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Welcome to At Home With Tom and Sandy!

We are here to give you the inside scoop on the construction industry; what’s up, what’s down, what’s hot and what’s not. We’ll share our thoughts, thinking and, of course, opinions on construction, remodeling, home prices, building permit numbers, construction pointers and give you hints on renovations that will give you a return on your investment and, as they say, “so much more.”

There is plenty going on in the housing and construction industry and we want to share some fantastic, cool, groovy and helpful information with you. We are going to use our insight and local expertise to help you save time, money and surmount obstacles of all kinds. So, settle in and enjoy. We are going to talk about value-added remodeling dreams.

Sandy: You know, Tom, one of my big wants if money were not object, as they say, and I could remodel my home to my heart’s content, would be to have a steam shower in the master bath. The ahhh in steam would be terrific.

Tom: I am halfway there with you, Sandy. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to add steam to your existing shower enclosure or get a standalone shower. Either way, you could be looking at an investment between $2,500 to $5,000, or higher depending on the bells and whistles.

Tom: I love outdoor living in our area. Since this can happen eight to nine months a year, my big “If money were no object” would be an outdoor living room and kitchen, where I could hang out, grill, maybe nap, listen to the birds and watch the coyotes walk by.

Sandy: Sounds cool, Mr. R., what would that dream run you?

Tom: My dream… probably $100K. Then again, I can design some pretty cool stuff! What else is on your remodel bucket list?

Sandy: I like the idea of outdoor living, but my next thought runs to my kitchen. I would like to have a deep sink, like a farmers sink, warming drawers and a really cool “kick it” cooking surface, complete with four to five burners and a griddle. I love to cook fresh, healthy meals!

Tom: Sounds like my kinda kitchen. A nice big Wolf range with an intergyral convection oven could cost $10K. The warming, or even cooling drawers cost about $2,000 and up. The deep farmerhouse sinks are all over the cost map. Enamel, cast iron, pewter type metal, hammered metal, will run anywhere from $600 to $2,500.

Sandy: Well, we started this conversation with the thought that “money was no object,” so let me dream a little.

How about a HUGE walk-in closet with shelves, drawers and lots of hanging space? Some daylighting in there, places for an untold number of shoes. OH, can I get an automatic shoe polisher too?

Tom: Okay then. Wait…. How many shoes do you have?

Sandy: A girl never tells!

Tom: Fair enough.

Let’s pretend you can steal space from an adjacent room to expand your itty-bitty closet. Say, eight feet by 10 feet. That will give you all kinds of room for dressing, a chair or bench to sit on, and of course a full-length mirror. I assume, since we are dreaming, you might want piped in music or a TV. A custom designed closet system can run between $1,500 to $4,000 or more. When you think about using this space 365 days a year, over a period of 10 years, two times a day, the high end would only cost about $0.50 per use. Well worth it.

As for the automatic shoe polisher, well, they run about $100 to $300 plus a 110v outlet. The LEED Accredited Professional in me is glad you mentioned daylighting. Skylights can work well. Lately, we have been using the indirect solar tube systems for closets since you don’t really need to see outside.

Seems you can have it all, Sandy!

Sandy: Oh boy, I am not done yet! The laundry room is next. A side-by-side front loading washer and dryer with storage below and above, a deep sink for prewashing, with a spray nozzle, a space to hang wet things, dry things and a way to catch the dripping water on the floor for the wet stuff and maybe a bench where people could sit and take off their shoes. Think you could do all that for under $10K?

Tom: You have got your priorities together, that’s for sure. As for the cost, that largely depends on the washer and dryer you choose. Your budget could be realistic though.

Sandy: Well, I ALWAYS have all kinds of ideas that I think up as my days roll on. You know how great it is working in this industry, we see so many innovative ideas and new products. I told you about my dream kitchen, but I want to add a fireplace where I can warm my tired feet while I sip my tea. Have you ever done something like that, Mr. Architect?

Tom: No I haven’t, but what a great idea! We have put fireplaces in living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms and outside rooms, but not in a kitchen. Maybe a space for a flat screen above so you can watch the DIY home improvement TV shows!

Sandy: I LOVE those shows, don’t you be making fun of them, mister!

Tom: Sorry. This has been fun column. When we meet with clients, we encourage them to do just like you are doing, Sandy, and DREAM. Too often, folks think about the next homeowner, some day, down the road and try to imagine what might help with resale. I say dream, invest in your own comfort and lifestyle. When you do what you want you will be much happier.

Thanks for stopping in at “At Home with Tom and Sandy.” You’re in good company and we love sharing educational, fun and important information with you. See you next month.

Tom Reilly, Architect, Contractor, Renovations 928-445-8506

Sandy Griffis, Executive Director, Yavapai County Contractors Association 928-778-0040.


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