaner feel. Neutral colors work well for small spaces and can easily be accented with accessories like towels.

Learn 5 Key Reasons Why You Need a Remodeling General Contractor!

The Shower

The most common request we get in bathroom remodels these days is to remove a tub and enlarge or add a shower. Gone are the days when the major consideration was reselling value. After years of insisting that every bathroom had to have a bath and a shower, the real estate industry has realized that most people shower.

Many are taking all tubs of their home while some maintain at least one tub for bathing children. While there are few things as relaxing as soaking in a warm tub, few have the time and those who do often opt for an outdoor hot tub.


Toilets have revolutionized in recent years. Largely motivated by water conservation, we now have more styles and options than ever before. But, engineering has not always kept up with design.

The number one complaint for toilets these days is the restricted functionality. The restriction to 1.6 gallons per flush is great for water conservation, but not always so great for getting the job done.

Functionality varies from brand to brand. Most brands have typical functions while there others that work better. In our experience, every Toto toilet works well.