Strike a chord?

Great Balls of Fire!

The month of August is a hot one, but that’s nothing compared to “Las Bolas de Fuego” (Balls of fire) celebrated in the small town of Nejapa, El Salvador every August. That’s when competing groups of young people in the village hurl flaming balls (comprised of old cloth and wire soaked in gasoline) at each other. Participants are well protected so that no one is burned during the festivities. Some say the event commemorates the eruption of El Payon volcano in 1658 forcing area residents to relocate.

Here’s What Else Is Hot…

The weather isn’t the only thing that’s hot in August. There are some pretty hot remodeling trends that you might want to look into before summer slips away.

  • Livability Over Luxury: Homeowners are more interested in projects that add everyday comfort and convenience than in over-the-top opulence.
  • Personalized Style: People are looking for design and décor that better suits their personal lifestyle and taste rather than blindly following fads. Homes are more customized.
  • Separate Showers and Tubs: For years showers and tubs together were the norm. Today more homeowners have separate shower and bath spaces (and some homeowners opt for super-sized showers and no bath at all).
  • Importance of Accessibility: As increasing numbers of Americans plan to stay in their own homes longer, they are taking steps now to ensure that their existing homes make it easier to access important areas of their home. That impacts outlets, countertops, hallways, and stairs. Making design changes now makes aging in place a much smoother transition.
  • Open Design (Especially Kitchens): While the open kitchen design isn’t brand new, it’s still extremely popular – and is still a hot trend in older homes where the kitchen was isolated from other common rooms (family room, living room, dining room).

Late summer is a great time to start the remodeling process while kids are out of school and your schedule is a little less hectic. If any of the things mentioned here strike a chord with you, now is a great time to talk to us about creating a plan that will deliver the kind of result you want and help you enjoy your home even more as you head into fall.

Thanks

Before sharing a quick remodeling tip below – we wanted to thank you for reading our emails and for your support.

Please don’t hesitate to reply to our emails (even this one!) with your remodeling questions or just to let us know how you, your family, and your home are doing!

We are happy to help and would love to hear from you.

Three Important Documents for Your Home Remodeling Project

As we celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends – we recognize that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were without question two of the most important documents in the building of our country.

There are also some very important documents you should pay attention to when you’re remodeling your home.

1. Your Plan/Design: The plan/design for your project is your chance to visualize how the newly remodeled space will look. This is helpful because sometimes seeing the plan/design laid out gives you a clearer idea of what’s really happening. And it’s much better to make changes at the planning stage rather than during the construction phase.

2. Your Contract: The contract you sign with your remodeler spells out all the terms and conditions involved in doing the remodeling work. It covers price, materials, schedule, job scope, and a host of other things. This document exists to protect both you and the remodeler, so don’t be in a rush to sign it. Your written contract spells everything out in detail and makes sure everyone involved is on the same page.

3. Your Change Order Form: Let’s be honest, sometimes changes do happen in the middle of a project. Some may be small changes – some may be more significant. A change order form spells out exactly what the change is, what it will cost, and how it may affect the schedule. Once again, it makes sure everything is clear and all parties are on the same page.

These documents are essential to making sure your remodeling project delivers the results you want, so read them carefully before signing your “John Hancock!”

Unfortunately, very few people saw it

New in June

June 25, 1951 marked the introduction of something new for the American public: CBS aired the very first commercial color TV program.

Unfortunately, very few people saw it because almost nobody had color TVs at the time. That’s not surprising, since – even several years later, a color TV sold for $1,295—the equivalent of $11,411 in 2015 dollars!

Contrary to popular belief, some things actually work better and cost less today than they did more than 60 years ago!

New Kitchen Ideas for June

Television sets aren’t the only things to change since the 1950s. The way we use our kitchens today (and how they look) has changed dramatically as well. Instead of being tucked away out of sight (presumably to hide the dirty dishes and cooking utensils?) today’s kitchens are generally the heart of the home, where family and friends gather.

That’s why today’s kitchen remodeling ideas include options such as:

  • Opening the kitchen to the dining room and/or family room
  • Redesigning the workspace to make it easier to use and host guests
  • Kitchen lighting that enhances work areas (task lighting) and creates ambience
  • Replacing worn countertops with surfaces that are both beautiful and durable
  • Larger windows that let in more natural light
  • Flooring materials that are stunning to look at and hold up to daily wear and tear
  • Installing cabinets that provide a fresh, modern look, while offering ample storage space that’s easy to access

If you’re having trouble imagining how your kitchen can be an open area where friends and family like to gather, talk us about ways to turn even an older, darker kitchen into a bright, welcoming space. We may have some practical ideas you haven’t even considered!

A Guide to Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

It’s relatively easy to say that you want to replace the cabinets in your kitchen with new ones that better reflect your lifestyle. The problem is that there are lots of choices. How do you choose cabinets that fit your sense of style, the kind of use you’ll give them—and your budget?

Consumer Reports has a helpful Kitchen Cabinet Buying Guide that walks you through the basic-but-important elements to consider before you commit to a purchase that can account to as much as 40 percent of your kitchen remodeling budget.

Question For You:

Do you have a remodeling project you have been thinking about getting started? Please email us and let us know!

Nate’s Custom Renovations Honored With Big50 Award

Nate Bahm, owner of Nate’s Custom Renovations, has been selected by REMODELING magazine to join the REMODELING Big50. The Big50 awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the Remodelers Summit and Awards Gala on Oct 25-27 in Kansas City, Mo. The 2016 Big50 winners are featured in the May issue of REMODELING, a national trade publication read by more than 130,000 professional remodeling contractors, with longer profiles of the winners posted on the REMODELING website, remodelingmag.com.

Each year since 1986, the REMODELING Big50 inducts 50 owners of remodeling companies that have set exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship, and impact in their community or the industry at large. Big50 remodelers run successful, often growing, companies of various sizes that have taken the lead in raising industry standards.

The Big50 selection process has become increasingly rigorous in recent years, and the result, REMODELING editors believe, is one of the strongest classes to date. “Uniting the 2016 inductees are high standards and a determination to excel – taking the opportunity to build efficiencies into their systems and processes – ensuring that they are poised to meet their sales, production, and customer-service goals and continue to thrive,” according to REMODELING.

“We are very honored to receive this distinction,” says Nate Bahm, Owner of Nate’s Custom Renovations. “The award recognizes excellence and we are privileged to be named to this select group of remodelers.”

REMODELING editors, columnists, industry leaders, and the companies themselves make the nominations each year.  Following a lengthy evaluation and interview process, the editors select the 50 individuals who exemplify the best of the industry that year, and who have something to offer other remodelers in proven practices.

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REMODELING, published by Hanley Wood, is the leading publication in the home improvement industry. REMODELING has and continues to be the indispensable tool that remodelers cannot do without—delivering the business know-how, product and technical information that home improvement pros need to help make smart decisions that will shape their project success.

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Nate’s Custom Renovations is focused on bringing good, old-fashioned customer service back to the remodeling industry. We focus on kitchen, bathroom, and other interior remodeling projects and work hard to deliver our 9-Point Promise to our clients. For more details visit LincolnRenovations.com.

Before you start your remodel

April Showers and May Flowers

You know the old saying that “April showers bring May flowers.” The month of May brings a lot of other fun stuff, too, including: May Day, Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you!”), Cinco de Mayo, and Mother’s Day – just to mention a few. On top of that, the whole month of May is National Home Improvement month!

10 Steps to Take Before You Start Your Remodeling Project

Just because May is National Home Improvement Month doesn’t mean your remodeling projects will automatically take care of themselves! Often, it’s the steps you take before the physical remodeling begin that make your remodeling successful.

So what can you do to ensure that your remodeling job goes smoothly? The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) offers their list of Top 10 Tips to Prepare for a Remodel:

  1. Research your project
  2. Plan project around the long-term
  3. Set your budget
  4. Use advanced search for professionals
  5. Ask the right questions
  6. Verify your remodeler
  7. Review contracts word-by-word
  8. Keep design in mind
  9. Make your selections
  10. Create a communication plan

Click here Top 10 Tips to Prepare for a Remodel for more details about these important steps, and get your May remodeling project off on the right foot.

The Wonderful World of Kitchen Color

Homeowners who remodel their kitchens often face the dilemma of choosing the right color for their new kitchen. Is there really a “right” color for your kitchen?  There are a number of factors that can influence your choice. The style of your kitchen (traditional, country, rustic or contemporary) makes a big difference, and so does your personal preference. Here’s a helpful tool for seeing what a variety of different colors in different styles of kitchens can look like.

Question For You:

Do you have a remodeling project you have been thinking about getting started? Please email us and let us know!

Three tips

April Fools pranks are not a uniquely American tradition – but in other countries they have their own character. In France, for instance, the victim of a prank on the first day of April is referred to as a “poisson d’avril,” or “April fish” (Referring to a young fish that is easily caught.) Many French pranks include a fish or at least a vague reference to one within the joke being played.

As much as you may enjoy practical jokes, there are certain times when you simply don’t want to be fooled – and that includes when you’re choosing a remodeler.

Your home is too important an investment to trust to just anyone. So how can you make sure you select the remodeler who is right for your home?

Here are three tips that can help:

1. Interview Your Remodeler: Don’t just pick someone out of the phone book or from an online listing. Talk to potential candidates. Find out how long they’ve been in business. As them to show you work they’ve done that’s similar in nature to what you want to do.

2. Does Your Remodeler “Get It?”: One of the most important factors in choosing your remodeler is finding someone who understands exactly what you want. When you talk to a contractor does he or she listen and ask questions? Look for a remodeler who “gets” your vision—and can offer suggestions on how to make it happen.

3. Check References: Any reputable remodeler will provide you with references. But a name on a piece of paper doesn’t really tell you much. Call one or two references and ask the homeowner what it was like to work with the remodeler. Was it a good experience? Did they feel listened to? How did they resolve problems? Those issues are every bit as important as price and expertise when it comes to choosing a remodeler.

Of course there are other things to consider when choosing a good remodeler, but if you start with these three things, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right one for your project. Asking pertinent questions is one good way to avoid being fooled.

Question For You:

What’s the next remodeling project you have planned for your home?

Prepare for the hammers and saws

With March here, it may not quite be time to start planting your garden, but it’s a great time to “plant seeds” for a home remodeling project.

That’s because a successful home remodeling project doesn’t happen overnight. It requires thought, planning, and preparation. Doing your homework now means that when it’s time to actually start your project, you’ll be better prepared when the hammers and saws actually come out.

Where do you begin? It helps to prioritize your needs. A simple chart like the one you see here can help you identify your home renovation needs according to things that are “Must-haves”, “Nice-to-haves”, and “If-money-was-no-object”.

Must Have Nice-to-Have If-Money-Was-No-Object
Kitchen redesign for more workspace and breakfast nook. Island in the kitchen

New appliances

Larger window for more light

Granite countertops

Wood flooring

Replace fixtures in Guest bath/powder room New cabinets

New sink

Fun, “artsy” sink and extra built-in storage
Replace worn deck on rear of house Extend deck to allow for more seating/grill Create “outdoor kitchen” on the deck with built-in seating.

Prioritizing this way helps you budget for the things that really matter. But sometimes, you may find that some of the “nice-to-haves” (and even some “if-money-was-no-object” items) aren’t much more expensive because your labor is already covered.

After you’ve determined what you want/need to do, then you can start looking at ideas on sites such as houzz.com for ideas. And then you can talk to us about how to turn those ideas into reality.

March Home Maintenance Tip:

March 19 is officially the first day of spring for 2016, and that means it’s time for spring-cleaning. HGTV offers 7 Spring-Cleaning Tips that can make this yearly task a bit less of a chore.

Every four years

Leap Year Traditions

Every four years February presents us with an extra day—and this is one of those years. But in addition to giving us an extra day, Leap Year has also given us some rather interesting traditions.

In 1288 the unmarried Queen Margaret of Scotland is rumored to have enacted a law that allowed women to propose to men on leap-year day. But—as a “fair warning” to the man—the woman had to wear a red petticoat.

In fifth-century Ireland, the legend is that a nun asked St. Patrick to grant women permission to propose to men after single women complained about suitors who were too shy to propose. Supposedly, he agreed and allowed proposals every leap day.

While the historical veracity of these events is unlikely, the concept of having some conventions turned on their heads remains.

Unconventional Thinking For Your Home

There are times when remodeling your home requires a bit of a leap as well. Maybe you want to make some changes to your kitchen, your master bathroom, or even add an extra bathroom or a media room to your home—but when you look at your existing floor plan you don’t see a way to do what you want to do. You may have to turn your conventional thinking on its head—but how?

That’s where a consultation with us can really pay off. Years of training and experience enable us to look at your situation a little differently than you do—both from a design and a structural perspective.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you want more space in your kitchen, but the physical dimensions of the room really don’t provide any opportunity to expand. We might be able to look at that space and tell you that the wall separating your kitchen from the dining room (which you rarely use) isn’t a load-bearing wall. We could suggest taking out the wall to significantly expand the size of your kitchen—and make better use of the space. You could end up with a larger, eat-in kitchen that actually feels bigger than it is because of the open space that’s created.

Or maybe you really want more storage in your bathroom—but there’s no way to make the room bigger and there’s no space to put in another closet. Are you stuck with what you’ve got? Not necessarily. We may be able to find “hidden” space between the wall studs to install recessed shelving or cabinets.

Those are just a couple of examples of how we sometimes have a different perspective on how to use space. Where you might see wasted or unusable space (in an attic or in your basement) we may see potential. That’s why it’s important to clearly convey to us what you want to accomplish and let us draw on years of experience and knowledge to come up with a solution that meets your needs. That’s the power of unconventional thinking!

Six More Weeks (or More)?

Not only is this year a Leap Year, but it’s also an election year. What that means is that on Groundhog Day  (February 2nd), regardless of whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not, we’re guaranteed another 10 months of non-stop talk!

Only 8 percent

New Years Resolutions for Your Home

New Years Resolutions are still a big part of our post-holiday culture. Unfortunately, according to Forbes.com even though 40 percent of Americans make resolutions, only 8 percent keep them! Of course the most popular resolutions tend to focus on losing weight and getting fit. No wonder only 8 percent of the population keeps those kind of resolutions!

Maybe it’s time for a resolution you’ll actually keep. The holidays aren’t just about eating—they’re about getting together with friends and family. And while that’s wonderful, there’s nothing like a full house to bring out the areas of your home that need a little help.

If you hosted guests this holiday season, make some mental notes of areas where your home perhaps didn’t function exactly the way you’d like it to. Here are a couple of common areas to think about.

  • The Kitchen: You can’t keep people out of the kitchen during the holidays. But was your kitchen too crowded? Was it set up to allow you to work efficiently? Did you have enough light? Did you ever feel trapped in the kitchen while others were in the family room enjoying one another’s company?
  • The Family Room: Did friends and guests enjoy hanging out in your family room? Was it a place they naturally gravitated toward—or did you have to lead people in there because it’s closed off and a little too dark? Would it feel larger and be more conducive to socializing if it were open to the kitchen?
  • The Guest Bathroom: Did you cringe when guests used your guest bathroom or powder room because it feels out of date—or just has no personality? Would new fixtures and flooring make it a room you’d be proud of?
  • Multi-purpose Room Addition: If it’s awkward having guests sleep on the couch, maybe adding a room that could be used as an extra bedroom for guests during visits—and a home office or craft room the rest of the time—makes sense.

This year, make a resolution that you’ll stick with—and one that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Pick the one room or space that will have the greatest impact on your enjoyment of your home and start collecting ideas. Then reach out to us for help in turning those ideas into reality!

Here’s Your Sign

Many of us are familiar with a part of Bill Engvall’s comedy routine: “Here’s your sign”.

If you’re considering remodeling your home, here’s your sign (it’s optional, of course!)