The kitchen is the natural gathering place in the house and is often called the heart of the home. It not only serves as a central meeting place but is also the most functional area of a house and because of this it is no surprise that when people are looking at real estate, the first thing they do is scrutinize the kitchen. A well done kitchen renovation will not only update a key part of your house but also give the greatest return on your investment as well as potentially lower the time it sits on market when it comes time to sell. When deciding to only renovate one room in the house, the kitchen is often the best choice.
The best kitchen renovations are able to dramatically redefine a space by making it more functional and aesthetically pleasing. To achieve this, a kitchen renovation begins with a complete gut of the existing room down to the studs. This is necessary to provide the necessary plumbing changes to accommodate the new layout as well as update the electrical as required by the building code. New recessed overhead lighting to accommodate the design can be done at this time and many clients also choose to add undercabinet lighting by using pucks or ultra-modern LED strips.
After new insulation and drywall have been added, new flooring can be installed as necessary. While many clients opt to simply have the existing hardwood flooring refinished, others add hardwood to compliment the existing house or choose porcelain or stone tile based on personal preferences.
The largest decision in a kitchen renovation is the style and design of the cabinets. Cabinets today come in a variety of styles and price ranges and with our extensive list of manufacturers, we are sure to be able to find something that fits within any client’s budget. Composed of solid, construction grade wood, modern cabinets come with numerous desired features not offered in the past; for example, soft close drawers and doors. Removing soffits in the ceilings also make it possible to bring the cabinets up to the modern standard height of 42”.
After cabinets are in place, countertops and appliances are installed. There are too many variations of countertops to describe; however, we recommend granite or quartz due to their durability and quality of finish. Finished off with an undermount or farm style sink and appliances up to modern standards, a finished remodeled kitchen has the ability to revolutionize the way you use this space.
When performed correctly, a kitchen remodeling project will make better use of the existing space and be able to store more whether you are simply updating the cabinets or doing something as large as knocking down an entire wall to create an open layout. Imagine enjoying all of the latest conveniences in a stunning new kitchen designed to your tastes and uses in daily life. Let our kitchen designers provide a new, detailed layout for your kitchen complete with 3-D renderings and floor plans. Our experience gives us the ability to perform the job quickly and cost effectively while producing little disturbance to the rest of the house with our commitment to implementing the highest quality protective measures possible. It is the one improvement your family will benefit from and enjoy for years to come. Please contact us for a free quote to see how easy your dream kitchen can be a reality.
A bathroom remodeling renovation can update a tired and drab space devoid of the modern luxuries commonly associated with bathrooms today by replacing it with an aesthetically pleasing and functional area in line with the newer trends. When successfully executed, an updated bathroom will compliment the existing style in the house, whether that be traditional or modern, and more importantly take advantage of the new features and fixtures available to customers today.
Such features include airjet tubs, custom steam showers with rain showerheads and body sprays as well as heated floors and ultra quiet exhaust fans. In order to accommodate for the additional electrical, plumbing, and HVAC requirements needed for modern bathroom fixtures and equipment, the old bathroom is gutted down to the studs to replace the plumbing and update electrical. This assures that in addition to looking stunning, the new bathroom will function flawlessly without the costly future headaches caused by leaks and malfunctions. New insulation and Durock around all shower and bathtub surfaces as well as greenboard on all other walls, and ceilings protect interior components from moisture and prevent the formation of mold.
Selecting finishes for a bathroom requires coordinating multiple finishes and types of material that must all compliment each other. The selection of a vanity or custom cabinetry with a stone countertop normally serve as a focal point upon which other decisions can be made. Tiles for the floor and surrounds will vary in size, color and design. In addition to selecting finishes, multiple options exist which that can enhance the functionality and overall enjoyment of the bathroom. Many clients add a shampoo niche in the shower or bath tub, and Robern medicine cabinets are the perfect for the modern bathroom seeking clean lines and extra storage to keep items out of sight. For others, we have opened the ceiling and added a skylight or sun tube to add natural light in an otherwise dark space. The possibilities are limited only by imagination as there are so many products in the market that no two bathrooms ever need to be the same.
The ideal bathroom remodeling project is a perfect combination of function and design. From the small powder room to the master bathroom, each and every bathroom in the house can have a point of interest. Some of the most impressive have included enlarging the master bathroom and placing a large freestanding tub in the middle as a focal point; a very popular design element these days. It can also produce a handsome return on your investment by turning an unsightly area into an up to date and relaxing space. If you are interested in obtaining a free estimate for a bathroom renovation, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to provide samples of materials as well as design ideas for your customized space.
Additions are one of the most discussed projects with our clients since it is the most well known way to add livable area to an existing home. There are too many options to discuss in this post when it comes to describing the various types and styles of additions, but we would like to go over some of the most popular options currently being undertaken as well as discuss some of the considerations involved with an addition.
While most people think an addition involves only new construction, hidden costs they routinely fail to consider are the upgrades to the existing structure and mechanical systems that must be done to compensate for the larger space. When doing an addition, upgrades we normally recommend include adding a second furnace to make a dual forced air system which is much more efficient as well as upgrading the electrical service to 200AMP or even 400AMP depending on the size and nature of the addition. Upgrading the water service line and replacing the hot water tank with a larger one are also very common necessary expenses, however, doing all of these will greatly increase the comfort and efficiency of the entire new house. In many ways, even the exiting house will act newer and updated.
The most popular addition we do is the kitchen and master bedroom suite. Often, homes built before 1970 lack the efficient and open use of space we are accustomed to. By adding an open kitchen with a family room on the lower level and a spacious master suite with a walk in closet and attached bathroom on the upper, the dynamics of the existing house are completely changed. With a better flow throughout the entire house and new additions of those rooms used most frequently, the enjoyment of living greatly increases. New cabinets in the kitchen as well as a walk in closet in the master suite also give the benefit of increased storage in places that are lacking in older homes. An additional decision to be made with this kind of project is whether to create a full basement beneath the new structure or simply make a crawl space. If the new above ground living area is sufficient, a crawl space would be enough, however, a lot of people like the options of having an unfinished basement or creating even more living area by finishing it.
A second common option is constructing a second floor or dormer addition. This alternative works well in bungalow, English or ranch style homes and is an optimal solution for city living where lot size and building code may not allow an adjacent addition. When doing this type of addition, we understand it is crucial to keep the new second story architecturally similar to the existing structure so that it does not deter from its original character. The new space most often includes a new bedroom and bathroom for a growing family. When pursuing this option, a structural evaluation of the existing house will need to be made in order to determine if a second story can be supported. Often, upgrading beams in the existing basement is needed for the new structure. Even with this added cost, however, a major benefit of this type of addition is the cost savings. Due to not having to create a new foundation by excavating, the cost savings from adding a second story as opposed to a full addition adjacent to the existing house is substantial.
Whichever type of addition is ultimately chosen, we include in our job description the selection of all finishes throughout the new areas by working with the client and presenting cost effective choices that are consistent with the existing character of the house. Savings we receive from numerous suppliers are passed directly to customers to help with the overall cost in construction.
Typically, exterior selections are made to blend in with the existing house or whatever the customer prefers. We have a wide range of suppliers for exteriors including vinyl, Hardiboard, and wood siding as well as stucco, brick and all types of stone. The roof can often times perfectly match the existing regardless if a client has shingles, cedar shake, clay or stone. Windows with wood interior and aluminum clad exterior maintain the overall character of the exterior house as well. Our preferred brands, Marvin or Pella, are maintenance free, easy to operate, have a beautiful look and produce the energy efficient standard clients are looking for today. Velux skylights and sun tubes can also help bring in natural light to hard to reach areas.
Interior selections such as flooring, wall color, fixtures, appliances and many others common with new construction have to be made in an addition, but we find the appropriate interior finishes almost always blend in as seamlessly as possible with the existing house. When the overall interior and exterior character of the original house isn’t changed by the new addition, it simply becomes an enhancement of the home. It is our adherence to this philosophy which we can attribute to an award given to us for restoration and preservation of traditional homes.
If you are interested in getting started on your own addition, the initial step is to call us and set up a meeting. From that we can determine the nature of the project, learn what you are looking for and check with the local building department on zoning and building requirements. Then a rough budget is drawn up and presented back to you for review. Upon approval, formal architectural drawings can be made and permits pulled, however, if changes need to be made, we are happy to revise budgets multiple times in order to produce a budget and project all parties are satisfied with.
The start of construction includes appropriate construction fencing required by each municipality being set up, appropriate waste and disposal containers being obtained, and the construction site being secured. A common question often received is, “Am I able to live inside the house during the construction of an addition?” This decision is ultimately up to the clients and how they feel with the scope of work and duration of the project. Many clients decide to temporarily rent another residence, but others have been remained perfectly comfortable living in the home throughout the duration of the project due to our extensive dust protection and job site securitization procedures.
We always strive to complete jobs on time and on budget by being extremely organized, well documented and mostly importantly staying in close communication with our clients. If you are in need of some initial ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact us. From our vast experience building many projects, we have seen additions executed in a variety of ways and would be happy to present some ideas to fit your home. We invite you to see how easy our customer oriented design and build philosophy can make your desire for an addition a reality.
If you are looking to add some usable living area to your home, consider converting an unpleasant, unfinished basement into a functional and fun part of the house. With a variety of options, basements are a great way to create a custom space tailored to each family’s needs. Imagine a brand new space in your existing home designed according to your family’s lifestyle. These areas can range from a relaxing multimedia room the whole family can enjoy to an area for entertaining guests complete with a bar to even a home gym for fitness enthusiasts. The options are endless and give you the flexibility to make an area of the house your own without building a whole new house or addition!
When beginning a project, there are numerous considerations you might not be familiar with that need to be completed in order to assure the area remains safe and comfortable. The major problem with basements is the infiltration of water and preventative steps must be taken in order to avoid mold. A routine basement finishing project involves the application of a vapor barrier on the walls as well as installing a drainage system with a sump pump if the house is older. The inclusion of an injector pump connected to the plumbing line also provides the benefit of added protection against sewage backup. Keep in mind that these improvements will not only improve conditions in the basement. A house with a healthy lower level benefits the entire structure and this will ensure the basement is completely free of moisture.
If the ceilings in your basement are low, it is possible to dig into the ground to create a more head room. If only minor digging is required, some situations don’t even require underpinning the existing foundation. For more extensive work, adding additional footing underneath the existing footing is often times needed as well as the addition of a drainage system and relocating the sewer line. Additionally, if a structural evaluation requires replacing existing wood beams with steel beams, this is often done to help support the existing house.
Once the preliminary work has been taken care of it is time to design what will be in the basement and fortunately there are many options that serve a variety of functions. Commonly a bathroom as well as a separate mechanical room is created to make the area more livable and to hide unsightly equipment. Drywall and recessed lighting on the ceiling also hide mechanical lines and valves while making them easily available through access panels. An additional benefit of recessed lighting is keeping the ceiling as high as possible.
Interiors routinely include an entertainment area complete with accompanying low voltage lines and a built-in TV. For those looking for something more extravagant, we have furnished complete home movie theaters with a screen, projector, surround sound, and the latest audio-visual equipment including Blu-Ray players. These rooms are heavily insulated to prevent sound from carrying into adjacent areas. Imagine all of the quality, relaxing family time in your custom entertainment area with all of the comforts of home and without having to drive to the theater and spend unnecessary money every week. With all of the high-tech equipment available to consumers these days, it is easy to see why this trend is catching on.
Others designate an area for a custom wine cellar capable of holding an extensive personal collection or opt for a full bar with cabinets, fixtures and appliances. We have completed numerous bar projects ranging from semi-custom to custom and modern to ‘Irish pub.’ These are great areas for entertaining guests in a more casual atmosphere. Complete with a refrigerator, wine cooler and dishwasher, this area is ideal for spending a weekend night at home entertaining a group of friends instead of heading out to a crowded restaurant or bar.
Some clients choose to use the space to add another below grade bedroom. This is a perfect option for a growing family or those who wish to add a guest bedroom with some additional storage. In most cases, the bedroom window will need to be replaced in order to include an escape window which is required by the building code. Many clients, however, choose to replace all basement windows regardless of adding a bedroom or not to make them more appealing as well as energy efficient.
Another growing trend is the addition of a home gym in the basement. After a long day at work, getting to the gym is hard and often times the basement can serve as a comfortable area including the necessary basic equipment without having to travel to and from a gym and without costly membership fees. A second television and speakers are a nice addition to this area as is rubber matting to help protect the flooring. In the rest of the basement, the most common flooring is carpet, but some homeowners opt for tile which is often easier to clean.
Are you interested in turning an unsightly and unused basement area into your finished dream basement? Benefit from using our experience of completing hundreds of basement renovations. We provide free quotes and are happy to pass on our discounts from multiple quality suppliers directly to you. No matter what you decide to include in your dream basement, the Artec Construction team can help make your vision a reality by handling all aspects of the project from providing plans to material selection with the service oriented, no hassle approach we use on every project.
Continuing the discussion on water conservation from our last post, installing a low-flow toiletis another simple solution you can take to both decrease your environmental footprint andsave money.
Low-flow toilets have gotten a bad reputation in today’s marketplace as being highly inefficient and needing constant cleaning, but over the past few years manufacturers have been listening to consumers complaints and improving designs substantially.
Did you know the toilet originally used 7 gallons to flush since its invention in the mid-19th century? In the mid-1990s, law mandated this be reduced to 3.5 gallons and today the industry standard is 1.6.
Unfortunately, many homes have not been updated and the result is a waste of 1.9 gallons per flush which is literally money going down the drain. Low-flow toilets result in a savings of 25 gallons per day or more than 9,000 gallons per year for the average U.S. household. The bottom line is a savings of around $100/year per low-flow toilet installed. The average low-flow toilet costs around $260/toilet, so your investment will pay for itself in less than three years.
Interested in updating some toilets in your house but not sure how to proceed? Give Artec Construction a call at 847-607-1111 and we will be happy to lend a hand.
One of the most talked about topics in construction today is sustainability and how to reduce the carbon footprint of your home. Unfortunately, when most people think about this an image of expensive bamboo floors, costly window replacements and a roof full of solar panels comes to mind. While viable options for some, most people don’t know there are multiple relatively inexpensive steps each household can take which will not only reduce the waste your home produces, but also drastically lower your utility bills so that your return on investment is seen many times over. Over the next few blog posts, Artec Construction will recommend a few simple steps you can take to make this a reality.
1) Have you ever noticed a small, consistent drip coming from a bathroom or kitchen faucet, but left it alone because you didn’t think it would impact your utility bill? This is a common and costly mistake. A small drip from a worn faucet washercan waste 20 gallons of water per day and a larger one can increase that amount to over 100!
2) Go a step further and install a faucet aerator which can help reduce water consumption by up to 70%.
3) A $15 low-flow shower-head will save you $145 per year according to the Department of Energy due to decreased water consumption and decreased heating costs.
For under $100 bucks, fixing leaks, installing aerators in faucets, and installing an inexpensive water conserving shower-head can save you $300 or more every year.
And, be sure to check back next week for more water conservation tips.