REMODEL NOW 2013/2014
PARTNER WITH A PRO
Communication is the key to success.
2013 REMODELING EXCELLENCE AWARDS Innovative and exceptional projects completed by members of the Olympia Master Builders.
WORKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER Draft a plan today for the home you want tomorrow. 2013/2014 edition
a special supplement of The Olympian
Accessible Living Concepts 3503 South Bay Rd NE Olympia, Wa. 98506 For Best Service, call for an Appointment
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REMODEL NOW 2013/2014
FEATURES 04 06
Using a remodeler who is a member of the OMB Remodelers’ Council gives you that extra assurance.
PARTNER WITH A PRO
by Merlisa Lawrence Corbett: Communication is the key to success.
2013 REMODELING EXCELLENCE AWARDS
WORKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER
Since the 90’s the Remodeling Excellence (REX) Awards have honored innovative and exceptional projects completed by members of Olympia Master Builders.
by Merlisa Lawrence Corbett: A professional designer can draft a plan today for the home you want tomorrow.
REMODELING FOR ACCESSIBILITY by Marsha Branch: There’s a lot more to it than just throwing up some grab bars.
www.omb.org 1211 State Avenue NE • Olympia, WA 98506 360.754.0912 • FAX 360.754.7448 Olympia Master Builders President
JOHN McKINLAY Olympia Overhead Doors
Remodelers’ Council Chair
MIKE AUDERER Olympia Construction, Inc.
Keys Accounts Manager KAREN McCLENNEN
Advertising Sales Manager
MARCIA VAN DYKE
FROM THE CHAIR
Welcome Readers I
hope you enjoy this edition of Remodel Now magazine, a publication of the Remodelers’ Council of the Olympia Master Builders (OMB).
Included in this edition are articles on accessibility remodeling for aging baby boomers, the winners of OMB’s Remodeling Excellence (REX) Awards for 2013, and the many benefits of working with a professional designer. Whether you’re thinking of a bathroom or kitchen renovation, a second-story addition or a whole house remodel, using a remodeler who is a member of the OMB Remodelers’ Council gives that extra assurance that you are doing work with a qualified, quality remodeling professional who is committed to the industry. Now is a great time to research remodeling possibilities for your home. Throughout the pages of this magazine are contractors and suppliers who would be happy to assist you with your remodel project. In addition, on the Olympia Master Builders’ website you’ll find a free searchable database of members as well as a downloadable copy of Everything for the Home Buyer’s Guide. For more details please visit www.omb.org or call the OMB office at 360.754.0912 or 800.456.6473. Enjoy Remodel Now!
Chair OMB Remodelers’ Council Olympia Construction, Inc.
DESIGN BUILD REMODEL INTERIOR DESIGN DRAFTING BUILT GREEN www.olyconstruction.com :: 360-451-3191 When you decide to remodel – whether it’s a bathroom remodel, a new kitchen or every square foot of your house – you not only want an expert, but also someone who cares about your home.
eet Mike Auderer, owner of Olympia Construction. A general contractor, Mike understands the concerns of local homeowners, who might be nervous about impending work on their biggest investment. That’s why he helps his clients understand the remodeling process every step of the way, so that once the demolition begins, they can feel comfortable that their home is in good hands. Mike launched Olympia Construction in 2004, and he specializes in new residential building, remodels and additions, as well as roofing through his Olympia Construction Roofing division. Working with an expert staff, including a designer for most remodels, he brings quality and craftsmanship to every project, whether it’s renovat:: 2012 Olympia Master Builders ing a master suite or Remodeler of the Year remodeling a million :: 4 Consecutive Years dollar home. His repuOMB Rex Award Winner tation for top-notch work is reflected in the :: 3 Consecutive Years multiple accolades that TM OMB Tour of Homes Award Olympia Construction Winner has won over the years :: NAHB Certified Green Builder from the Olympia Master Builders organization, such as awards for Remodeler of the Year and Remodeling Excellence (Rex). While it means a great deal to receive honors from his building industry peers, he takes great pride in the People’s Choice awards, which are determined by local residents who vote on his remodels that are shown in the annual Olympia Master Builders Tour of HomesTM. An Olympia native, Mike cares about his community and keeping Olympia beautiful. He believes in remodeling responsibly, ensuring minimal waste from demolition and low impact to the surround-
ing environment. For many years, he has donated reusable appliances and fixtures from remodeling demolitions to the Habitat for Humanity Store. The store then resells these items to fund Habitat’s low-income housing projects. The remodeling client benefits as well. Those donations, as well as energy-efficiency improvements Mike makes to a remodel, are tax write-offs for the homeowner. He also built the first floating house in Washington State to be certified by the Olympia Master Builders Built Green® program, which encourages construction of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes. He not only built it, he lives in it too! Mike is driven to provide the best customer service possible, and he responds immediately to any question a client or future remodeling client might have. For Mike, a successful remodel isn’t just quality work -- it’s a satisfied customer. If you are considering a remodel project, contact Olympia Construction and set an appointment for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Visit our new Design Center Showroom at 3015 PACIFIC AVE SE, OLYMPIA 98501
Partner with a
by MERLISA LAWRENCE CORBETT
he late comedian George Carlin once quipped that a house is just a place to keep your stuff. But homeowners understand that a house is more than a storage unit for stuff. It’s the place people build lives and store memories. Entrusting someone with altering or enhancing your home can seem terrifying. However, by hiring a reputable, professional contractor, you can alleviate anxiety and actually enjoy the remodeling process. The Olympia Master Builders (OMB) is an organization dedicated to professionalism in the remodeling industry. Its members hold themselves to high standards. Through networking, shared experience, community service and continuing education, OMB members share a common goal: the desire to elevate the standards and reputation of their industry. Tim Dickey, of Dickey’s Remodel and Repair, is an active OMB member. He believes finding the right contractor begins with a vetting process. Dickey recommends people start by talking to friends or co-workers about a contractor they may have used. “That’s a good starting place because you have a tried and vetted contractor to start with,” he said. Noting that any person on Craigslist can claim to be licensed, bonded and insured, he also encourages people to go beyond checking references and actually contact the state’s Department of Labor & Industries to “find out if they are indeed licensed and bonded.” The mission of OMB is to provide affordable housing to all segments of society. It’s that foundation and commitment to service that creates a sense of community. Members of OMB embrace this kinship and convey it in the way they approach individual projects. “We’re a team,” said John Erwin, of John
Erwin Remodeling, Inc. “That’s what I preach. I have my lead man out in the field, we have our suppliers, and subcontractors and we have our homeowners. We are all part of a team and one of the most important things for a team to do is to come together.” Coming together means
communication, something Erwin believes is essential for a smooth remodeling process. He insists on regularly scheduled meetings with clients, especially on site. “The most important thing to insure a smooth job is regularly scheduled
see PRO, next page
FINDING THE RIGHT
CONTRACTOR BEGINS WITH A VETTING PROCESS
PRO, from previous page meetings, on site, preferably in the morning,” said Erwin. “Because that way, if there are issues or questions that come up, we have all day long to get them straightened out and then we’re moving down the right road.” In business for nearly 20 years, Erwin believes developing an ongoing conversation with a client eliminates unnecessary missteps and saves time and money. “Communication is the key to success,” he said. “There’s off-site project management and on-site project management. Off-site project management is things like when we’re e-mailing back and forth or talking on the phone.” Although they embrace technology, Erwin said their best communication tool is what he calls “low-tech” e-mail. “Our low-tech e-mail is our communication log that we have on every site for every project. It’s simply a spiral notebook. What we do with that spiral notebook is we write notes in it every day. And we try to train our clients to write notes in it every day. My guys start writing in it first to get the home owner in the habit.” Soon notes are being exchanged and issues addressed. The compilation of notes is used as an agenda for the weekly or monthly meeting with clients. Dickey uses what he calls “Just a Note” folders with notes written on company letterhead, left on the kitchen counter each day for the client’s review. “People want to know what’s going on with their project,” said Dickey. “Our notes have a signature box that simply says this is what we did today and this is what we’re doing tomorrow. So the customer always knows what’s going on.” He also believes discussing expectations can help make the remodeling process easier.
“People should realize we’re not in HGTV. In the real world when we do a remodel it’s not going to go like HGTV. You’re not going to do a kitchen remodel in two days,” said Dickey. “So you have to walk the client through the process. We let them know we are going to be pulling plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits. . . This also tells the customer that we are permitting the job for their protection. Not all contractors do that.” Adhering to local, state and federal laws is easier when a contractor belongs to an organization that has representation at all levels. Members who join OMB are automatically part of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Access to these groups provides layers of resources that solidify the contractor’s commitment to excellence. As a member of OMB, contractors support improved standards. Because they belong to a network of reputable companies, they take pride in helping others identify professionalism in the industry. “The first litmus test is how long has this person been in business,” said Erwin. He also recommends asking the contractor for referrals. “Be sure to give those people a call to see if they were happy with the job done,” he said. It is important to get references and referrals that match with the type of job you’re interested in. For instance, if you are having a $150,000 kitchen renovation, seek references and referrals from those who have completed large-scale remodels. If you want a new contemporary loft kitchen perhaps it’s best to see work from contractors experienced with similar projects. Another good place to start the search for a reputable contractor is at OMB.org, the
see PRO, next page
“PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THEIR PROJECT.” – Tim Dickey, Dickey’s Remodel and Repair
PRO, from previous page organizations website. They offer a free searchable database of members as well as downloadable copies of a buyer’s guide. You can also call OMB at 360-754-0912.
By partnering with a professional you can be confident that your house provides more than a place to park your stuff. A professional contractor who belongs to OMB can help make your house a home, a fortress of well-being.
On the cover PHOTO BY DIANE GASSMAN CKD, CBD, CAPS INTERIOR DIMENSIONS Frank Lloyd Wright architecture was the constant theme throughout this beautiful custom home. Featuring stylized leaded glass wood windows, custom cherry cabinets, forest green marble countertops, stone under mount sinks and authentic rejuvenation lighting. The essence of timeless design.
On page 3 PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN ERWIN REMODELING, INC. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE VISSER A beautiful outdoor living space accentuated with Trex composite decking, skirting and handrail systems as well as the newest in LED rope lighting.
On page 4 PHOTO COURTESY OF CASCADE KITCHENS & DIANE GASSMAN CKD, CBD, CAPS PHOTO BY JOHN ODEGAARD
It was time for the tired red oak kitchen to be updated with beautiful warm cherry cabinets, adding unique features for display and functional storage.Highlighting the brushed galaxy quartz countertop are metalic liner tiles and new stainless steel appliances.
Olympia Master Builders Association presents the
2013 Remodeling Excellence Awards
ince the 90’s the Remodeling Excellence (REX) Awards have honored innovative and exceptional projects completed by members of Olympia Master Builders (OMB). All entries must adhere to strict entry rules and impartial judges from outside the OMB area judge the entries. REX award winners were recognized at the Association’s General Membership Meeting held on May 7, 2013. Paul Muldoon of Edward Jones Investments was the emcee of the program.
see AWARDS, next page
From left to right: Emcee Paul Muldoon of Edward Jones Investments, Greg Switzer of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc., Tim Dickey of Dickey’s Remodel and Repair, Bob Clark of Home Resource Company, Inc., Don Koidahl of MDK Construction, Inc., and Scott Nolan of MDK Construction, Inc. 10
AWARDS, from previous page
COMMERCIAL OVER $250,000
MDK Construction, Inc. â€˘ MDKCOI*055RJ
The main objective was to create additional space for the tenant while maintaining future options for the owner. The design incorporated two buildings, a block building and a new steel/glass building to function as one. The new building featured exposed structural beams, large glass windows and doors and a huge 9â€™ fan which allowed the immense open space to have natural lighting and the circulation the fitness center required. All interior materials needed to be strong and durable due to the extreme use.
see AWARDS, next page
AWARDS, from previous page
AGING IN PLACE / ACCESSIBILITY
Dickey’s Remodel & Repair • DICKE**952L4 By combining the half and full baths we were able to create a 9’ x 17’ wheelchair accessible bathroom for our client who is completely reliant on her wheelchair and caregiver. Vinyl flooring, a pocket door between the master bedroom and bathroom, plus widening the hall door enhanced mobility. Space to the side of the toilet and a 60” by 42” shower with a 3/4” threshold provide room for caregiver assistance. Balance assistance is provided with the addition of a chest harness. Natural lighting in this windowless bathroom was enhanced by installing two lighted solar tubes for general area lighting.
John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. • JOHNEER928RA Our clients wanted to create an outdoor living space that would be large enough to have all their friends and family over for year-round gatherings. We built the outdoor roof structure with vaulted ceilings, cedar soffits and skylights placed close to the home to allow natural light to continue to come in the home. Trex composite decking, skirting and handrail systems were chosen for their low maintenance, durability and beauty. The project was then accentuated by installing the newest in LED rope lighting which is all programmable to our client’s desire.
see AWARDS, next page 12
REMODELING Magazine’s Annual BIG50 Award Each year since 1986, Remodeling Magazine inducts 50 owners of remodeling companies from around the country that have set exceptionally high standards of professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship, and having a positive impact in their community. The BIG50 award has firmly established it’s self as the remodeling industries Hall of Fame. “I am very honored to have been included in the 2013 class of the BIG50; it’s a true testament to the hard work and dedication from our team of professionals here at John Erwin Remodeling, Inc.” – John Erwin
• Complete Design/Build Services
• Kitchen and Bathroom
• Outdoor Living
• Home Solutions for Seniors
• Insurance Work
• Small Projects/Maintenance
John and his daughter Lexi, who you have seen grow up over the years, joined by the company canine an Australian cattle mix, Chippy.
Olymp Premier Aia’s w Winning ard Contracto r
Here are some of our award winning projects!
310 South Bay Rd NE #C • Olympia, WA 98506
AWARDS, from previous page
ENTIRE HOUSE UNDER $150,000
Dickey’s Remodel & Repair • DICKE**952L4
The goal was to get rid of the 70’s décor and “rat maze” feel of the home. The front entry brought you to a corner with two closets. This load-bearing area was re-engineered for two smaller closets and a cabinet and pass through to the dining room. The dining room’s mirrored wall now has a new cabinet and countertop providing additional serving space. The kitchen sports new cherry cabinets, quartz countertops with an under-mount composite sink and subway tile splashes. To achieve the clean, well lit feel the customers wanted designer Diane Gassman recommended hardwood flooring in the dining room and kitchen. Wood paneling was removed from the see next page fireplace wall and painted. Upgrades were made to all three bathrooms.
AWARDS, from previous page
ENTIRE HOUSE $150,000 TO $300,000
MDK Construction, Inc. â€˘ MDKCOI*055RJ
This house enjoys a fabulous mountain and lake view. Major structural issues occurred when the house started sliding down the ravine. Working closely with the owner, geo and structural engineers, we repaired and restored the houseâ€™s safety and the familyâ€™s emotional/financial value. Construction repairs involved use of geo-foam, and helical pilings to lift the foundation. Working with the owner we designed a substantially enlarged deck, porch, glass-paneled railing, and several decorative features enhance the house and extraordinary view.
see AWARDS, next page
AWARDS, from previous page
photos courtesy of Ross Irwin, Cabinets by Trivonna
KITCHEN $30,000 TO $60,000
Home Resource Company, Inc. • HOMERC*985R8 The challenge with this kitchen remodel had to deal with the concrete masonry block exterior, and the huge brick fireplace that lived within the middle of the house. We dealt with the blocks by installing an attractive interior “thin” wall, wired and insulated with rigid foam and placed an overlay of plywood and sheetrock to give an attractive foundation to build the kitchen. The brick fireplace was made a focal point in the kitchen by building and placing an upper glass door section with no back as the back remained the brick. We illuminated this cabinet with LED lights. Granite countertops, new sinks, faucets, and appliances finished off this project and luxury vinyl tile was installed to complete the flooring.
of 3 ‘Remodeling Excellence’
REMODELS | ADDITIONS | NEW HOMES KITCHENS | LIFTS / RAMPS | DECKS | PORCHES GARAGES | INNOVATIVE DESIGNS
90% Of Our Projects Are Customer Referrals
Free Estimates! 1381981V01
Licensed, Insured, and Bonded License # HOMERC*985R8
Invest your trust in us as hundreds of satisfied customers have!
Home Resource Company, Inc. Residential General Contractor SERVING THURSTON COUNTY Family Owned and Operated for Over 34 Years
www.homeresourcecompany.com 2013/2014 edition
We Care, and It Shows! ■
FULL SERVICE remodel and repairs
EXPERIENCED PERSONNEL trained to modify your home for safety, accessibility & independent living – stay in your home longer ■
NAHB Certified Aging in Place
NAHB Certified Graduate Remodeler
NAHB Certified Green Building Professional
COMMITTED to community, professionalism & continuing education
RECOGNIZED for “Remodeling Excellence”
FOUR-TIME “OMB Remodeler of the Year”
Proud Member of Olympia Master Builders
Working with a by MERLISA LAWRENCE CORBETT
photo © Cascade Kitchens
Personalize your home to ﬁt your lifestyle – through creative, functional, timeless design for • Residential Interior Design and Spacing Planning • Kitchen, Bath, and Cabinet Design • Whole House Design and Material Selections Experience a unique client-designer partnership. Visit us online for more information. Diane Gassman
Certiﬁed Kitchen, Bath and Aging in Place Designer
InteriorDimensionsNW.com • 360.701.8986
see DESIGNER, next page
“SOME PEOPLE AREN’T PREPARED FOR CHANGE. AND THAT’S OK. IT’S WHAT WORKS FOR THEM. THERE’S NOT A RIGHT OR WRONG.” – Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions 2013/2014 edition
Erwin, owner and lead designer for John Erwin Remodeling, Inc., purchased his first home in 1993. It was an 800-square-foot fixer-upper in Tumwater. After Erwin noticed its deteriorating roof he decided to replace it. “I bought in the fall, lived there through the winter. Come springtime, OK, I’m a remodel contractor and I’m a carpenter and I had just started my business. I needed more space and more room.” He added a second-story addition, which of course meant tearing up the newly installed roof. “That brand new roof that I just put on, I cut it off. I was thinking more short term,” which he says cost him money in the long run. Working with a professional designer saves time and money. Whether designing a kitchen, bath or family room, a designer takes a holistic approach to home
remodeling. A professional designer can draft a plan today for the home you want tomorrow. Even if your budget only allows for a tiny bath remodel, a skilled designer can incorporate that renovation into blueprints for the life of your home. A small investment in professional design renders huge returns. Armed with an overall plan for the house, homeowners can avoid boxing themselves into an inefficient layout. “That lesson I learned myself. Not that I hadn’t learned that in the classroom setting in some of my design classes. But it’s very important to have a big picture of what you’re doing,” says Erwin. “Because that way you might have opportunities and you don’t want to lose those opportunities.” “A good designer helps reveal hidden opportunities to clients,” says Diane Gassman, of Interior Dimensions. An independent kitchen, bath and whole house designer, Gassman says a good professional designer never imposes their ideas on the client. Instead they help the client find solutions for their home.
o hn Erwin learned first hand the importance of designing with an eye for the big picture.
“MY GOAL IS ALWAYS TO LEARN AND TO FIND NEW AND INTERESTING PRODUCTS. THEN I RESEARCH THEM TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR THE CLIENT.” – Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions
DESIGNER, from previous page “I help open up the possibilities,” she says. “Then they can make informed decisions.” A veteran of nearly 31 years, Gassman relies on her years of experience and continued education to present her clients with the latest in hardware, materials and technology. A member of Olympia Master Builders (OMB), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), Gassman takes advantage of certification and training available through these organizations. She considers her involvement with these organizations an extension of her business. “There’s a great purpose to belonging to an organization, especially as an independent designer,” said Gassman. “I feel part of a family. I’m not out there working on my own. I have other resources I can utilize – they add a lot of value to my
company.” Through OMB Gassman earned certification in universal design, “aging in place”. The organization also has a Built Green Program®, an alliance of contractors who pursue sustainable building practices. “I have always personally felt that continued education is extremely important – that one needs to continue to learn in order to bring the best to their client,” says Gassman. “Through continued education I’m able to become a better designer in specific areas such as lighting, plumbing fixtures, color consulting, cabinets, appliances and overall design.” The training she received in aging in place helps her introduce clients to design elements that “future-proof” their home. “Baby boomers are coming of an age where they want to stay in their homes. . . I can help them create their spaces for long-term living,” said Gassman. Sometimes a homeowner is shortsighted. A young couple may want to merely expand a kitchen two feet. Budget-
wise, a bump-out would suffice. Meanwhile that same couple is planning to start a family. Proceeding with a first-floor bump-out could impact future renovations. They may not need a second-floor addition, but if they want one five years later, a designer can factor it into a master plan that will be implemented in phases. When the plumber and electrician come to work on a small remodel, they can install infrastructure for future work. “Say you do want to do multiple projects and the electrician’s there. Well, go ahead and take care of it at the same time because it’s more cost-effective,” says Erwin. “Leave yourself an extra conduit or extra line, or whatever it is because that’s going to be part of phase two or phase three.” Consider a master plan for your home similar to a curriculum designed for advanced education. Instead of working toward a degree, you are advancing toward
see DESIGNER, next page
DESIGNER, from previous page your dream house. “My clients have found that over the years, it’s extremely valuable in terms of cost savings to understand the total project,” says Gassman. “Because many times people have more than one area they want to remodel. They are thinking maybe in three to five years they want to do something else to their home.” Before beginning a project, Gassman says she explains the design process with the big picture in mind with the processes and desired results. “Then they’re not spending more money redoing something because it didn’t follow in sequence. Following a sequence helps people work toward having the space they really want to live in. It’s very motivating to know that they are prepared for the next phase,” says Gassman. “In my process I work with clients on how to prepare for the project, de-construction up through completion. I walk them through the entire process before they start the remodel. We discuss the phases they are going to experience. By doing that it helps them better understand the whole process and prepares them to better work with their contractor.” The designer’s relationship with the contractor is part partner and a little liaison. “I’ve worked with several over the years. I often will pair a contractor or give references for a contractor to a client who seems to fit their personality. I think it’s very important to be able to collaborate. I’m an advocate for being a team player.” By supporting the client, including on-site visits, Gassman says this makes the contractor’s job easier.
see DESIGNER, next page
CAN DRAFT A PLAN TODAY FOR THE HOME YOU WANT TOMORROW.
DESIGNER, from previous page Designers help clients filter through the many products and materials on the market. Gassman recently returned from the NKBA convention in New Orleans. Access to trade shows and design centers equips a designer with information that benefits the client. “I visit the design center in Seattle and many other product showrooms in the northwest,” says Gassman. “I am able to bring a complete package back to my clients with updated new materials and interesting designs. My goal is always to learn and to find new and interesting products. Then I research them to make sure they are the right products for the client.” Internet and social media sites such as Houzz and Pinterest have given homeowners a virtual look book at their fingertips. Gassman thinks is great when a client becomes active in the renovation process. In this case, her role as designer is to assist the client in evaluating products or materials. “Many clients actually find things first,” says Gassman. “So we discuss it. We look at that product versus others products and evaluate the quality or warranty. A lot of this I base not on my personal taste but on my experience and my clients’ experience.” A designer can provide a seamless integration of existing architecture with a new addition. They take note of the style of the home, such as if it’s Tudor or Colonial. They can incorporate elements of that style into a new space so that the home maintains a cohesive design. Careful not to push one style over another, Gassman invites clients to peruse her website to see various options. She says sometimes people fear “that they will get locked into something they really don’t want. They may fear that the designer may only have one style of design. I can personalize their space.” Professional designers have that eye to recognize the many avenues they can travel in terms of renovating a space. “I feel very blessed to be able to visualize when I walk into a space. I can see the transformation while discussing the project with the client. I am able to see spaces altered, different colors and furniture moved in new locations.”
A GOOD DESIGNER’S INVOLVEMENT CONTINUES EVEN AFTER A PROJECT IS COMPLETED.
The trick sometimes is getting the client to see it too. To help, Gassman works with “props and 3- D dimensional software”. “I can visualize, but many of my clients
see DESIGNER, next page
DESIGNER, from previous page can’t. It’s my goal to give them as many tangible items as I can in terms of visuals so they see their own space turned into something new,” she says. “It becomes so valuable to them that they can understand what their new space is going to look like before they spend money. It gives them comfort.” She says change is often overwhelming, even invited change. “Some clients can’t see anything unless they walk into a room that’s completed. Sometimes it’s a big task to show the client what it is they want, or at least what they think they want.” Gassman sometimes uses cardboard to create life-sized pianos, tables and chairs to make her clients feel at ease about a renovation. “I can show them without having to bring in the actual pieces. I can lay out templates of cabinetry, showing where the island is going to be or a peninsula and place tape at various countertop heights. The point is to do whatever it takes to help the client feel comfortable before proceeding to the construction stage. If a client is reluctant to proceed, Gassman says that’s OK too. “I’m not there to change them. I’m there to help guide them through possibilities. Some people aren’t prepared for change. And that’s OK. It’s what works for them. There’s not a right or wrong.” The good designer’s involvement continues even after a project is completed. “If I design for a client and it doesn’t turn out to be what they had hoped for, my goal is to stick to the process to make that end result a positive one.” “Sometimes it’s a decision that was made and doesn’t look right or a material doesn’t turn out to be what we thought from a sample. My goal then is to continue to help the client find the right product.” Giving that extra time and effort is part of the design process, says Gassman. “My goal is always to see the end result. I’ll work with a contractor to see that result. I will be there on the job site to find a solution.” This type of commitment endears Gassman to her clients. She owned a design business in Oregon for 20 years before moving to the Olympia area 11 years ago. She says she’s delighted when past clients seek her out through internet searches because they are ready for the next phase of
updating their home. “We become very connected. I’m working within their personal space. So there is a trust factor,” says Gassman. “Several of my clients have become great
“I HELP OPEN UP THE POSSIBILITIES. THEN MY CLIENTS CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS.” – Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions
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421 Capitol Way S 360-754-3400
2420 Harrison Ave W 360-754-3430
friends because we have enjoyed working together. The ultimate is when I can cook in one of my client’s kitchens. It brings so much joy. I know exactly where everything is.”
303 Cleveland Ave SE 360-754-9520
24081 NE State Rte 3 360-275-6001
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8300 Quinault Dr NE 360-493-1800
ccessibility remodeling for America’s aging baby boomers is the biggest trend in home improvement today. Changes are made with the homeowner’s independence and safety in mind, ensuring them the ability to stay in and maneuver the rooms of their homes as long, and as easily as possible without worrying about debilitating falls.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT REMODELER The first and most important step is choosing the right remodeler for the job. Since you’ll be inviting this person into your personal space, and quite literally placing your life in his or her hands, you’ll want to choose someone you feel comfortable having around, and most importantly, someone who is qualified. John Erwin, owner of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. says it is vital that home owners do their due diligence. Erwin has been in business for 20 years and said he’s seen several fly-by-night contractors come and go in droves. He strongly recommends that homeowners check with the Department of Labor and Industries to ensure the contractor they are considering is licensed and bonded to work in the state of Washington, and he strongly recommends reference checks. Knowing that the contractor has experience and certifications in home modifications for accessibility is also vital. “We’ve educated ourselves; we’ve taken the classes, so we know how to accommodate people with their different limitations,” Erwin said of himself, and other
experienced contractors in Washington State. He said when dealing with an inexperienced contractor, a job as simple as installing grab bars could end up being treacherous. “There’s a lot more to it than just throwing up some grab bars…because if you don’t install a grab bar properly and correctly, and don’t get into backing and studs, which I’ve seen, what
happens is a person will be relying on that grab bar to support themselves and then it gives way and they fall,” he said. “Often times that can be more dangerous and worse than if there is no grab bar at all, because they are relying on it.” To be sure of a contractor’s qualifications before you hire
see ACCESS, page 27
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Remodeling reasons are generally the same for the individual returning home after surgery with temporary mobility issues, but the way remodelers approach the project is likely to be different. The changes made are usually temporary fixes that allow for ease of restoration after the client’s recovery, and they tend to be confined to a particular area of the home. While these projects are usually much simpler, they
nonetheless require a great deal of thought.
KNOWING THAT THE CONTRACTOR HAS EXPERIENCE AND CERTIFICATIONS IN HOME MODIFICATIONS FOR ACCESSIBILITY IS
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him, and to ensure he or she is staying current with industry standards, Erwin recommends contacting the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry – the governing body, or other organizations like the National Association of Home Builders, the Building Industry Association of Washington or Olympia Master Builders (which is a local organization) to inquire about the person or company you plan to hire. PLANNING YOUR REMODEL Once you’ve settled on the right contractor for the job, your next step is planning the remodel. “If the need for the remodel is due to an accident, injury, or illness, they need to assess their abilities early in the rehabilitation process so that when they do get released to go home, they aren’t all of a sudden realizing they can’t even get their spouse in the front door or in and out of the bathtub,” said Tim Dickey, President of Dickey’s Remodel & Repair. “It’s too late when you’re down to one or two weeks from being released from physical therapy. They should be planning a lot farther out,” he said. “The other part of this process is to be honest about what their capabilities are going to be long and short
term. This is where honest and frank conversations with your attending physician or physical therapist are important because it will make the difference of whether temporary products/ repairs are in order or permanent fixtures and remodeling are required.” In situations where you’ll have a physical therapist, Erwin recommends getting your therapist, possibly even your doctor, involved in a planning meeting. “A lot of times I do the home assessment. I’ll meet with the couple and talk to them about what the limitations and challenges will be, and basically walk around the house and look at all of the different obstacles that might be in the way,” Erwin said. “But sometimes, like when we’re dealing with the Veterans Administration, there is an occupational therapist that’s already involved… and they’ll do a home assessment. They’ll write up a report that may call for wider doorways, or ramps, or grab bars and different things like that,” he said.
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ACCESS, from previous page statistics show 33% of falls in the home occur. Tubs pose a particular problem because of the high step up required to get in. Options for making your bathroom more accessible can range from simple, inexpensive quick fixes, such as installing grab bars for the individual whose mobility is not severely impaired and who still has good upper body strength, to bath tub lift chairs that lower the individual into the bath water. They cost around $1,000. More permanent options for increasing mobility in the bathroom can range from $12,000 to $14,000 to replace a tub with a shower designed specifically for accessibility, to $25,000 to $30,000 for a full bathroom remodel. “You may need to take a whole wall out to make a 5’ x 8’ bathroom into an 8’ x 8’ bathroom so you have accessibility for a wheelchair or a walker,” Dickey said. While permanent changes can be much more expensive, they are worthwhile considerations for the individual thinking beyond rehabilitation, staying safe in spite of decreased mobility as they grow older. A full bathroom remodel, including the relocation of walls usually takes three to four weeks, so a fair amount of advanced planning is required. STEPS & STAIRS The second most common obstacle individuals with impaired mobility are likely to encounter at home is the stairs. Outside the home, ramps provide an easy solution and ease of access into and out of the house.
see ACCESS, next page
QUICK FIX, TEMPORARY OPTIONS ARE JUST AS EASILY REMOVED AS THEY ARE INSTALLED, WITH LITTLE TO NO DISRUPTION, AND WITH NO EVIDENCE THAT THEY’D BEEN THERE AT ALL. 28
ACCESS, from previous page “There are aluminum ramp systems that are more temporary in nature,” Dickey said. You can also have a semi permanent wooden ramp built, or you can opt for a permanent ramp made with composite
AFTER materials or concrete. According to Dickey, permanent options are more aesthetically pleasing than aluminum ramps and are designed to look like they were there when the home was built. The cost of a ramp installation depends on the materials used, as well as the number of steps it must be built over to reach floor level in the home.
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“The code on that is for every one inch of rise (ground or floor level to the top step), requires one foot of run,” Dickey said. “So, for example, if there are three steps and those three steps are seven inches, the International Residential Code mandates 21
see ACCESS, page 31
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ACCESS, from page 28 feet of ramp.” Inside the home, options for navigating the stairs are harder to come by, and the most practical and economical choices involve making an already accessible part of the home livable during recovery. “That person is probably going to be limited to one area of the home until they can negotiate stairs,” Dickey said. “Stair lifts in homes are possible, but are often cost prohibitive.” The average cost of a stair lift, including installation, can be as much as $15,000. In Washington State a contractor is required to have an elevator license before he or she can legally install stair lifts. QUICK INSTALL TEMPORARY SOLUTIONS After grab bars, Erwin said offset hinges are the most common quick fix to mobility issues. “An offset door hinge allows the door to swing open another inch and a half, and a lot of times, that will be just enough for a person to be able to get in and out with their walker or wheel chair,” he said. “So we do a lot of that. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and the hinges are probably only $5 or $10 apiece. So in an hour, and with $100 or less,
you can have a door that swings open a little bit more without having to modify anything,” he said. For the individual with upper body strength, Dickey recommends the Superpole. “It’s an amazing piece of equipment, and it works well in a temporary environment,” he said. “It’s a tension pole between the floor and the ceiling, and it has a horizontal bar for the person to assist themselves in sitting up and getting out of bed, and getting to a walker or a wheel chair. The Superpole can also be used for assistance getting off the toilet, getting into and out of the shower, or even your living room chair.” There are also permanent options like the Dependa-Bar, which is bolted to the wall. “It also ratchets out of the way so that as the person stands up, the bar moves… so that they can get to their walker or wheelchair,” Dickey said. ACCESSIBILITY REMODELING & YOUR HOME’S RESALE VALUE One of the most common questions contractors are asked when remodeling a home for accessibility, is if and how the changes will impact the resale value of their home. The good news is that the options available today are far more aesthetically pleasing than those available
a couple of decades ago. Quick fix, temporary options are just as easily removed as they are installed, with little to no disruption, and with no evidence that they’d been there at all. If permanent accessibility changes are required, universal design concepts allow for options that are modern, aesthetically pleasing, and popular both with people who have accessibility challenges and those who do not. Done correctly, Dickey says that a home remodeled for accessibility can even increase its resale value. “The baby boomers are retiring at 10,000 a day, and there are not enough [accessible] homes on the market to accommodate that need,” he said. “So if you have a house and you would like to remodel it for your accessibility, it may make it one of the most marketable houses on the market,” Dickey said. “If it’s all on one level, has a low threshold or walk in shower, those are all things that people are looking for. So it’s actually a plus and not a minus in this real estate market.” Erwin said it’s a conversation he often has with his clients, and the advice he gives them is almost always the same. “We have materials and ways we can do things that don’t make it look like a hospital,” Erwin said. “But first and foremost, I tell them the number one concern is for your safety.”
BABY BOOMERS ARE RETIRING AT 10,000 A DAY,
AND THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH [ACCESSIBLE] HOMES ON THE MARKET TO ACCOMMODATE THAT NEED.
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