The Classic Bathroom

Wauwatosa Classic Bathroom RemodelIt’s time to take the principles of “classic style,” a topic we’ve covered in the past, and apply them to the bathroom.  How can you create a bathroom that stands the test of time and offers flexibility to tie in with changing trends?  Simplicity and quality products are the key.  Bartelt shares tips and examples to create a classic look.

Marble Basketweave TileThe Floor

For a clean and elegant look, basketweave, hexagon, or herringbone tile patterns are timeless, adding texture to the floor.  Keep it simple with black and white or all white with a contrasting grout.  Choose a creative mosaic pattern.  Select a classic Carrara or Calacatta marble or maybe a travertine.  There are many opportunities to showcase your style through these time-honored options.

The WallsWainscoting

Simple drywall will never go out of style, but if you’re looking to add some character to your space without getting too trendy or ornate, there are many options.  Subway tile, beadboard, and wainscoting are just a few examples of architectural details that add interest, but don’t overpower the room.

Fox Point Classic Bathroom RemodelThe Vanity

Many homeowners either opt for a furniture-style vanity or no vanity at all.  First, let’s examine what we mean by “furniture-style.”  These vanities often look like freestanding pieces of furniture, featuring details such as legs, feet, varying heights and depths, inset drawers and doors, and base molding with a recessed toe kick.  They can be a new, custom piece or a reclaimed piece of furniture.  Another classic look is a pedestal sink or wall-hung lavatory.  Above the vanity, recessed medicine cabinets can be a nod to a bygone era as well as wall-mounted faucets.

The FinishesPolished Nickel

To create a classic look, use historic finishes.  Polished nickel, chrome, and oil-rubbed bronze are often popular choices for plumbing fixtures and knobs.  Marble, travertine, white painted woodwork, and dark wood tones are also examples of finishes that stand the test of time.

Freestanding TubThe Shower and Tub

There are many options to create a timeless, yet modern shower – frameless shower doors, subway tile, marble, a bench, built-in niches, and a series of hand sprays and shower heads are just a few selections.  The bathtub is another opportunity to insert a classic flair.  Freestanding tubs, especially claw-foot tubs, remain the hallmark of a classic bathroom.  They add an air of luxury and are available in many shapes and sizes to suit your style.  Add water supplies and tub controls on risers that come off the floor for a complete classic look!

The LightingVintage Light Fixture

For your light fixtures, consider restoring an antique chandelier and sconces or choosing lights that mimic the style of a vintage fixture.

Guest Post: What’s Behind Your Walls?

Drexel Building Supply talks lumber.

When you remodel or build, what’s behind the wall is really important. But often it is rarely discussed in the building process or if it is, it is all based on price.  “Find me some cheap lumber to build this!”  How horribly wrong that is!

The framing lumber used to construct your walls is an industry unto itself. Lumber gDrexel Lumber Yardrades vary, and wood can vary greatly even within the grade.  You have to find a true lumber guru (like the team at Drexel) to find good wood.  It’s a bit like wine.  Not all red wine is created equal.  You can get it really cheap or really good, sometimes both, but not usually.  This applies to lumber.

Why do you need good wood?

The straighter the lumber, the easier it is for the carpenters to work with. Wood with no knots or cracks is also easier to use and offers more strength for your structure.  Wasted time and wasted product are expensive things on jobsites.

TheDrexel Lumber Yard Bartelt team takes “good wood” a step further with TimberStrand® Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL), an innovative and versatile building product that is straight, free of knots, and resists twisting, shrinking, and bowing after installation.  Learn more here.  Bartelt uses TimberStrand® LSL on long and tall walls and also behind walls with ample cabinetry and fine millwork to ensure they are straight, plumb, and true.

How does it get to your home?Drexel Lumbe Yard

Good wood comes across on railroad cars, normally from Canada or even here in Wisconsin. The lumber grows slower, due to a shorter growing season, which means it will be stronger with less knots and warping. It is stored at Drexel under cover until it is needed for a project. Then a team of pulling experts deciphers the plans and pulls the material in a way that is easy for the builders to use. Sorting through hundreds or thousands of boards for the best product can be costly, so Drexel does this for contractors at our yard.

We use a moffett or boom truck to move the material (not “dump”) to the project site, so it stays organized until it is used at its final destination: your home.

About the Author:

Joel Fleischman has a self diagnosed case of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and has used that to fuel his life and made this negative trait into a positive life style. He is also the president and solution provider for Drexel Building Supply. You can follow him on twitter @JoelmFleischman or e-mail him at joel.fleischman@drexelteam.com. Joel does have an English degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, but you would never know based on his blogs. Also, he went to Panama city on Spring break three consecutive years in the early 1990s.  Learn more at http://www.drexelteam.com/.

Recent Project: Lake Home Remodel

The homeowners wanted to update their first floor to accommodate entertaining and daily living while taking advantage of the lake views.  The remodeled spaces enhance the home’s original charm and offer an open floor plan.

Oconomowoc Kitchen Remodel Before

Oconomowoc Kitchen Remodel After

The original kitchen was dark and dated, with little work space.  The remodeled kitchen features painted and glazed custom cabinetry, granite countertops, high-end appliances, and ample storage and counter space.  The large island accommodates casual meals and entertaining, and its contrasting color adds interest to the space.

Oconomowoc Wet Bar Before      Oconomowoc Wet Bar After

Neighboring the kitchen was the cramped wet bar area.  Now, the wet bar serves as an entertaining hub, having a direct connection to the kitchen, dining room, and family room.  It also features a coved ceiling to complement existing details.

Oconomowoc Sunroom Remodel Before

Oconomowoc Sunroom Remodle After

The back of the home was closed off to the lake views.  The homeowners wanted to improve the sight lines, so they could enjoy their backdrop.  The remodel opened up the back wall of the home to showcase their views and create space for a screened-in porch.  Heated floors allow the homeowners to enjoy the space into the fall months.

Bartelt Wins Two MBA Achievement Awards

On Friday, September 26, 2014, we took home two Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) Achievement Awards – Best Remodeling Project $150,000+ and People’s Choice for the 2014 MBA Spring Tour.

The winning Bartelt projects each had unique components.  The whole house remodel returned an 1880s farmhouse back to its original charm. Bartelt updated the entire first floor and built a sunroom addition that complements the home’s existing details.  The project is a mix of rustic and refined elements, featuring reclaimed barn beams, coffered ceilings, white custom cabinetry, fieldstone, and character-grade hickory flooring with hand-eased edges.

The lower level remodel featured on the 2014 Spring Tour offers the homeowners a comfortable area to watch movies, entertain, and play.  It’s a space that both the adults and kids can enjoy, featuring marble subway tile, engineered Hickory flooring, ample storage, barn-style doors, arched openings, and smoky gray custom cabinetry.

We are honored to receive two Achievement Awards.  These awards are the result of the creativity, dedication, and expertise of the entire team, including our designers, carpenters, production staff, trade partners, and customers.

Best Remodeling Project $150,000+

Best Remodeling Project $150,000+

People’s Choice for the 2014 MBA Spring Tour

People’s Choice for the 2014 MBA Spring Tour

 

Matt Retzak Interview in Lake Country Publications

Bartelt designer, Matt Retzak, was recently interviewed for a feature in Lake Country Publications.  Check out the article “Home makeover” to learn more about the remodeling process.

Matt Retzak in Lake Country Publications

The (Kitchen) Island Life

As today’s kitchens become more connected to other living and entertaining spaces, the island becomes more versatile and serves as a hub – meal prep, seating, storage, entertaining, homework. The island is a customizable piece, so when you’re planning its composition, it’s important to think about the role you need it to fulfill and how you primarily use the kitchen. Do you have a large family? Are you often the host? Do you love to cook? These are all important questions to consider.

StorageHartland Kitchen Remodel

The island is a great spot to insert extra storage. Whether it’s a spice drawer, roll-outs for everyday dishes, or open shelves for cookbooks, there are many ways to make your kitchen island work beyond meal prep and seating.

Size

The dimensions of your island are shaped by its role in the kitchen. If you’re looking for counter space and enough seating for the family, you may want to consider an extra-long island or an actual table attached to the island. Maybe you plan to use the island for meal prep and a party buffet. A wide island might be the perfect option. It’s also important to consider its height. A 36-inch height can accommodate meal prep and seating. A 42-inch height is ideal for bar stools. The island can also be designed with two levels, so it can work “double duty” – cooking and dining. This also breaks down the scale of the island and gives some separation to obscure cooking messes from view.

Waukesha Kitchen RemodelLighting

Proper lighting over the island is essential. Pendants or a chandelier offer ambient and task lighting to help with smaller kitchen duties and overall illumination. The lighting over your island is also an opportunity to get creative and showcase your style. Glass pendants, lanterns, drum pendants, multi-light fixtures – island lighting can set the tone for your space, add a punch of color, or reinforce the kitchen design.

Utility

As we’ve said, the kitchen island is flexible, so outfit it with the tools you need for your various tasks. Entertainers may want to consider a beverage or wine refrigerator. Others choose to include a microwave drawer or dishwasher in the island. Home cooks often prefer a prep sink in the island because it’s easily accessible, accommodates cooking and clean-up simultaneously, and makes sharing the space with another cook easier.

DetailsShorewood Kitchen Remodel

The island is an opportunity to add character to the kitchen. Consider a contrasting stain or paint color to make it a focal point and highlight your style. Opt for furniture-style legs and toe kicks to create a high-end look. Choose a countertop material that suits your style and the island’s main role. Do you like marble’s classic look? Are you interested in granite’s durability? Perhaps, you’d prefer the warmth of a butcher block top? The options are truly endless!

Job Opening: Lead Carpenter

Bartelt is currently looking for an experienced, full-time lead carpenter to join our crew and work on our job sites throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Bartelt is a well-established, well-branded residential and commercial remodeling company located in Delafield, WI.  Winning local, regional, and national industry awards, Bartelt specializes in high-end remodels and is a member of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council and the Metropolitan Builders Association.

Requirements:

  • Minimum of five years of experience as a lead carpenter in remodeling
  • Minimum of a high school education or equivalent
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Presentable and reliable van or pickup truck
  • All necessary hand and power tools and ladders

Bartelt will supply scaffolding, harnesses, tethers, generators (when needed), extra tall ladders, specialty tools and equipment, and safety equipment (i.e. Tyvek suits, eye and ear protection, shop vacuums, Hepa vacuums, etc.).

Desired Qualities:

  • Ability to lead a crew of carpenters
  • Efficient and able to accomplish tasks in a timely manner
  • Quality- and detail-oriented in rough and finish carpentry
  • Strong communication, people, and organizational skills

Compensation/Benefits:

  • Based on experience and skill level
  • One week paid vacation after one year of employment
  • Participation in the 401K program after a one year waiting period

Interested individuals should email their resumes to Rick Bartelt at rickb@barteltremodel.com.

From Basement to Lower Level

As the cool weather moves in, families tend to spend more time indoors.  Perhaps, you’re starting to feel cramped or can’t seem to agree on a television program to watch together.  Maybe the kids are looking for a place to hang out with friends.  A finished basement, or lower level, is the perfect opportunity to extend your living space.

The Essentials

Whether you’re transforming the basement into an entertaining hub, guest area, or hobby space, there are certain elements that remain important to create an inviting, practical lower level.

LightingOconomowoc Finished Basement

Like other areas of your home, it’s important to layer the light.  Recessed lights provide ambient lighting while pendants over a bar or table offer task and decorative lighting.  Sconces, floor lamps, and under-cabinet lighting are other options for your lower level.

Storage

Although you are creating a new living space, it’s important that the basement continues to serve one of its main functions: storage.  About one quarter of the basement is often left unfinished, to keep space for mechanicals and shelves to store holiday décor, leftover paint cans, unused clothing or toys, and other miscellaneous items.  In the finished portion of the basement, it’s important to consider storage, as well.  Incorporate closets and cabinetry into your new space to keep your lower level clutter-free.

Muskego Finished BasementCeiling

It’s vital to consider the ceiling height of your finished basement.  Typically, 50 percent of the finished area must be at least seven feet tall.  This is dictated by local building codes.  Pipes and ductwork can affect the ceiling height.  In many cases, they can be hidden within your basement design in a standard drywall ceiling or in a tray or coffered ceiling.  In other situations, it may make more sense to relocate pipes and ductwork.  When considering your ceiling options, it’s also important to think about access to mechanicals and plumbing.  Acoustic ceiling tiles or access panels are sometimes the best option.

Sound Insulation

You don’t want your lower level to become a source of “noise pollution,” especially if you have a home theater, so sound insulation can be installed at the joists between the lower and main levels to alleviate this.

Flooring

Tile, stained concrete, engineered wood, and high-end vinyl tile are popular options in the lower level for their durability and low maintenance.  Carpeting is also put into many lower levels to add warmth.

Exit

There should be easy, safe exit routes in case of emergency.  An egress window is large enough for a person to exit through it, a viable option for the basement and a necessity for a lower level bedroom (the egress window must be in the bedroom it’s serving).  Not only does it provide an extra avenue to exit the basement, but it also offers natural light.

Endless OptionsMuskego Finished Basement

The lower level can be transformed to serve your family’s specific needs.  Here are some roles that a finished basement often fulfills:

  • Bar area
  • Game room
  • Family room
  • Home theater
  • Fitness room
  • Craft area
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Home office
  • Playroom

Rick Bartelt Interview in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rick Bartelt was recently interviewed for a feature in the Building Lifestyles section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Check out the article “Building a quality reputation” to learn more about Rick and the Bartelt team.

Rick Bartelt in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

See it online here.

Recent Project: Inviting Sunroom Addition

Our clients enjoyed entertaining friends and family, but their kitchen and other existing spaces weren’t conducive to this hobby.  They desired a warm, inviting space for their frequent get-togethers.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Before     Waukesha Sunroom Addition - After

The home’s back elevation was “cookie cutter” and lacked character.  The sunroom addition features a cupola with Azek crown molding and trim, adding charm to the exterior and blending with the existing structure.  The exterior also includes fiber cement composite siding for less maintenance and more durability.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Bar

The sunroom’s interior offers easy access to the kitchen to assist with entertaining.  There is a pass-through, and the large archway allows people to flow from one room to the other, making it one useable space.  The bar area features Golden Fantasy granite, wood-framed doors with “water glass” inserts, a slate backsplash, a beverage refrigerator, and custom wood wine cubbies.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - View

The kitchen and entertaining space originally ended abruptly at the back of the house, so there was little room for guests.  The addition has an open concept, conducive to entertaining a group of people.  The large windows also showcase the conservancy views, and the patio door connects the space to the outdoors.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Ceiling     Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Ceiling Detail

The hand-framed, vaulted ceiling makes the addition feel more spacious, and the box beams at the hip rafters and cupola draw guests’ attention upward.  Rope lighting was incorporated at the crown molding and cupola to highlight the unique ceiling.

Waukesha Sunroom Addition - Fireplace

The fireplace is a focal point, giving the room a cozy feel.  It features hand-cut Lannon stone that ties the addition  into the home’s exterior.  The dynamic slate floor also uses hydronic heating, so the homeowners can comfortably enjoy the space in the winter (even without socks).

The Details

Handblown Pendant     Wine Cubbies

Sculpted, Furniture-Style Toe Kicks     Curved Casing