Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Award-Winning Home Remodeling in Richmond for 25 Years - Part 1

As CCI turned 25 this year, we thought we'd take profile some of our award-winning work over the past quarter century. 

Some people say "You can never go home." Well, "go home" is exactly what the owners of this lovely 1950's Georgian did. The house had been the husband's boyhood home. He and his family bought it from a relative and began to invest in much needed renovations.

The kitchen was still in the 1950's, so that's where we started. The owners asked us to recommend a design that would make it more useful, enjoyable, and fashionable.
We sought to achieve four important goals:
  • Improve the usability of the space,
  • Upgrade and modernize the appearance and finishes,
  • Work within a modest budget, and
  • Stay mindful that these changes were to a family homestead with deep personal meaning and, therefore, more than just construction.
Before the renovation, you could reach the kitchen from the family room only through a formal dining room. We opened the space to improve the flow. The kitchen used to be a small, dark, dead-end space off the dining room. We broke through the end wall, and added a modest, but important, 140 square foot addition. Now kitchen traffic can pass into the family room or the dining room, creating a 360-degree flow.
Besides improving access, the owners report that this new layout makes the kitchen feel far larger than it measures.
This new traffic pattern also provided much needed natural light. A room once described as cave-like is now awash in sunlight from dawn until dusk, making it a warm and welcoming place.
The homeowners met with several contractors. All the other bids involved extending the home into the backyard, enlarging the footprint and encroaching on a lovely garden. We were the only contractor who recommended changes possible within the existing footprint. As well as bringing cost within budget, the chosen plan preserved yard space. The owners often remarked that they thought the plan was remarkably creative and sensible.

As our team worked on the kitchen, the owners' trust and comfort level grew. Finally, they felt that they could invest in several other small projects in the foyer, family room, and master bedroom. The other contractors' approaches would leave no budget for these other improvements.
The results thrilled the owners. The wife delights in her new kitchen and uses it to entertain with ease. The best compliment came from the husband who grew up in the house: he is sure the previous lady of the house, his mother, would have loved it.
You can read more about this project, view additional photos, and learn more about the multiple awards our work received on our website.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

CCI Turns 25!

Cabinetry and Construction, Inc. turned 25 this year!

Over the years we have grown to a full-service, one-stop shopping, Class A licensed General Contractor with an award-winning portfolio of residential remodeling projects in the Richmond area, including baths, kitchens, additions, whole-house renovations, and specialty millwork.
We highlight a number of our award-winning projects on our website, and we profile a home renovation project that won numerous awards in this newsletter. 
I am proud that CCI has become the premier remodeling company for helping you create the home that best accommodates your family in Richmond. 

If you are considering a remodeling project, please read testimonials from our satisfied customers. Then give us a call or send us an email today and we can provide a free consultation on the project that interests you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Designing and Building an Artist's Studio


This garage in the Libbie and Grove Avenues area of Richmond was struck by a tree during a devastating storm in 2016. As work began on the project, the homeowner realized that the practicality of rebuilding the garage as it was, was not really what she wanted. She found herself torn between the practical, and her desire for an artist’s studio. In the end, she chose the artist’s studio. 
CCI added three clerestory windows on the north side of the building—so important for the flat, steady light artists require. A pair of French doors was added to the fa├žade of the building facing the house, with the idea that the area between will become a landscaped patio space. The garage door was replaced with two large double hung windows. In a nod to practicality, the framing for the garage door was left in place so that the building could be converted back to a functional garage, should the homeowner desire.
converted back to a functional garage, should the homeowner d
esire.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is Your Home "Home Fit"?

AARP research consistently finds that persons 50 years and older want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. To help homeowners determine if their home is well-suited to this goal, they created the "HomeFit" Guide

The guide takes through each room of your home to give you a sense of how livable it will be as you age, and offers worksheets to help you create a plan to ensure your home can meet your needs for years to come. The improvements and solutions offered range from do-it-yourself fixes to solutions that require skilled expertise.

To use the guide, simply click here to be taken to the page where you can download or print it. Below you will find links to to the worksheets referenced in the guide.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Designing the Perfect Boomer Bath

The top home modifications needed in order for residents to age in place are in the bathroom. These range from grab bars and no thresholds in the shower, to different toilet heights, to door and sink handles, and can be included in the design of your bath such that your personal spa is functional without feeling institutional.

The shower is one of the top places in a home where a homeowner risks injury. Here are some design trends that can help eliminate these risks:
  • Removing the threshold into the shower.
  • Adding an elegant nonslip surface for the flooring.
  • Installing a grab bar. If you don't want to add the grab bar right away, you can slo include blocking in the wall tile for the future. 
  • Building in a bench (which not only can provide seating to the non-ambulatory bather, but also can be used as a shelf for ladies to prop up their leg when shaving).
  • Including a hand-held showerhead (which is also helpful for cleaning the shower).
For the toilet, you should consider:
  • Investing in a comfort-height toilet, which is a couple of inches taller than standard models. 
  • Installing a grab bar or include blocking for future grab bars.
  • Ensuring the door is at least 32 inches wide to accommodate walking aids.
Finally, when designing your vanity, consider:
  • Installing sink handles that are easier to grasp than knobs.
  • Building a sink that allows for a wheel chair to slide underneath.
  • Adding a mirror that tilts to accommodate persons who are seated.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Is Your Home Ready for Your Changing Family's Needs?

Last month the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on the fastest-growing segment in the residential remodeling industry - aging in place. (You can read the the article here.) 
 
So what is "aging in place"? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level."
 
As baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) plan for retirement, many are also planning for how they can stay in their homes as they age. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the AARP found that 84% would like to stay in their current homes during retirement. 
 
At the same time, we are also seeing more and more Americans (60.6 million per the most recent U.S. Census Bureau survey) are becoming part of the "sandwich generation" with three or more generations living under one roof. Even the first family are members of the sandwich generation, as Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, has lived in the White House with her daughter's family since 2009.
 
These families are also looking at how their homes can better accommodate both young children and aging adults by finding solutions for all generations to live under one roof by creating additional living space through an addition, repurposing a garage or basement, or investing in "granny pods," micro-units with their own kitchen and bathrooms that are constructed separately from the main house. 
 
Regardless, many of the same features that help aging adults remain in their homes are also beneficial to young children. For example, handles on doors or sinks in place of knobs are equally helpful to seniors with arthritis and toddlers who are just learning fine motor skills.
 
Rob Wright is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) and Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP). These certifications enable him to design accessible spaces for all people, including those who wish to age in place, growing and mutli-generational families, and individuals with special needs.
 
CCI is the premier remodeling company for helping you create the home that best accommodate your family in Richmond. Give us a call or send us an email today and we can provide a free consultation on the project that interests you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Aging in place is fastest-growing segment in residential remodeling industry

Did you see this article that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch last month? Rob Wright is a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS). If you are interested in staying in your home as you get older, contact CCI for a free consultation.

Aging in place is fastest-growing segment in residential remodeling industry

Donna Edgerton didn’t want to leave her home in the Stonewall Court neighborhood in Richmond’s West End.
But she also knew she might have trouble one day — like her mother — climbing the stairs to the second floor.
Edgerton planned to retrofit her home to make it more accessible for her mother, but her mom died before she had the work done. She considered her options, including moving, and chose to proceed with the project.
“I cherish the neighborhood and the different age groups here, but I knew that when I get to be my mother’s age, I didn’t want to worry about steps,” she said.
Edgerton, on the leading edge of the baby boomer generation, had an elevator shaft installed and plans to equip it someday with the actual elevator. Meantime, she uses the space as a wet bar on the first floor and as a linen closet on the second floor.
She didn’t stop there. The elevator shaft is part of a new addition for an open-plan kitchen and family room.
Her situation reflects the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry — home modifications for aging in place, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — typically are left with two decisions that come down to their economic situations and locations, said Craig Toalson, executive director of the Home Building Association of Richmond.
“Do they downsize and move to a home that is designed better for aging in place and low maintenance? Or do they modify their current home for aging in place?” Toalson said.
If boomers move, most want a first-floor master bedroom, said Jeff Tunstall, president of Chesterfield County-based CraftMaster Homes Inc.
“We try to get most areas that they utilize in daily living on the first floor and build wide doors into the bath and bedroom and large zero-drop entry showers,” he said.
Edgerton chose drawers not cabinets for under the kitchen counter, since they are easier to manage. Most doors throughout the house were widened to at least 3 feet to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. (Standard bedroom and bath doors are 2 feet, 6 inches.)
Her doors have levered handles instead of round knobs — a better option for arthritic hands or hands carrying a lot of items.
Edgerton also had a bath redone with zero-entry thresholds into the room and a shower. The shower has a built-in bench. Pedestal vanities can accommodate a wheelchair and the mirrors tilt, so they can be adjusted depending on whether a person stands or sits.
***
It is better to plan ahead than it is to do quick-fix solutions in response to a crisis, said John Robertson, a co-principal with HomeKeepers Inc., a consulting, design, maintenance and construction firm in Henrico County that did the Edgerton project.
It’s difficult to think clearly and plan ahead during stressful times, said Robertson, a builder for 30 years who also serves as chairman of Senior Connections, the Capital Area Agency on Aging, a nonprofit resource for seniors and their caregivers in Virginia.
Thoughtfully planned universal design elements — such as adding an elevator or building zero-threshold entries — can add value to a home, Robertson said.
“You want to make sure that an addition or a modification looks like it is part of the original house,” he said.
HomeKeepers focuses specifically on making houses more accessible, safer and easier to live in, said co-principal A. Lynn Ivey III.
Robertson and Ivey incorporate easy-living design elements, whether it’s for a large addition as they did for Edgerton, a small first-floor bath and laundry in another house in Richmond, or a 10,000-square-foot single-family house in Goochland County.
***
Seniors 65 and older and people with disabilities are “a crucial target market that no builders should miss,” according to Builder magazine.
In the Richmond area, the number of people ages 65 and older will outnumber the school-age population for the first time in history over the next 15 years, according to a 2015 report by the Greater Richmond Age Wave, a collaboration of public and private organizations working to prepare for the region’s growing aging population.
By 2040, the number of people 85 and older (40,541) in the area will have more than quadrupled since 2000, according to the report.
“One of the biggest challenges over the next decade is how we will accommodate the growing senior population and make sure the houses they live in and the housing choices they make will be suitable for their changing needs,” said Bob Adams, executive director of Virginia Accessible Housing Solutions, whose EasyLiving Home program is designed to encourage builders to include accessibility features in home design and construction.
The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, as young people leave for urban areas and the number of senior households increases, Adams said.
“The number of seniors who live alone is growing dramatically in these areas,” he said, “and they are more susceptible to being isolated.”
Cities can be challenging as well for the rising senior population, since old housing stock on narrow lots can be difficult to retrofit, Adams said. Most modifications in the Richmond’s Fan District, for example, need to be done on the rear of the property.
Virginia offers a $5,000 tax credit to a builder or a homeowner who includes at least one zero-step entryway, wide doorways and wide passages, and one full bath and bedroom on the first floor in a newly constructed home. Another tax credit is available on remodels for eligible improvements.
“In my experience, it’s more common for the homeowner to get the credit,” Adams said.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the baby boomer generation has many choices as potential clients of remodelers, builders and contractors.
“Overwhelmingly, seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes,” the association said.
HomeKeepers takes the aging-in-place concept a step further than construction and offers home management, where a homeowner hires the company for home maintenance — changing bulbs in floodlights, replacing air filters and batteries in fire detectors, checking for leaks and making sure there are no unwanted critters in the house.
***
Marion Shackford, owner of Adaptive Home Environments, a consulting firm in Quinton, said she prefers the phrase “thriving in place” to “aging in place.”
“Thriving in place is when we redesign our homes to meet our needs as we change,” Shackford said. “The result is not only safety and independence but psychological well-being.”
As a former executive director of continuing care retirement centers, “the recurring scenario that I saw was someone leaves their walker at the bathroom door (because the doorway is too narrow), then they fall and break their hips or they try to reach something, get on a step-stool and fall and break their hips,” Shackford said.
“They go to a hospital or a nursing home. Most of the time they never return home. They get depressed. They feel like they have lost all control of their lives. I saw it over and over again. It breaks my heart.”
These problems can be solved, said Shackford, a certified aging-in-place specialist, a designation conferred by the National Association of Home Builders.
“People can modify their homes so they can successfully age in place, enjoy their homes, neighborhood and communities, which to many is quality of life.”
Shackford does assessments of physical and cognitive functions in addition to making recommendations about modifications to make life easier.
Most people try to adapt their behaviors to their environment, she said. “They don’t realize they can adapt their home environments and use assistive technologies to meet their needs.”
Shackford has made changes to her own home to make life easier and less dangerous. She tore down front and side wood decks, which can be slippery in inclement weather, and replaced them with brick. She also lowered the height of exterior steps from a 12-inch rise to a 6¾-inch.
“It’s so much easier,” said Shackford, who stays active bicycling and kayaking. “So many great things can be done,” she said, such as lowering light switches and raising electrical outlets to help people with mobility issues. Wider doorways are not only good for wheelchairs and walkers but also come in handy when moving furniture, she said.
A built-in oven with a pull-out shelf can make cooking easier, especially when lifting turkeys and other heavy dishes. She recommends grab bars in the bath that double as towel racks.
“These products are very stylish and not expensive. ... There are so many cool things you can do.”