The Countertop is One of the Most Important Parts of the Kitchen: Choose Wisely

9 November 2015 John Clark Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Any experienced  kitchen remodeler knows that their clients must take special care when choosing the countertop material for their new kitchen. We have been in the remodeling business for nearly 20 years. We’re familiar with the ins and outs of intricate design and the implementation of the right materials in the correct places. Several options are available for kitchen countertops, so we make sure to discuss this at length with our clients. Here is some information and a few tips on choosing the right countertop material for your needs and lifestyle.


Countertop materials range quite drastically at times in both quality and price. Each type of countertop has a place and a purpose. You wouldn’t, for example, want to put a lovely and expensive marble countertop in the laundry room where no one would ever see it. This would be the ideal spot for a less expensive laminate counter top. Let’s look at a brief overview of material types:

  • Marble: Extremely luxurious, but not as durable as some people believe. The acids in lemonade can etch marble and damage the luster. Wine and other heavily colored liquids can stain it. Some people want this because it’s a way to 100% customize their home and keep all of those spilled wine memories in view to be cherished.
  • Granite: Very luxurious and available in a wide variety of qualities and designs. It is very stain resistant, scratch resistant, and heat resistant. Homeowners enjoy years of worry-free enjoyment when it is properly sealed and maintained.
  • Laminate: One of the more affordable and less luxurious options. Laminate is plywood or particle board with a decorative sheeting glued to the surface. It resists water and is extremely easy to clean and maintain. It does stain when it comes into contact with wine, juice, or other colored liquids.
  • Quartz: A nonporous natural stone that never requires sealing, unlike granite. It is extremely easy to clean and is resistant to heat, water, bacteria, and stains. Quartz countertops are available in a variety of color options and are a great choice for busy families.
  • Solid-Surface: A nonporous acrylic material that provides a perfectly seamless appearance. They’re very low maintenance, and available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including some eco-friendly options. They’re available with an integrated sink and backwash for added convenience.
  • Butcher Block: Perfect for those homeowners who seek to create a rustic appearance. Butcher block countertops provide the durability of solid wood and the beauty of nature. They’re available in a variety of grain types and they’re very durable.
  • Concrete: A material that is very heavy and very easily customizable. Some homeowners choose to customize their concrete countertop with broken glass or stains to make it appear as if it were another material.
  • Metal: Stainless steel or copper are the primary metal types used in the kitchen as a counter top material. Please keep in mind that copper is a softer metal so it may take damage over time. Stainless steel offers the appearance of an industrial or professional style kitchen.

Please make note that regardless of the type of countertop you use, it is always good to protect all surfaces from hot pots and pans.

Mix and Match Materials

Your custom kitchen design doesn’t have to go with the flow or match someone else’s idea of perfection. You are the homeowner, it’s your kitchen; let’s get creative. We can mix and match materials if you’re absolutely convinced that you want to use that lovely marble countertop even though you now understand that it may stain or become damaged over time. Use it in an area that is away from food and drink areas – a desk perhaps. This area can be a focal point that you tie into the rest of the room using other types of decor.

Call us at 508-477-9003 if you’d like to discuss remodeling your kitchen. We have some amazing designers and remodelers, and fall/winter is a great time to get your kitchen ready for the coming year. Allow us to show you how we can turn your drab kitchen fabulous and help you choose the right materials for each area.

11 Amazing and Disappointing Things to Expect During Your Remodeling Project

18 October 2015 John Clark Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Most of the homeowners we work with during a remodeling project are unsure of what to expect during the process. We wanted to address some of the best and worst things about remodeling today. Of course we could tell you that the entire process is going to be puppies, rainbows, and butterflies, but… it isn’t. It’s going to be an awesomely messy process with some incredibly exciting high points and disappointing low points. Are you ready to see our breakdown of the process?

  1. Decisions – The tough decisions are generally made before any demolition begins. Other decisions may be made and changed throughout any phase of the process, but make sure to let us know sooner rather than later if you change your mind.
  2. Dust – Remodeling is dirty business. We will put up plastic to help protect the rest of your home from the construction area, but dust travels. Consult your HVAC technician to discuss the idea of blocking ducts that lead to or from the construction area to help cut down on dust.
  3. Noise – Power tools are loud. Nail guns, saws, drills, and sanders make noise, and all of those tools will be in use at various times, sometimes even simultaneously. Workers will be yelling back and forth looking for things and enjoying general chit chat on occasion while they work. Consider staying at a friend’s or neighbor’s house for the day while it’s loud.
  4. High Points – Every homeowner has specific things they want to see; or that they want to see gone. You may get super excited about the demolition if you hate your existing cabinets or excited about the new backsplash if you’ve waited for months to see it installed. Whatever you’ve truly been looking forward to will be tucked away in your memory as high points. Feel free to take pictures so you have that memory forever.
  5. Low Points – You’re going to get tired of whipping out your credit card or checkbook to pay for things. You’re going to get tired of having so many people in your house during working hours. You’re going to get tired of the mess and the noise. But hang in there, the process is only temporary, and your newly remodeled home will look amazing.
  6. Budget Issues – Regardless of how many times you checked and double checked pricing, some things will sneak up on you. Make sure you set aside 20% above and beyond the cost we quote you so when you decide you want to upgrade to the nicer countertop or fixtures, the money is there.
  7. Unexpected Surprises – We never know what we’re going to see when we start the demolition process in a kitchen or bathroom. We may run into water damaged insulation or serious water damage to the structural members of the house. We always hope for the best, but we just don’t know what the home has been through since it was built. Excessive water damage will have to be repaired before we can continue with the project.
  8. Delays – Aside from the potential delays created by the unexpected surprises we just mentioned, we may run into issues with the delivery of materials. These are things that we have absolutely no control over, so they frustrate us as much as they frustrate you.
  9. Changes – Changes to the layout or materials used during the remodeling process may increase or decrease the cost of the project, and often create delays. Most change orders come from the client. Let’s say you decide half way through the process that you want the Carrera Marble Brick Mosaic instead of the Natural Varied Mother of Pearl backsplash. We will probably have to order the new materials and work on something else in the meantime. It is, after all, your preference in materials.
  10. Stragglers – Little things that will need to be resolved as time goes by. This can include things that arrive broken or dented from the manufacturer. We obviously can’t use damaged goods in your remodel, so we have to send them back and request an exchange.
  11. Welcome (Back) Home! Self explanatory! Welcome back home; it’s time to invite friends and family over to help you enjoy your newly remodeled home.

The most important thing you can do is choose a trusted contractor on Cape Cod to remodel your home. We know the area. We know what to expect. We know that you need to be protected from the occasional Atlantic hurricane that wanders up the East coast. Give us a call at 508-477-9003 to discuss your upcoming project, an existing project, or the possibility of working with us. We’ll schedule an appointment for a consultation and show you why we’re the best choice for your project!

Choose High Quality Products for Your Whole Home Remodeling Project

27 September 2015 John Clark Bathrooms | Kitchens | Uncategorized | Whole Homes Leave a Comment

Whouse House Remodel FalmouthEveryone has heard the old adage you get what you pay for; it’s true in most situations from electronics to homes. A cheap laptop may last six months where a high quality laptop will likely still be running strong a few years down the road. The Formica-covered particle board countertop will eventually absorb water and look horrible, but the granite or marble countertop will look amazing for many years. These are the types of things we’re going to cover in today’s post.
We are homeowners as well. We understand the desire to save your hard-earned money where you can. But we also wholeheartedly recommend that you do not cut corners for the sake of money during your home remodeling project. Let’s take a look at a room-by-room analysis of places you should never go cheap for your whole home remodel.
Kitchen Remodeling – The kitchen is the number-one remodeled room in the home for a variety of reasons. It’s often referred to as the heart of the home because this is where meals are cooked, families share dinners, and where we entertain family and friends on special occasions. This very important room in your home deserves the absolute best we can give it. We often tell homeowners to splurge on the kitchen and cut corners somewhere else during the remodel, because it has so much to offer the entire family.
Bathroom Remodeling – The master bathroom is the second-most remodeled room in the home. Many homeowners are turning their small master bathroom into a luxurious getaway that rivals some of the nicest spas throughout the Cape Cod area. Your bathroom should be designed to help you relax after a difficult day, not have you cramming yourself into a tub that’s too small without any jets to massage your tired muscles. Invest in an oversized tub with jets so you can truly relax.
Bedroom Remodeling – The master bedroom is much more than just a place to sleep, it’s your sanctuary. Create an amazing master suite that includes a bedroom, sitting area, luxury walk-in closet, and amazing bathroom. Add a few extra large windows to enhance the area and make it feel much larger.
Quality Workmanship – Don’t overlook the importance of high quality workmanship. Our craftsmen at @designREMODEL are dedicated to providing the absolute best in overall design and workmanship. We work hard to ensure that your remodeling experience is as pain free as possible.
The quality of our workmanship has nothing to do with the quality of the materials you choose. We will provide top notch work whether we’re working with high quality woods or particle board. Quality materials will cost more initially, but they will ultimately provide a much better finish and long-lasting beauty.
We invite you to call us or text us any time at 508-477-9003 to get the scoop on the latest progress on your home remodeling project or to schedule an appointment for a consultation. We will work with you to design the perfect kitchen, bathroom, or whole home remodeling project, and then build it out for you in a timely manner.

How Remodeling Has Transformed in the Past 20 Years

3 June 2015 John Clark Remodeling Industry Leave a Comment

As a remodeling contractor on Cape Cod for nearly 20 years, we have seen many changes in the remodeling industry. As with many industries that have embraced the information age, the Internet, and new technologies, we believe the the home remodeling industry has improved significantly.

However, it’s also been our experience that homeowners don’t necessarily see how the industry has changed for the better, and thus some of them do not fully appreciate the value of a professional remodeling contractor in 2015.

The Good Ol’ Days?

Remodeling Contractors on Cape Cod

Would you trust a remodeling contractor who showed up to your house in this truck?

Back in the 1990s, and unfortunately this still exists today, homeowners didn’t have very high expectations of home improvement contractors. Maybe you would talk with a couple local contractors, have them in for a walk-around and measurements, and they would give you either a verbal estimate or something scribbled on a yellow legal pad.

Over the next few weeks, they would show up intermittently in a beat up old truck and do their work. They never really seemed to have a schedule or defined way of doing things. You were never quite sure when they were coming and going and when your project would be completed.

But maybe you didn’t care about the project timeline or how perfect everything was in the end, because the remodel likely didn’t cost you a whole lot of money.

Home Remodeling Today

It’s an understatement to say that many things have changed in 20 years. One of the key aspects of consumer behavior today is that consumers are more discerning than ever. With a world of information at our fingertips, we demand more from the companies that provide us with products and services.

Homeowners today want to be involved in the process as much as possible. They want to research different remodelers, they want to look at websites and Houzz profiles, they want to see reviews and testimonials, and when it comes time to design their kitchen or bathroom, they want to pick out the finishes, products, and materials.

They also demand a higher level of professionalism. They demand timelines and payment schedules. They demand cleaned work areas at the end of the day. They demand perfection when it comes to their home renovations.

And rightfully so.

You work hard for your money, and when you’re spending a sizable chunk of it on a remodeling project, you want a professional experience and a first class end result.

Today’s Professional Remodeler

A professional remodeler who is going to provide you with a best in class experience and remodeling project is different from the remodeler you hired in 1996.

Cape Cod Kitchen Design Company - @designREMODELToday’s professional remodeler has:

  • The proper insurance
  • A valid contractor’s license
  • Increased accountability
  • Higher safety and cleanliness standards
  • Better tools
  • Better and more products to choose from
  • Laws and regulations they must comply with
  • Multiple reliable work crews and subcontractors
  • Thorough written contracts
  • Multi-year warranties
  • Project timelines and payment schedules

All of those things translate into an overall better remodeling project for you and your family.

But all of those things also may translate into a higher price point than you were conditioned to paying 20 years ago.

Let’s use the metaphor of the auto industry. That industry has vastly improved over the past couple decades – higher safety standards, more efficient cars, more luxury items included at base price, etc.

The difference is that you purchase a new car every few years and you’re generally aware of the prices of cars.

When it comes to home remodeling, that’s something you may only do once or twice in your lifetime. So you’re not generally aware of what things cost. In order for a professional remodeling company to communicate the value that they bring to the table, they need to spend more time educating homeowners about processes, prices, expectations, and the lifetime value of a newly remodeled home.

Homeowners who hire a remodeling company strictly based on price, without doing much research or allowing themselves to be educated about the process, run the risk of getting a sub-standard project in the end. As with most things in life, you rarely get a high quality outcome from the cheapest price.

A home remodeling project is a big deal, so you want to make sure you spend the proper time and money to do it right the first time.

At @designREMODEL, our tagline is Elevating the Cape Cod Remodeling Experience. We have developed the systems and the workmanship to not only provide a beautiful new room or whole house remodel, but also as much of a stress-free experience for our clients as possible.

The Bottom Line

If you’re researching different options and receive multiple quotes or estimates from Cape Cod remodeling contractors, you’re going to see numbers all over the place. Some contractors are still operating like its the 1990s and their prices may be lower. But you should expect a more complicated homeowner-remodeler relationship and a lower quality end result.

Some companies, like us, will present estimates that provide us with the resources to deliver to you an excellent product with the experience that you deserve.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. ~ Warren Buffett

The remodeling market is very robust these days. Homeowners with higher standards are choosing to invest in their homes. When thinking about your next Cape Cod kitchen or bathroom remodel, we recommend that you take a little more time up front in the research and decision-making phase to ensure that you’re getting the best possible value for your budget. Although you may be tight on time, allow yourself to be educated on your different options available to you and the outcomes you can expect from those different options.

“Working with John Clark was a complete pleasure. From the very first time we met John we felt very comfortable trusting him and his team to guide us with design selection to update our 35 year old bathroom. Everything John prepared us for before the work started was 100% accurate. During the demolition process we were amazed at how neat, clean, and professional everyone was. Communication was very open and there were no surprises. The finished product exceeded our expectations and we plan on working with @designRemodel for future projects. We highly recommend working with John Clark and his team of professionals!” ~ Hillary DiFilippo, Cape Cod MA

Design & Remodel Tip #1 for your Cape Cod Bathroom

22 May 2015 John Clark Bathrooms | Design Leave a Comment

Design Ideas. Marstons Mills Remodeling Tips. Best Practices. Find them here weekly on our blog.

Design & Remodel Tip 01- Tile Ideas

Cape Cod Bathroom Design Tips from @designREMODELLast week, I was looking for some tile ideas for an upcoming bathroom remodel in Marstons Mills. I wanted to find something unique for my client who had just purchased a new home and wanted to create a spa-like feel in her new bathroom.

I started looking on for pictures, particularly for either a serene backdrop or a distinctive accent tile. After scanning many pages and doing many searches, I became frustrated as I did not see what I wanted.  I took a look through some of the design books on my bookshelf and still didn’t find what I was looking for.

Then  I thought…How about  I clicked over to the website and started looking at some of the boards for bathroom remodeling that I had set up several months ago.  Very quickly, I found pictures and ideas that could use for design inspiration for the upcoming bathroom remodel in Marstons Mills.

Plus, what I liked about Pinterest was that by using a few keywords like Bathroom Accent Tile,  I was able to review rapidly multiple pictures. And save the ones I liked to a board that I could return to again and again.

We are fortunate to live in a world where an abundance of ideas, tips, and photos are at our fingertips. This access to ideas is really exciting for us and for our clients, and it has enabled us to build some fun projects for Cape Cod homeowners.

If you would like to discuss some ideas for your bathroom remodeling project on Cape Cod, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or get you started in the right direction.