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DreamMaker Remodeling Tips

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.


Make Your New Home Your Own

Small touches can make any house your home.

Make your new house your home with an overall remodeling plan.

Making your new home your own takes some planning and patience. Creativity and fun help the process along. Chances are you like the layout of your new home or you wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. Of course, you may have bought knowing you were going to gut it and do a total makeover. Let’s go with the first premise. You’re ready to move into your new-to-you home, but there are some things you would just like to change. You may be feeling overwhelmed even before you start. Start with an overall plan and tackle as you go. Some projects may require a professional contractor like DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen; others may be more cosmetic or simply be a change of décor.

  1. Start with a project list for each room in the house. Commit the list to your iPad or paper. Don’t forget the outside, either.

For example, you might put on your list “Buy plants.” List the types of plants and where you want to plant them. You might also want to add a beverage cooler to the outdoor kitchen. As you research this purchase, write notes beside the idea.

  1. Decide on a projected finish date beside each item and write that on the list alongside the item.

For example, if you want to replace the laminate countertop with a granite one, do a ballpark estimate and decide when you want to do the actual project. Painting the cabinets, on the other hand, may be a do-it-yourself project, so you may want to do it before you move in.

  1. Tackle projects one at a time. It’s tempting trying to get it all done at once, but be realistic about what you want done before you move in.

For example, after painting the kitchen cabinets, start on the project to replace all of the hardware.

  1. As you come across new ideas, post them on your Pinterest account. You’ll get feedback from your Pinterest pals, and you won’t forget where you saw the idea.
  1. Most importantly, don’t forget to stop, relax and enjoy your new home. Invite a few friends for a cookout.

After all, there’s always tomorrow for that next project.

A Designer Essential for Home Remodeling

A tiled countertop holds a basin with a faucet resembling an old pump.

Rich earth tones complete the design of this master bath.

When remodeling your bath or kitchen, a good designer is a must! The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) agrees.

There are so many benefits to hiring a designer to help with your next remodeling project. Designers hear over and over from their clients: “I never knew that was even an option to consider!”

The services of a professional designer usually represent about four percent of the total project budget, according to NKBA. Their expertise saves time and money as well as assuring a more valuable, satisfying outcome!

A good designer will help you translate your vision and assist you in all of your needs. You may not even know you have left out important aspects of your design.

Remodeling your kitchen or bath is one of the most important investments you will make to your home. Often, home hunters will make a decision based on the kitchen and master bath. So, if you are planning on selling, a good designer can only help increase the value.

Certified designers are held to high standards. They are tested and certified much like public accountants or financial planners. Many have completed undergraduate education in design and also have taken extra seminars to gain extra certification.

Designers are experts in their field and can recognize the importance of making your dream a reality. They can also come up with the most budget-friendly option to help you stay on track during your remodeling process.

A designer not only will help you save money but also time. When you have a career and little time left for designing or redecorating, a designer can save you a lot of guess work. They also can provide you with options so you don’t have to start from scratch.

A designer brings so many benefits. DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen has several certified designers ready to help you with your remodeling experience. Contact your local DreamMaker today and create your own dream bath or kitchen!

Contemporary leading bathroom remodeling for 2014

This remodeled bathroom has room for everything.

Storage is high on a bath remodel list.

A bathroom is one of the more expensive rooms to renovate. However, when it comes to buying or selling a home, bathroom renovations can make a huge impact on the value of your home. There are many trends to consider when you begin planning your bathroom renovation.

Houzz recently conducted a survey on which bathroom trends are popular. As one of the largest national remodeling surveys, Houzz had more than 100, 000 responses. More than a quarter of the population is looking to update a bathroom. These are the trends they are finding most popular.

Many are redoing their bathrooms to resemble a day spa rather than a room in their home. People don’t want their bathrooms to look like bathrooms anymore. They would rather have a day spa experience in their home. From wood paneling to stones, the spa-bathroom experience is emerging fast. During the recent 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas, research released confirmed the same trend. Homeowners are seeking more contemporary spa-like and accessible bathrooms, trending ahead of traditional bathrooms.

More and more people want to enjoy their home after a long day’s work. They want their bathroom to be luxurious, comfortable and a peaceful experience.

Another trend in remodeling bathrooms is to go tub-less. Today, about 40 percent of master bathrooms are tub-less. As the population is getting older, homeowners find they do not use a bathtub as much. They would rather not have one than have one and not use it.

However, for those who do incorporate tubs into their remodel, they are opting for a soaking tub rather than the conventional Jacuzzi. This goes along with the quite, serene experience accompanying the spa bathroom theme.

Frameless glass also is growing in popularity. Fifty-four percent of installed showers are using frameless glass.

Another fast-growing trend is the raining showerhead. Especially among the younger generation, a raining showerhead has become a staple in many bathroom remodels. For those younger than 55, 45 percent of people remodeling their bathrooms are including a raining showerhead. This is a trend not only for the top of the showers, but on the sides as well.

For those 55 and older, a handheld showerhead is becoming popular. At this age, 50 percent of remodelers want the convenience of a movable showerhead.

To enable the spa experience, home remodelers are choosing to incorporate a steam effect to their showers, or a stand-alone steam room. This steam room enhances the relaxation experience and is growing in popularity among remodelers.

Although there is a lot of emphasis on bath tubs and showers, the toilet cannot be left out of your remodel! One of the biggest trends is walling off the toilet making it more private. Putting up a private wall, or even giving the toilet its own room, will make your bathroom more private and enjoyable.

Storage in bathrooms is an emerging trend as well. However, steer clear of big deep drawers. Opt for small ones with dividers instead. Vertical storage is becoming popular in bathrooms not only for space-saving qualities, but it goes well with the feel of bathrooms too.

What colors are trending? Gray, the third most popular scheme behind bone and beige colors last year, is predicted to be the fastest growing color for bathrooms this year.

If you are looking to remodel your home, don’t forget the bathroom! As one of the most remodeled rooms this year, and one of the most important, you don’t want yours to be outdated. Follow these trends, and your bathroom will shine!

Remodeling a Newer Home to Look Old

A new trend is forming in home building, building a home that looks old on the outside, but has all the interior qualities of a modern home; size, closets and kitchens. Many are wanting out of “McMansions” and are craving a dose of reality.

This ultra-modern kitchen can be at home in your next remodeling project.

A home made to look old on the outside will surprise guests with this ultra-modern kitchen.

Architects have taken on poring over house plans of early 19th and 20th century homes to ensure the house is built to the owner’s like. However, according to Amy Albert, editor of Custom Home, “People aren’t seeking exact replicas of historical houses; they want architectural purity in the elevations and the details, but inside, they want connectivity and open floor plans.”

Many builders, architects and homeowners want to recreate the days they spent at grandma’s house and have the “homey” feel accompanied by visits with the family, when Sunday dinner was a big deal.

“Memories are an underrated idea in terms of making people feel comfortable,” said architect Gil Schafer.

Many have argued for buying an old home and renovating it. Others may enjoy buying a new contemporary-looking house and having it remodeled to “look old.”

Making homes look older is a growing trend in homes and home design. It will make an impact on all aspects of home interior designing, especially at DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen. The remodeling aspect of a new home with a “homey” feel already has taken effect in a lot of our areas and will continue to do so.

Wall Street Journal does not see this trend disappearing any time soon, and with the rise in homes being purchased, builders and home owners alike are loving the idea of new old home more and more every day.

Kitchen Design Changing with Family’s Needs

In our large farmhouse kitchen in the 1960s, there was room for everything. A mud porch just off the kitchen held boots and coveralls as well as a bucket of apples or potatoes, depending on the season. A table graced the center, and a wood-burning stove set against the wall separating the kitchen from the small living room. What caught one’s eye when you entered, though, was the abundance of cabinets painted turquoise.

I knew this to be my mother’s pride and joy. My father had made the cabinets just for her, and she had painted them that most beautiful blue-green color. When relatives from California came to visit our modest Missouri farm, I decided it was my role to show off the cabinets. To my mother’s embarrassment, I jumped and swung my 5-year-old legs up onto the countertop. Then I proceeded to walk the length of the countertop, opening cabinet doors and doing an early Vanna White imitation to show the relatives our wonderful cabinets.

That’s one of many memories from that farmhouse kitchen. Another was getting up on a cold winter morning and hustling downstairs to stand just behind the stove to get warm. That’s where our mom helped us get dressed for the day. And on more than one occasion, Daddy would invite us to come behind the stove to see what was in the big box. Daddy then handed one of us a bottle where we took turns bottle-feeding a newborn lamb. The lamb was a twin, and was not getting enough to eat, so we got to help.

Remodel your kitchen to fit everyone's needs.

The dishwasher (right) is elevated for ease in loading and unloading.

So the kitchen for us was a place for living. That’s what today’s kitchen is returning to, though terminology and technology reflect living in the 21st century.

More and more families are using their kitchens for a number of activities, even though today’s family tends to eat out more. Once upon a time in the not-so-distant past, the kitchen worked around a triangle – the sink, the oven and the refrigerator. Kitchens downsized, and galley kitchens were more common.

Universal design and zone design are two increasingly frequent terms used for today’s kitchen. Sure, your kids could do like me, and climb up on the countertop to get their favorite cereal down. But visions of them falling, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room, has some parents wanting lower cabinets designed for easy access.

“Universal design makes kitchens easier for a bigger pool of people,” said Curt Trampe, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchens of Springfield (Illinois). “Access is the biggest thing you see … bigger doorways, hallways, rollout trays, soft-closed doors and drawers, pullout features in cabinets. Mobility issue or not, it just makes it easier.”

Educating their customers about the options for universal design is important, according to Everett and Patty Gray, owners of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Bakersfield (California). “As the population gets older, as designers, we need to talk about universal design,” said Everett. “It’s our obligation to educate them.”

Wife, Patty, agrees. “The kitchen is definitely a multifunction room. Homework, TV, baking center,” she said. Having areas for specific tasks is important. One client wanted to be sure her kitchen was up for her annual task of baking hundreds and hundreds of cookies during the holidays. The convection oven and plenty of counter space gets a workout during the holidays, but it’s a kitchen she can use year-round.

“It’s important to hire a designer and not just a contractor, especially when it comes to universal design,” said Patty. A popup cooktop, for example, can be installed at two separate heights, accommodating everyone in the family. Another family may have a need to roll a wheelchair under a counter for food preparation.

All three DreamMaker owners are certified aging in place specialists (CAPS). Designing and remodeling a kitchen for the aging population may mean lower cabinets have pullouts, and there are no wasted corners. With universal design, they design for every age and every ability. This design differs from aging-in-place or accessible design, which caters more to older homeowners or those with mobility challenges.

Reachable controls and switches, 42-48 inches off the floor, are for anyone, including someone in a wheelchair. Thermostats should be no higher than 48 inches off the floor with electrical outlets 18-24 inches off the floor.

Faucets and door handles are easier to turn on or open if they are lever-style. Rocker light switches also help people of every age and ability. D-shaped cabinet pulls are easier to grasp and pull open a cabinet.

Kitchen countertops set at different levels with open space underneath allow the cook to sit while preparing food. Task lighting can direct light to specific workspaces.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), in a Revisions Resource article, said an excellent way to get a great return on your remodel is to include elements of universal design. NARI instructs that the seven basic elements of universal design are:

  • Equitable use: The design accommodates any type of user.
  • Flexibility in use: The design may be used by people with a wide range of abilities.
  • Simple and intuitive use: Design is easy to understand and “figure out”.
  • Perceptible Information: The design itself communicates efficiently to the user.
  • Tolerance for error: The design is safe and minimizes consequences of accidents.
  • Low physical effort: The design can be used without strenuous exertion.
  • Appropriate size and space for approach and use

Besides making a home more beautiful and more attractive to potential buyers, a universally designed kitchen may help homeowners stay independent and in their home much longer.

Whether you are staying in a kitchen with a history filled with memories or want a whole new kitchen to build new memories, universal design meets a multitude of needs.

–Sheila Boggess

DreamMaker e-Content Marketing Specialist

Closet Solutions: Cleaning and More

With spring just around the corner, spring cleaning will be in full swing. Families all over will be sorting through the old to make room for the new. For many, this begins with the closet. Closets become cluttered with clothes, shoes, handbags and other accessories throughout the years and can cause large amounts of stress. Use these helpful tips to organize the clutter without frustration.

What can you do with clutter in a closet?Split into segments – sometimes trying to take on too much at once can cause a headache. Separate your closet by category and go from there. One day, sort your shirts, then the next your shoes, and then your pants.

Group categories – don’t bunch your sweaters with your tank tops. Designate a specific area for a season and clothing type. This will make finding the perfect outfit faster and easier in the future.

Organize belts and scarves with this hanger.

Organize belts and scarves with this hanger.

Invest in a belt rack – even if you don’t use belts, a belt rack is a great tool for organizing scarves, ties, and handbags.

Organize the top – often fallen clothes, old shoes, or miscellaneous items get thrown on the top shelf of the closet only to surprise us much later as they topple down. Organize your top shelves so you can utilize the space without worrying about everything crashing down on you.

Remodel – if you find you are out of space and don’t know how you are going to fit anything, consider closet remodeling! DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen has remodeled closets and help make lives less stressful. Check out our closet remodel gallery and contact your nearest DreamMaker franchise!

You shouldn’t have to dread picking out an outfit because your closet is too cluttered. Spring cleaning is a great time to get a fresh start! Organize, remodel, or simply clean your closet to help make your life easier!


There's a New Shade in Town

Do home remodeling with color.

Think color when doing home remodeling, and try Pantone’s color of the Year Radiant Orchid.

Radiant Orchid takes the stage as Pantone’s Color of the Year. At first glance, it causes wheels to turn. You wonder, “Where can I use this in my home?” The answer? Anywhere.

Use the blooming purple color with its hint of pink to spice up a contemporary kitchen or add flavor to a spring palette full of grays and yellows. You’ll find it’s bold enough to pop, yet warm enough to be inviting.

If you’re not quite ready to whip out a paintbrush, start with accessories. Offset tamer colors in your kitchen, entertaining areas, bedroom, etc. with Radiant Orchid to add depth. Find throw pillows, dinnerware, vases or flowers to integrate into your current décor. Now, you’ve demonstrated your will to start off the New Year with a trendy touch without getting trapped into the binds of a committed relationship.

Let’s say you’re a bit of a dare devil. And, thrill consumes you at the thought of adding a bold, fresh color to your master plan. You’ve met your match.

Add Radiant Orchid to an accent wall when remodeling your kitchen.

Be adventurous and choose a wall to paint Radiant Orchid.

Grab a pot of Radiant Orchid, and splash it onto an accent wall. In doing so, you’ve revamped your room with blooming color.

Whether you’re dangling your feet in the water or diving in, there are ways to incorporate Radiant Orchid into every home. Hints of fuchsia, violet and pink bring an energetic and playful vibe to the table – an accomplishment unparalleled by any other color.

Remodel Your Way to a New Year

Rich wood tones with stainless steel appliances add to this kitchen remodel.

Rich wood tones with stainless steel appliances add to this kitchen remodel.

While you are putting away holiday decorations and taking down the tree, spend a few extra minutes looking around your house.

Spring cleaning is still a few months away, but it doesn’t hurt to look beyond the clutter and dream about the changes you want in your home this year.

In the kitchen, what would make life easier for the entire family? Pullout cabinets? Bigger pantry? Breakfast nook? An island? New cabinets? Jot down your ideas. A good place to visualize these ideas is houzz.com where you can start a notebook with all your favorites. Also, go to DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen’s gallery and look through other DreamMaker kitchens for ideas.

Now, on to the bathroom. Does your bathroom wow you or underwhelm you? New towels and rugs may be all you need to spruce things up a bit. If your bathroom is dated, though, you may want to consider a total remodel. If this is the case, think about the next 5-10 years. Will you or a member of your family need assistance? If so, consider making your bathroom easily accessible. Wider door frames will accommodate wheelchairs or other walking devices and open up the room for all members. A higher toilet also may be needed. Consider adding grab bars that now come disguised as toilet paper holders and towel bars.

A new trend of stand-alone bathtubs is sure to update your bathroom. Bathtubs come in all shapes and sizes, including walk-in tubs for those who might have difficulty getting in and out. You might also consider a low or zero-barrier shower instead or in addition to the tub. Check out DreamMaker’sbathroom gallery to give you some ideas.

A new sink and vanity will help bring your bathroom into 2014. Pick out your favorites, and do not forget the floor. A new rug may be all you need, or you may decide you want your bathroom tiled. The ideas are endless.

Investing in updating bathrooms and kitchens will add value to your home while making your 2014 home a beautiful place.

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National Association of Home Builders
National Kitchen & Bath Association
National Association of The Remodeling Industry
Remodeling Big 50
NAHBR Remodelers