Remodeling

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. 

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...

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.

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.

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.