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Kitchen Remodel

Modern Trends in Home Remodel and Renovation

It’s no secret that the current housing market will remain largely lethargic for an extended period of time. People will continue to refrain from making big ticket purchases, which especially holds true for real properties. This could spell unpleasant news for developers, but surprisingly, or may be not so surprisingly if you really think about it, it will also create ample opportunities for general contractors and renovators as homeowners will opt to expand or enhance the properties that they already own.

While property values stagnate along with the rest of the economy, people will move less often and will own their house for longer periods. They will also increasingly spend more time at home. So the big question is, why not make it a happier time then?!

As a general contractor in Orange County, CA, we’ve been noticing that many home owners now prefer to upgrade their homes and stay where they are. We are also noticing that the level of sophistication of today’s homeowner’s tastes began to show a dramatic change. Consumers started asking us for materials with more cosmetic appeal and extended longevity. They want to enjoy their homes now and also make sure that they put themselves ahead of the crowd when it is finally time to sell.

Here are some of the specifics of what we’ve observed so far:

Increased length of ownership due to stagnating property values

Homeowners opt for happier time now and also put themselves ahead of the crowd when it is time to sell

Small contractor bankruptcy is on the rise

Contractor landscape is changing to reflect the new market reality – a direct result of flight to quality by the homeowners

Fly-by-night contractors are still out there, so the homeowner needs to exercise extra caution before inviting a contractor into their home

Natural high quality materials and high-end “green” technology are gradually entering homes

High-end remodels and renovations when done right create instant and lasting equity…

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House Improvements

Hiring A Home Remodeling Contractor

Finding a contractor is a headache in home repair, causing the most anxiety of all phases. In a contractor you are looking for someone trustworthy who puts effort in a good job and charges a decent price. Unfortunately, contractors cannot offer guarantees. However, do your homework and you can improve your odds, finding a winning home remodeling contractor can take a ton of weight of your shoulders and relieve you of that throbbing headache.
The Overseeing General Contractor
General contractors are the people hired to oversee your project, responsible for managing every aspect of the project. Purchasing material, hiring sub-contractors is all included in the expectations of a general contractor. Usually, a contract is signed between the contractor and the party needing work performed, in order to ensure payments only be made to him. At that point, the contractor is responsible for being sure the sub-contractors and suppliers get paid. The general contractor act as a general in the military would, you can go to them if you have any concerns.
How to Find a Reputable Remodeling Contractor
Common knowledge tells us to get at a minimum three bids on the project. Most people would say ask around at your local hardware shops like Lowe’s or Home Depot and consider the word-of-mouth candidates. Ask your friends and family, even neighbors about remodeling contractors they have used in the past. In this field it’s important to believe in your instincts, consider if the contractor respond back to you promptly did they show up early or on time to your appointment? In meeting with the contractor pay attention to see if they answer questions with elaboration ask for references, lay out the expectations of the job. After the meeting has concluded ask yourself if the communication between the potential client and contractor was where it needed to be? Most importantly, you need to be sure that you can be comfortable speaking directly to this person throughout the entire process of your project you will be communicating back and forth.
Bidding
When asking contractors to bid jobs make sure you provide an identical scope of work with your plans, also include a materials list. You want every contractor to receive identical plans, otherwise they will be bidding upon different basis then you will have inaccurate bids for comparison which probably wont work out well for you. The remodeling contractor should send you bids in writing that contain itemized labor charges and a list of material.
References
When your contractor submits their references, put forth effort in checking the credibility of the reference, call and find out if it is okay that you do a drive by to take a look at the work personally. Before signing the contract, it would be a good idea to check up on how this person conducts business. Run a background check, you probably don’t want a person who is a known burglar in your house. Confirm the contractors worker’s comp as well as the liability insurance, be absolutely positive that the contractor does not have multiple lawsuits against them.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Current Trends In Kitchen Renovations

Have you recently made the decision to undergo a kitchen renovation? Before you get started, you might be wondering what some of the current trends in kitchen design are so that you can make sure your renovation incorporates some of these up-to-the-minute ideas.
Minimalism
Many kitchen renovations are now centered around the minimalist idea that less is more. This has led to an increase in bench tops that are long and straight and cupboard doors that are flush to the wall. Gloss finishes and open shelving is also very popular in completing a minimalist look in your kitchen renovation.
Eco-Friendly
As we are becoming more inclined to opt for environmentally friendly fixtures in our homes, an increase in eco-friendly kitchen renovations had to occur. There has been a rise in the purchase and manufacture of kitchen cabinets that emit low levels of volatile organic compounds, lowering air pollution, and in the installation of LED lights, which are high energy savers. The ‘natural’ look of wooden floors and stone countertops is also popular in new kitchen renovations, both options that are environmentally sustainable.
Safety
These days there are more children in the kitchen, helping mum and dad cook or just making themselves some lunch. Because of this, parents are looking for new safe kitchen renovation designs to minimise the risk of injury. Lockouts, a popular renovators choice, are designed to prevent stove burners from accidentally being turned on. There are also mechanisms that you can install during your renovation that will stop drawers and kitchen cupboards from slamming shut, just in case fingers are still in the way.
Hidden Appliances
Gone are the days when families wanted to show off their brand new microwave or dishwasher. These days, people are using their kitchen renovation to create clever ways of hiding their appliances. Fridges have become shallower, so that they don’t protrude past the cabinets, and drawer fridges and freezers are also very popular. It is also becoming more common to find renovated homes that have made the exteriors of their appliances match the rest of cabinetry, making them all blend in.
High Tech
People have a desire to turn their kitchen into another living area of their homes, so take a renovation as the perfect opportunity to do so. Televisions are a very popular appliance to find in the kitchen these days, so much so that manufacturers have found ways to incorporate them into other appliances, like fridges and even the ventilation hood for the stove, that we do need to install during a renovation.
So, whether you want to use all of the latest kitchen renovation trends or just some of the ones mentioned above, your kitchen is bound to be an enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing place to be.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Home Remodeling and Renovation Tips for Homeowners

Maryland homeowners are undertaking renovations and remodels for several reasons in today’s real estate market. Many owners who purchased in the last 5 to 7 years have been forced to stay in their homes because they owe more than the present market value. They realize that since they will be staying in their home for a while, they might as well make improvements that they will enjoy. Others, who are considering a move, are improving their homes to make them more market ready when they decide to sell. Upgrading a home to the standard of the neighborhood is usually a wise choice for a value-conscious homeowner.

Return On Investment

Whatever the reason, making careful and thoughtful decisions about home improvement is the key to getting the most return on investment. Most improvements that are made do not bring the full return of the cost at the sale of the home, but some improvements bring a better return than others.

In conjunction with National Association of Realtors, Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey that is one of the most comprehensive and most cited on the subject of return on investment when it comes to home remodeling. The 2010 survey has just been published at .

The average payback on home improvement projects in the Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes a large part of Maryland, is 64%, with a low of 48% on a home office remodel, and a high of 147% on a steel entry door replacement.

The 5 top ROI projects are:

An attic bedroom at 90% ROI

A basement remodel at 84% ROI

Siding Replacement at 80.5% ROI

A wood deck addition at 79.8% (A composite deck has a 71.2% ROI)

Window Replacement (wood) at 78.4% ROI (Vinyl widows bring 76.4% ROI)

What gets the least ROI?

Office Remodel at 48% ROI

Sunroom Addition at 55% ROI

Backup power generator at 60% ROI

Bathroom addition at 62% ROI

Garage addition at 66% ROI

Renovations on Older Homes: Lead Paint

The median age of homes in the U.S. is 36 years old. In other words, half the homes in the country were built before 1974. The median home age in Maryland is 42, half of the homes in Maryland’s communities were built before 1968. Lead paint was not banned until 1978. Many of these older homes contain lead paint, which is a health hazard and requires special treatment. New environmental regulations took effect this year, requiring a contractor to have a certification by the EPA to perform work on homes with lead-based paint. The enforcement of the rule won’t start until October 1 of 2010, to give remodeling contractors time to get the certification.

The rule doesn’t apply to do-it-yourself homeowners, only to professionals. But homeowners who undertake renovations should become familiar with issues surrounding lead-based paint. The EPA publishes guidelines in “Renovate Right”, found on their website.

To find out if your home has lead based paint you can use a test kit found at your local hardware store. You can also hire a certified risk assessor or contractor to find out.

Greening Your Home

Once the testing is out of the way, the possibilities for renovation plans can be endless. Green renovations are just one of the considerations to think about. Green construction is getting much more positive press these days, from builders and from buyers. Green renovations could make your house more desirable to buyers in today’s market. In a recent survey by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and McGraw-Hill Construction, the results show that interest in green-friendly renovations and building strategies are on the rise. Some of the findings:

Green building combines smart design and careful material selection to reduce energy and water consumption. One of the many resources for green design ideas is the U.S. Green Building Council. When planning green renovations, remember the Federal tax Credits for certain qualifying energy efficient renovations, but also remember that Maryland’s tax credits and grants for certain home renovations.

If the renovations you are planning are beyond your scope, hiring a reputable contractor is a wise choice. The cost is often well-spent when the results are professional. But how does one select a contractor who will do a great job for a reasonable price?

Tips from the Better Business Bureau

While the cost vs. payback factor is important in planning renovation projects, it’s not the only consideration. For homeowners who are renovating to be able to “age in place” or who need to care for an elderly family member, or remodel for a home office so they don’t have to commute, other issues may be more important than return on investment. For some projects, the satisfaction and quality of life while living in a house that you love is the main priority.

Gather bids from between 3 to …

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Kitchen Renovation

Kohler Toilet – A Brand With Name, Fame and Trust!

Toilets today play an important role in the every house. Previously houses were huge and they had their toilets in the backyard, today with the coming of apartments for many families it has become essential to have compact bathrooms with attached toilets. It has become according to the need of times to have a beautiful toilet in case any visitor visiting has the need of it. Moreover, if there is a neat and clean toilet that would speak volumes of the owner, who has regard and concern not just of those, who will get to use the toilet, but also the family and the neighbors by having an environment clean and healthy.
Kohler toilet! Where does this name steps in from? Kohler is renowned as manufacturers of fine toilet products. Having an excellent history dating back to 1873 when as immigrants this trade was started, then soon with the passing of time and scope for improvement the need to innovate was felt.
Research was carried, surveys were made and finally in the 1960 emerged the new bold looks of Kohler toilet, with respect to the environment and conservation of water, together with the facility of satisfaction for the ultimate user. Colors varieties were offered.
Their surveys were beginning to pay dividends they succeeded in creating awareness and soon the demand was established with the coming of the new generation. These innovations also were introduced taking into consideration the demand was there but the need for changes was as essential. Soon the need for flushing was becoming a major issue clean bowls needed water, but the need to conserve water also playing a major role was the need of the hour. Detailed etching was done studies carried out with the cooperation of the health department, and soon it was found that the pressure of the water could assure clean bowls again Kohler toilet with this research and development board came with solutions.
This goes to show determination and the hope of building and presenting a product depends on the amount of faith and confidence you have in you. Even the clay, the sand and the rubbles combined can eventually bring out the finished product a thing to see, appreciate and desire to relish the ownership of this toilet. It was also noticed earlier though that the need for seat cover were one of the innovations made in order to restrict the stench from spreading.
Today Kohler toilet with pride can say it has to offer ranges that can be ideal for toilets; yet going unsaid they still are involved in making better toilets to suit the situation with all facilities. It is not the end of their pursuit; they continue to carry on with their research in providing endless range.…

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House Improvements

Kitchen Renovation: One of the Best Ways to Add Value

What type of remodeling is the best bet when it comes to adding value to your home?
A kitchen renovation is one of the best ways to add value to your home (a bathroom renovation is another potentially good home remodeling investment.) In addition, a renewed kitchen also gives you something you can enjoy while you continue to live in your home.
So, what should you keep in mind when planning your kitchen renovation? Houston homes with custom kitchens sell more than homes without — and there are some specific keys to keep in mind:
1.) Your kitchen renovation should be as functional as it is beautiful. Keep this in mind when it comes to the flow of your kitchen. Where will the work space be? Will the dishwasher be close to the sink?
2.) Lighting & fixtures can go along way in making a statement — sometimes it’s the small things that make the difference.
3.) Appliances are important — especially if you are selling your home soon. In this market — nice appliances can make the difference. Nice means both appearance (stainless perhaps,) and also brand & functionality.
4.) Storage is important — this is one of the top requests when it comes to a new kitchen. Additional storage space can often be added during a remodel. When renovating, think about way to add rather than decrease storage.
The best thing about a kitchen renovation in Houston, is the joy it will bring you for years to come as you remain in your home.…

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House Improvements

Many Bathroom Remodeling Ideas Do Not Have to Be Expensive

Outside of the kitchen, the bathroom is the biggest selling point in a home. Why? Because when a prospective home buyer sees a bathroom that is in disrepair all they see is the money that they would have to spend to fix it up.
While there are plenty of do it yourself projects that you can do for yourself, when a prospective homeowner sees a home that they have to work on, they are deducting the amount of money that they are willing to pay for your home. You can get more value for you home if you just implement a couple of bathroom remodeling ideas
Some bathroom remodeling ideas like replacing an entire bathtub might require that you bring in a contractor to help you out. That is a project that most unskilled do it yourself homeowners cannot tackle. However some bathroom remodeling ideas such as replacing the tile in your bathroom is a do it yourself project that you can fully do yourself.
Replacing bathroom tile is going to require a lot of hard work. What you do not often see on DIY programs is the hours that the people spend ripping tile out of their bathrooms before they start installing new tile.
However, compared to the cost of paying a contractor to do it for you, a bit of elbow grease is well worth the money that you save.
While you are putting tile on the walls and flooring, you may want to go ahead and take on some inexpensive projects as well like purchasing fabric shower curtains or replacing the lighting. You can also find expensive wall cabinets and molding for the mirrors to give them a finished framed look.
Some bathroom remodeling ideas require some more work than others but that does not mean that they are not good ideas or impossible to do. Some small design changes could be getting new faucets, bathroom liners or extra long shower curtains to change the look of the bathroom.
By purchasing small designer items, you can make a bathroom look more expensive that it really is, which will help increase the value of your home.…