Finding a good general contractor that will be able to build your project in the time frame and budget that you would like is important. In order to find a good general contractor, there are many sources for information, however your architect is the best person to consult for recommendations. Next ask friends and family to see who has built a similar project and who they used. I stress similar project because you do not want the guy that does tile work to be the general contractor for your new house. Find someone that is a general contractor to fill that role. Look online for contractors in your area or ask at the local lumberyard for names of people that they deal with on a regular basis. You can also check out websites such as NARI – National Association of the Remodeling Industry or the NAHB – The National Association of Home Builders.
Consider these questions when interviewing potential contractors.
Don’t make your decision based solely on price. You typically get what you pay for, so be you are comfortable with the person and company that you are selecting. It is worth paying more to get the company that you believe will do the best job. Trust your instincts, ask many questions and hire someone that you genuinely like!
Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to the summer. It’s definitely something to look forward to. Once the cold weather settles in, who doesn’t start daydreaming of warm summer nights with dinners outside and kids swimming or playing in the yard. There is something about the warm air that makes us more relaxed. Sprucing up the outside of your home is an easy way to add additional value to it and you get to sit back, relax and enjoy all the sights and sounds!
With that being said, there is never a wrong time to start thinking of your outdoor dream space but lets face it, when you are stuck inside on those cold winter nights, it does give you something to look forward to.
In this Newsletter we teamed up with Liquidscapes to discuss your outdoor space and all that Landscaping Professionals can do to transform your space from average to beautiful.
(An excerpt from the Paul Rugarber’s forthcoming book Architecture to Construction and Everything in Between)
“Got no checkbooks, got no banks. Still I’d like to express my thanks – I’ve got the sun in the mornin’ and the moon at night.” – Irving Berlin
The project budget is probably the biggest item that gives people anxiety – and rightfully so! I have worked with clients who have large budgets and those who have small budgets. One of the similarities I’ve found is that each client wants to maximize their dollars spent for a return on investment – which of course makes sense! The part that doesn’t make sense, though, is the decisions that are made at times by clients during the process.
The budget is the driving force of the project and the expectations of each client are very different. Personally, I love both the jobs with a modest budget as well as the elaborate jobs with exotic materials and lots of detail. However, you need to keep in mind that these are two very different situations and the owners’ expectations for time spent coordinating and making selections for each are very different – and so they must be treated and priced that way. A $15 door knob and a $250 door knob require vastly different levels of care, precision, and specifications.
The most important item to establish is how much you would like to spend and then understand what is possible for that amount of money.
One of the most important questions I ask my clients has to do with their total project budget. The budget will determine the way the house is designed and built. Put simply, the budget equates to how much time is spent on a project. A simple addition will take a set amount of time and is easy to figure for pricing – but a more elaborate house with a large budget is more complicated. When you tell your architect and builder what your budget is, it should be the actual budget. Be sure to communicate whether it’s a firm number or a ballpark. You should always include 10%-15% for “extra” items and adjustments that need to be accounted for as the project progresses.
The budget will also help you set realistic goals. Many times clients just don’t understand costs and have no idea what the project will cost. In asking local builders or architects about costs, it will help you with your planning. There is no sense in wasting time planning an entire second floor addition with a $15,000 budget. On the other hand, I have clients who say they are planning to spend $2,000,000 but it is not a hard number and getting their wish list is more important than the total cost.
The most important issue for you is know what you want to and can spend and then understand roughly what that amount of money will allow you to build. Of course the quality of construction is where the amounts vary greatly. Don’t ever assume that you are getting the same product when someone quotes you half the price of the other guy.
For those of you that have no idea where to start or what you should expect a project to cost, I recommend discussing this with your architect to get a better understanding before establishing your budget. Even if you are only talking about rough budgets, understand what is included in those prices. Site work and landscaping are often additional costs and interior items such as cabinetry and appliances may be as well. There are always unknown costs so be sure to understand what will not be done and is your responsibility as much as you understand what will be done for the price as they all have to be factored into the overall budget that you create.
Whether you like simple white subway tile or an intricate mosaic tile, when adding a backsplash to your kitchen you are creating an element in the space that is custom to you and your likes. With so many different options available from stone to glass and everything in between, you can create a look that’s simple or one that’s artsy and colorful.
In this month’s newsletter, we’ve collaborated with Nova Tile and Stone in New Egypt, NJ to give you some ideas on what you can do to spice up the look of your kitchen. Everyone would like to create a one of a kind space, so when it comes time to think about the finishes you want and how you want your room to feel when you walk in it, don’t forget to enlist the help of a tile and stone specialist. These professionals know what works well together and what may not. They can ensure that you can find a design element that fits your needs and will make a large impact in your space all while staying within your budget. You don’t need to have a large budget to create a custom backsplash look!
With the evolution of DIY and the overabundance of home renovation projects we see on TV today, its important to remember to “Invest in your Nest”. Enlisting the help of design professionals is the best way to make sure you get the custom look you want without having to worry about the overwhelming decisions that need to be made. Changing a kitchen backsplash is a small design and construction project, but can add so much character to a space. Three items to consider are:
“The Forgotten Room”
With school back in session and kids sports schedules in full force, we would like to talk about the laundry room and how to make a not so enjoyable chore more enjoyable. With the right design elements you can create a laundry room that you actually look forward to being in. We all know that with the hustle and bustle of the busy family, we are always looking for ways to make the everyday tasks a little easier. How can we simplify things and stay organized?
“A place for everything and everything in its place.”
– Benjamin Franklin
To some this may be a second thought room, but to anyone that is responsible for this daunting task, this room needs to be a priority! When designing the location and lay out of your laundry room, you should consider where it’s most convenient for your family’s needs. Some choose to have the laundry room on the first floor next to the kitchen while others prefer it on the second floor near the bedrooms, making it easier to put clothes away. Whichever location works best for you, making this room inviting and organized is very important. Allowing enough space for cabinets and storage will create a simple clean look. Sinks,a counter area for folding, drying racks, and even a window ledge for plants are also among clients wish lists. Light cabinetry and cool wall colors create the sense of a fresh and clean area and one that you are excited to be in. This room does not need to be a large space to make it work. With the right layout and use of floor and wall space, a small laundry room can be just as inviting as a larger one.
While the Laundry Room may not be the first choice of rooms you choose to renovate or add on, we can assure you that with all the time spent doing laundry these days, this room is just as important as the next.
Remember, a small change can make a large impact.
We at PDRdesigns are committed to treating everyone with respect and honesty.We would be honored to help you design your dream space. Please contact us with any questions you may have or to schedule a meeting to go over your next home project!
Paul Rugarber , owner of PDRdesigns, LLC is an architect specializing in home renovation and additions with extensive expertise on waterfront designs. You can reach our office by calling (732)-830-3366 or you can visit us on the web at http://www.pdrdesigns.com.
“Creativity is Contagious, pass it on.”
– Albert Einstein
The kitchen is the heart of the home. Where memories are made and traditions are passed on. Kitchens are becoming larger and often include an island or peninsula with stools, as well as a table for everyday meals. The latest trend is eliminating the dining room altogether and creating a large open kitchen perfect for entertaining. Cabinetry and wall colors are key when designing your kitchen and creating the atmosphere perfect for your lifestyle. Over the years, white kitchens have become increasingly more popular because of their timeless simplicity. When you add pops of color to white, it can be very warm and inviting.
This month we sat down with Wendi Smith, Interior Designer and owner of Leftover Luxuries and asked her about white as a color and how it works in kitchen design.
Here’s what she had to say.
“White is truly a color; white isn’t just simply white anymore! But whites can be tricky; so many of them have an undertone, and if the paint is not mixed correctly, the end result may not be what you were looking for.
I LOVE layering white in a room. White really does need more white! On the walls, ceiling and floors, it is important to layer the room with more touches of white through accessories, mirrors, upholstery, lighting and furniture then add splashes of color through pillows, lamps, throws, and even the warmth of rich woods. I also love using gold in a white room. And whites should definitely be used in rooms with lots of light.
I love to use white on architectural features, moldings and textured ceilings. Normally a flat finish is preferable on ceilings—imperfections do not stand out as much—but a ceiling with a great design like coffers, trays or even something as simple as beadboard or planks of wood definitely calls for a semi-gloss finish. And semi-gloss should always be used on trim; I prefer the oil-base option for this application.
As far as specific whites, you can never go wrong with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (OC-17). It is a very soft, warm white with just a hint of gray. I also love doing a fifty-fifty mix of two whites—White Dove and Decorators White. It truly makes a lovely, splendid creamy white.”
Now that you have some information on how overlaying whites and adding color to a white kitchen would work for your design, we encourage you to visit websites like Houzz, Pinterest, and Google Images for some ideas to help you create your own “perfect white kitchen”.
A warm thank you to Wendi Smith, Interior Designer and owner of Leftover Luxuries for her design expertise and addition to our newsletter this month. For more information about creating a custom design look for your home, visit Wendi’s website at http://www.leftoverluxuries.com.
“Less is More”
– Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
We at PDRdesigns are committed to treating everyone with respect and honesty. We would be honored to help you design your dream space! Please contact us with any questions you may have or to schedule a meeting to go over your next home project!
Paul D. Rugarber, owner of PDRdesigns LLC, is an architect specializing in home renovations and additions with extensive expertise in waterfront designs. You can reach our office by calling (732) 830-3366 or visit us on the web at http://www.PDRdesigns.com.