Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dream Bathrooms That Free the Tub

When remodeling a bathroom, the bathtub will be a topic of discussion. Should you ditch it to make room for a large walk-in shower? Should you keep it? Should you upgrade it? Houzz helps shine some light on the debate between freestanding tubs and built-ins in these beautiful bathroom remodels.

If you’re a bathtub lover, and you have room for a separate tub, you’re probably leaning toward the latter. And you aren’t alone. Thirty-seven percent of respondents in a Houzz survey decided to upgrade their tub during their bathroom remodel. Of that group, the majority (43 percent) opted to install a freestanding tub. 

To see what that transformation can look like, let’s take a look at six bathrooms that had enough room to replace a built-in tub with a freestanding one. Maybe these examples will give you new ideas for your own bathroom remodel.

Your turn: Have you swapped your built-in tub for a freestanding one? If so, share your ideas in the Comments!

Bring the Outdoors Inside with Projects General Construction

It make be cooler outside, but you can still make your house cozy inside by bringing the outdoors inside — with natural stone! This gorgeous addition can bring some much-needed warmth into your home during these chilly winter months and it's a quick and easy way to update your space.  
Here are a few ideas from IRG on how you can bring natural stone into your home during this winter season:


The hearth is the beating heart of the home. Your mantle can act as a perfect staging area for many seasonal stylings. One innovative way to warm up a room without ever lighting a fire is to replace your old chimney with a modern yet rustic natural stone. 

With a freshly-cut piece of stone, you can change the entire base of your home decoration operation.  Onyx has risen in popularity over the years, gaining notoriety as a fashionable new material in the world of natural stone. Luxurious and fun, an onyx table top tells your guests to settle in for an evening of warmth and celebration.
White marble is another popular choice of tabletop because it has subtle veining that can add dimension to a room. A white marble table top with white ornamentation is chic and stylish, and on-trend with the season.


Nothing goes better with spruce or pine than natural stone. With a natural stone tree stand, the lights twinkling from the tree and off the stone will create a dazzling shimmer throughout the room. You can also add some carved natural stone ornaments for a rustic, outdoorsy holiday look.

Projects General Construction, Inc. can help you with any of these ideas, just give us a call at 805.682.2226.

Friday, December 29, 2017

How to Determine the Average Cost of a Bathroom Remodel

What is the Average Cost of a Bathroom Remodel?

It can be difficult to determine an accurate budget for your home remodel.  There are many factors:  what type of materials you use, where you live, and how experienced your contractor is, among other things.  This article from HomeAdvisor provides a helpful project cost calculator as well as some general estimates for you to consider prior to your bathroom remodel.  

The average bathroom remodel costs $9,628. Most homeowners spend between $5,922 and $14,023. You can spend as little as $3,500 to $7,000 updating the essentials in a small or medium-sized bathroom. On a large or master bath, you could spend up to or beyond $13,000.
Homeowners have many options when they remodel a bathroom and the total cost depends on style and budget. Bathroom remodels provide some of the highest resale returns as a home improvement project. However, it is not by any means cheap, and it can take a long time to complete. Therefore it is essential to gather and plan your bathroom remodeling ideas ahead of time for the room and then find the right remodeling contractor for the job. Asking questions, setting realistic expectations, cost estimates and budgeting from the start can mean the difference between finding a contractor you trust and enjoy working with versus a long and trying few weeks.
Find more information below on the costs of common accessories included in a bathroom remodel, along with design ideas and considerations concerning hiring a remodeling bathroom contractor. You want to get the best bathroom possible for your dime, so make sure you are armed with plenty of knowledge before you start calling.

Estimating Bathroom Remodel Costs

Determining your budget could be tricky when planning your renovation. A large factor in determining cost will be the size of your bathroom, ranging from small to medium or master bathroom size. The fixtures you will need to fit in your bathroom will range in price depending on their size. The list of fixtures involved in remodeling a bathroom can include elements like faucets and fixtures, floor plan changes (like converting a half bath to full bath), new showers or baths, new flooring, countertops, cabinets and lighting. This long list of comes with a lot of different prices and options to compare before choosing what to buy for your bath remodel.
Here is a chart with some of the many options involved in a bathroom remodel, including the least expensive (small) to most expensive (master) costs for each:

OptionLow RangeMid RangeHigh Range
Install bathtub$400 - $1,500$2,600 - $4,100$6,000 - $8,000
Install cabinets$1,200 - $3,500$4,700 - $7,000$8,000 - $13,000
Install countertops$900 - $2,000$2,800 - $4,100$5,000 - $6,500
Install flooring$800 - $2,000$2,500 - $3,600$5,000 - $7,000
Install lighting fixture$120 - $900$1,100 - $1,700$2,500 - $4,000
Install shower$450 - $2,000$3,000 - $4,800$6,000 - $10,000
Install sink$190 - $900$1,400 - $2,300$3,500 - $6,500
Install toilet$130 - $250$340 - $480$550 - $780

Remember: you don't have to include all of these items in your bathroom remodel, unless you're building a whole new bathroom from scratch. You always have the option to add some pieces–sink, toilet and lighting fixtures–after you've done the bigger projects to spread out costs. Also consider that some of these projects–bathtub installation/remodel, shower installation or cabinet installation–have smaller, cheaper alternatives. For example, you can refinish cabinets to make them look brand new and flow with the new bathroom for less money. There is also the option of replacing faucets and other plumbing fixtures, which costs less than replacing bathtubs and showers.
For those who want a similar style from room to room, it's worth considering the cost of kitchen cabinets ahead of time. If you plan to have your kitchen remodeled after you tackle the bathroom, consider the cost of your bathroom cabinets and fixtures on a larger scale. This will give you a more detailed estimate of your kitchen remodel cost.

Small Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Small bathrooms are often less expensive to remodel than larger bathrooms because they have less square footage. This means fewer materials involved to make them look brand new, and their cost will be on the low range of the chart above since you need less of them or their smaller sizes to fit in the bathroom. The cost of labor will also be lower because the time spent to remodel a small bathroom won't be as long as a large bathroom, unless the professionals run into snags with the electricity or plumbing. However, there is still a lot of heavy lifting, planning and general time involved in the process. Here are some cost factors you might deal with in the midst of a small bathroom remodel:
  • Changing the layout: If you decide to increase the square footage of the small bathroom, it will increase the total cost of the remodel. This means changing the electrical wiring in the walls, adding more flooring, and possibly more plumbing. All of this will increase materials and labor cost.
  • Fixtures and appliances: If you replace any of your current fixtures and appliances in the bathroom--countertops, bathtub, toilet, sink, etc.--this will increase the cost because the professionals will need to remove the originals and install the new ones. You can save on this cost by refinishing some of the appliances or buying the materials yourself.
  • Plumbing and electrical: Any issues with your plumbing or electricity during the renovation will add onto the cost of the remodel. You might have them checked by separate professionals ahead of time just in case. However, there could be issues that occur during the renovation that can't be planned for.
We hope that these ideas have provided you with some inspiration for your next remodel!  If you'd like to make any of these changes in your home, please call Christi at 805.682.2226.

6 Tips to Make Your Kitchen Perfect for Gatherings

Happy Holidays to all our readers!  We hope that you've had a wonderful holiday season and we're looking forward to another great year here at Projects General Constructions.  If you're like us, you probably just had a jam packed kitchen with friends and family munching and talking while you cooked the Christmas turkey.  Here are 6 tips from Houzz on how to make your kitchen the perfect holiday gathering spot!

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, the holidays can be a great time to think about the features you’d like to include. With parties and family gatherings happening more frequently this month, people may be filling your kitchen. As they do, I encourage you to pay attention to what’s working in your space and what is not. Perhaps jot down some notes that can help you start a remodeling wish list. 

In my experience, I know you can change a kitchen in a number of ways, both big and small, to make it more inviting for guests. Here are four strategies you might consider for a future remodel — plus a couple of smaller projects to consider for the near-term if you want a quicker, less expensive upgrade. Which improvement would you most like to see in your kitchen?

Projects to Consider in a Kitchen Remodel

1. Create out-of-the-way seating. 
Lounge seating is great for keeping guests comfortable and out of the way when you’re cooking, so consider adding a window seat or sofa. While many kitchens have bar stools, lounge seats are more comfortable, and lower seats are easier for elderly guests to use. Built-in seating can also include storage for pots or platters. This kitchen window seat feels inviting with its bright cushions and garden view. 

Adding a lounge seat to a window could be a way to enhance your kitchen for guests without investing in a full remodel. Or it could be a good project to consider as part of a larger kitchen remodel down the road. 

2. Design your kitchen around a fireplace, or add one. Is there anything cozier than a crackling fire at a family holiday? If you are expanding your kitchen into another room or even building a new home, consider including a fireplace in the kitchen. We always light fires in our living room during winter parties, but it’s not enough to draw the crowds; everyone still hangs out in the kitchen. If a new fireplace is not an option for your renovation plan, try to open sight lines to a hearth in another room that has one.

3. Install glass-front cabinets or open shelves. Keeping dishes and barware in glass-front cabinets is a great way to make guests comfortable because it makes it easier for them to find items without having to ask. Guests will also feel more comfortable helping unload the dishwasher if they can see where dishes go, and who doesn’t like help with that? The glass cabinet doors in this kitchen bring more color to the room by displaying colorful china.

4. Build in convenient garbage and recycling areas. It’s so annoying when you’re trying to do dishes at a party where the garbage is under the sink, and you constantly have to move every time a guest needs to throw out a napkin. Although you do want to keep garbage near the sink, try to place it where guests can easily access it without blocking the sink, stove or dishwasher. Try locating garbage and recycling near the end of your island or peninsula so guests don’t have to enter your work zone. This kitchen has a convenient trash station that also keeps paper towels easy to see and grab — key if there are spills at your party!

5. Create a coffee station. Make it easy for overnight guests to rise and shine while you sleep in by having all of the coffee and tea in one spot (with labels) so people can fend for themselves. This way, if you’re busy cooking pancakes, guests can feel comfortable brewing a second pot of coffee. A coffee bar is a great built-in to consider when renovating, but this useful station can also be set up in an existing kitchen using a piece of furniture like a hutch, as shown in this photo, or even a console table.

6. Install speakers and dimmers. A bright and quiet kitchen may be ideal for the everyday, but parties are quite the opposite. Lights are dimmed, and music gets turned up. Dimmers are easy to install, and they give good ambience for a party. This kitchen has a nearby television and speakers, so guests and cooks can keep their eye on the game while hanging out in the kitchen.

This open-plan kitchen — connected to a dining area and living area — features built-in speakers in the ceiling. Although it’s easier to install these during a remodel, it’s not too difficult to add them to an existing kitchen. Consider hiring an acoustical consultant to help figure out the best places to install speakers. Using built-in speakers throughout your entertaining areas allows you to play music more quietly and still hear it in different rooms (rather than having it too loud in one room and too quiet in another).

We hope that these ideas have provided you with some inspiration for your next remodel!  If you'd like to make any of these changes in your home, please call Christi at 805.682.2226.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

10 Tips to Increase Your Home's Value

Increasing the value of your home is easier than you think. Follow these tips from HGTV, and your home will be worth more before you know it!

Plan your remodel.

Whether you just bought a house or you have lived there for a while, the fastest way to increase your home's value is by making a plan.
You will fare better if upgrades are made intentionally and not on impulse. Home improvement projects cost about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar. The other 75 to 80 cents spent go directly back into the home through increased value.
Start slowly. It's a marathon, not a sprint. If your home is new, get to know it. If you have already been there a while, get started. List the things you want to change and the updates you would like to make. Don't worry about organization, just write it all down. Take a guess on how long you may want to live in the house. If you're planning on selling, talk to your realtor and make a selling plan.
Take the list and categorize by how much it may cost, including your time and money. Be realistic. It's OK to list an outdoor pool with a waterfall, but keep your financial picture in mind.
Once you have a categorized list, take a look and prioritize what is a real "must have" and what is more of a dream. See if you can come away with a reasonable balance.
Once you have made a plan, do research or talk to a realtor to see what sort of return those improvements may bring. Some improvements will add considerably more value to your home than others.

Tackle one room at a time.

How can you harness the energy that comes from new ideas and still be smart when you make those improvements? Make the commitment to tackle one room at a time. Whether it's a simple coat of paint or knocking down a wall, by tackling one room at a time you keep projects achievable.
Make a list of all the things you dream about doing, break your list down into categories based on cost and write down how much time each project may take. What this does is help you get results. If you only have a day or a weekend, choose a project that fits within your timeframe, comfort level and financial commitment.
If you set out to paint a living room wall on Saturday and you know what it will cost in time and money, it gets done. By the end of the day, you have a stylish upgrade that will add value to your home. By strategizing, you will see your dreams take shape as you transform each room before moving on to the next.

Small improvements can really pay off.

Are you torn between improving your home's decor, versus making upgrades you know will increase your home's resale value? Many homeowners are surprised to hear that doing a little bit of both will actually pay off.
Start by making two lists — upgrades for your home value and upgrades just for you. Upgrades for your home may consist of replacing old faucets, permanent lighting and doors. Upgrades for you are furniture, artwork and window treatments. Gone is the dartboard approach to picking projects and wondering if what you are doing is really making a difference. With this plan, you will see real progress.
If you have spent a bundle on making an upgrade you can make small changes for the next couple of months. Upgrade a couple of electric plugs or buy a small lamp. Stick to one upgrade per month and you will be happy with what you see.

Clean your house now for profits later.

If your house is on the market, a bright and sparkly home can attract buyers like a magnet. A house can never be too clean. If you were a buyer, would you choose the house that is slightly dingy or the home down the street that is clean and welcoming?
By making a clean house a priority, you do several things at once. First, you stay on top of maintenance issues, spotting potential problems before they become expensive ones. Secondly, you don't allow dirt and junk to build up over time. Things like mold can become a nuisance if allowed to spread unchecked. Finally, a clean house is healthier for you and your family.
Remember, de-cluttering is a form of cleaning. Just as dirt builds up, so does clutter. Don't waste money moving your junk around. Get rid of it now. When it's time to sell you will feel confident about what you are presenting to the buyer.

Curb appeal counts.

Want a fresh perspective on the value of your home? Walk across the street, turn around and ask yourself, "Does my house have curb appeal?" Does your home look attractive, welcoming and structurally sound at first glance?
Make a list of ways to enhance the positive and eliminate the negative. If you have a nice curvy walkway, accentuate it with flowers or lanterns. If the first thing a visitor sees is your big wide garage, try to guide their eyes into a beautiful front yard, or paint your front door red to guide the eye there. These things add value.
Take a digital photo and look at your home in black and white. When the color is removed, the truth comes out. That is where you see the cracks in the walls and the glaring flaws.
Keep things clean and tidy. Talk to your neighbors because this affects them too. Curb appeal doesn't stop at your property line. Your home will be more valuable if you live in a place where everyone pays attention to appearance.
Host a neighborhood cleanup party. Team up with neighbors to mow lawns and trim hedges. See who wants to go in on a few flats of border flowers. By adding curb appeal to your entire neighborhood, you will all boost your home values.
When you're looking at your curb appeal, don't forget the side and rear views. Buyers walk around and peek over fences.

Upgrade the kitchen.

Ask any real estate expert what the No. 1 upgrade with the greatest return is, and the answer will be the kitchen.
  • Do a mini-remodel. Change the paint. It sounds simple, but it works. You can also paint a faux-wood finish onto your cabinets. This looks just like cherry.
  • Add a splash of color with a new backsplash. New tile is attractive. Home improvement stores teach classes on this.
  • Go stainless steel. The cold feel of steel is a hot ticket item for buyers. Transition your appliances as they wear out and go with a similar metallic look in your light switches.
  • Make your kitchen rock with a rolling island.
  • Hang a pot rack with fresh new pots, pans and a hanging wine bottle holder. With the rolling island, your kitchen will catch every buyer's eye. You can take some of these things with you to your new home.

Beautify your bathroom.

Of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom is the workhorse. There is lots of wear and tear, so you want to keep it functioning well and make good looking upgrades along the way.
  • Focus on your faucet. Bathrooms are not utilitarian anymore. People like to feel relaxed, like they are in a spa. Drop-sinks are old news, people want the under-mount sinks.
  • Go granite or marble with your countertops. If you are toying with the granite idea, your bathroom counter is most likely smaller than your kitchen counter and less expensive. This is a great place to start your first granite project.
  • Nix the overhead lighting in favor of wall mounts to add warmth and value to your bathroom. Make sure that around your mirror you have even lighting with no side shadows.
  • Heated floors attract buyers like bees to honey.
  • Upgrade your bath area. With an 85 percent return, install a shower with body sprays and stone surround tile. If you are not selling right away, you will feel like you are in a Zen garden every time you step into your bathroom.
  • Keep it clean. Dirt and grime can become embedded in bathroom surfaces very quickly. Freshen it up with new grout.

Weigh the benefits of upgrading versus selling.

Should I stay or should I go? It's a question staring many homeowners in the face. Here is how to tell if there is more value for you in fixing up, or moving on.
First, estimate your costs to buy a new home. Add up the realtor and home selling costs (packing, moving and the new loan financing). Don't forget hidden items. The buyer may ask you to replace the carpet before you sell. Or, what if you have to replace appliances? Make your best effort to include everything it will cost in time and money to sell your home and buy a new place. Then, estimate what you may get for your house and how much cash you will leave with to put down on a new home.
If you like your neighbors and your school district, consider remodeling. You can get exactly the home you want and you won't risk any buyer's remorse. Estimate the cost of making the most crucial renovations needed for you to stay. Decide what you would like to do and go price shopping at your home improvement store. Call contractors and get estimates. This is especially important if you need to add on extra square footage.
Look at what it would cost to move, then what it would cost to remodel. Add in the X-factors such as friends, schools and neighbors. When all is said and done, you may find you get more equity by staying in your home and remodeling.

Hire a certified home inspector.

You go to the doctor for physical exams and take your car in for checkups. Why not do the same for your house? A home inspection can be a valuable thing, whether you are selling or not.
If you are selling, get your own inspector before you put your home on the market. The last thing you want is to have a contract on the table, only to hear the inspector has found dry rot. If you know in advance, you can take care of it. If a home inspection turns out well, it is likely the buyers will feel good about their purchase and not ask for costly fixes or concessions.
Why bother having an inspection if you're not worried about selling? Keep those records to show buyers you have maintained your house all along. Also, time is on your side. You can fix problems on your terms for far less than you will likely spend if you wait. Think of it like a physical that will only keep your home healthy and more valuable.
If you get a clean bill of health, it helps you make decisions. You can pick your home projects and spend your money with confidence.

Pay down the principal on your loan.

As you make all those home improvements, don't forget the cash. Your financial strategy can boost your home value in a big way. Many different loan features can be added together to give someone a loan that is comfortable for them; give them an opportunity to do home improvements and to invest in their future.
Don't overdo your down payment. If you spend all your money in a down payment, you may not have enough to do the improvements you want. The rule of thumb is if you are moving into a fixer upper, go for 10 percent down.

Don't rush into your home loan, as there are dozens of types. The strategy that you develop for the type of loan you want depends on where you see yourself in five or 10 years. Managing your debt payment with an interest-only payment will give you an opportunity to save that money for retirement or save it for a college fund.
Refinancing is a chance to switch up your loan and try something new. Avoid using refinancing as a financial crutch. Are you doing it to lower your interest rate, or are you doing it because you want cash? If you are moving in a year, refinancing probably isn't a good idea, as it costs between $1,900 and $2,600.