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DreamMaker Remodeling Tips

DreamMaker Remodeling Franchise Designer Wins National Award

National Kitchen and Bath Association names DreamMaker remodeling franchise designer Emily Alt to list of young industry leaders

The National Kitchen and Bath Association has named Emily Alt, a designer for the DreamMaker remodeling franchise in Grand Rapids, Michigan, one of the top young professionals in the kitchen and bath industry.

Emily Alt

Emily, 25, works with DreamMaker franchise owners Bill and Jane Wolf. She joined the business after graduating from Adrian College in 2012 with an interior design degree, and she says DreamMaker has given her the opportunity to learn and be part of a team that communicates and works well together.

“It’s a great atmosphere. We all work as a team, and I have been able to learn a lot by working with the carpenters and seeing projects all the way from conception to completion,” Emily says. “It’s not just showing people some nice cabinets and fixtures, selling them and sending them on their way with a ‘good luck!’ We take care of everything for clients, which makes a huge difference.”

The NKBA 30 Under 30 winner says she has grown quite a bit in the two years she has worked with DreamMaker. She has added sales skills to her design background and has embraced opportunities to learn about broad industry trends. The Wolfs sent Emily to Las Vegas in 2014 for the Kitchen Show to learn about new products and remodeling techniques. Emily is going to the show again this year — this time as a presenter — thanks to the 30 Under 30 recognition.

“DreamMaker gives me a lot of tools to be able to pull off interesting designs,” she says. “We have access to products and learning opportunities that really set us apart. DreamMaker is so versatile.”

Remodeling franchise offers creative outlet

Emily says she owes her love of design to her parents and their house projects. When she was little, her father invited her to help decorate a pole barn that he built as a man cave. For decor, she turned a motorcycle wheel into a mirror. It was a fun project, and she was hooked.

When she got to college in 2008, the housing market had just dropped. Some tried to dissuade her from studying interior design and tying her future to real estate and renovation. She knew, however, that four years was a long time and that the housing industry had plenty of time to recover. Four years later, she joined DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Grand Rapids as a major remodeling industry rebound started to take hold.

Before and after: A kitchen designed by Emily Alt of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

She enjoys working with a variety of clients — some who are open to all kinds of options, and others who have very specific visions for their homes. “I get to help people discover new styles and make their visions into reality.”

She encourages those who are interested in interior design to consider businesses like the DreamMaker remodeling franchise, which helps customers from the beginning of the design process all the way through the completion of the project.

“It’s a completely different experience for the customer and the designer,” Emily says.

Franchise Times Profiles DreamMaker Remodeling Franchise

How does a two-time Franchisee of the Year spend his down time?

Dale Ressler is a drag racer, a chaplain, a two-time Franchisee of the Year, and a business coach who helps new DreamMaker franchisees learn the ropes.

Dale Ressler’s DreamMaker dragster.

One of the great things about being part of a franchise system like DreamMaker is you join a team of people working together to build a strong brand and strong businesses. You also get to meet some pretty interesting people along the way.

Franchise Times recently shined a light on DreamMaker remodeling franchise owner Dale Ressler, a two-time DreamMaker Franchisee of the Year who has a surprisingly high-octane hobby.

From the Franchise Times profile of Dale:

Dale Ressler drives fast cars, preaches about God at the racetrack, remodels homes and is a former paramedic. He’s been DreamMaker Remodeling’s franchisee of the year twice and has won numerous awards. “I probably like awards more than I like to admit,” he says, adding, “That’s being prideful.”

dale

But Ressler has a lot to be proud of. He’s been able to do what most of us wish we could: weave several seemingly unrelated careers into a lifestyle that hits on all cylinders.

“I’ve always been a motorhead,” he says. It was 1989 when he raced his street car in a drag race. “I lost in the first round. It wasn’t one of those Cinderella stories where I raced the first time and won,” he says. “But it excited me.” Drag racing involves driving a quarter of a mile as fast as you can. Speeds get up to 160 mph, which means one “round” can take as little as eight seconds. Winning rounds means you keep advancing; losing means you’ve had your eight seconds of fun for the day — although there are several qualifiers before single-elimination starts.

Ressler, who attended Bible college while working as a carpenter and paramedic, was ordained in 2004. He became the pastor for the drag-racing safety team when they found out he was also a paramedic, and from there he took on the pastoral role for the out-of-town events. Preaching at a race track is no different than when a church sends missionaries to Africa, he says. It’s just that his congregation is weekend daredevils. The job has its highs and lows. He’s married racers, presided over funerals and sat with families at hospital bedsides after accidents. “What we do at the race track is much more how God intended church to be than sitting in a pew looking at the back of someone’s head,” he says.

He’s passionate about his race life, and that devotion has spilled over into his work life, as well. “I love DreamMaker,” he says.

Dale joined DreamMaker in 2006 after having owned an independent remodeling business since 1990. According to DreamMaker CEO Doug Dwyer, Dale has excelled at providing excellent customer service and maintaining strong margins. That’s why, in addition to owning his own franchise in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, we have tapped Dale as a franchise coach to help other DreamMaker franchisees grow and improve their businesses.

“Dale has the leadership skills, remodeling expertise and business acumen to help launch new franchisees and to support existing franchisees,” DreamMaker CEO Doug Dwyer says.

Editor’s Note: Read an earlier post about Dale and his wife, Bobbi.

6 Keys to Warm Up a Cold Basement

‘Tis the season to stay warm — even in your basement. Although the thought of a basement often brings to mind damp, cool, dimly lit rooms where you try to spend the least amount of time possible, that doesn’t have to be the case. With a few mindful choices during construction or a remodel, you can create a warm, radiant basement where people will gather happily. And during this time of year when your home is full of extra guests, that extra space can go a long way to bring “peace on earth” and “joy to the world.”

A welcoming basement includes these six conscious choices.

  1. Address any water issues.

Before you do any work in your basement, you need to make sure you’ve noted — and corrected — any water issues.

Poor-draining soil can cause dampness in your basement, but this can generally be controlled with a good humidifier. If you are in the construction stage, damp-proofing the home’s exterior of the foundation and basement slab also helps prevent this.

Make Your Basement Cozy

Warm Up Your Basement with radiant heat.

“If the dampness is more episodic, like after rain, or wet areas regularly appear along walls or floor cracks, there’s probably significant water pressure against your basement walls,” advises The Family Handyman. “Since grading and adding downspouts hasn’t worked, installing a drainage system under your concrete slab may be the most effective long-term solution.”

Just a warning, this is usually expensive and typically requires professional installation, as it involves digging along the outside of the walls all the way down to the footing of your home. “Expect to pay at least $25 to $35 per foot of tile,” he adds.

  1. Install TWO sump pumps.

Most basements are inherently subject to flooding, and even the best-laid plans cannot eliminate the chance of flooding completely. However, you can reduce the impact of any water in your basement by installing a sump pump — and a backup sump pump.

“Even if your basement is properly waterproofed and has a good working sump pump, without a battery-operated backup sump pump, you are at risk for a basement flood,” explains Total Basement Finishing in “Top Six Mistakes People Make in Basement Remodeling Projects.” “Keep in mind that the same storms that have the potential to flood your basement can also cause power outages. No power, no pump! Battery backups are also useful in case of a primary pump failure or other electrical malfunction.”

  1. Choose inorganic materials

In addition to sump pumps, choosing materials that can handle moisture and getting wet is key to the longevity of your basement construction or remodel.

By choosing your flooring carefully, and leaning toward organic versus inorganic materials whenever possible, you’ll reduce your risk.

Here’s the bottom line according to Bob Vila: “If you install any flooring that includes organic material adversely affected by water, you risk having to tear out the floor in the wake of a flood. You also risk the unseen buildup of mold beneath the flooring — a considerable risk to the air quality of your home.”

Your basement finishing materials should be completely inorganic so that even if water gets in, your floor, walls and ceiling will not be ruined.

When you use organic materials in your basement, they will be susceptible to mold, mildew, rot, and even damage from dust mites and other critters. These products can decay and start to release moldy, musty odors into the air. It’s not pleasant. Instead, ensure your contractor uses quality, inorganic materials with a written warranty.

“If you finish the area with the best basement finishing products the first time, you can have a remodeled basement that comes with a written warranty assuring that your basement will look beautiful for a long, long time,” says Total Basement Finishing.

  1. Capitalize on radiant heat.
    With a dry basement and the right materials on hand, you can cozy up a cool basement with the radiant heating options offered by WarmlyYours Radiant Heating. Heat rises in your home, and because basements are generally underground, those floors are often the coldest place in the house. But you can expand your living space with in-floor heating. In-floor heating eliminates the chill in your basement and creates a center of warmth that radiates up through your home.
  2. Use decorative concrete to your advantage.

Cement floors are so stereotypical in basements. Gray, boring, beat up and uninviting. But your basement concrete floor doesn’t have to be. Search “stamped concrete” on Houzz.com for inspiring photos that will help you upgrade your expectations. Decorative concrete is a perfect base for WarmlyYours concrete heating cables and mats. The radiant heating is available in cable form for maximum flexibility or mat form, which allows for quick and easy installation under concrete slab floors. Either form creates warm, functional concrete floors for your basement. This is one of the most powerful changes you can make to banish cold and gloom from your basement forever.

  1. Put up radiant panels.

If for any reason in-floor radiant heating doesn’t make sense for your basement, you can still utilize the power of radiant panels, which can be easily mounted on the walls to add extra warmth to your basement in a stylish way.

With heated floors and radiant panels, you’ll never look at the basement as a cold, uninviting, uncomfortable area again. If you’re looking for a great way to expand your living space, increase the resale value of your home, or even just save money on your overall heating costs, radiant heating is a great way to do all of that.

Whether utilizing in-floor heating or radiant panels, create heat and warmth from the bottom of your home to the very top with WarmlyYours.

WarmlyYours is proud to offer radiant solutions designed to improve everyday living in every room — including your basement!

Used by permission WarmlyYours.com

Create Your Own Warm Oasis

Instead of dreaming of a white Christmas, why not envision your own spa-like bathroom and enjoy warmth all over?

It doesn’t have to be just a dream. Smart homes are becoming smarter and warmer. Radiant floor heating can help provide a relaxing oasis right in your own home. Imagine shutting out a hectic day with a warm bath or steam shower. Step onto heated floors and grab a warm towel off the special warming rack will soon melt the cares away.

warm floors, cozy toes

Radiant flooring warms up any bathroom.

Warmly Yours, an electric radiant heating products business, offers smart solutions for your bath and home. Bathrooms are getting bigger, according to remodeling trends, so why not add functionality and luxury as well? According to Warmly Yours, 70 percent of their customers who buy radiant floor heating install it underneath their bathroom floors. Heated floor systems help give your new bathroom a comfortable and luxurious feel. No more stepping on cold tile in the mornings.

Companies such as Warmly Yours also is offering “smarter” products, enabling you to use your smartphone or tablet to control towel warmers from any location. If you’re traveling home from business and cannot wait to slip into a warm tub or steam shower, warm towels will await you. All you have to do is tell them when to start warming. Guests arriving before you get home? Welcome them to your spa-like bathroom with warm towels and floors.

To learn more about installing radiant floors, contact your nearest DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen remodeler.

Take a Holiday Break, and Think About Adding Color to Your Home

Why wait for spring to spruce up your home? While winter skies are gray and overcast, paint a little color into your home.

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, the first step is selecting a color. Use one the tools available online to visualize how your room will look. Glidden offers a Room Visualizer that you can actually take a photo of your room, upload it, select areas to paint and then see what the finished room would look like. You also can use sample photos.

Marsala paint color of year

Marsala is Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2015.

This is the time of the year, Pantone Color Institute and other paint companies choose their Color of the Year for 2015. Pantone recently released “Marsala” as its 2015 Color of the Year. Marsala is, according to Pantone, “a naturally robust and earthy wine red.”

Other companies will soon follow, and these “Colors of the Year” will be reflected in fashion, home décor and graphic and industrial design trends. As you stroll through your favorite stores, it’s easy to pick up current popular colors.

Popular is one thing, but be careful, though! You don’t want to select colors or patterns that are too trendy. One only has to reflect back on the flocked wallpaper and the psychedelic colors of the ‘60s and ‘70s to steer clear of popular trends like chevron. Back to the painting.

Today’s technology allows you to take a sample color to any reputable paint dealer and ask them to match the color. Where you once had to stick to one paint brand to get the exact match, now you can quickly get a match in the paint of your choice.

paint-sheen-infographicOnce you select the color, decide what kind of paint sheen you want and for which surfaces. High gloss and semi-gloss make cleaning a wall or trim easy while you may want a matte finish for ceilings or low-traffic areas. Yes, ceilings. Treat your ceiling like another wall. Use an accent color, a contrast color or even paint it the same color. Try your online visualizer to see what looks best.

Satin works great in high-traffic areas, but know that it reveals application flaws, such as roller or brush strokes. There is also eggshell that is between the satin and flat on sheen and durability. It gets its name from being a flat, no-shine finish with little luster. Eggshell covers wall imperfections well.

Proper preparation is essential for a good paint job.

Proper preparation is essential for a good paint job.

A good paint job done by yourself or a professional requires wall preparation. Filling in holes, mudding and taping and then sanding and texturing should be done before any paint is applied. Avoid getting paint on any fixtures or outlet covers by removing them.

It’s amazing the transformation a little (or a lot) of paint makes. There is no limit to what your imagination can dream up.

DreamMaker Carpenter Skilled with a Pencil, too

Artist at DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

Ryan Jahr

Meet Ryan Jahr. Ryan joined the DreamMaker of Ann Arbor team five years ago. He now serves as lead carpenter, but has an exceptional talent for graphite drawing.

When Lead Carpenter Ryan Jahr isn’t using his hands for a remodeling project, he is constructing masterpieces of his own. Ryan is a skilled artist with a knack for pencil sketches.

Ryan’s artistic journey began he was a young boy. His mother would bring home various art contest applications and give them to Ryan to do for fun.

“I guess I just wanted to win,” Ryan laughed.

Such contests revealed Ryan had a genuine talent for art. As he continued drawing, Ryan’s work started gaining recognition from others. When he was just 8 years old, people would accuse Ryan of tracing his pictures or having his father do them for him. Despite that, Ryan continued doing what he enjoyed.

Owners of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Ann Arbor

This Ryan Jahr drawing depicts the owners of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Ann Arbor, Lee Willwerth (left) and Bob Ender.

Nowadays, most of Ryan’s art is done with graphite – drawn only with pencils and paper. He enjoys capturing fine details and making them “as real as possible.” Ryan sketches sports and people because of the realistic elements and attention to detail they require. One such drawing hangs in the office at DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Ann Arbor. The illustration is of co-owners Bob Ender and Lee Willwerth. The staff loves the portrait, but Ryan chuckles about it.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” Ryan said, “I just did it.”

In Memory of Michigan Coach Bo Shembechler

In Memory of Michigan Coach Bo Shembechler

Inspiration comes to Ryan in the form of current events – what is happening around him and what is popular. For example, Ryan’s favorite drawing he created is of Bo Shembechler, a former head football coach at the University of Michigan. Ryan sketched the illustration as a tribute to Shembechler after he died in 2006.

Ryan has an eye for accuracy, both at the drawing table and on the job.

“The way I work in the field – very organized, neat and precise, that’s how my drawings have always been,” said Ryan.

When Ryan isn’t on a DreamMaker job, he enjoys taking his career home and working on his own house. Ryan is also an avid golfer and enjoys spending time with his two sons.

Want to Give Your Home a New Look for the New Year? Start Planning Now!

Planning a remodel? Take time to plan Signs are popping up everywhere. Holidays are coming, and you really wish your kitchen or bathroom (or both) were ready for company.

You watch those reality television shows that go “Poof!” and instantly, your home is transformed and ready for the holidays. Reality: It’s not that simple. While television shows may tempt you to squeeze in a complete remodel before the new year, think twice before jumping in head first. To get it all done, you will need to factor in design meetings (if you can get a remodeling contractor who is not booked), make room in your busy schedule to tear up the most used rooms in your home (especially the kitchen) and you haven’t even started your holiday shopping (pile that among inevitable holiday chaos). Even worse, if a scheduling complication arises, you may be hosting a holiday meal surrounded by sheets of plastic and exposed electrical wiring. Feeling stressed?

While a tempting quick fix might satisfy your holiday needs, will you still like it years from now? Several DreamMaker professionals explain why it may be best to postpone tearing out walls until after the holiday season. Remodeling your home is a meaningful investment, and DreamMaker wants to ensure customer satisfaction for years to come.

Even though there may not be time in the calendar for a full kitchen remodel, there is time to begin planning so the project can start just after the new year. Grab a cup of coffee and relax as you begin your preparations. Better yet, grab your phone and call a remodeling contractor to help with the planning.

Glen Borkowski, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Southwest Suburban Chicagoland“And then,” counsels Glen Borkowski of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Southwest Suburban Chicagoland, “your dream kitchen will be ready in time for Christmas, Christmas 2015, that is.”

Planning is the key, said Borkowski. With rooms as important as your kitchen and bathroom, don’t settle for just getting something new. “It will look good to you for a while, maybe even for a year, but you are going to start wishing you had done this or that. We like to spend two or three meetings with a homeowner, asking questions about their lifestyle, their likes and dislikes.” Because of busy schedules, homeowners may be able to meet only once a week. This gives clients ample time to thoroughly envision their dream kitchen.

J.D. Norris, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of AikenJ.D. Norris of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Aiken (South Carolina) agrees he first consults with a potential customer “to gain an understanding of their needs, wants, fixtures, brands and other details.” The typical kitchen remodel today takes an average of four to six weeks (minimum of three weeks) and six to eight weeks for a larger kitchen remodel, he said. That’s if all the products come in on time, are correct and everything goes according to planned.

Patty Gray, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of BakersfieldPatty Gray of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Bakersfield (California) said all would have to go perfectly to fully remodel a kitchen in time for the Christmas holidays.

“We are almost past the opportunity,” Gray said. “Typically, I would tell them they need to come in now to start the process, and we would need two weeks to design, six weeks from the time they sign a contract for staging and scheduling and six weeks to complete the average kitchen, four weeks for a bath.

“That puts us at 12 weeks and about Dec. 15 (or after), but that is if all is perfect throughout the entire process,” Gray added. “So we are telling clients that we are looking at the first of the year, so let’s get the contracts signed so we can start immediately after the holidays,” she said.

Curt Trampe, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Springfield

While it might be possible, especially for a bathroom remodel, a full remodel project before Christmas doesn’t come with any guarantees, said Curt Trampe of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Springfield (Illinois). “Depending on the scope of work, I always like to have plenty of buffer to get a project completed before a holiday deadline. Stuff always comes up, and I don’t really want to be the bad guy for someone’s holiday celebration.” Trampe and fellow DreamMakers agree a good remodel starts with good planning and ordering before construction even begins. Deb Witte, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of The Pikes Peak Region

Deb Witte of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen The Pikes Peak region in Colorado Springs, Colorado, agrees, saying “We don’t start a project until all the products are in so it would be really, really tight [to do a full remodel before Christmas. “We would be very upfront with them that if they were dead set on having it done by Christmas, we may not be the right fit for them. The project may get completed, but we would not want to go into it, promising it would be done by Christmas.”

Borkowski said a homeowner may often have waited 15-20 years to remodel a kitchen or bath. If they are planning to stay in their home, it makes sense to plan carefully before just jumping into a remodeling project. “True remodeling is not just the WOW! Factor; it’s the WHY factor,” he said. “You need to address the “why” before the “wow”.

“Remodeling is not a commodity; it’s a service,” he said. If someone wants to go out and buy new appliances or cabinets and countertops from a big box store, they can do that. He said the DreamMaker system wants to tailor the remodeling project to fit each client, their needs and desires.

“At DreamMaker, we start with the basic concept that no two clients choose to remodel for the same reason. We like to dig down and ask questions about you and your family in order to put together a solution that’s tailored to fit your home and lifestyle,” said Borkowski. “If you shortcut the process, you might find yourself less than satisfied with the results. What you want to avoid is walking into your remodeled area and then realizing that you wish you would have done things a little differently, and that’s the risk you take when you try to hurry the process.

“So unless you want a quickie facelift, trying to get a full remodel before the holidays is just not realistic,” he added. “You may end up making decisions that are not well-thought out, and if anything goes wrong, you are going to miss your deadline.

“My advice is to say, ‘OK, let’s come in and get the process started,’ ” he said. “Calling a remodeler is key to getting your project started. Let them know what you are thinking and wanting, and then schedule a time to sit down with them or a designer. Think of the planning process as a Christmas gift to yourself – a gift that won’t stress you out.”

So as you begin decorating your home for the holidays, keep an eye out for the things you couldn’t deal with or without for another year. Call a DreamMaker professional and let them help you plan your dream home.

Remodeling or Redecorating: Know the Difference

We shudder at the thought of wood-paneled walls, linoleum floors and avocado-hued kitchens. We scoff at the orange shag carpeting and head-spinning, patterned wallpaper. But most of all, we hope we don’t make the same mistakes. Today, many people are remodeling their homes in order put the styles of the ‘70s to rest for good. But how do we learn from the past to prevent future generations from asking, “What were they thinking?” It all boils down to discerning the difference between remodeling and redecorating. Relative to one another, redecorating is easy. Swapping out the throw pillows, hanging a new (or old) art piece on the wall, and buying a few small kitchen appliances are simple and relatively inexpensive ways to keep up with current trends. Remodeling, in contrast, is defined by changing the very form of something. It is the 180-degree alterations, large-scale home improvement, and jaw-dropping before and after photographs that enhance our lives. Remodeling is turning a house into a home. While remodeling and redecorating often go hand-in-hand, it is important to distinguish the two when consulting a remodeling company. Decorating will follow remodeling, so put the embellished rugs away and focus on the foundations with these helpful tips:

  1. Remodeling vs. redecorating

    Someone must have thought this was a cabinet trend to stay. What do you think?

    Today’s trendy is tomorrow’s tacky. Turquoise may be the new black, but that doesn’t mean it should be the only color on your mind when picking out new counter tops. Settle for decorative accents instead and stick to functional over funky.

  1. A place for everything and everything in its place. Think functionality. Sleek and minimalist is aesthetically appealing, but is it conducive to your storage needs? Ask “does this layout fulfill the basics functions of this room?”
  1. Resale. If you plan on living in a home indefinitely, take full artistic license and be as quirky as you would like. Most of the time, however, that is not the case. Whether it’s upsizing, downsizing, or relocating, selling your home is not uncommon. When you do, be confident your remodeling efforts are reflected in the value of the home.

Although it is important to personalize the modifications, ensure that this significant investment is also long-term investment. For more common remodeling mistakes and helpful hints, click here.

DreamMaker customer says ‘I was thrilled to death!’

Shirley Gass’ kitchen in Lamesa, TX, was transformed by Steve Betts’ DreamMaker franchise

Here are the Before and After photos of Shirley Gass' kitchen

The photo (top) is before Shirley Gass asked DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen to remodel. The photo below is of the remodeled kitchen.

Shirley Gass wasn’t expecting a fun experience when she decided to remodel her kitchen. Her house of 19 years would be torn apart, she figured, and she was bracing for a stressful experience. Last year, after years of wanting a new kitchen, she bit the bullet. She’d seen newspaper ads for DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Lubbock for years, and started her remodeler search by calling Steve Betts.

Her search ended as soon as she met Steve.

“He’s just such an easygoing person,” she says. “He’ll listen to your ideas. If he thinks they won’t work, he’ll explain why, and if he thinks they will, he works with you to make sure it’s the best. I gave him my budget, and he kept me within my budget. And he guided us. He went with us to pick out the granite for our countertops and the tile for our floor and helped us pick the cabinet colors.”

But once all those choices were made, how was the construction phase?

“He gave me a timetable for everything, and his lead carpenter brought me a schedule of everything that would happen during the remodel and how long each thing would take, and they stuck right by that,” Shirley says. “The people who work for Steve are fantastic. I worried what my house was going to be like while everything was being done, but they finished up each day around 5 and cleaned up the mess really well. The first day, when they tore out my old cabinets, I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, what have I done?’ There was a pile of rubble in my kitchen! But by 5:30 when they left, you could walk barefoot through there. You couldn’t ask for better people.”

The remodel was complete in November, and when she hosted Christmas, her daughters and granddaughters were joined by her brother and his family. The new kitchen isn’t just beautiful — it’s also more functional. Shirley, who is an avid baker — “I’m always cooking things and giving them away!” — now has two ovens, which allows her to cook a roast and a pie at the same time, or whatever else she or the grandkids might fancy.“It actually turned out to be a fun thing,” she says.

“Usually when they come over, they want ‘Granny’s chicken and gravy’ ” she says with a chuckle.

Shirley has been recommending Steve’s DreamMaker remodeling franchise to just about everybody, she says. She already has at least one neighbor considering DreamMaker for her home.

“I am just thrilled to death with the job Steve did,” she says.

Betts owns DreamMaker franchises in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas.

DreamMaker Remodeling Franchise Restores Kitchen Floor to its 200-Year-Old Roots

The Valuskas asked DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Mansfield, Ohio, to restore the 200-year-old wood floors in the kitchen of their home. It was just one part of a major transformation for the couple's kitchen.

These 200-year-old planks shine once again in this updated remodeled kitchen.

Kelly and Thomas Valuska have made a 200-year-old former stagecoach stop along the Ohio River their home for the past 16 years. As their family has grown — they now have two daughters, age 9 and 11 — they’ve slowly updated the house to suit their lifestyle. But they’ve been determined to maintain the home’s historic character.

The 3,000-square-foot home has been expanded several times, but at its heart is one 200-year-old room that evidence suggests was the original one-room house. It is now used as the kitchen, but until this spring, the kitchen’s historic appeal belonged entirely to the 1970s, when it was last updated.

The Valuskas were ready to bring back its historic charm while adding modern amenities.

“I had done a lot of research and pretty much knew what I wanted in my head,” Kelly says of the kitchen. In February she contacted Steve Miller, owner of the DreamMaker franchise in Mansfield, Ohio, for help in turning her vision into a reality.

“I really wanted to keep the old wood as much as possible,” Kelly says. “You can see the stress marks on it from the years of wear and tear, and it’s just amazing. I didn’t want to lose that.”

To retain the historic charm, Steve and his team kept and restored the wood around the window frames. They redid the drywall and updated the plumbing. They also removed linoleum to reveal hardwood floors that were original to the Colonial-era home.

“There were about 3,000 itsy bitsy nails holding down that linoleum,” Kelly says. “It was an amazing amount of work. The poor guy working on the floor was so great, he said for a job this size he would usually use one pad of sandpaper, but for this job he used five,” Kelly says.

The effort was worth it, according to Steve, who noted that the original wood floor shows warmth and character, including the original rectangular nails used to install it. “It turned out awesome,” he says.

Before the remodel, the kitchen was dark and dated.

Other challenges the house’s age lent to the renovation were the fact that all of the walls in the house are triple-core brick, which means there’s no space for electrical or stove venting to run.

“New electric was a challenge, as you can’t run it through the walls. It either has to come from the basement or the attic, and be hidden behind things on the wall,” Kelly says. “Steve worked to find solutions and was amazing during the whole thing. We couldn’t do venting for the stove, so he suggested the ventless system, which I love.”

Because the kitchen is on the west side of the house, making the room as light as possible was a priority for Kelly, who wanted to shift away from a dark, shadow-filled kitchen.

The kitchen is now full of light.

“We did quartz countertops, white cabinets, and all new stainless steel appliances,” she says. “The kitchen is really the gathering place for us, so it was important to get this room right,” she says. “Every single holiday, everybody lives in there.”

The entire project took about 9 weeks, and Steve’s constant communication and professionalism meant there were no surprises, none of the “uh-oh” moments that often occur when renovating an old house.

“It was effortless because Steve was so organized,” Kelly says. “My big thing was I wanted to be done by the first week in May because summers are a big deal for us. We camp and have so many activities. I wanted everything done before the girls got out of school, and Steve fulfilled that for me.”

Kelly was concerned that completely redoing a room that’s used every day by the family would be an unpleasant experience, but found Steve and his crew a pleasure to have on site.

The hearth is now a focal point in the room since it contrasts with the bright countertops and cabinetry.

“They did not disrupt our crazy busy family, which I appreciated,” Kelly says. “The guys were all so professional and I felt really comfortable with having my girls there while it was going on. They covered everything in plastic and cleaned up after themselves.”

Even though Kelly had been thinking about redoing the kitchen for a long time and had a good idea of what she wanted to do, she appreciated the input offered by Steve and Gary Schrock, the sales manager at DreamMaker.

“They were fantastic as far as the fine details, from color schemes to materials,” Kelly says. “But they weren’t trying to change my mind, either. They weren’t pushy, but very helpful.”

Kelly was so pleased with the job done by DreamMaker, she’s already talking to Steve about having his team add a new porch to the house on the kitchen side.

“It’s exactly what I envisioned in my head, but better,” she says.

And for this 70-acre hobby farm, where the Valuska’s keep horses, cows, and pigs, the kitchen truly is the heart of this historic home.

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