Remodeling Articles & Such . . .

We have put together these articles and tips to assist you in getting your project going, keeping it going, getting it completed (on time, at the contract price, in the manner agreed up) . . . all while maintaining your sanity.  You should also be able to enjoy the process. We’ve all heard the horror stories about things going wrong.  By properly preparing the project, making a good decision when selecting your remodel contractor, paying attention during the course of the work, you should find the project as pleasurable as your contractor does.  (If your contractor is not enjoying the project you probably should have gone with another contractor.)

Items We’ve Prepared:

Getting Started with your Remodel . . .

8 Steps to Your Remodel with Our Company
This is a summary of the typical steps to completing your remodel with our company.

What to Expect at our First Meeting
Think of this item as a primer of what we hope to accomplish at our first meeting.  The purpose of this meeting is as much to determine if the project is a good ‘fit’ for our company as it is to see the proposed scope of work.

If you are hoping to get more than one bid for your project this linked information will help you determine what information you need to gather & why.  Every project is different and requires a lot of study before coming up with prices.  We do not provide “free estimates.”  Remodeling involves a lot of time to: communicate with trades and suppliers: put together prices, scope of work, design and many other things for each project.  We cannot do this without an Agreement to ensure we get paid for this effort.  We rely on a positive relationship with each client from day-one.  (See the gray box below.)

Competitive Bidding: the Bid Package & Why you need one
To start with, we do not engage in competitive bidding because remodeling is not a commodity but a very specialized service that we provide.

Professional Services Agreement
With something like this sample Agreement we help you get through the Design, Products/Materials Selections, Budget Pricing, Drawings, Final Pricing, Ready for Construction Agreement and Building Permit – (The first two pages of a full Agreement)

Dimensioning & Discovery at Your Home
Gathering the information we need to start designing and pricing

Kitchen Remodel Selections List
Many of the things you need to consider in a kitchen remodel

Bathroom Remodel Selections List
Many of the things you need to consider in a bathroom remodel

Designs & Drawings . . .

Added Eaves & Gables . . .
Sheet 1 – For an Exterior Remodel
Sheet 2 – For the Exterior Remodel
Before Photo of Home’s Front Elevation
Mock-up of what we designed for the owners
AFTER Photo of Home’s Front Elevation
Completed 2019

Front Elevation of Proposed Building
Before Photo of Home’s Front Elevation – 2014

Master Bathroom Design Options Presented

Foundation & Framing Plan

Section & Details
Bearing wall was removed and replaced with a beam hidden in the ceiling – 2014

Electrical & Mechanical Plan
Remodel & addition – 2013

On Planning, Design & Survival  (links out to articles at other places):

Getting through a Remodel successfully . . .

Plan Your Home Remodel: The Design & Drawing Phase
A Houzz magazine article.

How to Create Clear Objectives When Remodeling
6 Steps design brief for your remodel at Evanston Lumber’s site.

Kitchen Workbook: 8 Steps to Surviving a Remodel
Ways to survive a remodel, and do it with the least stress possible.  A Houzz magazine article.

Thirty-One Ways to a Better Kitchen
This is found on and has some of the best design considerations for a kitchen remodel. It highlights the “31 Guidelines of Kitchen Design” published by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (

Renovation Survival Guide
On HGTVs site.  Some good thoughts and articles that may be of help.

8 Remodeling Costs That Might Surprise You
Some of the unexpected costs to remodeling – at Houzz online magazine.

Home Building: 8 Ways to Stick to Your Budget
Another of the articles you should find helpful at Houzz magazine.

Cautions & Precautions . . .

Cost Plus Contracts, Time & Materials Contracts
This posting gives several reasons why you don’t want to consider these forms of Contracts for your project . . . besides being illegal in California.

“Study Reveals DIY Projects Most Likely to Fail”
This may be of interest if you are not completely comfortable or confident about taking on your own remodel project.  On Remodeling Magazine (a Hanley-Wood Hanley-Wood Logo publication).  Original study is found at, from a survey of 2000 Americans in November 2018.  It could save you money, stress, and all sorts of other maladies.

The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself: Remodeling’s Most Dangerous Tools
This is an interesting report done by after analyzing data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a repository of information about Americans’ emergency room visits.

Purely design . . .

Alternatives to Glass-Front Cabinets
Chickenwire, corrugated metal and chalkboards? A Houzz magazine article.

Top 6 Kitchen Layouts
On HGTVs site.

10 Kitchen Layout Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
Great article on what to pay particular attention to, from Freshome’s site.

What to Know About Adding an Outdoor Kitchen
An article to guide you through aspects of an outdoor kitchen project, from Houzz magazine.

National Kitchen & Bath Association
This Association trains and certifies kitchen and bath designers.  Some great inspiration and how to find a good designer for your spaces.
Follow a Ranch House Renovation From Start to Finish
A Houzz magazine article.

Especially for our Honored Seniors – Remodeling Help to Age at Home in comfort and quality, with dignity . . .Seniors in kitchen

AgingInPlace logo‘s   Kitchen Of The Future: Remodeling For Comfortable Aging In Place
Informative guide to help with important decisions when remodeling your home for quality of life in your twilight years.

On Pricing Tid-bits & Such – Typical Projects:

These items provide general information ONLY that may be of help in establishing a budget for your remodel project, but will NOT necessarily be accurate for your particular remodel. Much of this information is averaged.
The customer controls the cost (or price) of a remodel project:
1 – you determine what you are willing to spend for the remodel project (I.e. the Budget – which the designer and contractor need to know in order to help you make wise decisions about the finished project – see the links below for more on this);
2 – then, you determine the price of the remodel work by what you want to see in the completed project and how soon that will be (I.e. selections of products and materials, design, function, time schedule for completion).
When the contractor calculates the price of your remodel project . . .
it should be the only price that contractor can build the project for and stay in business, to cover the warranty period and remain healthy. ‘Real-world’ pricing is very precise: it requires determining what is in the project and how much (time and material, plus many other state-required and business overhead items) it will take to build . . . pricing is not dependent on the whims of the contractor. Remodel pricing can take from hours for small projects to days for larger ones. Offering this service for ‘free’ is not a responsible business practice as it shifts the cost of this service to other projects to cover the overhead time involved. Therefore we do not provide this service for ‘free’, but also then do not need to include it in the price of the project when we calculate that price. On the first link below, you can see the typical scope of work (with pictures) included in the pricing within the links below that. All of these links are to the same report but this makes it easier to find information for a project similar to yours. Without understanding the information in the scope of a project (the first link below), the next links will be of no value. So in the first link, scroll down to the type of project you are considering and select it to look at the scope of work description. After you know that the scope of work matches your project, come back here and select from the Santa Rosa link below for some comparative pricing of projects in our area . . .
Common Home Remodeling Projects: this is an annual report compiled by Remodeling Magazine, a Hanley-Wood Publication.  Hanley-Wood Logo ( This first link is only useful for the Scope of Work descriptions — the average prices at this link are national averages, and therefore not applicable for our area.  Select the item in the left column to bring up information about the project scope of work, complete with pictures.
1.a. . . . for Santa Rosa area
Project Cost / Resale Value / Cost Recouped / Regional & National Comparisons – from the report linked above by Remodeling Magazine (see the last page for average local pricing)
1.b. . . . for San Francisco area
Project Cost / Resale Value / Cost Recouped / San Francisco, Regional & National Comparisons — same report as above (see the last page, for interest only)
1.c. . . . for Sacramento area
Project Cost / Resale Value / Cost Recouped / Sacramento, Regional & National Comparisons – same report as above (see the last page, for interest only)

Understanding Your Remodel Contractor:

Are You Looking for an A-, B-, C- or D-grade contractor?
This is a good article on how to find the right contractor for your remodel. Just one of many posted articles from Michael Stone’s Blog (of Construction Programs & Results Inc.)  Also, check out our Reasons to Choose Us . . .

How Much Should a Contractor Charge?
Posted by Michael Stone on his Blog
Discussion of Mark-up and Profit, and what they mean.
Mr. Stone is arguably one of the most respected business consultants to the remodeling industry. His insights have proven invaluable to many thousands of remodeling contractors worldwide.

Itemized Estimates (or Proposals) – see next link also
This gives some reasons why we don’t itemize or breakdown proposals for clients.  Also by Mr Michael Stone.

Cost Plus and T & M Contracts – also addresses Itemizations/ Breakdowns of Pricing, Materials Lists, Etc
Yet more blog posts by Mr Michael Stone on the pricing, contracts and breaking down pricing for remodel work.  The practice of pricing a project correctly takes a lot of time and experience to grasp well.  Once that is done properly the markup is a fixed number that cannot be changed without causing undue stress to the business.  We do not give out what our markup is, nor how we arrive at it; that is proprietary information.  If you trust your remodel contractor you will be happy that he/she has a handle on it, and that the individual uses it for all projects.  It is one of the guarantees that the company will stay solvent, healthy and around for future needs and/ or warranty work.  These links – and the one at the title – take you to the blog posts we’re referring to:  Gouging? and Is My Contractor Overcharging Me?

The Vendor Client Relationship
Originally linked through Michael Stone’s Blog
Video: proper prices are non-negotiable.

Owners Supplying Their Own Materials
Michael Stone explains why buying your own materials and products is not advantageous . . . for the customer or the contractor.

Are you sure you want to buy the products for your job?
Paul Winans addresses some of the complications of buying your own products and materials. This could have been covered in multiple articles.  Paul has nicely condensed it for us.

On Techie Construction Ideas:

New, and not-so-new, ideas in building design & use . . .

Popular Science: Double-Shell Solar House (see p. 54)
An interesting article from December 1979 magazine on an energy-efficient Double-Shell House – the article below by Oak Ridge National Laboratory uses a similar design idea and has developed it further (30 years later).
Is there truly ‘nothing new under the sun?’
Kudos to research and technology!

Mr. William Miller (of Oak Ridge National Laboratory) explains the ‘techno-stuff’ of ThermaDeck
Great video of how it works: efficiency and effectiveness.

Report on ‘Floors Above Crawl Spaces: Reducing the Risk of Moisture Accumulation within Wood Floor Assemblies’
About moisture issues emanating from the crawl space under many homes, especially as related to hot-humid climates.