Congratulations are in order for our project manager, Ian Hastings. He recently completed his path to citizenship and took his oath this week. Well done, Ian!
In the Atlanta-area this week, summer paid a visit. The warm air brought visions of poolside siestas, lake breezes, and ice cold margaritas on the deck. Or maybe you got a whiff of baking concrete, the feeling you need another shower by the time you arrive at work, or the listless feeling of laying on your couch waiting for your struggling A/C to keep up with the Georgia heat. A common theme emerges.
A swift perusal through the latest home remodeling magazines will give a taste of the very diverse ideas trending in kitchen design right now. However, it seems that no matter the style, in design there is something that unites the current trend in kitchen remodels -- the open floor plan. What have we learned from the past? Walls are confining; they separate. Upper cabinets aren't really necessary for storage. The work of the kitchen doesn't have to be separated from relaxation or talk or togetherness. The result? Kitchens that are more connected to the rest of the home. Moms & dads rejoice! We can work AND play, talk AND cook, wash AND help with homework.
Our homeowners are taking their new property and reworking the kitchen to reflect a better work flow period, and certainly a greater degree of connectedness with other areas of the home. They had been planning to remodel their previous home, and had contacted Ben during the quote process. When this new property popped on the horizon, Stacy and Todd felt that it was the best of both worlds. While it still needed some work to make it home, they could do the work BEFORE they moved in. Stacy emailed Ben and asked for a fresh quote on a new house and a new plan. Pictures showcase some of the problems they plan to address in their remodel.
The original design elements for this kitchen were not cohesive -- beautiful hardwood floors, a 'natural' finish on the cabinets, black appliances and a white countertop. The failed attempt to pull it all together? The stone backsplash. On a structural level, to create a hallway behind this wall, the builder devised two diagonals to ease the corners. This created a very poor working space between the perimeter cabinets and the island. In fact, the refrigerator door couldn't be opened by someone standing in front of the sink!
The plan? Knock down a few walls and get rid of the awkward angles and arched entrances. New kitchen cabinets, a new layout, and new countertops. Add a door, replace a door, and move a door. All pulled together with a cohesive Farmhouse style -- Shaker cabinets, a glass door into the pantry, planking & beams in the vaulted ceiling over the table, and an incredible show-stopper of a two-story fireplace.
The peninsula and half wall of upper cabinets were perhaps functional, but certainly not beautiful and really cut off the working part of the kitchen from the living room completely. The wall to the left and the wall straight ahead are both on the chopping block.
A better view from the living room -- awkward peninsula, wouldn't you say?
On your marks? Get ready, get set & GO! It's demo time. Out first? The appliances, cabinets, and countertops, then drywall.
Now for the other side.
The short header has got to go to make way for a new longer one that will cover the entire span of the new opening.
In it goes -- this will disperse the load of the upstairs and roof and enable the wall framing to come on down.
Meanwhile, across the way, a two story fireplace surround is going up. This accent wall is going to create the perfect focal point for the great-room and will tie into the planking on the kitchen ceiling..
Beautiful lot, views of Georgia's Lake Lanier from 3 sides of this ranch home on a basement -- sounds like a vacation, right? Maybe if you also wanted to take a step back onto the set of That 70's Show or The Brady Brunch. Our homeowners recently purchased their own fixer upper on the lake and are ready for a huge change.
This original homeowners bought the home, decorated, bought furniture and moved in and then spent the next 30 years maintaining and preserving this home by the lake. They did such a great job preserving that they never felt the need to replace any of it. Any.of.it. We are talking 70's perfection: shag carpet, gloriously vintage floral wall-paper, a television that looks like an end table, and all the decade's favorite colors in the bathrooms -- avocado green, earthy brown, and tawny orange.
Our new homeowners are planning to bring this home way into the 21st century with a modern twist in their design phase. Can't wait to see the finished product, can you?
Let's take a walk through this lake house in all of it's "before" glory.
The laundry-kitchen combo has GOT to go. Everything from the tile flooring, cabinets with a center ring-pull, faux brick backsplash is heading out of the kitchen during demo. The dining room is being transformed into a pantry, laundry, mudroom SEPARATE from the kitchen.
This bathroom, though designed in the 70's, has come back into fashion, but it is not our homeowner's cup of tea. This 30 year old tile & wallpaper in the bathroom (ew!) are going, too.
Needless to say, this furniture suite is heading out of the door, hopefully to a good home, and the amber shaded fixture that is WAY too small for this family room is also outta here. The rustic stone fireplace surround will be replaced by a modern stone fireplace surround. The homeowners are putting an addition (using the same footprint of the porch) onto the family room.
This avocado green showcases how beautifully this home was preserved -- check out how WHITE that grout is. All this is going, going, gone!
So, what do you think? Is this 70's home in need of a change?
One of our promises to clients is to come up with solutions that fit their particular needs, not using mass-produced "solutions" that cannot anticipate each home's idiosyncrasies. Remember the customized barn doors, the doors carefully re-sized to fit the newly redone interiors, or the ultimate custom man-cave?
While our construction team has been focused on the structural aspects of our Kitchen & Bath Remodel for James & Arow, Ben and our homeowners have been finalizing the interior finishes. During the cabinet design process, Arow came up with a problem -- none of the stock legs from the cabinet manufacturer were just right for her vanity make-up table. Solution? Ben crafted one to spec. Maple lumber, cut to size, glued together, planed & sanded did the job. The next step is sending this custom solution to the finishers to be ready to install along with the rest of the bathroom cabinets.
The kitchen addition has made the transition from blueprints to site prep (grading and concrete work) to framing, siding, and painting.
The bump-out is providing our homeowners with the perfect opportunity to add on to their outdoor living space, some of it covered by an extension of the shed roof along almost the entire rear of the home.
TA-DA -- A wonderful covered porch with some sunny spots for deck boxes full of flowers or maybe an herb garden. The new doors provide a functional and beautiful entrance from the kitchen.
A small porch provides enough space for a boot tray or a grill and an additional entrance into the kitchen.
The temporary wall is down, but there is still a bit more demolition to go.
There we go! With the removal of the cased opening, the kitchen is really starting to open up. Next step -- drywall, flooring & cabinets that will really make this space POP.
From large solutions to small details, Benjamin Andrew Construction makes it our goal to provide each homeowner and each project with a customized approach that exceed expectations. We like to think outside the box for solutions that make our homeowners happy.
Need help solving some remodeling problems? We'd love to start a conversation with you.
HOUSE INTO HOME
Long before HGTV or Discovery channel became interested in the drama of renovation, the remodeling profession has been painting, adding, sanding, refinishing, and removing. At the heart of a remodel is the desire to preserve and renew. It also requires a vision -- the ability to see past the outdated, dark, or too small. Thom saw such a vision when he walked into the 1950's ranch home in Atlanta and thought, this is it! It wasn't everything that he wanted, though the home had been renovated since the 50's. He wanted to make the house into his home. In his own words,
I recently purchased a 1950’s home that had undergone some renovations. There were other areas that I wanted to update to make my house into my home. I first contacted Benjamin Andrew Construction via their website after viewing their projects and reading reviews from pleased clients. I received a follow-up call that laid the foundation for my renovation objectives. After my first face to face meeting with Ben I knew that I had found the team that I wanted to work with concerning these changes. I can honestly say that Ben and his team lived up to what I had read from other clients and then some. He totally restored my faith in contractors as well as the renovation process.
So here it is -- this house turned home. The dark interiors with a curious mixture of flooring products (with some hardwoods covered over with wall to wall carpet!!) are replaced with elegant, bright rooms, refurbished original hardwoods--all ready for move in day!
The hardwoods refinished make an elegant statement throughout the home. Painting the beadboard paneling brightens the space and brings the room into the 21st century.
Again, the exposed brick and bead board painted a light neutral brighten the space, while the dark rectangular tiles ground the space.
Double vanities with vessel sinks and channel spout faucets bring just the right touch of glamor and elegance into the master bath.
The glass tiles bring a three dimensional effect into the shower. This no longer looks like a 1950's interior. The marble threshold, marbled floor tiles, and vanity tops are ready to welcome the new homeowner.
Each of the changes reflected the intention of our homeowner to make this house into a home.
BEFORE & aFTERS
A firm foundation is absolutely necessary when building secure & stable structures meant to house our families, those we love and cherish. Even the Sunday School dittie picks up on this theme, "The wise man built his house upon the ROCK!" with emphasis of fists pounding each like a hammer driving nails.
A strong foundation is no less important when adding on to a house. A proper foundation for a remodeling project may consist of additional footers or concrete being poured. It may consist of proper architectural renderings for your project. It might consist of an efficient and experienced contractor making detailed plans to get your project done in the least amount of time with the fewest number of days on the job all the while caring for your property as though it were his own. Or, it might mean all of those things.
Part One: The Kitchen
One of our current jobs for the James and Arow has transformed their backyard and footprint by adding a bump-out to their kitchen, and giving them a low deck to enjoy their wooded view. Watch as we prepared their new foundation for the bump-out form rebar to the concrete forms.
Ready to Pour!
The new bump-out is framed & wrapped, and the new deck is in place. This will make a lovely option for outdoor dining.
On the Inside
The new walls are framed, and it will soon be time for the temp wall to be torn down. Opening up to some wide open spaces!
Part Two: The Bathroom
The old shower stall and bathtub have been ripped out, and with minimal sheetrock damage, our crew has run the new wiring, too!
Framing in the water closet in the new layout.
We can't wait to unveil the finished remodel for James & Arow.
Firm foundations consist of much more than concrete & rebar. Careful planning, communication with our homeowners, and quality installations are ways we ensure each homeowner has a stress-free experience with Benjamin Andrew Construction.
For anyone in the business or even someone who has watched television shows about the remodeling business, the words, "We ripped up the carpet and found. . ." is a dramatic sentence opener. And found mold? And found rotten subfloor? All of those hidden costs for repair can be a homeowner's nightmare. But the answer everyone DOES want to hear is this. . . we found original hardwoods.
Our clients recently purchased this bungalow in the Atlanta area. Dark, bold colors had made the rooms feel dark, and before the homeowners were ready to move in, they had their own fixer upper list! The entire inside of the home is going to be repainted fresh hues that bring light into the home. The old carpet had to go, too. As we began to tear up the carpet, we uncovered that remodeling gold -- original red oak flooring from the 50's, complete with all of the creaks and squeaks, and with plenty of patina. Sanding the floors down, staining in a darker tone to contrast the light filled paint pallette, and finishing with a fresh coat of poly will make these floors not only a fabulous find, but increase the value of the home from the minute they walk in the door. What an amazing find!
Who covers this up???
To complete the interior upgrade, we are going to add trim and replace several doors.
The walkway to the detached garage from the back kitchen door is also getting a redo -- we are transforming the area into a portico so that rainy weather doesn't mean running into the house with armfuls of groceries while trying to hold an umbrella. Is this back door ready for a makeover or what?
Remember our time capsule from the 1980's? The whole home remodel that promised to bring a home back to, if not the future, at least the present? We can't wait to show you the finished look.
To recap, we ripped out all of the cabinets, appliances, the flooring on the first floor, and the carpeting on the stairs and the second level. We demolished the wall that separated the kitchen and dining room to create an open concept kitchen, dining, keeping room. We took out the old banister on the foyer stairway, and we removed all of the light fixtures.
The new kitchen layout improves work flow, conversation, and style by a factor of 100! Ben sourced the amazing soapstone countertops for the homeowners -- certainly a distinctive statement!
Here we get a better look at the countertop and see the built-in pantry. The design allows for lots of storage while minimizing the chance of things getting lost or misplaced on deep shelves. A definite upgrade!
What an improvement -- more light, a cozy corner for conversation, reading, or wine & tapas! This mid-century modern inspired keeping room gets it right. The chandelier balances the angular lines of the chairs, and the browns & grays are brought to life with accent pillows in a light coral. On point!
The open concept works well here, and perfect for our homeowners, a couple whose children are grown and married. Perfectly comfortable for eating in the dining room, without feeling too formal, and great for visiting with the grandkids when they come over.
The foyer at the heart of the home ties it all together. A new paint scheme uses a neutral to lighten the spaces and tie the whole home together!
And, because we never get tired of a good Before & After, here goes a few side by side shots.
This big reveal showcased some big changes, and a lot of little changes, too. Most importantly, our homeowners have a home that is no longer stuck in another decade. Because of the smaller renovations we made throughout the house like new paint, new carpet, and new hardwoods, the effect is a total home transformation.
Want the whole story from beginning to end? Follow the links:
Is your home in need of transformation, a total home remodel? We'd love to talk.
Somehow, demolition seems to be everyone's favorite part of renovations. Who doesn't love a sledge hammer or sawzall making the sheetrock fly? For our newest project, we had some outside demolition to do, which can be tricky without planning and forethought.
The plans for this renovation were developed painstakingly through a process of refining needs and wants and balancing that with our homeowner's budget. Life didn't stand still while our clients thought carefully about this addition and remodel, but we kept talking and working through solutions. Great communication with our homeowner and willingness to be flexible brought this reno from blueprints to steel toe boots & sledgehammers. We know that this project is going to be just the RIGHT fit for our client and are so excited to break ground!
Our clients are expanding their kitchen, remodeling the master bath, and making a improving their outdoor entertainment space with a covered porch and open deck. This plan fits both their budget AND their needs. Sounds like a win-win!
What exactly goes on behind the scenes of making a remodeling estimate or bid? Lots of careful measuring, planning, and number crunching. An experienced contractor still has to pay careful attention to the needs the homeowner has expressed, city or state regulations and code, architectural or engineering concerns, along with a finger on the pulse of current construction costs.
So, what do you as homeowner need to be prepared when you call us for an estimate? We'll meet with you and want to hear your ideas about what you'd like. Pictures, a pinterest board, or a whole album on Houzz would be a great place to start. Communicate clearly and expect to listen as well as be heard.
At this point, we should have information to create a ballpark budget that we will present. Does the scope of the project and the budget fit your goals? The job we are starting this week spent a little time in this phase as the homeowners had to adjust the project scope a few times to fit their budget.
Ready to move forward? Now's the time to meet with our team of architects and designer to establish the details of your project. This phase is a paid process, but there are no strings attached.
And then? Be patient. Counting the cost well takes some time, experience, and problem solving that goes beyond many other service related fields. A custom remodeler is able to craft a customized plan for YOU. No cookie cutter pricing. You know those word problems that may have been your worst nightmare in grammar school? It's a remodeler's stock and trade. We will present you with full pricing and get ready to start work if you are ready to say YES!
The skill (or perhaps the art) of creating a individualized package to meet our client's needs is a hallmark of company. We know that you want transparency, fidelity to what you as client want, and a well-thought out master plan. We are here to walk you through every step of the way!
If these walls could talk, right? Old homes have their own character and appeal. The very quality of having been lived in and enjoyed beyond our lifetime gives us a sense of connectedness to the past. With that connection and history, it's no wonder our homeowners wanted to preserve the history of their home and the stories the walls had to tell as they brought their 1930's Craftsman style home up to date. Still rooted in the past, but open and inviting to the present.
Our 80's remodel is coming along -- this week we focused on finishing up flooring. It's amazing what an effect the change of one surface in a room can make. We finished laying hardwoods in the redesigned open concept kitchen and dining area, and replaced all of the carpet upstairs for a simple but total upgrade of the bedrooms.
As we walk through the changes from this week, keep an eye out for another amazing 80's holdout that is getting a boost into this century.
They say that the 80's are coming back -- hello high waisted jeans and bold floral prints. Well, this home never left behind its 80's roots and our homeowners are ready to say goodbye. Behold, a time capsule from 1988 -- beautifully finished at the time with all the accents of the period -- floral wall paper, exquisitely draped valances, long low rooms that made for intimate gathering spaces, and flourescent lighting in the kitchen, just where you need it most.
Renovating kitchens, the hardest working room in a house, can be tough. Homeowners ask themselves if it is really worth the disruption to renovate command central. We eat (a lot it seems), do homework, chat, and even entertain in them. For our homeowners, the phrase "heart of the home" is apt -- several hallways, the sunroom room, back door, and family room all flow in and out of this one room. They took on the challenge and asked to help them re:fresh their kitchen by gutting it and installing all new cabinets, new counter-tops, and new appliances.
We're celebrating a bit of an anniversary at Benjamin Andrew Construction -- it's been one year since we launched our blog that goes behind the scenes, offers project updates, and design insights. Our goal is to show our readers amazing pictures of quality work, ideas to inspire, and the stories and people behind our company and our motto "Making Dreams into Reality." That is our mission.
With Valentine's around the corner, you gents may be wondering what on earth to get for your sweetheart this year. Another dozen roses? Another night out for a candlelit dinner? So Hallmark. Of course, you don't want to make the mistake of going for the straight up home improvement gift like a trash compactor or vacuum cleaner. That speaks of a relationship grown a bit TOO comfortable. And perhaps a predictor of a few nights on the couch or worse yet, the doghouse.
One of our 2016 projects began as a completely bare basement. We blogged about it here. A blank slate slowly being formed, framed, and filled in. In collaboration with Southern Cinema Design and our homeowner's collection of movie memorabilia, the project has gone from a blank slate to a space brimming with originality and style. In our homeowner Bill's own words, "this was my once in a lifetime project."
Ian Hastings has been remodeling houses for over 30 years. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Ian is a skilled carpenter with an eye for detail. Although woodworking is his specialty and particular passion, he has been involved in all aspects of renovation and new construction from project management to counsel on design and guiding homeowners through all parts of the process. Ian has a unique ability to connect with homeowners and treat their homes as if it is his own.
Sometimes, our inspiration for a project comes from a client's own desires, and sometimes, the inspiration comes from the bones of the building or the material itself. In this case, a side project for our two story addition turned into a story of its very own, and it all began with a barn door.
When Patrick and Allison met with us, they planned on having two barn doors opening from the master bedroom to the master bath and closet. The doors solved a space dilemma by eliminating door swings and maximizing the square footage inside the room. The search for materials began, but took an abrupt turn when we came across these 150+year-old heart pine reclaimed floor joist from Tech Tower. The Administration Building, also known as Tech Tower, was part of the original campus constructed 1888.
The heart pine wood and its history were such a draw, and a consultation with Allison made it apparent that this would be a perfect choice for their home. In fact, it would be a make the perfect surprise for her husband, ardent Tech fan and employee of the school as well. Suddenly, this barn door became much more than a trend; it had a story, along with the perfect the perfect audience.
As we worked with Allison to finalize the design details, our barn door craftsman came on board. He cut the lumber to spec, and then worked on preparing the wood without ruining it's century old character. A light sanding with 60 grit paper was sufficient to remove the raw edge, without taking away the original saw cuts or nails.
Next step was deciding on hardware. To be true to period, a slotted screw from Blacksmith Bolt and Rivet in Oregon was chosen -- overnighted to be here on time. A coating of Danish Oil restored the wood to a beautiful natural lustre, and finally the doors were ready to hang with the horseshoe hardware from Delaney, Inc.
While Patrick was at work, our team installed the pair of doors, a bit of Georgia Tech History preserved and repurposed, in time for a grand reveal!