Client need: Previously a rental property, the homeowner has returned to Hampton, and wants to make this her permanent home. The aging siding and trim have become brittle, and there are cracks in multiple locations. The back porch is also failing, so the client wants it removed. The chimney and fireplace were damaged by a fire, so the client wants those removed, and the interior wall closed.
Our solution: The client loved the original color of her siding, so we installed Mastic Carved Wood in Cameo, which was the closest match. She wanted to change the trim color around the windows, and chose Montana Suede, a warm brown tone. This new, maintenance-free exterior will look great for years!
We removed the porch but left the concrete slab. This patio will become a new focal point for the backyard. We also replaced several sections of privacy fence and added a new gate. The chimney and fireplace were removed and replaced with a pellet stove.
Jim says: We enjoyed working with Mrs. McKinney and her sister. This is the first of several projects they have planned. Stay tuned!
Client need: Update the countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen, and the countertops in the master bath, with custom granite. The stove was replaced with a new stainless-steel model.
Our solution: Our client liked the layout and cabinetry in her kitchen and bath, but wanted to upgrade the countertops and backsplashes with custom granite. We put her in touch with our kitchen designer, who helped her select the perfect new look for both rooms.
The kitchen cabinets were modified to allow for a new stainless-steel gas stove, and range hood.
Jim says: “It’s amazing how much difference new countertops and backsplashes can make! I really like the way these turned out.”
Client objective: The kitchen feels small, dark, and closed off from the den and dining room.
Our solution: Remove upper and lower cabinets between the den and dining room to create an open floor plan. Install new white cabinets and trim, and black granite countertops, add a new center island with a butcher block top. Add lots of storage along the wall. New brushed nickel fixtures, new floors, and paint throughout.
Jim says: “Hal and Patty were great to work with and I loved their ideas! I am really happy with how bright and open the kitchen is now. This neighborhood is quickly becoming a showcase for our kitchens!”
Client objective: Existing porch is small and dark, and no longer meets the client’s needs.
Our solution: Demo existing screened porch, and create a new 20’x20’ living space, featuring a cathedral ceiling and skylights.
Jim says: “Good people know good people! The Sommers were referred to us from one of our favorite former clients, Rob & Dale Kutz.” They were a joy to work with and quickly became a ‘crew favorite client’ that everyone in the Production Department wanted to work for.”
The client says: “We enjoy our screen room every day. Jim’s company bought the roofing expertise that was the key to success. Our Project Manager, Haegen Fuller, was exceptionally responsive and easy to work with. Jim stood by his work, and we’re quite happy with the finished project.”
Each week I go out to Joust Windmills! and by that I mean, meet with homeowners that have called and requested a free estimate for Home Improvements. We are making a better world, one home at a time!
Hopefully, the homeowners I meet will see us as the best value for their hard earned money, select our firm to perform these services and in them we acquire a client, a raving fan, and a new friend!
Sometimes my efforts are rewarded, sometimes I refer them to another firm that can serve them better, sometimes I get used and abused. No matter; I still go. I am reminded of what Don Quixote sang:
“And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star”
Foundation Repairs Needed in Hampton
Monday I went to Hampton to meet with an 88 year old gentleman that was concerned about major cracks going on in his ceilings and walls in his home. I asked him when the home was built he thought it was built in the 1930’s. I guessed 1968 when I checked Zillow later I saw that I had been built in 1969. He was very concerned about the structural stability of the home. I saw that this was probably a job for the good guys at FSI: Foundation Systems Incorporated. I called them on the phone and told them about what I was seeing and set up a time for them to come out and see the gentleman to evaluate his situation and give an estimate. He was concerned about the cost and if insurance would cover foundation issues. I told him I didn’t know about insurance but I answered all his questions about foundations and framing and how it would affect the cracks in the walls and ceilings. Nice guy, I hope everything works out for him. I know I left him in good hands with FSI!
Moving Walls in Williamsburg
Later that same day I met a great couple who wanted to remove some load bearing walls and make their kitchen and living room and open floor design. They had attempted quite a bit
of remodeling work themselves and were finding it just a bit more difficult then they make it seem on HGTV.
They wanted to replace all the ceilings in the downstairs with a flat untextured drywall because the previous owner had used a heavy stomped ceiling texture that made it look not unlike a Baked Alaska cake.
Heavy texture on ceiling can look like “Baked Alaska”
They also wanted to replace all the floors in the downstairs area which would include demolishing a mud set tile floor in the foyer, hardwood floors in the living room and dining room & a laminate floor in the kitchen
In the den, they had some faux beams across the ceiling that they wanted removed and new recessed lights put in, ceiling drywall repaired and then painted.
Upstairs the owner had tried to do some drywall finishing work in the bathroom until he realized that the extent of his skills did not include the “artwork” that is drywall. He wanted us to redo the drywall in the master bathroom.
On the rear of the house they had a balcony coming off of the master bedroom that they had previously removed.
Because of the Tudor style of the house the stucco was very damaged where the balcony had previously existed. They wanted a price for re-siding the rear of the home with Hardieplank lap siding.
My estimate for all of the above: $17,532
They also had a problem with their air conditioning ducts being extremely dirty and they wanted the air conditioning ducts cleaned.
This is the inside of an AC Duct
One of the problems that we noticed with the air conditioning ducts is that there was a commercial style insulation inside the ducts so I referred them to Chuck Worley with The House Call Company.
Leaking Windows in Norfolk
I went to Norfolk to take a look at a rental property that we had previously worked on in the past. We had found a roof leak in the past and that was due to a bullet that had lodged in the roof and created a leak. We also replaced the rear patio door that had been leaking on this home in the past. This time the leak was coming from a large window assembly and the master bedroom on the second floor. There was a large half round window that was mulled to two 3 foot wide single-hung windows beneath it. The mullion that attached the half round window to the single-hung windows was allowing water to come in during rainstorms. The permanent fix to this would be to replace the entire assembly (due to the fact we had no idea who the window manufacturer was or how to get replacement parts for the mullion). However, because of our long-standing relationship with the property owner, I was willing to try a “gamble repair” of just caulking the mullion in between the half round window and the single-hung windows on the chance that that might solve the leak. I told them it would definitely be a maintenance item and there be no warranty on it, but the cost savings would definitely be worth the gamble. They agreed.
Front Porch Addition in Hampton
I went to the Chesapeake Avenue area of Hampton to meet with a young Coast Guard man who was interested in building a front porch of his house. After discussing the different designs for the front porch, looking at what his neighbors had, talking about what he wanting to do and discussing his budget constraints, it quickly became apparent that he was not anywhere near the point where he really knew what it was exactly that he wanted. I referred him to David DiSpirito of Homesite, Inc. so that he could hire David to develop a design that he could then have priced. Otherwise, I could see us wasting a lot of time going back and forth and him never getting something that both he and his wife could agree on. He was pleased with that idea and then he asked me to come inside the house and look at some of the other remodeling ideas that he had that he wanted to do himself. We looked at the kitchen, we also looked at removing a load bearing wall in the 1940s era house and some of the opportunities and constraints that the current layout of the house had. It was a good meeting and we parted on good terms. Hopefully he pursues the design idea with David DiSpirito and we get a design in the future that we can price and get the opportunity to do some work for him
Vinyl Siding and Paint in Carrollton
I went to a siding estimate in Carrollton Virginia. A very large house that the owner’s husband had done a lot of work on. He had passed away just 18 months ago and it seemed like they were taking some of the life insurance money and doing a lot of repairs to the house. They wanted to install new vinyl siding on the house which is currently all stained cedar siding.
The owner was getting very frustrated with the carpenter bees attacking the wood trim and the siding. The bees were definitely “out in force” the day we were out there.
It was interesting to talk about her recently deceased husband having been in the Air Force and he had also worked in the career field that I had worked in in the Air Force.
The owner was very interested in what I had to say about the siding and my recommendations as to how to handle certain details on the home as opposed to what others may have said about the siding. It was interesting that she didn’t want to share what the others had said but I had wonder… it was almost like I was there for an exam!
One of the issues was that on the side of the house the siding had been run on an angle and other contractors had told her that vinyl siding could not be run at an angle (which I knew was untrue…I have since located the specification from the manufacturer that will allow for this.) So that was a point of discussion.
She had gutters on the house and some of the fascia boards had been wrapped with pvc coated trim coil at the same time as the gutters were installed and there was discussion about having Carefree Gutters remove the gutters prior to our start and replace them after we were done.
She also wanted many of the doors repainted on the house.
This is a kitchen we just finished in the Hidenwood neighborhood of Newport News, near Christopher Newport University and James River Country Club. We absolutely loved this project and our clients! If you’re interested in the complete list of everything we did on this project it is at the end of this article.
In the meantime you can watch the video slideshow or scroll down for the larger versions of some of the pictures so that you can really see the detail in each image!
Our Scope of Work for this Kitchen Remodel Project:
Demolish remove and dispose of:
Existing kitchen cabinets
Wet bar and wall cabinet
Existing sink and plumbing fixtures in both kitchen and wet bar
Existing trim on paneled walls
Existing cooktops and down drafts in both island and wetbar
Move HVAC register under toe-kick in base cabinet near dishwasher
Run new gas line to new cooktop location
Adjust plumbing supply and drain lines as necessary for kitchen sink and hook up new sink drain, attach disposal, hook up faucet, and attach dish washer drain line
Furnish and install new customer selected kitchen sink and faucet
KITCHEN FAUCET – quoted from Ferguson $209.62
LF 1HDL PO KITC FCT ARST 1.5 GPM
Furnish and install new customer selected wet bar sink and faucet
BAR FAUCETS -quoted from Ferguson $311.50
LF ALLEGRO BAR FCT 1.5 GPM
Hook up dishwasher supply line
Re-route ice maker supply line to new refrigerator location and hook up.
Our clients came to us with a dream for a sunroom addition where they could be comfortable and look out upon their gardens in which they enjoyed investing many hours and much care.
But how did it all come together? How did our clients progresss from concept to finished product? When we first met our clients they had clipped pictures from different magazines for inspiration. Each picture had a detail or an element they wanted included in their project. The pictures were very helpful in understanding the vision our clients had.
These are pictures I took of the magazine clips.
The rear of the house when we first saw it looked like this:
We commissioned Dave Dispirito from Homesite, Inc. for the design. Dave did a fantastic job of putting to paper the images our clients had in their heads. After several revisions to get it just right, work began on the room addition. (If you liked this room addition, you might also like this one: Family Room in Seaford)
First the footers were dug and poured:
The windows were custom made from Custom Vinyl Products with Low E/Argon energy efficient glass. The room was conditioned with a new mini-split air conditioner. The floor was tile. Interior lighting included sconces and ceiling fans with light kits.
Recently were were fortunate enough to be able to help Bionetics Corporation in Yorktown with some of their tenant build-out needs. We felt really great when we received the following review on Angie’s List from the owner. Description Of Work:
Built a separation wall, installed interior and firewall doors, provided electrical and data components, and provided the necessary HVAC. Member Comments:
They were professional, courteous, and paid attention to detail. They were responsive to my questions. I would certainly recommend their services.
Mr. Phillips had a nice large garage. His problem was he had two normal size doors leading into his large garage. Mr. Phillips felt the size of the garage doors restricted his use of the garage. That’s when he called us and asked us to create a single opening from the two smaller openings: create one large garage door from two smaller garage doors. It was a mission we happily accepted!
How did his garage doors look when we arrived? Here are the “Before” Pictures:
Then we got to work! Brick veneer had to be removed, a new structural header had to be added with posts and footers to carry the new load. The post that had been between the two garage doors had electrical lines running through it that had to be re-routed. The exterior light was relocated as a flood light mounted on the soffit.
After the structural framing was complete we added new brick to match the existing, mounted the new insulated garage door and trimmed out the opening to match the existing trim on the house!
Finally we patched the concrete driveway where the post between the original two garage doors had existed for a crisp, clean look with a nice fit and finish!
Everything was fine with the work. I must say that it is apparent that Justin Foreman is a key component to your workforce. He is great to work with, as are you. You have been most responsive with communications.
I did submit the Angie’s List review. I must verify it at my home e-mail address before it is accepted. Have a great day.”
The actual Angie’s List review was even better!
“Justin Foreman was the coordinator for this job and we had the pleasurable experience of working with him on a previous job for our home. He is highly skilled, knowlegable, and professional. The work went extremely well: the workers were prompt and left the work area immaculate. We would hire this company again.”