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August 8, 2023
Remodeling - General


A primary suite is a basic necessity for most homeowners these days, and while older homes are often full of charm, they can fall short when it comes to ensuites. This home, a coveted Beaverdale brick, had a spacious second floor bedroom with a half bath. And while a half bath is better than no bath, the homeowner knew a primary bath remodel was the only way to enjoy the convenience of a true primary suite.

Often, we’re challenged to find a solution within an existing footprint and this project was no different. We used space that was home to the existing half bath, a niche and a closet to create the new full bath. The design stayed true to the home’s design with classic colors – white, black and gold – and traditional shapes like subway and hexagonal tile. Ethereal Noctis quartz counters and champagne bronze fixtures add a touch of glam to the bath.

While the primary bath is completely new, the bedroom got its own needed update from the bottom up. Wood floors were patched and refinished, and the design added a spacious walk-in closet and a half wall in place of the railing that separated the bedroom from the stairs. A separate heating and cooling unit for the second floor maintains a comfortable temperature for the space, which was a struggle for the homeowner prior to the remodel.

Throughout the process, the homeowner was committed to a bold ceiling color choice and settled on Sherwin Williams Delft, a ceiling color that adds depth that can’t be achieved with furnishings and accessories. The homeowner is thrilled with the outcome of the primary suite remodel, but the biggest fan is her golden retriever, Jagger, who thinks the transformation is truly rebarkable.

If you want to #loveyourhome as much as Jagger, contact us for a free consulation or attend one of our free Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Seminars. #itsaredhouseremodel

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January 10, 2023
Remodeling - General


What remodeling stories will Red House Remodeling tell in 2023? That’s up to you, homeowner. The stories we tell as a design/build remodeler are told through floorplans, elevations, walls that are moved and finish materials. The stories involve cabinet finishes, countertops, hardware, fixtures and paint colors.

Some of our stories are already in progress, in various stages of design and production:

We’ll tell the remodeling story of a family who has outgrown their space, but loves their neighborhood. Their story will start out a mystery. Will they move? Will they be open to more effective uses of their space? Will they choose to enlarge their living space? Spoiler alert: they’re staying and we’re helping them reimagine their existing space so that it functions better for their family.

We’ll share the remodeling story of a homeowner with mobility issues who is fiercely independent and needs an expanded accessible shower that incorporates the aesthetic she’s established throughout her home.

The thing about remodeling is that it’s a product and a service, what people are really buying though, are relationships and stories.

We’ll describe the remodeling story of homeowners who have a terrific home, but want finish upgrades throughout that will make the home THEIR home. From new countertops and tile in the kitchen to a re-imagined fireplace surround and a new shower and built-in storage for the basement bathroom.

We’ll also expand upon remodeling stories that currently exist only in the minds of homeowners. Somewhere someone is finally going to take the first step of a kitchen remodel, after years of just thinking about it. Someone else is just beginning to consider updates to their home. Someone is budgeting for their remodeled primary bath. Regardless of where you are in your home story, we’re here to help.

As an experienced, professional design-build remodeler, we’ve seen a lot, heard a lot, and remodeled a lot. We’ll tell your remodeling story too.

For more information, attend one of our Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Seminars or reach out to schedule a free consultation. With Red House Remodeling, you’ll love your home!

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October 11, 2022
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


When it comes to neutral cabinets, we tend towards black, white, grays and tans/browns. But blues and greens can be great neutrals as well. During the remodel of their first floor and lower level, this family definitely had the blues! See how they incorporated naval blue painted cabinetry throughout their home remodel.

This family of five has a great home in an excellent location, but the homeowners were ready for an upgrade that would incorporate the entire first floor and basement. Aside from the obvious finish upgrades, the layout of the home was also edited. The first floor dining room would become a walk-in coffee bar/pantry and a laundry room. The old laundry room and powder room were transformed into every family’s dream: an expansive mudroom between the garage and main living areas. No more jackets, backpacks and shoes here there and everywhere!

Before the remodel, the kitchen and powder bath were fairly typical with white raised-panel cabinetry and basic tile flooring. Like many similar homes, there was a front/back living room and dining room that were being used as a music room and playroom respectively.

Part of a palette that includes white, black and gold as well, this shade of blue is perfectly placed in the center of the kitchen on an oversized island with seating for the whole family. The island is topped with gorgeous Cambria Portrush counters, an elegant creamy white base crisscrossed with bold navy, gray and black veining. Blue is repeated in the remodeled powder bath and on a custom accent wall in the new music room.

Nothing’s better than a blank slate when remodeling, so we weren’t disappointed to find this lower level unfinished.

This basement remodel includes distinct zones for entertaining, play and studying, along with a bedroom and bathroom. The naval cabinetry looks just as great on this lower level where it’s featured in the family room and bathroom.

This remodel wasn’t all about the blues, though. Plenty of white cabinetry was installed throughout the home. In the family room, for example, the existing millwork was painted white. The mudroom and laundry room echo the kitchen’s white perimeter cabinetry and black quartz surfaces. When incorporating any accent color, as a neutral or accent, consistently for a cohesive look. Whether you introduce the color in large doses, like with furniture or cabinetry, or with textiles or accents, consistency is key.

If your house has got you feeling blue, we can help you Love Your Home? We’re always ready to design your custom home remodel. Just contact us today to get started with your very own Red House Remodel.

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March 8, 2022
Remodeling - General


Every remodel starts with goals, and these homeowners had two for their primary bath: to look less 90s and to function better in the existing space. That’s exactly what we did for this family when we designed and remodeled their primary bath with current finishes and created an additional closet in a space previously occupied by a large – and unused – jetted bathtub.


Before the remodel, the homeowners were tired of their 90s-style primary bath with white, raised-panel cabinets, white tile floor, old shower and large jetted bathtub. Ready for updates and a better use of the space, they turned to Red House Remodeling for help with design, selections, construction … every detail to make their primary bath perfect for the next 30 years.


The homeowners generally liked the layout of the primary bath, but they didn’t use the large bathtub and were interested in more storage. As you can see in the pre-construction documents above, the space next to the shower, previously occupied by the bathtub, is now a closet, which looks natural in the space.


After the remodel, the primary bath is updated with finishes and fixtures including poplar cabinets with Seagull stain. The lightly-stained cabinets add both color and texture to the space and work well with white trim, black interior doors and dark gray large-scale tile flooring. The sink base cabinets are paired with drawers on either side for flexible, accessible storage.


The vanity cabinets are topped with Moorland Fog Caesarstone quartz, and excellent choice for its consistency and durability. Delta Ara fixtures have simple clean lines in a stainless finish. We expanded the above vanity into an unused space to give the homeowners a bit of extra storage for towels or baskets.


For every finish material you see, there are numerous related decisions, which makes having an experienced designer a must! The vanity light fixtures have clean lines similar to the Delta Ara faucets, while a custom framed mirror has just the right size and scale for each vanity. Shower niches were sized and placed per the homeowners preferences, and the showerhead has an integrated handheld eliminating the need for a separate handheld fixture.

It’s always a good start to the day when your master bath looks and feels amazing! You can see more of our primary bath remodels here. Contact Red House Remodeling when you’re ready to make your space work for you. We’ll help you Love Your Home!

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January 6, 2022
Remodeling - General


You may feel somewhat familiar with the construction portion of a remodel, but what happens before? What happens after you contact a remodeler but before you’re enjoying your shiny new space? The answer is A LOT, and the detailed nature of these steps often determines the success of the project. While all remodelers have their own unique process, here’s what you should generally expect.

Initial Contact

When you first contact a remodeler, a brief consultation will include discussion on the size and scope of your project, timeline and budget.  The next step is typically an in-home or virtual meeting for further discussion.

Planning & Design

During the planning stage, a designer will meet in your home, take pictures and measurements, and create design options based upon your remodeling goals. You’ll work together to choose a final design.


The selection process is the stage during which you choose the finishes. Also known as the FUN STAGE for most people! It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed at some point during selections, that’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced designer.

Site Visit

During the selection stage, remodelers may schedule a site visit so everyone working on the project can become familiar with the site, and identify challenges ahead of time so that production runs smoothly.

Finalize Details & Sign Contract

Once the design and selections are decided, your remodeler will gather estimates, finalize details and create a construction contract.


Once the contract is signed, your remodeler will begin ordering and assembling materials, creating a schedule for your project, conducting plan reviews with the city, secure permits and other pre-production work.


This is when things get messy, but exciting! Your new space is coming together.  


The final stage is where you enjoy and show off your new space!

When you’re ready to remodel, there’s no one better to guide you through the process than the team at Red House Remodeling. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll help you Love Your Home!

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December 8, 2021
Remodeling - General

2021 AND DONE!

Before we ring in the new year, let’s take a minute to reflect on 2021. Like many companies, 2021 was one of our busiest years, which came with much excitement and quite a few challenges. Overall, our projects were larger than in past years and none of our remodeling projects was less than $50,000.

We had the pleasure of doing two additions and two whole home projects. We also designed and built seven kitchens, two master suites, nine bathrooms, five basements, four basement bar/kitchenettes, two four-season rooms/sun rooms, one office, one mudroom and one deck.

Our sincere thanks to the homeowners and families who trusted us with their homes. It was a pleasure to help them love their homes this year!

Of course we faced challenges stemming from a host of complicated global and local issues caused by Covid, like longer lead times, increased costs and materials availability.

Lead times for critical materials increased significantly throughout 2021, but has leveled off and has declined slightly for some materials. We adjusted our process to account for these lead times, but we long for the days of old when we could get custom cabinets in two months or less.

Materials pricing is higher across the board, which is not good news for any of us. Additionally, suppliers are honoring pricing for a very limited timeframe, sometimes for just 3-7 days.

Material availability is less consistent than ever before as well. We’ve overcome this to some extent due to our long-term relationships with knowledgeable suppliers who have done a great job of steering our material selections to available choices when necessary.

We hope you’re looking forward to 2022 with as much anticipation as we have. We look forward to new projects, new people and new opportunities. If you’re hoping for a 2022 remodel of your own, reach out now. We’re currently meeting with homeowners whose projects will be produced in late fall of 2022. Let us help you love your home … Happy New Year!

Our sincere thanks to the homeowners and families who trusted us with their homes. It was a pleasure to help them love their homes this year!

– Red house remodeling

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February 9, 2021
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


Old homes are amazing, but sometimes they have opportunities for improvement. This second floor bathroom was narrow, dark and dated, so we rearranged the space, installed all new finishes and made sure the plumbing and electrical was met current code. The result is a beautiful 3/4 bath that integrates well with the home’s age. We also updated the home’s master bedroom so that it’s more functional and updated.

The footprint of this bathroom didn’t change, but changes to the layout make the room seem more spacious. The new layout and finishes make the bathroom more functional with a spacious new vanity and tile shower.

Before the remodel, the shower/tub combo took up a considerable amount of room in the space … and it was a lovely shade of salmon. The couple opted for a tile shower that is light and open and still in keeping with the style of the home.

From this angle it’s easy to see that the bathroom had no vanity, just a sink. No vanity is no good, so we designed a amply-sized vanity in the old shower space. Initially, the couple wanted double sinks, but with the allotted space, two sinks would have resulted in too little counter space. An excellent compromise is a large trough sink with two fixtures that leaves ample space on either side.

Gold fixtures and hardware stand out against the neutrals in this bath and bedroom. Gold fixtures also work well with black accents like those on the shower glass. Brixton honey gold pulls from Top Knobs come in multiple lengths for various size drawers, cabinets and closets. The plumbing fixtures throughout are from the Delta Trinsic collection in champagne bronze finish.

Before, the master bedroom had a door that opened to a rooftop, built-in shelving and two tiny hinged closet doors. We replaced the door with a window, replaced the shelves with built-in dressers and installed bi-fold doors making the closet much more accessible. New base trim and fresh paint throughout made the room like new!

No matter how old – or new – your home is, we have the experience and ability to turn your home into your dream home. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we will help you Love Your Home!

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September 15, 2020
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


With a coveted location and great open floor plan, this couple wanted to rework and update the space to match their style while blending the new finishes with existing trim and mill work. The result includes vertical grain cabinets in two finishes, intense white counters with a modern concrete finish, a stone fireplace and sleek powder room vanity. The concrete finish is not easy to create without the help of some new concrete block making machines which our team purchased especially for this job. It gives a simple yet industrial look to the kitchen and the style is definitely growing in popularity.

Prior to the remodel, this kitchen was finished with golden oak and had a bi-level peninsula off the back wall as well as a bi-level island. Through the collaborative design process, the homeowners settled on a large L-shaped island that would provide plenty of prep space and seating for four. The island is also home to a beverage fridge adjacent to the family room.

Before, the peninsula blocked the flow of the kitchen. Without the peninsula, there is a clean walkway through the kitchen to a comfortable seating area where the couple can relax with a cocktail and look out at their tree-lined backyard. The perimeter cabinets are stained deep harbor grey to contrast with the island cabinetry.

Previously, the first floor powder room opened onto the kitchen, which isn’t ideal. Fortunately, we were able to relocate the powder room off a hallway by stealing room from a closet. The result is more privacy for the bathroom and a well-placed home for the refrigerator and wall ovens.

The remodel also involved a new fireplace feature to match the home’s new aesthetic. The new fireplace is a sleek horizontal design surrounded by dry-stacked stone. Natural wide-plank oak flooring flows throughout the first floor uniting the space. We had to find a Gypsum Construction company that could level the floors out before adding the oak tiles. The floors were very uneven!

The half bath has a new location and a new look with a crisp floating vanity and black fixtures. And a furry friend peeking out of a picture to make sure everyone washes their hands!

We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with these homeowners and especially thankful they allowed their home to be on the 2020 Tour of Remodeled Homes.

Wondering how we can help you love YOUR home? Contact us for a free consultation or attend one of our upcoming Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Seminars.

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June 11, 2020
Remodeling - General


Red House Remodeling is open and ready to help you love your home! The first step in our process is a phone conversation. Give us a call to discuss your project and we’ll go from there. Depending on your comfort level, we can do virtual planning, design and selections OR meet in person using applicable distancing and safety measures.

Because our process involves significant planning, it usually takes a couple of months before we can begin production. This means if you contact Red House Remodeling today, the earliest we’ll begin construction is within a few months. We always say it’s never too early to begin planning your remodel, and if we must delay production due to future coronavirus concerns, or anything else, at least your project is in our pipeline and ready to move forward when you are.

Please care for yourself during this uncertain time. We look forward to serving you!

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January 10, 2020
Remodeling - General


Choosing a remodeler is tough, especially the first time around. Reputation and reviews are a few things to consider … and then there are bids. Why do bids (we call them estimates) vary greatly? Is one remodeler making huge profits while another is keeping margins slim out of the goodness of his/her heart? The truth is estimates from similar companies – two design/build companies; two general contractors; two electricians – for a similar scope of work, should be very similar.

So what accounts for estimates that are worlds apart? Here are factors that can make one bid seem like a great deal while another seems over-priced.

Assumption of Time Required – Estimating the time it will take to complete a job is an art … not a science. And it’s an art that’s developed through experience, by doing a lot of comparable jobs. If a remodeler produces a bid that doesn’t include an adequate timeframe, either due to bad estimating or to keep the bid falsely low, what then? You could be billed for extra hours, the work could stop short of completion, or the contractor could cut corners to get things done more quickly.

Assumption of Scope of Work – Too narrow of a scope of work can mean things you want or expect aren’t included. For example, a $40k kitchen might not include appliances, or flooring that extends beyond the footprint of the kitchen, or drywall repair and paint. A $60k kitchen might include all these things. Which is the better “deal?”

Assumption of Quality of Materials – Sometimes the size and scope of work are equal, but one estimate will include material allowances. Allowances aren’t innately bad, but they can be problematic when one remodeler uses entry level material allowances to keep a bid low, knowing the homeowner will likely choose to upgrade every finish. The remodeler wins because the low bid earned them the customer and they can blame any overages on the customer’s material upgrades.

“The Extra Mile” Details – There are hundreds of little decisions that contractors make that are the difference between ok practices and best practices. These decisions can add a little cost … and a lot of value. Seaming counters in a less visible area, countertop edge profiles, how and where tile is terminated, replacing vs reusing flooring underlayers, deck flashing and trim.  

Project Support – Does the estimate include professional design and planning? Does it include assistance with material selections, ordering and inventory of all finish materials? Is there a dedicated project manager who will keep the project on track, on budget, and hold everyone accountable?

Home Protection – It is costly to adequately protect your home from damage during a remodel. Comprehensive floor coverings, protection for new surfaces and finishes, zip walls to close-off areas, not under construction, air cleaning, and filtration systems are necessary but not used by all contractors. For instance, when hiring the North Austin Drywall Repair team, these experts might utilize their expertise to choose the best repair methods, materials, and tools to seamlessly patch the walls and plaster. And, in light of the example, make sure that your contractor is also planning to use such techniques to protect your home from dust and debris that can result from construction.

Related Sub-contractor Work – If your project needs trade pros like electricians, plumbers, HVAC, tile installers, etc., make sure the cost of those services is included in your estimate so that you’re not writing extra checks later on.

At the end of the day, the differences in estimates is very likely not more profit for one contractor. Most likely, a higher bid includes a more comprehensive scope of work performed by highly skilled professionals with better quality materials and using processes that better protect your home. Compare estimates carefully and don’t make assumptions. Instead, ask clarifying questions of the contractors you engage. We’re here to help you!

When you’re ready to love your home, contact us for a free consultation or attend one of our Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Seminars.

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May 10, 2019
Remodeling - General


You want to remodel, but you’re not even sure where to start? Relax! It’s very common to be unsure of who to call when. Just thinking about it? Ready to start demo? Regardless of where you are, we’ll meet you there!

We’ll meet you where you are. Whether you just got the itch to remodel yesterday or you’ve been pouring over ideas for years, you’re in the right place. We consult with homeowners just beginning to think about a remodel and those who are ready to sign on the dotted line. We have customers who are ready to begin the planning process a week after our first conversation, and we have customers we first talked with years ago.

Is what I want even possible? The answer, usually, is yes, what you want is possible. The question you really need to ask is, “Is what I want possible within my budget.” Throughout our planning process we will let you know if a certain decision is a budget buster so that you can make an informed decision.

Does it make sense? We’ve done a lot of remodels, so usually, we know what will work and what won’t. Through our experience we can let you know if X makes sense with Y and Z, or if X will mean Y and Z aren’t possible, or if X means you have to choose between Y and Z. Our job is to understand your goals and to lead you to solutions that meet those goals within your budget.

We’ve already got plans. Great! We’ll use those plans as part of our planning process. Often those plans are tweaked as we move through planning and selections. Because we always create our own production documents, it’s not at all necessary to bring plans, but we always welcome any planning you’ve done, formal or informal.

We have all the materials. If you’ve already sourced all your materials, we’re probably not the right remodeler for you. Sourcing your own materials isn’t the wrong way to remodel, it’s just not how we remodel. We source the materials for our customers so that we carry the responsibility for those materials and if something is wrong, we have the relationship with suppliers to get the problem solved ASAP. Additionally, by sourcing the materials, we know that they are of a certain quality and that we will be able to reliably warranty the job.

You’re further down the remodeling road just by reading this post! How else can you get ready to remodel? Attend one of our upcoming kitchen and bath seminars or schedule a free consultation. There’s never any obligation, and we’re always happy to share ways we can help you love your home!

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April 11, 2019
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


Times change and so does the way we use our homes. That’s why in any remodel, function is as important as finish. This couple was ready to brighten their master bath and finally create a large shower with fixtures and finishes suited to each of their wishes. Now a luxury retreat is just steps away, and it’s filled with well-appointed and functional details.


Before, the homeowners had an attractive master bath with stained wood, neutral finishes and a claw-foot soaking tub. A typical shower and toilet were in an adjacent nook. After, the master bath is lighter and brighter, with an over-sized luxurious shower that replaced the tub. (The home has a bathtub in another bathroom for those occasions that require a bath.)


Before, the double vanity was a nice size with plenty of storage, but wasn’t very well lit. After, additional can lighting in the ceiling pairs with the vanity lighting and lighter finishes for a brighter space. While the new vanity is slightly shorter, extra storage is available in the medicine cabinets and in a linen cabinet.


Before, the master bath had a typical double shower in a nook near the toilet. That shower was replaced with a linen cabinet with plenty of shelves and drawers for storing towels and other items. The new much larger shower offers a custom shower experience for two with unique his and hers shower fixtures.


To increase storage, the homeowners chose elegant Kohler medicine cabinets that are recessed above the vanity. A built-in magnifying mirror on the inside of the door is vertically adjustable to accommodate users of varying heights. In addition to the heated floor, the bath boasts another comfort feature in its heated towel bar. Located right outside the shower, a cozy towel is always within reach. The center vanity cabinet pulls out to reveal inserts that organize and store hair dryers, curling irons and accessories.


Watson, one of the family’s furry family members approves of the remodeled master bath, especially the cool tile of the shower where he likes to relax and keep an eye on his people.

For more before and after pictures and details about this master bath remodel, see the complete album on our Facebook page. And if you’re ready to have a beautiful and fully functional master bath just like Watson, contact us. We’re ready to help you love your home with a Red House Remodel.

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February 12, 2019
Remodeling - General


There are endless things that separate us, but many people can come together over their shared disdain for some common home attributes and finishes. Here are some things that we’re just not having these days. What would you add to the list? (And if we’ve managed to offend all of your favorite things in a single blog, please accept our apologies …we’re just having fun.)

Carpet in bathrooms/kitchens – It’s just a huge heaping pile of yuck. Yes, carpet is warm and cozy, but so are heated tile floors that don’t harbor mold, skin cells and God only knows what else. In a humid environment like the bathroom, hard floors are a must for so many reasons. Not to mention in kitchens where things splatter and spill daily. If you don’t think heated floors are an option … consider thick socks or comfy slippers because the carpet has got to go.

Black toilets – Kohler has been making black toilets almost continuously for 90 years, and they provide high contrast in certain applications. But how do you know a black toilet is really clean? And more importantly, what if there is a spider hiding somewhere on the toilet? These are the things that keep people up at night and have led us to suggest that toilets are white and that’s that.

Bulkheads – Bulkheads are the result of laziness. Instead of planning HVAC and plumbing so that it can be concealed between joists, at some time in the past, it became acceptable to run ducts and pipes above cabinets and vanities. Concealing them with drywall lowers ceilings and encloses rooms. And in some crazy instances, bulkheads are there just for the look. What?!?

Hollywood vanity lights – Not only are they just ugly, they require a lot of lightbulbs and usually put out a lot of heat. Who wants to be sweating while doing daily vanity tasks? There are endless attractive and functional light fixtures on the market that are much better choices than Hollywood lights.

Open Shelving in Kitchens – Ok, it looks super cool and when staged with matching dishes doesn’t look cluttered at all. And Chip and Joanna are fans. But STORAGE. Do you know anyone who doesn’t need every last inch of cabinet space? Where will you stash all the mis-matched water bottles and coffee mugs? We love open shelving but remodeling design has to take function into account, so when we do open shelves, it’s usually in small amounts in conjunction with ample cabinetry.

Do you have any of these in your home? Are you ready to bid them farewell? Our team will work with you to design and select finishes that result in a space that works for you and your life. And if you want a toilet that’s not white, or a kitchen full of open shelving, we’ll still do our best for you.

A consultation about your project is just a click away. Let us know what you want to remodel. We’ll help you love your home!

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January 6, 2019
Remodeling - General


Take a look at any kitchen and bath design publication, website or social media and you’ll get a pretty good idea of the popular finishes right now. Cabinets, countertops and fixtures all ebb and flow with the times, impacted by new introductions by manufacturers and the choices of designers across the country. So what’s being used in our neck of the woods? What are our actual customers choosing? We’ve got the stats for you, and we’re really not that different from the rest of the country.

Cabinet Finishes – It’s probably no surprise that the majority (39%) of the cabinets that our homeowners chose last year were white (painted white). But brown-stained woods are making a comeback­ (not that they were ever gone) and were the second most popular choice (29%) for our customers. Next in order of popularity: gray stain (20%), grey paint (10%) and white stain (2%). What’s next for cabinet finishes? While the current trends will continue, we’re seeing a lot of blue-toned stains, along with bleached and rustic wood finishes.

Wood Types – Especially with stained finishes, the grain matters, and impacts how certain finishes will look in your space. Our customers overwhelmingly chose maple cabinets (63%), followed by poplar (23%). Nearly tied for third: cherry, alder and oak.

Countertops – Quartz has really taken the lead over granite (84% vs 16%) and we expect that trend to continue. Make no mistake, there are very beautiful and unique granites to choose from and it’s still an excellent and durable countertop choice.

As for countertop colors, neutrals rule, and we installed equal amounts of white and gray counters (35% each). Beige was slightly less popular with our customers (25%), while we installed just several (5%) all black counters this past year. Like cabinets, we’ve seen new quartz options that incorporate navy into the mix and there are always bold colors for homeowners ready to make the commitment to color. Some suppliers have introduced quartz products that have the look of wood grain and are quite striking for a large application. Concrete/cement look quartz counters are also very available and offer an easy and user friendly way to incorporate that industrial look.

Plumbing Fixtures – As important as other finishes, fixtures are a major decision for homeowners. Brushed finishes, like nickel and stainless steel, were the most popular last year, followed by polished finishes like chrome and nickel, which are shining again. Oil rubbed bronze/venetian bronze are becoming less popular, while matte black and gold are gaining popularity as they become more universally available.

Regardless of your finish preferences, the talents of a knowledgeable and educated designer is a must for a stress-free, successful and beautiful space that reflects your taste and lifestyle. Our design team is ready to help you move forward with your project. Just click here to schedule an appointment … we’ll help you Love Your Home!

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December 12, 2018
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


The good news about this master bath was that there was already plenty of space, a definite benefit when it comes to remodeling. The bad news was that the home builder made very poor use of it with a tiny shower and a very “creative” vanity. These homeowners trusted us to design a master bath that better used the space with modern finishes that made the room feel warm and inviting. Enjoy the transformation!

BEFORE – The original master bath had a double vanity (plus), but the toilet was right next to the vanity (minus) and the vanity ran into the window (minus), resulting in a strange situation.
AFTER – The vanity area and toilet area switched places, and there was plenty of room for a half wall to provide separation between the toilet and vanity, greatly reducing the chance that a toothbrush ends up in the toilet! (Huge plus.)

BEFORE – Another mystery of the original master bath is the choice to use a small neo-angle shower when there was clearly room for a much more functional shower alongside the jetted tub. This little shower was tucked behind the tub, and left the homeowners feeling just as cramped.
AFTER – The space is much more reflective of the homeowners’ lives with a spacious shower and a scaled down bathtub. Double in size, and much more open, the new shower is an unobtrusive focal point. The shower is finished with a mix of tile that complements the cabinets.

BEFORE – The jetted tub took up a lot of space, and like most, was used infrequently.
AFTER – With the new tub, there was room for floating cabinetry to add to the room’s linen storage. The new bathtub has a clean-lined minimalist design and is still large enough for a relaxing soak.

AFTER – The homeowners wanted modern-looking finishes with clean lines, but wanted to avoid anything that looked cold or stark. The maple cabinets have a warm spice stain that lends the right amount of richness and warmth to the bathroom. The vanity is topped with suede brown granite, which typically has a tight grain and an almost leathery look. The chrome fixtures are Pivitol, by Delta, chosen for their simple, contemporary look. And while you can’t see it, heated flooring runs throughout the space keeping the temp just right, even during cold winters.

If you’re dealing with space in your home that isn’t making you feel warm and cozy, contact us. Our design and build professionals will have you loving your home in no time!

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September 26, 2018
Remodeling - General


Every project we’ve ever done begins with one or more conversations about the proposed project that address the size and scope, timeline and, at some point, the budget. When asked what they are comfortable spending on the project, investing in their home, etc. we always get one of three answers:

  1. “My budget is $XXX.” – Some people have done a fair amount of homework and know and share their actual budget.
  2. “I don’t know because I don’t know what a project like that costs.” – Totally fine, most people don’t know what remodeling projects cost. However, cost and budget are two related but different concepts. And a surprising amount of the time, when we share the approximate cost of a project, the homeowner reveals their budget … so we know you’ve probably got one!
  3. “I’d rather not say.” – At this point, we can share general costs for common projects and try to get to a point where the homeowner feels comfortable sharing their budget.

So why do we need to know your budget? Are we just nosy? Do we want to make sure we squeeze every last cent out of you? Or is it a really important part of the planning process? Turns out, the budget is a very important part of the planning process.

Saves Time – A the most basic level, knowing your budget saves us both a lot of time. Let’s say the average price of a bathroom remodel in the Des Moines area is around $20,000 (because it is, according to Remodeling magazine and based upon the many, many bathrooms we’ve remodeled), but your budget is $12,000 firm, you’re not spending a penny more. First of all, your budget is your budget and that’s completely fine. Your budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford more or that you’re cheap, etc. It’s just a number. You can increase your budget to $20,000 or you can decide to go some other route. The choice is yours and we’re both free to move on.

Better Advice – When we know your budget, we’re able to give you more specific, useful advice. Let’s continue with the above example and assume that when you found out the cost for us to do the project is $20,000, you decide that you can adjust your budget to $15,000. We can share with you what can be done for $15,000 (vs $12,000 or $20,000). And if your budget ends up being more than $20,000, we can expand the scope of the project, or we can stay firm at the budget you choose.

We’re Forming a Relationship – Every remodeling project is a relationship that involves spending a lot of time with each other and ultimately, we’ll be working in your home for weeks or months. We need to really trust each other. Usually if a homeowner doesn’t trust us with basic information, like budget, we’re not going to be a good fit.

So just remember, when we ask you about your budget, we’re asking so that we can provide you with the best information possible. Most people don’t know what remodeling costs, so a great resource is the Cost vs Value Report. You can also talk with others who have hired similar companies to do similar projects. Or just give us a call. We’ll be happy to share ballpark estimates with you so that you can begin the budgeting process.

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August 10, 2018
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


It’s amazing what a difference extra space can make. Add in updated finishes in lighter colors and greatly improved lighting, and this kitchen is nearly unrecognizable. Enjoy the transformation that happened when a cramped and dated kitchen and dining room were combined to create an open and brighter kitchen. The design included careful collaboration with the homeowners to ensure the space is as functional as it is beautiful.

BEFORE – A number of dated elements contributed to this kitchen feeling small and dark. Bulkheads lowered the ceiling above the cabinets, the fixtures didn’t provide adequate lighting, and the kitchen and dining rooms – where the family eats most nights – were completely separate rooms.

AFTER – The dining room and kitchen were completely remodeled into an open space that’s light, bright and feels much more spacious. A large island replaced the small island and kitchen table that used to be in the kitchen, which created better flow.

AFTER – The new kitchen includes much more functional storage. With the bulkheads removed, cabinetry runs all the way to the ceiling, and the desk area was replaced with pantry cabinets that include pullout shelves for easy access to stored items.

AFTER – The neutral palette in the kitchen is the perfect background for pops of color and is anything but boring with plenty of texture and detail. The subway tiles have beveled edges giving dimension to the backsplash. With seating for four and plenty of prep space, the island was already fairly functional, but the addition of an ample beverage fridge and a combination of cabinets and drawers makes this island extra useful.

AFTER – A large island is the perfect way to display a great countertop. In this kitchen, the white maple perimeter cabinets are topped with glossy Black Pearl granite, while the gray poplar island showcases an gorgeous slab of Cambria Ella quartz with a small ogee edge.

AFTER – No longer a small, enclosed room, the dining area flows right into the kitchen. Wide plank birch flooring anchors the space and flows beautifully throughout the first floor.

Do you have areas of your home that could benefit from being bigger, better and brighter? We’d appreciate the opportunity to explore options with you that will help you Love Your Home! Attend one of our upcoming remodeling seminars or contact us for a free consultation.

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July 9, 2018
Remodeling - General


“Life’s too short to live like you’re squatting in your own home.”

I saw this quote from a designer who was advising homeowners, “don’t wait to decorate.” The same advice should apply to remodeling. Too many times we hear of people who’ve lived in their homes for 10, 20 even 30+ years who suddenly want or need to move and are in a mad panic to “put lipstick on the pig.” Look at the real estate listings and you’ll find plenty of very nice, costly homes that have the same finishes as the day they were built.

Upon enlisting the services of a realtor, homeowners are often given a list of improvements that will make their homes more marketable. The list can be long and costly if the homeowner hasn’t made periodic investments in the home. So what’s a homeowner to do? Well, they can spend a lot of money on updates that will make their home more marketable, but that they won’t get to enjoy. They can do small improvements on the cheap (be aware of these when shopping for a home) or they can do nothing and hope for the best.

Why not treat your home like the huge investment it is and keep it updated and enjoy your investments in your home. Resist the urge to “just live with it” because you might move in 10 years. Ten years is a long time to live with something you don’t like! That’s entirely too long to settle. You deserve more! Living with stained flooring, damaged walls, broken fixtutes, etc is like squatting in your home. Yes, these things cost money, but can and should be budgeted into home ownership.

Obviously major remodels require a major budget, but even these are something you can budget for just like a new car or college. People save for big vacations that last a few days. So why not save to improve your home … where you live every single day.

Make a comprehensive list of all the things that you’d like to have done around your home. Include small things like replacing light fixtures along with bigger projects like replacing countertops or whole room remodels. Attach realistic prices to these improvements including materials and labor if it’s something you cannot do yourself. Enlist the advice of professionals when you need it. Most of us are happy to provide ballpark pricing for various improvements. Another great source for remodels is, which is updated annually. While you won’t recoup 100% of your investment, you’ll have the “joy factor” of living in a home you love.

Don’t live like a squatter in your own home. Work towards making the home of your dreams the home you’re living in right now. That might mean fresh paint and flooring or it might mean a major remodel. It might mean a little elbow grease or it might mean hiring someone to do the job for you. Either way, you’re worth it and so is your home. And if you’re ever ready to sell, all you’ll need is the for sale sign out front.

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June 5, 2018
Remodeling - General


Life would be so much easier if we could trust everyone peddling their products and services. Simply Google “great home remodelers,” pick the name you like the most, and presto change-o, you’ve got a terrific, quality remodel with no hassle and no problems. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t as trustworthy or reliable or as skilled as they present themselves to be. So what should you, as a remodeling consumer, do before choosing a remodeler? Some simple homework will go a long way.

Web Search – Search the business name as well as the names of the owners.

Iowa Contractor Registration – There are no contractor licenses available in Iowa for general contractors (only for trades like electrical, plumbing, mechanical), but we are required to be registered with the state. You can do a simple search to find out if a remodeler is complying with this rule at

Ask About Insurance – Actually ask to see a remodeler’s current certificate of insurance to make sure they are telling the truth about being insured. Ask if the insurance covers everyone on the job and if not, you’ll want to check that those subcontractors have insurance as well.  Ask in particular about Work Comp insurance … many contractors do not carry this expensive coverage and you may be liable if one of the contractor’s workers is injured on your property.

Professional Affiliations – Ask what professional organizations the business/owner is involved in. In the greater Des Moines area, remodelers can join the Des Moines Homebuilders Association and Remodelers Council. There’s also the National Kitchen & Bath Association, National Home Builders Association and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The biggest benefit of professional associations is education, including best practices, technology and new regulations.

Social Media – We love social media because it allows us to share projects with the world. It also gives our customers a chance to share their experiences. Check Houzz, Facebook, Instagram … all great places to see projects and reviews.

BBB – Always do a quick search of the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any unresolved complaints or negative reviews about the company.

Iowa Courts Online – Another good resource that can reveal if a contractor has been in any trouble. Have they had to be sued by homeowners to get work completed? Have subs had to sue for payment? Have they been sued by suppliers for non-payment? Any of these can be a red flag.

References – It might sound old school, but ask the remodeler if you can contact a few past customers. Customers who had a project done similar to yours will be most relevant, and can share details that can’t be found in project pictures. Keep in mind they will likely only give out the names of happy past customers, but drilling deeper could  yield useful information.

For the most part you can do a lot of due diligence in a little time online. Time well spent if it helps avoid a dishonest or unskilled remodeler.

For more information about our remodeling process, attend an upcoming remodeling seminar or contact us for a free consultation. We’ll help you love your home!

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March 8, 2018
Remodeling - General


When we take after photos of projects, we stage the space. (Because we take pictures shortly after completion of the project, homeowners haven’t had time to live with, and decorate, the remodeled space yet.) And while it’s not always practical to live in a staged space (because we like to have our toaster or coffee maker out every day), it is possible to stage certain areas of your home for every day or special occasions. Here are some guidelines we follow when staging a space and that are helpful for decorating in general.

Remove Everything – First, remove everything. Yep, clear out all of your existing décor, tchotchkes, piles of clutter, canisters, toaster, Vitamix, Keurig, candles, etc. Why? That’s a lot of work! Yes, but it’s necessary, so carry on. Some of the items will be going back so it’s a good idea to move everything to a table nearby so you can “shop” your existing stuff. Be willing to pull items from other rooms that might work as well.

Choose Neutrals & Naturals – By choosing neutral and natural décor, you’ll have a lot of flexibility in your design. Think creams, whites and greenery. Eventually you’ll have a collection of items you can pull together for any occasion. In the pictures above, the neutral items and greenery can be used throughout the home and mixed and matched with an endless combination of accessories.

Add Color – When the majority of your décor is neutral, it’s easy to add a burst of color for a special occasion or season, or just because. Sometimes a special object will become your pop of color, but there are a lot of ways to add color affordably. Fruit and flowers are relatively inexpensive. Color can be functional as well when you use colorful bins, pillows and throws, which are easy to change seasonally.

Group & Layer – One is the loneliest number, so stick with three or five items depending on your available space. Layer the items so that they look nice, and intentional. Play around with placement, step back, assess, fuss over the items some more and repeat until you’re happy with the look. Even a knife block and cutting board look nice when paired with a decorative item.

Vary Heights – Varying heights are more interesting. This applies to everything: cabinets, décor, landscaping, people, mountains … So if your collection needs some variation, use what you have to give a boost. Books can be great risers along with a stack of platters or a cake stand. Be creative and have fun.

Remember Open Shelves Are Open – Open shelves are great in kitchen design but they have limitations. Cabinets can conceal a mismatched mess, while open shelves cannot. Open shelves can be used for display or storage, or both. If you’re going to use them for storage, it’s a good idea to use them for neat stacks of plates or bowls or glassware that is neutral. These same rules apply to glass front cabinets.

Be Realistic – We’ve all seen awesome home pictures that just don’t make sense. Like why is there framed art and a candle IN a shower? It should go without saying that you should decorate with items where they are likely to be used. Don’t use a cutting board in the bathroom, or bath gel in the kitchen. Decorate your bar area with items that are likely be used in the bar area. In the picture above, attractive bar ware is displayed on the bar.

Declutter & Stash – Of the items that you removed from your space, take an honest look at what you’re going to keep. Those six candles that sit out in case you want to burn one … that’s clutter and it doesn’t belong in your amazing space. Keep out one great looking candle and the rest can be put away in a cabinet until you are ready to use them. It’s ok to keep a few appliances out on the counter, but it’s also okay to put them away when you’re having guests or when you’re not using them.

Enjoy Your Space –  Now that you know the basics, you can easily stage your entire home for any season or occasion. It’s a fun way to keep your home looking fresh.  And when your home needs more than just new décor, let us help you plan an after photo-worthy remodel! Just contact us for a free consultation.

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February 10, 2018
Remodeling - General


Any homeowner planning to remodel wants nothing less than a professional job.  Who wouldn’t want the best quality in terms of workmanship and materials when it comes to improving their most prized and most valuable asset?  However, when it comes to selecting a remodeler, too many buyers conveniently forget the time-proven adage that “you get what you pay for.”

The dilemma that confronts many homeowners is their desire for a top-notch job at the lowest possible price.  With price as their primary focus, they ignore other criteria that may carry more weight in producing a successfully completed project and a smooth working relationship with the remodeler.

It’s understandable that price is a major consideration when it comes to remodeling.  The cost of remodeling has increased as the demand for remodeling grows.  Higher costs of materials (such as copper pipes) and scarcity of skilled labor are just two factors contributing to price hikes.  A national trade magazine, Remodeling, reported in their 2018 Cost vs. Value survey that a mid-priced major kitchen remodel, a popular remodeling project, costs $63,829.  For a minor remodel of the same 200-square-foot kitchen, the cost is $21,198.

Homeowners need to understand that remodeling is a service and not merely a product.  This service encompasses the intangibles that make up the process of remodeling – how everything comes together and results in a satisfying experience and an acceptable finished product.  The materials and products that go into it can’t define a professional job alone.

The nature of remodeling as a service becomes even more pronounced when you consider that inevitably you’ll be sharing your home with the remodelers’ crews for weeks or even months, depending on the scale of the project.  All remodeling involves some degree of inconvenience, but inconvenience can easily turn into a nightmare if your remodeler doesn’t put your family’s comfort and concerns first.

Rather than selecting a remodeler based on where one bid falls compared to others, shift your focus to finding a professional remodeler; then go about getting a bid on your job.  If the bid is higher than what you budgeted, work with the remodeler to decide where you can cut back or what you can postpone to keep the project on budget.  For example, you can always have the remodeler frame in a fireplace to be installed later, but he can’t upgrade the company’s customer service if there wasn’t any to begin with.

Some important characteristics you should be looking for to ensure that you hire a professional remodeler are:

  • Experience – Ask how long the remodeler has been in business. Longevity suggests financial stability, which is necessary for the remodeler to finish the job and still be available if problems crop up after the job is completed.  Also, the more jobs the company has completed, the more expertise the remodeler will bring to your project and the hidden surprises that remodeling typically entails.
  • Reputation – Look to the remodelers’ former and current customers to gauge the company’s reputation. Obtain the names and phone numbers of customers you can call to get their impressions of the company’s work and customer service.  Call them and make personal visits to see the work they had done.  Even better, get references from customers whose projects were similar to the one your family is planning.  Also, go visit one of the company’s jobs in progress to evaluate how they manage the construction process and how tidy they keep the job site.  Ask whether these homeowners would hire the company again.
  • Business Credentials – A good place to start your search for a remodeler is with your local builders association and it’s affiliated local Remodelers Council. Groups like these help to keep their members informed about new products, construction techniques, business practices and industry issues. Participation demonstrates a remodeler’s commitment to professionalism and to the remodeling industry.  Many trade groups also confer professional credentials, such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), to those who meet their requirements, which is a positive indicator of the remodeler’s reputation.
  • Contractor Registration and Insurance – Ask to see a copy of the remodeler’s contractor registration, and call the licensing agency to find out if there are any unresolved complaints against the company you might hire. It is also important to verify that the remodeler carries workers’ compensation and liability insurance.  Have the remodeler show you copies of both insurance certificates to protect yourself from liability in situations involving job site injuries or property damage resulting from the work being done on your home.

If your goal is a professional remodeling project, then your best bet is to hire a professional remodeler.  The extra cost will pay for itself in the satisfaction you receive while the project is in progress and during the many years you will enjoy the completed project.

Reprinted with permission from the National Home Builders Association.

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January 10, 2018
Remodeling - General


We’re kicking the year off with a review of some favorite things from projects Jenna Porter, Red House Remodeling project designer, designed for homeowners last year. She loved these and you might too.

Statement Entry
This entryway is part of an entire home remodel that took the home from traditional to transitional. Entryways are often forgotten areas of the home, but are so important because they are the first impression visitors get of the home. What I love about this area is the statement piece light fixture, the crisp contrast of the door and the clean lines of the stairway and railings. Something as simple as a fresh coat of paint and a new rug can make an entry feel fresh.

Kitchen Technology
This induction cooktop is very unique because it has a fully usable cooking surface. Basically, put a pan or pot anywhere and the cooktop will detect it and heat only that pan or pot allowing a lot of flexibility in placement.

Less high tech, but very useful is the hinge switch for the pantry light. Open the pantry door and the light comes on, close the door and the light goes off. This is the one light in the house that won’t be left on! Can the light be turned off if you want to keep the pantry doors open? Yes, if for some reason you need to air out your pantry, the light can be turned off while the doors remain open.

Not at all technical, but electrical, the final detail that’s a favorite in this kitchen is the matching outlet and plate in the island. The island itself if a great color, which would have looked crummy with a standard white, almond or black switch plate. While more costly, it’s possible to get outlets and covers that match a variety of finishes. The picture looks a bit off, but in person, the outlet and cover are very similar to the island finish.

Shower Style
This shower stands out because it blends traditional (marble), modern (glass tile) and industrial (fixtures) materials that work well together due to their cohesive color and simplicity. Speaking of color, gold is making a comeback in fixture finishes, but not the bright brass from the past. New gold is much more subdued and stylish making the fixtures in this shower, called Luxe Gold, truly look luxe.

Traditional Black & White
What I love about this bathroom is that it’s light, bright and open. Because it’s simple, you’re able to focus on the shape of the fixtures and finishes, which are updated, but consistent with the age and style of the home. Because everything is neutral, it’s really easy to change accessories to give the space a seasonal or fresh look.

Fab Fireplace
The mix of materials  – stacked stone, linear tile and limestone – used to update this fireplace really appeals to me. In addition to the mixture of materials, I love a really deep hearth that’s substantial enough to sit on, and this hearth was raised and deepened to make it more comfortable. Also unique to this fireplace is the driftwood and rock log set, which is a bit more interesting than a standard log set. Finally, this loosely gathered light fixtures really take this fireplace up a notch and adds a bit of fun that ties in with surrounding accents.

Clutter Containment
Shower niches can serve as design elements, but they can also harbor clutter, like empty shampoo bottles etc. The niche placement in this large shower is unique because it’s not visible from the rest of the space so it can be loaded with as many mis-matched products and potions as a bather could need and no one will be the wiser. Counter clutter can also be tucked away in the countertop tower smartly designed between the sinks and easily accessible by both homeowners. Countertop towers provide a tremendous amount of storage, the only challenge being who gets which shelf.

You never know when a detail or design element will ignite your desire to remodel. When you’re ready to transform your home, let the design experts at Red House Remodeling guide you through the process. Contact us for a free consultation or register for one of our free Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Seminars.

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December 8, 2017
Remodeling - General


Heading into a new year it’s always nice to take a moment to reflect on projects we worked on the past twelve months. For this blog, we asked our Project Designer, Kelsey, to share with us her five favorite things she incorporated into her original designs throughout this year.

Lighted Mirrors
Lighted mirrors are unique, provide even lighting for makeup application, and give the room a luxury feel since you often see them in high end commercial bathrooms and hotels. These mirrors were great for the overall design because we were working within two set upon cabinets, which limit space for vanity lighting. The lighted mirrors also added function to the design because the homeowner really wanted a fun chandelier, but it wouldn’t provide adequate lighting alone.

Industrial Style Rolling Shower Doors
Another unique feature with a cool look. This type of hardware helps limit the amount of metal hardware on the overall shower design. Sliding doors are great when a space doesn’t allow enough clearance for a swing out door, and this hardware is an interesting departure from traditional frameless shower door hardware. While these doors have an industrial feel, they are pretty streamlined overall, so are easy to work into many design styles and could tie together a transitional style bathroom.

Wallpaper is still a fun way to make a space truly unique and show your personal style. It’s a great way to add a pop of color or just visual interest to an accent wall. By no means do you want it everywhere, but a wall or two within a space can really add wow to an otherwise “boring” space like in this toilet niche. For those of you who have sworn off wallpaper because you struggled to remove it, newer wallpaper formulas are supposed to be easier to remove when you decide to make a change, as long as they are installed correctly.

Corner Trash and Recycling System
I think these will always be one of my favorite uses for a pesky corner cabinet, especially in U-shaped kitchens when there is more than one corner cabinet. It’s a trade off for something like a lazy susan, but a lot of times people hate getting in and out of corner cabinets regardless. I think a corner trash and recycling cabinet is a really innovative way to address this ‘waste of space.’

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this luxury vinyl tile kitchen floor for a couple of reasons. First, it goes great with the homeowners’ more traditional style. And since they have a crawlspace beneath their kitchen, LVT is a nice soft and warm alternative to hard surface tile that could feel cold. I loved it so much in their design because once it was installed, the space felt much brighter and inviting. I also love LVT because it can be grouted to truly give the appearance of tile.

What are your favorite things? If your home isn’t one of them, maybe a remodel can help. Our team can help you love your home! Contact us for a free consultation, or register for one of our Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Seminars.

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November 7, 2017
Remodeling - General


UPDATE: We’ve moved! Our new address is 404 5th St in West Des Moines.

We’re moving! We’ve been in our office space since 2009 and we’ve loved it here. But we remodel homes, so we’re moving our office into a home on 5th Street in historic Valley Junction. It needs A LOT of remodeling, which we’ll fit in among our client jobs, so we won’t be physically relocating until early 2018. In the meantime, spread the word! And if you know anyone who needs 1600 sq ft of super sweet commercial space, ours is up for grabs.

Follow our office remodel on Facebook.

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August 26, 2017
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


When two smaller baths, a hall and master, were combined, a stylish, spacious and all around fabulous new master was born! The new space has room for a lavish shower, double vanity, as well as ample linen storage. Follow the journey we took with these homeowners to convert their two bathrooms into one.

BEFORE – The original baths were located side-by-side, with each bath having a smaller single vanity and small shower stall. The original master bath also had a large, unused jetted tub that occupied valuable space. One option for the homeowners was to remodel just the master bath. While removing the large tub would have opened up space for a bigger shower, it wouldn’t have given them enough space for a double vanity or much needed storage.

AFTER – This bathroom has so many great features! Remember the small vanities? Even the most lovey-dovey couples don’t really want to share a sink … and these homeowners no longer have to with this spacious double vanity. A mix of doors and drawers in the base cabinetry provides plenty of flexible storage, while countertop storage towers keep products close at hand. The vanity cabinets are deeper on the ends, giving the vanity added dimension.

AFTER – This shower! I know there’s nothing I can say to adequately describe it, so just look. The two previous baths had the same small, plain shower. This open shower has plenty of space and is easy to access with a wide opening and low curb. Many times you’ll hear that low curb showers are great for people who are aging and not as agile, but they are also great for kids and anyone else who doesn’t want to hurdle a tub or higher curb.

AFTER – This master bath keeps on winning with this ample closet with great space for laundry and linens. And this closet isn’t staged. The homeowners actually keep it this neat and matched. It’s like a Container Store ad, but real!

AFTER – Little extras that make the space functionally special: let’s start with the mirrors, which have an LED ribbon border around the perimeter. The LED border provides more lighting – and most importantly – makes you look amazing! The barn door closet door is also worth a mention because while they are currently trendy and look cool, they also solve the problem of having a door swing into the room, and don’t require an empty wall cavity like a pocket door. A final shout out goes to the storage niche that separates the toilet from the rest of the space and provides more storage and space for décor, it’s a design extra that’s both functional and attractive.

AFTER – Little extras that make the space beautiful: hello, showstopper light fixture! The funny thing is, the fixture the homeowners originally selected was no longer available, but we can’t imagine the space with anything but this dazzling chandelier. On its own, the fixture wouldn’t be ideal above a vanity, but the lighted mirrors provide plenty of light, and overhead can lights illuminate other areas of the bath. The wallpaper also deserves a shout out because it looks great, provides texture and creates a definite focal point behind the mirrors and in the toilet nook. Finally, the hexagonal tile on the shower floor, and in the shower niche, take hex tile up a notch. Aptly named Arthex, it combines design with classic stone.

Regardless of the reason for your remodel, combining spaces or just updating the look, we’re ready to help you get the ball rolling so you can Love Your Home! Schedule a free consultation or attend one of our upcoming seminars.

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August 10, 2017
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


Having lived in their new home for several years, these inspired homeowners were ready to finish their basement and transform it into a multi-zone space where they could mix and mingle with family and friends. Following several months of collaborative planning and construction, we delivered an envy-worth basement. With clean lines and neutral tones, the lower level’s style can be described as well-dressed rustic, and despite being a lower level, the space is flooded with natural light, making it anything but basement-y.

Before the remodel, the basement was a wide open unfinished space. What’s great about the space is that it’s a large walkout, and unlike many basements, the utilities were already located away from the windows in what would become a storage room. The homeowners were hoping the space would eventually be a place where they could hosts guests to watch football, serve great drinks and have a place for their game table. With that in mind, the space was designed to have three distinct zones – a theater zone, a bar zone and a game zone – plus a bathroom.

Bar/Entertainment Zone
Central to the space is the bar/entertainment area. And while we call it a bar, it’s more like a mini-kitchen with ample storage, a beverage fridge, ice maker, microwave and dishwasher. Everything you need to mix and serve great drinks is conveniently located. With seating for five at the island, friends can easily keep tabs on the game on one of four TVs, or cheer on ping-pong players.

While the theater and bar areas have plenty of seating, the homeowners also wanted to have flexible seating near the fireplace. The table shown can be expanded away from the wall to seat 4-6 people. When not in use, the table looks great against the wall as a sideboard. Having a fireplace in the center of the basement provides another heat source as well as cozy ambiance.

Theater Zone
Considered the goal that started it all … the homeowners wanted a theater area perfect for fantasy football fanatics and game day watch parties. With plenty of comfy seating and three screens, who would ever leave this viewing paradise? TV components are carefully arranged in a closet to avoid cords and clutter and a raised platform allows people in the back row to see well.

Game Zone
Guests to this home can take a break from watching the game to play a game! This wide open area has plenty of room for game tables and will be home to at least one old-school arcade game. A comfortable bench provides more seating near the window.

No basement is complete without a bathroom, and this basement had room for a roomy 3/4 bath. The neutral theme is continued with repose gray maple cabinets topped with a Cambria quartz Galloway countertop that adds a bit of sparkle to the space.

To see even more of this great transformation, visit our Facebook page. When you’re ready to transform your space, on any level of your home, schedule a free consultation with our team or sign up for one of our remodeling seminars.

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July 15, 2017
Remodeling - General


If you have collected photos of your dream kitchen, drafted a general budget, and talked with friends about how you wish your home was more comfortable or modern, you may be ready to hire a professional remodeler to get the job done right. A professional has training, experience, and references from satisfied clients to demonstrate their remodeling expertise. The National Association of Homebuilders has some helpful tips to guide you in finding the best remodeler for your project.

  1. Collect names of remodeling companies.
    Start by searching the Remodelers Council of Greater Des Moines directory of members. You’ll get a list of nearby remodelers to contact. Asking friends and neighbors for names of qualified remodelers will also help you find a match for your project.
  2. Discuss your project with a couple remodelers.
    Call a few remodelers from your list to discuss your project. Describe what you envision for the home remodel, styles you like, your estimated budget, and other ideas for the remodeling work. Ask the remodeler if they can provide background information on their expertise. They may have a website or brochure they can share that describes their experience and accomplishments.
  3. Ask if the remodeler has general liability insurance.
    Be sure to ask some important questions about the remodeler’s business that will help ensure you hire the best professional. Is the remodeler registered with the state? (You can easily search the Iowa Workforce Development Registered Contractor database.)  Do they have general liability insurance in case of an accident on the job? Do they guarantee their work? How do they handle any problems that may arise on the project? Having these answers in advance will prevent future problems and nail down the best professional remodeler for the job.
  4. Check the references and background of the remodeler.
    After you start speaking with remodelers and find one or two who match your project’s needs, be sure to conduct some background research by checking with the Better Business Bureau, talking to their references, and asking if they are a trade association member (such as NAHB Remodelers). Remodelers with these qualities tend to be more reliable, better educated, and more likely to stay on top of construction and design trends.
  5. Don’t fall for the lowest bidder.
    Many people may be lured by the lowest price to their remodeling project, thinking that they have found a great deal. But beware of these alluring low prices. These bids may be more costly in the end if the contractor is cutting corners, not taking into account certain costs, or is inexperienced. Professional remodelers have stories about coming into homes to fix remodels from unscrupulous contractors who did shoddy work or failed to complete the job. Often times, the lowest price may not ultimately provide the best value for your home remodel.

Make the smartest investment in your home by hiring a professional remodeler. They’ll help you stay on budget, solve remodeling challenges, and provide a higher-quality service. If you’d like a free consultation with the professionals at Red House Remodeling, contact us … we’ll help you love your home!

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May 27, 2017
Remodeling - General


ASAP! Yesterday! A month ago! Ok, let’s qualify that statement. If you’re considering a remodel – of at least a whole room in your home – and you want it completed in the next 12 months, it’s NOT too early to get planning.

Before we go further, what level of remodel are we talking about? By remodel we mean a new kitchen, bath, basement or something more substantial. Updates or replacement of components on a smaller scale, like new paint or flooring or countertops will not require nearly as much lead time and planning.

So why do you need to contact a remodeler so far in advance? It definitely doesn’t take us an entire year to plan and build a project, but six months from first contact to the end of the project is very, very common. And we’ll go through the planning process earlier if a home owner wants to. But what takes so long? Are we just extremely slow? It only takes a weekend on TV, right? While we’re not slow, we are very planning oriented and spend plenty of time on the front end so that the production of the project goes smoothly.

There are seven distinct phases to our remodeling process that each take time.

Initial Contact – When you first contact us, we’ll do a phone consultation and if we’re a good fit for each other, schedule our first meeting in your home. During the meeting in your home we’ll discuss the size and scope of your project in more detail and enter into a planning agreement. Time: 2 weeks because neither of us has a wide-open schedule.

Planning – During the planning stage, a designer will meet in your home, take pictures and lots of measurements. More measurements than you ever imagined! She’ll design several options based upon your wants, present these options and collaborate with you on a final design. Sometimes this takes one meeting, often it takes two, and other times it takes multiple meetings depending on the complexity of the project and how decisive and available the clients are. Time: 3 weeks.

Availability to Make Selections – The selection process is the stage during which you choose the finishes also known as the FUN STAGE for most people! Some finishes are chosen in our office and some at supplier showrooms. Again, this stage is very dependent upon your availability to meet and your ability to make decisions. There is no right or wrong speed to work through this, you move at whatever speed you find most comfortable. Some people like to choose all finishes in a single day, some like to spread it out over several outings. Some people make decisions and stick with them, others like to reassess. Time: 3 weeks.

Site Visit – During the selection stage, we’ll schedule at least one site visit with our remodeling specialists, electrician, plumber, HVAC team and any other specialists who will work on the project. This visit allows us to identify challenges ahead of time so that production runs smoothly. Time: During the selection stage.

Gather Estimates, Assemble Contract, Sign Contract – Now that the design and selections are finalized, we need to get estimates from each supplier to create your fixed price contract. We typically allocate two weeks for this process because suppliers are busy, we’re busy, you’re busy and we all need a little time to pull this information together. Time: 2 weeks.

Order Materials – Once you’ve signed the contract and three days have passed, we can order materials. Cabinets have the longest lead time of four to eight weeks … and they are worth the wait. During this time, we’re putting together your production schedule, accumulating materials and meeting with you to go over our pre-production checklist. Time: 6 weeks.

Build – For a kitchen, bath or basement, we estimate six weeks from the time we begin demolition to the final walk through. During this time, you’ll appreciate all the time spent planning your project. Time: 6 weeks.

The final, final stage is where you enjoy and show off your new space!

Ready to start the process? Just contact us and we’ll be in touch. Even if you’re not ready to remodel just yet, we’re always available to answer your questions and we have kitchen and bath remodeling seminars six times a year. Sign up for our next seminar here.

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April 28, 2017


Walk into any kitchen and what’s the first thing you notice? (Assuming you’re not watching an episode of Hoarders …) The cabinets. Fabulous or frightening, often, the most visible and expensive element in any kitchen is the cabinetry. Whether light or dark, painted or stained, your cabinets let people know whether your kitchen is dying a slow design death or is the star of your home.

Is the Grass Greener?
During our Kitchen & Bath Remodeling seminars homeowners always want to know what’s popular in cabinet finishes. It seems to me that customers who have had stained cabinets trend toward painted cabinets, either white or off-white, while customers who have white cabinets tend to select rich wood tones. It might be the “grass is always greener” mentality or that people really like to change things up during a remodel. For others, after decades of golden oak they’ve just had it with visible wood grain. In actuality, we install fairly even numbers of stained and painted cabinets.

National Trends
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2017 trends, white and gray are the most popular colors among painted cabinets. Blue and black cabinets are gaining in popularity. (We installed a rich blue island this past year that looks amazing. After pics of that project still to come!) With transitional style leading the pack, clean lines and simple door styles dominate kitchen designs.

Two Tones
Choosing two cabinet finishes is still a popular trend and is growing. As if selecting one finish isn’t enough! It’s common for perimeter and island cabinets to have contrasting finishes. Less popular but also on trend is selecting different finishes for upper and lower cabinets. You can also choose a different finish to define a specific area.

What Comes First?
Should you select your cabinets or your countertops first? I asked our project designer, Jenna Porter, if there is a rule regarding the order of selections and she said no. According to Jenna, “Some people come to us with a specific idea about their counters, so they look at cabinets that will complement their counter preference. Others have specific ideas about what they want their cabinets to look like and we select the other materials based on the cabinet choice. The selection process is very flexible.”

Before you set out to remodel your kitchen, take time to page through some design sites or magazines. You’ll start to notice that the things you like tend to look a certain way. These pictures help us know in what direction to steer you.

Replace or Refinish
What if you don’t have the budget to replace your golden oak? You’re not alone. If your cabinets are structurally sound, consider refinishing them. Fresh stain or paint can drastically change the look of your kitchen. We recommend you hire a professional for a great looking and more durable finish. (Plus the pros will complete the project in a single calendar year and you’ll maintain your sanity.) You’ll still spend a good chunk of money, but you’ll have an updated look for significantly less than the cost of new cabinets.

So what should you choose? What’s right for your space? The professional design team at Red House Remodeling can help you choose the right finishes for your new space. Contact us today at 222-2273 or click here to request a consultation.

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March 28, 2017
Remodeling - General


As a design/build remodeler, all of our customers go through two stages: the design stage where you’re viewing the possibilities for your space and making decisions and picking finishes and everything is so fun and the possibilities are endless and life is a dream! Then there is the build part of the process where your house is a work zone, people are coming and going from your home all day, and you’re making all of your family dinners on a hot plate in the garage, and you might be thinking your old space wasn’t that bad after all because hey, you at least had a kitchen sink.

While a remodel has inherent inconveniences, here are some useful suggestions from the National Association of Homebuilders to help you live through a remodeling project.

Consistent and open communication between you and your remodeler will enhance your understanding of the project, provide an opportunity to exchange ideas, and ultimately help to make the experience a positive one for everyone involved. To facilitate this process, you need to:

  • Determine who you and your remodeler should contact for daily decisions or an after-hours emergency. (Due to our extensive planning process at Red House Remodeling, daily decisions are really minimal. And since we’re a small business, our customers have access to us 24/7 via phone, text or email.)
  • Create a place in your house where the contact persons can leave messages for each other (a securely anchored notebook is a good idea since it is less likely to disappear).
  • Speak up. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the project, be sure to let the contact person know.

The Pre-Construction Meeting
One way to ensure the success of your project is to plan for and actively participate in a pre-construction meeting. This allows your remodeler to clarify procedures and explain how the job will progress. It also offers both you and your remodeler an opportunity to prepare for those issues that may arise later. You should think of this meeting as a forum for all participants to define their expectations and agree on the anticipated outcome.

Some of the issues you may wish to cover at this meeting include:

  • Will you allow your remodeler to place a company sign on your property? Remember that, in addition to being a marketing tool, signs help contractors and suppliers locate your home.
  • Does your house have an alarm system? Will workers need a key or will someone always be there?
  • How will you ensure that your children and pets stay out of the work space?
  • How will trash removal be handled? Where will the remodeler locate the dumpster on your property?
  • Does the remodeler anticipate any interruptions of utilities during the project? If so, when and for how long? At certain stages of construction, the project may affect basic household necessities like water and electricity. Will you need to vacate the house at any time?
  • What times will workers begin and end work at your home? Be sure to consider the neighbors as well as household members.
  • What is the remodeler’s policy on smoking on the jobsite? (At Red House Remodeling, our employees are all non-smokers. We expect all sub-contractors to remain smoke free on job sites as well.)

Preventing Remodeling Fever
The train-station atmosphere of a remodeling project can lead to remodeling fever. The main symptom of this temporary affliction is feeling a loss of control that results from disrupted routines and the impact on your personal space. The best way to prevent this fever is to prepare well, remember that “this too shall pass,” and focus on the progress being made. A few other suggestions from remodeling pros:

  • Prepare for inconvenience. A remodeling project can turn your home and — on some days — your life upside down. A kitchen remodel will, of course, affect meal planning. Set up a temporary cooking quarters by moving the refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave to another room. Arrange a dishwashing station in your laundry room. If the weather is warm, fire up the grill and dine alfresco.
  • Maintain a sense of humor, remember that certain things are out of your control and it’s best to laugh rather than upset yourself about things like the weather or delayed delivery of materials.
  • See the remodeling process as an adventure. Tell the kids that you are “camping in” and transform inconvenience into fun. Along the way, celebrate as different stages of the project are completed.

While living in an actual construction worksite was probably NOT part of your remodeling dream, everyone agrees the inconvenience is worth it in the end. To discuss how Red House Remodeling can transform your space, request a consultation.

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February 27, 2017
Remodeling - General


Basking in the glow of a newly remodeled space is tremendously rewarding. Getting there can be, well, tremendously messy. If you’re the sort of person that obsesses over a throw pillow out of place or pet hair on the hardwood, be prepared to chill a bit because remodeling unleashes a whole lot of mess, and while the end product is well worth it, you’ve got to live through it first. Here’s what we, at Red House Remodeling, do to make sure the construction portion of your remodel creates as little mess as possible.


  • Stash your stuff – Prior to the start of construction, you’ll need to remove all personal items from the space that’s being remodeled. We also suggest protecting or storing valuable items in adjacent spaces. While unlikely, vibrations from construction could cause décor to fall.
  • Floor protection – If we’ll be crossing any flooring that won’t be replaced, like carpet leading to a master bath, we’ll put down protection.
  • Temporary barriers – When the space being remodeled is fairly open, a kitchen to a family room or example, we use zip walls (heavy plastic sheeting held in place by poles with a zippered opening) to keep the construction zone contained. These barriers are also useful in keeping children and pets out of the work zone.
  • Stuff the ducts – HVAC ducts create a great way for construction dust to make its way throughout your home. Prior to construction, we block vents so that dust isn’t able to move freely from the construction zone to connected areas, and in some cases temporarily shut down HVAC systems during particularly dusty processes.


  • Air filtration system – What’s the best way to prevent dust from floating throughout your house? Contain it at the source. The less dust in the air, the less dust that can travel. We use a HEPA air-scrubber system, which eliminates 90% of airborne dust, providing a healthy, clean environment. The system is great at containing dust making the above pre-construction efforts even more effective.
  • No coverup – It’s like a weird treasure hunt, but we often find old fast food drink cups, work gloves, lots of construction debris and other garbage from a home’s construction that have been in the walls or floor or behind cabinetry. Before covering up surfaces and stud cavities, we retrieve any materials that could have fallen into the floor cavity and thoroughly vacuum.
  • Daily clean up – You don’t like to live in a mess and our employees don’t like working in one either. At the end of each day, we’ll clear out all disposable material and sweep the area so it’s free of debris and ready for the next days’ work.
Floor protection, furniture protection and our HEPA air scrubber

Post Construction

  • Construction debris – Um, what about the old toilet sitting in the driveway? All of our contracts include the disposal of all materials in a proper and timely manner, so you won’t have to worry about trying to find someone to haul away your construction debris. However, that’s not always the case. Make sure you discuss with your remodeler who is responsible for disposing of all the demolished materials, packaging, boxes, pallets, etc that are left after your remodel. There can be substantial cost associated with disposal, so don’t assume your contractor will do it for you.
  • And we’re out! – During the final clean up, our team wipes down surfaces, vacuums inside cabinets, and make sure each and every area we’ve been in looks as good or better than we found it (utility room, garage, driveway). We still recommend doing your own personal “deep clean” but we’re confident you’ll be very pleased with how things look when we leave.
End of day clean up.

Enjoying a newly remodeled space is rewarding and relaxing and you can be sure that we work hard to keep the rest of your home as clean as possible. When you’re ready to give your home some TLC, let the experts at Red House Remodeling show you the possibilities.

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January 26, 2017
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


Basements provide welcome extra square footage and are often home to TV and recreation areas, bars, guest quarters and storage. This family is lucky to have all the above, and more, in their finished lower level. From concrete to cozy, enjoy the many facets of this basement remodel.

BEFORE – Just your run-of-the-mill unfinished space ready to become an integral and much used part of the home. Fortunately, the footprint is large enough to allow plenty of space to achieve the homeowners’ goals. From this vantage point you’re able to see where a future kitchen, bedroom and pool table area will be located. Post-finish, storage and a bath are located behind the stairs.

IN THE ZONE – The basement has a number of zones in the open area along with a bathroom, bedroom, storage, utility room and a “secret” room. In this area, barn doors conceal the utility room and electrical panel and are a great backdrop for the pool table.

ROME TO RELAX – When they’re tired of playing pool, the entire family can lounge and watch TV. A custom entertainment area houses the homeowners’ electronics. Throughout the space, the ceiling is covered with galvanized, corrugated panels  – a look the homeowners chose for its uniqueness. While basements can be dark, plenty of recessed lighting, along with natural light, make sure the lower level is as bright as upper levels.

THEY’VE GOT A SECRET – Additional seating and storage. Whether for eating, studying or playing games, the table area adds flexibility. Cabinetry throughout the space is knotty alder with carmel stain. Surprise! Not only does the cabinetry provide a lot of extra storage, it opens to reveal a fun, secret room.

SERVE IT UP – Family and friends can catch the game while having snacks and drinks at the bar. Corrugated metal is repeated around the base of the bar, while stainless steel appliances and arctic stainless fixtures complement the unique material. Toasted almond quartz tops provide a neutral surface throughout the space.

EVERY BASEMENT NEEDS A BATH – This basement doesn’t disappoint. Not only is the bath convenient, but it gives overnight guests their own retreat. The shower is a serene oasis in shades of gray with pebble floor tile adds to the natural spa feel.

Want to see more of this project? Click here to see more pictures on our Facebook page.

Ready to invest in your home? Let us help you! Click here to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you love your home!

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July 7, 2016
Remodeling - General


“Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful.” –Hazrat Inayat Khan

This quote reminds me of a question we’re frequently asked. (As the Kinks put it, “Should I stay or should I go.”) Almost everyone, at some point, wonders if they should look for a new home, or try to improve the home they are in. Here is some of the advice we give people who are wondering if they should remodel or sell.

Future Plans – How long do you plan to stay in the home? If you’re planning to stay three or more years (10 years for a major remodel), go ahead and remodel and enjoy your improvements. (Usually people stay in their homes longer than they estimate anyway.) But if you’re moving sooner, make sure you maintain the property and make improvement necessary to sell.

Why did you purchase the home in the first place? – Did you purchase your home because you love the location? Because it’s near good schools? Because it’s close to friends? Some attributes, like location or great neighbors, can’t always be replicated, making staying and remodeling the best choice, while other attributes can be replicated. If multiple homes on the market meet your needs, or if you’re not attached for one of the prior reasons, maybe it’s time to sell.

What are your goals for the remodel? – Make a list of goals you would like to accomplish with a remodel. By focusing on your goals, instead of the project, you (and we) will be able to better determine if a remodel is right for you.

Is the home in good condition? ­- Sometimes a home is so outdated, run down, or damaged that a remodel isn’t even possible or feasible until things like the roof, wiring or foundation are improved. It may not make sense to invest in a kitchen remodel, for example, if the home is in desperate need of new windows and siding, or to finish the basement if the home frequently has water in the basement.

How much are you willing to invest in the home? There is no right answer to this question, but you absolutely positively must know your number. Without a budget, we can’t provide you with useful information about what can be done to achieve your goals. For realistic costs for remodeling projects in our area, visit

What kind of improvements are you considering? The evaluation process is entirely different when you’re deciding if you should install new flooring vs doing a two story addition. Go back to your goals for the remodel and your budget.

What do you want to deal with? The hassle and expense of having a remodel done where you’re living or the hassle and expense of buying/selling and moving? Some people love to move, others don’t. Some people deal well with having a portion of their homes a construction zone, while others don’t. Which transition is better for you?

When you’re ready to discuss whether you should stay or go, contact the remodeling experts at Red House Remodeling. To learn more about the remodeling process, sign up for one of our Kitchen and Bath Remodeling seminars.

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June 6, 2016
Remodeling - General


With spring in the air and summer around the corner, you might find yourself itching to make changes around the house. We’ve put together some suggestions for ways you can demonstrate affection for your home, now and throughout the year. When you love your home … it shows!

Remodel – While not the least expensive suggestion on the list, a remodel will almost certainly have you loving your home. The most common reason our customers remodel is to update an outdated space and to make the space work better for their family and lifestyle. The most common remodels include kitchens, baths and basements, though more and more homeowners are choosing to remodel an entire floor at once.

Plan for the Future – If you’re staying in your home for a while, put together a home improvement plan. Kitchen, master bath, hall bath, siding, etc. Determine your priorities, set a timeline and begin budgeting. It’s not uncommon for our customers to have a list of projects they plan to do over the course of several years. We can put together a master design plan and work through it.

Paint – Interior paint can be a relatively inexpensive way to spruce up a space if you are willing to do the work yourself. Repaint when the paint begins to show wear or when the color is dated. Or whenever you want! After all, it’s just paint and a new color can really transform a space.

Deep Clean – As the weather warms up, throw open the windows and let in fresh air as you take time to dust ceilings and walls (yes, they are dusty!), and wipe down casing and trim. Wipe down doors and door knobs, and wash windows and window screens. Schedule a carpet cleaning and wash all throw rugs. Clean out and wash light fixtures. Take time to wipe or vacuum blinds and wash window treatments. The list goes on and can be quite overwhelming, so break the tasks into manageable chunks that you can do over the course of a week or month.

Repair – Regardless of how long you plan to live in your home, it makes sense, and usually pays off, to keep things in good repair. That way, if you end up selling, you’re not sinking a lot of money into stuff you should have been taking care of along the way. That leaky faucet, or that cracked window, can be costing you money. Plus, a broken door knob or broken tile can send the wrong message about your home.

Accessorize – Way more fun than deep cleaning, right? If it’s in your budget, shop for some season appropriate accessories. Changing accessories with the season can help you love your home over and over throughout the year. You can also “shop your home” for accessories that can be re-used in a different area.

Ready to show your home some love with a remodel?  Just contact the team at Red House Remodeling and you’ll be head over heels in no time.

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May 4, 2016


“I want a bigger kitchen …” “I NEED a bigger kitchen!” Many of us want or need a bigger kitchen, which can be achieved by adding on to the home or borrowing space from another area. But if neither of those options is feasible, due to space or budget, is moving the only option? Are you destined to surrender to a space that can’t accommodate your culinary dreams? Not necessarily, because there are many ways to make your kitchen look and feel larger and function better.

Any kitchen remodel benefits from careful planning, but it’s even more critical when remodeling a small space. Aesthetically, a small space needs to flow well with the rest of the home, and design elements need to work well together.

An experienced designer will help you carefully consider your needs and will offer solutions you might not have considered. Will your kitchen be reserved for cooking and eating only? Do you need a drop zone for mail or a charging station for electronics? Do you need a place for kids to do homework? Do your guests seem to congregate in the kitchen? Once you’ve assessed the various ways you’re going to use the kitchen, consider the following:

Storage Space – In a small kitchen, you need to think about where you’re going to store things. Do you have lots of small appliances? Do you need a pantry? There are many cabinet accessories your designer can recommend that might increase your storage.

Remove or Open Up Walls – Opening up the space shared with a dining room or living room will make the kitchen feel bigger. If you can’t eliminate a wall altogether, you can create an opening or pass-through.

Double Duty Island – Instead of an island and a table, incorporate a larger island that replaces the table. It’s a popular option for many homeowners that can substantially increase storage.

Embrace Light Colors & Reflective Surfaces – Lighter walls, cabinet and floors will help the room feel larger. Mirrors are great decorative pieces and can add the illusion of space.

Vary Cabinets – Lots of tall cabinets will provide you with lots of storage, but can look overwhelming. Glass cabinet doors can make the space feel more open and can break up a large expanse of cabinets. You can also add visual interest by varying the heights of upper cabinets.

The design team at Red House Remodeling is ready to help you maximize your kitchen. Contact us to schedule a consultation or sign up for one of our Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Seminars.

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October 9, 2015
Project Profiles


It’s hard enough to get going in the morning, but when your master bath is dreary and dated, morning can seem even more daunting. This master bath remodel has these homeowners up and at ‘em now that the space is lighter, brighter and more open.

BEFORE: The bathroom was divided into two sections, which made the space feel smaller than it really was. Bulkheads above the vanity and shower also made the space feel more enclosed and made both areas dark.

AFTER: The primary objective of the remodel was to make the bathroom more functional, updated and open. The bath was enlarged and updated with contrasting finishes and luxurious accents. The wall and bulkheads are gone opening up the entire bathroom. Additionally, space was borrowed from the bedroom to slightly increase the size of the bath and closet, which allowed for a more efficient layout to accommodate the homeowners’ needs.

BEFORE: The oak vanity wasn’t ample enough to contain the homeowners’ belongings, and the lighting wasn’t appropriate for the space.

AFTER: The new vanity is slightly longer allowing for two distinct sink areas, which was a must have for the homeowners. While the new vanity is wider, the largest increase in storage came from a countertop tower that conceals products. Frosted glass lightens the upper vanity cabinet while keeping items hidden.

Aesthetically, the couple wanted a clean-lined transitional look with a classic, timeless color palette and materials. Espresso-stained cabinets topped with diamond white quartz and marble on the floors and shower achieve this look.

BEFORE: The shower was plain and very small for a master bath.

AFTER: The shower was slightly enlarged and has great design elements. The homeowners wanted to incorporate considerable marble, which was used on the floor and the shower walls along with smoky gray glass tile. The shower niche is adorned with random modular mosaic tile that matches the vanity backsplash. Spa-like fixtures and a space saving fold down teak seat.

Ready to make your master bath marvelous? The experts at Red House Remodeling are ready to help you through every step from design to production. Contact us today for a free consultation or to attend a free remodeling seminar.

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August 11, 2015


No, we don’t have flying cars like the Jetsons or the shrink ray from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but bathroom technology is decidedly futuristic and can create the height of comfort and luxury right in your home.

Programmed Lighting – Programmed lighting encompasses everything from motion sensor lights – great for kids who “forget” to turn off lights, for guests who might not be familiar with the bath, even those who struggle to find the switch in the middle of the night. While some lights turn off in the absence of motion, others can be programmed to turn off after a certain amount of time or at a certain time. If you know everyone is out of the house by 8:30am, you can program the lights to turn off at this time.

Automated Exhaust Fan – Generally, an exhaust fan should run for 20 minutes following the end of a shower. But who wants to watch the clock, and what if you’re making a quick exit after your shower? Fan technology allows you to set a timer to turn off the fan and moisture sensing fans turn on whenever moisture is detected. Great for the fan forgetters and those who want a dry environment but who don’t want to run the fan all day.

Hands Free Faucets – Hands free faucets can have touch or motion technology, so that you don’t have to manually turn on the faucet if your hands, for example, are covered in hair gel. However, once you’re used to the technology, you might find yourself perplexed when a traditional faucet doesn’t automatically turn on in your presence.

Heated Floors – A cozy floor on a cold day? Hellooooooo, heaven. Because bath floors are usually tile, which can by chilly, they are the perfect location for heated floors. You can set them to be nice and warm when you wake and to turn off at a set time. Want to make morning even better? Pair a heated towel bars with your heated floor. Or put your towel on the floor. Either way your towel ends up feeling snug.

Chromotherapy – Chromatherapy, also known as color therapy, is the use of colored lights to enhance mood. In the bath, chromatherapy is most often used in the shower or the tub, like in the photo at the top of this post from Kohler. Rain showerheads are easy to find with a chromotherapy option.

Digital Shower Controls – With the touch of a button, your shower can be all about you when you have digital shower controls. Set lighting, water temp, water pressure, sprays, even music just the way you want for a completely personalized environment. Many of these functions must be installed with a complete shower renovation, though some can be installed during a fixture replacement.

Mirror Magic – Because you don’t need something else on the counter or wall, consider a TV that’s hidden in the mirror. Magic? Not exactly, but certainly magical, hidden TVs are there when you want to watch, and disappear when you don’t. For a further indulgence, you can also install a medicine cabinet with a refrigerated compartment for medications, natural beauty products or your favorite cool beverage.

While some of this technology is currently quite pricey, it’s nice to know that it’s available, even if our cars can’t fly. Contact Red House Remodeling when you’re ready to make your bath the space of your dreams. Click here to schedule a free consultation or here to RSVP to one of our free remodeling seminars.

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May 6, 2015


Cleaner, more contemporary designs are dominating homes in 2015, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s annual trend report. The report shares what’s trending nationally in kitchen and bath design. Since our customers are a little more centrally located – hello, greater Des Moines! – we decided to compare national trends with what we’re designing right here.

Quartz, granite, solid surface, marble and laminate are all frequently chosen countertop options. Quartz is growing in popularity, while granite, laminate and solid surface are declining.

Red House Remodeling: It’s no surprise that granite and quartz are by far our most-used counter materials. In the past, homeowners have chosen quartz over granite for its perceived durability. However, with granite sealer, that offers a 15 year warranty, it really just depends on the look the homeowner wants. Butcher block is also a desired material for islands.


NKBA: Stainless steel sinks are by far the most popular, followed by granite composite, and both are growing in popularity. Regardless of material, undermount sinks are definitely most popular.

Red House Remodeling: Granite composite and stainless steel sinks are most popular with our customers as well. Stainless sinks, updated with clean lines, have a modern look that blends well with contemporary and transitional styles. In addition to undermount sinks, farmhouse/apron front styles are also popular in stainless or enamel cast iron.

All types of tile – ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass – continue to grow in popularity.

Red House Remodeling: With the magnitude of tile available in the market, backsplashes offer an opportunity to add creative impact to a space for a relatively low price. In kitchens, backsplashes always extend from counter to the upper cabinets, and where space allows can extend higher to surround windows or around the range hood to create a focal point.

LED is the leader in overall kitchen lighting as well as for under cabinet lighting.

Red House Remodeling: LED has always been attractive because it’s energy efficient and long lasting. It’s become more prevalent lately because the price has lessened and because it’s available in any color temperature, so it looks like the lighting homeowners are used to.

Flooring – Kitchens
Wood and tile remain dominate flooring materials and are expected to continue to grow in popularity. Vinyl/linoleum has been declining and will continue to do so.

Red House Remodeling: Wood look tile, in a variety of hues, is widely available and is popular with homeowners. Its durability makes it functional in areas where wood wouldn’t be the best choice.

NKBA: Higher end brands are growing in popularity along with microwave drawers, convection ovens, induction cooktops and steam ovens. Free standing microwaves continue to decline.

Red House Remodeling: Our customers continue to prefer stainless steel appliances, but new options, like smudge proof stainless, slate and other gray finishes are growing in popularity. These options offer the look of stainless steel but with less maintenance. Also noteworthy, slide in ranges (those with no back above countertop level) are desired more and more. Why? It’s obvious that the back won’t work in an island, but even in a traditional location, the slide in range looks more clean and current, and won’t obscure a great-looking backsplash design.

Desks/Charging Stations
NKBA: About 2/3 of kitchens now have desks or home office areas, along with flat screen tvs and docking/charging stations, and this trend continues to grow.

Red House Remodeling: We’re redesigning many traditional desk areas as drop zones that include storage for family members’ daily “clutter” along with charging stations for electronics. We often install USB outlets in this area for convenience. Not many homeowners report actually sitting at the desk area, using island or table seating instead, so the transformation of the desk to a drop zone makes sense functionally.

Beverage Stations
NKBA: What’s popular in beverage centers? When space allows, wine refrigerators continue to grow in popularity.

Red House Remodeling: The beverage station itself is a popular addition to many kitchen remodels, replacing, in some cases, an unused desk area. Wine or beverage refrigerators allow homeowners to entertain more efficiently and take the burden off the home’s main refrigerator. Some homeowners are opting for refrigerator drawers for extra cooling. An added benefit of these ancillary units is that they are typically low and easy to access for kids. Whether it’s wine and cheese, or juice boxes and cheese sticks, whatever fits your lifestyle!

NKBA: More than half of kitchen projects in 2014 had accessible or universal design features, which provide easier access for all residents, not just those who have special needs or disabilities.

Red House Remodeling: Most of our projects have some element of universal design, whether or intentional or not. Drawers in lower cabinets as opposed to pull out shelves are popular because they are more easily accessed and they provide more efficient storage than pullout shelves. Hard surface floors throughout the home are in style and provide ease of movement. Pulls are more accessible than knobs along with lever style door knobs.

NKBA: Pull down faucets and touch-activated faucets are growing in popularity, and polished chrome and satin nickel are the most popular finishes. Oil rubbed bronze is on the decline.

Red House Remodeling: Our customers like the functionality of pull down faucets as well. While touch-activated faucets are popular, they are costly, and most homeowners choose to allocate their budget elsewhere. Brushed nickel and polished chrome are the finishes that our customers choose most frequently.

Um, what about cabinets? There is so much to say about cabinets that we devoted an entire post to cabinets, including styles, colors, finishes, wood species, accents, islands and storage. Click here to see how NKBA cabinet trends compare to what we’re designing in our market.

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April 3, 2015
Remodeling - General


Each year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association produces a trend report, something they’ve been doing since 1952. But how do these trends, compiled from designers nationwide, compare to what we’re designing and building in our market?

We’ve pulled together our very own 2015 trend report to see if our homeowners’ desires are on trend for 2015. Up first is all things cabinets: styles, colors, finishes, wood species, accents, islands and storage.

Cabinet Styles
According to designers polled by the NKBA, transitional style cabinets are most popular, followed by shaker. The greatest growth is in contemporary styles while traditional styles are losing ground, though still very popular.

Red House Remodeling: Turns out we’re transitional too. Our homeowners want fresh, clean spaces in which to relax and unwind. We’re definitely experiencing the surge in popularity of transitional style because its simple, clean lines are perfect for an unfettered lifestyle.

Cabinet Colors
NKBA: White/off white is still dominant for kitchens, followed by gray , then beiges and browns.  Gray is the new neutral and is expected to continue to increase in popularity, as will the use of multiple color cabinets in a single space.

Red House Remodeling: When it comes to painted finishes, white (in its many, many shades) is definitely a mainstay, followed by other neutrals like black, gray and greige (for those of us who can’t decide between gray and beige!). Homeowners are definitely open to incorporating multiple colors to differentiate islands from perimeter cabinets, or upper cabinets from lower cabinets, for example.

Cabinet Finishes/Wood Species
NKBA: Popular now: white paint, dark stain, painted and glazed, medium stain, stained and glazed, other painted colors, light stain, distressed. Growing: painted color other than white, white paint, dark stain. Declining: distressed, light stain, stained and glazed. Maple and cherry are the most popular wood species. Growing in popularity are maple, alder and walnut while oak, hickory and pine are declining.

Red House Remodeling: Ditto for cabinet finishes. When it comes to painted vs stained, our homeowners are split down the middle and most know what camp they’re in when we begin the design process. Black and shades of gray are the most popular paint choices besides white. Glazing, distressing and other finish options give homeowners the opportunity to take a typical finish and personalize it. As for wood species, maple and cherry are by far the most popular. Sorry, oak, we’re not missing you yet.

Cabinet Accents
Furniture type accents are popular along with crown molding and doors with glass. In lower cabinets, drawers are more popular than doors.

Red House Remodeling: Skipping cabinet trim is like leaving home without clothes. (Almost.) We usually trim out our cabinets with crown molding and molding along the lower edges of upper cabinets because it just makes the cabinets look more finished and less … naked.

Furniture type accents are great to work into a space where the design permits. Glass doors can break up a long run of cabinets, and create a focal point. When a customer is using glass doors as a focal point, or to showcase a collection, we always include interior LED lighting in the cabinets.

Islands are replacing kitchen tables. A larger island offers more storage and can seat more people, replacing the need for a table. If space permits, two islands are popular.

Red House Remodeling: Almost every kitchen has an island, some very small, and space for a table, which can also be very small. But guess what? There’s no mandate that a kitchen has to have both. We’re definitely expanding the island to replace the table when possible and when the homeowner prefers that option.

Multi-level islands offer a lot of flexibility: a counter height island with higher bar seating promotes interaction while entertaining while a counter height island with lower table height seating is perfect for family dining.

The most widely specified include: trash/recycling pullouts, pullout shelves for tall pantries, lazy Susans, spice pullouts, wine racks and appliance garages.

Red House Remodeling: There are almost endless storage options. In addition to those mentioned above, our homeowners like mixer lifts, large base cabinet drawers, drawers with a peg system to customize storage, cabinet doors that open vertically, and tray dividers.

Whew! There are almost as many cabinet options as there are cabinets! With so many ways to personalize your kitchen, it’s clear why an NKBA member designer is beneficial. When you’re ready to begin the process, our project designer is ready to help. Click here to schedule a consultation or visit our Facebook page to see more of our project photos.

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February 4, 2015
Remodeling - General


Basements were once a dark, cobwebby, cold place to store unused items and do laundry. They’ve starred in horror movies as the place where scary things lurk. But basements have come a long way. Sure, some are still nothing more than a carpet remnant and cast off furniture, but most are a highly useful part of the home and necessary for family life. Whether you’re finishing your basement for the first time, or remodeling to make it more attractive and functional, here are some things to consider before you dive in.

Your Basement Should be on Par With the Rest of Your Home – The phrase “bargain basement” shouldn’t apply to your lower level. You want people to walk down the stairs and say, “Great lower level, let’s hang out!” not “Hmmmm basement. Let’s go upstairs.” Your basement finish should be commensurate with the rest of your home, not a shrine to low quality.

Always Drywall the Ceiling – A drywall ceiling will be slightly higher than a drop ceiling, which makes a big difference in a basement. The look is also much nicer. Will you possibly have to remove drywall at some point to access utilities? Maybe, but drywall is easily repairable. You can also install access panels in strategic areas to avoid having to remove drywall.

Be Strategic With Utilities – The ceiling height in basements is often already relatively low, so why make it even lower with ducts, plumbing, etc? Strategically relocate mechanicals to logical places so that the ceiling height is as high as possible throughout the space.

Basements Don’t Have to be Dark – You want plenty of lighting so that your basement feels less like a dungeon and more like living space. In addition to plenty of recessed lighting, install as many egress windows as possible to maximize natural light.

Fire It Up – Basements can be chillier than the rest of your home and nothing says cozy like a fireplace. Not only can a fireplace make your space warmer, they can be a great design element that complements any style.

Have a Real Budget – The Cost vs. Value Report for 2015 says that the average basement finish in the Des Moines area is around $63,000 for 600 square feet of finished space. This space includes a full bath and wet bar. If someone says they can do yours for far less, remember the phrase “too good to be true.” Always ask for references, and ask those references how much their projects actually ended up costing vs budget.

Finish In Stages – Your basement wish list might include a wet bar or kitchenette, a fireplace, built-in storage, etc, which is great! If you’re struggling to find the budget for all those bells and whistles, keep in mind that many of these can be added later. Have your remodeler design a comprehensive plan for your basement and complete it in stages if necessary.

Open Space Is Important – A lot of basement stairs lead right toward a wall with very little landing space. Make sure you design plenty of open space at the bottom of the stairs for moving in oversized furniture like beds and couches.

Bathrooms Matter – You might be tempted to emit a bath because it will add cost, but don’t. You’ll really appreciate the convenience of a bathroom, as will guests who stay in your basement. Plus, the basement bath will benefit you if you ever sell your home. If it’s not part of your initial budget, at least plan it and finish later.

Don’t Skimp on Storage – Be honest about how large your storage room needs to be. Will you really get rid of all the stuff you say you’ll get rid of? No one has ever said, “I wish I had less storage.”

Solve Problems Sooner Rather Than Later – If you’ve had water in your basement, or you have issues with radon – most homes in Iowa do – take care of those very important issues first. Water problems can be a costly problem if not properly addressed, and why expose your family to radon?

Keep these common sense tips in mind as you begin planning for your basement finish or remodel and you’ll enjoy your investment in your home.

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January 20, 2015
Remodeling - General


New year = home show season. Yes, for some reason, show organizers like to get us out of our homes and into their home shows during the coldest time of the year. If you’re ready to begin planning your home remodeling project, these home shows can be a valuable resource. So how can you make the most of your trip to the show? Here’s our advice.

Material Supplier or Service Provider? – When searching for a remodeler, you need to know whether an exhibitor is selling products or services. We’re all attracted to the stuff we can see and feel like cabinets or countertops. When visiting an exhibitor, make sure you find out if they are selling remodeling (a service) or materials. Materials are an important part of any remodel, but they aren’t the first step in the remodeling process. Choose your remodeler, then your materials.

What’s the Display Say? – Some exhibitors want to be everything to everyone, but you can discern a company’s area of emphasis by looking at its display.  For example, are there lots of pictures of home exteriors (siding, roofing, windows) but the company lists “remodeling” on its banner? This might be a great exterior company, but not the best choice for a kitchen remodel. What about a company named Joe’s Plumbing that lists bath remodeling as a service they provide? They may be terrific at plumbing, but might not be your best choice for a well-planned, comprehensive master bath remodel. Make sure the exhibitor specializes in the entire service you want provided, not just a portion.

Ideas Are Everywhere – Many attend home shows with the intention of “getting ideas.” Certainly be open to ideas, but keep in mind that due to space constraints most suppliers and remodelers won’t be setting up extensive materials displays or vignettes at the show. With the proliferation of home improvement television and social media and sites like Houzz, it’s easy to get ideas from the comfort of your couch. Check out the social media sites of the companies at the show to see what kind of work they are doing.

Prepare to Compare – What you can’t get from social media or a web site is a real face-to-face with people. Home shows are a little like speed dating. You’ll have the chance to “interview” all of the area’s top remodelers to take time to have a conversation with them. Some will do your type of project, some won’t; some you’ll click with, some you won’t. Home shows are an excellent place for you to develop a short list of remodelers with whom you’d like to work.

Know Your Bottom Line – No remodeler will be able to tell you exactly what your remodel will cost, but they can give you an idea of what your type of project typically costs. They can also give you an idea of what can be done with your budget, so have an idea of what you’re willing to spend prior to attending the show and be willing to share it. Remodelers can give you more specific advice when you share your budget.

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June 17, 2014
Remodeling - General


You’ve probably jumped in your car, running a bit late, driven off and realized that you forgot your watch and your wedding ring (or whatever it is you wear Every. Single. Day.) And just like that, you’re totally out of sorts. We accessorize ourselves with jewelry, belts, handbags, etc, all those items that give us a finished, polished look. And just like a great piece of jewelry completes an outfit, the right cabinet accessories make your kitchen (or bath) look completely put together.

If your cabinets are a bit “underdressed,” there are several ways to make basic, plain cabinets really shine.

Crown Molding – Crown molding is the trim at the top of cabinets and is probably the most common type of cabinet add-on. If you have lower ceilings, crown can be used to bridge the small gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. If you have higher ceilings, the crown is purely decorative, giving your cabinets a finished look on top.


Light Rail – Also known as light molding, this trim is applied to the bottom of upper cabinets. Light rail was traditionally used to conceal under cabinet lighting, but most LED lighting today is so miniscule that it’s not really necessary to conceal it. We like to use light rail for trim purposes whether or not the homeowner has chosen under cabinet lighting. While crown “finishes” the top of the cabinet, light rail does the same for the bottom of the cabinet.


End Panels – Exposed cabinet ends need some sort of finish, so choose a real wood veneer that matches the cabinets or go with a panel that matches your door style. Some manufacturers will default to a “wood look” decal on the end panels and these never really match. Never ever. If you’ve got this in your kitchen, you can often add your own veneer in the same wood as your cabinets and finish to match.

Furniture Feet – Many cabinet manufacturers will have options of “furniture feet” that you can add to your cabinets so that they look like freestanding furniture pieces.

Turned Legs – Like furniture feet, turned legs give a furniture look to cabinetry. You’ll find them popular on islands or incorporated into feature areas like the sink base.

Glass – You can create a focal point in your kitchen or bath by using glass panels in the cabinet doors. Glass panel doors are great when you’re displaying a collection or if you have very neat, very matching dishes. Obscure glass is the way to go if you like glass but don’t have display worthy table goods.

Keep in mind that these trim options aren’t just for new cabinets. Most can be added to existing cabinets as well. If you know your cabinet manufacturer, you may be able to order matching trim. If not, you can purchase the trim unfinished and stain or paint it to match your cabinets.

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March 31, 2014


Homeowners who are looking for extra space in their homes often look down … to the basement. Basements are the ideal place to add entertaining areas, game rooms, exercise rooms, playrooms, media rooms or extra guest rooms. Regardless of how you plan to use the space, there are a number of factors to address during a basement remodeling project:

Ensure Lighting Is Adequate – No one wants to hang out in a dimly lit basement. Maximize the natural light by widening windows if possible. Installing a French door allows more light from the outside. Make use of mirrors and light paint colors to reflect the available light. You probably need stronger illumination than in the rest of the house.

“Lighting is very important in basements. Go overboard … you can always dim lights, or leave lights off,” advises Red House Remodeling owner Ben Trannel. Proper lighting helps create the ambience you seek. An experienced designer can help with light placement and selections to give you ample and purposeful lighting.

Use All Available Space – A claustrophobic feeling in the basement will make it less inviting. Using an open floor plan makes the rooms feel more spacious. If you have pipes or ducts running along the ceiling, see if you can relocate them. Since basement ceilings are usually lower than in the rest of the house, you want to eliminate anything that makes it feel even lower.

Trannel also suggests paying particular attention to the area at the bottom of the steps. “Keep the bottom of the stairs as open as possible. It makes the space feel larger and, more importantly, allows room for moving large furniture, couches and beds into the basement.”

Make Sure the Heat Is On – Since most basements are underground, they are cooled by the soil’s naturally lower temperatures. In order to transform your basement into a true living space, you may need to consider adding another heat source or additional ducts. Fireplaces and Franklin stoves are also popular additions. If the floor is concrete, installing carpet or large area rugs can make it feel warmer underfoot.

Consider a Bathroom – When people are enjoying your new downstairs, it can become inconvenient to run upstairs for the bathroom. Especially if you have a guest room downstairs, you should consider at least a half bath in the basement.

Flooring For Damp Areas – If your basement already has a water problem, think twice about installing wall-to-wall carpeting. Instead use tile, vinyl, or area rugs (which can be cleaned more easily). Real wood flooring doesn’t usually work in basements because excess moisture in the air makes the boards warp, but laminate floors can give a wood look without the same moisture concerns.

The professional team at Red House Remodeling can help transform your basement from dark and dingy to bright, warm and inviting. Contact us for a complimentary consultation. Meanwhile, check out this entertaining basement remodel.

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January 30, 2014
Project Profiles
Remodeling - General


Finished basements have long been the place to hang out and relax, the place to watch movies or the big game. We run upstairs for snacks and drinks, to pop popcorn and grab more drinks, then when the day is over we haul all that we’ve brought down, back up. These days many homeowners are making it easier to eat, drink and be merry by including many of the amenities of a kitchen right in their lower levels. Call it a bar or a kitchenette, the options are endless for making it easy to keep everything you need to entertain and clean up right by the big screen.

BEFORE: When this homeowner built her new home, she wasn’t satisfied with her builder-grade basement and approached Red House Remodeling to design and build a bar with plenty of storage, seating and appliances. Before, the space was empty, waiting to become the star of this basement.

AFTER: The back wall of the area includes upper and lower cabinets, giving the homeowner the storage she needs for entertaining. The upper cabinets are staggered, for visual interest, and have both crown and base molding, which gives the cabinets a finished look. The back wall is really the focal point of the room, so the backsplash extends behind and above the tv. The homeowner was open to doing something fun and creative in the space, so our project designer designed the tile with free-flowing edges.

AFTER: A wine cooler and beverage cooler are at home among the lower cabinets, and granite countertops provide plenty of space for the homeowner to prep and set out food and drinks.

AFTER: The island – not just for kitchens! – keeps the area open and lets people enter the area from either side. The island cabinetry provides additional storage while concealing a microwave and single drawer dishwasher.

Want to see more of this project? Click here to watch video of the space, or click here to see more pictures on our Facebook page.

When you’re ready to spruce up your lower level, or any level of your home, let us help you! Click here to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you love your home!

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January 10, 2014
Remodeling - General


You have many choices when it comes to remodeling in the Greater Des Moines area. As a design/build remodeler, we’re proud to have so many satisfied homeowners who have trusted us with their remodeling projects. Why does it make sense to choose a full-service design/build remodeler?

Professional Design – We have a full-time project designer on our team who will work with you to design your project and help you with product and finish selections. And you’re not limited to a few hours or revisions. We design until you’re happy with every aspect of the project.

A Fixed Price Up Front – Before we begin any work on your home, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing what your finished project is going to look like and cost. We do a tremendous amount of work on the front end so that you’re not dealing with a lot of headaches during your remodel.

Project Management – A remodeling project is like a puzzle with many pieces that all have to come together. We’ll manage all these pieces so you won’t have to worry about getting all the materials delivered on time or scheduling plumbers, painters, electricians, etc. We manage everything down to the last detail.

Service – As a design/build remodeler, we provide the highest level of service. We’re a one-stop shop for everything about your project. From the initial meeting, to the design, to the final clean up. You won’t hear us trying to shift responsibility or expecting you to call a supplier to find an answer.

Communication – It’s your project and you deserve to know what’s happening, and when. You can count on us to keep you informed of what’s happening with your project. Any changes to the schedule? We’ll let you know. Have a question? You can contact us any time.

When you’re ready to find out how Red House Remodeling can transform your home, contact us, or click here to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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August 22, 2013
Project Profiles


People choose to remodel for several reasons, most typically because they want the space to look nicer. That was the case with this family who decided to stay in their home and invest in making it attractive and enjoyable.  While we had worked with the family on some minor home improvement projects, we were extra excited to work with them on their first major remodeling project.

These before pictures (above) show a very typical 1990s West Des Moines master bath with golden oak vanity, laminate countertop with drop-in sinks, smallish fiberglass shower, large jetted tub, and square floor tile. While not very inspiring compared to the myriad of finishes available today, they were completely acceptable when the home was built. This space, you’ll see, has lots of potential.

A Pull-and-Replace Project
Because the homeowners were fine with the size and layout of the master bath, the remodel is what we consider a pull-and-replace project. In a pull-and-replace remodel everything in the space is removed and replaced with new in basically the same place. While that sounds fairly simple, there is still considerable planning and design that goes into this type of project along with lots of details to sort out. The homeowners worked with a Red House Remodeling project designer to select and coordinate every finish (flooring; vanity; vanity options; countertop; sinks; plumbing fixtures for the sinks, tub and shower; shower doors and options; tile and tile layout for the shower, tub deck and skirt, and vanity backsplash; toilet; paint; cabinet hardware).

Our project designer incorporated the selections into detailed drawings so the homeowners were comfortable with how the room would come together. Once the homeowners signed off on the drawings, they became the construction documents for the remodeling specialists, tile installer, plumber and electrician.

You’ll see papers taped to the wall in some pictures below … that’s not temporary décor, it’s the installation details for every fixture and finish item in the room. From where to set the toilet, to how to lay out the tile, to how high to hang the light fixtures, anyone who works on this room knows to refer to these documents for instructions. Careful planning reduces the number of questions and eliminates errors.

Day 1 – Protect & Demolish
At the start of every project we set up and install dust protection to minimize the amount of dust and debris throughout the rest of the home. Once dust protection was in place, we demo’d the bath. Not demolished, exactly, but removed everything from the room creating a blank slate. This pictures show the bath after everything had been removed and hauled away: the vanity, countertop, sinks, faucets, mirror, light fixtures, base trim, tile floor and underlayment, shower doors, shower surround, shower valve and fixtures, the tub, tub deck and surround, the partial wall between the tub and shower and the toilet. There’s not even any mess! (wink)

Day 2 – Plumbing & Electric
Our blank slate needed plumbing and electrical work before we could begin putting it back together. Our plumber replaced the shower mixing valves with new valves, and moved the shower arm approximately four inches so that it’s at a more comfortable height for the homeowners. He also installed a new tub valve.

Our electrician relocated the electrical that was in the tub/shower and installed an additional outlet near the vanity. He also modified the height of the light boxes above the vanity to accommodate the dimensions of the new light fixtures and custom mirrors. You can see in the drawing shown above that the placement of the light boxes and outlet are clearly marked for the electrician.

Days 3 & 4 – Framing
On Days 3 & 4 of the bath remodel we reframed the tub deck for the new tub. We also built a half wall between the tub and shower, replaced some framing in the shower, and framed the shower seat. Originally, a 10″ thick wall separated the tub and shower. By replacing this wall with a half wall and glass enclosure, we were able to enlarge the shower and let in more light.

Days 5 & 6 – Drywall
Wall work! Obviously part of the existing drywall was damaged during the demo, and we completely removed the cement board around the shower. On Days 5 & 6 we taped, mudded, sanded, finished and textured all walls and ceilings to paint ready condition. While this was happening, our plumber was working on setting the shower drain.

Day 7 – Building the Shower
To start the day, we poured a sloped mortar bed shower pan with a new drain assembly. Beneath the mortar bed is a waterproof membrane that extends up the walls and over the corner seat. This membrane is an extra step that insures the shower doesn’t leak. The shower walls are made of special moisture proof cement board. All joints are taped and the entire shower is coated with a moisture barrier.

Days 8 & 9 – Tile
Days 8 & 9 of the project included lots of tile work. Once all the prep work was done, we laid 12”x24” tile in an offset pattern on the floor. The homeowners chose to have us install bull-nose wall base throughout the bathroom, instead of wood base trim, which is a great choice in bathrooms.

In the shower, we installed 2”x2” travertine tiles on the floor and up one wall. The other surfaces in the shower were tiled with 12”x24” tile in an offset pattern to match the tile used on the tub deck and floor. The document above was provided to the tile installer so that he knew exactly how the tile should look. Once the tile was complete, we were able to do the final measure for the shower doors and panels, which were custom built for the shower.

Day 10 – Grout
All that tile needs grout, and overnight dry time. The travertine will be sealed in three days per manufacturers instructions.

Day 11 – Tub Installation
The homeowners chose to replace their jetted tub, and today the new Kohler Devonshire soaker tub was placed. The tub has the Kohler Kelston roman tub filler and trim set, which were partially installed at the time of this picture.

Day 12 – Cabinets
It’s time for cabinets! We installed cherry cabinetry that has a coffee finish with a black glaze. You’ll notice that the new vanity design includes additional vertical storage with convenient roll-out trays. The vertical cabinetry also provides a visual divider between the vanity and toilet. Day 12 also saw various other trim work.

Day 13 – Countertop Measure
The cabinets were measured for granite counter tops that will be installed in five business days. Why the wait? The countertops are manufactured, from the granite slab the homeowners chose, to fit the space precisely. While waiting for the countertops, the homeowners painted the bathroom. And, I’m guessing, enjoyed not having anyone from our team at their house for a few days!

Day 18 – Countertops Arrive
The granite countertops with under mount sinks were installed. Looking good!

Day 19 – Backsplash & Fixtures
Once the countertops were on, the backsplash for the vanity was installed. The accent tile used for the backsplash (and tub surround) incorporates travertine pieces that coordinate with the 2″x2″ travertine used in the shower. The light and plumbing fixtures were also installed. You’ll notice the fixtures for the sinks and tub match.

Day 20 – The End Is Here!
Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! It’s the final day of the project and the glass company installed the shower panels and the vanity mirrors. We framed the mirrors with trim from the cabinet company that matches the vanity.

After installing the bath accessories (towel bars, etc.) we cleaned up and moved out. Time for the homeowners to enjoy their beautiful new master bath.

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July 16, 2013


Kermit the Frog wasn’t joking when he declared it’s not easy being green. Easy or not, it makes sense to explore eco-friendly remodeling choices that are good for you, the environment, and even your wallet. One of the first steps to an eco friendly space is to design for longevity. Make material selections that will be long lasting so that you – or your home’s next owner – won’t want to replace them too soon. In addition to a design with staying power, here are some other ways to make your bath friendlier to the environment.

Conserve Water – To conserve water, low flow is the way to go for showers, sinks and toilets. According to the EPA, showering is one of the top uses of residential water in the United States, representing approximately 17 percent of indoor water use. Install low-flow shower heads that save on both water (gallons per minute) and energy (you spend less money to heat less water). Newer shower heads allow you to reduce water use without compromising the quality of your shower.

Low-flow faucets generally use approximately 30 percent less water than standard faucets, according to, by making use of aerators that allow air to mix in the water, creating more volume with less waste. These aerators can require clearing or replacing when clogged with particles in the water, but the expense compares favorably to the savings. In some cases, aerators can be installed on existing faucets.

Long time favorites in commercial applications, faucets with sensors can also conserve water, especially if your home is inhabited by small people who like to spend lots of time with the faucet on full blast.

Put in an ultra-low-flush toilet, or consider a dual-flush toilet, which allows you to choose the amount of water needed for each flush.

Breath Easy – Many air quality issues originate in the bath due to the amount of moisture. The easiest way to keep mold and mildew in check is to install an efficient exhaust fan. If you’re replacing a shower, make sure you or your contractor is using a moisture proof cement board that will not soak up water, along with other appropriate moisture barriers.

When purchasing cabinets, make sure they do not emit formaldehyde, a chemical regularly found in pressed wood products like plywood. On walls, use low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints and avoid vinyl wallpaper. It retains moisture and creates a perfect environment for mold.

Save Energy – Next time a bulb burns out, swap it for LED. On average an LED bulb consumes 80 percent less energy than its outdated predecessor, and it lasts 25 times longer. Even the big box stores are offering many “color” choices so that the light emitted is similar to what you’re used to. Another reason to go LED in the bath is that they don’t emit heat like incandescent bulbs.

Heated floors sound luxurious, but they’re actually an energy efficient way to heat the bathroom. Because the heat radiates from the floor, there isn’t heat loss from ducts, and you feel the warmth the moment you step onto the floor.

Consider replacing the water heater. Per Mid American Energy, water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 12% of your utility bill. There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient model. Installing a tankless or solar water heater can save a lot of energy. Be sure to insulate the pipes in and around the bathroom.

Use Sustainable Materials – Most natural materials can be sourced sustainably. For example, wood that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. Use recycled glass tile on the floor or choose countertops made of recycled glass or paper. Consider ceramic tile made from recycled material or natural linoleum, which is hypo-allergenic and biodegradable. Look beyond the materials themselves to be truly eco friendly. For example, something produced or sourced locally is more eco friendly than something that is sourced from around the world.

Reusing materials are also a great idea. Use reclaimed lumber for cabinets and anywhere else wood is used. Reclaimed and repurposed materials are becoming more and more popular. See if you can find used lighting fixtures, antique claw-footed tubs, or old cabinets locally, which can add a vintage, unique element to your home.

Ben Trannel, owner of Red House Remodeling, is a Certified Green Professional through the National Association of Home Builders. Let us help you explore green options for your remodeling project. Click here to schedule an appointment.

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June 20, 2013
Remodeling - General


The excessive time some remodeling projects last give the industry a bad rap. Stories of projects that drag on are told in an effort to gain bragging rights. Neighbors try to one up each other. “My kitchen was supposed to take a month and it took three!” someone will brag. Someone else will chime in with, “My master bath addition was under construction for six months after our contractor told us it would take two!” Another will counter with, “My basement took four times as long as we were told!”

Frankly, I’d keep it to myself because what these people are really doing is bragging about how they hired:

a)      Someone who flat our lied about how long a project takes

b)      Someone who was completely inexperienced in that type of project

c)       Someone who is completely inadequate at scheduling and/or managing a project

The truth is, an experienced remodeler will be able to tell you, fairly accurately, how long your project will take. Barring a natural disaster.

I found an excellent article, from, that outlines six things every homeowner should discuss before a remodeling project, but rarely do. Much to my surprise, “ongoing schedule” was on the list. What? If I’m laying down tens of thousands of dollars – or any amount for that matter – I’m going to need a schedule. A daily schedule. And I’m going to need my remodeler to stick to that schedule. Here’s what had to say:

Just about every homeowner will ask their remodeler, “How long will this project take?” However, this question usually occurs at the initial meeting, and is never discussed again. Your project could have changed significantly since that first meeting, changing the project duration. It is imperative that your remodeler put the anticipated start and completion dates in writing. In addition, the status of the schedule should be discussed at several pre-determined points in the project. Knowing when a delay occurs, and how it will affect the completion, will allow you to plan accordingly, and make for a more pleasant experience. Some companies offer a guaranteed on-time completion on remodeling projects, and update their clients weekly via email with progress reports.

Whether you are planning a large or small remodel, you’re going to be paying a lot. Demand more for your money! I’m not suggesting you squeeze your contractor on materials or labor, or that you try to negotiate some bargain basement deal. What I am suggesting is that you ensure that you’re given a project schedule with, at the least, dates of milestones like cabinet install, tile install, flooring completion, countertop install, etc.

It’s your home. You have the right to know who’s coming and going each day, and you have the right to know what will have taken place. If a remodeler isn’t willing to provide you with a schedule, then maybe he’s not the right remodeler for your job.

Keep in mind that sometimes things happen and the schedule will change. If a manufacturer delays a cabinet shipment for a week, or an installer drops a slab of granite, the schedule will change and a good remodeler will communicate with you and give you an updated schedule.

The benefits of a schedule are that you’ll be in the know about your project and you’ll be able to tell if reasonable progress is being made. Then you’ll be able to say, “My remodeling project was done exactly when my remodeler said it would be done.” Now that’s a bragging right worth having!

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May 21, 2013
Project Profiles


The bathroom has surpassed the kitchen as the most remodeled room in homes, a trend we’re certainly seeing at Red House Remodeling. Maybe it’s because we begin and end each day in the bath, or maybe it’s the proliferation of luxurious finishes that make so many people want to go from blah to spa. The homeowners whose bath is featured here were fine with the layout of their master bath, but were ready to upgrade the appearance and materials.

VANITY BEFORE & AFTER: The homeowners chose to swap out their beige-toned vanity and countertop for high contrast with a Diamond White quartz countertop on a bourbon–stained cherry vanity. Upgrades we can’t see but that the homeowners love are full extension drawers (so you can easily find what’s hiding in the back of the drawer), and soft close doors and drawers. These cabinet upgrades are sometimes cost prohibitive in the kitchen, due to the number of doors and drawers, but most of our customers choose to go with them in the bath.

BATH BEFORE & AFTER: In the 90s, when this home was built, it was all about the jet tub. While many homeowners are choosing to get rid of the tub in exchange for a larger shower, these homeowners chose to replace their jet tub with a bubble tub. The difference? In a jet tub, you feel the force of a couple of jets, while in the bubble tub, you feel the relaxing sensation of bubbles bursting all over your skin. Oh, and the bubbles are heated. Pure bliss!

SHOWER BEFORE & AFTER: The existing white shower was very plain, but the new shower has plenty of personality straight-laid Italian tile that matches the tile on the floor and tub deck. The shower is accented with a gorgeous mosaic band around its perimeter and lining the shower niche (shown below).

HOMEOWNER FEEDBACK: “This experience was fantastic.  We have had a couple of pieces of work done on our house, and this was by far the best.  Ben brought his designer in, Jenna, who helped us put together a full design from my initial ideas and thoughts.  They went through and suggested additional touches and helped us find the most cost effective way to get the look we wanted. Overall, the bathroom was finished on time, on budget, and is beautiful.  I would not hesitate to use Red House again.”

When you’re ready to take your bath from blah to spa, contact the team at Red House Remodeling. We’ll design and build the bath of your dreams. Click here to schedule a free consultation. To see more pictures of this bath, visit our Facebook page.

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May 9, 2013


I recently read an article from on the six things a contractor and homeowner should discuss before a remodeling project, but rarely do. The author made such excellent points that I can’t help but share them. In a series of six posts, I’ll share the things contractors and homeowners should discuss and how we address them with our homeowners. I’m hopeful that when you’re ready to remodel, you’ll be able to use these suggestions to your advantage.

First on the list of things you should discuss with your contractor? Interior Design. Here’s what the Design Build Pros had to say:

You have decided to build a kitchen addition for your home. You want an open space, have discussed the size, and the remodeler gave you a floor plan of the new design. You have even visited the recommended cabinet designer for a “3D” view of the kitchen. What more should be discussed? Plenty! Most remodelers do not consider, let alone discuss with you, how the new room will flow into the existing space. How does the crown molding in the family room tie into the new crown for the cabinetry? Where does the kitchen paint color end, and the family room paint begin? When you are sitting at your new table, does the structural column block the view to the family room TV? Discussing these items up front will make sure the end result of your project is exactly how you intended it to be, reduces the chance of extra costs, and helps eliminate project delays.

Can I get an Amen? Too many homeowners get caught up in the “fun” details. Things like countertops and tile and flooring and cabinets. While extremely important, think of these things as the frosting on the cake, the cake being your well-planned room. A room that includes plumbing, electrical, HVAC, lighting, and many other elements that tie into the rest of your home.

Even if you’re doing a pull and replace project, where the layout doesn’t change, your remodeler still needs to plan for how the new materials will integrate with the rest of your home. It’s our job, as design-build professionals, to make sure your new space looks like it belongs in your home, not some other home.

Keep in mind that if you’re getting your design from a cabinet showroom, all you’re probably getting is the cabinet layout, which is different from a comprehensive room design. Often times, contractors who don’t provide in-house design will send customers to a cabinet showroom for a cabinet layout and then pass this layout off as the working plan for the room. Sure, it includes the major items like cabinets and countertops, sometimes backsplashes and flooring if the showroom also sells these. But these designs don’t include many other very important elements like lighting and switching, electrical, plumbing, trim, installation details for tile, flooring, etc.

You’re also limited to the materials the showroom is selling. So are cabinet showrooms bad? Not at all. You just need to know what’s not included in the showroom plan so that you and your contractor can continue planning all the things that were left out.

Contractors without in-house design may suggest you use an independent designer to design your project. This is fine, but make sure the designer designs something that is buildable and that the designer understands the cost implications of the design and selections – beyond the price per square foot of material – so that they are designing a project that fits within your budget.

When using an independent designer, do what you can to ensure the contractor and designer have a good working relationship. You don’t want the contractor and designer sparring over details and who is responsible for the inevitable issues that will come up. We’ve actually passed on projects before that were designed by an independent designer or architect because we knew the homeowners wouldn’t be happy with the project as designed.

So what’s the advantage of a design build remodeler? For starters, your choice in materials is not limited to what a certain showroom carries. Sure, we have our preferred vendors, but we’ll source materials from wherever needed to provide you with exactly what you want. With a design/build remodeler you get an integrated, comprehensive design for your project that is completely buildable, and the responsibility (for design, planning, materials, building, etc) lies under one roof. That prevents you from getting “caught in the middle” when something goes awry.

At Red House Remodeling, before we begin any remodeling project we’ve spent a lot of time with the homeowners getting to know them and their home, planning the project, finalizing the design, making product selections, putting together a fixed price contract, communicating about schedules, and many other details. A tremendous amount of planning and coordinating is done before the actual remodel starts.

If you’d like to begin planning your remodel, click here to schedule a consultation or sign up to attend one of our upcoming Kitchen and Bath Remodeling seminars by clicking here.

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April 17, 2013


So you’re not BFFs with any contractors out there and you’ve heard a lot of stories from people who reportedly had terrible remodeling experiences. You’ve googled, attended home shows, seen ads on tv, and, while feeling nostalgic, even looked in the phone book. Now you’ve got a small list of businesses that seem to do the kind of work you need done, but how do you know you can trust them with your home and your money?

While there is no guarantee, there are many ways to check out a company – and the people behind that company – before you invite them into your home to do work. Here are just a few ways we suggest homeowners begin their due diligence (in no particular order).

  1. Contractor Registration – In Iowa, Iowa Workforce Development maintains a database of all registered contractors in the state. Simply go to Iowa Workforce Development and search for any contractor to determine if the company is registered with the state. Why care if your contractor is registered? Registration is easy, and costs just $50/year. If a contractor isn’t willing to play by the state’s rules, what other rules is he/she willing to break? Some contractors may claim they do not know about the registry, but others try to fly under the radar to avoid carrying insurance and paying taxes. You likely carry insurance and pay taxes, why shouldn’t your remodeler? (The site shows if a contractor has claimed exemption from worker’s compensation insurance. If so, and you hire the contractor, make sure the people doing the work carry their own insurance.)
  2. Iowa Courts Online – See what kind of mischief the people involved with the company have been involved with. Again, in Iowa, you can go to Iowa Courts Online and research any individual. You’ll also be able to see if they’ve had any judgements made against them for not paying suppliers and if they’ve filed liens against any customers. (Not to sound paranoid, but you can also do online searches for prison records and your local sex offender registry. We see a lot of resumes and yes, we’ve found applicants on both of these lists. While these individuals aren’t working for us, they might be working for another contractor or for themselves.)
  3. Better Business Bureau – See what the BBB has to say about your potential contractors. You’ll see if any complaints have been filed against the company and can see how long the company has been in business.
  4. Angie’s List – Memberships for Angie’s List are typically less than $10 for a year. Treat yourself to one and see what people are saying about the remodelers you’re considering.
  5. Search Engines – See what type of information comes up when you google the remodeler (both the company and any people involved). Check their web site and make sure they provide a physical address and phone number where they can be reached.
  6. References – I’m always surprised by how few people ask us for references. Ask any remodeler if they are willing to provide you with three references for projects similar to yours. For example, if you want someone to remodel your kitchen, ask for kitchen references. Why? Because kitchens and baths tend to be the most complex rooms to remodel, so you want someone with experience designing and building kitchens and baths. Building an addition? You probably don’t want someone whose core business is roofing and siding, even though both are part of an addition.
  7. Local and National Organizations – Check the Remodelers Council of Greater Des Moines and see if the remodeler is a member. Many reputable contractors are involved with this organization as well as local chambers of commerce. National trade organizations like the National Kitchen and Bath Association and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry provide value to the remodelers who choose to take advantage of membership. Has the remodeler earned any professional certifications or designations from these organizations?
  8. Social Media – Many remodelers share their business and project photos on various social media sites like Facebook, Houzz, Pinterest, YouTube, HomeTalk, etc. These sites offer another great way to see what kind of work the company does and how involved they are with the industry. It’s perfectly acceptable to Facebook stalk your remodeler!

When it comes to your home and your money, not to mention your family, you can’t be too careful. Do your research to make sure you’re working with someone trustworthy, and make sure to inquire about any subcontractors that will be in your home as well. Our rule: if we wouldn’t let them in our home, we wouldn’t send them to yours.

To schedule an appointment to discuss your remodeling project, click here. And of course, you can check us out everywhere we mentioned above.

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March 7, 2013


The ads are all over tv and the radio: transform your dated, ugly old shower/tub by covering it. It’s fast! It’s easy! There’s no messy demo! It’s a little cheaper! What the ads don’t tell you is that when you cover your old shower/tub, you may be also covering hidden problems.

The picture above is from a master bath we demo’d a few weeks ago in a home that is just 13 years old. The shower had no visible signs of a leak nor were there any signs of a leak anywhere else in the home, the homeowners were simply ready for a new look. But once the old shower was removed, we could see there had been a long-time leak. The water was being absorbed by the insulation and the moisture was slowly rotting the framing. What was left between the shower tile and siding? Basically some very wet insulation and a lot of rotten wood. Hmmmmm.

So if these homeowners had chosen to cover their existing shower, this problem would have continued to spread and would have become symptomatic. Then what? Then the homeowners would have been tearing out two showers to repair the problem. This is obviously an extreme example, but it’s really not uncommon for us to demo a shower/tub and find some sort of damage. After all, most homeowners are not remodeling new bathrooms. We’re dealing with rooms that are 10, 20, 30 years old or more and everything has a useful life. Especially where water comes into play.

Visually, covering your old shower/tub might seem fast and easy. But there are several reasons we think replacement is a better choice:

You May Have Hidden Problems – Just like in the picture above, your tub/shower may be sitting on a problem. During a remodel is the perfect time to pull everything out and make sure the framing behind your shower/tub is in the best condition possible. If your previous shower has been leaking, repairs can be made and you’ll be sure that your new shower looks good on the surface AND that it’s dry and sound below the finish.

You Can Take Advantage of New/Better Materials – Building materials evolve and improve constantly, so the materials that will be used to build a new tub/shower will likely be superior to those used for the original unit. During a remodel you’ll also be around to see your shower/tub being installed. Your remodeler should be able to explain the good processes they are using to ensure that it’s adequately waterproofed.

For example, in the home above, once the framing was repaired, we installed multiple layers of water protection that extended far enough to prevent the new shower from leaking into the wall.

You Can Update Plumbing – A remodel is also the perfect time to update plumbing, not just the visible fixtures. If you intend to install a new tub or shower, plumbing services in Canton or your vicinity might help in installing a new drain assembly and new valves. Cover your tub/shower and you’re not getting that benefit.

It’s true that removing an old tub/shower and replacing it will cost a little more and will take a little bit longer. But we think it’s well worth it to be sure that the money you invest in a better-looking bathroom isn’t wasted on unseen structural problems.

Want to learn more about remodeling your bath? Attend one of our upcoming Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Seminar. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot.

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February 13, 2013
Project Profiles


Sure, we all want the “public” areas of our homes to look fabulous. Kitchens and family rooms, even basements, are where we spend time with guests. But don’t underestimate the joy – yes joy! – that a beautiful bathroom can bring. The bathroom is where we begin and end our days. Given the choice would you rather begin and end your day in a cold, grungy, broken down bathroom, or a peaceful oasis? The owners of this bathroom were craving a zen-spired oasis.

BEFORE: The bathroom’s arrangement worked well for the family, but the aethstetics didn’t. This bath is a perfect example of how even neutrals go out of style. Additionally, bulkheads above the shower and vanity made the space look and feel much smaller than necessary. A remodel is the perfect time to re-route whatever is in the bulkheads.

Zen-spiration Bathroom Remodel

NO MORE FLOWER SHOWER: The homeowners are very environmentally conscious so chose to keep and refinish the cast-iron tub. The shower surround, while still neutral, is definitely more current and the tile covers the entire wall so there is no exposed drywall. They also had some wet room shower trays installed by Wetrooms Design, which adds to the modern look of the bathroom. What’s not visible – the hidden luxuries – is a heated toilet seat and heated flooring.

BLENDING OLD & NEW: The homeowners also chose to refinish and re-use the vanity, topping it with Zodiaq Crema Marfil countertop, DemiLav wading pool lavatories and Purist single control lavatory faucets in brushed bronze. Ordinary plate glass mirrors were custom trimmed as were existing built in shelves to give the space a slight Asian feel.

A neutral palette can look dull, but not when it’s planned with plenty of texture. The ceiling to counter backsplash is installed vertically and provides interesting texture, both visual and physical, to the vanity area. Texture is also present in pebble accents along the tub and vanity. We’re guessing those warm pebbles feel wonderful on bare feet!

HOMEOWNER FEEDBACK: “Love the bathroom. We’re just getting used to it. Our son says, Mom, I love the new bathroom. It’s awesome, just as cool as the one at Cheesecake Factory! So there you have it, an unabashed testimonial.”

If you’d like your bathroom to be as cool as the one at your favorite place, let us know. We’ll help you through every step of the process from initial design through completion. Click here to schedule a free consulation or call us at 515-222-2273.

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January 17, 2013


If you browse real estate in our area you’ll notice that in the 80s and 90s it was popular for homebuilders to illuminate kitchens with massive, wooden, centrally mounted fluorescent fixtures. These albatrosses create an unnecessary focal point upon the ceiling and leave far areas of the kitchen begging for light.

While it’s not unusual for kitchens to be lit by one ceiling-mounted fixture, it’s not a good way to light any room, really. A centralized light is likely to cast shadows, create glare and leave your kitchen looking – and operating – below its potential. Who wants to chop veggies in a dark corner? When doing a kitchen remodeling project think of lighting in “layers” – with different kinds of light in different locations and for different purposes.

Recessed Lighting – Recessed lighting is the top layer of lighting in your kitchen and is the general overhead light source. It will replace the fluorescent fixture previously mentioned. (Farewell monstrosity, hello sleek, barely noticeable, well placed recessed fixtures.) Recessed lighting shouldn’t be the only layer of light in a kitchen because it’s not effective at lighting vertical surfaces like countertops.

Pendant Lighting – Pendants are typically placed above an island or peninsula to direct light downward onto a specific work space. Pendants are a great way for you to inject personality and style into the room because they are highly visible and there are so many options from which to choose.

Task Lighting – So called because it provides the light you need to wash dishes, frost a cake, do your taxes, etc. Task lighting is usually placed between your head and the counter or work surface. Beneath cabinets is a good place to put task lighting, but mount it close to the back of the cabinets to avoid creating glare on the counters.

Mood Lighting – This is lighting simply for aesthetic’s sake and to create a mood, a recent modern home decor trend. It comes in forms such as sunset or night sky projectors, LED color-changing lights, or neon wall hangings (see for examples).

Ambient Lighting – Ambient lighting is soft and indirect. In the kitchen you’ll usually find it on top of cabinets where it creates a welcoming glow and helps avoid dark, dead space.

Natural Light – Capitalize on natural light when remodeling by adding or increasing the size of windows. Natural light is energizing and will cut down on the amount of electricity you’ll use. If you only have small windows and can’t replace them with something bigger, use mirrors instead. You can browse a beautiful collection of mirrors right here so you’re sure to find something to suit your style. Mirrors reflect natural light and bounce it around the room, helping to diffuse sunlight and brighten dark corners.

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed by the types and placement of lighting. An experienced interior designer will be able to design a lighting plan that properly illuminates any room. Even if you’re not planning a remodel, you can still install new lighting. In the right light your space will look better than ever!

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January 17, 2013
Remodeling - General


Trust me on this: working with an experienced interior designer to plan your remodeling project is well worth the investment. It will save you time, money and frustration. Why? Because you don’t know what you don’t know, despite the years you’ve devoted to home improvement television (we love it too!). Interior designers have planning tools and technology that you don’t. They’ve devoted their lives to following trends, keeping up to date on materials, and memorizing building codes. Not to mention, most good interior designers have more than a few completed remodels under their belts giving them a vast knowledge base and valuable lessons learned. Here are some things that will help you get the most of working with an interior designer when planning your remodeling project:

Know your designer’s qualifications. If you’re ordering cabinetry and more through a national chain or cabinet showroom, there likely will be “designers” on staff who can help you plan. Keep in mind that some are designers by title only. Actual interior designers have a degree in interior design. Designers not affiliated with a particular store or brand can sometimes be more objective about materials than those who work for a retail location that represents specific brands.

At Red House Remodeling, we have in-house design, saving you the trouble of finding your own designer. We charge a planning agreement fee that is based upon the estimated cost of the remodeling job. The fee is deducted from the cost of the project when the homeowner proceeds with the project.

Know what you want to change. Perhaps your kitchen or bath is arranged just fine, but the finishes are long past their prime. Or maybe you want to rearrange the layout so the space functions better. Be prepared to share with the designer what you like and what you hope to change about your space.

Know what you like and dislike. Your initial meeting with the designer will go more smoothly if you have a general idea of looks you like and don’t like. For example, if you absolutely positively don’t want white cabinets, share that information. There’s an abundance of web sites, magazines and decorating books that you can browse. Save your faves, and those you really dislike, and show them to your designer. It’s true that a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Be open. A good designer will eliminate materials that won’t work for you no matter how much you love them. Conversely, he or she may introduce you to options you’ve never considered. And he or she will keep you from sacrificing function for beauty, which is a waste of your remodeling budget. Be open to suggestions – after all, expertise is why you are using a designer.

Know your budget. Seriously. You have some idea of what you can spend and by sharing that information, you’re helping your designer focus your design. If he/she designs a project you can’t afford, you’ll be unhappy. A good designer has the experience and the know-how to stretch your dollars as far as they’ll possibly go. Of course, you can also make small changes yourself to keep things affordable. A few new scatter cushions on your sofa or a new rug in your bedroom can go a long way, and you can find plenty of home decor items somewhere like Home Depot. A Home Depot promo code will help you to save even more, so it’s just a matter of choosing a few small items that will have a big impact.

Agree on a timeframe. Even the best designers won’t present you with what is your final design on the first try. Typically you’ll see and provide feedback on the overall design a couple of times. Once the overall design is agreed upon you will work together on nailing down the details. At Red House Remodeling, you’ll sign off on the final design and all selections before any work begins. Lots of up front planning leads to a successful remodel!

To learn more about the remodeling process, register for one of our free remodeling seminars.

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December 17, 2012
Project Profiles


The kitchen of our dreams is usually not the kitchen in our homes. Whether it’s the look, the layout, the lighting, or all of the above, most homeowners have an idea of what they’d like to change about their kitchens. While this family was happy with their kitchen’s layout, they definitely wanted to update its look and add functional storage. Now, it’s not as though a couple licks of paint and perhaps a few pieces of wall art, like the many light up signs for sale on the internet, can’t add a different feel to one’s kitchen. However, sometimes that extra mile has to be traveled to ensure a complete transformation is achieved. Especially if this is what we dream about, kitchens are one of the most important rooms in the house to feel good in.

BEFORE: This kitchen is fairly typical of homes built in the area in the 1990s with its golden oak cabinets, white laminate countertops and large box light. Additionally, bulkheads were taking up valuable space above the cabinets and making the entire kitchen feel smaller and more enclosed.

INCREASING STORAGE: By removing the bulkheads – which requires re-routing plumbing, electrical and HVAC – we were able to install taller 42″ cabinets, increasing the vertical storage space. Additionally, the family was able to work with our project designer to discuss the functionality of each cabinet so that each one is use specific. For example, the island includes deep drawers in which the homeowner easily accesses pots and pans. The pantry surrounding the refrigerator includes roll-out shelving for easily finding food goods.

LAYERED LIGHTING: The box light was replaced with several layers of lighting. New recessed lighting provides general lighting while pendants provide lighting directly upon the island. Under cabinet lighting provides task lighting on the countertops.

MATERIALS: The homeowners chose maple cabinetry with a ginger finish enhanced with a black glaze. The perimeter cabinets are topped with Black Pearl granite, while the island is topped with a contrasting granite. The slate backsplash is installed in a brick pattern.

HOMEOWNER FEEDBACK: “I would highly recommend Red House Remodeling to my friends and family. Ben and his crew did a wonderful job of our kitchen remodel. We felt very comfortable talking to him about what we wanted our kitchen to look like and asking him questions throughout the whole process. We love our new kitchen and can’t believe it is the same house.”

Discover how Red House Remodeling can help you love your home. Click here or call 515-222-2273. To see more pictures of this kitchen and other great remodeled spaces, visit our Facebook page.

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December 14, 2012
Remodeling - General


“What’s it going to cost?” is hands own the most common question we’re asked about remodeling. The true answer is … it depends.

Think about it this way: how much is a new car? You can buy many small cars for less than $16,000. On the other hand, you can buy a performance luxury car for $75,000+. So what’s the price of a new car? It really depends on many factors and the same holds true for remodeling. Here are some of the major factors that affect the price of a remodeling project.

Goals – Know your goals so that your remodeler can offer suggestions for getting there. If your goal is to create a spacious eat-in kitchen, you might need to do an addition. You might also be able to achieve your goal by combining the existing kitchen and a dining room that’s rarely used. If you are thinking about a second room addition to your home because of an elderly relative moving in, then you may want to use websites like
to see how this can be achieved in your goal time frame.

Your Home – Any remodeled space should be commensurate with the rest of your home. If you have a builder grade home, then doing a builder grade basement, for example, is probably ok. If, on the other hand, your home is nicely finished, you probably want to extend that level of finish throughout whatever space you are remodeling.

Age of the Home – Older homes, with all their charm, can also increase remodeling costs. Building codes change over time, homes built prior to 1976 must be remodeled following strict lead-safe procedures, and older homes are more likely to reveal “surprises” that can lead to unexpected costs.

Existing Conditions – Just like no two people are the same, neither are two houses. Some homes are built and maintained better than others and lend themselves more easily to remodeling.

Scope of Work – Are you doing a cosmetic or a custom remodel? Will the remodel be contained to a single area, or will flooring extend throughout an entire floor to create flow? An addition and a small bath remodel require very different levels of planning and project management, not to mention materials and infrastructure, all of which affect the cost of the project.

Materials – It seems quite logical that higher end materials increase the cost of remodeling, and they do, but it’s incremental. Regardless of the level of materials, two remodeling projects similar except for the level of materials still require the same planning, design, electrical, plumbing, hvac, general labor and project management. Don’t think you’ll spend half as much by using average materials.

You – How close will you stick to your budget? If you have a firm budget, stick with it throughout the planning process (and make sure that you’re remodeler is sticking with it as well). Beware of the “well if we’re going to do this, then we might as well do that” mentality. A series of seemingly small changes can add up quickly!

Before you even begin meeting with contractors, you can investigate average costs for common remodeling projects in the Des Moines area at

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