Kitchen Remodels – Find The Right Contractor

When you’re ready to hire someone to do your kitchen remodel, make sure they have some kind of references of people they’ve done work for in the past.  For instance, before we hired our kitchen contractor, she shared the following letter that was written by one of her former clients.  I think it speaks for itself and is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to hear.

This kitchen was seventeen years old and the appliances were starting to go, so we were kind of biding our time with them. There were a few design details that, with the kids grown, we had kind of outgrown.

I had my cooktop right in the center of the island which didn’t leave a lot of space to be working and I really love to bake. I needed an island or some some space where I could just layout dozens and dozens of cookies to frost or roll out dough and candies… So I was really looking forward to a one-story island.

I really wanted to be involved in every detail. I know not everybody’s like that but that’s my personality and Gail was able to handle that. I also loved how responsive Gail was. I could shoot her an email in the middle of the night and I knew that she’d be reading at the next morning and always got back to me right away.

So she always made me feel really comfortable about every decision. I could not believe how quickly and smoothly the installation went. I was really prepared for some of the horror stories I’ve heard about how long that might take. Once I was ready to start it just rolled along and was done!

One of the things that I really really love is that everything is right here for me. I’ve got my freezers with my frozen waffles right next to my toaster, and my bread drawer with my toaster here.  The microwave is right here… It’s all at my fingertips.

Just on monday this week, I had twenty fifteen-year-old girls up here and we did a couple different things. Most of the party was downstairs but we had this island again, laid out for them and each girl got to make a couple pizzas.  All around the island they were standing and then we cleared that off, threw it into the oven. They came back up again and we did ice-cream sundaes.

Again the girls lined up all around the island it was absolutely perfect! Plenty of room for everybody, so it’s a great gathering spot.

Turning an Attic into a Bedroom

convertting an attic to a bedroom

Let’s have a look today at how to construct an attic bedroom. Adding an attic bedroom is a great way to add square footage onto your home with utilizing some existing space that’s already there.

Now when we’re looking at constructing and finishing out an attic bedroom there is certain things we got to do. First you want to make sure you do a good gauge check, and you can either do this yourself instead of going down and meet with your building codes, doing up a sketch, bringing in some measurements of what you want to finish out, and they can help you as far as making sure that the space meets minimum requirements to make it a livable space.

convertting an attic to a bedroom

converting an attic to a bedroom

Some things that are going to come into play is you’ve got to have a minimum ceiling height for the space and it’s got to be a certain width and usually about half the room has to be at your minimum ceiling height. Okay, so that’s the first thing you’re going to look at.

The next thing is you’re going to have to have a window that meets the minimum size for egress. Now one thing I recommend if you do take an attic space and convert it to a bedroom, keep in mind there is only one access that way, and then you have this window. So it’s a good idea to get an emergency ladder that if there was an emergency and your person up here occupating this room had to egress, they’d open the window, this attaches over the window, and then the ladder would drop down allowing them to be able to get out. So that’s an important consideration in a finished attic room.

Now something comes into play is that we’ve got to make accommodations up here for some of the storage space and also for some equipment that may be up in here. So there are knee walls that are built up and typically this is about as low as you want to get – about four foot knee walls. As you may notice, you may have these doors that were built in and this gives us access to our HVAC system that happens to be up here. So the furnaced portion of the HVAC is right here and also – one thing that works very well is using recessed lighting.

Again, you’re not going to typically have a lot of ceiling height, you’re going to have usually minimum ceiling heights you’re working with, when you finish out this attic space, so using recessed lighting is another good way to go about it when you’re finishing out an attic space for a bedroom.

Planning For Renovations At Home

Home Renovation Projects

Home Renovation Projects

O.k., today we’re going to have a look at how to plan a home remodel.

Now the first thing that you want to do is you want to get some good ideas as far as what type of remodel that you want to do. Now some good suggestions for that is to go out in a lot of the new neighborhoods where they have model homes and take a camera with you. Most of those folks will be very good about letting you look around, so you can look in to various rooms, kitchens, bathrooms – which are really the two main focus that we have for remodeling your home, and also two areas that add the most value to your home when they’re remodeled.

Now keep in mind when you’re planning a remodel you want to consider your neighborhood and the type of homes that you have. And one thing you want to be careful about is making sure that you don’t overbuild or over remodel a home, because if you do too much you won’t be able to re-coup that investment when you go to sell your home.

So once you have visited some model homes you may also want to visit some home improvement stores. They have several people on staff that can give you ideas and work with you. Depending on the scope of work that you’re going to have you may want to meet with an interior designer or an architect. But once you’ve pulled those together the you’ve got your basic ideas, the next is to develop a plan.

You’ll want to take measurements so if we’re going to remodel the kitchen we want to take all the measurements and then we’d want to use a ruler and we actually want to draw this layout on this piece of paper. And that’s going to be the starting point.

Then we want to have a list of all the things that we want to do, whether it’s paint, counter tops, cabinets or appliances, we want to have all those lists and we want to prioritize. And once we do that then we gotta decide whether this is going to be a do it yourself job, whether this is going to be extensive remodeling you’re going to decide whether you’re going to need an architect, a contractor or whatever. And if you do, what you want to do is meet with a couple of the architects if you’re actually going to have a design done.

Get some of their ideas… Get at least two or three. Sit down with them and they’ll actually present the ideas, present the cost of doing that and then once you develop your plan then you’ll need to select a contractor. It’s a good recommendation that you select contractors that have some references and then get at least three competitive bids. And then you can evaluate the bids and evaluate the contractor you’re going to work with.

So if you go through those steps then you’ll be able to properly plan a remodel for your home. Good luck with your new plans!

Renovations for Energy Efficiency

When you’re looking at energy efficiency, there’s really a sequence that you want to undertake. The first thing really that we recommend is looking at air-tightness, so sealing those cracks and reducing the amount of heat that can escape through the walls and in around the windows is your first priority.

Once you’ve done that, and that’s really the low-hanging fruit, then you start to look at other options like adding insulation. There there’s a little more expense and you also maybe need to bring in someone who can help you to add that insulation. The attic may be simple but it’s more difficult if you’re adding it to walls.

Then once you’ve done that you’ve really reduced your need for heating and in fact for cooling too. Then you can start to look at mechanical system retrofits, like a furnace or a new boiler. But again, only once you’ve reduced the need for heating, so then if you do replace that furnace, you’re getting one that’s optimally sized for your home and it’s not oversized.

Then once you’ve done that you can actually start to look at other creative options like tapping into the sun’s energy through solar heating or photovoltaic panels. You don’t simply put a solar panel in ’cause it’s sexy and doing it off to start, but rahter you really do targeted retrofits. And at the end of the day you’ll have a much more intelligent approach to renovating your home and achieving your energy saving objectives.