Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is Bamboo Right For You?

 Commercial remodelers and business owners are experiencing what residential remodelers had to learn the hard way: Despite it's vast advantages...Beware Of Bamboo! This not because bamboo is a bad product. In fact, it's fantastic! Lovingly referred to as "the vegetable alternative to steel" bamboo is strong, "green" and beautiful! Homeowners, business owners and contractors alike need to be wary of bamboo because bamboo flooring has no grading system. It all may look similar - but the difference in quality and performance can be huge!
  Did you know bamboo harvested before it's mature can still be made into flooring that looks on the outside the same as it's matured counterpart? But young bamboo makes flooring that is brittle and can flake or crack. When it comes to bamboo, the old adage "You Get What You Pay For" applies particularly well. Checking the bamboo's documents, so to speak, is necessary to be sure you are buying a product that meets your standards for your remodeling project!
   If you're still puzzled by the products or bamboozled by bamboo...you can find more information on our website: Using Bamboo In Your Remodel

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Lights For A Cause

A Florida Home's Christmas Lights Honoring Our Troops & Veterans
"Since 1775, over 1.3 million American troops have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Thank you and please visit SemperFiFund.org to help give back to those who protect our freedom."
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Wish List: Pocket Doors and a Gift of Knowledge

Ray Wiese, The Wiese Company and Sherborn Kitchens 
Posted By daily 5 Remodel


For remodelers...

Most remodelers know that installing pocket door hardware can easily result in a callback ... and not an easy callback. I have been cautioning customers about the pitfalls of pocket doors for years because even the better ones can experience “issues” over time. Häfele makes a rock solid piece that I think is terrific. I know it’s not as sexy as some other items I could rave about, but I think this is one of those unsung heroes that you can only take for granted because it will result in never going back to visit.

 

For Homeowners... 

You Wouldn't Pick Your Dentist Simply Because He Charged The Least, Would You?
I also have a “gift of knowledge” that I would like to give to every homeowner who is trying to decide how to hire a remodeler:

Hiring a contractor is like many other decisions in life; as with finding a dentist or day care center or church or auto mechanic, you're looking for someone who will provide trusted advice. 

Unfortunately, consumers have been taught that contractors should prepare free estimates so they can compare “apples to apples.” Very little time is spent understanding the depth of scope for their project and the best personality for the job. In the end, many homeowners fail to hire the person they know is right.

The proof is in the resulting complaints I hear about contractors, most of whom shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. Don’t be swayed because the delta on the budget is large enough to question the value of the better contractor. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If the cheaper contractor skips things in the rough phase, you will see signs of it sooner than later.

I know a lot of great contractors in my area. Some of us do fancier work than others, but we work on similar margins. More importantly, we all have the following: integrity, solid knowledge of building science, and the business acumen to charge enough to cover costs such as insurance as well as to offer the kinds of wages and benefits that will attract reliable, like-minded employees.

If you want your remodeling to be done in a professional manner, please seek out a professional contractor. Just like good daycare centers, we come with references, a track record, a portfolio and a team. If you don’t care where you leave your children or who works on your teeth, we may not be a good fit.

One more gift: Please stop thinking that you are making improvements on your home to improve your investment.

Home ownership comes with the obligation of maintenance. If you need siding or a new roof, it will not result in much return on your investment. If you side or roof your home poorly, it will result in an ugly home that leaks. If you love your location and neighborhood, you'll likely recover your investment in quality remodeling because:
a) you really don't want to move
b) remodeling will be less disruptive to your family and 
c) remodeling will be less costly than moving to another home -- which may need new siding or roofing anyway.


 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Easy How To: Adding Attic Insulation

   Feeling a little chilly? Your furnace is working, but do you know where all that warm air is going? 
It's very likely some of it is escaping through your attic, as it is one of the "key heat loss areas" in every home. (obviously, right? heat rises!) It's also one place that you can add, or upgrade, your insulation without too much trouble or expense. In fact the attic is the MOST cost-effective place to add insulation.  Many experts believe a well-insulated attic can reduce year-round energy use by 20-60%, saving you money on your energy bill!
   Our friends at Owens Corning shared the following video with us, for our AK blog followers, and it is a quick & easy "How To" for adding attic insulation. A little time and effort could really help keep you much cozier at home this winter! Who
Owens Corning Attic Insulation Products can improve the energy efficiency of your home. 
This video shows you how to do it yourself. You can't go wrong with pink!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Give The Gift Of Home Improvement

 Home Depot, Ace Hardware...they all try to sell you on a similar idea. That gift cards to these stores make great gifts! That new countertop you've been pining for, the room you've been dying to paint, your dream of a spa tub can be realized with a gift card to a home improvement store. Of course you'll have to provide the free time and labor on your own; that's a gift no one can give. Or can they???
 Here's a novel idea: Give your loved one a contractor for Christmas!
 Whether it's a simple paint job that you offer to foot the bill for, or a part of a whole room remodel you chip in for - it's a big gift, but a very special one. Giving someone the ability to improve their home is a gift they will appreciate for years to come. You will hold a special place in their heart - and their home!
  We might recommend you let the homeowner make the final decisions on the contractor, materials and design and simply be their silent backer. Parents - this makes a great gift for your adult children, especially those just starting out! It's an unconventional gift, and can't be wrapped under a tree, but (speaking from personal experience) it's one of the most exciting gifts to receive!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Stage Is Set For A Stunning Johns Creek Renovation

The setting: Johns Creek, Georgia.
The home: A lovely single-family house in a sought-after Atlanta suburban area. 
Much loved for decades, this home was looking a little dated.
The cast: A talented, service-oriented remodeler and the dashing and darling homeowners

The owners knew they needed to make the decision to update this home with universal design elements for aging-in place or remodel in preparation to sell.

The owners of this home decided that this was not to be their "forever" home and contacted AK Complete Home Renovations to begin a special process to update and renew their home prior to putting it on the market. 

With such a specific vision, making design decisions to suit the target demographic and making wise investments was key! Along with the homeowners, AK created a plan to remodel and update nearly the entire home. Have a look...

BEFORE





THE WORK BEGINS
The Master Bathroom
The cabinets here will be painted/faux finished, the countertops will be replaced with granite, new sinks, new plumbing and light fixtures!


 The Kitchen
To keep the price competitive for resale the kitchen cabinets will remain and will be painted/faux finished as well but the interiors will be updated with some customized storage solutions. The kitchen will also get granite, stainless steel appliances, under cabinet lights, recessed cans & shelves on either side of the windows to take advantage of the open space.


Notes From The Homeowners 
  • " Just think how exciting it is for us to share this with you as our home evolves from sketches and plans to reality. The 'team': Ed, Miguel and Jorge, are just fabulously helpful and informative. As Ed says, there are no stupid questions, and I'm always asking questions!"
 
  • "Ed's been good about reminding me that some of these improvements are not so much for me but for the *next* owner. You have to think like a buyer while preparing it as the seller. I am trying to see the house as someone else is going to see it in their five minutes as they walk through. There has to be elements of comfort, practicality, and even a little luxury. The goal might be a starter family or a starter house but the finished product has to be someone's HOME. I'm not the original owner, my husband is, and I don't have the emotional attachment that he has to the house but he's becoming more excited with each change and/or improvement. There are things that should have been changed long ago but his needs and view of the house where different than they are now as we near retirement age. We're on the OTHER side of the hill from our potential buyer--they're going up, we're slowly starting our descent.
    Ed's advice has been invaluable in this respect too."