Monday, June 27, 2011

A must read before remodeling

A well-researched & well-thought client of ours passed this article along to me that he found informative prior to us beginning his kitchen remodel. The article is from Money Magazine, June 2011, entitled How to Stick to Your Remodeling Budget.
"Everyone knows that the four most expensive words in remodeling are 'while we're at it...' Yet as any big project unfolds, you'll face innumerable temptations to upgrade the materials, features, and even layout you originally planned. Spending a few hundred extra for, say, pricier backsplash, tiles or a few thousand to add organizing systems to your new closets may be money well spend, but your cost will eventually soar into the stratosphere. Follow these tips for staying close to the expenses you intended.
The primary cause of busted budgets late in the game is having unrealistic cost expectations to begin with, says Eden Prairie, Minn., contractor Mark Mackmiller. You can avoid them by making as many specific product choices as possible early on. So as you plan your project, go to the tile shop, the stone yard, the plumbing supply, and the lighting store and make your selections - or at least figure out what price range they'll be in. Otherwise your contractor will give you a guesstimated 'allowance' for each item, which may not be enough.
One you've drawn up your budget, add 10% as a contingency fund. That's for surprises that are beyond your control, like termite damage or rotted framing. The good news is that those problems arise as soon as demolition is done and the contractor can see inside the walls and ceilings. Get past this phase, and the remainder of the contingency is fair game for upgrades and extras, says architect Lori Stephens of Corvallis, Ore. Just decide quickly whether you're changing the layout, because once the crew installs framing, plumbing and wiring, undoing that work would add even more cost.
Tell your contractor - or better yet, write into your contract - that you want 'written change orders.' That means you get a black-and-white description and price for any add-ons, which you sign before the work commences. (If your contractor balks at extra paperwork, have him jot the information on the back of your contract and initial it). That prevents surprises - and makes it easy to track your bottom line..."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Latest Kitchen

Here are some pictures of our most recent kitchen renovation. I particularly like this one for it's unique door style, which is an updated take on the traditional shaker door. This is the first kitchen we have done using this door, and it was based on an existing piece of Amish made furniture she had in her dining room. And by removing the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room, we greatly increased the openness of the home which made for a dramatic change.

What is great about making cabinets from scratch is we can do whatever we want, the only limitation we have is our imagination. The owner had the idea to have a glass panel above a wood panel in the same door on either side of the range. Other cabinet companies either said they couldn't do it or had a large additional fee to do so. Since everything for us is handmade, it was not problem to meet that need of hers for minimal cost. With lights in that cabinet, it makes for a great showpiece.  Also, the corner glass cabinets were created to replace the old china cabinet & also were designed to soften the corner, creating a smoother, less harsh transition into the kitchen. The back of the peninsula was designed & built to allow access to otherwise dead space against the wall. Even though it is not a big kitchen, it is packed with unique details & features maximizing storage & aesthetic beauty.

Here is what the kitchen used to look like, highlighting the dramatic change that took place: