Get Ready in Style!

Home Design Remodeling Contractor

Get Ready in Style!

The fundamental requirements for the comfort and function of any home are often overlooked when people plan their home design. There are some attributes in any homes’ design which are a good starting point to ensure that many of life’s best comforts are easily realized.  Don’t get tangled in the web of uncoordinated design and architectural faux pas by working with a trusted Columbus design and remodeling expert who knows the ins and outs of every design and construction issue in any home.  For a home that meets your unique requirements much better this holiday season, here are a few tips for working with a Columbus home design and remodeling contractor.

  1.  Bring inspiration into your design.  Often times, simply saying you want a space to be opened-up or a focal point to be established can leave you and the designer with completely different images in mind.  With some examples of other homes that you see in magazines or online that match the style, architectural structure or general feel of what you want to accomplish, both you and the designer will have some concrete ideas to go by.
  2. Be flexible.  Sometimes in a home, kitchen or bath remodel, a change that you hope for turns into something even better than you had anticipated.  With your design and remodeling team, you can be confident that any unforeseen circumstances such as underlying repair needs will be discussed with you right away, and that a plan will quickly be established to stay on track of the goals originally planned out for your remodel.
  3. Changing your mind often can mean perfecting your project down the line.  With today’s technological advances giving homeowners the chance to view their home remodel, kitchen remodel and bath remodeling changes before they are accomplished, it is possible to explore all the possibilities you have envisioned, and play around with different looks in the spaces you want to update.  If you change your mind a few times before the work is complete, seeing the final product in a digital image of your actual space is a very comforting feature and gives you the confidence every remodeling homeowner craves.
  4. Lastly, with the holidays quickly approaching, ask about the small tweaks that can play such a dramatic and transformative role in your get-togethers.  It could be as simple as swapping out a few lighting fixtures for a dazzling and eye-catching chandelier, updating the paint in some gathering areas with more festive hues, or rearranging some spots for the best traffic flow in your home.  With the right help on your side, anything is possible this holiday season!

8 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

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Sometimes it makes sense to hire a professional contractor rather than take on a job yourself. But choosing the wrong contractor can lead to delays, subpar work, and even legal problems. This guide will help you choose a contractor and ensure a good working relationship.

A contractor could be in your home and around your family for days, weeks, or even months while changing the way your house looks and functions. So if you don’t like a contractor for any reason, don’t hire him or her, says Tony LaPelusa, past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
“The biggest thing is choosing the right contractor,” he explains. “If somebody says something that’s even an embellishment, it’s enough of a reason not to trust him and move on to the next contractor. You have to trust the contractor 100 percent, not 95 percent.”

remodel-planstips-for-hiring-a-general-contractor-kitchen-remodeler-columbus-ohio

1. Make Sure the Contractor is Licensed, Bonded, and Insured

Having a license and insurance demonstrates a contractor’s credibility and knowledge. The license shows that contractors have taken an exam and proved they know building codes and processes. A license minimizes the risk to homeowners of getting ripped off. To be sure, get the contractor’s license number or look up general contractors registration.
If a contractor doesn’t have insurance and a worker gets hurt on your project, you could be liable. The same goes with accidents that damage your next-door neighbor’s home. If you have scaffolding that fell and damaged the property next door, you want the contractor’s liability to cover the cost of that damage.

Get proof of insurance.

2. Pick a contractor who specializes in your project type

It’s important to research contractors to know if they have experience in a type of project. Today, so many projects are regulated and code-specific that you want someone who knows the details of what’s required.
The professionals often take classes and research the kinds of projects they undertake, so they’re experts in their fields. This enables them to address potential problems and perform the work correctly. A good Remodeler knows how to anticipate the nuances of the work.
If you’re asking several contractors for a bid, make sure each one is using the same set of plans and specifications, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) advises on its website:

“You can’t effectively compare estimates from contractors who plan to use different brands of building materials.”

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3. Have a Detailed Contract in Place Before any Work Begins

The contract should cover costs, brands of items being installed, approximate start and finish dates, and the complete set of drawings being used with written specifications. There’s never too much detail in a contract. If a specific brand for a part hasn’t been agreed upon yet, the contract can include allowances instead, such as “up to $500 for a front door.”
A lot of homeowners talk to multiple contractors to get bids on the job, and then they can’t remember who told them what. The contract spells out everything. A contract is really an expectation setting, right down to what color the hinges are. It’s all about expectations. If we agree on everything upfront, then there are no surprises.

4. Find out Who’s Performing the Work

Will the person you’re hiring do the work himself, or will it be subcontracted to someone else? It’s nice to know who will be showing up on your doorstep, and large jobs like additions and major kitchen remodels often involve multiple subcontractors, such as electricians and plumbers. General contractors often subcontract specialty jobs, like roofing or vinyl siding, to other pros.
Having subcontractors is sometimes a good thing. They have a more thorough knowledge of their part of the job. It all goes back to hiring a contractor you can trust because he’s never going to put a bad subcontractor on your job.

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5. Give the Contractor Guidelines for Working In or Around Your Home

If you don’t want the workers showing up before a certain time, staying past a certain hour, using your bathroom, or you need to have the project finished by a specific date, tell the contractor before you hire him. The contractor may not want or be able to accept the job based on your parameters.
The contractor has to know what your limits are and what your expectations are. If people don’t want you starting until 9:30 and want you out by 4, that project—instead of taking 30 days—might take 45. That means it might cost additional money.

6. Know Your Responsibilities

You may have to move everything out of a room so it can be painted or remove a fence so a concrete truck can be driven into your backyard.
SemBro Designs, for instance, doesn’t move items out of a room because they don’t want to be responsible for broken TVs or stereos. Because we recommend a furniture mover, we hold a pre-construction meeting with homeowners to discuss their roles. We set all of those expectations in writing. It may be that you need to take everything off those six walls and move the furniture out of the room.
The biggest fear, to be honest, could be losing someone’s dog or cat. It’s good to know upfront where you’re putting the cat or dog.

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7. Look at Work Samples

This lets you see a contractor’s handiwork and may spark ideas for your project. Samples are more important than references. They allow you to see the quality of our work. You can see the designs we came up with and how creative we are.
Looking at a contractor’s past projects also lets you see the variety of work the company has performed, such as contemporary, Craftsman, or historic designs.

8. Think Local

Area contractors who have been in business for a long time are usually reliable and safe bets for projects. If they didn’t do good work in your community, they wouldn’t still be around. You should look for an established business location with a show room on site. You could check the Better Business Bureau for any unpleasant complaints, how long they have been accredited with the BBB and what rating they hold. Shopping locally is the best approach. The company is involved in the community, the workers are probably local, and if you have a problem later, a local contractor is going to be on top of it.


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Why installing laminate flooring is beneficial to your Remodel

Laminate vinyl wood flooring magnificent grey mixture wood pattern SemBro Designs

Get the look of hardwood without the cost with this rugged bathroom floor option.

Elegant-Bathroom Flooring Faux Wood Laminate with wood grain texture Columbus Ohio

If you’re dreaming of hardwood floors in the bathroom but having nightmares about the cost, take heart. You can get the look of wood with laminate, which closely mimics the texture, color and grain of real woods. Laminate can withstand drippy towels and stand up to heavy traffic. Plus, it handles dropped curling irons really well. It also resists even the toughest stains, from makeup to nail polish.

Some manufacturers do not recommend putting laminate in the bathroom due to the worry of water damage. Review manufacturer installation instructions and warranty information before choosing a laminate floor. If you choose it for the bath, carefully follow any special directions for installation and sealing, and take the utmost care to prevent water from seeping beneath the surface.





If you’re handy, you can save money by installing laminate floors yourself. Many laminate types lock together without the use of glue or nails, while others require adhesives. While you’ll pay more, professional installers can be worth the investment. This is especially true if you want a design that involves intricate inlays or mixing and matching colors and styles.

Kitchen Remodeling using Signature Pearl off-White Cabinets and Acaicia Wood Flooring in Grove City Ohio

Considerations When Choosing Laminate Flooring

Here are elements to consider when choosing laminate:

Texture. Laminate can look like real wood or even tile. For a more realistic wood appearance, the surface can be hand-scraped, distressed, and covered with authentic-looking knots and wormholes. And you can get laminate that looks like anything from polished marble to timeworn slate.

Finish. Laminate is pre-finished and available in glossy or matte coatings.

Shape. Laminate comes in strips or planks that mimic wood, or squares that look like tile. They can be laid in nearly any pattern, such as herringbone or subway.

Tough Enough? Laminate can withstand water. The thing is don’t leave puddles standing for hours after the kids’ bath or it might seep into the seams.

How to Clean. Laminate is low maintenance. Sweep or vacuum regularly keep to free of dirt and sand which can scratch the surface over time. Watch for any spaces or separation where water could penetrate.

Underlayment. Laminate needs a base layer beneath it to serve as a moisture barrier and muffle sound.

Laminate faux wood flooring bright wood texture pattern in modern Kitchen SemBro Designs

The Lowdown.

Laminate is constructed of four layers of material fused together: a melamine wear layer; a high-resolution photo of the surface it is emulating; a dense core board; and a melamine backing layer. It’s affordable, durable, and resistant to stains, fading and moisture; it also won’t harbor mold, mildew or allergens.

Keep in mind, though, that it can emit a “hollow” sound, and it must be replaced rather than sanded or refinished. Its patterns can sometimes look repetitive, and it won’t develop character with age.

Laminate flooring typically costs between $1 and $4 per square foot, uninstalled. It’s ideal for do-it-yourselfers because the planks are designed to lock together for easy installation. If you need laminate feel free to contact us.

What are your favorite features of Laminate flooring. Tell us if you have any shortcuts or hacks that would benefit others. Leave us your comments below.

10 Cool Kitchen Features for Your Home Remodel

Cool kitchen features for your home remodel

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen this year? Kitchens are the top spot for renovations, and are often both the most expensive and the most likely to bring a great return on investment. The kitchen is also the space that has the most potential for changing the way you live, simply because of how much time is spent there.

If you’re redoing your kitchen, bathroom or home in general, you don’t just want to make it pretty. You also want it to function well. And why not add some cool stuff to it while you’re at it.

Here are 10 of the coolest kitchen features you’ll want to consider for your fabulous next remodel.

1. A Hi-Tech refrigerator

Who needs a regular old fridge when you can have the ChillHub, with USB ports, built-in wi-fi connectivity and an iOS app?

That’s exactly what the smart refrigerator built by General Electric’s First Build has created. The refrigerator “was built with accessories in mind, specifically accessories that can be 3-D printed.”

smart appliances Hi tech GE refrigerator wth keurig brewing

2. Light-up countertops

Yes, quartz countertops continue to be a growing trend. But if you want something unique, different, and special, you might want to consider onyx.

“Who needs wall art when you have 1,900 pounds of onyx countertops illuminated from within by 1,600 LED lights?”

onyx lit up special quartz bathroom countertops with unique interior lighting

3. For the love of pizza

Forget the pizza oven. You need an entire pizza room. As in example of HGTV’s 10 amazing kitchens, “this cozy pizza room, located just off the kitchen, comes complete with limestone floors, mosaic tiles on the ceiling and maple cupboards with plenty of storage for essential pizza-making equipment.”

pizza oven in a pizza room next to rustic kitchen remodel

4. A fireplace

Nothing makes a house homier than adding a crackling fireplace, and when you have one in your kitchen, you up the warmth and the charm. If you have the space, this is one addition you won’t regret.

kitchen fireplace remodel makes a cosy home

5. Take advantage of the corners

Figuring out how to maximize space is the age-old dilemma, no matter what size kitchen you are working with. Right angles make that more difficult. Lazy Susan corner cabinets are one solution. Or, you can go with these ingenious corner drawers.

maximize space in the kitchen cabinets ingenious corner drawers

6. The baking drawer

Take this opportunity to customize your cabinetry to meet your needs. A large storage drawer under your wall oven offers a great opportunity to house all of your baking supplies in one convenient space.

baking drawer kitchen cabinets pullout under the wall oven

7. A place for every spice

While you’re at it, plan for a pullout spice cabinet. Well hidden and ingenious idea right inside the cabinets. Placed right next to your stove, it gives you easy access to all your spices just where you need them.

white traditional kitchen pullout spice racks cabinets

8. The divided trash pullout drawer

It seems like such a simple thing, but it’s one that will streamline the way you work in your kitchen. As you’re designing your cabinetry, make sure to include a pullout trash drawer separated into sections for regular trash and recyclables. It might just become your favorite new feature.

Make life easier by planning a handy trash and recycling area. This is one feature you will use every day, so convenience is paramount.

divided trash pullout drawer trash and recyclables kitchen cabinets

9. The holy grail of wine storage

Have a basement (or an area you can dig out to create one)? Then you, too, can have one of the coolest features around in any part of the house—a spiral wine cellar, with a trapdoor under the floor, leading to a secret spiral wine cellar.

charming secret wine cellar with round glass underground spiral staircase

10. Get connected

When you’re thinking about new appliances, take into account not just how they cook, but how you can use them to make life easier. The LG app interacts with many of its LG Smart Ranges and Profile wall ovens, enabling you to remote turn-on, preheat while you’re driving home, (make) temperature changes and check meat probe settings.

smart phone to the smart gas electronic range stove top remote

Feel free to contact our professional designers if you need any advise or just stuck on a critical decision. We are always glad to help.

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Universal Design is important and helpful in Remodeling your Home.

Universal Design Making Life Easier for Everyone

Call it what you like universal design (UD), accessible remodeling, lifespan design – an approach that considers the full range of human abilities and the full life cycle represents the future of home remodeling.
Now, as baby boom-generation homeowners reach retirement age, their bodies are telling them what’s wrong with their homes: steps they can no longer climb safely, bathrooms and kitchens that have become difficult to use, tripping hazards, poor lighting, and more.

This increasingly urgent need presents an opportunity and challenges. It is an opportunity for you to redesign and improve your living space, and a challenge of finding the right contractor. It also offers us the chance to improve your standard of living.

What is Universal Design

The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University defines UD as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Here’s what that means for you.

  • UD creates spaces that accommodate all of the life-cycle changes people experience. That includes more than just aging. A fit young person who breaks a leg skiing might find it impossible to use his or her own bathroom. Think of UD as “grand design”—planning a home that is friendly and convenient for everyone, from grandchildren to grandparents.
  • UD incorporates green building principles, including energy efficiency, low-maintenance materials, and attention to air quality. The benefits are improved health, greater convenience, and predictable operating expenses, all of which are important to elders but attractive also to any homeowner.
  • UD helps eliminate the need for specialized, institutional-looking features that can make visitors feel awkward and carry a social stigma for their owners.
  • UD means filling a home with functional, comfortable ideas that look great and are appealing to homeowners and guests alike.
  • Done right, UD is invisible. Thoughtful features like lower light switches and higher outlets—a boon to children and people who use wheelchairs—are virtually unnoticeable.

The Struggles of Universal Design

As they have with so many cultural shifts, baby boomers are leading the charge toward universal design. They’ve watched their parents struggle with aging in homes ill-suited to the changes they went through. Now, as they face the effects of aging themselves, many are taking a more proactive approach, remodeling their homes to prepare for the hurdles to come. Most want to age in the homes they know and love, but most traditional homes were not designed for this, with second-floor master bedrooms, step-up entryways and porches, and those awful 24-inch-wide doorways into bathrooms, closets, and showers. These are problems remodelers are uniquely equipped to solve.

Baby boomers are also the wealthiest generation in American history, many having inherited the wealth of frugal, hardworking parents who experienced the Great Depression and World War II. They own a huge proportion of the country’s housing stock, often with paid-off mortgages. They are looking for comfort, convenience, and safety. And, like every generation of grandparents before them, they are thinking about their grandchildren, so investing in upgrades that make their homes work better for both young and old holds special appeal.

At SemBro Designs we understand your needs and we have new products and technologies that will make your lives easier:

  • Automatic door bottoms. These devices fasten to the bottom of an entry door, eliminating the need for a threshold while still providing a weather-tight seal.
  • Lever-type door hardware. Door levers are easier to operate than conventional doorknobs and can look more stylish too. Some have integrated LED lighting to aid nighttime navigation.
  • Bathroom ventilation fans and toilet seats with built-in lighting. These innovative products also help those with aging eyes or low vision make their way at night without turning on a bright overhead light.
  • “Invisible” grab bars. Doubling as a soap dish, shower shelf, towel rack, or toilet paper holder, these bathroom fittings provide a secure hand-hold to steady oneself in the shower or to prevent a fall.

The most valuable things we offer to our clients are insightful solutions that reflect common sense and experience:

  • We suggest installing shower valves at the opposite end from the shower head, so the cold water won’t hit you in the back of the head.
  • Place bath and kitchen sink faucets at the sides of sinks instead of behind them, so that children and people using wheelchairs can reach them more easily.
  • We can show you how easy it is to add a heated towel warmer, a toe-kick heater, or in-floor radiant heating to a chilly bathroom.

We Put the Design in Universal Design

We emphasize convenience. Wider hallways make it easier to carry luggage to the bedroom; a zero-step entry makes it easy for the twins’ Mom to push a stroller from the car to the foyer, and it makes the way easier for Grandpa and his walker, too. We stress practicality, but not at the expense of excitement. Kitchen skylight is a boon for aging eyes, plus all of that daylight will also make the colors in the new granite counter really pop. And because everyone appreciates value, these features make any home more marketable. After all, UD represents smart, sophisticated design.

While bathrooms are most likely to remain the same size, certain changes will be more popular than others. Remodeling trends for 2015 include larger showers, more accessibility features, and double sinks, according to a study done by Houzz, explaining why Universal Design represents a better way to build.

After learning more about the advantages of Universal Design, you may well ask why all homes aren’t built this way. New homes still have a long way to go toward full accessibility. But that just means remodelers are here for you at every step of the way, and for many years to come. All the more reason to start today. We strive to make Universal Design our standard practice, building these ideas into every scope of work. Life is full of surprises. Find a local remodeler who creates homes that work for all people, no matter what life throws at them.

Visit our Project Gallery page to see more exciting photos of our work.