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Is Summer the Best Time to Remodel?

Thinking about remodeling this summer? Are you asking, “Is this is the best time to remodel?” If so, here are some things to think about:

Pros of a Summertime Remodel

You get to be outside! During summer hours, with the extended daylight hours, you can be outside a lot more than you can when it’s colder and darker. Your schedule is often a bit more relaxed because there is more daylight to work with. This allows you to use your grill or outdoor kitchen and patio as living space instead of your kitchen.

You can open the windows! When walls are being painted and floors being resurfaced, odors and fumes happen. When you can keep your windows open and take advantage of the natural air flow, your indoor air quality is way better.

Cons of a Summertime Remodel

Due to the fact that the weather is so cooperative during summertime hours, contractors get busy, really busy. And so do their subcontractors who they rely on to complete a project. This means that careful planning must take place to get the job done. When you’re dealing with busy teams of contractors, you have to be on top of the project management of everything. If you are acting as your own project manager on a remodel and you miss deadlines, this can set back your completion time significantly.

You’ll get less individualized attention during the summer months because of how busy everyone is. If you want to be able to talk more thoroughly with your contractors, you may consider remodeling between October and December and January through April. They’ll be less busy and have time to slow down and offer you more attention.

Often times, during the summer, kids are home too. The addition of the kids and their friends and more daytime activity doesn’t always work well with the additional noise, people and dust in the house. And then there’s the noise. Demolition of existing walls, flooring, cabinets, etc creates a lot of noise. Power tools, in general, make a lot of noise. If you have kids who need to nap or have quiet times during the day, this could be a problem.

How to Make Things Smoother

If you do go ahead and opt to remodel in the summer, here are a few things that will help things go more smoothly.

  • Have someone like Eheart project manage the entire remodel. Industry professionals have relationships with contractors and know how long things take. Overall, an outside project manager will smooth everything out.
  • Utilize you outdoor space as best as you can. Do your cooking outside, your entertaining outside, etc.
  • And better yet, go on vacation for all or part of the remodel. Let the contractors do what they need to do while you’re away. If you are going to be away for only part of it, try to schedule that time away when the project will be extra noisy or the air will be full of fumes.
Posted in Uncategorized

Different types of kitchen countertops: Which is the best?

different types of kitchen countertopsMaybe you’ve stared at those kitchen countertops for too long. Or, maybe you’ve just moved into a house with dated or worn countertops and you’re looking to install something fresh. Whatever your reason, you’re looking at different types of kitchen countertops and wondering, “What’s best for our house?”

To maintain, or not to maintain?

One question we often ask people who start looking at different types of kitchen countertops is, “How much time do you want to spend maintaining your house?” Often times, the answer is, “Well, not very much.” We often find that people want to spend less time cleaning, prepping and maintaining and more time living. In these cases, we often recommend a quartz countertop and see about 70% of our clients select it as their new surface.

Why quartz?

Quartz offers the natural look of stone without needing to be treated. Between 92 and 96% of a quartz countertop is made of actual stone. Resin makes up the rest and fills in the porous areas of the stone. Manufacturers also add colors, sparkles, you name it. They can get pretty creative. In fact, you can even get a quartz countertop that mimics the look of granite.

With a nearly impermeable surface, quartz repels stains. For a busy household, quartz needs very little maintenance which makes it one of the most “easy to live with” materials on the market. If something does happen to it – a small chip or a scratch – resin can be applied to fix it. Quartz also doesn’t scorch, however, it’s not indestructible. We still recommend hot pads or trivets. Quartz can be heat shocked causing it to crack, but other than that, there really are no downsides to quartz.

What about granite?

The organic look and feel of granite often grabs people’s attention. It carries a lot of character. Granite, however, varies. It is truly natural stone and with that comes veining and varies. When you choose granite, you must be willing to accept some variance. You can control some of it when you pick out your slab, but because it’s natural stone, don’t expect perfection.

Granite needs more maintenance. You must reseal it every three years in order for it to maintain its luster and repel stains. We also recommend always using trivets or hot pads on granite. It’s more permeable than quartz and can also be heat shocked. You can also repair it with resin if you scratch or chip it.

Other materials

On occasion, we do see people use limestone, soapstone, marble and concrete. All four products need more care than granite or quartz. The look of these materials can be incredible, but it really needs to be properly cared for. Limestone can be pretty organic looking. We’ve seen some that have fossils in them. If you like a matte finish, limestone may be worth looking at. It is, however, super porous.

Marble ma

kes a beautiful choice, but we generally recommend it for a guest bath or someowhere with lower traffic. Marble doesn’t do well with acids, chemicals and even water glasses. If you don’t mind etching and/or staining, it can be a lovely choice.

Go ahead and set anything hot on soapstone. It can handle it. Just don’t rub it with your sleeve button. It scratches super easily and the scratches show through. Soapstone surface is generally dak but the scratches com out white.

Concrete has been trendy the past few years, but if it’s not cured and sealed properly, you’ll be bummed. Concrete has very visible seams, it can peel off and chip off. Once measurements are taken, it can take nearly 3 weeks to install.

Stop in and chat

As you’re looking for different types of countertops, why not stop in and talk with us. We’d love to help you learn more about countertop styles and materials.

Posted in Uncategorized

Should I Work with an Interior Designer?

When you’re looking at a remodeling project, you might ask yourself, “Should I work with an interior designer?” It’s a great question to ask and one we’re happy to answer. To answer it, we’ll talk about what a designer does and also clear up some common misconceptions.

What does an interior designer do?

When it comes down to it, an interior designer not only becomes the curator of your project but also the tour guide and project manager. An experienced designer should visit you in your home and get a feel for who you are and your overall aesthetic. Then, based on your budget and the overall scope of the project, the designer will begin curating a variety of options for everything from finishes, to cabinets, to window treatments and lighting fixtures, and more.

An experienced designer knows that all clients want options. Any designer should bring you options and then, based on your response, tweak them as necessary. Maybe you like the subway tile for your backsplash but you aren’t crazy about the countertop options. The designer would then work to find something more to your liking.

A designer should also help keep you from being overwhelmed by the options. It’s their job to understand you and work to help you narrow your choices. Afterall, there are a million light fixtures, cabinet pulls, wall colors and coverings, floor choices, and more.

The designer as “tour guide”

An experienced interior designer also acts as a “tour guide” so to speak. Any remodeling project has many moving parts as well as timelines to be followed. A designer knows what decisions need to be made and when they need to be made. They make sure things are efficient. Remember, most homeowners might do a handful of remodels. Interior designers plan remodels all day, every day. They don’t forget that you need cabinet hardware or certain light bulbs for certain fixtures that can’t be found at a big box store.

A professional designer saves you time. They contain a wealth of knowledge from years of experience. They know how to head problems off before they become problems. They know how to schedule out contractors and how to work with them. They often have “go-to” contractors who they’ve worked with many times and trust their work.

They also save you money and help steer you away from decisions you might regret. For instance, if you have kids and/or pets, a designer may recommend you stay away from certain color schemes or flooring options or fabric options that will show wear and tear easily.

Misconceptions about hiring an interior designer

Many people, who ask the question, “Should I hire a designer?”, assume that a designer makes all the decisions for the project. Any professional, experienced designer takes their clients personal tastes and wishes and uses them as primary guidance. The designer works as a trusted advisor more than anything.

Others often think, “Yes, but if I hire a designer, they’ll pick everything they like and it will all be out of my price range.” An experienced designer always takes your budget into consideration and works to stay within it. And a designer should get to know you well enough to curate everything to your taste.

If you have a project on the horizon and are asking yourself, “Should I hire an interior designer?” give us a call. We love the fun and challenges of a new project. And we’re sure we can save you a lot of headaches and time.

Meet our design team

Emily Chase

Missy Eheart

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How to Do a Living Room Refresh

We simply love doing a living room refresh. Why? Because there are so many fun possibilities. But, instead of going into the endless possibilities of refreshing your living room, we want to focus your attention on three simple categories that offer the greatest impact: draperies, rugs and pillows.

Draperies Catch the Eye

Ever walk into someone’s living room and just love how it feels? But, when you think about it, you can’t quite put your finger on why? That’s the power of draperies. Draperies can do wonders for a room. Model homes use them to add to the height and grandeur of a room. You can too.

One of our favorite drapery tactics is to use single width draperies. They do incredible things to a room and make your living room look custom. They add height. They can add incredible color and eye-catching patterns. The options are endless. When you order custom sizes and get the right lengths, and length does matter, you can really change the direction of your living room space and set an entirely new tone. Draperies are a simple solution but make a tremendous difference when you’re doing a living room refresh.

Use an Area Rug Like a Boat or a Raft

We don’t actually want you to float your area rug in the water, but we do want you to think of it as a boat or a raft. Here’s why. People do area rugs wrong, most of the time, but we’ve found, when they think of them as a boat or a raft, it offers the right visual to do them right. In fact, when done right, an area rug will make a huge impact for a living room refresh.

When you think of your area rug as a boat, it should cover the bulk of the floor with little room on the sides. All of your furniture then sits on the rug – or “in the boat”. It’s a more traditional use of an area rug but it does a few things. It makes your room look bigger and more grand. And, it can cover up the existing floor you hate, but can’t afford to replace.

When you think of your area rug as a raft, everyone hangs on to the “raft”. You don’t put all of the legs of the chairs and sofa on the area rug, just the front legs. As a raft, this type of area rug is often smaller and anchors the space. When used properly, a smaller area rug pulls the space together and adds coziness. (One note on a smaller area rug. We don’t believe a 5 x 8 rug has any place in a living room. Most of the time, a coffee table sits on top of a 5 x 8 looking and the rug ends up looking like a coaster for the table. Your coffee table doesn’t need a coaster.)

Another option, and one we like when done well, is to layer area rugs. We do, however, recommend you seek some guidance if you want to layer area rugs. When done properly they can be an incredible, textured addition to a living room space. But again, seek some help on the layered look before you purchase rugs for a space that just won’t do the room justice.

Overall, rugs, either as boats, rafts or layered, can pull the whole space together in terms of color and texture. They allow you to go from a more traditional look to a more modern one or vice versa.

Pillows Aren’t Just Soft and Fluffy

We’d love to tell you that you can never have too many pillows – like you can never have too many shoes – but we’d be lying. But don’t get us wrong. We love pillows, just not too many of them. During a living room refresh, however, they can have a huge impact.

For starters, let’s talk numbers. We recommend three pillows for a sofa and five for a sectional. Enough, but not so many you have to remove them to sit down. Nicely sized, over-scaled pillows can add a lot of look. Custom pillows add a lot to a room and really change the look of the space considerably without having to refurnish the room.

You can choose from a variety of textures, colors and patterns. To add a more organic feel, add trimmings on the edges. We recommend investing in good pillow inserts made with a poly-down fill. They hold up much better and will look as new today as they do 10 years from now. When your covers start to wear or look dated, or you want to change them for the season, simply swap out the covers but use the same inserts.

One final pillow idea that can refresh a space is to get really large pillows – also known as floor pillows – and cluster them around a bookshelf, or your fireplace. Floor pillows are nice to consider and look designery.

Have Fun Refreshing!

We love talking about refreshing living rooms (and other spaces for that matter) but if you follow our three categories – draperies, rugs and pillows – you will be amazed at what you can do without breaking the bank. And, if you want to see some great options, stop in and talk with us.

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Curl Up in the Warmth: How to Remodel a Fireplace

You’ve been staring at that fireplace for too long now. The dated mantel, the wrong colored tile, the dated brick. Any or all of these things act like nails on a chalkboard whenever you look at it. The good news? You’re not the only one. We’ve worked with many people who have wanted to know how to remodel a fireplace and over the years, we’ve picked up a few things that will help you through the process and make your new fireplace exceptional.

Identify what’s wrong with your fireplace

Is it the tile or rock or brick that surrounds it? Is it the placement in the room? Is it the mantel or lack of a mantel? Is it the built-in structure that surrounds it or the hearth? Or, maybe you’re doing a larger remodel project and you’re considering adding the fireplace to the project. Whatever your reason, depending on what you don’t like about your fireplace will ultimately guide your project and its cost.

Surrounding material and future options

A variety of materials can surround a fireplace. Sometimes, the surrounding material is attached to the wall and can be torn out. Then, the backing material can be replaced and a new material applied. Other times, the surrounding material is a part of the structure. No matter what your circumstance is, we can help you figure out the right solution. We work with experienced contractors who will help you determine what, if any, structural changes need to be made to your home.

Remember though, the great thing with a material change – and the most fun part – is figuring out the look you want. So many choices exist these days. You’ll be amazed what can be done with tile, brick veneer and ledgestone. And even if you have an idea in mind, we recommend you look at several of these options before deciding on one. You never know what may surprise you.

The placement

If you don’t like where your fireplace sits in the room, the level of complexity of the project increases, but don’t let that discourage you. We’ve helped many people move their fireplace. Just know, that moving a fireplace to another place in the room most likely will involve some sort of structural change internally and externally. For instance, do you know where your current fireplace is vented? Is it through a chimney that’s a part of the house? Or is it vented through a hidden pipe in the wall? Once again, we can help you find an experienced contractor to guide you through a fireplace move.

The mantel

The mantel, often the centerpiece of the fireplace, is definitely worth thinking through really well. What do you want it to look like? As with surrounding materials, you’ll have a lot of fun options to consider. And don’t forget to think about what you want the mantel’s purpose to be? Do you want to display framed pictures or decorative objects on top of it? If so, a groove in the top to help things stay in place may make sense. Are you thinking you might put a TV above it? If so, you’ll want to consider how high the TV will actually sit and where the power for the TV will come from. If the TV is too high, you may be craning your neck to watch your favorite shows. And if there’s no power in the area, you’ll need to add outlets to avoid unsightly wires.

The firebox

How old is your firebox? Does it look dated and out of place with your current style? Does it look beat up and used up? Does it have a blower? Many times, when someone remodels their fireplace, it makes sense to replace the firebox. Other times, a really good cleaning or even a refinishing with heat resistant paint may be all that is needed. We do see many fireboxes that were initially installed by the contractor and are quite inefficient or, they’re surrounded with brass trim or accents that just don’t cut it anymore. Don’t fret, though. If you choose to replace your firebox, there are a variety of options to consider.

Enjoy the process

As you can see, remodeling a fireplace offers a lot of things to think about. We do advise, based on the possible complexity of this project, that you speak with professionals who know how to remodel a fireplace and have experience doing so. If you’re like some people who visit us, it could be a matter of tearing out some old tile and redoing what was there. But, if you’re like others, it could mean tearing out walls, running electrical, and thinking through structural changes. No matter which project yours ends up being, have fun researching your options, embrace the process and know that we’re here to help.