Monthly Archives: May 2013

Remodeling Guide Part II

May is National Home Improvement Month, so throughout the past few weeks, we posted remodeling tips everyday (every weekday and non-holiday, that is). Here is a compilation of “must-knows” from the experts here at Bartelt.

Be patient and understand that the design process is just that, a process. It can often take several iterations before you land on the perfect design solution for your home and lifestyle. Sometimes, on large remodels, the design time can take almost as long as the construction phase. In the end, you’ll have a design that fulfills your objectives.

Architectural Rendering

Our architectural renderings allow homeowners to visualize the possibilities for their remodel and work with designers to tweak elements.

Make sure the construction phase kicks off with an on-site meeting with all pertinent parties – you, the designer, the lead carpenter, and the production manager (or expeditor). At Bartelt, Rick Bartelt also attends this meeting as well as the ongoing weekly meetings. This gathering is the perfect opportunity to set ground rules, including start times; dumpster, lumber, and port-o-let placement; dust control; flooring coverings; and other expectations. Also, let the contractor know if you have any pets and what measures need to be taken to ensure their safety.

Be prepared for the ups and downs in your project’s progress.  The first part of any remodel takes off quickly, normally without major issues or challenges.  Once the rough work is completed, things can often slow down.  This is due to many factors – waiting on inspections, scheduling cabinet measuring and templating, choosing selections, and other elements.

If the process was on a graph, it would climb rapidly during the first phase then level off until the drywall was complete.  Once finish items started being installed, the graph line would continue on a steep incline.

Constant and meaningful communication from the contractor greatly helps during plateaus.

Remodeling Ups and Downs

Here’s a quick sketch (not to scale) of the ups, downs, and plateaus of the remodeling process.

It’s okay to make changes during the process.  We often have homeowners add something or a number of things to their remodel during the progression of the project.  Once they see the space coming together, many customers want to make updates to adjacent spaces or tweak some of the elements in that room.  Just know that this can add time to the project.

Be prepared for inconvenience.  Once the remodel begins, your home becomes a worksite.  Remodeling can turn your daily routines upside down (although we take the measures to ensure the experience is as comfortable as possible).  A kitchen remodel, for example, will definitely affect meal planning.  Many homeowners set up temporary cooking areas in this situation.  Make sure you have a place to unwind and escape the chaos.  In the end, it will all be worth it!

Remodel for you and your family, not for the next owners.  If you plan to stay in your home, think about your lifestyle and preferences.  It’s important that you enjoy your remodeled space.  Keep in mind, however, that the more your selections stray from the norm, the less likely you are to get maximum return on your improvement.

Take before and progress photos.  They will help you realize how far you’ve come, and they’re a fun opportunity to showcase your home’s transition to family and friends once the project is complete.

Shorewood Kitchen Remodel

Here’s a kitchen before and after (just for fun)!

Make sure you have adequate storage space for belongings that need to be removed from the construction area – furniture, décor, etc.  For larger projects, many homeowners rent PODS or take things to a storage facility.  Fragile items should also be removed from neighboring walls to eliminate potential accidents.

Now that a communication plan has been established, don’t hesitate to ask questions or express concerns during the process.  Things may come up, and it’s best to address them immediately to ensure satisfaction with the end product.

Enjoy the process!  Have fun with the design and selections stages.  Use your remodel as an excuse to get away for the weekend or go on vacation.  Treat yourself to a night out to recharge your batteries.

As the remodel nears completion, make sure the contractor walks through the project with you and forms a “punch list” of items that need to be addressed before they leave the site.  It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions.

Now, it’s time to enjoy your new space!

Remodeling Guide Part I

May is National Home Improvement Month, so throughout the past few weeks, we posted remodeling tips everyday (every weekday and non-holiday, that is).  Here is a compilation of “must-knows” from the experts here at Bartelt.

Talk to friends and family who have been through the remodeling process.  Time spent listening to others’ experiences will give you a better understanding of the realities of remodeling.  They can offer advice, recommendations, and insight about what they wish they would have known going into their remodel.

Prioritize your needs, wants, and wishes for your project, so you can establish a realistic budget.

Meet with a couple of contractors, but no more than two to three.  Talking to too many people can lead to paralysis of analysis.  Choose the contractor you feel most comfortable with; you’re building a long-term relationship.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for references.  Check out questions NARI recommends asking here.

Start gathering inspiration photos for your remodel.  These images help you introduce your style and wishes for your home to the designer.  Houzz is a great resource to search for and organize your ideas.  You can also ask questions about products or materials and share your ideabooks with others.

Bartelt Remodeling's Houzz

Visit Houzz to gather ideas and see photos of our work.

As much as we all enjoy a good before and after show, programs on stations, such as HGTV, can set unrealistic expectations when it comes to a project’s budget, timeline, and process.  Watch these shows for entertainment or inspiration, but be aware that they are far from reality.

The time is now!  There’s no better time than the present to get your 2013 remodeling plans and ideas on paper and priced out.  Lumber pricing is increasing substantially with no end in sight for the remainder of the year.  Once we sign a contract with our customers, we can lock in the pricing and hedge potential surprises in terms of a material price increase.

Hire an experienced designer and establish a strong relationship.  Our in-house designers guide the process, solve spatial problems creatively, and educate you on the vast material options available.  Meet our designers, Matt and Mary, here!

Work with an interior designer to make selections.  Choosing products and materials can be an overwhelming process, sometimes extending the project’s timeline if not done properly.  Our interior designer, Mary, works with you to choose items based on quality, function, price, and style.  She also helps homeowners stay on task and select products to create a cohesive design.

Hartland Kitchen Remodel

Here’s a photo just for fun! Don’t all of the selections go well together?

Remember: Form follows function.  Although it’s fun to envision the “look” of your remodel, it’s important to truly evaluate how you live in your spaces.  Where are the high traffic areas?  What works in each room and what doesn’t?  Once you’ve addressed the flow and layout of the room, you can focus on those fun details to showcase your personality.

Establish a communication plan.  Your remodeler should lay out the plan from the start.  If not, make sure to set expectations for communication methods, frequency, and availability.  Also, clarify who you should be talking to on a regular basis.  At Bartelt, our production team works diligently to keep the lines of communication open.  For most projects, Rick Bartelt, the designer, and the production manager meet with you on-site on a weekly basis to review progress and discuss the next steps.

Before you proceed and fall in love with a design, have a concrete budget and be honest with your contractor.  Once we know what you are able to comfortably invest in your project, we can analyze your needs, wants, and wishes list to see what will realistically fit into that number.  We don’t want to present plans that don’t work with your budget because it can lead to disappointment.

Bartelt Bathrooms Featured in M Magazine

Check out two of Bartelt’s recent bathroom remodels in the “Dwellings” section of M Magazine’s June 2013 issue.  Both Matt Retzak and Mary Sweet are quoted, discussing the features of the updated spaces.

See the “Dwellings” section, pages 75 – 79, here.

Bartelt Master Bath in M MagazineBartelt Master Bath in M Magazine

Recent Project: Rustic First Floor Remodel

Our customers’ home was dated and compartmentalized. They wanted to create a layout conducive to entertaining and introduce a rustic aesthetic to complement their heavily wooded lot. To achieve this objective, we remodeled the entire first floor, removing walls and incorporating details throughout the home to create a cohesive design.

The Dining Room

Hartland Dining Room Remodel

In the dining room, we added an arched entryway to open it up to the kitchen. It also features a custom, distressed buffet cabinet, candle-style sconces with an iron strap detail, and an “orb” chandelier made of wood and iron.

The Kitchen

Hartland Kitchen Remodel

In the kitchen, a peninsula, soffits, and dark oak cabinetry were eliminated. The remodeled space features glazed birch cabinetry, ample storage, granite countertops with a leather texture, a slate backsplash, hand-scraped hickory floors, and a custom wrought iron chandelier. The island is the focal point with a butcher block, olive, crackle-finish base, and round walnut table. To achieve an open concept, a portion of the wall was removed between the dinette and family room. The area is encased in hand-scraped Douglas fir beams.

The Living Room

Hartland Family Room Remodel

The family room originally had a fieldstone fireplace and cedar beams on the ceiling. The mason applied a heavy coat of mortar to the fireplace, a technique reminiscent of old farmhouse walls, and the cedar beams were replaced with hand-scraped beams. The space also includes a wet bar with custom cabinetry, a hammered copper sink, and a Bronzo Quartzite countertop.

The Powder Room

Hartland Powder Room Remodel

The remodeled powder room features a custom vanity, Bronzo Quartzite countertop, and vessel sink made from a boulder. The wall mount faucet is set into mosaic tiles, and the room’s large slate tile floor matches the flooring used in the back hall and laundry room.

For detail photos, check out this project on Houzz.