Spring Clean-Up Tips for the Exterior of Your Home

While many people look forward to spring for its warm weather, bright colors, and fresh breezes, others see it as a chance to clear away the dust and cobwebs that accumulate over the long winter. Though not everyone is gung-ho about spring cleaning, it’s essential for a clean, well-maintained home. When you sit down to make your spring cleaning checklist, don’t neglect to address the exterior of your home as well.

Spring Clean-Up Tips for the Exterior of Your Home

  • Clear out the gutters. While your gutters should have been cleaned out in the fall, it’s a good idea to check them again in the spring and clear out any stray leaves and tree debris blown down by winter storms. Spring is also an excellent time for a little home exterior remodeling; in particular, installing a Gutter Topper® gutter protection system from Callen Construction. Available in a wide array of colors to coordinate with your roof and gutters, Gutter Topper will keep leaves and debris out of your gutters year-round, so you’ll have one less thing on your spring cleaning list to take care of next year.
  • Wash the windows. You’d be surprised by how much dirt and grime can accumulate on your windows in six months’ time. Washing the exterior of your windows until they shine will allow you a clear view of the beautiful colors of spring, even when you’re stuck inside cleaning.
  • Clean and rake. Walk around your yard and look for any trash that may have been dropped or blown onto the lawn, making sure to check that nothing has snagged on your trees or under the bushes. Then, lightly rake your lawn to gather up any remaining fall leaves, remove dead grass, and make way for the dormant grass blades that will soon be pushing their way to the surface.
  • Weed and prune. Make life easier for yourself by getting a jump on obnoxious weeds. Weeds are much easier to remove when they’re small with shallow roots, and the ground is still moist from spring rains. Consider laying down weed control fabric in your garden and around flower beds as well to help keep the weeds away permanently.

At Callen, we’re committed to making your remodeling experience as pleasant and pain-free as possible. We’re experienced in all forms of exterior remodeling, and our main goal is the comfort and satisfaction of our customers, no matter the size and scope of the job. To find out more, give us a call today at 414-765-2585 to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation.



Bathroom Remodeling: Where to Save

Bathroom Remodeling: Where to Save

If your bathroom is reminiscent of decades gone by – complete with peeling linoleum and pastel tiles – it’s definitely time to think about changing the look. As you begin the redesign process, keep in mind that bathroom remodeling is a serious undertaking, and costs can quickly escalate if you go in without a plan. Fortunately, there are several places where you can reduce costs and save money when it comes to furnishing your new bathroom, while still creating a beautiful, modern space in which to begin and end your day.

  • Accessories. Little touches make a huge difference, but when it comes to bathroom accessories like cabinet hardware, faucets and showerheads, you don’t have to go all-out right away to get the look you want. There are a lot of attractive and affordable options to tide you over until you’re ready to switch them out for upgraded models. So for now, resist the temptation to splurge on high-end alternatives.
  • Mirrors. There’s no denying that contractor-grade frameless mirrors are a little boring, but hold off on buying an expensive replacement. It’s actually quite easy to add decorative trim yourself, or even find a frame that will fit your existing mirror, both of which can be done at your leisure when you have the extra time and money.
  • Vanities. If you have a creative eye, consider thinking outside the box when it comes to your bathroom vanity. With a little imagination, an old piece of garage sale furniture can be turned into a stunning bathroom vanity for a fraction of what it would cost to buy a new one. For the countertop, look into granite remnants, which are pieces left over from big jobs that can often be purchased at a discounted rate.
  • Plumbing fixtures. As labor costs make up 50-75% of your bathroom remodel (assuming you’re contracting out the work to a remodeling company), avoid relocating the sink, toilet and tub/shower if at all possible. Using existing piping can save you up to $5,000 in labor per fixture, so it’s definitely worth the effort to design your remodel around what’s already there.

If you’re planning on doing some remodeling but aren’t quite sure where to start, Callen Construction can help. We have talented design specialists who would love to assist you in creating the bathroom desire. Call Callen today at 414-765-2585 to set up a consultation.



Walk-In and Reach-In Closets

Walk-In and Reach-In Closets

“The type of closet you choose, whether a walk-in or a reach-in, is a decision that is ultimately based on personal preference,” said Marissa Shaffer, designer with Callen Construction in Muskego, a full service and award winning remodeling company. “While a walk-in closet can allow you to store your clothing and other items while serving as a dressing room, reach-in closets help you be more minimalistic and organized, allowing you to see your entire wardrobe at once.”

When you look beyond the obvious difference in physical size of a walk-in closet versus a reach-in closet, you can start to examine how exactly the space is utilized. In addition to storing apparel and operating as a fitting room, walk-in closets also allow for folding clothes and ironing. “Although walk-in closets are synonymous with clothing, an assortment of organizational systems can be installed inside a walk-in closet to help you get the most out of your space,” said Shaffer. For instance, organizational accessories include custom-made cabinets and drawers; jewelry trays; belt, tie, and shoe racks; various hooks; valet rods; and any and all shelf sizes. Additionally, large walk-in closets can serve more than one person. “Sharing this space with your significant other or children in order to create a space that fits everyone’s belongings is easy,” she said. “Alternatively, if you prefer a more personal space, you can transform the closet into a boutique-like dressing room that is fully equipped with seating, a vanity, and a full-length mirror.”

For those interested in a highly functional, organized space, you may want to consider a reach-in closet. Having a reach-in closet helps eliminate clutter, so that you are able to see exactly what you have. This will help keep the space organized and more efficient. “Plus, sorting through your wardrobe can be a positive and cleansing experience. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can organize your possessions by color for total tidiness,” Shaffer said.

A reach-in closet can also be revamped and customized to include other belongings. “During this process, it’s important to take into account the type of door and it’s placement because it directly affects the number of sections in the closet and where they are placed,” she said. To fully maximize the potential of a reach-in closet, consider using bins or baskets, hooks, premium hanging rods, or even a small table with a mirror. “Get creative and be smart when planning out your reach-in closet, so you can get the most out of your space,” said Shaffer.

Both walk-in and reach-in closets have their own unique advantages, and each can be customized to match an individual’s taste. So, the deciding factor between the two different closets is you. “Whether you’re tempted by the luxurious room that a walk-in closet offers, or you’re drawn to the structured design of a reach-in, your style, needs, and space will help determine which closet is most appropriate for you and your situation,” said Shaffer.



Finding the Right Contractor

Many of you reading this may have attended the recent Milwaukee NARI Spring Home Improvement Show at the State Fair Park Exposition Center. For more than 30 years, Callen has been a member of what has blossomed into the country’s largest chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Callen is one of the more than 700 members of the Milwaukee NARI chapter, which allows area homeowners to have peace of mind when contracting with remodeling companies. Callen’s focus on professionalism and commitment to the customer enables it to maintain its good standing within the association.

Many listeners of my “Remodeling Show” on WISN-AM News Talk 1130 have asked on and off the air, “How do I find a quality contractor, one I can trust?” Good question, right? Remodeling contractors are often in your house for weeks at a time, working around your family, pets, etc. and you want to find the right fit.

What other inquiries should be made when selecting a contractor? Here are some questions I believe are imperative to have answered before moving forward with a contractor on a remodeling project:

  • Are they good at what they do?
  • Are they professional?
  • Do they have insurance, including coverage in case of an on-site employee injury?
  • Do they pull the proper permits?
  • Are they working up to local codes?
  • Are they courteous, clean, and respectful while in your home?

These are all valid questions you should not be shy of asking. When dealing with Callen, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES! This is why Callen is part of NARI and other professional organizations.

In addition, being part of an organization like NARI allows Callen and its staff to have access to timely industry information and educational opportunities. This is a benefit to you, the homeowner, as you know that Callen is staying current with industry trends.

Through its Milwaukee NARI membership, Callen has regularly participated in the Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Awards competition, winning awards in the kitchen, bathroom, and exterior remodeling categories for 18 consecutive years. Over the last dozen years, I have had the pleasure of serving as the emcee of this event several times and Callen’s projects stand out for their excellence and commitment to detail.

Completing a remodeling project should be exciting and something you never regret doing. Companies such as Callen have proven they work at a high level through continuing to play an active role in the NARI chapter here in Milwaukee.

We are in the final stages of winter (thankfully) and spring and summer are right around the corner. I know it is held in February, but the Home Improvement Show is called the “Spring Show” because the remodeling season starts now. Don’t wait until summer to plan, or you likely won’t be enjoying your completed project until late this year at the earliest.

Do what I have done many times and Call Callen, so you can be like me and my family – enjoying the comfort and amenities of a remodeled home completed by an experience and quality home improvement contractor.