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.

Future deck

How to Save on Remodeling Costs Without Sacrificing Quality

This is the second in a series of blog articles focused on creative ways to save on remodeling costs, while still bringing your design dreams to life. In the first article, we showed you how to prioritize your renovation wish-list to stay on budget. Here, we will focus on strategies that will enable you to save money while still ensuring a high-quality renovation.

Future deck

Take a phased approach

A full project does not need to be completed all at once. For example, perhaps you want to connect your kitchen to a future deck outside, but you don’t have the budget for both. Start with the area that you’ve determined is the greater priority (likely the kitchen) and make sure it’s built in a way that will make it easy to pick up the rest of the renovation later on. If you start with the kitchen and dining room, you can add in a new door that will lead out to the future deck.

Focus on your primary goals
Sometimes, people get sidetracked with ‘nice-to-haves,’ which can cause the scope of the project (and budget) to expand.  Reeling it back in to focus on the primary objectives, and being realistic on what’s feasible for you, can help keep costs under control.

Put some ‘sweat equity’ into the project
If you have a knack for painting, maybe you opt to tackle that part of the project yourself. Our rule at Custom Craft is, for any ‘sweat equity’ work, you should perform it on the front-end or back-end of a project – not concurrent to the work we do. 

Consider energy efficiency
The U.S. Department of Energy  estimates that energy efficiency tactics can save typical households 25% on their utility bills (over $2,200 annually). Discuss with your contractor ways to be energy efficient with the following installations (as recommended by Energy.gov):

  • Appliances and home electronics
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Lighting and daylighting
  • Space heating and cooling
  • Water heating
  • Windows, doors, and skylights

 

Know when to save and when to spend
Consider the life cycle costs of your renovation. Select materials and finishes that, over the lifetime of the product, will deliver on your investment long-term. Materials like hardwood flooring and tile, well built cabinetry, good quality plumbing and lighting fixtures will add lasting value and minimize repair/replacement costs down the road.

Be thoughtful about the contractor you pick
Your contractor should have deep expertise in the specific renovations you are seeking, make an effort to learn your greatest pain points, and be focused on delivering ROI. Contractor-client contracts should be relationship-based. At Custom Craft, we take great pride in our close attention to detail and engage fully with you from the first time we meet, to ensure we are the right fit for you. Learn more about our process here.

 

Custom Craft DBR - Design Center

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful! If you’d like to speak with us directly to do an even deeper dive into ways to save remodeling costs without sacrificing quality – or if you’re ready to kick off a project – please contact us! You can also check out our home remodeling cost guide to help determine the investment you can afford. Stay tuned for the next post of this series next month!

kitchen with barn door

Home Remodeling Costs: How to Prioritize Your Renovation Wish-List to Stay on Budget

Do you have a lengthy list of home renovations you’d like to get started on? Feeling paralyzed on where to start or how to prioritize projects based on the overall investment you’d like to make? You’re not alone! This is a challenge that many of our clients face – and one that we’ve solved many times! We’re here to help. 

Deciding to officially kickstart a home renovation project can feel intimidating, especially if you’re facing doubt on whether or not you can make the investment to get it all done.  The good news is that it doesn’t have to be an intimidating process or difficult to prioritize based on your budget. We have several key factors you should consider, which will help you determine where to start based on your unique circumstances and budget

How to Prioritize Your Home Renovations

Determine the size of your investment

Right from the start, it’s important to know how much you can invest in your home and let that help dictate which project you start with. Remember, a home renovation is not just any other “expense.” It’s an investment not only your family but also in the value of your home, should you consider moving in the future. However,  if you know from the get-go that you can’t currently afford the kitchen remodel you want, but you can afford something smaller, you’ll avoid wasting time and energy thinking about that big project that you just can’t swing.

Tidy Up

Clean up your home! It will give you a better picture of which area(s) need the most work.

Prioritize urgent needs

Is something leaking, or is there an underlying problem that needs to be solved to avoid damage? Determine what is actually urgent or necessary to improve the functionality of your home. For example, the bathroom shower tile is damaged and needs to be replaced. Maybe it’s time to prioritize the master bath renovation that you’ve had on your mind.

Strategize & think ahead

Think through renovations you might want to do with adjoining spaces, or as add-ons to a certain project. Will one project impact another? For example, you want to remodel your kitchen, but know that you also want to remodel the upstairs master bath at some point. If the master bath is above the kitchen, you may want to design this space ahead of time, so any plumbing changes can be planned out while the kitchen is under construction. Another example is perhaps you need new flooring in the kitchen, but know you also want to open up the floor plan to connect it with the dining room. It would make sense to prioritize the entire kitchen and dining remodel, to avoid having to redo brand new flooring that you just installed.

Know your pain points

Is there a part of your home that’s creating significant frustration? Consider the functionality of your home based on your unique circumstances. Where do you spend most of your time? Do you have children? Maybe you don’t have a space to store shoes, coats, and bags, so they end up scattered in the family room. To combat the issue, maybe you prioritize this project and remodel the laundry room or mudroom to help alleviate that stressor.

Determine your length-of-stay

Are you planning to move out of your current home any time soon? If so, think about which projects would increase your home value, and start there. This will help make your house easier to sell or increase the value. This ensures that the renovations you prioritize will benefit you over the long-term.

Consider seasonality

Is there something you want to update or build for use during the next upcoming season? Perhaps you’d like a better view of your backyard from the kitchen, in time for the beautiful fall weather and natural scenery. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about installing a fireplace for the winter. Start seasonal renovations before the season you have in mind, to ensure it’s ready for you to enjoy! 

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful! If you’d like to speak with us directly to do an even deeper dive into how to prioritize, or if you’re ready to kick off a project, please contact us! You can also check out our home remodeling cost guide to help determine the investment you can afford. 

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Kitchen Remodel Ideas: How to Make it a Functional & Sociable Space

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In the age of social distancing, our homes have become more of a “hangout” spot than ever before.  Because of this, requests for renovations have increased, as many homeowners have had more time to assess their space and identify areas for improvement.   There has been an increased interest in kitchens, especially, as some see an opportunity to transform this space into their “living room” – a social space where small groups of family and friends can mingle around the table over snacks, drinks, or a good meal! With this in mind, we developed a list of kitchen remodel ideas you can consider, based on frequent pain points we have seen from our clients and the solutions we have implemented.
  1. Get the Lighting Right 

A dark kitchen feels uninviting for guests, can hinder productivity, and makes it difficult to read recipes or even use sharp knives. There are a variety of ways to make sure you nail your kitchen lighting:

  • Natural light: Amplify natural light with more windows. This can also provide enhanced views into the backyard or surrounding area of your home to feel more connected to nature.
  • Recessed lighting: Improve your recessed lighting, which are fixtures built into the ceiling or wall comprised of housing, trim, and bulb.
  • LED bulbs: This is an energy-saving alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. 
  • Under cabinet and in-cabinet lighting: This will eliminate shadows to provide adequate lighting for cooking.
  • Paint: Choose paint colors strategically to make the space feel brighter. 
  • Cabinets and countertops: Select finishes that will brighten the space. Consider shades of white for an illuminated and modern look!

2. Make The Space Inviting, Spacious, & Functional 

Homeowners are often frustrated by the awkward layout of their kitchen, as a cramped space makes it difficult for multiple people to be in the room. 

  • Eliminate congestion: Strategically place key features to eliminate traffic congestion and allow family members and guests to comfortably hang out, without getting in the way of someone who is cooking.
  • Enlarge the space: Consider removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room to create a larger footprint for your new kitchen. 
  • Add a dual-purpose island: Create space for a large island that can be used for not only meal prep, but also as a hangout spot for family and friends. 
  • Enhance storage: More on that below!

3. Amplify Storage

Inefficient storage can be aggravating and cause multiple trips to the garage, basement, and other areas of the home while cooking or doing meal prep. It also leads to clutter and can cause your space to feel smaller than it really is. 

  • Remove the soffit: This is a box-shaped structure intended to hide the wiring and mechanical components between your cabinets and your ceiling. Soffits are dated and can often make your space feel cramped. By removing it, you can then install cabinets that reach to the ceiling, allowing for more storage. If the soffit cannot be removed, there are ways to disguise it!
  • Accessorize your cabinets: Add extra shelving under countertops and on walls, free-standing shelves, toekick drawers, and cubbies.
  • Maximize corner storage: Rework blind corners with a LeMans shelving unit or a lazy susan. Blind corners are often found in older homes and can make it difficult to utilize the space in that area.
  • Upgrade your pantry: Consider replacing your old pantry closet with tall cabinetry.  A tall cabinet is much more efficient with full depth shelves, roll-out trays, and dividers.

4. Give It a Modern Makeover

Having a modern, renovated kitchen promotes sustainability and can drastically increase the value of your property, should you look to sell in the future. Here are some ideas:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Luxury vinyl flooring 
  • Stainless steel, energy-efficient appliances and new plumbing fixtures
  • Upgraded metals (matte aluminum, black stainless steel, brushed gold)
  • Open shelving and “floating” shelves 
  • Water-conserving sink faucets 
  • White cabinets accented by blue tile backsplash and newly painted walls
  • Add decor 
Kitchen with Large Island

5. Commit to the Prep Work First

Before you even get started, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions:

  • What are the pain points of your current kitchen?
  • What are your “must-haves?” 
  • What do you need more or less of?
  • Which aspects are outdated?
  • How long do you envision staying in your home? Are you planning to sell at any point?
  • What are you comfortable investing?

So, are you thinking about whether remodeling your kitchen is worth it? If your kitchen is outdated, uncomfortable, or causing traffic congestion, the answer is yes! An investment in your home is an investment in your family and quality of life. Beautiful environments increase endorphins! 

If you’re in need of a kitchen contractor, please contact us! We can have a virtual design meeting, or we can meet at our Design Center (we have several COVID-19 protocols in place, which you can find here). If you’re concerned about budget, let’s chat and we’ll determine what is feasible. 

Want to see some of these kitchen remodel ideas in action? Check out our kitchen portfolio page for before and after pictures!

House Renovation During the Coronavirus: Plan Now, Build Later!

Before the coronavirus outbreak, did you have thoughts of starting a new house renovation project? If so, did you decide to put it on hold because of social distancing? We’d love to help you keep your design dreams moving! Although we’ve temporarily stopped active construction and closed our in-person Design Center, we can still work together virtually on project planning and design and development. 

At Custom Craft, we have a thorough preparation process that precedes production. Thoughtful design is at the heart of everything we do and ensures that we create a space that is tailored to your wants and needs, and is executed with care, high-quality craftsmanship, and efficiency. By planning now, you will: 

  • Get ahead of other prospective customers and avoid a crowded market. When the pandemic ends, many people will start requesting renovation projects at once. By getting started now, you’re far less likely to experience construction delays down the line. We’ll hit the ground running right away.
  • Focus on perfecting the details. Many homeowners get excited when they kick off a renovation project and want to rush right into construction. We’re just as excited as you are, but we encourage the opposite approach. Rushing may result in an end product that doesn’t match your vision. Since you’re spending far more time at home right now – and given that we can’t even begin construction – it’s likely you’ll be more engaged in our planning process by starting now. This will help us produce the highest-quality outcome that exceeds your expectations.

We do recognize the economic impact that the coronavirus has had on families in our community and that financially, a home renovation may not be a feasible project to take on right now. However, for those who do feel positioned to consider it, we encourage you to read on to learn more about our virtual design process and how to get started.

Phase 1: Virtual Introductions & Project Planning

Over the course of a few virtual meetings, we will:

  • Discuss your goals and objectives for the renovation and potential challenges
  • Take a virtual tour of the impacted areas in your home
  • Review and align on an initial design proposal
  • Review a preliminary scope of work (including timing and budget)

Ultimately, we consider this a partnership, so our goal in this phase is to determine whether Custom Craft is the right fit for you, and that you’re the right fit for us!

Phase 2: Virtual Design and Development Process

Once we’ve agreed to move forward, we’ll dig deeper into the project (virtually) with one of our designers. We call this your “At-Home Design Center.” We will:

  • Present a schematic drawing of your new space and a palette of finishes so you can see how the materials look side-by-side.
  • Package all of our recommended finishes and materials, which we can drop off on your doorstep, or you can pick up curbside.
  • Create a 3D rendering based on the finishes you select. This will help you visualize the new space.

Once we’ve aligned on design and budget, we’ll prep for production! We’ll create a tentative schedule, contingent upon us receiving formal approval from the government to resume construction. Important to note, even when the quarantine ends, we will continue to provide a safe environment for you and our staff, and will follow all guidelines from the CDC. Read more on our precautions here.

So, are you feeling inspired to start planning your next project? Or perhaps you just want to brainstorm some preliminary ideas? Please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you and your families lasting health and safety as we navigate this difficult time together.

laundry drying rack mounted on wall

Clever Laundry Solutions For Your Home

laundry drying rack mounted on wallMust Have Laundry Features

When it comes to remodeling, one of the most frequently overlooked areas of a home is the laundry room. Yet, when you calculate how much time is spent working in that space, it makes sense to give the design careful consideration. If you are planning to update your laundry, we recommend thinking beyond the washer and dryer by including user-friendly features to make your domestic chores less onerous.

There are a variety of clever features which can be incorporated into your laundry room to make your life easier, like this wall-mounted, retractable drying rack. Here are a few additional options to consider:

  • Laundry basket cubbies/drawers
  • Counters for clothes folding
  • Built-in cabinetry surrounding the washer & dryer
  • Pocket doors
  • Utility sinks

We have collected several project photos to illustrate how these clever solutions can be used to make your household chores easier. Tap or click on any of the images below to launch the slideshow and learn more.

To start a conversation about your next remodeling project, contact us at 610-584-0665

Entertaining-Friendly Spaces

Host holiday and other gatherings in stylish comfort with these custom-made serving spaces

It never fails. Whenever guests gather for an event in the home, they inevitably congregate around the kitchen. This can create quite a challenge for the hosts of the event, as they attempt to navigate around guests while they serve dinner and drinks. Sound familiar? The good news is that with some thoughtful planning, and a little Custom Craft ingenuity, your kitchen can be equipped with entertaining-friendly features to resolve these kitchen conundrums.

If you enjoy entertaining and are longing for a more functional space, consider including these features in your next remodeling project:

  • Cabinetry with serving counters placed away from the meal prep area
  • Accent lighting beneath perimeter cabinetry
  • Decorative glass to showcase stemware
  • Under counter beverage refrigerators
  • Decorative tile features for visual interest

In the slideshow below, we highlight a few of the solutions we crafted for our clients. We encourage you to toggle through the photos for ideas and inspiration. As always, if you have any questions about how you can achieve a more entertaining-friendly environment in your home, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 610-584-0665.

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Remodelers are Like Surgeons for Your Home

You Need A Proper Diagnosis Before Being Prescribed A Cure

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Your home is one of the biggest financial investments you are likely to make. It is also the hub of family life. For these reasons, when renovations become necessary it is important to select a remodeling contractor with great care–similar to selecting a physician. After all, home remodeling is a lot like surgery. Before any procedure is completed, it is critical to perform a thorough examination.

Understanding Patient History

As time consuming as it is to complete the survey forms before your doctor appointment, providing your physician with that history is important. Those factors need to be taken into consideration when analyzing your current condition and developing an appropriate treatment plan. The same concept holds true for your home. At Custom Craft, we dedicate the time to conduct a thorough interview with you to understand the circumstances that prompted you to contact us in the first place. Just like a doctors appointment, this initial assessment can be somewhat time consuming, but is essential to the success of the project.

Where Does it Hurt?

Like a doctor, we need to know what is causing your pain. Is your room too dark? Are pathways cramped? Do you lack storage? Are appliances in need of replacement? Is anything broken, leaking, or otherwise malfunctioning? These issues are what we commonly refer to as your pain points. Understanding these frustrations helps us to identify the sources of the problems, and plan appropriately to resolve these challenges to your satisfaction.

Forming the Diagnosis

Once Custom Craft has performed a thorough assessment of your home, we are able to identify the sources of the pain you are experiencing, and develop a custom solution to meet your needs. By necessity, these solutions are unique because you, your home, and your needs are also one-of-a-kind. We never use off the shelf designs. In medical terms, trying to utilize a cookie-cutter solution for a unique problem would be about as effective as applying a bandage to an ankle in order to treat a sprained wrist.

The Renovation Remedy

Similar to a surgical procedure, a remodeling project can sometimes be painful–especially during the construction phase. Let’s face it, remodeling is disruptive to daily life. That said, Custom Craft will work to ease that pain by communicating with you throughout the process, and taking measures to remove irritants like dirt and debris. We will also create temporary spaces for cooking and even doing laundry if necessary. In the end, our objective is to ensure that your renovation remedy will be well worth the investment of time and resources.

Have a problem area in your home in need of a diagnosis? Give Custom Craft a call at 610-584-0665

french door wall oven

Save Space with a French Door Wall Oven

french door wall ovenWhen it comes to designing kitchens, creating a safe, congestion free environment is always one of our top priorities. One of the most troublesome spots we address is the area around the oven–particularly when the oven door is open.

Traditional oven doors open from the top and extend about 20″ into the kitchen floor space on average. These drop-style doors force cooks to navigate around, and bend over, hot oven doors to get items in and out. Whilst the cook is tending to the oven, foot traffic in the immediate vicinity comes to a halt. To avoid this sort of congestion, we endeavor to place this style of appliance strategically. Because the oven needs to be located within easy proximity to the refrigerator, as well as the sink, this can create challenges and design limitations–especially in smaller spaces. Fortunately, appliance manufacturers have recently begun offering ovens with French doors which open in the middle.

When open, French doors take up significantly less floor space making them much easier for home chefs to maneuver around. In addition to their space saving benefits, French door wall ovens are easier on the back. Cooks can easily place and remove large sheets or roasting pans without awkwardly bending over a hot oven door. French doors are also easily opened and closed with one hand. In short, French door wall ovens provide home chefs with a safer, more convenient meal preparation experience.

We incorporated the GE Café Series 30” Built-in French-Door Single Convection wall oven (pictured here) in a project we recently completed for homeowners in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Follow this link to view the project photos. If you are curious to learn if a French door wall oven would be the right solution for your kitchen, give us a call at 610-584-0665. One of our designers will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

pa home remodeling newsletter

Read the Latest Home Remodeling News from Custom Craft

pa home remodeling newsletterIn the Spring 2018 edition of the Craftsman newsletter, we share details of a stunning contemporary first floor renovation we recently completed in Wayne, Pa. Inside you will also learn about our latest award, and how to achieve a blemish-free back splash. Plus, we also reveal the newest addition to the Custom Craft family (hint: it’s a boy!)

Tap or click this link or the thumbnail image to read the latest home remodeling news from Custom Craft.

Dust Control is Critical to a Healthy Home Remodeling Environment

The Importance of Dust Control for Home Remodeling

build clean dust controlDid you know that the vast majority (approximately 90 percent) of homeowners stay in their homes during remodeling projects? Unfortunately, some live to regret that decision. Why? Because of dust.

Without the proper control, dust can permeate every part of your home, from your toothbrush to your dog’s fur. Even with barrier walls in place, dust can and will find its way into your home. At Custom Craft, we recently implemented the BuildClean Dust Control System because it takes away up to 90 percent of the airborne dust, even on the most challenging projects. The BuildClean unit draws in the contaminated air and passes it through a series of filters before returning the “scrubbed” air back into the space. Watch this video for a brief demonstration of a BuildClean unit at work.

Dust isn’t just a nuisance. Remodeling and demolition dust can trigger asthma attacks, allergic reactions and problems for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Jobsite dust can also have an adverse effect on the health of pets that are in the home during construction. In addition, particles from sawing, scraping and sanding can contain hazardous materials such as asbestos, arsenic or lead.

You and your family deserve the best, which is why you need to make sure your contractor has a dust control plan to meet your needs.

3D renderings enhance home remodeling process

How 3D Renderings Enhance the Remodeling Process

3D renderings enhance home remodeling processOnce we have developed a floorplan for a project, the next step is to work through the style and finishes for the space. Among other things, this step involves selecting cabinetry, flooring, lighting, countertops, and fixtures. It can be challenging for homeowners to communicate their style preferences in this stage. From traditional to contemporary, and everything in between, the options for finishing a space are seemingly endless which can make establishing a style preference complicated.

Most homeowners we meet need help in defining their style preference. To get things started, we have our clients prepare ideabooks in Houzz with photos of homes they find appealing. While ideabooks can be helpful in advancing the material selection process, they have their shortcomings because what works in someone else’s space may not work very well in yours. Enter 3D renderings.

A 3D rendering brings the floorplan to life. Because it is an illustration based on the actual dimensions of the space, it enables a homeowner to better visualize how their design features and material selections will look when the project is complete. Take this image for example. The top photo is how the back wall of the kitchen looked prior to our client’s renovation. The middle image depicts the 3D rendering of the floorplan we designed. The bottom image is a photo of the finished space.

As you can see, the rendering closely reflected how the finished space would appear. By providing this tool, our clients gain greater confidence that the designs we have created for them are going to suit their style tastes and preferences. 3D renderings also reduce the incidence of expensive change orders, since our clients can see how the colors and finishes will work together within the space, and make any necessary adjustments prior to ordering materials.

Video: Home Remodeling Construction Site Prep

Home Remodeling Construction Site Prep Overview

As you know, home remodeling can generate a lot of dust and debris. Prior to construction, a question we are frequently asked by clients is “How will you keep my home clean during construction?” We thought a video would help to illustrate the techniques we use to protect our clients homes during renovations. Watch this brief video to learn how homes are prepped when construction is about to commence.