Monday, May 28, 2012

Latest Kitchen Design & Photos

Custom designed, hand-built kitchens are one of our favorite things to do at Meyer Brothers & Sons for a variety of reasons. From a design standpoint, it is fun, yes fun to take our knowledge & expertise in kitchen design - from aesthetics to functionality - and merge that with the clients unique needs & ideas. Often times I hear from clients something along these lines: "I found this picture in a magazine and really like the hood design but nothing else... my neighbor has a cherry kitchen I love but the stain is too dark and the cabinets lack functional storage...I was watching HGTV and I decided I want to go with this kind backsplash tile & granite..." From there the design path begins and unfolds through the creative design process demonstrated in 3-dimensional drawings. Through a series of adjustments, improvements & appliance specification integration the final design comes to life. Once it is finalized, the rest of the crew takes over to convert the theoretical drawings to the built reality; resulting in a truly unique, one-of-a-kind, locally built kitchen that is more of a work of art than another functional room in your house.

 the before
 the design
 the after

 We removed the walled pantry and created this cabinet pantry only 10" deep to allow room for the island w/ seating
 Bar hutch in dining room adjacent to kitchen
 A walnut wine holder as a small gift from us to our client
 Island featuring turned "urn" columns which are replicated on either side of the stove: notice how the top follows the column profile
 Wood hood with with insert & half columns on the pull-out spice racks
 Custom wood hood with Corinthian style carved corbels, side spice storage & carved vineyard onlay located on breastboard which is replicated on wood bridge over sink
 The material palette: 2 1/4" oak floor with a natural finish, cherry cabinets featuring roped molding with a natural finish, stainless appliances, granite tops & olive green glass tile back splash
One example of a 2-stage crownmolding

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Architecture Merger

I met with a client recently who wants a sunroom addition to the back of their home, but seemed to have a real desire for an overall plan of how the addition may fit with and be complimented by an outdoor patio and landscaping. I took this as an opportunity to get off the computer and do things the old fashion way. The university I attended started each student in the College of Architecture and Planning with a year of overlapping studies. It wasn't until the second year that we declared our major within the college. I haven't had many opportunities to practice what I learned with my brief introduction to landscape architecture, so I thought I'd take this one. With a little help from Photoshop, my hope is that our client may gain some ideas and begin to dream with me on what design opportunities they have in both the built & natural environment.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How to Find a Great Contractor

I came across this article from written by someone out of the industry and thought it was good advice to anyone considering using a contractor, like us! And if you heed her advice, feel free to check us out on Angie's list...don't just take our word for it, listen to our customers.

"Job Well Done

How to work with a contractor, from the initial search to the final payment
by Trae Bodge
So you need some work done on your house. Unless you’re experienced or just downright adventurous enough to do the work yourself, you’ll need a contractor to manage the project for you. If you don’t have a go-to person you already trust, it’s time to get out there and start searching for the right person for the job.
Where to Begin
Do some research on the kind of job you want to have done. Redoing your bathroom? Look at or to get design ideas and This Old House or Do It Yourself magazine to get a sense of what’s involved. This way, you can speak intelligently to the contractors you interview and be better prepared to make the big decisions.
Finding the Right Fit
There is obviously the phone book, but other people are the best resources for good, reliable, licensed contractors. If you have a listserve in your community, check it for reviews of local contractors or utilize services like Angie’s List, which offer more than 500 categories of reviews—everything from painting and plumbing to roofing and remodeling. Be sure to ask friends, neighbors and co-workers as well. And don’t forget Yelp!
The Interview: What to Look For
Once you have several names and numbers in hand, reach out and make appointments for home visits.
When you meet, be ready with questions and as much information about your project as possible. Rusty Meador, a contractor in Wilmington, NC, gave me the best advice of all: “Go about hiring a contractor just like you would any other professional. Would you go to a dentist that has a dirty waiting room and tries to sell you a lot of things you don’t need? Then don’t hire a contractor that shows up late for meetings, gives you a poorly thought-out estimate and rarely returns calls.”
The contractor should be willing to provide references (and photos of their work).  Check them. Here are some questions you can ask of the person who hired the contractor previously:
• Was the project completed on time and on budget?
• If something unforeseen came up (it usually does), how did the contractor handle it?
• Did they regularly arrive/finish on time?
• Did they clean up after themselves and their crew?
The Estimate
If, at the end of the first meeting, you think you have met a candidate, request an estimate of work. Here are some things to look for:
• A detailed timeline
• A list of any permits that need to be pulled (including the fees and time required for each).
• Does the estimate include materials? The contractor may have his/her own sources lined up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do some comparative shopping. If you have a Home Depot or Lowe’s nearby, check the sales pages online, while also inquiring in-store to see if they have a sale coming up that is relevant to your project.
• A list of additional crew or other experts (like architects or inspectors) and make sure their fees are included.
• If the estimates you receive vary widely, ask why. There are legitimate ways to save money and then there is cutting corners.
Once You Have Chosen Your Contractor
Your contractor will draw up a contract, and you should read it very carefully. Here are a few things to look out for:
• Every phase of the job should be clearly mapped out, including when and how materials need to be ordered and when payments are due. You will ideally want to pay in installments and owe at least one-third at the end of the job so your contractor will feel more motivated to stick to the schedule.
• Make sure the contractor’s insurance information is included and that his crew is covered by workman’s compensation (you can call the insurance agency to confirm).
• Will the contractor be managing 100% of the work or will you be chipping in (a good way to save money), by doing demolition, painting, etc.?
Tip: Because it’s common for the work to slow way down near the end, you can also build little bonuses into your contract, to keep the timeline on track. Also, pay by check so you have a record of every payment.
 is a beauty and lifestyle writer based in New York City."