Tag Archives: Remodeling Tips

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

Design Discussions

Bartelt Design Discussion

Listen monthly for Bartelt’s 60-second “Design Discussion” on 620 WTMJ.  You can learn more about each tip on our blog.

Entertaining

 

Ceilings

 

Mudrooms

 

Open Concept

 

The Front Entrance

 

Nooks

 

Efficient Storage

 

Back-To-School

 

The Kitchen Island

 

Lower Levels

 

The Classic Bathroom

 

The Dining Room

 

Wet Bars

 

Sunrooms

 

Arches

 

Bathroom Storage

 

Simplicity

 

The Laundry Room

Timeless Design Part I

It’s a common question: how can we create a space that stands the test of time and looks like it has always been there?  A remodel is a big investment, so homeowners want to ensure that the space has a long “life span.”  You don’t want to look back 10 years from now and think, “That was so 2013.”

How can you achieve timeless design?  Bartelt answers that question in a three-part blog, discussing efficient layout, seamless transitions, and classic style.  Today, we’re focusing on your home’s floor plan.

Efficient Layout

Think about your lifestyle.

It’s important to understand how you use different rooms in your home.  Do you entertain frequently?  Are you a gourmet chef?  Do you have small children?  Questions like these affect the flow and specific details of each space.  If you entertain often, for instance, you may want a large island, wet bar, and direct connection from the kitchen to the family room.  If you enjoy cooking, that may dictate the placement of your cooktop in relation to prep areas.

You should also identify what is and is not working for you in your home.  Are there rooms that are rarely or never used?  Do you have a cramped kitchen and an oversized dining room?

Evaluating your lifestyle and determining if your home complements it are the first steps in the remodeling process.

Create open, yet separate spaces.

“Open concept” is a term we hear frequently.  Eliminating walls, doors, and other barriers can accommodate better flow and make the space feel larger, but it’s essential not to merely create a big, open box.  Use arches, columns, French doors, shelves, beams, and other details to Colgate Kitchen Remodelcreate open, yet defined spaces.  It adds character to your home and still allows you to engage guests in the other room while you prep in the kitchen.

Consider functional rooms.

Unused rooms or “catchalls” are taking up valuable real estate in your home.  Make room for practical spaces, such as mudrooms, laundry Mequon Mudroom Remodelrooms, and home offices.  These spaces often serve as your family’s hub, offering organization and serving a specific purpose.  There are endless options to make these rooms work harder for your family – lockers, cubbies, closets, message boards, “drop zones,” benches, and beyond.

Maximize your storage.

There are many storage options available to keep your home organized and more functional.  Don’t waste any space!  Incorporate cabinetry that extends to the ceiling.  Consider organizational Spice Racksystems, such as Rev-A-Shelf, that offer pull-outs, racks, and dividers to make use of dead corners.  There are often empty pockets where you can seamlessly insert storage – on unused walls, in a kitchen island, under the stairs, even in narrow areas (i.e. cookie sheets or wine bottle storage).

When planning your storage, make sure to think about how you use various spaces.  You’ll want everything to have its place, to be within arm’s reach of where you’ll need it.  In the kitchen, you’ll probably want spices by the range, knife storage near the butcher block, and drawers with silverware dividers close to the sink and dishwasher.  In the mudroom, a coat closet, mail organization, and cubbies with hooks may be essential.Pull-Out Pantry

There are many other creative opportunities for storage and organization:

  • Butler’s pantries
  • Drawers built into banquette seating
  • Pot racks
  • Cookbook shelves
  • Pull-out pantries
  • Closets

 

Bartelt to Present at the Milwaukee/NARI Fall Home & Remodeling Show

Matt Retzak and Rick Bartelt, CGR, CAPS, CCP, MBC, of Bartelt. The Remodeling Resource will lead a presentation, “Timeless Design, Seamless Transitions,” on Sunday, September 22, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee/NARI Fall Home & Remodeling Show at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park.

The presentation will answer an important question: How can we create a space that stands the test of time and looks like it has always been there?  A remodel is a big investment, so it’s important to ensure that a space has a long “life span.”

Matt Retzak is the project designer and coordinator for Bartelt.  With over 14 years of architectural and industry experience, he has worked for the company for over 10 years, overseeing the design process and helping clients think outside of the box.  Retzak has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Rick Bartelt is the owner of Bartelt.  He began in the construction industry 40 years ago, assisting his father, Ronald Bartelt, on project sites during weekends, holidays, and summer vacations.

Founded in 1984, Bartelt. The Remodeling Resource is a premier, family-owned remodeling firm specializing in residential and commercial design and construction.  The company has won local, regional, and national industry awards, including 2013 Regional and National “Contractor of the Year” (CotY) awards presented by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).  With in-house designers, production staff, and expert carpenters, Bartelt is a member of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc. and Metropolitan Builders Association.

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’s Matt Retzak Quoted in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) Spring Tour is this weekend, April 27 – 28, noon – 4 p.m.  Check out the article “Change your space, not your location” for remodeling insights and a preview of remodeling projects on the Tour.

Bartelt’s Matt Retzak discusses the importance of smarter space planning and provides tips for a successful remodel on page 6 (the second page of the article).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article.Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article