General

2nd Time is as Charming as the First

2016 and 2017 REMY Awards

Late January award ceremonies are becoming a reoccurring theme that we are really enjoying! This January was no exception. We certainly do not do what we do for the awards but it is always nice to win them. The best part of the Remodel of the Year (REMY) awards through the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) is that all of the categories and entries are judged by a blind panel of experts from another NARI chapter. Winning an award truly shows that you are doing the right thing on the highest level of quality and craftsmanship.

So what did we win? We entered 4 categories and took home awards on 3 of them. We found out that the one category that we did not place in we missed 2nd by .132 points. The closest separation of placing of anyone in the entire chapter. We are of course still very proud of the results.

Below are below and after pictures of the 3 categories we placed in:

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

From top to the bottom, the projects and awards are as follows.

*2017 Kansas City NARI Remodel of the Year "REMY" Gold & All-Star Award Basement Finish $50,000 to $100,000 Category Winner*

*2017 Kansas City NARI Remodel of the Year "REMY" Gold Award Interior Remodel $75,000 to $150,000 Category Winner*

*2017 Kansas City NARI Remodel of the Year "REMY" Silver Award Interior Remodel Under $75,000 Category Runner-Up*

2018 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year at KC Home Solutions. We would love to add your project to our list of awards. You never know! We hope to help you make your personal vision become reality! 

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. 

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 - 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!

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. 

Get Dirty - What Would We Do Wednesday

Some people have the extra space, others don't, but a mudroom is a really cool space that most people aren't taking advantage of. This concept isn't new but the extra design and customization certainly is. Most home in the past had a simple bench, maybe a built in box-bench that you could put some things in. Now, well having extra full size storage is the trend, and it is a great trend in our opinion.

Of course, generally speaking, the main household is going to be the only one's utilizing the mud-room entrance but they are being built near the front of houses too now. Gone is the day that the front entry is reserved for a grandiose open space. 

Maybe it's the athlete in me, but I really enjoy the above picture. It looks like a rustic old locker room set up, almost country club golf-ish in a way. The extra light coming from the outside and the soft wall color and white trim balance the rich wood stain very well.

The mudroom/laundry room is also gaining steam in the design world. The tile floor allows for easy cleaning and dumping snowy shoes or muddy boots. Having the washer and dryer right there makes for easy access and convenience. 

Don't limit your home to traditional use. Be creative, see the possibilities and give us a chance to help bring your vision to life. So, who's ready to get dirty?!

Flip the Switch with KC Home Solutions

We have been excited at KC Home Solutions over the last few months. There have been a lot of calls and requests for us to provide estimates and we have been extremely busy. It looks like all the talking that you are doing about us is paying off (we appreciate the kind words and referrals!) Recently we have been in discussion with a few people and a couple of companies that are looking for ideas and opportunities for us to help with flipping homes. So what's the deal with that, how does it work?

Here are a few suggestions and things to keep in mind when looking for a contractor to work for you on a house flip. In no particular order.

Have a realistic timeline based on your project. Keep in mind that the shows you see on TV, while real, are also staged. Some of the timelines and completion dates are simply not feasible in a "normal" setting. Basically, good luck finding a contractor who will work 20 hour days and weekends.

Drastic transformations, like the fire damaged "gut-job" pictured above are neither quick nor particularly cheap. The TV shows do a great job giving figures on transformations that sound too good to be true and they likely may be. Some shows have a lot of donated products and the production companies may sometimes pay for some labor expenses rather than passing it along to a homeowner. HGTV for example has several great shows but some of the pricing they talk about makes US question how the contractors stay in business. An entirely new kitchen with appliances for $8,000? We want that pricing too!

Finally, communication is key. You don't have to have your contractor on speed-dial, but if you have a question or concern make it known. Don't ever assume that you were 100% clear when talking about something. From our end, we would rather you call or email us twice and feel like you are annoying us than end up doing a job wrong. Just like the old adage says, measure twice, cut once!

Looking for a general contractor to help with your full house remodel? Give us an opportunity to earn your business, we love a good challenge!

What Would We Do Wednesday - Go Play Outside

With the exception of today's weather in Kansas City (65 degrees in July is RARE), getting outside and spending time on a back patio is something a lot of people love doing on summer evenings. Recently we have been getting several requests for outdoor living areas. From a space similar to the one picture above, to something similar to the one pictured below.

What's great about outside living spaces and kitchen's are that they can make for not only simple relaxing with family but they also great for entertaining. The options and design that you go choose make just about anyone happy. From built in bars to fireplaces, multiple mounted televisions to gas line fed stoves with custom vent hoods.  

We have been fortunate to have built several outdoor living spaces, check them out on our website when you have a moment. We hope that we'll be able to bring you several new options to check out when we complete additional projects. 

If you have something that you are thinking you would like to do, let us know. A custom built outdoor living space can be affordable and functional not only in the summer but the winter as well.