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DreamMaker Remodeling Tips

Paperless-Kitchens-iloyal-newsletterDo you find yourself constantly adding “paper towels” to your grocery list? Didn’t you just buy a 12-pack at your local warehouse retail store? Growing up, it would drive my mother insane when we kids would use paper towels. When drying our hands, we’d tear off two or three paper towels from the roll. A spill on the floor? You don’t want to know! She thought buying the smaller cut paper towels would incline us to use fewer; they didn’t. With little hands and big messes, paper towels and napkins are always the first things to go.

Maybe it’s time to ditch the paper products in the kitchen all together! Here are four reasons to go paperless in the kitchen:

  1. Less Cost – Look at your receipts and see just how much you’re spending on paper towels every time you run to the store.
  2. Less Waste – no more using half a roll to clean up a kitchen spill, especially when cloths can be rinsed and reused on the same mess.
  3. Space Saver – stop cramming all those rolls into pantry and cabinet spaces.
  4. Be Green – make yourself, and your family feel better about cutting back on paper products. When cloths get crummy, they make great car wash/outdoor/cleaning rags.

Going Paperless:

First thing first, get the whole house on board. Stop buying paper towels and paper napkins, take the paper towel holder off the counter and make sure the family knows what’s going on. Realistically, you should keep a few rolls of paper towels around for emergencies, but don’t store them in the kitchen. Using cloth napkins with the kids is a simple way to teach dinner etiquette by placing napkins in their laps, instead of crumpling a paper towel on the table. Additionally, add “fold kitchen cloths” to the chore chart.

Gathering Cloths:

  • Cloth napkins – Now you don’t need to break out the five-star restaurant napkins when it’s sloppy joe night. However, cloth napkins come in a variety of sizes and materials for everyday use. Plenty of stores have them on sale, or clearance, especially after a major holiday or in between season. Collect different colors and patterns, mix and match for different color schemes to go with events or your kitchen color pallet. Get creative!
  • Make your own reusable paper towels – Diaper cloth, or Birdseye cloth, can be purchased at any fabric store, and at a reasonable price! Cut the cloth into equal sized pieces, and store in a basket by the kitchen sink to use as hand-drying towels. If you have a seamstress in the family, serge the edges with colorful thread.
  • Separate towels for dish-drying and hand-drying purposes.

Storing Your Cloths:

  • In plain sight – Store clean towels in a decorative kitchen jar: a glass cookie jar, a flour canister Roll them pretty. Not only will they be decorative, but they will spark interest and conversation about your paperless movement.
  • Designate a cloth drawer to store all your cloths. For seasonal decorations, use a plastic storage bin to keep cloths sealed off from dust (and to save space).
  • Used cloth bin – keep a hamper or basket in your pantry or under the sink for used cloths. This will be easy to transport it to the laundry room, and it will be in convenient location.

Speaking of laundry, the idea of doing additional loads may deter you from going paperless. Consider washing all your used cloths together, in one load once a week, or even every two? Developing a process with help with the laundry as well.

Going paperless doesn’t happen overnight, but taking small steps will help the transition. Once you’ve created a system that works for you and your family, it will be a convenient and cost-efficient change that you (and your wallet) will appreciate. And while you may not go completely paperless, every little bit helps!

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Four bedrooms, attached garage, home office…. the list goes on. When creating the perfect home, we begin the list of “must haves.” A staple with many homeowners is the ‘open concept’ kitchen. Open layouts seamlessly connect the kitchen with living and dining areas. They create the illusion of a bigger space, and are practical for families and frequent entertainers alike. The open concept serves as a central activity location, as the kitchen expands into other areas of the home. What’s more, the expansion continues.

couple outsideJust when you thought the open concept couldn’t be any more open, the kitchen has embraced yet another aspect of the home: the backyard. No longer confined to the four walls of the home, “inside-outside” kitchens have created a new opportunity to change the open illusion to an open reality.

Whether your home opens to a field, farm, forest, or fenced-in yard, indoor-outdoor kitchens are functional anywhere. With the use of windows, doors and patios, the kitchen has been redesigned with nature in mind.

Windows and doors are powerful metaphors about access to new opportunities. The opportunity to experience the exterior beauty of your home is even more impressive. Filling walls with glass windows and doors provide a panoramic view of the outdoors, city and country alike. These windows and doors come in many shapes and sizes. Large bay windows optically and physically expand living spaces to the surround yard. When opened, they welcome the beautiful weather and when closed, they provide a picturesque experience to the falling rain or snow. For more interactive kitchens, wall-length accordion glass doors allow customizable exposure to the yard. Doors can be opened, partially or completely, to let sun rays in and let family members come and go as they please.

family outside

When weather conditions are good, but not great, patios are more equipped to accommodate guests. With coverings, outdoor heat lamps, ceiling fans and water misters, outdoor kitchens are proving more useful in months other than May. In some homes, kitchen counters extend from the interior to the exterior without a change in style or countertop. These extended countertops project onto the patio and provide seating and serving space for gatherings and camaraderie.

The open plan layout is accessible, hospitable and practical for many. As homeowners look to remodel older homes into more communal living spaces, keep in mind the additional access that an inside-outside kitchen can provide.

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Dogs

As the adage goes, April showers bring May flowers. They also bring mud, and lots of it. The kids, the dog, and even you can’t help tracking in the muck. If only you had a nifty space to shed the muddy boots and keep your newly spring-cleaned home tidy. Luckily for you, mudrooms are making a comeback. These adorable nooks are a Pinterest staple, but they also serve a very practical purpose.

Some homes have laundry rooms or washrooms as intermediates between the inside and outside of the home. For the home that doesn’t have this convenient feature, a mudroom is a simple and space-conscious solution with many great features.

cubby 2

One perk of the mudroom is it doesn’t have to be a physical ‘room.’ Mudrooms can be crafted from hall closets, crevices and cabinets. They conform to the space you allow, whether it is a floor-to-ceiling wall space or an entire walk-in closet. The size and scope of your mudroom is up to you!

If you’re just looking for a small space, several hooks along the wall will hang a few coats and backpacks with ease.

For more spacious spaces, include benches, bins, cubbies and sinks. A sturdy bench serves as a seat for taking off shoes, and also works as a place to set grocery bags while removing shoes. Benches are available in many materials that match with the interior of your home.

family

Bins can be stowed beneath benches or on added shelves above. Bins can store extra coats, sports equipment, shoes, umbrellas, gloves and mittens, just to name a few.

Be as creative as you like, but don’t forget the functionality. Tile your mudroom with sturdy tile that is also an easy clean – what’s a mudroom without a little mud? Take a look at your entryways, the extra wall space or underused hall closet, and imagine a stylish yet practical space for a mudroom.

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DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen Remodeling Allows for “Aging in Place”

Staying independent

This chair lift helps one maintain independence in their own home.

You have heard the pitter-patter of little feet upstairs after bed time. It’s the place you raised your beautiful children. Within these four walls, your boys became men, your girls became women, and your dreams became realities. Now that your children are moving out and starting families of their own, you’ve thought about downsizing, but you just can’t. This is where you want to live the rest of your lives. The place where your grandchildren will come and visit, the place that will continue to host holidays, celebrations, and everyday triumphs. It’s more than just a house. It’s a home. It’s your home.

It’s not time to move. It’s time to remodel!

Aging in Place, or AIP, is an increasing trend among retired adults. It is a style of living that allows for individuals to remain in the same homes with consideration to changing circumstances such as accessibility and mobility. Remodeling living spaces with the addition of products that allow for assisted maneuverability can maintain a comfortable and independent lifestyle for years to come.

The National Association of Home Builders Remodelers partnered with AARP to establish the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) program. These professionals have earned certification through training in construction and design of accessible, yet aesthetic, homes. CAPS professionals vow an ethics code and are required to further their knowledge periodically through educational programs.

With the assistance of CAPS professionals, preparing for the future is easier and more attainable than ever. Many of our DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen franchisees are certified Aging-In-Place Specialists. Our franchisees offer remodeling services to do just that.

In addition to standard full-service home remodeling, DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen specializes in an AIP service, which they have named “Independence by Design.” DreamMaker says, “allowing you to perform everyday tasks independently and safely, our home improvements also are adaptable as your needs change, delivering value that truly exceeds the investment.”

Some common Safety and Mobility remodeling projects include:

Entrances and doorways:

  • Minimal steps and inclines.
  • Wider door frames.
  • Keypad locks.

Stairs:

  • Wide steps.
  • Durable hand rails.
  • Chair lifts.

Bathrooms:

  • Grab bars.
  • Zero-barrier walk-in showers.
  • Easily accessible counter tops and cabinets.

For more information on DreamMaker’s aging in place products and services, visit the Safety and Mobility website here.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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