Archive for the ‘Featured Projects’ Category

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.



Get Dwell TV: Woo-Hoo!

Posted on 13 May 2015 | Category: Featured Projects, Press

Get Dwell helps a child build a table and makes a Halloween dream come true

Posted on 29 October 2014 | Category: Featured Projects

img_60871Get Dwell received a detailed drawing and a note from Kyle, our biggest fan, asking for help making a table of “big wood”. We immediately put a project team together to best figure out how to make Kyle’s wishes come true.

Click here to find out what happened next.

So, if you happen to have a medium-sized “Get Dwell Guy” trick-or-treating at your door this Halloween be sure to say hello to Kyle, our biggest fan and a table builder of “big wood”.


Avani Mehta: A Passion for Design

Posted on 23 December 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

AvaniOne of the most exciting aspects of our business is our ongoing work with interior designers; putting our team’s skilled craftsmen to work in helping realize the imaginative ideas of some of Chicago’s most creative design professionals. We’re especially proud when we can team up with a designer who’s both extremely artistic and committed to sustainability. Our work with Avani Mehta is just such a match.

Avani (pronounced Avni) is a passionate woman; passionate for beautiful old homes, stunning interior design and the importance of being a responsible, energy conscious homeowner. She has a certain wise warmth about her, a timeless vibe that lends itself well to historic preservation and restoration of the unique older homes so Avani2common here in the Chicago area. Her name, Avani, is a Sanskrit term meaning something very close to “Mother Earth.”

“I am a mother,” she chuckles, “It’s what is most important to me. But homes are my passion.

“Over time, working with so many homes – including five of my own — you learn a lot. What to keep and what just doesn’t work.” As a responsible home renovator, she has also learned how being green can best influence her designs. “I want to make these homes as energy efficient as my clients’ budgets and capabilities allow. I seek to bring these old houses back to life; to make them feel like homes. Even for my new construction clients I always think antique or vintage elements in the design give their homes a more authentic feel.”

Avani3“I’ve always re-used things.” says Mehta. On one project when she noticed the cedar roof sheathing was in panels, it ended up as an attic floor. She points to an elegant eighteenth century wooden chair, and invites us to look at the cushions. They’re stunning; done in a luxurious fabric, rich and laden with magnificent, muted colors. With a smile, she says, “I had the cushions on this chair upholstered in an antique drapery panel I saved from a previous house. Some things you just can’t throw away.

“I am Indian,” she adds. “We love color!”

She had just such an idea for a client in River Forest. She envisioned a surround mantle for the fireplace made from the 6” x 9” Douglas Fir timbers she had salvaged from her latest house renovation. And that’s when she called Get Dwell.

MantleProject Manager Chris Goodnight tells the story: “Avani told us what she had in mind, and asked if we could take a look at the timbers to see if her idea was even possible. My goodness — when I saw the wood I got really excited. It was old growth Douglas Fir with a density — a richness in the grain — that’s just unavailable in what you can buy today. So I told her, ‘Yes. This is possible.’

“First I inspected the timbers to see what we had — sometimes there’s rot inside from when it was still a tree. Once we determined the amount of useable wood we had to work with, we got down to the really fun part; making Avani’s bold design work, figuring out the best way to create a the look she wanted while making sure the piece – it’s a weighty, free-floating design — would be structurally sound. After removing every nail, screw and piece of embedded metal — and some of those nails were handmade pig iron — I cut the timber into 4” x 5″ and 4” x 2″ planks. Once all the planks were Mantle2milled, mitered, fit and assembled, I brought out the metal saw horses and a large torch to raise the grain, giving the piece an aged appearance, and bringing out the rich, earthy brown color Avani wanted.

“Bringing these old timbers back to life — in this case, back to a look that would normally take 150 years to achieve — is what it’s all about… and it’s a lot of fun.”

Avani Mehta is not just crazy about green design, she’s proving to be certifiable! Her own home is expected to reach silver status in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), an internationally recognized green building certification program. She’s been featured in This Old House and has a long track record of exceptional projects and excellent relationships throughout the region. “I’m blessed to have built a business doing what I love,” says Mehta. “I Mantle3have a large commercial client — well large for me — that I have had for years. But the mainstay of my business, and the part of it I love the best, has always been the home.” Avani can be reached via email or at 847-436-0345.

Making The Most Of Interior Spaces

Posted on 19 November 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

mantle2When the frost is on the pumpkin and the nip is in the air, it’s time to fully embrace the interior spaces of your home.  Get Dwell’s team of talented professionals can help you bring the family together, by transforming your living spaces in optimal ways. Use these examples to get your ideas flowing.

Home Is Where The Hearth Is

It was Frank Lloyd Wright who observed, “The hearth is the psychological center of the home.” We have helped many clients transform the look and usefulness of their fireplace.  One client was captivated by a mantle she found at a flea market and she just knew it would be perfect for her home. A custom fit was needed. mantleOur expert craftsman made the mantle look like it had been there forever, and it gave the entire room a fresh, new and striking look. Another client gave us drawings to fabricate a mantle out of old douglas fir beams that came out of her house during a recent remodel. We will be fabricating the mantle and incorporating a beautiful tile insert which the family will be enjoying before the holidays.

Kids Room By Day … Man Cave After Dark

Craving your own special place of refuge?  Get Dwell’s staff can work with you to transform even the most unique opportunities into your perfect dream space. One client had an 1870’s home with an old horse stable that was kidsroom3being used as a garage.  We helped transform the space into a kids’ room by day and man cave at night – not only the perfect “mantuary” retreat, but also a great place for overnight guests to stay.

Enliven Your Space With An Entertainment System

We all have busy lives.  Home theatres and media rooms can help us relax by providing an experience so enveloping and mesmerizing that we are forced to slow down and take notice.  Well planned, a home theatre or media room can provide experiences so interesting and exciting that we can make a refreshing escape from the cares of the day.  And there is more than one way to achieve this result.

bigpicture2The Big Picture Home Theatre Company located on the North Shore specializes in audio/video system design and installation, and they have worked successfully with many Get Dwell clients to transform their interior spaces.  Here are some ideas from the experts at The Big Picture about bringing A/V into your environment:

Dedicated Rooms. The Big Picture can design and install a private screening room where movies come alive with the immersive sights and sounds the director intended; or a media room, equally suited to movies, sports and video games, with an immediacy that takes you into the heart of the action. Its staff is expert bigpicturenot only at identifying the proper audio and video equipment for these spaces, but also in room design and execution, including acoustics, soundproofing, lighting, seating and cabinetry, so that all of the room’s elements work together for an extraordinary experience.

Living Spaces. Family rooms, living rooms, bedrooms and home offices can be wonderful places to enjoy your favorite movies and music. But no one wants those spaces to be dominated by audio/video equipment. The Big Picture is expert at integrating home entertainment with living spaces, providing products that blend aesthetically with the surroundings or disappear entirely: living rooms where the music speakers look like the walls themselves; family rooms where the television disappears behind a painting; and master bedrooms where all bigpicture3electronic gear is neatly hidden away. The company specializes in systems that are high in performance, low in visibility.

For more information about enhancing your interior spaces, give Get Dwell a call today.

Change Is in the Air

Posted on 27 October 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

With the change of seasons, we here in the Chicago area realize the lazy days at the beach are over. With the kids back at school and work demanding more attention, its time to look at the changing needs of our home.

As Chris Wiedrich of All the Comforts of Home notes, A well-designed home will work well for its owners year round. It accommodates a family’s changing needs each season. Every aspect of a home big or small has the potential to increase our enjoyment of the seasons or create discomfort and challenges. This is particularly true in older homes that lack many of today’s must-have amenities. However, its possible to create spaces that meet our various needs throughout the year with just a few simple adjustments.

ChangeArticle_Photo4For example, she points out that in most households, the kitchen table is the heart of the home. In addition to hosting family dinners, its a place for kids to do homework during the school year, families to play games in the winter, and vacations to be planned in the summer. If space is tight, built-in seating can provide room for more people, and, with the addition of hinged lids, offer storage for games, barbeque tools, craft supplies and the holiday cookie press. If there’s a bit of wall space, hanging pockets or baskets can hold paperwork, bills, permission slips, recipes, and all of the other papers that threaten to overtake the eating area. In homes with southern exposure, window blinds or shutters can eliminate the glare that occurs when the sun is lower in the sky in winter, as well as keep the heat in during the winter months.

ChangeArticle_Photo3If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then a mud room entry is its brains. When a mud room is properly configured, spaces that corral wet flip flops and sandy beach bags can also hold snowy or muddy boots in fall or winter. Beaded board walls coated in enamel paint with a row of hooks can stand up to wet towels in the summer and wet coats and snow pants in fall and winter. The same baskets that hold ball caps, sunglasses, sunscreen and water bottles can hold hats, gloves, small Kleenex packages and hand cream in the winter. The key to making these seasonal transitions easy is to have plastic bins of similar size and a place to store them in the basement, garage or storage closet. Then one can simply rotate items between the two places as needed.

ChangeArticle_Photo2For those who don’t have a mud room, a similar set-up can work in the garage on either side of the door going into the house. With a row of hooks on the wall, coats, boots, umbrellas and other wet things can be disposed of before entering, and a shelf high enough to walk under but still reachable can hold storage baskets or bins. Well-designed storage is easy to reach, easy to use and easy to clean. That means having enough shelving so that items are not stacked on top of each other, and keeping things up and off of the floor.

Money invested in creating a flexible, comfortable home is money well spent. The world in which we live is increasingly busy and stress-filled. A home that accommodates our daily activities as well as special occasions that occur throughout the year can bring peace to otherwise harried days.

For those looking for a quick and dramatic change, Donna Plotzker of Urban Environments Interiors, Inc. suggests that color is a great change agent. Many of my clients are starting with a quick color analysis and getting maximum change with a minimum of time and expense.

ChangeArticle_PhotoJudy Ruddy of Glenview is ecstatic with the changes she made at her home. I was putting my home up for sale and I had some specific design needs. The master bedroom bath was definitely in need of updating and the downstairs powder room had a tile color that was overwhelming a cohesive design effort. Get Dwell brought in a designer and one of the their Project Managers and I felt like I was on one of those HGTV shows. In no time at all, we had a design and a plan. It was quick and efficient and now I have lovely master bath and a powder room color scheme that totally works with the decor.

If youre ready to make a change to your home, talk to Get Dwell. Our experts can help prepare your home for the coming season, and all the other seasons ahead.

News from the Remodeling Show

Posted on 27 September 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

pom7This year’s National Remodeling Show was held in September on the harbor in downtown Baltimore. The weather was beautiful and the blue crabs were plentiful. We have compiled what we think was the best of the show to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest products and innovations in remodeling.

Experts from all across the country were saying the same things: Most homeowners are looking to maintain their current homes. And the most popular remodeling focus, by far, is the bathroom. But there were lots of newsworthy developments in building products in general.

Here are some:

pom8First of all – bathrooms. The  emphasis is on planning; change orders are out. Have the all potential issues been thought out? And should anything extra, like a towel warmer or a mirror defogger, be considered consider before determining final design? Upfront planning saves money and time.

At Get Dwell,  we fix a lot of towel holders or toilet paper rollers that have come out of the wall. The best fix is to include a solution in the upfront design — a solid backing so the hardware has something to secure itself onto before the walls go up. Another common issue is ventilation systems.  We see a significant number of bathrooms where ventilation is an afterthought — or not a thought at all. That leads to mold and mildew-conducive environments where caulk and grout have to be replaced constantly.

pom9Accessibility has now become an integral part of the design process. Today the focus is on a design that can eliminate curbs and other barriers, leaving the bathroom more open and accessible. That adds to a sense of well-being and to a measure of safety for an aging in place population. Companies like AKW ( are doing this in a dynamic and beautiful way.

In the bath category there were two notable new products: First, the product chosen “2010 Best New Product” is Bondera, a tiling product that transforms the way bathrooms are built and makes it easier for the homeowner to do tiling work themselves. Instead of laying tile in a bed of adhesive, which must be correctly troweled,  tile can now be stuck to a two-sided adhesive mat and grouted immediately. This will cut down on tiling time significantly while providing a quick, clean, durable solution with no odors or VOCs. Learn more at

pom5As always, the complete bath systems by Schluter Systems are impressive, and this year was no exception. With Schluter products, there is no need for caulk and grout at the seams, eliminating the most costly and aggravating bathroom maintenance issue for homeowners. This year, Schulter introduced a new substrate system called Kerdi-board, which further reinforces their high-quality and complete water management system. More information about Schluter’s elegant,  maintenance-free bathroom systems is at

pom6How’s your basement air quality? Particularly in older homes, the basement air quality can effect the entire home. Beyond any health issues this may cause, a “basement smell” is simply unpleasant both for you and your vistors. The smart EZ Breathe system solves the problem by removing the stale air in the basement (

One of the most common repairs we perform is fixing a bi-fold door that isn’t working. The majority of the time it’s because of a hardware / installation issue. With the magnificent hardware from Johnson Hardware, that wouldn’t be an issue. Johnson is an Indiana company specializing in bi-fold and pocket-door hardware manufactured in the USA to an exacting standard that provides a lifetime guarantee. This much-needed and well-thought-out product is designed to last a lifetime (

pom3Marvin Windows and Doors is once again on the cutting edge of what we think a window can be. Some of the latest advancements include a casement window that looks like a double-hung window with a revolutionary wash mode that lets you easily clean both sides of windows from inside. It can come with a retractable screen for wide-open views. And don’t miss the tax credits you deserve if you purchase a qualifying energy-efficient product from Marvin before the end of the year ( and locally can be purchased from Evanston Lumber (

Ninety percent of deck failures and a lot of deck repair work we do involve the ledger connection, where the deck meets the building. A practical and ingenious preventative solution is Everflashing. Ranked #34 in 2010 Building Product Magazine’s top 100 products, it is designed to eliminate the possibility of water intrusion (

pom2Another tax-credit-qualifying product is one that helps homeowners keep their attics cool in the summer. Radiant barriers by Enerflex can reflect up to 96% of the radiant energy back toward the roof and they are easy to install. Find out more at

While we’ll miss the blue crabs, next year’s National Remodeling  Show is right here in Chicago, from Oct 12 –14. If you can’t make it, we’ll be sure to report back on the latest innovations and trends in home care.

Helping Kids Help Kids

Posted on 06 August 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

paintersEmily Dana wanted something a little special for her Bat Mitzvah this year – she wanted her and her friends to help someone who needed it. So she talked to her parents, David Dana and Julie Schrager, about a service project that would be both beneficial for the community and fun for the two dozen 12- and 13-year-olds who would be her guests.

Both David and Julie had affiliations with both the YMCA and the YWCA, and through that relationship came across Y.O.U. (Youth Organization Umbrella), an Evanston-based nonprofit that provides academic enrichment, social development, and emotional support for children in need. The group’s facility, essentially an old house, was looking somewhat worn and both David and Emily felt a painting party would be the perfect cap to Emily’s Bat Mitzvah.

painters2David approached Get Dwell’s Darryl Rose about donating services that would lay the groundwork for the painting – patching, sanding and prepainting – and Rose gladly volunteered the services of the company’s Project Managers. Get Dwell also commissioned a color analyst who chose a light yellow color to replace the faded lime green that had covered the walls for years.

Following Emily’s Bat Mitzvah, all the guests walked to Y.O.U., picked up rollers, and went to work. Get Dwell was there to help out and demonstrate painting skills. Because the walls were primed and ready for paint, the kids were able to see the immediate and dramatic impact of their efforts.

The result was a more open and cheerier space for Y.O.U. and the children who depend on them, and a great lesson in the pleasures of giving back for Emily’s guests.

painters3 painters4painters5

A Great Way to Maintain a Healthy Home

Posted on 12 July 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

clarkesCharles Clarke appreciates the value of keeping the home he and his wife built in 1968 in excellent repair. Now in his early 80s, he can envision a time down the road when the house might be placed on the market or fall to his children.

That’s why Clarke counts on Get Dwell for regular assessments that help him identify problems and potential problems he might miss, and for repairs and other maintenance he knows need to be made.

clarkes2“They go through the house and find things I don’t see,” Clarke says. “On one visit they noticed carpenter bees had penetrated the wood on my house. I’d never even heard of carpenter bees. On another visit they found a piece of sunken pipe that had pulled away from a downspout, and they fixed it. Those are just a couple small examples of the work they’ve done here.”

On a larger scale, Get Dwell found foundation leaks and window issues and other more serious problems that the Clarkes were unaware of. Get Dwell implemented corrective solutions that saved the couple a lot of money, effort and frustration while adding to the value  and sale-ability of the house.

clarkes3Clarke continues: “I have a long checklist of maintenance recommendations from a recent visit they made, things that help my keep the house in tip-top shape. That kind  of service is one reason I think very highly of the work Get Dwell does.”

Clarke’s checklist is a result of the Home Health Assessment, a unique service developed by Get Dwell that involves semi-annual walk-throughs of our clients’ homes, followed by a report detailing recommended repairs and maintenance. Once it’s prepared, Get Dwell guides you through the Home Health Assessment report and helps you prioritize work based on importance and cost.

clarkes4Regular Home Health Assessments are a way for Get Dwell to develop a relationship with your home, and set a maintenance “baseline” that informs future assessments and helps us better identify issues down the road. And they’re a great way for you to avoid potentially expensive surprises and get peace of mind your home is in good repair from top to bottom.

We’ll talk more about the Home Health Assessment in future issues. In the meantime, if you’d like to schedule your own assessment, give us a call or e-mail us.

From Eggs to Art

Posted on 11 June 2010 | Category: Featured Projects

art_coopBackyard chicken coops might not be a total rarity in the urban landscape these days, especially with people seeking more sustainable food sources.  But back in the 1800s, they were as common as minivans and Starbucks outposts are in the ‘00s.

So when a Get Dwell client purchased a North Shore home dating to 1871, it was perhaps no surprise it came complete with a vintage (and run-down) poultry condo.

As a working artist, the coop didn’t hold appeal to her as a home for chickens. But, with little ones at home who were becoming increasingly interested in the materials and chemicals she used to create her works, it was attractive as an out-of-the-way, secure studio space.

art_coop3Thinking she didn’t need much more than a roof over her head and a little heat in the winter, she contacted Get Dwell about designing and constructing the maximum studio for a minimal budget.

Making the space useable required a close look at the damage time and rot had inflicted on the structure. Space was a priority, so Get Dwell removed an existing wall and added an open ceiling on the saltbox structure to provide the maximum amount of openness.

Lighting being important in art, we found and  installed two windows that matched the existing farmhouse style. They not only provided additional illumination, they provided a good view of the children when they played in the yard. We also installed a hood and an exhaust system, ensuring chemical fumes wouldn’t build up in the small space.

art_coop5The structure had a chicken-feeding window opening onto an alley, which we removed for added security. The walls were then insulated and finished with drywall and we matched interior trim to the existing exterior trim, giving the studio a timeless and cohesive look. Finally, Get Dwell installed radiant floor heat, ensuring the studio is comfortable year-round.

Our client then applied her artistic touch to the decorating, and the final product was exactly what she had hoped for – a private, inspiring retreat just steps from her backdoor.