Renovating a Small Kitchen Successfully

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Renovating a small kitchen successfully comes with its own challenges.  You don’t have the space to work with to add in all of the features that you want so you have to creative with the space you do have.  Here are some tips for making your small kitchen look good but more importantly make it work for you and your family.  Here is a look at some before and after shots of small kitchen renovations so you can see how much you can do to make the space work for you.

Add an Island

A small kitchen doesn’t have enough counter or cupboard space for all of the things you need it to store.  Your counters are filled with coffee makers, toasters, blenders and whatnot leaving you no room to prepare food.  A kitchen island is the perfect solution and if you use the same counter top it blends seamlessly.  Bear in mind that the island doesn’t have to be this huge thing with a built in breakfast bar, it can just simply be an extra bit of counter space.

Glass Front Cupboards

One of the things that actually makes your kitchen feel smaller is the cupboards.  You have too many cupboards in too small a space and you can’t get rid of them because you’d have nowhere to put your dishes so the solution is glass front cupboards.  These cupboards brighten up the room and make it feel bigger.  It will also force you to keep your cupboards organized because everyone can see inside them.

Use Lighting Creatively

Lighting is one of the best tools that you have to make your space look bigger.  Lights under your cupboards make the space seem cozy and hanging lights over the table or eating area make the room look bigger.  Talk with your renovation contractor they have done this many times and they can help you choose the right lighting to maximize your space.

Good Flooring is Your Friend

You have a smaller space so you can afford to go all out on the flooring.  Good flooring can draw the eye and make the space look larger.  Try using subway tiles or a contrasting pattern to elongate the room.

Add Some Color

Using color strategically is another way of making your space look bigger.  Kitchens in particular tend to be pretty monochromatic so putting a splash of color can draw the eye and make you believe the space is bigger.  The colored accent becomes the focal point so you don’t focus on how small the kitchen is.

Mix Materials

Kitchens tend to have all of the same materials, the counters are all granite and the cupboards are all the same color and there really isn’t a big variety of colors and textures working together.  Mixed materials tends to be more common in the living room, but you can do the same thing in the kitchen.  Add glass or a contrasting floor tile.  You do want everything in the kitchen to be the same style but it doesn’t have to be the same materials.

There you have it, a whole bunch of ways that you can use to renovate your small kitchen.  Talk with your contractor to see what your options are, they have plenty of experience working with small spaces and a good source of advice.



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5 Signs it is Time to Renovate the Bathroom

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One of the most important rooms in your house is your bathroom, which is second only to crawl space encapsulation Richmond va, it is also the most frequently used.  It is easy for you to ignore the wear and tear on the bathroom when you see it every day but there are signs that it might be time to update it.  Bathroom renovations add huge value to your home not to mention how much you will like your new bathroom better.  If you aren’t sure if it is time to make a change or not then here are 5 signs it is time to renovate your bathroom.


Are there dark spots on the ceiling, in the corners or right above the bath tub?  Then it is definitely time to renovate.  The bathroom retains a ton of moisture and if there is inadequate ventilation then you can end up with mold all over the place.  It can also indicate a much more serious problem like faulty pipes or leaks that need to be repaired.  Deal with the big issues that are causing the mold then deal with the cosmetic changes.

Cracked or Broken Tiles

The bathroom is used by everyone in the house not to mention every guest that sets foot in the door.  All of the fixtures, lighting and fans get used regularly and after awhile they will start to break down.  If the grout is discolored, the tiles on the wall next to the bathtub or on the floor are starting to crack then it might be time to replace them.  You can do minor repairs like replacing a tile or two or you can go for renovating the whole thing.

It is Just Ugly

There is nothing wrong with wanting to update your bathroom because it is just plain ugly.  Design trends come and go and a pink bathtub might have been the latest rage in 1975 today it is just hideous.  If you are planning to sell anytime soon then an ugly bathroom can not only drive buyers away it can drive down the price.  Update to neutral colors, get rid of the outdated fixtures and yes there are affordable options that will let you ditch that ugly pink bathtub.

It is too Small

If your family has grown and you can’t brush your teeth without bumping into someone then it might be time to consider a renovation.  Bathrooms have a standard size and it doesn’t allow for much in the way of options in regards to the layout.  If you have the space and you can make it work then making your bathroom bigger is a huge plus.  Having the space for two sinks or even just a vanity with some storage makes a huge difference.  Look for options to optimize the function and amount of storage space that you have.

You’re Selling Your House

The old adage “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses” is absolutely true.  If you are even thinking of selling your home in the near future then consider how you can update your bathroom so that you can get the best selling price.  As we said earlier if your bathroom was all the rage in 1975 it is time for a change.  A clean looking modern bathroom is a feature that all buyers are looking for.

Never Use an Unlicensed HVAC Contractor

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Are you having a problem with your heating or air conditioning unit?  Are you thinking about installing something new and more energy efficient? HVAC repairs and replacements can get expensive pretty quickly and to save money you might be thinking of hiring an unlicensed contractor to save a few bucks.  It may sound like a good idea but it really isn’t, in fact it is a huge mistake that can come back and bite you later on.

If you’re still considering hiring a handyman or unlicensed contractor you need to find out if is even competent.  For all you know they might know less about HVAC repair than you do.  Consider the following:

  • They probably don’t have insurance
  • You can void your warranty
  • Repairs done wrong can pose a serious risk
  • You have no idea if the contractor is a scammer or not

No Insurance is a Big Problem

If there is a problem while the contractor is working on your HVAC and they don’t have insurance or Worker’s Compensation Insurance you can be held liable.  A contractor who is licensed is required by law to carry Worker’s Comp and even if one of their crew doesn’t work for you you can still be held financially responsible if they get hurt.  This just isn’t a risk worth taking.

It is Dangerous

HVAC systems are complicated and if the person repairing your system doesn’t do it properly then you can end up with gas leaks or carbon monoxide flowing into your home.  Both of those are extremely dangerous and life threatening and let’s not forget the potential for a house fire.  A licensed contractor has to demonstrate they are competent before getting their license.

No Background Checks

HVAC is a pretty heavily regulated industry and when you hire a licensed contractor you can rest assured that they have gone through some type of background check before their license was issued.  Their license has to be renewed annually and their information is kept up to date.  You can be reasonably certain that your licensed contractor isn’t casing your home to check out your valuables.  Licensed contractors don’t demand upfront payment and then disappear with your cash.  Dealing with a real business does offer some peace of mind.

It Voids Your Warranty

New HVAC systems come with 5 or 10 year warranties but that warranty is null and void if you don’t have an approved contractor working on the HVAC system.  It makes no sense to void your warranty to save a few dollars.  Besides that if you still have warranty you can probably get the repair covered for little or nothing if you just call the manufacturer.

It is always a good idea to save money where you can but not when it comes to your safety.  Using an unlicensed HVAC contractor is putting your health and your wealth on the line.  It simply isn’t worth the risk, choose a contractor that has all of their licenses and insurance in order. is our sponsor for today – thank you!

Adding a Deck to Your Home

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A deck creates livable space outdoors where you can use the space to entertain friends, enjoy the warm weather and unwind after a long day.  If you have kids young enough to be playing in the yard it gives you a place to sit and keep an eye on them.  You can add shade to your deck so you’re not sitting in the hot sun and compared to other home renovation projects a deck is fairly inexpensive. Adding a deck adds more value to your home and you will love the outdoor space.  It is also a fairly easy DIY project that you can tackle in a weekend.

Before You Build a Deck

There are a couple of factors you need to think about before you start picking out the wood.  First and foremost, how much space do you have to work with and how do you intend to use it.  If you plan on entertaining then make sure it is big enough to accommodate a table and a couple of chairs.  The height is also a consideration, you want it level with your living space so you can simply walk out the patio doors onto your deck.  Will you need to install stairs to get from the deck to the backyard and where will you put the stairs if needed.  Do you need to install some type of canopy or do you have any natural shade where the deck will go.  The sun can get pretty hot in the middle of the afternoon, will you be able to sit on your deck comfortably.

Building a Deck

There are a ton of tutorials online that will show you how to build a deck there are endless YouTube videos that will walk you through it step by step.  Before you get to that though you need to address any issues with the area you’re going to put it.  Is the ground level?  Will there be any issues with drainage and do you have a suitable spot for the footings.

Check with your municipality to see if you need a permit to build your deck.  Some places will insist on it while others don’t bother.  Check anyway because you don’t want to be ripping your deck out because you didn’t take the time to get a permit.

If you want to take the easy route then you can buy a deck that you just assemble yourself.  These work just fine for most people, you get a simple 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 by deck, you follow the instructions and you can have it built in an afternoon.  On the other hand if you want a bigger deck or something more custom then you can get a carpenter in to build the deck for you.

Having a deck offers a lot of benefits. This is a very useful space not only for entertaining friends but also for unwinding and relaxing. Your children can also use the deck when playing. This is also a good spot for you when you are looking after them while playing at your backyard. Most importantly, adding a deck is an inexpensive way of improving the value of your property.


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Managing the Costs of New Construction

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It is the American dream to own your own home, you work hard and save until the day comes that it is time to get your own home.  If you choose to build instead of buying an existing home you have a lot more control over the style and features that you want.  That being said it is really easy to let the costs get out of control.  Managing the cost of new construction otherwise you end up with half a house and can’t afford to finish the rest.  Here are a couple of different ways to keep your costs inline.

Start with the Basics

It is pretty easy to get caught up in the excitement of picking out cabinetry, spa tubs and flooring but before you do that you need factor in the costs of the important things like the wiring, the plumbing, the furnace and duct work.  The fixtures and fittings are for later with the money you have left over after basic construction.

Keep Things Simple

The more complex your home design is the more money construction is going to cost you.  You can keep your costs under control by sticking with basic design and don’t add any complicated roofing lines.  If you want more living space then build up rather than out.  It requires less concrete for the foundation and the roof is smaller, costing you less over all.  Save your money and spend it on the inside instead, that’s where you will be living after all.

Stay Energy Efficient

When selecting things like your heating system, windows, lighting, toilets and doors then always pick energy efficient options where you can.  You may pay a little more for it now but you’re going to be living in this home awhile and you will appreciate having lower energy bills because you chose wisely during construction.

Consider Recycled Materials

This goes along with building an energy efficient house.  Using recycled materials doesn’t necessarily mean installing used kitchen cabinets although that is absolutely a viable option.  You can use products that are made from recycled materials, they cost less and they are great for the environment.  You can get recycled steel, countertops and a whole bunch of other fixtures.  Talk to your builder about what you can incorporate and where you can cut costs.

Choose Good Quality Materials

Building materials can get expensive pretty quickly yet you still want quality materials or you will end up having to replace them in the future.  Look for sales, take advantage of contractor discounts and of course shop around.  When it comes to buying building materials you have plenty of options from the big chain stores to smaller local businesses that typically offer contractor discounts.  Go with whoever will give you the best price, there is no rule saying you have to buy all your materials from the same place.

Building a new home should be exciting, you’re in control of the whole thing.  You can pick out the architectural design that you like, along with all the cupboards, flooring and everything else.  Be careful about going over budget, make a plan and then stick to it and you can build your dream home.


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