We’ve found the best home specialists in our area. Most of the work crafted by these companies follows traditional or transitional styles, but you may find some unusual combinations of design elements exciting – or even inspiring.
Is your dream house more fantasy than reality? If that is the case, you’re not alone. Research shows that 70% of homeowners want to change something about their homes but they are not sure where to start. The first thing you should do is find a company you can trust. Secondly, make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured. You want to be sure any specialist you hire, whether you’re moving, renovating, adding a room, or redesigning from top to bottom, has knowledge, vision, creativity and a stellar reputation.
No matter what your home’s goals are, we at WestCoast Media want to help you achieve your dream home. The specialists on the following pages are reputable and were more than happy to answer questions presented to them by you…our readers.
If you’re thinking about moving or making changes to your home, we recommend checking our Home Experts on the following pages. Their experience, dedication and unparalleled craftsmanship will help you achieve your dream home.
Greg Lizotte Designs
Q: When I work with Greg Lizotte Designs, do I need to hire an architect before I start my kitchen remodel?
A: The need for an architect depends on the scope of your kitchen remodel and the intended outcome. Projects such as changing counters, adding cabinets or tearing down a non-bearing wall generally don’t require the need for an architect. We along with the homeowner can typically handle these projects. We provide the design concept to build and install your cabinetry project.
Q: When reading about cabinetry, I notice everyone talks about materials cabinets are made from. It appears that many cabinets are either made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or plywood. I’ve read an argument where MDF is better than plywood and vice versa. Which do you think is better and why?
A: Solid wood is obviously the winner here, right? This is the most common perception when it comes to comparing wood and MDF. Wood is seen as this strong and sturdy material while MDF is often viewed as a weak and cheap alternative. The truth is both have their pros and cons for a kitchen remodel. Despite popular belief, wood is not always the superior choice; in some situations, MDF might be the better material. Both materials have a purpose; plywood is recommended in areas with high structural areas and moisture such as floors, while MDF is used for painted items such as door inset panels and end panels (MDF does save on material cost).
Q: Do you offer countertops along with the custom cabinets?
A: We stay in our lane. We specialize in custom kitchen and bath cabinets, built-in bookcases, bars and entertainment centers. Design options are unlimited because we build custom and are not limited by manufactured predetermined limits. We combine your ideas, your style, and the options that you want incorporated into your space to make it uniquely yours. That being said – we work closely with countertop specialists that we can recommend to you.
See ad on page 20.
Q: I am considering remodeling my kitchen. How long should I prepare to be without a kitchen? I had a friend who was left without a kitchen for over nine months. I am so scared this will happen to us; it keeps me from doing anything.
A: Each kitchen remodel varies in time depending on the whole scope of work. If you are not moving walls or major appliances, a typical kitchen remodel should only take 4-8 weeks depending on size and layout. It’s always a good idea to wait to start the demolition until all materials have been selected and cabinet construction has begun. This will help to minimize any down time during the process.
Q: Every contractor wants to know our budget before they can give us an estimate. Shouldn’t they tell us what it’s going to cost first?
A: The answer, quite simply, is yes. I do not believe in the practice of asking someone what their budget is up front. That being said, once you have gone over the estimate, it may be a good idea to discuss cost expectations for certain products. This will ensure that you and your contractor are on the same page.
Q: I am going through a divorce and I will have to sell my home this summer. The realtor suggested a kitchen and bathroom renovation. Will I get my money back or is this just making his job easier?
A: Any remodel work prior to sale depends on a variety of things. When was the most recent work performed on the home? How does the home compare to other houses in the neighborhood? Is everything in good working condition? All these questions should be answered prior to making any decisions. Sometimes a significant remodel may be necessary in order to sell the home, even if the payout is not that great. Other times, it’s better to do minor work to align your outgoing costs with any costs you may recoup in the sale.
See ad on page 22.
Heritage Real Estate
Q: Last time we moved, we were told to sell our house first and then find a house, to be in a better position to negotiate. We sold our home relatively fast and found ourselves renting a small apartment for six months. Do you have any suggestions so that this doesn’t happen again?
A: We would start shopping for your next neighborhood right away so that as soon as your home sells, we already know where you want to move to. Also, we should build in a contingency to allow you time to find your next home. This can be done by planning to close concurrently with the new purchase or by having you rent back from your buyer until you find your next home.
Q: We look at homes online all the time. Should we contact the listing agent or contact another agent to represent us? We were told if we contact the listing agent, we might get a better deal, since they are getting a bigger commission.
A: You should have your own realtor who is looking out for only your best interest. Although the listing agent may have room to negotiate her commission and pass on the savings to you – there is no rule that she will do that. My advice is to hire a realtor who is working only for you.
Q: I have been looking for a new home so long, I’m more confused today than when I started six months ago. How do I find my perfect home and keep from feeling overwhelmed?
A: A good realtor will help you navigate the most important factors in your new home search which almost always boils down to LOCATION. Things like school districts, commute distance, and shopping are factors that you can’t change. If you find a fixer upper in a great neighborhood, your realtor should negotiate a price that makes it worthwhile to remodel that home into your perfect home. There are even special loan options to help make this type of purchase possible.
See ad on page 18.
SGO Designer Glass
Q: Do you have a wideselection of designs and glass to choose from?
A: We have literally thousands of design ideas in our studio and on our website. Most of the designs we feature can be adapted to fit your sized project.
There are many options in the types of art glass to choose from. Think about the goals for your project. If you need privacy, that can be achieved with almost any art glass. If you need strength, tempered glass is the way to go and satisfies code requirements. Dual and triple glazing can increase strength and energy efficiency.
Stained, leaded, & beveled cut glass is very popular. Colorless leaded or beveled glass gives you flexibility over time. If you’re planning on moving someday a colorless selection would be best. We do recommend triple glazing your cut glass for strength and energy efficiency.
Overlay art glass is also an option. This is the lamination of lead, bevels, and a high quality mylar film to tempered glass. It is very strong, air and watertight, and provides UV protection. This can be installed as single or dual glazed and offers a 10-year warranty.
Etched & carved glass is another option. This should always be done on tempered glass and can be dual glazed for more energy efficiency. Privacy can be achieved but you need to like the look.
Architectural glass & slump glass are also options. These should also be tempered and can be dual glazed.
Q: We want something different, unique and personal to our family. Can we sketch our own design and have SGO Designer Glass create a stained window for us? What is the expected turnaround time?
A: We are happy to work with you on any design ideas. We can match wallpaper, fabric, and existing art glass panels or an idea in your head. Every project is customized specifically for you. Production time varies depending on size and quantity. Usually 4 to 6 weeks is the average time.
See ad on page 16.
TS Home Design Center
Q: I want wood flooring throughout my home. My husband is complaining that lifting the tile will create so much dust I will hate it. Can you lay hardwood over the existing floors?
A: No, you cannot lay hardwood over tile. Hardwood should be glued down and there would not be a proper adhesive bond between tile and hardwood. There are other wood-look products that will work over tile. Please come into our showroom or call us to discuss.
Q: We have carpet in our bedrooms. I would like to replace it with matching wood that is currently in the main areas of our home. Is there a way you can match it to create a seamless look or do we have to redo the entire house?
A: We can create a seamless look if the existing hardwood is still in production. If the product is not still being made, bring a sample into the showroom and we can see if we can find something to create an almost seamless look.
Q: My father is coming to live with us, and I am afraid he may trip over our rugs. Do you have any suggestions in keeping the look warm and cozy but eliminating the rugs?
A: Yes, warm and cozy can still be attained without rugs through color, décor, and lighting.
Q: Is having three types of floors too many? We have wood in the main areas, carpet in the bedrooms and my wife wants tile in the kitchen…do you have a better suggestion? Or is having three types of floors normal?
A: Three types of flooring in a home is not abnormal. It really depends on the space and the coordination of color throughout the three types of flooring. We do three types of flooring frequently and it looks beautiful. However, we have seen homes with three (or more) types of flooring and it can look patchy. Making sure you have the right designer is the key to attaining the look you want.
See ad on page 21.
Don’s Drapery Service, Inc.
714.577.9192 • 949.600.4195
Q: I want motorized window treatments, but my wife doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Can you tell me some advantages that may convince her it’s a good idea?
A: The biggest advantages to Hunter Douglas Automated Shades are Convenience, Security, Safety, and Energy Efficiency.
We are all busy trying to squeeze in a workout, pack the kids’ lunches, feed and walk the dog, or make ourself breakfast, just so we can run out the door to sit in traffic! It’s not that we are too lazy to open our shades manually, it’s the opposite. The PowerView App by Hunter Douglas allows timers to be set for greater convenience. You set the app according to your routine, and it knows when you want to control the light flooding in through your windows, and when you want privacy. This allows the shades to open and close at the times you’ve preselected, so you don’t have to think about it.
That leads me to my second reason, security. Your Hunter Douglas shades can automatically close at dusk, giving your empty home privacy, even when you’re out for the evening. Plus, your home will look lived in while you are out of town, a great deterrent.
Safety applies to your kids and pets. Cords and strings can be a very real choking risk to toddlers and pets. An automated shade eliminates lift cords and chain loops to keep the little ones safe. Aesthetics are improved with automated shades, as there are no more ugly cords or chains hanging down from your windows when shades are lifted. Automated shades, when lifted, will almost disappear because you don’t have messy cords drawing your attention to them.
Lastly, automated shades are more energy efficient. They allow for sun protection when your thermostat is working overtime to cool your home. They also allow you to use the natural light in the morning rather than turning on a light. These are some very practical reasons automated shades are becoming more popular year after year. It’s also more advanced as the shades now work with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and even Siri can control your shades with a simple voice command. Automated shades are soon becoming the standard that buyers expect. Please stop by one of our showrooms and see the shades in action. You can even try our voice-controlled shades yourself.
See ad on page 17.
Innovative Design Concepts
Q: What are notable kitchen trends for 2020?
A: Color is likely to be the biggest trend in 2020. It can be incorporated in a variety of ways including cheerful colors on walls and ceilings, adding new appliances available in an array of color options, and of course through painted cabinetry. Patterned floor tiles and handmade tile backsplashes are also debuting adding interest and texture. As well, kitchen wallpaper is reappearing as an option, adding potential personality and character.
Q: I want to remodel my kitchen in a farmhouse style which is different than the rest of my home. Does this mean I need to consider remodeling my entire house?
A: Farmhouse style mixes beautifully with both traditional and modern decor. By introducing organic textures and colors through accessories: woven rugs, baskets, heirloom pieces, reclaimed wood and metal accents, connecting rooms will naturally flow off your new farmhouse kitchen.
Q: Will I be able to use my kitchen while it is being remodeled?
A: Kitchen usability during a remodel depends largely on the size of the project. Setting up a temporary kitchen in another room such as a dining room can make routines much easier while work is on-going. Creating a counter area, housing your coffee pot, toaster and microwave, with a few baskets holding breakfast and snack items and some paper products can be helpful.
Q: What is the advantage of using one company from start to finish with design, flooring, counters, cabinets, and appliances rather than shopping different companies?
A: The primary advantage of using one company from start to finish is that once planned and coordinated, all the details are scheduled and overseen by one project manager rather than by the homeowner. Coordinating the details of what happens when and by whom, is done by someone with professional knowledge and experience leading to a more streamlined and smoother process that is likely to be more economical as well.
Q: Now that my kids are grown, I want to have a beautiful but comfortable home. What is the secret to achieving livable luxury?
A: Luxuries are personal. When children grow and/or move out it is the perfect time to reevaluate the spaces in your home. Think about how your home could best serve your life at this new stage. It may be the perfect time to create that gourmet kitchen you’ve always dreamed of or a spa retreat in your master bathroom. Are there now rooms that are mostly unused? Could they be repurposed to provide for a hobby or past time: an art studio, library/home office, sewing room, exercise room, etc.? When children are young, our decorative choices are often driven more by practicality; as they mature, we are more free to choose materials and furnishings that we love to be surrounded by because of their inherent beauty and feel…marble countertops, hardwood floors, rugs.
Design your home to nurture and encourage you in the life you envision.
Q: What is the difference between an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator? There is so much overlap between interior design and interior decor.
A: Design involves remodeling and/or configuring the architecture of a space around flow and function. Decor focuses on the furnishing of that space, making it aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Both designers and decorators think and work along these lines. Having a designer as a part of an architectural plan for a home could greatly benefit the final design.
Q: What are the most important factors to consider in designing a room?
A: How do you want to use the room? Who will be using the room? Budget? What already works? What is needed?
Q: How should I prioritize updating my home if I am on a budget?
A: Prioritize pricier items: talk openly with your designer about your home’s current state. What is most important to you functionally and aesthetically? Are there particular frustrations/problems with your home that you want to address or is it missing something you long for? Whether removing “popcorn” ceilings or adding a fireplace, together you can make a plan that works most efficiently and economically towards your overall design.
When updating a home on any budget, consider:
• Rearranging your house with pieces you’ve loved and owned for years can seem fresh and new in a new location, re-purposed. Rearranging can also change the flow and way spaces are experienced.
• Declutter/organize/clean your home and it will feel more spacious and pleasant to be in.
• Paint and new accents/accessories will add new color changes to walls and furniture pieces dramatically refreshing a room. Add a new rug, a new piece of art, a pillow or two and like magic, you’ve got a new room!
• Overall flow of style and colors from one room to the next. Ideally, changes made will elevate the whole house.
See ad on page 19.