Home Remodeling Guide: How to Choose a Remodeling Contractor that Is Right for You

 

Your home is an intensely personal space. If you’ve made the exciting decision to remodel your house, you don’t want just anyone working on your home. In fact, you want a highly qualified, trustworthy and conscientious team of professionals who are committed to helping you remodel a living space that fits your functional needs and design style. Taking the time up front to research and ask the right questions is not only time well spent, but will ensure you select the right remodeling contractor for you.

The Ultimate Checklist for Vetting Potential Remodeling Contractors

 

  • Assemble a list of Contenders

A simple Google search is an excellent place to start assembling names of local home remodeling contractors in your area.  Use words that describe what you’re looking for and your location. For example, search for “home remodeling contractor Lafayette” or “kitchen and bath remodeling West Lafayette”.

Websites like houzz.com, angieslist.com, and thumbtack.com can also be helpful resources to search for local contractors.

A safe and reliable way to assemble remodeling contractors is to reach out to your friends, family, and co-workers for any recommendations they may have.  Do you have a neighbor who just had some remodeling done?  Ask them about their experience and if they would recommend them.  Your local hardware store may also have some good suggestions as well.

  • Website Review

Once you’ve assembled your preliminary list of home remodeling contenders, review each company’s website. This is an easy way to find critical information that will help shape your decision. You should be able to find answers to important questions like:

  • Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Do they have a physical office location?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have staff, or only use subcontractors? What is the longevity of their staff?
  • What special certifications or qualifications does the company have in performing a similar remodeling project as yours?

Qualified home remodeling contractors should also feature a project portfolio or sampling of their work. Take some time to peruse past projects and see what speaks to you.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then look at the finished project photos as an informative way to get a sense of the type of work they do.  Moreover, some remodelers only specialize in kitchens and baths, for example, and may not remodel other areas of the home, like basements or additions. This should help you rule out some contenders depending on the type of work you want to have done.

Another important distinction is the type of remodeling contractor you want to work with. Are they a full-service design build firm or a general contractor?  What’s the difference? The quick answer is that a general contractor works independently from an architect. As a homeowner, you would be responsible for finding an architect first—someone who produces a set of architectural design plans for you. Then, you would hire a general contractor independently to build the remodel from the set of drawings provided by the architect.

On the other hand, a design build company takes care of all the remodeling and design under one roof to make the integration of your project easier.  From the very beginning, you work with a personal designer to produce a set of plans that fit your budget, design style, functional needs and time frame. In contrast, you work with one company who handles every detail for you. Click here for more information on the design build difference.

  • Phone Interview

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to call on the companies directly to fine tune your decision even further. Ask pertinent questions like, “How many projects do you currently have on-going?”, “Do you take on remodeling projects of similar size?” and “Can you provide a list of references?”. This will help you decide with whom to set up an in-person meeting. For a complete list of questions to ask of a remodeling contractor, read 8 Essential Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor.

Checking client references is another crucial step in your selection process. Reputable remodelers should be happy to provide you with a list of current and past clients. Taking the time to call a sampling of customers and asking questions like “What was your overall experience working with the remodeling firm?”, “What did they do well?”, “What did they do poorly?”, “Did they keep the job site neat and clean?”, “Did you have cost overages? If so, why?”, and “Was the project completed on time?” will give you tremendous insight on who you want to hire and work on your home. And, if you can visit a current or past job site, even better!

  • In-Person Consultation

An in-person consultation is a perfect opportunity to meet with the remodeling contractor to get a feel for the company, their process, and the people you will be working with. This face-to-face meeting is also where you’ll discuss the entire scope of work with the contractor.  Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!

Once you’ve discussed your renovation goals, an established professional remodeling company will offer to provide a detailed scope of work and price estimate for you to review.  If you work with a design build company, you will have the added benefit of exploring concept designs for your project as well (this may include a fee, as it requires a lot of work to put together).

  • What Does Your Gut Tell You?

Finally, do you feel comfortable and see yourself communicating well with the remodeling firm that you’re considering?  Remember, these folks will be in and out of your home for weeks or months. You’ll be interacting with various carpenters, designers and office staff throughout the project and you want to feel that your home and family are in good hands.

Overwhelmed yet?  Don’t be!  Taking the time to do your homework and due diligence, before you approve your construction agreement, will help guarantee you end up with the ideal living space you dreamed of, with the least amount of headache as possible.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards remodeling your home, give us a call today at 765-838-1644 or fill out our Request a Consultation form to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation. We are ready to help you get started and answer any questions you may have about your unique home remodeling project.

A 2017 Recap: Riverside Construction’s Best Before and After Basement Renovations

Benefits of 3D Design in Home Remodeling

This is What Happens When You Use 3D Design for Home Remodeling  

Home remodeling can be exciting, and scary. Exciting because you anticipate an amazing outcome from what you currently have to the dream remodel you envision in your mind. But scary because—what if it doesn’t turn out the way you hope it will? What if you picked the wrong color or texture, or the measurements were off, and you have to go back and re-do things? Time is money and re-dos are expensive! There are a lot of “what if’s” in home remodeling. Fortunately, however, Riverside Construction can remove many of the scary elements with a skilled combination of remodeling experience and 3D design.

Whether you just want to renovate one room, like a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, or you want to go the distance and remodel your entire home, 3D rendering techniques empower you with a stronger, more precise visualization of your space. It also helps us fine-tune measurements and catch potential problems before construction starts. It’s essentially a hyper realization of “measure twice, cut once” that makes the entire home remodeling process easier, smoother and more efficient, particularly in the following 4 ways:

Inspires and Clarifies Your Home Remodeling Vision

The pre-home remodeling time is an exciting one. Your head, Pinterest board and scrapbook may be bursting with ideas, paint swatches, magazine cut-outs, etc. But it can be hard to imagine how those ideas will work within your space and your plans can change from day to day. Sitting down with Riverside Construction to use our 3D design tools can help you see, clearly and accurately, how different colors, designs, materials, and shapes will play out—or not—before any cutting, sawing, hammering, installation or painting begins. 3D design and rendering injects clarity and precision into your brainstorming process so you eliminate ideas that won’t work as you finalize design options that will work beautifully.

Gives You Accuracy in Space Planning

One of the most important aspects of planning your home remodeling process is getting a clear, accurate model of what needs to be done. For years, home remodelers had to rely on 2D plans that had to use pages of layers upon layers with multiple models for each different view, even for just one room. This made mistakes in measuring far more common because it could be hard to keep track of every detail on every page. 3D design tools merge all those layers into one accurate, clear view that brings your home remodeling ideas to life together in one place and enables us at Riverside Construction to measure and plan with greater precision.

Eliminates Many Common Remodeling Mistakes

Taking the accuracy step even further, 3D design helps us, and our clients, to catch mistakes before they end up hindering the remodeling process, which, in the long run, can save you both time and money. Because 3D rendering shows us a clearer visualization of how the end design should look, it enables us to take extremely precise measurements so that we can assess each part of the construction process clearly, early in the process. This level of precision, in the beginning, makes the entire process much smoother and more efficient by reducing unexpected changes and mistakes—something that also helps you stay within budget and on schedule!

Improves Communication between Homeowner and Designer

3D design vastly improves communication between us, as a design-build contractor and you, as our client. We can all sit down together and visualize using 3D models, trying out different design ideas, discussing potential problems and coming up with even better ideas. We can incorporate your ideas instantly into the 3D model, enabling all of us to visualize how each change or idea holistically impacts the end result. As a team, we’re all on the same page about what needs to happen to bring your dream remodel to fruition.

While 3D renderings are an absolute must in today’s home remodeling process, they’re still no substitute for working with an experienced designer who can provide the perspective and depth of understanding to interpret and visualize what the renderings mean. Combining the high-tech wonders of 3D design and a skilled design-build team will help you breeze through the permitting process, fulfill the building codes and bring your design ideas to life efficiently, accurately and beautifully.

Discover the advantages of 3D design renderings for your next home remodeling project today. Contact Riverside Construction and our expert architectural and design team will show you how to get the most stunning results for your home.

 

Don’t Remodel Your New Home Just Yet: 3 Unexpected Reasons to Wait

 

If you just moved into your new home, congratulations! If your first intention after the last box is unloaded from the moving truck is to get busy remodeling your new home before you unpack, hold on a moment. If this seems like a crazy thing for a remodeling company to say, hear us out please.

It’s probably just fine do some immediate remodeling touches like updating the paint or switching out the flooring. And naturally, you’ll want to remodel or update any damaged areas that need repair before the home is habitable. Accessibility or major functionality issues are also a good reason to remodel right out of the box.

But it’s the major structural changes that have more to do with taste that make us say, “Whoa there!” In our experience, this scenario is often fraught with frustration for homeowners. Ask yourself if the remodeling is a functional need or just a really intense want.

We strongly recommend living in your home for about a year before digging into your “want” remodeling list. Look at these 3 reasons we tell people to wait and you’ll end up saving time, hassle and money in the long run:

1. Let Your Financial Situation Settle

You’ve just purchased a home—that’s a big financial responsibility. Aside from the new mortgage, you likely paid for movers, professional cleaning, etc. Give yourself a year to let all of that settle out. Pay down some bills over the next several months. Go ahead and change the doorknobs and a few other light touches that make you feel happy, but don’t break the bank. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how much remodeling your budget can handle. Your wallet and credit score will thank you.

2. Give Yourself a Chance to Get to Know the House

You and your home have really just met. What you saw before the previous owners moved out probably wasn’t everything there is to know about your home. Maybe your first thought was, “Wow, we should remodel the kitchen.” But now that you’ve lived there for a while, you realize a more important project is remodeling the bathroom or the closets. You can only know these things by living with the house for awhile. Over this year, do the following:

  • Observe family traffic patterns through various areas of the house. Note inefficiencies and places where the flow doesn’t work.
  • How is your storage space working out for you? Any design elements that drive you nuts?
  • Throw a couple of dinner parties and see how well your guests are able to mingle and how efficient it is to get food from the kitchen to the dining room or patio.
  • Spend time on the patio and around the yard—is it fabulous or not?
  • Pay close attention to how well your home handles each season. Does it get too stuffy in the summer or drafty in the winter? Is the color scheme too dark or too glaring? Are there indoor leaks or outdoor drainage issues?
  • Once you’ve spent a year getting to know your new home, you’ll be able to make wiser remodeling decisions that will increase the value of your home, improve your quality of life, and save you the trouble of having to remodel a remodel that was too hastily done in the first place.

3. Give Yourself Time to Get Educated about Remodeling

This “honeymoon” time with your home is also a great year to learn all you can about different remodeling projects you’re interested in before actually plunking down the cash and letting the sawdust fly. Becoming an informed homeowner will help you save time and money when you reach the point where you’re ready to commit to a remodeling project or two.

Riverside Construction holds regular complementary home remodeling seminars that cover a wide range of remodeling projects you might be dreaming about. Our next one, which is always very popular, is our Kitchen and Bath seminar. We’ll be digging deep and answering all of your questions about remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, so save the date and register for the class:

Riverside Construction’s Kitchen and Bath Seminar
On Saturday, August 19th from 10:30 a.m. to noon
At the Holiday Inn City Center in Downtown Lafayette

Although the class is free, space is limited, so register as soon as possible. When you register, be sure to leave a question or comment in the bottom box about the remodeling project you’re considering so that we can come prepared with some ideas and answers for you.

If you can’t come to this seminar, we will hold more in the future; keep an eye on this page so you’ll know when we schedule the next one.

You can also request a personal consultation with one of our Riverside Construction remodeling experts that fits within your schedule.

And remember—don’t jump into a remodeling project too quickly with your new home. Follow our three tips and wait a year so you can get the most satisfaction and value from your remodeling project!

10 Home Remodeling Design Trends for 2017 You Won’t Want to Miss

Whether you’re building a new home, knocking down walls or adding a fresh new look to a tired old space, you will want to check out these inspiring home remodeling design trends that are trending in the Lafayette, Indiana area this year.

  1. Maximizing Kitchen Storage

In a continual push for more open space, designers and homeowners alike are nixing traditional upper cabinets in favor of a single storage wall. With all your kitchen storage in one place, you’ll free up the rest of the space for an open and airy feel. Searching for a storage look that’s uniquely you? Think outside the box and consider repurposing old file cabinets, console, or a chest of drawers for the storage you need with the vintage style you crave.

Photo Courtesy of Scout & Nimble

  1. Going Green

Studies show that the eye focuses green directly on the retina, allowing the muscles of the eye to relax. So it’s no wonder that “Greenery,” Pantone’s color of the year for 2017, is a hit with homeowners looking to bring the calming effect of nature back into the kitchen. This zesty color is bright and cheery, too, for homeowners looking to compliment the warm tones of natural wood.

Photo Courtesy of Italianbark

  1. Luxury Laundry Rooms

Does your laundry room need a little love? Most people spend a significant time doing laundry, so why do it in a dark, uninviting space? Consider updating your laundry room design to include smart storage and more light. The added functionality doesn’t cost a bundle, either. According to Houzz, homeowners are spending an average of just $2,700 (including appliances) to update laundry rooms of 150 square feet or more.

Photo Courtesy of Acton Construction

  1. Space-Saving Refrigerators

If you’re trying to free up space in a small to medium-sized kitchen, these counter-depth refrigerators are for you. We know comfort in your new kitchen remodel can be reduced to shaving off those last few inches.  Counter-depth refrigerators sit flush with the surrounding countertops and cabinetry, giving you a little extra room to move around while making a stylish contribution to your streamlined kitchen design.

Photo Courtesy of Yale Appliance

  1. Matte Appliances

Are you ready for the next viral kitchen trend? The vote is in, and matte finish appliances have won. According to designer Bobby Berk in an interview with House Beautiful, Matte appliance finishes create an unexpected layer of interest for your design while stripping away the distractions that accompany surface sheen. Give this cutting edge trend a try in your 2017 remodel for the latest in kitchen chic.

  1. Marble-Look Quartz Countertops

If you haven’t noticed it already, marble is back in full force. Especially when it’s paired with wood and metal, marble countertops are a modern take on a luxury classic – perfect for your kitchen, bathroom, and more. But you don’t have to break the bank to get the look. With genuine marble countertops coming in at nearly $250 per square foot, marble-look quartz is the next best thing with all the gravitas at half the cost.

Riverside Project

  1. Faux Marble Wallpaper

Marble isn’t just for countertops anymore. In fact, the marble-look trend is showing up all over the interior design industry (not to mention Pinterest) – from carpets and fabric to marble motif wallpaper. The soft look of marble motif wallpaper is especially elegant in powder rooms and on accent walls, but you could add it in just about anywhere!

Photo Courtesy of Decor8

  1. Subway Tiles

In true throwback style, this trend is plucked straight out of the turn of the 20th century. Subway tiles are nothing new, but this classic element boasts infinite versatility. Better yet, it’s entirely affordable. “It seems to be cementing itself as a style element of our generation,” Bobby Berk explained in an interview with House Beautiful. Available in a range of materials, subway tiles can complement almost any style or finish – from modern minimalist to classic farmhouse.

Riverside Project

  1. Farmhouse Style

Speaking of, it’s time to break out the cozy quilts and shop for weathered antiques (if you haven’t already) because farmhouse style is here to stay! The classic apron-front sink is a timeless focal point in any kitchen, too. Practically speaking, apron-front sinks are deep enough to handle large pots and platters for and they provide improved accessibility for shorter people and children. However, keep in mind that farmhouse sinks are a visually weighty item best suited to medium to large kitchen spaces.

Riverside Project

  1. Wood-Look Tile

Everyone loves hardwood floors. But why shell out for hardwood when the new-and-improved wood-look tile is a dead ringer for the real thing? Recently, homeowners are opting for wood-look tile on everything from floors to fireplaces, praising its waterproof convenience in places like the kitchen, bathroom, beach house, and more.

For more remodeling design trends, check out our portfolio of featured projects. Then, take the next step toward your 2017 home remodel and schedule an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

Bring March Madness Home

If you’re a basketball fan like us, you’re gearing up for some of the most exciting days of the year—big upsets, buzzer-beaters and unlikely heroes. That’s right – 2017 March Madness!

With the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament prepared to tip off, now may be a perfect time to evaluate the functionality of your home for watching these big games. While hanging a hoop over the garage will suffice for many, there may also be room for smart innovation, like an indoor court, to get your juices flowing. This month, we put together some fun, inspirational March Madness-inspired remodeling ideas from all over the country. Enjoy!

 

Riverside Construction Basement Remodel

Riverside Construction Basement Remodel

Charleston Building & Development Indoor Gym

Charleston Building & Development Indoor Gym

Contemporary Home Gym by Detroit Interior Designers & Decorators, Tutto Interiors

Contemporary Home Gym by Detroit Interior Designers & Decorators, Tutto Interiors

Eclectic Kids by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators, Van Wicklen Design

Eclectic Kids by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators, Van Wicklen Design

Modern Home Gym by Downers Grove Design/Build Firm, Oakley Home Builders

Modern Home Gym by Downers Grove Design/Build Firm, Oakley Home Builders

Modern Home Gym by West Des Moines Design/Build Firm, Kaufman Construction Design and Build

Modern Home Gym by West Des Moines Design/Build Firm, Kaufman Construction Design and Build

Park Avenue Townhouse Boys Playroom by Perianth

Park Avenue Townhouse Boys Playroom by Perianth

Teen Room by Walker Home Design

Teen Room by Walker Home Design

Whichever in-door court suits your fancy, making the decision to incorporate a basketball court into your home is a healthy decision—and an accessible one.

Whether you are looking to transform an indoor living space, like an attic or basement, into an indoor court, or want to build your own detached 3-point shooting structure, take the first step toward creating your new space and schedule an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

Love these remodeling ideas? Riverside Construction specializes in kitchen and bathroom remodels, room additions and basement renovations.  Check out Riverside Construction’s portfolio for more featured projects.

A Lesson in Kitchen Cabinetry Design

Everything You Need to Know About Designing Your Kitchen to Fit Your Needs and Lifestyle.

An integral part of any kitchen remodel is the cabinetry—from the initial layout to materials, finishes and colors. And, how you put these elements together will define a space that not only fits your functional lifestyle needs, but also expresses your unique, personal design style.

Put function first

When planning your cabinets, first consider their placement. Will you choose a more traditional layout, or follow the more popular open floor plan concept? Will you design your cabinets above and below the kitchen counter to create a divide between your living room or dining room; or will you include cabinetry in a center island to create a more modern, open floor plan? No matter which layout you choose, make sure it is functional (the classic triangle layout of sink/stove/refrigerator is preferred). Your choice in cabinets will make a big impact on your home—from aesthetics to flow and function.

Consider the materials and colors you will use

Choose from a variety of popular wood options straight from nature, including Maple, Cherry, Hickory, and Oak.

Some alternative options include manufactured products like Thermofoil (vinyl wrapped door) and laminate, which is made up of three resin-saturated layers: a base layer of paper, a printed and colored layer (which can look like wood), and a protective transparent layer.

The color of your cabinets is limited only by your imagination. An endless variety of paints, stains and glazes are available to suit every taste.

Next, consider Cabinet Doors

Door style is an important component of kitchen cabinet design and commonly defines the style of your kitchen, whether traditional or modern.

Traditional cabinets are commonly framed in their construction, which means horizontal and vertical wood panels form a frame at the front of the cabinet box. Framed cabinets attach door hinges to the frame face and shelves are usually, but not always, adjustable.  The frame extends beyond the width of the box and covers a small portion of the inside of the box interior.  A variety of door styles are available with framed cabinets and are an ideal choice for kitchens where saving space is not as much of a concern. This type of cabinet is a popular choice for traditional and transitional design style kitchens.

A Riverside Project

Modern cabinets have a more streamlined design featuring straight, clean lines without much ornamentation. They are also commonly frameless, which means they are constructed without a face frame and have minimal space between the doors and drawers—maximizing interior storage and drawer space.  In fact, frameless cabinets can give you up to 15% more usable space within the same footprint. The flush-finished end gives frameless cabinets a furniture-like appearance and is often used with contemporary and modern style kitchens.

Courtesy of Wellborn Cabinets

Choose a Cabinet Door Style

Whether your design style is craftsman, contemporary, rustic, Mediterranean or modern you’ll find a cabinet door design to meet your needs.  The following is a list of some of the more popular cabinet door styles. What style feels right for you?

Shaker – The Shaker cabinet is the most common style in kitchens today.  It consists of a frame made from four pieces and a single flat center panel for the fifth piece.  Its clean simple lines go well with a variety of décor.

Flat/Slab – Simple but stylish, the flat-panel cabinet door is void of fancy embellishments. With straight lines and simple form, it’s the perfect choice for contemporary and modern decor.

Beadboard – Beadboard was used in the past as an embellishing wall treatment before plaster, drywall and paint became common.  The center panel of the cabinet doors in this style are made to look like traditional beadboard paneling, this style is perfect for cottage and shabby chic interiors.

Open – Open cabinets are a popular trend with a casual style that essentially removes the cabinet doors and exposes the shelves and supplies inside.  Perfect for those who want to display their prized kitchen possessions and beautiful dishware, but probably not the best choice if you tend to have a cluttered kitchen!

Raised Panel – With this cabinet style, the center panel is raised above the rest of the door or drawer and there is usually a recessed border around it.  Raised panel cabinets are often more detailed and intricate and tend to work well with traditional, transitional, country and rustic style kitchens.

Recessed Panel – Unlike raised panel cabinets, recessed panel cabinets have a flat center panel with a raised border around it, which gives off a sleeker appearance. The lack of embellishments for this style lends itself to a modern or contemporary style but can also blend well with transitional and even traditional styles.

 

Consider Unique Cabinet Drawer Features

In most kitchens, alongside cabinet doors you’ll find a standard bank of drawers for holding utensils, cookware and other items.  Cabinet manufacturers have been busy coming up with more creative drawer features to ensure your kitchen is functional and clutter free – here are just of few examples:

Corner Drawers for Maximizing Space

Cutlery Drawer

Cutting Board Drawer

Deep Drawer Divider

Drawer for Fresh Bread

Spice Rack Drawer

Charging Station Drawer

Drawers aren’t the only area getting added features, below are even more examples of ways to ensure your cabinets work their hardest for you:

Towel Rack Cabinet

Stem Glass Holder

Pet Station (courtesy of Carla Aston)

Blind Corner Functional Shelf

 

Lazy Susan

Pantry Pull Out

Tray Divider

Vegetable Bin

Waste & Recycle Bins

 

With an endless choice of color, material options and style options to choose from, take some time to research some of your options. And remember we are here to help when you’re ready to start designing the kitchen you’ve been dreaming about.  The sooner you can narrow your selections and define a plan that fits your budget, the sooner you can be begin cooking and entertaining in your new space.

Ready to design your new kitchen cabinets? Take the first step by scheduling a conversation with one of our professional designers. Or call today at (765) 838-1644.

Looking to renovate your kitchen, but need some more inspiration? Explore these kitchen cabinet design ideas from Riverside Construction before starting on your kitchen remodel.

We also schedule complimentary kitchen remodeling seminars regularly each month. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.

Design a Custom Kitchen Perfect for Entertaining

Assess how well your own kitchen functions this holiday

It happens every year—you host a memorable, family gathering; every room is decked out with your favorite holiday decorations; you’ve made a crackling fire; and appetizers are spread out ready for sampling.  Where do all of your guests end up?  You got it… the kitchen.  The well-known expression “the kitchen is the heart of home” is never truer than during the holidays.  Since food is central to most festive occasions, your guests spend much of their time in the kitchen visiting with you as you finish the final preparations of your meal.

As you host your family gathering this year, pay close attention to the functional use of your space. Use these design considerations to determine whether your kitchen can use an upgrade—perfect for entertaining.

A Kitchen Fit for Festivities

The challenge for many homeowners is configuring their kitchen to accommodate a house full of guests a few times a year, while serving their immediate family needs the rest of the year.  This holiday, pay close attention to how much space you have. If it is becoming an issue, square footage can be added with a new room addition. You may also be able to reconfigure your existing space to increase efficiency and room flow without adding an addition.

Before any work is started, it’s important to ask yourself what you want to accomplish in your kitchen space.  If you entertain all the time, a larger open concept kitchen might be ideal for you.  If you host large gatherings two or three times a year, adding a large center island with additional seating might be the perfect solution.  Create a “must-have” list for your new kitchen and keep those priorities top of mind as you plan your ideal working space.

Seating

Seating is a premium when you entertain large groups. If your kitchen doesn’t currently have an island, consider what it might be like to have one. An island creates additional seating and more surface area for prepping and serving.  In fact, a popular trend is to have two islands in the kitchen – one for cooking and food preparation and the other for seating and serving. If you have a L- or U-shaped kitchen, an island can also eliminate the “dead end” space where people can end up “stuck” in the back of the kitchen.

Tiered counter heights on an island or a long counter are also a great way to create additional space for guests. Your family or friends can visit you in the kitchen without interfering with the food preparation or cooking process.  It can also give your guests an area to place beverages and eat hors d’oeuvres, while concealing food that is being prepped on the other side.

Flow and Function

When you’re working in your kitchen this holiday, consider how you use your space. Are you in easy reach of all the kitchen appliances and supplies you need to complete your holiday preparations and finish your holiday meal?  Do you have to maneuver around guests to get from one end of the kitchen to another?  When you evaluate your kitchen space, consider the kitchen “work triangle,” which is a concept used to determine efficient kitchen layouts. The work triangle makes up the primary tasks in a home kitchen that are carried out between three points—the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator.  Something as relatively simple as moving the sink to a more central location can make a huge difference in the efficiency and flow of the space.

Is there an empty wall near your kitchen or eating space? If you find yourself maneuvering around your guests in your kitchen, you might consider installing a custom side bar. This will create a natural place to set up a beverage bar or appetizer area for your guests to congregate while they are waiting for you to serve them.  It’s also a great place to store additional beverages and glassware.

Storage

Speaking of storage, when you do a lot of cooking and entertaining you tend to have a plethora of kitchen supplies, i.e., glassware, pots and pans, dishware, cooking utensils, special holiday dishes, linens, etc. Consequently, storage becomes an important consideration to your kitchen plan.  How easy is it for you to access your special holiday dishes? Are your chaffing dishes tucked away behind your pots and pans or are they on a shelf buried deep in the garage? As you rethink your kitchen, consider ways to maximize your storage space.

Walk-in pantries are a great option for storing holiday items that are used just a few times a year. If you don’t have space for a walk-in pantry, custom cabinetry can go a long way to maximizing your kitchen space.  Custom cabinets can double or triple your storage by not only leveraging floor space but also areas up high.  Instead of installing cabinets one or two feet from the ceiling, you can run them all the way to the top of the ceiling.

Appliances that Enhance Entertaining

There are some great products on the market today that can help a host or hostess pull off the perfect party or family gathering. Consider these appliances to enhance your entertaining experience: Warming Drawer, Cappuccino Maker, Convection Oven, or Ice Maker. A secondary dishwasher, refrigerator or freezer placed adjacent to the main kitchen area can also help with quick, easy clean-up and extra storage.

For questions about remodeling a kitchen in your home fit for entertaining, contact Riverside Construction today!

Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

We also schedule complimentary kitchen remodeling seminars regularly each month. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.

What You Should Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

Although a more closely-knit space, bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in your home. As the saying goes, “good things come in small packages.” If you are considering a bathroom remodel, an affordable, stylish and functional design can make all the difference in your long-term comfort and use of your space.

Follow these helpful tips to ensure your bathroom renovation stands the test of time:

Determine How You and Your Family Uses the Bathroom

Your bathroom is a personal space, unlike any other room in your home. You should take some time to consider how you use your bathroom first. You may be someone that uses their bathroom to quickly shower, shave, brush their teeth and go. Or, you may be like other people who consider their bathroom like an oasis—a place to relax, unwind, light candles and reinvigorate themselves.

Regardless of how you use your bathroom, be sure to get input from all members of your household that use it. How many people use the tub or shower at one time? Do you need more private space for the toilet? How are you currently using the space and will your needs change as you get older?

Perhaps your bathroom is primarily used for your children. If that is the case, you may consider keeping your bathtub, rather than replacing it with a shower. For improved, functional space, you may want to consider building a bank of cabinets for each child to store their personal items.

Is your bathroom particularly cold in the morning chilling you to the bone? You may want to consider heated flooring, or installing a modern towel warmer.

While it is important to plan for all of the functional necessities of your new bathroom, you will also want to take some time to dream big.  Have you always wanted a spa-like bathroom with rain-style showerheads, a no shower enclosure, or bench seating? Or have you coveted the idea of a separate vanity to do your hair and make-up?  Flush out your list of requirements (no pun intended), separating “nice-to-haves” from “must haves” before establishing a budget. Then, value-engineer back, making choices on what features you need and what you can afford.

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Budget Considerations

Speaking of budget, most people have no idea how much a bathroom remodel costs, and, rightly so. There are many variables that have to be considered when planning for one.  Regardless of your budget, size or style requirements, most bathroom remodels fall under these three categories:

Cosmetic Remodel

In most cases, a cosmetic remodel is going to be the most-cost effective approach.  It involves changing certain elements of the bathroom without affecting the original footprint of the space. Essentially, you are giving the bathroom a “refresh” by updating amenities like the sink, fixtures, cabinet hardware, paint, mirrors and lighting. This type of remodel can usually be done in a short amount of time and with little disruption to your life.

Remove and Replace Remodel

This is your mid-range option that requires more labor and materials. Everything in the bathroom is replaced (toilet, sink, shower, flooring, lighting, cabinets, etc.) but every component goes back exactly where it was originally—the footprint of the bathroom remains unchanged. This usually involves removing drywall down to the studs, particularly if there are signs of mold or leakage. With a Remove and Replace remodel, you will end up with a completely new bathroom with minimal disruption to any other area of your home. 

Custom Remodel

The custom remodel is where your “dream list” comes into play. The sky is the limit. You have an opportunity to build your bathroom from scratch customizing the space to meet your needs exactly, limited only by budget. A custom remodel is perfect for someone with a smaller bathroom that needs a lot more space; or a bathroom with a poor original design that is in need of a more functional or visually pleasing design. This renovation option is more time consuming and usually involves renovation in more than one room in your house to accommodate the added space.

In case you’re having a hard time deciding which remodel is right for you, a qualified design/build remodeler like Riverside Construction can guide you through this process and help you determine which option best fits your lifestyle needs and your budget. Please contact us if you think we can help.

 

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Design Style and Functionality

Aw, now the fun begins…starting the process of thinking about what you want your bathroom to look and feel like. As you consider paint colors, tile choices, vanities and fixtures, you can start with one design item that you want to feature in your bathroom and design around it; or piece several design elements together to create your final bathroom design. There are plenty of online resources, such as Pinterest and Houzz, which make this process easy, giving you a multitude of bathroom design options to explore.  

As you narrow your choices, you will not only want to consider who will use your bathroom and how, but how your newly designed bathroom flows with the rest of your home. Consistency is key. You don’t want to add a rustic, farm-style bathroom to a 1950’s-era brick ranch home, for example. Choose from fixtures that provide a variety of style, material and color choices that match the existing design of your home.

 

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Lighting is Key

Adequate lighting is important to have throughout your home, but in the bathroom it is essential. As the bathroom increasingly becomes a place to recharge and relax, lighting requires an extra thought. When it’s done right, the payoff is great. And, you can never go wrong installing sufficient and luxurious bathroom lightingConsider these three key areas to improve lighting in your bathroom remodel:

Vanity Lighting

Top on the priority list is making sure you have the right lighting above the vanity, used for illuminating your head and face. A common mistake people make is installing recessed ceiling fixtures directly over the mirror, which cast shadows on the face. This makes daily grooming rituals, like shaving and makeup application, more difficult. Instead, vertical fixtures or sconces should be mounted on either side of the mirror to help cast an even light across the face.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible given vanity mirror size and positioning constraints. A Riverside design consultant can help you determine the best lighting placement for you.

Shower/Tub

The shower or tub is often the darkest area of the bathroom, and may require secondary task lighting. If the shower has a clear, glass door, a dedicated fixture may not be necessary. Otherwise there are plenty of moisture resistant recessed lighting options to choose from.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting serves as a substitute for natural light. You can consider a surface-mounted ceiling light, a pendant lamp or even a chandelier. Other options include “cove lighting”, which are rope lights hidden behind a molding dropped several inches below ceiling height – adding a soft glow around the room’s perimeter. Another option is adding a dimmer switch to adjust the mood in your bathroom.

 

Ventilation

Do you love taking long, hot, steamy showers? Did you know that you could be causing irreparable damage to your bathroom? Without proper ventilation, all of that humidity and moisture built-up in your bathroom creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can damage the drywall, flooring, wood framing and even your cabinets.

Thankfully, with proper ventilation, you can enjoy your hot, steamy showers and ensure your bathroom remodel lasts for many years to come. An adequate bathroom exhaust ventilation fan does just the trick. It removes excess moisture, odors and even mold spores that can lead to health problems. Before choosing a ventilation fan, make sure it is large enough to accommodate the size of your bathroom. There are also great fan options that include features like humidity sensors, automatic timers and built-in nightlights.

 

Think Long Term (Universal Design)

Once you decide to remodel your bathroom, it is important to maximize your investment by remodeling with your future in mind. Consider the principles of universal design, which is the design and composition of an environment that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.  

Whether you are planning to live out your retirement in your home, or eventually sell it, you’ll want to consider universal design principles when remodeling your bathroom. Grab bars, wider doorways, shower seating and non-slip flooring will go a long way towards maximizing your investment.

 

Efficient Use of Space

If you’re like most homeowners, you never have enough storage space. When you’re planning a bathroom remodel, it is a perfect time to design plenty of added storage into your new cabinetry, shelving and even custom nooks.

If your bathroom footprint will remain the same, there are many creative ways to squeeze a little extra storage out of your existing space.

For example, while a pedestal sink may speak to your design sensibilities, choosing a vanity instead provides you with plenty of extra storage.  Adding niches and shelves in the shower create space for your toiletries, while keeping items off of the floor; and installing a medicine cabinet is an easy way to keep beauty supplies off of your countertop.  

For questions about remodeling a bathroom in your home, contact Riverside Construction today!

Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

We also schedule complimentary bathroom remodeling seminars regularly each month. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.

In-Law Suites, a Sweet Addition to Your Home

Considering adding an in-law suite to your home? Given the changing landscape of the economy, in-law suites are becoming a popular choice for many homeowners. Particularly, with multigenerational housing increasing as well. Whether you are converting a room, adding a free-standing apartment, or building a bedroom and bath addition, one common attribute is the ground floor accessibility and added sales appeal (generally, in-law suites increase property value).

If you’re like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. As you think about your parents’ future and those of your in-laws (and even your own), some initial planning can ensure both you and your loved ones are comfortable, independent and safe.

Consider these helpful tips before you build:

1) Location, Location, Location

Decide where to build the in-law suite. You’ll want to assess your home to determine the best possible location. Do you have a garage or enclosed porch that can be converted into a living space? Do you have two bedrooms that can be combined into one, or a basement that can be converted into a separate living area? Or, perhaps you have adequate space to build a room addition?

If a room addition is necessary to accommodate your new in-law suite, you’ll want to make sure that the new space blends seamlessly with your home’s exterior. A design build contractor will work with you to ensure the addition flows with the original architecture of your home.

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2)  Accommodations

Once you have identified where to add your in-law space, you will need to decide what you want to include in the space and how it should flow. Typical in-law suites include a living room, full kitchen and a separate bedroom and private bathroom with adequate storage in both. Ideally, an in-law suite will also have a separate entrance. In this case, zoning restrictions may come in to play and determine what you can or cannot do. Your design/build contractor will help you navigate this process.

We’ve collected some in-law suite ideas for you on our Pinterest board. Enjoy!

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3)  Universal Design Principles

When designing an in-law suite, it’s important to incorporate universal design principles, to ensure whoever occupies the space is safe, independent and comfortable for years to come. The National Association of Home Builders defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable to all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation of specialized design.” A universally designed space considers aging-in-place needs, whether you are young or old, short, tall, healthy or ill. These amenities include, but are not limited to:

  • No step entries and non-slip floors
  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Wider hallways (36-42 inches wide)
  • Extra floor space
  • Easy open, lever door and drawer hardware
  • Larger bathrooms with hand-held shower heads and level-entry, curbless showers
  • Good lighting to include well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances
  • Lower light switches and thermostat controls, within easy reach of the bed.
  • Easy access to separate heat and air conditioning controls as well as smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors.

For questions about incorporating an in-law suite into your home, contact Riverside Construction today! Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.