November 2005 Table of Contents

Following the remodeling rules

Remodeling is by its very nature a contentious process. But there is no magic bullet to protect against run-ins with customers or, worse, with their lawyers. The best protection, many remodelers agree, is as simple as establishing the rules and then making sure everyone follows them. Read more

Top employees set standards Top employees set standards

Each of these employees has been given a certain amount of autonomy by the company owner; each has backup and support from colleagues; each has had training and experience in his or her field, which can be passed on to others; and each buys into the company's culture and vision. Read more

Urbieta Construction is a Dayton success story Urbieta Construction is a Dayton success story

Juan and Carmen Urbieta share a successful remodeling company and a persistent, ambitious and, so far, elusive dream: that the best is yet to come for the Huffman Historic Area of Dayton, Ohio. Read more

Two-Story Addition

People usually add on to stay put, points out Kerry Butler, owner of Butler Construction Services, a full-service remodeling company in Kelso, Wash. "They like the neighborhood, the school district. They've looked at newer, larger homes and decided to invest in the home they have and stay in the neighborhood."Real estate agents agree, rating this project a 94% recoup overall, with the recoup on additions in areas such as Washington, D.C. (177%), and San Francisco (126%) returning even more. Read more

Master Suite Addition

Upscale Project Description: Add a spacious sleeping area with lounging/sitting area adjacent to large master bath. Include custom bookcases, woodworking details, and built-in storage; high-end gas fireplace with stone hearth and custom mantle; and large walk-in closet/dressing area with natural light, mirrors, and linen storage. Add French doors accessing a veranda, balcony, or other outdoor space. Bath includes a large walk-in shower with dual shower system, stone shower walls and floor, and custom frameless glass enclosure. Add corner-design whirlpool tub bordered on two sides by windows and built into granite or marble platform with custom cabinet front. Include two sinks in separate custom vanities with stone countertops and large mirrors. Create partitioned area for luxury one-piece toilet. Add hospitality center with bar sink, under-counter refrigerator, custom cabinetry, granite or marble countertop, and microwave. Include soundproofing, in-floor heating, custom wall finishes and hardware, general and spot lighting, and lighting controls. Mid-Range Project Description: On a house with two or three bedrooms, add a 24-by-16-foot master bedroom suite over a crawl space. Include walk-in closet/dressing area, whirlpool tub in ceramic tile platform, separate 3-by-4-foot ceramic tile shower, and double-bowl vanity with solid surface countertop. Read on to find the average cost of this project in your area. Read more

Major Kitchen Remodel

This year's study offers two gut-and-replace kitchen remodels: a mid-range price project at $43,213 and an upscale kitchen -- same size, different components -- at $70,368. The price difference in specing granite vs. other types of materials for countertops, for example, may be $5,000, Dawn points out, but "it can make a $20,000 difference in the asking price, because of the perception about the quality of the home." Read more

Bathroom Remodel

For Stephanie Witt, owner of Kitchens by Stephanie, Grand Rapids, Mich., the question comes down to, "Do you want a payback on your investment or the room of your dreams?" Replace all fixtures to include standard-sized tub with ceramic tile surround; toilet; solid-surface vanity counter with integral double sink; recessed medicine cabinet; ceramic tile floor; vinyl wallpaper. Read more

Deck Addition

Project Description: Add a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated SYP joists supported by 4-by-4 posts set into concrete footings. Install composite deck material in a simple linear pattern. Include a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material. Include stairs, assuming three steps to grade. Provide a complete railing system using either a matching system made of the same composite as the decking material or a compatible vinyl system. Average national resale value: $6,000. Read on to find the average cost of this project in your area. Read more

Bathroom Addition

Seen strictly from the standpoint of resale, carving a bathroom out of existing space, especially in a home that has only one or one and a half baths, might be the most productive remodeling project you can undertake. Even first time buyers, whose expectations may not be as high, "want a master bath and at least one more," she says. Include cultured-marble vanity top, molded sink, standard tub/shower with ceramic tile surround, low-profile toilet, general and spot lighting, mirrored medicine cabinet, linen storage, vinyl wallpaper, and ceramic tile floor. Read more

Basement Remodel

About one-third of the projects built by Ryan Schleper, owner of All City Builders, Buffalo, Minn., are basements. Schleper says clients want their basements finished for two reasons: They need space, and it's usually about a third of the cost of an addition, because mechanicals, foundation, and outside walls are already in place and no re-landscaping is required. Read more

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