Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

Kitchen Remodel Ideas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 @ 09:12 AM


Kitchen Remodeling  


     Have you finally reached the point where your existing kitchen just doesn't blend with your current lifestyle or it simply doesn't have the efficiency that you require?  Are you beginning to formulate your kitchen remodel ideas?  Your appliances have become personified with all their special inhibiting attributes they contribute toward your life.   Don't forget that their power efficiency is definitely inferior to the norm of today and that your old appliances are wasting energy that you pay for monthly in the form of your electric bill.  Perhaps your gas stove's burners aren't as efficient as they once were adding an addition of carbon monoxide to the air you breathe within your home's confinement.  Maybe your stove's hood vent, which hasn't worked in quite some time, needs to be upgraded with a more efficient and certainly a more quiet unit.  How about the cabinet drawers that that have come apart or no longer freely run on their guides.  And don't forget about the missing cabinet bottom under the sink because of an accidental plumbing leak that occurred months ago or the old original cabinet doors that no longer shut or perhaps have hinge problems.  Many problems or a combination of certain defects can cause you to reach that threshold and begin to get serious about a kitchen or bathroom upgrade.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     To begin with, kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show that kitchen remodels recoup around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale of the home.  However, your kitchen remodeling costs should never exceed 15% of the total value of your home.  Here is where you need to get your thinking cap on and plan for an affordable budget that is within your means.  Your material choices are very important and if you need to stay mid-level to fit the budget then do so.  The labor involved for the project will be around 1.6 times the cost of the materials used.  The total budget should allow $100 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project.

     For an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget $25,000 for your kitchen upgrade.  There are no DIY kitchen remodeling projects.  Once the demolition is accomplished the inexperienced homeowner should consider his part in the remodel to be complete.  It's time to get the building professionals involved to make sure that the resulting kitchen upgrade functions correctly.  The correct electrical wiring with the new outlets and appliance rough ins should be installed within the kitchen's frame work.  Dedicated circuits per the national electrical code should be wired by a qualified electrician.  This will insure that two appliances can be running simultaneously without tripping any circuit breakers.  The electrician will also install the needed GFI  circuits that keep you safe around any wet areas.  It's also a great time to install all the upgraded lighting fixtures with the new switching they require.  Skimping on the electrical budget can cause many problems including an electrical fire.

     Plumbing upgrades need to be addressed and the use of a master plumber will make sure that everything functions correctly.  Moving a sink over a small amount can add an additional $2,500 to your project's hard costs as it affects both the plumbing and the floor.  The plumber can be sure that you have adequate water volume for any additional fixtures that will be involved.  The plumber will be involved through the setting of the sink, fixtures, and all appliances requiring water to operate.  When choosing a kitchen sink, whether it is a drop in model or an undermount,  you can never go wrong with a good grade of stainless steel.  These sinks never go out of style and you can outfit them with any color and kind of faucet that you see fit.

     Moving on to the fine cabinetry for the project, you are limited by what you have budgeted for.  Medium grade oak cabinets will cost you $160 per linear foot.  Even if your budget is tightening and you need to install IKEA cabinets you will still need a professional cabinet installer to correctly set out your new cabinet line.  If the intent of your upgrade is to increase your accessibility by via an ADA remodel,  the new cabinets will most likely have to be custom made.  These alterations should be done by a qualified residential construction contractor who is accomplished in dealing with the local ADA codes. 

     There are many textured plastic laminates available today that will help keep your project costs in the black.  The premium grades of laminate counter tops will still cost $45 per linear foot but that's a far cry better than $100 per square foot for premium granite.  Back splashes can either match or be totally different from the surface of the counter top.  Tile patterns and designs blend well with any chosen counter top surface. 

     The painting of the walls and ceiling following the drywall fill work can be as easy as applying a coat of paint.  Faux painting, used as an upgrade for the walls, will be a highlight for any remodel.  Remember to keep your color choices light and neutral to prevent making the new kitchen area appear smaller.  Installed flooring will set you back around $25 per square foot according to the choices you have made.  The base and trim that is used for the new project should match that used within the rest of the house in order to blend in.  Good luck and be sensible staying within your budget.

     Before Picture Showing Old Cabinetry and Outdated Fluorescent Box Lighting

Kitchen Upgrades in Austin, Texas

After (almost complete) Showing Upgraded Lighting and New Cabinetry with Island

Kitchen remodels accented with fine cabinertr in Austin,Texas


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Austin, Texas Bathroom Remodels

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Dec 04, 2012 @ 22:12 PM


     What makes a bathroom remodel more Austintaceous in a laid back Central Texas city like ours?  What propels a bathroom upgrade to stand alone in Austin like the proud lone star representing our beloved state?  What enhanced characteristics are shared but also contribute to all completed bathroom transformation projects making them exclusive and individual?  Personality with pride is the only way to sum up all the major characteristics adding up to create a great Austin bathroom remodel.  There is a feeling within the new bath that only the great wide open spaces of Texas suggest denying the discomfort of confinement. We all express our individuality living here in Austin.  We meld together our backgrounds and cultural differences to form a diverse but unique city with style.  Certainly style is what is needed to compliment that pride that Texans feel so strongly. 

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Just look at the different types of housing represented throughout this city and it's surrounding areas.  Smaller homes, cottages, sprawling historical townhomes surrounded by architecturally pleasing fences, rustic ranch homes, Macmansions, and sleek high rise condominiums are just a few examples of the structures that define Austin's diverse housing landscape. Economic situations along with personal preference formulates where we choose to live in a town with such diversity.

     Committing to a bathroom remodel means taking many factors into account in the planning stages.  No matter which type of the structures listed above you're dealing with,  you must lean toward making the new bathroom upgrade blend with your existing home's design existing in harmony with it's surroundings.  All efforts must be made to prevent it from appearing as a "dirt dobber" design.  Putting an ultra modern updated bath into a dated urban cottage really doesn't blend well.  The types of architecture dealt with will clash and one will override the other taking away the prospect of a blending project to your home.

Bathroom Remodels

     Certainly there are many bathroom upgrades available when planning a bathroom transformation.  The replacement of the tub with a new walk in shower from a custom tub to shower conversion can create a bold  look but will run you around $11,000.  There are no spending limits for bathroom remodels.   You can plan on spending around $12,000 to $15,000 for a hall bath remodel.   The price tag can approach or exceed $35,000 for a complete master suite remodel.  The type of fixtures and building components chosen along with the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project. The price for a custom walk in shower will begin at around $13,000 by itself depending on the size.

     Updated Austin, Texas bathroom remodels consist of a blending of hardwoods used to create fine cabinetry, granite tops, oil rubbed bronze fixtures, faucets, and hardware accessories just to name a few.  Simply changing the bathroom cabinets can create the look of a new space. They come with matching light fixtures.  They have walk in showers with elegant frameless door enclosures and artfully framed beveled mirrors.  These bathrooms can be accented using glass blocks, glass and travertine tiles, pebbled backsplashes, and seats within the walk in shower design where shampoo niches can often be found.  Colors remain natural and vanilla but are accentuated using a light to dark contrast between the richly stained woods and the natural stone tiles. 

    Young Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's bathrooms up to date.  They can't afford a major remodel while providing for a new family.  Bathroom remodels for these smaller baths can incorporate a number of the items listed above in moderation to fit any budget.  Using beautiful ceramic tiles in an interesting design, updating plumbing fixtures, and the use of neutral colors can create a small bathroom with a "wow" factor. It is quite possible to produce a small but charmingly remodeled bath on a budget.  A project that is affordable plus the fact that it will add resale value to your home cannot be denied.  Check out all the options before committing to a plan and then stick to it.  Always hire a local and professional builder.  Remember that producing change orders because no one thought of "that" can be expensive. Create the style for your Austin bathroom remodel that best gives you that feeling of pride!

    Bathroom remodeling in Austin, Texas

Bathroom Remodeling Austin


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