Five Keys To A Successful Renovation – #3 – Manage Your Household

Manage Your Household

The partnership with your chosen contractor will be one of joint responsibility for certain components of your project.  One of the most important aspects will be the “work-around”… how the contractor and the trades work in a respectful, well organized way around your family during the build and how you, family members and pets work (live) safely and comfortably around the unavoidable and inconvenient construction activities.

Everyone (including visiting grandmas) needs to be in-the-loop about what to expect at a given time in the process.  This is an especially important safety issue, particularly when structural changes are being made.  Your contractor’s schedule (updated regularly) will be a valuable guide to organizing family activities around demolition/reconstruction and temporary interruption in services, such as water, power & heat.  Regular communication will ensure that showers will have hot water when needed, appliances are powered-up and the furnace is generating adequate heat.  You will need a designated “comfort-zone” away from the disruption so all can relax without stress.  Kids may feel like it’s all fun, like camping out, but pets (especially older ones) may not cope well without a quiet place to hide out.  If necessary, temporary activity areas can be set up, such as sleeping and play spaces.  Certain kitchen appliances can be moved and activated in a basement or other alternate area.  Vehicles may have to be parked off-site if your driveway or garage are part of the renovation project.

These are just a few examples of measures that may have to be taken to ensure your family’s comfort and safety during construction.  You could always move out for the duration, of course, but if that is not an option, daily communication with your contractor will go a long way to making this event an exciting one!  As in other parts of life, patience will serve you well through this upgrading process.  For more on that topic, see our next FIVE KEYS installment – PATIENCE AS A VIRTUE. 

**CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS is a full-service design/build contractor with 25 years of dedicated service to our many valued customers.  Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

Five Keys To A Successful Renovation – #2 – Hire Wisely!

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The renovation contractor you hire will be spending a lot of time in your home, so you will want this company’s project manager, site supervisor and crews to be friendly, efficient, honest and respectful of your home and family. This is especially important if you plan on living in the home while the work is being done. With that in mind, be sure to check all credentials to confirm that all claims being made can be backed up. Eg. – Municipal & Provincial Licensing, BBB Member In Good Standing, Customer & Trade References, Insurance Coverage, Warranty Program, Builder’s Association Membership and Renomark Program.

Now, let’s say you plan on requesting Bids based on your plans/specs. Ask for “line-item” product & service descriptions and related pricing. This “cost-plus” Agreement will be the most transparent, allowing you to assess all detail, including the amount of the Builder’s Fee. Although you may feel that a “fixed-fee” Agreement will give you more financial certainty, you will likely see no pricing detail, other than an “allowance” list for product choices. Proposals – One contractor may submit a high Bid (do they really want your job?), one may come in low (low Bidders sign more work, but often end up with unhappy customers, for an assortment of reasons, especially cost over-runs), then another may fall somewhere in the middle. Ideally, you want all Bids to “cluster” fairly tight together, usually confirming that your specs are being interpreted consistently. Bid detail should be examined closely to ensure that no one is missing anything.

Once hired, your preferred contractor should prepare a detailed schedule, a “decision-point” list to guide the timing of your product choices and a logistics plan for regular site meetings, family comfort & safety and the all-important mess-control! How best to do your share in this partnership? See our next FIVE KEYS installment – MANAGE YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

**CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS is a full-service design/build contractor with 25 years of dedicated service to our many valued customers.  Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

Five Keys To A Successful Renovation – #1 – Realistic Expectations

Realistic Expectations

Everyone begins the home renovation planning process by creating a “wish-list” (often after years of thought and the viewing of many, many samples & swatches).  Of course you want the most and the best of everything, right?  Then you speculate about how expensive your plan will be and decide on what you think is a realistic and affordable budget.  But once you take the plunge and begin meeting with design/building contractors, you may start to realize that your extensive “wish-list” is too long and your optimistic budget too short.

Don’t be discouraged!  This is simply when reality sets in and adjustments in your thinking allow you to develop an acceptable “revised” plan.  You have watched all the reno REALITY shows on TV and have been led to believe that your project will take ½ the time and require ½ the budget than what the contractors are all saying.  REALITY shows being seriously miss-named, best to trust your local contractors.  So, armed with a realistic plan, budget and timeline, you are good to go!

Once your project is underway, try to maintain a realistic, reasonable, common-sense outlook, even when things get a little complicated (as they do on almost every project).  Unrealistic expectations are the cause of much un-necessary conflict during home renovation work, so it’s critical for a successful outcome for you and your chosen contracting partner to manage expectations as a team.  How to find the right contracting partner?  See our next FIVE KEYS installment – HIRE WISELY!

**CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS is a full-service design/build contractor with 25 years of dedicated service to our many valued customers.  Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

DIY – Seriously, why would you put yourself through all that?

DIY Blog

By “all that” I mean the self-inflicted pain & stress of the Do-It-Yourself project!  Those TV Shows and product supply stores all make it sound like anyone with a hammer and time on their hands (LOTS of time) could undertake a home renovation project of almost any size.

By comparison, as a home renovation design/build contractor of 25 years, I would no sooner try to program/code a piece of software or replace an automobile engine than fly to the moon in a teacup!  That’s why there is an entire industry of trained, experienced professionals dedicated to just the kind of project that you are contemplating.  The laws of unintended consequence may not be front-of-mind when you are thinking of how much money could be saved by doing-it-yourself, but they begin to make sense when you realize that:

-   You needed a permit & inspections, so all the new drywall has to be torn out.

-   Your measurements were off and none of the new cabinets fit.

-   The trades you hired (who take payments under-the-table) were not as honest or as skilled as they claimed (what, no references?).

You are smarter than that, of course, but here’s the thing…stuff happens.  And if you are not trained to head off this stuff before it happens, the money you thought you were saving could evaporate.  Along with your sanity.  Not to worry though…Channel Custom Builders and other qualified builders like us are happy to help you avoid the DIY Blues before you get infected!

From an initial meeting or two, through the planning/pricing phase, to a well-executed construction process, your beautiful home renovation project will be completed in a timely and virtually pain & stress-free way.  Just contact Channel Custom Builders today to arrange for a pain & stress-free consultation and avoid the DIY Blues!

Cool Products – Freestanding Bathtubs

If you think back to when tubs were made of copper, filled by hand with buckets and much resembled horse watering troughs, then to the iconic cast-iron claw-foot tub and indoor plumbing, much has changed in the world of bathing! But what was old is new again, with the modern day version of the Freestanding Bathtub.

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Lakeview Village

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Lakeview Village

No longer made of copper or cast-iron, most of these current tub offerings are of one or two piece formed acrylic, which are much lighter to handle and warmer to the touch. There are many attractive design choices that reflect traditional and contemporary styles, but the common theme is soaking comfort! And for a gentle, relaxing massage, add in a soothing bubble-jet feature. Plumbing fixtures can be highly decorative when installed outside the tub in a floor-mounted “stand” configuration, or internally plumbed with deck-mounted taps, filler and even a telephone spray head. It takes some planning and co-ordination between plumber and flooring installer to ensure the kind of professional “fit & finish” desired, but this extra effort will be worthwhile.

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Okotoks community of Downey Ridge

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Okotoks community of Downey Ridge

If you are curious about the world of relaxation bathing, have a look on Channel’s website “Shopping” page for links to a variety of manufacturers’ products. Or give Channel Custom Builders a call about the bigger picture…your new bathroom, kitchen, basement renovation, addition or completely new home plan!

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Hidden Valley

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Hidden Valley

JUST WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT… FRESH IDEAS FROM A 25 YEAR OLD!

Looking back, it’s hard for us to fathom that Channel Custom Builders has been involved in residential design & construction for a quarter of a century!  And believe it or not, we are just as excited now about our creative mandate as on that day in 1991 when our doors first opened.

That excitement still translates into fresh ideas for all manner of projects that come our way, from interior & exterior renovation work to “from-the-ground-up” custom homes.  When a higher standard of design has been established before you build, it doesn’t really cost much more, but when combined with fine craftsmanship, this commitment to quality does deliver amazing value!

On both the design and construction sides, we try to stay current on trends, products, materials and methodology, all of which contribute to superior results for all projects, large and small.  Regardless of project type or scope, this focus on inspired solutions has served us and our past customers in the Calgary area very well for…you guessed it – 25 years!

So, a big thank you to all our valued customers from past years, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to us…25 years young and looking forward to providing YOU with fresh ideas sometime in the NEXT 25!

CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS – BRINGING GRAND PLANS TO LIFE SINCE 1991 

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“Before-You-Build” Series #2 – Bathroom Tips

Bathrooms have evolved in recent years, from purely functional spaces to those of relaxation & retreat, particularly in the case of the Master Ensuite. Sure, the 2 piece powder room and the 3 piece bath for the kids tend to be more spacious and attractive now, but still have function at the core of their design.

The rise in popularity of the well-appointed Master Ensuite demonstrates a desire for a little well deserved self-indulgence! Features such as his & hers sinks, separate toilet room, jetted soaker tub and a big glassed-in shower with multiple shower heads, body sprays, bench seating and steamer are much in demand, space permitting.  But where is that 100 + square feet going to come from? If you are lucky, the bedroom is large enough to steal some space from, or maybe a closet or adjoining bedroom can be taken over in its entirety? Or perhaps an addition? There may also be room for a nice walk-in closet in the new layout.

Whatever your needs and budget, the Master Suite is an investment that will provide a return second only to a kitchen renovation. And, while you continue to own the home, your comfort and enjoyment are the best return!

Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park