Archive for the ‘Remodeling’ Category

Top Restaurant Renovations

Restaurant Remodel

The interior and exterior redesign of a commercial property has proved to increase a businesses sales, as well as improve traffic performance. There are many commercial restaurant contractors that are willing to help you carry out the dream renovation of your life. Here are some restaurant remodeling tips that can get you going places. Continue reading

Doorless Shower Design

Bathroom decor

Bathroom design

When remodeling the design of your bathroom in Mesa or building one in new construction, doorless showers open a world of possibilities.  They are very new and trending.  You will continue to hear more about them.  Universal design and an open shower are two of the benefits of doorless showers. Your first experience with this type of shower can be that of a “confused” feeling trying to figure out how this works functionally.  You just walk into a shower with no doors and a grate on the floor. No tub, no door, nor curtain, and no threshold.  It’s a large showering space with very little constraints. Below are some things to consider when planning or designing your doorless shower.

Add a half wall to protect against splashes

Ideally, an open shower requires at least a 6-foot buffer zone on every side to avoid flooding the rest of the bathroom with water. But a half-wall that divides a shower from the vanity, can help to contain water droplets and splashes.

Consider a corner location if possible

Orient the shower in a corner that faces away from the other bathroom zones. Not only does this guard against spraying water, but it also preserves some measure of privacy.

Prepare to face a chilly situation

There’s no getting around it — open showers can be drafty, especially in the winter months. Installing a heat lamp and radiant heat bathroom flooring can offset the shivers. Mount a heated towel rack nearby  (another new shower trend), and you’ll be extra warm as you dry off.

Choose an appropriate showerhead

One of the most critical components of a shower be it new or traditional.  A standard shower head shoots water down at an angle.  We have all experienced a time when the water was shooting out at an angle that promoted a wet bathroom floor.  Opt for a rain-style model, which casts water straight down, or a handheld type that allows you to control the position and flow. If you do use a more conventional model, mount it so that the spray hits an opposite wall rather than the shower opening.

How to choose a shower drain

At the core of every great shower is a great shower drain. But which drain is the right one for your shower? It’s simple: the best drain for your shower is the one you love the look of and that meets the requirements of the job. New Jersey might have some special code that makes the choice harder, but for the most part the sky is the limit. It all depends on what’s right for you.  Drains do more than look pretty — the good ones can deliver on both style and function.

Ensure proper drainage

Not only will you guard against damage from standing water, but you’ll also protect yourself from sliding on wet floors. Angle the shower floor slightly so that water flows toward the drain, and think about adding a second drain for doubling the drainage.

Select surfaces that can stand up to moisture

Even with careful attention to an open shower’s design, splashes and steam will escape. Outfit your bath with surfaces that hold their own against moisture: porcelain or glass tile, metal, stone, solid surfacing, engineered quartz and some woods. Avoid fabrics and other materials that are prone to mildew.

Make peace with a loss of privacy

If you don’t like to feel exposed — even when you’re alone in the house — an open shower may not be for you. Even if you don’t have a bare window wall.  You’ll be on full view from the rest of the bathroom. Consider a frosted or textured glass half-wall as a compromise if modesty is an issue.

Integrate the design with the rest of the space

Because there’s no concrete border between an open shower and its surroundings, choose materials that will create a smooth transition. A good selection is a threshold that continues seamlessly into the shower, with only a change in ceiling materials to provide a visual stopping point.

How to save Money on Bathroom Remodeling

bathroom addition

Master bathroom addition

So you want to do a bathroom remodel and don’t want to take out a second mortgage or dip into your children’s college fund?  That’s understandable so here are some tips to help you with your bathroom remodel.

Choose a realistic budget

When you begin to plan your bathroom remodel, pick out the large items in the kitchen that will absorb a large portion of your budget.  These can be anything like faucets, sinks, countertops, flooring.  By itemizing the big ticket items, you can assign prices to the needed features.  More importantly, it will keep you from straying outside of your affordability.  That’s easy to do on any remodeling project.

Save up money in advance

Use the money you saved up to make your purchases.  Living in New Jersey is associated with going to the shore as often as you can so saving money may mean taking fewer trips to the beach.  This means paying with good old green cash!  We are all tempted to put everything on our credit cards to get a small percentage back or get reward miles.  This works on everyday purchases…..but not so well on a bathroom remodel.  Before you know it, your credit card bill will be so large that you may have difficulty paying it off in full and getting interest charged on a balance you have to carry.  Saving up money may take a little while longer than you planned, especially when un-foreseen expenses arise.

Be prepared to get dirty

This means diving in and begin doing things by yourself.  Things like removing the toilet, sink, and faucets can easily be done by a DIYer  Don’t worry if you haven’t done these before.  There is always help on the internet on how to do these things.  Regardless of the task, it’s always easy to “undo” something than to “do” it.  You aren’t out of the woods yet.  You can put these things back in the bathroom so pay attention to what you are doing.  Better yet, jot down some notes as you are tearing fixtures out.  You will be happy you did later on.

Get creative and thrifty

If you don’t want to shell out big bucks for a manufactured assembly line vanity, make one yourself.  It sounds intimidating but if you take inventory of your skill level working with wood… you should be able to create one within your skill set.  Use an old piece of furniture as a vanity.  Small dressers are popular.  This has become stylish and will be one of a kind.  Go to your Habitat for Humanity store and see what they have to offer.  You just might find some good deals.

Go to Craigslist and look for items. Most localities have Thrift stores. You would be surprised what you can find there.  Consider re-glazing your tub with a porcelain finish as opposed to replacing it.  These are just a few ideas.  You can springboard from them in many directions all in the name of saving money.

Decide where to splurge and where to save

What are your priorities / end goals with this remodel? Are there specific problems you are trying to fix? A leaking toilet? Mildewy sheetrock? Are the bath, toilet and sink okay but the hardware and accessories are out of date?  If your toilet and sink work just fine, consider reusing them UNLESS OF COURSE they are that god awful sea foam green or pink color of the 1950’s.

Pick a tile for your floor that is reasonably priced.  The spectrum of tiles is huge and so goes the price too.  Find something that you can live with and is affordable.

Add 5% to 10% for cost over runs

This may not sound like a cost saving tip but it is.  If you build some padding into your budget it will ease the pain of overruns.  If in fact you’ve done such a thrifty job that you have money left, consider this a bonus for completing the job.

How To Save Money On Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen Remodeled

Remodeled Kitchen

With some strategic thinking about design, materials, and timing, you can cut costs without cutting corners.  A universal truth about renovations is that every little thing adds up. So save a little here, save a little there, and pretty soon you’re talking about lots of money .

Read the tips listed below to help you save money when doing kitchen remodeling.

Increase efficiency, not size.

If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space–hogging shelves with cabinet–height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull–out pot trays, and lazy Susans…. but you’ll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.

Bring in natural light without adding windows.

Before cutting a big hole in the side of your house and rearranging the framing, consider less invasive—and less expensive—ways of capturing light.

Do your own demo

Knocking down may not be as costly as rebuilding, but you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself—as long as you proceed with care.  When it comes to interior spaces, most professionals would dissuade folks from doing it unless they have done it before. The reason: a reckless wrecker might unwittingly take out a load–bearing wall or, worse still, plunge a reciprocating saw into live wiring or pressurized plumbing.

Limit recessed light fixtures

The more recessed lights you put in, the more it’s going to cost. In addition to the fixtures, it takes additional labor to cut all the holes and insulate them properly. A wall– or ceiling–mounted light can also deliver more wattage, which means you may be able to get away with fewer fixtures.  Be honest with yourself.  If you add 12 recessed lights, do you really think you need that many?

Do your own pick-ups

If you’re doing your own project, slash your materials–delivery fees by picking up goods yourself. No pickup truck?  You can rent a utility trailer, which you can tow behind your SUV. Get one just big enough to carry 4–by–8 sheet goods flat. Use it for a half–dozen trips, and it’s paid for itself.

Don’t move the kitchen sink

Don’t move the sink if you can avoid it. That often becomes the biggest part of the plumbing–price increase. If your new layout requires that you move the sink, use the opportunity to upgrade the pipes at the same time, that will save you money in the long run.

Plan with stock sizes in mind

Ask yourself, “Why am I building something 10 feet wide if plywood comes in 4–foot–wide sheets”. The same applies to stock windows and doors: Use manufacturers’ off–the–shelf dimensions from the outset and you will save the premiums of custom fabrication.

Make decisions early

Start browsing the aisles at the hardware store or home center way before the wrecking starts. Get a good feeling for what you want in fixtures and appliances and what they cost.  It will cut down on impulse buying.  If you aren’t absolutely specific up front about what you want, look through magazines or go to kitchen builder showrooms.


The best way to save in this area is to use your existing appliances. Purchasing floor models that are on clearance is a good idea too.  Floor models may have a scratch or two, but the savings can be significant.

The Power of Color

Painting Kitchen

Yellow Kitchen

It’s really tough to be scientific about “color”.  Most people will look at a color and say “it is what it is” and think no more about the effects that colors can have to make you change the way you perceive a space or an object.   In New Jersey, blue (the color of the ocean) may provide the calming effect the ocean brings.  Each person that looks at the same color is going to see something different within that color family.   A blue may give someone a fuzzy feeling when someone else may think it plain boring.  That’s what makes decorating a personalized subject.  Not everyone is going to like the color schematic you choose….but who cares as long as you like it.


To use color wisely, you must learn 3 things about color:

  • How color affects the way you perceive the size of a room.
  • How color affects the way you feel.
  • Color harmony, combinations, and aesthetics.

Colors Impact on Size

How would you like to move walls in or out or change the height of the ceilings without doing any construction?  Color can help achieve this (to a certain point).  To make the ceiling seem higher, paint it the same color as the walls.  To make a small room appear larger, paint it a light color.  Light colors make objects (furnishings) seem larger; dark colors weigh them down.  Bright colors make them stand out and pop; softened colors make them blend in with the back ground.

Color Impacts on your Feelings

Everyone has an emotional response to colors.  This response carries through to the color of clothes we buy to the color of cars that we favor.  Below are some generalized feelings about colors taken from a survey of people:

  • Blue- Feels distanced and reserved.
  • Red- Feels stimulated.
  • Yellow- Feels energizing.
  • Orange- Feels stimulating and inviting.
  • Green- Feels soothing and relaxing.
  • White- Feels calming and uncluttered

This is just a survey of what people think and how they feel about each color.  By no means, paint your rooms based on the feelings each color brings as described above.  Your views may differ widely and your feelings are the only ones that count.  If you are unsure about colors and don’t want to paint a room quite yet, try some easy –to-change accessories like pillows instead of taking on the laborious task of painting only to have to redo it again.

Color Harmony

To understand how to put colors together, you need to understand the effects of color combinations.  Below are the most often used color combinations:

  • Complimentary harmony-  Sharp contrasting colors.
  • Triadic harmony-  Three different colors but with the same depth or intensity.  The key is to get a balanced look.
  • Analogous harmony-  Two or three different colors from the same color family.
  • Monochromatic harmony-  One single color used in different intensities.

Don’t let the fancy wording scare you!  They are only titles of the process.  The concept is simple.


Applying texture to your walls can significantly separate the feelings each room portrays.   If you run your hand across a textured wall, you immediately know it is different than ordinary wall finishes and it makes you think.  These thoughts take place in a nano-second and can’t be measured on a scale…only in your mind.  Look around the entire textured room.  The colors and accessories may compliment the vibes you get from the walls.  A great example of where texture can play a huge factor is when it is used in a family room.  The family room is used for relaxation and down time.  It shouldn’t be colored in over-bearing tones and the wall texture doesn’t have to be formal.  Many plasterers can give you a great sense of where to apply a textured finish.  Be prepared when painting the walls.  You will need an extra thick nap roller and plan on using much more paint than your regular finished walls.

The Solution

Paint trim, doors, and ceilings the same colors as the walls.  Make window coverings the same color as the walls.  Your larger furnishings can then be in the same color family only in different shades.  There are other things to consider than paint colors to give your room personality but the paint color will be the dominant decision factor on how to decorate the rest of the room.


Trends in Classic Landscape Design

Poolside living and landscaping

Backyard landscape

Believe it or not, your landscaping tells a lot about the home owner and their characteristics.  Few outsiders get to see the inside of your home but anyone can observe the outside.  Whether you are in New Jersey or another state, a visual creates an immediate impression.  It’s like meeting someone for the first time.  It takes just a few seconds to form an opinion.  Your landscaping is no different. Continue reading

Popular Garage Door Materials

Photo of fiberglass garage doors

Two Garage Doors

For most of us, the garage door was on the house when we purchased it.  If you built your home, you probably picked the door that you wanted.  If you bought an existing home, you also bought the garage door the previous owners liked.  You are confronted with an array of choices when it is time for a replacement.  The first decision is what material do want the door to be made of.

Few of us give it much thought other than to make sure our garage door is open when we drive through it and closed at night when we lockup the house. But when it comes time to replace an old worn out door in Orange County, we are suddenly confronted with many decisions regarding materials that we didn’t even know were used for garage doors. The first choice you must make is what type of material you want. Continue reading

When to Replace My Roof

Roof Sagging

Sagging Roof

This is a question every home owner will ask themselves at least once in their lifetime.  Sometimes more depending how many houses you have owned.  Don’t wait until you see water spots or stains in your house to consider that it may be time to replace your roof.  If you wait that long, your costs of repairs will increased.  Be pro-active and keep an eye on your roof at regular intervals.  One easy way is to pick a holiday(s) during the year and ear mark that time to do a visual inspection.  This is an easy way to keep a regular schedule.  If you find a leak, don’t immediately decide that you need a new roof.  Put on your inspectors hat and start looking for compromised area.  Finding water leaks can be very difficult because water “travels”.  This means that water rolls on the surface below it.  You need to follow the trail backwards until you find the point of origin.  This is often frustrating and sometimes impossible for the DIYer because there are areas where you do not have access to the roof from the inside. Continue reading

How to Reduce Summer Utility Bills

Air Conditioning Thermostat

`Heating and Air Conditioning Thermostat

Well folks, summer is just around the corner here in sunny Providence New Jersey.  Getting your home ready for the warm summer is equally as important as weatherizing your home for the chilly winter.    There are ways to prep your house for summer and trim your cooling bills.  Most of us cringe before opening our electric bills during the summer.  We know it’s going to sting a little but just how much is the question.  Hopefully in this article we can help curb that anxiety. Continue reading

Window Replacement in a Historic Home

Historical Windows

Historical Home Window

If you would ask some historians about window replacement in a historic home, they would answer you loudly…..”don’t replace but instead repair it”. The windows (as well as the milled woodwork) in an old house are indicative of the era it was built.  Just because the windows look inoperable, don’t give up on them quite yet.  Take a crack at trying to determine how to fix them and how much it will cost.  You are undermining your love of historic preservation if you don’t attempt it.  If you do swap out windows, the Historic Society may take the designation from you turning it into just another old house.


A window restoration can include repairs, glazing, weather stripping and possibly the addition of an outside storm window.  The window should work as it was designed in the period it was built.  Sash windows were the norm in historic homes.  Generally speaking, the cost to repair an old sash window is on par with a high end sash replacement.   The biggest enemy with using the old windows is energy loss through drafts or the deterioration of weather stripping if there even was any.  You may want to have an experienced window restorer in Baltimore explain the best way to take a sash window apart.  If they are painted shut, use a painters “5 in 1” tool and a utility knife to score the paint where it has formed a seal from multiple paintings.  You may find damaged wood when you are scoring.  The damaged wood will eventually need to be dug out and filled in with an epoxy.  A historic window can be made thermally efficient by the installation of an outside storm window. Wood is a better insulator than metal so the addition of the storm window will get a higher efficiency rating that a metal replacement with the same outside storm window.   After you have completed the restoration, there are a few simple things to do.  Make sure you regularly examine the window for structural failure that you thought was corrected.  If you have found any issues, remedy them as soon as possible. Continue reading