With forty years of experience as a general contractor, I’ve put together the top five things I believe everyone should look for when hiring a contractor for their next home project.
As a company that specializes in home remodeling and restoration, we have a unique perspective on style. Over the last 35 years we’ve enjoyed a front row seat, watching trendy colors, materials, and designs enter the scene, peak, and fade away.
While trends can be fun to ride, the problem is that they’re, well, trendy. And, unlike a pair of pants from the 1970s, you can’t exactly hide kitchen cabinets, flooring, or bathroom fixtures. When they aren’t cool anymore, you still have to face them every single day.
What’s the solution?
We are big believers in craftsmanship that flies right over the fickle weather of passing trends. You can make choices as you invest in your home that will truly be timeless, leaving you with superior function, beauty, and long-term value.
And, this is true perhaps most of all for the kitchen.
Truly Timeless Kitchen Features and Design
#1 Shaker Style Cabinets
The Shakers were interesting people in many ways, and exceptional craftsmen. They believed in simple, clean designs that offered no frills but rather let the natural beauty of the piece shine. Shaker style cabinetry does just that, offering a timeless simplicity and elegance. Nothing edgy, nothing trendy, but always gorgeous.
#2 Custom Cabinetry
It may cost more initially than prefabricated options, but custom cabinetry offers unparalleled value and function. A carpenter can help you maximize your space to its full potential, adding unique storage solutions, special designs, and options that adapt to any quirks that your kitchen may have. This is especially important in older homes where one size certainly does not fit all.
#3 Stone Countertops
Granite is of course the go-to option for many updated or custom kitchens, but it’s far from the only option. From soapstone to marble, copper to concrete, there are stunning materials available that each carry their own set of pros and cons (take a look here for a more in-depth look at these options!). A beautiful stone countertop in particular will really never lose its value and luster.
#4 Subway Tiles
There are numerous stunning options for backsplashes, but subway tile tenaciously hangs on as one of the top choices. This really is because it performs so well, adds style while still being neutral, and injects a gentle texture into the kitchen. If you want to mix things up a bit, ask about installing them in a herringbone pattern, or using an alternate grout color for extra contrast.
#5 Focus On Function
Sometimes trendy kitchens look phenomenal, but really aren’t designed well.
Kitchens absolutely must be designed with a focus on function, being ready to work and entertain. As you embark on the remodeling process, talk with your builder about how the space will be used, what kind of cooking you do, your appliance needs, and any other extra details that will elevate the design from awesome to spectacular. For a little inspiration, take a look at these kitchen features suggested by Better Homes & Gardens.
Remember, Quality Is King In Kitchen Design and Remodeling
We totally understand working within a budget, but a kitchen is the worst room for cutting corners. Quality shows, endures, and will pay you back over time, especially if or when you sell the home.
Enjoy the process, and here’s to a beautiful kitchen you can enjoy for decades to come!
With fall undeniably here, local homeowners are putting away their landscaping tools, covering the pool, turning the heat on (maybe for the first time), and getting ready to weather the winter.
Rather than hibernate, we have a better alternative. Why not take advantage of the season and wrap up a home remodeling project?
Why Is Winter the Right Time for Home Remodeling?
Many homeowners, maybe yourself included, think of home remodeling and improvement jobs as best left for spring. Warmer weather seems more conducive to that kind of work.
The reality is, there are numerous solid reasons why winter is actually an ideal time to tackle these bigger projects. Let’s take a look!
#1 Scheduling Flexibility and Availability
Many contractors find themselves with a lighter schedule during the winter, especially when it comes to interior work. You can take advantage of this “off season” and enjoy the extra level of availability.
In some cases, permits and other building-related paperwork can be processed by your local government agencies faster as well. That’s always a bonus!
#2 Never Fear – Your Project Can Be Contained!
Are you concerned about paint fumes, dust, and other by-products of construction-related work? Expert building contractors have tools, techniques, and improved products available that make containment completely possible.
#3 Fight the Winter Blues!
Winters here in Westchester and Fairfield counties can be long and cold. A home remodeling project is a fun way to keep the season moving! And, when spring rolls around, you’ll be ahead of the game and ready to start the warmer months in style.
#4 Create the Extra Space You Need
Your project might involve updating an existing area (like a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project), but it also could involve creating a totally new and functional space. Basement finishing, for example, can add that life-improving square-footage you and your family need. It could be a game room, extra bedroom, in-law suite, family room, media space, master bathroom, etc…
#5 Inventory Availability
Have you ever tried to buy a specific ingredient at the supermarket right before a holiday? The shelves are typically empty! It’s always best to plan ahead and buy what you need before the aisles are stormed by shoppers.
The same holds true for home improvement and remodeling projects. The off-season yields more inventory in most cases, and can make sourcing items and materials much easier.
#6 Exterior Projects Might Be More Possible Than You Realize As Well!
We encourage you to talk to your local home building professional about all of your goals, even the exterior-related ones. Many homeowners assume a particular project can’t be completed until spring, but this sometimes isn’t the case. The possibilities for winter-time work are more expansive than you might realize.
Whether inside or out, few things are more satisfying and fun than working with an expert builder on improving your most important investment. And, winter is the time to get the project rolling!
Countertops play a unique role in your home’s design. While architecture, paint color, and decor are all huge components of what makes your home your own, there is something special about a beautifully chosen countertop.
This might be because the material you choose ties your home to something that feels a little more wild and natural; there is a flavor of raw authenticity in a slab of stone or the smooth texture of cool, polished wood under your fingertips.
When you think of beautiful, classy countertops, what do you think of? As we said, there are certainly a wide variety to choose from, but the majority of people (maybe yourself included!) would say that granite is one of the first to come to mind.
In addition to offering a high-quality product, we also are very focused on providing a high-quality customer experience. This is important for any business, but in our line of work it takes on a new level of importance. Why? Because when people call on our home building and remodeling services, we aren’t just arriving on a jobsite. We’re being invited to your home!
Do you have a porch (or want one) but don’t like to use it because of bugs and bad weather? Enclosed porch is the four-season solution. Below are pictures of a recent enclosed porch project. The enclosed porch features pre-finished engineered flooring.
Learn more about our carpentry services here.
Now that summer is here, it is the perfect time for you to start planning and executing your home remodeling projects. There are so many ways you can improve upon the structure and appearance of your home. If you take some time to assess your home’s condition, you may find that there are some things that need to be addressed from the winter. No matter what projects you ultimately decide to start, make sure you do your homework so that you hire the best and most qualified professionals for the job.
While you may be all too eager to get started with your home remodeling projects, you need to realize that if you are on a budget, you need to be careful. Things can quickly become expensive if you don’t select the right contractor that will do the job right the first time around. In fact, instead of rushing to get things done, start doing some research on what needs to be done. Even if you plan on hiring professionals, it doesn’t hurt for you to learn about the different materials that can be used. Keep in mind that you should not sacrifice any professionals’ credentials and experience in hopes of saving money. When it comes to your home, you need to remember that it is an investment and you don’t want anyone who is not properly qualified or licensed to work on it.
If you are going to use contractors for your home remodeling projects, keep in mind that even though you aren’t doing any of the construction, you still have control over what is done. Don’t hire anyone that makes you feel intimidated or uneasy. You need to hire professionals that are open to communication and respect what you say. They will make sure that you are included every step of the way towards your project’s completion. They will respect your wishes and any preferences you have. If you have any questions or concerns, you should be able to present them and the contractors should respond and resolve any issues you may have.
Before any work can begin on your property, you and your contractors need to come to a legal agreement about the work that is going to be performed. This agreement needs to be drawn up in the form of a contract. Everything pertaining to your home remodeling project needs to be included. Payment schedules, fees agreed upon, who is responsible for purchasing supplies, how much you are going to be charged for supplies and when your project is expected to be completed are some of the things that need to be included in your contract. Once you have worked out the details of the contract and it meets everyone’s approval, all involved parties can sign it so work on your project can begin.
Most people think of spring and summer as the perfect time to undertake a remodeling project. It is quite true that warmer temperatures and sunny days are beneficial when it comes to working outside – or rather hiring other people to work outside – but temperature is far from the only consideration when deciding when is the right time to begin your remodeling project.
In many cases, knowing when to remodel is likely to save you money as well as time during your project. Spring and summer may be the most popular times to call in a contractor but they may not be the right option for you.
Avoiding Contractors’ Busy Times
If you go to your favorite restaurant when they are very busy you are unlikely to get the same careful level of attention as you would at off peak hours and you are far less likely to get the extra side portion of salad dressing or any other extras you want the first time you ask for it. The staff are simply going to be too busy to give you all the attention they probably should.
The same can often hold true for renovation or remodeling contractors of all kinds. If they are juggling several projects at once they may simply not have the resources or time to pay as much attention to yours, especially if it a smaller project, as they usually would if they were less pressed for time.
Additionally, when every contractor within a ten mile radius is putting in orders for hardwood flooring, paint, lumber and all kinds of other building supplies there is a much greater chance that orders will suffer stock shortages, get delayed, or even mixed up, causing everyone involved extra headaches. Remodeling projects are already a bit of a hassle anyway so these types of extra delays can become a real annoyance.
Some outdoor remodels just cannot be completed in bad weather of course, but an indoor project like a kitchen remodel can certainly be commissioned in the winter without any problems and you will still have a nice new kitchen by spring time.
By working with remodeling contractors in their “off season” you may also get a more favorable to you price estimate as when they have less projects on their books.
The best possible scenario for many remodeling and home maintenance projects is to schedule them a few months earlier than everyone else is likely to be doing.
Two weeks ago we started doing site work in preparation for paving a driveway in one of our client’s Greenwich CT property.
As you can see below in the gallery, we installed proper drain system to prevent flooding, and we just finished doing some final touches on the blacktop.
Learn more about our driveway repair and replacement work here.
If you are considering a home addition, you may still be wondering what to do with the extra space. Most houses have a place that makes sense to add additional space in, but what is the best way to use it? Consider using the space for an extra bedroom, workspace or even storage.
If the kids are getting older and need an extra area to call their own, it may be time for a home addition. With extra bedrooms, siblings that have had to share in the past can be separated. Also, if there is no room for guests or company to stay, creating an extra room makes visits easier to manage, especially if the stay is long term.
Another idea involves giving an older child a little more freedom. Construction can provide them not only with some privacy and a place to call their own, but a separate way in and out of the house, giving them a more independent feel. Sometimes called a mother-in-law suite, it may include a private bath and even a small kitchen space. College students can use this as their very own dorm that attaches to mom and dad, just in case they need food or money.
When making this decision, it is important to look at the big picture. Will this become a space for an elderly relative that needs care later in life? As you build, consider what else you will want from the room in the next several years and plan accordingly.
Everyone accumulates “stuff” and you may be looking for somewhere to store it. Home additions can be the perfect place to keep holiday decorations, keepsakes, and even seasonal clothing. When building, be sure that you can use every inch available and keep in mind any type of storage containers or shelves that you are planning to place in the room.
Remember that you want to be able to find everything when you need it. Use labels to clearly mark what is inside of each container. Also, group like items together so that they are easier to find. This should free up some other space in the house for you to use in a completely new way.
Working away from the office can be a difficult task if there is no place separated from everyone else in the family. You may need to be able to shut the door and seclude yourself to allow focus on a main task. In this case, home additions would be able to help. As you are working through the designs, consider how important it may be to have a door that can close and let other family members know that you are unavailable.
If you want a workshop or hobbies space, your needs may be completely different. Think about where you will store all of the tools you need. What type of flooring will work best for the materials you use? Do you need space to house completed works as well as those in progress? Be sure to consider exactly how you are going to use the workshop so you get the maximum benefit.