Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tips for Your New Kitchen Remodel

If you have the opportunity to perform a kitchen remodel, congratulations! You now have the chance to develop the perfect kitchen you have always wanted just to your specifications. Before immediately focusing on what your new appliances will look like or what color you’d like the walls to be, consider the layout of your future kitchen. You will want to maximize space while keeping your kitchen inviting and functional. These tips for your kitchen remodel should help get you started on planning your new cooking space and keep you happy for years to come.

Eliminate Wasted Space

When you are remodeling your kitchen, take some time to think about storage. As you plan out your cabinet placement, consider adding cabinets that reach the ceiling to eliminate wasted space, keep dust from settling, and provide more space for rarely used items like fine china and vases. Many people opt to include glass panes in their upper cabinets in case they decide to display china in these hard-to-reach areas. If these cabinets also have a lighting source, it can lighten your entire kitchen, instead of making it feel dark and cramped.

Keep Things Spacious

You should keep in mind things that bothered you about your previous kitchen. Were the walkways too narrow? Was an island in the middle of your kitchen taking up space rather than being useful? Could you easily access your fridge, cabinets, and dishwasher without being in the way of others? Kitchen islands are great for large spaces, but we encourage those with a smaller kitchen space to nix the island idea, as it typically ends up being more of a nuisance than a help. We also suggest remodelers keep the walking space open so more than one person can get around at the same time. This is especially great for when you have company who wants to socialize with you while you cook. A side bar is a nice addition for a kitchen remodel, as it provides extra storage or cutting space, as well as a place for visitors to sit without being right in the middle of things.

Think About Kids

If you have children or grandchildren, you will want your kitchen remodel to be kid-friendly so you can keep an eye on them while you cook. Some newer kitchens include tiered counter tops, so your child can mimic what you do at a height they are comfortable with. Tiered counters are fun for baking cookies or teaching small children the basics of food preparation. They can also be helpful if a sink is in place at their level. If you have young children, you will want to think strategically about oven and stovetop placement, so they cannot be easily accessed or bumped into by children without your supervision. Keep the barstools and microwaves away from these areas so children can color or entertain themselves safely and comfortably while keeping away from the more dangerous areas.

With these tips to get you started during your kitchen remodel, you will be able to plan ahead for the inevitable. When you need an extra hand or want more tips, contact us to learn more.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What Does a General Contractor Do?

A general contractor is hired by the owner of the property (typically, you) to complete a project from start to finish. When you enter a contract with a general contractor, they are taking responsibility for the entire project, which means they will take on responsibility for all elements of the project. This includes the financial responsibility of getting the project done within the budget agreed upon. Naturally, there are always contingencies, but for the most part, your general contractor will give you an estimate and stick to it closely. At the same time, the general contractor is also responsible for getting the project done in a timely manner without causing you a great deal of undue stress. The general contractor purchases all the supplies, hires the tradespeople and engages the subcontractors.

What Are a General Contractor’s Key Responsibilities?

The general contractor is fundamentally responsible for the entire project, which makes it critically important that you make a great decision when hiring the general contractor. Some of the areas the general contractor will focus on include:

Hiring and Managing the Subcontractors: When there is a large job or even a smaller one, there is going to be a number of smaller jobs. When you put in or renovate a kitchen, for example, there will be plumbing work, electrical work, counters and masonry work, cabinetry, etc. It is very important that you have the right subcontractors and make sure that if you get these individuals, they are the responsibility of your general contractor. Additionally, the general contractor sets a schedule for paying the subcontractors and makes sure you approve. Typically, this is time-based and also based on progress as the work is completed. As such, the general contractor will negotiate the contracts for the subcontractors, hire them, and set forth the terms.

Getting Permits and Inspections: Any time you have a project that involves changing or building anything, you will need permits for all the work. The general contractor is responsible for getting the permits in a timely manner so the work can proceed. To do this, they will need to be intimately involved with the planning process and know exactly how to get the permits you need. In addition to this, the project will need periodic inspections based on how far along each aspect of the job is. Often, you cannot proceed to the next phase of a job until the inspections have been completed. The general contractor is responsible for scheduling the inspectors to visit, making sure your site is ready, and making changes if for some reason you do not pass.

Supplies and Materials: The general contractor will be responsible for ordering the supplies you need to complete the jobs. To that end, they will order supplies based on what the job needs and ensure that your subcontractors do not run out of the materials you need. All this should be included in the quote you get from the general contractor before you make a hiring decision.