Ideas for a kitchen island

Kitchen islands are a fun way to bring an entertaining element to a kitchen. Whether you are using your island for cooking purposes or eating, there are several ways to design an island.

Functional Kitchen Island - Add Kitchen Island San Diego

Functional kitchen island.

The kitchen is the entertainment room now-a-days and having a kitchen island is where your company will flock to.  So you will need to decide what you will be using your kitchen island for. Is it for prep work, cooking, cleaning, eating, or entertaining?  If you need additional appliances or sinks, the island is the place to add these items.   It is possible to have your island be a functioning one and also allow seating.

I Shaped Kitchen - Major Kitchen Remodel San Diego CA

Appliances for your kitchen island

So what kind of appliances can you put in your island? Your possibilities are endless depending on your budget. Some islands have a sink and dishwasher, some have a cooktop with vent or hood overhead. Some islands have smaller veggie sinks for prep.  Some people like a nice wine fridge in their islands as well. It depends on where you think you will be working the most and what appliances you need in that space.

Kitchen Island with Shelves - Major Home Renovation San Diego

Kitchen Island for storage

Islands are a great way to increase storage in your kitchen. You can use the empty space below to store large pots or pans or even create a dish drawer where you can store dishes. If you look cookbooks and have many of them, you can make a built in book shelve to hold them.

Island with Exposed Shelves - Small Kitchen Remodel San Diego CA

Display and storage

Kitchens with islands are more than likely and open kitchen concept and with that being said, some islands are getting a different treatment. Islands are starting to be designed with open shelves that wrap around the island to display items. Instead of open shelves closed shelves are also a great option to store cookbooks and other items.

U Shaped Kitchen Island - Large Kitchen Remodel San Diego

Kitchen island with table seating

Another interesting way to create an island is creating an island on one side and sitting on the other. These come in various shapes and sizes, some are long and curved others are square. If you like the idea of bringing a table to the mix of your island, make sure you have the room to do so.

Large I Shaped Kitchen - Major Home Renovation San Diego

L-Shaped kitchen islands

L Shaped islands are large and can be great for storage its perfect for prepping and for entertaining. This is guaranteed to give you more work space with less crowding and with bar style seating. This shape is large and perfect for large functions.

U Shaped Kitchen with Seating - Kitchen Designer San Diego CA

U-shaped kitchen islands

U-shaped Islands are amazingly large and can be the chefs dream. If you want work space, storage and seating, this is the perfect way of doing it. It’s big enough to have some room to prepare and also have an appliance in there or two! The storage options are endless, as well.

Whatever design you choose, we are sure it will work well with what you are trying to accomplish.

Do I Need an Architect For My Remodel

Every once in a while we will receive a phone call from a customer saying they do not want to get an estimate on their remodel because they want to hire an architect for their project.  As a Design Build contractor, we find ourselves educating homeowners on the difference between hiring a contractor, hiring an architect, and hiring a Design-Build company.  Here are some key differences for you to consider if you are planning a major home remodel:

Framing Contractor - San Diego General ContractorsContractor

If you are making major changes to your home such as adding or removing a wall, you may find that some contractors will ask you if you have plans already.  If you do not have plans, they may suggest you connect with an architect before calling them for an estimate.  These types of contractors do not have the knowledge or team available to them to create a design or develop plans for which you can obtain competitive bids.  They are builders, not designers.

Floorplan visuals - San Diego Design Build ContractorArchitect

Architects are trained to understand structures of buildings.  They understand design concepts, but are not trained in design.  Architects understand construction, but they do not build.  Many times architects charge upwards of $10,000 for their time and plans.  The plans can be used for you to get competitive bids from contractors who build.  What many homeowners do not understand is that architects are not familiar with building costs, therefore if you have a budget you are trying to keep within, your architect is not likely to suggest how to keep within your budget.  Rather, they are there create plans based on what you say your “perfect” home would be – with no regard to how much it will cost to build.  Many times this means the estimates for the remodels come in much higher than anticipated and require going back to the architect for design changes.  Hiring an architect many times results in a significant delay in getting the project started because of the extra back and forth between the architect and the contractor.

Design Build Company

Design Build companies are the cream of the crop.  They are the one stop shop for your major home remodel.  With a designer, architect, and builder on staff your Design Build company has the ability to listen to what your dream home would include and design it for you.  With your budget in mind, the architect working on your plans will be working side by side with your contractor to ensure the design can be built within your budget.

We understand this can be a little confusing.  Here are some questions we typically hear from customers who are trying to decide if they should hire an architect or Design Build company.

Design Build FAQ’s

Q)  What is the difference between an Estimate and a Design Contract?

A)  Estimate:  This is an educated guess of what the project will cost from beginning to completion of the project.   If you sign a contract based on an estimate, you have decided the contractor is qualified and capable of remodeling your home.  The contract will include a total price for the remodel.  Many times these contracts include a very rough hand – sketch of what the design will be.

Take away:   A contract based on an estimate is for the entire amount of the project.  If you sign a contract that is based on an estimate, you run the risk of having price fluctuations during the project as you finalize the design of your project. 

Design Contract:  When you hire a design build company, you have already decided the firm has the qualifications and capabilities to build your project but you are not 100% sure about the design of your project.  You want to ensure the design is what you want before you proceed on building.  You also want to know exactly what your remodel will cost before proceeding with the contract.

Take away:  A design contract is for the design portion of your remodel only.  Once the design is complete and you are satisfied, you continue to the next stage and hire the contractor who has prepared the design for you.

Q)  Do I get to keep the plans so I can get other estimates based on the design?

A)  If you hire an architect to create your plans, yes.  Homeowners who have hired an architect typically do so because they want to get competitive bids using a set of plans.

If you have signed a contract for a design with a Design Build contractor, the answer is no.  The design is provided at a severely discounted rate because you are working together in good faith that you will proceed with building the remodel with that particular contractor.   Remember, you have already decided this was the contractor who was qualified and capable of building your remodel.  Your only question at the time of signing a design agreement should have been what your final design would look like.

 Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a unique contractor in San Diego.  Our services include Design Build as well as traditional building contractor.  So if you have an architect who has provided you with plans, we are more than happy to provide a free estimate based on those plans.  In the event you decide you would like to remodel your house with a Design Build contractor, we are qualified to assist you with that as well.  Our offices are located in Escondido, CA and we service San Diego and Temecula.

 

6 Types of Window Options

One of the complaints in older San Diego homes is that the house is too dark.  Another complaint we hear frequently in San Diego is that the home is too hot or too cold, depending on the time of year.  The solution to both of those problems are simple: get new windows!

If your home is too dark, you can create a new opening to add windows to your home. Windows are wonderful for bringing in natural light to your living areas. Alternatively, you can widen existing openings to create larger windows.  If you can not visualize the best placement for new window openings, your best bet is to contact a contractor to assist you (ahem, we are available Monday through Saturday!)

Did you know having the right windows in your home can cut your electricity bill? Yes, it can! Better insulated windows mean your windows will hold up the fight against the elements. Your home won’t get too hot or cold and that means less heating and cooling used to keep the home comfortable.   Dual pane windows will save you money as well as time spent cleaning because there will be more dust control with new windows.   Let us introduce you to the wonderful world of windows!

 

Fixed Picture Windows - Window Replacements San Marcos CA

Adding Fixed and Picture Windows

These large windows do not open and no screen is required because these windows are for the purpose of seeing a large beautiful view. Since these windows do not open, you could have two smaller windows on the side of this large window to let the breeze in. If you have breathtaking views, this is the way to go.

Sliding Windows - Replacement Windows San Marcos CA

Sliding

Sliding windows are probably the least expensive window option. You can get these windows in any size and can look great on any home.

Double Hung Windows - Window Contractor San Marcos CA

Single or double hung

Hung windows can be lifted or pushed down depending on how they are placed. In double- and single-hung windows, screens are mounted on the outside. You can tell if it’s a single hung window if only the lower half is screened. Windows without screens tend to look better depending on your area of living you can have the option to have screens on your windows.

Casement Windows - Window Replacement Contractor San Marcos CA

Casement

Casement window swings open like doors swing open. You can get these windows with a knob and handle. You can have these windows with or without the screens.

Awing Windows - Window Company San Marcos CA

Awning

Awning windows by lifting outward and swinging up. These are like a horizontal casement windows and screens can be mounted in these. These types of windows can go well with a modern style home.

Glass Block Windows - New Windows San Marcos CA

Glass Block

Glass blocks are more commonly used in bathrooms. This look can give your wall a translucent look. While this is a dated look, it still remains popular and the perfect solution for spa-inspired bathrooms. This option is perfect you want natural light in your bathroom without adding clear windows. This option is great for doing that and also adding some privacy.

Window Material

Window material can be made out of various materials like aluminum, wood, vinyl and even fiberglass! Depending on the type of windows you end up choosing, you can mix and match the materials. As long as the materials are strong and support it’s purpose, your windows will look amazing.

5 Types of Residential Remodeling Contractors

Would you be surprised to know there are 5 different type of residential remodeling contractors offering 5 very different home remodeling services?  Have you ever called a contractor only to find out they do not offer the services you are requesting?  Here is a break down of the type of residential remodeling contractors you will find in San Diego:

Design Build and Whole House Remodeling

Design Build contractors and contractors who have the ability to complete whole house remodeling are the Lexus of the remodeling world.  These are general contractors who can create a dream space out of a simple box.  Design Build companies are responsible for architecture, design, and construction management of major home remodeling projects.

Home Additions

Home addition contractors are also general contractors and they could almost be combined with Design Build and Whole house remodeling contractors, although we did not combine them in this article because there are some home addition contractors who do not offer design.  Some home addition contractors are really home addition builders.  The only difference is they would rather build than design.  So if you hire an architect or design separately and just want a home addition builder, these are your guys!

Remodeling

In San Diego these types of remodeling contractors refer to themselves as kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors.  Kitchen and bathroom remodeling is quite prominent in San Diego because homeowners are electing to stay in their house longer, rather than relocating.

Kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors are often times less experienced than Design Build contractors.  There is plenty of work available to them because many homeowners want simple updates that do not require knocking down or building new walls.  Kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels take significantly less time than whole house remodels or design build projects.

Remodeling contractors can also offer exterior home remodeling services depending on what their specialties are.

Restoration

Restoration is quite different than remodeling.  Restoration contractors are hired after fire, wind,  or water damage has occurred in the home.  They are specialized remodelers who have extensive experience working with insurance companies.  Restoration contractors typically do not update the home, rather they are there to restore the home to the way it was before the natural disaster.

Residential Service Contractors (Trade-specific contractors)

Trade-specific contractors can almost be considered emergency service contractors.  For example, if you have a toilet that is backed up, you would call a plumbing contractor.  If your air conditioning went on the fritz, you would call a heating and air contractor.  Other trade-specific contractors are not emergency related and include tile setters (if you want to re-tile your flooring, but not remodel your whole bathroom) or roofers (although your roofer is not licensed for wood replacement so be aware of what their license allows them to do!).

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is located in Escondido, CA.  We have three divisions to our company which include Design Build (including additions), Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling, and Exterior Home Remodeling.  Each division of our company has different staff, installers, and processes to ensure our homeowners receive the most competitive pricing, highest level of communication, and best quality workmanship possible.

How Much Do Remodels Cost

Asking how much remodels cost is almost like asking how to make an apple pie.  Think about it, there are thousands of recipes – just like there are thousands of different types of remodels.  Processes are different depending on what type of pie you bake – just like there are different process for different types of remodels (additions versus updates).  Additionally, there are thousands of people offering recipes for apple pie – similarly, there are thousands of contractors offering remodeling services.  So unfortunately, asking how much remodels cost has a lot of variables for you to reach an actual answer.

Tile Floor Looks Like Wood - Flooring Contractor San Marcos CA

San Diego Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodel costs will fluctuate depending on what type of materials you select, whether you keep the same floor plan, the size of your kitchen, and what type of contractor you select.  It is safe to say San Diego kitchen remodel estimates generally start around $25,000 and increase depending on your scope of work.  Plan on taking out a wall?  You won’t be paying the lower end of the spectrum.

Traditional Bathroom - Bathroom Remodel Rancho Bernardo

San Diego Bathroom Remodel

There are three different types of bathrooms.  Master bathrooms, Hall bathrooms, and Powder bathrooms.  The typical San Diego master bathroom remodel starts off around $15,000 to remodel while a hall bathroom starts around $10,000.  Powder bathrooms are near $8,000 to start.  Again, depending on the size of the bathroom, scope of work, and the type of contractor you select your pricing can vary widely.  Prices increase as you add cabinetry, change a tub to a shower, add or remove walls, and other scope changes that are outside of an “update only” scenario.

Traditional Dining Room - Rancho Bernardo Home Remodeling

San Diego Home Addition

It always amazes me when people ask for a cost per square footage estimate for their addition.  My typical response is anywhere from $125 per sq ft to $350 per sq ft.  Why the wide range?  Think about the different type of addition projects out there!  You can do a first floor addition, second floor addition, garage addition.  You can have a kitchenette or a bathroom within an addition or it could be just living space.  An addition with a bathroom on the first floor will be significantly less than the same addition on a second floor.  Add on the different finishes you can install and the options are practically endless.  So here is what we suggest, speak with a design builder and get an accurate estimate based on the design you are looking for.  It is the only way you will get even close to an accurate estimate on cost for your addition project.

Outdoor Firepit - Exterior Home Remodel San Diego

San Diego Exterior Remodels

I just sighed.  Really.  Are you aware of how many types of exterior remodels are available?  Roofing – well do you want to repair or replace, and what type of roof is it?  Windows – do you want to add new windows or replace windows?  Exterior paint – do you want a lifetime paint or a traditional paint?  Concrete – do you want stamped or decorative?  Deck – what type of material are you looking for?  I guess what I am trying to say is there are so many different types of San Diego exterior remodel projects available to homeowners that it is critical to narrow down exactly what you want to do before trying to guesstimate what the prices will be.

Most legitimate remodeling companies have a minimum purchases so if you have a maximum amount of money you want to spend, we highly recommend asking the contractor what their minimum purchase is prior to scheduling an appointment for a free estimate.  Some contractors (like us) offer financing so if that is something that does not scare you off, ask them if they offer financing as well!

Should I hire a contractor

If you are debating on whether or not to hire a contractor, it is safe to assume you have found a project around the house that you want to update.  Some projects may be a great fit for you if you are handy but maybe you don’t have the time.  Or perhaps you have the time but your spouse doesn’t feel like you are handy.

From a remodeling contractor’s perspective – this is when you should definitely hire a contractor:

When your project requires multiple trades

You might be handy, but would you feel comfortable remodeling your kitchen which includes setting tile, installing cabinets and baseboards, drywalling, texturing, painting, installing plumbing fixtures, adding electrical fixtures and running gas lines?    This is what we mean by multiple trades…..if you are not comfortable performing each of the trades required for your project, or you are not sure what the sequence order is for performing the remodel – you should hire a contractor.  The other part of the equation is understanding what materials to purchase and correct tools and applications to build.  Alongside is – do you really have the time for a project of that magnitude?

When you do not understand the remodeling process

If you have to go online to research how to install a faucet, that is not a big deal and probably something you can handle on your own.  When you have to research online how to obtain permits, you should hire a contractor.  The remodeling process is similar to the process of surgery.  Everything has to be completed in a specific sequence so as not to affect surrounding areas otherwise you may end up with an infection.  Contractors get phone calls constantly from homeowners who have attempted a project on their own only to realize it was outside of their comfort zone.  Turns out when that happens – the project usually costs more because now the contractor has to fix what you have begun.

When you have a hard deadline

If you need to have your bathroom remodeled in time for the big holiday party you have planned or before the baby comes home from the hospital then you may want to hire a contractor.  If you have never remodeled a bathroom then you will not have a good grasp on how long the process will take.  Working efficiently is key to getting a remodeling project completed in a timely manner.

When you do not have time

Acting as your own general contractor and hiring trades to come in and complete the remodel for you may sound like an easy task and a way to save money.  Possibly – but do you have time to interview 3 or more specialty trades as well as verify their license,insurance, and reputation?  Additionally you will want to review the scope of work and payment schedules carefully to be sure everyone is including the same materials and scope of work.  If you have the time and the inclination, that is great however, we caution you against this route.  Especially if you do not have a construction background.  And no, handyman work around the house does not count – and neither does having a father or brother who is in construction!

Also, if you do not have all day every day to spend on managing your project, we highly recommend you hire a contractor.  If you think finding and interviewing one contractor is time consuming and stressful, think about how long it will take to tack on designing your space, gathering the necessary permitting documents, purchasing your material, coordinating the schedule for the installers, looking up online how to do the work, checking the quality of work, and keeping track of payments to sub-contractors and you will have a full time job!

What kind of contractor should I hire?

Sometime the question really isn’t “should I hire a contractor”, but “what kind of contractor should I hire?”

There are different types of contractors and it is important you understand the difference before reaching out to get estimates.

Specialty Trade Contractors:

These are contractors whose licenses are specific to one trade.  For example, a plumber is not trained or licensed to do drywall work.  A roofer is not trained or licensed to do stucco work.  If you have a garbage disposal that is backed up or broken, you would call a plumbing contractor because that is their specialty trade – plumbing.  If you would like to upgrade your electrical panel, you would call an electrician.

General Contractors – Sole Ownership:

General contractors have been trained and have all the skills necessary to perform any home remodeling service.  This does not mean they should.  General contractors who self-perform all the work have the basic knowledge necessary to complete your remodel, but they are not specialized in any one specific trade.  When a self performing contractor is working on your project, he is also responsible for trying to find additional work, creating proposals and estimates for other homeowners, taking care of his own warranty work, invoicing, collecting payments, scheduling, and gathering material.  This is a large workload for one person!

General Contractors – Corporation:

General Contractors who are a corporation are more established and larger organizations than a sole ownership.  Corporations are responsible for hiring, firing, and coordinating subcontractors and their installation schedule.  Many times they offer design and build services (most sole ownership contractors do not offer this option).  They also coordinate delivery and installation of finish materials (many sole ownership general contractors require the homeowners to take on this task).  All liability for injuries and property damage are the responsibility of your contractor (this is true whether you work with a sole ownership contractor or a corporation contractor)

Once you decide what type of project you are trying to accomplish, take a good hard look at your schedule and your finances before deciding whether or not to tackle a remodeling project on your own.  If you decide you want to hire a contractor, take the time to make sure you reach out to the correct type of contractor for your specific remodeling project.

How to Find a Remodeling Contractor

As a remodeling contractor, it is important for us to know how potential customers go about finding a contractor for their home remodeling projects.  To find out,  we frequently ask homeowners how they found us.  Alternatively, if we lose a project (cant win ’em all!) to a competitor we will ask the homeowner how they found the contractor they did hire.  There are a few of the tried and true methods of finding a contractor, but we are surprised at some of the other methods people find their remodeling contractor and we thought we would share those with you (along with some possible pros and cons)

Family, Friends, and Neighbors (Referrals)

Personally, we love when we get a phone call from a homeowner saying they were referred to us by their family, neighbor, or friend.  A referral means we did a great job, our prices were reasonable, and they felt confident we would take care of the person they referred to us.  Is there a downside to hiring a referral? There are a lot of remodeling companies who fizz out after a few years in business so it is imperative to verify they are currently licensed, insured, and have positive current references. Sometimes we refer other remodeling contractors because a homeowner requests a project that is out of our scope but the first thing we say is “check their current license and insurance information on the CSLB website and always check out their reviews.”.

Better Business Bureau

There is an accreditation system that businesses have to go through to with the BBB.  Not all businesses are accredited so that is something to be aware of.  Accreditation means the remodeling contractor has proven to be in business for over 12 months.  The remodeling company has to prove they are properly licensed and insured.  The renovation company also has to have a full audit of their marketing materials to ensure the marketing material is ethical and within BBB standards (to prevent false advertising).   There are strict compliance factors that the renovation companies have to adhere to in order to maintain accreditation with the BBB and companies are audited yearly.  You can read more about the accreditation standards with the BBB, but we believe the BBB is a solid place to find a remodeling contractor.

Angie’s List

In the last few years, we have had a positive experience with Angie’s List and would recommend their services as a way to find a reputable contractor.  Here is what you need to know about Angie’s List.  Yes, contractors can pay to advertise with Angie’s List but the advertisements have nothing to do with the ratings you see for the company.  Advertisement costs that remodelers pay are for Pay-Per-Click type advertising and print advertising.  Only the highest rated contractors can advertise with Angie’s List (“B” rating and higher).

Angie’s List is diligent about verifying reviews that are submitted for companies are from actual clients of the company, which means you are seeing real reviews from real people.  Recently we have found some advertisements saying to purchase “HER” list.  As of August 2016, Angie’s List is free to the consumers.  Will this change our opinion of Angie’s List?  We don’t think so – as long as they continue to verify the reviews are from real clients.

Home Magazines

Oh my gosh, what to say about Home Magazines.  Are they a good way to find a remodeling contractor?  Sure.  There are tons of folks who advertise in print magazines (our company, included).  We want to advise you to be aware of what is called a “leader ad”.  Leader ads are meant to grab your attention.  “$5995 for a Kitchen Remodel!” Sounds great, right?  From a contractor’s point of view – absolutely unrealistic.  Leader ads are meant to get you to stop in your tracks and make a call.  Are they effective?  Of course.  Are they realistic?  Absolutely not.  It is kind of like when you are looking for a car and they advertise ONE car at that amazingly discounted rate, either the car doesn’t exist or it is a used car.  Look for the astrick (*) which will tell you what they are hiding in that big print that is meant to grab your attention.

Yelp

I’m just going to come out and say it, I am not a Yelp fan (for the remodeling industry).  The problem with Yelp is there is no verification process of whether or not the person writing the review actually did the work with the remodeling company.

If you are going to use Yelp as a method of finding a contractor, or verifying their references/reviews – we HIGHLY suggest you take it with a grain of salt.  Don’t just look at the “stars” and move on.  Read what the person actually writes.  We have been given a 1 or 2 star because the customer could not afford our services, which has nothing to do with our remodeling services actually performed.

Another thing to look out for when using Yelp:   if you see a company who has dozens of reviews written day after day and they are all raving about the company, stop and think – how did they get that many reviews that quickly?  With no verification process, we have found companies frequently create their own reviews to pump up their ratings.

True story:  we had a review written on our page from someone who was trying to review a burger joint.  We alerted him and he tried to remove the review, but could not figure out how to remove it.  It was a great review, but it did not apply to our business.  So in closing, we highly recommend using a method OTHER THAN Yelp to find a professional remodeling contractor (and use Guild Quality to check out references for remodeling companies, rather than Yelp).

Internet Searches (google,yahoo, etc)

The internet is the method most often used by homeowners to find a remodeling contractor.  The internet is a great resource for finding remodeling contractors.  The only recommendation we have during an internet search is to be VERY wary of giving out your information on line, especially if it is not linked directly to the contractor you want to speak with.  If you have never done this before, here is what it looks like:  You enter your contact information online and within 5 minutes your phone is ringing off the hook.  Your will receive 3-5 calls per day for 2 weeks from contractors who have received your information online.

Home Advisor

Home Advisor is a method used by many remodeling contractors to get “leads” on homeowners who are looking to remodel their home.  Homeowners do not pay for this service, but contractors do.  So if you sign up to receive calls from contractors, you better believe your phone is going to be ringing!

The company does a great job of pre-qualifying contractors to make sure their license and insurance is current and valid.  Homeowners who use Home Advisor are given the opportunity to review the contractor upon completion of the projects, and unlike Yelp, the reviews are verified to be posted by actual clients.

Social Media

Social Media has been an up and coming way to find remodeling contractors.  You may see ads on your Facebook or Instagram feed which highlight local remodeling companies trying to earn your business.  Social Media is a great way to view a company from a different light.  Many remodeling contractors will share photos and videos of actual projects they have completed.  They may highlight their employees or events they participate in with the community.  In our opinion, Social Media is a great way to “get to know” a remodeling company before inviting them in to your home.  Be aware that Social Media does not require remodeling companies to verify their license or insurance so you will (always) need to check that on your own.

Home Shows and Street Fairs

Home Shows and Street Fairs are still a popular way to find a remodeling contractor in San Diego.  There are several events yearly through-out different cities within San Diego.  You will find a wide range of contractors at events such as these.  Home Shows are a great way to find new products but we have found that many Home Shows and Street Fairs have lead generators manning the booths which means you are not speaking with a contractor, but only a person who is there to gather contact information to schedule appointments.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but be aware of who you are speaking with.  Ask them if they are an estimator, a designer, or if they are just trying to set appointments.  Be wary of giving out your information because if you give out your phone number, you will receive phone calls (imagine that!).

 

There are so many was to find a contractor for your remodeling project, hopefully you have found this list insightful (from a contractor’s perspective). As always, be sure to verify the contractor’s license, insurance, and referrals before signing any contracts.

 

Ideas For a Luxury Spa Bathroom Remodel

If your goal is to create a luxury spa master bathroom, there are certain elements you should consider adding in to your remodel.   Here are a few ideas for you to ponder and discuss with your designer:

Soaking Tubs:

There are so many options with soaker tubs!   They can have whirlpools and lights.  They can be be clawfoot cast iron or acrylic.  They can be drop-in. Regardless of what type of soaking tub you decide you want in your elegant bathroom, the point is they are a must have in a luxury spa-like bathroom remodel.

Steam Showers:

Tile Steam Shower - Bathroom Designers San Diego CA

Steam showers are wonderful to have. These large walk in showers can have up to one or more shower heads for your shower needs and a large seating bench to soak up and enjoy the steam. You can also gain several benefits from having a steam shower. Steam bathing improves breathing and opens up nasal passages. Steam showers are also great for the skin and can relieve acne conditions, open up pores, hydrates and lubricates the skin.

Rain or Waterfall Shower Heads:

There is nothing more relaxing than a nice rain shower head or a waterfall stream pouring down on your. The steady stream of water can be relaxing. While water pressure isn’t strong in rain shower heads, they are mostly installed and used for relaxation purposes.

Saunas: 

Elegant Sauna - Interior Designers La Jolla CA

If you don’t want your walk in shower to be a steam shower, most people opt to use another space and install a sauna in their bathrooms.  If you have a home gym this is the perfect asset to have in your home.

Vessel sinks:

Vessel sinks look amazing in any shape or size. They give your bathroom a regal feel to it. Vessel sinks come in all shapes, sizes or colors so if you have a specific theme in mind, there will be a vessel sink to accommodate your ideas.

Accessories:  

We know that themes and products can truly make a space unique so we hope some of these ideas land in your spa bathroom remodel.

Towel Warmers:

Imagine getting out of a nice shower and you grab your towel and it’s nice and warm and snuggly. Towel warmers are one of those items in a bathroom remodel you may not find necessary but if you are after that spa feeling you may feel like you need. Never wrap yourself around a cold towel again.

Bluetooth Shower Head:  Bluetooth technology is starting to sweep the nation and is starting to get more integrated into our everyday products. There are now Bluetooth shower heads that you can connect to your phone so you can shower with your favorite music.

However you decide to remodel your bathroom, know that there are so many things you can do to create the space you are envisioning!  All you really need to know is how you want to feel in your bathroom and a designer can help you reach your goal.  As you can see, accessories make a huge difference in the final outcome of your project so do not forget to add them in as a final touch!

 

Show Off Your Cabinets With These Hardware Options

 

When you decided you wanted to remodel your kitchen or bathroom, we seriously doubt the hardware options were first on your list to purchase!  Some homeowners like to skip hardware altogether but for those of you who want to add kitchen hardware to your cabinets, here are a few style options to consider.

tubular-bar-pulls

Tubular Bar Pulls

This is the current trend in kitchen pulls because of its modern look. Shaker doors in kitchens of various colors have these pulls. You can get these in various lengths, the longer tubes can look very dramatic This can give your kitchen a modern look.

flat-bar-pulls

Flat Bar Pulls

This is also a current trend we are seeing in kitchen remodels. It’s hard to pinpoint what we see more flat bar pulls or tubular pulls. These flat pulls look fantastic in polished nickel and in a way adds a modern glamorized look to the kitchen.  These pulls work well with various colored cabinets and can give your kitchen a contemporary edge.

traditional-nickel

Traditional Nickel

Shaker cabinets are simple cabinets and it doesn’t matter what color they are traditional nickel is a great modern choice. The great thing about traditional nickel is that is a versatile door style so you it looks great with any finish or pull.  If you pick a vintage style pull it can look great in traditional nickel. This can give your kitchen a retro feel.

accented-wire-pull

Accented Wire Pulls

This type of pull can be seen in kitchens with a country cottage feel. Wire pulls come in various styles and looks and can be very specific in detail. They can look very elegant and they do add a traditional flair to your remodel.

arced-and-footed-bar

Arced and Footed Bar

If the look you are going for is classic, then you may want to pick these pulls up. They go by various names but the look decorative and can be mixed and matched with various door styles and finishes. The do add more of a traditional and decorate element to your kitchen.

Glass Pulls

Vintage Glass or Ceramic Knobs

Vintage glass style pulls and knobs are trend goes back to the depression area. This is a classic choice that is more notoriously seen on bathroom vanities. This knob choice is vintage and if you want your kitchen to have that feel add them to your cabinets. Ceramic knobs can look very beautiful in a kitchen but make sure you coordinate the rest of your choices. This can give your kitchen a historical or Victorian look.

vintage-pulls

Vintage pulls with exposed screws

This probably a trend you remember this back in the 70s or 80s, the brass pull with exposed screws. These pulls come in various colors such as oil-rubbed bronze. This look can look great if you are going for a rustic feel in your kitchen. This can give your kitchen a utilitarian or industrial hair.

We know that these are a lot of options but remember to stick to the theme and style of your kitchen. Don’t add a vintage handle to a modern style kitchen!

How do I find out if my contractor is licensed?

If you are looking to do a remodel on your home, it is imperative you research your contractor to verify the validity of their license.  We have been in construction and remodeling for over 25 years and it is shocking to us the stories we have heard about contractor scams!  Educating our customers is a high priority for us and for that reason we want to share with you how to check the validity of a contractor and their associated license.

 

Step 1:

Go to www.cslb.ca.gov

Step 2:

If you know the contractor’s license – you can enter it on the right hand side of the page.  Alternatively, if you do not know the contractor’s license, there is a link for you to do a search by company name or by the license holder’s name.

Step 3:

Review the Business Name to ensure it matches any information you have been given including website, contracts, and any marketing material (business cards, brochure, etc).  Some companies use a dba (doing business as) and in that case, the dba will be noted on the CSLB website.

Step 4:

Some contractors use a mailing address.  Others have their physical location noted on the CSLB website.  Find out if the address listed on the CLSB is a physical location or a mailing address.  Compare the address and phone number on the CSLB website to any marketing materials (contracts, business cards, brochures) given to you by the contractor.

Step 5:

Take note of whether the company is listed as a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation.  Typically a sole proprietor is a “mom and pop” shop.  We are of the opinion that the most legitimate organizations are corporations.

Step 6:

Review the issue date, re-issue date, and expiration date.  You are checking to see if you feel comfortable with the length of time the company has been in business as well as when the license expires.

Step 7:

There is a section called License status.  You will want this to say “current and active”.  If it says anything other than that, you will want to question whether you want to pursue the relationship with this contractor.

Step 8:

Review the Classifications.  A “B General Contractor” is licensed for all trades in remodeling.  All other licenses are for specific trades (ie:  Electrical, framing, etc).  If you are working on a large remodel project, you will want to work with a “B General Contractor” because any other contractor is not qualified or licensed to do multiple trades.

Step 9:

Bonding information.  Verify all information is current and active.

Step 10:

Verify Workers Compensation is active and current

Step 11:

Personnel List.  In our minds, this is a BIGGIE!  Anyone who is in your home presenting you with an estimate for your home remodel is required to have a HIS card (or be the license holder for the company).  Sometimes it can take a while to get the names loaded on the website, but any person in your home should have an active HIS card (provided by the state of California) or should be the owner of the company. Do not be afraid to ask for this information – the HIS card is issued by the state after diligent background checks, this is a step that is taken to ensure your personal safety.

One way to find out if you are working with a legitimate contractor is to ask who you will be writing out checks to.  Is it the name of the company or the name of the person standing in front of you? A legitimate company will ALWAYS have you write out a check to the business name, not an individual.

There is very little recourse available if you hire an unlicensed contractor to do work on your home and they do poor quality work or break the contract.  Many times homeowners insurance will not cover any injuries or damage if the work was completed by an unlicensed contractor.  Additionally, if you are working with an unlicensed contractor you have no way of knowing if they have a criminal background.  Protect yourself and your home by doing your homework before hiring a contractor for your remodeling project!