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.