What Can I Expect During a Home Remodeling Project?

By: Marty Morse-Owner of Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes  

As the owner of a remodeling company, I am frequently asked, “What can I expect during my home renovation project?” This is a very broad question and the answer will vary depending on the scope of the project. However, there are four critical criteria that should be discussed and clarified between client and contractor prior to commencing work, regardless of the type of project. By addressing these items with the contractor, a homeowner should have a better experience overall during their remodel.

Trust:

Expert 1

Before

By the time the project starts, there should be a foundation of trust between the company and the client. Hopefully the client has done their homework and knows that they have engaged a team with the professional skills to deliver the scope of work that was agreed upon in the contract. If the foundation of trust is lagging, there could be numerous obstacles during the project as the homeowner will need to repeatedly review whether the contractor is trustworthy and competent. Establishing trust as the first element in the relationship will allow the homeowner to enjoy the process and the remodeler to move through the completion of the project with more efficiency.

Access:

Expert 2

During

Remodeling a home is daunting for most homeowners not only because it restricts the full utility of the home, but also because during the course of a project dozens of tradespeople will require access to their home. These two elements can make a remodeling project feel like a home invasion if access is not effectively controlled by the remodeler. For a successful project, the homeowner and contractor need to have excellent communication around access. First, the homeowner needs to be willing to accept access into their home during reasonable hours for the contractors and tradespeople to perform the work. And second, the contractor should communicate regularly with the homeowner about the work schedule and what to expect each day. With a clear understanding of the schedule, homeowners can relax and reclaim the privacy of their home during times when no work is scheduled.

Dust:

Expert 3

Almost Done!

When it comes to remodeling, dust happens, even with proper dust protection in place. The best way to protect personal property from dust during a project is to come to terms with the fact that dust will probably find its way outside of the construction zone. Rather than dusting at the end of each workday, it is highly recommended that personal belongings that might be negatively impacted by dust are packed away until the project is complete. This minimal preparation to the remodel reduces stress dramatically during the project.

Timing:

Quality remodeling companies typically have very good timelines and project management systems in place. However, there are often issues that come up that are beyond the control of the management team. Issues such as weather, products arriving defective, illness, a change in scope due to unforeseen issues, or trades availability can cause unexpected delays. Good remodeling companies take these possibilities into account when planning the overall timeline of the project and provide clear communication to the homeowner should any issues come up that could delay the project. A practical timeline for the project allows the homeowner to make realistic plans for when they will be enjoying their newly remodeled space. Design, Build, and most importantly, ENJOY!

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Morse Receives Best of Houzz 2015 Awards

Davis, CA, January, 2015  – Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes of Davis has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The award winning design-build firm was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhoneapp and Androidapp. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. Morse captured the Best of Houzz in both the Design and Service categories for 2015.  These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Our Clients have enjoyed using the Houzz platform to assist them in getting their personal ideas and thoughts about the finish of their new space conveyed to our design staff”, commented Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes owner Marty Morse. “The phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ definitely is true when it comes to deciphering words with interior design finishes. Houzz allows our Clients to browse interior and exterior home photos in the comfort of their home, and then share their idea book with our designers. These photos provide inspiration for our design team to quickly develop concepts that reflect the tastes of our Clients, with accurate results.”

Best of Houzz Design 2015

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction and Design as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Morse Remodeling, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Follow Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes on Houzz at www.houzz.com/pro/morseremodeling.

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Four Proven Benefits of Design Build: Timeliness

BENEFIT 2: Timeliness

Like most things over time, the remodeling industry has gone through some changes. It would be safe to say that the remodeling industry has been renovated over the last few decades. The old norm of performing a renovation, or constructing a new home, was to seek out a designer/architect, plan the project, create the construction drawings, bid the project, and finally choose the contractor to perform the work. The contractor would either work under the supervision of the homeowner-hired architect, or report directly to the homeowner. The design build model for residential remodeling and home construction has many benefits over this dated method of performing home construction projects.

Over the course of this year, I will explain the four distinct benefits of the design build model of renovating and building homes; Communication, Timeliness, Cost Savings, and Accountability. Let’s continue this series today with Benefit Number 2, Timeliness.

The design build model of home remodeling and custom home building is more time efficient than the outdated methods of separating the two distinctive aspects of design and performing residential home construction projects. Important aspects such as schematic design, estimating the project, engineering, and changes to the scope of work can be done quickly and efficiently, saving time and eliminating the likelihood of misinterpreting the exchange of important information.Communication triangle

Schematic design can produce some unique, functional, and important considerations for remodeling and new home construction projects. However, most homeowners are constrained with a budget that may limit the overall scope of work. Being able to produce accurate construction costs during this initial design phase provides important information for the client early in the planning phase. Design build firms typically employ professional estimators that are trained in accurate market rate costs of all aspects of the construction project. The result is a very quick turnaround in project costing and value engineering. The final scope of work can be identified early without having to produce a bid set of plans and find out that the overall scope of work is not within the client’s budget range.

Additionally, design build firms employ designers that are trained in purchasing finish products, and therefore they are very aware of the costs associated with them. By narrowing down type of finish the client is attempting to achieve, budgets can be applied for product costs early in the schematic design phase in order to finalize the full scope of work. This saves time by budgeting early for products that will not supersede the overall project budget.

Throughout the schematic design phase, design build firms can consult efficiently with the structural engineer in order to foreshadow tricky, and perhaps sometimes costly, structural issues. These structural issues can be estimated accurately with the construction estimator and/or trade partners associated with the design build firm. By keeping this communication internal, the costs associated with moving load bearing walls and constructing unique features can be quickly estimated for the client’s consideration.

During a remodel or new home construction process, a client may wish to incorporate a change to the overall scope, or make minor modifications to the existing finish. The design build model allows the quick exchange of information regarding the project changes to be designed and estimated within one organization, saving time and decreasing the chances of miscommunication. These changes can be value engineered quickly in order for the client to make a timely decision and keep the project momentum on schedule.Time is Money

In most cases, time is money. It takes time to design and construct projects with detail and high quality standards. Stay tuned for part three of this four part series, as we will talk about the cost savings associated with the design build model of home construction and renovating. Until then, design, build and most of all, ENJOY!

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Morse Remodeling Wins Three Chrysalis Design Build Awards

Continuing to set new standards of professionalism, several remodeling companies from across the United States were named winners at the 2014 Chrysalis Awards for Remodeling Excellence. The entries were judged on overall design, the creative use of space and materials, and the degree to which the project enhanced the original structure or home.

Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes won awards in three different categories. All three projects were designed and managed by Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes’ dedicated employees.  The Davis based design-build home building and remodeling company received Western Regional awards in the ‘Outdoor Living’ and ‘Residential Specialty Item’ categories.BELLIN---exterior kitchen---Terry nathan--4420

The Outdoor Living project, located in Davis’ Wildhorse subdivision, consisted of a full backyard remodel, including new pool with Caribbean shelf and shear descent waterfall, covered outdoor kitchen with BBQ and entertainment center, gas fire pit, spa, landscape lighting, and decking throughout. The Residential Specialty project, also located in Wildhorse, consisted of designing and renovating a wall of a dining room into a wine storage and art display center.

NUOVO---sink detail---Terry nathan---3984

Additionally, Morse received a prestigious National award in the ‘Residential Interior Under $100,000’ category. This design-build project, located west of Davis on Russell Blvd, consisted of the entire renovation of a guest suite. The design included the use of live edge Western Cypress wood slabs separating a free standing tub and shower area from the bedroom. It also included the unique and tedious installation of mounting the tub filler on a maple tree stump and the artistic installation of Manzanita branches as towel racks and grab bars.NUOVO---bathtub detail---Terry nathan---3965

“Winning awards in multiple categories is difficult to do. Not only does this speak to Morse Remodeling’s versatility, but to their commitment to quality on every project,” says Ken Kanline, Director of the Chrysalis Awards.

Nuovo Tub Tree Slabs

The Chrysalis Awards program, commencing in 1994, recognizes the nation’s best work in sixteen general categories of residential and commercial remodeling. The Chrysalis Awards are open to any professional remodeler and design professional in the United States.

KNUTSON--wine rack wall---Terry Nathan---3813

Photos of the winning projects can be viewed on the Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes Houzz.com website at http://www.houzz.com/pro/morseremodeling under these three project titles: Rustic Ranch Suite Retreat, Morse Outdoor Entertainment, and Wine and Rec Room Remodel. Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes, locally owned by Marty Morse, has been designing and renovating home construction projects since 1993 in Yolo County. Please visit www.morseremodeling.com to learn more about the company and its services.

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Morse Wins 2014 Contractor of the Year Awards

Morse Remodeling, Inc. and Custom Homes received 3 Contractor of the Year (CotY) awards on March 20th at the annual NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) CotY (Contractor of the Year) Banquet. Our firm won in the Residential Exterior Specialty division for designing and constructing the Benner-Bellin backyard kitchen, fire pit, and swimming pool located in Davis’ Wildhorse subdivision.
BELLIN---exterior kitchen---Terry nathan--4420
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We also took first place in the Residential Exterior Under $100,000 for the Schelp renovation on Redwood Lane in Davis.

SCHELP--exterior--Terry Nathan---A4333 cropped
 
 
 
 
 
The third award was in the Residential Interior Under $100,000 for the Nuovo guest suite renovation in Yolo County.  We are proud of all the trade partners and vendors who worked hard on these projects and were instrumental in the final details.

NUOVO---sink detail---Terry nathan---3984

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Four Proven Benefits of Design Build: Communication

By Marty Morse

Like most things over time, the remodeling industry has gone through some changes. It would be safe to say that the remodeling industry has been renovated over the last few decades. The old norm of performing a renovation was to seek out a designer/architect, plan the project, create the construction drawings, bid the project, and finally choose the contractor to perform the work.  The contractor would either work under the supervision of the homeowner-hired architect, or report directly to the homeowner. The design build model for residential remodeling has many benefits over this dated method of performing home improvement.

Over the course of this year, I will explain the four distinct benefits of the design build model of renovating homes; Communication, Timeliness, Cost Savings, and Accountability. Let’s get started today with communication.

BENEFIT 1: CLEAR AND CONCISE COMMUNICATION

Communication is one of the most important elements of a renovation project. With the design build model, the design team is in constant communication with the production team.  The employees work as an orchestrated team under one roof, and have a common goal of creating satisfied clients. If a design question or production issue arises during the construction phase, an answer or design solution is available immediately.

Communication

Through experience, I have learned that communication can be broken down when there is a working triangle of an independent design/architectural firm, Client, and general contractor. During construction, quick answers can be critical to maintaining construction timelines. However, when issues must be coordinated through three independent parties, delays are often inevitable.  Additionally, information can be miscommunicated.

With design build models, communication is constantly being updated within the organization. Systems are streamlined and communication within each department flows freely and easily, without pointing blame on the design, or faulting the construction crew for mistakes.  Working as a team, the production staff can send photos and project information to the designer, who understands that timing is critical. Field modifications can be approved swiftly by the Client, and communicated properly back to field technicians.  The team understands the goals and objectives, and also realizes the importance of time.

Another critical aspect of the home renovation communication is the organic nature of the construction drawings.  As construction projects progress, the drawings are constantly updated to insure all field technicians have the most current information. Updating plans due to field modifications or last minute design modifications is easily communicated within the same design build team.  For example, a client request to add a new window to a room during production can quickly be estimated, approved, designed, drafted for permit, and implemented within the internal communication channels of one organization with greater simplicity than even the best coordinated efforts of multiple agencies.communication

Communication is vital in the remodeling industry. I just touched base on timely communication as being a major benefit to the design build model of renovating homes. Stay tuned for benefit 2 in this four part series as I will discuss other timely aspects of the design build process.

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Change is in the Air-Embrace it!

By Marty Morse

Cool, crisp air-fewer daylight hours-the smell of home cooked meals in the kitchen. Change is in the air. Whether you like it or not, the seasons are changing. Personally, I enjoy seeing the fall colors arrive and watching my world transition from the warm, lazy days of summer, to the brisk and busy Autumn.  But, I have always loved change!  I guess that is why I love remodeling homes so much; it is a wonderful opportunity to engage in the positive effects of change to the places that mark the very heart of our lives, our homes.  How do you feel about change?change_ahead

Most of our clients, cautiously at first, love to watch the transformations that take place in their homes throughout the remodeling process. Yesterday, I had a chance to visit and take photos of a home that underwent a whole house remodel through Morse Remodeling. The home was stunning!  I reviewed the old photos as I walked around the home, reminiscing what the house looked like before we changed it. It was pretty cool to see the transformation.

It is amazing the effects even small home remodels can have on you.  Recently, a client told me about how their life changed after the remodel was completed:

Before our remodel took place, we never wanted to rush home and hang out at our house. We would always try to make plans and be somewhere else. We now find ourselves wanting to get home and enjoy our newly changed space. We love our home and the changes you did to it!

Wow! It is so cool how the change of a home renovation can be such a positive influence on one’s life.

Perhaps uniquely designed spaces are the change you are looking for in your life.  The wonderful thing about remodeling your home, is that it doesn’t need to catch you unprepared.  You can take your time and plan it out, taking one step at a time.  Sometimes change can be a little scary. We get that. That is why we educate you along the way and make sure you fully understand how the change will take place. If you are in the mood for some change in your environment, let us give you a hand. We specialize in personalized home transformations and have a wonderful and professional staff that will lead you in this endeavor.  We want you to feel that “Wow!” when you settle into your newly changed space.

Whether it is the change of the season, or your home, or some other part of your life, I hope you embrace it and all the positive things that it brings to life.  Change can be a very wonderful thing!  Enjoy!

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Let the Light Shine In!

Do you have dark spaces in your home that could use a little extra light. Especially when it is in the middle of the day and the sun is shining bright. It could be that hallway in the middle of your home, or that tiny powder bathroom off the hall, or it could even be in the kitchen over the sink.  I bet there is someplace in your home that could use the benefit of a tubular skylight.

Solatube-in AtticIf you don’t have tubular skylight yet, you probably will soon. Tubular skylights are becoming more and more popular methods of transferring natural day light to the confines of your home. Tubular daylight devices (TDD’s) are effective in transferring daylight from a dome mounted on your roof and reflecting that daylight via a highly reflective tube through the attic and out a diffuser mounted in the ceiling of your home.

Some of the benefits of TDD’s are that they eliminate harmful UV rays that can fade furniture and fabrics. They also eliminate heat gain. They also save energy by eliminating the need for electrical light during daylight hours. TDD’s are typically easy to install in one day and can make dramatic differences. An average install cost with materials is about $500.  Let the light shine in!

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The Art of Color-Morse Remodeled Home in Sac Magazine

August 2013 Sacramento Magazine article featuring a remodeled home in Davis by Morse Remodeling and Custom Homes:Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_1

   Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_2

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Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_4

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5 Elements to a Quality Design Experience: Details

Part 5

By Marty Morse; CR

A beautiful design is not useful if the client or contractor cannot cannot acquire the proper information in order to build it.  A  quality design requires detailed drawings and specifications in order to facilitate an accurate and timely construction process. A skilled designer can accurately portray the 3-dimensional world in a 2-dimensional form, allowing the production team to accurately develop the final product as expected by the designer and client.YETMAN PIC 3yetman-patio-night-2653

Before you embark on engaging a design professional to map out your new home or custom remodel, it is important to make sure that the designer has the experience and knowledge of  how the project will be constructed. Details of intersecting materials, such as kitchen sinks with solid surface counters, are an important part of the finished project. Designers should have the knowledge to specify the transitions between materials and how they will be finished upon completion of the installation. Accurate drawings and specifications eliminate the last minute field modifications, or costly changes due to unfinished design details.Donald-SINK-926

Clients hire professional designers in order to eliminate the element of the unknown and make sure they are getting exactly what they and the designer want the finished product to look like. This communication is done graphically and with detailed specifications. A quality design will include a detailed description of the products used for the project, such as manufacturer, finish, size, and appropriate options. It is quite common for a detailed design to have several pages of product descriptions, sizes, finishes, colors, and detailed specifications.

Blog Feature Wall - Knutson

Conceptual 3-D image developed during schematic design phase.

Knutson Wall Plan Blog

Preliminary details are developed during construction drawing phase.

KNUTSON--wine rack wall---Terry Nathan---3813

The result of upfront design and details concludes with stunning results and happy customers.

Furthermore, detailed drawings assist the production team during construction. This is especially important when the design is unique; cookie cutter designs can be built from more simplistic drawings, but a design that is unique and custom should have drawings that spell out each detail.  A good designer will typically consult with a trade professional to make sure the design idea can be implemented properly with the production team.

Quality design is a very important part of the home improvement process.  The 5 elements we have discussed in this series are; communication, strategy, creative design development, experience, and details. They are all extremely important and crucial to a a quality design experience. I hope you have enjoyed reading our 5-part series and you have found the information useful when you seek out your next professional designer for your home renovation project. Design, Build, and most importantly, Enjoy!

 

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