Fireplace

This Year’s Hottest Fireplace Types & Trends

With cooler weather and the holiday season upon us, Montgomery County homeowners want to know the ins, outs, and what’s smoking hot for fireplaces this year. To get all the insider info, we turned to Mr. Jim Maginnis — fireplace expert and associate sales manager at Salter’s Fireplace & Outdoor Living, our go-to partner whenever a fireplace is involved in a remodel. Here’s what he had to say about types, trends, and tips for all things fireplace.

Fireplace
Fireplace Types

Which type of fireplace is right for you? That’s a burning question. To answer it, let’s explore the advantages and challenges of each:

Woodburning

There’s nothing like the sounds, smells, and look of a wood-burning fireplace on a chilly winter evening. Sitting by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate, listening to the pops and crackles, and feeling the warmth of real flames is such a treat. Additionally, soaring fuel prices mean wood-burning fireplaces are more cost-efficient than ever, which may be a big reason they’re trending this year.

Of course, all this ambiance comes with a bit of hard work — wood-burning fireplaces are known to be high maintenance. Jim recommends having your chimney professionally cleaned after every two-to-three cords of firewood, and the ashes should be swept out regularly. 

Gas

Gas fireplaces might not have the sensory experience of wood-burning fireplaces, but they make up for it in ease of use. Homeowners can enjoy a fire almost instantly, with no regular cleaning. Once the fire is going, it needs no tending and will continue for as long as you’d like. Best of all, gas fireplaces can be installed almost anywhere — from the bedroom to the basement or even outside.

Even though they’re low maintenance, Jim stresses the importance of yearly servicing for your gas fireplace. There are a number of parts that need to work together, and keeping up with maintenance ensures any issues will be addressed before they become bigger problems.

 Wood Stove

Can’t decide between ambiance or efficient heating? With a wood stove, you can have both. Wood stoves are energy efficient, with longer burn times and forced air warming up your room. As a bonus, they require about 1/3 as much wood as a traditional wood-burning fireplace, meaning fewer wood-gathering trips for homeowners.

Wood stoves still come with maintenance. Like other fireplaces, they must be inspected yearly to stay in good working order and be cleaned out weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how much they’re used.

Electric

Working with a small space or looking for something different? Our very own Mike Foering recommends an electric fireplace. With no chimney needed, electric fireplaces can go anywhere in the room. Electricity is the only requirement, making these heaters a maintenance-free, safe option for homeowners looking for a simple way to add a little extra warmth and ambiance to their space.

Fireplace with Built-ins
Fireplace Surrounds

Fireplaces tend to take center stage in the look of your room, so updating the surround will make a dramatic difference.

Brick

Once the standard in fireplaces, brick surrounds provide a classic, traditional look. While they’re still found in many homes, few homeowners will request them for their new fireplaces. Those looking for a more modern feel are opting to cover or even remove their brick surrounds and reface them with stone.

Stone

Stone surrounds are without question the most popular choice today. Homeowners have several options to customize the look of their stone fireplaces, including:

  • Panel — small sections of stone assembled in unique patterns
  • Quarry — larger stones for a more rustic look
  • Marble — the modern, luxurious option

Mantels

A traditional mantel includes both the shelf and legs and is meant to be a grand centerpiece in your home. Following overarching trends toward clean, modern, and minimalistic designs, current homeowners are forgoing large mantels for stand-alone shelves.

Full Fireplace Wall

As a backdrop to their mantel shelf, some homeowners are expanding their stone surrounds floor-to-ceiling. Depending on the location, this could also allow for a return on both sides of the wall, so more people can enjoy the fire no matter where they’re sitting.  

Fireplace with Built-ins
The Well-Accessorized Fireplace

Fireplace fashion is more than the mantel. Here are some other accessories to go in, above, or around the hearth:

TVs & Artwork

Homeowners often ask to have a tv or artwork mounted above the fireplace. While this is a convenient use of space, it’s important to have something protecting these valuable items from damaging heat. There are a few ways to protect them, but Jim particularly likes the CoolSmart TV system, which redirects 60% of the heat away from the space just above the fireplace. It can even displace the heat into another room.

Doors

The doors on your fireplace are another way to personalize the look of your space. Doors can be glass, metal, or textured black mesh — the popular choice in 2022. Doors also vary in how they open; homeowners can choose a swinging cabinet style or a versatile bifold door, either on a track or trackless.

Inserts

Like a stove without the legs, inserts are metal boxes placed inside a fireplace to make them more efficient and generate more heat. An electric blower on the insert directs heat throughout the room instead of up the chimney. Inserts can be used to convert any open-hearth fireplace to gas, wood, or pellet burning, so you can choose the option that works best without getting a whole new fireplace.

Bedroom Fireplace
Insider Tips

Now that you’ve learned all you need to know to craft or update your ideal fireplace, here are some insider tips from Jim:

Define your purpose

No matter what’s trending, the best decisions for you depend on your wants and your environment. What do you want to achieve most with your fireplace? A cozy winter gathering space or an alternate way to heat your home? Thinking about your purpose will help you decide which type is the best fit.

Size matters

Putting in a brand-new fireplace? Consider the size of your room before deciding on a style. A large, open concept first floor could benefit from the heating efficiency of a gas or stove model, while a cozy sitting room might be the perfect spot for a wood-burning fireplace.  

Routine maintenance is key

Don’t wait till it’s too late to find out something isn’t working on your fireplace. Keeping up with routine maintenance will ensure you never get left in the cold. Just remember, fireplace professionals are harder to come by in the winter months, so scheduling your cleaning and tune-ups in the summer is ideal.

Have more questions about updating or crafting a new fireplace in your home? Jim and the Salter team are great resources on all things fireplace. Or contact us! We’re experts at making Montgomery County homes more beautiful, functional, and efficient.

Full wall surround
Shower Niche

9 Must-Have Features for your Spa-Like Shower

In our last blog, local real estate expert Geoff Slick answered our pressing remodeling questions, including whether bathtubs in the primary bathroom are necessary.

We learned that many folks are opting for a tub-free bath, and if you don’t use yours, you can feel free to leave it out of your next bathroom remodel. The best part? A bathtub-free space allows more room for something you’ll enjoy every day — a spa-like, luxury shower with all the indulgent bells and whistles. Here are nine sensational shower trends Custom Craft has included in recent Bucks and Montgomery County bathroom remodels:

Glass Shower
  1. Go With Glass

First things first; for that home-spa feel, ditch the curtain and go with a glass door. Glass shower doors are clean, elegant, and make bathrooms feel more spacious. When deciding on your perfect door, you’ll choose between:

    • Framed: Traditional doors with metal frames around all exterior edges. Framed doors are often the easiest and least expensive way to go glass.
    • Semi-frameless: Minimal metal framing. This look blends a modern look with practical functionality.
    • Frameless: Tempered glass with no metal around the exterior edges. These tend to be the pricier option,  but they provide a clean, modern look you’ll enjoy every day.
Pebble Shower Floor

2. Customize with Tile

The tile in your shower is your chance to let your style shine. With so many shapes, patterns, and layout options, you’re only limited to your imagination. These homeowners chose a glass mosaic accent paired with large format wall tiles, and a pebble floor.  

Tiled Shower

3.  Find Your Niche

Shower niches provide ultimate functionality and storage without compromising looks. Niches keep all your necessities, from shampoo and conditioner to body wash and razors, within reach without an additional shelf or rack. They can be small and subtle or span the entire length of the wall, as shown above.

 

4. Two Heads are Better Than One

Nothing will influence your shower experience quite as much as your choice of shower heads. Looks are important, but also consider functionality. Is spa-like luxury at the top of your list? A rainfall shower head is a great choice for lavish relaxation. Like to keep your water pressure options open? An adjustable, fixed shower head or handheld may be the best option. Can’t decide between convenience and indulgence? Why not have both? Many homeowners choose multiple shower heads that make all their shower wishes come true.

5. Bench Benefits

Shower benches have long been key safety features for those considering universal design and aging in place. In today’s showers, they’re also beautiful, built-in accessories included in many bathroom remodels. Besides their safety benefits, homeowners love to use them for additional storage, an easy way to cleanse and depilate, or simply a soothing place to relax after a tough workout or long day at the office.

Glass Shower

6.  Lighten Up

Warm, welcoming natural light is proven to improve your mood, ease stress, and even lower blood pressure. With a strategically placed privacy window, you can bring all those benefits into the shower. The creative lighting ideas don’t stop there — lights in showerheads, LED strip lighting, and even pendant lights can be included in or around your shower.

Large Shower and Soaking Tub

7. Go Big

If you’ve decided to forego a bathtub or swapped out your huge ‘90s platform tub for a smaller one, you may have room to supersize your shower. Large, spacious showers are a unique, extravagant feature that many homeowners opt for if they have the space. In fact, some are making their showers so big they become their own room, with no need for a shower door to contain water.

Curbless Shower

8. Sleek & Safe

Curbless showers not only look sleek and modern, they’re also a no-trip, wheelchair-friendly safety precaution. In this recent Custom Craft remodel, the curbless shower provides an elegant touch to the newly updated space and allows the other features, such as the beautiful hexagonal tile floor, to shine through.

U by Moen

9. Shower Smarter

No more stepping into an uncomfortably cold (or hot) shower! Take the guesswork out of your water temperature with a smart shower. This technology lets you set your ideal temperature, conserve water with a timer, or pause when you need to quickly grab a new bar of soap. Using voice controls, an app on your phone, or the device itself, your shower experience will be completely personalized. 

You use your shower daily — why not make it amazing? Experience the enjoyment of a spa right at home with a luxury shower.

Ready to take your bathroom from ordinary to oasis? Contact us to get started!

Do I Need a Bathtub? Your Top Remodeling Questions, Answered.

Tub After

Bathroom remodels are big, and it’s easy to see why. Your home’s primary bathroom needs to energize you in the morning as you get ready for the day and calm and relax you as you unwind at night. It should feel both luxurious and functional, with everything out of sight and readily available. All of these needs involve personal preference and taste, as well; that’s why bathrooms are often among the first rooms homeowners dream about remodeling.

Of course, the typical homeowner only stays in one place for around thirteen years, at which point their perfectly personalized home will need to appeal to potential buyers. We’re often asked if bathroom customizations will be a problem or a plus — especially when it comes to tubs. Many homeowners today are removing tubs from the primary bath, opting instead for large, sumptuous, and often high-tech showers. Will that be an issue?

We reached out to Geoff Slick from The Mark McGuire Team at Keller Williams Real Estate to get the best answer. Geoff is known throughout Bucks and Montgomery Counties as an experienced realtor with incredible integrity — he can always be counted on to help sellers get top dollar and help buyers avoid potential money pits. He thoroughly answered our tub-or-not-to-tub question — and so much more.

What Do Today’s Home Buyers Want?

Before barreling into bathrooms, we asked Geoff about the items topping buyers’ wish lists. Here are just a few:

Location, location, location

Location is the number one factor for buyers as well as homeowners deciding whether to remodel or move. Geoff tells us that recently, more people have been leaving cities for the suburbs, and the first things they look for are great school districts and thriving communities. This makes sense to us; location is the one thing even the best remodeler can’t change.

Open kitchens

Kitchens with good flow and room for several people to gather are a high priority. Open floorplans that make the kitchen part of the main living space are great for entertaining and spending time together as a family. As a bonus, a spacious island with storage and seating is hard to pass up.

Finished basements

House hunters always appreciate a nicely finished basement, particularly one with a full bathroom. From guest rooms to offices to playrooms for the kids, uses of finished basements are only limited by the imagination.

Hotel-style owner’s suite

There’s nothing like a resort’s luxurious, rejuvenating feel, so it’s no wonder many homeowners long for serene owner’s suites with spa-like bathrooms. Oversized showers, freestanding tubs, double vanities, extra storage, and exquisite lighting all go a long way to achieving that 5-star hotel feel.

Primary Shower

What About the Bathtub?

Luxurious bathrooms are desirable, and their remodeling ROI is relatively high. But is it essential to include a bathtub? Not necessarily. Geoff says that while it’s a good idea to have a bathtub somewhere in your home (it could be a deal-breaker for a future buyer with children or dogs), there’s no reason it needs to be in your primary bathroom.

In most cases, homeowners prefer showers over baths. They save time and water and may be safer and more accessible for those considering aging-in-place. 

Love your bathtub? That’s okay, too! If you’re on team tub, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Say no to massive platform tubs

Large, deck-mounted platform tubs had their moment, and now it’s time to move on. Homeowners rarely use them because they take so long to fill and lose warmth quickly. Furthermore, they take up a lot of valuable space that could be used for other in-demand things, like a large double vanity.

Consider a clawfoot

According to Geoff, freestanding soaking tubs are trending. Soaking tubs like the classic clawfoot aren’t just stunning; they’re also practical. Their depth allows homeowners to fully submerge for maximum relaxation. At the same time, they fill up quickly and retain a soothing temperature for much longer.

Have your tub and shower too

Having trouble choosing between a luxurious soaking tub and a spa-like shower? Why not have both? Freestanding tubs can be deep with a small footprint, leaving enough space for a separate walk-in shower.

Large Shower

Go ahead — take out that tub. Or don’t! In the end, it’s important to remember your remodel is personal. Make decisions based on your enjoyment and comfort first. If you don’t think you’d use a tub, go with a large, luxurious shower for your primary bathroom instead.

Whatever you decide, Custom Craft is here to help. Contact us with all your bathroom remodel questions.  

Special thanks to Geoff Slick from The Mark McGuire Team and 1SlickHome.com.  Reach out if you’re in the market for a new home (or some really great wine!) — he’s a trusted resource who will quickly become a lifelong friend.

Kitchen RayTrace

Trade Secret: Chief Architect

Ever struggle to visualize something based solely on an explanation or highly technical information?

Us too!

Luckily, we won’t ask you just to use your imagination — or to learn how to read blueprints. Our team uses Chief Architect‘s home architectural software to bring home plans to life through precise 3D renderings. This software has amazing advantages for both our team members and our clients. Here are the top three.

Kitchen RayTrace

First-Class Visualization

It’s a challenge to imagine how your remodeled home will look, feel, and work as our talented designers reconfigure layouts, plan additions, combine rooms, and more. With Chief Architect, you don’t have to imagine — you’ll have access to 3D renderings and walkthroughs to help you see how each room will look from any angle. After taking a virtual tour, you’ll know what your living room looks like when you’re standing in the kitchen, how your foyer will appear as you walk through your front door, or how much bigger your dining room will feel with those extra windows.

With this clear visualization, you’ll feel confident with your choices. Or, if your design isn’t quite right, you can work with your designer to make it a better fit. Remodeling is an investment, after all, and you want to make sure you’re making the right decisions every step of the way.

Kitchen Rendering

Save Time — and Money

Blueprints are difficult to read, leading to miscommunications or confusion when sharing plans. When our clients look at a 3D rendering, the design is straightforward and clear. With fewer questions and less confusion, the design process goes smoother and faster. Furthermore, changes can be made instantly with just a few clicks of a mouse. For example, if you decide to swap your hardwood floors with vinyl tile, we can quickly show you what this will look like — without going back to the drawing board and well before it becomes a costly change order.

Just how close are the renderings to reality? See for yourself! Here’s a comparison of a Chief Architect rendering and a finished living room remodel.

Ray Trace
Fireplace

Communicate Clearly

Adjusting design plans over email conversations or phone calls can be risky, stressful, and time-consuming. Instead of trying to communicate these changes with words, Chief Architect’s visual tools allow homeowners to see how changes will actually look. Designers can even produce multiple looks for homeowners to choose from, allowing more influence on the design. The options layout below shows six versions of a bathroom our designers came up with for a recent client

Layout Options

In addition, designs created in Chief Architect can be quickly shared between family members and anyone else who may be involved in your project. You can take a family vote on drawer pulls, ask your artistic friend about paint colors, or get your mom’s stamp of approval on the layout of the new in-law suite. The design process doesn’t have to be something frustrating you trudge through – it can be an enjoyable experience you feel good about.

Chief Architect technology is just one advantage that sets us apart from other home designers. Want to learn more about the Custom Craft Difference? Contact us today!

Cost vs Value

Everything You Need to Know about the 2022 Cost vs. Value Report

For many Bucks and Montgomery County homeowners thinking about remodeling, an important question comes to mind: What value will this project add to the sale price of my home?

Each year, Remodeling Magazine publishes a Cost vs. Value report that calculates the average return on investment (ROI) percentage for the most common home improvement projects. Here is some background to help you understand what’s on it and what it means for you:

cost vs value

Cost vs. Value 101

How is data collected?

Data for the Cost vs. Value report comes from surveying real estate professionals about the value of specific projects in their area. These answers are combined with other variables like local GDP, recent trends in home sales, cost of new construction, and more to calculate average ROI nationally, regionally, and even by city.

Trends for 2022

In general, exterior improvements such as garage door, siding, and window replacement rank high on the list, with close to 70% or higher of the cost recouped. Larger projects such as additions or kitchen remodels rank slightly lower, but this should be balanced with the quality-of-life improvement most homeowners experience — especially given how much more time we’re all spending in our homes these days.

Since 2020, supply chain disruptions and building material cost increases have resulted in higher costs of remodeling overall. Although this has led to a decline in the value vs. cost ratio, the decline in 2022 was a mere 1.2% — a strong indication that remodeling projects hold their value even during challenging times.

Region-Specific Results

Let’s take a look at the regional data for three popular project categories:

Project: Major Kitchen Remodel (Midrange)

Open Kitchen

A midrange kitchen remodel would typically include updating or adding:

  • Custom Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Flooring
  • Appliances
  • A new island
  • Custom lighting
  • More functional layout

Average cost: $86,112
Resale Value: $45,423
ROI: 52.7%

Project: Bathroom Remodel (Midrange)

Hall Bath shower

In a typical bathroom remodel, we’d update with:

  • New fixtures
  • Tub with ceramic tile surround
  • New vanity with storage
  • Ceramic tile floor
  • Painted walls & trim

 

Average cost: $31,061
Resale Value: $14,881
ROI: 47.9%

Project: Master Suite Addition (Midrange)

Primary Bathroom
Popular features in a master suite addition include:  
  • Walk-in closets
  • Modern bathroom
  • Makeup vanity areas
  • Recessed lighting
  Average cost: $199,312 Resale Value: $87,526 ROI: 43.9%

The Takeaway

While all this information is good to have, the question “is it worth it?” can only be answered by you. Everyone has a different situation that dictates whether it makes sense to remodel.

If you’ll be moving in the next year or two and want to know what to fix up to get the best offer, the Cost vs. Value report is an excellent resource.

If you’ll be living in your home for the foreseeable future and would like, or need, to make some changes, the Cost vs. Value report may factor in less. After all, there is more than one type of value to consider. Will your remodel improve your everyday life? Do you need to accommodate working from home or a growing family? In these cases, your ROI is much more than a monetary value.

Have questions about the Cost vs. Value report or a potential project you’re considering? Let us know! We’re happy to help however we can.

6 Gnarly 1980’s Home Design Trends

As we celebrate 40 years of remodeling Montgomery and Bucks County homes, we’ve been thinking a lot about how dramatically design trends have changed.

The homes we work on today are a lot different than those in our 1982 beginnings — but then again, so are trends in general! Leg warmers. Big hair. Hulk Hogan. The 80s were colorful, loud, and unapologetic. The trends from this era — some of which we miss, and some we wish we could forget — are unique and unmistakable. Here’s a flashback to 6 home design trends from the 80s that might even be in your Montgomery County home today:

Heavy Drapes

Heavy, extravagant drapes complete with matching valances and tiebacks were commonplace in a 1980s family room. Whether in bold colors or graced with ornate embroidery, these window treatments were made to be grand.

Hanging Cabinets

We’re all for more storage space, but hanging cabinets are less than ideal. These 1980s staples were suspended from the ceiling, usually over a peninsula. Unfortunately, they also forced anyone in the kitchen to crouch down or peer around the corner if they wanted to see or speak to someone in another room.

Pastel Colors

Before Memphis style and primary colors took over toward the end of the decade, pastel colors had a moment. Pale pinks, blues, and seafoam greens were found on walls, furniture, bedding, and even wall-to-wall carpet.

formica

Formica Counters

These plastic-topped counters were big in 80s kitchens but had just a *few* drawbacks. Unlike today’s durable materials, they had to be treated delicately. A hot coffee pot or spilled wine could damage them easily, and once a corner was lifted, the whole thing could be peeled apart.

Dark Wood

Dark Cabinets & Furniture

Cabinets, dressers, kitchen tables, and bulky entertainment centers were typically solid wood with a dark stain made nice and shiny (and very well protected) with several layers of varnish. These pieces were sturdy and built to last, but their style wasn’t. We often replace these heavy fixtures with lighter pieces that make rooms feel open and airy.

Brass Fixtures

The gold accents and hardware making a comeback in today’s bathroom and kitchen décor might feel reminiscent of the 1980s, but fixtures in that era were much more bold and brassy. Homeowners during this time enjoyed the ornate, luxurious look — and, of course, the opportunity for some flashy focal points.  

Is your home stuck in the 80s? We can help. Our designers have a sixth sense about which trends will pass the test of time and which fads will quickly fade. If you have 80s décor you need to update, or if you’d like to bring back some (modernized) trends, contact us.

Large Shower

Home Remodeling Planning Checklist

You’ve decided to go with a design build firm for your home remodel, and after some careful decision making, you’ve found a perfect team to work with. You’re closer than ever to your dream home, but there will most likely be a gap of time before your design is created and construction begins — and that’s a good thing. This pause is your opportunity to think through all the details of your project so you can easily communicate your needs and wants with your designer and ensure your finished home is perfect.

Here’s how to make the most of this time while you’re waiting to get started:

Create a Houzz Ideabook

If you don’t have a Houzz profile yet, sign up right away! Houzz is free, easy to navigate, and extremely helpful for both homeowners and the designers they’re working with. You can browse pictures of inspirational home remodels and save your favorites to your Ideabook. Once you save an image, you can even type in notes about what you like in the picture — whether it’s a color palette, your dream shower, an ideal countertop material, or whatever else catches your eye. Ideabooks make it easy for your designer to pin down your personal preferences and style.  

Large Shower

Develop a Wish List

Once you feel thoroughly inspired, make a wish list. Remodeling your master bathroom? Think about what kind of showerhead and fixtures you’ll want. Do you prefer a double or single vanity, standard subway tile or oversized? When you’ve come up with what makes the bathroom of your dreams, prioritize. Think about which items are your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and only-if there’s-money-left-in-the-budgets.

Make an Appliance Guide

If you’re refreshing your kitchen, consider the size and features needed for your appliances. Perhaps you already have a state-of-the-art refrigerator you don’t want to let go of, you’d like a separate cooktop and oven, or you absolutely need your dishwasher to be whisper-quiet so it doesn’t wake up your sleeping toddler. Appliances should be decided on and ordered very early on in the process so they can be delivered at the right time. Changing your mind or waiting to decide could cause a delay — or even a price increase.

Panel Fridge
Bright Kitchen

Research Windows & Doors

Make some time to visit local showrooms and take notes about specific windows and doors you like. Write down if there’s a certain series you’re drawn to and which features you’d like to include. A space-saving pocket or barn door could be a perfect touch in your new home office, or you may fall in love with the natural light potential of a picture window.

Investigate Lighting

While you’re at the showrooms, don’t forget to check out lighting showcases as well. Lighting choice isn’t just about style — there are several new functional options to consider, like under-cabinet, statement, or recessed. You may also fall in love with statement lighting that will become your room’s focal point.

The more thought you put in at this stage, the happier you’ll be with your remodel in the end. This is an exciting part of your journey — so have fun, enjoy, and as always, contact us if we can help in any way.

Family Room

3 Steps to Selecting Your Home Remodeler | Step 3: Red Flags

Searching for the perfect design-build team to bring your remodeling dreams to life? Our series on finding a quality remodeler has already brought you plenty of information on what to look for when researching potential partners, as well as what interview questions to ask potential candidates and their references.

After those two steps are complete, you’ll have a couple of great options and will be close to making your decision. Before signing a contract, however, it’s time for the third and final step to selecting a remodeler near you: noticing specific red flags. Here are the top warning signs that a design-build team isn’t your best choice:

Family Room

Red Flag #1: They offer an immediate start date

During the pandemic, families everywhere spent more time inside their homes. Our family rooms became offices, our countertops classrooms, and all the small frustrations people are normally able to overlook became excruciating pain points.

As a result, remodelers everywhere are busier than ever, and the projects they’re working on are consistently delayed with supply and worker shortages. While the tide appears to be shifting in many areas, great remodelers still have a pipeline several projects deep. In short — we’re all busy!

Large Shower

If someone tells you they can get started on anything but the tiniest home improvement project right away, beware. They might be attempting a bait and switch, offering a stellar start date only to surprise you with dramatic changes after you sign the contract. Or, they might be able to start right away because they don’t have any clients — perhaps due to inexperience or a bad reputation.

Look for:

Experienced teams with proven systems that leave nothing to chance — and an eager waiting list of prospective clients.

Living Room

Red Flag #2: The price is too good to be true

As with almost everything in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A super low price point is tempting, but suspicious. After all, they have to be making up the difference somehow — often by cutting corners, using inexperienced teams, or making you do much of the legwork to source fixtures, features, and even permits.

In addition, remodelers could start with a very low price point that doesn’t include most of what you’ll need. While even the best remodelers occasionally run into budget stumbling blocks, they’ll provide a thorough estimate that covers your project from start to finish.

Look for:

Thorough, organized, and honest estimates that won’t lead to major surprises later.

Server

Red Flag #3: They’re not very responsive

The decision to remodel is a big one. Design-build firms understand that you’ll have lots of questions before, during, and even after remodeling, and the best ones make sure to communicate well and often.

Unreturned calls or emails from the beginning could signal a communication problem, which could cause lots of headaches throughout a project. You’ll need consistent updates as your project moves along, and the assurance that you’ll be notified of any issues that come up. That’s why efficient remodelers place regular communication checkpoints in each phase of a project that allow homeowners to see how the remodel is progressing, make timely decisions, and have questions answered.

Look for:

Remodelers happy to answer your questions quickly and completely, right from the start.

Office

Red Flag #4: They’re new — or new to your needs

If they’ve gotten this far in the decision process, your candidates have likely shown you pictures of beautiful, functional homes. This red flag is your indication to pause and really consider those images. First, make sure the pictures they proudly display are actually homes they worked on and not stock photography (it happens more often than you’d think!). Second, look for homes similar to yours in style, size, or project type.

Love modern, industrial style? Don’t sign on with a group that specializes in traditional looks. Looking to reimagine your layout completely? Check that the designers or architects have experience thinking outside the box. Somewhere out there is a design-build firm with skills that suit exactly what you need.

Look for:

A portfolio full of finished homes you’d love to live in.

Paneled Fridge

Finally, a warning: Do not base your final decision on cost alone. Many people claim the best strategy is to get estimates from three remodelers and choose the one in the middle. Others claim the cheapest one will do just fine, while some always go to the most expensive. In reality, cost is only one of many factors to consider. Luckily, following our steps to selecting the right remodeler should make the process more systematic and thorough.

 

Could Custom Craft be the right home remodeler for your project? Let’s talk.

Tasting Room

Chef Chipper’s AAA Catering Tasting Room & Takeout

Hungry for incredible food crafted by exceptional people? Consider AAA Catering. Custom Craft recently attended the  grand opening celebration of Chef Chipper’s Lansdale tasting room and takeout storefront, a space that’s as inviting and amazing as the chef who started it all.  

Store Front

Chef Chipper launched AAA Catering in 2003, intent on delivering decadent dishes for weddings and other celebrations — a service of love that he continues to this day. His endeavors don’t stop at fancy occasions, however. AAA Catering also handles food services for local early learning facilities, bringing healthy meals to thousands of kids all over Philadelphia.  

Tasting Room

Demand for his culinary masterpieces grew, and Chip was inspired to open a storefront with an inviting tasting room for catering trials as well as space for hungry Lansdale locals to pick up everyday takeout. As a lifelong friend of the Foering family, he knew exactly who to call to help bring his vision to life: Custom Craft.

Scissors & Mural

211 W. Main Street in the heart of downtown Lansdale was the perfect location to set up shop. The Custom Craft team, along with Sam Kim from Ambit Architecture, transformed the barren storefront into a beautiful, functional space perfect for elegant tastings and easy takeout. In the tasting room, champagne bronze plumbing fixtures complement the elegant Calacatta Valentin Quartz countertops, and a showstopping live-edge wood table beckons tasters to sit and enjoy. Takeout guests are also in for a visual treat, thanks to the fabulous Lansdale mural in the pickup area.

Boating Party

Of course, the charming mural isn’t the only element of art. Chef Chipper brought a piece of home to the tasting room — The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a painting that hung on his family’s kitchen wall throughout his childhood.  

Boating Luncheon

As fellow believers in the power of love, family, community, and excellence, we’re honored to be a part of Chef Chipper’s journey. Stop by AAA Catering soon for a feast of the senses — brought to you by Chef Chipper and Custom Craft.

For more information about Chef Chipper and AAA Catering, visit chefchipper.com.

View the gallery below for photos from the Grand Opening.

Brown & White Kitchen

3 Steps to Selecting Your Home Remodeler | Step 2: The Right Questions

Welcome back to our series in selecting the right home remodeler! If you’ve completed step 1 and done your research, it’s time for step 2.

In the last post, we mentioned the importance of asking for referrals from friends or family when looking for a quality home remodeler. After that initial research, you’ll have narrowed your choices to a handful of highly regarded home remodelers near you. Next, you’ll set up a consultation. This is where the remodeler will come to your home and get a general idea of your needs and wants, as well as an overview of limitations and possibilities.

This is the best time to pepper your possible partner with questions like:

What’s your process?

Look for a remodeler with an established process broken down into specific steps. Be sure to ask how your specific project fits into their process, so you understand what they’ll be doing — and what they’ll need from you — at every step.

What’s your current availability?

This is a bit of a trick question. Small projects can sometimes begin soon, but everyone is working with limited resources. Be wary of the contractor who can start work tomorrow — there’s likely a reason they’re not busy. We’ll dive into this more next month.

Do you use employees or subcontractors — and how do you vet them?

Most design-build firms hire subcontractors for certain parts of the project like plumbing and electrical work, and they’ll have go-to partners they work with. You’ll want to make sure that extended team is dependable and does quality work.

Have you worked on homes like mine?

Don’t be anyone’s practice. Ask if they’ve completed work in your neighborhood, or at least for before and after images and project descriptions of homes with similar square footage and price.

Ideally, they’ll suggest you connect with a former client with a similar home or project. When you speak to them, be sure to ask:

Did they complete your project within the agreed timeline?

Keep in mind that — especially in the last two years — there may have been understandable setbacks. The important part of this question is to find out how those setbacks were handled and communicated.

Was the project completed within your budget? 

If it wasn’t, make sure to ask what happened. Sometimes unforeseen problems pop up or plans change, causing the final price tag to be higher than the estimate. Budget changes aren’t fun for anyone, but they’re rarely dramatic or entirely unexpected — that often indicates a too-low initial estimate.

 

Tell me about a time something didn’t go as expected. How was it resolved?

It’s very rare for projects to move forward exactly as planned. Again, the important takeaway is how issues were handled. Did they communicate problems right away? What was the solution? How did it affect the end result?  

Did you stay in your home during construction? What was that experience like?

Was the construction crew respectful and considerate? Did they keep your home clean and avoid unnecessary intrusions on the rest of your house?

Would you hire this builder for another project?

This is the most telling of all the questions. In the end, regardless of how bumpy the road was to get there, if the homeowner says they’d hire the team again, it’s a great sign you’ve found a winner.

After interviewing remodelers and references, you should feel confident with a narrowed-down list of candidates for your project. Come back next month for the final step!

Wondering if Custom Craft could help you with your next project? Contact us to find out!

Range

3 Steps to Selecting Your Home Remodeler | Step 1: Research

Finding the right remodeler can be a challenge. How can you know which contractor or design-build team will do the best work, be the most trustworthy, and understand your needs?

Our last blog introduced our series exploring the three steps to finding the perfect home remodeler for your next project.

Ready to take step 1?

Here we’ll cover where to look, who to talk to, and what to look for in your research for the right remodeler. 

Range

1. Ask for Referrals

Custom Craft’s Vice President, Mike Foering advises, “word-of-mouth referrals are really the way to go to find the best home remodeler. It’s how most of our new clients find us, and the easiest way for homeowners to know exactly who they can trust .”

If you have family or friends who’ve recently completed a remodel or renovation, ask questions about their experience, such as:

  • Did they communicate well with you?
  • What was their team like — were they professional, responsive, and clean?
  • Were they able to stay within your budget and time frame?
  • How did they handle problems?

 

kitchen with barn door
  1. Visit Houzz 

Houzz is an online community created to connect homeowners with professionals, so it’s always a good place to look. Simply type in the service you need and your zip code, and you’ll have a list of local professionals, access to reviews, and be able to see photos of past projects. 

You’ll likely be headed to Houzz no matter which remodeler you choose. Our Custom Craft designers ask homeowners to browse Houzz and save rooms or features they love very early in the design process. A client’s Houzz ideabook tells them a lot about what the client is really looking for. It helps them get a feel for their style and ensures we’re speaking the same language.  

Vessel Sink
  1. Log into NARI

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry is an organization of high-quality remodeling professionals who’ve demonstrated a commitment to excellence and have completed an accreditation process to prove their knowledge and expertise.

The NARI website has excellent resources for homeowners as well as a search form to quickly find local NARI Remodelers.

Sitting Area & Game Room
  1. Check out Company Websites

Once you have some names on your list, it’s time to check out their individual websites. There might be a lot of information to go through, but here’s what to zero in on:

Awards

If a remodeler describes themselves as “award-wining,” look for proof. If NARI, GuildQuality, or Houzz have recognized them, they’re the real deal. Look for awards such as:

  • Best of Houzz
  • GuildMaster
  • Contractor of the Year (CotY)

Credentials

Are they licensed, bonded, and insured? Do they mention a warranty on their work? Look for specific memberships and certifications from accredited organizations such as:

Portfolios

Browse through your potential remodeling partner’s portfolio and ask:

  • Do the pictures look professional and accurate?
  • Have they worked on projects similar to yours?
  • Do they use a variety of styles and features, or does all their work look the same?

Keep in mind if you can’t find this information on a prospective builder’s website, you can always call and ask. This will be a natural lead into step 2 of your pursuit: interviewing your narrowed list of candidates. Stay tuned for more on that in our next blog!

Could Custom Craft Remodeling be a good fit for you? Find out at customcraftdbr.com.

Glass Shower
Kitchen

3 Steps to Selecting Your Home Remodeler – The Series

Choosing the right remodeler is a big decision. Whether you’re remodeling your Ambler kitchen, updating your Lansdale bathroom, or modernizing your North Wales master bedroom, picking who will do the work is the difference between getting your dream house and your worst nightmare. But how do you know you’re choosing the right team? We’re here to help. Our upcoming blog series dives into the three steps to ensuring your remodel will be everything you want and need and one big misstep to avoid.  

Over the next few months, you’ll learn decision-making tips on:
  • Research: Google can only get you so far. Discover what specifically to look for (online and offline) to know you’ve found a quality remodeler.
  • Interviewing: Be prepared for your initial consultation with the right questions — and answers.
  • Red Flags: Learn the warning signs that a remodeler isn’t the right fit for you.
  • The one mistake many homeowners make — but all should avoid.
Kitchen

Get ready to discover all these ideas and more in our upcoming blog series. By the end, you’ll be a wiser consumer, feel more confident in your decisions, and have the tools you need to start transforming your house into your dream home. Stay tuned for step one coming soon!

Wondering if Custom Craft is the right remodeler for you? Let’s talk!

Group Photo 2021

Seasons Greetings!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Decorations are up, shopping is underway, and Christmas parties are in full swing. The team at Custom Craft had a great time celebrating at our holiday gathering recently — a fun evening of good company, delicious food, and holiday cheer.

Group Photo 2021

December is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on the passing year. 2021 has certainly had its ups and downs, but we’re fortunate to say that it’s been very successful for us. We have our homeowners, friends, and exceptional group of team members to thank! We’re coming up on our 40th anniversary, and we know that the people of Custom Craft are the reason for our growth and longevity — from a one-man operation in Lansdale to a premier design-build service spanning several counties.

As you celebrate with friends and family, we hope your hearts and homes are filled with joy, laughter, and love. Take an extra moment to gaze at the lights, grasp that warm mug of hot cocoa, and watch the snowflakes fall softly outside. When the New Year arrives, we’ll be anxious to hear what projects we can help you with next.

Happy holidays from Custom Craft!

Kitchen Island with Seating

Bringing Down Walls: The Modern Open-Concept Home

What’s your home’s story — and how has it changed through the years? Home design trends vary significantly from generation to generation (and not just the décor). Modified open-concept spaces tend to be the gold standard today, but how did we get there? Let’s take a look back through history to learn more.

How It Started

Function has always dictated the layout of homes, and a lot of evolving trends were (and still are) the result of how American families chose to entertain and spend time together. For example, prior to 1950, most home gatherings were very formal. Kitchens were off-limits to guests and tended to be at the back of the home, serving as purely functional spaces. A formal dining room was typically used for all meals.

Kitchen Island with Seating

Post-WWII and the dawn of the baby-boomer era saw trends leaning toward a more casual way of living. Open floor plans began to emerge, along with the original mid-century design style. Walls with a fireplace spanning both sides and centrally located kitchens were more commonplace, paving the way to a more open house.

The ’80s and ’90s saw an increase in the size of homes and luxurious features such as whirlpool baths, high ceilings, and home offices. Half-walls were a popular way to divide rooms with a hint of openness. Eat-in kitchens were preferred over formal dining rooms, and the trend of the kitchen, dining, and living room area as one space began to pick up speed.

How It’s Going

From the 2000s through today, we see open-concept layouts not only trending but expected. It’s easy to see why. Better flow, multifunctional rooms, natural lighting, and endless entertainment possibilities are just some benefits of an open floorplan. The kitchen is now a central gathering location, where guests can sit and chat and even enjoy a meal at gorgeous center islands. Smaller homes are in demand as people search for efficient and eco-friendly living options, and open-concept spaces prevent homeowners from feeling cramped and crowded.

While open spaces are a top priority, modern homes feel more comfortable and less cavernous. We’ve heard many homeowners request open-concept layouts with distinct areas. Careful placement of furniture, flooring changes, varied color palettes, light fixtures, and ceiling accents such as beams and bulkheads define spaces without walls.

Blue Kitchen Island

Whether you’re opening up a compartmentalized 1980s bi-level or dividing up a too-open millennium mansion, we’re here to help you create a fresh layout that preserves your home’s character — so your home can still tell its story. Contact us today to get started.

Lighted Post Caps

The Three Most Important Ideas for Your Next Remodel

Planning a remodel? Whether you’re getting started on a kitchen refresh, bathroom update, or even a whole-home remodel, the beginning stages can feel overwhelming. After all, a home remodel is a large investment in time and money, and you want it to be just right.

So do we.

That’s why we structure every phase of a home remodel against our three principles of design. Let’s take an in-depth look at these goals and how you can apply them in your Lansdale-area home remodeling plans:

  1. Strength & Solidity: Build to Last
Lighted Post Caps

Any structure added to your house needs to be strong enough to stand the test of time — even through heavy use and exposure to the elements. This gorgeous deck, for example, was crafted using TimberTech® polymer decking — a beautiful and low-maintenance material that’s much more resilient than wood. Whether you’re building an in-law suite addition, crafting an inviting deck, or restructuring your entryway, you’ll want to make sure you:

  • Choose quality materials
  • Protect against changes in temperature, water or moisture build-up, and other environmental factors
  • Hire knowledgeable, experienced tradespeople who work with precision, attention to detail, and know just what it takes to make sure everything they construct is built with integrity
  1. Functionality: Build to Fit
Kitchen

Many remodeling projects start with a problem. It may be that your kitchen feels dated, your dining room table isn’t cutting it as a home office, or there’s no place for your whole family to gather. This kitchen was feeling congested, and the homeowners wanted more room for entertaining. By removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room, their space is now much more open, with plenty of space for friends and family. Making your home function better and meet your needs could mean:

  • Rearranging for better flow
  • Repurposing rooms to make every space useful
  • Maximizing storage to stay organized
  • Expanding highly used rooms
  • Building an addition
  1. Appearance: Build for Beauty
Tub After

Form may follow function, but it’s equally important. You should love the way your new space looks, and it should reflect your personal style — a tailor-made retreat that you can’t wait to get back to at the end of the day. For example, these homeowners were looking to transform their master bathroom into a contemporary and clean spa-like getaway. We achieved this by installing an elegant soaking tub in front of a beautiful window and using a color scheme of warm white with grey undertones. Learning which design style or combination of styles suits you best will help you communicate with a knowledgeable designer. Some common design styles to consider include:

  • Traditional
  • Modern
  • Rustic
  • Transitional
  • Contemporary

No matter what kind of house you have, what your style is, or what type of project you’re planning, the principles of strength, function, and beauty will always be the heart of the design and structure of your remodel. With these ideas in mind, and a little help from a quality design-build firm like Custom Craft, you can construct your dream home. Ready to take the next step? Contact us today.  

Basement wet bar

Winning Wet Bars: Exploring Custom Features and Uses

Convenient, classy, and completely customizable, wet bars are trending in more and more Montgomery County homes. Like dry bars, they provide the perfect place to grab a beverage, are excellent for entertaining, and add class and elegance to any room — with the added bonus of a sink.
Let’s explore how to incorporate a wet bar into your next remodeling project, including some fun ways to customize it to your unique style:

Wet Bar

Classy in the Kitchen

A kitchen wet bar is the perfect place for a beverage or coffee station. These homeowners opted for both, including everything they need for the perfect morning brew and happy hour cocktail. A deep, 10” bar sink keeps the area splash-free, and glass doors on the cabinets allow for the attractive display of glassware.

Separate Wet Bar

This wet bar serves as a seamless extension to the main part of the kitchen, making it easy for two people to cook and serve guests simultaneously. A beverage fridge is discreetly concealed with a panel that matches the cabinets. The same backsplash found in the kitchen was used in this space to tie the look together.

Wet Bar in Dining Room

Accessibility in the Dining Room

It happens without fail — at parties, everyone ends up in the kitchen, making it difficult for the person cooking to move around. These homeowners cleverly solved this problem by bringing their wet bar into the dining room. Now, guests can refill their drinks and socialize while keeping the kitchen clear. This elegant area also features a custom accent tile backsplash and glass door upper cabinets with built-in lighting.

Basement wet bar

These homeowners crafted the ultimate entertaining area in their basement. Their full wet bar has a beverage fridge, kegerator, wine fridge, and lots of storage space. Gorgeous bar stools ensure a comfortable spot for every guest.

Convenience in the Mudroom

Wet bars can be for more than entertaining. These homeowners have a passion for gardening, but coming back into the house with dirty hands and tools was becoming a problem. Forgoing the traditional, unattractive utility sink, they chose an elegant wet bar complete with a champagne bronze faucet and hardware and a marble-look quartz countertop. Now, they have a beautiful area right in their mudroom to clean up or grab a drink of water.

Wondering how a wet bar would work in your space? We can help. Contact us to get started planning your perfect beverage bar, entertainment spot, or elegant washing station.

While you’re on our website, don’t forget to check out our home remodel cost estimator that breaks down how much you can expect to spend on different types of projects.

Kitchen

The Design-Build Advantage

What is Design-Build?

If you follow Custom Craft on social media or keep up with our blogs and newsletters, you know we’re referred to as a “design-build” firm. But what does this actually mean?

A design-build remodeling company provides a streamlined, one-stop experience for homeowners. They have established connections with designers, architects, tradespeople, materials providers, and all the other professionals needed to complete a project. In most cases, all homeowners have to do is communicate their wants and needs, and a design-build company will handle the organization and details.

With design-bid-build, on the other hand, the homeowner independently selects a designer and a contractor and coordinates the project, scheduling, and all communication between them. It’s certainly not an impossible task, but it is time-consuming — and often labor intensive.

As a design-build remodeling firm, we’re able to offer Lansdale homeowners:

More Accurate & Efficient Timelines

Our design team works closely with our trade teams to ensure everyone is available and prepared at the right stages of the remodeling process. Our calendars have to fit together like Tetris pieces to be most efficient — coordinating everyone’s schedules is vital to an on-time and on-budget project.

Talented Teams, At-the-Ready

Your home is your sanctuary; you want everyone working on it to be tried, tested, and trusted. Unfortunately, the whole remodeling industry is experiencing significant labor shortages as demand grows.

Thankfully, design-build firms can offer the kind of consistent work that the most talented and highly sought-after tradespeople are looking for. We’ve selected the best, most professional teams around Montgomery County and beyond, and we treat them right — they’re with us for the long haul.

Endless Options

COVID-related supply chain disruptions and material delays are still plaguing the industry. Sometimes, a homeowner settles on a fixture, appliance, or product only to learn it won’t be available for weeks — or even months. This could cause a ripple effect in scheduling that can throw a remodel into serious delays.

Luckily, our in-house designers make great use of our in-house showroom. If a first selection isn’t available, they can recommend an alternative that the homeowner can see, touch, and test right in the showroom without having to travel back to multiple suppliers.

Ready to experience the design-build difference for yourself? Whether you’re updating your mudroom or planning an extensive kitchen remodel, contact us (or stop by the showroom!) to get started as soon as possible!

Kitchen
Blossom Cafe

Barn Doors: Functional Beauty for Your Home

Blossom Cafe

We recently installed a sliding barn door inside Blossom Café, Skippack’s fabulous new spot for coffee, community, and carbs. The sleek door hides all the behind-the-scenes clutter that wouldn’t be conducive to the calm coffeehouse, while adding a bit of farmhouse style.

Barn doors aren’t just for businesses, however. Homeowners in Lansdale and beyond are discovering the benefits of these practical, versatile, and gorgeous entryways. Wondering if a barn door is right for you? Here are four reasons we think they’re great:

Savvy Space Saving

While traditional doors need clearance to swing out, sliding barn doors only need wall space. Especially in a smaller room, that extra square footage could make a big difference for better flow or fitting in that extra piece of furniture.

Barn Door

Sleek & Silent Slide

Well-built barn doors slide smoothly and effortlessly along a track mounted above a doorway. In fact, today’s modern tracks offer virtually silent movement, so you don’t have to worry about squeaky hinges or slammed doors. Even children can slide them easily and without the risk of a pinched finger.

Barn Door

Completely Customizable

Many people think of barn doors as rustic or shabby chic. While the farmhouse look certainly is an option, they also come in endless other styles that complement any design aesthetic. Wood or metal, distressed or sleek, extra-wide or slim, there is a barn door to fit any space.

Barn Door

Form and Function

Barn doors are unique in that they are both functional and stunning. While they are more popular than ever, they are still distinctive conversation starters that feel more like works of art. Many barn doors actually are original works of art, featuring things like inlaid mosaics, murals, and glass patterns.

Barn doors are a hot trend that’s showing no signs of cooling down. Interested in adding their artistic charm to your home? Custom Craft’s design team can offer an array of options for every style. Contact us today to get started!

Blossom Cafe

Sustainability and Style in Skippack’s New Coffee Shop

The charming village of Skippack, PA, is home to many incredible restaurants, chic boutiques, and fantastic celebrations. Until fairly recently, it only lacked one thing — a gourmet coffeehouse. Now, thanks to Blossom Café and Custom Craft, the Skippack area has a wonderful place for coffee, community, and carbs.

Blossom Cafe

Blossom’s owner, Michelle Buckman, sees opening the shop as giving back to the town that’s given so much to her. It hasn’t been an easy feat, however. She was determined to serve excellent coffee and baked goods, but beyond that, she hoped to build a place where people could comfortably gather while taking in the quaint village. She was especially set on the shop feeling organic — like it had always lived inside Skippack’s beloved flower shop, Floral & Hardy. She had plenty of ideas on how to make the space beautiful and inviting, but only one name to bring it to life: Custom Craft.

Michelle Buckman

Lowell Steinberg, owner of Floral & Hardy

with

Michelle Buckman, owner of Blossom Cafe

Our team built a stylish and sustainable oasis inside Floral & Hardy that complements, rather than competes with, the floral shop. Similar elements were threaded through each store to keep it feeling cohesive, and very little of the florist changed. In fact, they were able to stay open during construction with minimal disruption — a feat all the more impressive considering that Blossom was built from Floral & Hardy’s old counter. This meant refurbishing the existing one into the perfect coffeeshop and building an entirely new and bigger counter for flower arranging and purchasing.

Blossom Cafe

We furthered the organic and natural feel by installing a quartz counter and brick-like tiles on the walls, while Michelle added stylish touches like a moss frame and a reclaimed wood menu holder. Sustainability is particularly important to Michelle — Blossom’s serveware is largely compostable and the shop features repurposed materials where possible.

Blossom Cafe
Michelle has worked with Custom Craft on many projects in her home, so she knew we’d deliver fine craftsmanship and unmatched service on this passion project. She’s thrilled with the final look and feel of the shop and excited to see what its future holds. If you’re in the area soon, pop by for a quick sip — or stop and smell the roses while enjoying a sweet treat!
Blossom Cafe

Click the link below to follow Blossom Cafe on facebook, or click the cup of coffee to check out their website!

Charging Drawer

Top Seven Kitchen Cabinet Accessories to Make Your Kitchen Yours

Are you looking to make your kitchen more unique? Enter kitchen cabinet accessories! Not only can you add some flair to the space, you can also add functionality and organization for your needs.  Accessories can be added to cabinets and drawers, enhancing both the inside space and outside look. In this blog post we review some of our favorites.

Here are the top seven kitchen cabinet accessories to consider:

Charging Drawer
  1. Charging station:

Are you tired of looking at wires and devices charging on the kitchen counter? We have the perfect solution for you – a charging drawer! Add a plug into a kitchen drawer or cabinet and use that space specifically for charging. You can store chargers there and when needed, plug your phone in for a charge

Bread Drawer

2. Bread box:

To keep bread fresh, people have been using bread boxes for many (many) years. But adding a cumbersome accessory to your counter isn’t ideal which is why bread drawers are great. It combines the function of a bread box with the space-saving qualities of a drawer.

LeManns

3. LeMans:

Installing a LeMans set eliminates frustrating blind corners and will maximize storage. The swivel shelves allow you to reach things stowed in the cabinet that you otherwise would not be able to access. 

Pull Out Pantry

4. Pull-outs:

Pull out organizers make harder to reach areas more accessible. These help to eliminate digging through cluttered and inaccessible shelves in pantries.

Peg System

5. Peg system:

If you want to keep things in place with the ability to change the layout around as needed, this one’s for you! Installing pegs in a drawer helps to make storing delicate dishes and plates easy.

Glass Cabinets

6. Glass Doors:

Do you have items you would like to display in your kitchen? You can do that in a classy way by adding glass upper cabinets with lighting.

Plugmold & Under Cabinet Lighting

7. Under Cabinet Lighting:

Not only does under cabinet lighting look nice, it comes in handy when prepping and using the counter space directly under the lights.  In addition to lighting, another under cabinet feature is plug molding, which allows for your outlets to be concealed.

It’s important to make your kitchen work for you and function the way you need it to. There are a lot of ways to incorporate kitchen cabinet accessories that will make your space truly yours. Contact us to get started; we would love to help you!

 

Guildmaster Logo

Custom Craft Recognized as a Leader in the Residential Remodeling Industry

Guildmaster Logo

For the eighth year in a row, Custom Craft received a 2021 Guildmaster with Highest Distinction Award from GuildQuality for demonstrating exceptional customer service within the residential remodeling industry. 

Since 2005, GuildQuality, an Atlanta-based third-party customer satisfaction surveying company, has powered the Guildmaster Award to recognize and celebrate home building, remodeling, and contracting professionals demonstrating the highest level of customer service within the U.S. and Canada. 

Out of nearly 2,000 eligible applicants, Custom Craft is one of 400+ businesses within the residential construction industry recognized by GuildQuality for consistently delivering superior customer care. 

In determining which businesses received the 2021 Guildmaster Award, GuildQuality reviewed thousands of survey responses submitted by customers of Guildmaster candidates and considered two primary metrics for each candidate: the percentage of customers stating they would recommend the business to a friend and the percentage of customers who responded.

Custom Craft achieved a recommendation rate of 90% or above from their customers surveyed by GuildQuality. 

This is an incredible achievement and the Custom Craft team is proud to receive this industry recognition!

 

Client Meeting

Weddings and Home Remodeling Have More in Common Than You Think

When it comes to executing a big event, like a wedding, it pays to use a professional to organize the affair. Wedding planners help happy couples create their dream celebration by ensuring all the moving parts come together flawlessly. Similarly, couples hire design-build professionals to properly execute home remodels. By utilizing the services of a professional, couples can achieve a better outcome for their project – no matter if it’s a wedding or a home remodel.

In this blog post, let’s explore the parallels between professional wedding planners and design-build remodelers. What do they do to help make your life easier?

Remove the Stress

Whether planning a wedding or a home remodel, couples share a common goal: for the project to be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible! Having a planner allows a couple to enjoy the planning process without becoming bogged down in the details, or distracted when things go awry. Whether it’s an event or a remodel, when couples try to tackle everything on their own, they are often unable to avoid the strain that surrounds managing large projects. By employing professionals, they are able to remove the work burden by delegating the project management to a trusted resource–and greatly reduce a huge source of stress.

Client Meeting

Manage the (Many!) Details

Like a wedding, a home remodel is a complicated project. Can couples plan their own wedding or renovation? Possibly. With thousands of details to consider in both scenarios, unless they are employed in related fields, chances are high that they won’t be totally familiar with every aspect of planning. Because of that, there is an increased risk for error. Considering the significant investment that is being made, using professionals who are well-versed in the process will reduce the likelihood of costly mishaps and mistakes.

Help with Decisions

Whether it’s selecting a caterer, or cabinetry, weddings and home remodels require couples to make many decisions. But couples are frequently vexed by what to choose, and from what vendor. Both wedding planners and design-build remodelers have established relationships with all the vendors that will be required to execute the project. They know what to order, when to order, and how to schedule and arrange for delivery. Perhaps most importantly, they know who can provide the necessary products or services reliably. These relationships are developed and nurtured over time and over the course of numerous projects. Couples organizing a one-off wedding or renovation cannot hope to establish the type of working relationships with vendors that professionals have taken years to cultivate.

Create Efficiency

Another advantage of working with an experienced wedding planner is that they have organized numerous functions and developed a work process to manage events efficiently. The same is true of design-build remodeling firms. Whether renovating a kitchen, basement, or building an addition, design-build remodelers have honed the processes over time to deliver renovations on-schedule and on-budget.

PigOversee the Budget

On the topic of budget, there would appear to be a cost-saving benefit to adopting a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to wedding planning or home remodeling. After all, wedding planners and design-build firms both charge fees that add to the overall cost of the project. While that is true, it is also true that many DIY projects go over budget due to mistakes. In this study by Porch, it was revealed that mistakes incurred during a DIY remodeling project caused hundreds of dollars per mistake and also resulted in project delays and arguments among partners. On the other hand, professional service providers are far less likely to make expensive errors, and typically have protocols in place to manage errors when they occur to mitigate against fluctuations in expense.

Another budget factor that is often overlooked is the labor cost associated with managing these projects. Weddings and renovations are both time-consuming to produce. As the adage goes, time is money. Before embarking on a DIY project, couples would be well-served to factor the value of their time into their calculations to determine whether or not cost-savings really exist.

Build Your Happily Ever After

At the conclusion of a wedding, all couples hope to live happily ever after together. When home remodeling, the hope is to live happily in their renovated space. By taking advantage of the services of trained professionals, couples greatly enhance their opportunity for achieving bliss in either endeavor.

We would love to help you achieve a happily remodeled home, contact us to get started!

RemodelingDecisions
Charging Drawer

Part 2 of Your Home Remodeling Guide: 5 Kitchen Trends for the New Year

Home Remodeling Guide

This is the second blog in a two-part series focused on helping you create a 2021 home remodeling guide. In part 1, we discussed bathroom trends that will be big this year. Part 2 will focus on kitchen trends.

The kitchen is a place that you are sure to spend a lot of time in. Whether you actually like cooking or not, the kitchen is often used by every family member – a multi-purpose room of sorts where you gather for family meals, entertain, do homework with your kids, or catch up on work. 

Is your current kitchen designed to meet both your functional and aesthetic needs? Is it a practical and a comfortable space, where you enjoy spending time?

If you’re thinking about an upgrade, here are our top five 2021 kitchen remodel trends to keep on your radar. 

Trend #1: Pantries

Organization is key to any room in a home, but in the kitchen it’s absolutely essential (think: cookware, bakeware, utensils, plates, glasses, food…the list goes on). It’s a lot of stuff for one area! Up your pantry game by customizing it. Who says you can’t have it ALL in your pantry? Shelves, baskets, pop-in drawers, lazy Susans – you name it, use it. Rather than just stacking things on shelves, get creative and use other vehicles to store items. Group things by category to make your life easier.

 

Hands Free Faucet

 

Trend #2: Touchless faucets

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are hyper aware of germs these days, so touchless faucets are becoming more and more popular. They are also incredibly helpful when you are cooking and have messy hands. The touchless feature keeps your faucet germ- and mess-free.

Trend #3: Large Islands

Kitchen islands are very popular, as they add additional workspace and casual seating to the room. In 2021, large kitchen islands that incorporate storage are gaining traction, and we anticipate that this design will become a kitchen staple. 

Additionally, contrasting kitchen islands – where, for instance, the accent base color doesn’t match the cabinets – are growing in popularity. This is a simple way to make your kitchen pop. 

Trend #4: Hidden Appliances

Why look at your appliances if you don’t have to? Unnecessary clutter is the arch nemesis of the kitchen!

Today, more people are interested in taking the focus away from appliances, through clever ways to hide them in plain sight. Here are a few appliances you can hide:

  1. Refrigerator: Compared to traditional refrigerators that typically stick out way past the counter, built-in refrigerators blend in and look flush with surrounding cabinets. This is a way to make your refrigerator appear to be less intrusive in the space. Some come with the option to add panels that match your cabinets, to make it even more discrete. 
  2. Dishwasher: In addition to your refrigerator, you can add panels to your dishwasher that match your cabinets.
  3. Microwave: Microwave drawers make this appliance less visible, while still enabling easy access when you need it. 
  4. Stand mixers and other miscellaneous small appliances: Use a slide-out cabinet to tuck these away. This type of cabinet is great for appliances that you don’t use every day. 
Charging Drawer

 

Trend #5: Charging Stations

In our digital age, everyone’s looking for a charge! We’re seeing increased interest in having more plugs available to accomodate all of your devices. Since many of us are working and schooling from home, there is a demand for more power. Installing hidden charging stations – in a drawer, for example – are great ways to keep your devices hidden.

 

We hope our 2021 kitchen home remodeling guide has given you the ideas you need to inspire your next kitchen makeover! 

Interested in learning how these trends could play out in your own space? Or do you have a home remodeling project in mind you’d like to discuss? We’d love to hear from you!

Home Remodeling Guide

Part 1 of Your 2021 Home Remodeling Guide: 5 Bathroom Trends for the New Year

Home Remodeling Guide

With a new year comes a fresh perspective. One of our favorite things to do when the new year rolls around is to examine all of the design elements that are becoming trends for that particular year. As part of our home remodeling guide series, we’ll be reviewing some of the ways to upgrade your home in 2021.

We’re first going to take a look at bathroom trends for this year. 2020 was a difficult year for most of us, so we could all use little rest and relaxation infused into our daily lives – something that can be achieved with upgrades to your bathroom!

Trend #1: Space-Savvy Soaking TubsSoaking Tub
In 2021, it’s all about clean lines and optimizing space, so instead of the large, built-in jacuzzi tubs, we’re seeing beautiful, smaller soaking tubs that may even serve as the focal point of the bathroom. Why not take something functional and make it a design piece?!

Not only do these smaller soaking tubs take up less room, they also use much less water, making them more efficient. And while tubs are getting smaller, showers are getting larger. Big, walk-in showers have been a trend for a while now, and we anticipate that will remain a trend in 2021.

Sink detailTrend #2: Quartz Countertops
While quartz has long been used for kitchen counters, it’s become a popular material for bathrooms. Quartz bathroom countertops have been trending for a while, but there’s become an even greater demand in our “new normal.” Because they are non-porous, they are much easier to clean and more stain-resistant than natural stone, which is perfect for increased use of the bathroom with family members home more frequently these days. Quartz is also stronger and more durable than stone slab countertops, and it comes in a variety of colors and styles, making it a versatile choice.

Trend #3: Wood Look Tile
The shift to more organic designs lends nicely to this trend, by giving the durability and resistance of moisture with porcelain or ceramic, but the look of natural wood. Not only can these be used for the floor, they can also be used in showers or on walls to become the focal point of the space or to make certain areas standout. Wood look tile is also a great option because it comes in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes.

Lighted MirrorTrend #4: Back-Lit Mirrors & Medicine Cabinets
Back-lit mirrors give light to the space, without the glare from a normal light fixture, and create uniform distribution of lighting. They also eliminate the need for other types of task lighting or sconces, keeping the design clean and simple. Smart mirrors that can adjust to a specific setting, e.g. date night prep or getting ready for work, are also available.

Trend #5: Smart Toilets
In our ‘new normal,’ cleanliness is everything. New smart toilet designs offer touch-free flushing and self-closing and self-opening lids, so your hands can stay germ-free! Some even offer a bacteria-killing light that does the cleaning for you.

There are a lot of ways to upgrade and refresh your bathroom; these are just some of the trends for 2021 that we’re excited about and would love to help you with. We hope our bathroom home remodeling guide inspires you to create a relaxing, indulgent space that you can enjoy for years to come!

If you’re ready for a bathroom remodel, have another project in mind, or just have general questions, we’d love to hear from you