9 Kitchen Features that will Increase Your Home’s Appeal

A renovated kitchen is always a huge selling point for home buyers.  “Full Gut” remodels that include big changes, like opening up floor plans or creating direct access to an outdoor area, are a common request of many clients. These types of renovations can really make a home feel larger and more family-friendly.  However, if you can’t afford to invest in a full remodel, simple changes like replacing old appliances or installing new features can still bring new life into your kitchen and provide significant appeal and ROI. Read more

Cave Shower

We often get requests to convert a standard 5’ bathtub into a shower without a door, which can be done in many ways. One of my favorites is what I call the “cave shower.” The photograph shows one such “cave shower” we did for a client.

The wall is 30” wide, leaving a 30” opening. Having the wall and tile go to the ceiling—and tiling the ceiling—helps keep the steam in and gives the cave-like feeling. Using a wide shower head mounted up high causes the water to fall straight down so there isn’t much splash to the outside of the shower. The can light keeps it from being dark, and the soap niche mounted at the correct height is really handy. The wall makes a nice separator between the shower and toilet. Read more

Awesome Kitchen!

Check out this awesome kitchen we recently finished. This one has it all, and then some! As you will see in the before pictures and before floor plan, this was a typical ranch home galley kitchen. From a design perspective, this one had a lot of potential because it had good bones and was big to begin with, so when we took out the wall between the kitchen and the adjoining family room, we had a big, clean palette to work with.

Here are some of the highlights of the project:

When I’m waving my arms around drawing imaginary pictures in the air of what it might look like when a wall is removed, I’m never quite sure the homeowner really sees it like I do. Our design software helps a bunch, as you can see—we were able to show the basic feel of the new kitchen with the before and after floor plans and renderings our design software produces:

Once we get the walls and general layout of the cabinetry decided, the homeowner works with our design coordinator, Stephanie, to pick out what I call the ”frou-frou.” This homeowner did us all a great service by doing a lot of research to figure out what features and looks she wanted. This helps us work within the homeowner’s realm of thinking so we can help them develop a design that is professional, but with their own personal taste and touches. A good example is the pantry. She provided us with this picture to show the function she wanted and we built her a very user-friendly and functional pantry.

We went from demo to substantial completion in six weeks. This is fast for this complex of a job. We accomplish this by having everything purchased and on hand before we start, and have good communication with the tradesmen and homeowner throughout the project. On a project like this, there are 14 different steps involving different trades, and in the end, about 40 different people are involved in making it all come together. Mike, Jr. is the one that makes that all happen; I think I noticed a few gray hairs on him the other day. Read more

Creating a Master Remodeling Plan for Your Home

When clients ask me to talk with them about remodeling their whole home, I often recommend that we do a master remodeling plan for them. A master remodeling plan is a plan that encompasses the entire house, inside and out, down to each surface. Every dream, wish and desire is considered.

Once the master remodeling plan is complete, the scope of work for the various projects is identified so it can be broken down into manageable phases to keep the project on track and to budget spending, regardless of whether the remodel takes a few months or many years. This allows you to prioritize your options and will help you make better decisions regarding the timing of the different remodeling phases. Read more

Master Bathroom Remodel and Tips on Bathroom Design

Here are some tips if you are planning on remodeling a bathroom:

  • Figure out a way to do a total remodel rather than a partial one. If you do a little here and a little there, you will always have a bathroom that needs remodeled, and it will cost a lot more if and when it ever gets completely finished.
  • Don’t be afraid to move walls and fixtures. If you look at an overview of your bathroom floor plan, you will see it’s just a box with the various bathroom components set in the space. Most of the time the layout is just fine, but sometimes, moving things around makes sense in order to rid the space of any annoyances.
  • Have fun with the design process. Collect pictures you run across of bathroom features that you like. This collection of pictures will reveal the overall look you want, and will help the designer and contractor make sure you get the bathroom you are dreaming of.
  • Hire a professional designer. Even if you have a good sense of color and just know what you want, an experienced bathroom designer will be able to tie it all together and have the answers the contractor is looking for to ensure a smooth and successful project.
  • Read more

    Man Cave!

    A Man Cave is a room or area within a home where a person (I don’t see “Man” Cave as gender- or age-specific. Anyone can have a “Man” Cave) can pursue recreational activities or hobbies or just relax. I’ve designed and built hundreds of them over the past 30 years for all types of uses; entertaining, study, exercise, relaxing, trains, collections, mechanic shops, show car rooms, office, sewing rooms, pets, martial arts, yoga, poker, and a whole lot of other things, including a couple I probably shouldn’t mention!! Read more

    Bathtub Envy

    One of my favorite things to do is to take a long, hot, soaking, meditative bubble bath. So, when we install a tub like this one, I get a serious case of bathtub envy. What’s to be envious of? Take your pick of features:

    • Deep, drop-in design with a built in pillow
    • 72” length so you can be completely immersed
    • Eleven hydrotherapy jets with three speeds to massage your neck, back, legs and feet
    • 384 air ports from 21 injectors produce air bubbles that soothe your body, boost cardiac output, open pores and improve circulation
    • Inline heater so the water stays hot as long as you want
    • Underwater mood lighting with multiple color choices
    • Aromatherapy option diffuses your choice of fragrance through the air bubble system
    • Acrylic grab handles

    See what I mean? What a great tub! I want one!

    We used blue pearl granite for the tub deck. To fully appreciate the beauty of the granite, it needs to be seen in person. It contains specks of quartz that glisten with a blue tint with the play of the light on the polished surface of the stone, and is a striking addition to the room. Read more

    Major Bathroom Remodel Complete

    Our major bathroom remodel is complete! Here are some pictures:

    We replaced the windows with triple-pane rainwater glass. Along with a great look, the bathroom will be much more comfortable with the energy-efficient windows. We’ll be hearing more and more about triple-pane windows as the EPA continues to require better insulation value in our homes. The result will be more comfortable and quiet homes, and most importantly, lower energy bills!

    What a beautiful shower! The large tile, pebble floor and mosaic mural give a great look and feel. The doorless entry is a great feature. They’re safer, easier to clean and make the available space feel bigger. Read more

    Major Bathroom Remodel – Week One

    We have our major bathroom remodel project underway! Michael, Dave and Neil got the demolition done, Chris roughed in the electrical, Warren and his guys got the plumbing roughed in and Ron and his guys got the drywall textured. When we do a full remodel on a bathroom, getting the drywall done in the first week is always the goal.

    Fortunately there weren’t any big surprises.  We did find plastic had been attached to the walls between the framing and the drywall behind the tile showers. Whenever we find plastic in a shower, we also find mold. I suppose the intent for installing the plastic is to keep any water that leaks through the tile and drywall away from the framing and insulation. The problem is that the plastic creates a condensation point and mold-growing climate. We’ll get it all cleaned up, install a concrete backer board screwed directly to the studs. We use a good quality thin set to install the tile, a good quality grout and a good quality sealer.  Along with a properly installed vulcanized rubber shower pan, water penetration into the walls is not an issue. Read more

    Major Master Bathroom Remodel

    This week we start the demolition process on a master bathroom remodel. The floor plan will stay the same, but each function of the bathroom will be improved. During the past month, Stephanie and I have honed in all the details with the client to make sure the bathroom has the look, feel and function they want. All the parts and pieces have arrived and we are ready to get started.


    Here are some highlights of the changes being made:

    The existing shower is small and claustrophobic:

    We are going to remove two of the walls and the framing above the shower. The walls will be replaced with glass. The glass will be moved to the outer edge which adds 4” of space each way. The shower is big enough to have a door-less entry. The shower head will be raised so the water sprays down rather than out. Read more