Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Closet Storage Solutions

After completing a couple of closet makeovers projects, I realize that many people have closets that are overflowing with clothes. Over the years individuals accumulate more and more shoes, belts, and clothes of all styles and for all seasons. One way to alleviate the congestion is to maximize the space in your closets.

The traditional closet storage method has been to have one pole, hung at approximately 60” off the floor, with one shelf above the pole. There are many better options available if you use a manufactured closet system. The one we like is Easy Closets. Using their components a closet can have a combination of poles, shelves, shoe storage, pull out baskets and even drawers. The choice of what elements are used depends on how large the closet is, what type of door opening and what will be kept in the closet.

A standard 60” wide clothes closet could be designed with 24” of double hanging, 15” of tall hanging and 18” of combined shelving and shoe storage. This would accommodate a variety of hanging items, shoes and sweaters. The closet system can also provide pull out storage for belts, ties and scarves.  The arrangement of drawers, poles or shelves is totally open to customization  so you can get exactly what you need.  A design professional can help you through the planning process.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Explaining Under-Tile Heat

We have done several bathrooms recently where the clients have decided to use an under-tile floor heating system. This product consists of a mesh mat interwoven with heating wires, which is controlled by a wall-mounted thermostat. The heat mat is placed in the tile setting material before the ceramic tile is put in place. The installation must be coordinated with an electrician who has to connect the heat on a dedicated circuit and install the thermostat.

This product is typically used in bathrooms, but can be used anywhere ceramic tile flooring is installed. It does not put off enough heat to be the only heat source in the room but is typically used as a comfort element to warm the chilly ceramic tile in the winter. Many of the thermostats are equipped with a timer so the heat can be set to come on prior to using the bathroom in the mornings. After the mat has been installed it should function for many years to come. Most of the manufacturers have a warranty included for their product.

The main drawback of using this system is cost. Depending on the size of the bathroom, this can add $1,000 or more to the cost of a project. This includes the cost of the materials, the installation and the electrical connections. But if you can find room for that item in your bathroom remodeling budget you should have warm feet for many years to come.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Stress Free Remodling

  Remodeling a home can be stressful. Savvy homeowners choose a remodeler who will make it less so. But how do owners determine whether a company will deliver on its promises and not tax their sanity? The answers lie in good systems. Companies with clearly defined management systems tend to be better organized, communicate more effectively and minimize unwanted surprises.

  When it comes to remodeling, miscommunication is the root of most ills. Signs of a company that communicates well include detailed project descriptions (leaving no question about what the finished product will include), the ability to clearly explain financial concepts (where, exactly, the dollars are spent) and regular meetings.  Ongoing meetings, at an agreed upon schedule, tend to be shorter and less formal, but keep everyone updated on job progress and provide an opportunity to gain clarity and solve problems.
Schedules and Payments:

  The old adage "fail to plan, plan to fail" may have been penned by a remodeler: a schedule that details the job from start to finish is crucial to getting things done on time and within budget. Weather delays, delivery backlogs and other unforeseen events can shift production schedules over time, but a well-managed company starts with a plan and updates everyone when things change.
Payment schedules are also important. Remodelers typically get a percentage of the job cost as a down payment, and subsequent payments either on completion of production milestones (the end of demolition or after framing inspections, etc.)  or on agreed upon dates (normally bi-weekly). Well-planned payment schedules allow owners to clearly understand what is expected of them and help the remodeler to manage his resources over the course of construction.
Who, what, when?:

  As a professional remodeler, we invest time to help our clients understand how our team is organized and how to interact with team members. We clarify who will be responsible for the job at each stage, including the final closeout and punch list. Who the home owner can contact with questions or concerns, what's the best way to make contact, and how long before you can expect a response.
Understanding how a remodeler handles these kind of issues has real payoffs. The answers will indicate how effectively a builder communicates, pays attention to details, and has systems for getting things done on time and according to plan -- all of which help make the project the positive experience it should be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sound Strategies

Many remodeling projects focus on improving the energy efficiency of a home.  However, an often overlooked aspect of renovation is sound control.  All those hums, rumbles and rattles may seem a minor annoyance but you would be surprised at how much more enjoyable your home can be when all that extra noise is kept out.  Sound can travel through the air (like from your television) or through vibrations in the walls (like from rattling water pipes).  Each aspect of your renovation can be an opportunity to give you some added peace and quiet.

Doors and Windows:
  • Install solid core interior doors along with weather stripping tape to close gaps
  • Foam door sweeps can also be used on laundry or utility rooms
  • Windows and exterior doors should have double or triple pane glass
  • All gaps to the outside should be sealed with acoustic caulk

Appliances and Mechanical:
  • Pay attention to the “sone” rating on your appliances.  The lower the number, the quieter and higher quality the unit.  The average refrigerator is 2 sones.
  • HVAC ducting and water pipes can be covered with closed cell sound absorbing insulation.  This will also help with temperature retention.
  • Where piping runs along or through wood studs make sure it is buffered with foam or silicone to stop vibrations.

Walls and Ceilings:

  • Sound deadening drywall is a great solution to prevent sound transfer room to room as well as from outside the home.
  • Sound deadening insulation can be installed in batts or sprayed in.  This could even be installed on interior walls if you need additional sound protection.
  • Resilient channels are metal tracks that can be installed between drywall and framing.  They create an extra “dead space” to quiet through-the-wall noise

By employing these strategies in your next remodeling project you will end up sleeping like a dog (or cat).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Color In Remodeling Projects

The cover article in the June issue of Qualified Remodeler Magazine is “Color Saturates the Marketplace”. It is reporting on the importance of colors in kitchen and bathroom designs. The newest trend in kitchen color, according to the article, is gray. The article suggests a gray wash over wood for the cabinets to give a “driftwood” look. Product manufacturers, such as Corian, have responded to this trend by offering new gray colors in their product lines. The thought behind this is that gray is still a “neutral” tone, but offers more warmth than pure white products in kitchens or baths.

I personally have not had the opportunity to design a gray kitchen or bath. However, I find that the white bathroom is still very much in demand. The white color is classic and can be warmed up through paint, towels and other accessories. Sometimes a light beige or warmer neutral is chosen if the client is aiming for more of a “beach” d├ęcor. In most cases clients are aware of the issue of resale and do not want to spend money on colors that will not be appreciated by future homebuyers. Powder rooms, because they are small, are often where people are more comfortable trying brighter colors.

In kitchen planning, I have not had the call for an all white kitchen for many years. Most kitchens are planned based on the natural materials available; wood for cabinets and granite for counters. Flooring is often also wood, or ceramic tile. The bolder color choices in the kitchen are most often accents in the backsplash tile or wall paint, or may come with the addition of colored countertop appliances, dish towels or artwork.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dormer Addition to Transform a Bathroom

Here at ADR Builders we just finished a great job expanding a client's bathroom in Lutherville, MD. 

The original bathroom was very small and dark with a short sloped ceiling.  Our main objective was to find a way to fit a tub into the bathroom and to try and create a more open, airy space.  Our client also wanted to update the fixtures, flooring and cabinets


In order to create get more room and more light into the bath we put in a dormer addition by reframing the roof and adding a window unit.  The new tub sits in the space created by this dormer in a custom tile platform.  A drop in tub like this one creates an excelent visual look as well as being a great place to relax.

For more great bath ideas and to see the rest of this project visit our gallery page here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ADR Builders is a 2013 Guild Master Award Winner!

ADR Builders was selected as one of the over 200 North American builders, remodelers, developers, and contractors recognized by GuildQuality for their superior delivery of customer care.

Over the past few months, GuildQuality reviewed numerous survey responses submitted by customers of Guildmaster candidates. In granting awards, GuildQuality considers two primary metrics for each candidate: the percentage of customers who would recommend and the percentage of customers who responded. ADR achieved a recommendation rate of greater than 90% from their customers, who were surveyed through GuildQuality.

To see all customer feedback for our company, visit our GuildQuality member profile page.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

LED Lighting for Your Home

LED lighting can be a great and long lasting investment to your home.  Excelent for under cabinet lighting as well as in glass cabinets, as recessed lights, almost anywhere you would put a traditional incandecent fixture. 

Check out this great post on Houzz for some info and ideas.  While you're there don't forget to find our profile at ADR Builders to see some examples of how we used LED on our projects!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting Inspired with Houzz

Houzz is a photo resource for all types of home-related items. They have kitchen and bath ideas, decorating and furnishing ideas, landscaping and outdoor living ideas and many more. The quantity and quality of photos means that you will be spending lots time looking through images, hopefully finding ideas that appeal to you. There are great filtering options to refine your searches to find the exact styles and designs that will appeal to you.

One of the most useful features on Houzz is the “Ideabook” concept.  As you browse through images you can pick the ideas that match what you want to do and put them into your ideabook. This design listing can then be shared with ADR (and all your friends) so we can understand your aesthetic sense and tailor our design decisions to you.

The other great feature of Houzz is the local professional listings.  They present profile pages of designers, architects and builders.  You can use these profiles to browse photos of our past work and read reviews from our past customers.  There is also a messaging system to ask questions directly to each of these professionals to get specific answers on a design or product you see in their photos.

Take some time and check out our profile to start an ideabook for your next project!  While you are there, (for all our past clients) please give us a review of our work to help spread the word about ADR Builders.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Decks and Porches

Now that Spring is on the way we are all itching to spend some more time outside.  However, upon stepping out your door you may find your deck to be a bit soft underfoot.  The lifetime of many wood decks is sometimes less than 10 years!  We recently have built one entirely new deck and renovated another, each was covered with a wood substitute decking.  These synthetic products will hold up much longer than traditional wood planks and are resistant to scratches, rot, mildew and insects.  Take a look below at some of our handywork....

Here we saved the lattice and railings to lower costs

This project was designed to later become a screened porch

Monday, February 11, 2013

Quick Bathroom Switch Outs

In February the weather often prohibits us from starting large outdoor projects.  However, we have a couple small bathroom renovations to work on while the weather is cold.  A switch out of bathroom fixtures and cabinets can be a great, inexpensive, way to upgrade your home.  Here we have some in progress photos of jobs we are currently working on.  In the first few photos the homeowners have family murals painted in the bathroom so we will be saving as much drywall as possible.

In the photos below, the bathroom's walls were old plaster so we decided to update them with sheetrock for a smoother finish.

Both of these jobs utilized prefabricated shower units, which are easy to clean and save money and time over custom tile showers.  For more examples of our bathroom work take a look at our past projects!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Year, New Awards!

One exciting piece of news for ADR Builders..…. 

ADR won the Remodeler of the Year Award for the best Kitchen of 2012 from the Maryland Improvement Contractors Association. The award is for a kitchen renovation we completed for a couple in Guilford. Descriptions of all the 2012 awards will be featured in the February issue of Chesapeake Home magazine. I’m including a couple of photos from the winning kitchen in this post.

For a peek at some of the other awards ADR has won throughout the years, check out our recognition page.