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law whole house 1 5 20131213 1252986493For more than 35 years, Pagenstecher Group has delighted clients with full-service home remodeling that engages them in the process every step of the way. With home inventory low, we find ourselves busier than ever as owners decide to remodel instead of moving. Why settle for a new home you don’t love when you can engage a design-build firm like us to turn your house into the home of your dreams? Or, if you’ve recently purchased a home that needs a few finishing touches, let us help you to translate your vision into reality?

In an area where space is at a premium and has been for decades, we know you need to make the most of what you have. First and foremost, you need a partner — someone who listens closely to your needs and has the ability to interpret your vision.  Pagenstecher Group marries the artistic insight of our accomplished designers with the sophisticated handiwork of our skilled craftspeople to insure every project moves smoothly through each phase of the design and construction process.

A Home Remodeler That Listens

Remodeling is a large commitment of your time and money, so you need to choose a remodeler that you can trust. You want someone who takes your concerns as seriously as you do, and sweats the small details while not losing sight of the big picture. We are that home remodeler.

Through attentive listening and open lines of communication from start to finish, we act as your partner and advocate throughout every step of your renovation.  We do our best work with clients who are engaged and actively participating in the process. 

Step 1: The Initial Interview

Your initial interview will help us determine if we’re a good fit as your home remodeler. A potential client will always speak to a member of Pagenstecher Group’s ownership team.  This is our first interaction, so it’s a time to get to know one another.  We want to learn about you and your home along with your project goals and budget.  As a perspective client, you will likely have questions about us and our process, and we welcome this dialogue.

Step 2: The Early Designs

Preliminary design is an interactive process where you work together with our architectural staff to hash out design ideas and develop a conceptual plan.  This is a back and forth process where the merit of a design can be quickly tested and approved or discarded.

Upon completion of the preliminary design, we next turn our sights towards the budget.  Though not a final quote for construction, our preliminary estimate allows you to make decisions on cost and scope of work early in the process.

Step 3: Fine-tuning the Plan

Once the preliminary design and budget are approved, we work diligently to hammer out the technical details of your renovation and apply for permits.   At the same time, our design staff guides you through the process of material and finish selections.  Attention to every detail is crucial at this stage and insures your project will proceed smoothly once construction starts.

After all the decisions are complete, our estimators prepare the final quote for your renovation.  Construction begins once the final quote is approved and permits are issued.

Step 4: Your Dreams Made Reality

Working in an occupied home can be a challenge so our craftspeople work tirelessly to fit into your home’s routine.  Since all the design decisions have been made in advance, construction should progress smoothly. 

Communication remains constant throughout construction and includes a weekly on-site meeting.  This meeting is a review of the work that has been done the prior week, and addresses the plans for work in the upcoming week.  Cultivating an environment built on trust and teamwork is core to our company’s DNA allowing us to confidently and consistently produce work of the highest caliber.   Our finished products are second-to-none, and our portfolio proves that.  But more importantly, we strive to provide a positive remodeling experience for you and your family.

Call us today and find out why so many have trusted us as their home remodeler.

kitchen remodeling in bethesda mdThe kitchen is the heart of the home, but in many older homes, the kitchen is closed off to the rest of the home.  On average we spend about 182 hours a year in the kitchen, and for many that’s time spent away from friends and family. A kitchen remodel can bring relief.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders notes that kitchen renovations are the second most popular home improvement project, with 69 percent of homeowners stating they have already remodeled or plan to remodel their kitchen.   Kitchen renovations account for roughly 40 percent of all money spent on home renovations.  So why is a kitchen remodel one of the most sought-after renovation projects?

A Kitchen Remodel Improves Flow

The No. 1 reason kitchens get remodeled is to open up the space and encourage interaction with surrounding spaces. There’s a strong trend toward social living as two-income households look for ways to spend more of their downtime with friends and family at home. Rather than a solitary workspace, the kitchen is becoming a focal point in the home, with more and more people incorporating gathering spaces in and around the kitchen to foster family interaction while someone cooks.

Connecting the kitchen to a living room allows the cook to be a part of the “action,” while taking down walls between the kitchen and the dining room means quick access for serving. Renovations like this make each space feel larger, maximizing the utility of the rooms’ footprints in an area where space for expansion might be hard to come by.

A Kitchen Remodel Improves Cooking

Another common reason for a kitchen remodel is making cooking easier. Homeowners today are savvier chefs than ever, thanks to the proliferation of TV cooking shows and the endless amount of recipe sites on the web. With the expanded availability of commercial-grade appliances, amateur chefs have specific visions in mind for their dream kitchen.

Most homeowners also want to include an island in their new kitchen design.  With cooking becoming a more communal experience, additional counter space allows multiple people to take part in the process.  An island gives would be sous chefs a large work surface for meal prep.  An island can also replace the storage space lost when removing walls to open up the kitchen.  Islands are also a great focal point and gathering space within the kitchen.

A Kitchen Remodel Adds Value

A kitchen remodel can breathe new life into your house, and raise its value. It's been estimated that even minor kitchen renovations can garner a return on investment of up to 80 percent. Older kitchens with inefficient layouts and dated appliances will not do much to attract potential buyers. Updating your kitchen will increase your home's value and expand the pool of potential buyers. 

Your kitchen remodel is also a chance to “go green”.  Reduced water and energy consumption pays off in reduced utility costs as well as some potential tax benefits. You can replace old and outdated appliances with new, energy-efficient models. Many new refrigerators, dishwashers, and even light fixtures are designed to keep your bills low without sacrificing performance or style.

Why Choose Pagenstecher Group

At Pagenstecher Group, our design-build experts will work with you to develop the kitchen plan best suited for you and your home.  The Pagenstecher process begins and ends with listening.  We know that creating a cohesive vision for your new kitchen requires a complete understanding of you, your family, and your lifestyle.

So what kind of kitchen remodel is right for you?  Contact us today for a consultation.

Bathroom designBathrooms are on the rise. Nearly 30 percent of homeowners pick the master bathroom as one of their top 3 most important rooms, according to a survey by Realtors.  Bathroom design has taken on a crucial role in home remodeling as more and more homeowners have found the value of customization.

Homeowners spend an average of 30 minutes a day in their bathrooms, according to the Bathroom Habits Survey by Maximum Performance. Many spend much more. But no set of homeowners are exactly alike in their bathroom design philosophies. For some, the master bath should be their spa, a place of quiet respite to unwind with a long shower or soak. Others treat it as their armory where they store all the tools they’ll need to prepare for the day ahead. Most fall somewhere in between, balancing utilitarian features here and there with artistic flourishes that will delight them for years to come.

Bathroom design is a complicated undertaking, and you’ll need a partner who can translate your ideas about size, features and artistry into the bathroom of your dreams. That’s where Pagenstecher Group comes in.  

Our architecturally driven process involves fully open communication between our clients, architects and craftspeople throughout the entirety of the project.  We know that the most important step of bathroom design is listening to a client’s vision and helping them to achieve it.

Bathroom design visions

Let’s look at some hypothetical instances where bathroom design plays a critical role.

  1. Marcia and Ed are in their early 50s and find themselves with a lot of extra space in the house since the kids moved out. While their five-bedroom colonial once seemed like the perfect size, they feel like the space could be put to better use now that they are “empty nesters.” Marcia’s lobbying job is extremely demanding, so she wants a spa-like atmosphere she can relax in after a stressful day.  Unfortunately, the current master bathroom is a bit cramped and utilitarian. The solution is a complete re-thinking of the master suite.  Combining the current master suite with an adjoining bedroom creates the necessary space for a spa quality bathroom, while also adding the “his” and “hers” walk-in closets Marcia has always wanted.  Ample counter and storage space, a separate toilet room, large shower, and heated floors were key features Ed and Marcia wanted to incorporate into the design, and the air jetted whirlpool tub will melt Marcia’s cares away at the end of the day.  Though this reduces the house to four bedrooms, it is well worth it to Ed and Marcia now that the kids are grown.
  2. Lydia and Clark are attorneys in their mid-40s who have grown tired of never having enough storage space in their master bathroom. Lydia has a client-facing role in her firm, and Clark claims her make-up and hair products have “overtaken the bathroom”.  With busy careers and two active teenagers, Clark and Lydia spend no time in their large master bedroom unless they are sleeping.  Not looking to add space to their post WWII rambler, this bathroom overhaul will reclaim underutilized space in the bedroom chamber and incorporate it into the bathroom.  Relocating the toilet within the new footprint allows the single sink vanity to expand to include two sinks and a designated make-up space customized to Lydia’s storage needs.  Clark likes the body jets and frameless glass enclosure of the new shower.  They both feel the trade-off of bedroom space for bathroom space has made a dramatic improvement in their enjoyment of their home.
  3. Samantha is an accountant in her late 30s and unhappy with the lack of closet space in her late ‘50s craftsman cottage. She doesn’t want to give up space in her master bedroom, but she does have a huge bathtub and can’t remember the last time she used it.  Though it may seem hard to imagine, the design solution for Samantha actually reduces the size of her bathroom.  Removing the oversized tub and enlarging the existing shower gives her the space she needs to expand her closet.  The new walk-in closet incorporates a customized organization system with room for all of her clothes and more!

What do all these cases have in common? They are complex, customized projects designed for the specific needs of a client. Bathroom design for projects like this requires the expert eye of an architect and the precise craftsmanship of an experienced builder.

Pagenstecher Group thrives on this level of renovation.  We listen to our clients and work with them to develop and implement designs that are functional and beautiful.  Just ask Marcia and Ed, Lydia and Clark, or Samantha.

Overcoming obstacles

Can my bathroom be transformed from its traditional look to a more modern style inspired by a floating vanity I saw at the restaurant?   Can I remove a wall and incorporate the freestanding tub I see in all the magazines?  How do I make the most efficient use of my bathroom while still making it beautiful?  Questions like these are important to establishing the goals for a bathroom remodel.  But there are a multitude of other factors that will require the expertise and guidance of a design and construction team like Pagenstecher Group.

To start, a good bathroom design begins with a keen understanding of space planning. Physical items like toilets, tubs, showers and vanities have varying spatial requirements that must be taken into consideration. If expanding the footprint, an understanding of the surrounding spaces and their requirements is also key. Add in structural constraints and code requirements and a project quickly becomes a complex jigsaw puzzle. But let’s not stop there. A good design also needs to take into account things like; lighting, ventilation, and effective water management strategies,  to name a few.  Details like these are as critical if not more critical than the vanity cabinet and tile selections.  Though not as glamorous, overlooking any one of these details can literally “ruin” a project.

So you are probably thinking to yourself, I didn’t realize a bathroom remodel was this complex.  Well, it is, but that’s exactly what we love about remodeling.  At Pagenstecher Group- “we love the complex!” We believe challenging projects foster creative design solutions and highlight the sophistication and quality of our craftspeople.  It is our mission to take the complex … and make it look easy. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Renovation projects are growing in popularity throughout the United States. According to a recent survey, 84% of homeowners plan to redecorate, 40% plan to build or remodel, and 10% are scheduled to build a custom home. In general, 53% of homeowners believe that now is an opportune time for home renovation and designs. Any why not? There are many benefits that come with home design and renovation work. Creating an elegant, beautiful, personalized living space is only one of them.

home remodeling three reasons why to say yesTo give you a better idea of how beneficial it is to remodel your home, here are three facts about home renovations that are sure to pique your interest:

  1. High Return on Investment: Remodeling projects are well-known for their high return on investment (ROI). Bathroom remodeling, for example, has an average ROI of about 63%. Attic bedroom projects have an ROI of about 80%. Remodeling the kitchen, even for minor details, has a ROI of 73%.
  2. Maintains your investment: Your home is one of your single largest investments and you want to protect its value.  While some remodeling projects can offer a healthy ROI, other projects can be a necessity for maintaining the current value of your home.    Worn-out siding on a home, for example, can reduce the home's value by as much as 10%.
  3. Forward thinking: As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement, home remodeling is expected to increase across the country.  With rising health care costs, remodeling a home for accessibility will allow people to “age in place”. From open floor plans and wider doorways, to floating sinks and wheelchair accessible bathrooms, remodeling projects like this will continue to grow in popularity as the aging populous seek out ways to live at home longer.

Let’s be honest, moving is a real pain.  Even a lateral move in housing can cost you 10%, if not more of your home’s value once you factor in closing costs, realtor fees, and moving expenses.  If you would rather remodel than move, please leave a comment or question below.

Contact us today!

Families grow over time and the first thing homeowners immediately assume is that they must move into a larger home.  However, a highly skilled and experienced contractor’s vision, such as the Pagenstecher Group’s, know how to maximize available space in too many ways to even consider listing.

These professionals have left customers in awe at their ability to add so much space to a home where it seemed like there was none before.  

Give the Pagenstecher Group a call today because their expertise will absolutely leave you breathless with their ability to design and build effective living space in virtually any room in your home.

Remodel or Move: Which is Best For You

why summer is the hot time to remodel your homeIt's easy to ignore all of those little projects that need to be done in your home. Remodeling can be an costly investment, and many homeowners will often choose to move instead of worrying about renovations. If you're unsatisfied with your current home and seek a change, here is some advice about home renovation and whether or not it is right for you.

First, evaluate the cost of remodeling versus the cost of moving. Shop around for information on remodeling a home, and compare the prices to that of a mortgage for a new home, along with other fees such as a moving van, Realtor fees, and so on. Keep in mind the other factors that may go into buying a house, such as taxes and the local school district. It's also good to consider the value that can be added to your home through remodeling purposes. Even something as simple as renovating that old attic bedroom can return you an overall 79.4% on your initial investment. Bathroom and kitchen renovations can also earn you a return of around 63.6% and 79.4%, respectively. Remodeling can be a great way to breathe new life in your house, and can save you the hassle of trying to move yourself to a completely new place.

Many homeowners agree that now is a great time to start the home remodeling process. A survey by Houzz in 2013 reported that 84% of respondents planned to decorate or redecorate, 40% had some remodeling planned, and 10% were in the process of building their own custom home. In addition, 60% of homeowners said they planned to spend more to build or remodel their home in 2015 than in the year before. So whether you plan on giving your house a remodeling face lift, or decide that it's time to move, now is the time to do it.

Why it Literally Pays to Improve Your Home Rather Than Move

To move or not to move? That is the question and surprisingly, the answer is pretty simple: why move when you can improve?

The trend of packing up and moving into a new or different home isn't much of a trend anymore. In fact, more than half -- 53% -- of homeowners agree that now is a good time to renovate a home, so much so over 60% of homeowners are ready with checkbook in hand to spend more on home improvements this year than last.

More and more homeowners are deciding to stay put and improve their homes, whether it be via a whole home renovation project or small remodels, and it's easy to see why. Here are just a few of the benefits of staying in place.

Unique Home Renovations

Isn't it nice to do what you want and not have to worry about sticking to the top home renovations that are in style? When brainstorming house renovation design ideas for a home you intend on selling, your options are fairly limited in terms of custom designs as custom renovations may make it more difficult to sell a home.

However, if you plan on living in your home for sometime, you can have the power to flex your creative renovation and design muscle to create a look that's all your own. And if there's anyone who would share and understand this, it's award winning architects and contractors who specialize in unique builds.

Saving Money

For most Americans, purchasing a home is the largest investment or purchase they'll make in their lifetime. Similarly, purchasing an entirely new home and the cost of moving into it makes the entire process very, very expensive. Improving on the home you're already living in saves both time and money.

Making Money

Many of the top award winning architects agree that improving your home rather than moving doesn't just make sense, it literally makes cents. Renovating your home helps it to build equity and value. Even minor kitchen renovations can yield a ROI of an impressive 73%.

Remodeling vs. Moving

One of the most frequent questions that I get from new clients is this: Should we buy a new house or remodel our current home?

I always point out that moving - even to a home of the same value - has its own inherent expense.  Between Realtors, appraisers, home inspectors, title attorneys, and professional movers, it is not unusual to spend an additional 10% of the purchase price just to make a lateral move. A family can easily spend $50,000 to $100,000 just to move to a different home in the same price range.    

Occasionally, this makes sense - all homes are not created equal, and some homes just can't be improved enough to justify the expense. But for most families, the equation quickly tips towards remodeling when they factor in the intangible value of a known neighborhood and good schools. Throw in redecorating expenses, years of landscaping, and a wealth of family memories wrapped up in a home and the decision is made. Take the best of what you already have and improve upon it.

Here's an example of the strategic, but dramatic changes we made for one family recently:

Before & After:

The room is not just brighter -- although the new architectural lighting was a critical element of our design.  Notice the new windows that emphasize the proportions of the room.  And the new French doors where the picture window was; this really brings the outdoors-in.  We made many other improvements to this space (as indeed we did to the entire home) but it looks like it was always supposed to be this way.  The family has already forgotten how dark the home used to be!  

Maybe the best possible new house is hiding inside your existing home already.

Contact us today!

home remodeling your kitchen is most importantContractors and families agree that the kitchen is the most important part of your home to remodel.  This is because your home’s value typically rises with a kitchen renovation, and it is also the area which is used most in a family.

The modernized kitchen has transitioned into a family and guest meeting area.

This blog relays the enhancements which can be added through a kitchen remodel.  Trusting your vision of the ideal kitchen in the hands of a reputable contractor is important, as you both will work together to incorporate your vision into reality.

   Five Benefits of Remodeling Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but for many homeowners, it's the one room they wish they could improve. At Pagenstecher Group, our home remodeling contractors will work with you to create the kitchen of your dreams. While a remodel may seem like a stressful process, there are a few ways a redesigned kitchen can benefit your family.

  • Reduce Energy Consumption. When you remodel your kitchen, you'll have the opportunity to replace old and outdated appliances with new, energy-efficient models. Many new refrigerators, dishwashers, and even light fixtures are designed to keep your bills low while giving you the best performance possible.
  • Add Value to Your Home. Older kitchens with poor layouts or outdated appliances will not do much to attract potential buyers. Upgrading your kitchen to a more modern design will help increase your home's value.
  • Improve the Flow. If you're unhappy with the layout, a home remodeling contractor will help you find the design of your dreams. Remodeling your kitchen allows you to have complete control over the layout of the appliances and counter space, so you won't have to put up with a layout that makes food preparation more difficult.
  • Increase Storage Options. Some kitchens are woefully short of cabinets and storage, but remodeling your kitchen will let you add more options to the space. Add more cabinets to make the most of vertical storage and maximize counter space with a kitchen island.
  • Improve Safety. Older appliances can be safety hazards. The wiring and electrical systems of old units are not equipped to handle the increased output of the modern energy grid. Newer appliances are manufactured with the proper equipment to handle more electricity without posing a safety risk.

 Upgrade your kitchen today and see the difference a custom design can make. For more information about our home remodeling services or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

Home Remodeling: Dual Kitchen Cabinetry  

If you're thinking about remodeling your kitchen and updating your cabinets, consider dual storage for the most convenience and efficiency. Several options are available through custom cabinetry, which a professional home remodeling contractor can help you with.

Dual Tiered Cutlery Trays

If you're constantly running out of silverware due to lack of storage or have so much silverware that organization is unmanageable, consider dual tiered cutlery trays. These custom cabinet drawers double the space for your silverware, keeping everything neat, organized, and at your fingertips.

Dual Tiered Cookware Organizer

If your pots and pans are taking over your kitchen, or you can't find what you want without emptying an entire cabinet, a dual tiered cookware organizer is for you. Simply open the door and slide out the organizer. The two levels provide additional space and keep your cookware perfectly arranged.

Dual Base Waste Baskets

If you've knocked over your waste basket more times than you can count, it's time for a custom cabinet that holds not only one but two waste baskets. Specially designed to keep baskets upright and in place, simply slide the cabinet out when you need them, then push the cabinet back in to hide them when not in use.

These are just a few ideas that will make your kitchen function more efficiently. For more information, ideas, and options, please contact us today. We offer various kitchen remodeling services in and around Bethesda, MD. Our unique integration of design services, along with in-house building teams, exceeds the norm. We're devoted to the art of fine remodeling!

Cabinetry, backplash, counters and lighting are all covered in this blog from the Pagenstecher Group’s Michael Ullrich.

Kitchen Renovation In Bethesda, MD

Are you confused by the terms "remodel" and "renovation"? To renovate means to restore what is existing. To remodel means to physically alter a structure. If you want to revive the appearance of your home, a renovation may prove more cost-effective and less disruptive. Here are some trending home remodeling ideas for the kitchen:


Resurface cabinets for a kitchen face-lift. No more cookie-cutter cabinets. Customization is the hottest trend. From color to hardware, homeowners love customizing the appearance of their cabinetry.


Quartz is peaking in popularity kitchen countertop surfaces. It is gorgeous and a great value:

  • More durable than granite and marble.
  • Naturally stain repellent.
  • Not damaged by acidic foods.
  • No sealing required.
  • With new finishing technology, options like swirl patterns and color variations enhance the popularity of this natural stone.


The backsplash is an opportunity for creativity and artistry. Small, multi-color tiles create popular patterns like harlequin. Unique materials, such as glass or glistening metals, are in demand. The variations of texture and reflective properties brightens any kitchen space, a plus for a tiny kitchen.

"As we get ready to have our final walk through on our project, I wanted to share my gratitude with all of you.  This past year has been so much fun for us and of course the best part is the beautiful kitchen..."


    No more recessed fluorescent lighting. From traditional chandeliers to the whimsical or modern, gazebo style lanterns, minimalist pendants, futuristic metallic orbs, all are inspirational lighting ideas. Express yourself through lighting. The right lighting seals the deal, pulling together the entire kitchen design.

Smart Appliances

Upgrade appliances for more than color, size and function. Create tomorrow's kitchen today with these advanced appliances:

  1. Intelligent oven that connects to smart devices. Prepare meals from the office or patio.
  2. Speed cookers that create hot, home-cooked meals in minutes.
  3. Winepods that go beyond a vault. Just add grapes. The appliance ferments, presses, then ages the grapes to create a batch of wine. Connectivity allows you to monitor every stage of production from anywhere at anytime.


Renovation can brighten up a tired looking home as well as increase its value. It is not an indulgence, but a very savvy investment strategy. Increase the quality of your life by living in an environment that reflects your own unique character. Please contact us and begin planning your own home renovation with a team of experienced professionals

This blog written by Michael Ullrich of the Pagenstecher Group conveys and displays that a small area does not need to be limited by thinking small.

Small Kitchen Renovations: Remodeling Ideas for Maryland Homeowners

Do you feel self-conscious about your kitchen? Maybe you love to entertain, but are embarrassed because you have a dated kitchen or feel you need to move to a home with more kitchen space.

Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean your kitchen renovation will be less efficient or stylish. Here are some basic considerations for Maryland homeowners who want to remodel a small kitchen.

Determine If Your Kitchen is Small

First, you’ll need to decide whether or not your kitchen is considered small. In most cases, a small kitchen is 10’ by 10’. This is 100 square feet or even less and is the standard used for setting the size of a small kitchen. Nevertheless, what’s considered to be a small kitchen can vary according to where you live or what you believe to be small.

Consider the Benefits of a Small Kitchen

Before you decide to make your kitchen larger by tearing down a wall, think about the advantages of having a small kitchen. Besides considering that less square footage involves less expense, keep these other factors in mind:

Small kitchens can cost less to remodel as larger renovations may entail more money for extra services, such as additional lighting, plumbing and additional electrical services.

Larger kitchens can be more expensive because they can mean using pricier materials, including custom cabinets, marble tile or stainless steel appliances.

Use Glass

An excellent method to visually enlarge a small kitchen is by using glass, which can create a spacious feeling. This is known as incorporating “negative space.” For example, you can use glass door kitchen cabinets or have a glass countertop. Consider that glass has the ability of visually expanding space so that it looks like your glass doors extend to an adjoining room.

Reflective glass tile not only adds sparkle, but it also enlarges an area. Keep this in mind when choosing backsplash that can be stationed around a kitchen at strategic spots for creating additional lighting.

Select Lighter Colors

Using the right colors can create a larger perception of a room. Some of the best colors for making a kitchen appear more spacious are white or light colors, as well as pastels. This is because the lighter a color is, the more it can draw the eyes upwards, giving a room more visual height.

However, don’t be afraid to use bold colors because they can also work well in small rooms. There’s nothing quite like bright red cabinets, contrasted with light green walls. Just stay away from dark colors as these do better in larger spaces.

Also, the light intensity of a small kitchen can be increased by wood cabinets made from tree species with brighter colors. Reserve more neutral colors for your wall paint and kitchen countertops.

Make the Best Use of Counter Space

Instead of having several counterspace sections, have only a single, but larger, countertop area. This helps in making a countertop more continuous so that it looks bigger than it actually is. One suggestion to use a sliding cutting board that goes over the sick so that it expands beyond your countertop.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Usually, small kitchens have a greater length than width, although there are those that can also be square-shaped.
  • For more storage, install rollout shelving or lazy Susans.
  • Multitask, such as using spaces for more than a single function such as having a wheeled cabinet that can be rolled from a kitchen into a dining room for serving guests.
  • It’s best not to have a kitchen island because it can take up too much space.
  • Don’t allow for clutter in your small kitchen.
  • Look for places that can be scaled down such as kitchen sinks. While farmhouse or large double sinks may work well in big kitchens, they’re not suited smaller ones.
  • Choose a smaller dishwasher, especially if you’re single, a couple or only have a small family.
  • Although it’s easier to cover defects in a large kitchen, it’s harder to conceal imperfections in a small area.
  • Instead of having small floor tiles, use larger ones. Surprisingly, this can make a smaller kitchen look bigger.

You don’t have to settle for an inferior kitchen. Call the professionals at Pagenstecher Group to find out about our wide range of remodeling services. Kitchen renovations are not just a job for us. They're truly our passion.

   This blog from the Pagenstecher website list the top two choices for home remodeling and renovations: the kitchen and the bathroom.  Given thought, most family members would agree that these two rooms are relied upon by the family as well as guests.

Renovations and Remodeling That Improves Home's Value: Kitchen & Bathroom

In today's market, you want to invest in home remodeling projects that will reinforce your home's value. All remodeling and renovation projects require upfront costs, but there are some that can actually pad your wallets in the possibility that you may want to sell or refinance in the future. If you're looking to renovate and get some money back, here are certain renovations that you may want to consider.

  • Things to Keep in Mind: It's best to err on the side of caution and renovate with familiarity in mind. Even though utilizing exotic tiles and furniture may seem aesthetically pleasing at first, they may not translate to a higher home value in the long run. Certain items may simply pigeonhole future buyers, turning them off altogether, and some renovation projects simply depreciate very quickly after a certain amount of time. It's best to utilize moderately priced materials and finishes that are highly relatable. Try to stay away from extreme nuances and lavishness that may not add much value to your home anyway.

The kitchen and the bathroom tend to be high focus areas for most housing markets. Investing in your kitchen and bathroom are surefire ways to improve your homes value. Kitchens and bathrooms are highly personal areas that get a lot of foot traffic. The kitchen especially gets a lot of foot traffic since it tends to be the center of family time and different sorts of social interaction. In many homes, the kitchen is in the first floor of the home, connected to the living room or other large living spaces.

When remodeling the kitchen, think of utilizing wooden cabinets, commercial kitchen tools, and appliances that utilize stainless steel, and natural woods as accent pieces. Whirlpool tubs have been replaced by the modern walk-in shower as the must-have fixture in a modern home. Typically, the bigger the walk in shower (within the realm of reason), the better. Many homeowners also prefer floor to ceiling steam showers, which is a key feature that you may want to consider in future renovations. Also, consider the amount of rooms that you have in your home when it comes to bathroom renovations. If you have several rooms in your old-fashioned home, but only one shower or bathroom to accommodate these rooms, it's going to pay more to install a new bathroom altogether.

Make sure to utilize competent renovators and designers that will also update plumbing. Many appraisers will take into the consideration the health of the plumbing and the homes foundation. Many modern homes are fixed with easy fixtures that allow for straightforward modification of a home’s plumbing system. This means that they will be fewer holes and less downtime, which usually translates to straightforward costs. Less money will be spent on a labor and materials.

Another place where you can reinforce your homes value is the kitchen. Many times potential homeowners will walk straight to the kitchen, so it is a place where many first impressions are made. Stainless steel appliances are key in this area, but also it is a good idea to consider the overall layout and available workspace. Most kitchens should have a dishwasher area, that effortlessly flows into a cooking area with an intuitive layout, that easily branches into a sink. A dishwasher should be particularly close to the sink, and utensils and cooking items should be close to the cooking area. Even though this may seem obvious, many kitchen areas have layouts that are discombobulated

Regardless of where you decide to invest in renovations, make sure that you brighten up the space. Utilize bright colors and hues that are complementarity to the theme in the house. Recessed lighting in the kitchen and bathrooms are modern and chic ways to brighten those areas up.

Almost everyone agrees that the choice to renovate the kitchen is paramount in increasing your home’s value.  

Your home’s overall design has a heartbeat which begins in your kitchen.  Your family and friends also congregate naturally to the kitchen, as it is the most important room in your home.  Contact the Pagenstecher Group to begin turning your thoughts of an ideal kitchen into something concrete.

Contact us today!

who we are at pagenstecher groupSince 1981, Pagenstecher Group has been designing and building elegant, thoughtful residential renovations throughout MD, DC, and VA. Our team approach and thorough process make us an industry leader, while our commitment to serving our clients insures the success of every project. Pagenstecher Group is unique within the remodeling industry. Our sophisticated, full service process guides clients through every step of their renovation; from initial design thru finished construction. This collaborative process allows clients to tap into the expertise of our team while incorporating their own ideas and aesthetic. Like a finely tailored garment, there is no “one-size fits all solution.”

Our Process:

Remodeling is a complex endeavor and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Do not fear! Our process is geared towards simplifying even the most complex project. With communication and transparency, we work with you to select every material, review every detail, and answer every question… before the first nail is driven on site. Let’s look at our process in greater detail.

Initial Consultation:

Remodeling is a partnership. Each participant must have trust and confidence in one another for the project to succeed. Think of the initial consultation as the vetting process. A potential client will always speak to a member of Pagenstecher Group’s ownership team. This is our first interaction, so it’s a time to get to know one another. We want to learn about you and your home along with the project goals and budgets. As a perspective client, you will likely have questions about us and our process, and we welcome the interaction.

Preliminary Design:

If at the end of the initial consultation both parties feel comfortable pursuing the project together, we will enter into an Architectural Services Agreement and begin design. Preliminary design is an interactive process where clients work together with our architectural staff to develop a conceptual plan. Once a preliminary plan is approved, Pagenstecher Group develops and presents a budget for the approved design. Though not a final quote for construction, this information allows clients to make decisions on cost and scope of work early in the process.

Construction Drawings:

Once the preliminary design and budget have been approved, Pagenstecher Group will continue to fine tune design details and develop the technical drawings necessary for permits and construction. At the same time, our staff will guide clients through the process of material and finish selections. From cabinetry and countertops down to the smallest of details like; door knobs and light switches, our team coordinates every detail and product selection for the project. Once all drawings and selections are complete, Pagenstecher Group develops the Final Estimate for construction, contracts are signed, and permit drawings are filed in prep for construction.


The time spent planning is about to pay off, and construction is underway. All decisions have been made so work can progress smoothly without delay. Clients can go about their daily lives while we manage every aspect of the construction. A weekly meeting on site is the only time commitment we request of our clients during construction. This brief meeting keeps everyone apprised of job progress and the upcoming schedule for work. It also facilitates continued communication to insure our clients remain informed and enthusiastic as their project takes shape. With a culture guided by teamwork and customer service, Pagenstecher Group endeavors to create a “positive remodeling experience” for every client throughout every step of the process. We proudly stand behind the creativity and craftsmanship or our work, but it’s the relationships we build with our clients that are our greatest reward.

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The Pagenstecher Group has brought ease to client’s minds for many years by allowing their designing and building processes to be transparent to any homeowner for which they work.

They also allow a homeowner to have their thoughts and desires to be incorporated into their home remodel, kitchen remodel, or whole house renovation.

what our clients sayWith clients getting exactly the finished product in which they desire, combined with high quality work that lasts, it is no wonder why the Pagenstecher Group is referred by client after client to anyone who will listen.

Review #1:

“Having lived in our new kitchen, and porch addition for a few weeks, I have some thoughts I’d like to offer.

Looking back at the decision-making phase of the project, I have the greatest respect for the way your company shepherds clients. For someone with no confidence in making design decisions, both large and small, your presence and professional judgment and that of Mike's as we made each of those decisions was absolutely critical.

For someone who wants to make the "perfect" choice each time, you narrowed those choices down and made them manageable. And most important, for someone who has a rather particular style sense, you quickly identified that sense and thus were able to help me make choices that I would be content with. I probably needed more guidance than many, and you were unbelievably patient and generous with your time, expertise, and advice.

Bottom line: your sensitivity to a client's individual needs, desires, and inclinations when it comes to making design decisions is exceptional.  As a result, we have a kitchen, and porch that exceeds our highest expectations.  BOTH Eric and I think it is perfect, and that may be one of the only things we have ever completely, 100%, agreed on in the 31 years of our marriage!  The design and architectural work is absolutely brilliant.

During the construction phase of the project, I can say without hesitation that the Pagenstecher Group is far superior to any firm in our experience. This, as I have said, is all due to your team. Here is just some of what we found and appreciated at each step along the way:  superior artistry and craftsmanship; meticulous attention to every detail; apparently seamless management of the process and all of the subcontractors involved; consistently strong and effective communication, beginning with the all-important weekly meetings (which I miss); complete clarity with regard to budget and costs; and guidance that was always, without exception, in our interest as clients.

It strikes me that we also benefited tremendously from your long years of experience in the design/remodeling business here in Washington.  The subcontractors and vendors with whom you have long-standing relationships are clearly the best in the business, just as you are.  We had complete confidence in their integrity and in the quality of their work. And all of them, clearly, had the highest respect for your company and the way you do business.

I have been struck over the last several weeks with the consistency of our friends' reactions to our new space. Each one has been stunned.  Each one has struggled to describe how completely amazing the transformation is.  They want to spend time taking it all in, and commenting upon every detail. There is a lot of good work out there, I am sure.  But sheer excellence is something completely different.  I would say to anyone who asked for a recommendation:  If you are going to take the plunge and undergo a home renovation, you MUST use the Pagenstecher Group.  There is no reason to look anywhere else."

  • Satisfied Client, Bethesda, MD

Review #2:


"We worked with Mike on a small but tricky project: finding more kitchen table seating space for a family of four tall people and increasing storage for our coats and other mudroom-type items.  Mike enthusiastically worked with us, even though it wasn't a big job.  He had to deal with tight space limitations and other issues with our almost 100 year old row house.  

He transformed the way we live in this area of the house by designing a beautiful custom table with built-in seating and drawers, fixing our HVAC concerns and installing shelves and hooks that help keep us organized.  At every step, he and his team addressed our questions and concerns and were creative and efficient in their work.  All our future home renovations will be with the Pagenstecher Group."

  • Satisfied Client, Washington, DC

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*This blog by Michael Ullrich writes about the design and aesthetic benefits of a backsplash in your kitchen.  There is no better time than the present to add to your kitchen’s design.  The importance of your kitchen is highlighted as well.

Reinvigorate your kitchen with a backsplash

No room is more important than the kitchen when you’re remodeling your home. An updated kitchen gives you the greatest return on your investment, and backsplashes serve a practical purpose by protecting walls from grease, water and other “splashes.”     

Adding texture to the walls will enhance your kitchen's appearance, providing a little personality to a space that gets more guest traffic than any other room in the home.                  

Here are a few of the more popular options:

Stainless Steel

For many years, stainless steel was strictly the domain of restaurants and commercial kitchens, but as times and tastes have changed, consumers have come to appreciate the stylish ease of use that it offers. Steel is durable and virtually indestructible, while also providing the easiest of surfaces to clean. It also comes in a variety of finishes, which can be used to mask its appearance.

Ceramic & Porcelain Tiles

Both extremely popular backsplash options, there are pros and cons of each to consider before making any decisions. Porcelain is a much denser material and less likely to absorb water, which reduces the likelihood of stains. It's resistant to allergens and bacteria, making it a great choice for kitchen applications.

Ceramic is a less expensive option, but equally attractive as porcelain and available in as many color and styles. The downside, of course, is that it's less durable and resistant to water than it's counterpart, and requires more maintenance to resist long term wear and tear.

“Keeping the Heat Out of Your Home This Summer”   

    *This featured blog combines with the previous article as the summer is a common theme.  Keeping your house cool during the summer seems like a difficult task with so many factors.  

However, reading these tips will enable you to keep your bills lower and your house more comfortable.

Regardless of the temperature outside, every homeowner can benefit from keeping things cool on the inside, whether it’s for comfort or for cost saving purposes. Here are a few options to consider when looking for ways to beat the heat:

Air Conditioning:

When purchasing a new air conditioning system, evaluate the size of the room and/or square footage of the home to make sure it has the ability to be energy efficient, based on your needs. If you have an older central air unit, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a newer, more efficient model.

Regular Maintenance:

There are a number of ways to keep your unit in tip-top shape long term. Clean the filter or replace it monthly (depending on the model and maintenance guidelines from the manufacturer) so dust and dirt won't reduce air flow. In conjunction with your own maintenance routine, have an HVAC professional come in once a year to give your system a full tune up.  They'll assess the unit's current condition and provide recommendations for any additional maintenance and/or repairs.

Heat Build-Up:

Try to keep the thermostat around 78°F and supplement air conditioning with ceiling fans. Keep the house closed up tight during the day and don’t air condition rooms you don’t use. Keep the use of heat-generating appliances including the stove, washer and dryer, or dishwasher to a minimum, especially during daylight hours, and consider replacing any that put an extra burden on cooling the house overall.


It may be beautiful outside, but when it’s warmer than normal keep those curtains pulled and the shades down during the day, particularly for windows getting direct sun exposure. Consider getting thermal or insulated drapes. To further keep heat and light from entering your home, have tightly woven fitted screens or bamboo shades installed on the outside of the windows.

There are many ways to keep things cool on the home front this summer. Just be conscious of all the little things you can do that will add up to some real savings, and then sit back and enjoy the season!

    *These tips will enable you to be in control of your home’s climate.  Take advantage and see the difference it makes in the heat of the summer.  Your home will be significantly more comfortable, even on the hottest days.

Contact us today!


remodel the bathroom to impress your visitors and your family

When you feel it is time to update or modernize your bathroom, the relatively small size, compared to other rooms, may have you think it will be an easier job.  However, this smaller area will expose poor workmanship worse than any other area of the home.  

    The plumbing, lighting and various other features need to all be done professionally, or you may regret doing the work yourself or by hiring the cheapest contractor.

    Hidden water damage may be the result of leaky shower or running toilet.  Hiring a professional will most likely ensure that these problems will be remedied.  The bathroom remodel needs to be done correctly to limit future problems.  



    This blog written by Michael Ullrich of the Pagenstecher Group details why performing the work yourself has its disadvantages over using a quality contractor.  It ties into bathroom renovations because it is probably the top area to not cut corners, but none of your home’s areas should be sacrificed to poor workmanship.

Don't Try to DIY: Why Home Remodeling Contractors are Worth It

    If you are like many people, you might enjoy watching all of the home improvement and home renovation shows that are on television today. Plus, you might check out sites like Pinterest and see all sorts of DIY ideas that you are supposed to be able to pull off yourself, even if you do not have any experience. When you combine all of these things and the fact that doing your own renovations is a way of saving money, it might seem like a great idea to tackle your home remodeling project all by yourself.

    However, even though it might not be a bad idea to tackle some minor things on your own -- such as a bit of painting around the house -- it really is better to hire a home remodeling contractor for most remodeling jobs. These are some of the many reasons why.

1. It Can Be Dangerous

    First of all, you should consider how dangerous tackling some of your own DIY projects can be. For example, unless you have the experience and the right equipment, it generally isn't a good idea to crawl on top of your house to do your own roofing work. Additionally, if you don't know what you are doing, you could be seriously injured or even killed from trying to do your own electrical work.

    Plus, you have to worry about potential dangers that go beyond the day that you do the work. If you do too much structural work and don't do it properly, for example, you have to worry about potential cave-ins and other problems. All of these things can pose serious safety threats for you and your family!

2. It Can Actually Be More Expensive

    Believe it or not, remodeling your own home can be a lot more expensive. For example, someone who is not experienced might waste materials, leading to an additional cost. If the job is not done correctly, the renovation might not last nearly as long, so in the long run, you may spend more having to have it redone.

3. You May Not Get the Same Results

    The truth is that professionals generally know what they are doing. You might not be able to get the same results from your own DIY job as you would get if you counted on a pro. If you are going to spend the money to fix up your home, it's worth it to do what you can to make sure that the job turns out properly. After all, few things can be quite as disappointing as putting a lot of time and money into renovating your home, only to find that you aren't happy with the results at all. There is less of a chance of this happening if you hire a team of professionals, particularly if you hire the right remodeling company. For example, here at Pagenstecher Group, you can always count on us to do a good job.

4. You May Have Trouble Getting a Permit

    For certain types of jobs, you might be required to have a permit. In some cases, it is necessary to have a professional handling the job in order to get this permit. If you want to avoid problems with getting the necessary permits and if you want to avoid the fees, fines and other issues that go along with doing home renovations without the right permits, it's best to hire pros instead.

    As you can see, doing your own home remodeling isn't always a good idea. Instead, it's generally better to hire a team of professionals. If you would like to find out more, contact us so that we can talk about your project.

Contact us today!

Universally Accessible Bathroom Modifications That Can Make Your Life Easier

    As the baby boomer generation continues to age, more homeowners are demanding universally accessible home designs. Older homeowners are looking for a way to remodel their living spaces to create handicap-friendly rooms, without sacrificing visual appeal or style. contractor

    As a result, more design and build contractors are getting requests for open floor plans, wider doorways, and other accessible features.

    The bathroom is often the first place handicapped homeowners look to renovate. According to the National Association of Home Builders, bathroom remodeling is the most requested remodeling job, accounting for about 78% of contractor requests.

    This may be due to the high ROI that comes with bathroom remodels, which is about 63.6% on average.

    Here are a few ideas of how to upgrade your bathroom into a stylish, universally accessible paradise.


    A universal bathroom needs a lot of space in order to make it accessible to those with disabilities. In order to allow proper maneuvering, try to provide a free area of about 5 feet in diameter, and make sure there is about 4 feet of space in front of each bathroom fixture. Tall, narrow doors can make it difficult for those who are in a wheelchair to get through, and should be widened to about 3 feet to allow access.

Bathing Area

    Getting in and out of a traditional bathtub can be very difficult for those who suffer from a disability. However, bathtub and shower grab bars can help eliminate this issue, and offer an added layer of independence for those confined to a wheelchair or who use a walker. Roll-in showers, which eliminate the need for a curb, are also an option for those who are disabled.


    Many disabled persons have difficulty lifting themselves out of their chairs to use the bathroom. Installing a grab bar on either side can usually solve this. In addition, many universally accessible bathrooms are equipped with taller toilets, which make it easier for a disabled individual to get back in their wheelchair once they are finished.


    Avoid sinks that have cabinets under them, which can impede the reach of a handicapped person. Instead, purchase stand-alone cabinets that can be placed next to the sink. To make sure the plumbing is not exposed, cover any sharp edges or water pipes with insulation.

Contact us today! 

8 Reasons for Remodeling Your Maryland Bathroom This Year

    Aside from a home kitchen remodeling job, a Maryland bathroom remodel is the next most significant renovation any homeowner can make to their home investment.

    So, if you have a bathroom that needs a total makeover, requires major structural repairs, or you are simply interested in adding equity to your home, perhaps it's time to update and upgrade your home's bathroom.

    In this post, we'll provide you with eight reasons for remodeling your bathroom. Continue reading to learn about why a new bathroom is just what your home and family need.

1. You want to add money to your home.

    Without a doubt, a bathroom remodel will add value to your home. Additional equity increases your home's value, allowing for a more lucrative refinance, and enabling an easier home sale when the time comes. Plus, for those interested in finance, a bathroom remodel's return on investment (ROI) makes the decision worthwhile.

2. Due to your age or physical needs, your situation requires more safety and functionality.

    As people age, their needs change dramatically. The same is true for those whose life changed without notice. In either instance, a renovated bathroom more ideally suits living and bathing needs. Features like low curb showers and easier to use toilets are just a few of the new characteristics that make your bathroom safer.

3. You would like a bigger bathroom.

    Perhaps you bought your home because you loved its location or size. Maybe you thought that the bathroom could use some work. Now's the time to take that leap. Work with a qualified bathroom remodeler to find out how a larger bathroom benefits you.

4. You have structural or mold issues.

    Older homes that have never been renovated suffer greatly from mold and structure issues. When these types of problems go unchecked, they can spread like a disease to other parts of the home. A renovated bathroom removes any worry connected to mold or general structural problems.

5. Your bathroom is old and outdated.

    Much like bathrooms with building material and mold issues, an old and outdated bathroom lacks function and usability. People sometimes live with an unusable bathroom for years because they are "good enough." This year, we recommend looking into how a new bathroom will increase your quality of life.

6. You would like to add features.

    Perhaps you need a new double vanity to satisfy a growing family. Maybe you would like to add a stand-up shower for convenience. No matter your rationale, new bathroom features and additions can change a boring bathroom into something fantastic.

7. Your family is growing, so you need a second bathroom.

    Maybe your expanding family is changing your home's dynamics. In that case, perhaps it's time to add that master bathroom that you've always wanted. Accommodate your evolving life by working with a certified home remodeler today.

8. You have ever-growing plumbing problems.

    Problems related to plumbing are frustrating at best. At worst, they can reduce your home's inner support beams, trusses, drywall, and electrical work to rubble. If you have known plumbing problems and have worked hard to remedy them, sometimes the only solution is to renovate entirely.

    A home doesn't work without a bathroom. The bathroom provides us with a refuse for necessity and relaxation. So why not consider giving back and working to turn your bathroom into the experience that you deserve.

    So, if you have tolerated just about enough of your old bathroom, desire something brand new and shiny, need repairs, or want to add a half-bath to a separate part of your home, don't delay.

    The bathroom is almost always considered to be the first or second room to remodel and update in a home.  Guests to a home could always use a better bathroom.  Your family deserves a better bathroom as well.

    Can you name one other room of your home where family members literally stand in line to obtain access?

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4 tips for picking where to start with a remodelWhen it comes to remodeling, people sometimes have this great plan in place for transforming their entire home. They want bigger rooms, more open space, and updated features in their home. Unfortunately, budget issues and time-constraints sometimes make achieving these plans right away impossible. While this does not mean you need to completely abandon your plans for a home remodel, it does mean the plans may need to be spread out more. Instead of attempting to remodel your entire home at once, you may need to focus on one or two areas, and save the other projects for later. Here are four ways you can decide where to begin when it comes to remodeling your home:

Most Needed

If there is a project that clearly stands out as needing immediate attention, that is the best place to start. Maybe you have recently moved into a home where the previous owner's dog or cat destroyed the carpeting in the living room. Perhaps, all your kitchen appliances are outdated and need replaced right away. Maybe a roof leak caused damage to the walls and flooring in a bedroom. These are all indicators that your home remodel should likely start in that specific room. Other projects that might need to be placed as a top remodeling priority include a nursery for a baby that will be born soon or an additional bathroom if you have a large family.

If you have an electrical problem, often dealing with that issue is a top priority. When that is the case, it often makes sense to focus your new remodeling project on that part of your home. Unfortunately, sometimes people do not realize when they have electrical issues. An article on the State Farm website talks about some clues that you might have an electrical issue, which may require rewiring. Signs that your home has electrical problems include:

  • Dimming, flickering, or buzzing when you turn on your lights or while the lights are on
  • Lightbulbs that burn out quickly and frequently
  • Sparks or electrical shock when you plug something in or unplug it
  • Fuses get blown frequently
  • Outlets are loose or discolored
  • Strange odors, such as a burnt smell

Largest Project

Some people like to get the largest project out of the way first. Even if it is just one room, there is a huge sense of accomplishment when the biggest project is done. Plus, starting with the biggest project allows you to see if you are ready for the time and money associated with remodeling your entire home.

Often, the largest remodel project in a home is the kitchen. With a complete kitchen gut, you are likely replacing the cupboards, getting new appliances, installing new countertops, and replacing the flooring. New lighting may also be installed to make the room brighter, to put in more lighting, or for aesthetic purposes. In some cases, a wall may be taken out to expand the kitchen. With a major kitchen remodel, extra storage, including larger countertops and more cupboard space, may also be added. In some cases, that includes creating an island in the kitchen. Sometimes, the project may also include adding windows or new sliding glass doors to add more natural lighting in the kitchen. The remodel may also include switching the locations of your appliances.

Other large projects include redoing a bathroom, converting an unfinished basement into usable space, and adding a room to a home. Any major remodeling project may take several weeks. Be ready for that part of your home to be inaccessible during the remodel. In some cases, you may need to stay with a family member or friend during the remodel.

Minor Changes

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people like to start with a part of their home that will only require minor changes. Maybe you just want to change out the master bedroom carpeting for new hardwood flooring, and then you want to have the walls repainted. Perhaps, you want to add some built-in shelving along one wall, or you want to make other minor but important changes to your home.

One great thing about starting with a small project is that it gives you a taste of remodeling your home. You will likely be able to continue living in your home during a small remodeling project, and you may only be inconvenienced for a few days. Not only will you get a taste of what it is like to live in a construction zone, but you will get a taste of how much it will cost to remodel your entire home. Starting with a small project can help you see how much you need to budget for the bigger projects. Plus, for a lot less money than it would cost for a large project, you can be headed down the path of remodeling your home.

Most Used Space

Often, it is a good idea to start your whole home remodel with the room you use the most or at least a room you use often. If your family gathers in the living room to play games, watch movies, and talk, you will likely enjoy a living room remodel a lot more than you would enjoy remodeling the rarely used guest bathroom. If your family spends a lot of time cooking together, a kitchen remodel might be a good place to start. Because you are spending considerable time enjoying your newly remodeled space, it will help to keep you motivated to continue saving money to be able to remodel the rest of your home.  

While you can likely handle simple home projects, such as repainting a room, on your own, larger remodeling projects should be handled by professionals. If you are ready to get started remodeling your home, contact us. Our experienced home remodeling contractors can help you transform your home, whether you want a full home remodel or you just want to remodel a room or two.

Contact us today!

five areas of your home you may want to remodelNewer home remodel shows, such as Fixer Upper and Property Brothers mixed with old favorites, such as This Old House, have shown people how much their home space can be transformed by a home makeover. While you might not be ready to commit to remodeling your entire home, there are five remodel projects to consider if you want to make some smaller but significant changes to your home.


According to a recent MSN article, a kitchen makeover is one of the “10 Decisions Homeowners Never Regret.” When it comes to the kitchen, there are many options for a remodel. Often, a good place to start is with new appliances. You may also want to replace old countertops and cupboards. In some cases, adding additional counter space or cupboards is a great idea. Adding or expanding an island is a great way to add more counter space. Additional cupboard space sometimes requires removing a wall or otherwise creating a larger kitchen.

One complaint some people have about their kitchen space is that it is dark or bland. New flooring and a new paint color can sometimes resolve this issue. New lighting or a large window can also help to make a dark kitchen feel brighter. Plus, if your kitchen is small and expanding it is not an option, the right paint colors and increased natural lighting can make it feel bigger and often more welcoming.

Master Bedroom

While any bedroom in a home is a potential remodel project, the master bedroom is a popular choice. If your master bedroom is too small, there are two ways to increase the space. One way is to expand into your current indoor space. If you do not need a neighboring bedroom, you may want to knock out the wall and increase the size of the master bedroom by making the two bedrooms into one. If you are not ready to sacrifice a whole bedroom, you could expand the master bedroom partway into a neighboring room or other area. In some cases, sacrificing part of a walk-in closet for bedroom space is a good option.

If expanding into your current home area is not possible, a second option is to have an addition built onto your home. In some cases, building a whole new master bedroom on the back of the house and making the current master bedroom into a guest bedroom is the best option.

If your bedroom's current size is fine but your room needs a makeover, there are several options you may want to consider. New flooring, new paint, and new lighting can really transform a bedroom. You may also want to consider new windows, especially if energy-efficiency is a problem or if you want larger windows, which will bring in more natural light.


A bathroom remodel is often a great idea. You may want to replace the floors and change out the sink, toilet, shower, and tub for new ones. New tiled bathroom walls, particularly in the bathtub or shower are often a beautiful addition to a remodeled bathroom.

Sometimes a bathroom remodel is about making the space more functional. If your current bathroom vanity only has one sink, you may want to expand it to two sinks, especially in the master bathroom. Replacing a bathtub or cramped shower with a spacious shower sometimes makes a bathroom more luxurious and functional. If the bathroom is going to be used by young children, replacing a shower with a bathtub or a bath/shower combo will likely make the space more useful.

Making one bathroom into two may also be worth considering, especially if you have a bathroom that can be divided without making it feel cramped. In some cases, most of the space can stay with the current bathroom, and the other space can be converted into simply a toilet and sink or a bathroom with a toilet, sink, and smaller shower.

Family Room

Like many of the other rooms in your house, new flooring, paint, and light fixtures are often good starts to a family room remodel. Bigger windows or more windows as well as sliding glass doors that lead to your backyard are options to consider if you want more natural lighting and an easy transition between your indoor and outdoor entertaining space. If you do a lot of entertaining in your family room, you may also want to consider adding a bar area or other space where people can sit down to enjoy food and beverages.

Built-in shelving for books, video games, movies, and other items may also be a good idea. Along with built-in shelving, you may want to consider built-in cabinets or drawers, where the kids' toys and other items can be placed to keep your family room floor from looking cluttered.

If watching movies with your family or friends is a favorite pastime, you may want to create a media wall in your family room, where the wall is created specifically to accommodate your television. You may even want to transform your family room into a media room, complete with movie theater seating.

Knock Out Walls

Many of these home remodel projects will require knocking out a wall or two. In some cases, simply knocking out a couple of walls can do wonders for changing the way your home flows. This is a great idea if you want an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room, and living room all flow together. Knocking out walls often gives all the rooms extra space. It can also create extra space in an entryway or in other areas of your home.

Of course, there are many other home remodel project options to transform your home. To make sure your home remodel project is completed correctly, you will want to hire experienced home remodeling contractors. If you are looking for a knowledgeable company to handle your next home remodel, contact us. Even if you do not know exactly how you want your home remodeled, do not worry. We will work with you to help you create your ideal space, offering you some ideas of what will work best for you.

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bathroom remodeling how to make a narrow bathroom feel wider

If you have a long, narrow bath in your home, you're not alone. The main bath of a house is often designed and built like this, with no extra space available to physically widen the room later on. If the narrowness is giving you claustrophobia, you still have options for a simple bathroom remodel that will make the space feel wider. The key is to fool the eyes, while maintaining a sense of style.

Color Palette

Keep the color palette of the room neutral. Simple colors make a space flow better. Smooth, white cabinets and a white, quartz counter with a bit of sparkle work well. Consider using a splash of delicate blue for your towels and decorator items to infuse additional interest in the room. White floor tiles with a simple design will keep the area from looking too stark. The design should stretch from one side to the other so the space appears wider. If white doesn't work for you, a light sandy hue is also a good option.


For your cabinets, consider not using handles or pull knobs on the doors and drawers if possible. A flat, even appearance will make the room appear wider. It will also prevent you from running into the protuberances while moving back and forth in the room. Keeping the countertop clear of clutter will also make the room appear wider, so put away what you can. You don't want anything stopping the flow of the space.

Glass & Mirrors

Using glass shelving above the toilet keeps the space open while adding storage beyond your under-the-sink cabinets. You can fold and keep extra towels here or use the shelves for decorator items. If you have double sinks, one large mirror over the sinks, rather than two smaller mirrors, often works better in a narrow room. The mirror will reflect more light, which will make the room appear to have more depth.

For additional information on how to remodel your bathroom, contact us today. We'll help you with the remodel of your dreams!

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five benefits of remodeling your kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but for many homeowners, it's the one room they wish they could improve. At Pagenstecher Group, our home remodeling contractors will work with you to create the kitchen of your dreams. While a remodel may seem like a stressful process, there are a few ways a redesigned kitchen can benefit your family.

  • Reduce Energy Consumption. When you remodel your kitchen, you'll have the opportunity to replace old and outdated appliances with new, energy-efficient models. Many new refrigerators, dishwashers, and even light fixtures are designed to keep your bills low while giving you the best performance possible.
  • Add Value to Your Home. Older kitchens with poor layouts or outdated appliances will not do much to attract potential buyers. Upgrading your kitchen to a more modern design will help increase your home's value.
  • Improve the Flow. If you're unhappy with the layout, a home remodeling contractor will help you find the design of your dreams. Remodeling your kitchen allows you to have complete control over the layout of the appliances and counter space, so you won't have to put up with a layout that makes food preparation more difficult.
  • Increase Storage Options. Some kitchens are woefully short of cabinets and storage, but remodeling your kitchen will let you add more options to the space. Add more cabinets to make the most of vertical storage and maximize counter space with a kitchen island. 
  • Improve Safety. Older appliances can be safety hazards. The wiring and electrical systems of old units are not equipped to handle the increased output of the modern energy grid. Newer appliances are manufactured with the proper equipment to handle more electricity without posing a safety risk.

Upgrade your kitchen today and see the difference a custom design can make. For more information about our home remodeling services or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

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a kitchen remodel as your holiday gift

Think about a kitchen remodel for your home this holiday season!

You will more than likely be spending a lot of time in your kitchen this next month preparing meals for friends and family. You will want to make sure your kitchen is up to par!

Here are some features you may want to think of adding to your kitchen in the near future:

  1. Central Island
  2. Granite/Stone Countertops
  3. Walk-in Pantry
  4. Double Sink
  5. Pull-Out Shelves

Also, for people looking to sell their home's later down the road, realtors agree that an updated kitchen is at the top of the list for adding value to your home.

Check out all the possible kitchen features you should consider when remodeling your kitchen.

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we have received the 2017 designers choice award

2017 Designers Choice Award Winner

Each year, Home & Design magazine polls hundreds of area professionals to discover their picks for leaders in the innovative, ever-evolving home-design industry as well as their votes of confidence in rising stars on the local scene.

Pagenstecher Group is honored to receive this year’s award in the category of Design/Build Firm.

Contact us today for all your design/build needs!

how to save when hiring a pro for home remodeling in bethesda md

If you are thinking about remodeling your home, you might be a bit worried about how much you will spend on the project, and you could be wondering how you can save a little bit of cash. You have probably heard that doing everything yourself is a good way to save money, but this is not an option for everyone. Even though simple things like painting can often be handled by the homeowner, things like home additions, electrical work and more shouldn't be done by anyone who doesn't have professional experience. Plus, you might not have the time, the inclination or the physical ability to do the job yourself.

Luckily, there are still ways that you can save money on your remodeling project, even if you are hiring a professional for home remodeling in Bethesda, MD. Consider these tips to cut costs while still getting the professional results that a good contractor can provide you with.

Shop Around When Hiring a Contractor

First and foremost, you will not want to hire the first home contractor that you come across to help with your remodeling project. Along with comparing other things, such as experience, you will also want to compare pricing when hiring a contractor. By shopping around, you might find that you can save a surprising amount on your project.

Be Honest With Your Contractor About Your Budget

Some people are embarrassed to talk to their remodeling contractors about their budgets, but there is no reason to feel embarrassed at all. Your contractor's job is to help you plan and execute the best possible remodeling project without spending a penny more than you can afford.

Going ahead and being honest with your contractor about what you can honestly afford now is smart. Then, you won't have to worry about going over your budget early in your project. Plus, your contractor can talk to you about the best ways to use your funds and can help you determine when you should splurge (such as on things that will boost the value of your home or the things that are most important to your family) and when to save (perhaps on trendy items or items that won't get seen very much, such as light fixtures in closets).

Do Your Own Shopping

Your contractor can always help you find the materials that you need to remodel your home. However, it can pay to ask for a materials list and then do a bit of your own shopping. Your contractor might work with a few specific material providers, but you can shop online, compare pricing at local stores and more to find the best prices. Plus, along with allowing you to save money, this can help you get more involved in the project yourself, and it can allow you to find materials that you might not have found elsewhere. It's the perfect way to customize your project, get involved without having to do any of the physical work yourself and save quite a bit of money in the process.

Tackle Your Project a Bit at a Time

Sure, you might love the idea of tackling a remodeling project similar to what you might have seen on all of the home improvement shows, allowing you to walk into your home and see it completely transformed all at once. Realistically, however, there is nothing wrong with tackling your project in steps. Then, you can break up the cost of the remodeling project and can make necessary repairs and changes now, then save up for cosmetic remodeling later.

As you can see, it is possible to save money when hiring a professional to remodel your home. If you are looking for a great crew that you can trust for both large and small remodeling projects, contact us at Pagenstecher Group today.

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create a multi generational home with home additions in marylandWhen you buy a home, you are most likely thinking about what you need to accommodate your family, which generally includes your spouse, children, and any pets that you may have or intend on getting. Taking all of these details into consideration before buying a property is the best way to ensure that you are satisfied as a homeowner after you have settled in and lived in the home for a few years. However, this does not mean that your life situation will stay the same for the rest of your life. If you want your parents to move in, but do not have enough space to accommodate them, you should invest in home additions in Maryland to create a home that provides enough room for multiple generations.

Construct a Bathroom

One of the most important rooms that you will want to create is a bathroom. Ideally, you should try to get a bathroom installed in the bedroom that you intend on giving your parents when they move in. This will make it easier for them to take care of their bathroom-related needs as they age. If you have the money, whether from your own funding or your parents helping out, you should consider some bathroom features that will provide them with a highly enjoyable bathroom experience. For instance, instead of just getting a regular bath and shower combo, you can get them a walk-in shower and a whirlpool tub. These additions are ideal for maximizing safety and alleviating aches and pains.

Get a New Bedroom

Another feature that you will want to provide for your parents is a bedroom. Whether you create a new bedroom and use it as a guest room, office, or your parents’ bedroom is up to you, but you should try to give them one that has a decent amount of space. It is ideal to aim for a large enough room to accommodate a king-size bed, large dresser, and some extra space for other things. For instance, they may want to put a desk in the room for a computer or for crafting projects.

Offer Closet Space

When you make the plans for the bedroom and bathroom, you do not want to forget about closet space. Going from an entire home to a single bedroom is not that easy to do, but you can make this an easier transition for your parents by giving them plenty of storage space. Even if a walk-in closet is not possible, you can provide them with a large enough closet to store all of their clothing. In addition, you may want to offer them space in the garage or attic to store anything else that they want to keep.

Create Separation

Before you decide on where to build, you should think about the separation between you, your kids, and your parents. For instance, you may want to maintain the same dynamic as you had before, which you can accomplish by building a bedroom and bathroom that is far away from the existing bedrooms. It is not necessary, but it can help all of you maintain a satisfactory level of privacy. If you intend on having your parents living with you for the rest of their lives, you want to prevent privacy from becoming a problem in the household and with your relationships, so make sure that you prioritize this detail.

Bringing your parents into your home is a huge, life-changing decision. It is important to take your time to make sure everything goes smoothly. If you have questions or want help with any of these additions, contact us.

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basement remodeling considerations for maryland homeowners

Do you have an unfinished basement that’s only used for storage? Or perhaps, you have an old or partially finished basement that needs remodeling. Besides giving your family additional living space, a remodeled or finished basement can significantly add resell value to your home. If you’re considering renovating your basement, here are some basic basement remodeling considerations for Maryland homeowners.

Questions to Ask Before Starting a Basement Renovation

Before you even begin to remodel your basement, be sure your basement has a sound structure. Check to be sure the basement walls don’t lean, and the floor is not cracked. Make sure your furnace and electrical service is able to handle the additional demands entailed in remodeling.

Most importantly, your basement should not leak. After you identify any issues, such as these, the next step is to repair them.

The Advantage of Basement Windows

If your basement lacks windows, it’s a good idea to install them. Besides ushering in abundant light, windows in a basement can also make it easier to escape in emergencies.

Maybe you have old basement windows, but they leak air due to cracks and gaps around the glass or between window frames. By installing new windows, you can save on your energy bill as you can eliminate air leaks. Before installing windows, check with your city building department to see if there are any regulations, regarding windows.

Adding a Bathroom

Decide if you need to include a bathroom in your remodeled basement. This can be a good option if you plan on using your basement for overnight guests. On the other hand, adding a bathroom takes up space that could be used for a pool table or exercise equipment.

If you plan on adding a bathroom to your basement, you’ll need to determine if the primary drain for your home runs either above ground or is underground. To do this, you’ll need to locate the soil stack.

If it is underground, it shouldn’t be any harder than adding a bathroom upstairs, provided you locate your basement bathroom near the main drain. On the other hand, if the main drain runs above the ground, a grinder and a pump will be needed.

Basement Flooring

As your basement is close to the ground, it’s more prone to leak residual moisture, even during dry weather. That’s why you’ll want your flooring to be as moisture proof as possible. Some of the best flooring choices for basements include:

  • Ceramic tiles—You can find ceramic tiles in a wide range of styles and colors. Besides being easy to maintain, ceramic tile flooring is exceptionally durable. On a down note, ceramic tile can make a basement seem even colder.
  • Wood flooring—Wood floors can add beauty to a basement and give it a warm feeling.
  • Laminate flooring—This type of flooring, which is less expensive than wood flooring, is made to mimic the appearance of stone, wood and ceramic tile. As there are some types of laminate that have been treated for resisting moisture, they do exceptionally well in basements.
  • Vinyl flooring, which can be easily installed over concrete, is durable and easy to maintain. This flooring comes in many styles and colors. Usually, the thicker the vinyl, the higher is the cost and quality. Some vinyl flooring even looks like real wood and stone.

Considerations and Warnings

  • It’s easier to remodel a basement in a new home than it is renovating a basement in an older house. This is mainly because newer homes have more accessible stairs. Also, in most cases, the plumbing in newer homes is already in place for including an additional bathroom.
  • If your basement doesn’t have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, be sure to add them.
  • To reduce the amount of noise from a newly constructed basement playroom or media room, install sound insulation in your basement’s ceiling. If you don’t have a sound break, noise can penetrate through the wood into your drywall, affecting the rest of your house.
  • Allow for sufficient clearance for heating equipment.
  • Contact your insurance agent to make sure that you have coverage for a finished basement as sometimes finished basements are not insured.
  • Basement remodeling typically requires securing a building permit, along with an electrical permit.
    To learn more about basement remodeling, call the remodeling professionals at Pagenstecher Group. We do home renovations, kitchen remodeling and home additions. Please contact us and see what we have to offer.

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a home renovation can be all the differenceWondering the best way to give your home's exterior a brand new look? You will be thrilled at the new look a home renovation can offer your home.

Think about adding a new porch or portico. The new feature will be a joyful surprise everytime you pull in the driveway.

Why wait any longer for those of you not happy with their home's current exterior!

Here is the full article on Houzz where you can find additional home renovation ideas and tips.

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6 questions to ask when considering home additions in maryland

If your current home is beginning to seem a bit cramped, then it might be time to consider home additions in Maryland. After all, building a home addition will give you the added space and functionality you need without the hassle of moving and leaving your current neighborhood. Of course, a home addition is a major project and not one that should be taken lightly. Specifically, there are a few questions you'll want to ask of any addition contractor before you sign any kind of contract.

Can You Work With My Specific Budget?

Start by determining a budget range that's feasible for you. You should always factor in a little bit extra for any unforeseen expenses that arise during the addition project. Either way, it's important that you find a contractor who's willing to work with your specific budget and help maximize it.

Do I Have the Proper Zoning?

Depending on how your land is zoned, you may have certain restrictions that need to be kept in mind when planning your addition. For example, many residential zoning laws require that homes be built a certain distance away from sidewalks, roads, or an adjacent lot. Therefore, if you're limited in terms of expanded outwards, you may need to think about expanding upwards. A contractor familiar with local zoning laws will be able to advise you on this.

Will I Need a New HVAC System?

Depending on how much square footage you're adding to your home, there's a chance that you may need a new HVAC system as well. After all, your existing HVAC system may simply not be powerful enough to provide heat or cool air to the added space. This is something that many homeowners fail to consider when planning an addition, so be sure to ask your contractor about this and factor in the cost of a new HVAC system into the budget, if necessary.

How Well Will it Blend in With My Home?

When planning your home addition, it's important to consider not only how it'll look from the inside, but from the exterior as well. Some home additions aren't very well planned and end up sticking out like a sore thumb when looking from the outside. This could affect your ability to sell your home down the road, as curb appeal is important to many buyers these days. So, be sure to talk with your contractor to develop a plan regarding how the new addition with blend in with the rest of the home's existing structure.

Will You Obtain the Necessary Permits?

There will likely need to be several permits that need to be obtained from local municipalities before construction is able to start. You should find out up front from your contractor who will be responsible for obtaining these permits. Most reputable contractors will be happy to do this on your behalf and at no additional charge, saving you the time and hassle. However, you shouldn't assume that this will be the case.

Is a Follow-Up Inspection Included?

Last but not least, find out whether or not your city requires follow-up inspections once construction is completed. If so, who will be responsible for the cost of this inspection, and who will be brought in for the job? You may need to pay a few hundred dollars out-of-pocket, and your contractor may be able to recommend an inspector to take care of this for you.

As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind when planning for a home addition project in your Maryland home. For more assistance throughout the process, please contact us today.

tips for your home remodel

Your home is a place you want to enjoy being in. When it isn’t designed for this purpose, your quality of life could suffer. Luckily, there are several ways you can remodel your home to make it more enjoyable. However, a home remodel can be a stressful situation for homeowners. Here are some tips to help make the process a little easier.

Look for Ways to Save Money

Doing a full renovation of your home can be extremely expensive. But, there are some things you can do to save money. For example, instead of completely replacing your kitchen cabinets, maybe you can get the look you want by changing out the hardware or by simply refinishing them with a different color. Some cabinets can even be transformed pretty easily into open shelving without spending a lot of money.

You can also save money on the material you use. You may be able to find some good deals on materials that have been reclaimed from other homes. Also, choosing an option that is a little less expensive over your original choice may be a great option.

One note of caution, however. You should be careful that you are purchasing quality products whenever you are completing a home renovation project. There are some things that you will want to purchase at full price, just so you can get the quality product that will last a long time in your home. In the end, you may even save money going this route because you won’t need to replace the products when they wear out sooner than expected.

Consider the Value

Most homeowners have a long list of renovation projects they want to tackle, but may not have the capability of completing them all at once. If you are in this situation, it is best to examine your list for value.

Start renovations by completing the ones that will provide the most value to your family. For example, if you have a large family and only one bathroom, adding that spare bathroom may be the best option to go with. However, if you are a smaller family and don’t have a workable kitchen, you may want to go that route instead.

Even if you are planning to sell your home in the near future, you may still want to look at some renovations you can complete to add value to your home. There are many renovations that actually make your home worth more and make it easier to sell. Take some time reviewing other homes in the area that have sold quickly and compare them to your home. Complete renovations that will make your home comparable to these homes for the best value.

Trusting your Contractor

Possibly the best way to make sure you have a great home remodel is to trust in the advice given you of your contractor. Your contractor is the best person to help you make those tough decisions and to determine whether your project is achievable.

When choosing a contractor, make sure you take time to research your options so that you are able to find the best option possible. With a great contractor by your side, you will be able to know that your project will run smoothly, on time and under budget.

Another thing to consider when completing a home renovation is the fact that there are certain codes and regulations that must be followed. Without the aid of a certified contractor, understanding these items won’t be possible.

Keeping these tips in mind is the first place to start when you are considering a home remodel. They will help get you started in the right direction and keep your project running smoothly. To learn more about this, contact us today.

basement remodeling tips and ideas

For those who have been given the added bonus of having a basement, there are plenty of ways you can make the space work as your own. Whether you are looking to add a special getaway for the family, a hideaway for certain portions of the family or even a rental space, a basement is a great advantage to a home.

However, not all basements start out being finished. Plus, many that have been finished are lacking the touch that the homeowners desire to make the room live up to its potential. If you are considering remodeling your basement, here are some things you will want to consider.

Be Flexible

One mistake that many homeowners make is creating a basement that is extremely specific to their tastes. This could be because they have a designated purpose for the room or have a vision that is much different from other homeowners.

However, it is always a good idea to keep the future in mind when you are designing your basement. By being flexible you will be able to adapt to the future where you may have a different vision for the area. This could also make it easier to sell your home in the future.

Maximize the Space

Another aspect that is great for the basement is the addition of extra storage. Many families use the basement for storage, but you may lose some of that storage space by finishing it. Luckily, you can recoup some of your storage by adding in custom shelving, built-ins and additional storage areas.

This is another bonus for when you decide to sell your home. Potential home buyers will love the additional use of the storage and you will be able recoup some of your remodeling costs by doing so. This can also help make your life a little simpler because you will not have to find new places to store your belongings. It will also help to have the extra storage space as you grow your family.

Make sure you Waterproof

One of the downsides of many basements is that they are wet and damp. This typically happens when water makes its way between the slab and the foundation wall because of cracks in the foundation. If this is the case, it is always best to enlist the aid of a professional contractor to help waterproof the company.

Having water in your basement is never something that is good for your home. It can cause mold and mildew to develop, which could make the occupants of your home sick. However, by correcting the problem, you will be able to keep the water away from your new room. Along with this, you may also want to add an air purification system in your basement. This will help to keep stale odors and smells from lingering. But, this is not intended to cover up mold and mildew. Those should still be removed and the issue corrected before you begin your remodel.


Before you begin any home remodel, you should check with your area to determine whether you require a permit to finish the job. For the most part, a permit is usually required to finish up a basement. For this reason, it is usually best to rely on a contractor to help with the job. While you may be able to complete some of the work on your own, you will need the contractor’s expert advice to complete the project up to code.

If you are looking to remodel your basement in the Maryland area, be sure to contact us. We will be able to offer even more tips and ideas regarding your model and help you to make sure you are compliant with local laws.

residential remodeling in your maryland home 5 upgrades thatll provide the largest return on investment

Whether you're interested in selling your home in the near future or are simply wanting to make some improvements to make your home more enjoyable, there's a good chance that you're considering residential remodeling in Maryland. However, if you're going to be spending your hard-earned money on remodeling your home, don't you want to enjoy the greatest return on investment (ROI) in the process? If so, then there are a few specific remodeling projects that you may want to consider--especially if you're looking to sell.

Kitchen Remodel

Most buyers these days tend to place updated kitchen and bathroom spaces as a top priority when looking at homes. Therefore, if you have an outdated kitchen, you'll have a hard time selling unless you spend some money on updating it. Whether it be a minor renovation, such as refinishing the cabinets and installing new hardware, or something more drastic like a total kitchen remodel (including new appliances, flooring, countertops, and more), kitchen renovations tend to have the greatest returns on investment of all the residential remodeling options out there.

Bathroom Remodel

In addition to kitchen spaces, today's buyers want luxurious and upgraded bathroom spaces (especially in master bathrooms). So if you have an outdated bathroom, now is the time to consider replacing the flooring with something more modern, installing a new vanity, and perhaps even retiling that old shower/tub combo (or even replacing it with a luxurious walk-in shower). To really wow potential buyers and achieve that luxury spa-like getaway, consider add-ons like heated floors and even a heated towel rack.

Added Square Footage

These days, bigger is better when it comes to home size. The more bedrooms and bathrooms a home has, the more it's worth. So if you've been considering a home addition, now is a great time to make it happen. Whether you're looking to add more square footage to your master bedroom or would even like to add an entirely new bedroom, den, office, or bathroom, a home addition project can help you make that happen.

Generally, the more bedrooms and bathroom your home has available, the higher the value of your home. The same goes with living space; if you have a small living room, consider adding onto it or even adding a separate family room or den space that potential buyers will fall in love with. Another fun option to consider is that of adding a game room.

Finishing a Basement

If you currently have an unfinished basement, then you have a lot of untapped potential in your home--especially when it comes to living space and square footage. After all, did you know that an unfinished basement typically doesn't count towards your square footage in a home real estate listing? If you finish the space, however, it can be counted and can also be a huge selling point to potential buyers. Whether you decide to add bedrooms, a living area, or even a bar, a finished basement is a great way to make the most of the space in your home without having to add onto its footprint.

Creating an Open Floor Plan

Last but not least, transforming your living space so that it has an open floor plan can also be a great way to add value to your home. Today's buyers are all about the open floor plan, so knocking down walls that separate your living, dining, and kitchen spaces can make a huge difference. Just be sure to work with a professional when knocking down walls to ensure that they aren't load-bearing and, if they are, that proper support beams can be installed.

Looking for more information or help with your next home remodeling project? Feel free to contact us today!

5 tips for building home additions in maryland

There are many reasons why you may decide to add on to your home. Maybe you've outgrown it but you don't want to move, or you want to rent out a room for income. Maybe you just want some extra space. Whatever the reason for planning your Maryland home addition, here are 5 tips for getting your project done right:

1. Decide Why You Want to Build

Before jumping into a home addition project, ask yourself why you want to add on in the first place. Do you want to create a new space, or simply expand an existing room? Are you adding a new living space for family members, or planning to rent it out? Having a clear plan in mind for the future of your addition will help you to plan out the size, style, and layout of your new space.

2. Set a Budget

A budget is an important factor in any home improvement project, but it is especially important to set one when planning your addition. Depending on the size of your addition, the job can end up being a good deal more costly than a simple renovation. Having a set budget will make the planning and organizing aspects of your project go much more smoothly, and you won't have to worry about accidentally building outside of your price range.

3. Choose a Style

There's no shortage of variety when it comes to shapes, layouts, and styles of home additions; the only problem is figuring out which one you want to go with. An addition shouldn't look as though it were just 'tacked on' to your home - instead, it should blend seamlessly into the overall design of the house. With that in mind, try to stick closely to the original look and style of your home. Another thing to consider is where to put your addition. Most people immediately think of building out, but building up is another option to consider. If there are certain zoning laws in your area, or if losing yard space is a concern for you, building vertically may be the way to go for you.

4. Choose Colors and Patterns

As mentioned before, you want your addition to blend into the rest of your house, not stick out from it. The easiest way to do this is to match all of the outside materials such as the roofing, siding and window or door frames. If you can't find exact matches, consider a color or style that complements the rest of your house instead.

5. Find The Right Team

Probably the most important element of your home addition project - and any home improvement project for that matter - is finding a reliable contracting team to put it all together. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when looking for a professional contractor:

  • Good contractors use fair pricing. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest contractor that you can find, but this is always a bad move. Shady contracting companies often try to get business by underselling the competition, and in return you'll get a shoddy job done on your home. On the other hand, there are companies that will charge far too much for the work they do. Finding a fair contractor can be a daunting task, but by doing your research and comparing customer reviews and ratings, you can find a contracting team that is both affordable and reliable.
  • A good contractor will get the job done in time. When you're adding on to your home, the last thing you want is a project that is going to stretch on and on. Talk to your contractor about the deadlines you have in mind and, as long as they're reasonable, the right contractors will do their best to reach them
  • A good contractor will take the time to listen. Being able to communicate with your contracting team is essential to having your project done the way you want it to be. Your contractor should offer his professional advice, but be open to creative ideas as well.

 If you're looking for a professional, dependable contracting team in the Maryland area, contact us today. Our team is dedicated to helping you create the home you've always wanted, by giving you the help and support you need.

top 10 reasons why home remodeling is cool

It's no secret that real estate inventory is at its lowest point ever. The financial world is still a bit shaky, with banks and other lenders cracking down on home mortgages and payment procedures. What's a homeowner to do? You need extra room or an upgraded kitchen and bathrooms before the family splits at the seams. There's an answer for that, so here are the top ten reasons why home remodeling in Maryland is cool!

One.  Contractors

Builders and contractors aren't quite sitting around playing Texas Hold 'Em, but they are sitting idle at times. Many are taking remodel jobs for lack of more lucrative add-ons or other building opportunities. Time between jobs is shorter, too, so you won't have to wait for a contractor to finish a job before he can get to yours. Homeowners will get a better price now than they would have during the boom-time.

Two. A Buyer's Market

The real estate industry is assuring us that it's a buyer's market out there. However, if the inventory is as low as they say, then moving might not be a good idea. Remodeling will give homeowners the space or the upgrades they need. When it does come time to sell the house, it will be modern and attractive to buyers.

Three. Money

Interest rates are low. Homeowners with little to no equity in their homes against which to borrow might take out a loan and get good rates. As long as homeowners have decent credit and a job, they're usually in.

Four. A Home Purchase

If homeowners have just purchased a home, then making it "yours" would be a good idea before moving in. Make those bathrooms the spa bathrooms of your dreams. Make that kitchen into the room of your dreams. Don't like where that wall is situated? Knock it down to make a larger space. Need more closet space? Take out one of the smaller bedrooms, add your closet space and use the remainder of the area for a home office, a home gym, a media room or a hobby room. Build bay windows or oriels, build niches into the walls, establish built-ins for the entertainment system, books or your entertainment library. Make it the home of your dreams right now and you won't have to search for it any longer.

Five. Green Living

Since mankind has pretty well upset the balance of the planet he lives on, it's a good idea to restore that balance. Pronto. Building a greener home is one of the ways mankind can do that. Using recycled building materials, making sure the windows and doors are energy efficient, sustainable energy sources, energy efficient appliances and other green practices ensure the homeowners' carbon footprint stays within green limits.

Six. I Like It Like That!

Perhaps homeowners are already in the home of their dreams, but it could use a little pizzazz. Maybe you hate house-hunting and would rather live in a pup tent than search for another house. No problem. Think about it. You finally have the landscaping the way you want it. Perhaps you put in a pool and an outdoor room a few years ago. Maybe the trees you planted when you bought the house are just now shading the house, thereby helping with the power bill. Maybe the hot pepper plants you planted when you moved in have kept termites at bay all these years. Why would you start all over with these things? The answer: remodel, Maryland!

Seven. Floor Plans

When you bought the house, the floor plan was all you dreamed it could be. It still is. However, the kids are grown and on their way to college. Your elderly parents will need looking after in the near future. Floor plans can be changed to suit your peculiar circumstances. If the floor plan was perfect then, it will be perfect now. Just rearrange some things and you'll have a floor plan that keeps up with your ever-changing needs.

Eight. A Matter of Style

When you bought your house, it was the epitome of style and grace. Mores and styles change over the years, though. The autumn tones of the stoves, fridges and washing machines have segued into functional white. The butcher-block counter that was all the rage back then has turned into quartz and marble. Lighting has changed from the old-fashioned flush-mount fixture into pendant fixtures, recessed cans and focus lighting. Backsplashes are now brick, stone, decorative tile or painted to look like an aquarium complete with fish. You get the idea. Bringing your house into the 21st century is cool.

Nine. Show Me the Money

So many rebates and tax credits are available to homeowners who upgrade to energy efficient things that it would be a shame to miss out on all that money. Homeowners who switch to geothermal heating and cooling, solar energy, wind energy and other sustainable energy sources net a decent return come tax time. As mentioned above, energy efficient windows, doors and appliances also sport a rebate or tax credit for homeowners.

Ten. It's Still the Same

Homeowners who still have the least distance to drive to work due to the infrastructure in addition to those who are near good schools, entertainment and shopping would be better off remodeling their home. Why find a new house that might not have all these amenities? If the neighbors are still great and the neighborhood still nice, then by all means stay put.

From the architectural drawings to the consultation before building begins, homeowners will have a say in every step of the remodel process. Our passion and professionalism shows in everything we do. We'll be happy to tell you more about it when you contact us for more information.

remodeling companiesMany clients working with remodeling companies like ours are looking for what's called design and build services. These are homeowners looking for award winning architects for home design and renovations ideas that will make them the envy of their neighbors. Some want a contemporary architect for a thoroughly modern home, others want a more classic colonial home renovation.

Unfortunately, some homeowners will also try and save money by hiring cheap contractors. And trust us, most remodeling companies have been begged to take a last-minute job to clean up someone else's bad work. Too many sketchy contractors want to make a quick buck with shoddy work. But here's the hard truth about these situations -- not all failed contracting jobs are the result of criminal intent. Sometimes, it's just incompetence.

Home Renovation and Design: Why Experience Matters
This year, 60% of U.S. homeowners say they are finally ready to spend more on home improvements. In a 2013 Houzz survey, just 40% of homeowners said they were financially prepared to hire remodeling companies. So if you're one of the countless Americans who's been saving up for home remodeling, then it's important to know the risks. Sometimes a homeowner will hire an earnest contractor offering a great deal. In other cases, a friend recommends someone they know personally, a great guy who could use the work. But when it comes time to finish the job, it's a disaster. The workmanship is poor, materials and trash get left on the property, and important tasks are left half-finished.

The ugly truth is that some contractors bite off more than they can chew. They take a job truly believing they can do a great job. Even if they're personally skilled, managing the home remodeling process takes experience. You need to know how to hire the right workers and where to purchase the best materials in addition to practicing safety on job sites and managing time on a project wisely, among other factors.

How To Choose an Architect for Whole Home Renovation?
When it comes to residential design and build remodeling, experience is key, and you don't want to hand over the keys to your home to just anyone. You need to look for home remodeling companies with a proven reputation for home design and renovation projects. You might be able to find cheap labor, but ultimately you get what you pay for in the end.

Look for remodeling companies with a highly professional web presence. The best design and build companies are proud of their remodeling portfolio and eager to work with you to turn your family's home into the home of your dreams. The best architects know how to balance their experience and your wishes, then turn them into reality -- on time and on budget. In addition to references, the company should have a local reputation for excellence.

Choose the Right Architect, and Your Remodel Could Pay For Itself... If you want to invest in your future, then a whole home renovation is a safe investment. Even partial renovations can have big effects. The average bathroom remodel has a return on investment rate of 63.6%, while kitchen remodeling can bring an ROI of 73%. Not only will these projects increase your home's value, but inspiring interior design architecture can improve your mood and quality of life to boot.

design and build contractorStop us if this sounds familiar.

During the recession, you put off remodeling projects while you tightened your belt. You may have browsed Southern Living Magazine looking for ideas for home renovations, but your remodeling ideas never got past the daydream stage. But now, you're finally ready to invest in the unique home renovations you've been dreaming about. Of course, actually turning those dreams into blueprints is a long, complicated process.

But it doesn't have to be...

Simplify the Home Remodeling Process With Design and Build Contractors
In days gone by, homeowners would hire an architect or interior designer when remodeling their home. Then, that architect would in turn hire contractors to turn those plans into reality. Often they would hire different teams for different parts of the house. Unfortunately, that creates an adversarial relationship between the designer and contractors. And what do you do when the contractor tells you one thing and the architect another?

That's where design and build companies come in.

Design build architecture brings the design and building process under one roof, ensuring a seamless transition between each phase of the project. Design and build contractors work with your architects, not against them. Plus, by using a single design firm for your entire remodeling project, you can cut some of the redundant costs that often come with large remodeling projects.

How To Choose an Architect/Design and Build Contractor?
The National Association of Home Builders reports that bathroom remodeling is the most requested home improvement project, with 78% of renovation jobs involving bathroom work. But in 2015, 60% of homeowners are spending more on home improvements than those who did so in 2014. Whether you want to build a new master bathroom or a whole home renovation, you want to spend your money wisely.

That means hiring an experienced design build architecture firm. But how do you know you're working with the right design and build contractors? If you're planning a home renovation, then you're savvy enough to know that you should only work with contractors who are licensed and insured, who have solid references and great reviews. But you should also make sure to ask questions like:

  • Can you provide photos and references for similar projects you've completed?

  • Can you provide a written estimate? What happens if the project goes over the agreed budget?

  • What makes your designers unique? Do you have experience with contemporary architecture? What about colonial home renovation?

  • Do you have experience working with historic home renovations?

Invest in Your Future
You don't want to open your home to just any design and build contractors. You want to find a firm that makes you feel comfortable and even excited about the project. Any halfway experienced contractor can put up a new roof, build a backyard deck, or install new fixtures in your kitchen. But if you're looking for the kind of unique home renovations you see Southern Living Magazine and your friends' Pinterest boards, then that means working with experienced architects and their own team of contractors.

We've got one last tip for picking the perfect residential design and build firm for your family. The best firms aren't just proud of their work, they like to show it off. When you visit their website, their past projects should be front and center.

Published in the Washingtonian by Jennifer Sergent | October 8, 2015

Despite their home’s spaciousness, a Chevy Chase family left their tight galley kitchen untouched for 18 years. At first, the wife—a New York transplant used to tiny apartment kitchens—was able to deal. But over time, the avid cook and entertainer grew tired of being cut off from guests while she prepared meals. She called Nadia N. Subaran of Aidan Design to carve out a bigger kitchen.... Read Full Article




remodelAs baby boomers continue to age, the demand for universal design continues to grow each year. Universal design remodeling is the process of designing a living space without sacrificing visual appeal or style. As a result, we expect to see more open floor plans, roll-in showers, wider doorways, floating sinks and cabinets, and other wheelchair-accessible features in future renovation and design projects. Here are three rooms that can be remodeled into a more universally-functional space.

For those who are confined to a wheelchair, it can be difficult to maneuver around small, cramped bathrooms. Universal bathrooms will have plenty of floor space, and will be treated with a non-slip surface to minimize accidents. Lower seated toilets are recommended for those who have difficulty getting onto the toilet, along with the installation of grab bars or rails.

When it comes to home remodeling, the kitchen is the second most popular project. In a recent survey, 69% of respondents said they remodeled their kitchens. In the last five years, nearly four in 10 home improvement dollars went into a home’s kitchen. To make your kitchen more universal, consider easily-accessible storage for your pots, pans, dishes, and food. Slightly taller cabinets can help for those who have issues bending over, while pull-out work surfaces can help those in a wheelchair.

The bedroom is a very special room, and often the room that you spend the most amount of time in. Remodeling your bathroom to incorporate universal design can be easy, and incorporates unique and functional design elements. One of the biggest issues with a bedroom is space, so a universal bedroom should be wide and have plenty of floor space. Look for drawers and cabinets that are easy to open and close, and provide the right design to allow for the right grip.

remodelingIf you’ve been thinking about home renovation, there’s no better time than the present. A 2013 Houzz survey showed that 84% of respondents planned to decorate or redecorate, 40% planned to remodel or build an addition, and 10% were in the process of building a custom home. However, many homeowners jump into home renovation without paying attention to the specific building codes that can be violated while remodeling their home. Here are three code violations that are often forgotten during home renovation.

Bathroom Ventilation
According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, bathroom remodeling is the most requested job in the United States and accounts for 78% of renovations. On average, a bathroom design remodel has an ROI of 63.6%. However, there are a lot of things that need to go into a bathroom to keep it up to code, including the proper amount of ventilation. Ventilation moves the humidity in the air out of your bathroom, which can lead to the growth of mold or rotting wood. To ensure that your bathroom is properly ventilated, humidity should be let out of your house through a 4-inch ventilation pipe.

Handrails are used to help people up the stairs, and can be a great way to assist those who have mobility issues in getting up and down the stairs safely. However, there are a set of strict codes that dictate the exact positioning of the handrail. Code states that the ends of a wall-side handrail have to make a 90 degree turn and end at the wall. This is to make sure that the ends of the handrail can't catch a purse or snag your clothes, which can end up in a tumble otherwise.

Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment, and help prevent thousands of deaths. However, just having a smoke alarm is not enough. Smoke alarms are required to be on every floor of the house, and should be in each sleeping area and bedroom entry. To ensure they work properly, place them at least 3 feet away from vents, fans, and any lighting fixtures.

If the outside of your home looks old or under maintained, there's no better time to think about remodeling than the present. A 2013 Houzz survey reported that 84% of respondents were planning on redecorating, 40% planned on remodeling, and 10% were in the process of building their own custom home.There are a variety of different home improvement projects that can create an instantly updated home exterior. Here are some house renovation design remodeling ideas that will vastly improve your home’s curb appeal.

If your yard is unkempt or uncoordinated, it will likely overshadow the better features of the house. Before you start to update your physical home, take a look at your front yard and entryway. Simply cutting the grass, raking up leaves, and trimming your trees and bushes can automatically make your house more appealing. Move your trash into the back, or store it in the garage where the neighbors can’t see.

New Siding
Old, worn siding can contribute up to 10% of home value loss, and can make the outside of your home look dirty and unkempt. Replacing your siding can freshen up the outside of your home, and will increase its value immediately. For a contemporary, innovative look, try applying different types of siding to your home’s exterior to create different textures.

Patios and Decks
Although homeowners annually build about twice as many patios as they do decks, both outdoor projects are a great addition to any home. With the ever-increasing love of outdoor living, this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Try adding other features that can be enjoyed outdoors, such as a bar or fire pit.

Front Door Makeover
A new door can add a fresh, new look to the front of your home. For a low-cost fix, try painting the door a bright color, which will create an eye-catching pop. Or, if your door is old, consider installed a newer door that matches your home’s unique style.

design and build contractors

Home renovations have been on the rise, with 53% of homeowners agreeing that right now is the best time to invest in home renovations. In a recent 2013 survey by Houzz, 84% of respondents were planning to redecorate, 40% were planning on remodeling, and 10% were in the process of building a custom home. But where should a homeowner start? Well, why not the attic? On average, attic bedroom remodeling projects have an overall return on investment of 79.4%. For when you're planning on renting out the space, or just looking for extra room, an attic bedroom remodel can be a smart investment. Whether you’re planning on doing it by yourself, or hiring design and build contractors, here are a few things to keep in mind during your attic renovation.

Building Codes
Before you can start work on your attic remodeling, you have to first check to ensure that you are legally able too. A livable space needs to have at least two ways out, such as a stairway or window. In addition, the ceiling must be a certain height to be considered usable. If your only access to the attic is through pull-down stairs, you will have to install a stationary staircase before it is legal to live in the attic. If you are unsure whether or not your renovations will meet building codes, have it looked at by professional design and build contractors.

Extending Your Home Services
Bedrooms need all the proper hookups in order to create a comfortable living space. This includes the addition of electrical outlets, heating and cooling vents, and any other services in your home, such as cable or Internet access.

In order for an attic to be comfortably livable, you will need to provide proper insulation padding. Since the attic is directly below your home’s roof, it will lose heating and cooling faster than other rooms in the house. This can lead to an unnecessary increase in your heating and cooling bills, and can make your new bedroom fluctuate between uncomfortable temperatures.

historic home renovations

Historic home renovations can be a challenging but incredibly rewarding endeavor. The architectural history of the United States is relatively young, and one of the best things you can do to create an architectural legacy in this country is remodeling an old house rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. But be forewarned: Whole home renovations are almost always bigger projects than homeowners anticipate, and that can go double for historic homes. Here are the five biggest pitfalls you’ll want to avoid if you’re interested in historic home renovations:
  1. Creating a Budget With No Wiggle Room It’s always smart to have a contingency fund when you’re planning a renovation (most experts recommend having about 10% of your budget stashed away for emergencies). But that’s even more important when you’re planning to restore an historic home. Numerous unforeseen circumstances may arise, and you often will want to spend more on finishings than you expect in order to match them to the older elements of the house; nothing looks tackier in a 200-year-old Colonial than laminate countertops.

  2. Leaving Modern Functionality Behind Don’t think you have to sacrifice modern comforts in an older home -- and don’t think that buyers will be willing to, either, if you anticipate someday putting the home on the market. Pay particular attention to adding all the newest conveniences to the kitchen and bathrooms. Bathroom remodeling is the most requested job in the U.S., according to the National Association of Home Builders (78% of renovations), and kitchen remodeling comes in second (69%). It’s true that these kinds of renovations can be pricey; nearly four out of every 10 home improvement dollars have gone into kitchens in the past five years. But they also have the potential to add quite a lot of value to your home.

  3. Being Limited by Existing Room Divisions Older houses tend to have lots of little rooms that don’t match up with modern lifestyles. Ask your builders which walls are structural, or “load bearing,” to figure out whether it would be easy to knock down a few walls for a more open layout. Structural walls can be moved, of course, it’s just a more expensive and labor-intensive project.

  4. Forgetting About What You Can’t See It’s easy to make plans to renovate by painting and changing up decorative elements. But you’ll also need to make sure that the things you can’t so easily see -- old wiring, inadequate insulation, mold, asbestos, wood rot, lead paint -- are properly dealt with. In the long run, it’s an investment in both the longevity of the structure and your safety. If you haven’t yet bought the house you’re planning to renovate, consider hiring a home inspector who has experience with historic homes before you sign your mortgage.

  5. Trying to Fix Every Tiny Imperfection Old houses have quirks, and you’ll need to embrace them. Yes, that means that something might not be perfectly centered because of where the old radiator pipes were. But that’s just part of the charm of an older home.
,br> Do you have any advice regarding historic home renovations to share? Join the discussion in the comments.


It's the season for home improvement. A recent study showed that 53% of homeowners agree that now is a good time to renovate a home, and more than 60% of homeowners are prepared to spend more in 2015 than those who renovated their homes in 2014. If you've been thinking about improving your home, but aren't certain where to start, here are some of the most popular home remodeling ideas that will improve the value of your home.

Bathroom Remodeling
Bathroom remodeling is one of the most popular home remodeling projects in the United States, according to the National Association of Home Builders, totaling 78% of all renovations. Incorporating extra storage, such as an extra shelf in the shower, helps keep the bathroom tidy at all times. If you're looking to add more light into your bathroom, consider installing frosted glass blocks. This will let in the sunlight, while providing you with the privacy you desire.

Kitchen Expansion
The kitchen is the room that sees the most action in the house. That's why many homeowners look to remodel their small or outdated kitchens. Create a functional kitchen by adding a walk-in pantry, double sink, extra storage, or a larger table space. Modern kitchens are equipped with the newest 'green' appliances that can help reduce a homeowners impact on the environment, and even save them money on their electricity bills.

Adding a Garage
Garages are one of the best and easiest additions you can make to your home. Installing a garage takes little time, as there is no need for finished flooring and dry wall, plumbing, or heating and cooling ducts. Garages can give your car protection against the environment, store your property, or even be turned into a great party venue. In addition, many insurance policies will lower a homeowners monthly car insurance bill if they store their cars in a garage.

remodelThe home remodeling market is rebounding after the housing crisis; over half (53%) of homeowners now agree that it’s a good time to renovate, and more than 60% of homeowners are planning to spend more on home remodeling this year. But here’s the thing about home renovation: It’s an easy process to mess up. So if you’re planning to build or remodel on any scale this year, you should know five of the biggest ways homeowners ruin their renovations. Here’s what you shouldn’t be doing:

  1. Getting Help From Friends Just because your buddy built his own back deck doesn’t mean you should forgo hiring professionals. The risk of something going wrong is simply too great. And if something does go wrong, you’ll be on the hook for it if you haven’t hired pros, who protect you through insurance, guarantees and other measures.

  2. Doing Your Own Shopping You might be thinking you’ll save some money by at least doing your own shopping for supplies, even if you hire professional contractors to do the installation. But that’s generally not the case. Home renovation and design professionals have access to industry discounts, and they can pass those discounts along to you. Plus, of course, they’re less likely to make expensive mistakes in the buying process.

  3. Trying to Live In the House It’s better for everyone if you find a temporary place to live during the remodeling process. The work will be able to be completed more quickly, and you’ll find that it places much less stress on your family life -- you’d be surprised how hard remodeling can be on a marriage.

  4. Ignoring Possible Contingencies Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and have a contingency fund. Especially if you’re remodeling an older home, there will be surprises, most of which will be completely out of your contractor’s control.

  5. Skipping the Official Permits You might think that permits aren’t necessary when you’re doing something like finishing a basement or attic. After all, you’re just making more of the space you already have, right? Wrong. You shouldn’t let it deter you from remodeling these types of spaces -- attic bedroom remodels can get as much as a 79.4% return on investment -- but you should know that if you want to be able to sell your house later on, you’ll need to have had all work done with the proper permits.

  6. How else do homeowners sabotage renovations? Share your thoughts in the comments.

remodeling ideas

For many homeowners, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. It is the room that often sees the most activity, and therefore is the room that needs the most work. If a kitchen is not as functional as you like, it may be a good time to consider remodeling. A survey by the National Association of Home Builders states that kitchen renovations are the second most popular home improvement projects, with 69% of homeowners stating they have already or plan to build or remodel their kitchen, and kitchen renovations account for 40% of money spent on home renovations. If your kitchen could use an update, here are a few remodeling ideas that can spruce up your kitchen and make your life a little easier.

Cabinet Solutions
Cabinets are a big part of establishing the overall tone of your kitchen. Stainless steel cabinets can give your kitchen a sleek, sophisticated modern look. If you're looking for a fun, quirky kitchen, try painting cabinet insets a different color for a multi-color effect. Or, create a fun pop with bright cabinets against a white wall.

For the Cluttered Kitchen
The key to having a clean kitchen is tons of storage, so consider adding features such as multi-level storage cabinets, or a built in trash dispenser to clear up a cluttered kitchen. If you have too many pots and pans, consider placing a hanging rack by the oven for easy access.

Shed Some Light on It
If your kitchen is too dark, install some windows to let in the light. If you don't want to sacrifice your privacy for a little more light, consider using a few lines of glass window blocks instead. Adding lights underneath your cabinets can make preparing food on the counter easier, and can also be useful when searching for late night snacks. Large paper lanterns can create a mellow lighting, and look great in the modern home.

These kitchen remodeling ideas can breathe new life into your house, and even raise its value. It's been estimated that even minor kitchen renovation and design projects can give homeowners a return on investment of 73%. Whether you do a full rebuild, or decide just to switch things up with a fresh coat of paint, kitchen remodeling can be the perfect way to improve your house.


It's easy to ignore all of those little projects that need to be done in your home. Remodeling can be an costly investment, and many homeowners will often choose to move instead of worrying about renovations. If you're unsatisfied with your current home and seek a change, here is some advice about home renovation and whether or not it is right for you.

First, evaluate the cost of remodeling versus the cost of moving. Shop around for information on remodeling a home, and compare the prices to that of a mortgage for a new home, along with other fees such as a moving van, Realtor fees, and so on. Keep in mind the other factors that may go into buying a house, such as taxes and the local school district. It's also good to consider the value that can be added to your home through remodeling purposes. Even something as simple as renovating that old attic bedroom can return you an overall 79.4% on your initial investment. Bathroom and kitchen renovations can also earn you a return of around 63.6% and 79.4%, respectively. Remodeling can be a great way to breathe new life in your house, and can save you the hassle of trying to move yourself to a completely new place.

Many homeowners agree that now is a great time to start the home remodeling process. A survey by Houzz in 2013 reported that 84% of respondents planned to decorate or redecorate, 40% had some remodeling planned, and 10% were in the process of building their own custom home. In addition, 60% of homeowners said they planned to spend more to build or remodel their home in 2015 than in the year before. So whether you plan on giving your house a remodeling face lift, or decide that it's time to move, now is the time to do it.

remodelin gideasHave you been considering remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? If not, it may be the time to do so, as 53% of homeowners agree that now is a good time to renovate your home. It is estimated that in 2014, 60% of homeowners are prepared to spend more on their home remodeling process than those who made improvements in the last year. So if you've been thinking it may be time for some remodeling, here are some remodeling ideas for your home renovation projects that are taking homeowners by storm this year.

Based on a survey about home renovation by the National Association of Home Builders, bathroom remodeling accounts for 78% of requested home renovations in the United States. Homeowners now desire larger showering areas with more sophisticated technology, such as steam showers or larger, rainwater shower heads. Other trends include seating in the shower, or more shelving to place their toiletries within easy reach. When it comes to tiling, glass tiles can add a touch of sophistication in your bathroom.

Kitchen renovations are the second most popular home renovations, as 69% of homeowners surveyed have already remodeled their kitchen, or plan to soon. One of the most popular kitchen remodeling ideas is the handle-less trend, a technology that has been included in modern faucets, trash bins, and even cabinet doors. The addition of a breakfast bar or island can open up your kitchen, and will help bring the whole family together for during mealtime.

Home design and renovation can not only improve your lifestyle, but also raise the value of your home. Home with new bathrooms or kitchens are resell more quickly, as even minor bathroom or kitchen remodeling can improve your home's value and earn you a return of 63.6% or 73% on average, respectively. Using these remodeling ideas, you can keep your house in top shape, while also simplifying your home life and making your bathroom or kitchen the envy of your neighbors.

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Home remodeling projects can be overwhelming, particularly when you don't know where to start. If you are trying to sell your home, a renovation may be in order. Damaged or worn siding can devalue your home by 10%, and even small kitchen renovations can yield ROIs of approximately 70%. And, more than half of all homeowners believe now is the best time to remodel a home.

So you want to renovate -- but how do you choose what style to go with? Make your home stand out by investing in Victorian architects for renovations. 

Unique Designs
Remodeling your home to look like any other house won't impress buyers. Victorian architects understand the antique, retro look many buyers are into and can help compromise old styles with modern features and designs. Unique home renovations such as this can really help boost your home's overall market value and impress buyers.

Professional Vision
Perhaps you think you need to remodel every room, when this isn't truly the case. Victorian architects can help you better assess your space and decide what truly needs to be remodeled and what doesn't. They can also give you inspiration for adding Victorian touches to rooms you opt not to renovate.

Historic Home Renovations
If your home is historic, many Victorian architects can easily help you build or remodel while not disrupting the original integrity of the structure. This will help your historic home standout, without compromising the history of the building.

Having a unique theme or something different to notice about your house will capture the interest of buyers looking for a special home. If you are considering selling and want a competitive edge, seek Victorian architects to help envision and create your project.

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Forget about spring cleaning, how about spring improving with renovation and design projects? And if you're one of the 53% of homeowners who agree now is a good time to renovate a home, you're right! This year, over 60% of homeowners are armed and ready with checkbooks in hand to spend more than homeowners who made improvements in 2014.

Spring is a time of renewal and this mentality can also be applied to your home. In fact, more and more homeowners are choosing to improve their homes in order to beautify them and add value rather than moving. For example, did you know that even minor home renovation and design projects such as a small kitchen update can yield a return on investment (ROI) of up to 73%?

However, trends and house renovation design ideas come and go similar to the way fashion trends go in and out of season. As such, it can be difficult to combine your personal style and tastes regarding homerenovation and design with what's hot and what's not. Here are just a few ways you can combine some of the latest trends in home renovation and design with your own tastes to get the results you want.

Hands off
Many of the top home renovations are in the kitchen, and this year, some of the most unique home renovations are in the kitchen as well. "Hand-less" kitchens have become all the rage this year, featuring sleek, streamlined, and sophisticated silhouettes. Manufacturers are using several innovations to eliminate the need for handles on appliances, cabinets and faucets. However, this modernist aesthetic, while appealing, may be a bit too harsh or Spartan-looking for some. Try combining hand-less features with traditional accents to balance both old and new.

Pastel paint
Bold, bright accent walls in highly saturated and pigmented paint colors are so last season this year. Instead, homeowners are leaning towards softer, powdery pastels. These colors are especially helpful if you're trying to sell your home. Soft shades of neutral tones such in olive green, browns, blues, lavenders, and more are being sought. However, if you like things on the brighter side, try adding bold, colorful accents to balance things out a bit.

Sustainable materials
2015 is the year to reduce, reuse, and recycle old items for raw material. For example, old wood that can re-purposed to become furniture or flooring. Or using an old cast iron bathtub as part of your landscaping. It's common to pair these antique items with modern accents. To add your own personal touch, use old furniture, fabric, and material such as old metal and turn it into something new!


There's no doubt about it, renovating your home can truly be an exciting process, and one that can make you some extra cash come selling time. For example, on average, bathroom remodeling projects yield a return on investment (ROI) of 63.6%. In addition, even minor kitchen remodeling projects have an impressive ROI of 73%. And this year, more than 60% of homeowners are prepared to spend more on home renovation and design projects than those who did so last year.

Before beginning any residential design and build project, it's important to have a solid idea of your end goal or what you'd like the final result to look like. This is especially true for custom or unique home renovations that are uncommon.

Therefore, it's a good idea to have some ideas and questions about home renovation before you get started. Regardless of whether or not you're working with a contemporary architect or doing the work yourself, having solid ideas for home renovation projects keeps you on budget, expedites the entire process, and ensures you get the results you wanted.

If you need a little inspiration and are unsure where to look, here are a few ways to learn more about home renovation.

Subscribe to a home design or renovation magazine
Whether they're digital or via snail mail, home design magazines are a great source of inspiration and knowledge. Not only do they cover a wide variety of current trends in architecture and interior design, but you're likely to pick up a few tips and tricks from well known architects, designers, and decorators.

Go to an open house
Even if you're not interested in buying a new home, going to an open house may give you an idea of what renovations yield the highest ROI. In addition, physically seeing certain renovations may give you a better idea of if you'd really like something similar for your home.

Social media
Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram make finding inspiration easier than ever. Not only do you have access to a seemingly limitless supply of inspiring imagery, but you can share your ideas with other users. Not only does this create a sense of community, but it may add fuel to your creative, brainstorming fire.

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According to a 2013 Houzz survey, wholly 84% of Americans plan to redecorate within the next year. Another 40% revealed some kind of remodeling venture was in the works, and 10% were currently custom building an entirely new home. In other words, the desire to infuse more personality into our homes -- to build bigger and better things -- is always there. Thankfully, renovation and design trends are always changing and making it possible. Award winning architects reveal what is new in home design and renovation as well as the home remodeling process in 2015:

Go Ahead And Live A Little
Kitchen remodeling is a popular way to go (in a survey, 69% of homeowners remodeled their kitchens), but why not do something a little more fun? Industry experts reveal that wine bars are becoming increasingly common. "Full rooms dedicated to wine or liquors are no longer just for the avid collector," The Tennessean reports. "Wet-bar nooks are adding to the overall encouragement of relaxing and enjoying time at home."

Mini And Micro Are Trending
You're going to need some extra room for that wine bar (a necessity, of course). How are homeowners making up for it? Micro kitchens and micro laundry rooms are rapidly gaining popularity. The idea is to use space as efficiently as possible in these particular rooms, opening up large, open spaces for dining rooms or living rooms -- where people truly appreciate some extra room.

Start Small
Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Start small, and go from there. A popular new trend involves personalizing kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom appliance and furniture knobs by painting them for a pop of color or swapping them out for ornamental crystal handles.

Over half (53%) of Americans believe that there is no better time than right now to renovate or remodel their homes. Why not incorporate some of these new, stylish trends into the home remodeling process?

websites for architects
Are you one of more than half -- 53% -- of American homeowners who agree that now is a good time to renovate a home? Over 60% of homeowners are prepared to spend more on home remodeling projects this year, in 2015, than those who made home improvements in 2014. In fact, the entire home design and renovation industry has experienced significant growth in recent years as more and more home owners are choosing to 
improve rather thanmove.

Now that spring has arrived, it's the perfect time to begin fleshing out your spring or summer home renovation and design projects. There's no need to tear down and remodel your entire home if you're looking to add value to your property. In fact, whole home renovation isn't necessary in order to receive a worthwhile return on investment (ROI). Even minor kitchen remodeling projects can have an ROI of up to 73%.

Therefore, while planning your home remodeling project, it's important to keep your end goal in mind. Are you renovating in order to sell, or do you plan on staying put? This may help you determine the exact nature of your home remodel. For example, if you're renovating in order to sell, it's best to stick to neutral color schemes and include amenities and features that are highly sought after, such as wooden decks.

While properly budgeting for and planning your home remodeling process is important, it's equally if not more important to determine exactly what kind of home improvement professional is right for the job. For example, unique home renovations may require the expertise and skill of the best architects in your area, whereas a general contractor could be able to complete a simple kitchen renovation with ease.

There are a number of online forums and websites for architects in your area that may be helpful in determining who may be best for your specific project. When reviewing websites for architects and contractors in your area, pay close attention to the services offered as well as any client testimonials. This information can help you to better understand how the architect or contractor operates prior to meeting for a consultation.

renovation and design

Renovating a home has always been something many homeowners have done throughout the years. As houses age, so do homeowners, and many want to change their surroundings. Renovation and designs are perfectly feasible. In fact, they are very much popular personal projects nowadays. In a 2013 survey, for example, 84% of homeowners plan on redecorating their homes; 40% plan on remodeling or expanding their homes; and 10% plan on building their very own custom-built home. Home renovation and design isn't exclusive to the ultra-wealthy at all. Fifty-three percent of homeowners, rich and poor alike, agree that now is a good time to build or remodel their homes.

All areas of a house are fair-game when it comes to redecorating. Of all the home design and renovations, however, bathroom and kitchen projects are the most popular. Specifically, 78% of all renovations are done on bathrooms. A close second, kitchen projects account for 69% of renovations projects. Patios and decks are also top home renovations, and they are particularly popular with homes in warmer climates and nature-loving homeowners in general.

One thing to keep in mind about home renovation is that, if anything, they are more likely to increase in demand. As baby boomers continue to age and eventually retire, renovation and design projects geared toward accessibility will become more popular. From open floor plans and roll-in showers to floating sinks and wheelchair ramps, renovation projects will most likely flourish in the foreseeable future, which is good news for both baby boomers as well as renovation companies throughout the country.

From simple construction projects in your bathroom to full-scale remodeling for better accessibility, renovation and design projects can be found in homes throughout the country. There is little doubt about the future of such projects. Whether you decide to take on one yourself is a different matter. Feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom to find out more.

whole home renovation
It's just about that time of year again! The days are getting longer, the sun is out more, the temperature is finally warming up, and pretty soon, spring will officially be here. As the majority of home renovation and design projects take place in the spring and summer, now is the perfect time to begin fleshing out your ideas for your whole home renovation project.

Not only has the housing market improved in the years since the Recession -- and is even thriving in some areas of the country -- the home design and renovation or remodeling industry is also booming as well. In fact, more than half -- 53% -- of homeowners agree that now is a good time to renovate a home. In addition, more than 60% of homeowners are prepared to spend more this year (2015) than those who made home improvements in 2014.

While kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects are the most common -- kitchen renovations being the second most popular, with 69% of those surveyed renovating their kitchens -- any renovation project is a wise investment towards adding value to your home.

This is important to keep in mind when planning the home remodeling process for your whole home renovation project. This will help determine how the renovations are executed and what, if any, hot ticket items or appliances will be installed.

For example, if you're renovating your home with the intention to sell it, you may want to include different popular fixtures or use a different color scheme as opposed to if you were renovating but planning on staying for quite some time. In the latter case, you have a bit more freedom in terms of creativity.

Also, it's important to find a contractor or architect who is experienced in the kind of renovations you have in mind. For example, if eco-friendly and sustainable design is important to you, and you'd like to incorporate these elements into your whole home renovation project, it may be best to work with an environmental architect.

ideas for home renovationAre you one of the 53% of homeowners who agree that now is a good time to renovate their homes? If so, winter is the perfect time to begin fleshing out the home remodeling process for spring and summer, as well as brainstorming home renovation design ideas. There's no better way to beat the monotony and humdrum of cabin fever than to get busy generating home renovation and design ideas.

Whether you're going for whole home renovation or simply remodeling a single room such as a kitchen or a bathroom, it's important to have an idea of how much you'd like to spend and what you'd like the end result to look like.

Are you taking on a remodeling project with plans to sell your home, or are you simply looking to update things? If you're remodeling your home with hopes of selling it in the near future, it may be best to stick to a neutral color scheme or incorporate highly prized items such as steel front doors, decks, or energy efficient appliances in order to increase your home's value and make it more appealing to potential home buyers. On the other hand, if you just want a new look, you have wiggle room in order to incorporate creative and unique home renovations.

If you're short on ideas for home renovation, you can find inspiration just about anywhere. Home renovation or interior design magazines are a great way to find ideas for home renovation, and can serve as a guide as to what's hot and what's not. Also, social media sites such as Pinterest provide seemingly endless snippets of home and interior design.

Or, perhaps there is a time period or culture that resonates with you. For example, Morocco is known for its bold colors and intricate patterns. These elements can easily be incorporated into a design project in order to achieve a unique feel.

home renovation and design Did you know that more than half -- 53% -- of homeowners believe that right now is a good time to kick start the home remodeling process? And they're right.

2015 has been slated as the year in which the home renovation and design industry will make a full comeback. After years of struggling alongside the collapsed housing market, it seems that things are finally on the up and up.

This is highlighted by the fact that nearly 60% of homeowners are willing and prepared to spend more on home design and renovation this year than those who made improvements in 2014. The home remodeling industry has always fared better than the housing market; however, that gap continues to widen as more homeowners are deciding to improve rather than move.

Before diving headfirst into your next home renovation and design project, it's important to do a little research and find information on remodeling a home. The more information you have, the better and smoother the entire process will go.

While it may sound self explanatory, it's important to first consider why you'd like to start a home renovation and design project. Are you making improvements in order to sell your home? Or, do you simply want to spruce things up a bit? This will help you determine the aesthetics of the process. If you plan on selling your home, you may want to keep the design fairly simple or neutral in order to appeal to a wide range of tastes.

In addition, it's important to create a budget for your project. How much can you realistically and comfortably afford to spend on this project? Will you be paying with cash, or taking out a loan or a line of equity? It's also important to consider unforeseen expenses that may occur during the process. Consult with your contractor in order to estimate a figure that works for you.

home remodeling process

Did you know that more than half -- 53% -- of homeowners feel that now is a good time to remodel a home? As the housing market continues to make a strong comeback from the Great Recession, home design and renovation has made a comeback of its own with more and more homeowners choosing to remodel their home in order to increase its value.

It seems that 2015 is year of home renovation and design, with more than 60% of homeowners gearing up to spend more this year than those who made home improvements in 2014.

While not all build or remodel projects result in 100% return on investment (ROI), even minor kitchen remodeling projects can yield an impressive 73 percent (ROI). So whether you're planning kitchen or bathroom remodeling projects this year, winter is a great time to brainstorm and start fleshing out your home remodeling process. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Find your inspiration

Aesthetics are an important factor when planning your home remodeling process, so it's essential to find a look that reflects your personal taste. Or, perhaps you're looking to not only improve upon your home's look, but also want to increase its efficiency to minimize its impact on the environment. Take the time to find inspiration, which in turn streamlines the entire home remodeling process.

Consider the market

If you're remodeling your home with plans to put it on the market, it's essential that any renovations are en vogue and attractive to potential buyers. Popular additions or renovations include steel front doors, wooden decks, and eco-friendly features such as solar panels. Excessive, over the top features such as professional grade kitchens in residential homes are no longer in demand.

Make a budget

Creating a budget and working closely with your contractor or contemporary architect will ensure a smooth home remodeling process. While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of remodeling, it's important to create a budget that is both realistic and comfortable for your finances.


home remodeling processIt's hard to believe that spring will soon be here, which is high time for beginning the home remodeling process. Now that the housing market has recovered from the blow it suffered during the Great Recession, homeowners are all about home renovation and design, with 53% of homeowners agreeing now is a good time for partial or whole home renovation.

As they are the rooms that see the most use, kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that are most often involved in the home remodeling process. Winter is the perfect time to beginning your next remodeling or renovation project. After all, what better to stave off cabin fever than to get a head start on mapping out your remodeling process?

The first order of business is to take a good hard look at your finances. What can you realistically and comfortably afford to pay? Will you be taking out a home improvement loan, and if so, what is the interest rate? While it's easy to get swept up in the excitement of planning your home design and renovation project, it's important to consider the cost. Keep in mind, the more labor involved, the higher the cost. Unforeseen problems can arise during the process that requires may increase the cost of the over all project, so it's important to have some wiggle room.

Once you've determined a cost, you can then beginning planning the overall look and feel of your renovation project. Perhaps you have a theme or a certain style of interior design that speaks to you. It may be helpful to consult with a contemporary architect or interior decorator to help plan your vision.

Last but not least, you may want to consider ways in which you can make the renovation process as well as the end result more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Ask your contractor if they use local labor or use sustainably sourced, local materials. Or, perhaps you'd like to install solar panels or rainwater collection bins. These environmentally friendly modifications can not only improve your home's value, but significantly reduce energy costs.

colonial home renovation

New year, old design trends. Wait... what? Yes, home renovation and design is "throwing back" by incorporating design trends that were recently considered "old school."

Colonial home renovation is hot. Reality real estate, home improvement, and house flipping reality shows have been instrumental in piquing interest in colonial home renovation. Architects, interior designers, and contractors agree that some colonial aspects -- such as structural architectural elements -- should be left be in order to maintain the home's original character.

However, the entire home design and renovation industry is undergoing a makeover as design aesthetics and trends continually incorporate elements from back in the day.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, bathroom remodeling is the most highly requested job, followed by kitchen remodels. It's no secret that the home remodeling process is instrumental in maintaining and increasing the value of one's home, which is one the main reasons why design trends are changing.

The Recession taught Americans a lot. Now, nearly six years post-Recession, these lessons are still fresh in the minds of current and new homeowners who are doing everything they can in order to keep their home's value for selling time. As such, neutral colors, and modest kitchens are making a strong comeback.

Custom, chef-inspired and restaurant-quality kitchens boasting massive hooded-range stoves and SubZero refrigerators are no longer en vogue. Excessive luxury and exuberance has given way to modest, functional kitchens that are designed for entertaining. These kitchens still boast high-quality appliances, yet they're energy efficient and economical in that they're made for consumer -- not professional -- use.

Also, neutral colors care back on the scene, and is so wallpaper. Neutral colors allow potential homeowners to better envision themselves and their belongings in the space. They provide a blank canvas that is appealing to a wide variety of aesthetics. On the other hand, wallpaper is being used in small quantities in order to add subtle variety and texture.

Incorporating colonial home renovation design into your next project not only increases the value of your home, while making it unique and compelling.

hom erenovation and design

Home renovation and design projects are essential for maintaining the value of your home. Whether you're planning a colonial home renovation or working with an environmental architect who specializes in sustainable design, remodeling your home can help to maintain as well as increase its value.

For example, not only is old and worn siding unsightly and non-functional, it can contribute to a loss of up to 10% of a home's value. Being the rooms most frequently used, bathroom and kitchens remodels are the most requested renovations, with bathroom remodels boasting a 63.6% return on investment (ROI).

While winter may not seem like the ideal time to plan a home renovation and design project, what better way to stave off cabin fever than to plan the home remodeling process? Here are three important things to keep in mind when doing so.

How much can you comfortably and realistically afford to put toward a home renovation and design project? Keep in mind that time is money; the more time and labor spent on a renovation project, the higher the cost. Even seemingly simple remodels can become costly due to unforeseen problems. For example, while older homes -- think Victorian era -- are full of charm and character, their electrical wiring and plumbing is often outdated, which complicate routine renovation projects.

Desired outcome
What are your design goals? Identifying the aesthetic or look and feel of your home renovation project will help you create a budget. Also, this may also help determine what kind of contractor or architect you'd like to work with, as they may specialize in specific area of home improvement. If you're short on inspiration, there are a variety of home renovation design ideas available online and on social media platforms.

While some work is best left to the professionals, minor home renovations can be done by homeowners who have a knack for repairs. There are a number of online tutorials that give step by step instructions for tasks such as replacing a faucet or lighting fixture. Also, instead of a whole home renovation, painting a room and changing its furnishings can yield similar results. This is especially helpful if you can only afford to do one room at a time but desire a fresh, new look throughout your home.

Posted by: Michael Ullrich, AIA

The Challenge:

pagenstecher backyard oasis bethesda md before

This backyard oasis, in the heart of Bethesda, MD, boasts a manicured landscape, pool, and custom spa. But the existing wood deck did little to enhance the owners’ connection or enjoyment of their outdoor space. With multiple levels of odd proportion, the deck was underutilized and a constant frustration.

The first thing that struck me on my initial visit to the residence was; “something is missing”. The existing deck did nothing to harmonize or complete the composition of the house. So together, we set out to design and build (in the owners’ words) “a beautiful porch and deck space so we can watch our grandchildren enjoying the pool.”

The Solution:

pagenstecher backyard oasis bethesda md after

A new screen porch nestles seamlessly into the corner of the existing house and completes the composition. Incorporating natural materials like; spanish cedar screen panels, and copper roofing the porch softens the line between inside and out while creating the perfect vantage point to watch over the pool.

The remaining deck space, though smaller, is highly functional for both entertaining and access to the back yard. Constructed of high quality composite materials the deck will be easily maintained so more attention can be directed to “spoiling the grandkids”.

Inspired? Check back frequently to see more of our dramatic before and afters.

New Years Resolutions or Not

Why do we continue to make a list of New Year’s resolutions? We even write the same ones every year!   Whatever our good intentions were, by February or March, we have forgotten them for one more year. Here are some different ideas to try this year:

Quarterly or Monthly Goals

Rather than create a “year-long” to do list with goals, why not make it realistic with quarterly goals? For example, rather than “I’m going to become a chef and cook all meals at home”, develop short-term milestones; e.g. “I will complete one cooking class this month.” Focus on areas of your life that YOU enjoy. This way it is a more reasonable list and you are checking in with yourself more often.

Long-Term Goals

Rather than go “short term” why not create a Bucket List. This list is meant to be life long, so there is less pressure to accomplish everything THIS year, and more focus on long-term pursuits. It is also a fun list to create as a couple or family.

Year-Long Theme

Another option is create a theme for the year. For example, you may choose “health.” This means when given options of what to do, the choice will be health-related. The next year could be “friendship.” When choosing between going home after work like you want to or investing time in a new friendship, you choose the latter. This helps with daily decision making and keeps one from feeling too overwhelmed with trying self-improvement in multiple areas all at once.

Whichever approach you choose, do not set yourself up to fail. Self-improvement is meant to improve, not make you feel worse.

Helping Your NeighborThis Holiday Season

Every November and December nonprofits are flooded with “How can I help?” requests from people wanting to give back to those in need. With so many reaching out at one time, these organizations are often unable to match the giver to a family in need. When this happens to you, it’s time to find ways to give back to those in your own neighborhood who are in need of assistance over the holidays.

Holiday Helpfulness

The holidays are stressful and come with their own set of chores and duties that can be challenging for those who struggle to get around, have limitations to their sight or dexterity, or cannot drive. Offer to take them shopping, wrap gifts, or hang their lights. Be sure to slow down and visit and make it a festive afternoon.

House Chores and Repairs

Check to see if a neighbor needs help with housecleaning before their families come to visit. If you notice a home repair that needs to be done, offer to fix it for them!


Leftovers are abundant after holiday meals. Take some to a neighbor, or give some to your favorite server, emergency responder, or convenience store clerk who must work on Christmas.


One of the most simple and cherished things that one can do during the holiday frenzy – stop down and visit one another. Do you know of someone who cannot be with their family this year? Invite them to your house for dinner.

For those that have no support system or family nearby, the holiday season can be difficult. This holiday season it’s time for YOU to lift up a neighbor nearby.

The classic favorite eggnog can be made all year round, but is best enjoyed with family during holiday festivities. But where did it come from and why do we love it so?

Eggnog originated in the 14th century in England as “posset” which had cream or milk heated with ale or wine, and sweetened and spiced to taste. As the years passed, eggs were added to the concoction.  The term “nog” may have originated from the term “noggin” which is the wooden mug in which it was served or may be a contraction for the colonist’s favorite “egg and grog.”

Whatever its name, eggnog is easiest to find in abundance this time of year. Here is a cold eggnog recipe and hot spiked recipe for you to whip up.

Mexican Eggnog Recipe

Hot eggnog Southern Style


Click here for more holiday cheer.

Pagenstecher Christmas_Architecture_Building_Design

It’s time to sell your home, and you place it on the market during the holidays! Here are some tips for you to make the most out of this colorful season and increase your selling advantage:


Simple Christmas Décor

Keep your décor simple and classic with lights, wreaths, ribbon and natural elements. Clean up your yard and use the branches in your décor. Place them in pots and string them with lights and hang snowflakes. Voila!


Get Crafty

If you have window boxes that have no flowers during cold months, be sure to fill them with Christmas tree clippings, pine branches and holly. Garden hooks for summer plants can now be used for baskets of pine cones. Wrap greenery around mailboxes and string white lights through shrubbery and around porch banisters. Be sure to go easy on the array of décor when working with your entry way.


Wreaths can add a nice welcoming touch to the buyer. A homemade wreath can add even more interest. Use the branches that were cut from your live Christmas tree, or visit a craft store for pine garland. Assemble the branches into a circular shape, and attach leaves, holly, ribbons, and baubles of holiday colors. This bright spot of color will definitely invite the visitor to your door!

Tricky Christmas Lights

Holiday lights on a house can be tricky. Too few and they appear as an afterthought. Too many and it looks like you are competing with your neighbors. If you are unsure about how to hang lights properly or just don’t have the time, consider hiring a professional. These experts can reduce your stress and provide a more visually appealing display.

Consider these tips and ideas to help you maintain your curb appeal through the holiday season.

Published by: Michael Ullrich  AIA


This graceful Cedar pergola floats atop a painted colonnade.

We love pairing painted and stained surfaces together.  "The contrast is stunning."

Contrast can add amazing depth and texture to seemingly flat surfaces. 

When contemplating the exterior of your home consider adding contrast to

enhance its unique features.


published by:  Michael Ullrich  AIA


If 1 in every 10 American households installed water saving bathroom fixtures, it is

estimated that water consumption could be reduced by as much as 74 billion gallons per

year, saving approximately $1.5 billion annually in utility costs.

In 2006, the EPA launched “Water Sense”, an initiative that brings local water authorities,

product manufactures, and retailers together in an effort to promote water saving products

and strategies to consumers.  Much like “Energy Star” and other rating systems, products

that meet specific water conserving criteria carry the water sense seal of approval.


Did you know that 60% of our daily water use comes from bathroom fixtures?


Your morning shower consumes approximately 25 gallons of water.  Replacing an existing

shower head with a low-flow model (2.0 gal/min or 1.5 gal/min) can reduce that

consumption by 50 – 70%. 

Your daily faucet use averages around 17 gallons of water per day.  A low-flow faucet can

reduce this consumption by up to 30%.


In your bathroom, a considerable amount of water is unfortunately wasted due to “lag time”

(the time it takes tepid or cold water in the pipes to clear before hot water reaches the

desired fixture).  A household of 4 can waste more than 12,000 gallons / year due to lag

time.   Installing a re-circulating hot water loop, can greatly reduce or eliminate lag time.


Toilets account for 30% of our daily home water usage.  Toilets made prior to 1992,

consumed 3-7 gallons per flush (GPF).  Since 1992, and Congresses passage of the Energy

Policy Act, low flow toilets have become the norm operating at   1.28 – 1.6 GPF.   Replacing

inefficient toilets alone goes a long way to reducing your water consumption.

(for retrofitting a pre 1992 water-wasting toilet, see Jan 7, 2011 blog – “Stop flushing money down the drain”)


Today’s consumers are becoming more and more educated and conscious about the impact

they have on the environment around them.  Water conserving bathroom products are

readily available, relatively inexpensive, and require little if any lifestyle changes.  Do your

part to conserve this precious resource. 

published by:  Michael Ullrich  AIA

More and more often these days, we seem to be getting commissions to design and build

screen porches.  A screened porch is a wonderful way to expand the living space of your

home, offering a protected outdoor space that in the MD, DC, VA climate can be enjoyed

almost year round.

Structure as ornament:

Beams and columns are crucial elements to a well built screen porch. With applied trims and

moldings, these structural elements become an architectural feature establishing a rhythm

and vocabulary for the porch. 

Fit and finish:

Weather resistance is another key feature to any well built screen porch, but it should not

come at the expense of style.  Careful detailing of exterior grade woods, composites and

masonry can create a fit and finish equal to that of any interior space.  The same philosophy

should be applied when selecting lighting and furnishings for the screen porch.


Instead of field stretching screens, we prefer to install custom screen panels built of decay

resistant spanish cedar or mahogany.  Each panel has removable screens for easy cleaning

and maintenance, and can be substituted with tempered glass inserts that extend the utility

of the porch into the fall and winter months.


To us (and our clients), a screen porch is more than fiberglass screens stretched across a

framework of wood supports, it is an extension of the home; refined to the same level of

detail and sophistication as any other room in the house.





Published by:  Michael Ullrich,  AIA

One of the greatest things about residential architecture is the big impact even small projects can have on a home and its owners.  Take for instance, this recently completed design;

The owners of a 100-year old Washington, DC row house were in dire need of a functional breakfast nook.  With two growing boys soon to be 6'-0" or taller, the current breakfast space was beginning to feel cramped.  Though they would have loved to expand the room, as is often the case in row houses, there just wasn't the space to do so.

After exploring a number of design scenarios, it became clear that the problem wasn't necessarily the space, it was the furnishings.  The standard sizes and shapes of available tables just weren't well suited for the nook.  So together, we set out to design and build a custom table.


Breaking from convention, the uniquely shaped table provides ample seating for 4, expanding to seat 6 when needed.  The soft curve at one end responds to the natural circulation paths in and around the nook.

Here's what the owners had to say;

"Mike transformed the way we live in this area of the house by designing a beautiful custom table  with built-in seating and drawers... All our future home renovations will be with Pagenstecher GROUP."

Thoughtful design makes a difference.  Every successful remodeling project begins with a quality design.  Architects are the only professionals with the education, training and experience to guide you through the complexities of home renovation.  At Pagenstecher GROUP, our architectural staff works with you to develop a unique vision for your home; listening to, and interpreting our needs.  They challenge preconceptions and inspire you to consider things you may have never dreamed possible.  The result is a home tailored specifically to you.

Authored by:  Peter Pagenstecher


In August, I was invited to serve on the judging panel for the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County Remodelers Council STAR Awards program.  This program recognizes outstanding achievement in remodeling projects throughout Raleigh/Chapel Hill/Durham, North Carolina.

 Over the years I have become frustrated with awards programs even though our firm has had more than our share of successes participating in them.  The majority of the programs we enter, or I have judged previously, were photography based.  In other words, the judges all sat in an office and looked at photographs of finished work without ever touring the actual projects.  This approach never seemed quite right to me.

 For the STAR awards, judges were divided into groups of three.  With score sheets and award submission notebooks in hand, a driver took us around to each project. Once on site, we got a hands on look at the finished projects AND met with a representative from the remodeling company that did the work.  In most cases we also met the homeowner.  In my view, this allowed for a thorough evaluation of each project. On top of photograph submissions, judges were able to see the “real” work and, more importantly, engage the people and witness the relationships that had produced the work.  This is an awards program I would like to win.

 The cliché, you can’t judge a book by its cover rings true in remodeling as I have always believed you can’t judge a project by its photography.  Case in point; there was one project that had less than inspired photography in its award submission.  However, on site and in person – it was a beautiful job.  There was another project that had exceptional photography, but close inspection of the workmanship revealed another story – the kind you won’t see in the photographs. 

 Congratulations to the Home Builders Association of Raliegh-Wake County for developing such a wonderful awards program.  More importantly respect and congratulations to all the entrants.  Your willingness to open your work up to inspection by peers was only reinforced by the pride with which each job was presented.  It was an honor to be involved.

You have a new book that you've been looking forward to reading for weeks.  When you finally find a night to yourself, where can you curl up and enjoy your new find?  The sun room feels too bright, and the living room a little too routine.  Maybe now’s the time to create that new library space you’ve been dreaming about forever!

Ah, a library.  Think cozy leather chair, soft blanket, soothing lighting, and rich-colored walls.  The first step, of course, is picking a room.  Since this space will be used to house precious books, consider their safety and well-being – no attics, basements, or other areas with potential for bugs or moisture.  And while light is good, too much can actually harm the books.

Next, your library needs shelves. Bookshelves can be floor to ceiling, glass-enclosed, recessed or hanging.  Also consider who will be using the library – are there little ones who need lower access, or older family members who can't bend easily? 

Maybe you are just starting a collection and don’t need a lot of space.  In this instance you can use pictures, vases, and collectibles to add a personal touch.  Or even book themes!  Enhance your thriller section with replica knives or other sinister items.  Mysteries?  Accessorize with a magnifying glass.  Get creative and let the space really reflect your personality. 

Your goal is to make a home library so inviting that you (and your guests) will want to stroll through, pick up the perfect book, and just sit down and relax.

Published by:  Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

As our homes become more and more energy efficient and the exterior building envelope gets more and more tightly sealed, indoor air quality becomes a major concern.  Think of it this way; have you ever been in an old home on a cold day and felt a draft?  Though this draft is horrible for home efficiency, it is hugely beneficial to air quality because that draft  brings fresh air into the home and creates circulation (air movement).  

 ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) has developed  Standard 62.2  which establishes some minimum requirements for creating constant air movement throughout our homes.   Studies by the American Lung Association and EPA have shown that poor indoor air quality can pose serious threats to our respiratory health.

The good news is maintaining healthy indoor air quality is a relatively simple endeavor, thanks to some new bath fan technologies.   Manufacturers like Panasonic, Broan-Nutone, and Air King have developed " smart fans" that can  serve the dual purpose of exhausting moist bathroom air as well as managing your home's  indoor air quality.  Running at near in-audible sound levels and very low constant speed, these fans consume minimal energy while cycling air throughout our super-sealed and insulated homes. 

As you improve the efficiency of your home, incorporate this low impact solution to maintain the air you, your family, and your home "breathe".


At Pagenstecher GROUP, we are constantly on the look -out for the newest products and innovations in residential design and construction.  If you are considering a home renovation project in Maryland, DC or Virginia, let our experts develop a unique design solution for you.


Published by:  Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

Looking for space to tuck a powder room (or half bath) into your already cramped for space home?  There is a new product that might be the answer for you, but you will have to think outside the box a bit.  Caroma (www.caromausa.com) has introduced a unique fixture that integrates a dual flush toilet and a sink basin into a singular unit.  

This all-in-one fixture offers an environmental (water re-use) benefit to boot.  After the toilet is used clean, fresh water is fed through the integrated hand-washing faucet instead of flowing straight down the drain (literally) like conventional toilets.  The handwashing water is collected in the toilet tank where it is stored for the next flush.

Though slightly unconventional, the fixture offers a couple key benefits worth considering; 1) it is environmentally conscious, which is never a bad thing.   2) It allows for a very compact footprint and greater flexibility when locating a powder room.   3) Cost of all-in-one unit is offset by reduced installation cost since singular water and drain connections serve both toilet and sink functions.

On top of that, it is bound to become a conversation piece for all visitors.

At Pagenstecher GROUP, we are constantly on the look -out for the newest products and innovations in residential design and construction.  If you are considering a home renovation project in Maryland, DC or Virginia, let our experts develop a unique design solution for you.


Published by:  Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

Who'd ever think of writing about shower drains?  Utilitarian-looking at best, they are certainly not a design feature in most bathrooms.  Well that sentiment may soon be changing.  Infinity Drain (www.infinitydrain.com) offers a variety of unique bathroom drains  with an architectural edge.

Their linear strip drain systems offer a multitude of design opportunities that can be incorporated into the overall aesthetic of the shower.

Even more intriguing is their "TILEDRAIN" which virtually disappears into the shower floor.  Available in 3-sizes, the tiledrain can be covered with the same material (up to 3/4" thick) as the rest of the  shower floor. 

At Pagenstecher GROUP, we are constantly on the look -out for the newest products and innovations in residential design and construction.  If you are considering a home renovation project in Maryland, DC or Virginia, let our experts develop a unique design solution for you.

Published by:  Michael  Ullrich  A.I.A.

Part V in a series that follows our renovation of a Chevy Chase,  Maryland home.

The rear elevation of this Chevy Chase home was quite understated and lacked any real architectural character.

In order to maintain a conditioned, secure interior during construction, the breakfast room shell was constructed and weather-proofed before opening through the wall of the existing house and connecting to the kitchen.

The new insulated, double pane, gas filled, low e windows reduce energy consumption while adding a modern style to this Chevy Chase, Maryland home's exterior.

PVC trim details bring everything together.  This amazing material comes in dimensional shapes and moldings just like wood,  Impervious to water, PVC will never rot, and paints magnificently making it far superior to wood as an exterior trim.  High quality modern materials like this meet the low maintenance needs of our clients while insuring the quality of our craftsmanship will withstand the test of time, looking as good tomorrow as it does today.


Continue following Pagenstecher GROUP to watch this Chevy Chase, MD home renovation take shape.

Published by:  Michael Ullrich  A.I.A. 

Part IV in a series that follows our renovation of a Chevy Chase, Maryland home.

While work on the breakfast room addition foundation approached completion,  the crew at Pagenstecher GROUP began framing on the second floor dormer expansion.

(refer to "Part III- the owner's suite" of this series to see 2nd floor plans)

The dormer expansion takes full advantage of available second floor space; making way for a new master bath and walk-in closet. 

The small gabled roof line breaks the linear form of the rear dormer, and is the joint between old and new. 

Before: the master suite had minimal light and view to the rear of the property.  The sloped ceilings made what would be considered a sizable bedroom feel compressed and much smaller than it actually was.

A new picture window brings in much needed daylight while improving views to the heavily treed rear yard.  A raised flat ceiling returns the bedroom  to its appropriate scale, giving an expansive new feeling.


Continue following Pagenstecher GROUP as work progresses on this Chevy Chase, Maryland home.






Published by:  Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

Part III in a series that follows our renovation of a Chevy Chase, MD home.

As foundation grading, drainage, and waterproofing continues progressing on the first floor breakfast room addition, let's take a minute and review the planned renovations to the second floor of this Chevy Chase, MD home.

Most of today’s new homes incorporate the idea of an owner’s suite.  The suite includes; a sleeping chamber appropriately sized for a large bed (queen or king), walk-in closet(s) with ample storage, and a private bathroom. 

We work in a lot of older homes that often lack the modern amenity of an owner’s suite.  Such is the case at this Chevy Chase, MD residence.  The bedroom is comfortably sized, but it lacked adequate closet space, and shared a small hall bath with another second floor bedroom.  Not quite the private oasis the owners dreamed of.

Our plan for the second floor expands an existing rear dormer to create additional space for a private bath and new walk-in closet.  Recapturing some under-utilized eave storage space makes room for a second walk-in closet.  The result is a true owner’s suite that will be a calming space to retreat to at the end of a long day.

Continue following Pagenstecher GROUP to watch this Chevy Chase, MD home renovation take shape.

Posted by:  Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

Thanks to the collective efforts of our staff, Pagenstecher GROUP recently completed the design and fabrication of our new job signs.   Look for them at all of our upcoming renovation projects throughout Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac,  and upper NW DC.

"We mentioned to you up front that we wanted to have a Pagenstecher GROUP sign proudly displayed in front of our home during our project. While we expected it to be of tasteful design, we want you to know that once again your team surpassed our expectations."

Chevy Chase, MD homeowner

Published by: Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

Part II in a series that follows our renovation of a Chevy Chase, Maryland home.

In preparation for the new breakfast room addition and screen porch, the existing masonry patio must go.  We carefully removed and stacked the existing flagstone paving so it can be re-used later on in the project.  Though we intended to re-use portions of the existing concrete  slab for the floor of the new screen porch, major cracks and settlement were discovered  so the entire  slab was removed.

April showers, well, they brought May showers.  The frequent rain storms of late had the potential to hinder progress on this  Chevy Chase, Maryland  renovation.  Fortunately, with a little on-the-job ingenuity;  excavation, footings, and masonry foundation walls have proceeded on schedule.

14 foot long 2x4's were secured to the existing house and covered with plastic to create a lean-to that sheds water away from the newly excavated hole, keeping things nice and dry as the breakfast room addition quickly rises out of the ground.

Keeping the new breakfast room foundation dry insures a clean, healthy environment is maintained throughout construction, eliminating the potential for mold.  Perimeter drain tile and exterior waterproofing will soon be installed to collect, and direct any future water away from the new foundation.

Continue following Pagenstecher GROUP as we transform this Chevy Chase, Maryland home.

Published by: Michael Ullrich  A.I.A.

Pagenstecher GROUP will soon break ground on another exciting Chevy Chase, Maryland home renovation. 

Over the next several months we will be detailing our process from design thru finished construction.  Keep checking in to follow the project as it takes shape. 

"Every successful renovation project begins with a client-specific design."

The breakfast room addition gives relief to the compact kitchen footprint.  Relocating, and widening the opening into the dining room maintains the efficient kitchen layout, while reinforcing a natural circulation path along the back of this Chevy Chase, Maryland residence.


3-d rendering of completed breakfast room 

Adding drama, expansive views, and natural light to the once secluded kitchen, transforms the space into a pleasant center for the owners of this Chevy Chase, Maryland home.







Let the Sun Shine In

There's no better time than May's National Home Improvement Month to start planning your next home-remodeling project. Upgrading an outdated kitchen or building an addition are a few examples that are manageable with a little advanced preparation and vision. To make the process less daunting, try these steps:

Know why you’re remodeling. Are you selling? Addressing changing family needs or just upgrading? Your reasons for remodeling can impact your decisions—for example, if you’re selling, your choices may be more about buyer appeal than personal taste. On the other hand, if you’re building your dream kitchen, you may not want to compromise on certain features. Evaluate your project in light of your property value and return on investment and look for options that meet your overall needs.

Make a wish list/scrapbook. Use the Internet to peruse articles, look at decorating magazines, and visit showrooms. Get brochures, color samples, and fabric swatches, and cut out or print pictures that show features or details of work that you like. Take pictures of other homes, and keep a scrapbook of ideas. These ideas can help your home-improvement specialist achieve the look you want.

Know your budget. A realistic budget can help you prioritize options. In your bathroom upgrade, will you really use that expensive spa tub, or are luxury shower heads, bath fixtures, and a towel warmer more important? If you want a contemporary, industrial look in your kitchen, can you compromise elsewhere so that you can afford concrete or stainless-steel countertops?

Remember that “form follows function.” Look at your existing space critically. Evaluate how you use it. Assess high-traffic areas, kitchen work triangles, and overall flow. Define what already works and what doesn’t. Get input from all family members, even children. The “look” of your new space should be secondary to layout and function. You can work on achieving that “magazine” look after you have the basics.

Research products. Research your options for features like countertops and flooring. Manufacturers’ Websites are a great place to start, and most companies have an 800 number for product questions. Evaluate the pros and cons for each product type to determine which options suit your budget, lifestyle, and taste the best. For example, cork flooring is quite popular but soft, so it’s not suitable in high traffic areas. Consider something more durable, like tile. If you have children or elderly family members, slippery surfaces like marble or polished tile may not be suitable—laminate wood flooring or vinyl may be safer.

Some up-front planning and research can make your remodeling project go a lot smoother and help ensure that you’re satisfied with the end results. Above all else – remember to have fun!

For more information go to: http://nl.r2rassoc.com/enews/3557/Pagenstecher-Group/

Published By: Michael Ullrich A.I.A.

Last Wednesday, we invited a group of 5th grade weblelos into our Kensington, MD  offices to assist them with their final activity badge requirement before becoming Boy Scouts.  The topic; "What does an Architect do?"

Though we talked a lot about the pragmatics of Architecture,  we also explored the creative side of the profession.  I asked a simple question; "What could your house look like?"  You would be amazed at what this energetic group of young minds came up with.  It was inspiring.


Many thanks to all participants.  Good luck in the Boy Scouts!




Winter weather can often be hard on your home's exterior. With spring just around the corner, it's time to take a closer look and correct any problems that may have developed over the season. Post-winter "tune ups" are common and can easily be handled. Here's a checklist to get you started:
Gutters and downspouts
Remove leaves and debris. Check for joint separation, loose fasteners, or corrosion. Gutters can expand and contract with freezing and thawing, which causes sagging. Reattach so they're flush and secure against the roof. If you don't have them installed already, now is a perfect time to consider a gutter guard system, to alleviate gutter cleaning for good!
Brickwork and stucco
Check for deteriorated mortar or spalling, where the brick facing has chipped away to expose its interior. Spalling leaves the brick susceptible to moisture and crumbling. Seal these areas with an appropriate sealant. Check for white salt deposits that remain after water evaporates and brush gently to remove it.
Look for lost or damaged shingles. Check flashing around plumbing vents, skylights, and chimneys. Inspect attic rafters for water stains. Examine siding under the roof eaves and inside ceilings for water or discoloration; these indicate ice dams may have created leaks along the roof edge. Have any repair work done by a qualified roofer.
Check the chimney exterior for signs of damage. Have the chimney cap and flue inspected for cracks or leaking. Get the chimney cleaned.
Siding and trim
Clean the exterior with a pressure washer to remove mold. Check wood surfaces for weathering. If paint is cracked or peeling and the wood is exposed, scrape loose paint, sand the area, and apply primer before painting. Replace any rotted wood.
Monitor any hairline cracks in foundation walls. Minor cracks that result from settling are normal. Mark cracks with tape and check them every few months. If you can slide a nickel into any crack in your concrete slab or foundation, it's time to call in a professional.
Concrete driveways, patios, and walkways
Inspect for cracks or signs of movement. Fill cracks with a concrete filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, pressure-wash the concrete and seal.
Air conditioning
Have a qualified contractor clean and service the outside unit of your air conditioning system.
Trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes that are touching structure to prevent them from scratching the sides of the house. Check for weakened trees and broken branches.
Check your lawn sprinkler system for leaks, exposed lines, and broken sprinkler heads.
Decks and porches
Check for loose boards and deterioration. Look for water stains or signs of decay where the deck ties to the house. Wash decking to remove moss and mold.

For more info go to: http://nl.r2rassoc.com/enews/3184/Pagenstecher-Group/0

Published by: Michael Ullrich, A.I.A.

Spring is upon us; warmer temps, blossoming landscapes… and stink bugs!  Scientists are predicting the shield shaped invaders will again plague DC, MD and VA in 2011. So how do we protect our homes from these smelly nuisances?  Unfortunately at present time there is no wonder cure for stink bugs, but here are a couple techniques to help minimize the problem. 

 If you are not adverse to chemical treatments, many pest experts have reported success using a product called Talstar Pro.  Mix 1-ounce of concentrate per 1-gallon of water and apply with a pump sprayer, paying specific attention to the window sills and door thresholds around the exterior of your home. Pesticides break down with exposure to sunlight, so you may need to re-apply every 7-14 days for effective control.

Insure your homes exterior is properly sealed.  Replace torn window and door screens. Sealcracks in your siding, windows, doors, utility pipes, and any other openings with a high quality silicone caulk.  Install screens on attic vents, and chimney flues. Inspect crawl space openings and make sure they are properly sealed. 

Stink bugs, like many insects, are drawn to light, so closing your shades at night and turning off exterior lighting when not needed will help to reduce their attraction to your home.

Stink bugs will impact all of us in the upcoming year.  If you have other useful tips or techniques, I would encourage you to share them with us here.

All light bulbs are not created equal Posted by: Michael Ullrich, A.I.A.

Looking for ways to reduce energy costs in your home?  LED lighting is gaining popularity in residential markets, and offers some exciting new products worth considering.  One such product is the CR6 from Cree lighting.

http://www.creelighting.com/                              alt

This retrofit LED down light works in most standard 6”cans.  Using Cree’s True White technology, the CR6 reduces energy consumption by over 80%, while delivering light quality equivalent to a standard 65 watt incandescent bulb.
Priced around $50 per unit, the payback in energy savings is estimated at 3-5 years (based on an average daily use around 6hours, depending on current energy costs).  With an average life expectancy estimated at 25 years, the CR6 may be the last replacement bulb you ever need.

Life Expectancy Comparison               Average use before replacement
Standard incandescent light bulbs          =       750 - 1,000 hours (6 months)
Compact fluorescent bulbs                    =       8,000 – 15,000 hours (4-7 years)
CR6 LED retrofit downlight                    =       50,000 hours (25 years)

If you are unhappy with the slow warm-up and poor color rendering of compact fluorescent bulbs, the CR6 might be the right light for you.

For more information on the CR6, check out this Youtube video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UKP_lvzY3A

Here is a simple way to upgrade your water wasting toilets without replacing them completely.   The HydroRight Dual Flush Converter will add water saving features to any standard toilet, and at under $25, its any easy way to save money and reduce your impact on the environment.

For more detailed information about the HydroRight Dual Flush Converter, check out this Youtube Video;  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U16sbM3HJW0

Few things will go further towards taming the chaos of family living than a well organized mud room or mud zone.


Here individual cubbies are provided for each member of the family with separate compartments for boots, shoes, and sports equipment.  Nearby is a place to sort mail as well as a niche for the answering machine with cabinets above and below for phone books, take out menus and stationary supplies.


The mud room is an entry portal into the kitchen after dealing with day to day activities which cause clutter.


Sometimes there is not enough space for a separate mud room.  As soon as we enter this kitchen we create at one end of the room a mud zone by building in tall cabinets which serve as closets and lockers for sports gear and coats.  In addition there is a window seat with drawers below for boots, gloves and scarves.


A simple change in cabinet finish can differentiate the mud zone from the balance of the kitchen.


Pagenstecher GROUP
10605 Concord Street, Suite 1
Kensington, MD 20895-2503

The key to attracting people to the basement is to create a space that tells a story and is unique to the rest of the house.
In this Darnestown MD remodel we wanted the feeling of a rustic lodge.  To achieve this we wrapped the the beams and columns with rough pine and detailed it to make it look like massive columns complete with steel connecting straps.  In the bathroom the walls are covered with horizontal planks.  Both the fireplace and the bar make use of natural stone.  Every design element is used to reinforce the story of a rustic lodge making it feel like a vacation cabin.

Rethinking the stair railings for this contemporary Bethesda Home we used a blend of wooden elements; mahogany newels and top rails, combined with stainless steel ¾ inch rods and a steel cable at the top.  The cable creates tension,pulling everything together, while the rods create compression which keeps the rail from collapsing or falling apart.  Modern architecture is all about expressing the nature of  materials while enjoying the cleanliness of line and the rigor of the details.





So often garage doors dominate the front façade of houses.  In this Bethesda, MD remodeling project we pushed themback behind an arcade deemphasizing the massiveness of the garage doors. At the same time we are creating an interesting architectural element while providing a covered path to the house.





Pagenstecher GROUP
10605 Concord Street, Suite 1
Kensington, MD  20895


This Bethesda home was a typical brick rambler on a magnificent lot.  The house did not take advantage of its spectacular hillside views.  Our transformation to a Prairie style cottage included; the addition of a new covered porch, and a round room extending out over the hillside and into the trees.  The unique site can now be enjoyed from both inside and out.  Influenced by the early work of Frank Lloyd Wright, the house now engages the site.



Have you ever said “Where can I put those wires, they look terrible”?  We came up with an unusual solution to this problem.  During this remodel we created a floating wooden slab with seamless doors to conceal all the Home Theater and stereo components as well as the unsightly wires.  The "slab" is held up by concealed cantilever steel brackets.  This gives the room an architectural focus while solving the problem.
We love the challenge of architecturally driven projects.  Accordingly, we have developed our staff and systems around the specific needs of this type of work. The sophistication of this process pays off in our highly detailed designs; in fact it is key to our ability to consistently deliver works of beauty and grace.
Pagenstecher GROUP
10605 Concord Street, Suite 1
Kensington, MD  20895


This home in Bethesda, MD had been remodeled several different times with different designs.  Our goal was to unify and give cohesion to the house without making major changes.  In this room we started with simply changing the pattern of the window divisions.  We then moved the door to the center and replaced it with French doors.  Overhead ceiling lights were added to brighten the room and we retrimmed the fireplace with a custom designed mantel and stone hearth. 

We believe in a team approach; and working enthusiastically, hand in hand with our clients is very important to us.  Nothing is more satisfying than standing back with our clients, reviewing a completed project and saying, "look at what we've created together".  

Pagenstecher GROUP
10605 Concord Street, Suite 1
Kensington, MD  20895

As an Architect who remodels older homes, I constantly adjust my design approach; to serve the differing circumstances created by the wide range of styles found in the Washington DC area.  Here are two very different architectural solutions for dining room storage and display, in two very different homes -- both in Bethesda, MD:


The first home received a formal, classically-inspired treatment, with storage cabinets and display shelves recessed into the wall.  Notice that the third bay of the built-in is actually the door to the kitchen!  The door panels are recessed into the vertical dividers of the cabinetry, creating a "paneled portal" effect.  Additional storage and serving surface are provided by a lovely breakfront.



The second home is a mid-century rambler, in which we replaced a single window with a group of 4 windows and a pair of skylights, framed by built-ins.  This is how we resolved the conflicting need for more light with the need to furnish along that same wall.  Notice the floating shelf separating the upper and lower windows; it provides serving and display surfaces, but it also allows us to treat the windows in entirely different ways.  The upper windows are trimmed-out and subdivided into 4 panes, reinforcing the traditional notion of what a window should be, while the lower windows seem to disappear in to the adjacent woodwork and serve as a place to display sculpture.  The lighted display cases in the surrounding built-ins serve to anchor  the entire composition.  
Every home and every client are different.  So my simple formula for pleasing architectural designs is this:  Unique Homes + Unique Clients = Unique Solutions.
Pagenstecher GROUP
10605 Concord Street, Suite 1
Kensington, MD  20895

September is “Holiday Prep Month!” Did you think spring cleaning was only a once-a-year event? With three major holidays approaching in just under three months, September is the logical month to ensure that your home is prepared for the onslaught of visitors, cold weather, and holiday paraphernalia. Here are a few things that should be on your fall home maintenance checklist:

  • Schedule a professional checkup for your heating system. Now is the time to find problems, not when it’s freezing outside.
  • If you have a fireplace, get it inspected and cleaned before you begin to use it for the winter.
  • Vacuum your heat registers and air return ducts. Or better yet, have a professional team clean you air duct system. If you have owned your house for several years, you may be surprised at the amount of dust and debris that can build up in your ductwork.
  • Close foundation vents. If you don’t have automatic foundation vents installed, you’ll have to close them manually. You typically can access these vents by crawling into the crawl space beneath your house. This prevents heat loss from underneath your home during the colder months.
  • Clean gutters and make sure downspouts are open. If the water can’t drain, it can seep in under your shingles.
  • Seal drafty doors and windows. Check caulk around windows and weather stripping around doors and replace as needed.
  • Locate your snow and leaf removal tools—blowers, and plows. Make sure they’re serviced and ready to go.
  • Winterize or insulate exterior faucets and water lines. Schedule to have your sprinkler system serviced for the winter.
  • Remove, clean, and store summertime screens.

Consider taking care of some things inside the house now too, particularly if you’re expecting company during the holidays. Taking care of some of these items now can relieve a lot of stress as your calendar fills up closer to the holidays.

  • Get your guest rooms ready for holiday company while you have the time. If your guest room doubles as a storage area, start clearing out items now so that the room is ready by the time the holidays arrive. Clear out a drawer or two in a bureau for your guests to use—your guests may be more comfortable if they don’t have to live out of a suitcase.
  • If you have pull-out couches that will be used, open them up, air them out, and schedule a professional cleaning, if necessary.
  • Schedule your carpets to be professionally cleaned.

A little preventative maintenance and some prior planning can mean fewer headaches this winter and a more relaxing and enjoyable holiday season with family and friends.

August is a transitional month. Summer is winding down, and preparations have begun for the school year. Now is a great time to examine your home and take steps to get ready for colder weather.
Check the exterior of your home for problems that should be repaired before winter. Make sure the outside walls of your home are free of debris. Lumber, ladders, or toys stacked against the house can attract spiders, mice, and insects. As colder weather arrives, these pests have incentive to enter the warmth of your house.
If you stock firewood for the winter, don’t stack it against the house. Besides attracting wood-boring insects and other pests, it can prevent air circulation and trap moisture against the house. This can rot siding or trim. Store firewood 2 feet from the house and elevate it 18 inches above the ground.
Check your hot water heater and the surrounding areas for leaks, rust, or corrosion. Check lines and connections. Look underneath the tank with a flashlight. If you see water or signs of moisture, replace the tank.
Hot water tanks have a safety feature called a pressure release valve. If the pressure in the tank gets too great, this valve allows hot water to escape to keep the tank from exploding. Test this valve yearly for proper function. (Do this test during regular business hours in case you need help.) The valve has a small handle and is located on the top of the tank. A section of pipe is attached to allow the water to drain onto the floor. Put a bucket under the pipe before you test the valve. Carefully, because the water will be hot, pull the handle to open the valve for 5 seconds, then close the valve. A small amount of water should drain into the bucket. If the valve doesn’t close or if no water drains out, the valve may not be working. Call a plumber immediately.
Cover your water heater with a fiberglass insulation blanket to retain heat, particularly if you have an older water heater that has less-efficient built-in insulation. Do not cover heater controls.
Have your furnace systems inspected and serviced before winter. Use a qualified HVAC contractor.
Check sinks for slow drains. Each household sink is equipped with a J-trap—the pipe section underneath the sink with a J-shaped bend. This trap seals the drain with water to keep sewer gas from entering your home. The J-trap is a common place for clogs. To clean the drain, mix equal parts salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Add the mix to the drain, and then add two quarts of boiling water. You can also physically disconnect the J-trap and clean it with a garden hose or coat hanger. There will be water and other material in the trap, so wear protective gloves and be ready to catch the spill.



The term “smart” home refers to a living space that contains remotely controlled or preprogrammed “smart” devices. These devices can help a space function more efficiently and give occupants more direct control over their environment. Many “smart” devices have been introduced in recent years, and this trend will undoubtedly continue. A simple example is a coffee maker equipped with a timer. You simply fill the machine with water and coffee grounds the night before and set the timer, and your coffee is waiting for you when you get up.
Smart technology for home automation systems has come a long way. The idea is to link all of the devices in the home together as much as possible and provide centralized computerized control of the interior and exterior environments and the home security system. You can access and control many of these systems via the Internet even when you’re not at home. The system can monitor individual rooms and turn off lights when a room is empty, or indicate when a malfunction has occurred or routine maintenance is required on a system.
Smart devices can help lower energy costs and can increase the energy ?efficiency of your home.
Thermostats?New generation thermostats now keep track of multiple settings. You can cut back cooling or heating during the week while you’re at work and school, but maintain comfortable temperatures in the evening and on the weekend without having to constantly adjust the thermostat. Next generation thermostats include touch screen technology to monitor room by room temperatures to channel your HVAC unit’s efforts efficiently into specific areas. This further impacts your energy bill by eliminating the wasted heating and cooling efforts of frequently unoccupied spaces in your home.
Windows?Small motorized devices incorporated into your window treatments can be programmed to open or close blinds and drapes, depending on the season or time of day. Windows can be opened or closed automatically for air circulation. Ventilation fans can be programmed to draw hot air out of the attic or turned off to conserve heat, depending on the season. ??Refrigerators?Small refrigerators equipped with built-in Internet terminals are already on the market.  These refrigerators can suggest recipes based on an inventory of currently stored food, keep track of expiration dates, create shopping lists as items are used, and maintain a calendar of appointments and important dates (to replace that calendar we all keep on the fridge).
Bathroom?In the bath, smart shower heads can store water temperature and pressure settings for each individual. Toilets can be equipped with self-clean settings.
And in the Living Room...?We’ve all wrestled with handheld remote control units for audio and video entertainment components. Smart technology lets you combine all of the remotes into one touch-screen controller that controls channel selection, recording, programming, and even room lighting and temperature. Home television sets can provide PC-like Internet capability, convenient home shopping, and interactive capability.??As smart technology continues to improve, more and more household tasks can be automated, giving us more free time and making life a bit easier. Consider ways to make your home a “smart” home.

For more info go to: http://nl.r2rassoc.com/enews/1801/brenneman-pagenstecher/0

Patios, decks, outdoor kitchens, special features—these can transform your outdoor area into a year-round, multifunctional living space that’s perfect for dining and entertaining. Even a small space can transform into an appealing outdoor retreat. Why stay cooped up inside? Extend the livable portion of your home by creating an outdoor living space.?  ?Add a Deck – The most common way to enhance your outdoor space is to add a deck. A deck increases the usability of your space, particularly if you have a sloped yard, bare patches, or uneven areas to hide. Decks provide a flat, finished entertainment space. Screened porches, gazebos, grill stations, planter boxes, built-in benches, and dining nooks can take your deck to the next level. Depending on the building material you use, you can achieve almost any look.
Wood is still a viable decking material. Pressure-treated lumber is easy to work with and can be refinished for years. Exotic hardwoods like redwood or cedar are beautiful and naturally resistant to insects and decay. Quality composite materials are a low-maintenance alternative to wood; these generally resist fading, cracking, and rotting. A newer alternative is aluminum. Aluminum systems create a gapless deck surface that is completely waterproof. Aluminum decking is powder-coated with a nonslip surface that eliminates the need for painting and staining. Aluminum stays cooler to the touch than some other deck surfaces.
Custom Patios – Patios are another outdoor favorite. This is a great solution when a house is constructed on a concrete slab and is too close to the ground for a deck. Constructed of concrete or brick pavers, a patio functions much the same as a deck. But gone are the days of the dull gray concrete slab. Stencils, stamping tools, custom designs and textures, stains, and colorants can give a concrete slab the look of flagstone or tile. If you prefer brick pavers, these can be mixed and matched by color or style to create beautiful patterns or a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Build an Outdoor Kitchen – Outdoor kitchens have become surprisingly popular. An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a patio with a gas grill station or as elaborate as a full meal-preparation center complete with built-in gas-burner stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and sinks. Covered dining areas provide all-weather enjoyment for your guests and family.
Add a special feature – Other features make your space uniquely suited to your taste and lifestyle. A fire pit or built-in outdoor fireplace extends the use of your outdoor living area well into winter, providing warmth and a focus for cold-weather gatherings. Architectural features such as pergolas or trellises and carefully selected plantings create secluded areas for meditation. A water feature, such as a pond or fountain, can provide a beautiful focal point. Outdoor lighting can accent special features and provide security.
Whether you have acres or just a few square feet of space, consult an exterior designer for great ideas on making the most of your outdoor space.

For more info go to: www.brenpag.com · 301-933-9305


Curb appeal is the overall attractiveness of the exterior of your home. The more attractive your home appears, the better the first impression. Whether you are preparing to sell or planning to stay in your home for years to come, ensuring your home has great curb appeal will always pay off.

If you are selling, curb appeal can be the difference between a potential buyer wanting to see the inside of your home and deciding that it’s not worth the effort. Improving your home’s exterior reassures the buyer that you’ve taken care of the property, and sets an expectation for what’s inside.

Not selling? You still want to pay attention to your home's curb appeal. The look of your home and the attractiveness of your neighborhood overall, help maintain values for everyone. Now that warm weather is here, spend some time focusing on your home’s curb appeal.

An attractive yard. Keep the lawn neat, trimmed, and free of weeds. Trim or replace overgrown, tired looking shrubs. Make sure that the landscaping extends all the way to the street. Add seating areas, grouped plantings, and ornamental trees to break up an endless, boring lawn. Make sure the borders of your planted areas are well-defined, either with sharp, trenched edges or stone borders. Use fresh mulch to make plant beds look new. Give the mailbox a fresh coat of paint. Get rid of any distracting clutter.

Emphasize pathways. Make sure that pathways from the driveway or from the street to the house are well defined for approaching guests. Concrete walkways are a basic choice, whereas natural stone pavers can give the path a more organic feel. Try to choose a material that complements the exterior of your home. Make sure that walkways are well lit, particularly if the slope of your yard requires steps in the path.

Don’t ignore the driveway. If the old driveway is crumbling and full of weeds, consider resurfacing. Try pavers or stamped concrete in place of regular concrete. Make sure the garage door is freshly painted and doesn’t sag.

Make your entryway inviting. Your front door should match the style of your house. Replace worn door handles and locks. Swap out worn outdoor light fixtures (hang wall-mounted lights above eye level to reduce glare). Update house numbers so they can be seen easily from the street. Make the front door a focal point by framing it with attractive containers containing colorful seasonal plants.

Consider more expensive changes if necessary. New windows can make a huge difference in your home’s curb appeal. Choose windows that match the style of your house. Check that your roof is in good shape and free of mold. Your home’s exterior should be fresh and clean. Touch up exterior trim and paint if necessary. New windows, some siding, and roof materials qualify for the home improvement tax credits that are available through 2010. These credits can help offset some of the expense of the improvement.

Keep your curb-appeal plan simple. A few careful touches in the right places can ensure a beautiful home for everyone to enjoy.

Let the Sun Shine In

The use of lead-based paint in home application was banned in the U.S. in 1978. Prior to this, lead was commonly added to paint as it increased the durability of the paint, shortened drying time, and helped the paint resist moisture and corrosion. As of April 2010, all contractors that work in a potential lead-contaminated environment must be certified by the EPA to do so.

Brenneman & Pagenstecher were among the first in the Washington Area to achieve EPA Lead Certification.

If you’re considering remodeling an older home, you should be aware of the dangers of possible lead poisoning due to exposure to lead-based paint. Remodeling activities, such as sanding or removal of lead-based paints, can create dangerous dust and paint chips. Ingestion and inhalation are the most common ways for lead to enter the body.

Lead poisoning can lead to permanent developmental and behavioral problems in children who are exposed at ages younger than six, but it affects the health of adults as well. Even a small amount of lead in your system can lead to a wide variety of health issues, such as reproductive problems, high blood pressure, kidney failure, and convulsions. Pregnant women can transfer lead to their unborn child. Even pets are susceptible to lead poisoning.

If you aren’t sure about the lead content of the paint in your home, there are several steps you can take to find out. If your home is old enough, you may just want to assume that the paint is lead-based. If your home was built before 1940, there’s an 87% chance that it contains lead. A building constructed between 1940 and 1960 has a 69% chance of containing lead, and a building built between 1960 and 1978 has only a 24% chance. Lead test kits, which are available at your local hardware store, can be used to determine the lead content of existing paint. Make sure the test you purchase has been approved by the EPA. Another option is to hire a certified inspector to determine which areas of your home contain lead-based paint. While work is being done, be mindful of your family’s exposure to lead. Consider the area where work is being done off limits or stay somewhere else temporarily.

  • Do not enter and exit your home through work areas.
  • Ensure that work areas are entirely sealed off from the rest of the house, including ductwork.
  • Turn off heating and air conditioning.
  • Securely cover furniture that can’t be moved.
  • Ensure a thorough cleanup.

If you have lead paint in your home, be sure to work with a certified contractor to ensure proper removal. Ask to see their certification. Before work begins, review plans with your contractor on how they plan to confine dust to the work areas and ensure proper cleanup after the work is completed.

Know the facts before you start. Get more information by calling 1-800-424-LEAD, or visit www.epa.gov/lead.






Each slab of stone has an individual character -- markings which you either love or you don't.  That is why, when we select marble or granite counters for a project, we always take our client to the stone yard with us to select the exact slabs that will be used in their home.  Color variations, pattern irregularities, veins; all of these add-up to make each piece unique and, since you are going to live with it every day, you had better love it!  In our quest for the perfect material, every so often we come across a slab of stone so exceptional we think of it as "natural art".  These photos show an incredible piece of marble that contains a large pre-historic fossil.  As soon as we saw this one-of-a-kind slab, we knew it would be a spectacular focal point for a wet bar we were working on.  Here you see it in the finished installation.  Timeless!

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10605 Concord Street, Suite 1 • Kensington, MD 20895-2503