Our Step-by-Step Guide to the Home Remodel Process

Undertaking a remodel project – of any scale – can be overwhelming. Most people only renovate their kitchen once in a lifetime, and there are infinite options, decisions, considerations, and coordinations to make. As a result, it is critical to have a strong team to support you throughout the process. We strive to make your home renovation as simple and unstressful as possible. We achieve this through our professional team, comprised of highly educated and experienced designers, master tradesmen, and full project management. Our specifically designed professional procedure allows our clients to understand the various phases of the renovation process and aides the design team, contractors, installers, plumbers, and electricians in and during the renovation schedule. From start to finish, here are the steps to your Nicely Done renovation:

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1.  Call Nicely Done Kitchens (703.764.3748) or email us (info@nicelydonekitchens.com) to set up a free initial consultation appointment

2.  Initial Appointment: At your home, your professional NDKB Designer meets to discuss your project in depth and measure your existing space

3.  Design Review and Retainer: Tour your new design with computerized floor plan, perspectives and top views presented to you. A specific budget analysis including installation numbers are presented.

4.  Trades Appointment: Second home visit by NDKB Designer and master tradesmen to perform a complete home analysis

5.  Design Development Phase: NDKB Design Team finalizes floor plans, material selection and calculations, and mechanical specifications. Plans are made and final quotes written. This may take several meetings at our showroom!

6.  Contract Phase: Final plans are reviewed and confirmed by you, the client, in the showroom with your NDKB Designer

7.  All material orders, work orders, and construction schedules are completed

8.  Start Meeting: Two weeks prior to your cabinets’ delivery, you will be contacted via phone or email with a project start date. Shortly before the start date, your NDKB Designer, Project Manager, and Head Contractor will meet with you at your home for the Start Meeting to review the entire scope of the project before demolition/construction.

9.  You are now under construction! NDKB will have daily communications with the Head Contractor and our Project Manager or a member of the Design Team will be stopping at your job periodically throughout its construction.

10.  Final Punch List developed and completed

11.  Job Completion Letter sent to you, and congratulations on your Nicely Done Kitchen/Bath!

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We are huge advocates of client education – the more you know, the better informed your decisions will be – and we’re happy to answer your questions about our process. We encourage you to give us a call or come into our showroom to ask in person!

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Cabinetry Wood Species: What to Know

It’s easy to get lost in the forest of wood species for kitchen cabinetry. As with most furniture design, cabinetry is typically built from hardwoods, or compact woods that do not easily yield (an important quality factor for the durability of your new kitchen). Maple, cherry, alder, oak, and hickory are our most common woods used in cabinetry design.

There is always more to learn, but hopefully you will find our guide to be a helpful introduction to different cabinetry wood species. We strongly believe in educating our clients – so please ask us questions! There are many additional sub-categories to consider – quarter-sawn oak, knotty alder, rustic cherry, birdseye maple – and different finish options – painted cabinetry, glazed, washed, oil-based finishes, water-based finishes – but knowing a few of the basics is a great start. It is also important to realize that wood is known for its natural beauty, and thus, natural variation. Any sample you see at our showroom will be different than the wood of your future cabinetry – because no two wood pieces are exactly alike! But we do encourage you to stop in and see an in-person comparison of the different wood species options. The computer just doesn’t do their beauty justice!

Image courtesy of Google.com
Maple – Image courtesy of Google.com

Maple is one of the most popular wood species for new kitchen cabinetry. This is largely because of its subtle grain, which leads to a more consistent color. Though wood is a natural product, so there always will be variation, maple typically has less variation in color once it has been stained than some of the other species (such as cherry, which is known and loved for its depth of color). Maple may be stained medium-brown or even medium-red, but it takes especially well to lighter stains. If you have a dark and dreary kitchen now, new maple cabinetry may be just what you need to lighten up your home! Maple is a great standard, and as such is a medium price-point on the relative scale of the woods described here.

Image courtesy of Google.com
Cherry – Image courtesy of Google.com

Cherry is the hardest wood typically used for cabinetry. It is known for the deep, rich red hue to which it may be stained. Its beautiful, pronounced grain patterning and depth of color are largely what set cherry apart from the rest. Unlike most other woods, cherry will darken over time. That said, cherry is also wonderful (and available!) in lighter shades, so if you love the grain of cherry but don’t want a dark kitchen, we have plenty of stain options to show off to you! Largely because of its highly sought-after natural grain design, cherry is a higher price-point.

Image courtesy of Google.com
Alder – Image courtesy of Google.com

Alder we like to describe as a “hybrid” of cherry and maple: it’s the best of both worlds. Alder has the grain of cherry with the more consistent color of maple. It also shares the staining spectrum of both woods: alder may be stained light, similarly to maple, or dark, quite similarly to cherry, though it naturally has a slightly more brown tone than cherry’s redder base. Alder is typically priced similarly to cherry – however, we have a very special offer available if you are interested in alder (likely for a limited time – it’s a fantastic value)!

Image courtesy of Google.com
Oak – Image courtesy of Google.com

Oak is quite unlike maple, cherry, or alder, in that it is considered an “open grain” wood (as opposed to “closed grain,” like the others). Open grain actually refers to the texture of the wood and the wood’s cell structure: if you were to run your hand across a sanded, finished open grain wood such as oak, you can actually feel the grain. Aesthetically, the grain of oak is naturally dark and can be large, so work with your designer closely to choose your stain! Lighter stains will showcase the contrast of the dark grain more, whereas darker stains will hide the grain better. It all comes down to how much character you want your wood to have – and also, sometimes, your budget (oak is typically at a lower price-point.)

Image courtesy of Google.com
Hickory – Image courtesy of Google.com

Hickory is another closed grain wood, like maple or cherry, and this hardwood yells “CHARACTER!” about as loudly as a wood could! Hickory is a dramatic wood because of its very high variation. Though, as previously mentioned, all natural woods will have variation, hickory is known for its variation in color: it goes dark to light to dark to light in its natural hues. A beautiful wood, but not for the faint of heart! Similar to oak, hickory is typically at a lower price-point.

The Economy and the Remodeling Industry

To many it may seem that remodeling during these hard economic times is not a wise decision. People tend to focus on the amount of time or money involved in design. Especially with the decreased value in homes surely to bounce back in five or six years, now may be the best time to remodel and reinvest in your own assets.

The last 6-8 years have been booming for remodelers. Simple supply and demand concepts will tell you that as demand increases the price mirrors it. During that last 9 months in the Northern Virginia area, the demand had been decreasing; therefore designers throughout the remodeling industry are offering better values.

However, the market is an unpredictable beast and can change rapidly. Presently, we are seeing a higher demand in the last few weeks. But there are still great values to take advantage of out there before the price spike upward again. In remodeling, several factors have to be taken into consideration in addition to great value: What should you expect when looking for the company to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, basement, etc.?

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  • Design: It all starts with great design. A great design is timeless, it will ensure that the space will be functional, beautiful, and tailored to the end user.
  • Trustworthiness: Would you trust the contractor enough to leave your home and go on vacation for several weeks while your home is being remodeled? Will the contractor be able to make the right decisions in your absence? Are the workers skilled in the trade they are preforming? How much experience do they have?
  • Accountability: Is everything accounted for when you sign the contract? Will there be any additional or “hidden charges” after the contract has been signed? There are companies that in the surface give you a “deal,” and in the end will charge extra to finish the job. Take the time to Google “complaints” and type a specific company and city where they are located. In addition, the Better Business Bureau keeps detailed information online about companies, including complaints. After all, you trust them with YOUR home.
  • Quality: the old adage that says, “You get what you pay for” is true, especially in the remodeling industry. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is! The first thing that will suffer with a low price is quality. Quality doesn’t cost… it pays.
  • Value: What is value? Value is the assurance of knowing that you are receiving not only a reasonable price, but also the services that go along with the project. For instance, in our company, Nicely Done Kitchens, our designers are professional designers, and each has a design degree, in either architecture or
    interior design. Yes, folks, four years of arduous university time learning how to design spaces for different needs such as handicapped accessibility, aging in place population, colors, textures, balance, proportion, ergonomics, traffic patterns, ease of entering, etc. these subjects are especially important when designing the kitchen or the bathroom spaces.
  • We provide the one stop shop concept: you literally don’t have to set foot anywhere else, we offer a wide selection of cabinetry, different counter-top materials, over 200 knobs/pulls for cabinetry, floors, back-splashes, tile, appliances, etc.
  • Complete service from concept to completion. Project management, client service personnel, residential construction superintendent, and more. In the end, you will be happy knowing that the granite in the kitchen is not going to crack later because it was placed on properly installed cabinetry, and properly installed floors. If a company has never had a complaint filed against it, as is the case with Nicely Done Kitchens, there is reason for it. Service, service and service pave our way.
  • Timeline/schedule: The contract should spell out the projected start and completion of the project. Our kitchens on the average take 3-4 weeks of construction from start to finish. There are companies out there that take month to finish!
  • Consumer sites: Lastly check with consumer sites that provide real feedback (i.e. Angie’s List, Complaintboard.com) or ones that provide complaints of companies providing you an estimate. Researching the company will save you a lot of anxiety as your project moves forward.
  • Finally, establish that chemistry with your designer as you begin. They can really help you have that kitchen, bath or other room of your dreams!

Nicely Done Kitchen and Bath Design

Nicely Done Kitchen and Bath Design

The words ‘kitchen and bath design’ invoke powerful images in may people. For some, it’s as simple as granite countertops or Holiday cherry oak cabinets, adding a touch of elegance to their already functional space. Others think of massive construction projects, workers with chainsaws helping tear out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, opening up the space. Whatever images come to mind, kitchen and bathroom design comes down to one fundamental question, how do I want it to look?

Designing a kitchen or bath is not an easy process, and many find their “perfect” design simply isn’t done as easily as expected or hoped. The layout their home may not fit the new kitchen design or the “ do it yourself”approach was much harder and expensive than originally thought. One important part of the kitchen or bath design process is finding the right designer. The professionals at Nicely Done Kitchens and Baths have had their designs features several times in many magazines including Signature Kitchen and Bath magazine and have won countless awards for their unique designs. Each team member brings a different skill set, allowing you to create the culinary preparation oasis that you have always dreamed of and desired.

Once you’ve selected a designer, the process begins to unfold rapidly; with cabinets, faucets, cabinet doorknobs, back splashes, custom hoods, appliances and much more to choose from, the list can seem daunting. However, with our experienced designers working with you and coordinating every inch of your kitchen, the project is sure to be a breeze. Whatever look you are going for, be it minimalist, classic, or even exotic tropical, out top notch designers are eager to help you create a personalized masterpiece.

If you are interested in remodeling your kitchen and or bath do not hesitate to cantact us, we will be happy to answer any and all of you remodeling questions and needs. Click here for more information.

HOW ABOUT A GREEN KITCHEN?

I don’t mean money, avocados, limes or any other color green, but the one that lasts –  environmentally green. Recently, I had a very “environmentally friendly client,” who wanted to remodel her kitchen was as many products as possible. She had done a lot research on the internet, but was having a hard time finding the right products. That is, untill she found us. We are Certified Green Specialists according to the National Association of Home Builders and are more than willing to help your remodeling project go green.

The options for environmentally friendly choices for kitchens and bathrooms are endless now a day, especially since it’s a rapidly changing field with new and improved materials coming out on the market daily. Lets look at the “everyday choices” we are faced with and how  we can help the environment.

1.-  Oil Resources: Proximity – Chose products that are made close to home. Product coming from overseas travel the furthest.

2.-  Oceans and Dumping Areas: Recycled, or renewable materials that don’t end up in our oceans or the dumpster are great choices. We donate on our clients behalf what can be donated to charitable entities. Especially never cabinetry and appliances.

3.-  Water resources: use products that offer “low flow” devices in toilets and faucets. Instant waterless tanks save both water and energy.

4.-  Energy Resources: The obvious choice is energy-efficient appliances – Refrigerators are the biggest culprit since they are always “on” – Newer refrigerators by far use significantly less energy than the older ones.

5.-  Energy efficient Lightbulbs: These last a lot longer than regular light bulbs, and don’t produce as much heat. At minimum install dimmers for your existing lights at home.

6.-  Washing dishes without using the drying cycle – off time washing.

7.-  Dishwashers with independent top rack washing, or double drawers.

8.-  Include a recycling center in your home – preferably the kitchen – we recommend a double waste basket, one for thrash and one for recycling

9.-  Cleaning supplies.

10.- Countertops with recycled materials in it such as glass.

While that list may seem long, there are plenty more that I didn’t mention. Kitchens and bathrooms are no different when selecting products. Countertops can be made out of recycled goods reusing glass and other materials to help reduce the impact we make on the world. Everyone wants a pretty kitchen, but to have a pretty kitchen and reduce the amount of waste is even better. In addition, the wood from the cabinets can be reused. Oddly shaped pieces can be used for cutting boards, finger joints, animal bedding or landscaping materials. There is no such thing as too many cutting boards.

Another important thing that green kitchens have to deal with is meeting the standards for formaldehyde levels each year that are acceptable for formaldehyde output and are still considered green products. I, Evelyn Nicely, oder every product personally to ensure it meets with, not only California standards, but yours. We don’t just tell you it’s a green product and then give you whatever we have lying around. We do the nitty-gritty research to make sure that we can offer you a custom line of cabinets that even the adhesives used on them are formaldehyde free as well. Granted, these custom cabinets are by far not the cheapest, but if your willing to go green, they’re exactly what the doctor ordered. We are here to help select the correct environmentally friendly products for your kitchen or bath.

It appears that Kermit the Frog never worked with us when he said, “It ain’t being green.” If you select Nicely Done Kitchens, not only will your kitchen be a work of art, but going green will be easy as 1, 2, 3.