Choosing the Best Remodeling Contractor

Don’t be fooled when it comes to choosing the best remodeling contractor for your next remodeling project.

Top 8 Pro Tips on How to Hire a Contractor

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shares eight tips to selecting and working with a qualified contractor

Get Recommendations

Contractor recommendations PHOTO BY TETRA IMAGES/GETTYIMAGES

  • Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who’ll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time.

Do Phone Interviews

Phone interview PHOTO BY JONNY LE FORTUNE/GETTYIMAGES

Once you’ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:

• Do they take on projects of your size?

• Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?

• Can they give you a list of previous clients?

• How many other projects would they have going at the same time?

• How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project and how smoothly the work will go.

Meet Face to Face

Face to face meetingPHOTO BY DAVID SACKS/GETTYIMAGES

Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Tom says that it’s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you. Check in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau to make sure contractors don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

Investigate the Facts

Build sitePHOTO BY COMSTOCK IMAGES/GETTYIMAGES

Now that you’ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But Tom says you shouldn’t rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property?

Make Plans, Get Bids

Remodels plans PHOTO BY GHISLAIN & MARIE DAVID DE LOSSY/GETTYIMAGES

You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.

Set a Payment Schedule

Meeting with contractor PHOTO BY DAVID SACKS/GETTYIMAGES

Payment schedules can also speak to a contractor’s financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid up front, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.

Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide

Meeting with architect PHOTO BY COMSTOCK IMAGES/GETTYIMAGES

“Throw out the lowball bid,” says Tom. “This contractor is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work”—hardly an encouraging sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it’s better to spend more and get someone you’re comfortable with.

Put it in Writing

Signing a contract PHOTO BY FLYING COLOURS LTD/GETTYIMAGES

Draw up a contract that details every step of the project: payment schedule; proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about mistrust, Tom assures us. It’s about insuring a successful renovation.

Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? “While you’re at it….”

Top 10 Tips for Planning a Remodel

Top 10 Tips for Planning a Remodel from NARI

In honor of National Home Improvement Month this May, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) advises homeowners of the top tips for planning a remodel project.

“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,” states Jay Cipriani of Cipriani Remodeling Solutions “The more knowledgeable and prepared a homeowner is, the more they can protect themselves.” For almost 40 years, the Cipriani team of award-winning professionals has been helping homeowners build dream additions, kitchens and bathrooms. Follow these top 10 tips for planning a remodel to ensure a successful project from start to finish.

What can a homeowner do to prepare for a remodel? NARI provides a top 10 list of steps homeowners should take before breaking ground on their next remodel.

  1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects on the Internet and NARI.org will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product/material options. Also, research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.
  2. Plan project around the long-term. How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly—these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it’s complete.
  3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything—the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.
  4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.
  5. Ask the right questions. Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.
  6. Verify your remodeler. Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s jobsite. Make it known that you are checking on him—a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.
  7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.
  8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo—they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.
  9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.
  10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

As an industry that struggles with a persistent negative perception of remodeling contractors, these tips serve both the industry and consumers in elevating real professionals from the pack.

For more information on preparing for a remodel on your home, contact Cipriani Remodeling Solutions company website or call 856.853.8398.

This article was written  by NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the medium for business development, a platform for advocacy and the principal source for industry intelligence. NARI connects homeowners with its professional members and provides tips and tricks so that the consumer has a positive remodeling experience. NARI is a nationwide network of nearly 6,000 member companies and their employees. Consumers may wish to search www.NARI.org to find a qualified NARI professional or call NARI National at (847) 298-9200.

Home Improvement & Remodeling Ideas that Increase Home Value

Numerous home improvement remodeling ideas do add value to your house, and enhance your household’s lifestyle. By dealing with these tasks now, you can take pleasure in the benefits and updates. If you make green upgrades, then you can likewise start recouping your investment in these green energy technologies as soon as you complete the jobs.

Some home improvement projects that include value to a house include:

1. Remodeling the Kitchen

Most individuals consider the cooking area to be the heart of the house, and due to this fact, updates in this space pay off. According to HGTV, you can anticipate to recoup 60 % -120 % of your investment on a kitchen area remodel, as long as you don’t overdo it. You should never make your cooking area fancier than the rest of the home.

Why You Shouldn’t Invest in a Deluxe Kitchen

For instance, a historic house in my community has actually been on the marketplace for more than 2 years. During the owner’s last open house, I entered to check it out, and instantly saw why the home hadn’t sold. The quaint Arts and Crafts design home was built in 1900 and has a great deal of beauty. The property owners had actually invested over $60,000 upgrading the kitchen.

The huge kitchen, quickly the size of the living-room, features devices and countertops that might look more appropriate in an elegant restaurant cooking area. The design, size, and quality of the cooking area do not harmonize with the rest of the house. If you intend on selling your house within the next five years, keep possible buyers in mind prior to your start on any major remodel; numerous people won’t pay for a fancy, deluxe cooking area.

A Little Paint Goes a Long Way

Get the greatest bang for your dollar on a kitchen area remodel by looking at color. Fresh paint, in modern colors, can go a way toward updating the look of your cooking area.

You may wish to think about using low-VOC paint; this makes your kitchen area more environmentally friendly, and assists your household in avoiding breathing in harmful chemicals, like benzene, that comes from regular fresh paint.

Energy-Efficient Devices

Replace old home appliances with energy-efficient models. Energy Star-rated devices are much better for the environment, and they likewise assist you in conserving cash, since they use less energy. Possible buyers typically try to find methods to save money when shopping for a new house.

2. Restroom Addition

If your house only has one bathroom, you can recover a large chunk of your investment by including another one. HGTV estimates that you can recover 80 % -130 % of whatever you spend adding a restroom.

When it pertains to finding room in your home for an extra restroom, take a look at any additional spaces or underutilized spaces. Consider other spaces, such as storage rooms or locations under the stairs, too. If you desire a half-bath you require at least 18 square feet. If you want a full bath, consisting of a stand-up shower, you need a minimum of 30 square feet. If you want a bathtub, ensure you have at least 35 square feet to deal with for a bathroom addition.

Like any task, the expense of adding a bathroom depends mainly on the kinds of additions and devices you wish to use, and the expense of each of these products. You can conserve cash by frequently examining Lowe’s and Home Depot ads; they often significantly lower rates on sinks and toilets that have actually been floor designs. You can likewise discover fantastic prices on tubs, doors, toilets, and components if you go shopping at an Environment for Mankind ReStore.

3. Reinventing a Room

Including more square footage to your house with a new space can be an exceptionally pricey project. Although you can recoup some of your financial investment, anywhere from 50 % -83 %, this job’s expenses can rapidly spin hugely out of control. Just turn on any of those house redesigning TV programs; jobs that begin with a $15,000 budget rapidly become $30,000 or more when house owners and contractors face unforeseen problems.

Reinvent the existing area in your house to save cash. Finish a basement, or transform the attic to a bed room. Lots of homeowners can also include small apartment or condos in, or over, their garages– which they can then lease as a space.

Before you destroy walls and rafters, think about the manner in which you, and prospective buyers, can use the area.

Versatile spaces have higher appeal to potential purchasers.

Basements often work well as second living spaces, or game spaces. Lots of people likewise turn this area into a studio apartment for an aging relative or an occupant.

Attic spaces frequently work well for craft spaces and video game rooms, particularly if they have high ceilings. If you have kids, you can add swings to the rafters, and develop a cool play room just for them.

According to Improvement Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report, a typical basement remodel, with the addition of a wet bar, costs $64,000. You can save a significant portion of this by doing the work yourself, however even then, adding a brand-new room can be pricey.

4. Adding Energy-Efficient Windows

These days, buyers purchase houses with energy performance in mind. Old, drafty single-pane windows are a significant turn off. Energy Star claims that adding Energy Star-rated windows can save you approximately $500 a year in heating and air conditioning costs by making your house more energy effective.

According to HGTV, you can expect to recoup 60 % -90 % of your costs when you buy energy-efficient windows. You can likewise get a green energy tax credit of 10 % for this upgrade, as long as you install Energy Star-rated windows. You may likewise get additional credits from your state, or even your utility business.

Discover more about available offers and rebates in your location by checking out the Energy Star Rebate Finder. They have a searchable database that gives you particular information for your state. Simply ensure you check “windows” so you get product-specific information. I looked for energy-efficient refunds in my zip code and discovered that my utility company provides refunds to customers who set up Energy Star windows.

Energy Star estimates that the typical expense of window replacement in an average-sized home will run around $7,500-$10,000, or more. If the brand-new windows conserve you several hundred dollars a year, and you recover a tax credit, you can eventually recoup your investment.

5. Deck Addition

Adding a deck enhances the value of your house. Outside living spaces have actually ended up being more preferable, particularly because more people stay home for a getaway (referred to as a staycation).

The cost of including a deck to your house varies commonly. Everything depends on its size, and how numerous bells and whistles you desire to have included; like integrated seating, numerous stairs, built-in flower pots, and the size of the deck.

As you may guess, you can conserve a substantial piece of the expense, typically half, by doing the work yourself. Remember, however, that deck building isn’t really simple. You require specific tools, such as a bandsaw, and the cost of the tools can be extremely pricey, especially if you don’t plan to utilize them once again.

If you decide to hire a professional, shop around before you choose someone to work with. Make certain you get at least three quotes, with specifics, from the specialists you interview. Completely check references for the specialists before you agree to an agreement or work order, and be careful of house improvement repair scams. Websites like Angie’s List can ensure you employ a contractor you can rely on.

6. Energy-Efficient Insulation

If your home lacks basic insulation, and has old doors that let in lots of hot and cold air, home inspectors working with possible buyers will include this in their reports. Houses that haven’t been modified with energy effectiveness in mind cost more to live in and preserve.

Upgrading your home to conserve energy does not have to cost a great deal of cash and can make your house more appealing to prospective purchasers. You can conserve $2,500 or more each year simply by making some modifications. For instance, you can add additional insulation to your attic for $200 or less, and this small change can conserve hundreds each year on your energy bill.

Seal cracks around the house to save even more money on energy costs, and to make your house more appealing to purchasers. You can discover leaks in your home during the winter. There are handheld devices to inform you of temperature variances around your house.

You can frequently discover leaks, and areas that need more insulation, by looking in these areas:

Around doors and windows
Around electrical sockets and light switches
In recessed lighting
Around the attic hatch
In the basement
Anywhere ducts or wires go outside your home

CFL bulbs utilize 75 % less energy than standard bulbs and each one conserves, on average, $40 in energy over the course of its life time. You can easily calculate how much you can conserve merely by counting the number of lights you have in your house.

You can also set up a programmable thermostat. The majority of purchasers look to see programmable thermostats nowadays, and they can save you cash. Energy Star price says that setting up a programmable thermostat will save the average property owner $180 annually in heating and air conditioning costs.

If you have to replace your hot water heater, think about spending a bit additional to buy a high-efficiency hot water heater. Smart house purchasers know these water heating units can really trim energy bills. If you use less than 41 gallons of water each day in your home, a tankless hot water heater conserves you 24% – 34% on your water heating costs. If you use more, rely on a savings of 8% – 14 %.

7. Fundamental Updates

Basic updates add the most value to your house. Keep the paint fresh, fix the roofing system when it leaks, change wood that deteriorates, and eliminate any mold that you discover. These types of tasks keep your home from weakening over time. Buyers desire a healthy, solid, safe home, and they look carefully for indications of regular upkeep.

I’ve replaced the electrical circuitry in my home, repainted the doors, replaced the plumbing system, and repainted the interior. These tasks keep my house in good shape so that when I do decide to sell it, purchasers will see a well-cared-for house.

House Renovation Tips – Things Not To Do.

House Renovation Tips

Whether you deal with a basic specialist or act as one when starting a project, getting a peek into the mind of a contractor can give you a new perspective into renovation jobs around your home.

We have actually learned a lot working as professionals, and a few of those lessons can help property owners too. What you do is just as crucial as exactly what you don’t do, and sometimes a homeowner’s instinct can adversely affect a house remodeling project.

How do you understand if you’re assisting or injuring your task? Read on to discover and to see exactly what can assist simplify your house remodel.

1. Don’t delay decisions.

If you want your remodel to work out, the finest thing to do is make each and every single decision prior to when work starts. A good contractor can talk you through the list of scenarios that might come up on your job, however choices about situations aren’t typically what cause delays.

Instead, most of the issues belong to choices about things like paint, trim and faucet option. These might appear small, however when your faucet is two weeks late, plumbing technicians have to be rescheduled and the medication cabinet door strikes the faucet when it’s installed, you’ll see how something little can balloon into a week’s delay on a five-week project.

2. Don’t change your mind (too much).

Even though it’s inevitable that you’ll alter your mind about something on your project, know this: Whenever you alter your mind, it’ll lead to a modification order. The change might appear minor, there are constantly added costs– even if it’s only the time invested talking about the change.

Scheduling can be influenced too. Everyone dealing with the job requires to be notified of the modification so nobody’s dealing with the old strategy. Everybody makes modifications, and that’s OK– simply understand the prospective to interrupt and postpone the job.

3. Don’t buy your very own products.

It seems like an obvious method to save cash — a home builder is going to mark up the cost of products and pass that added expense on to you. That’s true, but the contractor may get a better price than you to begin with, implying that after markup, you’ll pay the same rate.

4. Don’t put velvet inside a sow purse.

A builder will hardly ever come right out and state this, some homes must be knocked down rather than have money put into them to fix them up. Though this is an uncommon circumstance, it’s typical for individuals to put money into elegant cabinets for a home with a sagging foundation, or into a high-efficiency heating system in a house with no insulation. Listen to the experts who are there to look at your task. Be open to their recommendations.

5. Don’t work without a contingency fund.

If you discover out that the work you wished to do costs more than you anticipated or allocated, you remain in great company. It’s practically unprecedented that a person sets a sensible budget plan for a job. However do not use up your contingency to stretch the spending plan. If you follow rule #1 and make every decision ahead of time, you can most likely get away with a 5 percent contingency if you have a good basic specialist.

6. Don’t let kids and animals obstruct.

The individuals working in your house will often attempt to accommodate your family pets and kids. They should not have to — it’s simply not safe to have children or animals around building.

7. Do not live in the house.

Many people neglect this rule, for whatever reason. Improvement is costly, and moving out simply adds to the expense. If you can’t vacate for the entire task, attempt to arrange as long a time away as possible and set up a clean, comfortable location to pull back to when you can’t deal with coming home to a messy and demanding construction website.

8. Don’t be a diversion.

It may sound harsh, however every minute somebody working on your house invests speaking with you, they are not working on your house. Is the conversation vital and one that will have an effect on the task? That’s one thing, however the electrical contractor on the job isn’t getting paid anymore to spend Thirty Minutes discussing your holiday plans.

9. Do not ignore exactly what your home needs.

Though some people can pull off wearing a pair of loafers with a tuxedo, it can also go terribly wrong. Homes are the exact same deal. Can a state-of-the-art kitchen area in a Victorian brownstone work? Absolutely, but make sure you can pull it off. This is not to say a house cannot progress with the times. There are no set guidelines — simply be familiar with your home, reside in it and do your research before you pull out the sledgehammer.

10. Do not work without a design.

Some tasks require a designer, some an interior designer, and often a talented home builder will get your ideas and assist you to come up with a great plan.

Whatever you do, do not begin a remodel without a comprehensive layout.

A lot of components connect in an area — put them all on paper and you’ll catch issues prior to they are constructed. You might be able to construct a practical space without a strategy, but if you want a functional and beautiful area, employ a designer.

Home Addition Guide Final Steps

This post will wrap up our 2016 Home Addition Guide with a highlight of the final two steps. We hope you are enjoying the guide and the opportunity to take a closer look at some of our projects.

Cipriani Remodeling Solutions

Before- home addition in Pitman, NJ by Cipriani Remodeling Solutions

The fifth step in the Home Addition Guide is all about sitting back and letting everything come to life. You have done you’re planning and research. You have hired a great team to assist you with your home addition endeavor. The design and shopping are complete and you are getting excited! So now you are at step five. This step is the actual execution of the project.

Adding an addition can be a whole lot less stressful than you might expect as long as you are fully informed on the execution plans of your project. It’s about understanding how the renovation will be managed day-to-day, what the project’s blueprint entails, what kind of timeline will be implemented, what kind of unexpected delays could arise, and what kind of living environment is anticipated throughout the process. A constant open line of communication is vital to the success of such a large project. Ultimately, communication ensures your home addition is properly planned, budgeted and executed by your experienced professional.

Cipriani Remodeling Solutions

After-home addition in Pitman, NJ, by award winning designer Sue Faramelli

The final step in our Home Addition Guide is about how to wrap up all the details. As your project draws near completion it is important that you are completely satisfied and everything is to your liking. If you see a flaw or have a problem, be sure to speak up before it’s all wrapped up. Also, retain any receipts or warranty information, as well as your hired professionals contact information, just in case something unforeseen comes up in the future. It never hurts to be prepared for the what-ifs. The best part of this last phase is seeing your vision come to life. All the planning and effort have become a reality. All the effort finally pays off as you get to enjoy the added functionality, comfort and convenience of your new space. Something you can relish in for many years to come. You and your family will make many memories in your new space.

Stay tuned in the months to come for more information about the Cipriani Remodeling Solution’s Home Addition Guide and other great renovation resources. We will be introducing other useful home renovation guides throughout the year. For more information, info@ciprianibuidlers.com or visit our Home Addition Guide page. For more details, visit our Houzz profile. To see projects up close, visit this feature project.

Give A Professional Sheen To Your Interior With These Tips

Many people tend to find interior decorating intimidating.

One good way to shed this fear, is to learn everything you can about the topic. Utilize the below tips so that you will be better armed to create a home you can be proud of.

Living Room

Lamps are a great addition to any home as these can be included in the living room or right by your side in the bedroom. Not only do these devices provide you with additional light to read and write, but they can give your home a classical look and match many different styles.

Rather than spending a fortune on re-designing your living room, try to rearrange your furniture. Not only is changing the furniture around cheaper, but it can improve the whole feel of the room. Just be sure to measure your sofa and other furniture before moving them around; this will prevent you from trying to fit your furniture into spots that they will not fit in.

Kitchen

When redecorating a small kitchen, keep your color pallet pale. A pale color pallet will brighten the space and make it appear larger. It is also best to focus on one or two colors to keep the space from appearing busy. Light blue, sea green, white and ivory are all wonderful choice for a small kitchen space.

If you have shabby, out of date looking kitchen appliances, consider painting them. There are new appliance paints on the market that can change white to silver or silver to black, depending on your taste. You can find them in most hardware stores. This is an easy way to update your kitchen without spending a lot on new appliances.

Bathroom

Choose bathroom lighting carefully. In a bathroom, a single overhead light will cast an unwanted shadow, making it difficult to apply makeup or shave. A sconce on either side of the medicine cabinet will offer an even amount of light, perfect for grooming. Incandescent lighting is preferable to fluorescent lights, which can create a bluish tone.

If your bathroom lacks windows, make sure to implement some moisture extracting methods into your design. This is important to avoid the buildup of mold and mildew in your space. Fans and dehumidifiers work well for this purpose. Consult with a professional contractor if you have questions or do not understand the best methods for your space.

Dining Room

When shopping for a new dining set, think ergonomics. Picture the table with every seat occupied in your dining room and consider how much space there is to walk around it. Your dining area must have enough room to accommodate the dining set when it is at its seating capacity without anyone pulling their seat in.

Have you always wanted to have a chandelier in your dining room or entry way? If so you have to hang it the right way and get the right size for your room. If you do not pay attention to this detail you may be very unhappy with the look of the thing you have always wanted.

Interior design is a topic that scares many people.

The key to successful home decor however, lies with knowledge. Remember the tips you have learned here, and you will soon have the tools you need to create a whole new look for your home!

If you find that redecorating your interior just doesn’t get you satisfied and you need some home renovation, please be sure to contact us for some additional ideas.

Tips To Upgrade Your Home

Home Upgrade Tips

If you are stressed about taking care of home improvement around your house, you are not alone. Like anything else, doing a proper home improvement job requires the proper advice and information. This article contains great tips and suggestions that will help you make your next home improvement project a success.

Addition

Put in a garden. It can be a lavish outside nursery, or a simple box window in the kitchen to grow your herbs. The addition of live plants and the appeal they bring to your home is unmatched. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, plant strong plants that need little attention, and add a timed drip or sprinkler system for easy watering.

Kitchen

If you are short on cash and trying to figure out a way to create a unique backsplash for your kitchen, you can buy some nice patterned wallpaper. Meanwhile this may not be a permanent solution; you can switch out your designs often or keep it until you are able to afford tiling. You can even go as far as purchasing different patterned wallpapers and cutting them into small shapes to design your own wall mosaic as a backsplash.

Foyer

When replacing flooring, think about the kind of foot-traffic that will be in the room. Stone and ceramic floors are perfect for high traffic areas such as the foyer and bathroom. Areas in your home that have low traffic, such as personal bedrooms, are better suited for flooring that is more attractive but harder to clean.

A bare wall inside an entryway or foyer makes a perfect place to build a small mudroom. Install coat hooks, a bench, and hang some framed photos to add visual interest to the unused space, and you may find that your family gets out of the house faster by having shoes, mittens, and jackets at hand and ready to go.

 

Yes, home improvement projects can be stressful for some people. However, if you have the right advice and information, it becomes much easier to do a home improvement project very well. Use this advice, and be on your way to a successful home improvement project.

Design Tips For a Chef-centered Kitchen

Many homeowners with a passion for cooking desire a kitchen that mirrors those of renowned chefs. To achieve this, various design elements and simple upgrades can be incorporated to create the ideal kitchen that combines ultimate functionality with sophisticated style.

Faucet makeover

Culinary enthusiasts spend a lot of time at the sink. A faucet that simplifies tasks is a necessity and the Brizo Solna Articulating Kitchen Faucet is a culinary-driven innovation offering flexibility and control in the kitchen. Boasting crisp, contemporary lines, the articulating arm can be adjusted to position the two-function spray wand at various heights and angles — extend the arm up or outward to fill large pots or lower into the sink to reduce splash during clean-up. Beyond function, its Scandinavian inspiration brings a streamlined architecture to any kitchen.

Storage space

Just as great recipes call for top-quality ingredients, great kitchens need excellent tools. Maximizing storage is key for those with an impressive collection of kitchen tools and culinary essentials. Avoid overwhelming renovations and make the most of storage options by thinking “outside the cabinet” to fully accommodate needs.

For a crisp, modernized look, arrange pots and pans in a line on the wall with a linear rack. Take organization a step further by incorporating a magnet bar for sharp utensils, ensuring tools are close at hand without getting in the way. Store culinary tools and flatware in expandable drawer dividers to ensure all cabinet space is utilized and the counter remains clutter-free.

Inside garden

Bring the outside in with a miniature herb garden for fresh flavor enhancements when you need them. Spaces in front of a kitchen window with natural light are ideal for an indoor garden.

Various herbs in 3- or 4-inch pots can be grouped together in stylish trays to keep humidity high. For an extra splash of color, add edible flowering plants to the garden, such as lavender, lemongrass and violet. These homegrown herbs can be used as garnishes, to layer flavor into a dish or even in cocktails for at-home entertaining.

Designated task stations

Commercial restaurants work well with cooking stations for seamless preparation and execution. Designate specific areas for every facet of meal preparation to aid in overall organization and evoke the look and feel of a five-star kitchen in your home.

In most top-rated kitchens, food preparation is commonly performed between the sink and refrigerator to ensure all needs are met for retrieving, rinsing and chopping. Added elements like a deep sink and wide counter space make these tasks efficient and restaurant quality.

Transforming the kitchen into a chef-centered space is simple with clean, purposeful upgrades. For additional information on the Solna Articulating Faucet or to learn about other Brizo product offerings, visit www.brizo.com. –(BPT)

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Improve Your Home, Improve Your Life And Live Better

The way your home looks can affect how you feel from day to day.

You likely spend upwards of 12 hours per day in your home. If you plan your space so that it is personal and suits your individual style, it only makes sense that you will enjoy that space more. This article will give you valuable advice to improve your home and create a place of refuge and retreat.

Consider how comfortable your home is.

Although people can put up with minor imperfections, the most significant problems are ones that irritate us most. You should fix any things you don’t like about your home. For instance, rid yourself of an uncomfortable desk chair if it causes you back pain! You will be amazed how making things more attractive and accessible to you changes the way you feel. Even simple changes can have big results, such as replacing your rectangular coffee table with a round one to eliminate bumps and bruises.

You can utilize the space in a room by adding storage organizers or installing extra shelves. Keeping your home uncluttered and organized can make a huge difference.

Adding a hot tub or jacuzzi, or even a pool, can increase equity in your home as well as provide hours of enjoyment.

But there are other, smaller improvements that are less expensive, yet still very enjoyable, like a home gym or a basketball hoop. Fun areas in your home will bring you money in the long run.

Looking for ways to improve the appearance and functionality of your lighting arrangement can greatly enhance the quality of your living environment.

If your light fixtures are old, consider replacing them. You can handle this fast and simple fix yourself.

Make some improvements outside of your home.

This improvement may come from new paint or a new roof with coordinating colors. New windows can also create a fresh look. When these improvements are done, they will reward you with a satisfied feeling each time you return home–even before you reach the front door!

It’s time to break out your gardening gear and dig in.

If you take the time and effort to transform your yard into a beautiful garden, you will find yourself spending more and more time at home. You can hire a gardener if you lack a green thumb. Relaxing in your garden will reduce your stress levels and help make your home a luxurious retreat. Plants improve the air quality. Having a garden can give you the pleasure of having fresh produce to cook with in your kitchen and beautiful flowers to grace your table.

Because you spend a great deal of your time there, it is essential that you are pleased with your home. Home improvements are generally just seen as a financial investment, but they are an investment in your emotional well being as well.

Nate Berkus with Six Common Kitchen Design Dilemmas

Nate Berkus with tips and tricks for solving 6 common kitchen design dilemmas

Kitchen design is an art form, one where function and beauty harmoniously co-exist. Achieving that balance, however, isn’t always easy. When renovating a kitchen, homeowners can find themselves facing challenging design dilemmas. And they are not alone.
“When redesigning or refreshing a kitchen, the goal is to create a space that is hardworking, yet beautiful,” says Nate Berkus, renowned designer and artistic advisor to LG Studio. “Look for items that really represent who you are and your design personality, and you’ll create an area you and your family will love both now and 10 years from now.” Berkus points to six common kitchen design dilemmas and offers suggestions on how homeowners can create a space that is functional, and also beautiful.

1. Space challenges
When you don’t have enough room for the large table your family needs, get creative. Consider building an L-shaped bench around a farm table and adding extra chairs. It’s a clever use of space and will create a cozy nook where your family can gather for meals, or kids can do homework. Plus, the bench can double as storage space so it’s extra hardworking.

2. Last year’s — or last decade’s — cabinets
Cabinets are one of the first things you notice in any kitchen, and they’re also one of the most important in terms of functionality. If your cabinets provide ample space but look dated, Berkus suggests giving them a facelift. “I always appreciate a simple, clean style, but with cabinets I tell my clients they shouldn’t be afraid to mix it up,” he says. Use varying materials and finishes, like a wood or paint color that’s different from the rest of the kitchen. “I recommend sticking with a neutral palette for cabinets, whether you’re installing brand new ones or painting your existing cabinets,” Berkus says. “White, charcoal and gray will always be elegant, and you can’t go wrong with black — it’s absolutely one of my favorites. It makes a dramatic statement and looks fantastic paired with stainless steel appliances.”

3. Small budgets, big taste
When you long for that sleek, built-in look but don’t want to break the bank, counter-depth appliances are a great design choice. They seamlessly integrate with cabinetry no matter what the material, supporting that clean look you ultimately want your kitchen to reflect.
“I’m obsessed with LG Studio’s three-door counter-depth refrigerator,” Berkus says. “The door-in-door feature is one of my favorites.” The refrigerator also features a sophisticated, pro-style, flat-door design inspired by Berkus that gives it a premium look. LG Studio’s slide-in ranges, with designs also inspired by Berkus, are another great option to help homeowners achieve a custom, built-in aesthetic.

4. Unattractive, inefficient lighting
Lighting is one of the most important design elements in any room, and it’s the one thing people often overlook when re-designing their kitchens. “Lighting can instantly change the whole feel of a space,” Berkus says. “I believe it is one of the most important decisions you can make in any room, especially the kitchen, which, let’s be honest, is usually the hardest working room in your home.” To create lighting that is both useful and beautiful, remember to light the room in layers — from above, under cabinets to illuminate work areas and all-around accent lighting to create ambiance. It’s also such an easy way to add a whole lot of personality to your kitchen. Opt for vintage sconces and brass or metallic lighting fixtures. They will instantly up the design ante and make the space feel decidedly layered and interesting.

Nate Berkus5. Counter space confusion
Figuring out how much counter space you’ll need is always tricky. Start by considering all the ways you’ll be using your counters. You’ll need food prep areas, of course, but will you also want a breakfast bar where your family can sit for meals and snacks? Will you need extra room for countertop appliances? “My rule of thumb is, to always double the amount of counter space you think you’ll need,” Berkus says. “You can never have too much, especially if you like to cook and entertain.”

6. The slate is simply too clean
A large, open-concept kitchen can seem appealing, but it can also be daunting to design and decorate. “Don’t be afraid to do something unexpected in the kitchen to break up the space,” Berkus says. “I love the idea of creating an unexpected seating area in your kitchen. Shop your weekend flea markets or online stores for a vintage sofa, coffee table and rug to set up an area for your family to relax in.” Ultimately, Berkus says, keep in mind that the kitchen truly is the heart of the home. “Kitchen design is about creating a space in your home that brings the whole family together, and is the best place to reflect your sense of personal style.”– (BPT)