Sep

18

Trend Alert: Fall Colors Now Making Their Way Into Kitchens

To the chagrin of some and the relief of others, one trend on its way out this fall is an all-white color scheme in kitchens and other areas. Gray-and-white interiors are also lessening in popularity. While some may say that these palettes feel crisp and fresh, others tend to see them as flat and sterile. Celebrate the arrival of fall this season by adding some warmth to these color-starved spaces. Here are some ideas to get started!

Trend Alert: Fall Colors Now Making Their Way Into KitchensIncorporate the natural warmth of wood. Whether it’s a dark wood floor, a reclaimed-wood island, or a quaint kitchen table, the beauty of natural wood tones never goes out of style. Wood is the perfect material to soften up kitchens that are often dominated by stainless steel, with the versatility to be used in a variety of different applications to fit your needs.

Don’t be afraid to mix textures. If you want to give your kitchen a truly unique look this fall, try mixing different textures. Many warm metals, such as copper, are reminiscent of autumn, and can be integrated onto things like stove hoods and metal mosaics for a cozy feel. The texture of stone adds another element to the mix, and stone in shades of brown harmonizes well with glass and steel to help tone down what can sometimes be an industrial feel.

Try some new paint colors. If you are looking into kitchen remodeling, one of the quickest and least expensive ways to perk things up is to apply a fresh coat of paint. If your kitchen needs a new look, try using an autumnal color scheme this time around. The colors of blush and brown are going to be hot this season, so look for ways to incorporate them into your kitchen. When balanced with off-whites and creams, these fresh fall colors can easily transition throughout the seasons, making your kitchen feel open and inviting all year round.

If you are looking for an honest, reliable, experienced remodeling company to help you with your next home improvement project, Call Callen at 414-765-2585 and we will help you achieve a warm, welcoming look for your kitchen this fall.

Sep

11

The Essentials of Aging-in-Place Remodeling

The Essentials of Aging-in-Place Remodeling - Universal DesignIn recent years, the remodeling industry has seen a growing trend: aging-in-place remodeling. This trend has been driven by baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964). As this generation gets older, their desire to stay in the comfort of their own homes increases. According to a Cornell University study, an estimated 100,000 additional elderly persons could be living at home, if only they had a support network and the right accommodations.

Fortunately, with careful planning and – most commonly – kitchen and bathroom remodeling, virtually any home can be made to be aging-in-place compatible. Here are some of the basic renovations you should expect to do.

  • Wider doorways. One of most important changes that will need to be made in order to stay in your home is to widen doorways. There’s a strong possibility that at some point you will need a walker or wheelchair, so doorways must be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate them. As you remodel other rooms, keep maneuverability in mind – your nice new bathroom or kitchen won’t do you much good if there’s not enough room to maneuver a wheelchair or other assistive device.
  • First-floor laundry room. Lugging loaded laundry baskets up and down stairs is just not feasible for many older Americans. Not only does this get harder physically as we age, but the heavy loads can affect balance and increase the risk of a debilitating fall. If your laundry room isn’t on the main floor, consider building one, or perhaps converting an existing room on the main level.
  • Full bath with walk-in shower on the first floor. Easy access to a full bath with all the amenities is crucial as you grow older. When time is of the essence, you don’t want to have to navigate a set of stairs to get to the bathroom! Bathroom remodeling for those desiring to age in place would ideally include a curbless shower for wheelchair accessibility, a bench to sit on, and recessed shelves placed at a comfortable level. Grab bars to help with leverage are also important, in the shower as well as near the toilet.
  • Lever handles instead of knobs. In addition to arthritis, which is common in the elderly, the weakened grip strength that comes with aging makes gripping door knobs difficult and sometimes even painful. Lever-style door handles are much easier to operate, and most can even be opened with an elbow if your hands are full.

Even if you are still in your 30s or 40s, a little forward thinking can save you a lot of time and money in the future, and allow you to stay in the home you love. If you are ready to do some bathroom or kitchen remodeling, Call Callen at 414-765-2585. We will help you or your loved one achieve the level of safety and security necessary to comfortably age at home.

Sep

04

Roof Remodeling Tips

A roof is more than just the “hat” that finishes the look of your home. “The roof is arguably the most important component of your house; after all, it helps protect you from the elements,” said Lance Dahl, CR, exterior product specialist with Callen Construction in Muskego. “Before you make any decisions on potential roof replacement, make sure you understand all of the various components of this type of project.”

roof remodeling tips from callen constructionFirst, keep up appearances. In planning your next major remodeling project, don’t forget to reflect on the look and style of roofing materials. “When you consider that the average roof comprises 40 percent of a home’s visible exterior, you want it to look attractive,” he said.

Next, you’ll want to sneak-a-peak. In other words, inspect your roof from a safe vantage point using binoculars. “Specifically look for cracking, curling, and missing shingles, and if your roof is made of asphalt shingles, also look for areas that seem to lack granular covering,” Lance said. “You can examine your roof from the inside, too. Visit your attic space and use a flashlight to look for water stains that may indicate a growing roof leak.”

Check with your local municipal building department to see how many times you may re-cover an existing roof with another layer of similar materials. Some communities only allow two layers of roofing material, and require any additional layers to be torn off before more roofing can be installed.

Next, provide your contractor with a picture. “At Callen, we are able to use a digital photo of your home and show you a variety of options for the house featuring different roofing materials,” he said.

Regardless of the project size, all work to be done needs to be explained in writing. “You should be given a detailed proposal that describes the type of roofing material and color; other materials to be used; and the scope of work to be done,” Lance said. “It is important to specify whether the existing roofing will be removed or covered with a layer of new shingles, and to state who will be responsible for installing new flashing and vents. Most importantly, make sure the proposal indicates an approximate starting time and completion deadlines.”

According to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, asphalt shingles are installed on approximately four out of every five residential roofs in the United States. Asphalt products are available in two types – organic and fiberglass – and in a wide variety of colors, styles, and visual textures. Organic shingles are made of cellulose fibers, such as recycled waste paper or wood fibers, while fiberglass shingles are made of glass fibers. “Both shingle types are covered with an asphalt coating and surfaced with weather-resistant mineral granules,” he said.

While asphalt shingles are by far the most popular option, consider the alternatives. “Do you love the appearance of cedar or redwood roofing, but worry about fire safety? There are fire-resistant wood shingles, or metal and synthetic products that mimic the look,” Lance said. “Such products can also match slate and tile roofs. Real clay or concrete tiles often appear in Southwest-style or Mission-style roofs. If you desire this look, you will need to make sure your home can adequately support the additional weight.”

Finally, it’s important to vent a little. “Attic ventilation ensures that your roof has a long and functional life,” he said. While ventilation requirements vary by region, the National Roofing Contractors Association generally recommends a minimum of one square foot of free vent area for each 150 square feet of attic floor.

Replacing a roof is a major investment, so make sure you stay as informed as possible and weigh each of your options carefully before making decisions,” Lance said. “In the end, your new roof should last at least 20 years, so it’s important that you’re happy with the products selected.”

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Aug

28

Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and Exterior

Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and ExteriorAs I said at the outset of the blogs I am writing on behalf of Callen, I started with current projects and I’m going back in time with the projects we have completed with the company. More than four years ago, our master bathroom was in dire need of a makeover. We had a pink toilet and whirlpool with all brass fixtures, a closet that extended off of the bathtub, and a very small shower. We weren’t sure what to do, we just knew we wanted an update with the possibility of a bigger closet.

This is where the Callen designers shine. We were asked to think outside the box and consider extending the bathroom about three feet, which is no small task. By adding a window and gable, our home was literally pushed out three feet. This new space accommodated the walk-in closet we wanted.

Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and ExteriorTo this day, we look at the bathroom like it is still brand new. We not only get the daily enjoyment of the Kohler whirlpool, the glass surround shower, the double vanity, flat screen TV, and the huge closet (which has a view), but the renovation added tremendous value to our home. If it wasn’t for our designer making that suggestion, we still only have the same small space without the dramatic change provided by the new gable and window. The exterior now looks complete and more balanced.

Another item on our wish list for the space were heated floors, but we were concerned about the cost. However, the installation of electric mats that are much more cost-effective allowed this wish to become a reality. We now have a heated floor in both the bathroom and the closet so the tile is warm during our Wisconsin winters (which in my opinion is about six months out of the year!).

We use the heated floors all the time and with the dual thermostats, we can make the floor and the air above it as warm as we desire. Keep in mind that heat rises, so heated floors heat the entire room, which you feel when walking in.

Paul Kronforst Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and ExteriorI will discuss more details regarding this extensive bathroom remodeling project in future blogs, but for now, be sure to look at the accompanying photos. Notice the tile work in the glass shower, the walls, and the floors. The large walk-in closet that we absolutely love. The double vanity sinks. And yes, we use that flat screen TV in the bathroom. It is great for taking a soak and watching football on a cool fall afternoon!

Until next month, when we talk more about how Callen has put the “WOW” in home remodeling at our house.

– Paul Kronforst

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