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Remodel Now 2015/2016

The Whole House Remodel With a special focus on the kitchen.

Outdoor Living in the South Sound Local remodeling pros talk about outdoor spaces they help create.

Simple Design Trends that make a Big Impact It doesn’t take much to turn ‘good’ into ‘great’!

a special supplement of The Olympian

• Complete Design/Build Services • Outdoor Living • Insurance Restoration • Additions • Interiors • Kitchens • Home Solutions for Seniors • Bathrooms • Small Projects/Maintenance



500 5




Here are some of our award winning projects!




2015/2016 edition

Remodel Now contents 2015/2016

Features 04

Welcome from the President and Executive Officer by Mike Auderer and Troy Nichols


2015 Remodeling Excellence Awards Showing off the work that makes an OMB Remodelor a great ally to have on your side. by Sally Darrow


The Whole House Remodel 1211 State Avenue NE • Olympia, WA 98506 360.754.0912 • FAX 360.754.7448


Executive Officer

Story Editor

Mike Auderer

Troy Nichols

Sally Darrow

Olympia Construction, Inc.

Olympia Master Builders

Olympia Master Builders

With a special focus on the kitchen. by Marsha A. Branch


Outdoor Living in the South Sound Local remodeling pros talk about outdoor spaces they help create. by Barb Lally


Simple Design Trends It doesn’t take much to turn ‘good’ into ‘great’. by Marsha A. Branch

2015/2016 edition

Vice President

Advertising Sales Manager

John Dzaran

Melissa Jenkins

Key Accounts Manager


Karen McClennen

Bill Webb



Remodel Now 2015/2016

The Whole House Remodel With a special focus on the kitchen.

Outdoor Living in the South Sound Local remodeling pros talk about outdoor spaces they help create.

Simple Design Trends that make a Big Impact It doesn’t take much to turn ‘good’ into ‘great’!

a special supplement of The Olympian

On the cover Photo courtesy of



On page 3 Photo courtesy of



On page 4 & 5 Photos courtesy of



From the President and Executive Officer

welcome readers


hope you enjoy this 10 Year Anniversary edition of Remodel Now Magazine, a publication of the Olympia Master Builders (OMB) Remodelers. OMB Remodelers serve and promote the remodeling industry by offering its members information, education, and networking opportunities for the exchange of ideas, and a Remodelers Excellence Award program to recognize our quality remodelers. OMB Remodelers work together to improve the industry standards in the area. If you are interested in remodeling your home, you need the expertise a professional remodeler gives. Now is a perfect time to research



MIKE AUDERER President, Olympia Master Builders Olympia Construction, Inc.

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. Included in this edition are articles on remodeling an entire house, interior design with a focus on small items that make a big impact, and outdoor living ideas. Also featured are the OMB 2015

2015/2016 edition

Remodeling Excellence (REX) award winners. We hope you enjoy Remodel Now Magazine and that these pages bring you the advice, inspiration and confidence to help you in your quest for that perfect 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 our Buyer’s Guide. For more details please visit or call the OMB office at 360-754-0912 or 800-456-6473. Thank you for reading Remodel Now!


he Olympia Master Builders (OMB) are very excited to partner with The Olympian to bring you the 10th Anniversary issue of Remodel Now Magazine! The information contained in these pages will prove invaluable as you embark on your own personal remodeling project. We’re proud to

2015/2016 edition

have so many qualified OMB members sharing their knowledge and experience in this magazine, and we hope you will benefit from it. Remodelers have always been an integral part of OMB and the building community as a whole. In fact, many custom home builders became remodelers just to survive the “great recession” of 2008, which hit the building community especially hard. With the economy slowly recovering and home prices beginning to rise, homeowners like you are once again turning to remodelers to upgrade their homes. Hiring the right professional for your home remodel project is extremely important. I know that flashy graphics and charismatic hosts of those “Do It Yourself” shows on networks like HGTV can make remodeling look easy, but often times going it alone can end up costing you more in the end. And hiring an unlicensed contractor to save a few dollars can also backfire in multiple ways, all bad for your wallet. I would encourage you to take an honest look at your “DIY” skills before taking a hammer to your sheetrock. If you decide to

hire a professional, verify their license on the Dept. of Labor and Industries website, and ask them for a list of recent customers and other professional references. Finally, be sure to use OMB’s on-line directory for a list of the best and well-known remodelers in your community. Home remodel projects are important and exciting, and we hope to help make your remodeling experience a positive one!

TROY NICHOLS Executive Officer, Olympia Master Builders



From Left to Right – Stefanie Brooks of Stefanie Brooks Interior Design, Rachael Krall of Interior Dimensions, Chris McDonald and Jennie McDonald of Lifespan Construction, John Erwin, Brandi Luckey and Greg Switzer of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc.

Olympia Master Builders Association presents the

2015 Remodeling Excellence Awards

by Sally Darrow


Photo courtesy of Ross Irwin

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. This year five awards were presented at the Association’s General Membership Meeting held on May 21, 2015. Daimon Doyle of Viridian Northwest was the Emcee of the program.



2015/2016 edition



Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000

John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. JOHNEER928RA

Our clients existing kitchen had a peninsula with an eating bar they never used or wanted. They both disliked the tile countertops and recessed fluorescent lighting and wanted to update. We eliminated the peninsula in favor of a large island work station. New cherry cabinets were installed, capped off with crown molding to give it the grand look and feel they desired. Lots of other features were included such as a recycle pull-out drawer, a super Susan, tray dividers and lots of drawers for cooking tools. Quartz countertops accented with glass tile backsplash was installed to cap off their new kitchen.


Photo courtesy of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc.

Installations & Additions Refinishing & Repairs



Recoating & Floor Cleaning

65% Products Made in usa

2015/2016 edition



Before Photo courtesy of Stefanie Brooks


Overall Design Excellence – Residential Interior Design/Architecture

Stefanie Brooks Interior Design

The kitchen is the gathering spot in this home and the clients love to cook and entertain. Keeping most of the appliances in their original locations, we reconfigured and added cabinetry to provide adequate storage and allow for more countertop surfaces. Custom cabinets made locally, are painted a custom color with a chocolate glaze on the raised panel door for added detail. A stunning piece of granite slab on the island and a simple chocolate toned quartz on the surrounding perimeter countertops, allows the island to be a focal point. After Photo courtesy of J. Boyle Images


Bath Under $25,000

John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. JOHNEER928RA

Our clients had a very small shower, a never Before used jetted tub, and the location of the toilet made it feel like it was in the middle of the room. In order to gain the space we needed for the larger zero clearance shower, we removed the jetted tub. A bench seat and hand held adjustable slide arm was added to give flexibility in the future as the need arises. The clear glass shower enclosure system allows the light to shine and highlights the tile and accents that run from the shower to the backsplash of the new vanity.

After Photo courtesy of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc.

After 8


2015/2016 edition

Before Before Photo courtesy of Lifespan Construction


Kitchen $60,000 to $125,000

Lifespan Construction LIFESCI866K7

Our clients came to us with a design challenge. Their kitchen was chopped off from the living spaces by an ill configured peninsula of cabinets and a wall. We removed the peninsula of cabinets and a wall to transform three chopped up rooms into one inviting open concept kitchen/living space. By adding a large island set at a 45 degree angle to the center of the kitchen we gave the clients additional storage, great traffic flow and counter space. Features include gray stained cabinets, Quartz countertops, glossy white subway tile, warm cork flooring, and stainless appliances. After

Photo courtesy of Ross Irwin, Cabinets by Trivonna



Overall Design Excellence – Basement

John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. JOHNEER928RA

We incorporated our clients’ goals and vision of turning an un-heated storage room into a finished room to enjoy and entertain, along with meeting the energy code requirements. The basement was well below the level of the drain system so we utilized a toilet that had its own macerator pump and installed mini macerator pumps under both the lavatory sink and bar sink. We replaced the original 3’ basement door with full-light French doors to bring more natural light into the space. We installed an exotic pre-finished hardwood floor in the new space and on the stairs with painted risers that our clients love. 2015/2016 edition

After Photo courtesy of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. REMODEL NOW



Whole House Remodel

with a special focus on the kitchen

by Marsha A. Branch 10


2015/2016 edition


hen it comes to home remodeling and interior design many fads have thankfully come and gone. From pink tiles to carpeted walls, walking into a home and finding such design mishaps today would allow you to date it back to the decade. Fads fade away almost as quickly as they make an appearance, but trends tend to stick around longer, have a social impact and a long-term influence on the future of a market. And that’s exactly what homeowners are looking for as they consider remodeling and interior design in 2015, trends that will improve not only the value, but also the functionality and efficiency of their homes.

Photo courtesy of Gina Carlson, Dunamis Interiors

“Money is not taboo. The cost of the project is not taboo. Your budget is not taboo,” John Erwin, Owner of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc. said. “And when customers treat it that way, I tell them the entire remodel process is going to be challenging because it means they don’t trust me,” he said. “The last thing I want to do is give out $100,000 worth of ideas if the budget is $30,000.”

Ground zero for every remodel job, big or small Whether it’s a small renovation or a complete redo, the starting point should always be your budget, and you should be honest about it.

At the heart of the trust issue is that some customers believe if they name their budget, that’s exactly what contractors will charge, even if it costs less. But this need not be the case. So Trivonna Irwin, Chief Designer for Cabinets by Trivonna advises clients to do their due diligence before choosing a contractor. Take them for a ‘test drive’ of sorts, to ensure you feel a certain level of comfort and trust


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with the person you choose. “It’s not just about the bottom line,” Irwin said. “When choosing a contractor it’s also about who you feel you can communicate and click with, because…these people are going to be in your home for weeks, possibly months at a time, so you want to be sure you can get along,” she said. In addition to seeking contractors with the necessary credentials, ask friends and colleagues for referrals and browse websites and social media for testimonials and crowd-sourced reviews.

The kitchen – the heart of the home



mothers disappeared for hours at a time, to an open space that is the heart of the home. And there’s so much scope for creativity that it’s easy to see why the kitchen is the room contractors and designers most enjoy remodeling.


In generations past it was the living room, but today, the kitchen is where we spend most of our time at home. We cook. We eat. We converse. We entertain. We even work and study in the kitchen. So today’s kitchens are being designed to accommodate a myriad of uses. They have evolved from the poky room where

People are opting for LEDs over fluorescent lights because they don’t have to deal with the 30-second brightness delay.


The Quickie Facelift If you had to choose just one room in your home for a makeover, the kitchen would likely give you the most bang for your buck. That’s because you’ll likely get an 80% return on investment. The average remodel runs around $35,000, but for under $5,000, John Erwin says you can give your entire kitchen a facelift. “One of the least expensive things you can do is change your backsplash,” he said. Many kitchens have laminate countertops and backsplashes. If that laminate is old and outdated, but your cabinets are fine, Erwin recommends updating the laminate for a new look. “We can still buy the same cabinets today that we did 20 years ago,” he said. “The wood may be different, but when it comes to door styles, a shaker cabinet is a shaker cabinet, and a roman arch is a roman arch. They aren’t new designs,” he said. 2015/2016 edition

So once the cabinets are structurally sound, Erwin and his team will simply replace the laminate backsplash with tile, to give the kitchen an entirely new look. He also recommends updating outdated laminate counter tops from the once popular old wood butcher block look, to one of the new high definition, textured laminates. “In a photograph, you can’t tell the difference; they look like granite or quartz,” Erwin said. “We may also add a new kitchen sink and faucet, and suddenly you’ve given your kitchen a facelift for only $2,000 or $3,000.

designed to most effectively serve how they utilize kitchen space. From recycle bin drawers, to concealed knife block storage, imagination is the limit when it comes to design ideas for the kitchen. Islands are being used more as a workspace, with sinks (undermount is now considered standard) and stovetops moving back to the perimeter. From craft projects and homework, to scrapbooking

and organizing bills for tax time, islands have surpassed being used merely for food prep, and to accommodate this, they’re reaching as long as 16 feet – almost twice the size of the standard island you’d find in a large kitchen. In fact, Trivonna Irwin jokes that you can almost land a jet on some of them. And how do you outfit a 16-foot island? With lots and lots of drawers, which make for much


Cabinets & Countertops Adding stone countertops to the mix will cost you around $5,000 to $8,000. Granite and quartz continue to be on trend, with quartz being the most requested because of its durability. “It doesn’t require any sealing. It’s non-porous, scratch resistant, and more heat resistant than granite,” owner of Lifespan Construction, Chris McDonald said. “It doesn’t happen often, but you can pop a crystal or two in granite if you put a hot pan on it. Quartz won’t do that.” Almost everything that happens in your kitchen will transpire on, or around your countertops, and they will likely be the greatest conversation piece in the room. This is why Gina Carlson says they are one of the most emotional choices a client will make. The president and owner of Dunamis Interiors has been in the design business for over 25 years and always accompanies her clients on field trips to see, feel and really experience the stone slabs they select for their counter tops. If your kitchen remodel includes replacing cupboards, expect the price tag to reach $10,000 or more, depending on the size and features. That’s because homeowners are foregoing standard and basic options for highly customized pieces

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Photo courtesy of Ross Irwin, Cabinets by Trivonna

easier storage access than doors. They may be more high maintenance, and more steps in the finishing process mean they cost more, but painted cupboards have made a resurgence, and whites, taupe and warm greys are the colors of choice. To update your cabinets without breaking the bank, Ross Irwin, President of Cabinets by Trivonna, advises against the popular method of re-facing, since the old woodwork will still be visible and unattractive once the doors are opened. Instead, he recommends utilizing particleboard. Also referred to as furniture core, its use was once frowned upon because of the poor quality product that resulted from insufficiently bonding wood chips that were too large. Modern particleboard is of a much higher quality, and according to Irwin, utilizing solid wood for



durable drawers and frames, while opting for particleboard boxes can save you 15% on the cost of using plywood boxes. “It’s a great way to lower the price without lowering the quality or functionality of your finished product,” Irwin said. “But remember, while inexpensive cabinets with particleboard drawers and doors are available, they will not hold up for long.” Melamine doors also look like wood but cost significantly less and are currently in high demand.

Lighting & Energy Efficiency The fact that the Cabinets by Trivonna team almost never designs a kitchen space these days without including a garbage-recycling unit

is proof that the “green” revolution is trending in home remodeling. Another indication of its popularity is the focus on energy efficiency. After all, going green can also save you money. As far as lighting goes, the hottest trend when it comes to energy efficiency in the home is LEDs. “We are seeing incandescent lighting being phased out,” Interior Dimensions, LLC principal Diane Gassman, said. “People are opting for LEDs over fluorescent lights because they don’t have to deal with the 30-second brightness delay.” LED lighting can be dimmed with fixtures, and this also makes them a favorite among homeowners, remodelers and designers, particularly because this ability fits well with two and three-step lighting plans commonly used in the kitchen.

2015/2016 edition


“We have the task lighting, which is the under cabinet lighting, or lighting that’s designed for specific areas. And then we have the overall lighting in the kitchen, which is in the ceiling,” Olympia Construction’s CEO Mike Auderer said. “And then the third one is what I consider to be a kind of [dimmed] mood lighting or a night light, because [today’s] kitchen is the room that always has some sort of light on 24 hours a day,” he said. Since the efficient use of energy is not only popular, but an EPA requirement in the construction of modern homes, Gassman, a certified kitchen and bath designer says a vital conversation she has with her clients during their first meeting is about the intended use of space. “A gourmet cook will have specific needs, maybe a residential range, or a high powered hood,” she said. “These are all possible, but we

need to consider how they relate to energy and air circulation codes.” High-powered hoods now require the addition of make-up air ventilation since today’s homes are air tight with more energy efficient windows and insulation. This means that while you can take air out, there is no way to bring fresh air back in. A make-up air vent makes this possible.

The 2nd most popular room – the bathroom Once upon a time, budgeting for luxury additions when remodeling the home was reserved for the kitchen. Now homeowners are ensuring they also allocate some of those luxury funds to the bathroom. From towel warming drawers, to heated floors and moisture sensing fans, today’s bathrooms are more

like mini home spas, than the room you visit to do the obvious. That’s because like the kitchen, remodeling your bathroom likely guarantees you a high return on investment by significantly increasing the value of your home. The good news is that your bathroom remodel need not be as expensive as the makeover you give your kitchen. That’s because it’s the finishes that mainly drive a bathroom remodel, as opposed to the layout. So what features should you consider to ensure your bathroom is on trend?

Bye Bye Tub! Hello Shower! Let’s start with the shower. Standard master suites usually have a tub and a small 3x3 shower. Those tubs are now being eliminated to facilitate the installation of a 4x6


2015/2016 edition



walk-in shower, or larger. This trend also includes some planning for the future, since the no curb, barrier free shower pans allow for easy access and use of the shower, a vital consideration for homeowners planning on “aging in place”. Showers are also being designed with built in or flip down benches and at least two showerheads – one fixed, and the other with a removable hose or shower arm. “And the biggie always is very low maintenance,” Gassman said. “We are designing large format porcelain tiles on the wall. So there is less grout, less maintenance and that shower wand is wonderful for easy cleaning.” Another unique feature is the trough drain. It’s placed at the end of the shower and the floor slopes toward the drain so that users no longer stand on or

over the drain when taking a shower. Larger, barrier free showers mean consideration must be given to keeping them dry. Remodelers are moving away from basic extractors and are instead installing moisture-sensing fans. “When you take a shower you don’t have to worry about turning the fan on,” Auderer said. “And if you do turn the fan on [it] won’t go off until the humidity in the room reaches a certain level, around 70% I think. They’re really slick.” Auderer prides himself on keeping his clients in the know about the “cool, new, fun” products on the market that can add big value to their remodel at little extra cost. “There’re faucets you don’t have to adjust the water temperature on every time you get into the shower. You just turn the water on and it’s the tempera-

ture you want,” he said. “People think it’s super luxurious, and it really is probably the price difference of $50 in the type of valve we use.”

Greening the Bathroom The “greening” trend continues in the bathroom, with low flow fixtures, designed to conserve water. These apply to showers, toilets – which are now comfort height at 17¾ inches off the ground rather than 15, and vanity faucets. Candescent bulbs are also being swapped for LED lighting. Recess can lights are being used overhead and tape lights are popular at the vanity, though their use in the bathroom tends to differ slightly from how they are used in the kitchen. “Instead of under cabinet, because

Green, it’s one of the first colors that should be foremost on the mind of anyone considering building or remodeling their home. That’s because “greener” or more sustainable products are no longer simply a luxury, but a must. EPA and Energy Star regulations require an efficiency increase in products being produced this year over the year before. The regulations took effect on September 15th, 2014 and affect all appliances using water and/or electricity. Knowing what these changes are and their impact is vital to ensuring your new appliances will work with your remodel plans. Here are some of the most vital: ITEM




20% to 25% more energy efficient

Has led to thicker insulation, reducing interior size in some cases. Some larger exteriors and higher prices. Larger cutouts are therefore needed for some remodels.

Ventilation (cooking hoods)

Make up or return air required

Hoods with larger CSM ratings may require the installation of a makeup air system.


Higher water and energy efficiency

Longer wash cycles required to facilitate less energy use.


Lower water consumption. Higher efficiency front and top loaders being produced.

Larger platforms. Older washers = 27 inches wide and around 25 to 26 inches deep. Newer models exceeding 27 to 30 wide and around 32 deep.


Dryers that duct outside required to contain a fire for at least 30 minutes.

More insulation for fire containment means larger dryers. Older models = 33-36 inches high x 24-27 inches wide. Newer models = 38 inches high x 27 to 30 wide. *Compact models are now 36 inches high x 24 wide, but tend to be condensation dry only models. Higher prices in some cases.

*Special thanks to Albert Lee Appliance for the information provided. Interviewee was: Tim Retynski - Sales Associate.



2015/2016 edition

Photos courtesy of Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions, LLC

there are usually never any uppers, we do toe kick lighting,” Auderer said. “And they usually act as a night light.”

The Vanity Vanities are sitting higher at 36 inches, and countertops follow kitchen trends by replacing vinyl with granite or quartz. His and hers vessel sinks are popular and under mount is now practically considered standard instead of a luxury upgrade. And even some luxury add-ons are now more affordable. No touch faucets, the same temperature control valves now being installed in showers and towel warming drawers are just a few touches of luxury that can be incorporated into your bathroom vanity at an affordable price. “We take a kitchen bun or bread warming drawer, and we install it in the bathroom, put it on a thermostat and a timer, and it comes on and warms the towels every morning,” Auderer said. “It’s not super expensive, maybe $400 or $500. It’s just a matter of thinking outside the box and you’re good to go with warm, dry towels each day.” From thinking outside the box, to inside the drawer, another trend in bathroom remodels is aimed at facilitat-

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ing customers’ desire for neat, clutter free spaces. “We’re integrating electrical outlets inside [vanity] drawers so that people can leave their shavers and hair dryers plugged in the drawers and just pull them out and turn them on to use as needed,” McDonald said.

The Floor The last major trend we’re seeing in the bathroom is on the floor. Vinyl is coming up, but guess what. Vinyl is also going down, luxury vinyl. “The nice thing about LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile), is that it has the look of tile, or wood, but it’s not cold like tile,” McDonald said. “So it has a warmer feel to the feet; but is almost indiscernible from tile.” Luxury vinyl can also achieve the look of slate, stone and plank wood flooring. The visuals for quality luxury vinyl are very realistic and it’s made to last, with protective layers that make it easy to

Money is not taboo. The cost of the project is not taboo. Your budget is not taboo.

clean and resistant to scratches, scuffs and gouges. Ceramic tiles are also a popular choice in the bathroom and to ensure comfort during colder months, heated floors are being installed. Electric radiant heat is used, and it

doesn’t merely keep the tiles warm under your feet. It actually heats the entire room, keeping it dry. The perfect time to incorporate a heated, under tile floor is during your bathroom remodel. How much would it cost you? With tile, labor and the heated floor system, Auderer estimates a price tag of approximately $100.00 per square foot. For the entire bathroom remodel expect to spend around $15,000 on a basic 3x5 bathroom with standard sink, toilet and tub/shower combo. Master bathroom remodels with all the bells and whistles can cost up to $50,000.

Other rooms The kitchen and bathroom are certainly the most remodeled rooms in the home, and they take the largest chunk out of your budget, but if you’ve got them both covered, and have some extra funds to spare, here are some other remodeling trends you’re likely to find in homes around Washington.

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2015/2016 edition

Open Plan Homes As kitchens change from being merely a work space to a living space, more homeowners are tying other living spaces in the home to the kitchen. This integration makes for one smooth, flowing space, a huge departure from post war homes where rooms are all separate and much smaller.

Raising Living Rooms The sunken living rooms of the 70s and 80s really date a home, so, they are being raised to match the level and finish of flooring in the rest of the house. John Erwin is called out to raise at least two each year. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, the reasoning is practical, since sunken rooms can create barriers and pose dangers, particularly for those aging in place.

Home Theaters Kitchen and bathroom aside, Auderer’s next favorite remodel is home theaters. “I’ve done quite a few lately,” he said. “I love the memories that are created when the whole family comes together to watch TV on a Saturday, or a husband and wife have friends over for Sunday football.” A bigger, unused bedroom, or a den is usually converted and staggered theater seating is added. Depending on how high tech you want to go, your contractor can even get a sound engineer involved. A basic home theater can start at around $5,000 and reach $30,000 or $40,000 depending on the electronics and technology used.

Garage Contractors say they are being called out to remodel more and more garages, and the number one request is for storage. “We did rustic cherry, to die for cabinets in a garage where one of our clients parks his corvette,” Trivonna Irwin said. “They really enhanced the beauty and functionality of the space.” If having new cabinets built for your

2015/2016 edition

Photo courtesy of Ross Irwin, Cabinets by Trivonna

garage is not currently in your budget, then try the 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you remodeled your kitchen and replaced the cabinets, get in on the green trend by reusing the old cabinets to create storage and work space in your garage. If you haven’t redone your kitchen cabinets, ask contractors if any of their clients have done so, and are willing to give or sell you their old cabinets for a good price. “That’s what I did in the house I moved into this summer,” John Erwin said. “We pulled out kitchen cabinets from a project and the homeowner didn’t want them. They were perfectly fine, so I used them to build a work bench and countertop in my new garage.” John also re-christened his garage “The Adult Zone” his new fun space is where he and his friends escape for some alone time sans kids. Finishing the garage floor is also popular. Epoxy coatings and heavy-duty

paints are common choices. The options for remodeling your home are endless. With the right team on the job, and the necessary budget, imagination is virtually the only limit. But the popularity and high demand for home remodeling has also brought some prices down, making previously unaffordable luxury options available to more homeowners. Whatever your budget, there is undoubtedly something you can do in your home to brighten the space, making it a more fun, enjoyable and trendy place for you and your family to spend free time, and more importantly, quality time. Just remember to: 1) Do your research when choosing the contractor and designer you’ll be working with. 2) Take them for a “test-drive” to ensure your personalities mesh and 3) Be totally up front and honest about your budget. You just may be surprised how much of a transformation it can get you.



The call of

Outdoor Living in the South Sound by Barb Lally Local remodeling pros talk about outdoor spaces they help create


he aroma of apple wood from the smoker fills the air as guests nurse a cold beer or cradle a Chardonnay from the wet bar. Overhead, the cedar ceiling is bathed in an ambient glow. Your family and friends are toasty and nestled into well-placed seating, engaged in lively conversation while the TV displays the reason for the momentous gathering. The Seahawks are in the Super Bowl again and it is February and the party is outdoors. Here in the South Sound we love our outdoors and find every way to be out there including remodeling our homes with gorgeous outdoor living spaces. We have a wealth of remodelers here, skilled at building spaces that are customized to our tastes and lifestyles.

are a personal passion. “After work I can’t tell you how many times I go home, crack a beer, sit in the hot tub and watch a Mariners game.” Chris McDonald and his wife Jennie co-own Lifespan Construction, a company that builds several outdoor living projects that wow homeowners every year. “The focus of many of my clients’ so-

cial life is gathering friends and family around them and having more space to hang out,” says Chris. “They want these creature comforts so it is as comfortable as their living room.” Heath Howerton, owner of Sunrise Landscaping and Tree Removal, LLC, describes the lure of these magnificent outdoor spaces he also helps to create. “You want your space to draw you

Meet the Outdoor Living Experts John Erwin, owner of award-winning John Erwin Remodeling, Inc., observes that we seek a place to be comfortable outdoors despite pervading showers, drizzle, mist or any of our other names for rain. With our annual average temperature a moderate 51 degrees and the fact that we have relatively few bugs, he says yearlong outdoor living is enjoyable. “The spaces we design come at all levels and sizes and are often a backyard paradise for homeowners,” says Erwin who has been building outdoor living spaces for more than 25 years and they

Photo courtesy of Jeff Kuster, Kuster Homes and Remodeling, LLC 20


2015/2016 edition

in,” says Heath. “It is like having a nice, relaxing area in your home to go and read, like a nook in a window with a big pillow,” says Heath. “It is the same thing with a landscape. It draws you in.” Bill Lenker, owner of Lenkerbrook Stoneworks, LLC, is skilled at designing serene outdoor spaces with flagstone work, dry stone walls, fire pits, benches or seating walls. “Our job is to create a space for the client within their landscape, an interactive sanctuary and gathering space whether it be with a patio, greenhouses or pizza ovens,” says Lenker. “It is important for people to have a place void of all the electronic devices, but where people sit and talk.” Jeff Kuster, owner of Kuster Homes and Remodeling, LLC, approaches outdoor remodeling holistically. “We are not thinking about the one piece homeowners have asked us to do, but about all the elements that tie it together,” says Kuster who has built more than 80 custom homes. “Whether it is the lighting, color choices or the type of textures, we use the materials that 15ANC117_Ad_RNMO_3.5x4.75.pdf



Customize Your Space

work well with the existing home’s look and design.”

With any outdoor living space, there are endless possibilities to extend the comforts of inside living to the outside and customize it to a homeowner’s lifestyle. Whether you want a spectacular structure that flows seamlessly with the architecture of your home and “decked out” with many premium features, or simply a covered patio for year-round grilling, it helps to talk to experienced contractors. A homeowner can choose from gas grills, wood-fired pizza ovens and the popular Green Egg smoker that, like our many choices in coffee, has varied woodchip flavors. There are stainless steel sinks, appliances and cabinets and granite, marble or slate countertops that all add ease of living and style to an outdoor space. Chris McDonald helped build one of these beautiful outdoor entertainment spaces where he has since attended a Superbowl Party and says it is replete with many enhanced features that make

These outdoor living remodels aren’t the essential remodels – the aging bathroom remodel or the roof that needs replacing – they are a lifestyle remodel. 11:06 AM



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finished product that revolutionizes the feel of the space.” Bill Lenker, who built stone walls along the trails at Tumwater Falls Park and a bench at the Master Gardener’s garden on the east side of the Olympia Farmer’s Market, has recently worked on an agricultural tourism project in Rainier. “We are helping an owner convert a



farm to a meeting place for people,” the stone craftsman says. “For Phase I, we built a 200 ton wall and a patio with a fire pit. The owner eventually wants an amphitheatre, greenhouses, an organic farm, a winery and brewery – multiple places for people to gather. Being interactive with the environment is the key to our designs, whether it is in a small




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it comfortable and warm. “We put in four radiant electric heaters on the ceiling that are thermostat controlled and they make all the difference,” says McDonald. “The space is so inviting you want to be outside and enjoy it year round.” Lifespan also installed a projector and retractable screen for viewing the big game. Added to that was surround sound and the ability for the owner to control his media from an I-Pad. Sunrise Landscaping built a beautiful outdoor kitchen for a local chef and restaurant owner at her home that overlooks Summit Lake. “We framed the stainless steel cabinetry in cedar and wrapped some parts with split-face Montana River Rock,” Howerton describes. “We used slate countertops and high-end chef cookware, a barbeque grill and a wood-fired pizza oven, all lit with LED lighting. The owner does a wine charity fundraising event there every year and serves everyone pizza. It is beautiful.” John Erwin, who has won several Remodeling Excellence awards at state and local levels for his outdoor living projects, is currently designing a unique feature that is customized for his client. “The owner wants his outdoor space enclosed with accordion glass doors,” says Erwin. “He sits on the hill in Tumwater looking out onto the Black River and surrounding prairies below with a gorgeous view of the mountains. It gets windy up there and he wants to be able to close those doors and still enjoy the amazing view.” Jeff Kuster’s company recently built a huge multi-level composite deck that has three zones – a partially covered area and two other covered spaces for gathering and dining. It boasts composite railings, well-placed lighting that shines down on the walking area and a design that adds character to the back of the home. “It looks fantastic and is top of the line,” says Kuster, whose projects range from decks to completely covered structures that serve as an addition to a home. “There is a lot of attention to detail in a

Design - Fabricate - Supplies - Slab & Tile Installaon 2015/2016 edition

Photo courtesy of Lifespan Construction

neighborhood in South Capitol or on a big farm out in Rainier.”

Making Design Choices The design discussion often typically begins with budget. McDonald says that Lifespan doesn’t move forward until they establish a budget and refine it as they progress. “That is the design-build process – designing, budgeting, designing, budgeting, until you get to the point of building the

2015/2016 edition

project.” Chris also says that with the postrecession mentality, extending a home’s space with outdoor living is becoming increasingly popular. “These outdoor living remodels aren’t the essential remodels – the aging bathroom remodel or the roof that needs replacing – they are a lifestyle remodel.” The projects come in all sizes and forms. “A starting point may be 12 by 16 ft. covered space tied into the architecture

of the home and usually starts about $15,000,” says Erwin who also notes a space designed to blend with the roof and architecture of the home increases its value. Heath Howerton refers to the premier outdoor living space with many of the contemporary features as “a higher end item” and estimates the cost from $50,000 to $75,000. To help homeowners consider their options, all of these remodelers provide photos of projects on their websites



and often showcase features and photos in their offices. Several use 3-D design software to help their clients understand the space they are designing. Bill Lenker’s designs are made on a case-by-case basis with consideration of everything from flow to textures. “My love of the outdoors and the environment, meets with the artistic element in stonework,” he says. “We often create elevation to break up monotony. We might plan a patio anchored by big boulders with fine stonework on a bench.”

Make it Glow Lighting adds ambience to your outdoor living space that glows even while you are inside the home. “Skylights are very important because a covered patio can block out light to the house,” say John Erwin. “We position the skylights closer to the house, so the daylight shines into the house to counteract that ‘cave’ effect.” Chris McDonald says one of the most exciting new lighting elements is LED



The focus of many of my clients’ social life is gathering friends and family around them and having more space to hang out.

tape lighting. “It is versatile, unobtrusive and self-adhesive so you can tuck it up under places,” he describes. “It gives off so much light and it can be dimmed and used with motion sensors.” Lighting the surrounding landscape

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Chris McDonald says it is “icing on the cake when your outdoor space flows seamlessly into the landscape.” Heath Howerton advises to soften the “hardscape” or the structure of the outdoor kitchen or covered space with lawn and plants, perhaps incorporating some rockery and natural driftwood into flower beds. “We have added planter beds that match the stone around a wood-fired oven,” Heath describes. “Landscaping dresses it up, brings everything together and gives you the finished look.”

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also adds to the glow. “A porch light kills ambience,” says Howerton, who is also a part owner in the local company Mr. Electric. “You can light up the forest in your backyard or perhaps a big branch that hangs over the yard. Lighting up small areas like pathways, a seating wall or a specific tree adds softness with a glow of lights.” 2015/2016 edition

Call 811 before you dig There may be more underground than just dirt Washington law requires everyone – even homeowners digging on their own property – to dial 811 before digging. Why? So you don’t hurt yourself or damage pipes or wires. Make the call two full business days before you plan to dig. (The day you call doesn’t count.) Outline your dig area in white paint so that the utilities will know where to mark their lines. Your call to 811 triggers a notice to each utility that serves your address. They

will send locators who use paint or flags to mark any buried natural gas, electric, communications, water or sewer lines. Utility-owned lines are located for free. Privately owned lines can be located for a fee by a private locater. When you start your project, dig using only hand tools within two feet of the locate marks. So don’t take a chance. Be sure that you or your contractor calls 811 before digging.


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Simple Design Trends

that make a Big Impact by Marsha A. Branch

Photo courtesy of Ross Irwin, Cabinets by Trivonna 26


2015/2016 edition


here’s an old saying that goes: “It’s the little things that count.” When it comes to designing the interior of your home, that saying certainly holds true. Sure there are lots of big changes that can be made to boost your home’s wow factor, but small changes and items can also have a big impact. From the kitchen to the bedroom, and a few rooms in between, three designers share tips on things you can do to make these rooms stand out simply by adding a few finishing touches.

KITCHEN Sought after kitchen trends for 2015 are numerous and include some major additions like oversized islands and minimalistic cabinets with lots of drawers. Today’s kitchen also fuses the modern with the rustic.

ways that require little or no construction, and can even be a DIY project. Fixtures, decals or even a few pieces of strategically placed furniture – such as a corner sofa are just some of the ways it can be done. “What’s interesting is that all types of wallcovering is making a come back,” Gassman said. “We are using the textiles for both vertical and horizontal surfaces. Wall coverings are being laminated behind glass to give a permanent finish for cabinet doors, glass panels and countertops. The product needed to implement these new, exciting trends was once imported from Europe, but is now available locally, making for more affordable and sustainable design options.

Color As far as the color scheme goes, white kitchens have definitely made a resur-

Textures & Finishes Today the interior design trend is following the “Neutral Color Palette” using  various color hues of white, taupe, and gray to create a soft background within the interior spaces, said, Diane Gassman, CKD, CBD, CAPS  principal of  Interior Dimensions’  The perimeter cabinets and countertops in the kitchen showcase smooth satin or gloss finishes, while incorporating these “touch me” textures into kitchen island cabinets, backsplash or an accent wall in the living, dining or master bedroom. This certainly can add a dramatic look to any interior space. Instead of structural elements which can be very costly to portray detail, we are using all types of flooring, laminates and recycled materials to provide texture and pattern. With any good design idea, tactile finishes can be incorporated in cosmetic

2015/2016 edition

Photo courtesy of Diane Gassman, Interior Dimensions, LLC

gence, but to avoid the starkness of an all white kitchen, color can be added with accessories, appliances, dishware and towels. “Even if white isn’t the color of choice, keeping a fairly neutral color base in the kitchen tends to create the best foundation for any colors clients want to bring in with their accessories and dishware,” President of Dunamis Interiors Gina Carlson said. Appliances can also be used to add that warm, rustic feel to the kitchen. Swap your silver, chrome and stainless steel appliances for retro, luxe metallic options like gold, brushed brass, bronze and copper.

Creating Magic In A Small Space Interior design is about more than creating a pretty space. It’s about solving problems, and one “problem” that often comes up is creating space. Fortunately, transforming a room from appearing tiny and cramped does not mean having to buy a bigger house. It doesn’t even mean having to knock down walls. Those with limited budgets, or who want minimal disruption can create the illusion of space with a few small design tricks of the trade. “I apply what I refer to as ‘aesthetic sensibility’ to my projects,” Carlson said. “This means balancing budgets with the practical and desirable, the way space works with the way it looks,” she said. One practical and budget friendly way to make your kitchen space appear larger is by utilizing lighting. In addition to natural light, under cabinet LED tape lights brighten countertops, making cramped areas appear more spacious. Adding mirrors to your backsplash can also make the room appear twice the size, and replacing solid upper cabinet



doors with glass doors tricks the eye, making the depth of the cabinet the focus of where the room ends. Open shelves, instead of upper cabinets, are also a worthwhile consideration in a small kitchen space. Once again, it’s a budget friendly option, but executed well, they can add an air of luxury to the space and would also allow you to display your beautifully colored dishware, creating a contrast against the now trending white kitchen wall.

Transforming Your Cabinets Cabinets are one of the focal points for any kitchen, but having them replaced is a big job. To completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen give your cabinets a makeover with a few small cosmetic changes. One of the easiest ways to spruce up a room is with a fresh coat of paint, and it’s not just reserved for the walls. Painted, as opposed to stained wood cabinets are once again a favorite in the kitchen. Proper cleaning and prepping of your cabinet doors for the paint job will be required, but done right, your kitchen could look like you had brand new cabinets installed. Utilizing stencils and appliques to add an artistic flare can enhance this even further. As a finishing touch, choose hardware such as knobs, pulls and handles that will transform your cabinets from plain and standard to custom chic.




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Setting the Mood Getting a layered look for lighting creates a level of intimacy, as well as character in different areas of your home, and the kitchen is one room where this effect works exceptionally well. These layers would include bright ceiling or can lights, as well as various levels of lights (like under cabinet lights) that provide ambiance. This effect can easily be achieved by utilizing dimmers. “I put everything on dimmers,” Carlson said. “I don’t think there is a light in the house I don’t put on dimmers other than maybe in the bathroom.”

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2015/2016 edition

Accessorizing Living & Dining Areas In addition to white, grey tones are also trending in the kitchen, and where greys are the starting point, designers are ending with a softer color palette in the dining and living room. Simple ways to achieve this look include the use of accessories. “We talk a lot with our clients about window coverings, adding some fabric,” Gassman said. “Many surfaces are hard and solid and there is nothing soft and tactile. So we are adding valances over the windows and benches in nooks with cushions and pillows.” Unique area rugs also provide an affordable and fun way to add texture and softness to hard surfaces, as well as color to a neutral palette. Also accessorize your living and dining areas with unique artwork and ornaments, choosing well can make each space truly your own. “Garage and estate sales are also great places to scout out those one of

a kind items that truly make a space special,” Brooks said. “I have clients that refuse to go to retail box stores and fill their homes with meaningless accessories.”

jazzy, statement mirrors instead of your standard cut wall mount traditional mirror.


In the bedroom, you’ll probably want to keep the walls neutral, but using a rich color on the ceiling makes for a lovely touch. “Keeping a neutral palette on the walls allows for [easily] switching out bedding from season to season, or simply when you grow tired of it,” Brooks said. Further enhance the look by adding a beautiful, large-scale centered light on a dimmer. A 24-inch semi-flush glass fixture would make for a great choice. “There is nothing that kills the environment in a master bedroom more than the typical 13 to 15 inch little ceiling mount, so taking that center fixture up to about 24 inches, making it semi flush and utilizing glass, crystal or some kind of unique trim would make a huge difference in a master bedroom,”

Once again we turn to paint, the ultimate virtue for making a splash in any room. Add life and vibrancy to a small bathroom by opting for bright, flamboyant colors. Carlson says it’s a small change that can go a long way to making a big impact. She also recommends splurging on accent tiles, glass or metallic, something dynamic to create and inset or niche backsplash. “You don’t have to spend a lot on a field tile,” she said “But utilizing quality accent tiles to create a great backsplash around the shower can make a super impact.” Picture frames and mirrors provide excellent ways to make the bathroom look great on a small budget. Opt for fun,


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Carlson said. It may seem the simplest thing of all, but, it is guaranteed to have a huge impact – your bedding. Don’t skimp on your budget when it comes to your sheets. High quality sheets are a must for an aesthetically pleasing bedroom, especially a master. Go for high quality sheet and




comforter combinations. And accessorize with pillows and throw blankets for a finished look. Finally, add an area rug to infuse color and richness into the room. Breathing new life into your home by remodeling or redesigning the interior is meant to be a fun, exciting experience, whether your design budget is $300,000 or $3,000, you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your taste and style. Sometimes, all that’s needed

is a bit of imagination and creativity. If there is room for splurging in some areas, a good starting point would be to figure out how you want to utilize your space. Having this discussion with a skilled interior designer will help you to efficiently and effectively channel your money into the areas that mean the most to you, and then opt for simple, but impactful DIY solutions to finish the job.





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