If I need service work after the project is completed who should I contact?

In most cases you should check in with Jim Martin Design. Depending on the nature of the service, we may stop out to take care of it or assess what is needed and have the service person contact you to set up a time for the work. Because we brought you to the point of completion we like to stay in the loop with what happens after the project is completed.

How can I prevent my project from looking dated in 5 or 10 years?

There are styles and colors that are faddish and follow current trends and they are fine to use if you don't mind having that decor when it becomes outdated. We suggest using those elements as accessory pieces or paint colors that are more easily changed out as the times change. Another approach is to use what is often called 'timeless design'. This style is sometimes called classic and is neither overly fussy or bland and boring. It is a design that is highly functional and can be both simple and sophisticated. It creates a canvas that can be complimented with your own personal style accessories. Neutral colors, beiges, grays and off whites lend themselves well to this traditional style. Perhaps an antique piece of furniture is juxtaposed with a modern piece of art. In reality, we do not know where the trends will take us in the coming years but we can be confident that the more boisterous the trend the shorter its life span.

How much does a design cost?

Since we work as a design/build company we do not have design charges. We will have a no charge consultation with you to come up with a preliminary budget estimate for your project. As we enter the design phase we will collect a retainer fee to cover the initial design costs and will be applied to the contract price. After a consultation with Jim he will provide you with a budget estimate that will outline the estimated costs of your project. If you decide to proceed with the project we will collect a percentage of the total contract price to cover the design and planning phase.

What if I only want you to design?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked and the short answer is no. Remodel projects are unpredictable. Even though we do our best to plan and prepare there will be unforeseen things that come up. To us a design extends beyond the drawings. It may start with drawings, but it is always evolving throughout the project. It's difficult for us to come up with a design, hand it over to you and guarantee that those plans will remain the same. It is our responsibility to follow through with our designs and adapt them as things come up. By working this way we are able to always keep your vision and ideas at the forefront while adapting to our environment.

Can I use my own subcontractors?

Our established network is a great team ready to help us get the job done. We hand pick these persons and businesses based on their ability to provide a high standard of quality and efficiency in their service and trade. They are committed to working hard to help us reach our goals and will do their best work for our clients! Having said that, we would entertain outside subcontractors after we've had a chance to meet them and confirm that they are licensed and insured.

How much does an average kitchen/bathroom cost to remodel?

This is a challenging question to answer primarily because you first need to qualify what you are including in the cost. A typical remodel project includes demo/construction work, mechanical work including plumbing, electrical and HVAC, drywall, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, tile, painting and permits and inspections. For a kitchen you also need appliances and for a bath add tile for the shower and glass doors and panels. For an average bath you will invest somewhere around $35,000 and up and a kitchen from $70,000 up. Though this seems like a lot of money, we believe you will find the value in the whole experience with the creation of the design solution followed up with quality materials and workmanship and managed carefully and deliberately.

Can we do some of the remodel work ourselves?

Most of the time this question is asked the real question is 'can I save thousands of dollars if I do the demo?' The answer is yes, you can do the demo work if you'd like but no, you will not save thousands of dollars. When we do the initial demo work our team comes in and prepares the area by closing off the adjacent rooms, then with their proper gear and tools can do a lot of demo work in a short time. Along with the demo work the reconstruction happens almost simultaneously. If a client wants to do some demo work simply to have some 'sweat equity' into the project we can arrange that but the dollar value is typically minimal.

If I do this project will I price my home out of the local market?

It is possible that a major remodel project will put your home in a category above what exists in your neighborhood. Most of the projects we do are done to fulfill the clients' needs and lifestyle and not as much for the resale of the home. We spend a lot of time discerning the best design solutions and products to 'shape the living space' for our client. That it not to say we don't consider resale but our approach is much different than that of say, someone who flips houses where the objective is to upgrade to a broad appeal at minimal cost with little consideration of the longevity.

How much return will I get on what I spend?

This question is asking what the ratio is of money spent versus money gained on a specific upgrade to a home when the house is sold. Kitchens and baths capture some of the highest returns of any remodeling done to a home. Though I think it is nearly impossible to know how many dollars you can attribute to a specific project or upgrade, most experts put the number at between 65 and 85 percent. There are simply too many variables influencing real estate prices to approach a project with the primary objective to capture the highest resale return. Most of our clientele comes to us because they want to stay in their homes for at least the next 5 years and they have issues with the existing layout. They are more concerned with having their home be suited for their family and lifestyle. Having said that, there are still considerations to what may have the broadest appeal in style, layout and colors for a future owner.

How long will the project take from start to finish?

On average, a full bath remodel will be under construction from 3 - 6 weeks. A kitchen could be 4 - 12 weeks. I know these are broad ranges but the bottom line is that it really depends on the extent of work we are doing, the accessibility to the space and the products we are using. For example, the same square footage a vinyl floor install may take 1-2 days compared to 5-7 for a tile floor. Removing walls and changing a lot of mechanical work can add days or weeks to a project but this is typical for us.

Can we stay in the house while the work is being done?

Our clients do stay in the house during the remodeling. In extensive whole house projects, they may move out for all or part of the work. We do our best to make your home as comfortable and convenient as possible but we also need to consider the environment we create for our workers. They need to be able to access the areas they are working in without trying to negotiate appliances or furniture obstructing their work space. We set up plastic walls with zip poles, protect flooring and furniture that is not being changed or moved and do our best to keep the dust and debris from entering the areas not being worked on. We have clients that have asked if they could keep their sink or range connected and in the kitchen space we're remodeling. This really complicates our work flow and strongly discourage this type of arrangement. which actually extends the overall length of the project.

My cabinetry (or countertop, flooring, appliances...) are in good shape. Can we keep them and change the other elements to save money?

This is something that can be entertained but here are a few considerations. Sometimes when you have something that looks like it is in good shape you are comparing it to the surroundings. When those surroundings are upgraded what you thought looked fine suddenly looks worn or outdated. Also, whatever it is that you want to keep usually creates some sort of limitation in what you can change. If you keep the flooring you may end up needing to keep the same layout if your flooring does not extend under the cabinetry or appliances. If you keep some of the cabinetry you'll be limited in your layout and your cabinetry style and finish. Another consideration is sometimes it costs nearly as much to preserve or repair an existing element as it does to change it out completely. Obviously there will always be parameters to what you can do but we encourage our clients to consider the options before deciding too quickly to hold on to existing pieces.