Evaluating Recommendation

Evaluating Recommendations

Picking a contractor is the most important decision you’ll make during your remodeling process. There are many factors to consider and none may be more important than getting recommendations and evaluating them. What do we mean by this? Every contractor can find someone who will write them a great reference. Many contractors get letters of recommendation over the years and the good ones strive to be better each time they do a project.  While these recommendations may be valid at the time they were written, letters of references for projects that are recent or even in process give you the up to date information It’s entirely possible that a recommendation for a contractor written a year ago or less might be totally irrelevant today. If you really want to know how a contra ctor is administering and pricing a project it’s best to ask someone who has the experience fresh in mind. Unfortunately some contractors tell people what they want to hear and not what they need to know, resulting in inaccurate bids, changes orders and ultimately a more expensive project. Do your homework upfront and you’ll have a much better remodeling experience and a quality, reasonably priced project.

Choosing a Design Professional

McDonaldKitchenAn effective design professional (draftsman or architect) is skillful in their trade, listens to their clients, and works to create a beautiful, functional and sustainable project  that realizes the homeowner’s  vision and works within their budget .

In my experience, choosing a contractor who works with such a professional yields a better outcome for everyone.  The contractor will make sure that the plans reflect the entire scope of the project and that the designer creates a set of plans that sub-contractors can read and understand.  When sub-contractors have a clear picture of what they’re bidding on, the price will invariably be more competitive.  This relationship also assures  the client that the design professional will be readily available in case any changes occur.

Even the smallest project has lots of variables that must be understood and addressed up front to assure the client’s satisfaction.  Homeowners are often told what they want to hear,  instead of what they need to know.  Recently we were called to complete a project when the client became alarmed with the experience level of the contractor.  If the project had been completed as drawn, the client’s vision would have not realized.

Recently I was with my cabinet company at an upscale condo on Longboat Key’s waterfront. The owner mentioned a unit that was under construction which had captured her imagination. I suggested that we visit the project. While it was an impressive design, I  noticed that the upper kitchen cabinets were only thirty (30) inches tall. We had completed a similar  project in the past year and knew that there was room for forty two (42) inch tall upper cabinets. This would have replaced much of the cabinet space that was lost when walls were removed to open the design.

Another thing I noticed was that the beautiful glass backsplash had electrical outlets and switches. However, there are now plug strips available that can be recessed in a valence under the upper cabinets. These allow the design of a beautiful glass or other tile backsplash to be uninterrupted by plugs and switches.

These are just a few of the small, but significant design touches that clients receive when they work with an experienced contractor and a skilled design professional.


Icynene Insulation








Residential icynene spray foam insulation offers homeowners  an array of immediate and long-term benefits. Residential spray foam lets you overcome a number of construction challenges including sealing the entire building envelope, and achieving heating and cooling cost savings of up to 50%. That’s big for Florida homes where keeping a space conditioned in the summer is a challenge.

In addition icynene protects against allergens and pollutants that can enter a home’s building envelope which helps to improve air quality. Icynene helps with moisture management, and can fill in any shaped void. It  also has sound suppression qualities both from exterior sources and sounds originating from within the walls, such as plumbing.

Green Builder Magazine

Green Builder Magazine has interesting articles, cost saving ideas, and much more. This months issue entitled Radical Simplicity might not be the best fit for Longboat Key, but I think you’ll find it interesting and informative. Check out the online addition.Green Builder

Automated Controls: Smart and affordable (Realtor Magazine)

User_ExperienceSmarter, Less Costly Automated Controls: With lives continuing to be busy and automation costs coming down, it’s become more affordable to control a home’s systems—temperature, security, electronics, lighting, and more—through a single device, even from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Doing so can eliminate multiple controls and make it easy for home owners to manage things around their home, even when they aren’t there, says Jim Carroll, a founder of Savant Systems in Cape Cod, Mass., which designs and develops integrated automation solutions.One example is the Nest Intelligent Thermostat, which can be controlled remotely, react intuitively to home owners’ habits, and adjust to conserve energy costs.

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