A New Day, a New Year, A New Kitchen

A past customer of J Carsten Remodeling recently wrote a letter involving their kitchen remodel.

“My wife and I had finally saved enough money to remodel our 1950s-era kitchen. We Homerwere anxiously awaiting a New Kitchen. We watched the sales for new cupboards and countertops, and I was convinced that my son and I could install them ourselves. My wife, who has a better handle on carpentry skills than I do, had different ideas. She told me, “You can install the cabinets in our kitchen when I can start sewing the suits that you wear to school!” She had made her point; this was not something I could do myself. Within a week, we had hired a contractor.” Ric

handsThe point of the letter that Ric wrote was to know and understand your limitations. When J Carsten Remodeling starts planning a kitchen remodel, we confirm with our trade partners how much time will be needed to compete the required tasks. We also have a very good idea how long it will take to complete the tasks we do in-house. We could do most electrical, plumbing, drywall, etc for our projects, but we know that the professionals we hire will get the job done quicker, and most likely do a better job. In the end, we want to provide the best product in the most efficient manner possible.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling

Top 10 Kitchen Design Tips

 Remodeling and design experts offer advice on designing a kitchen

1. Think ahead.

When redesigning a kitchen, put function first, says interior designer Jacqui Hargrove. “There’s no ideal kitchen shape,” she says. “Whether it’s a galley or U- or L-shaped, plan for the sink, fridge and cooktop to form a triangle, with no more than 6 feet between each for ease of movement.”

2. Make room for storage. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“The biggest mistake people make at the planning stage is not allowing for enough storage,” Jacqui says. “Use every nook and cranny. Put overhead cabinets right up to the ceiling, rather than leaving a gap on top that collects dust.” Consider deep drawers for easier access to pots and pans, and include enough storage for appliances that otherwise would clutter up countertops.

3. See the light.

Unlike in other rooms of the house, overhead lighting is insufficient in kitchens, says electrician Richard Terode. “In the kitchen, you don’t want the light behind you, casting a shadow on the workspace. You need it positioned to fall in front of you.” He likes under-cabinet lights because they shine directly on countertops.

4. Power play.

Be sure there are appropriate power sources for relocated or new appliances. Many people realize too late that they don’t have the right gas or electric lines, Richard says. Plumber Stuart McGroder also suggests measuring appliances to ensure that they fit comfortably into allocated spaces. “If a dishwasher is crammed in, it could push up against the hose and won’t drain properly,” Stuart says.

5. Space and surface.038-jcarstenhomes2011small

There’s no such thing as too much counter space. Choose a surface that’s easy to work on and care for. But keep in mind that grout between tiles is hard to maintain and that stainless steel will scratch very easily.

6. Start fresh.

Don’t reuse appliances or items from the old kitchen. It may seem as if you’re saving money, but an old appliance will stick out like a sore thumb in a new environment, says Jacqui. Find other ways to economize. “You don’t have to spend $100 on a drawer handle when cheaper ones still look fantastic,” she says. “The same goes for countertops.”

7. Safety first.

Make your kitchen as safe and family-friendly as possible by planning for good visibility to backyard and indoor play areas from the cooking area, suggests Dorothy Bell, a home safety expert. Also consider such safety-conscious elements as rounded countertops, slip-resistant flooring and ovens located at adult height to minimize the chances of accidental burns. (For more tips, visit usa.safekids.org.)

8. Clear the air.

A range hood helps ventilate cooking odors, says appliance consultant James Moore. “Buy one that’s efficient, quiet and vented outside,” he advises.

9. Trash talk.IMG_1146

Don’t forget to plan for garbage and recycling bins. Do you want built-in bins cleverly disguised behind a cabinet door, or a sleek, stainless-steel garbage container that’s positioned out of the way?

10. Look out below

When it comes to flooring, consider slip-resistance, ease of maintenance and porosity, suggests consultant Craig Verdon. Stone floors, which are somewhat porous, for instance, may need periodic resealing. If so, ask how often, and think about whether you want to deal with that process. “Hardwood floors are beautiful, but be aware that they wear out faster by the fridge, stove and sink than other areas,” he notes. “Hard, natural stone works wonderfully, and the earthy look and feel of it is very popular.”

Information taken from Reader Digest. Read more: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/top-10-kitchen-design-tips/#ixzz2Snz8y3yt

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling

Heated Countertops

You have most likely heard of heating your floors, perhaps in a bathroom or other tiled area. But now you can heat your solid-surface countertops as well.

Why Heated Countertops?

Go From Feels Cold to Feels Warm

Although stone countertops are beautiful and luxurious, they have one common problem:  They can feel cold or cool to the touch.  The surface of the stone is indeed room Curved Countertop with heating zone graphic Draft 3temperature, but compared to wood and other non-stone items, the stone feels cold.

FeelsWarm heated countertops raise the temperature of the stone 20 to 25 degrees – just enough to take that initial shock away when leaning on the counter with your arms or touching the surface in the morning.

  • When seated at a countertop using laptops or doing paperwork
  • Ideal for installations in basements and cooler areas
  • For businesses looking to present themselves with a high touch of class
  • Impress others when socializing
  • Extended exposure
  • Improve the feel for sensitive individuals such as the elderly

How it Works

Ultra Thin Heating Element with Uniform Pattern

FeelsWarm heated countertops are fitted with an ultra thin (under .015″ thick) heating element that is custom-engineered for each stone including shape, wattage, and electrical input location.  The FeelsWarm element pattern is precisely designed and installed to overcome the poor thermal characteristics of stone so that an even heated surface is created and that the front edge is the same temperature as the center of the heated zone.

  • Utilizes low voltage (12 Volts) for complete safety
  • Enables custom heated areas within a countertop design
  • May heat only where you commonly touch/rest armsGrey countertop with heating zone graphic Draft 4
  • Control scheme permits temperature adjustment
  • Programmer provides pre-set on-off schedule if desired

Cost of Operating

Heated countertops equipped with FeelsWarm Heating Technology are extremely affordable to operate.  For an average sized island countertop, the power consumption is less than having a 60 Watt light bulb turned on.  Leaving the heater on continuously for 24 hours costs less than 20 cents per day depending upon local electricity rates.

When coupled with the programmer, which enables the heater to be pre-timed to turn off automatically at night, the cost can be cut by 50%. In general, however, this low cost of operation drives customers to leave the heater on continuously.

Good Luck

Jason

J Carsten Remodeling

Parade of Homes- A great time to look at new designs

The Parade of Homes has started. And spring is coming soon- depsite the fresh coating of snow we have received in the great white north. The Parade is great opportunity to get OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAout there and get ideas for a new space in your home, regardless if you are looking for a new home or just a new kitchen. Below are a couple of ideas to making the most out of the Parade.

Determine your need

Figure out what you want and need. Even the best remodeler can’t provide solutions when you haven’t figured out the problem.

  • Examine your family’s lifestyle. Determine what fits how you live in your current home, and what doesn’t. Make a list and then prioritize it into a wish list and break down the list into 1) must have, 2) nice to have, 3) nice to have, but could live without
  • Take a good look at your home, your lot, your neighborhood. What needs to be updated or repaired? Do you have room to expand outwards? Will property values in the neighborhood support your planned improvements?
  • Figure out how much you are willing to spend.
  • Keep a scrapbook of pictures and articles from magazines and books to get ideas about style and features you like.

Homes to look at

When you start looking at which homes to look at, error toward the more expensive ones.  If you only look at homes that are in the same price category as your own homes, you are less likely to get new ideas. More expensive homes may have been constructed with the use of an interior designer or architect, which may give you ideas that you may not have thought of.

Take notes

While most homes will not allow you to take pictures, you can take notes on spaces that imagesworked well. Some builders may also have pictures of their models online so that you can capture their work for a scrap book.

Dates

The Parade of Homes runs from March 2-24 with the Remodeler’s Showcase running March 22-24. http://www.paradeofhomes.org/

Good Luck

Jason

J Carsten Remodeling

J Carsten Remodeling earns CKBR certification

J Carsten is pleased to earn the CKBR certification from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

CKBRs (Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodelers) provide remodeling services specific to kitchens and bathrooms. To become a CKBR, candidates must possess skills and knowledge focused on the requirement of materials, layout, and installation of kitchens and bathrooms.

To qualify for the CKBR designation, applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Be employed by or own a firm engaged in remodeling kitchens and bathrooms
  • Adhere to NARI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
  • Have a minimum of five years continuous experience in the remodeling industry
  • Have completed 4 kitchens and/or bathrooms per year
  • Completed 16 hours of continuing education
  • Successfully completed a comprehensive application that details their background and experience
  • Successfully complete a one-day written examination on business, construction, and remodeling practices related to kitchen and bathrooms
  • Submit all required application materials and fees

What is NARI?

NARI is a not-for-profit trade association representing the largest network of professional remodelers in the United States, with over 7,500 members nationwide and 60 local NARI Memberchapters.

As the only national association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry, NARI brings together leading trade professionals from all over the country. NARI promotes ethical and sound business practices for the benefit of America’s homeowners as well as for the industry.

NARI was founded in March of 1983 with the merger of the National Remodelers Association (NSA) and the National Home Improvement Council (NHIC).

NARI Mission:

To develop and sustain programs that expand and unite the industry, and that ensure its continued growth and security.

NARI Vision:

To become the primary remodeling resource for homeowners and professional members alike by providing information, education, and mentorship to the community at large.

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling

Cabinets- A bit more about options

Last time I talked about the different types of cabinets. Now let’s talk about when is the best time to use them and the types of finishing.

Box Cabinets- J Carsten Remodeling will recommend box cabinets in economy situations where the customer is looking for a good quality cabinet on a smaller budget. Box Box cabinetscabinets come pre-finished (finished at the factory) and lead times are typically 4-6 weeks. Planning ahead of time is a must with box cabinets in order to ensure that cabinets are available for installation at just the right time. Typically, we will want the cabinets on the job site or at a minimum, delivered to the lumber company, before we will start demo.

Customizable Box/ Manufactured Custom Cabinets- We seldom use customizable box cabinets or manufactured custom cabinets. The main reason is the cost of these cabinets is comparable to local custom cabinets even when the cost of finishing is included.

Local Custom Cabinets- This is, by far, the cabinet type we install most often. J Carsten Remodeling has a relationship with a local custom cabinet shop where lead times are typically two weeks. In addition to shorter lead times, if errors or defects are found, we can usually get the problem resolved in 24-48 hours. That would not be possible with any type of manufactured cabinet.

Finishing on Custom Cabinets- For most installations, the local custom cabinets we install site finished cabinetwill be unfinished and then finished on site. This is preferred for two main reasons:

  1. Any handling or installation damage/ scratches can be fixed prior to finishing
  2. Nail holes in moldings (crown molding, etc) can be filled and make the nail hole virtually disappear. This is especially important with enameled cabinets.

There are occasions, though, where pre-finishing the cabinets is done.

  1. In a condominium situation where the association by-laws state that no cabinet finishing can be done on site. Then, we do not have a choice.pre-finished cabinet
  2. In a cabinet & countertop replacement only. In order to minimize the kitchen down time, the cabinets will be installed pre-finished. The kitchen is usable right after installation (waiting for countertops of course)

Good Luck

Jason- J Carsten Remodeling

Box Cabinets or Custom Cabinets- Just some facts.

J Carsten Remodeling has installed both box cabinets and full custom cabinets. Here are some differences:

Box Cabinets

Box cabinets, called so because the cabinet comes in a box, come in certain sizes (usually 3″ increments from 9″ to 48″ in width). They are usually made ahead of time and stocked by a distributor, in a box, on a shelf, ready for sale. Box cabinets are also usually made of Box cabinets.ashxthinner components to make them less expensive. Thus they often need “center stiles” (a divider that divides the middle of double-door cabinets to strengthen and support the overall box and shelves). Box cabinets also typically use less expensive hinges and drawer slides.

Customizable Box Cabinets

Customizable box cabinets are essentially box cabinets that can be ordered cut down in depth from the standard depths available at an extra charge. They are typically made to order. But in some cases they are essentially stock cabinets, where only the customized pieces in the order are made to order. Customizable product lines also typically encompass a greater variety of cabinets and some double-door cabinets available with no center stile (for roll-out shelves and other accessories). They might also make a few standard angled and/or radiused cabinets for use on the end of a run, where conditions are tight.

Manufactured Custom

Custom manufactured cabinets can be ordered to any dimensions as long as they do not exceed the limits the manufacturer lists in their catalog, typically 48″ wide, and 96″ Custom cabinetshigh. Maximum depths vary, depending on the type of cabinet involved. Designers can also order changes in the sizes and heights of doors and drawers, as well as customizing the mounting heights of ovens and other built-in appliances to suit the buyer. They typically use only the highest quality hardware and are made of thicker materials. So they are sturdier.

All customizations in manufactured cabinets carry an up-charge, and manufacturers typically base their standard offerings on basic cabinets very similar to stock cabinet catalogs. However custom manufacturers also offer many MORE cabinet types and accessories than box cabinets.

Local Custom

There the cabinets are designed and made in a local cabinet shop. There are fewer Custom Cabinetslimitations on sizes with local custom. The only definite ones are limitations on the sizes of materials, like sheets of plywood and sizes of the raw wood boards. Cabinetmakers can also do things like matching boards for pattern and color consistency that manufacturers find difficult. They are also free to use both thinner and thicker components, and more or less expensive hardware to meet a budget.

Cabinetmakers also routinely build their cabinets in what they call “runs“. This is building what may be an entire wall of base or wall cabinets as one long cabinet. This cuts the cost of face frame material a bit and makes the spaces between doors consistent.

Applications

Box- Typically the cheapest upfront cost and thus are typically installed in lower budget situations. The best applications are for straight forward areas without tricky areas or angles that might require special cabinets. These cabinets are usually factory finished.

Customizable Box- Used in kitchens when the homeowner wants to maximize space in tricky areas or angled spaces. Typically the installation will involve a combination of custom and stock sizes. These cabinets are usually factory finished.

Manufactured Custom- Used in middle to high end kitchens. The cabinets are built to fit the specific area and may include special moldings, space for specialty appliances, or other customizable areas. These cabinets are usually factory finished.

Local Custom- Custom cabinets used to cost more than the box cabinets in nearly all cases. But lately, custom cabinets are closer in price than you might expect. Thus, you will see custom cabinets in all budget ranges. They are also used in applications where the cabinets are to be finished on site. They can be finished ahead of time in a local paint shop before installation.

Next time, I’ll go over which I prefer depending on the situation.

Good Luck

Jason

J Carsten Remodeling