Thursday, November 29, 2018

Before and After: Bathroom Transformation


We have quite a few new before and afters for you, and we're so excited to share this bathroom projects with you.  What was once a dark and dated bathroom is now a bright, modern oasis.  Instead of feeling like you're in a time warp, you feel like you're in an upscale spa.

Check out this before:  The bathroom is so dark and crowded feeling.  The dated tile contributes to this as well, and feels overbearing.


The countertop was crowded and the mirror and lighting don't contribute to the space in a visually appealing way. Are you ready to see the after?!?


Tada!  Can you even believe this is the same space?  What was once dark and cramped is now light and airy.  With some design changes and lighter colors, the room feels larger, even thought the footprint of the room was not touched.  

The shower now features a beautiful glass door instead of a fabric curtain, and the wooden cabinets and white counter top set off the clean feeling of the room.  The larger mirror also helps to contribute to the bright room, as the light bounces off it to create the illusion of more light.  

What do you think?  How would you like to transform your bathroom to look like this?  Give us a call at 805.682.2226 and we can help you create the bathroom of your dreams. 



Before and After: From Horse Stable to Gorgeous Guest House


Who doesn't love a good before and after post?  Prepare yourself for the ultimate transformation! This horse stable was turned into a guest house in 1967, and hasn't been remodeled since.  Projects General Construction, Inc helped these homeowners bring their guest house back in style with this gorgeous renovation.  What do you think?

This laundry room was dark and not very functional. The dated flooring and curtains also needed some updating.  


This gorgeous paint color really brightens up the room! The cabinetry and countertops adds extra functionality, while the white color also lightens up the room.  


What used to be a cluttered, confused looking guest room has been transformed into a cozy guest bedroom.  The beachy feel immediately makes you feel relaxed.  The blue wall color perfectly compliments the white shiplap, which is currently a popular trend.  



Another cluttered room turned in to a serene space.  This living area felt dark and cramped before, but look at it now!  The wall color and wall treatments brighten the room, making the space feel larger.  The beach theme continues throughout this room, and that blue carpeting is no more, with beautiful hardwood flooring. 


We've saved the best for last!  You won't believe your eyes when you see this bathroom remodel...This bathroom needed a major facelift.  From the shower, to the toilet, to the vanity, everything was updated.  What felt like a narrow, claustrophobic space now looks and feels like an upscale spa.  The flooring ties the room together, as does the gorgeous lighting and fixtures.  








Friday, October 26, 2018

10 Cozy Bedrooms You'll Want to Curl Up in This Fall

With the temperatures outside already dropping, we can't help but crave a weekend spent inside curled up in bed. If your space is lacking in the cozy department though, now's the perfect time to make a change. These 10 bedrooms from HGTV are sure to inspire you to update your sanctuary for the coziest season of all.

Classic Colors

Go all in by bringing the best harvest-inspired colors right into your own bedroom. Yellows, oranges and reds all come together seamlessly to create a flawless interior that will be a hit all autumn long — and even into the winter. Whether you use them on bedding or window treatments, these warm hues will turn any standard space into a next-level atmosphere that will makes cozying up easier than ever.


Bedding Upgrade

One of the easiest ways to transition from season to season is by going the budget-friendly route. Quick upgrades are easily achievable, especially if you focus on only one or two decorative pieces. A good place to start? The bed. Find a pattern or color that captures the fall — like this muted plaid option — and show it off for the next few months. The look is soft, cozy and totally welcoming.


Quaint Quilts

While extra plush bedding is often associated getting cozy, this bed is just as inviting — all thanks to its multiple quilts. Less is often more, and this country-inspired bedroom certainly proves that. Layer two or three different patterned and colored quilts on the bed to create a low-fuss aesthetic that you’ll want to stay in all season long. Tie this warm look together by placing an antique rug on the floor for even more homey vibes.

Moody Ambiance

A moody ambiance is easily attainable with the help of some carefully curated lighting. Sure, comfortable bedding and warming elements are important, but the overall glow is crucial for a truly cozy setup. Avoid overhead lighting or any other harsh lamps and make sure you find an option, like this bedside stunner, that produces the ideal amount of soft light. Whether you’re reading or catching up on some TV, a dim light is the best way to set that seasonal mood.


Tons of Textiles

Introduce elements of next-level coziness by bringing in a variety of textiles — the combination of differents materials will add undeniable warmth. Faux sheepskin and faux animal hides create a bedroom ambiance that will be hard to leave this chilly time of year. Just drape them on the bed, the floors or on any other piece of furniture that needs some extra love. Prefer a neutral color palette? This textile heavy approach is the perfect way to incorporate seasonally appropriate decor without straying from the minimalist design you love.

Rich Colors

Transform any bedroom into a high-style, autumn-ready oasis by choosing rich, oppulent colors. If a dark set of walls feels like too big of a commitment, opt for decorative pieces that can be swapped in and out depending on the season. An oversized, plush throw blanket at the foot of the bed will do wonders for the overall setup. For an extra dramatic effect, consider pairing white bedding with a throw in your favorite deep shade to create a bold contrast.

Seasonal Touches

Add warmth to any bedroom by choosing colors, textures and materials that represent autumn in all the right ways. An accent rug with various shades of orange and red will add a cozy factor to cold, bare floors. Take this area of the room one step further by bringing in a basket to hold your extra blankets, and a small-scale stool on which to rest books and a warm mug for those days spent in bed.


Plush Pillows

The right use of colors and textures can do wonders for any space. Skip major upgrades and easily incorporate autumnal accents with the addition of some plush pillows. Pillows are the quintessential way to add snug-worthy style thanks to their extra cushiony nature. Take these already soft additions to the next level by choosing cases that exude warmth, like faux fur, velvet or chenille.

On-Trend Style

If cliche fall styles aren’t your favorite, there are ways to achieve the same levels of coziness without committing to the season's traditional color scheme. Update your minimalist bedding for the cooler months by adding a few details that will transform any bed into a comfy corner. A few furry pillows paired with modern stripes will give any bed a toasty feel, without clashing with the rest of the trendy design aesthetic.

Completely Comfortable

This whole bedroom is rocking a cozy vibe, from the floor to the windows. Whether you have a true canopy bed frame, or you just drape curtains around your headboard, this intimate setup can’t be beat. Don’t forget to utilize your windows, too. Set up some comfortable seating with throw blankets and extra pillows so you can enjoy the views while keeping warm inside.

Budgeting Your Living Room Remodel

So, just how much is that living room renovation going to cost? HGTV has the answer to that question:  it ranges from a few thousand dollars for a paint job and new flooring to a few hundred thousand dollars for major construction and magazine-worthy interior design. But whether you are planning to give your space a minor facelift or a major overhaul, it's important to know how much things are going to cost before the first demolition sledgehammer is swung. Otherwise, you could run out of money midway through the project. 
To start honing in on a realistic budget for the changes you have in mind, go back to the wish list you've created for your renovation and prioritize it into "musts," "maybes" and "someday down the line." Then do some research about how much each element — or at least the "musts" — might cost.

Consult the Pros

To find realistic numbers for architecture, construction and design services, talk to a few professionals you might consider working with. Share your ideas for the project and ask them how much their services for such a plan might run and how much you can expect to spend on materials and subcontractors' work, as well. Remember that after you've paid your designer to find the perfect fabric for your sofa, you'll have to pay for the fabric as well as the upholsterer's time and talent. Talk to a few different pros so that you have a sense of how prices might vary.

Remember the Rugs

As for decoration, says interior designer Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors, "Create a spreadsheet and prioritize the 'must-have' items, like the sofa that is an investment or the chandelier you've been coveting, and then work around that. And be sure to put in a contingency line item in for those amazing finds or extras you forgot about (rug pads, storage baskets or vases for the console table)."


Leave Room for What You’ve Overlooked

You will forget something; everybody does. "I tell people to have a ten-percent contingency amount in the back of their mind for 'unknown' expenses such as possible city inspector requirements and hidden problems that can't be seen until walls are opened," says Bruce Graf, owner of Graf Developments. And put some money aside for a little "mission creep," too, he suggests: "You may decide you want to add a few things in other parts of the house, while the contractor is there and the house is dusty."

Think About Resale

If you are planning changes that will significantly increase the market value of your home when you sell it, consider using a home equity line of credit to pay for those changes. Just remember that the real estate market is unpredictable, and don't borrow more than you'll be able to pay back if prices are dipping when you need to move out.


Don’t Forget the Flourishes

"Always leave room in your budget for art and accessories," says Karen Soojian, ASID. "They are the finishing touches that add character and soul. You can acquire them over time, but do make sure that your long-range planning leaves room for them."

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Renovation series: Master Bedroom Checklist

How do you use your bedroom? For some it’s just a place to sleep and doesn’t need much more than a bed and some clothing storage. For others, it’s their sanctuary and might include a couch or chaise and even a desk. Do what you can with the space you have.

The master bed

Make sure you can fit your bed into the room comfortably, with enough space to walk around it. Ideally, you want space either side to fit bedside tables to house your lamps, night-time reading, alarm clock, etc.


A walk-in wardrobe

You can get so much more into a walk-in if you plan it well. Think about what you wear and need to store. Drawers don’t all need to be the same size – have a shallower drawer for your lingerie so you can see everything. Ditto with jewellery, accessory and tie drawers. You might want a deeper drawer for your hefty winter jumpers. Create space for your shoe boxes. Be thoughtful with your planning.

Ventilation

A master bedroom is quite often a stagnant space with not a lot of movement. Put in additional windows, if possible, to help with ventilation and to keep mustiness and damp at bay.


Lighting

If you are a night-time reader, consider wall lights on each side of the bed or pendants hung from the ceiling. At any rate, have a switch for the main light close to the bed as well as by the door, so you don’t have to get out of bed to turn it on and off.

Built-in furniture

If the space is big enough, consider built-in shelving or a window seat, but make sure that you’re okay with whatever restrictions it will place on the way you can arrange your furniture. If your bedroom has a slanted ceiling, build in low-lying cabinets to make the most of the otherwise-wasted space. Keep them concealed and streamlined without latches or handles.


Checklist:

✔ Space planning
✔ Lighting plan
✔ Wardrobe
✔ Windows
✔ Flooring
 Cabinetry and storage

Refresh Your Fireplace on Any Budget

A fireplace facelift can take your living space from “whatever” to “wow!” Whether you’re contemplating a full-on renovation or looking for an easy weekend upgrade, get inspired by these ideas that will transform your hearth to the heart of your decor.


The fireplace is often the most commanding element in any room it’s in. Size and abundance of material are often factors, but as renovation specialist Ron Parko points out, our eyes are naturally drawn to the darkest object in a room anyway. Oftentimes, that’s the firebox when it’s unlit.

Naturally you want this element, and everything that surrounds it, to complement the rest of your home. In many older homes where large brick fireplaces prevail, this can pose a challenge. What do you do? Cover it, paint it, rip it out? Here’s what to consider.

Project: Remodeling a fireplace wall.
Why: Replacing a fireplace wall is mostly an aesthetic choice, but besides pleasing you now, an updated fireplace can also can add resale value.
Who to hire: Someone with plenty of experience remodeling fireplaces is recommended if the job is more than just drywalling or plastering. Someone like Christi Clayton, at Projects General Construction, Inc, will consult with clients and work with them throughout the entire process to ensure their remodel is perfect. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Which Home Improvements Pay Off?

Basic maintenance, such as the roof and exterior painting, are frequently more important than an awesome kitchen.

Before you start your next home renovation project, read on for essential home-selling tips from HGTV.
In the first year my husband and I lived in our house, we spent almost $20,000 on home improvements. When we set that money aside at the beginning of the year, we dreamed about granite counters and steam showers; what we ended up with was a new furnace, new gutters, a drainage system to keep the basement dry, new landscaping and lots of new paint. At the end of that year as I wiped down my tacky Formica countertops and bathed in my 1950s seafoam green tub, I wondered if we had spent that money wisely. If we had put our house up for sale, would potential buyers have really cared about the dry basement and reliable furnace?
After talking to a slew of realtors, contractors and architects, the consensus was yes. "If the roof is leaking, buyers won't get beyond that," says Ron Phipps with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "I don't care how awesome the kitchen is."
According to Remodeling Magazine you're less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. The only home improvement likely to return more at resale was a minor (roughly $15,000) kitchen remodel, which returned 92.9 percent. Replacing roofs and windows were also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more at resale.
"Buyers want to take the basic systems for granted," says Sal Alfano, Remodeling's editorial director. "They assume the roof doesn't leak and the air conditioning and plumbing work. Maintenance can chew up a lot of cash quickly, and people are afraid of that."
That's not to say that granite counters and steam showers don't pay off; kitchen and bathroom remodels continue to be two of the best investments you can make in your house. "They're always right up there at the top of the list," says Alfano. "They're the big, sexy rooms that new home builders splurge on, so when buyers are shopping around that's what they want in an existing home, too."
If you're thinking about sinking some money into home improvement projects this year, keep a few things in mind. What you'll get back on your investment depends on the value of your house, the value of houses in your immediate neighborhood, the housing market where you live, how soon you sell after making improvements, and the quality of the project itself. Installing a $10,000 stove in a $200,000 house, for example, "just doesn't compute," says Ron Phipps. Nor does it make sense to update your kitchen if your house is the only house in the neighborhood with just one bathroom. Here, the scoop on home improvements that will give you the biggest bang for your buck:
Bathroom additions have twice the resale value of a new bedroom.

Kitchens and Baths

In the hottest housing markets, springing for a kitchen or bath remodel is a sure-fire investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. In Baltimore, for instance, a $9,400 bathroom remodel recouped 182 percent of its cost at resale, according to Remodeling's 2004 study. The markets in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and San Diego also offered triple-digit returns on a bathroom remodel. Minor kitchen remodels (average cost: $15,273) also provided returns of more than 100 percent in cities including Providence, R.I., Miami, New Orleans and, of course, San Diego, where a $17,928 investment netted $27,000 on resale.
Kitchens and baths are the areas in a home "where you can tell if money has been well spent or not," says architect Steve Straughan, a partner in Los Angeles-based KAA Design Group. "They're the most expensive areas of the home in terms of construction. And they're where people spend time in their homes."
So exactly what should you improve when you redo your kitchen or bathroom? Think traditional: all-wood cabinets, commercial-look appliances, natural wood or stone floors and stone countertops. Walk-in showers have replaced whirlpool tubs as the must-have cleaning machine in bathrooms, Straughan says. His clients will "forgo the tub to have a big walk-in shower" if they don't have room for both. "Most people don't have time to take a bath," Straughan points out. "So a lot of time you're giving away all that square footage for a tub that rarely gets used." Floor-to-ceiling steam showers are also hot (so to speak).Two key points to consider, however: First, don't spend money remodeling the bathroom if it's the only one you've got. Your money is better spent adding a second bath. Many people love "the charm of older homes," says Long Beach, Calif., based realtor Dick Gaylord. "But a number of older homes lack a sufficient number of bathrooms. So if you've got a four-bedroom, one-bath home, it's certainly going to pay to add a second bathroom." A National Association of Realtors study by Florida State University professors G. Stacy Sirmans and David Macpherson found that adding a bathroom increased the sale price of a home by 8.7 percent, more than twice the rate for adding a bedroom.
Second, if you're not planning to move in the near future, spend your money remodeling in a way that you'll most enjoy. Realtor Ron Phipps recently showed a house with a kitchen that had been remodeled just two years ago. "I opened the Viking range and the original packaging was still inside," Phipps says. The homeowners "are not cooks. The kitchen is terrific, it's magnificent, but they don't use it."
In other words, you can't measure the value you get out of your use and enjoyment of the home improvements you make. "Even if you get less than 100 percent of your money back, you're really ahead of the game over time because you get the use of all that space," says Sal Alfano.

Home Maintenance

Still, new kitchens and baths lose some of their glamour if there's water in the basement when a potential buyer comes to look at your house, says Alfano. Every homeowner's first priority should be "keeping the existing structure sound," says Don Sever, a general contractor for 18 years and president of Sever Construction in Oakton, Va. "I've been in a lot of houses where people are spending thirty or forty thousand dollars to remodel the kitchen, but then you walk into the basement and there's a musty smell because water is leaking through the foundation. To me, it's more important to resolve those items first, and get the luxuries later."
Ron Phipps suggests thinking about it from a buyer's perspective. "I was with someone recently who was going to spend money to remodel their bathroom. But the roof is two layers and 30 years old." For a buyer, knowing the roof needs to be replaced is a much bigger issue than living with a functional, but dated, bathroom, Phipps points out.
Most buyers have a limit on what they can spend for a house. If they know they don't have to spend money on the upkeep of basic systems, then they're more likely to buy the house and consider upgrading the kitchen or baths themselves. More than 70 percent of buyers who purchased existing homes knew what they were going to remodel before they even closed on the deal, according to HanleyWood's Housing Continuum Study, conducted in 2002 in conjunction with Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. The same study showed that 30 to 40 percent of buyers of existing homes made home improvements within six months after purchase.
The importance of different maintenance issues varies with geographical location, too. Roof replacement (average cost: $11,376) was very important to buyers in the east, according to Remodeling, where homeowners recouped an average 96.3 percent of the cost. In the Midwest, the average return for the same improvement was just 71.1 percent.

Curb Appeal

Even in hot housing markets, the old saw holds true: "If people drive by your home and are not impressed they're not going to walk inside," says Dick Gaylord, who has sold real estate for 27 years.
"If I were going to spend money on a property, I would really work on making sure the curb appeal is strong," says realtor Ron Phipps. Phipps suggests adding a front porch to create interest to the exterior of a flat house, for instance. "You really want to convey a sense of welcome," he says. "If all your remodeling is on the inside but the outside of the house is challenging, you'll never have a chance to even show the inside."
Curb appeal is a major reason that siding replacement ranks so highly on the Cost vs. Value report, says editor Sal Alfano. Replacement siding also offers the added value of being low maintenance, an important issue for cost-conscious buyers.

More Space

Adding a room or two or five can be a good investment, particularly if you live in a hot housing market. "In the last couple of years there have been a lot of requests for additions," says general contractor Don Sever, who's based in the red-hot northern Virginia market. "Everything from adding a sunroom to doubling the size of the house." Much of the demand is driven by homeowners who want more space, but then realize they can't afford larger homes in their own neighborhood. Sever met with clients last year who wanted to fix up their house to put it on the market. After looking for homes to buy, "they decided that instead of spending money to get it ready to sell, they'd add features to make the house more livable and stay put."
Every 1,000 square feet added to a home boosts the sale price by more than 30 percent, according to the 2005 study for the National Association of Realtors.
Bathroom additions return the most, according to Remodeling magazine's report — an average of 86.4 percent. The addition of attic bedrooms, family rooms and sunrooms returned anywhere from 70 to more than 80 percent of the money spent — and that doesn't factor in the value of your own enjoyment of all that new space.
And more and more people want dedicated rooms for hobbies and crafts, says editor Sal Alfano, whether it's an exercise room, knitting room or home office.
One caveat: Don't add on so much that you price your house right out of the neighborhood. "You don't want to be the leading value for the neighborhood," warns realtor Phipps. "Although you can be at the upper end."

Bells and Whistles

For some homeowners, home improvement isn't about return on investment; it's simply about making dreams come true. Architect Steve Straughan recently finished work on a $250,000 home theater room with a 12-foot wide screen and an elaborate sound system. "There's not a home we're doing that doesn't have a home theater," Straughan says. "It's a common request across the board and typically it's a big investment." Most home theaters involve wiring speakers into walls and extensive built-in cabinetry, as well as soundproofing–"it's not something you can take with you" if you move, Straughan points out. Still, a home theater is likely to have broad appeal, so you may recoup a large chunk of your costs at resale. "A home theater makes sense," says realtor Ron Phipps. "A six-car garage does not make sense." In the high-end L.A. market, Straughan also sees demand for wine cellars, massage rooms and yoga rooms.