Elements of a Remodeling Project

We hope the following information will be of use to you in planning for your next project. We use this same general outline to aid in developing a remodeling proposal after our consultations / discussions with you. A remodeling project can be a major disruption so planning is very important for both contractor and client.


It is important to start the design process by focusing on the functionality of the space. For example, when reworking a kitchen one should examine the arrangement of the sink, stove, refrigerator and other major appliances. Would the efficiency of the work space be enhanced by relocating one or more of these elements? How practical would it be to relocate them – from a cost/benefit point of view? Once you have established a basic layout, then it is time to make decisions related to aesthetic considerations. We are happy to offer our many years of design experience to work with you, or with you and your design professional or architect to achieve a satisfying design for your new space. We can suggest suppliers for you to meet with to review options and styles of lighting, plumbing fixtures, appliances, and cabinets.

Plans & Permits

The requirements for permits vary depending upon the type of project and the jurisdiction in which you live. We can arrange to obtain the necessary building permit or assist you in obtaining the permit. Licensed trades such as electrical and plumbing will obtain separate permits based on the general building permit.

Structural changes

Include Demolition, Excavation, Concrete, Masonry, and Framing. These items may or may not apply to your specific project. Usually there is at least some tear out of existing cabinets, possibly walls will be moved or modified, or windows added or deleted. The feasibility of any of these changes needs to be evaluated during the design phase. As with all phases of the process, we have licensed and insured professionals that we rely on for all specialty work.

Exterior changes

Include Exterior Siding & Trim, Doors & Windows, and Roofing. Aside from personal taste, there are many reasons for replacing doors and windows including energy efficiency, security, and low maintenance cladding. We can help guide you through the many options available. One low impact option for replacement windows leaves the original window frame in place. This allows the replacement to occur without disturbing the interior trim and wall coverings.

The new trend for low maintenance exterior siding is a composite cement siding material which comes in factory finished colors. It is a nice upgrade from aluminum or vinyl siding and is much more durable than wood. When combined with PVC trim boards which come in many standard profiles and clad replacement windows, you wind up with a rot resistant, all weather, maintenance free exterior for your home.

Interior changes

Plumbing – We work with licensed and insured master plumbers who are familiar with our quality standards. We can direct you to various plumbing fixture suppliers for your selections. We normally include a fixture and labor allowance in our budgetary remodeling estimate since selections are usually still to be determined. We recommend having our plumber supply the fixtures so that you benefit from the warranty for materials & labor. If our clients purchase the fixtures directly, we cannot warranty the fixtures. We also check with our plumbers regarding the quality of your selections so we can avoid fixtures that look good but have known repair issues.

Electrical – A typical older home usually needs some electrical upgrades. Additional outlets, GFI circuits in kitchens and baths, the quality of the general lighting and directed work space lighting should all be investigated and discussed. We also recommend checking the existing circuits to make sure they can handle the loads generated by the existing or new appliances and fixtures. There are many recent improvements in down, track, rail, and task lighting including high efficiency fluorescent down lights with electronic ballasts which allow the fixtures to be used with dimmers. There are also halogen and xenon low voltage fixtures. The newest generation of LED lights provide compact size with low energy consumption and virtually no heat output.

HVAC – Our heating and cooling professional can evaluate your existing system and make recommendations for the best approach to conditioning the remodeled space. We can balance the existing system, add vents or radiators as needed, replace an old inadequate central unit, or add a dedicated unit for the new space.

Insulation – The greatest boost to energy efficiency is to maximize the insulation in walls and ceilings. This is a relatively inexpensive step with long term effects on your energy budget.

Interior wall & ceiling coverings – Natural stone, glass tile, or ceramic tile can be decorative and very functional for bathrooms, shower stalls, and kitchen back splashes. Solid glass panels for kitchen back splashes have been gaining in popularity.

Floor covering – Many alternatives exist from natural stone to ceramic tile through wood, bamboo, and even cork. There are good and bad features to consider for each.

Millwork – Upgraded base molding and crown molding can add a finished touch to your project.

Cabinets – Your tastes and budget will help us to guide you towards the appropriate cabinet solution for your needs. There are stock and semi-custom lines available from our suppliers to satisfy most client’s needs. You also have the option of completely custom made shop built cabinets that we would fabricate, finish, and install. A less costly alternative to new cabinets would be to refurbish and reuse existing cabinets with a few cabinets modified or custom made to accommodate a new layout.

Counters – The popularity of materials used for counters has changed dramatically over the years. Many people love the durability and variability of natural stone. Be aware that natural stone will have imperfections so it is important to personally select the slab(s) before fabrication. Granite is the most popular stone and is very durable. Marble is a more porous material and is more likely to absorb stains. A popular alternative to natural stone is one of the quartz based manufactured stone products. These are very uniform in color and grain throughout the slab while retaining the durability of natural stone. Some new ‘green materials’ include recycled glass and even a recycled paper product.

Specialties – This is a catch all heading for any other items or subcontractors that are necessary for your project. Anything from glass shower enclosures to stained glass windows depending on your desires and budget.

Painting – The painting crew should be the last crew on the job site to do the final touch ups for any scuffs and nicks that may have occurred during the construction process. You can be assured that our painters will make a return trip to take care of these items after the rest of the work has been completed.