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Stearns Design Build’s Home Remodeling Process

Stearns Design Build’s Home Remodeling Process

Making the decision to remodel your home can be very daunting. For many, it can take months or years to take that leap of faith and let people into your home, which is your safe space. Here at Stearns, we’ve spent years fine-tuning and meticulously planning to make it as painless as possible. 

Let’s walk through our remodeling process to get a better understanding!

Complimentary Consultation

Your first meeting is with Hugh Stearns, the president of Stearns Design Build. This is an opportunity for us as a business to understand and reflect on the big picture of what you’ve been dreaming of changing, as well as your concerns. We hope you will leave this meeting with valuable information regardless of who you decide to hire. 

 We do require a design retainer fee after this point. Our design retainer isn’t an additional fee added to the cost of your job. In fact, your retainer is basically a payment for the job that gets applied like any other payment would. It does not add to your bill or change your budget estimate. It is just, in essence, a deposit and an investment into your home + future.

Initial Design Meeting

Welcome to the information gathering and analyzing step! The designer and production manager is coming to your home to take lots of measurements and pictures.  In this meeting, we will talk more about the details of the project and how to make the space custom for you

Our goal is to create a space for you that is exactly what you need, envision, and desire. 

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, We want to know every dreamy detail you’ve ever imagined to make it the most efficient, beautiful, customized, and functional space for you and your family. 

Feasibility Meeting

Design time! Ok, not yet but we’re getting close 🙂 We’ve taken the information you’ve given us to create budget expectations. Our goal is to make the scope of work meet the budget.

The feasibility evaluation prevents us from creating a design that is out of your budget or not creating a design as grand as you would like. With very little time spent, this large range allows us to start providing a sense of where the project budget is likely to fall.

Concept Meeting

For large projects, there may be more than one concept meeting. In this meeting, we are laying out the general concept of the project.

We will review the floor plan drawings and refined budgetary information. 

Charrette

Charrette is a fancy French word indicating an all-hands meeting. This often takes place at your home and we bring in various members of our team such as the job manager, plumber, and electrician to talk through the concept.

We get everyone’s input on what they will need to do their part of the job and to start the process of problem-solving so that we can avoid doing this during construction.

This is an element of Design Build that is very beneficial to anyone getting their home remodeled. Our production team is heavily involved during the design phase to make sure the cost of all aspects of the project are taken in to account early in the process so there are no surprises down the road. We are all in involved from start to finish which adds an inherent efficiency and effectiveness to the process.

Design Development

It’s TIME! In this phase, we design feature elements such as stairs, cabinetry, fireplaces, and built-in furniture.

You get to pick your paint colors, selections, backsplash, and more! Our designer will help guide you through this process so it doesnt get overwhelming while making decisions.

This is the fun part: You are able to see the design of your future space come to life.

Proposal

This includes complete design, short of construction documentation. It comes with a proposal and a construction contract.

You will see what your future space looks like and make sure it’s perfect for you.

Pre-Construction Meeting

Before we break ground, we will meet with you at your home to review the schedule and details such as where we will stack materials, where dust walls will be installed, and where the port-o-potty will go.

We will also talk about starting times and weekly meetings among other details.

This is your home and we want to make the process as comfortable for you as possible. By scheduling all this information, everyone is clear on the plan moving forward.

We also have weekly project meetings with the job manager to review changes and your happiness with how things are going!

Open Wall Meeting

This meeting takes place right before we start covering things up at your home. You can see where switches and lights will be. We will review the height of fixtures and the direction of door swings.

A time for last-minute changes with less impact on the budget.

Celebrating your project

Finally, the project is completed! Time to show it off. We provide a wine and cheese party for 12 of your closest friends and family.

We will be on hand to toast to your improved home and answer questions about the design and construction of your beautiful project.

Warranty + Continuing Care

We are always available to monitor and adjust our work as necessary. Additionally, we will call you periodically to make sure that everything is in good working order and to ask questions about the durability of the work we have done for you. Our goal is to build projects and relationships that will last for generations.

We are proud to be a part of the BCS community since 1993 and we want to continue to serve for years to come.

Read more of our Happy Home Blog!

Picking the Right Contractor: Why You Shouldn’t Choose the Cheapest Option

Picking the Right Contractor: Why You Shouldn’t Choose the Cheapest Option

Recent data shows that major home improvement and remodeling projects are happening more than ever during the global pandemic. It appears that sheltering in place inspires remodeling your space! Remodeling your home is a big project, whether it’s your entry room or the guest bathroom.

“In fact, nearly four in five homeowners reported that they are dreaming about changes that would help them to enjoy their home more, with outdoor, bathroom and kitchen projects topping wish lists. Of those with home improvement dreams, nine in ten plan to upgrade their homes following the pandemic.Source: Houzz

Remodeling your home is not a small decision, just like buying a house. Many individuals have a definitive list when looking to purchase a home. Anything from the neighborhood, lot size, school district, number of bedrooms + bathrooms, etc.

If you want to find the right house for you, it is wise to hire a professional and licensed inspector to ensure the house doesn’t have water damage, structural problems: like a cracked foundation or damaged load-bearing walls, electrical issues, and HVAC problems.

Choosing a contractor should be no different.

The first step in remodeling is finding the contractor. Most homeowners think they are doing their due diligence and get multiple quotes from different contractors. SO many individuals look to reduce the cost of remodeling by choosing the contractor with the lowest bid. This is fraught with risk.

Here in our great state of Texas, you must have a license to sell a house or cut hair but not to build a house or remodel it.

Many times, the pretext to choosing the lowest bidder is that you’re receiving a great price. In actuality, the quote is intentionally inexpensive compared to others because of omissions, inferior materials, and deceptive wording giving the homeowner false expectations. In turn, this will end up costing you more time and money. 

Helpful hint:

You always want to make sure your contractor’s standards are high, they are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable in their profession. We recommend choosing your contractor based upon their capabilities, experience, honesty, and reputation within the community.  This is also where the Design-Build aspect comes into financial planning with your remodeling project. Without getting the builder’s input during the design phase, the bid can’t be determined until the design phase is complete and the project has been sent out to bid. This is typically where the owner is shocked to find out that the project cannot be constructed within their budget. This can result in the project being discarded, or having to go back to the architect to redesign the project to bring it back into the budget. Once again, more time and money lost and lots of headaches for the owner. With design-build, everyone in each part of the process is involved to ensure the project is within the client’s budget.

A Stearns Story:

We had a previous client who unfortunately hired a contractor who gave her the lowest bid. The previous contractor had “remodeled her bathroom” a year prior and by the time she called us, mold had appeared on the walls, the paint was peeling and the cabinet drawers were difficult to open and shut. This was due to poor quality materials and craftsmanship. 

In retrospect, this client had explored her options and thought she was taking the right steps before beginning the project. She solicited bids from three different remodeling contractors and chose the least expensive contractor, resulting in a complete redo of her bathroom one year later. To top it off, the contractor stopped taking her calls as soon as issues arose. 

Your home is the keeper of so many precious memories. We recommend doing your research and asking for referrals from people you respect and trust. Learn more about our design-build process here or read more of our Happy Home Blog.

Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

Many people ask us, “Should we remodel our home or should we move?”  

Our answer is always, “Well, that depends.” There is no doubt that home remodeling is a larger out-of-pocket expense than buying an existing home that doesn’t need remodeling or even building new.  Either way, it’s an excellent question and the answer depends on a multitude of factors.

We’ve included a few questions below to help guide your decision-making process!

1. How long do you plan to stay in your home?

If you plan to move within two years, you will recoup less of your remodeling investment. HERE is a valuable resource for the return on investment for home remodeling projects.

2. What are you trying to achieve?

What kind of aesthetic + functional results are you exploring when remodeling your current home?  There are some limiting factors for remodeling projects—including lot dimensions and your home’s structural “bones”.

If one of the elements is the foundation, heating, plumbing, and electrical system, then these are more challenging to overcome-  no matter how creative and professional your contractor is.

3. How much do you love your home?

We believe that homeowners with a strong attachment to their current homes should factor that element into the decision-making process.

As you know, your home is the keeper of so many emotional and sentimental memories. 

4. How much do you value your lot?

Often times our clients’ motivation to NOT relocate is as much about their lot and property, as it is about their house.

You may not be able to replicate a corner lot with an ancient shade tree in the backyard even if you find a house with your dream kitchen. If you love the lot and property, it’s worth the expense of your home remodel.

5. How much do you love your neighborhood?

A desire to remain in a certain neighborhood is also a frequent motivating factor for remodeling. There is significant value in having neighbors you enjoy or even just know. You may also value the neighborhood’s amenities or its proximity to schools and stores.

6. What is your remodeling budget?

Be sure to run some numbers: if the amount you’re planning to spend is less than the cost of moving, then choosing to remodel rather than move is a no-brainer.

Even with a modest remodeling budget, you can begin to update and make your home more current and comfortable.

7. Where does your home’s value fall in your neighborhood?

If you own the most expensive home in the neighborhood, the return on your remodeling investment will be lower.

However, if you plan to stay in your home for an extended period of time, your decision may be more about maximizing enjoyment than finances.

8. How likely are you to find a home that you wouldn’t remodel?

It is not uncommon for us to have a client decide to move and then call us a year later for a remodeling project on the new home. Because homes are so personal, it is very difficult to find one that is just right. If you’ve already invested in a larger mortgage, it may be more difficult to afford a remodel.

9. How much do kids factor into your decision?

The quality of nearby schools is a major consideration for most families with school-age kids and may even be the reason you bought in your current neighborhood. Disrupting the children’s school and social lives may be another key consideration. Even if you have not made close friends on your block, the kids usually have made connections in the neighborhood and at school.

Deciding whether to move or remodel is a layered decision because it involves so many considerations outside of just the wood, wiring, and windows that make up the structure that houses your life. 

Remember that both remodeling and moving can be fresh and exciting or stressful and overwhelming. Taking the time + space upfront to evaluate all of the factors will help you weather the experience.

We would love to discuss your options for remodeling your home. Give us a call or click below & we can set up a free consultation!

Contemporary + Modern Home Renovation: Part 3

Contemporary + Modern Home Renovation: Part 3

Lastly, as we move from the kitchen in Part 2 to the master bathroom, we stayed with the same contemporary modern vibe from the rest of the home.

In the master bathroom, his and her sink vanities were nestled in opposite corners, separated by a large charcoal garden tub and small shower stall.

Removing the large, corner garden tub we relocated his sink vanity beside hers along the main wall.

Because two existing corner windows now occupied the space above his new sink vanity, the clients feared he would have to forego a mirror, because we didn’t want to sacrifice any natural light.

A custom, swivel mirror mounted inside the window casing was our solution, allowing both the mirror + window to coexist while also providing maneuverability when routine cleaning of the window was required. 

The pièce de résistance for this master bathroom makeover was undoubtedly the show-stopping walk-in shower.

Commanding the remaining half of the existing room footprint, a combination of gray and black large-format tiles adorn the floor and walls.

Centered on the shower entry opening, a full-size quartz slab takes center stage, highlighted by dimmable LED strip lighting from the floor to ceiling on each side.

Behind half-walls with ledges capped in matching quartz, are strategically placed shower controls that allow turning the water on to warm without getting wet in addition to custom wall niches with concealed, dimmable accent lighting.

Before this bathroom had a ton of wasted space with a bathtub that was never used. The clients had a certain style they wanted in mind and we were thrilled to help that vision come to life with this bathroom transformation.

Watch the video below to see all the before + after photos for this home renovation!

We’d love to have a meeting to hear about your goals, dreams, and the transformation you envision for your home. Are you ready? We can design your dream space today!


Call us today for a free consultation! We can’t wait to hear from you.

Brazos Feed It Forward

Brazos Feed It Forward

During this unique and precarious time in history and in all of our lives, the Stearns Design Build team has been working on ways to serve + support the BCS community. 

We feel that it’s important to recognize all the feelings that COVID-19 has brought forth; fear, uncertainty, anxiety, etc. However, this has allowed us the ability to develop more courage, acceptance, and compassion, while helping each other and our community during this time of need.

This is how Brazos Feed It Forward began for us. Hugh Stearns had the idea to support local restaurants while feeding frontline workers with donations from our community. While putting this plan in action, BCS Local Flavor was working on something very similar. So, we immediately joined forces to create Brazos Feed It Forward. With donations from the cities of Bryan + College Station, we have raised OVER 90K to support frontline workers, local restaurants, and in return, the BCS economy.

We’ve received so much support from our community and feel hopeful that we can continue to find ways to keep BCS thriving during this unprecedented time.

THANK YOU to all of our local news outlets for helping us spread the word and to everyone who has contributed!

If you would like to learn more or make a donation, visit: https://brazosfeeditforward.org/