• Every remodeling or renovation project brings challenges. Let me repeat that. Every remodeling or renovation project brings challenges. Whether it is a kitchen, a bathroom or any room of the house you can expect something along the way that will test your will, resolve and desire to pursue your project. In some cases you can beat them and in others you just have to join them. To help you “beat them” more than “join them”, we’ve put together some tips on how to overcome the top 5 renovation challenges based on a recent survey from Houzz.

    Beat each Renovation Challenge with these tips

    Renovation Challenge #1: Finding the right products – most of us will be new to kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling since the average consumer only does this only 1-2 times in their lifetime. Your best resources to getting started – the internet and friends or family who have recently remodeled. Check out what is available and what others have done to see not only what you like but just as important what you don’t like! Another tip – ask a lot of questions…to all the friends, family members and professionals you meet and speak with along the way.

    Renovation Challenge #2: Defining my style – yes, you have a design style! We just need to put a name to it. Are you traditional? Modern? What does Transitional mean? A great resource is Houzz where you can see endless pictures. Look for the tags being used to describe the pictures and start searching on words you see coming up repeatedly as you hone in on your preferred style.

    Renovation Challenge #3: Making decisions with my spouse or partner - hmmm, let’s see…you are about to tear up one of the most important rooms in your house and spend a considerable amount of money in the process. If that does not sound stressful, I don’t know what does. Sit down with your partner ahead of time and talk about the process, what you expect to happen and when you need to work together. It should be ongoing throughout. What to avoid – having one partner come in at the last minute and question everything, from the cost to every decision made by their partner. Trust us, it happens.

    Renovation Challenge #4: Staying on schedule – remember saying for better or for worse? Well, while no one hopes for the worst, there is no telling what can happen on a remodeling project when you get behind walls or fully customize a cabinet or countertop. Create a schedule with your designer, contractor and anyone else involved in the project. Key question to ask your professionals – based on your experience, what do you see in my project that might concern you and possibly impact the schedule we have?

    Renovation Challenge #5: Educating myself – similar to the answers in challenge #1, the best ways to educate yourself are via the internet and speaking with friends and family who have remodeled. You can learn about everything – products, processes, costs, timelines, you name it. The more you ask, the more you will know.

    So, now you have the inside track on how to overcome the top renovation challenges. Put them to good use. It will take time and effort but the result could be the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams and an experience that you can’t help but share and pay forward.

    By Jim Grace

  • And the winner is… bathroom remodeling!

    When it comes to remodeling projects, most of us wrestle between the idea of kitchen or bathroom remodeling. We envision dream like spaces for both rooms that are beautiful and functional, warm and state-of-the-art. And because costs for bathroom remodeling can sometimes rival kitchen remodeling costs, budget becomes less of a deciding factor in the final decision when comparing to what room will bring the most enjoyment to you or your family.

    According to a recent Houzz survey, bathroom remodeling is the most popular renovation project for U.S. homeowners over the last 5 years. Almost one third of those surveyed had done some sort of bathroom addition or alteration. Whether it was a simple replacement of a bathroom vanity and top or adding tile to an alteration that expanded a master bathroom from functional to spa-like retreat and getaway, bathroom remodeling projects surged ahead of the other projects.

    Bathroom Remodeling tops list

    Deb Tomlin, branch manager for Reico Kitchen & Bath’s Richmond, VA showroom, concurs with these findings. “We see a large number of clients coming in looking to remodel their bathrooms. Whether it is a hall bath or master bathroom, people are looking to update their spaces to make them not only more functional but also more enjoyable.” Added Tomlin, “So many come in with ideas they have found on Houzz, Pinterest and our own website and are ready to discuss their project with a designer and move forward.”

    Kitchen Remodeling was not far behind at 27%, tied with flooring/paneling/ceiling addition or replacement. What this 1-2 punch of popularity really means that deciding on a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project is really a matter of personal preference. Deciding on what will bring the most enjoyment to your home is often the hardest choice. But the good news is that while you may only choose one now, you always have another choice you can make later. And let’s face it, when you have that “why didn’t I do this sooner” moment the wheels are already turning on that next project.

    By Jim Grace

  • Last week the world lost a comedy icon in Joan Rivers. Whether you loved her or loathed her you can’t help but respect the ground breaking work she did for women in comedy. In looking back over her career and all her “best lines”, we found 3 that we think apply just as well in remodeling as they do in comedy. Here they are, in no particular order:

    Remodeling Tips from Joan Rivers

    Can we talk…about remodeling?

    Joan said: I succeeded by saying what everyone else was thinking.

    Remodeling Translation: Tell us what you are thinking! A great kitchen design always comes from a client who not only shares their own ideas but who isn’t afraid to tell us when they don’t like something. The design process is collaborative and no one’s input matters more than yours.

    Joan said: I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good or bath things. That means you’re alive.

    Remodeling Translation: Things happen, especially during kitchen or bathroom remodeling projects. The degree to which often varies, but the reality is that it is part of life. You shouldn’t have to ignore and you should expect a plan for them to be resolved, but how we handle these things, be them the good, the bad will reflects how much we are enjoying life and how much we will allow ourselves to enjoy our completed project.

    Joan said: I’m no cook. When I want lemon on chicken, I spray it with Pledge.

    Remodeling Translation: Do your research! Beside that fact that there are countless ways you can prepare lemon chicken (without Pledge!), never has there been a time when more information has been available to you to consider all the options when it comes to a remodeling project. Whether it is Houzz, Pinterest or another resource you prefer, never have we been able to learn and do more research on remodeling or any topic that interests us.

    Joan Rivers once said “Life is very tough. If you don’t laugh, it’s tough.” Thanks for all the laughter you gave us Joan Rivers. And for the reminders you gave us to speak up, enjoy life and…how not to use Pledge.

    By Jim Grace

  • When it comes to a kitchen remodeling project, many of us stop acting our age and end up feeling like kids in a candy store. And what’s wrong with that? The excitement and enthusiasm of seeing things through a child’s eyes is hard to match. We point, we giggle, we grin ear to ear as we see so much we would like to have.

    At first we are mostly in awe, visiting the candy store that is a kitchen showroom with wide eyes, afraid to touch anything and wondering how much this costs or that costs. We imagine the joy it can bring. We can almost feel it or taste it for that matter! It’s near overwhelming to see all the different colors, woods, finishes, surfaces, back splashes, cabinet accessories…so many choices we almost can’t decide even as we rapidly hone in our favorites in our heads.

    Then excitement kicks in! This is happening! We imagine ourselves already enjoying our new dream kitchen, buzzing and flitting around like we are on our own candy-induced sugar high, enjoying every moment…only to be snapped back to reality when the taste slowly dissipates and we think about our current kitchen, our budget and what we really are able to do.

    And that leads us right into what comes next, reality. We realize we only have a certain amount to spend. What do we really want? What do we really need? We carefully consider our choices and decide what we want…is it a decision based on value and logic? Emotion and desire? This is the tricky part, because for most of us the answer is both! We want value and efficiency in the kitchen but we also want those “treats”, the bells, whistles that are sweet to see and use and confirms a decision that only leaves a good taste in our mouths that lasts and lasts.

    Your Golden Ticket to Kitchen Remodeling

    Where will your golden ticket take you?

    And if you are one of the lucky ones who can figure out how to do it all, you may just get the same advice that little Charlie Bucket got when he asked Willy Wonka about the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. “What happened?” asked Charlie, to which Willy replied “He lived happily ever after.”

    By Jim Grace

  • Whether it is an every meal thing or just the occasional inspiration, we have all been struck by the urge to go gourmet. We don the imaginary puffy white hat, sprinkle some flour across our faces and (for many us) proceed to create an absolute mess as the well justifiable means to our desired gourmet ends.

    What if it could be easier? Well, maybe not the mess part. But what if you could incorporate some gourmet design ideas into your current or next kitchen layout. It is not as difficult as you might think! Here are 4 simple design ideas that can help you go “gourmet” in your kitchen.

    Design Ideas for the Gourmet Kitchen

    1) Create a well-defined prep space – define where you do your prep work and work out from there. In most cases, it is not just about the space but about who will use it as well. Is this for one cook or two? In some cases it may be necessary to create multiple areas that will complement each in the overall flow of the kitchen.

    2) Organize! Organize! Organize! – this rules in any kitchen! In cabinet accessories to organize cooking utensils, pots, pans and lids, cooking spices and more all in the same run of cabinets are a must and keep you organized and on task without wandering about. Refrigerator placement should come into consideration as well as easily accessible mixers, processer and other hand held appliances.

    3) See the light – actually, this should really say see what you are doing! There are so many reasons good lighting is important in the kitchen, particularly as we get older. Task lighting is essential in any food prep and cooking zone not only to be able see what you are doing, but to watch your gourmet masterpieces come to life as well.

    4) A “go to” appliance – for most, the first thing that comes to mind will be a commercial grade gas powered cooktop. While this brings high-performance into your kitchen, be sure it is what you really need and if so, include the proper ventilation (and cookware!) to go with it.

    These 4 design ideas work whether you are doing a full kitchen remodel or just want to make a few key improvements to freshen up or organize your kitchen. Instead of creating of a storm in the kitchen, by combining one or all of them in your kitchen you can focus on just cooking up one!

    By Jim Grace