Teamwork...

There's no I in KC Home Solutions! Ok, so there is. Well there certainly isn't an I in TEAM. Unless of course you believe that there's an I hidden the A in team...it all gets confusing without pictures.

I get the feeling that you are reading this and starting to wonder, "what's the point?" Well here is the point. KC Home Solutions is the definition of team. If you look up the word team on dictionary.com you'll actually find a picture of our logo! (That may not be true, I haven't looked today, it could be true!) We are small company in regards to a lot of big general contractors in the Kansas City metro area. All told there are 6 full-time employees and a couple other part-time team members. But what makes us great (in our humble opinion) is that we all help out each other as we can. No one person is too big or too small to do a task.

I can tell you're looking for an example. How about this? The President of our company is basically our go-to framer. Our Project Manager just last week was helping with a punch list to finish a project. We could go on and on. The point is that we work better when helping each other out. We would do that for you too! We don't want anyone to ever feel that there is a question they can't ask anyone on our staff. If one person doesn't know the answer, another likely will. Every project won't go off without a hiccup, but it doesn't mean we won't try to make it work out that way!

Just. Say. NO! - What Would We Do Wednesday

Look up right now. Go ahead, we'll wait. What do you see on the ceiling above you? Is it THIS?

Unless your home was built after 2000, and even maybe then, you likely have popcorn on your ceiling. Ok so not the yummy goodness you see above. But rather this...

I would venture a fair bet that over 80% of homes in the United States have popcorn textured ceilings. It was all the rage on ceilings for, well, almost forever. But it's something that has FINALLY fallen out of style and NO you don't have to just deal with it. 

So what would we do? What can be done? Simple. That stuff comes off! Now, with that said, it's typically a huge mess and quite honestly it's not that fun to do. You have to start by putting down a ton of plastic sheeting to catch the stuff. You'll also want to make sure an wear eye and face protection, you do not want to breathe or eat it. Just because it's called popcorn doesn't mean it's good!

The actual removal isn't too difficult. You'll need a spray bottle filled with water and a flat blade or some kind like a floor scraper or mudding trowel. Spray the texture area you want to remove, give it a minute or so and then use the flat leading edge to scrape it away. Be mindful of sheetrock joints and other places the scraper could catch.

What do do after removing the popcorn? Well the easiest option would be what we call a knockdown finish. So people will call it an orange peel finish. Here's the look:

All of our new ceiling installations have a knockdown finish unless otherwise noted. Of course the other option would be the smooth finish, the same as what's done on walls. It's a very clean and crisp look, needless to say, but it is more time consuming to install and therefore more expensive on the pocketbook.

So if you're tired of seeing popcorn everywhere you go give us a shout, we have a great group of guys dedicated to helping us help you remove popcorn from your home. Remember, edible popcorn good...ceiling popcorn bad.

Terminology can be confusing...

When you are new to something, things can be confusing. How does the phrase go? Every master was once an incompetent beginner and every professional was once an amateur. Meaning that we don't expect you to know what everything is and what it's designed to do. So we thought it would be fun to throw a few things out there to help you increase your remodeling vocabulary and understanding!

First one. Smurf tube.

If you thought that we were mentioning a Smurf holding a tube of toothpaste, close but not quite.

Smurf tubing!

Smurf tubing is used in many applications in remodeling. We use it mostly in an application to help a homeowner run cable lines inside a wall so that you can mount a flat panel TV and not have anything hanging down behind it. It is a part of our standard basement finishing package.

Next one. Fluting.

Is this the first thing that came to your mind when you thought of fluting? Well then you may immediately regret that decision.

Basement support post with fluting!

There are many options when it comes to fluting in a basement. Once again, this is something that we include in all of our basement finish packages. Generally speaking our setup is to box in the support post where as this picture has a rounded design. 

Last one, let's see how you do!

Astragal

Was this the first image in to your head? We are pretty sure that if her hair is coming out of the space suit helmet it's not going to be effective...but we aren't space suit experts. We don't know her name either, I suppose it COULD BE Astro Gal.

A true astragal.

Generally you'll find an astragal on French doors or a dual door opening set up such as leading to a deck. This strip can be found in a lot of decorative doors in order to hide point where the doors come together. It's a very classic look but can get worn over time.

So what phrases or terms do you think of when you think of construction? Anything fun? Let us know. Oh and just to put it out there, no, we will no be discussing flashing!

What Would We Do Wednesday - Showered with Ideas

Does this picture look familiar? I'm pretty sure that the 1990's called and they would like their shower doors back. Brass was certainly a design trend in the late 80's and early 90's. Shower doors with sliders were the thing to do in new home construction and remodeling. I can't imagine that in ten or fifteen years we will look back on designs and wonder what the big deal was with "that" design. Anyone want to venture a guess what it will be? My vote would be "duck face" pictures...but that may not be relevant to this discussion.

So what's trending right now in the design world? That would be "Euro" glass showers. 

Frameless glass showers are very popular right now aka "Euro glass" designs and we have been getting quite a bit of requests for this option. Space in the shower will dictate options with this design. Pictured above is a shower with a nice 180 degree opening door with the previously mentioned frameless set up. But what if you don't have a whole lot of extra space, what options do you have?

Here's that option. The bathroom pictured is set up with an curbless shower floor extending all the way in to the bathroom, which looks fantastic. The vanity and tub are clearly a very modern design but they also take up quite a bit of space. So going with the sliding shower door on the left as well as the sliding door to the lavatory on the right is a trendy new option. It also allows you to maximize space in the bathroom. You don't have to be limited by your space if you can think out of the box. Don't be limited by old habits in bathroom trends!

When could you guys get started?

One question that we get most often among visits we take to homes to meet with potential clients is when could we get started? Basically, how booked up are you guys?

That would seem like a very straight forward question for most people, but for this industry it's somewhat loaded. Right now one of the biggest challenges that we and others like us are facing is a lack of people available to work for the trade companies, ie licensed electricians and plumbers. So when we call to try and set up some of those companies they are booked out two or sometimes even three weeks. It's frustrating to say the least, not just for us but the companies we are trying to contract with. They don't want to let us down and no one really likes turning down business. But you can't blame someone in this instance.

So the challenge for us becomes going through a quick schedule in our head of what work we have starting soon, how long those projects will take, the manpower we have available and then trying to guess how busy the trade companies are as well. In the end it's a good problem to have, needless to say. So bare with us if we seem to not really have a great answer to that specific question.

WWWDW - Tile in Style

We aren't going to say that we couldn't do the above tile for you in your house, but we also are not going to lie and say our tile guys would love to do it either. Although we are fairly certain that they would like the challenge.

Tile can be one of the quickest ways to really change a room. Most people think of tile and automatically go to a backsplash in the kitchen or something in a bathroom. But more and more tile is being incorporated in other locations throughout the home. Don't get cornered in to the idea that you can only use tile where you'll be getting something wet. 

Stainless steel tile is trending on the popular side of decorating and design in homes currently. Pictured above 3x6 brushed stainless long grain metal tile in an alternating pattern. It's a very sleek and modern accent to just about any space, not just a kitchen as you see in this application.

The brushed stainless and polished glass accent in the picture above could look absolutely stunning as a trim piece or stand alone in several applications. Could you imagine trimming an accent window or running this in a 6 inch border though a shower or around a soaker tub?

Contemporary large tile floor and wall options are also trending up in design currently. As you can see above, minimizing the grout line and going with large gray's and dark colors on floors in living rooms is popular. The design is sleek and relatively easy to maintain for a long time.

The key is finding a color, design and pattern that you will be able to live with an enjoy every day. Keep in mind that carpet can be easy to pull up and replace, tile, while not permanent, is typically more expensive to install  but with the right care will last a long time. We love bringing your new ideas to our tile crew and our tile supplier as seems to have the newest trends and options.

Big Box It Up...

Let's start by saying that we are not completely against those big box stores out there. They have their advantages from time to time. We will do our best to not mention a specific store but we can't imagine that any of you have never been in to one of them in your life.

Here's the deal, we aren't big fans of purchasing a lot of items for a remodel in those big stores. Beyond the pricing, it's the things you do not see that may be your downfall. For example, you can certainly find a great price on a good looking kitchen faucet in one of the two largest home improvement stores in the country. But you are paying for something that is loaded up with a lot of plastic "guts" and won't last as long as it should or could, even if you take great care of it. Now, with that said, the big stores do have some options with the great high-quality insides, but those items are going to be priced similar to specialty stores and they may not have the largest selection. They tend to make more margin on the lower priced items that the high-end ones.

Not how this particular product is designed to work.

Not how this particular product is designed to work.

So how are you to know if you are getting a good product? First, read the back of the packaging. Look for plastic fittings, or do an online search about it. Don't go looking for the least expensive option. Saving money is great but long term it may come up to bite you on a costly repair or simply having to replace the product again. Another option? Go to one of your local specialty stores that deal with just one product like kitchen faucets or bathroom remodeling items, etc. Stick to the nails, lumber, screws and tools at the big box stores, don't skimp on the plumbing.

What Would We Do Wednesday - Pinterest Edition

You want to hear something that I never thought I would stay. I like Pinterest. There, it's out in the open and on the internet and therefore cannot be taken back. No seriously, it's true. I like it. I feel that most people (guys) think that it is for girls to get hair ideas, or what kind of dried out flowers to use for potpourri, or maybe how to design cupcake frosting, stuff like that. It's SO MUCH more than that. We at KC Home Solutions want to officially apologize to Pinterest, ok, so not so much KCHS as the individual writing this. KCHS has had a Pinterest account for a while...anyway.

So why the sudden change of opinion? Well, simply put, it has allowed us to become better at our job. Particularly it has allowed us to be able to crawl into the mind of a client and see exactly what they are trying to describe before we even start a project. Plus, well, there are so many great design ideas out there how can you not enjoy the website. Check out a few things we have pinned.

I'm still waiting for someone to request that we build them this shower. Any takers?

Ignore the decor. We would love to see someone go with a design similar to this full wall window. Probably needs to be a shaded and secluded side of the house, but how cool!

The golfer in us really want to see this basement come to life! Of course you may have visitors in your basement all the time, particularly us.

There are so many great ideas, from small design options to full remodels like the pictures above. To not use Pinterest to get an idea or inspiration is like not using a cell phone, it just makes things easier.

Feel free to follow us on Pinterest. We do our best to update our various boards when we come across cool things we see. We also want to follow you, so if we aren't, well tell us! The more ideas going around the better.

What about this?

It's a pretty safe bet that sometime in your life you may have had an evening or two that went something like the picture above. One of the things about working with KC Home Solutions is that you're not going to be alone at any time throughout your project. That really is one of the best aspects of working with us...if you ask us...and clearly you did. 

Here's the thing. You've likely already come to a decision that you are going to go ahead with your project. You've also likely come up with basically 99% of what you want to do in regards to design and whatnot. The thing is, that final 1% could be the trickiest final hurdle to overcome...or it may not. 

This evening we had a pre-construction meeting with a client who is less than 1 month away from starting their basement finish. The client had basically every detailed lined up and knew what they wanted before even contacting us. But, as with a lot of projects, once coming to a decision to work with us (thanks for that in case we hadn't already made that clear) new ideas pop up. Questions arise. And you know what? That's awesome! 

You will never hear us say, please don't call us with another question. We also don't want you to ever think that you should apologize for emailing or calling us with a question. That's what we are here for! Bounce ideas off us. Ask us what other clients have done. In the end we want you to be 100% on board with your decision or design. We would rather you push a project back a week or two in order to make the best decision for you. 

We didn't get in to this line of work to make us happy. We got in this line of work to make YOU happy! In return we get satisfaction in seeing YOUR dream become a reality, we just helped make it happen. So ask away, don't ever think you can't. Okay? 

What Would We Do Wednesday - Trend Setting

It wouldn't be fair to say that we at KC Home Solutions are setting trends in design and residential construction, but it would be 100% accurate to say that we love helping people who want to be trend setters! We absolutely love when a client says that they want to do something that they found on Pinterest (check out our account and follow us please), or that they have an idea and want to know if we can do it. 

So what are we seeing and getting requests for recently? One would be an idea similar to the picture above. Dual purpose or multi-use garage design. We have had a few requests to enlarge garages recently, add custom upgrade cabinets for storage, one with a wet bar and always with great flooring. For those that like to entertain in many more places beyond just the back yard and basement.

Non-traditional kitchens with a TON of storage space are starting to become popular. People want to hide all of the appliances and remove the clutter that kitchens are known to have. These new designs are all about being functional and great livability. Entertaining is becoming much more of a "get people around the kitchen" and less about sitting around a couch and coffee table.

Under stairs storage options and custom reading nooks with lights are starting to trend upward in home remodeling ideas. There are so many different ways to arrange and set up various storage solutions from custom built in shelving, pull out drawers, and hidden options that only you would know about. Reading nooks can be great, especially if there is a way to include natural lighting options. 

From custom garages to reading nooks, run your ideas by us and we'll do whatever we can to make your dreams a reality. We look forward to hearing what you want to do!