BuildClean Dust Control System

Surviving a Remodel: You vs. Dust

True or False: the #1 threat to livability during a remodel is dust. If you answered “true,” then you are on the right track.

As a clean contractor, your livability is our top concern. In an on-going effort to better serve our clients, we recently invested in a groundbreaking dust control system, which captures and removes up to 90 percent of airborne dust that accumulates during your remodeling project.

So, why is dust control important? Any remodeling project, big or small, can stir up jobsite dust that can include dirt and debris, organic matter, drywall, cement, silica and sawdust. With the dust control system, we can collect dust at the point of generation, while it is still airborne. This is the most effective way to capture and virtually eliminate all types of worksite dust.

While controlling all dust is near impossible, innovations and practices such as these, will serve as a courtesy to both the homeowner and our workers while on-site.

Onsite remodeling dust controlBuildClean Dust Control System

“These systems allow us to work in our clients homes and maintain a nearly dust-free environment,” says DreamMaker Construction Manager, Bob Meehan. “However, we still take other precautions by hanging up curtain walls, putting down floor protection, using exhaust fans, etc.”

In the end, you are investing in more than just a job well done and our goal is to provide you and your family with a safe and enjoyable remodeling experience.

Summer Entertaining Patio

6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Patio for Summer

Summer is officially here (as of June 21st) and with that comes sun-filled days and endless entertaining.

Summer Entertaining Patio

Whether you’re having a dinner party or just looking to enjoy the peace of your own home, we’ve rounded up our top six recommendations to spruce up your patio:

  1. Hang string lights. One strand, two strands, clear bulbs or colored; your patio will be putting off a brand new vibe.
  2. Plant flowers. Keep in mind that not all plants and flowers flourish during the summer, so it’s best to research that ahead of time.
  3. If flowers aren’t your thing, how about a potted topiary? These shrubs come in ornate shapes and sizes, and if you’re lucky, you may find a faux one that looks as though you’ve been manicuring it all year. Score!
  4. Install a fire pit. Whether you’re the DIY type or would rather purchase new, a fire pit is the perfect focal point to bring your guests together.
  5. Bring out the bright and bold cushions and pillows. Summer is one of the only times you can get away with a lime green bench cushion so why not take advantage of it?
  6. Hang a swing. From the typical bench swing to a single cushioned hammock swing, relaxation is guaranteed.

These are just a few of our favorite summer design ideas, what are yours?

Screwdriver Set

Dad Approved: Gifts for the Garage (and more)

With Father’s Day approaching and Summer BBQ’s heating up, there’s no better time than now to get dad something he’ll always have an excuse to use.

More likely than not, we’ve witnessed the look on his face as he entered his favorite home improvement store. His face lit up like a kid in a candy store.

We’re pretty positive that our gift recommendations will do the same. And hey, if he won’t stop talking about his need for more garage storage, we can definitely help with that!

Happy Father’s Day!

shop: fire pit // spatula // vacuum // screwdriver set // thermometer // tool box // grill // pressure washer


What’s a Kitchen Remodel Really Going to Cost Me?

When it comes to remodeling your home, one of the obvious considerations is what to spend. It’s a valid concern, and as the homeowner, you do have the final say. Our goal is to help you understand why different projects cost what they do and how to achieve the results you are looking for.

The good news is that with the exception of unexpected bumps in the road, most expenses can usually be pre-determined. However, many times we have caviar taste on a burger and fries budget. Translating that into remodeling terms, caviar would be a complete redesign and custom job, whereas burger and fries would be more of a cosmetic update.

We’re going to assume that you’ve probably watched your fair share of Fixer Upper and Property Brothers on HGTV. By the end of episode three, your wish list is a page long and you can’t wait to get started. The reality however, is that you might have unrealistic expectations and misconceptions about the time and expense that goes into a project.

While your greatest ideas might stem from your beloved home improvement shows, or as we call them “unreality TV,” it’s important that you not get fixated on the costs they might suggest.

According to the 2015 cost vs. value report, a national survey conducted annually by industry professionals, a major kitchen remodel with structural changes and higher end products is approximately $113,097. A midrange remodel is roughly $56,768 and a minor kitchen remodel with no structural changes and medium grade products is typically around $19,226.

With all of that being said, keep in mind that most of what you read is an average and many factors will impact the overall cost.

We’d love to hear from you! If you’ve recently completed a kitchen remodel, were you surprised with the cost?


Who Do I Hire for a Home Improvement Project?


So, you’re thinking about re-tiling the guest bathroom and replacing a vanity or removing a wall and completely redesigning your kitchen. You decide to hire the work to be done, but quickly realize how many options you have. Now what? While the potential outcome of remodeling is exciting, finding the right partner can be daunting.

Did you know that the majority of homeowners avoid home improvement projects because they aren’t sure who to call? Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from your dream space; instead, consider who’s available to help.

A general contractor is responsible for the overall coordination of a project. They are able to pull permits as needed, hire the labor and keep the project on track. While it’s common practice for a contractor to hire subcontractors for additional help, they occasionally have a team of their own.
If you remember from part one of this series, always verify a contractor’s license prior to hiring them.

Pro: A general contractor takes care of the necessary paperwork, tedious details and the physical work.
Con: They do not typically provide design assistance or help with products and fixtures, which would require you to hire those services separately.


An architect is highly trained and educated in design. While their services may not come cheap, they are creative problem solvers who bring your ideas to life.

Pro: Architects often have expertise in specialized areas, such as energy efficiency and green living and detailed drawings.
Con: An architect may not do a small project, such as a bathroom remodel, and you will need to hire a contractor to implement the designs.


A handyman does everything from changing light bulbs to building decks. While some are self-trained, others have formal training and specialize in specialized trades, such as carpentry and tiling.

Pro: They are a cost-effective solution to fixing odds and ends around your home.
Con: A handyman is limited in their scope of work depending on what they are licensed to do.


Design/build firms are a one-stop shop for your entire project. They work with you from start to finish and not only carry out the construction, but they also provide design services. Working with a design/build firm is typically cost effective because all of your services are provided in one place.

Pro: They are both a contractor and designer, and can complete your project without having to hire additional help.
Con: You will want to have a pretty good idea and level of comfort with the firm early on, as they will be working with you throughout the entire project.

So what’s the bottom line?
Unfortunately, the answer is not so black and white. Our best piece of advice would be to consider the complexity and priorities of your job, and decide what type of partner seems to be the best match for your particular project.

If you missed part two of this five-part series, you can check it out here.

Leave a comment below with any additional questions and we will do our best to provide you with an answer.

Pull and Replace Kitchen Remodel

Remodel, Remake, Redesign: Options to Refresh Your Space

We’ve all heard the saying, “no two people are alike” and the same is true for remodeling projects.

While we may wish for a “one size fits all” remodeling instruction manual, the reality is that they don’t exist, and for good reason. The objective to refreshing a space is not to match your neighbors or something you saw on Pinterest, but rather to accommodate your needs, wants and wishes.

We encourage clients to seek inspiration and use those ideas to create something of their own.

Regardless your budget, room size or style, we have three categories we feel most projects fall under:

  1. Cosmetic Remodel
  2. Pull and Replace Remodel
  3. Custom Remodel

A cosmetic remodel is where we replace some minor furnishings, those of which can be easily removed and reinstalled. This is a cost-effective solution to updating your space without re-doing everything.

Cosmetic Bathroom Remodel Cosmetic Bathroom Renovation

This might include:

  • Mirror framing
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Accessories and hardware
  • Painting and backsplashes
  • Countertops

A pull and replace remodel is where we replace all furnishings, but the functionality and floor plan remain the same.

Pull and Replace Remodel

This might include:

  • New appliances, fixtures and hardware
  • New flooring
  • Cabinets, countertops, faucets and sinks
  • Mirrors and lighting

A custom remodel is where we replace everything, update functionality and make structural changes. If you want to customize a space to look and function to meet your specific needs, this is the best solution.

Custom Kitchen Remodel CustomKitchenRemodelAfterPhoto

This might include:

  • Rework layout and improve functionality
  • New lighting in place of soffits
  • Removing a wall to open up the space
  • Removing a bath tub and replacing it with a shower

If you are interested in learning more about our custom design solutions, we invite you to join us at one of our upcoming seminars.

Construction Floor Plans

Home Remodeling 101: Part 1 of 4

The month of May is typically associated with Cinco de Mayo, the start of summer and warm months ahead, but what you probably didn’t know was that May is also National Home Remodeling Month. That’s right, a whole month dedicated to the trade of remodeling and construction.

Our team may be biased, but we particularly favor this month because it gives construction professionals like ourselves, the chance to enlighten homeowners on the industry as a whole.

Throughout the month of May, we will be sharing four valuable insights that we hope will assist you in making a confident decision regarding your remodeling project.

First things first, ALWAYS hire a licensed contractor. Think about it this way; you wouldn’t hire just anyone to do LASIK surgery on your eyes, so why hire just anyone to reconstruct your home? The same thought process should be applied if you want the job done right, the first time.

There are three different construction licenses, which are designated with three letters before the actual license number.

  1. CBC– Certified Building Contractor
  2. CRC– Certified Residential Contractor
  3. CGC- Certified General Contractor

To verify a construction license, you can do the following:

    1. Ask for their license number. An authentic license will always start with three letters (CBC, CRC or CGC).
    2. Call the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation at 850-487-1395 or visit them online at

If the person or company you are hiring has one of the three licenses, you can ensure that you are in good hands.

As for us, our team is dedicated to educating our community, which is why we offer free seminars throughout the year. Our next seminar, “The Secrets to Remodeling Your Kitchen or Bath,” will be on Saturday, June 13th at our design center. Seats are limited so we ask that you RSVP. Additional details can be found here.

Custom Kitchen Remodel

Today’s Remodeling Trends

Spacious kitchens and bathrooms are near the top of the list

Bigger is better when it comes to kitchen and bathroom remodels. That’s the main trend sweeping the country, according to owners of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen remodeling franchises nationwide.

Franchisees are witnessing growing demand for big, open kitchens with large center islands, more refined use of granite and other custom stone countertops, and higher ceilings. Many homeowners are also asking for computer workstations in the kitchen.

Master bathrooms are undergoing similar design changes to make them larger — even if that means absorbing adjacent small rooms. Soaking tubs are being replaced, if necessary, by large and luxurious walk-in showers, either open or frameless, with multiple shower heads or more versatile single heads. In most instances, there is an increased demand for more ambient lighting, including large skylights, with standard lighting fixtures, especially fluorescents, quickly becoming history.

Shower seats, safety grab-bars and low- or zero-barrier walk-in showers also are becoming more popular as aging Baby Boomers look to the future.

Room to breathe

This kitchen remodel by DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Manasota makes the room beautiful, and it also makes it a gathering place where friends and family can chat while preparing meals.

Jennifer Strohl of the DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen franchise in Bradenton, Florida, says that while most new homes are built with very open floor plans, they still see many homes and condos where the kitchen has a small pass-thru window or is cut off from the other areas of the home.

“The biggest trend we’re seeing in the kitchen is really opening up the space to the living and dining areas, maybe because of Florida’s beautiful views, and providing a place for guests and family to gather near the cook. We remove a lot of the old drop ceilings, soffits, terrible lighting and full or partial walls to make the space feel completely different.”

In terms of style, there is a very wide range in tastes and preferences, she continues.

“We have many projects more traditional in style, with raised-panel doors, granite countertops and tumbled marble backsplashes, but we are also increasingly seeing a demand for a slab or Shaker door style with sleek hardware, quartz countertops, glass tiles and chrome accents. The same goes for bathrooms in terms of finishes. Large-format tiles, river rock pebbles and wood-looking tiles are all very popular with clients wanting a soothing, spa-like bathroom.”

Re-imagining living spaces

This before-and-after from DreamMaker of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, shows how a part of his-and-her bathrooms were combined to create a spa-like remodel.

On the West Coast, Patty Gray, co-owner of the DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen franchise in Bakersfield, California, says color schemes are changing, too.

“The creamy whites are definitely a big pick in our area. Our area is more conservative than Northern or Southern California, so traditional design still reigns, but gray tones are also catching on.”

Clients also are opening up their living spaces, especially kitchens, she notes, so that cooks can be included in conversations with family and guests. Large islands or a large amount of peninsula counter space is a must for homeowners. Cambria quartz countertops are also becoming a favorite because they do not require the maintenance of granite.

She also sees the trend of master bathroom tub/shower enclosures being routinely replaced with large walk-in showers.

“Boomers are more and more concerned about aging in their homes and want the peace of mind with a barrier-free shower. Seating and safety bars are not as taboo as they once were, and clients are asking for them, while frameless shower doors are also a big request to finish off the room with fewer lines and a fluid look.”

Bringing the kitchen into the rest of the home

This remodel from DreamMaker of Bakersfield demonstrates one of the biggest trends in kitchen remodeling — opening the kitchen up to the rest of the living space.

In Minnesota, DreamMaker’s Lynn Monson of St. Louis Park says he is receiving more and more requests to open up kitchens to the rest of the living areas and to make the resulting open space more multi-use.

“Specialized centers such as breakfast stations, beverage bars and technology stations are popular. Kitchens are less showy and more transitional or contemporary in styling. Classic white-painted cabinets are still favored, but we are also seeing shades of gray, usually a warm gray or taupe, which work well with other colors. Stainless steel is still the norm for appliances, although we have been specifying black appliances for smaller budgets and appliance panels to match the cabinets for larger budgets. The artful and functional mixing of materials for cabinets and countertops is a continued trend.”

Clients are asking for larger bathrooms by borrowing space from other areas of the home, especially for the master bath.

“Like the kitchen, it has become less showy and more transitional or contemporary in styling, with comfort and relaxation at top of mind. We have fewer requests for jetted tubs (unless prescribed for therapeutic use) and more for freestanding soaking tubs, but, if space is at a premium, the tub is abandoned altogether in favor of a larger shower.”

Heated floors and computerized controls are common requests, he says, as is more natural light in the form of obscured glass windows, skylights or Solatubes — special high-performance “tubular skylights” that bring daylight into interior spaces where traditional skylights and windows cannot reach.

When it comes to designs, aging-in-place should be considered by clients even if they are healthy and fit in their 50s and 60s.

“Today’s remodel should suit your needs today, but it should also anticipate your needs 20 years from now,” DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen President Doug Dwyer says. “A great remodel can enhance lives, and that’s what we work hard to deliver for our customers.”

This article was originally found here.

Worthy Upgrades for Your Home

You’ve just moved into a new house. Congratulations! Does it look and function exactly as you want, or are you planning on making some improvements?

If you’re going to stay in the house for at least 15 years, you don’t need to worry about getting a return on investment or ROI. But if you know you’ll move in the next two to five years, you should know that some projects pay off more than others.

And don’t plan to wait until you’re about to sell to make improvements. “Upgrade and live with the benefits,” recommends Len McAdams, owner of McAdams Remodeling and Design outside Seattle. “Doing nothing is not an option. The penalty for doing nothing is very high when it comes to your sales price.”

Can-do kitchens

One of your biggest investments should be in everyone’s favorite room: the kitchen.

According to the 2015 Cost Vs. Value Survey prepared annually by Remodeling, a trade publication, and the National Association of Realtors, a mid-range, minor kitchen remodel that costs, on average $19,226, will bring 80.6 percent of your investment back to you.

A major kitchen remodel with mid-range finishes and products comes in at $56,768 and brings a 67.8 percent ROI.

“Kitchens are so important (at resale),” says Mike Gaughan, a broker-owner for REMAX in Nashville, Tenn. “You should put about 60 percent of the costs of your fix-ups into the kitchen.”

There’s plenty you can do on your own, says Kate Albrecht, aka “Mr. Kate,” an interior and jewelry designer and DIY guru.

Refresh cabinetry with paint. Keep the kitchen a neutral color and change cabinet knobs. Other, lower-cost fixes include retiling the backsplash or refinishing wood floors — but you may need professional help with these, cautions Albrecht.

First impressions

Truly the biggest bang for your buck comes from fixing up the outside of your home. In fact, nine of the top-10 remodeling projects in the Cost vs. Value survey are exterior projects. Think entryways, garage doors, siding, window replacements and decks.

The project with the highest ROI? Installing a mid-range 20-gauge steel entry door (117.6 percent ROI). While the door may cost about $1,200, you can install it yourself to save money.

If the front entry sees high traffic, think about storage — as in a mudroom. And, although it’s not as sexy as purchasing a granite counter top, vinyl siding brings a great return at resale.

Finally, spend some time out back fixing up your deck. You can probably DIY this at a low cost, and the resale value is worth it, especially in regions with outdoor enthusiasts or a temperate climate. “A deck in poor condition is a real negative,” says McAdams.

To figure out what works for you, consider your market. You don’t necessarily have to keep up with the Joneses, but you need to be comfortably in range with your neighborhood.

That advice goes for any of your updates: “If you have a $3 million home in Beverly Hills and it doesn’t have a master suite then you should add it,” says Coldwell Banker realtor Pat Vredevoogd Combs of Grand Rapids, Mich. “But if you have a $250,000 home in Grand Rapids and it has no master suite, well, then, that’s just it.”

This article was originally featured on

Transformation Tuesday: The Red Kitchen

If you think you have the most outdated kitchen, think again. We took what was originally a very old and dark kitchen, and transformed it to feel bigger and brighter.

In addition to the cosmetic changes, which included removing all existing cabinetry, countertops and appliances, we also removed the old drop ceiling with plastic grid lighting and added recessed can lighting.

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen Remodel

What do you think of this kitchen remodel? Leave your comments below.