Paul and Rosalie built their home themselves in the 1980′s. After 30 years, they decided it was time for a kitchen remodel. Some of the very nice features they originally incorporated into their design were adobe construction, diamond plaster walls, vigas, and saltillo tile. The kitchen, though lovingly constructed by Paul, featured plywood cabinets and laminate tops that were coming apart after 20 years of raising children. Kodama preformed a full kitchen remodel with an updated layout that featured new cabinetry with maple doors, dovetail/full extension/soft close drawers, roll out trays, and glass accents. The new counter-tops are a resilient Corian with an integrated sink. Another successful remodel!
Thank you Paul & Rosalie for a great renovation project!
Are you considering a bathroom remodel for your home? If you are, spend some time thinking about what to do with the shower. The shower area can not only be a work of art, but can also be good for the body through steam and stream!
*Note; see the link at the end of the blog to scroll through some wonderful pictures for bathroom remodeling design ideas!
Showers with glass enclosures open up the space and make the room look so much bigger. Now most luxury bathrooms incorporate shower glass enclosures because of their simple elegance. The nice advantage of showers with glass enclosures is that you can see the tile pattern that is featured inside the shower as a continuation of the overall design.
New luxury showers feature the ultimate in showering experience with multi-jet pulsating water from all four sides as well as the ceiling.
From simple multi-jet shower systems that cost only a few hundred dollars to fully-customized “car wash” solutions that can cost thousands, homeowners now have many choices when undertaking a bathroom remodel.
A steam shower (also known as a steam bath) is a shower where you can sit and enjoy the warmth of fresh steam all around you. There is a certain comfort, pleasure and stress relief element in luxuriating in warm water vapor. The heat loosens up your muscles, cleanses your pores, and generally clears your mind. The end result is that when you emerge you are refreshed, relaxed, and calm.
Homeowners take the opportunity to use the shower space as a venue for original tile work. Because the shower tile area is limited, it is a great place to introduce something a little more original and safely get more creative. Kodama can incorporate creative designs and textures to personalize your renovation.
Click the link to browse bathroom design photos: http://www.houzz.com/photos/bathroom
Having trouble deciding on what kind of kitchen countertops to include in your remodeling plans? The article below highlights most of the available options today and gives some pointers on the pros and cons of each.
Your kitchen countertop will make a huge impact on the overall design of the room. You may not realize just how many different material options you have for countertops, so when undertaking a kitchen remodel, it is easy to be overwhelmed. Instead of just choosing the first kitchen countertop you see, learn a little about durability, price, maintenance requirements, and other characteristics so that you make the best choice for your kitchen.
One of the most popular options, especially in mid- to high-end homes, is granite countertops. Granite is a type of stone that is found around the world, so you can find this material in my different color and pattern options, depending on where it was quarried. Granite can be expensive, but the cost will depend on the “grade” you purchase. The grade of the granite will rate its durability, resistance to staining and other kinds of damage, density, and water absorption rate.
Granite isn’t the only kind of stone out there; it is simple the most popular. Other types of stone, such as marble and slate, can also work well as countertops, and these options tend to cost about the same or slightly more than granite. With any natural material, don’t just order it based on a picture you see. Go down to a stone yard and actually pick the piece you want them to use, since every slab can look extremely different.
Along with granite, laminate is one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops. This is the most economical choice to most homeowners, but it is important to remember that you get what you pay for. Laminate isn’t resistant to heat or scratches, so after just a few years, you may have to replace it. The good news is that some manufacturers are producing higher-quality laminates that look more like their stone counterparts, and although these options still are not as durable and strong as other kitchen countertop options, these options are a step above the dull laminate countertops that were once the norm in kitchens everywhere.
Rising in popularity, wood actually makes a great material for countertops. Hardwoods like oak and mahogany are best for countertops with this rustic look, but wood is among the most high-maintenance when it comes to materials for countertops. Extremely hot pots and pans could cause the wood to scorch, leaving permanent marks. Water can also cause permanent damage to the countertop, especially around your sink, where water reaches the wood fairly often. With a wood countertop, the material will naturally resist bacteria, but you’ll need to treat the surface often with oil.
Concrete is also becoming more popular as a kitchen countertop option. With concrete, you can imprint many different textures or patterns, and it can be dyed or strained to match any color scheme. Like wood, concrete requires continual maintenance, so you’ll have to re-seal your countertops often to avoid stains. Concrete isn’t cheap, starting at just $75 to $100 per square foot, and if you decide to remodel in the future, it is difficult to remove the countertop without a complete demolition.
Engineered stone looks like a granite countertop, but this material is actually a mixture of plastics and flecks of stone. With natural stone, every piece available is drastically different from the last, but with engineered stone, the look is more consistent and there are more color and pattern options available. It costs about the same as natural stone, but is typically stronger and more durable, as well as stain-resistant, so it is often a better value for homeowners.
One unique countertop option is ceramic. These tiles are relatively inexpensive, but some homeowners don’t like the uneven surface they create. Ceramic tiles need to be re-grouted occasionally, so they’re more high-maintenance than laminate countertop options, but they’re much more durable, and there’s a lot of creative freedom when it comes to color and pattern choices
Stainless steel isn’t as popular for countertops as it is for appliances, but this is one option you have when you’re remodeling your kitchen. You can choose a shiny finish, but this isn’t the only stainless steel choice, as manufacturers can use brushing and finishing techniques to give the steel many different textures. Stainless steel is easily to clean and won’t stain, but it is extremely expensive, costing more than ten times as much as ceramic or laminate in some cases.
These aren’t your only countertop options for your kitchen remodel. New materials are being developed every day, and some homeowners opt for other natural stone and wood materials, such as marble. Many homeowners start shopping with a clear idea of the look they want, but keep in mind that many materials can give you a similar look. Before you choose the first countertop option you see, take a time to learn about the strength, durability, maintenance needs, and more of all of the choices on the market. You might be surprised to learn about some of the materials available for countertops.
The summer heat has broken, the leaves are turning, and the wind is blowing. As the temperatures begin their downhill slide, it is time to take action on some winterization tasks. Over the last couple winters we have seen mass amounts of pipe freezing and breakages, sold out heat-tape at the home stores, and even the stopping of natural gas to homes and businesses.
Be prepared for the cold months with an energy audit, renovation or the very least these easy winterization steps. Use the below check-list to make sure you are ready for another New Mexico winter!
If you are experiencing the same cold-home-high-bills every winter, consider having a home energy audit performed. See this video for more information on home energy audits:
As always, give Kodama a call if you would like help with winterizing your home. We can help with specific tasks or perform a complete home energy audit quote and retrofit renovation. 505-490-6527.
Below is an article detailing 10 tips to consider when planning for a kitchen remodel. The advice is practical and can help add some structure to your dream for remodeling your kitchen. The author is out of Massachusetts, but the information applies equally well to Santa Fe and New Mexico in general.
1. Find an experienced kitchen designer with whom you feel comfortable sharing your ideas, practical needs, and construction concerns. Kitchen Views designers are chosen for their expertise in project management as well as having design talent. On our website you can learn more about each of the talented people in our team and see pictures of the designers’ work. Call 1.508.DESIGNS (337.4467) to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.
2. Be prepared by bringing room measurments, photos of kitchens that represent your taste & style, and an appliance “wish list” to your appointment. No artistic skill required, just a measuring tape. Use the measuring guide sheet available in the Getting Started section on our website for clear instructions on how to measure a space and sketch a floor plan.
3. Offer as much information as possible about your lifestyle and budget so they can help you to make good decisions about the design and selection of products. For example, the types of meals you serve (home cooked or take out?), entertainment style (casseroles or caterer? frequent or occasional?), storage and display needs (Tupperware and/or Wedgewood?), and what you love and hate in your current kitchen.
4. Determine what you need versus what you want. Make a “must have list” and a “wish list” to determine what is essential to those who will spend the most time in your new kitchen. Remember to include information about pets. Make added convenience a focus.
5. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the experience. Become an educated consumer and allow time to make thoughtful decisions. This will enable you to work within a comfortable budget. Late changes are likely to escalate the cost.
6. Don’t the hung up on the little things. Along the way minor details may not work out as planned due to issues you can’t control. Be creative. Work with your designer and your installer to find solutions to whatever pops up that will enhance your beautiful new kitchen.
7. Create a “temporary kitchen” in another room with your refrigerator and a place for the microwave. Gather paper plates (etc.) and groceries in the same place. You will be without a sink and possibly your stove and oven, possibly for weeks, during the installation. There are ways to get through the inconvenience- from grilling to ordering take-out. Think of it as camping… but with better sleeping arrangements.
8. During the installation, keep your designer’s phone number on speed dial and try to stay available to the installer. There will be unforeseen issues along the way that will need to be dealt with and decisions that will need to be made, sometimes quickly. It’s much better to be a part of the decision making, understanding why something needs to be done differently than planned instead of having the decision made (or not made) for you and wondering what happened after everyone is gone.
9 Patience is a virtue – a difficult concept to grasp in this day and age of well choreographed HGTV episodes. Rely on your designer and your installer to give you a realistic time table and know that unexpected problems and unforeseen roadblocks are going to happen. Stay flexible. While our professionals can give you a pretty good idea- know that there are a lot of moving targets. Things can change quickly, be prepared for the time “table” to become a time “estimate”.
10. Keep your eye on the prize- waking up and walking into your beautiful new kitchen.
If you would like to talk to a local designer, give Kodama Construction a call. We are a design/build firm that can consult with you on your project and we credit the cost of your design into the cost of your kitchen remodeling project.
Everyone is subject to the whims of the weather, and though the climate of New Mexico is generally agreeable, monsoon rains can derail your remodel intentions.
If you are in the planning stages for a construction or renovation project, be sure to take the time to sit down with a calendar and consider the ideal building timeline and how the weather in your local area could affect the building or remodel process.
Here are some guidelines and tips to consider when planning your project:
1. External or Internal Remodel:
Where will the bulk of the project be located?
External projects include:
Internal projects include:
2. Consider the Internal & External Ratio of the Renovation
How much of your remodel project includes external work that will allow the elements to penetrate your existing home or business? Examples are open framing, unfinished roofing, penetrations for windows & doors, and exposed exterior walls for re-siding or stucco.
How much is strictly internal? Examples are for new cabinetry & countertops, flooring, painting, and other finish work.
Come up with a ratio that approximates this. An example would be building an addition to expand a family room. You could figure that 70% of the construction would be external (concrete, framing, roofing, windows & doors, and siding or stucco; and 30% would be internal (electrical, insulation, sheetrock, painting, flooring & other finishes).
3. Plan for the Ideal Time of Year for your Area
Try to plan for external construction to be performed during your area’s mild-weather cycles. Materials like concrete, stucco, and masonry require certain minimum temperatures and water-based treatments in order to achieve proper strength requirements. Working with these products in a dead-freeze can cause them to fail if the right precautions are not taken.
Likewise, you want to try to avoid performing a re-roof in the middle of your rainy or snowy season. Roofers are generally good at protecting your home or building from moisture, but water can (and most times will) find a way if a way is available.
The “Rule of Thumb” in construction is to get any external projects “Dried-In” before inclement weather sets in. ”Dried-In” is the state where the structure is moisture-proof. From there, all internal moisture & temperature sensitive activities can be installed during the colder and wetter periods of the year.
Don’t be afraid to call up your contractor or designer for more information. They can help you plan your renovation from concept to completion.
An important consideration when planning a remodel project is the time-line. How long will it take it do this project? Many have heard horror-stories about contractors that demolish kitchens, walls, floors, bathrooms, etc… and never show back up to finish, or show up so infrequently as to drag the project out over months for what could have been done in weeks. Understandably, time frame concerns and complications are a fear that many have. Who wants to live in the midst of demolition, without the comforts of home, for months on end?
If you know the basics of construction time-lines, you can eliminate many of the fears around getting into a never ending project.
First, you will want to account for design time. If you have not already been working with an architect or designer and have ready-to-go plans for your contractor, then you will need to consider the time it takes to come up with a design that you want to be built. For simple projects, like remodels, renovations and additions, this can generally be under two weeks. For larger projects, like custom homes, this could take a few months. The more detailed the project, the more likely that you will want to make changes to the design, floorplan, etc. This can add time to the design process.
Second, you will need to allow some time to make material selections. As the owner of your home and director of your remodel project, you get to choose what kinds of materials, colors, and styles go into your project. This is where all those hours watching HGTV begin to pay off! To do so, you will want to spend some time doing internet research on materials, and going to local showrooms to see samples and colors for the materials you need for your remodel. Your contractor should be able to provide you a “Selection Guide”, a book of local showrooms that they know and work with, to save you time on your materials exploration. Common selection items are Cabinets, countertops, appliances, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, flooring, trim, windows, doors, paint colors, and window treatments. You will want your contractor and designer to review your selections to see if they will affect the design in any way.
Note that cabinets and countertops are mostly under the control of you, the owner. These time-lines are highly dependent on the complexity of the project and how quickly you make your decisions and selections.
Third, now that you have a solid design and material selections in place, your contractor can work up the proposal price for the project. Keep in mind that up to this point, you were using “ballpark” estimates to plan your project. Now that there are solid designs, dimensions, and materials, you contractor can put the exact (final) number together. This is the number that your contract will be written for and the contractor should be allowed about ten days to put the estimate together. The reason for this is that he will need to contact all the subcontractors and suppliers, distribute your designs and specifications, and compile all that data into a final price.
Fourth, now that you have the designs and a contract, it is off to the local building department for the “Review and Permit” phase. Here the local building authorities will review the design and ensure that it is code-compliant. If there are code-compliant issues or other issues discovered by the building department, they will notify the project team for resolution. Otherwise, they will issue a permit. Building departments vary from city to city or county to county. Generally they can release simple jobs in about a week, and more complex jobs in about a month. Once they issue a permit, your contractor can begin lining up subs and materials.
Fifth is where the official “Construction Schedule” comes into play. Depending on your renovation project, the contractor may have a construction time outlined in the contract. Simple jobs are generally not less than 30 days, and more complex jobs can get into 150+ days. Items that are considered in the schedule should be: Special-order materials, custom material fabrication, subcontractor schedules, and weather. The construction schedule will generally encompass all these considerations and the contractor should be able to complete the renovation on schedule. Things that can delay the schedule are changes made to the design, materials, or work (change orders), inclement weather, and supplier delays.
So, when you are planning your remodel, jot these headings down and assign a time to each of them. Ask your contractor for time estimates on these items if you are unsure:
You have a project in mind, perhaps a full kitchen remodel, so you call up a couple contractors to come by and talk to you about your project. You talk about changing the layout, updating the cabinets, converting to an open concept, colors, materials, etc… And then comes the question: ”What’s your budget?”
Some people feel like this is an invasive question. After all, the whole reason you invited the contractors out was find out how much your remodel may cost, right? Talking about your budget is like talking about your personal finances, it is not something you share with everyone.
However, the remodel budget question is an important one. When you bought your home, you needed to consider how much it would cost per month to own. Doubtless your Real Estate Agent asked for your budget. Your bank also considered it when lending the money for the home. Any time you apply for some kind of credit, your budget is considered.
In construction and remodeling, a budget is doubly important because it is the main indicator of how the contractor can build the job you want, and provide that service at a fair price. A remodel budget helps the contractor and owner make decisions on how much work can be done, what materials are selected, and the timeline of the job.
Did you know that the person who hires the contractor are directly responsible for at least 50% of the cost of the project? Why? Material Selections. Material selections are a big part of the cost of a project, and you (the owner) are responsible for choosing what materials go into your project. While this is one of the most fun parts of your project, it is also the part that can make the difference between keeping in budget or breaking the bank!
Material costs vary widely. Cabinets in Santa Fe, for example, have so may woods and construction styles that you could buy X quantity for $6,000 or $$26,000 depending on your choices.
When considering your budget, you will want to leave at least a 10% “contingency allowance” in order to cover any unforeseen circumstances that may crop up during the project. Remodeling often involves demolition of existing floors, walls, ceilings, and finishes. There may be, and often are, hidden conditions that will need to be addressed. Things such as mold, lead paint, asbestos, lack of insulation, faulty wiring, or out-of code items can be discovered and should be taken care of before installing new materials. If you have planned ahead, you will have the 10% to help cover these items. If nothing of the sort crops up, you can pocket the cash or use it for an upgrade that you really wanted but was out of budget.
As you can see, setting and sharing your budget gives you more control over the design and implementation of your project. A good contractor or remodeler will use the budget to guide the design process and to help you make material selections. If they are committed to doing your job at a fair price (your price) they will help you stick to that budget like glue!
One of the things I love about the internet is the growing freedom to “comment” on articles and blogs. I often find myself spending more time reading the comments than the actual articles. Aside from being entertaining, comment strings are often very informative as to what people are actually thinking and feeling.
One of the great follies in sales and marketing is that companies and business people will often create products and services that they think will sell and not necessarily what people want to buy.
This article from builderonline.com is a classic example. Read the article and the first comment posted.
Having worked in kitchen, bath, and closet design and sales, I understand her frustration. What is most important to people is to be listened to and have home related businesses cater to their wants and needs.
The concept of orienting a home, building, or shelter to take advantage of the warmth of the sun has been in practice for centuries. Natives all over the world, whether nomadic or pueblo, knew the advantages of orienting their shelters and homes to maximize heat in the winter.
These days many custom and green builders take solar orientation into account when designing new homes. The concept of passive solar thermal heating for winter is becoming more well known in the mainstream building and home-ownership communities.
In past decades, however, many homes have been built without much thought as to where they were located or how they were oriented. Houses have been built in holes, on hilltops, in dense clusters, and certainly out in the middle of nowhere.
If you are in a home that you would like to be more green, more efficient, or simply naturally warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, it may be perfectly do-able. Here are a few things to consider:
The first thing to determine is how much sun exposure your home gets. If your home is in the middle of a dense forest, down in a deep valley, sandwiched between tall buildings, or on a west-facing slope (in the northern hemisphere) you may have a problem with plans to capture enough sunlight to make passive solar gain a reality.
In most cases, though, this is not a big issue. In New Mexico, most homes are exposed to plenty of sunlight. Around here, there is a good chance that up to 50% of your home has direct solar exposure.
Grab some paper and a pencil (or a tape-measure and Google Sketchup if you are a perfectionist like me), and sketch out your home, floorplan, and even nearby trees, buildings, hills and so on. You should only need to sketch out trees and structures within about 150′ foot radius on your home as these will have the most impact on blocking sunlight to your walls and windows. Chances are, if you have lived in your home through at least four seasons, you will already have a good idea of your homes exposure level, hot spots, cold spots, and so forth.
Once you know your approximate solar exposure you can then determine how to implement a passive solar remodel.
You may need to consider changing your floor plan for your passive solar design to work. If the interior of your exposure wall is made up of closets or mechanical rooms you may need to consider changing around some walls and such. In some cases it takes very little remodeling to implement a passive solar plan. In many homes the remodel can be as simple as installing large windows on your exposed wall, laying brick or tile floors and walls, and inserting wall vents to create circulation that heats adjoining spaces.
If you want to do more research on the specific strategies and types of materials used for passive solar systems, check out these handy links:
If you live in the northern half of New Mexico and would like to schedule a consultation and estimate please give us a call!
Kodama Construction, LLC. 505-699-8862