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.

Take the Time to Customize the Lighting when You Remodel the Kitchen

Lighting is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when remodeling the kitchen, yet so many people tend to overlook it or neglect to properly plan it. Older homes often have a single ceiling mounted light in or near the center of the room. Overhead lighting can be a good thing, but it can’t be the only light in the entire room.

Light Placement

The placement of your kitchen lighting makes more of an impact than you may realize. The traditional center-of-the-room ceiling light creates shadows. A single-light kitchen simply doesn’t work because shadows keep you from being able to properly see what’s going on on the stove or the food prep area. You may not be able to see whether or not all of the dishes are clean if the lighting isn’t up to par.

Make a Design Statement

Nothing in the rulebook says that your kitchen lighting can’t be absolutely fabulous. Choose a huge light fixture that can act as a focal decorative point in the room. You don’t have to go all out on a crystal chandelier, but choose light fixtures that you love and the rest of the decor will fall into place.

Clear, Crisp Light vs. Warm Light

Crisp, bright lighting is the best choice for most areas of the kitchen. You may decide to use a warmer light as the ambient light or as a decorative statement, however. Bright lighting allows you to properly see what you’re doing in the kitchen and makes the room look cleaner.

Light Fixtures

Have you ever just stood in the lighting department at Lowe’s or Home Depot and gazed in awe at the amazing options available? Try visiting both stores and a few other local home decor shops – if you’re brave enough. Choosing fixtures requires that you take several factors into consideration including:

  • How the fixture will direct or spread light.
  • Where the fixture will be installed.
  • The types of metal used in the kitchen – the faucet, for example.
  • The overall appearance you want.
  • Ease of changing the fixture when you’re ready for a change.

Choosing Lighting for Your Remodeled Kitchen

As you can see, several things must be taken into consideration before you embark on a kitchen remodeling project, especially the lighting. Give us a call and we’ll help you design your perfect kitchen with the right amount of lighting for each area. We enjoy helping homeowners choose the materials that go into their remodeling project, because it reflects on our workmanship – and we always strive to provide the best.

6 Factors to Consider when Remodeling Your Kitchen in 2018

Kitchen remodeling projects are among the most expensive projects because of the amount of work and intricate detail required. Our goal is to provide you with the most up to date information so you can make the best decisions for your 2018 kitchen remodel. Today we’re going to go over 6 key factors to consider during the project. Let’s get started.

Organized Storage Options

The words organized and storage haven’t always gone hand-in-hand, especially in the kitchen. But we’ve found that most homeowners are much happier with their remodel when we include a way to organize all their stuff. Here are some of the best ways to organize your kitchen’s storage:

  • Obviously, right? Cabinets are designed to hold large bulky items, but let’s also include some oversized cabinetry for your small appliances.
  • The pantry is an amazing organizational tool. Implement baskets, sealed containers, and labels to further organize your pantry.
  • Shelves add a good amount of decor to the room while providing a spot for your favorite cookbooks, mugs, or other dishes. These dishes could be purely for decorative purposes or for the items you use the most.

Countertop Materials

The countertop is one area that we recommend you splurge. Get that amazing granite or marble countertop if it’s within your budget. We can help you find the best deals on countertops in the Phoenix area.

Flooring Materials

Flooring options are nearly endless. Tile is a popular choice and so is hardwood. We don’t recommend soft wood like pine because it takes damage when cans, bottles, and other heavy items are dropped. And let’s face it, we all drop things occasionally.

Lighting Options

We can’t say it enough – task lighting. You need general lighting for ambient light, task lighting, showcase lighting, and maybe even some late-night lighting. Small strings of LED lights are an excellent way to add just enough light to prevent injury when you go for that midnight snack or drink.

Hardware and Faucets

These items are included in the finishing touches category because they have the ability to transform a drab kitchen into something pretty spectacular. Choose finishing touches that add value, whether visual appeal, added functionality, or monetary value, to your kitchen. This should be one of your splurge areas.


Today’s appliance options can get pretty extensive – and expensive. You can go as basic or as high tech as you want. Do you need a basic refrigerator or something amazing that helps you track your groceries? Do you need a basic slow cooker or oven or one that allows you to connect via smart phone? Smart appliances add a lot of functionality to your kitchen, so pick and choose carefully.

Kitchen Remodeling in Phoenix

Give us a call if you would like to discuss kitchen remodeling in Phoenix with us. We’re the top rated remodeling company in the area, and we would love to provide you with a magazine-worthy kitchen this year.

5 Kitchen Design Tips for Your Small Kitchen Remodeling Project

Kitchen remodeling can be daunting, especially when you’re working with a small space, but you can bring it all together with a great design. If you want to change the look of your small kitchen for the better and give it some charm, focus on the basic elements such as the cabinetry, hardware finishes, appliances, and window shades. Most of all, remember to keep it simple. 

Are you ready for the challenge? Apply these five simple design tips to revamp your small kitchen:

  1. Open up the Room: This is a great way to make it more stylish and create the impression of a more expansive space. But remember: when you open up your kitchen you have to minimize the clutter, so you’re going to need some hidden storage areas to keep things out of sight. 
  2. Select a simple color scheme: It’s a good idea to use similar hues for the walls and cabinetry. Choose complementary colors for the countertops, tiles, window treatments, and appliances, to enhance the feeling of spaciousness. The colors you choose will make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the kitchen.
  3. Appliances: Opt for appliances that will fit the space. For example, choose a flush mount cooktop instead of a range that takes up space. Weigh the pros and cons of using gas powered appliances vs. electric appliances, and the energy efficiency of each appliance you purchase.
  4. Cabinetry: Forgo solid fronts and choose glass cabinet doors that will lighten the cabinetry, and create the illusion of space. Stretching cabinets to the ceiling can also help maximize space. Combine decorative cabinetry with floating shelving for an even more unique appeal.
  5. Lighting: You want your kitchen to be light, bright, and cozy. Small ceiling pendant lights add a special glow to the room. Hang them low for better lighting, especially over the countertop and sink. Focus on both ambient lighting and task lighting as well. Ambient lighting can be created using windows for natural light or recessed lighting. Under-cabinet lighting is a wonderful addition for task lighting on countertops.

Kitchen Remodeling in Phoenix

Homework Remodels has been assisting homeowners with their kitchen remodeling needs for more than 15 years. We focus primarily on amazing kitchens, luxurious bathrooms, and large whole-home remodeling projects. Our talented designers will help transform any part of your home into something you can truly be proud of.

Never compromise on quality when you remodel your small kitchen. Let our designers show you how they can help make the most of your kitchen, regardless of size. Give us a call at 602-478-5102 if you’re in Phoenix or the surrounding areas, and we’ll help you cook up a great renovation for your small kitchen.

Add Feng Shui to Your Kitchen with These 5 Tips

True feng shui will add function to your kitchen, and that will create balance, not only in the space, but in your life as well. Feng shui concentrates on the elements of metal, water, wood, fire, and earth, and in your kitchen, you are going to want to balance materials and textures to create a well-balanced space.

Here are 5 tips for adding feng shui to your kitchen:

  1. Eliminate Clutter: Feng shui focuses on the positive energy, or chi, in your life, and clutter is the exact opposite of that. Therefore, you will need to eliminate all the clutter in your kitchen. We recommend removing all the items that you never use, and then neatly store and organize whatever is left.
  2. Consider the Flow: Everyone has a different way of using their kitchen, which is why you can use magazines for ideas, but that is it. When you design your kitchen, you need to create a layout that will work best for you and how you use the space.
  3. Variety of Textures: Balancing the elements is a necessity in a kitchen and you will want to make sure that there are many different textures in your design.
  4. Beautiful Lighting: There should never be any dark corners in any kitchen, but especially in one designed with feng shui in mind. We recommend installing lights that can be used to perform tasks as well as lights that can be used for ambient lighting.
  5. Timelessness: Your kitchen remodel should be kept timeless, so that it will last for many years in the future. After all, chaos and upset are feng shui’s worst enemies, so you do not need any disruptions every few years with another remodel.

Remodel for Functionality and Stylistic Purposes

The goal of any kitchen remodel is to create a space that is functional and works well for your family. These feng shui tips will only help enhance your kitchen and make it even better for you and your family. If you are tired of looking at piles of paper on the counter or having things falling out of your cabinets, it might be time to implement a few of these tips. You might be surprised at how much calmer you feel afterwards, every time you walk into your kitchen.

Call us at 602-478-5102 to discuss remodeling your kitchen to improve the functionality, style, and overall feeling of well-being. Schedule a consultation with our kitchen design specialist and we’ll help get your kitchen remodeling project off the ground.

Hide Those Small Appliances with these 4 Genius Options

Do you have a bunch of small appliances sitting out on your countertops? Are you like many other homeowners and hate the clutter of seeing everything sitting out every single minute of every single day? It’s so nice to walk into a perfectly clean and well-organized kitchen, but then you need your blender, mixer, food processor, toaster, or some other small appliance. Thankfully, we have a better way to store your small appliances that doesn’t involve throwing them out and living without them. And, most of it doesn’t involve a lot of work either.

Here are 4 genius options for hiding those small appliances:

Appliance Cabinets

If you have never had an appliance cabinet inside your kitchen, you do not know what you are missing. These cabinets can hold all your small appliances and keep your countertops looking clean and clutter free. We recommend installing a few different appliance cabinets throughout your kitchen, so that one doesn’t get too cluttered or full. This will also allow you to give each one a purpose and dedicate certain appliances to them all. Another idea is to keep everything that you need for a wonderful cup of coffee or tea right in the appliance cabinet next to your coffee pot.

Appliance Cubbies

Appliance cubbies are quite similar to appliance cabinets, except they do not have doors. This idea works well in an open concept kitchen, where you can see where everything is. The good news is that all your small appliances will be off your countertops. However, you will still be able to see them with this concept.

Appliance Cubbies and Cabinets

It is always possible to do a combination of both cubbies and cabinets in your kitchen. The cubbies may work well for items that you use quite often, like your coffee pot or toaster. Other items like your KitchenAid mixer might be better off in a cabinet.

Appliance Pantry

An appliance pantry is a great way to store all your small appliances in one place, however, there is a downside. The problem with the appliance pantry is that you will need to continuously go and get the small appliance that you need and then put it away when you are finished with it. This might not be a problem for some items, but we are not sure about needing to bring our coffee pot out every single morning when we want a cup of coffee. We don’t think it would live in our appliance pantry for too long.

Kitchen Remodeling and Small Appliance Storage Options

Everyone has their own idea of where their small appliances should live, but we think that we all can agree that the countertop is not always the best place. Hopefully these four ideas will help you get your small appliances off your countertops and into a new home that is out of sight until you need to use them. Call us at 602-478-5102 if you’re currently looking for the best way to store your appliances out of sight and out of mind – until tomorrow.

Choose the Perfect Flooring for Your Kitchen Remodel

There is so much to do when it comes to a kitchen remodel. You need to decide on cabinets, countertops, paint colors, hardware, a sink, a new faucet, and just when you think you’ve checked off every box, you remember the floor. It used to be so much easier to choose a floor for kitchens, because people would throw down linoleum and call it a day. But now, there are so many more materials that are durable and easy to maintain, so you will really need to consider all your options carefully.

Here are 5 flooring options that you can choose from for your kitchen remodel:

  1. Natural Stone: There are so many choices when it comes to natural stone flooring including granite, limestone, slate, and travertine. This material is durable and easy to maintain, but it may chip or scratch easier than other flooring options. Natural stone also costs more for both the material and installation.
  2. Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tiles are available in different sizes, shapes, colors, patterns, and textures, so they are perfect if you really want to give your new kitchen some personality. These tiles are easy to keep clean, but they can get slippery when they are wet. Plus, the grout in between the tiles needs to be maintained, so that it does not get stained over time.
  3. Laminate: Laminate flooring is an inexpensive way to get the look of hardwood or tile without the higher price tag. Laminate is an engineered material that is made from compressed layers that end up being durable and easy to maintain.
  4. Solid Hardwood: Solid hardwood floors will look beautiful in any room of your home, including your remodeled kitchen. These floors do cost more than laminate floors, but they will last a lifetime if you maintain them properly.
  5. Sustainable Options: Cork and bamboo flooring options are both sustainable, which is why they are becoming more popular amongst homeowners like yourself. Cork is warm and absorbs sound, plus it resists mold, rot, mildew, and pests. It does require regular maintenance and sealing to keep it looking its best for the future. Bamboo is lower in maintenance, and its natural grass appearance looks quite similar to wood. The downside to bamboo is that if you live in a higher-humidity climate, it can warp over time.

Kitchen Design and Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

We know that you will love any of these flooring options and that one of them will look fabulous in your new kitchen. You will just need to decide which one will meet your needs, for both now and the future, so that you can enjoy your new floor for many years. Call us at 602-478-5102 to schedule an appointment for a kitchen design consultation if you would like to start planning your 2018 kitchen remodeling project. We’ll help you choose the best designs and materials to improve the functionality and style of your kitchen this year.

Follow These 8 Steps for a Successful Kitchen Remodel


If you have finally decided to tackle your kitchen remodel, then we want to congratulate you! You are about to tackle a project that will make your home look fabulous, while adding to its value. Of course, you are also going to find that this project is going to be full of challenges. However, you can manage to get through it all if you follow certain steps.

Here are 8 steps you must follow for a successful kitchen remodel:

Consider What You Need in Your Kitchen

Before you even begin making plans for your remodel, you must consider what you need in your kitchen. Are you planning on cooking every night of the week or are you still going to do take out most nights? Are you going to be entertaining a lot more, or is it just going to be you and your significant other? Once you have all your priorities in order, you can continue to the next steps.

Determine Your Budget

Once you know what you want in your new kitchen, you will need to determine your budget. That way, you will know what type of remodel you can do. The important thing is to stay within your budget no matter what.

Create a Preliminary Design with Preliminary Materials

By creating a preliminary design with preliminary materials, you are giving potential contractors an idea of what you are looking for. This will make it easier when you begin looking for estimates. Changes can always be made to these designs, and most of the time, that is what happens.

Begin to Get Estimates from Contractors

Now is the time to get estimates from contractors and then set up interviews. We never recommend going with the lowest or the highest quote all the time, nor is the one in the middle always the best choice. Instead, you will want to look at the numbers and the answers to the questions that you ask the contractors. Your decision may even come down to how comfortable you feel with the contractor that you choose.

Finalize Design Plans and Choose Materials

Once you have your contractor, you can finalize all your design plans and choose all the materials for your new kitchen. You will want to make sure that you complete this now, so that you do not end up waiting for things that are on back order halfway through the project.

Get Permits

Your contractor should be able to get all the necessary permits to begin the work on your kitchen. There can be a wait time for some of these, so make sure you get going on the process soon enough to avoid a delay on the start time.

Prepare for Demo

Demolition is never fun, especially when it comes to a kitchen. After all, you will be without a kitchen for a few weeks. We recommend that you set up a mini kitchen somewhere else in your home, so that you can still prepare some simple meals at home. This will help you save some money since you will not need to eat out all the time. Also, do not start the demolition process until you are sure everything is in stock for your project, or you may find yourself hanging around waiting halfway through.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There is always going to be something that is wrong at the end, but it will never be anything big. Instead, it will be a small scratch in the paint, a ding in the molding, or a dent in an appliance. They are easy fixes, but it will take a couple of phone calls and a few days to get everything straightened out. Be patient through it all, after all, you’ve made it this far!

Kitchen Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

If you follow these simple steps, you will be able to survive your kitchen remodel. It won’t be a walk in the park, but it will be manageable. Besides, once it is over, you will have a kitchen you love. Call us at 602-478-5102 to discuss remodeling your kitchen with us. Our award-winning designers and builders are happy to show you how we can improve the functionality and style of your kitchen.

Focus on the 3 Kitchen Zones When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Most people do not think about the kitchen in terms of zones. Instead, you probably think about it as one large room that you are in very frequently throughout the day. So, to squash your one room concept, we are going to tell you that your kitchen has three zones and you will want to focus on them as you are remodeling your kitchen. In fact, these zones are so important that we builders often refer to this as the golden triangle of kitchen design. These zones work together to create a highly functional kitchen space.

The Refrigerator Zone

This area is where you will place all the items that you bring into your kitchen, plus it is where you will begin to prepare all your food. Therefore, you will want to make sure that you have a countertop near this space, as well as storage for utensils, mixing bowls, and other food prep items. You may even want to place your pantry, small appliances, and cookbooks nearby, so that it is all within reach when you need them.

The Sink Zone

This zone should be somewhere between the refrigerator and the cooking area, and it should be centrally located. This area is always used for cleaning and cutting produce, and washing up after meals, so you will want to have recycling and trash containers placed nearby. Since this is where your dishwasher is also going to be located, you will want to install your cabinets and drawers here for your dishes, glassware, and silverware.

The Cooking Zone

The cooking zone is where your stove and oven will be located in your kitchen. You will want countertops for placing items before and after they come out of the oven. We recommend installing cabinets here to hold items like platters, serving bowls, pots, pans, and other equipment that you will need while cooking. This is also a great area for your cooking utensils and spices.

Kitchen Design and Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

Once you begin to think of your kitchen with three zones, it will be easier for you to design your new kitchen. It is only then that you will be able to create a kitchen that will flow seamlessly as you are cooking and entertaining. Call us at 602-478-5102 if you would like to discuss remodeling your kitchen with our award winning designers and builders.

Upgrade Your Old Kitchen Cabinets with These 7 Amazing Ideas

If you are tired of your old kitchen cabinets, you do not need to worry about rushing out to purchase new ones. While new kitchen cabinets are nice, there are many things that you can do with your existing cabinets to make them look fresh and brand-new.

Here are 7 amazing ideas that will upgrade your old kitchen cabinets:

  1. Paint or Stain: Your tired kitchen cabinets can get a new life with a fresh coat of paint or a little sanding and some new stain. You can choose to use the same color on all of them or mix it up a little with a different color on the upper cabinets and the lower ones.
  2. Add Task Lighting: Adding task lighting to your kitchen cabinets will make the entire room glow, whether you are in there or not. The task lighting will allow you to prep meals easily during meal time, while adding a soft glowing light in the middle of the night when it is snack time.
  3. Remove a Few Doors: Open shelves are a great concept that you may want to consider embracing. Your open cabinets can hold items that you use the most, making the space always look nice and organized.
  4. Add Glass: You can remove part of your cabinet doors and insert glass to change the way that they look. While clear glass is a great option, you may want to consider frosted glass to keep the insides from being too noticeable.
  5. Add Roll-Out Shelves: Your new cabinets have held multiple items over the years, but how many times have you had to empty everything out to find something? If you install roll-out shelves, you can simply pull the shelves out to put things away and take things out. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about messy cabinets ever again.
  6. Add Crown Molding: Adding crown molding around your kitchen cabinets will make them more appealing while also creating a focal point. They can turn your boring kitchen cabinets into ones that are stylish.
  7. Add New Hardware: One of the easiest ways to make your kitchen cabinets look brand new is to swap out the hardware. You can switch the finish, the style, and the shape, while creating a whole new visual appeal in your kitchen.

Kitchen Remodeling in Phoenix

You can save a lot of money by incorporating some of these ideas with your old kitchen cabinets into your kitchen remodeling project. Use your imagination and choose the option that matches the style of the kitchen you want, and then enjoy your new space that looks better than it ever has. Call us at 602-478-5102 if you’re in the greater Phoenix area and would like to schedule a kitchen design consultation or if you’re a builder in need of top-notch project management for a kitchen remodeling project. We’ll schedule a consultation and get the details ironed out as soon as possible.

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