Communication: The Key That Unlocks The Door To Remodeling Success!
Communication helped everyone transform the 1970s ranch-style home: New dormers and new semi-circular wall surrounding the new private patio.
The return trip home, after leaving Mark and Anne’s yearly Thanksgiving open house, presented a wonderful opportunity to think about everything that made their major 1970s ranch home remodeling project special. Then, a familiar question, “How can more homeowners achieve the best results possible — with fewer anxieties, hassles, and regrets?” Here’s what made a big difference for Anne and Mark when they remodeled (and added onto) their home, and what can make a big difference for you:
Everyone took responsibility for communication, making this a successful remodeling project!
Microwave Oven Concerns for Homeowners
Microwave-Hood units are an unsafe and poorly-working option!
Microwave oven options was the topic of several discussions during our former internet radio program, “Today’s Home.” We expressed concern about microwave-hood combinations and drawer microwaves. Both appliances are potentially dangerous. You’ve got someone on your side, to help you make informed decisions about products that can affect your safety.
According to National Kitchen and Bath Association design guidelines, the best (and safest) location for a microwave oven is achieved when the bottom of the unit is 3″ below the main user’s shoulder, or a maximum of 54″ above the floor (whichever is lower). If a microwave oven is placed below a 36″ high countertop, the bottom of the unit must be a minimum of 15″ above the floor. There should be a 15” wide by 16″ deep landing area above, below, and/or adjacent to the handle side of a microwave oven, from the front edge of the adjacent countertop. (more…)
Remodeling Change Orders — The LAST Thing You Want!
Caution: The lowest estimate often comes with change orders.
Remodeling Change Orders. You’re surprised, and feel betrayed. Just when everything seemed to be going well, your contractor says, “We’ve run into a problem,” or, “If you want it, you’re going to have to pay more.” There are (sometimes) valid reasons for Change Orders, but most of the time, they can be avoided. You do not want to feel like your home is being held hostage. Here are five ways to avoid Change Orders:
How to Avoid Remodeling Change Orders
Remodeling Change Orders during a building or remodeling project should be an exception, not the rule. Here are ways that you can avoid them: (more…)
Advocate for Homeowners? Of Course!
“Hello, I’m Diane Plesset.”
What is an Advocate? Many contractors conclude that an advocate always takes the homeowners’ side against them, which is not true. Remodeling is a team effort. If everyone remembers this, and takes their individual responsibility seriously. There’s no need for anyone to take sides in most cases. There have been only five times in several hundred remodeling projects where a dispute arose. There was clear evidence that the contractor had done something very wrong:
- Not providing products and services specified in their agreement without communication.
- Changing the scope of the project without communication.
- Not providing a written change order before extra work began.
- Selling products at an inflated price because “warranty service” was provided, without specifying in writing exactly what is included and excluded.
Building-Remodeling Changes: Santa Claus or Grinch?
“How the Grinch Stole . . . Everything!
History Before 2008:
Building-remodeling professionals were busy, with seasonal ups and downs. Homeowners called design and construction professionals to renovate their home, or build a new home. They had high expectations and positive anticipation about finding someone to help them.They felt it was like waiting for Santa Claus.
The Grinch (aka the economy) stole everything. Anticipation was replaced by anxiety and fear. Americans were just trying to keep their homes, trying to prevent the Grinch from stealing the roof over their heads. People lost jobs as companies downsized or closed their doors. Building and remodeling stopped. People who were thinking about trading up decided to hunker down and stay put. Recovery from such a devastating blow takes a long time. (more…)
Remodeling a Traditional Bathroom for Family and Guests
Shower for family and guests: Neutral color scheme, easy-to-clean surfaces.
Are you planning to remodel a bathroom that’s used daily by your family and occasionally by guests? To achieve the multi-use function you need, and the traditional appearance you desire, plan carefully and choose durable products that are easy to clean. Daily maintenance will be easy, and you won’t have to toil for hours to make the bathroom guest-ready.
RESILIENT ELEMENTS OF TRADITIONAL DECOR
♦ COLOR SCHEME. Select a neutral color palette that complements the colors and textures used in the adjacent hallway. Consider how people feel as they move from one room to another; the transition, especially in a traditional home, should be smooth and non-jarring to the occupants. It’s best to err on the conservative side for permanent features like plumbing, tile, countertops, and cabinets. Conservative doesn’t have to be boring! Painted walls can be any color you choose, although it’s wise to stay away from jewel tones and highly-saturated colors like burnt orange, daffodil yellow, or kelly green. Consider how easy (or difficult) it will be to coordinate the paint color with decorative tiles and accessories. Paint can be easily changed, but tiles cannot. If you have a favorite painting or framed poster that you want to display in the bathroom, select colors from it to help you create the scheme. (more…)
Other Guidelines, Other Choices for Your Kitchen
“Rules are not necessarily sacred. Principles are.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
“Form Follows Function.” (Louis Sullivan)
Function – Safety – Appearance
Information About The Kitchen Triangle
Did you know that Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the first architects to use the work triangle in his kitchens? During a tour of the Gordon House (the only FLW-designed home in Oregon), I overheard the docent talking with visitors about many of Mr. Wright’s innovations in home design that we still use today, and had to add that tidbit of trivial information. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) describes a work triangle in their guidelines:
“The distances between the three primary work centers (cooking surface, cleanup/prep sink and refrigeration storage) form a work triangle. The sum of the three traveled distances should total no more than 26 feet with no single leg of the triangle measuring less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet.”
The guidelines also state: “No major traffic patterns should cross through the basic work triangle.”
3 Recommendations To Protect Your Bathroom Investment (And Your Sanity)
Have you heard remodeling nightmare stories shared by family, friends, and neighbors? Was your reaction a vow to never remodel your home? Time has passed, and now you’re considering a major bathroom renovation. Your new vow is, “Those nightmares will never happen to me”. How can you avoid costly, frustrating problems? Let’s follow the “Smiths” and the “Browns” through their bathroom transformations:
The “Smiths” wanted to remodel their master bathroom, but didn’t think about what they really wanted to include, and how they wanted to feel in their new bathroom. This opened the door for unnecessary features that could squeeze them into an over-budget situation. The “Browns” took the time to define exactly what they wanted — the look, feel, and function. They agreed that their #1 priority was a two-person shower with all the bells and whistles (rainhead shower head, body sprays, adjustable personal shower, a large bench seat, and decorative glass tiles). They could talk knowledgeably with professionals they would hire to help them design and build their new bathroom.
♦ Recommendation #1: Define Your Priorities (Money Matters!)
The “Smiths” relied on magazine articles and TV remodeling shows for information, without testing reality. They did no research about
Great Bathroom Design Balances Comfort, Safety, and Visual Appeal
Your bathroom can be any style that blends with your home and makes you feel good. Great bathroom design incorporates comfort and safety principles before anything is selected, during the planning stage. Here are four bathroom design ideas for lighting, showers, tubs, and floors that will guarantee your comfort and safety, so you can really enjoy your new or remodeled bathroom:
Which Bathroom and Kitchen Countertops are Right for You?
We conclude this pros and cons discussion about bathroom and kitchen countertops, talking about concrete, stone, stainless steel, and lavastone. This information, combined with my previous article about your countertop investment will help you make a choice that will give you years of great service and personal pleasure.
Materials: Concrete, Stone, Stainless Steel, Lavastone
Made popular by Fu Tung Cheng, who has written at least one book about the subject.
Pros: Concrete can be an exquisite, unique countertop, with an unlimited color palette, and the possibility of inlays or relief impressions. Undermount porcelain, cast iron, and metal sinks can be used with concrete bathroom countertops, and it’s possible to have a one-of-a-kind integral concrete sink as a focal point. Cons: Although there are many step-by-step seminars, articles, and videos showing how to create concrete countertops, they are not a beginner-DIY project; they must be manufactured by an expert. Concrete is a very porous substance and a brittle material, prone to cracking and chipping. It must be sealed to prevent bacteria growth and staining. It can be very heavy, and may require extra-sturdy cabinets — and reinforcement of the structure. (Photo Courtesy of Sonoma Cast Stone)