Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Smart Solutions

A recent Madison remodel needed a creative fix for a problem window.

The home sits on a narrow lot, making any kind of outside storage difficult. The decision was made to build a storage addition outside of their dining room. The addition would be perfect for their needs, but it would mean sacrificing the dining room window.

Since the window did not offer much in the way of a view (the neighbor's house and a fence), the main tragedy caused by the loss of the window was the loss of light. 

To solve the problem, we built a light box behind the window, installed rope lighting, and then ordered a custom piece of stained glass.

Now the homeowners have the light they would have missed, but this time with a better view!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Why Hire a Professional?

Because bad decisions tend to compound.

The workers were cold, so they decided to start a fire...

Listen to the radio clip http://www.npr.org/2013/05/08/182191409/workers-wreak-havoc-during-home-remodeling-job-in-oregon

Wow.  Don't let this happen.  Check out our customer satisfaction survey results, and then hire a professional for your next project!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Get the Kids Outside This Summer!

A great article and some kid-friendly garden ideas.
How to Cultivate a Young Gardener

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Look at what we found!

Remodeling a Madison, WI home, our lead carpenter, Anthony, came across these pictures.

He was tearing up the old carpet.  The kids must have created this "time capsule" of sorts the last time it was replaced.

Does anyone know who they are?  It might be fun to show them what they wrote back in 1995.

I wonder if Max ever learned to like the piano...


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Because We Live Here Too

I ran into a previous client at the library.  We had remodeled their kitchen about 10 years ago, so I wondered if, after so long, they were still pleased with the results.

"It's still the best room in the house," she said.

I thanked her, and then, always curious about our competition, asked about their sunroom  addition.  We had bid the addition, but they decided to go with a less expensive plan from another builder.  I remembered they had a difficult site, with limited access and a back yard on a steep slope.  To do the sunroom properly with a basement or crawl space would have been difficult, but in my opinion, worth the time and expense.  The sunroom builder they chose had offered to keep the costs down by making it more like a 3 season room, on posts, and using less expensive brands of materials.

At my questions, her face changed to a look of regret. "The kitchen is definitely my favorite room!"

We chatted a bit more, and then I was on my way.  But the conversation was a reminder of why I will never be that contractor who is willing to do half a job in order to sell a job.

We live and work in the same community.  When I run into previous customers at the library, or the grocery store, or a Cub Scouts meeting, I want to know I delivered a product I can be proud of, and one they will enjoy for years to come. ~Abe

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Interested in a Butcher Block Top?

Ever had a real butcher block? Ever wanted one? Find out why they're great and how to care for them... here!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love in the Paint Aisle

Laurie strolled into the home improvement store with her bag slung over her shoulder, the sun in her hair, and paint on her mind.

“I’ll meet you back here.”  Her husband, Steve, grabbed a cart and disappeared.

It was almost Valentine’s Day.  Paper hearts, emblazoned with power drills—a modern day Cupid’s arrow—twisted lazily from strings taped to the ceiling, and cheap chocolate hearts screamed male desperation from the end cap of every register.

"Aisle seven," said the wholesome looking lad with the apron…and aisle seven it was.

Row after row of colors beckoned in waves of gradient hues.  Laurie’s fingers traipsed across the smooth little papers, loitering at the blues, lingering when they shifted to green.  She pushed her hair back behind her ear and checked for any watching clerks.  She knew they were free, but still…

Alone in the aisle, her teeth worrying her bottom lip, she grasped three strips of promise and pressed them deep into her bag.  She would add them to her collection at home.

They’d been talking about remodeling the master bath for years.  Laurie thought longingly about the jetted tubs just a few aisles away.  Their bath was a conglomeration of the 1970’s gold and a late 1980’s peach remodel gone wrong.  But they were waiting for now.  Laurie sighed, maybe next year the bathroom would get tackled.

Finished with his shopping, Steve watched his wife from the end of the aisle.  She was pocketing far too many paint samples—they were free, but he was pretty sure they hadn’t planned on her level of enthusiasm.  She was completely engrossed in a color pamphlet, gazing longingly pictures of modern day bathrooms, when a fellow brother in pain walked by, nodding sympathetically.

Steve ducked back around to the next aisle and shot off a text message to his buddy Abe at Degnan Design Builders.   

“Are you ready to go?”  Laurie surprised him.

“Sure am.  Did you get the colors you think you’ll like?”

“Yep.”  She patted her swollen bag.

“Know what?  Let’s take a look at the tubs while we’re here.”

Laurie shot him a surprised look.  Steve ignored it, relishing the idea of catching her off guard.

Still watching him, she looped her arm through his as they walked past the cash registers on the way to the plumbing department.

Steve smiled to himself, thinking about all the poor guys out there who would be grabbing the last minute waxy chocolate hearts on Valentine’s Day.  This year he’d get her exactly what she wanted: a new bathroom, with a new tub to sit in while she thumbed through the constantly growing stack of color brochures...planning what to do with the kitchen.

The e-card picture created by Grzegorz Łobiński for the EcardSphere project

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Here it is!

Here it is!
The first floor 
of our
2013 Parade Home

Are we ever excited!

Designing this year's parade home was a challenge.  The owners wanted a small footprint, but with all the amenities...as you can see, we did it.

This unique plan offers an envy-inducing master suite, a kitchen that will make you want to do the dishes, and some funky ceiling design features that will draw you in the front door, and right to the serene view from the screen porch.

Kickin' it a little old school (but updated and super cool), is the fireplace that separates the living from the dining. Wait until you see what we do with that focal point!

You'll have to wait until next month to see the basement plan...