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

Austin Kitchen Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 @ 16:02 PM

     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?  Your appliances have become personified with all their special noises and their lack of efficiency.  Don't forget that their electrical power consumption is definitely inferior to the norm of today and that your old appliances are wasting energy.  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 upgrade.

Kitchen Remodeling

     If you are considering replacing your old cabinets during a kitchen makeover with some fine cabinetry or perhaps you are just needing an updated work surface,  there are a few choices that need to be considered before making your final decision.  Plastic laminates, solid surface material, granite, quartz, stainless steel, wood, and concrete are the most popular choices today when considering new or replacement counter tops for a fine kitchen upgrade.  Each surface has it's own set of pros and cons to take under advisement before a conclusion is reached making sure your selection blends with your lifestyle.  Remember that any samples of materials you see are only small representations of any larger piece when choosing products.  Furthermore trivets and cutting boards should always be used no matter which top you choose.   Ktchen 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.  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 $150 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Basically, for an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget a minimum of $25,000 for your kitchen upgrade.  There are no DIY Austin 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 under mount,  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.

     An Austin kitchen remodel will need to produce a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout.  Twelve to fifteen feet is an optimum size for efficiency.  Islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase your functionality.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle reducing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

     Whatever your situation please rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references over merely price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet making subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not much else.  You get what you pay for with proper planning and using an experienced and qualified contractor.

Fine Cabinetry

Kitchen Makeovers Can Streamline Your Lifestyle

Kitchen Makeovers in Austin, Texas


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Aging In Place Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 @ 21:02 PM


     A revolution in building design standards is long overdue.  Our current building design standards do not address the needs of more than one third of our existing population.  Many more people can greatly benefit from accessible design versus conventional design.  Our rapidly aging population is experiencing the limitations of our personal living environments and elder living solutions are becoming a problem.  Any evolution in building practically always begins in the common areas of the commercial building sector.  The American Disabilities Act of 1990 increased the attention needed for those people having the right to equally access their work place and any recreational or leisure facilities.  These rules at least offer minimal solutions for those needing the most help with any building access.  In Austin, we now must  provide access to one bathroom on the first floor in new homes as deemed by our newly adopted building regulations.  This basic right to an accessible bathroom is finally being enforced by the city's building inspectors.  What a tremendous needed and basic design improvement!

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    Aging in place design, construction, and remodeling has become synonymous with handicap accessible home design and modification during our lifetime.   Home modifications using aging in place design techniques can be used to accommodate anyone from people with mobility impairments to those with vision loss, hearing loss, or even cognitive or developmental disabilities.  Accessibility home modifications or wheelchair accessible kitchen and bathroom remodeling in Austin will allow anyone with limited mobility within your home to feel more empowered and independent.  The extent of a customized accessibility design is dependent upon the activity level of the person requiring the modifications.

      If you have been paying attention to the medical news concerning our society you are well aware we are living longer than just a few decades ago.  As a result, our senior populations requiring elder construction and remodeling are expanding and most people will experience health issues that are most common among the elderly.  Most seniors will reach a point in their lives when they require specialized home environments to safely retain their independence.  No longer are the labels of "abled"  and "disabled"  so defined once the issue of aging is brought to light in our society.  Physical conditions, activities, and architectural barriers culminate in what is known as disabilities.  Each contribute their part in forming this complex phenomenon.  Disability is now a cultural milestone and certainly not viewed as just a personal problem within our society.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

     Physical limitations affect many more people than the daily users of walkers and wheelchairs.  Many members of our life experienced or elder society have significant problems in dealing with their home environment.  Todays conventional building standards conflict with most people's accessibility when you consider our created architectural barriers concerning cabinetry and door opening widths, individual strength, range of motion, movement,  manual dexterity, balance, and coordination .  Once the demands of our built environment exceed their capacities we become excluded from a room or even the entire home.  The building world must work in unison to be sure the entire living environment meets basic needs in addition to affordability and structural integrity for the consumer and home owner.  This includes both the home and the components within the home being accessible to all inhabitants.  Privacy, sense of belonging, sense of control, and the sense of safety and security make up the quality of life for any home and should be considered for any design.

     We now need a new vision of a home that works for everyone and this attitude is becomming the new reality stemming from the revolution.  The new building revolution of universal design.  The new accessible homes are being created along with ways to make the older homes more accessible through the use of CAPS certified remodeling.  This new way of thinking is enabling aging in place to become a reality for our new older majority of homeowners, a group where disability is a fact of life.


Handicap Home Modifications


 Accessible Home Designs In Austin, Texas

Accessible Kitchen Designs In Austin, Texas

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