Finding Space

As winters chill settles in, many of us start to go a little stir crazy, stepping over one another, clutter everywhere, kids gaming while mom and dad wanting to just curl up in front of the fireplace to relax and watch a movie, no place for friends to just hang out. If this sounds familiar a fun and easy solution might be that unused space below ground! It can be the perfect space where the whole family can enjoy classic games and compete head to head in action-packed video games, the kids have a retreat and you know where they are.

Take a look at some ideas below and transform your area into the perfect spot for a family game night! On a budget this is a really simple way to finish off some extra space (paint the ceiling black, paint the floor and walls, some area rugs):

A little more sophisticated for the adults in your home, incorporating the existing beams into the design and adding lots of “molding detail” to define and refine:

Open stair is much more inviting, duct work hidden with soffits, warm, inviting, bright and cheerful:

Natural light always adds charm while providing piece of mind if there should be an emergency:

Could you use a little more space? Follow Creative Contracting onFacebook, linked in, Houzz and Youtube

The story of an inspirational journey.

This Holiday Season …
We are thankful for our wonderful clients.

A recent contest prompted us to do something we’ve been thinking about for a while now and we are so pleased with the results! Please read the story of Gretchen Stoffel, a truly inspiring client, and the remodel which changed her life. If you think this story is award-winning, please vote for us! Also, if you are interested in being featured in a video testimonial – let us know. We’d be happy to feature your story on our website.


Ideas from Creative Contracting

Help your home Survive with these Creative(Contracting) Tips

Timely Tips –
1. The hot sun and heavy rain can really take a toll on your exterior trim. Make sure it’s weather tight with a good coat of paint to prevent rot from occurring.

2. Keep the cool air in and save on energy costs by making sure your windows and doors are properly maintained and in good working order.

3. Check your air filters! A dirty filter slows down air flow making the system work harder to cool your house. Change them every 1-3 months to properly maintain your HVAC system.

4. Check your attic! Make sure all roof ventilation is clear, working, and has the proper R-value of insulation. If it’s “knock-you-down” hot, call us to start saving money!

Guest Room Design Tips
All of us would hope that the guest room is more than just a place to torture our friends and families who love us enough to suffer through a visit with us. We hope this article gives some practical guidance to increasing the comfort of your guests. This blog post is inspired by recently reading some of Sarah Susanka’s design books.

As our family’s grow, change, move, return whatever the current or anticipated situation is, your home may need to change as well. For the occasional visit (long, short or really long term) let us offer these suggestions:

1. Many guests are very uncomfortable having to walk through public spaces to get to the bathroom. Is it possible to add a small guest bathroom or private access to the hall bath? If not, supplying an oversized robe that can be thrown on quickly as a convenient option.

2. Stay in your guest room every once in awhile. Is it comfortable in both summer and winter? Is it quiet at night?

3. The top of the bed doesn’t have to be the place you put the suitcase. The floor is an awkward place to access a suitcase. A desk area could be a perfect place to open up luggage, or a bench or chest at the foot of the bed. After all, if you’re only spending 2 nights, who wants to unload all your clothes into the 2 dressers (unnecessary) in most guest rooms?

4. Bedding – I prefer my home very cool, but not everyone does. Have layers on the bed or available in the room for your guest to make themselves comfortable. Don’t forget a fan or alternative heat source if it’s not a normally comfortable room.

5. Think like a hotel – what is your favorite hotel to stay in? Copy some of their practices. Supply a bedside water carafe and glass. Make sure there is an alarm clock that is set properly. Fresh flowers and a few treats of candy or fruit lets guest know that you really value their visit.

6. Offer different thickness of pillows in the room and don’t have hand-me-down pillows. Throw out the pillows from the 90s and buy new ones.

7. Two twin beds is roughly the same as a king sized bed so if you have to displace the kiddos for guests consider pushing together twins to make guests comfy.

We love having guests in our home. These tips will help demonstrate our love more fully to those we invite into our homes.


Send us your Design Challenges!

New Opportunity – September is design challenge month with the Creative Contracting Design Team! Send us your most unique design challenges – big or small – at this link or call us at 215-661-8581!

2 Winners will receive 4 hours of design time with our award-winning Design/Build experts, Bob & Kim DuBree!!

What’s your inspiration modern or traditional?

The Modern Kitchen

While visiting Village Handcrafted Cabinetry we found the perfect door front that reflects the shape and colors of our inspiration vase. The cabinet door is a Birds-Eye Maple with a sleek plain front style with a pillow top edge. It is a perfect fit for the light and warm contemporary look we are aiming for. The soft edges and subtle shading reflect the qualities that Dayle was drawn to in her inspiration piece.

Next we worked on choosing a counter top. At Prestige marble and tile we began our search by looking at the small (12×12) samples inside the showroom. We made a note of our favorites and then headed out to the yard to look at the slabs. Dayle and Carl like warm golden orange tones with a lot of movement. They took home a few samples to help them with their backsplash tile selection.

Granite selection is often difficult because it is a big ticket item and it’s really important to love it. Sometimes that happens immediately; sometimes it is a more agonizing process. For Carl and Dayle their original selections were not meshing with what they liked for their wall tile. After looking at several different distributors they decided to go with a full tantrum glass back splash in the burnt amber color.

The tile is cut into “slivers” – pencil sized shapes and is made using crushed glass, giving it a very unique artisan look. This tile is very dramatic and a true focal point for the kitchen. It was important that the granite did not compete with the backsplash so we went back to the drawing board. While visiting Prestige with another client, I picked up a sample of the Silestone quartz product in Sonora Gold. The quartz products have all of the qualities of granite as far as durability and strength and they do not need to be sealed. The Sonora Gold is a soft consistent color resembling a limestone look in a deep bronze color with some softer light shading the same color as the cabinetry. The color worked great with the maple and the tantrum glass. After another visit to Prestige to look things over one more time, Dayle and Carl finalized their decision to go with the Silestone Quartz.

Everything is falling into place and now we just have to wait for it all to come together!

What’s your inspiration modern or traditional?

The Contemporary Kitchen
This kitchen in Bala Cynwyd has been so much fun for me to work on, mostly because of the great relationship I have with Carl and Dayle, the homeowners. Carl is great at playing devil’s advocate, while Dayle calmly forges her way through the selection process with a complete understanding of the look and feel she wants for her new kitchen. As the kitchen design progressed, Carl questioned whether there was a way to access his side yard to reach his grill. Otherwise, from the kitchen he would have to walk down a few steps into his family room and out the back door. This question resulted in a design change which scaled back cabinetry in order to place French glass doors which will open out to a small enclosed patio and grill. Not only will this allow Carl easier access to his grill , but it will greatly open up the feel of the small living room and dining room by creating another outdoor living area allowing the couple to open the entire space when entertaining. A wall will be removed between the existing kitchen and dining area to create a great room in every sense of the term.

It is so important to spend the time to discuss the use of space and develop a variety of plans to brain storm solutions to the function of the design. Once all of that is completed the fun of the selections really begins.

The Wine Cellar

Wine Tasting Event

Neill and Andrea’s wine cellar in North Wales, PA

It seems in the last several years we have met more and more people who are interested in wine and wine tastings. Wine cellars and more commonly wine refrigerators, enter into the equation of our design process. We thought it would be fun to coordinate a tasting with clients who have an interest in this type of event. If you think an evening of light fare, an assortment of wines, and fascinating people would be an evening well spent – then let us know! If we have enough interest we will get our plans in place and send out more information with all of the details.

>> Go here if you are interested

EPA to Contractors; “Get the Lead Out”

As of April 22nd, 2010, contractors are required to comply with new EPA regulations related to disturbance of lead-based paint. The regulations apply to homes and child occupied facilities built before 1978 (when lead-base paint sales were phased out). Contractors who work in these settings need to be trained in, and follow, best practices to minimize exposure to lead hazards. The practices are designed to protect both the worker in the field, and the homeowner. Furthermore, contractors are required to provide homeowners with pre-renovation educational materials as well as post renovation reports detailing the work and the protective measures.

We at Creative Contracting as always are, commitment to our clients’ comfort and safety is nothing new. Dust shields, drop cloths and conscientious cleaning have long been standards for our remodeling work. To ensure a seamless transition to the new guidelines, all of our field staff as well as Kim and Bob has been or will be trained and certified.

If you are concerned about lead safety on your upcoming renovation, give us a call. More information can be found