Aug

22

Tips to Stay Organized During a Remodeling Project

No doubt about it, remodeling is disruptive to your house, your family, your personal routine, and even your pets. But with some planning, it is possible to survive major renovations without excessive stress.

Callen offers some tips to minimize the inconvenience. First, and very important, have a designated place to keep the paperwork relevant to the remodel – quotes, invoices, receipts, contact information, contracts, and the like. While some correspondence will be done electronically, you will still have hard copies of items that you will want to access. When it comes to email, create a separate sent and received folder designated specifically for remodeling correspondence.

Stay Organized During A RemodelStaging your temporary kitchen

If you plan to stay in your home during a kitchen remodel, set up a temporary kitchen elsewhere – living room, dining room, spare bedroom, even the basement, with your microwave, electric frying pan, slow cooker, and toaster oven. You may be getting a new fridge with your project, so have your old one relocated to the garage or within another area of the house if you have room for it.

Stay organized when packing goods from the cabinets and pantry. When storing items you won’t need during the remodel, label the storage boxes specifically with what is inside them. Avoid the word miscellaneous. It will be much more pleasant when you are putting things back after the project is finished.

Prepare as many meals in advance as possible, freezing them in individual portions for easy-to-fix dinners. Keep a stash of granola bars, fruit, peanut butter, and crackers for easy snacking.

Plastic and paper rule as dishwashing will be a challenge. Pots and pans will most likely be washed in the bathtub or laundry tub. Be prepared with a dishpan, dish drainer, and lots of cloths for washing and wiping.

There may be times when water and electric will be shut off. Your project manager should alert you to those so you can make alternate plans, staying with relatives, arranging a sleep-over for your children with their friends, or booking a motel.

Bathroom strategies

Remodeling a bathroom may pose no extra inconveniences if you have a second full bath or at least a powder room. But if it’s your only facility, you need to plan in advance.

If your home has only one toilet, arrange with your project manager to take out and reset the toilet on a daily basis. However, there will be at least several days when you won’t be able to access the toilet at all, such as when flooring is installed.

Your contractor may also be able to arrange a temporary shower and toilet in the basement. But this may not be possible in every situation and you should inquire in advance.

If you had been thinking of joining a gym or health club, this might be the time to do it to get some time away from your house. Take advantage of showers, toilets, and play areas for the children while you work out.

Keep children and pets safe

If children are in the home while the workers are there, they no doubt will be fascinated by what is going on. But a work zone is hazardous and you will need to make sure they know their boundaries and stay clear of the project. Plus, distraction and interruptions to tradesmen on the job will prolong its completion date.

All the noise and strangers in the home can be very stressful to your pet. Have a place in the home where it can be contained away from the project. Have soothing music playing or the television on to help mask noises, and make sure the pet gets exercised more than normal to expend pent-up energy.

Remodeling may involve sprays, fumes, paints, and other toxic or irritating substances that could harm your children and pets. Have your project manager alert you when this may occur and insist on proper, even excessive ventilation. While this work is going on, it’s best to get everyone out of the house for the day.

Even though there will be plastic sheeting between the work area and the rest of the home, fine dust particles will still filter out. It’s advisable to remove or cover electronic equipment, fine furniture, or other valuables.

There will be many deliveries during the project. Let your project manager know where the staging area will be; inside the garage is a good choice. Keep your driveway clear of your own vehicles to facilitate delivery and parking of construction vehicles. If your community doesn’t allow on-street parking, visit the police department to get a variance for temporary parking.

Knowing what will occur and when, and planning in advance for disruptions, will help keep your family’s routine as normal as possible under the circumstances. The key to any successful remodel is extensive communication with your contractor and project manager. Planning to the most infinite detail, selecting and making product and material purchases well in advance, and having a start and completion date as well as a production schedule, are important elements that will ensure a predictable remodeling process that provides you and your family the home you desire.

Callen’s design specialists can assist you throughout the remodeling process. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, to get the process started.

Aug

15

Four Ways to Keep Your House Cool This Summer (Other Than Air Conditioning)

The heat of late summer can lead to skyrocketing energy use and high utility bills. The good news is there are several things you can do to help cool off your house and take some of the stress off your air conditioner unit.

Shut Out the Light

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people do not realize that up to 30% of unwanted summer heat comes from sunlight streaming in through the windows. Surprisingly, you can reduce the temperature in your home by up to 20 degrees simply by keeping blinds and curtains closed, and replacing sheers with thicker draperies to block out more light.

Switch the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans

Did you know that ceiling fans have two rotational settings? Make sure that your fan is set to rotate counter-clockwise at a high speed in the summer. This will help you take advantage of the cooling effect that takes place when the breeze hits your skin and sweat starts evaporating.

Grills & Slow Cookers are Your Friends

Summer cooking can add a lot of heat to your house. Limiting the use of the stove and oven during the summer will go a long way toward combating the heat in your home. Eat cold meals when possible, and if you do have to cook, double or triple the recipes so there will be plenty of leftovers. Try using slow cookers, which put out much less heat. Grilling is another great summer cooking method. From pizza to seafood, check out these amazingly delicious recipes for the grill!

Callen Blog - Cool House in Summer 081516Create a Cross Breeze

Take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures by opening the windows before you go to bed. Strategically-placed box fans can help natural breezes along. You can create cross-ventilation by placing one fan facing in on the side where the breeze is entering, and another facing out on the opposite side of the house. Just don’t forget to close all windows and blinds before temperatures heat back up in the morning.

The right windows will go a long way toward keeping your home cool in summer and warmer in winter. For the most energy-efficient replacement windows in Brookfield, WI, call Callen at 414-765-2585. As your leading Milwaukee remodeling company, we have the knowledge and experience to help you with all your window needs.

Aug

08

Kitchen Upgrade Ideas

By Paulette Sodemann

Kitchens are where home-cooked meals are shared and memories are made, meaning they should be bright, welcoming, and well-maintained to mesh with the style trends that continuously pop up.

Kitchen Upgrades

Paulette Sodemann, designer with Callen, suggests some ways in which you can upgrade your kitchen. “You don’t have to be extravagant to have a fabulous kitchen,” she said. “Sometimes all you need to upgrade your kitchen is a fresh coat of paint and new accessories to add a pop of color.”

Lighting: “Kitchens should be bright with the combination of natural and overhead lighting,” said Paulette. Adding a pendant light will stylishly illuminate your entire kitchen. The addition of under cabinet lighting will also bathe your countertop in bright light to find your recipes and make it easier to see everything you’re slicing and dicing.

Hardware: “Adding new knobs and pulls to cabinets and drawers is one of the simplest upgrades you can make,” said Paulette. There are countless styles to choose from that will allow you to modernize your kitchen with a simple swap.

Rugs: Most kitchens are adorned with a worn kitchen mat that no one takes a second look at. “Put a twist on the average kitchen mat and add a stylish runner or area rug to your kitchen instead,” she said. “It will add a stylish flare to the floor and feel nice on your bare feet.”

Faucet: Instead of getting a whole new sink, simply change out the faucet. “A new faucet is an easy installation and a fun way to jazz up a kitchen,” Paulette said. Replace an old dripping faucet with a sleek pull-down faucet to transform your kitchen from dingy to dashing.

Cabinetry: “As long as the frames and doors of your cabinets are structurally sound, you can spice them up with some strong cleaner and a new coat of paint,” she said. Whether you decide to paint your kitchen cabinets the same color or a whole new color, it’ll add a new clean look to your kitchen.

Bright Accessories: For a finishing touch, enhance your new upgrades with matching accessories. “New, bright dishtowels, decorative bowls, fresh flowers, new drapes, or fun plates and utensils are easy ways to brighten your kitchen for spring and create a welcoming area for your family and guests,” Paulette said.

Callen’s design specialists have plenty of ideas on how to enhance your kitchen space. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, for inspiration on how to get started.

 

Aug

01

3 Tips on Securing Your Home While Traveling

Callen Blog - Securing Home 080116Whether you are off enjoying the sand and sun of the Caribbean or hiking the Rocky Mountains, you want to be able to enjoy your time away without having to worry about home invasions or household catastrophes. Take a look at these tips for keeping your home safe and secure while you enjoy a much-needed getaway.

Enlist Help

Give a friend or relative a spare key and ask them to check on your house daily, or at least several times a week at a minimum. They can also help with small things like watering plants and bringing in the mail. You can request the post office to hold your mail, but a criminal who is paying close attention may notice its interruption and get suspicious. The more normal things look, the better. Don’t forget to reward your friend for their help when you get back!

Limit Details on Social Media

Social media sites are perfect spots for criminals to scope out people who are going on vacation, and many oblige by giving out detailed information about their vacation schedule and plans, as well as posting daily pictures and updates on their location. You may think only your friends and family can see these, but in reality, you never know who might be accessing your private information. It’s best to wait until you get home to share your vacation experience.

Make It Look Like Somebody is Home

Don’t run up your electric bill by leaving lights on throughout the house when you leave. Instead, buy a programmable light switch timer, or find a timer that can be controlled with an app on your smartphone so that the times that the lights come on can be varied slightly. Keep your blinds and curtains in their usual positions, and move valuables out of sight of the window if the curtains are going to be left open. Also, make sure you have someone lined up to mow your lawn in the summer and shovel snow in the winter. An overgrown lawn or uncleared snow on the driveway are sure signs that nobody is around.

If you are foregoing vacation this year because you’re saving for home exterior remodeling in Brookfield, WI, contact Callen to find out just how affordable it can be. We’re the local expert on exterior remodeling in Muskego, and have been for the past 30 years. Give us a call today at 414-765-2585.