Get into the Holiday Spirit and Prep Your Home Now!

Preparing your home for the upcoming holiday season is much more than putting up your tree or menorah. There are many other things that you are going to need to do to make sure that you can entertain and pull off a fabulous season without a lot of stress during those few days. We recommend that you start early, so you can enjoy your time with family and friends.

Here are 6 things that you can do to get into the holiday spirit and prep your home now:

Clear Out Your Kitchen

Yes, the kitchen is the heart of your home, and it is quite evident by all the items that are in there, even though they shouldn’t be. This is the time to pull out all those piles of papers, throw out broken or unused items, and toss all of those expired items. You might be surprised at how much more space you have when you are finished with this one small task!

Check to Make Sure Everything Works Properly

You are not going to want to start baking all your holiday goodies to only find out that your oven is not up to the job, which is why we urge you to make sure that everything you will need this holiday season is in working order. In addition to checking your stove and oven, you might want to check the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer. Other items that you might want to give a once over, or quick cleaning, include your dishwasher, coffee maker, and vacuum cleaner.

Check the Heat

You may be used to the small amounts of heat that your furnace and vents emit in your home, but that doesn’t mean that your guests will be walking around comfortable. We encourage you to have your furnace inspected and cleaned, to ensure that it is up to the job of keeping everyone warm this holiday season.

Replace that Running Toilet or Leaking Faucet in Your Guest Bathroom

You may have forgotten that the toilet in your guest bathroom doesn’t work right or that the faucet leaks, especially if you do not use this space too often. However, this room will have a lot of use during the holidays and you are not going to want to deal with these issues when you have a houseful of guests. Therefore, go purchase a new toilet and have that leaky faucet fixed. You’ll thank yourself later!

Check for Safety Issues

Everyone has a few safety concerns in their home, so do not think that you are being neglectful by ignoring them. You are simply busy, and those things get pushed further down your list. We recommend going from room to room in your home, as you replace burnt out bulbs, tighten loose handrails, secure rugs, and move candles out of the reach of little hands. You should also have a fire extinguisher ready in the kitchen and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, just in case a fire starts or there is a gas leak.

Prepare Special Treats for Your Guests

We are sure that you know exactly what special treats all your guests enjoy, so we encourage you to make those as a little surprise. You can fill a table with them and have each one labeled with the guest’s name, so that they can take it home with them.

Doing some of these things will make your holiday season even better, because you will be prepared and have everything in working order. Plus, you will have little surprises for all your guests, which they will love!

End Your Year Perfectly with an Amazing Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodels can be time-consuming, but what better way to end the year and start a new one! You may be hesitant to start this type of project at this time of the year, when you are super busy already, but once you realize how easy it will be to find a contractor and how much less you can pay for certain materials and labor, you’ll be ready to say, “Let’s Go”!

Here are 4 options for an amazing bathroom remodel to end your year perfectly:

Widening Your Bathroom Door

Older bathroom doors are so small, making it virtually impossible to walk through them as you are carrying anything. Plus, they make remodels difficult, since it can be hard to get some materials through as well. We recommend widening your bathroom door if you can, but if not, you can at least gain a couple inches by installing a pocket door instead.

Moving Light Switches

Everyone seems to think that they are stuck with where the light switches are in their bathroom, but that simply isn’t the case. It is not that difficult to move light switches, especially for a professional, and then you can easily turn lights on and off as you please.

Replacing the Toilet

Older toilets use a lot of water, which is why many homeowners like yourself are replacing theirs with the newer eco-friendly models. Of course, we also recommend checking out the newest toilets that offer heated seats, music that plays when the lid is raised, and our favorite, the ones that self-clean!

Choosing Tiling

There are plenty of choices when it comes to tiling your newly remodeled bathroom. You can tile your shower, your walls, your floor, and even the countertop of your vanity if you wish. We are not fans of that much tile, but we do know that if you do it right, your remodeled bathroom will look like a million bucks! We love the ceramic tiles that look like marble and they can be used in your shower and on the floor. Another option that we like are the tiles that look like wood, as they allow us to continue a wooden floor theme from the rest of the house.

These four things will make your bathroom look amazing when you are finished remodeling, but your contractor will also be able to recommend other things that you can do to maximize this space and turn it into the bathroom of your dreams.

AzBusiness LEADERS 2019

 

 

 

We are proud to announce that Steve Shinn  CR is currently featured in AzBusiness Leaders list of 2019’s top businessmen in Arizona.

Steve Shinn leads a talented group of design and construction professionals at Homework Remodels doing home remodels across metro Phoenix.

He is also a local leader of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. He is currently the only remodeler in Arizona recognized by NARI as a Certified Remodeler, Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler, Universal Design Certified Professional and Green Certified Professional. The Greater Phoenix NARI Chapter’s members are a group of the valley’s top quality remodelers and subcontractors.

Kitchen Remodeling Strategies to Consider

We love spending time in our kitchen with family and friends, and we are fairly sure that you do the same thing when you are home. However, you may also be thinking about how you could make your space even better, which is why you are probably thinking about remodeling your kitchen. We think that a remodel is a great idea if you go about it the right way.

Here are 6 kitchen remodeling strategies to consider:

Create a Plan

You can never plan too much for a kitchen remodel, which is why we always say that you should start this process way in advance. As you are in this planning stage, you will want to look at your current kitchen and make decisions that will benefit you in the future.

Examine the Layout of Your Kitchen

We understand that moving certain things in your kitchen can be expensive and break your budget. However, doing something like that may be necessary in order to make your kitchen more functional and visually appealing.

Consider Storage

You may think that you only need a certain amount of storage, but we recommend incorporating more than you think that you need. The reason for this is that everyone’s needs change over the years and people never think that they have as much stuff as they do. Trust us when we say that you will never be disappointed if you have too much storage space.

Consider Quality Lighting

Please do not install one light in the middle of your new kitchen ceiling and call it a day. You do too much in this space and you will not be able to see in every corner of this room with only one light. We recommend pendant lights over an island, task lighting for meal prep, and ambiance lighting for those times that you are out of the kitchen.

Consider Your Materials

You are going to be really tempted to purchase some low-quality materials, especially once you notice how quickly your budget gets used up. We caution against this, because those low-quality items are going to need to be replaced sooner than later and will end up costing you more in the long term.

Communicate Often

You should communicate with your contractor as often as you can, without being a hindrance to them, because that is the only way that the two of you will be on the same page. Stalled communication can cause the project to come to a stop, as everyone tries to figure out what should be done next.

If you take these six things into consideration as you are planning your kitchen remodel, you will find yourself with a brand-new kitchen in a short amount of time. Yes, you may still have a few issues, but nothing compared to what would happen if you didn’t think about everything above.

Factors to Consider when Preparing to Remodel Your Kitchen

How many hours do you spend in your kitchen every single day? If you are like most people, you are in there for quite some time in the morning and then for hours at the end of the day. Of course, you may feel like you live in your kitchen for the rest of the time as well, especially if this is where you and your family gather to talk and hang out. You will want to keep all this in mind as you plan your kitchen remodel.

Here are 3 factors to consider when preparing to remodel your kitchen:

  1. Consider Your Current Space

As you are planning to remodel your kitchen, we recommend taking a look around your current one. As you are doing that, you will want to ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I love in this space?
  • What do I hate about this space?
  • What could I alter for my new kitchen to make it work best for me?
  • How do I use this space when cooking?
  • Do I have enough storage?
  • Is there enough room for entertaining?
  1. Consider Your Lifestyle

As mentioned above, you need to consider your lifestyle and how you use your kitchen. You may think that you want to use this space differently in the future, once it is remodeled, but we urge you to really think if that could possibly happen. For example, if you currently have everyone gathered in this space doing homework as you are preparing dinner, do you see that changing any time soon? Do you really think that your entire family is going to stay out of there when you are in there? We both know that that will never happen, which is why we suggest that you simply plan a space for them to do their work, while you are doing yours in your designated space.

  1. Consider Your Style

You may love so many of the kitchens that you have seen on the internet and in magazines, but when you start your remodel, you will need to know what your specific style is. You can’t really go for a country themed kitchen if you want marble and granite throughout the space and you can’t do high-end if you plan on placing vintage items everywhere. We urge you to talk to your contractor or designer and have them help you create the kitchen style of your dreams with the items that you love the most. Remodeling a kitchen isn’t always easy, but when you keep these three things in mind before you start, it will be much easier.

Change Management During Your Remodel

Continued from our October Newsletter Article.

Post-contract changes need not be a problem, but they absolutely need a well thought-through process

Remodelers who do fantastic work for satisfied customers share some important traits. Two of these are an obsession with details and with clearly communicating those details to the homeowners. Great remodelers are great communicators, and part of being a great communicator is documenting every part of the job.

It takes a lot of work to craft detailed construction documents, but that work pays off by showing the homeowners exactly what they’re getting and by helping the remodeler understand exactly what the homeowners want. They keep everyone working from the same set of expectations and ensure a smoother, more enjoyable project.

Critical documents include the contract, the plans and the specs. They also include change orders.

The usual definition of a change order is anything that alters the scope, schedule, or cost of the work after the homeowner has signed the final contract. Professional remodelers strive to minimize these by supporting clients to make product selections before work starts, and by writing detailed specs (product descriptions) for the homeowners to review and approve.

But while this effort can minimize changes, it can’t eliminate all of them. The building inspector may, after work has already begun on a new kitchen, decide that all the home’s smoke detectors need be brought up to code; the remodeler may find a rotted beam during demolition that needs replacing; the homeowners may decide that they really want an additional window.

Such changes need to be carefully managed. That’s where good change order documents earns their keep.

Know What You’re Getting

It’s hard to overstate the importance of detail here. Vague change orders are notorious for generating bad feelings; lots of homeowners have complained about contractors who present them with a bill for extra work they either didn’t know about or didn’t think was going to raise costs.

To be fair, most of these contractors don’t intentionally mislead homeowners; they simply lack the needed management and communication skills. Take the example of homeowners who want a different master bathroom tile than the one originally specified. If the contractor orders the tile but doesn’t tally the cost until after installation, if it adds an extra $500 the homeowners may feel like they’ve been gouged, even if that wasn’t the intent.

The professionally managed company doesn’t make such mistakes. It quantifies the cost of that tile, as well as its effect on the project timetable, presents the numbers to the homeowners on a standard change order form, and doesn’t order the tile until the homeowners have signed off on it.

Most professional remodelers also add an administrative fee to change orders. This covers the time required for staff to research products and prices, complete the paperwork, and call subcontractors to determine the effect on the schedule. If, for instance, that new tile will take an extra two weeks to get, the staff will have to work with the plumber on rescheduling the toilet installation. If the homeowner cancels the change after the contractor’s staff has done this work, in most cases they still have to pay the administrative fee.

By the way, misunderstandings about products and specs can arise on even the best-managed job with the most detailed documentation. Fortunately, these are usually minor. The homeowners may have expected three coats of exterior paint on that new siding when industry standards call for two, or perhaps they assumed a tile baseboard in the bath, even though it wasn’t in the specs. The sheer number of products and decisions that go into a major remodel make it impossible to foresee every detail.

These issues are easily resolved if there’s mutual trust between the homeowner and the remodeler, which is why it’s so important to and hire a trustworthy pro in the first place. And one trait of such a pro is great communication systems.

How to Plan the Kitchen You Want with the Functionality You Need

A kitchen remodel, how exciting! But, where do you start? Do you choose the color of the walls first? Or, the color of the countertops or the cabinets? Maybe you should choose your appliances first? Do you really need new appliances?

So much to think about and consider….

We want to help you out with all the questions above and get you on track, so that you can successfully finish your kitchen remodel and have a space that is as functional as it is beautiful.

Here are 5 steps that you will need to take to plan the kitchen you want with the functionality you need:

Create a List

Everything is about making lists, and kitchen remodels are no exception! We recommend making a list of how you want to use this space as well as everything that you want and need in it. Once your list is complete, you can prioritize your needs and then your wants, to see which ones you must fit into your budget.

Create Your Budget

A budget is as important as that notorious list above, and it is necessary to know this number before you go any further. Once you have your budget, subtract at least ten percent for all those unknown problems that always pop up during construction. That will leave you with ninety percent to use for the materials and labor of the space. Don’t be too shocked if your budget is much smaller than all your wants and needs. It happens to everyone!

Determine Your Style

Everyone has their own style when it comes to their homes, and it is important to know if you want your new kitchen modern, traditional, or transitional. A modern kitchen will have clean lines and minimal clutter, while traditional kitchens are cozier and filled with wood and memorabilia. A transitional kitchen has a little of both those options, which makes it popular among many homeowners.

Choose Your Cabinets

Once you know what type of style you want in your new kitchen, it will be time to choose your cabinets. Of course, if your current cabinets are in excellent condition, you may be able to save some money in your budget by simply refacing them with the color or finish of your choice.

Choose Your Countertops

The material that you choose for your countertop needs to be one that matches how you will use this space. Quartz and granite are both excellent choices as they are durable, while small sections of marble are a good option for bakers. Wood and concrete are other popular choices, but you will need to make sure that you have the time available to maintain the material that you choose. If you do not take the time to do some preventative maintenance, you may end up replacing them sooner than you should.

These are the first five steps that you will need to take with your kitchen remodel and once you have these completed, you can relax a little as you finalize the smaller details. Those little details are more fun, as they involve choosing paint colors, drapes, and hardware to make your kitchen look amazing as you use it to its fullest potential.

Discover Your Kitchen Style before the Planning Phase Begins

Are you ready to tackle that kitchen renovation that you have been dreaming of for the last few months or years? That’s great news, but are you ready??

How much planning have you put into this project so far? Have you collected hundreds of pictures of kitchens and narrowed it down at all?

What if we were to tell you that you need to know what style you want for your kitchen before you start choosing cabinets, countertops, flooring, and more?

That would probably put a damper on your major plans, especially if you have no idea what style you want!

To find your style, we recommend pulling out all those pictures that you have been collecting and look at them carefully. You will soon see a pattern between them all, although it will be subtle at first. Separate those pictures into piles, with modern kitchens going into one and traditional, and transitional going into others. Once you have completed those piles, you may realize that you prefer one style over another.

Now is the time to go back through the pictures once again, most likely starting with the pile of your favorite style and pull out the ones that have the features that you love the most. You may realize that you love dark wood floors or large islands or pendant lights. The options are endless, but only you will be able to tell what you love the most.

Plan on seeing unique features in multiple pictures and not loving any of the kitchens in your pictures as a whole. This is common and will allow you to know that you have done everything the way that you should have. After all, you don’t want the same exact kitchen as someone else!

At this point, you will want to use sticky notes or use a notebook to take notes of the features that you love from each photo. You may look at one picture with the small baking nook with marble counters and decide that you need that in your kitchen, while still falling in love with the color of the granite countertops in another photo.

You can even take notes on the items that you don’t love including how the crown molding transitions or how the glass on the cabinets are unfrosted. This is a great way to know what you do not like, which makes it easy to avoid those items when picking out materials and items for your kitchen.

At the end of this process, you will know your style and you will have a good idea of how you are designing your kitchen. Then it will be time to call a designer and a builder and get kitchen renovation moving forward.

How to Choose Materials for Your Phoenix Kitchen Remodeling Project

You have watched all the renovation shows, looked through all the kitchen design magazines, and dreamed about what you want your kitchen to be. Now that the time has come to remodel your kitchen, you are asking yourself where to begin. Here are a few tips to get you started toward a new kitchen.

Decide on a Style

Choosing the style that you want your kitchen to have will give you a theme on which to base all your choices. This will help give your space a uniform and cohesive look. It might be helpful to look at cabinetry that fits with the style of your home.

The style of your kitchen will help you narrow down your choices for cabinets. You can customize your cabinets with color, finish, and hardware. Once you make the choice of cabinet you can move on to countertops.

Should You Choose Granite?

Granite countertops are a popular choice and can look beautiful in your home but you may find that they are not in your budget or the maintenance doesn’t work for your lifestyle. Keep an open mind while choosing your countertops. There are many choices like engineered stone or concrete that can match your cabinet style and fit in your budget.

Now you are ready to pick out the tile backsplash. You will want to compliment your cabinets and counters with tiles that bring your personality into the design. Your backsplash will be the focal point of your kitchen.

Use Samples to Help You Decide

It is helpful to get samples of your choices so you can make sure that all your elements will work well together. Do not get overwhelmed by the choices you need to make. Each choice will lead you to the next until you have the kitchen of your dreams.

Kitchen Remodeling in Phoenix

Phoenix area homeowners are going to have the opportunity to learn about kitchen design from our award-winning design team. Check out the information for our Homeowner Design Seminars, and give us a call at 602-478-5102 to discuss remodeling your kitchen with us.

25 Bathroom Remodeling Expenses that Many Homeowners Overlook

If you plan on renovation your bathroom, you should be aware of all the associated costs. Many homeowners find that they go over budget for the simple reason that they did not consider some of the work that will be done and the costs to do them.

Twenty-five expenses that a bathroom remodeling project will incur and that you should be aware of are:

  1. Building and other permits: most areas require that you get and pay for varying types of permits for renovation work. Depending on the work to be done, you may need a building permit, electrical and plumbing permits. For older building, you may also need to pay to test for lead or asbestos before you can start tearing down and renovating. 
  2. Cost for demolition: Depending on the work to be done, some amount of demolition will be needed.
  3. Unexpected costs associated with wood rot, improper or old electrical wiring and insect infestation are possible.
  4. Plumbing work, especially replacing pipes and fixtures.
  5. Shower curtain rods: these small items often get overlooked when budgeting for renovation.
  6. Robe hook: this may not costs a lot, but it still needs to be budgeted for, especially I the bathroom is used by more than one person.
  7. Grab bars (for bathroom or toilet): you may not need them now, but budgeting for or making plans for them is important.
  8. Tissue roll holder: you need to find the type you want and budget accordingly. 
  9. Windows (if needed): You may need a new window or window treatment, such as molding or curtain rods.
  10. Electrical plugs and sockets: make sure you plan for enough of these.
  11. Grout for shower floor and floor: you need different types
  12. Labor costs: even if you are doing most of the work, put aside some money for labor as you will more than likely need some help.
  13. Accessories/decorative touches: you may want to include mirrors, a paintng or plants for that special touch.
  14. Clean up costs: You will need to clean up and cart away debris. In most cases, you will need some help to get this done.

The items below need no explanation, but they also add to the overall cost of your bathroom renovation.

  1. Door
  2. Exhaust fan
  3. Soap dish
  4. Toothbrush holder
  5. Medicine cabinet
  6. Cupboards
  7. Sinks:
  8. Lighting
  9. Flooring
  10. Paint
  11. Makeup mirror

One way to ensure that you do not miss any expenses is t create a bathroom renovation checklist and budget.

Home Remodeling in Phoenix

Phoenix area homeowners are going to have the opportunity to learn about home design from our award-winning design team. Check out the information for our Homeowner Design Seminars, and give us a call at 602-478-5102 to discuss remodeling your home with us.