Top 5 Home Renovation Trends of 2021

Feeling stuck with your home renovation? Looking for some ideas to kickstart your project? Check Out our Top 5 Home Renovation Trends of 2021

I believe the old adage goes, “New Year, New You!” While self-betterment is the focus of many new year’s resolutions there also seems to be a drive to better your home or your living space. If you found yourself looking around your home this holiday season and dreaming up a new kitchen or imagining the better bathroom you are not alone! Whether you are looking for a total remodel or some ideas to update or add value to your home here are some of the home renovations trends we are seeing:

1. Fewer Cabinets, More Functional Shelves

Kitchen Renovations are moving away from custom cabinets and extra storage to more open and minimalistic. To bring down the bulky kitchen feel and open the area up to an airier atmosphere we are seeing more floating shelves used as open storage. To make up for the lack of storage, base cabinets are going deeper, or walls of cabinets are being stacked higher. Pantries are getting larger and many are being redesigned to hold storage shelves or cabinetry.

2. Large Islands That Double as Sitting Areas

As open living areas become more popular the space that is used as a Family Room, Dining Room, Kitchen Combo can seem smaller. Homeowners are making better use of the space by designing large kitchen islands that double as a main sitting area. Kitchen bars are getting wider to accommodate more sitting room and islands are growing to incorporate dining and kitchen into one.

3. Duo-Colored Kitchens

Why have one colored cabinets when you can have two…or three. A lot of homeowners are asking for custom cabinetry and doing darker wood or paint on the bottom and lighter cabinets on top. Accent islands have been rising in popularity over the last few years and now homeowners are using the accents to add dimension to their cabinetry throughout.

4. Gold Hardware

Adding hardware is a simple and easy way to update or add a pop of color without breaking the bank. Gold hardware used to be associated with the 90’s and early 2000s, but it seems gold has made a comeback. Gold Hardware Accents are rising in popularity and are highly requested for kitchens, bathrooms, and all storage.

5. Non-Traditional Shaped Mirrors

Add some pizzazz to your bathrooms by getting rid of the square standard mirrors and replacing them with a custom mirror. Custom mirrors are extremely easy to find and come in all shapes and sizes. The Circular mirror was very popular in 2020 and we can expect to see a lot more of them today. Adding a custom mirror is easy to do and very cost effective.

If you are looking for a full room remodel or just a fresh take on an old space, Arizona’s Interior Innovations is ready to help! Our talented and dedicated staff is ready to customize your plans and provide inspiring home renovation trends to keep your space updated. Start 2021 with a resolution you can keep! We can help you dream up and design your new space and keep you within a budget. Contact us today to set up your consultation and we can get started on your dream design today!

Small Kitchen Renovations You Can Do with Your Stimulus Check

With the second round of stimulus checks on the way for many American households, some are wondering if they can use the money for some needed repairs and upgrades to their homes. Here are a few small kitchen renovations you can do with your stimulus check.

Upgrade your kitchen’s look with a backsplash

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen is a lot like a coat of paint: it doesn’t take much time, money, or effort, but the impact can be big! What’s exciting is that the latest trends in kitchen backsplashes are fun, fresh, and easy to install, while the cost remains reasonable. Here are a few of the latest backsplash options you can choose from to upgrade your kitchen’s look in no time:

  • Natural stone
  • Glass
  • Mirror
  • Brick
  • Metal
  • Wood

Depending on the material you choose, you can literally change the whole look and feel of your kitchen!

Add hardware for style and functionality

There are a surprising number of kitchen cabinets in homes around the country that have no hardware on them, forcing cooks to grab edges to pry open cabinets and drawers. Stop the madness! Adding hardware to your kitchen drawers and cabinets not only add functionality but can also add style as well, from elegance to whimsical. You can choose from looks that are more contemporary, traditional, eclectic, or contemporary, depending on your style. There is also a vast array of finish choices, such as bronze, stainless steel, pewter, or nickel. Install all handles, a mixture of handles and knobs, or all knobs, your choice! There is no wrong option when it comes to hardware! Install yourself using a template, or work with a professional specializing in interior design services that can help you choose a style, size, colors, and placement of hardware. You’ll be amazed at how different your kitchen will look afterward without spending much money at all.

Replace outdated or damaged countertops

Even the most durable countertops can get a bit worn over time, especially if you’re in an older home that still has laminate countertops.  Even newer countertops like granite can become pitted over time, or perhaps you’re simply looking to update your countertops to something fresher and newer. Kitchen countertops can be surprisingly affordable depending on the material you choose and how much counter space you have. Here are a few materials that kitchen countertops can be made from:

  • Concrete
  • Copper
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Corian
  • Ceramic tile
  • Carrara marble
  • Quartz
  • Soapstone
  • Laminates
  • Wood or butcher blocks
  • Stainless steel

With all these different options, you can imagine that cost and durability will fluctuate significantly depending on what you pick. Laminates, wood, tile, granite, and Corian are on the lower end of the cost scale, while marble and other materials will cost more. To find the best countertop for your budget and lifestyle, work with a remodeling professional who can guide you through options, costs, and what will work best for your kitchen.

Having an opportunity to finally do a small kitchen renovation can be an exciting way to make good use of your stimulus check, since updating your kitchen is an investment in your home’s value. Any of these kitchen renovations can make a big difference in the style and functionality of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Are you ready to start your kitchen renovations? Contact us at Arizona’s Interior Innovations and see how we can help you get the kitchen you always wanted!

Should You Remodel Your Home or Move?

Homeowners who have been in their home for several years may find a time when they’re faced with the decision of either remodeling to update their home with the features they want or moving to a new home that already has the features they desire. If you’re trying to decide if you should remodel your home or move, here are a few things to consider to help you make your decision.

Consider the costs

Moving can be an awfully expensive undertaking, so it makes sense to compare what it would cost to renovate your home versus moving. Renovations come with immediate, out-of-pocket expenses, whereas moving can put money in your pocket now but cost you a lot more down the line depending on what the new house needs done. Make a quick budget of what it’d cost for you to move, including moving costs, closing costs, possible required repairs that need to be done to sell your home, and compare it to what renovations may cost you. Depending on the outcome, the financial aspect alone may help you decide whether it’s better to stay or move.

What kind of changes do you want in your home?

Make a list of what kind of features you wish your current home had. Depending on what you’re looking for, you may or may not be able to do those renovations to your existing home. Want a second story in a neighborhood that only allows single stories? Chances are you’ll have to move. Looking to significantly increase the square footage of your home but don’t have the lot size to accommodate it? Again, moving may be your only option. However, if you’re looking to have a gourmet kitchen, a luxurious master bath, or a functional outdoor living space, remodeling may be the better option. Working with remodeling professionals that can come in and tell you what’s possible from a structural standpoint is a great way to find out for sure. Oftentimes, homeowners can’t envision how they could possibly get the kitchen of their dreams while a renovation company can see past the current layout of the home and know what’s possible.

Is the timing right to sell your current home?

With current conditions, many people are hesitant to buy or sell a home. As a seller, you may not want people outside your protected circle to enter your home out of health concerns for your household. Buyers may not be interested in buying a home if they can’t look at it themselves multiple times, and really see all the features of the home. On top of health concerns, the economics might be challenging at the moment for a move. Will your house sell? How is the inventory in the neighborhood you’d like to move to? If it’s limited, you may end up in a bidding war and paying more than you want to for a home simply to get that dream kitchen you always wanted. Knowing the market can help you decide to whether to stay and renovate or move.

Consider how you feel about your neighborhood

If you’ve lived in your home for some time now, chances are you’ve developed strong feelings about your neighborhood. Renovating your current home will allow you to stay in the neighborhood you’ve come to love, whereas relocating will put you in an entirely new community most likely. Understanding how emotionally attached you are to your neighborhood and neighbors can help you decide what to do.

How flexible are you in getting what you want?

With the real estate market fairly hot right now in Arizona, chances are your choices might be somewhat limited. Understand that you may not be able to get the exact home you want. Remodeling, on the other hand, puts the control in your hands. As long as your budget and house can accommodate it, you can get the kitchen or bath you want without having to settle.

Deciding whether to stay and renovate your existing home or find your ideal home to move to is a big decision. Use these guidelines to determine if you should remodel your home or move to get the house you want.

Fireplace Options to Consider During a Remodel

It might be a bit hard to think about needing a fireplace when we’ve barely gotten out of the 100 degrees plus weather, but fireplaces are nice to have in Arizona homes when the days and nights start to get chilly. Here are a few fireplace options to consider during a remodel, or if you’re looking to add something fresh and new to your home.

Fireplace options to consider

There was a time not too long ago when your choice of fireplaces in your home was wood-burning but not anymore! There are so many options now, it’s exciting to see all the choices. Here are your three basic choices for fireplaces:

  • Wood burning
  • Gas log
  • Gas insert
  • Electric

We’ve provided a brief description of each to help you decide what might work best for you during a remodel.

Wood burning fireplaces

Wood burning fireplaces are the most traditional type of fireplace, using wood as its source of fuel. They give off a lot of heat, are inexpensive, and offer an ambiance that’s hard to replicate with other types of fireplaces. You can change up your fireplace by using different types of woods for different scents in the house. It’s also a great standby should your power go out in your home! There are a few potential drawbacks to wood-burning fireplaces. First, there are many days in Arizona that are no-burn days, which means you can’t use your fireplace on that day, no matter how cold it is. Second, these types of fireplaces can be messy when you’re dealing with embers to clean up. Third, there is some maintenance when it comes to your flue; keeping it clean and unobstructed is paramount. And of course, there is a level of fire danger if you don’t use a screen to keep those embers in the fireplace.

Gas log fireplaces

Gas logs offer the ambiance and warmth of a wood-burning fire but without the mess of embers, etc.  Gas logs are usually made up of ceramic but look like wood. Gas logs are a great option if you don’t want to deal with the mess of real embers, chopping and hauling wood, or the maintenance of a fireplace flue. You’re also not restricted by no-burn days.

Gas insert fireplaces

Gas inserts are an insert that is installed into an already-existing fireplace. It requires little, if any, construction because it is made to fit into any opening. Inserts are designed to replace wood fireplaces for a cleaner alternative. They don’t always give off the heat of a real fireplace, and of course, you won’t get that nice, cozy smell of real burning wood but again, no mess and little fuss.

Electric fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are becoming extremely popular for their style, functionality, and ease of maintenance. You can choose from a linear or a traditional style fireplace. An electric fireplace is an electric heater that is created to look like a fireplace burning coal or wood. When renovating a home, people often opt to replace their conventional fireplace with an electric one because of the various benefits they have to offer such as no fumes, low maintenance, and is quite easy to clean. They are a great, stylish, and safe choice for your home and come in a variety of styles.

Taking your fireplace style a step further

Several of the above options allow for extra customization, including clear or smoked glass fronts, custom framing in glass, tile, or other materials, or swapping out the plain glass for colored fire glass for an extra level of elegance. Depending on the style of the fireplace you choose, adding a mantel can make your fireplace the focal point of the room, whether it’s a living room, dining room, or master bedroom.

If you’re looking to add a fireplace to your home, or perhaps upgrading your existing fireplace, it’s a good idea to chat with a remodeling professional that can advise you on what your best options are. Depending on your choice, you’ll have to consider access to an electrical outlet, gas line, or ample ventilation.

How to Pick the Kitchen Countertop That’s Right for Your Kitchen

Homeowners have a dizzying array of materials to choose from when it comes to kitchen countertops. What’s the best way to choose the countertop that’s right for you? We’ve pulled together some helpful information on kitchen countertop materials and how to pick the best one for your dream kitchen.

Countertop choices

There are a few tried and true countertop options to choose from for your kitchen, or you can try something different to give your kitchen a unique twist. Here are a few material options that you can choose from:

Granite - the top choice in countertops, and always available in a variety of shades to get just the right color. We are aware that no two pieces are exactly the same so it’s a good idea to lay your eyes on the piece you’ll be using to get what you want. Granite is available in two finishes:  polished (shiny) or honed (soft and matte). They’re both equally durable so finish is a matter of taste. Costs depend on many variables, including color, finish, and origin of the stone.

Other natural stone materials – other stone options like marble, limestone, and soapstone, are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. All stone countertops must be sealed periodically. These can give your kitchen a unique, elegant look, but know you’ll likely pay more and have more upkeep, so consider that when choosing any of these.

Engineered stone countertops - these come in a wider variety of colors than natural stone countertops and are easy maintain. Engineered stone costs about the same as granite. Homeowners opt for this countertop material for its durability and ease of maintenance.

Concrete countertops – these are a fun, new trend and can be customized with pigments to get the exact color you want. Concrete countertops are available in several different finishes: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded to expose the sand aggregate) and pressed (a tool is used to reveal marblelike veining). These take more maintenance and extreme or abrupt changes in temperature may cause concrete to warp or curl. They’re also not very forgiving if damp sponges or towels are left on the counter; discoloration is common if not careful and acidic spills may etch the surface.

Wood countertops - like butcher block, wood countertops add warmth to a kitchen and makes virtually your whole kitchen counter a cutting board. They are easy to clean and any scratches can be sanded out. Water damages butcher block, so wood countertops must be oiled frequently to seal the surface. Other than that, they don’t require much maintenance if handled with care.

Laminate – this material has been around for years and is the most affordable countertop material on the market. It comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. Easy to maintain, laminate can scorch if a hot pan touches the surface and can scratch fairly easily, so some care needs to be given to these countertops.

How to choose your ideal countertop

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a countertop:

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Maintenance
  • Style

Almost all the above material choices have pros and cons in each area, so it really is a personal preference. If maintenance is a big concern, stay away from high maintenance materials like natural stone and concrete. If price point is a concern, you can’t go wrong with laminate. Here are five questions to ask yourself to determine what kitchen countertop will work for you:

  1. How will you use your countertops? Are they workhorses or display areas?
  2. How much maintenance are you willing to do? Don’t get something you won’t keep up.
  3. What are your kitchen requirements? How much countertop material will you need?
  4. What is your budget? Determine a range and stick to it.
  5. What materials do you love? You don’t want to settle for something that’s “meh”.

The best way to determine what’s right for your décor and lifestyle is to work with a professional kitchen remodeling company that can guide you through the pros and cons, and help align your countertop choice with the overall vision of your kitchen.

Your Bathroom Renovation Checklist

If you’re looking to remodel your bathroom in the near future, the more prepared you are, the smoother the project is likely to go. To help get ready for your remodel, we’ve pulled together everything you need to consider in this checklist to get the bathroom you’ve always wanted.

Make a detailed budget for your upcoming renovation

Full bathroom renovations can be costly, so it’s essential to plan ahead, so there are no unpleasant surprises. With a little planning, costs can be contained, and you can still achieve the bathroom you always wanted while staying within your budget. With so many options out there, a budget can quickly get blown if you get caught up with all the different choices available. Before you get started, step back and talk with your bathroom renovation professional want to do, and then do your own research to get a better feel for costs. It’s important to have an idea of what the costs are going to be for every item of the remodel, from paint to lighting to flooring to fixtures and more. This will include materials, design, and labor.  Decide what kind of materials you want and get an idea of what those costs are. Keep in mind you need to consider both material and labor, especially if you’re doing a major renovation that may require substantial plumbing work. Getting all the potential costs and creating a budget will help you enjoy the process and the end results without facing a stunning and unanticipated bill at the end. While your contractor will help gather costs, having a good idea yourself will keep you both on the same page and set realistic expectations. This should be the very first item on your checklist before your project starts.

Plan for how to make your bathroom functional and stylish

Whether it’s a guest bathroom being remodeled, or a master bath, plan on what you expect for functionality and style. How many people will be using the bathroom area at the same time?  What must-haves do you need, and do you have a few “luxuries” you’d like to add as well? Do you want a spa-like bathtub, or would you rather have a steam shower or both?! What kind of lighting will you need if you’re putting on makeup in that bathroom? Here are a few essential items to consider when choosing a bathroom layout:

  • Counters
  • Sinks
  • Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Shower/tub combo
  • Toilet/bidet
  • Windows (if applicable)

You’ll also want to consider how the bathroom flows with the rest of the house. What’s the focal point of the bathroom? Seldom considered, what is visible to other rooms of the house can make a big difference from a style standpoint.  Is the bathroom adjacent to another room, such as the master, when it will always be in view? If you’re lying in bed at night, do you want a toilet in your line of sight? Really plan the layout of your bathroom to make sure it serves your functional and aesthetic needs. If your budget doesn’t allow for a significant change in the footprint of your bathroom, talk with your design professional to offer suggestions on how to help with the flow of the room through décor.

Choosing colors

Again, considering how the bathroom integrates with the rest of the house, think about your color theme.  If you’re completely renovating a bathroom, you’ll likely be choosing flooring, countertops, sinks, faucets, showerheads, shower tiles, glass, and paint, not to mention other bathroom décor such as mirrors, lighting, towel racks, and hooks, etc. Choosing all of these items to work within a color scheme can be a challenge, so it’s a good idea to work with a professional who can guide you through how to create a color scheme that you will love. They’ll not only guide you on pulling the look of your bathroom together but ensure it melds beautifully with the rest of the home’s décor.

Look at your bathroom lighting needs

Lighting is one of the more important aspects of a bathroom both for functionality and style. First, look at what light you already have, such as a window or a skylight, and plan from there, mixing in a variety of lighting sources as possible for ideal functionality and style. The best approach to a well-lit space is to incorporate layers of task, accent, ambient and decorative lighting. There are many lighting styles you can use for the vanity area, including light bars and wall sconces, or small pendants. Using these options creating can provide lighting that is both beautiful and functional for your bathroom. Add this to your checklist for a gorgeous bathroom!

Hardware for your bathroom

A must for your checklist! Bathroom hardware includes faucets, showerheads, and knobs, but also includes handles, hinges, towel racks and hooks, and door handles. Make sure you have hardware that’s complementary to each other. Oftentimes, homeowners struggle to ensure that everything matches, but a good mix of hardware looks well-designed and pulled together. If you’re using oil-rubbed bronze for your shower hardware and faucets, but your door handles are brass, it’s going to impact the overall look of your bathroom. Look at the room as a whole to ensure the look flows well and pulls together nicely. Many interior design showrooms will display full bathroom designs to help you get a feel for how to pull it all together.

Consider adding technology to your bathroom

There are all kinds of options to add technology to your bathroom, including floor heating, under counter appliances such as warming drawers for robes and towels, or wireless music systems. You spend a lot of time in a bathroom; why not make it a luxurious retreat? Even adding one technology aspect to your bathroom can greatly enhance the functionality of your bathroom. If you choose one of these options, be sure to plan for additional labor such as electrical requirements and consider that for your budget.

Remodeling a bathroom can be a huge project, but an exciting one as well! Following this checklist can prepare you for the job ahead and help you achieve the bathroom you always wanted.

Home Automation Options to Make Your Life Easier

The amount of technology available for homeowners these days is stunning, if not overwhelming. You can do pretty much anything from your phone, from turning on lights to setting an alarm to locking your door and more. With all the options out there, which ones make sense, and why? We’ve showcased a few home automation options to consider.

Home safety features

If you’re looking for one category to automate in your home, safety features should be your first choice. There are many wonderful options to choose from that not only make life easier but can make your home more secure. Most people start with smart doorbells, which offer homeowners the opportunity to see who is at their door before they open it, even if they’re not home. Some models allow you to keep video on file for later reference or have a two-way conversation with the person at your door even when you’re not in your home. Basic models are easy to install and inexpensive, giving you peace of mind and a level of safety for a low price.

Another popular safety feature is automated door locks. Ever leave your house and can’t remember if you locked the door or not? Ever gotten home and realized you somehow locked yourself out? Are your teenagers home alone and forgetful about locking the door at night?  Smart locks can solve this problem and can be run from your phone, whether you’re at your front door or the next state over. On some models, you can assign codes to different people like your housecleaners or your mother-in-law, so you can control who comes and goes without having to unlock the door every time or share a central code. Whole house security systems can tie these options together and bundle with in-home videos, motion sensors, and more.

Lighting and window coverings

If you come home to a dark home and stumble through the house to turn on a light, automated lighting might be a good option to consider. It can be tied to a home security system, or it can be a standalone feature. Lighting automation lets you control lights from your computer or smartphone, turning them on and off, scheduling them to come on or turn off while you’re on vacation, and even dimming depending on the time of day. There are even color-changing light bulbs that can mimic a mode you’re going for, from cozy warmth to cool evening calm blues. They can help you sleep at night, be slowly dimming, and wake you up by slowly getting brighter. This is a fun and convenient way to dip your toe in automating your home.

Window covering automation can add a level of convenience for those who often open and close blinds, or have a high up window covering that are difficult to reach. You can set shades to open and close on a schedule or control them with your voice using Alexa or another voice assistant. They also can tilt to control how much light comes in versus merely opening and closing.

Kitchen automation

The biggest rage right now is in kitchen automation. Sure, you already have some control over your crockpot or Instant Pot with settings you can set and forget, but new kitchen automation takes control to a whole new level. Kitchen faucets are a popular pick where you can wave your hand in front of the faucet to start or stop the water flow. Some models even allow voice control so you can tell the faucet how much water to pour in, say, a pot for boiling pasta.

Refrigerators are another trend in home automation. Smart models allow you to check the contents of your fridge, control temperature, and even change temperature settings for different parts of your fridge depending on your needs (like a big platter of sandwiches or several wine bottles being stored for a party). Some have computer screens that act as a helpful display, showing calendars, pulling up recipes, or scrolling through family photos.

Not to be outdone, ranges and stoves now offer automation as well. Connected to your home’s wi-fi, certain models can be controlled from your phone or by voice. They’ll even alert you when your food is done; no more clock-watching or listening for that buzzer to go off.

Home automation has come a long way, and many people are incorporating these upgrades into their custom kitchen renovations. If you’re considering adding home automation during a major remodel, be sure to work with an interior design professional that can counsel you on not only function but style so that these items blend seamlessly into your newly remodeled home without detracting from the look of your home.

It is Not Too Early to Start Planning Your Outdoor Living Space Remodel

When the temperatures are in the sweltering triple digits in Arizona, it is hard to think about cooler days where you will want to be outside as much as possible, but they’ll be here before you know it! With everyone spending so much more time at home these days, it is important to have an outdoor living space you can enjoy when fall weather rolls around. It is not too early to start planning your outdoor living space remodel! We have got a few ideas and suggestions to help you prepare for fall weather.

Look at the big picture first

It is typical for most homeowners to look at needed upgrades in bits and pieces when it comes to their backyard: a new barbeque here, a hot tub there, and maybe a fire pit table to make it cozy. However, you should treat your exterior remodeling project the same as you would if you were remodeling your kitchen. You know you need to work with a professional and have an overall plan to remodeling your kitchen; the same goes for your backyard living space. Look at the big picture and sketch out your ideal dream backyard. Sit outside and look around like it is a blank canvas and start imagining what would be ideal. Do a rough sketch just to get an idea. Then go inside your home and look out: how does it look from there? Is your dream cooking island blocking the view? Is your pool out of sight so you cannot watch the kids? Really consider what you want and start envisioning your backyard oasis.

Break it down by living area

Now that you have envisioned that dream outdoor living space, start to break it down a bit more. What do you want for sitting areas? What kind of pool do you want (if you want one at all)? Big outdoor cooking area or a simple barbeque? Waterfall? Spa? Break each area out in chunks and start looking at more details. This is about the time you may want to get the help of a landscape designer to help you out. They will know how to guide you for hardscaping, landscaping, and much more. They also know how to help style your outdoor living area, so it blends or complements your home style. They can guide you on how much upkeep some of these amenities might need or if some of the features you desire are possible where you want them.

Price and prioritize

The big picture step is crucial for you to get the overall vision of what you want. Now you need to start pricing out everything and see if you need to prioritize. Sure, it would be ideal to get everything you want right now, but anyone who has gone through any kind of remodel knows that not everything can happen right away. Either there are budget restrictions, or perhaps one of your dream amenities is lower on the list. Again, working with a design professional can help you price out and prioritize what you want. Maybe the outdoor pizza oven can wait while that spa is a must before chilly weather sets in!

Treat your outdoor space like indoors when it comes to décor

Outdoor décor is no longer four woven chairs around a plastic table. People are designing their outdoor living space to be an extension of their indoor living space. It is all about flow and function. If you want to mirror or complement what you’ve got going on indoors, you may want to reach out to your interior designer and ask for their design help to pull that flow outdoors. Rugs, accessories, art, fabrics are all items you should consider. Remember, this is your dream outdoor area here! Planning ahead and working with professionals will make it exactly what you want.

It is a lot to consider and plan for, which is why it is not too early to plan for your outdoor living space. Be ready when cool weather comes by following these suggestions in the pursuit of your dream backyard. Here is to cooler temps in Arizona soon!

How to Select a General Contractor for Your Remodeling Job

If you’re looking to do significant remodeling or renovation to your home, chances are you’re going to need a general contractor, but where do you start?  We have collected a few helpful tips that will guide you on how to select a general contractor for your remodeling job.

What is a general contractor?

Basically, a general contractor is a party with the responsibility to oversee a construction project and who enters the prime contract with the property owner. As you can imagine, a significant home remodel has a lot of moving parts, and likely several types of workers are going to be involved with the project, from a plumber to electrician and so on. Having a primary point of contact throughout the process can prove invaluable.

Do you need a general contractor for a remodeling job?

Large projects that take time, machinery, and multiple workers, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition, often require a general contractor’s license. These types of projects often require multiple types of licensing and levels of expertise. In addition to licensing, a remodeling contractor will often focus on larger projects that require a lot of coordination, sometimes over weeks, to complete. A major home renovation needs a general contractor to help the project go as smoothly as possible.

What you should know before hiring a general contractor

As you can imagine, hiring the right general contractor is essential! Referrals are always ideal, so you can speak directly with someone who has already worked with the contractor. Ask friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors to see if they have anyone, they will wholeheartedly refer for your remodeling project. If you do not have that luxury (and even if you do), here are a few items you need to get from each potential contractor to make the right decision.

Check their credentials

Even if you meet or are referred to an ideal general contractor, check their credentials. Go online and confirm that they have the proper state and local licenses required for the job they will be doing for you. Look at the professional certification or what associations they belong to. See if they have any professional designations such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR).

Interview several contractors

“It’s always good to get a second opinion” typically applies to medical decisions, but the same can be said for a general contractor. Meet with a few contractors and present your project in the same fashion to each one. See how each address how the project will be managed. Also, pay attention to whether they are asking you thoughtful questions about the project. You’ll learn a lot about their communication style from doing this, and that’s important, as you’ll be communicating with your contractor a lot!

Check their references

Even if the general contractor was referred to you by a trusted friend or family member, go the extra steps to check references. Ask to speak to other clients who had similar projects in size and scope. While no project goes perfectly, seeing how a contractor handled the project overall, good, and bad, is telling. Do not skip over this step!

Get everything in writing before the project starts

You would be surprised how many homeowners do not get a detailed bid in writing. This is a must! Will the scope of the project change over time?  Possibly. Will the general contractor or one of the workers run into something unexpected that might challenge the timeline? It happens. However, getting a bid in writing will make these pivots and surprises easier to manage. Make sure the proposal has the following in it:

  • Bid price and payment schedule
  • Detailed information about the scope of work
  • Site plan
  • Change order clause
  • Dispute resolution clause
  • Waiver of lien

Remodeling projects can be exciting! Choosing the right general contractor for the job will ensure you get precisely what you want in your project, on time, within budget, and done professionally.

Your Bathroom Remodeling Checklist

Bathrooms, whether master bathrooms or guest bathrooms have come a long way over the years. No longer are bathrooms only for function; homeowners now want all the latest amenities for a level of style and luxury as well. Remodeling a bathroom is no small undertaking, especially if you plan on moving plumbing. Before you start a bathroom renovation, be sure you are entirely prepared. We have pulled together a few things to consider and created your bathroom remodeling checklist. When you are ready, we are here to help!

Be sure to create a budget

With so many options out there for bathrooms, it is important to have a budget in mind, so you are not easily distracted by all the fabulous options out there. No matter what your budget is, a quality bathroom renovation professional can help you achieve what you want and stay on budget. Before you get started, take a look at what you want to do, and then do your research on what it is going to cost to create that dream bathroom. It is important to have an idea of what the costs are going to be for the features you want. This will include materials, design, and labor.  Decide what kind of materials you want and get an idea of what those costs are. Granite or marble countertops, or perhaps something even more exotic? Stock lighting or custom order fixtures? Look at your bathtub: Will it require a complete replumbing job to accommodate or are you staying with the same footprint? Gathering costs and creating a budget will help you enjoy the process and the end results without facing an unanticipated bill at the end.

Decide on the function of the bathroom

Sure, there are the basics of what every bathroom should accommodate for functionally, but this is more about usability overall. How many people will be using it at the same time?  Do you want a spa-like bathtub that is oversized with jets and other options for a luxury bath, or would you rather have a steam shower? Both? What kind of lighting will you need for shaving, make-up, etc.? Here are a few key items to consider when choosing a bathroom layout:

  • Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Shower/tub combo
  • Toilet/Bidet
  • Vanity

Is the bathroom adjacent to another room such as the master when it will always be in view or will it be a closed-off space? Really plan the footprint of your bathroom to make sure it serves your functional and aesthetic needs.

Plan out your color scheme

If you’re completely renovating a bathroom, you’ll likely be choosing flooring, countertops, sinks, faucets, showerheads, shower tiles, glass, and paint, not to mention other bathroom décor such as mirrors, lighting, towel racks, and hooks. It is important to have a color scheme in mind so that all of these go well together and create the overall look you want. This can be overwhelming for many. Your best bet is to work with a bath design professional who can create a color scheme that you will love. Whether you’re going alone on this or using a designer, a checklist can come in handy to keep track of this.

Consider your lighting

Lighting is important in bathrooms! Ever tried to put on makeup or shave in an underlit bathroom?  Miserable, right? To plan for lighting, consider what light you already have, such as a window or a skylight, and plan from there. The best approach to a well-lit space is to incorporate layers of task, accent, ambient and decorative lighting. Be sure to plan for all three, then look for the right style. There are many lighting styles you can use for the vanity area including light bars and wall sconces, or small pendants. Work with an electrician so you understand how much light you can and should put in the room.

Do not forget the bathroom hardware

Bathroom hardware includes faucets, showerheads, and knobs, but also includes handles, hinges, towel racks and hooks, and door handles. Make sure you have hardware that is complementary to each other. If you are using oil-rubbed bronze for your shower hardware and faucets but your door handles are brass, it is going to impact the overall look of your bathroom. While everything does not need to match exactly, it should not clash either.

Take a look at bathroom technology

There are all kinds of options to add technology to your bathroom these days so look around and see if any catch your eye. Options include floor heating, under counter appliances such as warming drawers for robes and towels, or wireless music systems. You spend a lot of time in a bathroom; why not make it a luxurious retreat? Be sure to add bathroom technology to your checklist!

Remodeling a bathroom can be a substantial project, but a thrilling one! Follow this checklist to make sure you are staying in budget while putting together the bathroom of your dreams!