Discovering Independence Through Home Remodel

disability300x210jpgOver the years, we’ve had occasions to work with people who have special needs. Remodeling to make their life more comfortable and their living space more functional is probably the most rewarding type of work we do.

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Fall Color Trend – Oxblood Red

It’s October – we’ve arrived at the time of year when we are ready for cozy sweaters, football and outdoor fire pits. I know we spend the winter months dreaming of warm summer days spent lounging by the pool or at the beach – but we’ve been there – done that. We are as ready for the change in weather as we will ever be – we are the natives of the North East – and we love our seasonal changes!
It is a good thing to carry those seasonal changes into the home. Changing accessories seasonally brings new life to your home and echoes the time of year. This year a new color trend accent is Oxblood Red.

Add a pop of color!
Add a pop of color!

bewitched-benjamin-moore Benjamin Moore Bewitched

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Oxblood is a deep shade of red with black undertones. It is a strong color, but works well with most neutrals. It is a great way to add some warmth to rooms that are painted gray or taupe. The “grieges,” super neutral and calming, can use a bit of spice for the fall!

red-accesories A pop of color in a small accessory can warm a room.

If you are working with a neutral base color in a room, don’t be afraid to reflect the outdoor color changes inside your home. Burnt-pumpkin orange, dark “Indian Corn” colors such as eggplant purple and deep reds, can warm up your home if your neutrals are creams or grays. Embrace the season and enhance your home with some autumn colors!
oxblood-red-bedroom

Bathroom Luxuries

Bathroom Luxuries

There’s no place in the home that has the same level of personal intimacy as the bathroom. Chances are, especially if you live in a busy household, the only time you may find yourself alone is in the bathroom. Because it is a sanctuary for private time, why not make it a place that you can enjoy aesthetically? Today, with our hectic lives, the bathroom is becoming for many an in- home spa.
Here are some extravagances you may wish to consider.

Heated Floors and Towel Bars:
Once you have had these luxuries they seem to become “must-haves” in a bathroom remodel. The ultimate luxury of grabbing a warm towel the second you step out of the shower is a true indulgence – as are those heated floors on cold bare feet!
Heated Towel Bar

Soaking Tub: Unwind, relax and take a time-out – with or without a book.DSC_8727
Shower sprays/ Rain head
If you do not live in a tropical island, imagine you are indulging in a tropical rain shower in the comfort and privacy of your own home. For those who long for the feel of a gentle rain – plan your escape.Body spray and rainhead
Sauna: Relax your tired muscles and rejuvenate. Many believe the sauna is a great way to release toxins and establish overall well-being.
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Soothing color palettes –
Everyone has their own colors that make them happy. Choose a color that will make you feel good when you step into your bathroom every morning.

Facts and Myths about Wine Storage

For the growing number of wine enthusiasts there are a number of questions about the proper way to store wine. There are also questions as to when wine is at its peak and when it is best to uncork it for the ultimate tasting experience. Only 1% of wines actually improve with age – the other 99% are meant to be consumed within 5 years. To maintain the quality of wine it is best to store it at a consistent temperature. It is generally considered that wine storage is best kept at 45-65° Fahrenheit with 55° being close to perfect.

Wine refrigerated coolers are a great option to maintain this consistent temperature and there are many styles and sizes available. Under- counter options are very popular and can easily be installed in a beverage center. Other benefits of a wine fridge include more storage left in your refrigerator when you are hosting parties!

Creative Contracting Design with wine fridge and beverage center
Creative Contracting Design with wine fridge and beverage center

If you are storing both red and white wine – no worries! Both should be stored at the same temperature – but they should not necessarily be served that way. Allow your red wine to decant to room temperature for the most flavor. White wine is best served opened directly from the wine fridge while it is still a bit cool.

Red and white wine

If you are a wine collector who has more wine than a refrigerator can handle, you may opt for a true wine cellar. Wine cellars are a beautiful way to showcase your wine as well as to store it. A wine cellar cooling unit, similar to an air conditioner, is installed in the cellar to provide the best temperature for wine. The biggest difference between the cooling unit and a home air conditioner is that an air conditioner usually includes a dehumidifying component which removes moisture from the air. This can be harmful to valuable bottles of wine because it can dry out the corks and damage the wine. To maintain the optimal environment for your wine, it is best to have a consistent temperature and humidity. For more information check out this article on Vine Pair. http://vinepair.com/wine-101/guide-to-aging-wine/

Creative Contracting designed Wine Cellar
Creative Contracting designed Wine Cellar

Why we Love Convection/Microwave Ovens

Everyone loves convection microwaves. They are a great option if you do not have room in your kitchen design for a second oven, because they can take the place of both microwave and oven. Microwave convection ovens have been around for a long time and used commercially. They cover every possible cooking need you have in the kitchen – baking, microwaving and even grilling. The functionality of it allows you to clear your counter space of toasters and toaster ovens. A convenient size, they can fit above an oven or tucked into an under counter space or shelf. I look forward to using mine when I’m just cooking for two – it’s much more efficient than heating up the oven and it is also great as an added cook source when I’m entertaining a crowd. Perhaps the best feature is being able to reheat leftovers without that soggy microwave consistency – reheated pizza can be crispy because of the convection feature. And speed!- the combination of quick cooking microwaves makes dinners heated quickly taste like they’ve been cooked in a traditional method – great for those nights when you run late at work. To learn more about cooking with convection/microwaves – check out this interesting you tube video.

Top Picks for Kitchen Faucets

When remodeling a kitchen, there are many selections that need to be made to pull everything together. For some, the choices are overwhelming. Although choosing a sink faucet may see like a “no-brainer” initially, the faucet really sets the style for kitchen hardware and even lighting selections. Designers like to think of kitchen hardware and faucets as the jewelry which adds a distinct personal statement to the style of the kitchen.

Here are some of my favorites:

The Rohl farmhouse sink is a classic as far as sinks go. The Rohl bridged faucet is a beautiful choice for a very traditional, elegant kitchen. The most popular choices for finish are chrome, satin nickel, polished nickel and Tuscan bronze. The faucet is also available in polished brass (Inca brass) – so be prepared to see a design trend back to brass. I really like the satin nickel in this line, which gives the feel of a true aged silver. I also love the polished nickel which has a warmer undertone than the chrome. Be prepared to pay extra for finishes other than chrome in any faucet you select. The Tuscan bronze in this line is a “living” finish, which means the color will change with use and is not covered under warranty. It will age naturally and may have some oxidizing which can create some green tones. If you like the old-world feel of a handcrafted metal – the bronze may be a good choice. If you want no-fuss, stick with the chrome. rohl farmhouse sink and faucet

Tuscan Brass
Tuscan Brass

Polished Nickel
Polished Nickel

If you want to add a contemporary edge to your kitchen, my favorite faucet is the Brizo Venuto. It is available in a hands-free touch option, which is a great feature if you are a hands-on cook! Its slim line and profile is elegant and simple. The designer of this faucet, Judd Lord, was inspired by a trip to a Milan Sake Bar and the elegant shape of Japanese hair sticks. This faucet is available in stainless steel, chrome and black finishes. Brizo is the designer line of Delta.

Brizo Venuto

I’ve shared a few of my favorites and I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. There are so many options in kitchen faucets that it’s worth the time to take a look at a design and finish that will compliment your style. After all, if you’re working at the kitchen sink, it helps if it’s beautiful!

Pets are Family, Too!

Pets are Family, Too!

When considering a home remodel, consider the needs of your pets in your design plan.
Where do you keep your dog food or kitty litter? Consider creative storage options such as pull out trash bins in your kitchen or laundry design.
Need an out of the way place to kennel your dog? Create a built-in comfy bed that’s integrated into your design along with a slide out food and water station which can be slid out of the way when not in use.
food storage dogkitchen-built-in-pull-out-dog-food-bowls
Who let the dog out? Doggie doors can be very convenient. dog door
Do you have a cat that prefers running water? Touch faucets can make everyone’s lives easier.cat with water

Tub Options

Tub Options

When choosing a tub, there are three basic options: a soaking tub, a jetted tub or an air tub.

A soaking tub is usually the least expensive option because there are no mechanical devices involved. There are plenty of styles available for soaking tubs. A traditional hall bath generally has a standard 5 ft. tub made of cast iron. These tubs can last for generations of use. If remodeling a traditional hall bath and replacing the tub, a modern option would be an acrylic tub vs cast iron. Acrylic tubs are lighter weight, so they can be made deeper. If you are looking to have an affordably priced deep soaking tub, an acrylic tub that fits into your traditional cast iron tub space is a great choice.

Acrylic Tub

Jetted Tubs, often referred to as the brand Whirlpool, are tubs for therapeutic use thatshoot water out of jets. They offer the most water pressure. They require the most care and maintenance, because water can sit inside the jets and cleaning the jets is an important part of maintenance to prevent mold from forming. Most jets can be cleaned by running the jets with a cleaning solution specified by the manufacturer. Brushes may be used to remove particles that accumulate in the jets. Even though the maintenance may be a bit more demanding, the therapeutic effects of jetted water pressure are the best option for someone who wants a deep water massage.

Whirlpool tub

The most recent innovation in water therapy is called an air jet tub. Rather than moving water, as in a traditional jetted tub, air is blown into the water through small pinholes in the base or lower sides of the tub, creating a gentle current. The sensation is more one of bubbles popping over the skin in a light massage, rather than a strong blast of water. The advantage to this lighter massage, other than personal preference, is that there is no accumulation of mold. Once the tub is totaair tublly drained, a shot of air is automatically blasted through the holes, preventing any standing water or debris from gathering. Because of this cleaning feature, it is ok to use bath salts or other products that are discouraged from use in a traditional jetted tub.

Thinking of Summer helps with Winter. But don’t overlook SPRING

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It’s cold, it won’t stop snowing and everyone is just a tad irritable. If you weren’t able to make a snow-bird trip to some place warm and relaxing this winter, spring can’t come soon enough. Even if you were fortunate to get away somewhere warm and sunny, you’re back in the cold and probably can’t wait for spring to come either.

Some people will sit behind their desk and daydream about that perfect BBQ party in 80 degree and sunny weather realizing that there is work that needs be done before that dream comes true. Then your boss walks into your office, daydream over!

Spring is a great time to prioritize some of your home’s remodeling needs and get it ready for the summer months. Don’t wait until summer to realize you waited too long.

Creative Contracting Inc. looks forward to the opportunity in helping you complete these projects.

Reasons to remodel in the Spring:

1. OPEN THE WINDOWS (for two reasons): The first, dust is inevitable. Setting fans up in the open windows gives a place for the dust to go. The second, it can give you a place to go. Living through a renovation can be tough. Having the ability to go outside and escape can be a treat.

2. ENJOY THE SUMMER MONTHS: Too often people wait too long to start their projects and they are not done by the time they had hoped. It’s opposite of the ‘Better Late Than Never’ mentality. Get the project done before summer is here so you can show it off and enjoy the finished product.

3. TAX RETURNS: This topic probably doesn’t need an explanation, but it is a legitimate reason for a large number of spring remodeling projects.

Popular projects completed in the Spring:

1. Kitchens: Hosting those summer parties means prepping and having friends and families over. You deserve a new and beautiful kitchen that you can be proud of to get everything ready for the party and show off.

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http://www.houzz.com/photos/5372491/A-Pristine-Paradise-tropical-kitchen-hawaii

2. Porches and Sunrooms: Enjoying the outside and not fighting the bugs or rain. Seems like a win, win to me.

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http://www.houzz.com/photos/3586822/Renovation—Senoia-Farmhouse-farmhouse-porch-atlanta

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http://www.houzz.com/photos/2363093/Porch-Bed-Swing-contemporary-porch-other-metro

Where to Begin?

When beginning a remodeling process the decisions about how to approach your personal style may be overwhelming. I use many tools to help my clients find the palette and design which merges what they like with how it will meet their remodeling needs.

If you are at the initial stages of planning your remodel it is incredibly helpful to the designer to have some samples of things you like. Sometimes these are pictures of rooms that appeal to you; sometimes they can even be a more inspirational piece. I had one client who used a handmade pottery vase as an inspiration for her kitchen design. The color and subtle texture, the curves and softness of its shape, where all features we used to choose cabinet style, fixtures, hardware, countertops and tile. One of my favorite tools is the website Houzz. There the clients and I can create idea books and share pictures of specific things we like. It is wonderful to use for initial inspiration through the final design details.

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http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/10854056/thumbs/Asian-Inspired-Bathrooms

Attached are some samples of ideas from Houzz for an Asian style bathroom for a couple who live in Doylestown. We used these pictures as inspiration for their design. After meticulous planning we worked together to design a bathroom that was an award winner for Creative Contracting at the Bucks-Mont NARI 2014 Contractor of the Year awards ceremony. Look for pictures and a description of their project in our next newsletter.

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Please visit us at the Philadelphia Home Show this weekend at the Oaks Convention Center. We would love to see you! If you need tickets -give us a call.

Indoor Gardening.

Winter is a good time to focus a little time and energy on indoor gardening. As someone, who lacks the ability to keep houseplants flourishing – I look for low maintenance ideas. Terrariums have become my new winter garden of choice. I can decorate them, they need little maintenance and they’re a great table top accessory. The choice of containers for small plantings is endless and garden stores carry a wide variety of tiny artful ways to enhance and personalize garden scapes. For the best results, create a base for your terrarium with small stones layered with a thin layer of charcoal to help keep the soil fresh. Add some good quality potting soil and then start planting! Many garden stores are carrying miniature plants perfect for terrariums. Plants can grow quickly and overpower the container – so I tend to replant seasonally or use slow growing plants and moss. I replace flowering plants when they are finished flowering.

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This is a picture of my fall terrarium.

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Terrariums come in a wide variety of styles – express your creativity and add a little greenery to this dreary time of year! I know I’m looking forward to updating my terrarium with some early springtime bulbs.

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Re-think your Re-model with RE-FACING

Have you been looking at your kitchen, telling yourself it’s time for a change? Before you start considering a complete remodel, ask yourself these three questions and see if there is an alternative option:

  • Let me preface this question with this statement “Everyone could always use more storage space”. That being said, is your kitchen functional in terms of layout and space?
  • Are your appliances fairly new and in working order?
  • Is budget one of the major reasons holding you back from solving this problem?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to the three questions above, you will probably be interested in reading the rest of this blog. If Creative Contracting could give your kitchen a brand new look, save you about half the cost of a complete kitchen remodel and have it done in more than half the time, would you consider calling us to see what can be done to your dated and tired kitchen?

Cabinet Re-facing is a great option to giving your kitchen a new look and saving your bank account from going into cardiac arrest. We would not have to disconnect or relocate your appliances, which means you still have a functional kitchen throughout the process.

Take a look below at a few great examples of what Re-facing can do for a dated kitchen. If you would be interested in exploring this option, give us a call today.

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http://homedezz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/0V_-1JPG12.jpg

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http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/kitchens/refacing-kitchen-cabinets/

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http://www.dupageremodeling.com/CabinetRefacing.html