What do you do when you have water damage in your kitchen, but your insurance only covers the single cabinet that was damaged? Do you try to find something close and hope it blends? Do you repaint all the cabinets so, at least, the color matches? Or do you think outside the box and get a little creative?
When a pipe burst in Alicia’s home while she was at work, it flooded the entire house. While all the floors, baseboards and some drywall sustained damage, only the sink base cabinet was affected. The rest of the white cabinetry was not damaged or covered for replacement. The mitigation team hired by the insurance company carefully removed all the base cabinets for reuse, but damaged the granite countertops, so they would also have to be replaced. Luckily, this was covered by insurance.
Once the demo was completed, and the home was dried thoroughly, it was time to make some decisions about the next steps. Initially, the plan was to find a similar sink base and to paint everything. Unfortunately, because this was an older home, the cabinet shop could not find a close style match.
Time to turn this disaster into a design! One of the more popular trends these days is to have a contrasting kitchen island, or to select upper and lower cabinets in coordinating or contrasting colors.
The homeowner chose a light grey sink base that had a bit more detailing and trim than the original cabinetry. Working off the new grey and white palette, she selected new granite in a color called Luna Pearl. The old backsplash tile was a simple, white subway style. We changed it up with glass mosaic tile in black, grey, and pearl white, and finished it with Raven black grout. Light grey laminate flooring in a color called “Normandy” carried the theme through the kitchen and dining area, into the living room, down the hall, and into the bathroom. New carpet in “East Beach” was laid in both bedrooms.
The new kitchen is stunning, and the remainder of the home was restored to pre-loss condition. If you’re facing the repair vs. replace conversation with your insurance adjuster, give us a call. We will be happy to show you how to make the most of what you have to work with!
Like many homes built in the late 1980s, Keith and Dottie’s home in Yorktown featured a kitchen with upper cabinets above the peninsula. While this added storage and helped define the area, it closed the kitchen off from the adjacent dining area and den. The cabinets were dark, stained wood, with laminate countertops, and the flooring was a standard sheet vinyl. We were asked to update the kitchen and remove the upper cabinets to give the area a more open feel.
The clients wanted lighter colors throughout the new kitchen, so they started with custom cabinets painted in a creamy white. Because there is a functional cabinet door on the back of the peninsula, the entire back was finished to look like cabinet doors. This detail was also repeated on the end of the peninsula and on one upper cabinet end. Glass doors on two of the upper cabinets add interest to the wall above the stove, and LED strips add task lighting.
New granite countertops in White Savannah continued the lighter color scheme. New backsplash tile by Marazzi in “Urban District Downtown” extends from the bottom of the cabinets to the top of the granite surface.
New engineered hardwood floors by Impressions in “Terracotta” were installed in the kitchen, dining area, and foyer. In the back hallway, laundry room, and downstairs bath, we installed “Lucinda” Coretec stone flooring.
Finishing touches were new stainless-steel appliances, industrial-style pendant lights above the sink and peninsula, and a few well-placed can lights.
The end result is a new, lighter and brighter kitchen which will serve the homeowners for many years to come!
We love repeat clients! In the Spring of 2018, we were asked to update the exterior of this home in Hampton. A former rental property, the siding and trim were showing their age. The homeowner asked us to replace these, and to remove a failing back porch. The new exterior looks great, and it will give the homeowner a carefree exterior for years to come.
We were delighted to hear from Janet and her sister Francine when it came time to remodel the kitchen and family room. While the basic layout of the kitchen worked, the cabinets and countertops were dated and there simply wasn’t enough storage space. The kitchen also felt a bit closed off from the family room, separated by a peninsula and an upper cabinet.
First up – demo! In the kitchen, all the cabinets and fixtures were removed. The upper cabinet between the kitchen and family room was eliminated, creating a more open look between the two rooms. In the family room, the wood paneling and carpet were removed.
With the help of our kitchen designer, the sisters selected beautiful new birch cabinets in “Rouge”, brushed nickel knobs and handles, laminate countertops in “Kalahari Topaz”, and a stunning glass and shell mosaic tile for the new backsplash. Luxury vinyl tile replaced the original wood floor. Previously, the cabinetry had been limited to the area between the kitchen and family room, and along one wall. The new layout kept the peninsula between the two rooms, but deleted the upper cabinet. New cabinets were added along the back wall. The one next to the fridge even has a pull-out pantry for lots of food storage! New stainless steel appliances and range hood, and recessed lighting complete the look.
In the family room, the old fireplace had been removed during our earlier project, and a pellet stove was installed. For this phase, we removed the wood paneling, repaired or replaced the sheetrock as needed, and painted. The carpet was also removed, and a new laminate floor was installed. The new ceiling fan helps to keep the room comfortable year-round.
Janet and Francine have become favorites of our entire team, and we hope to work with them again soon!
Andy and Jackie had a great sunroom at their home in Newport News. The problem was, it was too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer. Multiple sliding glass doors lining the walls leading out to the deck gave an unobstructed view, but they were very drafty.
In the kitchen, the homeowners wanted to update the countertops and sink, eliminate the raised breakfast bar, and add a new slide-in electric range.
New energy efficient windows and door were a must in the sunroom. We installed 10 new Low E/Argon filled double hung windows and one new sliding door. Above that door we also replaced the 3 picture windows and the arched window, keeping the same size and style of the originals. The entire room was painted, in the same cheerful yellow and white the homeowners loved.
The layout of the kitchen still worked for the homeowners, and the cabinets were in great shape, so they were left as-is. The laminate countertops and raised breakfast bar no longer worked, so they were replaced. The homeowners selected a beautiful Quartz countertop, with a new undermount sink and faucet, accented with a new tile backsplash. The single-level countertop allowed room for a new slide-in electric stove, while still providing a comfortable place for meals.
This sunroom update gave the homeowners a space that is now comfortable year-round, and the new energy efficient windows and door will save them money on their heating and cooling costs. The new Quartz countertop in the kitchen looks great and is much more functional.
Andy and Jackie tell us, “We were more than pleased with the sunroom and kitchen work. You have a good team that was a pleasure to work with and we will consider you for future projects.”
Thanks for your kind words! We enjoyed bringing these beautiful updates to your home!
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!”
Mark Lownik grew up in the the Running Man Neighborhood of York County. After College, his career took him to Connecticut where he met Jennifer and they started a family. In 2015, with his parents desiring to downsize, Mark found himself contemplating moving his family from New England back to the very neighborhood and to the very home that he had grown up in. We were referred to them in a quite round about fashion by a friend of a former client that had since moved to Florida. The circuitous route by which they found us proved to be a perfect introduction to a great family who proved fun to work with when we helped to bring their vision of their new home to life!
Mark & Jen Lownik had a unique opportunity to move back in to the house that Mark had grown up in but remodel it pursuant to a whole new vision. Jen envisioned removing a wall in between the kitchen and the den, remodeling the kitchen, installing new hardwood floors, removing and replacing the textured ceilings with smooth ceilings, re-designing the guest bathroom, laundry room and storage room and removing and replacing the stained trim in the house with new white trim.
Always Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing:
The key element to the entire project was the kitchen.
The cased opening between the existing kitchen and the dining room was so close to the corner of the kitchen that it did not allow for enough cabinet space. The doorway to the laundry room at the right end of the cabinets also limited how much cabinetry could be on the adjacent wall.
The existing kitchen in the house had a wall that separated it from the den (click on thumbnails for full size) :
Remove the wall to create an open floor plan, move both the opening to the dining room and the door to the new pantry area to maximize the amount of wall space that was available for cabinetry.
Where the wall had once existed, the view was now opened to the entire den:
Moving the openings allowed for much more base and wall cabinets:
(click on thumbnails for full size)
Rethinking the Garage Entry:
Another area that the Lownik’s wanted to reconfigure was the entry from the garage to the main house. The current entry was into the laundry room that also had a spare bathroom and a storage room off of it. (click on thumbnails for full size)
The existing floor layout looked like this:
We redesigned it to look like this:
Here are some of the pictures from during construction of the new pantry cabinets looking into the new bathroom area (click on thumbnails for full size) :
The Vision Realized
The final result was nothing short of a stunning transformation resulting in a completely different house at the same address.
Contrary to what Thomas Wolfe once wrote, Mark & Jen proved that you could go home again.
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 video is a slide show of the dramatic before and after pictures of a home that was ruined by the faulting electrical wiring of a hot tub on the deck. Our team put it back together better than it was before.