What to Look for when Hiring a Professional Renovation Contractor

November 21st, 2014


Make sure you find the right design-build firm before hiring a contractor to do your renovation. When looking for a contractor to handle your home remodeling project, you must have certain points in mind. It isn’t always easy to find the best contractor for the job; that’s why you’re here, after all, right?

Renewal Design-Build is located in Decatur, Georgia and services the intown Atlanta area. Today’s blog post is going to focus on what you need to look for when hiring a design-build firm or a contractor for your renovation.

The Qualifications

You should find out what makes the contractor qualified to offer this type of service. The kind of training they had is important. You should also look into whether they are licensed to provide these services. Your local building authority or professional building associations in your area will be able to provide you with information on the license a contractor needs to offer home remodeling in your area.

Their Experience

How long a person has been doing a job is important, especially if the renovation project will be a large one. Find out how many projects they have worked on in the past that are similar to yours. Better yet, if possible, see if they have any knowledge about the types of housing in your area. Local contractors will understand the requirements for getting building permits for any work that needs to be done.

Look for a contractor or a design-build firm with a nice website. An updated website shows that they are on top of their game and still competitive in the business world. They should also have some pretty magnificent pictures on their website. Look for before and after renovation pictures to gauge how well they do their job.

Type of Insurance

Since accidents can happen when performing home renovation jobs, it is important that any contractor you use has the right type of insurance such as liability and workers compensation. Look for someone who is licensed, bonded, and insured.

Get Referrals

This old favorite still remains a good way to find the right contractor. Referrals from family members and friends are particularly important as these people are unlikely to steer you in the wrong direction. Instead of just taking written referrals, you should call and talk to the persons named. You should also consider checking reviews on reputable websites to see what past clients have to say. Web sites such as guildquality.com and kudzu.com are good sites to check for client reviews for any remodeler you decide to use.

Get a Contract

Get a written contract and make sure that all the details of the job as well as agreed upon cost and timelines are included. The more complex the job the more details there should be in the contract, such as the types of materials to be used.

Once you have the factors that will help you to narrow your list of potential contractors, you can go about finding the right person for the job. Just as important as the decision to remodel your house is the proficiency of the contractor who will be doing the work.

For more information about remodeling your home in Atlanta, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Need More Space? Open Up the Floor Plan!

November 13th, 2014


Once you’ve made the decision to remodel your home, that’s often the only thing you can think about. I’ve been known to be quite obsessive about a project from time to time whether it’s a client project or a personal home improvement project. You’ve probably Googled a thousand times and your computer automatically boots up to a Google search when you walk into the room. Okay, probably not quite that bad, but at least you know that I understand where you’re coming from!

Remodeling is so exciting because it basically transforms your existing home into something completely new. Today’s blog post is obviously going to be about remodeling your home. But I’m not only going to talk about the basics; you already know that moving things around is going to change your space. I’m going to give you a few ideas you may not know are an option.

Non-Supporting Walls

Some of the walls inside your home are actual supporting structures that help support the weight of your roof. Don’t go tearing down walls without a consultation with an architect or a licensed contractor. You don’t want to have the roof come crashing in unexpectedly. You can renovate supporting walls, but you must keep supports in place. Discuss options with your contractor.

Removing non-supporting walls really opens up a home! You can, for example, remove the non-supporting wall between two bedrooms to create a large bedroom suite. Consider building a bathroom and large walk-in closet to turn two smaller bedrooms into a large master suite.

Boxy Kitchen and Dining Room

The two rooms that should flow well together are often separate box-shaped entities. Find out if the wall separating them is a supporting wall. Remove it to open the space if it is not. You can still remove it if it is a supporting wall, but care must be taken to maintain the structural integrity of the ceiling. Again, ask a contractor or an architect to be on the safe side. Open up the area between the kitchen and adjacent rooms by removing non-supporting walls or adding very large open windows, without the glass of course, and open the area from room to room.

More Space

These last two aren’t exactly ways to open up the floor plan, but they are great ways to add more space to your home without building an addition. The attic and basement are often overlooked.

Attic: Most houses have an attic, but some are completely unused. They’re large empty areas that may be used for storage, but most don’t even have actual flooring. They’re just structural 2x4s that support the ceiling below them, and a thick layer of insulation on top. Depending on your roof pitch and the amount of existing space up there, your attic could become a wonderful new area of your home.


Basement: Unfinished basements are often thought of as extra storage. Some homeowners even use a finished basement as climate controlled storage space instead of functional living space. That’s fine if you don’t need the space. But if you’re constantly looking for ways to expand the functional living space in your home, consider the basement!

What Do You Think?

Are you considering remodeling the interior of your home? What are your current plans? I would love to hear from you! Please comment in the comments section and let us know what your future home plans are.

Increasing the Value of Your Home with the Right Renovations

October 2nd, 2014

Apart from making your home look good and making you more comfortable, some renovations can also increase its value. A professional contractor can help you decide what to do to boost the value of your home. Sometimes renovations can be purely cosmetic, and will not make much difference to how much your property is worth. We’ve seen a lot of renovations over the years, and we’ve helped improve the overall value of many Atlanta area homes. Today we want to show you some ways you can increase the value of your home.

Areas that Add Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen: Upgrading your kitchen is a good idea when considering a remodeling project, even if you don’t like cooking. A well appointed kitchen is a great addition to any house. When renovating a kitchen, keep current trends in mind. Keeping it trendy will help ensure that the new kitchen will return almost the full cost of the remodeling cost if you have plans to sell the home in the near future. Ample storage and countertop space are generally prime characteristics of a great kitchen.

Bathroom: A good looking bathroom is one of the main areas that add value to a house. Not only will remodeling the bathroom or bathrooms add value, you can up the ante by adding another bathroom. Having more than one bathroom is important, especially in houses with children. If you have a master bedroom adding an adjoining bathroom will automatically increase the home’s worth. As with kitchens, follow current trends when considering remodeling ideas.

Decks: One often over-looked feature when remodeling is the addition of a nice deck. However, a deck does more than add a cool outdoor area; it can actually make your home more valuable. Make this addition special by giving it distinctive features and a unique shape. A well-designed deck often brings a return on investment of about 74% of the original build cost.

New Windows: Not only can the right type of windows serve to modernize and make houses look so much better, they can help make rooms lighter and make them seem more spacious. Get design help from professionals as to the best types of windows for the house that you are renovating. Our designers are wonderful at helping choose the perfect windows as accent pieces or simply as a way to view the outdoors and allow natural light to enter the home.

Curb Appeal: Who doesn’t want their house to look good from the outside? Make sure to use attractive colors and that the paint never looks faded. Installing a nice gate, as well as landscaping with plants, can add significant curb appeal to your property.

So the next time you are thinking of giving your house a remodel, keep in mind that there are things you can do to increase the resale value at the same time. However, while remodeling, unless you have specific plans to sell, your main objective should be to make your house into the home you want to live in. We truly believe that there is no reason your home cannot adapt to your lifestyle, and that is what we strive to help homeowners do; create a home around the life they’ve chosen instead of searching for a home that their lifestyle fits into.

For more information about remodeling your home in Atlanta, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Want to Give New Life to Your Bedroom? Remodeling to the Rescue!

September 22nd, 2014

Like any other room in your house, the bedroom sometimes needs a face-lift. Luckily, with good planning you can transform your bedroom without spending more than you can comfortably afford. There are lots of ways to spruce up a bedroom to make it more inviting and comfortable. The design and build teams here at Renewal Design-Build in Decatur, Georgia completely understand and would love to help turn your bedroom into your own personal oasis.

Before starting the process of remodeling your bedroom you should think about the look you want to achieve. Do you want sultry and passionate or do you want something a little tamer? Do you prefer dark colors, or light? Some great design ideas for your bedroom are:

Add Height to the Ceiling: Increasing the ceiling height in bedrooms on a second floor, or those in a single level house, immediately makes the room more spacious looking. Adding skylights to allow natural light to enter will also help to change the look and feel of your bedroom.

New Color Paint: Nothing gives new life to a room like a new coat of paint, especially if you use a different color. Light, smooth colors are best for bedrooms, so choose shades like light blue, white and beige. However, you should be guided by the colors you like and your own personal taste. Keep in mind that bright, loud colors are not generally calming and may prevent you from relaxing and falling asleep.

Change Light Fixtures: Light fixtures can easily transform a bedroom from drab and boring to fanciful or elegant. Apart from the type of bulb that you use, changing the fixture and the switch can give the bedroom a different look. Using dimmer switches in your bedroom helps to reduce your electricity bill and controls the brightness in the room. You can add reading lights if you like to read in bed.

Add Some Molding: Trimmings, such as molding and trim can add a different dimension to the look of a room. Choose a design that you like and which works well with the décor of your bedroom. You can look for these by yourself, but getting professional help is a good way to ensure that they are installed properly.

Storage: Even the type of storage you use can help transform a run-of-the-mill bedroom into one you actually want to spend time in because of how good it looks. Installing modern storage units not only gives you much more space, it can also bring new life to your bedroom, making it orderly and neat. Even though a bedroom is primarily for sleeping, the fact that you spend so much of your life in there means that you should have one that that makes you feel comfortable.

Bedroom remodeling in Decatur, Georgia or the greater Atlanta area is only part of our lines of expertise. Renewal Design-Build is a full-service design-build company with focus on remodeling and custom home design. Give us a call any time to discuss your options or to talk about helping us design your dream home.

Buy that Old Home You Want and Call Us to Help Renew it and Create Your Dream Home

September 4th, 2014

I love old homes. Older architecture has so much unique appeal, and customizing a renovation isn’t as difficult as you may think. Renewal Design-Build is based in Decatur, Georgia. We are homeowners with an eye for design and we have the ability to transform any space into something spectacular. We’ve found that many of the older homes in the Decatur and greater Atlanta area are truly gems waiting to be discovered.

Why Work with Renewal Design-Build?

We take the guess work out of renovating and remodeling older homes. Our design teams work diligently to provide options that we’re sure you’ll love. We don’t just make a few sketches and hope for the best. Our process includes the production of 3D images to give you a true to life representation of what your home will look like when the dust settles.

Our designers love both old architecture and new. We have worked with several homeowners to restore the historic beauty of their old home as well as several who prefer to completely remodel and modernize their older home. The choice is, of course, entirely up to the homeowner. Our designers and builders will work with you to create the perfect solution to fit your lifestyle.

Potential Problems in an Older Home

Before you sign on the dotted lines, please understand that going into an older home with high hopes and dreams of the perfect renovation project, things often go wrong very quickly. Here are several things to keep in mind and to watch for before you even make the purchase.

Electrical Problems: The home will not be up to code. It is possible that the previous owner had new wiring run, but assume from the start that it will not be up to code and you will have to have all new wiring run throughout the home. Take that idea a step further and mentally budget for a new breaker box as well. It’s always better to be over prepared than under!

Plumbing Problems: Old pipes will likely need to be replaced. Expect to see leaks due to lack of maintenance and TLC. Check the area around leaks for mold and wood rot.

Water Damage: Water damage can be potentially damaging to the entire structure of the home. It can cause mold, dirt erosion, and wood rot if left for an extended period of time. Examine the area thoroughly before you make the decision to purchase the property.

I wrote another blog post about renovating an older home in Atlanta if you’d like to see some other areas of concern. Don’t go into the project expecting all rainbows and butterflies because it’s going to be hard work, even if you hire us to do all of the dirty work.

My advice to you, if you’re on the fence about whether you should or shouldn’t buy the old home you’ve had your eye on for years, is to do it. You’re aware of the risks by now, so just take the plunge and then call us to begin the renovation process!

Kitchen Remodeling Trends to Spice Up Your Atlanta Kitchen

August 19th, 2014

Kitchen design trends got really colorful throughout 2014. Some of these trends have made headlines where others are merely a flash in the pan. How do you distinguish between something enduring vs. a fad that will be over by next year? Here are some of the current trends we are seeing in kitchen design.

Colorful Kitchen
Homeowners have really started showing off their personal tastes in the most recent remodeling projects. They are becoming bold with color choices, like a dark blue kitchen wall with bone cabinets and quartz countertops. Many appliances such as dishwashers, ranges and refrigerators are now available in bright hues.

Streamline the Room
Straight lines, muted tones, and a good combination of dark and bright accent pieces really make a kitchen shine. One of the most popular trends in kitchen design for 2014 is the addition of built-in appliances. The refrigerator is hidden behind a door that looks like a closet door and matches the rest of the room. The microwave follows suit and is no longer a stand-alone piece of countertop space hogging furniture. Some homeowners are even going for a built-in area for the coffee maker. When it comes to custom kitchen design, the sky is the limit!

New Kitchen Lighting Trends
Under-cabinet LED lighting and over-island LED lighting are very popular this year. LED lighting for the kitchen is very cost effective, and bright enough to really allow you to see what you’re doing. Food prep areas need sufficient lighting in order to prevent mistakes while cooking. And let’s face it; over cabinet and under cabinet lighting is just cool!

New Faucets
Everyone loves the convenience of the pull-out faucet, right? No need to have a faucet and sprayer as two separate entities. It saves space and makes the area look so much cleaner. This year some homeowners also included no-touch electronic faucets in their kitchen design. This seems to work better for a secondary sink where most of the food preparation takes place.

The island is a very popular workspace, and working with a variety of foods requires a lot of hand washing to prevent contamination. The knobs or handles catch a lot of germs each time you turn the water on or off. This risks the very thing you’re trying to avoid – contamination of your food. An electronic faucet prevents that altogether.

Grohe Contemporary Touch Faucet

A Place for Pets
Some homeowners block the kitchen with pet gates while others welcome their pet into every part of the home. This section speaks to the latter group of homeowners. You likely have a designated spot for pet food and water bowls. Let’s take that up a notch and think about actually creating a permanent spot in the kitchen that is out of the way and very convenient for your pets.
The end of a row of cabinets, a lower-tier drawer removal, or the end of an island make fantastic spots for pet food bowls. Modify that idea even further by adding a faucet nearby so it’s even easier and more convenient to fill the water bowl.

Built-in Pet Bowls

What Are Your Thoughts?
What would you consider a kitchen trend for 2014? What do you think about the ones we mentioned here, will they last? Would you like to see more about kitchens or would you prefer we cover other areas of the home in next month’s blog posts? Let us know your thoughts and ideas by commenting in the comments section or emailing us through the Contact Us page on the site!

Why Should You Choose Renewal Design-Build for Your Atlanta Home Remodeling Project?

August 11th, 2014

Remodeling your home can be a very tedious project. You have to take so many factors into consideration. You’ve probably heard several horror stories as well; stories of muddy Georgia clay boots tracking across clean floors, of contractors disappearing in the middle of a project, and many more.

Renewal Design-Build is not like those other companies. We take pride in providing a professional atmosphere for all of our clients, regardless of the size of the job. Take a look at our design-build process and how it will benefit you.

Communication: It all begins with a phone call. Our initial consultation is the foundation for the entire project. We will meet with you at your home to discuss your project in detail. The renovation consultant who meets with you will serve as your point of contact for the duration of the project. We believe that communication is of equal importance as quality. Without good communication, we don’t feel that the quality of the overall job has been met.

Quality: True quality is met as a direct result of the hard work our designers and builders put forth and the quality of communication between the homeowner and designer. Our builders use only the highest quality materials during the building or remodeling phase of the project. High quality materials plus high quality work equals a high quality finished product.

Save Time and Money: The traditional design and build process required that you first speak with a designer to design your project. Then you’d speak with an architect to make sure the home would be structurally sound. Finally you’d coordinate between a general contractor, a plumber, and an electrician to have the home built. That isn’t how we do it here. We house the design and build teams and arrange everything for you. All you have to do is wait for updates, or call anytime to discuss the project with the project manager.

3D Designs: One of the most unique things we offer is 3D designs of your project. We want to make absolutely sure that you know what the end project will look like, so we provide 3D images. This gives you a glimpse of what life will be like in your newly designed home. We can make any changes you wish until the time construction begins.

Easy Home Design and Renovation

It doesn’t get much easier than building or remodeling your home with Renewal Design-Build. Our firm is dedicated to the improvement efforts put forth by all homeowners in the Atlanta metro area. We have had the opportunity to work with homeowners on both large and small projects. We give the same amount of attention to a $35,000 bathroom as we do a $600,000 full home renovation, because the size of the project doesn’t matter.

Give us a call at 404-378-6962 or contact us via our website any time to discuss your project in detail. We would love to make your home renovation dreams come true.

Home Remodeling with Teens

July 30th, 2014

Teenagers are often difficult to understand, but as parents, I don’t think we’re supposed to understand them. Think back to when you were a teenager; did everyone understand you and your needs? Of course not. Children grow into teenagers before we realize it, and their needs and tastes grow along with them. All too often parents are suddenly faced with the fact that their four bedroom two bath home just doesn’t cut it with so many people trying to get ready for work, school, hanging out with friends, and study dates.

Add a Bathroom
Adding a bathroom to your existing home may sound a bit tricky, but it can be done. Your contractor may have to get quite creative depending on the layout of your home, but imagine the convenience the addition of a single small bathroom would add to your family’s lifestyle.
Be careful when adding a full bathroom because you may overstress the hot water heater. No one will want to use the third bathroom shower if everyone is going to finish in cold water. Consider the possibility of installing a tankless hot water heater if you’re going to add a new full bath to your existing home.

Add a Home Addition
A home addition expands the physical size of your home, making space for nearly any type of room you need. Many first-time homeowners purchase a small house and work to pay the mortgage down so they have a good amount of equity in the home. They decide to add additional rooms as their family grows, and they can take out a second mortgage to cover the costs of expansion.

Teens Need Space
Teenagers need space to store all of their stuff. And they need space to invite friends over, play video games without commanding the use of the entire living room, and computer time without fussing with siblings who also need the computer for homework.

The ability to provide teens with the space they need to enjoy life (and make life easier on you) doesn’t necessarily mean you need to build onto the home. Remodeling bedrooms to include built-in storage for things like game consoles, game controllers, and a hide-away desk makes a big difference. Simply creating hidden or multi-operational storage spaces is often all that’s required in order for a teen to feel that they have increased space for stuff.

Ask Around
Discuss your home’s issues with a contractor. A properly designed home should flow easily from room to room and be comfortable enough to easily accommodate its occupants. Call us to discuss your home addition or remodeling options if you feel that your home isn’t adequately addressing the demands placed on it by your family.

Renewal Design + Build is a full service home design and build company located in the Decatur area. We service the Decatur, Intown Atlanta, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs areas. Our designers work closely with our project managers and construction teams to ensure that your home addition or remodel is perfect and exactly what you expect. Call us to schedule a free consultation with regards to remodeling your home during its transition from being a home to children to accommodating teenagers.

A High End Kitchen Renovation that Won’t Leave You Feeling Burned

July 18th, 2014

Renewal Design-Build Kitchens

I could talk for days about how incredible our designers and builders are here at Renewal Design-Build, but I believe our work speaks for itself. Many of our kitchen remodels have received the Chrysalis Award (2013), the 2012 Silver OBIE Award for Residential Remodeling Best Addition, among other prestigious awards. Our designs have been featured on television shows, and our clients are always thrilled with the completed project. Please view our portfolio to see before and after photos of the amazing remodeling projects we’ve previously done.

Designing an award-winning kitchen takes time, patience, and no small amount of expertise. Our design team is absolutely incredible, and they leave no avenue unexplored. They work with you to ensure that your every wish is fulfilled regarding your new kitchen.

Our kitchen designs wouldn’t be as amazing without our expert team of builders. Our builders take their time to review the 3D renderings and study the plans for each kitchen build before any work begins. They make sure to get all questions and concerns out of the way before the beginning of the project, that way there are no surprises along the way.

Our teams work so well together that the entire project feels seamless. The homeowners we work with report that their experience with us was like no other they’ve ever experienced. They feel as if they are our only client, even when they know they aren’t. Our overall client care approach is designed to put the client first in everything we do.

Allow us the opportunity to work with you to design your new custom kitchen. You will be responsible for choosing the basic design that our designers will embellish on, the materials that our builders will use, and the finishing touches that will make your kitchen shine. In the end, your kitchen will be award-worthy just as many of the other kitchens in our online portfolio.

We’re very proud to have been able to work with some amazing clients in the Decatur and greater Atlanta area. We’ve met people who know exactly what they want and give us the creative freedom to perfect on their vision. We’ve also met people who have several great ideas, but aren’t quite sure if those ideas can be made into a usable kitchen. We do everything within our power to make sure their kitchen exceeds their expectations.

We enjoy working with homeowners to bring their kitchen dreams to life. If you’re remodeling your existing home, or building a new home, and are interested in hiring us to design and build your custom kitchen, please give us call. We will set up an appointment that works with your schedule and discuss your design and build needs.

Thinking about Remodeling Your Home? Let’s Talk Whole House Redesign!

July 7th, 2014

Before you panic or click away for fear of sticker shock, let me explain that a whole house redesign doesn’t necessarily mean knocking down all walls and starting from scratch. The basic structure of your home will remain intact, but we will redesign certain rooms, remodel the kitchen and bathrooms if you wish, and make whatever other changes you want. Some rooms, the family room for instance, may only require new paint, new windows, or updated flooring. Other rooms may only require paint, or nothing at all.

Build a New Home vs. Redesign and Remodel
One of the primary questions you need to ask your self is – should you remodel your existing home or build a new custom home? That choice is, of course, entirely yours. Several key factors need to be taken into consideration. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones:
Building a new home requires the acquisition of land, footers to be dug, foundation to be poured, and every stage of construction leading up to the completed home. Remodeling your existing home requires none of those additional costs. Your basic structure, the foundation, plumbing, and electric wires are already in place.

Plan for Now and Later
Planning your whole house remodel will take time. You will likely need to consult an architect as well as a contractor. Your existing home has specific support beams and support walls that simply cannot be removed and replaced without ensuring that the support remains in place. Removing areas of support without replacing them all but guarantees that your home will become structurally unsafe.

While planning your remodel, keep in mind that you’re planning for now and for the future as well. Many people live in their homes through their retirement years, and well into their 80s. Mobility issues will likely arise in your later years, so plan ahead and include handrails, grab bars, wide hallways and doorways, and accessible showers and tubs.
Planning your remodel to include your senior years will increase the value of your home and make life much easier on you in the future. Adding a doorway to adjoin your bedroom to your baby’s bedroom may be a great idea for now, but think about what the teen years are going to bring.

Up to Code
This would be the perfect time to make sure all of the wiring and plumbing in your home is up to code. Replace any damaged or worn wiring with new, and replace all light switches and electrical sockets while you’re into it.

Go Solar
The Federal Tax Credit for installing solar panels expires at the end of 2016. Why not take advantage of it before it’s too late? Solar panels are a great investment for the future because they effectively reduce energy bills. The initial investment will be offset by tax credits and they will continue to pay for themselves through reduced energy costs.

Need More Ideas? Ask Us.
Contractors and architects are always full of great remodeling ideas! Feel free to ask questions like, “If it were your house, and you needed this functionality, what would you do?” You may be surprised at some of the answers you receive once you ask the architect, designer, or contractor to use their imagination.

What to Do at the End of a Remodel

June 25th, 2014
design build firm Atlanta

Renewal Design Build

When thinking about the remodeling process, it’s easy to imagine the work that goes into the design stage and the build stage.  It’s also easy to imagine the excitement you’ll feel when it’s all finished and you get to enjoy your remodeled home!  However, the end of the remodeling process is not just celebrating; there is some work that needs to be done here, too.

  • It sounds so simple, but one important step that often gets overlooked in all the excitement is making sure everything works! Turn on and run all appliances, all lighting fixtures and outlets both new and old…occasionally a breaker will accidentally get tripped that controls other parts of the house. Also test new faucets, showers and other water sources.
  • Spend a couple of hours sorting through all the paperwork and warranty cards. Fill out and return the warranty information as soon as possible. This is an important step in case of a problem or manufacturer’s recall. Keep all manuals and brochures for future reference.
  • Along with the manuals and brochures, make sure to retain additional pertinent information including blueprints, permits, paint and flooring names and colors, contractor’s contact information, punch lists and receipts. Dedicate a specific drawer, file or box for easy access.
  • Make sure you keep all leftover materials such as tile, wallpaper and paint.You never know when a repair will need to be made in the future.
  • Call your insurance agent and add the cost of the remodel onto your homeowner’s policy. This needs to be done any time a major purchase is made for your property.
  • In addition to checking the manuals, don’t hesitate to ask your design-build project manager for detailed maintenance information. Discuss specific cleaning products and maintenance schedules.
  • Double check with your city or county building department that all required documentation has been correctly filed. Sign off on any remaining paperwork and always keep copies for your records.

For more information on the remodeling process from start to finish, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Renovating a Historic Home Doesn’t Mean Tearing it up and Starting Over

June 17th, 2014

There’s a major difference between renovating and rebuilding. Renovating a historic home takes a lot of time and involves keeping the historic appeal while updating the necessities. I’m going to thoroughly compare the two throughout this blog post. Please remember that my opinions are my own, and we may disagree. But that’s perfectly okay, I’d still love to discuss your project with you and bounce ideas, regardless of your methods.


When you renovate a historic home, the goal is to maintain the historic appeal of the home while improving the efficiency, and lightly updating the home itself. Most people who renovate do their best to find period pieces to replace broken or damaged pieces. The architecture of decades past is so very multifaceted that it is often very difficult to find pieces that work well without having them crafted.

Which brings me to the next topic of conversation: finding qualified crafters and tradesmen. Some people in the Atlanta area still practice old woodworking and metalworking techniques and can custom make pieces you need.


Maybe rebuilding is a strong word for this, but a lot of people go into a historic renovation and end up with a completely different structure with just a few of the historic elements left intact. This is more of a renovation extreme, or maybe a renovation/modification process. You still end up with a very nice home with some historic elements when the project is complete, but it isn’t exactly a renovation.

The Bottom Line

Historic home renovation involves a bit of something old, something new. The basic structure of the home should stay intact as much as possible. Replace rotted or damaged wood, but try to make it a seamless transition from old to new. Everything you replace with a modernized look and feel transitions the home into an entirely new entity. Try to stay as close to the original as possible if you’re going for a true renovation or preservation.

If you need any help or advice about renovating your Atlanta area historic home, please feel free to call us. We’ll discuss your project with you and offer advice based on our expertise and experience. If you feel overwhelmed with your renovation project, please don’t hesitate to call us for help. Hire us to help with one part of the job that has you scratching your head, or the entire home. It’s your call!

Planning a Home Addition? Let’s Discuss Where and How to Successfully Build.

June 10th, 2014


I’ve said this in other blog posts, but I’ll say it again because it’s so true; home additions should always improve your lifestyle and increase the level of happiness in your home life. That being said, many people know what they need to build, but not necessarily where it needs to be built. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it yourself, but your house has a natural flow. Upsetting that flow may decrease the effectiveness of your HVAC system and increase your heating and cooling bills. Today I’m going to cover home additions, and where to add space to your home.

Please keep in mind that building up is more cost effective because your basic structure is already stable. What is building up? Think about it literally. The term building up literally means adding an upstairs story to your existing home. Your foundation is already there, there’s no need to dig footers to extend the foundation as long as you’re building straight up.

What about the foundation, will you need to strengthen it to hold another story? Not in most cases. Most foundations are strong enough to easily withstand the pressure of a second story. Don’t attempt DIY building projects before consulting a contractor, though. Just in case!

Building out does require an extended foundation, so you have to dig more footers, pour more concrete, and take up more yard space. What is building out? Building out is the process of adding another room to your existing home, whether it’s in front, behind, or to either side.

What about building down? Do you have existing basement space underneath your home? Build down into that space to create a finished basement. Cost on this type of home addition depends entirely on the amount of space you have available. If you only have a few feet of crawl space, you’ll need to dig an entire basement, which will, of course, run into a lot of money spent!

Other Factors

Historical neighborhoods and homeowners associations often have a lot of restrictions to building onto your home. Find out what the restrictions are before you even begin the planning process. No need to make plans if they don’t allow additions at all.

Building codes, buried pipes, and other potential hazards can plague building onto your home. Make sure you have a good understanding of all of the legal requirements before you begin a project like this as a DIY project.

Choosing a Contractor

Contractors are pretty plentiful. If you aren’t sure who you should hire, ask your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family for recommendations. Once you have a list of recommended builders, start looking them up online to see reviews, before/after photos in their galleries and everything you can find out from their website and social media websites. Narrow the list down to your favorites, and call them. Ask detailed questions, and schedule two or three consultations with the ones you feel most familiar with. Consultations are usually free, so get to know a few different people you’ll potentially get to know very well through the addition process. Feel free to call us for a consultation! We love Atlanta, and we love helping people reach their building and remodeling goals.

So You Want to Remodel Your Atlanta Home, But No Idea Where to Start? Let us help!

May 29th, 2014

Home remodeling projects vary greatly from homeowner to homeowner depending on their individual needs. Where one family may need a better kitchen layout and design, another may need more space for a new baby on the way. There really is no right or wrong in general, just right and wrong for the individual. I’m going to go over several of the most popular types of home remodeling projects, and how they can help in your Atlanta home.


Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodeling

The kitchen is the number-one remodeled room in the home according to every major study. It may be our southern roots, but we believe it’s because the kitchen is the heart of the home. That’s where the family gathers for meals, birthday parties, and other events. Maybe it’s just because people love the look and feel of an updated kitchen. Some remodels may be as simple as painting and purchasing all new appliances. Others may include an entirely new kitchen by the time it’s all said and done.


Bathroom Remodeling

The bathroom is the second-most remodeled room in the home. Some bathroom remodels are as simple as painting and replacing a few pieces of furniture. Others may be as detailed as replacing a tub/shower unit with a tile shower, replacing linoleum with tile, replacing the entire vanity area, and replacing an old toilet with a water saving toilet.

Aging in Place

Aging in place isn’t an entirely new concept, but it is quickly gaining ground in recent years. The aging in place process is one in which Atlanta’s senior citizens are able to live independently in their own home for more years than they were previously able to. I love this one, because our wonderful city has so many elderly people who are perfectly capable of living at home instead of a retirement home; all they need is a few minor modifications to their home.

Adding a Bedroom

Expecting a new arrival to the household? Build an extra bedroom in advance. This needed remodel idea is pretty much a no-brainer, because when you need more space, you need more space! Introducing new family members into the household often requires the addition of a new bedroom.

Adding an Office

The Internet allows more people to work from home or occasionally telecommute. A home office is quickly becoming the standard in new home building. People need a spot to work that is interruption-free and quiet.

Outdoor SpacesAdd Outdoor Space

Let’s face it, Atlanta gets hot, hot, HOT! A covered patio, gazebo, sunroom, or covered deck adds value to your home while providing a great way to enjoy the gorgeous weather without getting sunburned.

What it’s all About

No matter what you choose to do with your home, transform it to match the demands your family puts on it. A healthy, happy life is what it’s all about. If remodeling your home creates more happiness or improves your current lifestyle in any way, it’s already worth it. Call us for a free consultation if you’d like to talk about your options and maybe we can help bounce some ideas with you!


Renewal Design-Build’s Personal Renovation Guarantee

May 21st, 2014

Guaranteed-RenovationI’ll bet you’re thinking, “Everyone offers a money back guarantee, what makes you so special?” One of the many things that makes Renewal Design-Build so special is that we don’t have the fine print that other people have. We guarantee a completed project by a specific date, and if it isn’t done on time and in budget, we refund you $200 per day we are late.

It really is that simple. Our The Guaranteed Renovation guarantee covers all renovation projects over $50,000. We guarantee, in writing, that we will complete your project by a specific date. If we miss our deadline we pay you $200 per calendar day that we go over. There is no fine print that protects us against our own mistakes.

That isn’t the only way Renewal Design-Build stands above the competition. We proudly house an entire design team, build team, and other experts under the same roof. This provides you the ability to converse with several teams of experts at any given time. Discuss your design ideas with our design team before any demolition or construction begins at your home.

How We Will Help with Your Atlanta Home Renovation

  • We will help you decide whether to purchase and renovate a home. Just call us, and one of our consultants will meet you at the home you’re considering purchasing. Discuss your renovation ideas with him, and he will give you an honest opinion on whether he believes you should buy the house and a rough estimate of about how much your desired renovations may cost.
  • Design – Our designers are available to help you design the perfect renovations to your home. We will provide realistic photos to show you what you can expect before we begin construction.
  • Financing – We do NOT provide in-house financing, but we do work with you to help you find financing for your project if needed.
  • Budgeting – We will help you develop a budget that we can all work with, and we will work within that budget.
  • Materials – We will help you choose the best materials for your home renovation.
  • Single Point of Contact – One of the things we hear most from our previous clients is that it was so convenient working with us because they expressed their concerns to one person instead of several different teams. You will work hand-in-hand with one consultant the entire duration of the project.

We’re standing by waiting to hear from you about renovations to your Atlanta home. Let us hear what you have to say about your existing home and how you’d like to transform it to meet your current needs. Your initial consultation is free.

Aging in Place in Atlanta – Is your home ready for a lifestyle change?

April 25th, 2014

Many Georgians are living longer, healthier lives. Here in Atlanta, we’re seeing a large increase in the number of senior citizens who live independently at home well into their 80s. Living independently of other people doesn’t necessarily mean there is no extra help at all. In fact, we’ve been helping people live independently for several years by simply modifying their home to be more senior citizen-friendly. Here are several ways we help the Atlanta area’s seniors maintain their independence.

  • Grab Bars – These are quite simply metal bars that give the homeowner something to grab onto in case they feel off balance or afraid that they will fall. Grab bars may be installed in the tub, shower, or near the toilet.
  • Walk-in Tubs – Bath tubs have come a long way in terms of design. We’ve installed a wide variety of tubs for people with mobility issues.
  • Shower Seats – A shower seat may take several forms, but the overall function is to provide a place for one to sit to attend their personal hygiene needs. This is very helpful to people with mobility or balance problems. Aging In Place
  • Widen Doorways and Hallways – The average hallway is 36 to 38 inches wide, and the average doorway is 32 to 36 inches wide. A wheelchair or walker need a space that is about 42 inches wide. This is usually a pretty quick and easy fix, especially for people who are already planning to remodel the inside of their home to fit their new senior lifestyle.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Sink and Vanity – Several companies now offer wheelchair accessible sink designs to fit most any decor.
  • Raised Dishwasher – The dishwasher is something no senior citizen should be without. We’ve found that simply raising the dishwasher so it is easily accessible from a wheelchair height immensely helps Atlanta’s seniors live independently.
  • Easy Access Storage – Everyone needs easy access to storage, especially in the bedroom, closets, bathrooms, and kitchen. We work to ensure that our senior citizens have access to the storage areas they use the most.
  • Kitchen Modifications – Removal of kitchen islands, modification of kitchen sinks, cabinets, and counter tops are all part of our aging in place model.

We proudly support Atlanta’s senior citizens, because they have helped mold our great city into what it is today. We feel that they have earned the right to live independently as long as possible instead of being pushed into a retirement home simply because their home didn’t adapt to their new lifestyle. We are a proud member of the National Aging in Place Council and we are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS).

Call Renewal Design-Build any time to discuss your aging in place ideas or concerns. We would love to work with you to make sure that your home grows and adapts to meet your changing needs.

Why Keeping the Design and Build Processes Under One Roof is Beneficial to You

April 16th, 2014

A lot of homeowners put off major home renovations because they don’t really know where to start. They will need a designer, an architect, an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, and the list goes on. It really does feel daunting when you think of it that way. But, my fellow Atlantans, you have another option.

Here at Renewal Design Build, we take care of everything for you. That’s right. Everything you need under one roof. You have a single point of contact. Many of our previous clients have told us that we truly helped simplify the home remodeling process for them.

We love the Atlanta area, and we care about each person we help. We feel that our dedication to the people of Atlanta is evident in our craftsmanship. We want our city to continue to be the best in the country. The more incredible, homes we renovate, the more we are contributing to that goal.

How Our Business Model Helps You

  • Convenience – No need to deal with multiple companies or multiple points of contact. We assist in every minute detail, and you’ll have a single point of contact for the entire process.
  • Communication – Obviously it’s more efficient for you to discuss your concerns with one person who relays your information to a team instead of having to make sure you’ve spoken with four different people at different times.
  • Quality – No work is actually begun until we make sure everyone is on the same page. Exceptional communication leads to exceptional quality of workmanship.
  • Save Time – Again, communicating with one person saves a lot of time and confusion. We will work together for the entire duration of the project to make sure your home is completed in a timely manner.
  • Save Money – Hiring one single company with everything in-house is not only more convenient, it saves money. You don’t have to pay three different companies to produce the same results.

We feel that we offer a wonderful home remodeling service to all of our Atlanta area clients. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you design your dream home. Our expert designers will help you design the structure and layout, and help choose the best materials for the job. A high quality finished product relies heavily on the use of high quality materials. We can help you get those materials at the best cost.

Call any time to discuss your ideas. We look forward to being your chosen design-build company.

Balancing Your Remodeling Budget to Get the Best Results

March 27th, 2014
design build firm

Renewal Design Build

Now that you’ve made the decision to begin your Atlanta home renovations, you probably have a general idea of what you want and how much you can afford to spend. But how do you know where to skimp and where to splurge?

By being upfront and honest concerning both your budget and expectations, your design-build firm can advise you on where money can be saved and where quality is most important.

If there are certain custom features that are “must haves,” it’s important to let your designer know that these are non-negotiable. This will make those decisions on where to cut corners in the future much easier. For example, if radiant floor heating is a “must have,” consider installing less expensive tile or hardwoods on top to balance out the cost.

Consider renovating and reusing rather than replacing. If the kitchen cabinets are still in good shape, refinishing or repainting will give them new life while freeing up dollars for top of the line appliances. Also, don’t discount using remnants and recycled materials for things like countertops, flooring, interior doors and light fixtures.

Make sure you invest in quality systems and materials that need to last, such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing and insulation. These are all areas that are both expensive and difficult to replace. Plus, in many cases if a substandard heating system is installed or sub-par insulation used, the initial savings will quickly be lost.

If the renovation includes extensive exterior work, don’t forget to discuss future landscaping plans. It really isn’t cost effective to rework certain areas of the exterior if it is eventually going to be hidden by wide bushes or towering shrubs.

Contact us at Renewal Design-Build for help deciding where to splurge in your remodel.

Check Your Historical Home for These Must-Repair Problems

March 18th, 2014

Anyone planning a historic renovation in Atlanta knows there will be challenges, but they also know that the end result is worth it.  While you’re doing many remodeling projects simply because of added aesthetics and functionality, there are other projects on the table not open for discussion.

  • historic renovation Decatur

    Renewal Design Build

    Start at the top and work your way down. Roof discoloration and staining or shingles or tiles which are lifting or missing are all signs that the roof needs some attention. Then look carefully inside in the attic. Check to see if there is wet insulation and if the space around vent piping and near the chimney is damp. Any areas where the roof has been breached needs to have close attention paid for signs of moisture.

  • Next have a professional electrician or licensed home inspector investigate the power situation. Chances are the entire system will have to be upgraded simply because older homes don’t have the necessary electrical requirements to meet the needs of today’s homeowner. Not only will the entire electrical panel or breaker box not handle the load of new appliances and electronics, but switches, outlets and fixtures can deteriorate with age.
  • Head down to the basement or crawl space and thoroughly scrutinize the foundation both inside and out, the insulation, any HVAC ductwork and the exposed beams and framing. All homes settle with age, but if there are cracks in the foundation larger than the diameter of a pencil, this usually signals a larger problem. Termite damage is often first discovered under the house and even if you don’t see destruction in the wood, check carefully where the wood meets the ground for piles of sawdust which can indicate damage is occurring internally.

For help with your historical renovation in Atlanta. contact us today at Renewal Design-Build.

Consider Sophisticated Travertine for Your Remodel

February 28th, 2014

Now that your Atlanta home renovations are coming together, it’s time to start thinking about interior finishes for flooring, walls and countertops. Depending on the extent of the remodel, new exterior finishes may need to be selected as well. Before you fall back on the old standards like ceramic tile or hardwood flooring, why not take a look at gorgeous and versatile travertine tile?

Combining rustic charm with sophisticated style, this type of tile is a fantastic selection no matter what your design preference. It has a chameleon-like quality and blends perfectly with the surrounding decor. With a wide variety of colors and patterns, travertine is a tried and true building material from bath to kitchen, foyer to fireplace. Travertine can be installed with its natural matte finish or polished to a high sheen depending on location.

Travertine is definitely a top choice for both interior and exterior flooring. It brings such an elegant and rich look to any room of your home and is so hardy it stands up well to heavy foot traffic. Travertine is available in sizes from small mosaic pieces to large slabs, does well in inclement weather, and ages beautifully,

Since travertine is a porous material, it’s important to work with a professional design-build firm to help determine what style of travertine works best in certain locations. And because travertine has such a wide variety of natural patterns and shading, it’s the perfect material to use for custom tile art designs. For example, in a master bath, use large slab travertine on the floor and smaller more uniform travertine tiles in a matte finish inside the shower and on the countertops. Then have a fabulous one-of-a-kind tile design created in the surrounding backsplash.

For more tips and ideas for redesigning your home in the Atlanta area, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Since 2001 we have completed hundreds of home remodeling projects and earned more than 50 awards for design, craftsmanship and customer service.