Baby it’s cold outside: The perks of remodeling during the winter

Are you already looking forward to the warmer weather of next spring in order to get a jump-start on your home remodel? Many homeowners believe they need to wait until the arrival of spring or summer to begin a home renovation project because of weather concerns or the need to get out of the house while work is being completed.

We’re happy to tell you there’s no reason to wait. Gayler Construction can build in any season. Consider it just another luxury of our mild California weather—we have systems in place to deal with almost anything Mother Nature throws at us. When the rain starts, we can erect tarps to cover the work area. Plywood and other framing materials are made to withstand bouts of rain, so our biggest concern is keeping the existing home interior dry. To ensure this, we “dry in” the roof and any walls as soon as possible. In addition, we watch the weather daily and adjust plans accordingly.

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You may be concerned about remodeling in the winter because of the amount of fumes and dust that can be dispersed during the project. We use modern products and technologies to contain and clean up any messy work, and can remove annoying particles without having to open windows.

Regarding the need to vacate your property, we can often make a lot of progress on a renovation before creating any disruption to an existing structure. Larger projects may require more flexibility, but we believe they can present a fantastic excuse for you to take that much-needed vacation, whether you choose to hit the beach or the slopes.

And if you’ve been dreaming of a beautiful outdoor area to enjoy during the warmer seasons, there’s no better time than winter to make it happen. Work is performed during the colder winter months and your improved yard is ready for use as soon as spring arrives. Why waste days or weeks of good weather when you have dozens of chilly winter days to get the work done?

If you are considering a home remodeling project, here are just a few advantages to scheduling it during the winter:

  1. Planning and Scheduling
    Your contractor may have more time during the winter to work with you to design your project. This process may take longer in the warmer months as work picks up. In addition, it’s usually easier for contractors to schedule interior projects such as painting, replacing flooring, updating lighting and replacing cabinetry in the winter, as there is less exterior work required.
  2. Permit Approvals
    Government agencies are usually less busy in winter, making it easier and faster for your contractor to obtain the necessary permits.
  3. No Worry Clean up
    Many homeowners wait until spring to remodel because of concerns about dust, fumes and other messes. However, current technologies and clean-up methods including negative pressure, plastic zip doors and sealed off heat ducts can control these potential problems and keep your home clean.
  4. Outdoor Projects
    It doesn’t make sense to wait until spring to start an exterior project and miss out on the opportunity to use the new outdoor area during the warm weather. Because of our mild California winters and experience with weatherproofing systems, we have the ability to build decks, porches and even additions in the winter.
  5. Your Schedule
    Have you already made plans to take a vacation this winter? If so, it may be the optimal time to have remodeling work done in order to avoid disruption of your daily activities. You won’t have to deal with the noise or hassle of living in a home that’s getting torn apart, and you can return home to a completed new addition or other repair.

Are you unsure of the best remodeling project to embark on this winter? Kitchen renovations or bathroom remodels are both great winter projects. Room renovations are also a good idea, such as turning a garage or basement into a bonus room. Looking for design ideas or need professional inspiration? We would love to help you. Contact us for a free in-home consultation.

 

 

Charming Danville First Floor Remodel

With a first floor footprint of approximately 1,600 square feet, this home was opened up and reconfigured to include a new kitchen, living room, family room (and fireplace), laundry room, mudroom and powder room. More importantly, a sunken living room and family room were raised to match the rest of the house.

From a 1970’s layout with small, closed off rooms, an outdated kitchen and a lava rock fireplace in the living room, this first floor remodel took a turn for the BETTER.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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The new open space was kept light and airy with the new white cabinets, light color subway tile backsplash and subtle taupe paint color. The medium grey Caesarstone counters and dark wood floors added contrast and depth to the space.

A large functional island was added with plenty of cabinet storage and place for the kids to do homework. Thin darker grout lines in the backsplash were chosen purposely to minimize cleanup and keep it looking new.

A metal shelf was added above the range (for oils and spices) as a special interest to the backsplash that also offered ease of use and functionality to the kitchen while minimizing clutter.

Before construction, the fireplace had a large lava rock surround. The lava rock was replaced with tile mimicking the same color and material used on the counter tops. The white mantle surround matched the cabinets and gave the space the subtle detail of a well thought out, contemporary fireplace.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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As you can see, this home was transformed from a small, cramped, ill-conceived and dated kitchen/family room to an open, airy, lovely living space that accommodates a young, growing family. The project was completed in 3 months, 19 days.

 

For further inquiries, please contact Gayler Construction or call 925.820.0185.

Experience a Whole House Remodel in Progress—Part II

The Unveiling

Did Gayler Construction maintain their 18-year track record of delivering remodeling projects on time and on budget? Read on to find out. Enjoy this heartfelt interview with San Ramon homeowner, Chris G. as she details her experience going through a 10-week whole house remodel with Gayler Construction.

Missed Part I? Read Chris’s first interview.

Last time we talked, you were approximately ten weeks into your project, with the end close in sight. How long did it take, from start to finish, to complete your remodel?

It took exactly 10 weeks.

Was your project on time or early?

On time.

What do you think contributed to the on-time delivery?

Everyone at Gayler Construction is very organized and on top of every detail. They must also have really good relationships with their subs, because the contractors were consistently on site when they said they were going to be there.

We spoke with friends/neighbors who had a completely different experience with their remodeling contractor—subs not showing up, project being delayed, etc. We never had any of those issues.

Overall, how pleased were you with the outcome of your project?

Very pleased. Our remodel turned out awesome. It’s beautiful and I am very happy.

What is your favorite feature/attribute?

Boy, that is a tough question. I have to say that I really love my new hardwood floors. They create such a beautiful look and make the entire living space feel so much bigger. I also love my new bathroom shower—complete with a functional shower bench. And, Gayler built me a closet under the stairwell, affectionately called “my Harry Potter closet,” where I store my mops, brooms and cleaning supplies. I also love my new kitchen appliances. I guess the items I appreciate the most are the ones that have made my life easier.

How close were you to staying on budget?

Gayler kept us on budget, but we decided to make a few changes from the original plan, which was our choice.

What factors influenced the change in cost?

We decided to add more hardwood floors throughout the house, instead of carpeting; upgraded our appliances, etc. It was our conscious decision to go over budget.

Explain what it was like seeing the remodel come together?

Between my husband and I, one of us would stop by to pick up the mail and check out the progress. We saw the remodel come together gradually.

Our project manager, Paul, would call on us to provide input on small details, like where we wanted the grab bars in our shower, and recommendations on how to hang the bathroom mirror, etc. We were actively involved in decisions throughout the process, but also had the benefit of having a full design and construction team behind us who we trusted to use their own discretion.

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What was the walk-through like?

At the end, when everything was done, George and Chris came over to go over the budget and itemized costs. We also went through a Punch List. There were not a whole lot of items that needed to be fixed, most of which were small paint touch ups.

Has Gayler honored their workmanship warranty?

Yes, absolutely. Last week, I received an email from Gayler Construction, following up after 30 days to see if there was anything else that needed to be done. We found a few small items and Paul came out with a painter.

We’re expecting another follow up after 6 months, 1 year, and then yearly after than for five consecutive years.

What advice would you give a homeowner who is considering a whole house remodel?

Move out. It’s going to cost a little more money, but it will save you in mental anguish (jokingly, therapist fees) and ultimately makes it easier on the contractor as well. It’s easier on everyone.

I also recommend that you consider putting aside contingency money. When you look at something from week to week, you change your mind. Thus, you should plan on putting aside a little extra. You need to be realistic about that—it’s very likely that you will like something better as you go along. Carefully consider what you want before stepping into it.

Packing and moving can be stressful but it can also be fun. You need to keep it in perspective. We moved into an apartment, paying for 12 weeks. We took our time moving back into our space over a week and a half, and embraced the transition.

A whole house remodel is totally worth it, honestly. It was a great process. We’re pleased with the outcome and the process.

Would you recommend using Gayler Construction?

Yes, absolutely. I’ve already told a couple of people about Gayler Construction. Compared to stories I’ve heard from friends or friends of friends, we didn’t come close to having any of the same issues.

 

For further inquiries, please contact Gayler Construction or call 925.820.0185.

 

Experience a Whole House Remodel In Progress—Part 1

Chris G., a San Ramon homeowner, takes you through her journey

With an 18-year track record of delivering remodeling projects on time and on budget, we wanted to give you an inside look at how it’s done by following a current project from start to finish. Here’s a glimpse of a whole house remodel in progress, as Chris G. shares her remarkable experience.

Q: How would you describe your home before the renovation?

A: It had a 1970s look and feel. The kitchen had white tile with dark grout, oak cabinets, fluorescent lighting, and black appliances. There were popcorn ceilings throughout the house, with wallpaper on the walls.

DSCN4485Master Bathroom (1)

Q: What did you decide to have done?

A: We decided to remodel the entire house, ceiling to floor, to include the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, master bathroom, two hall bathrooms, and even added upgrades to the garage (drywall, new shelving and lighting).

Q: What was the reason for your renovation?

A: It had been 22 years since we remodeled our kitchen. The time was right, especially with our kids being older and almost through with college. We wanted to create a more current, contemporary living space with lighter colors, more lighting, white cabinetry, hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, etc.

Q: How long is your project expected to take?

A: The entire project is expected to take 3 months. July 9th, to be exact.

Q: When did your project start?

A: April 20, 2015

Q: How far into the project are you?

A: On schedule, or a little ahead—about 10 weeks into the project.

Q: What has been done so far?

A: The floors are all in. The tile in all three bathrooms is finished and showers are installed. The cabinets came Friday and were installed also. This week, they started painting and began the finish work.

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Q: What has the process been like?

A: I had never done this before, and I’m not a decorator. So, it was really fabulous working with a designer, particularly George Gayler, right from the beginning. We started with the blue prints we had from a previous project and were able to determine rather quickly what changes we could make to the house. George also talked us through what we liked about our kitchen and where we could make functional improvements.

After designing the entire living space, I worked with Gayler’s interior designer, Dorene, who helped me with material and product selections to enhance the look of the project (counter tops, flooring, fixtures, paint colors, etc.). She spent a couple of hours in our home taking pictures and discussing our needs.

Once we decided what we wanted, within a week we were driving to suppliers picking out tile, flooring, glass doors and interior doors. Knowing that I had narrowed my selection to a white kitchen, Dorene brought appropriate paint samples to the house and came with cabinetry styles that fit the architectural detail of our home. There was a lot of due diligence that was done up front. Dorene had pre-scheduled meetings with suppliers beforehand, so we could be in and out, and she only showed me things we could afford.

While I was making my selections, the construction crew started on demolition. The project manager, Paul, has been on site every day. And the trade contractors are incredible. They are on time and do quality work. We also have a scheduled meeting every Tuesday with Paul. And, every Monday, Darlene follows up with an email, checking in with us and how the project is going. Honestly, I haven’t had one issue.

Q: How was the budget established?

A: We had an initial planning meeting with George and Chris. Chris does the estimating. He developed a scope of work that detailed everything from removing popcorn ceilings to the square footage of hardwood and porcelain tiles.

Once we approved the budget list, every allowance was entered into BuilderTrend. For each line item, we can see our budget associated with the materials that are ordered. Actual costs are entered next to the allowances and approved by us before anything is ordered. As a result, we have the satisfaction of knowing exactly where we are with the budget at all times.

Q: Are you currently on track to make your budget?

A: Yes. We elected to add a couple work orders/upgrades once the demolition started, but that was on us, not Gayler.

Stay tuned next month for PART II to see if this project completes on time and on budget and to witness the entire transformation, with detailed before and after photos.

For further inquiries, please contact Gayler Construction or call 925.820.0185.

Trends in Backyard Design

Nothing says summer like beautiful outdoor living spaces. If you’ve had the desire to spruce up your backyard, now may be the time to entertain some of your wildest dreams.

#1 Outdoor Rooms & Kitchens

Gone are the days of picnic tables and lawn chairs. Instead, the comforts of indoors are being brought outside into full outdoor living rooms with fade-resistant furniture, outdoor air-cooling systems, fans, misters, fire tables, and even special appliances.

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#2 Fire Tables and Bowls

When you have a beautiful outdoor living space, nothing completes the look like a fireplace pit or table like this one. And, homeowners are hot on the trend.

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#3 Pool Houses Make a Splash

Pool Houses are more popular than ever, from one room with a bath, to multiple rooms with kitchenettes and media centers. And, lucky for you, there is a pool house for almost every landscape and budget.

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If you’re ready to entertain your own backyard design ideas or need professional inspiration, we would love to help you. Contact us for a free in-home consultation.

Bathroom Project-of-the-Year Finalists

Enjoy these fun construction photos of projects gone wrong, courtesy of Google.com. Here are eleven good reasons why you might want to hire Gayler Construction for your next bathroom remodel.

1) Seriously?

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2) Hmmm….

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3) I should have double checked those measurements

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4) Apparently, it’s important not to show your face, but everything else is okay?

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5) The oak toilet seat is a nice touch

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6) And the purpose of the door is?

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7) This stall was made for people with REALLY long arms?

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8) This would be perhaps the “1/16 bath” noted in the real estate listing?

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9) Someone has taken the meaning of  “Get off the throne” to a whole new level.

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10) How does this even get past the planning stages?

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11) Here’s our favorite! The Bathroom Project of the Year goes to…”This might work!”.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed these real bathroom photos, complete with design ingenuity. If you have seen some jewels of your own, please send us your photos. We’d love to add them to our future Bathroom Project-of-the-Year Awards.

White Cabinets Are Trending White Hot!

More and more clients are choosing white cabinetry. With white cabinets, the variety of applications are endless! Mix them with other colorful cabinetry or a dark wood island. Add different textures, or use different hardware finishes or cabinet styles to create a distinctive look. There’s so much you can do. Check out these beautiful cabinets!

Clean, classic white cabinets
Photo above: Clean and classic lines come together to create a bright and open kitchen that will stand the test of time. This design was created to achieve a soothing space to cook, work and entertain. Alaska granite with shimmering silver speckles, taupes, and creams creates the perfect accent to the white raised-panel cabinets. The silver leaf mini pendants with oiled bronze chains tie in the black appliances, oil-rubbed bronze backsplash accent tiles, and other lighting fixtures used throughout the home. The tumbled travertine tile backsplash adds another soft stone element. The brushed nickel hardware serves as subtle “jewelry” to complete this pristine kitchen.

Rustic White Cabinets
Photo above: Rustic and distressed cabinets include a white, Swiss Coffee (Benjamin Moore OC-45) painted door with accent glaze on the full overlay flat panel design. The contrasting island has a heavily-distressed cherry wood and amber cherry glaze detail. Gorgeous oil-rubbed bronze hardware and pendants with copper shades accent the cabinets beautifully. The African Rainbow granite features subtle green accents with taupes and grays that work seamlessly with the painted and stained cabinets. The green accent in the granite is tied into the design with Guilford Green paint (Benjamin Moore HC-116). All elements combine to create a classic kitchen with a timeless, reclaimed feel.

For further inspiration, Check out this idea book from Houzz—it’s filled with white cabinetry ideas!

Thank You Danville & San Ramon For Voting!

DVSR_ReadersChoice2014_logoWe are proud to announce that Gayler Construction has won the 2014 Danville San Ramon Readers Choice Award for Best Home Improvement Contractor for the 7th year in a row!

We want to personally thank all of our clients, trade partners and staff for keeping our company’s work and reputation strong in our community. We couldn’t do it without everyone’s support and participation.

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Bay Area Tile Designer Delivers New Slant on Mid Century Modern

brio-blend-caboRebecca Lonergan never imagined she’d be the owner of one of the design industry’s hottest tile companies. She left a successful position in the high-pressure world of Silicon Valley technology and did what many successful entrepreneurs before her had done… turned her true passion into a golden opportunity.

Looking for a way to follow her design passion and talent for mosaic art, she partnered with her husband Dave, who helped her transform her art into a revolutionary new business model – the result was Modwalls.com.

“Lots of companies sell tile online, but what we do is a little different,” says Lonergan. “Our focus is modern and mid-century inspired tile. One of the product lines that sets us apart from other tile makers is our Brio and Brio Blend tile.”

brio-blend-highlandThe Brio glass mosaic tile comes in nearly 80 colors, and is ideal for walls as backsplash tile, shower tile, pool tile and it even makes a great floor tile. The Brio tile is well-suited for any use indoor or outdoor and comes in a variety of finishes that are hitting home with homeowners and professional designers alike.

But what really puts Modwalls into a league of its own is its proprietary online Tile Blender tool that allows any person or designer create their own custom blend (Brio Blend) based on their color choices.

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The tool is easy and fun to use, and in just about one week, the completed product is shipped from California.

The Tile Blender offers endless possibilities for color and pattern variation, making it a wonderful fit for any design project. The Blender tool is also equipped with a grout selector to assist in the right grout color choice for the application. Additionally the software has a square footage calculator that helps approximate the number of tile sheets needed to complete your project.

What’s unique about Brio Blends is that the custom tile sheets are assembled locally in San Jose by an extraordinary group of people.

Modwalls partners with Hope Services. Hope Services employs developmentally disabled adults, teaching them real-world skills, and in this case – making custom tiles for Modwalls.com. Modwalls custom orders employs over 40 Hope Services staff, and that number is growing.

“Words cannot capture the pride we feel about this product,” says Rebecca. “Not only are the buyers of the tile excited about it, but the joy we feel about the team that manufacturers it – fills us with happiness every day.”

Now eight years later, the Modwalls brand is thriving with loyal customers in the design and hospitality world, as well as with homeowners throughout North America who are seeking something different than what they are able to find in most brick and mortar showrooms or big box home goods stores. Modwalls is located in Aptos, California.

For information about the company visit Modwalls.com. For more information about the Modwalls Blender tile tool, visit ModwallsBlender.com. To learn more about Hope Services visit HopeServices.org.

Green Roofs: A Fresh Take on a Centuries Old Concept

With so many advantages… it’s a wonder they are not the norm.

Green roofs are getting more attention these days with the increased focus on environmentally friendly building trends. While many larger cities in the U.S have embraced the trend over the past few decades, the fact is that roofs made up of vegetative matter have been in existence for hundreds of years around the world.

Outside of the United States, green roofs have become more and more common, and many cities such as Stuttgart, Tokyo, Toronto and Luzern have adopted green roof requirements as part of their building codes.

Leonie Meima is an East Bay landscape designer who has studied the development of green roofs and the advancement in related materials and systems. Below she shares some the many benefits that a green roof can offer.

Longevity

The typical life span for a conventional black or white roof is 20 years, while a green roof can last twice as long. The five thriving rooftop gardens atop the Rockefeller Center were installed in 1936, and in Germany, which boasts more green roofs than any other country, there are green roofs that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

Insulation

In studies comparing black, white and green roofs, green roofs have been found to be better at providing insulation in both warm and cold climates. They can provide a heat shield effect in hot weather and offer thermal insulation in colder temperatures. In each case, this can help reduce indoor energy use.

Fire Protection

In California, where drought has led to an almost year-round fire danger, a green roof composed of succulents can provide a measure of safety. Succulents such as sedum or stonecrops are naturally fire resistant because they contain water (but surprisingly, they don’t require a lot of watering to thrive).

Increased Space for Vegetable Gardening

Depending on your lot size and configuration, your roof area may provide the ideal spot to grown a veggie garden. The roof area usually gets a great deal of sun exposure, and situating a garden on the top of your home can put your edible plants out of reach of deer and other foraging critters.

Financial Incentives

More municipalities, including state and local governments are offering some form of financial incentive to homeowners who install a green roof. These may come in the form of grants, rebates or tax credits. In addition, PG&E may offer up to $4500 in incentives for a green roof. Working with a professional experienced in green roof installation can help a homeowner learn more about what types of incentives may be available in their area.

Increased Solar Panel Efficiency

Green roofs installed in close proximity to solar panels can boost efficiency due to the air cooling properties associated with plant evapotranspiration. The vegetative matter of a green roof can also decrease dust and airborne pollutants, which reduces the need to clean the panels and can increase solar absorption and efficiency.

Global Community Benefits

In higher density areas such as urban environments, green roofs can diminish the urban heat island effect that results in higher temperatures in cities than in surrounding rural areas. This lowering of temps can diminish the need for air conditioning. The ability of plants to metabolize chemical pollution can improve air quality, which has a number of benefits, including reduced asthma risks. Finally, green roofs create additional habitat for butterflies, birds and other creatures that thrive in a balanced eco-system.

Basic Considerations for Adding a Green Roof to Your Home

Leonie advises that installing a green roof requires an upfront plan. The roof will need to be added as part of a new building project or a remodel where a roof is being replaced or a second story is being added. This is because the proper infrastructure needs to be developed in order to support the roof, which can be anywhere from three inches to 36 inches deep. It is nearly impossible to simply add a green roof onto an existing structure without some sort of retrofit to the underlying support structure.

leonieThese are just a few of the economic and ecological advantages of green roofs. If you would like to learn more about green roofs and what might be involved in adding a green roof to your home, please contact Leonie Meima at lmeima@me.com or at 925-202-3683.