22 January 2021

Tips to Know During Your First Remodel

Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash

Home remodeling can be an exciting experience, but it hides many surprises that the average homeowners need to be aware of. From choosing the right contractor, picking the best design fixtures and matching colors, to doing an after-renovation cleanup, all these can be quite overwhelming. 

We've rounded up the four most important tips that will help you prepare for your first home remodeling project. 

Plan Your Remodel Carefully 

More often, it's easy to jump into a home renovation project, but it's hard to quantify the hurdles you'll have to face along the way. Planning your renovation will help you see the bigger picture before getting started. 

The first step is to map your goals so you can specify the scope of the remodeling project. For example, you may want to remodel the kitchen and the living room first or the roof and the exterior alone. A plan will also help you estimate the remodeling cost, choose the right contractor company, and even select the finishes and fixtures needed.

From here, you can choose a spare space, either indoors or outdoors, to move your belonging. More often, homeowners will set aside a renovation free-zone to continue living in the same home while remodeling continues in the other rooms.  

You should also create a master list detailing what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom. The idea is to have a clear overview of the steps involved in the remodeling process. However, it doesn't have to be detailed, like the one used by your contractor.

Another critical step is to get a permit from the local authorities. This is particularly true if you are looking to sell your home in the foreseeable future. A home that's remodeled without a permit is most likely to violate the building and safety standards, for example, the national electrical codes. Finally, put measures in place to protect your pets and kids, if any. 

Be Part of the Whole Exercise 

As a homeowner, you have two options. You can let the contractor do his job and just hang around until the whole project is over, or you can choose to be part of the remodeling process. With the latter, you have the option to specify further how you want your new home to look, from the color options to design features and everything in between.

Watching the remodeling process one at a time can be fun, but that will mean you have to take the days off your job, which can be somewhat impractical. Instead, make time to visit the place at least once or twice a week. Give a helping hand, discuss the remodeling process, get to know what works, and check whether the new additions meet your remodeling expectations. 

For example, you may realize that the new windows are letting in too much light, hence the need to make a few changes to accommodate your taste and preferences. However, you should not be a headache to your contractor, always proposing corrections that might compromise the entire project's integrity. 

Expect the Unexpected 

For your first remodeling project, be ready to face challenges you didn't expect. Your contractor may delay to complete the renovation in time due to unavoidable circumstances, for example, failed inspections, weather changes, sick leave, etc. 

To avoid frustrations, always lower your expectations and embrace an open mindset. You can also avoid procurement delays by working with local suppliers who are competent in their work. Also, make it a routine to follow up with your local authorities on inspections to avoid undue delays.  

You can also minimize these challenges by consulting far and wide and modeling solutions to the most probable remodeling hurdles. 

Schedule Cleanup

Every renovation or remodeling project will lead to lots of waste materials, most of which will be difficult to clean on your own. It's easy to overlook the importance of post-renovation clean up until the work is complete, and your contractors leave a heap of clutter in the living room. Common remodeling waste like wood scraps, concrete waste, dust, trash, and debris require proper cleaning, which can be hectic if you lack hands-on experience. 

Working with a residential trash collection service will make the whole process painless, seamless, and fast. However, it's essential to choose the right company and communicate with the cleanup personnel in advance. This will avoid undue delays and inconveniences, for example, cleaning services spanning a couple of days and even weeks. 

Closing Comments 

Whether you are remodeling a few rooms or your entire home, it's critical to plan the whole project. This will put you in a better position to speculate challenges and work on their solutions, so the remodeling becomes a success. 

The four steps highlighted above allow you to proceed with the remodeling while paying attention to what matters the most., i.e., meeting your remodeling expectations while minding your safety and that of your loved ones. 

18 January 2021

10 Concepts Of Custom Home Builders And Custom Home Designs

The biggest joy of building a custom home is that every feature that you add is uniquely designed to suit your requirements. In such a house, every detail is customized exclusively for you. For a custom home builder, it means they get to try out their creativity on the way to build dream nests.

If you wish to integrate your vision, needs, and wishes to enhance your lifestyle at home, this article can act as a handy guide to choose the best inspirational home designs on a limited budget.

Go ahead and read about the ten amazing and inspirational custom home design ideas to try in your newly-built house:

#1. Amazing Walk-in Master Closet

You often dreamt about building a spacious master bedroom that comes with a walk-in master closet that is easier to accommodate his or her clothes, shoes, etc. This could be a private area and can be practical depending on your desire. 

In a customized closet you can check the identical cabinets, drawers, and space to hang clothes. Several builders such as victoreric.com custom home builders provide you with the option of a well-designed and organized closet that helps to eliminate the requirement of the growing wardrobe.

#2. Well-Equipped Kitchen

No matter where you live having a well-equipped kitchen is the focal point for all social gatherings especially if you love to cook and wear the chef hat. A spacious large island with a huge seating capacity to encourage socializing while you cook. 

The expert builders encourage the addition of high-end appliances, more than one sink, ample space on the counter-top, and huge storage.

#3. Angled Windows

In the current year, something which is in high trend is angled transom windows to reflect the sloping roof for a consistent look.

#4. Dual-Facing Fireplace Wall

A unique fireplace wall to provide partial separation between the kitchen and the family room without eliminating the open layout. The dual-facing fireplace extends sightlines, adds amazing ambiance. 

We will like you to add a small built-in bench to provide additional seating. However, the choice of the fireplace is also a big matter of consideration - read here about the best fireplace options for your house.

#5. Two-Entrances to Shower

Currently, every customized home design expert inspires the new buyers to have full his-and-hers bathrooms with vanity, toilet, and walk-in closets. Connecting both the spaces with a unique walk-in shower and catty-corner entry makes the house more unique.

#6. Having a Wine Room

To have a wine room, you do not need to be a wine connoisseur. The builders these days suggest the installation of elegant wine cellars with ample space to store, displaying vintage wines to the bar like seating arrangement can be a great option.

#7. Tile Type Bath Mat

A wood-like tile floor will offer your dream house an eye-catching alternative to the traditional bath mat. So, we advise you to build an intricate tile inset bath mat for a different look.

#8. High-Windows

No matter where you build your home in a busy colony or somewhere secluded, privacy is something we all desire. So, having high, narrow windows along the dining room to ensure ample daylight without sacrificing privacy. If you feel high windows are a trouble to clean, here are some quick tips for the future.

#9. Open Kitchen Shelves

This is indeed a new option and quickly gaining popularity among the people who love to cook. Open kitchen shelves provide quick access to often-used cooking materials, ensure more storage capacity without overwhelming your kitchen with too many cabinets.

#10. Customized Kitchen Cabinets

Like the way we want to keep your dream kitchen clutter-free similarly, we support the installation of custom cabinets to hide certain materials as well. It is better to select a warm-yet modern vertical-grain for your cabinets. So, combine the tailor-made cabinets with built-in open shelves to extend the overall look.

Wrapping Up

If you are ready to build a dream house, custom home builders can help you etch out such inspiration to suit your requirements. The tailored designs are always exclusive to the home and surroundings. 

They are tailor-made designs to make every house appear unique without intermingling too many ideas and leave behind much space for yourself. For a clutter-free look, try out these unique ideas or talk with the experts!

16 December 2020

A Short History Of Refrigeration

We were all born in generations that had fridges, so we take them for granted. Without one, we would have to eat food as soon as we buy it. That would be a huge time-waster, and it would be a nuisance for all of us. It's an appliance that everyone needs, even more than a TV.  

We keep all of our snacks and drinks there, and we often forget how big of a role they play in society. A few thousand years ago, humans mastered fire, but to master cold was a completely different challenge. It's challenging because the laws of physics don't allow us to control it as easily as fire and heat. Follow this link for more info http://www.historyofrefrigeration.com/.

How did it all start? 

Ancient civilizations relied on complex irrigation tunnels that brought water to their crops. This was essential to their survival. The Persians are the only civilization that added cooling along with the water. They made a pyramid-like structure that could produce ice during the cool temperatures of the night.  

It was such a common thing that even the poor people enjoyed iced tea more than two millennia ago. The downside of this technology is that it didn't work in the places of the civilizations that tried to mimic them.  

Others relied on bringing ice from the mountains and using it or cutting pieces of it during the winter and trying to store it. There was an entire market for it, and there were traders in Greece, Italy, and Spain.  

People climbed mountains to cut ice during the night, and they came back to the cities to sell it during the day. After two thousand years, Britain realized the power of the Persian buildings and started making freezing pools based on that technology.  

This gave the wealthy families ice over the winters. After a hundred years, even the general public could enjoy cool drinks and delicious desserts. The technology spread to America and the rest of the world. In the year 1851, James Harrison used a steam machine to make ice with the help of a flywheel and a compressor.  

Another one was made for chilling beer, and that was the first known refrigerator. Now, new opportunities started to pop up. Since the machine was invented in Australia, these machines could be used on ships, and they could transport meat and fruits to the rest of the world.  

This made ice quite cheap, and many people installed their own iceboxes. This was the earliest version of the commercial fridge. It looked like a cupboard, but there was an opening at the top where you could put a block of ice. When it melted, an iceman would give you a new one, and that served to keep food cold. People did it all the way until the 1940s.  

Technology comes to the rescue 

The United States started selling refrigerators in 1918. They were super expensive, and many people didn't bother getting one since they didn't have electricity in the first place. It was a complicated machine, and it was quite difficult to stop them from catching fire.  

When people installed electricity in their homes, the prices started to go down, and the design had improved considerably. By the 70s, most families had a fridge. Nowadays, almost all homes have them. One of the best things about them is that they can store out of season foods for a long time.  

If you want to eat strawberries during the winter, you can. Fresh produce is always on the shelves, and all the foods have the same nutritional value as they did before they were stored. However, the options aren't limited only to food.  

Hospitals use them to keep blood supplies, as well as vaccines. We also have air conditioners at home and in our cars which work on the same principle. The technology hasn't changed in the last hundred years. However, many minds are tackling this problem because global warming is becoming a major issue. The planet is becoming warmer, and we might need to find a way to cool it down.  

What does the future hold? 

Commercial refrigeration is still far from perfect. There are many ways in which it can be improved. First of all, 75 million people each year are becoming urbanized. This is mainly because developing countries are making progress and improving their livelihoods.  

They need to keep their food fresh, but there is still a missing link in the cold chain. More than 20 percent of all the food produced in the world becomes waste. That's a fifth. Sometimes we throw it away, but sometimes food spoils when it gets distributed or refrigerators break down.  

There are more than 1.5 billion home fridges at the moment, as well as a hundred million commercial ones. This number is only going to rise. We always pay the price when it comes to technology and urbanization, and expanding the cold chain isn't any different.  

One of the hot topics today is the greenhouse effect. This is a process that happens when carbon dioxide levels increase and the atmosphere heats up. You can go to this site for more info.  This, combined with the release of refrigerants can be quite dangerous for the future.  

Can the design be improved? 

There are many solutions and ways to improve the efficiency of refrigerators. One of the most recent discoveries is the introduction of inverter-controlled compressors. These compressors work best with brushless motors, and they are the most efficient option today.  

The efficiency is amazing, and depending on the cooling demand, they can modify their rotation speed. This can range anywhere from 15, up to 100 percent. Everything is done automatically, and this reduces power consumption by 25 percent.  

The less power they use, the better it is for the environment. Processors equipped with predictive algorithms can solve many of the problems we face today, and one by one, they can make a small change in the world. This, along with a reduction in CO2 and new mechanisms that optimize defrost intervals will be a part of the future.  

14 December 2020

Scott's Liquid Gold and me


A couple of weeks ago, I received a box of product samples from Scott's Liquid Gold Wood Care. Although it's a product I use and recommend already, I am being compensated for this post.

Many years ago, when I was starting out as a kitchen and bath designer, stainless steel kitchen appliances had hit the mainstream in a very big way. I was interning under a kitchen designer in the '90s and we spent a lot of time talking to clients and potential clients about caring for stainless steel.

Stainless steel refrigerators were just starting to catch on and at the time they were a lot more expensive that the-then default finish colors: white, black and bisque (shudder). People who had them already complained that they were impossible to keep shiny and people considering them wondered why they should spend more money for something that would look bad in the long run.

Stainless steel, like any shiny surface, shows fingerprints and smudges very easily. But because stainless is practically a mirror, especially when it's a large vertical surface like a fridge, those prints and smudges are really obvious.

I had lunch one afternoon with my Sub-Zero representative and I brought up the fingerprint problem as an objection I needed to be able to address when I was talking to clients about stainless in general and Sub-Zero in particular.

She told me to use a furniture polish, Scott's Liquid Gold specifically, to clean stainless steel. I was taken aback because it seemed like such a strange recommendation. All I knew about furniture polish in a can I observed from my mother's obsessive dusting with the stuff. Every surface in the home I grew up in had a almond-scented oily surface. That's not what popped into my head when I thought of sleek, shiny and modern stainless steel.

After that lunch with my rep, I went back to the studio and set up and experiment over the following week. Our studio was set up with a couple of kitchen vignettes and one of those vignettes was a fully-functioning kitchen. In that kitchen was a Sub-Zero refrigerator with stainless steel doors. All of us in that studio used that refrigerator every day and clients were forever pawing it so it had a surface that saw a lot of hands touching it. Our cleaning crew had a stainless steel cleaning product that they used on it but it still ended up looking pretty dingy pretty fast.

I asked the crew not to clean it for a week and instead to let me take charge of it for a couple of days.

Clients back then reported to me that they cleaned their stainless with window cleaner. Honestly, it's the same thing I'd have used. I mean, it's shiny like a mirror so clean it like a mirror. Right?

Wrong. Window cleaner is lousy on stainless steel because it leaves streaks and it evaporates completely so skin oil from touching the steel just stays on the surface and deflects light.

When I sprayed a towel with Scott's Liquid and then wiped down the refrigerator door something really cool happened. All of the streaks and prints disappeared with a gentle rub and as a bonus, a very tiny bit of the oil in the polish stayed behind. That leave behind stopped prints and smudges from appearing all together in the days that followed. My sub-Zero rep was right after all.

In the years that followed, Scott's Liquid Gold stayed on my short list of product recommendations for maintaining a new kitchen. I used it to this day on my own stainless appliances.

As I mentioned at the outset, Scott's sent me some samples to use and clean with in exchange for this post and I'm really grateful for the products and the opportunity. Included in their box of samples was something new from them.

This is Scott's One Clean Home. It's new for them and a revelation for me.

My current kitchen has dark granite counters. On some levels, granite is a practical surface and depending on the color of the granite, it's either a breeze to live with or a nightmare. My dark granite falls onto the nightmare end of the spectrum. Dark and shiny has a lot of the same problems reflective and shiny stainless steel has in that it shows a lot of smudges and fingerprints. 

I find my granite to be difficult to keep clean and my next kitchen will not have granite counters. Add to my granite my gloss-finished cabinetry and my kitchen is a gallery of fingerprints and smudges as often as not. When I clean I have to wash down all these surfaces and then buff everything dry to prevent water spots. It's a pain and honestly, I let it go far too often.

When I read the label from Scott's One Clean Home I read that it works on all manner of surfaces:

  • Finished Wood
  • Wood Laminates
  • Stainless Steel
  • Tile
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Porcelain
  • Vinyl

I was skeptical until I started cleaning with it. Holy cow talk about a home run! Scott's One Clean Home cleans just about everything in my kitchen and it does almost as good a job on stainless as Scott's Liquid Gold.

Honestly, One Clean Home made a believer out of me and it's really great to find a single product that will clean every surface in my kitchen. From my travertine floors to my glossy cherry cabinets, it's all clean and clear. As a bonus, it smells like grapefruit and I'll take that anywhere I can find it.

10 December 2020

New kitchen plan? Mind a few things

Your food preparation space at home matters more than you think. If you're like most people, then you devote a lot of time to put together meals on a daily basis. You may even spend a lot of time in your kitchen snacking or eating meals in general. If you're keen on establishing a residential kitchen that's the definition of cozy and welcoming, then these design suggestions can go a long way for you and for all of the other members of your household.


Install a Spacious Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands can make amazing additions to any and all food preparation spaces. If you invest in the installation of one of these islands, you can reap the rewards of extra preparation space. A kitchen island can make setting aside essential meal ingredients a lot easier. It can eliminate a lot of clutter and chaos, too. If you want to store gorgeous and practical accessories, the assistance of a capacious island can be a huge help. Choosing kitchen Italian accessories is often as simple as assessing your lifestyle and day-to-day objectives.

Focus on Broad Walkways

It can be frustrating to have a residential kitchen that's overly cramped and tight. A tight kitchen can look unpleasant. It can also feel unpleasant. If you want your kitchen to feel like a million dollars, it can be nice to have ample space and top-notch ventilation. Strong ventilation can contribute to excellent indoor air quality. That can do a lot for any designated food space. If you want your kitchen to feel as comfortable and enticing as can be, then you should zero in on walkways that are broad. Broad walkways can also make tackling food preparation duties a lot simpler and more practical. It can be hard to prepare meals in a kitchen that makes you feel claustrophobic. It can be uncomfortable to constantly bump into things, too.

Install a Cozy Booth

Some of the best kitchens in the world also happen to be the coziest ones. If you want your kitchen to contribute to a well-rounded food experience, it can be a fantastic idea to install a relaxing booth. Kitchen booths provide people with hassle-free places to enjoy quick and tasty snacks in the middle of meal preparation duties. If you want to be able to nosh on a hassle-free meal without having to go through all of the trouble of setting up your dining table, the addition of a pleasant booth can be a game-changer.

Resurface Your Cabinets

It can be a terrific idea to update the look and feel of your kitchen cabinets. You don't have to deal with the expenses of replacing them fully, either. That's because you can always opt to resurface them. Cabinet refacing can get rid of unsightly and conspicuous scrapes, scratches and imperfections. It can make the paint on your cupboards look a lot fresher and more "alive," too. If you want your kitchen to look far from neglected and tired, then there are few actions that can hold a candle to cabinet resurfacing. Don't forget, either, that full cabinet replacement costs a lot more. It's also a process that's a lot more time-consuming and cumbersome. If you want your cabinet job to be efficient, refacing is the answer.