Posts Tagged ‘remodeling’

Adding an Outdoor Kitchen

Today’s outdoor cooking arrangements are a far cry from the old days of a grill perched on the edge of a wooden deck. A modern outdoor kitchen can include all the amenities of an indoor kitchen, including the elegance.  There have been estimates that outdoor kitchens can add as much 130% of their cost to the purchase price. But the initial cost of outdoor kitchens varies from $3,000 on the low end to $100,000 or more, depending on the layout, design, quality and type of improvements.

Appliances and Accessories

You want to have the outdoor kitchen self-contained, with all the key elements of a kitchen.  The grill, the sink, storage units and the refrigerator, all need to be there.  In this way, the cook is no longer off by himself or herself. He or she is right there with the guests.  A searer on the side of the grill can be included to sear the meat at high temperatures before grilling to seal the juices in.  Weber, Lynx, Alfresco and Wolf are some of the top brands used by outdoor contractors and designers in Summit NJ.

Permits and Setbacks

You are going to want the outdoor kitchen as close to the house as possible, but the cooking units have to be at least three feet from the house.  You do not want to be running back and forth to the house for an outdoor kitchen that is a distance away.  Setting the unit closer to the home and to the pool area will encourage the family to use it more.  You are going to have a gas line that is underground if you use natural gas, and you need a licensed contractor to do that.  You will also need permits from Westchester including a building permit.  A licensed electrician should do the electrical work and a plumber will be needed if there is an outdoor sink.   Remember, you have to shut off the water and drain the pipes in the winter….. or they will freeze!

Setting the Scene

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen

The entire unit, with all the appliances, usually is set into a straight or L-shaped countertop made of granite, often with a matte finish to reduce glare. Some people want tile, but water can get through the grout and destroy the countertop. You can also have concrete tinted a color to match the surroundings.  Under the countertop, you can put storage units. The surrounding area usually is done to look natural, or possibly to match the house.   Ledge rock is popular for under the countertop so it looks stacked, rather than like an indoor-fireplace rock finish. Kitchen designers recommended real stone rather than veneer, which can flake if it is power-washed


To use your outdoor kitchen in all weather, you can add a roof or a pergola.  The roof can be vinyl or fiberglass. Fiberglass comes in more colors today than in the past, when it was only white.  Another feature many customers like to add is a fire pit, to provide warmth on those Westchester chilly nights. This can take the shape of a built-in unit for the bar area, to add elegance.  Outdoor lighting sets the mood for night parties and adds accents. A stereo system can add music to the occasion, with the speakers hidden in fake rocks. An outdoor kitchen usually includes at least a modest dining area, which calls for a good-quality table and chairs. Choices have improved considerably since the days of the spindly metal, wooden or plastic patio set. Resin wicker is popular, because it does not require cushions like aluminum does. Some people do not want to run outside and take cushions in every time it rains. However, that high-grade aluminum still is popular.

How Does Skim Coating Work?

Interior Paint in Blue

Interior Paint in Blue

A skim coat of plaster gives your rough looking walls a second chance in life.  If you are running out of pictures and family photos to hide the cracks and blemishes on your walls, you may want to consider “skim coating” your walls.  Skim coating is the process of applying a thin coat of veneer of gypsum based joint compound over an entire wall or ceiling.  It will give you a smooth coat and an even surface.  After building up several thin layers, the overall thickness of the skim coat should be 1/8 inch thick.  This gives you an idea of how thin each coat is applied.  This process can be done in kitchen and bathroom remodels in Summit NJ or a textured wall that you want to make smooth.  It’s definitely not a heavy duty remodeling project, and in most cases, you won’t even have to remove the wood trim around doors and windows.


Although the process is easy, it’s not a walk in the park.  Plan on spending 3 to 4 days of working with your arms above your head at times. The cost is relatively cheap (not much more than interior house painting) to do an average size room.  Skim Coating your kitchen may take a little longer due to all the trim work.


Take a Good Look

Carefully examine your old walls.  The condition of the plaster will determine if the process will work.  If there are any holes, patch them first.  Use your fingertips and press on the plaster in random spots in the room.  If it feels mushy or crumbles, don’t waste your time.  A full blown drywall job may be required.  If you have miner cracks here and there, skim coating is the answer to get rid of them.  Textured walls have a unique quality to them.  The patterns are done randomly so they cannot have duplicate styles beside each other.  But when you want to get rid of them….the only way is to skim coat the texture.


For the first coat of drywall compound, you’ll use “setting type compound”.  Get one with a 90 minute set time and one that sands easily.  You may be tempted to cut out a step and use “ready mix joint compound” on the first coat.  Don’t do it!  It can possibly soften the bond of the paint to the old plaster losing its integrity to continue the process.  You can use the ready-mixed joint compound for the 2nd and 3rd coats.   Ready-mix is easy to use and also sands easily.

Preparation is the Key

Make sure your walls are free of any smoke film or smudges before you start.  Use a non-sudsing cleaner like TSP-90.  Use the same check list that you would for any house painting job

Ready to start

Mix about a gallon of setting type compound.  The mixture should be the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Start at a corner and work your way across the room.  Much like painting.  Load your drywall knife with compound and pull it with even strokes.  This is the foundation so don’t worry too much about having a glass like finish.  You will be adding additional coats and sanding in between.   The 2nd coat should be done the same way as the first coat but this time use the ready-mix compound.   Even though the weather is usually warm in Atlanta, its best to let it dry overnight.

The Final Coat

Look over the entire wall checking for tooling and low spots.  If the walls appear relatively smooth, the dreaded sanding part of the job is next.  After sanding the walls and wiping them down, put a lamp against the wall and look down it to see if there are any sections you can’t live with.    The skim coating is done! Now get out you paint brush/roller and coat all the walls with a good drywall primer.

What is Commercial Remodeling?

Commercial Remodeling

Commercial Remodeling

Remodeling in general is making a space more usable, practical or functional. For the commercial facility this can be very different than a residential structure. The intent is the same which remains to make improvements that all can enjoy and benefit from; but the homeowner is concerned with very different reasons for remodeling than the businessman. A business needs to be fully functional to provide a safe place for workers and customers or clients. Not only is safety a major issue, but helping employees be more efficient at what they do is also a factor. Even the “small stuff” is important to the commercial remodeling project in Seattle. Something as simple as a wrong paint color can end up turning customers away. Commercial remodeling is a much larger task than remodeling a home. Continue reading

Building an Addition

bathroom addition

Master bathroom addition

There are many benefits from home remodeling projects, especially for the homeowner who builds an additional room. It can provide some much needed extra room for a growing family and in general create an environment that is simply more spacious which may simply mean more room in which to entertain guests. Home additions can be personally designed to meet specific needs. And it can be a cost effective method to adding more value to the home. But all room additions are not created equal and even though you add more livable space, it may not mean that the NJ home is going to increase in value next time the property appraiser looks it over. Depending on the layout and present size of the house, it can be more beneficial to add on a bathroom than a bedroom. Here are some ideas to help homeowners sort it all out. Continue reading

How to Increase my Home’s Value



Obtaining a property appraisal is an important step in purchasing or selling a home. Getting an inaccurate appraisal can mean the house sits on the market for a lot longer.  And the property appraisal definitely influences whether or not you can get a mortgage approved. An appraiser will give a home value based on other comparable houses, plumbing, electrical fixtures, curb appeal and the overall condition of the property. There are some home remodeling projects that can help increase the value of your home. It is important to know what types of improvements will actually increase the value of the home. Continue reading

Remodeling After the Hurricane

Shingle Roof Repair

Shingle Roof

No one doubts the destruction that has been left behind Hurricane Sandy. For homeowners it is a time of rebuilding and many of the scheduled home remodeling projects have been put on hold for more pressing matters. Some damage is too extensive and must be handled by a professional, licensed contractor. This is typically due to safety issues. But there are several home remodeling projects that can be done by the homeowner, even if they have to wait on a contractor to do other things. Here are some of the home remodeling projects that can (and some should) be done after the hurricane. Continue reading

Home Remodeling – Are You Prepared?

This is a guest post by Amy Chokshi

Amy Chokshi is a home decor and re-modeling enthusiasts. She enjoys creating beautiful home decor pieces for thematic home decor and re-modelling projects. She has been designing indoor water fountains for 3 years from variety of natural material. To learn more about her creations, please visit the tabletop fountain store.

Every few years most of us feel they need a change in their life and the easiest thing to change is the environment around you. Usually people choose to remodel only one room in their house due to financial reasons. Nevertheless, if you have the money you should not settle just for one room and start thinking of the benefits of remodeling your entire house. One of the reasons you should redo your whole home is that whenever you start renovating just one room, you tend to start observing the faults and things that need an improvement in the rest of your house instead of enjoying what you just remodeled.

If you decided that you would remodel the house, the next step is to take your time and think about what changes you want in every room of your home. This should not be a hasty decision and you should consult with all the members of your family about what rooms to expand, what changes they need in their rooms, what to do with the space you have and how will the change affect each of them. You should also keep in mind that the needs of your family change over time, therefore think about the changes that can happen in the next few years with you or your family in order to make a decision that will benefit all of you.
If you came to a conclusion and everyone is happy with it, the next step will be to take a close look at your budget and see how much of everyone’s wishes can come true. Thus, if you see that your finance does not allow you to make all the changes you want, then maybe you find an alternative for the change.
At this stage it is also a good idea to talk to a couple of home remodeling experts because they can offer you a clue or two about how to handle a renovation or remodeling that you cannot afford. If you find that you like the idea of one of the experts, learn more about him and then hire his team to work for your project. Also, do not forget that it is important to negotiate a contract with the home renovation expert you choose in order to avoid future problems. Make sure that if you decide to make structural changes you get a permit from your local authorities.

Amy C. invites you to browse beautiful collection of indoor fountains for your home decor.