Recession Impacts Renovations

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Job losses, high credit card rates, home foreclosures. The recession is taking its toll on all of us, including home remodelers. Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.

In this economy, there is a tendency to cut prices to try to increase business. Many home improvement companies have tried this tactic and as a result they are slowly going out of business because they are unable to maintain their profit margins. Others are being forced to reduce overhead by closing showrooms and cutting back on work crews.

With over 75 years of experience, we have seen firsthand how low pricing takes it toll. The homeowner may think they are getting an incredible deal, when all they really are getting is trouble. The job may never be started, the job may never be finished, or the job may constantly be interrupted because the remodeler has taken on too much for too little. If you are getting quotes for an upcoming project, beware of the very low ones – they may cost you much more in the end.

The answer is to find a remodeling company that gives value without cutting pricing. In our case, we have always and continue to offer our clients the best value for their money. We have no fancy showroom. Rather, we prefer to take people into the homes of our clients to show them firsthand our design capabilities and excellent craftsmanship. We keep our overhead down by using our home office as our studio.

You also want to find a company that listens to you and your needs. Many remodelers try to impress people by offering all the latest and greatest gadgets and products. Sadly, many customers end up spending much more than they had ever intended. We begin each project with a detailed in-home interview. We never use cookie cutter plans, each design is created for each individual homeowner incorporating only the appliances and products they need.

The perfect example is a recent project we completed in Wellington. The homeowners wanted a kitchen remodel, but we immediately recognized the need to unify the space by including their desk and breakfast area. This provided more storage and functionality — exactly what the client needed to make their life more pleasant. Most pleasing to the client was the fact that we were able to complete the entire project for the same price that other designers had quoted for the kitchen only.

Not only that, because we have been in business as long as we have and have such wonderful working relationships with our crews, we were able to give the client the angled wall oven they really wanted; something no one else could do. Where many companies tend to stick to the original floor plan and simply update the space, we design your dream kitchen. For this particular homeowner, that meant moving the electrical, plumbing and water lines; not an easy task for the inexperienced, which is why most companies say it can’t be done.

The bottom line, in regards to your bottom line, is to make sure you hire a home remodeling company that has a reputation you can count on. This is not the time to try to save money by hiring the cheapest contractor. Remember the old saying: “You get what you paid for.”

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com

Don’t Put Off To Tomorrow What You Can Fix Today

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

It’s easy to be a procrastinator, especially when it comes to home improvement projects.
While that may be okay for simple tasks like mulching the landscaping or painting the guestroom, some projects need immediate action. Generally speaking, when it comes to leaking plumbing or water damage, don’t put off to tomorrow what you can fix today.

Over the past few months we have had three homeowners come to us with basically the same problem…a small shower leak that escalated over time to cause major damage, both inside and outside the home. In all of these cases the damage was so severe that major renovation work was required. This is really unfortunate, because the problem could have been corrected had it been caught early enough.

More often than not, the first area affected is the shower. The problem tends to manifest itself as mold or mildew growth, particularly along the seams of the tub or shower. Handy homeowners typically take out the caulking gun to “seal” the area. This does not fix the problem; it merely puts a band-aid on it. But it may be too late. Water has already seeped into the back of the wall. It is slowly creating mold or, worse, deteriorating the bearing walls.

In some cases, this can create leaks on the outside of the house, damaging the stucco surface. Many homeowners eventually notice these cracks, but assume it is the result of the home settling. Not so. These cracks are caused by water damage inside the bearing wall. Again, many people attempt to simply patch the cracks, but this does not fix the problem it only exacerbates it. Water is now trapped inside the wall, further deteriorating the bearing wall.

Should this happen, the homeowner is no longer looking at a simple fix, but a major repair project. In all three of the cases that came to us, a general contractor was required to not only fix the plumbing, but also to rebuild the bearing wall and repair the home’s stucco. This is both labor intensive and expensive. A project that could have been taken care of relatively easily and inexpensively, had it been acted upon immediately, has now magnified itself.

The bottom line is this: when the shower starts to deteriorate, as will happen as the home ages, the homeowner needs to address the issue immediately. At the first sign of trouble, call a plumber or home repair specialist. They are experienced at identifying the source of the leak and repairing it correctly. In many cases, this will simply entail removing a few tiles, cleaning out the area, installing new waterproofing material and retiling.

As a courtesy to our readers, Royal Kitchen Designs will provide an “exploratory service.” If you notice mold or mildew in your shower area, give us a call. We will determine where the leak is coming from, and provide estimates and recommendations from our general contractor on how to properly repair your bathroom.

Your home is probably your greatest investment, so remember the old saying, “It takes money to make money.” Sometimes you need to make a small investment in your home to maintain your home’s value. By taking care of small problems now, you can save yourself a great deal of headaches and expenses in the future.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com

Ten Tips for Hiring a Home Remodeler

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Years ago if you weren’t happy with your house, you moved. With the real estate market as it is today, that is no longer an option for many homeowners. Rather, they are choosing to renovate rather than relocate.

Not only is renovation cost effective, but it is also an excellent investment. And one of the most popular remodeling projects is the kitchen. Industry experts estimate that a major kitchen remodel will return, on average, 98% of the original outlay. That’s not bad considering a survey of members of the National Kitchen and Bath Association found that the average kitchen remodeling project costs about $20,000; and a major floor to ceiling project could cost $50,000 or more.

That is a lot of money. So before you spend a cent, make sure you’re hiring a reputable remodeling specialist. In South Florida there are many companies claiming to offer these services, so it is critical that you ask the right questions before you sign a contract.

We have compiled a list of questions to ask when hiring someone to remodel your kitchen (or any other room in your house).

1. How long have you been in business?
While everyone needs to start somewhere, it is important that you hire a company that has experience completing home remodeling projects. You want to know this company that you are trusting with your home (and personal property) is well established and experienced.

2. What services do you provide?
Some companies specialize in refacing (updating the existing kitchen with repainted or new cabinet doors), while others offer full-service renovations (removing the old kitchen and replacing with new cabinets, appliances, plumbing, etc.)

3. Do you offer design services?
A full-service kitchen remodeling company can make your dream kitchen a reality. Not only does a true kitchen designer have the skills to create the optimum layout for your kitchen, but they can assist you in product selection. A kitchen designer is knowledgeable about the latest advancements in appliances as well as design trends. Many remodeling companies also offer interior design services to complete the kitchen design. An interior designer may accompany you to showrooms to help select cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, sinks, faucets, fixtures, lighting, and even offer advice on paint colors.

4. What type of cabinets do you offer?
As with all products, cabinetry has different qualities and price points. Some kitchen remodelers only use imported, manufactured cabinetry. In some cases, the quality may be inferior. Plus, because it is pre-constructed, you are limited with this type of cabinetry. Other companies offer custom cabinetry, where the cabinets are designed and built specifically for your kitchen. With custom cabinetry, the homeowner can customize not only the size, but also the style and color.

5. Can you do more than install cabinetry?
A remodeling project often requires the skills of multiple trades — carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. A full-service home remodeling company can do all these things. Many use general contractors who can also complete structural work, such as moving walls.

6. Can you obtain a permit if necessary?
It is often advised to obtain proper permitting when undergoing a renovation project. Not all companies do this, so be sure to ask so that you know you are protected.

7. Are you licensed and insured?
Again, to protect yourself you need to make sure the contractor you hire is fully covered by insurance and licensed by the State. Be sure to do your homework. You can check up on your contractor using the “licensee search” link at www.myflorida.com. It’s also a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau (www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org) to see if there have been any complaints filed against the company.

8. Can you show us actual completed projects?
You should be able to see for yourself the quality of the company’s work. A reputable remodeler will be more than happy to provide you will a list of references. Some will even bring you into the homes of former customers. If possible, ask to see a home that was completed years ago. This will allow you to see how the product and workmanship hold up over time.

9. What guarantees do you provide after the kitchen is installed?
All products will come with a manufacturer’s guarantee. You want to know that the labor is also guaranteed. To be safe, look for a company that guarantees its workmanship for at least one year after installation.

10. Have you won any awards?
With all the competition in this industry, it is quite an accomplishment to have won an award for your work.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you should be able to determine if the company you are considering is qualified and experienced enough to do the job. In next month’s issue will we explore the various options in cabinetry available today.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

The Look For Less

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

You can have a brand new kitchen in less than a week, and for less than $5,000. This is no joke and no gimmick. By simply refinishing your kitchen cabinets you can create that designer kitchen look for less.

Talented artisans, using a special stain or paint technique, can transform your bland kitchen cabinets into something truly spectacular. They can recreate the look of contemporary stainless steel or high gloss finishes or that of traditional wood-grain cabinetry, not to mention the hundreds of paint palette choices available, and all for just a fraction of the cost of replacing or refacing your cabinets.

If your cabinetry is in good condition, you are an ideal candidate for cabinet refinishing. The process is really quite simple. Once the client agrees on the color, the work begins and will be finished in a matter of days, not weeks or months like a traditional kitchen renovation.

The first step is to remove everything from the cabinets. The contractor then sands down the doors, drawer fronts and remaining cabinet facing. Painting is done by spraying the surfaces with a spray gun to obtain either a porcelain high gloss finish or clean, smooth semi-gloss or matte surface. If the client chose a stain rather than paint, then that is applied followed by a polyurethane clear coat. An experienced and professional company should provide you with a sample door, for a small cost.

The beauty of refinishing is that it can be done on all types of cabinetry. Even the builder’s installed Formica cabinets can be revitalized by refinishing techniques. For a cleaner fresher feeling, the insides of the cabinetry can also be refinished to match the outsides. This really portrays that designer feel.

Nothing is off limits with refinishing. Paint choices are available in any color of the rainbow from neutral browns and beiges to bold blues and reds. You are limited only by your imagination.

Once the refinishing is complete, install new hardware and handles and you have created a brand-new kitchen for a lot less. With the money you saved on cabinetry, you may have enough left over in your budget to replace the countertops with beautiful granite or update your appliances with state-of-the-art stainless steel.

Whatever you decide to do, you are well on your way to creating the kitchen of your dreams for a lot less. A typical kitchen refinishing job can be completed in just a few days and for less than $5,000. Who knows, once you refinish the kitchen you may want to tackle the bathroom or laundry room next.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

Two Bathrooms for the Price of One

Royal Kitchen Designs Delivers Two Bathrooms for the Price of One

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Have you always dreamed of re-doing your bathrooms, but didn’t think you could afford it? Think again! Royal Kitchen Designs is introducing a “two bathrooms for the price of one” promotion. For less than the cost of a single master bathroom renovation by most home remodeling companies, Royal Kitchens is delivering two complete bathrooms.

Rest assured, the company is not cutting corners. These completed projects include everything you would find in a custom bathroom renovation, including frameless glass shower enclosures and granite countertops, for a fraction of the cost.

The attention to detail is unmatched. The rectified porcelain floor tile is installed like marble, with a hairline grout line. The bathroom fixtures all feature an elegant brushed nickel finish, including the rain showerhead.

For about $18,000, the client will receive two complete designer bathrooms. In fact, Royal Kitchen Designs’ talented designers will work with you to create the bathrooms of your dreams. This includes three vanities with granite countertops, three sinks, two mirrors, two light fixtures, two shower heads and faucets, three sink faucets, a frameless shower enclosure, plus complete tiling including the floor, tub enclosure and shower walls. This incredible price also includes all labor, demolition and installation. However, plumbing can not be moved.

One of the reasons Royal Kitchen Designs is able to offer this fantastic deal is because of its wonderful working relationships with its vendors. The company has packaged together a complete bathroom, from top to bottom. Clients are given limited choices, but that should be of no concern because the company’s designers put together each package based on the client’s personal tastes. Of course, clients can make upgrades for an additional charge.

This “two bathrooms for the price of one” promotion is receiving rave reviews. One Weston homeowner recently completed the renovation of her master bathroom and guest bathroom. Both projects were completed in about 5 weeks and for only $18,300 – that’s about half the amount the other remodeling companies were quoting her for the same projects. She was so pleased with the results that she is opening her home as a Weston showroom; allowing Royal Kitchen Designs to show prospective clients their handiwork.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com