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Check Out Our Insightful Blogs

Here are the latest blog posts from Sigfusson Construction Ltd., which offer insights, tips & tricks, and maintenance suggestions to help you keep your home in prime condition. 


Are you ready to discuss your upcoming construction or renovation project? We welcome you to schedule a personal consultation about your ideas with owner/operator, Jed Sigfusson at 604-461-4349 .

A Fresh Update
Living room with fireplace

Balance is imperative to a successful decorating scheme.  It was important to keep the space in tune with the style of the home while modernizing the overall look.  The sleek tile & linear electric fireplace matched wits with the oversized TV unit, while the charming white bookcases softened the coolness that the glossy tile, fireplace & TV surfaces presented.  In addition, the dark grained, wide plank flooring anchored the overall feel of the decorating scheme.

The main floor had been visually broken up by three different flooring materials making the entire main floor feel chopped up and small.  It made sense to replace all the existing flooring materials with one sweeping hardwood look, which not only created unity between each space, but also made the entire main floor seem much larger.

The dining room & living room spaces openly flow into each other, but the only light source for both spaces came from the dining room ceiling fixture.  To solve this lighting issue, we added two recessed lights above each bookcase.  This offered a much-needed light source (while being minimally invasive) to the space & highlighted the new feature wall.

Finishes that added to the modern feel include the two recessed lights, the oversized high gloss ceramic tile, the pale gray walls & new glossy white, wide board window, door & floor trims.

Here is a list of the work completed to achieve the final update:

*Removed old fireplace facade & built out a frame for the new facade.  Tiled new fireplace facade with high gloss 12″x24″ ceramic tiles

*Replaced old carpet, bamboo hardwood & vinyl flooring with new manufactured floating wood floor throughout living room, dining room, kitchen, main hall & bathroom.

*Removed the built-in curtain valance above windows & installed faux tray ceiling boards throughout main floor

*Installed new hidden electrical outlets for electric fireplace & television behind new fireplace facade – no more unsightly wires!

*Installed two recessed lights on either side of fireplace to highlight bookshelves & add more light to the room

*Replaced window, door & baseboard casings with 8″ flat boards for a clean, modern appeal

*Repainted the entire main floor – walls, trim boards & ceiling

*Installed two bookshelves & cabinets on either side of fireplace for storage & display purposes

Sigfusson Construction specializes in new home construction & major renovations.  For more information about our services, please call us at 604-461-4349 or send us your inquiry to contractus@sigfussonconstruction.com

 

Thinking of Building This Spring/Summer?
top view of a room with wooden flooring

With spring clean up on the minds of many, the prospect of cleaning up the old place seems daunting.  If your mode of thought is leaning towards building a new home this spring, you are not alone.

One of the busiest sales seasons for homes is spring.  Not sure if the connection between new growth and new beginnings is the reason for it, but it seems that the two are synonymous with each other.

Growing families are the number one reason why people consider moving or building a new home.  As the kids get bigger, amass more “things” and require more space to do their stuff, that is when you realize just how cramped the house is with them and their growing needs.  Add a cat, a dog and a few pet gerbils, and you’ll be spending more time outside since that is where all the extra elbow room seems to have gone to!

Speaking of number 1 things, the most common question our customers ask us when considering building a new home is “how much is this going to cost?”.  As you may or may not know, new home construction costs are based on the total finished square footage of your new home, and the quality of the finishing details you want inside and out.

There is no easy answer to this question, and the best solution is to find a plan you like and work with us from that starting point.  We will help you understand the process.  There are a myriad of ways to save money on the finishing touches, and that can make the difference between making or breaking the bank on constructing your perfect family home.  We’ve been building homes for families just like yours since 1988, and our experience is your advantage.

Thinking of building a new home for your family this spring?  Call us, and we’ll walk you through the steps to make that happen.

Details, Details, Details…
cabinets with glass doors

Yes, it is all in the details.  What exactly does that mean?  Here’s a scenario to help you visualize a common kitchen renovation situation:

Bob & Jen have  just purchased an older home and have decided to upgrade the kitchen.  The problem is that the rest of the home is still in its original state. 

The first question they need to ask themselves is, “How do they modernize their kitchen without straying too far from the style of the rest of the home”?  This is a challenge.  As much as they’d love to have a clean modern looking kitchen, doing so would make the kitchen look like it doesn’t belong to the same house.  Here are some things that Bob & Jen need to consider:

1.  How much money do they have budgeted for the upgrades?

2.  Will some of that budget include modernizing the connecting rooms to make the new look flow through the balance of the home?

3.  Can they make substantial upgrades without dramatically deviating from the style of the home?

In the first point above, Bob & Jen need to sit down and plan out a few of the options available to them.  They can make small, yet impacting changes by upgrading the countertops, sink & faucets, flooring materials & new appliances, or they can rip out the entire existing kitchen and build it from scratch to their needs.  Once they have decided on their plan of action, they can then move forward to acquiring quotes for the work involved. 

In point #2, there is often a situation where the upgrades to one room leads to making the connecting room look outdated or disconnected.  We recommend to our clients that should they be upgrading one room in particular, to consider how those anticipated changes will affect the connecting spaces.  Often, for the connecting room(s) adding a fresh coat of paint, extending new flooring choices to include the connecting room and upgrading the light fixtures is all that is needed to blend these areas together visually.  Anticipating this should be a consideration in the budgeting process of their kitchen upgrade project and often won’t be too large of a dent cost wise.

In point #3, Bob & Jen’s option would be to make small changes to their existing kitchen as noted above (flooring, countertops, paint, plumbing fixtures) to make their upgraded kitchen feel more modern while not breaking the bank and not having to worry about straying too far away from the existing charm of their older home.

In the next post we’ll discuss the 2nd phase of the decision-making process in a typical kitchen upgrade/renovation situation, in detail of course!

Details Part II
floor plan

In the earlier post we discussed the scenario of Bob & Jen and their kitchen renovation.  Now that they’ve decided which plan of action to take, the next steps are to choose which direction they want to go with colour, style and layout.

Dealing with an older home as in the case of Bob & Jen’s,  there are a few things that they will need to discuss.  Let’s assume they are going to gut the existing kitchen and rebuild it from scratch.  Points for them to consider include:

1.  Layout – A kitchen cabinet supply company can help them find the right layout for how they plan to use the space and a good contractor will have recommendations of whom to deal with.  If Bob & Jen’s budget is large enough, they may opt to hire a designer  to help them layout their new space.  Although this is not a necessary option, some clients feel more confident going the designer route.

2.  Often in older homes the concept of a pantry was nonexistent, but in today’s modern kitchens it is a staple.  In the case of a pantry, they will need to talk to their builder about where in the space a built-in pantry can be placed and have it framed, wired for electrical, drywalled, add shelving and install either a man-door or a bi-fold entry to it.  The other option is to have a wall unit styled pantry incorporated into their kitchen cabinet layout and is a good option where floor space is limited.

3.  Appliances come in different styles and sizes.  With that in mind, the cabinet layout must be able to accommodate the units Bob & Jen want to incorporate into their new kitchen.  Fridges, ranges, dishwashers & microwaves can vary in width, therefore the openings for these units within the cabinet layout will need to be ascertained before the kitchen cabinet layout can be decided upon.

3.  Electrical plugs & light switches will likely need to be moved and upgraded according to the new cabinet layout.  Plumbing pipes might also need to be moved to accommodate where in the new kitchen the sink(s), dishwasher, fridge water dispenser, microwave & oven placements are being relocated to.  At this point communication is paramount.  Any discrepancy between what Bob & Jen have in mind and what their contractor thinks they want could create costly errors for both parties.  Make sure that you have a written plan accompanied by a drafting plan of the layout to avoid possible issues.  If your contractor spots a problem in these plans he can deal with it before the work begins.  Sometimes, based on the existing conditions of the home, a designer’s plan may need to be adjusted.

4.  If Bob & Jen decide to upgrade a kitchen window, or move a window to another site on the exterior wall, they will need to adjust the outside siding of the home to match that change.  This might also be true for a door that exits to the outside from the kitchen space.

5.  Bringing down an existing wall between two rooms to open up the new kitchen space sounds simple, but that wall may be a load bearing wall and can’t just be ripped out like they do on DIY TV shows.  If a load bearing wall is the issue, structural reinforcements will not only have to be made on the kitchen level, but also follow through down to the next load bearing wall or structural member.  This could be complicated and costly, and a consideration to address before any other work begins in the space.

As with any existing home, the nuances of the home will dictate what is possible both structurally & visually for the end result.  Dealing with older homes can sometimes offer up a few unexpected surprises and the client nor the builder will know what they are dealing with until the work begins.  Without x-ray vision, nobody knows what hides behind the walls, the floors or the ceiling.   Be ready to discover the odd surprise, and be open-minded about unanticipated issues that come with renovating an older home.

Details Part III
view of a gas burner and chimney

In part three of the Details, Details, Details blog series, we’ll be discussing the finishing touches to Bob & Jen’s new kitchen.

For some folks, the hardest part is deciding how to layout their new space.  For others it’s picking out what colours, textures & materials they will be using.

For those with little or no previous experience picking out cabinet styles, colour pallets & other associated materials for their new kitchen, this process can be confusing and stressful.  Pricing for the finishing details is often all over the map, so doing a bit of research by checking out several suppliers can help narrow down the options based on budgetary considerations.

Looking through kitchen design magazines can help enormously when deciding what the finished look of the kitchen will be.  Once Bob & Jen have decided on the look of their new space, finding the materials that fit into their budget to emulate that look is their next step.  Their contractor should be able to give them a list of suppliers’ showrooms to visit for samples and pricing.

Bob & Jen need to decide on the following items:

1.  Kitchen cabinet style, colour & cabinet handle hardware

2.  Countertop material & colour

3.  Fixtures – plumbing (sinks, faucets, garborator) and lighting fixtures

4.  Flooring material (tile, laminate, hardwood, linoleum)

5.  Backsplash material, (optional)

6.  Paint colour & paint finish (satin, gloss or matte & latex or oil based)

7.  Mouldings – both crown & baseboard, (optional)

8.  Window casings & window stool style

9.  Window & Door style

10.  Appliances – fridge, stove, microwave, garborator & dishwasher

As you can see, there are quite a few decisions Bob & Jen need to make on the finishing touches.  Once they’ve come to a final decision on materials, the orders can be placed and their materials will be available to install at the various stages of their kitchen renovation.  One of the reasons for needing Bob & Jen to be (at the very least) reasonably sure of their finishing materials before the work begins is that there may be a supply issue for one or more of their choices, which could cause a delay in their construction.  If they know what they want and the contractor can readily acquire those items, delays can be avoided and the project can run as smoothly as possible.

Typically a contractor will need a day or possibly two to dismantle & dispose of the existing kitchen materials debris & another day to frame out the new space, depending on the scope of work involved.  If Bob & Jen were interested in salvaging some of the old cupboards for use in their garage (for example), letting their contractor know ahead of time would be a good plan.  The other option is to have useful items like light fixtures or working appliances donated to a local charitable organization like Habitat For Humanity.

Spring Cleanup in Winter?
Apparel and footwear storage unit

I’ll bet you are thinking this is jumping the gun a little, but work with me here as I explain why planning your spring cleanup now, (yes, in mid-winter) is a good idea.

If your home is anything like mine, you know there are always things that need to be check up on, cleared out or reorganized.  Keeping that thought in mind, now is a good time to plan your attack while winter duldrums are at hand.  Ask yourself these questions:

1.  Are you short on storage space? 

2.  Are your closets overflowing with things other than clothes & shoes? 

3.  Have the kid’s toy collections become obsolete but still worth donating to a charity? 

4.  Would spaces within your home (that are no longer being used for their original purpose) make great use for something else?

Now that I’ve opened up the can of worms, drag out a pencil and a pad of paper and start walking around your home to analyze the situation.  If you’ve always wanted a hobby room, but the space you could easily change it into one is an overflowing makeshift storage space, sort through that room and toss or recycle the “stuff” you really don’t need to be hanging on to.

Do you have a large open space in your basement that could quickly become a home office with the simple change of adding two interior walls and a door? 

 How about an entertainment space with a bar and a small refreshment fridge?  Is that basement fireplace still in working order (cleaned and checked for fire safety), and could it use a new facade?
A growing family always needs to accommodate change.  If you think the basement could use a bathroom added or an updated laundry space, why not get a few quotes on doing these things now?  Get the entire family involved in re-organizing your home so it is being used to it’s best capacity.

Small changes in a home can make a huge impact, not only for you and your family, but also for resale purposes.  Suddenly, the thought of planning spring cleanup in mid-winter doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.

If you need quotes or ideas to make your home more user friendly, give me a call.  I’d be happy to come to your home and help you figure out the costs associated with positive changes.  I can be reached at 604-461-4349 .

Going Pro (active that is)

The difference between a quote and the acutal cost of something is sometimes huge.  Does it have to be that way?  Not if you are organized and know exactly what you want.


 Going proactive in your renovation or new home build project can save you money and a few unnessesary headaches.  A sample senario might look like this:
 
You’ve hired your contractor to renovate your main bathroom.  Everything must go and you can’t wait to get rid of the old tub and the cracked surround tiles!  The things you should know before breaking tiles are as follows:
 
1.  The dirty part of the job is the removal/demolition & disposal of the existing plumbing fixtures, cabinets, tile & flooring.
 
2.  The trades needed to complete the work include the plumber, millwright, drywaller, painter, tile setter, countertop installer & flooring installer.
 
3.  Coordinating trades – you must be prepared to pick all the details of the finished room BEFORE the work begins.  An example of why this is important is that you may decide to buy a new cabinet for the bathroom that looks like a piece of furniture with legs and an open bottom half, rather than a standard cabinet that goes down to the floor with cupboards & drawers.  If you chose the furniture styled cabinet, the plumber would have to be sure to arrange the pipes in a way that they would not be visible once your cabinet is installed.  Should you go for the standard closed cabinet styled cabinetry, this would not be a particular issue as none of the plumbing hardware would be visible behind closed cabinet doors. 
This is an example of easily overlooked details that would cost your contractor more time, and you possibly more money to have the plumbing re-worked.  Also, using a furniture styled cabinet means you have more floor area exposed and you’ll need to have the floor installer calculate the extra amount of flooring material needed to cover this area, which was likely not exposed in your previous bathroom scenario, and would naturally increase the original quote given to you at the beginning of the job.
 
4.  Time is of the essence.  Both you and your contractor want the work to go fast.  By coordinating all the details ahead of time, your renovation or new home build will go much faster and smoother for all parties involved, and the liklihood of errors is greatly reduced.
 
5.  It is your general contractor’s job to coordinate the trades in your project and make sure the work they do is to your specifications.  Your job is to ensure that the things you want installed, such as new plumbing fixtures, lighting, paint colour(s), countertops, tile, & flooring material are confirmed and all readily available (in stock) before the job begins.  If you discover that the granite counter you chose is not deliverable for 6 weeks, then you have the choice to wait for the product (which will delay your job start) or choose another countertop which is in stock.
 
6.  Communication is key.  Don’t assume your contractor will magically know what you want done because he’s done 1,000 bathrooms before.  Each job is unique to you and the existing circumstances of your home.  Open and regular conversation between you and your contractor can save you both headaches that could likely have been easily avoided during the construction.  Like small children playing quietly in the other room, chances are something is going to go wrong if you’re not communicating.
 
Going pro-active is an expression we’ve all heard many times before.  Cliché as it may sound, it’s the key to making or breaking a quote, your budget & your sanity.
 
At Sigfusson Construction, we pride ourselves on being pro-active with every job.  Many decisions need to be made over the course of your renovation or new home build.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they might be obvious ones.  When you understand what’s going on, we feel more confident that the job is being done right, AND that time & money are not wasted by either party. 
Do you need a quote on work you want done on your home?  Contact us at contractus@sigfussonconstruction.com or call our office at 604-461-4349 to discuss your construction needs!

Your Fall/Winter Checklist

It’s not only Santa Claus who has a checklist this time of year…you do too. 

As the seasons change from summer to fall, a number of things should be looked at in and around your home to make sure you don’t end up with some aweful surprises.

Extreme weather conditions are not common here in the Lower Mainland of BC, but on occassion we get some duzzy storms & heavy snow falls which can wreak havoc on loose & leaf filled gutters, peeling deck surfaces, exterior wood stairs & drain systems.

The first and most obvious check is the gutters.  Now that 90% of the leaves have fallen it’s a good time to have your gutters checked out and make sure they are draining rain water properly and not clogged up with fall leaves & branches.   While your up there (or the person you hired is up there), check to make sure your gutters are still firmly attached to your fascia boards (if you don’t have built-in gutters).  Also have the downspouts checked out to make sure they are draining properly and are securely attached to your gutter system. 

Next, since your already up on a ladder, have a good look at the roof.  If you see any lifting shingles or broken tiles, have a closer look at the damage to note if repairs are in order.  If there is a lot of seasonal debris laying on you roof, get it hosed or blown off now so this debris doesn’t:

a.  come rolling down on top of your mother-in-law’s head when she leaves after Sunday dinner

b. reclog the drains you already flushed out when the wind kicks up again

If you are looking for something to punish the kids with, how about sending them outside to prune back the branches of low growing shrubs & to rake up any leaves, needles, pine cones or branches?  Make a batch of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, pull up a lawn chair and listen to them mumble to themsleves.

While outside, check around the perimeter of your home’s foundation for pooling water or signs of water saturation.  To prevent hydrostatic pressure, make sure any excess water is draining away from your house foundation, so that you are not putting any extra surface water into your drain tile.  Nobody wants the nasty surprise of a flooded basement in the spring, a pain in the neck insurance claim and a lot of I told you so’s from your Father-in-law after Sunday dinner.

Speaking of water, detatch your outside hoses & shut off the hose bibs.  Make sure they are drained so as not to risk that freezing temperatures burst your pipes.  If you have an inground sprinkler system, have them drained out as well.

If you are not using your outdoor hottub in winter, turn it off & either drain the tub & pipes, or leave it on with setting the temperature to low so the water keeps circulating.

The age old expression “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true.  Insurance does not cover property damage which occurred due to negligence, so the ownus is on you to take preventative measures to protect your investmet.