Recognized Excellence

Last night was amazing! But to say that it was a "dream come true" is not a fair statement. KC Home Solutions was founded with the purpose of being able to help people renovate their homes, to make their homes their personal "dream come true". Our objective was never to win awards. That said, last night we did just that and we couldn't be more proud!

Last night was the 2016 Kansas City Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Remodel of the Year awards banquet. For short it is called the 2016 KC NARI REMY Awards. We were entered in 4 different categories. The categories were the following:

Basement Finish $50,000 to $100,000. Residential Interior Under $75,000. Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 and Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000.

When the evening was completed we had won the Gold and All-Star Award in the Residential Bath Project and the Silver Award for the Residential Kitchen Project. The icing on the cake for the evening however was the award we were not expecting. 2016 KC NARI Best of Show Project Under $75,000!

All of the projects are submitted and judged by a blind panel with 3 remodeling experts from another NARI Chapter in the US. The projects are graded on a 90 point scale. In order to win the All-Star designation a project must be graded at 85 points or better on the scale. Of the 24 awards given out last night only 4 were awarded the All-Star designation. 

To win the Best of Show Award means that the project was the highest graded in regards to the 90 point scale of all of the projects in that price range. There are only 4 Best of Show Awards given out each year.

Below are pictures of the two categories that we won awards in:

2016 KC NARI Best of Show Under $75,000 Project - Gold & All-Star Award Winner Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000 (before picture)

2016 KC NARI Best of Show Under $75,000 Project - Gold & All-Star Award Winner Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000 (after picture)

2016 KC NARI Silver Award Winner Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 (before picture)

2016 KC NARI Silver Award Winner Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 (after picture)

Thank you to all of our fantastic homeowners, our amazing staff and all of our subcontractors who helped with these projects and all of our other projects as well. Without all of you none of this is possible! We have set the bar high for our first year as a part of NARI. We treat each project as if is going to be an award winner and that is something we will never waiver on. Here's to hoping that the next project we help you with will be a part of this post next year!

Houzz Your Project Design Going?

As we meet with new potential clients, one of the things we always talk about is design and ideas. It doesn't matter what project they are looking to take on, kitchen remodel, home addition, basement finish, master bathroom, mudroom, everyone tends to have at least some idea of what they would like to see. Of course there are a few occasions where that's not the case.

So what options do you have if you don't know what you want your project to look like. I've got your place to start. You may have guessed it based on the name of this post and the picture it started with. Houzz.com. So what is Houzz? Houzz is a website and online community about architecture, interior design, interior decorating, landscape design and home improvement. Almost everyone knows about pinterest. Well Houzz is pinterest on steroids but dedicated specifically to the things mentioned above and that's it.

A remodeled sitting room idea, picture from houzz.com.

So you see, Houzz is the perfect place to go when you don't know where to start. If you don't know what "your style" is. If you're not sure what's trending in design. If you just want to see some really great remodeled or new rooms. If you want to be sucked in, blink once and wonder where several hours of your day just went...happens to me all the time, it's totally worth it.

We would encourage you to check out Houzz. While you're there setting up your free profile, make sure to swing by our profile and click that Follow button! We are always updating our completed projects, uploading before and after pictures. You can also collaborate with us using an Ideabook for your project.

Oh that thing? Yeah, the Houzz community voted and we won this award. 

 

The ideas are limitless, so don't limit yourself. See yourself in a new space and don't settle for DIY ideas on other websites. Let us help make your home show room perfect! PS, that sitting room picture attached above from Houzz? Yeah, that was us. 

Tax Dollars Wisely Spent?

We are by no means Realtors, this we know. That said, we work with a lot of them and do a fair bit of consultation with several in Kansas City. One of the questions they get asked alot, and us too, is what remodel will help your home gain resale value...which remodel can I get the best return on investment? We would still defer to the professionals in the real estate business, but here's what we hear the most from them.

Kitchen remodels, bathroom updates and additions and adding usable square footage such as a basement finish, or converting attic space.

If your kitchen is similar to the picture above you either love honey oak or you are living in a house built likely in the 80's to mid/late 90's. There's nothing wrong with that, but our market is loaded with kitchen's just. Like. Yours. A kitchen remodel is the most intrusive remodel that a homeowner can live through, it's also likely one of the most expensive remodels you can tackle in your home beyond a basement finish. All of that being said, according to experts, a kitchen remodel can often times bring nearly a complete return on investment in most situations. It's also one of the most obvious and "splashy" remodels you can do to any home, where families spend a vast majority of time.

Hopefully none of you are rocking the master bathroom pictured above. Sadly, some of you are. Sweet flower wallpaper, plastic faucet fixtures, there's that awesome honey oak again, not pictured but definitely there...the brass "Hollywood" light bar. Let's not glance past the carpet in the bathroom. Once again, nothing seriously wrong with this master bathroom, but in terms of resale or a place to wisely spend money on an update, this is your space. Fortunately, compared to the kitchen, the master bathroom remodel is an inconvenience for many, rather than a full on trip driving the struggle bus. An updated master bathroom is another spot that gets a lot of attention on the sale market and a good return on investment.

I previous mentioned bathroom addition. If you live in a house with only 1 bathroom and everyone around you has 2, then you're the low home on the totem pole. Finding space to add a bathroom would bring you up to equal of the rest of the homes in your area. Being equal may not sound that exciting, but in terms of resale valve and "comps" as the pros call them, you'll be doing yourself a long term favor.

One thing to keep in mind. Not everyone has the same budget or space for a particular remodel. Having a dream kitchen remodel is great, having an understanding of what it would cost to make that dream a reality is another thing all together. The above kitchen looks amazing to me, but when I look at it I see a lot of custom work. Custom work doesn't always bring a return on investment. Work with your contractor and talk with them about design and their understanding of the what they are seeing in remodeling of a particular space right now. In the end the final decision is yours, it's your home! Don't discount the experience and trends your contractor is seeing currently, long term, it could earn you money...

KC Home Solutions - 2015 Review and 2016 Resolutions

Picture credit www.visitkc.com

So today is the last day of 2015 and it's been a GREAT year for us...and we hope much of the Kansas City area! We thought it would be good to review a few things and make some 2016 resolutions. So here we go.

2015:

First and foremost, the Royals won the World Series! The Chiefs are in the NFL Playoffs and it's the first time they both have made the postseason the same year...EVER. 

We (KC Home Solutions) had our BEST year ever, setting records for total volume business...thanks to all of you! So what did we end up doing?

5 Kitchen remodels, 30+ master bathroom, basement and guest bathroom remodels, 22 basement finishes and 5 home additions and house builds! 

We also won the 2015 Angie's List Super Service Award in the categories of Basement Remodeling, Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling and General Remodeling. That marks our 2nd year in a row to win those awards. Now we know what it feels like to be the Royals (they have won back-to-back American League Championships) it's the same, right? Enh, close. The boss probably won't buy us cool rings (bummer).

Can't wait to see the World Series Championship ring...we loved the 2014 AL Championship rings for the Royals!

Thanks to all our subcontractors and all of the people who work behind the scenes that you may never notice. That includes (in no particular order) All Dimensions Flooring, Central States Tile, KC Wood, Kitchen & Bath by Briggs, McCray Lumber, Petty Products, Stillwell Heating & Cooling, DWG Drywall, Teague Electric, HP Tile, LRW Plumbing, Ferguson Plumbing Supplies and everyone involved with all these great companies.

2016:

Well I HOPE to be writing about a Chiefs Super Bowl Championship this time next year...another Royals World Series would be great too!

We have some lofty goals for our company starting TOMORROW. We are hoping to continue to double our totals (we've done it every year we've been in business). Not saying that we will but that's what a goal is for, right? 

We are going to continue to work hard to improve our processes and keep giving everyone quality results. We really feel that our attention to detail, treating everyone respectfully and not rushing projects is the best way to do business. Speed in projects (like on TV shows) is great, but there's a lot to be said about making sure it's done right the first time.

We want to continue to set ourselves apart from the other contractors out there. Whether that's through design, attention to detail (big and small), or providing information to people who need help. We may not be the lowest bid you'll get but if you have a question you need help with, even if you did not choose us, don't be afraid to ask. 

Check out our booth at the Johnson County Home + Garden Show in January 22-24 as we go for back-to-back awards for "Best Use of a Small Space". Happy New Year! We hope to work with all of you in 2016! 

What Would We Do Wednesday - Open a Movie Theatre*

We have been working with a client on design for their home theater set-up in their basement. Framing is scheduled to start very soon. As you can imagine, we have been discussing alot of design options and details. Because of that I have been researching and checking on many ideas that the homeowner has sent my way. I thought it would be fun to go over a few of the things we have discussed.

The picture above shows many great ideas that can help a basement have much more depth. Take a look at all of the levels in the ceiling. The various wall depths on the TV wall, and if you look close enough you'll see recessed surround sound speakers as well. Another few design ideas that are great is the use of at least two flooring options and the fireplace. A very modern basement.

Of course we can't all have 2000 sq ft unfinished basements with unlimited funds to use. The picture above is showing a way to utilize a great design in a small space. I really like the built-in mantle underneath the wall mounted TV. The cool built-in shelves in the corner and the space saver bar with the glass see-through doors to help bring more depth to the space. The ceiling has been dropped and finished, likely to hide HVAC runs or i-beams and potentially water lines.

The picture above basement is cool for a few other reasons. In some ways you can say that there is a touch of simplicity in the design. The fur down boxed ceiling allows the projector to hide some inside the box. Different paint colors add levels to the room. There is a ton of natural light coming in the space, which could be a challenge with the TV during day time or if you have a bright neighborhood. You can see the recessed surround sound and can lights on both ceiling levels. A cool addition to this design would be recessed LED rope lighting hidden inside the box in the main TV area.

So to sum this up. Installing a 150" projection screen TV in your basement? That's a fantastic idea! Multiple ceiling levels, surround sound, custom built-in cabinets. Check, check and check. We are ready to help you open up your movie theater *in your basement, just let us know what you would like to see!

 

What Would We Do Wednesday - If you (*we) build it...

Surely you read the title of this post in a soft whisper voice, right? I know that I've read it a couple of time and it always sounds the same in my head. I thought today it would be fun to let you guys know what we are up to right now. What projects are going on currently? How about a list?

  • 7 complete basement finish projects
  • 4 kitchen projects
  • 4 master bathroom projects
  • 3 projects that have multiple action items
  • 2 home additions
  • 1 full home build

The answer to the picture is yes! I felt like I could see your face while reading that list. So is it bragging? Maybe. But we are proud of the work we are accomplishing, and we hope that you are proud of us as well. As you know, we are a small company. We take pride in the work that we do. When our guys do a great job we have no problem bragging on them. The volume of work completed is growing monthly and that excites us as well.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to do my best to start updating the 'Projects' tab on our website. We are going to do our best to swing by completed projects and take pictures and upload them for you all to see. So if we've recently completed a project for you, be looking for a call or email so that we can swing by.

So? If you (*we) build it...he will come? That he would be me (I would imagine the rest of your friends and family as well). I'm excited to see the completed projects and excited to share your finished space with everyone. Thank you in advance, this is going to be fun!

What Would We Do Wednesday - Counter that top...

I would venture to say that unless you skipped out on college dorm life or living in an apartment at some time, you likely spent at least a year looking at a countertop like the one pictured above. Hopefully you aren't looking in to your kitchen right now and seeing a similar sight.

So what's this week's WWWDW about? Countertop options! You don't have to live with a funky countertop in your kitchen or other portion of your house. Here's the good news. There are TONS of options for new countertops, and I mean tons!

Check out this short list of granite options!

Alot of people like to be fairly neutral on countertop options, and it does make sense to do that. However, there is no reason why you couldn't go for a bright or exotic option. There are so many color options in natural stone and even some off the wall colors in man made stone. You don't have to be limited.

You also do not have to be limited by a stone countertop. The more modern design above is utilizing polished stainless steel for a very cool and clean look. 

There are pros and cons to all countertop surfaces, granite, stainless steel, marble, formica and many other materials. Each have different properties, different weaknesses and strong points. And of course they are going to vary in expense at a cost per foot installation as well.

Estimate vs Estimate - KC Home Solutions vs The other guys

From time to time we'll go to a home and talk with a potential customer. Generally speaking, one of the questions that comes up will be the difference between us and other general contractors in our processes and how we do things. Recently though we have had a few estimates approved (thanks for that) and we try to find out what we did that helped us earn the business. Here are a few of the answers we got the last several times.

1) "We choose KC Home Solutions because your estimates were detailed." This has actually been something that we have heard as a negative on a couple of follow-ups as well. So how can it be a positive AND a negative? Well we line item nearly every aspect of the job. In our experience most people like the idea of knowing what they are getting for their money. Because of that reason we will continue to go that route. The negative? Some people have expressed that they were overwhelmed with information and found our bid confusing.

Keep this in mind, if you get a bid from us and you have questions, you can always ask us. Want us to eliminate something, maybe you changed your mind, no problem, just let us know. Give us an opportunity to make our bid exactly what you are looking for. We may still not be in your price range for whatever reason, and that's ok, give us a chance to adjust as necessary and there will definitely be no hard feelings on our end if you go another direction.

2) "You guys don't have any hidden fees, the other guys do." This is one that we were surprised to hear about. One shocker on our end was a customer telling us that a previous contractor made them purchase everything for the work to be done. For example, barn doors. The GC told the customer what they needed them to order (exact door size, hardware, etc), the client asked if the GC would order it as she didn't feel comfortable doing it. The GC told them they could order the barn doors for them but they would charge the client an additional 30% above the retail purchase price of the doors. Seriously. We couldn't believe it either. 

With KC Home Solutions if you want to purchase a light fixture and have us install it, no problem. If you want us to pick something out and have us purchase it, still not a problem. We'll build the cost of the light fixture in to the bid. We aren't going to add additional expenses on for doing it. We are about treating you the way we would want to be treated. 

3) "Permits? You guys pull permits?" 99% of all projects require permits from a respective city. What doesn't? Repairing a fence for example. What does require a permit? Well it can vary from location to location. But here's the deal. We pull permits because it protects everyone involved. You are assured that the electrical, plumbing. framing, insulation, fireblocking, etc is not only getting done but done correctly. A lot of contractors won't pull permits because they are time consuming and depending on the size of the project can be kind of costly. 

Once again, KC Home Solutions is not about cutting corners. Permits aren't fun, not going to lie, they can be a pain. But in the end it's not only the law in most cases, it's the right thing to do. 

Is there a question you have been itching to ask us? New home build? Basement needing finished? Master bath needing an update? Still rocking early 90's brass in your master bathroom? Whatever it is, give us an opportunity to earn your business and we think you may be surprised in the difference from the "other guys" and KC Home Solutions!

Fire It Up! What Would We Do Wednesday

I guess when people get hot in the midwest their thoughts turn to fire. At least it appears that way to us! In the last week we have had requests for, wait for it, fireplace options. Yeah, probably the last thing most of us would think about too. Clearly a few people in the Kansas City area can't wait for it to get cold, can't blame them for that I guess.

So on this week's WWWDW article we are going to take on fireplace remodeling! It may not be as daunting of a task as you would think.

Does that look familiar?

Or maybe this one?

Chances are, unless your home is only 10 or so years old, you may have one of these relics in your living, den or basement. I would imagine that most people simply deal with it and think that it's just too much work and too expensive to change. Well guess what? It may not be, it just depends on what you want to do with the space. So what are your options?

Easiest option is to paint the brick. It's gonna take a lot of paint, but it's do-able. Of course you don't need us for that now do you?

Another option? Remove the brick. Now you might want to give us a call for this task. It's gonna get really dusty and messy. Generally speaking these set-ups are not one piece full front to back brick and mortar structures. Meaning you can remove levels of brick and find a substructure of some kind, but you never know. The older the home the more likely it will be a full structure.

Another option? Covering the brick with something else. Stone, metal and tile are the three most common cover options. In some cases you can attach directly on to the brick, with some stone and most tile options. In others you may need to frame the brick and basically build a box around it, attach a backer board and then affix the product.

Painted brick example

Resurfacing example, laying stone directly on the brick.

Modern stainless steel electric fireplace with mounted TV and great accent pieces

There are a variety of ways to spruce up your dated fireplace. Don't sit there another night looking at that fire smoke burnt nasty thing. You don't have to just deal with it. Change it! Call us if you want some ideas or some help.

A REALLY GOOD QUESTION!

I was asked a question this week that I wasn't prepared to answer. It didn't so much throw me for a loop, but rather I just had never really thought about the question before. So what was this stunning question?

How is your company different or better than the next?

It was an opportunity to brag on KC Home Solutions. It was an open invitation to leave the client feeling great about having an extra piece of information to help make an informed decision. It was where I should have sold what we do...and I fell flat on my face. Hashtag fail for those of your social media fans out there. But I've had almost 36 hours to stew on this and here are a few things I (should) have come up with. 

1) Communication - We pride ourselves on this topic. Whether you working on a special design idea, looking to get help with a tile pattern, finalizing a paint color or making a change mid-project, you can lean on us to be there for you. Everyone that works on our staff including our subcontractors, we all want to see your project end up exactly how you expect it to.

2) Budget - When we write a number on your estimate, that's what we are going to stick with. We all have budgets in our personal lives for all sorts of things and no one ever wants to be concerned with wondering from week to week if it will change. Of course unexpected things arise, but that's where topic one comes back up and we work with you to help make the most informed decision possible. 

3) Trust - Compared to other companies out there, we are young. But in a short amount of time we have earned the trust and respect of many people. When you treat people as you want to be treated. Respect, honesty, communication, craftsmanship, attention to detail and a lot of smiles. We work hard but have fun doing it. Our completed projects speak for themselves but so do Angie's List Awards...and you can read about all of those HERE!

Have a question you want answered? Shoot it our way, we would love to answer a bunch of questions in our next Tuesday article.