Kansas CIty

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!

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?!

When Nature Calls...

So we had yet another KC Home Solutions first yesterday. I was at a home in Olathe when some not so fun weather rolled in to the Kansas City metro. Here's how everything played out, it's a fun story!

I'm talking with the homeowners in their master bathroom when both of their cell phones made the same sound at the same time. I had my cell phone on silent, otherwise mine would have made the same noise. It's the "uh, time to pay attention to the sky" sound. They both pulled their phones and read the text message, "severe weather threat in your area...TORNADO WARNING." I pulled my phone from my pocket and I had the same message. Funny, I thought, haven't heard the tornado sirens go off...moments later came that unmistakable sound that this small town Kansas kid grew up hearing each summer.

Down to the basement we all go (even though my 1st instinct is to go outside and look around). The TV is turned on in the basement and we are watching one of the local KC news stations. Not one. Not two but THREE tornado warnings end up being placed in Johnson County, and of course each warning gets its own siren by the City of Olathe. Oh and double-bonus for me, the track of one of the tornadoes is towards where I live. I was in the basement with the homeowners for about a half-hour waiting for the worst to clear past us. The boss was nice enough to check on me too! Once we felt it was safe enough we went back up to the master bathroom and I finished taking measurements and getting all the details we need to send an estimate.

In the end the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Missouri stated today that there were in fact 2 EF0 tornadoes in the Kansas City metro yesterday. Thankfully no one was hurt and there was only minor damage.

Moral of the story here? It doesn't matter if you are at home or work, take all severe weather threats seriously. This time we were able to laugh about it, next time we may not be as fortunate. Be safe out there everyone, we don't live in a place dubbed Tornado Alley by accident!