Custom Skylight Successfully Rebuilt and Replaced in Virginia Beach

We love skylights! Nothing brings natural light into the home like skylights! But when we met this Virginia Beach homeowner and their contemporary home built in 1971, we were pleasantly surprised to see the large octagonal skylight that was the centerpiece of home’s foyer.
A former employee of mine who now works for a large roofing company that specializes in flat membrane roofing, referred the homeowner to us as the only company he trusted to rebuild such a unique unit.
The skylight had performed well over the years and had been worked on by other companies but the workmanship, fit and finish had not been of the highest standards.






As you can see above, some of the past craftsmanship was a bit “lacking”.

To replace the skylight, we made a template for each of the panels and custom fabricated them all before removing any of the old skylight. The new panels were brought to the site and the the old skylight was removed and rebuilt with the new panels!
The client was well pleased and became another of our Raving Fans on Angie’s List:
“Jim Hicks inspected our project area & designed a turn key solution. Upon our approval of the budget, he presented us with a clear, fair contract. After signing the contract, his team did the work on – budget & ahead of schedule
Member Comments:
Terrific! The Jim Hicks team was prepared, organized, professional, clean & polite.”




Skylights in Kitchens

Today I was working with a remodeling client in Newport News on a kitchen design and we were looking for some ideas on how to use skylights in her kitchen. I put together this ideabook on Houzz to share with her. So, I thought I’d share it with you too! Click on the directional arrows at the bottom left of the viewer to move through the pictures.

href=””>Kitchen Skylights

Kitchen Sink With Open Shelving And Granite Countertop In Yorktown, Virginia

This was the most popular picture on our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page in July!

 To See October’s Shoe Closet Organizer: Click Here!

This picture of a stainless undermount kitchen sink with granite countertop,tile backspash, kitchen cabinets and window was the most popular picture on our Facebook Page in June
This picture of a stainless undermount kitchen sink with granite countertop,tile backspash, kitchen cabinets and window was the most popular picture on our Facebook Page in June

 This picture is of a kitchen that was certainly done well, but this time it’s not our work.  We would love to know whose work it is to give full credit where it is due! 

We asked the question “If you could have one thing from this picture in your kitchen what would you choose?”  The answers from our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page Fans ranged from: the granite counter top, the huge stained wood window over the kitchen sink, the stainless kitchen sink, the natural light in the kitchen, the open shelving next to the kitchen cabinets, and the tile backsplash.

Open shelving is becoming increasing popular in today’s kitchen cabinets designs. Laura Gaskill advises the following on open shelving in kitchens:

Do: Think about what you use daily. As for the lower shelves, be practical about what you choose to place there. This is a good spot for favorite coffee mugs, everyday plates and bowls, and basic water glasses and wineglasses. If you find that not all of your everyday stuff fits on your shelves, put some away. Do you really use 30 mugs or wineglasses daily?Don’t: Put extremely heavy items on top shelves. Even if you rarely use that big, heavy pot or casserole dish, think twice before hoisting it onto the highest shelf. Lifting and lowering heavy items from high places can be unsafe, and even if your shelving is strong, open shelves in general are not meant to hold as much weight as regular cabinetry. Be on the safe side and stow your biggest pots down low.

Granite Countertops remain the popular choice for today’s kitchens.  While they are still quite a bit more pricey than laminate countertops they are less expensive than Quartz.   When shopping for a granite countertop, the #1 piece of advice we give our clients is to NEVER pick out your granite from a “swatch” of granite sample like you might for a paint color or carpet.  Because granite is a natural product there is a lot of inconsistency from one piece to the next – also called “movement”.  This is what make granite so stunning and each piece unique!   You cannot begin to see what a given slab of granite will look like as your kitchen countertop unless you go down to the supplier and see the entire slab of granite.  Reportedly, this is why the Big Box stores that sell kitchens and only have granite samples on hand, have as high as a 50% return rate by dissatisfied customers who picked their granite color from a small sample.   Granite is beautiful, but as a best practice never pick your granite color from a sample, go select the full slab.

The tile backsplash in this picture is also unique and brings to mind the debate that we also hear from homeowners about tile backsplashes:  should the tile come all the way down to the countertop or should there be a 4″ border of the same granite material?  This is a very stongly opinionated subject among kitchen designers.  Usually when you have strong opinions, they form from personal taste.  What are we talking about exactly?   Here are two pictures that illustrate the difference in how to install a tile backsplash and a granite countertop: with and without the 4″ granite border.

This picture shows the tiled backsplash finishing at the granite countertop
This picture shows the tiled backsplash finishing at the granite countertop
granite countertops with border
This picture shows the tiled backsplash finishing at a 4″ granite border.

You’ll notice in the picture above, the electrical plates have not been installed yet.  This picture was taken of a kitchen in the progress of installation, but we think it illustrates the detail of the backsplash well.

What about the window?  Do you prefer a stained wood or a painted wood?  Do you like grids in your windows or no grids?   How about the size of the window? Can you have too much light in a kitchen?   Would a different style window be better?   Some of our clients don’t want to reach over the sink to lift the sash of a double hung window and enjoy a crank handle of a casement window.

There are so many details when designing your home improvements.  We like to say “the hard work is done before the first nail is driven”  because it’s all about the design.  But the design can be a fun adventure and what make your remodel unique and special to you and your personal taste!

If you enjoy pictures and discussions like these, please give our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page a “Like”  and join in the conversation!   One fun thing about our Facebook Page,  our Fans aren’t shy about voicing their opinions and there certainly are a range of preferences!

We Love Mrs L in Yorktown Virginia

We just received an order from a three time repeat client. She was originally referred to us by her Hair Stylist (another repeat client of ours) for a bathroom remodel. She is 85 years old, under 5 feet tall and reminds me so much of my late Grandmother in New Mexico that I always feel honored to go the extra mile for her. She has become our favorite and the only client that Sharon asks me to take the paperwork to, just so she can sit and visit with her in her home! 
Good people know good people.  We love working for good people and we’re never too busy for your referrals!