Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Thank you for voting us Make It Better magazine’s “Best Handyman” 2017!

Posted on 27 June 2017 | Category: General

Make it Better Best of 2017Get Dwell is proud to have been voted “Best Of” by Make It Better magazine readers five times (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and now 2017).

“Not only do we have the best clients in the world, but we have the best people serving them,” says Sally, the Office Manager at Get Dwell. “Our team is continually looking for new ways to ‘WOW!’ our clients.”

In addition to this honor, Get Dwell recently won the 2017 North Shore Choice Award, and was featured in Remodeling magazine’s Big50 issue.

We are very grateful to you for your support!

NKBA Reveals What Design Choices Are Trending in Kitchen and Baths in 2017

Posted on 26 January 2017 | Category: General

Modern-Kitchen_lowres

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) released the results of its 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Report during a press conference at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida. The report, which surveyed NKBA members, revealed what’s popular in colors, finishes, and design styles. Here are a few of the top trends revealed in the survey:

Kitchen trends

  • Cabinetry with clean lines and built-in styles are popular. More homeowners might be willing to go with a more modern look because of the new technologies being introduced in kitchens.
  • White and gray are still the go-to colors for many NKBA members. Two-tone kitchens are also trending.
  • Wood cabinets still dominate the kitchen, but metal cabinets (such as stainless steel, gold, and black) could be on the rise. Quartz is the top countertop choice.
  • Accessible and universal design features are trending as homeowners are choosing to age in place and more households are multi-generational.
  • Technology is on the rise with internet-connected appliances making their way into the kitchen as well as induction cooktops and steam ovens.

Bathroom trends

  • White and gray remain the popular choice for designers. Young homeowners also interested in blue, violet, and purple hues.
  • Wood vanities and linen storage cabinets are the most popular choice for storage solutions. Ceramic tile reigns supreme for flooring, but high-quality laminate seems to be gaining popularity.
  • According to the report, more than half of NKBA members surveyed said they eliminated a tub from a bathroom remodel, but half also specified including a free standing tub.
  • Homeowners are looking for safety and comfort in the bathroom: no-threshold showers, shower seats, lighting in the shower, etc.
  • Water-saving technology for faucets and toilets are becoming more mainstream.
From traditional and classic to modern and contemporary our designers work with clients to realize the ultimate design potential on any project. If you are considering remodeling a kitchen or bathroom in 2017, contact us today or call us at 847-922-3418. We will be happy to help you explore all the options, costs and design possibilities of any project.

The 2017 Top 10 Remodeling Paybacks in the Chicago area

Posted on 11 January 2017 | Category: General

Each year, the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) helps realtors and homeowners determine which remodeling projects have the greatest return when a homeowner goes to sell their home. The 2017 report shares that in the Chicago area, rising new-home prices, curb appeal and energy efficiency all contributed to a gain in remodeling projects’ payback at resale. As a general rule, the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio.

insulation1The Top 10 Remodeling Paybacks in the Chicago area for 2017

1) Curb Appeal: 71 – 104%

  • Front Door (steel): 104%
  • Stone Veneer: 104%
  • Grand Entrance (fiberglass): 71%

2) Attic Insulation: 89%

3) Kitchen Remodel: 75%

4) Siding Replacement: 71%

5) Window Replacement: 71%

6) Two-Story Addition: 70%

7) Family Room Addition: 64%

8) Deck Addition: 62%

9) Bathroom Remodel: 61%

10) Master Suite Addition: 60%


Takeaways from this year’s report:

  • First impressions are important and “curb appeal” is essential to maximizing value. Many of the highest-scoring projects were for projects completed on the exterior of the home (front doors, garage doors, entryways, siding, etc.)
  • Every realtor will tell you, “kitchens and baths sell houses” and the cost vs. value data supports this assumption. Kitchen and bath remodels have some of the biggest impact on your home’s value. In Chicago, an upscale bath remodel had a slightly lower return than a midrange bath remodel and a midrange kitchen remodel had a slightly better return than a major kitchen remodel.
  • Not surprisingly, attic insulation projects increase a home’s retail value by 89%.
  • Outdoor living is one of the fastest growing areas in the remodeling industry and in the Chicago area it has one of the biggest paybacks. Maximizing time outdoors on a well designed composite deck (which has a slightly larger return than wood decking) has great appeal to the Chicago area home buyer.
  • In general, replacements cost less and therefore provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions but as the value of homes increase, the value of these remodels and additions keep increasing right along with them.

The important thing for every homeowner to realize is that year after year, the cost of the average remodeling project keeps going up. A Chicago area homeowner will pay 5% more for their remodeling project in 2017 than in 2016. According to Metrostudy, this trend will continue through this year and into 2018 with remodeling projects increasing in cost an average of 5% per year. While every home improvement we make does not always equate with returns on the dollar, most homeowners want to maximize their investment when considering a remodeling project.

In this market, the longer a homeowner waits, the more expensive their remodeling projects become. If you are a homeowner considering any type of remodeling project — and want to pay less now and start enjoying your home’s investment right away — contact us today for a free consultation or call us at 847-922-3418.

 

Complete data from the Remodeling 2017 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com. All data from the report © 2017 Hanley Wood Media Inc. 

The “Golden Key” to Fixing a Cold, Uncomfortable and Drafty Home May Not Be What You Think

Posted on 08 December 2016 | Category: General, Specials

januaryWe meet with many homeowners who have cold and drafty rooms in their house and do not know realize how to solve this issue. Many think the best solution starts with an expensive window and door replacement project. Unfortunately, many people end up spending a great deal of money on replacement windows and doors to alleviate this problem only to discover that they still have a cold and drafty house after the new windows and doors are installed. And while, it is true, that the new windows and doors on the market today are true marvels of thermal resistance, it does not mean that your home will cease to be cold and drafty after installing them. Which is just what one of our clients discovered after she had new windows installed by another contractor in her daughters bedroom. “Her room was so cold and drafty at night that we needed to find a way to keep her room comfortable,”  she related “we ended up buying top of the line replacement windows only to realize that her bedroom was still cold and drafty after the installation”.

What this homeowner did not realize is that the single biggest contributor to the cold and draftiness of her daughters bedroom was not the windows. The “Golden Key” to fixing her daughter’s cold and drafty bedroom was to be found in the attic. “No longer does an old house, or even a new house, have to be cold, drafty and difficult to heat,” says Fred Lugano in Fine Homebuilding Magazine. In “the attic are the keys to lower heating bills and a more comfortable house”

In order to better understand why all the leading experts agree that the attic is the “Golden Key” to eliminating a cold, uncomfortable and drafty house you must be aware of two basic concepts of building performance.

The first concept to know about is the stack effect, in which the warmer air inside your home is forced to rise to the uppermost portions of your house. Next, you greendream2need to understand that there exists a building envelope which is the physical separator between the interior and the exterior environments of any building. So, as the warm air in your home forcibly rises it will meet the upper envelope, or in this case, your upper ceiling area. If this envelope has been penetrated or left unsealed (can lights, bath fans, attic access panels are great examples of penetration) warm air will be forced to escape. This, in turn, produces a giant vacuum effect throughout your home which will forcibly suck the cold, outside air into your home through the weaker and more susceptible parts of your lower building envelope (like rim joists, doors and windows and anywhere else that is not properly sealed.) This giant vacuum effect — sucking cold, outside air into the home — is the cause of the drafts in your home and not your doors and windows or some other perceived phenomenon.

If you want to test this in your own home, wait for a next cold day when there is not a breath of wind outside. Next, put your hand near your doors and windows. That frigid rush of air you feel will not be a breeze from any wind outside but the force of cold, exterior air being sucked into your house by the giant vacuum effect. The best way to eliminate this and stop the drafts is to seal the penetrations in the upper building envelope of your home which will prevent the warm air from forcibly escaping and causing the giant vacuum effect in the first place.

The Golden Key to fixing a cold, uncomfortable and drafty home is to seal the unsealed penetrations in the upper building envelope and then insulate properly.

storageThe good news is that by doing these things it is estimated that you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill). If you would like to find out why your house is cold and drafty and how to solve it, contact us — we have the thermal cameras to identify the issues and expertise to make your home warm and cozy. For just $125 for existing clients or $175 for new clients, we will provide a Cold and Draft Assessment, which includes a detailed listing of all cold and draft issues, thermal imaging and a visual assessment of the attic.

Contact us today to schedule a Cold and Draft Assessment for your home.

The top ten things any homeowner should consider before hiring their next remodeler

Posted on 28 November 2016 | Category: General, Tips

Homeowner signing contract

Remodeling your home can be one of the most stressful activities that you experience. It can be a large investment, your family is typically still living in the home so it can upset your daily routine, and we’ve all heard horror stories about people who chose the wrong remodeling contractor for the job and lived to regret it. So, we’ve put together a helpful Top Ten List of things you should consider when you are interviewing remodeling companies.

1] Have you actually met who is going to do the work?

If your remodeling contractor was personally recommended from a family member, friend, next door neighbor or from your trusted local hardware store, you are likely to have a good remodeling experience. If your contractor was not personally referred to you, before any work begins, we recommend meeting with the Production Manager in charge, or the Lead Carpenter who will be doing the actual work. Remember, these are the people you are going to be living with 8-10 hours a day, every day, until the end of your project. Choose wisely.

2] Did you have a discussion with your contractor about any and all ways that your project could end up costing more than it states on the contract?

There are a certain number of contractors who have a reputation for selling low and pulling the bait-and-switch routine at some point in the project with something called a “Change Order”. This always seem to come as a surprise to both the homeowner and the contractor when it is really only the homeowner that is surprised. Be aware that every remodeling project has potential risks and all professional contractors should inform you of those risks before asking you to sign on the dotted line.

3] Is the project timeline set in stone?

For a homeowner who has experienced any of the following: a contractor goes missing, doesn’t return calls, has gotten in over his head financially, or just can’t muster the resources to pull off your project — the explosion of the project timeline becomes a nightmare that your family can’t wake up from anytime soon. Professional contractors will always present a production calendar detailing the scope of the project with highlights that track the essential milestones. A timeline that is set up well at the beginning helps ensure a successful outcome.

4] Will there be Employees or Subcontractors doing the work?

Since the recession, most remodelers have moved away from having the more expensive burden of employees and have gone to the subcontractor model. The subcontractor model can almost always offer a less expensive product but no one can really argue that the quality of the subcontractor experience can match a dedicated team of skilled and trained employees. If quality, not cost, is your biggest concern, be sure to ask if employees or subs will be used on your job and, just to be sure, ask for a copy of their Employee Workers Comp Certificate.

5] EPA Certification is a must in the Chicago area. Is your Contractor Certified?

There are over 1 million kids who have been poisoned by lead from old paint, and we estimate that over half the contractors we see working in Chicago and the suburbs are not EPA Certified.  Do everyone a favor — but especially pregnant women and children — and do not hire any contractors that are not lead safe certified. These guys are the worst of the worst. To verify if a contractor is EPA Certified just enter their name on the EPA website by clicking here. In the “Find a Firm” form, click the Renovator box, then enter your address and the “Search Firms” button.

6] Are they able to communicate effectively?

If we take the remodeling factor out of the equation and just look at how the very best teams deliver the very best results, we can quickly understand just how important effective communication is for all successful team projects. While all of us in the trades appreciate the skill of a craftsman, it’s his/her ability to effectively communicate that will put him/her on the best team at one of the best companies in Chicago. Our advice is “If you contact a company before 4:00 pm and do not get a return call that same day, you are probably dealing with a company where communication is not a priority.”

7] How valuable is the warranty you’ll receive?

Occasionally, we are called in to fix something that a previous contractor has done. Typically, the homeowner cannot get a return call or has discovered that the previous contractor has moved or gone out of business. If there was an unforeseen mistake in the remodeling process and a issue arises, the warranty that a locally trusted or more established company provides can be as valuable as the project itself. Ask for references from the remodeling contractor you are considering.

8] What is your protection from risk?

There is not a condo building in Chicago that will allow a general contractor to even set foot in their building without the following protections: General Liability Insurance, Workers Comp Certificate, EPA Certification and any licenses, bonds or permits needed for that particular job. They do this because they know firsthand all the risks and have seen or heard of all the possible disasters that are part of this business. Protect yourself. If it’s required for every condo building in the city, it should be required by you for your home.

9] How important is dust management?

85% of homeowners surveyed stated that job site dust was the #1 nuisance of their last remodeling project. Studies have shown that homes being remodeled have five to eight times the amount of particles in the air than homes that are not being remodeled. The most professional companies, like GetDwell, employ the Livable Remodeling System, which begins with the BuildClean Dust Management System. These air scrubbing machines are game changers, and our clients have come to love the benefits — especially if asthma or allergies are an issue. BuildClean dramatically reduces 90% of airborne job site dust  by drawing in air, passing it through a series of filters, and returning the “scrubbed” air back into the space. No longer do homeowners have to suffer through every morning with grit in their toothbrushes and coffee mugs.

10] You have a Three-Day Right To Cancel in the State of Illinois.

In Illinois, three day rights to cancel are required to be given in specific types of transactions. In many cases, home repair or remodeling contracts are required to contain wording that gives you this important legal right and explains how you can exercise it. It is important to understand the specific circumstances in which Illinois law gives you this right.

You are required to be given a three day right to cancel a home repair contract if:

  • the sale of services or merchandise involves $25 or more, and
  • the contract is signed when the salesperson or contractor is physically present in your residence.

The law requires notice of your three day right to cancel to be given both orally and as part of the written contract. Do not sign any contract that does not fully describe the three day right to cancel, fails to state the date of sale, or contains blank spaces.

Learn more about the Three Day Right to Cancel Hope Repair law in Illinois here.


In summary, Get Dwell recommends that when you are selecting a contractor for your remodeling project, you should:

  • Meet the actual people who are going to do the work
  • Have a discussion about change orders
  • Agree to a timeline for your project
  • Know who will be performing the work — employees or subcontractors
  • Select an EPA Certified contractor
  • Make sure you are comfortable with your contractor’s ability to communicate effectively,
  • Get a warranty for work, and be sure the contractor will be around in case you need to use that warranty after the job is completed
  • Be sure you are protected from risk, using best practices learned from condominium property managers
  • Ask about the dust management system they use (or if they use one!)

We hope these considerations are helpful to you. And of course, we’d love to provide a free estimate for any remodeling projects you are considering. Just contact us here.

Get Dwell Managers named to Professional Remodeler’s “40 under 40”

Posted on 18 August 2016 | Category: General, Press
40 under 40 coverProfessional Remodeler has named Brian Mazur, Production Manager at Get Dwell and Rocky Macias, Operations Manager at Get Dwell to their list of “40 under 40” stars in the remodeling industry. Both men have earned their way to the top of their industry the old fashioned way — through hard work and exceptional client service. 
Success at any age is impressive. But to achieve it at an early age is even more of an accomplishment ” says Darryl Rose, President of Get Dwell, “These talented young professionals are making important contributions not only to our business, but are also leading the future young people we have coming into our industry at a time when we desperately need good leaders.”
 

Brian Mazur
Brian Mazur is also a professional walleye fisherman who got to the top of his game by not only being able to plan and execute at a high level but by improvising effectively under pressure. His experience leading teams to the winner’s podium has come in handy at Get Dwell, where he has built a team of subcontractors and strategic partners around a solid core of dedicated employees to lead Get Dwell to the top of Remodeling’s BIG 50. In addition to helping us become a remodeling industry leader, Brian has served our community as a mentor to the New Trier Bass Fishing Team and by taking area veterans and youth fishing each year.
 
Rocky MaciasRocky Macias is also a seasoned home inspector. Rocky ran his own company for ten years before turning his talents toward Get Dwell. By inspecting our clients homes, the quality of our project work and our client satisfaction reports, Rocky has implemented the positive changes needed to improve our overall client satisfaction ratings to the highest levels we have had in the last 11 years. In addition to his hard work at Get Dwell, Rocky gives back to our community through his work with “Seeds of Compassion” to feed the homeless on Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive and volunteering with Rebuilding Together in the north suburbs to help transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes.
 
If you are looking for these types of professionals to run your next remodeling project, call Get Dwell today and experience the Get Dwell difference. With over 4,000 satisfied homeowners in Chicago and the northern suburbs, Get Dwell provides the dynamic teamwork needed for any successful remodeling project.

The 2016 Top 10 Remodeling Paybacks in the Chicago area

Posted on 13 July 2016 | Category: General

Each year the Cost vs. Value Report by Hanley Wood helps realtors and homeowners determine which remodeling projects have the greatest return when a homeowner goes to sell their home. The 2016 report shares that in the Chicago area, bigger and more expensive projects, rising new-home prices, curb appeal and energy efficiency all contributed to a gain in remodeling projects’ payback at resale. As a general rule, the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio.

The Top 10 Remodeling Paybacks in the Chicago area for 2016

insulation11) Attic Insulation 118%

2) Front Entry / Curb Appeal 89%

3) Wood Decks 73%

4) Window Replacement 72%

5) Midrange Kitchen Remodel  73%

ProjectArticle_Small_Photo36) Two-Story Addition  69%

7) Siding Replacement 68%

8) Roofing Replacement 64%

9) Bathroom Remodel 59%

10) Basement Remodel 56%


Takeaways from this year’s report:

  • First impressions are important and “curb appeal” is essential to maximizing value. Many of the highest-scoring projects were for projects completed on the exterior of the home (front doors, garage doors, entryways, siding, etc.)
  • BathrooomEvery realtor will tell you, “kitchens and baths sell houses” and the cost vs. value data supports this assumption. Kitchen and bath remodels have some of the biggest impact on your home’s value. In Chicago, an upscale bath remodel had a slightly lower return than a midrange bath remodel and a midrange kitchen remodel had a much better return than a major kitchen remodel.
  • Not surprisingly, attic insulation projects top the list increasing a home’s retail value by 118%.
  • Outdoor living is one of the fastest growing areas in the remodeling industry and in the Chicago area it has one of the biggest paybacks. Maximizing time outdoors on a well designed wood deck (which has a bigger return than composite decking) has great appeal to the Chicago area home buyer.
  • In general, replacements cost less and therefore provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions but as the value of homes increase, the value of these remodels and additions keep increasing right along with them.

The important thing for every homeowner to realize is that year after year, the cost of the average remodeling project keeps going up. A Chicago area homeowner will pay 5% more for their remodeling project in 2016 than in 2015. Taking into consideration the continued rise in labor and material costs, the predictions for 2017 put that number upwards of 10%. While every home improvement we make does not always equate with returns on the dollar, most homeowners want to maximize their investment when considering a remodeling project.

In this market, the longer a homeowner waits, the more expensive their remodeling projects become. If you are a homeowner considering any type of remodeling project — and want to pay less now and start enjoying your home’s investment right away — contact us today for a free consultation or call us at 847-922-3418.

The 30-Day Remodeling System

Posted on 10 February 2016 | Category: Featured Projects, General

The ClarkesWhen the Clarkes purchased their new home they knew they had a short 30-day window from the close to move in.

They also knew they needed to do a major renovation including:

  1. Total remodel of the master bathroom.
  2. Removing a long wall and cabinets to open up the space between the kitchen and dining room.
  3. Installing new flooring.
  4. Retrofitting custom book cases.
  5. Replacing the hot water heater.
  6. Painting and wallpapering throughout.

Clarkes house 2When it came to choosing the right contractor for the job however, the choice was easy. Get Dwell had been their contractor of choice for the last ten years so it made perfect sense to take advantage of Get Dwell’s 30-Day Remodeling System to get them into their new home on time.

Thirty days after the Clarke’s signed a contract on their old house, Get Dwell has completed the renovations and they have moved into their new home. “We couldn’t be happier” says Mrs. Clarke. “Get Dwell did a fantastic job and their 30-Day Remodeling System allowed us to move in on time and on budget.”

Clarkes houseIf you would like to learn more about Get Dwell’s 30-Day Remodeling System please contact us or give us a call at 847-922-3418.

 

 

Wind Storm Assistance

Posted on 12 November 2015 | Category: General

Our team is ready!

If you or your family has experienced any Chicago area storm damage the team at Get Dwell is here to help. From a downed fence to a damaged roof or exterior, we are ready give you the assistance you need.
Call 847-922-3418 or email info@getdwell.com to schedule an appointment or find out more.

How to Spot Hidden Damage from Wicked Winter Weather

Posted on 10 April 2015 | Category: General, Press

Darryl Rose of Get Dwell on CBS 2 CHICAGO offering solutions for basement flooding to Chicago area homeowners

Basement flooding is becoming increasingly common in the Chicago area and it is something more and more homeowners are guarding against. For many years, 90 percent of storms in Illinois produced less than 1 inch of rain but in recent years there has been an increase in the occurrence and intensity of 2-to-3 inch rainstorms. The Chicago area, topographically dominated by the glacial Lake Chicago plain can create a drainage nightmare for homeowners. The dense clay base of our region and the water level of Lake Michigan makes subsurface drainage highly ineffective. When big rains hit there is nowhere for the water to go and it can overwhelm homes and municipal systems designed to prevent flooding.

Basement flooding can occur from water pouring over the top of the foundation, through a leaking wall or floor crack, through the basement window, through the cove joint (where the wall and floor meet), the back up of an overwhelmed municipal sewer or storm water system or some other unique weak point, like a below-grade door. Fortunately, there are now flood prevention systems available so homeowners can avoid these disasters.

Having a dry basement is essential to the health of your home and with today’s advanced systems there is no need to worry “if” or “when” your basement will flood. If you need help understanding the cause of your basement flooding or how you can prevent flooding from occurring, call us at Get Dwell as we’d be happy to schedule a consultation.