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New Year = New Home

New Year = New Home

Here we are, finally beginning a new year. 

The beginning of our new decade did not go according to plan. 

Let’s be honest – 2020 was rough. With all the challenges that happened last year, I think we can all agree and appreciate two things:

There are better times ahead in the New Year and we appreciate our homes more than ever before. 

There’s a newfound appreciation across the board- that our homes should reflect, embrace, and connect who we are as individuals and as families. 

We’ve returned to our love for nature, old hobbies we forgot about, and the place we call home. Additionally, all of our canceled vacations have allowed many of us to begin investing within our own four walls, transforming our homes into a more inspiring place to live, work, and play.

With this appreciation + new year, NOW is the time to reimagine your space and make it your own. So many of us make resolutions to change or adjust our habits and most importantly, re-envision the goals and dreams that we’d like to accomplish in this new year. 

But, how often do we sit down and make resolutions for our homes?

Is your working from home becoming a permanent situation? 

What if your home was the most organized and productive space it’s ever been in this new year? 

For example, after cooking at home more often in 2020, have you realized that your kitchen is not the most functional space?

 Do you have a storage issue that leaves your house feeling cluttered and messy all the time? 

Is your bathroom outdated or a potential safety hazard?

Perhaps you’ve left these “to do’s”  on the back burner; due to a multitude of things- busy lives, budget constraints, kids homeschooling,  etc. 

For many, we believe that this past year has highlighted the things we love and the things we’d love to change about our homes.

You can begin by making a list of spaces in your home that you’re most unhappy with or that could benefit from adjustment or change.

At Stearns Design Build, we are all about happiness. Our purpose is to design & build happiness, which is our tagline. 

For us, this is a well-studied pursuit with the science behind it. We use our building knowledge to help your home to become your happy place.

These days, this idea has never felt more relevant.

If you aren’t ready to make any major adjustments to your home, there are some inexpensive + easy adjustments that you can do right away to make your home feel better than it already does. 

Now, imagine how you and your family will feel when you start taking tiny steps to change the current spaces in your home and the pleasure + joy it will bring.

Try your best not to think too much into numbers + budget at this stage. The minute you begin envisioning and imagining your dream space; your creative juices will begin flowing. When you look at the world through creative eyes, whether it’s your home or other dreams and goals,  it invites in the potential transformation that you will experience. 

Doing this kind of dreaming will guide you in your decisions and goals for the year and throughout the next decade!

Did you know that all of our remodeling projects start with an energy assessment? 

Not only do we want to ensure that our company is a leader in the best practices of green building, but also we want to increase the return on investment of your home.

We’d love to sit down with you and hear about your goals, dreams, and the transformation you envision. Are you ready? Is this the year for you to begin the creation of your dream home?

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

Ready more of the Happy Home Blog!

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

Goodness, the holidays are a busy time! Decorating, shopping, entertaining, and family time. For many, it’s too busy of a season to even think about remodeling!

This isn’t typically a common time to think about remodeling, but maybe it should be.  Chances are that during the holidays with many guests, is when your house(and you) are under maximum stress.  What you might consider as negative parts of your home are under the spotlight when you have lots of visitors. They aren’t necessarily visible to the guests, but they are to you because it’s your home.

As many of our homes will be full of friends and family in the upcoming months; this is the perfect time to take a quick inventory of traffic patterns and places of congestion in your space. 

Have you noticed any restrictions as people enter the living room?  Sometimes it’s as simple as rearranging furniture to block obstructions. 

Do you think that more space would make a huge change at the front door? Opening narrow hallways, while concurrently creating more common space is a game-changing solution.

Would an additional guest bathroom and/or bedroom be helpful? It’s difficult to imagine adding a room just for hosting family & friends but you have options.

Here are a few home addition options:

Existing space remodel. The easiest + most cost-conscious method is to take an existing space in your home and remodel it into a bedroom. This typically works best with unfinished space in a basement or attic. It can also be beneficial when you have a home office or a “bonus” room that doesn’t get much use. 

Bump out addition. If you don’t have existing space for a remodel, think about a bump-out addition. This is where you choose an area of your home and push the wall out to create extra space. 

Detached addition. If there’s no practical way to create an additional bedroom, you might think about creating a detached addition that could serve as an in-law suite or small apartment. You could rent it out on Airbnb for parts of the year if you want to cover the cost. 

This is a detached addition we are currently working on for a client

Now, let’s imagine the kitchen & dining area. When there are extra hands, bodies, and cooks in the kitchen during the holidays, you’ll immediately notice and envision changes that could be helpful and free up space. We all love to congregate where the food is, so your kitchen and dining space need to be designed to flow & function for cooking and entertaining.

Home remodeling questions to think about when hosting:

Are guests in the way of cooking?

Do you have enough counter space, storage space, refrigeration?

Are the spices where they should be?

Are there too many steps between the fridge and the prep area?

Is there enough seating for guests?

This is the time to think about efficiency in your kitchen & dining room. If your kitchen is enclosed, it can be isolating to be stuck cooking in the kitchen while everyone is enjoying themselves in another room.

You might want to consider knocking a wall out and adding a kitchen island with bar stools so everyone is connected.

If you are taking out cabinet storage space with the wall, you can add more storage underneath the island to make up for it. That is a common request for many of our clients. 

When the cooking is complete and everyone is ready to eat, it’s stressful if you have a lack of seating. If you’re worried about your guests having a place to sit comfortably, it can consume your attention when you should be enjoying yourself.

Is there a protected screened in porch or patio for spillover space? Have you ever had a gathering and you plan for the guests to be in one room but then everyone ends up migrating somewhere else? Regardless of the room, you want your guests to be comfortable and cozy.

As we all know,  the holidays are a busy time and a season to enjoy family and friends. This is the ideal time to think about your home while envisioning improvements to make it even warmer and ultimately, a reflection of you

You can use any complications or concerns from holiday hosting to prioritize the most important projects. 

We would love to guide you through this process and make your home + holidays stress-free for years to come! Set up a free consultation today! Go here to read more of the Happy Home Blog.

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.

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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.