Creating the Perfect Partnership with Your Contractor

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

You would never go to the dentist, grab the drill from his hand and give yourself a root canal. So, why do people think it is okay to hire a professional to remodel their home and then try to play general contractor themselves?

In many cases it’s because of cost. People think that by hiring their handyman to do some of the work, they may be able to save money. In theory that may seem like a good idea, but it never is. Not only do you lose the oversight a professional remodeler provides, but you can now take on all the liability. This can result in work stoppages, bad decisions and numerous other issues. When you come in and try to play contractor, you prevent the professional from doing his/her job.

A professional kitchen designer or home remodeler is just that, a professional. As with any profession, they are educated and have years of experience. That is what you are paying for – the piece of mind of knowing you have hired a professional to design and oversee your renovation project.

Respect is another important issue. Just as you would never insult your dentist by giving yourself a root canal, you should not insult your designer by trying to play general contractor. Mutual respect is of utmost importance to your working relationship. Remember, this person will be in your home on a daily basis. You need to treat them right.

The relationship between homeowner and contractor has to be one of good faith. He/she is your partner. You each have a vested interest in getting the remodeling project completed in a timely manner for a fair price. You want a beautiful room and they want a happy client ready to make a referral.

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.

Doing Away With Dining Rooms

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

When is the last time you used your dining room? If you are like most modern families, you use this room only once or twice a year. The truth is, dining rooms are becoming dinosaurs.

Don’t let this underutilized space go to waste…incorporate it into your kitchen. That is a concept most homeowners have never considered. Yet, doing away with dining rooms is becoming increasingly more popular. In fact, this trend was featured in a recent issue of Professional Remodeler, a trade magazine.

It may be a new trend, but it is something we have been doing for years. We begin each new project with an extensive in-home consultation. This enables us to get a true picture of the homeowner’s likes and dislikes, and what they are trying to accomplish with the renovation. More often than not, we have discovered that what the homeowner wants is more space in and around the kitchen. Doing away with the dining room opens up space for the island they have always dreamed of, or perhaps a beautiful bar area. The choices are endless.

One of our recent success stories was just such a case. The Coral Springs couple loved to cook and entertain, but their galley-style kitchen was not conducive to this lifestyle. During our discussion with the couple we learned that she wanted (or needed) more counter space, prep room and better ventilation for all her cooking and baking, while he wanted a bar area complete with wine cooler, wet bar and seating where he could entertain. Our solution was simple, tear down the walls and open up the area.

By doing away with the dining room, which had been totally useless to the couple except as an unorganized storage area, they gained almost 100 square-feet of totally usable space. Not only did we open up the kitchen to the family room, with an amazing view of the pool, but we created a nice size pantry, added a huge island, built a bar area, and gave the family a granite table large enough to seat their frequent dinner guests. The family’s dream kitchen became their dream home.

Of course, not every contractor or home remodeler is able to think outside of the box like this. That is why it is important you know who you are hiring. In next month’s issue we will give you tips on what to ask when hiring a home remodeler.

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.

Taking the Pain Out of Filing Insurance Claims

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Hurricane season is here. The time of year when many South Floridians are thinking about their homeowners insurance coverage. We all pay property insurance with the hope of never needing to use it. Unfortunately, many homeowners are finding that when the time comes to file a claim, whether it is for hurricane, water or fire damage, their insurance company is not always on their side.

Typically when a homeowner sustains damage to their property, be it from a leaky dishwasher or a devastating hurricane, their first call is to their insurance agent. This is a major mistake. Your first call should be to an experienced home remodeling contractor. Companies, such as Royal Kitchen Designs, have the resources and expertise to accurately assess the damage and provide a true-cost for repairs.

Case in point, the owner of a $1million waterfront estate recently called us after noticing the stucco was cracking on the outside of the house. After studying the damage and examining the house, we discovered that there was a leak in the master bathroom shower. The water was soaking through the floor and walls, causing the stucco to crack.

This was not the only damage we noticed in this beautiful home. It seems the homeowners had been victims of a city sewer back-up which caused severe water damage. It flooded the bathroom, destroyed the wood flooring in the adjacent foyer, and ruined the ceiling of the downstairs kitchen and power room.

We began by reviewing their homeowners insurance policy to make sure they were adequately insured for the damages. The next step was to contact a public adjuster.
Unlike insurance companies, whose adjusters typically minimize the losses and try to negotiate low settlements to better protect the insurance company, a public adjuster works for the homeowner. It is their job to make sure you receive the settlement you need to fully repair your home.

Royal Kitchen Designs works closely with the public adjuster to assess all of the damage and file a proper claim. In this case, we were able to get the homeowners an initial insurance check for $10,000 to cover the cost of the demolition. Only after the shower, marble floors and wood foyer are removed will we be able to see the true extent of the damage. At that point, the public adjuster would file another claim to cover the cost of the necessary repairs.

Needless to say, this homeowner was thrilled that not only could we repair their home, but we were able to get their insurance company to cover the cost. This is the level of service you can expect when hiring a professional company, which surrounds itself with other professionals.

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

Granite Stimulus Package

Granite Stimulus Package Keeps Renovation Costs in Check

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

There’s an old saying: You get what you paid for. Unfortunately, in home remodeling that is not always the case – until now. Royal Kitchen Designs is changing the way this industry does business. The consumer will no longer be taken “for granite”!

Almost every remodeling project we complete includes granite countertops. It’s a simple way to make a huge statement. From complete custom kitchen renovations to simply refacing an existing space, granite is the product of choice for today’s homeowners.

Unfortunately, granite can be very expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Royal Kitchen Designs is changing the way consumers buy granite. We’re calling this our Granite Stimulus Package.

Granite is sold by the square foot, but it comes as giant slabs. Often times the dimensions of the slab are larger than the actual amount needed for the countertop project. In the past, the leftover granite was kept by the vendor who would sell the remnants for smaller jobs. In essence, the vendor was benefitting from the client’s waste.

That system always seemed unfair to us. The consumer paid a premium price for a slab of granite, but only used a portion of it. So, we decided to change the system. If you purchase granite from us then you get its full value. By buying the full slab you get the granite at a much better price. Plus, you own all of it. You can use the remnants for smaller projects, like updating a powder room with a new granite countertop.

And, if you’re not ready to take on another project, we’ll have the remnants delivered to your home or storage facility. When you’re ready to start your next remodeling project, the granite will already be there. You’ll just pay a nominal fee for fabrication and installation.

This is just another example of how Royal Kitchen Designs is working to save our clients money. We keep our overhead down by using our clients’ homes as showrooms, maintaining excellent relationships with our vendors, and using our own work crews instead of costly, and often times unreliable, subcontractors.

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. To learn more or to see samples of our completed projects, visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

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.

How To Tell If You’re Paying Too Much

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Smart shoppers know it’s important to get more than one estimate before beginning any remodeling project. So, you’ve asked around, checked references, seen actual completed projects and finally narrowed it down to two contractors. They may be bidding on the same project, but often times you’ll find you get two totally different price quotes. How do you know if you’re paying too much?

Some contractors give you one overall price, while others will break down every single project and purchase. These strategies can give the appearance that one estimate is significantly less than the other. It’s crucial that you make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

The products being used can make a huge difference. You want to make certain that you are not losing quality to gain savings. This is particularly true with cabinetry. We have seen many cases in which a customer thought they were saving money by using less expensive cabinets, only to find out these needed to be replaced after just a few years. This can be a very costly mistake. Be sure you are buying quality cabinetry.

You must pay close attention to the cabinetry design as well. Contractors often cut corners by using smaller cabinets and fillers. We had one client who had originally gone to a large, national company to design their kitchen. Without ever visiting the home, the so-called designer came up with a plan using 29 fillers. These are the small pieces typically used on the ends of cabinetry sections. The average kitchen may have six to eight fillers. This client would have lost about 90-inches of usable space had they hired the national company. We were able to create a truly, custom-kitchen, using better quality materials, for the same price (because we pass along our discounts to our customers).

It’s also important to make sure that your contractor has actually seen your home. To keep costs down, some kitchen design companies will create designs based strictly on a floor plan. This is never a good idea. A renovation is a big investment and you want to make sure you are maximizing every dollar spent. Only after seeing the home, your taste and style, and learning about your lifestyle, can a functional, custom kitchen be created. You certainly don’t want to waste money on things you don’t need or will never use.

That said, it is important to know exactly what is going into your renovation project. When comparing bids you want to be sure that everything is included. In addition to the actual construction costs, does the estimate include repairs (such as patching a ceiling when cabinets have been moved), as well the finishing touches to the project such as painting? Not only does this allow you to compare apples to apples, but it ensures that you will not have any costly surprises after you begin remodeling.

Look to see if your estimate includes all the product costs, as well as labor. Some remodelers are full-service companies and do it all, while other use subcontractors. If you will be using subcontractors, find out if you are responsible for paying them or if your remodeling company will pay. Either way, be sure that you know the full cost to complete the job.

This can all be quite overwhelming, but it is important to know exactly what you are paying for. Only after you have determined all of the costs can you actually compare apples to apples and make an informed decision.

Royal Kitchen Designs understands hiring a contractor can be confusing. As a homeowner you are often unaware of all that goes into a remodeling project, and some contractors prey on that naiveté. Unfortunately, in our line of business we have seen too many homeowners make costly mistakes while trying to save a buck. That’s why as professional kitchen and bathroom designers with over 75 years of experience, we will gladly examine your plans and estimates, to compare pricing and qualities of products. For a nominal fee, we will review your bids to make sure there are no hidden costs and that nothing has been overlooked. We will also offer suggestions if we think the project could be done better. We hope this service will help you make a wise decision.

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.

Kitchen Remodeling 101: Refacing vs. Renovating

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Hamlet once agonized over the question, “To be or not to be.” Today, homeowners agonize over the question, “Renovate or reface?”

If you are considering undertaking the enormous task of re-doing your kitchen, then obviously there is something you don’t like about your current space. It may be something as simple as style or as fundamental as function. Either way, you want to make sure that your remodeling project actually solves your problems, and doesn’t just mask them.

A remodeling project is a big commitment, both financially and physically. So if you’re going to make the sacrifice, you want to make sure the end results are exactly what you want.

Too often, people take the easy way out and opt to reface. This is when you remove all the existing doors and drawer fronts, sand down the edges of the cabinets, relaminate them, and then reinstall brand new doors and drawer fronts.

While this may seem like a good solution, you are not really fixing anything. The layout does not change. The storage issues do not change. The functionality of the kitchen does not change. The only thing that changes is the appearance. Refacing simply gives an old kitchen a new look.

Our experience is that this really doesn’t solve anything. Often times, it actually creates more problems. For instance, you may have just spent thousands of dollars putting new doors on aging cabinets or putting granite countertops on old cabinets, either way you may find yourself needing to replace them sooner rather than later because the underlying cabinetry is aging.

This is precisely why we do not offer refacing services. It is our expert opinion, with over 75 years of combined experience, that refacing does not solve anything. We have found that renovating is always the best option. It may cost a bit more, but what you get in return is well worth it.

Renovate literally means to make something new again. That is exactly what a renovation project is…it gives you a brand new kitchen. From cabinets and countertops to appliances and accessories, you are starting from scratch. You are eliminating all of the old problems and recreating the kitchen with a system that will work best for you and your family.

A full-service renovation and interior design company, such as ours, will guide you through the steps to create your dream kitchen. Anything is possible with a complete renovation.

In next month’s issue we will explore these steps. We will educate you on what happens in a kitchen renovation, from consultation to completion.

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.

Knowledge is Power

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

You would never hire a babysitter without checking their references. You would never hand over the keys to your car to someone without a driver’s license. So why do so many people blindly hire people to do work in their home based on an advertisement in the newspaper or coupon in the mail?

Sadly, there are many unscrupulous contractors out there. Who hasn’t heard at least one home improvement horror story? To protect you and your precious investment (your home), we have put together a list of questions to ask any potential home remodeler.

What is your scope of services?

If you recall, in last month’s issue we illustrated why it is important to hire a full-service home remodeling company, providing designer, decorator and contractor services all under one roof. This team of experts will handle each and every part of the job.

How long have you been in business?

Ideally, you want to hire a company that has been in business a long time and built up a solid reputation both with clients and suppliers. A well-established company will have access to more manufacturers and products, and they may offer preferred pricing which will in turn be passed along to you.

What credentials do you carry?

Make sure that anyone doing work in your home is licensed and insured, and make sure they carry proper insurance for all their employees. You can verify this information 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.

Can I see samples of some of your completed projects?

References are great, but it’s best to ask to see samples of a company’s work. Ask to visit some completed projects. Only then can you truly measure a company’s skill and attention to detail. Beware of any company that does not want you to see their work.

What is the project timeline?

You need to know exactly how long your room will be out of service. If it is a kitchen remodeling project, ask what types of temporary solutions are available. An experienced remodeling company strives to minimize the disruption. For this reason, many companies do not start demolition until all the new products and equipment has been delivered. To further protect yourself, do not issue final payment until the project is complete.

Who is the project manager?

With a full-service home remodeling company the designer will most likely be your project manager. In most cases, this is the person you initially meet with and discuss your renovation plans. He or she will then coordinate all aspects of the project from interior design work to the actual construction. Having one point person keeps the lines of communication open and can often resolve issues before they become major problems.

What is your follow-up system?

This is an extremely important aspect of any remodeling project. You need to know the company will be available to fix any problems that arise in the future. Look for a company that stands behind its work. Ideally, the company will offer a warrantee on its labor, in addition to the standard manufacturer’s warrantee on the product.

We hope that this information will help you choose the right home remodeling company. By asking a potential contractor these simple questions you help ensure that you are hiring someone you can trust, and that you won’t become the next home improvement horror story.

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.

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.