What to Look for when Hiring a Professional Renovation Contractor


Make sure you find the right design-build firm before hiring a contractor to do your renovation. When looking for a contractor to handle your home remodeling project, you must have certain points in mind. It isn’t always easy to find the best contractor for the job; that’s why you’re here, after all, right?

Renewal Design-Build is located in Decatur, Georgia and services the intown Atlanta area. Today’s blog post is going to focus on what you need to look for when hiring a design-build firm or a contractor for your renovation.

The Qualifications

You should find out what makes the contractor qualified to offer this type of service. The kind of training they had is important. You should also look into whether they are licensed to provide these services. Your local building authority or professional building associations in your area will be able to provide you with information on the license a contractor needs to offer home remodeling in your area.

Their Experience

How long a person has been doing a job is important, especially if the renovation project will be a large one. Find out how many projects they have worked on in the past that are similar to yours. Better yet, if possible, see if they have any knowledge about the types of housing in your area. Local contractors will understand the requirements for getting building permits for any work that needs to be done.

Look for a contractor or a design-build firm with a nice website. An updated website shows that they are on top of their game and still competitive in the business world. They should also have some pretty magnificent pictures on their website. Look for before and after renovation pictures to gauge how well they do their job.

Type of Insurance

Since accidents can happen when performing home renovation jobs, it is important that any contractor you use has the right type of insurance such as liability and workers compensation. Look for someone who is licensed, bonded, and insured.

Get Referrals

This old favorite still remains a good way to find the right contractor. Referrals from family members and friends are particularly important as these people are unlikely to steer you in the wrong direction. Instead of just taking written referrals, you should call and talk to the persons named. You should also consider checking reviews on reputable websites to see what past clients have to say. Web sites such as guildquality.com and kudzu.com are good sites to check for client reviews for any remodeler you decide to use.

Get a Contract

Get a written contract and make sure that all the details of the job as well as agreed upon cost and timelines are included. The more complex the job the more details there should be in the contract, such as the types of materials to be used.

Once you have the factors that will help you to narrow your list of potential contractors, you can go about finding the right person for the job. Just as important as the decision to remodel your house is the proficiency of the contractor who will be doing the work.

For more information about remodeling your home in Atlanta, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Need More Space? Open Up the Floor Plan!


Once you’ve made the decision to remodel your home, that’s often the only thing you can think about. I’ve been known to be quite obsessive about a project from time to time whether it’s a client project or a personal home improvement project. You’ve probably Googled a thousand times and your computer automatically boots up to a Google search when you walk into the room. Okay, probably not quite that bad, but at least you know that I understand where you’re coming from!

Remodeling is so exciting because it basically transforms your existing home into something completely new. Today’s blog post is obviously going to be about remodeling your home. But I’m not only going to talk about the basics; you already know that moving things around is going to change your space. I’m going to give you a few ideas you may not know are an option.

Non-Supporting Walls

Some of the walls inside your home are actual supporting structures that help support the weight of your roof. Don’t go tearing down walls without a consultation with an architect or a licensed contractor. You don’t want to have the roof come crashing in unexpectedly. You can renovate supporting walls, but you must keep supports in place. Discuss options with your contractor.

Removing non-supporting walls really opens up a home! You can, for example, remove the non-supporting wall between two bedrooms to create a large bedroom suite. Consider building a bathroom and large walk-in closet to turn two smaller bedrooms into a large master suite.

Boxy Kitchen and Dining Room

The two rooms that should flow well together are often separate box-shaped entities. Find out if the wall separating them is a supporting wall. Remove it to open the space if it is not. You can still remove it if it is a supporting wall, but care must be taken to maintain the structural integrity of the ceiling. Again, ask a contractor or an architect to be on the safe side. Open up the area between the kitchen and adjacent rooms by removing non-supporting walls or adding very large open windows, without the glass of course, and open the area from room to room.

More Space

These last two aren’t exactly ways to open up the floor plan, but they are great ways to add more space to your home without building an addition. The attic and basement are often overlooked.

Attic: Most houses have an attic, but some are completely unused. They’re large empty areas that may be used for storage, but most don’t even have actual flooring. They’re just structural 2x4s that support the ceiling below them, and a thick layer of insulation on top. Depending on your roof pitch and the amount of existing space up there, your attic could become a wonderful new area of your home.


Basement: Unfinished basements are often thought of as extra storage. Some homeowners even use a finished basement as climate controlled storage space instead of functional living space. That’s fine if you don’t need the space. But if you’re constantly looking for ways to expand the functional living space in your home, consider the basement!

What Do You Think?

Are you considering remodeling the interior of your home? What are your current plans? I would love to hear from you! Please comment in the comments section and let us know what your future home plans are.

Increasing the Value of Your Home with the Right Renovations

Apart from making your home look good and making you more comfortable, some renovations can also increase its value. A professional contractor can help you decide what to do to boost the value of your home. Sometimes renovations can be purely cosmetic, and will not make much difference to how much your property is worth. We’ve seen a lot of renovations over the years, and we’ve helped improve the overall value of many Atlanta area homes. Today we want to show you some ways you can increase the value of your home.

Areas that Add Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen: Upgrading your kitchen is a good idea when considering a remodeling project, even if you don’t like cooking. A well appointed kitchen is a great addition to any house. When renovating a kitchen, keep current trends in mind. Keeping it trendy will help ensure that the new kitchen will return almost the full cost of the remodeling cost if you have plans to sell the home in the near future. Ample storage and countertop space are generally prime characteristics of a great kitchen.

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Bathroom: A good looking bathroom is one of the main areas that add value to a house. Not only will remodeling the bathroom or bathrooms add value, you can up the ante by adding another bathroom. Having more than one bathroom is important, especially in houses with children. If you have a master bedroom adding an adjoining bathroom will automatically increase the home’s worth. As with kitchens, follow current trends when considering remodeling ideas.

Decks: One often over-looked feature when remodeling is the addition of a nice deck. However, a deck does more than add a cool outdoor area; it can actually make your home more valuable. Make this addition special by giving it distinctive features and a unique shape. A well-designed deck often brings a return on investment of about 74% of the original build cost.

New Windows: Not only can the right type of windows serve to modernize and make houses look so much better, they can help make rooms lighter and make them seem more spacious. Get design help from professionals as to the best types of windows for the house that you are renovating. Our designers are wonderful at helping choose the perfect windows as accent pieces or simply as a way to view the outdoors and allow natural light to enter the home.

Curb Appeal: Who doesn’t want their house to look good from the outside? Make sure to use attractive colors and that the paint never looks faded. Installing a nice gate, as well as landscaping with plants, can add significant curb appeal to your property.

So the next time you are thinking of giving your house a remodel, keep in mind that there are things you can do to increase the resale value at the same time. However, while remodeling, unless you have specific plans to sell, your main objective should be to make your house into the home you want to live in. We truly believe that there is no reason your home cannot adapt to your lifestyle, and that is what we strive to help homeowners do; create a home around the life they’ve chosen instead of searching for a home that their lifestyle fits into.

For more information about remodeling your home in Atlanta, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Want to Give New Life to Your Bedroom? Remodeling to the Rescue!

Like any other room in your house, the bedroom sometimes needs a face-lift. Luckily, with good planning you can transform your bedroom without spending more than you can comfortably afford. There are lots of ways to spruce up a bedroom to make it more inviting and comfortable. The design and build teams here at Renewal Design-Build in Decatur, Georgia completely understand and would love to help turn your bedroom into your own personal oasis.

Before starting the process of remodeling your bedroom you should think about the look you want to achieve. Do you want sultry and passionate or do you want something a little tamer? Do you prefer dark colors, or light? Some great design ideas for your bedroom are:

Add Height to the Ceiling: Increasing the ceiling height in bedrooms on a second floor, or those in a single level house, immediately makes the room more spacious looking. Adding skylights to allow natural light to enter will also help to change the look and feel of your bedroom.

New Color Paint: Nothing gives new life to a room like a new coat of paint, especially if you use a different color. Light, smooth colors are best for bedrooms, so choose shades like light blue, white and beige. However, you should be guided by the colors you like and your own personal taste. Keep in mind that bright, loud colors are not generally calming and may prevent you from relaxing and falling asleep.

Change Light Fixtures: Light fixtures can easily transform a bedroom from drab and boring to fanciful or elegant. Apart from the type of bulb that you use, changing the fixture and the switch can give the bedroom a different look. Using dimmer switches in your bedroom helps to reduce your electricity bill and controls the brightness in the room. You can add reading lights if you like to read in bed.

Add Some Molding: Trimmings, such as molding and trim can add a different dimension to the look of a room. Choose a design that you like and which works well with the décor of your bedroom. You can look for these by yourself, but getting professional help is a good way to ensure that they are installed properly.

Storage: Even the type of storage you use can help transform a run-of-the-mill bedroom into one you actually want to spend time in because of how good it looks. Installing modern storage units not only gives you much more space, it can also bring new life to your bedroom, making it orderly and neat. Even though a bedroom is primarily for sleeping, the fact that you spend so much of your life in there means that you should have one that that makes you feel comfortable.

Bedroom remodeling in Decatur, Georgia or the greater Atlanta area is only part of our lines of expertise. Renewal Design-Build is a full-service design-build company with focus on remodeling and custom home design. Give us a call any time to discuss your options or to talk about helping us design your dream home.

Buy that Old Home You Want and Call Us to Help Renew it and Create Your Dream Home

I love old homes. Older architecture has so much unique appeal, and customizing a renovation isn’t as difficult as you may think. Renewal Design-Build is based in Decatur, Georgia. We are homeowners with an eye for design and we have the ability to transform any space into something spectacular. We’ve found that many of the older homes in the Decatur and greater Atlanta area are truly gems waiting to be discovered.


Why Work with Renewal Design-Build?

We take the guess work out of renovating and remodeling older homes. Our design teams work diligently to provide options that we’re sure you’ll love. We don’t just make a few sketches and hope for the best. Our process includes the production of 3D images to give you a true to life representation of what your home will look like when the dust settles.

Our designers love both old architecture and new. We have worked with several homeowners to restore the historic beauty of their old home as well as several who prefer to completely remodel and modernize their older home. The choice is, of course, entirely up to the homeowner. Our designers and builders will work with you to create the perfect solution to fit your lifestyle.

Potential Problems in an Older Home

Before you sign on the dotted lines, please understand that going into an older home with high hopes and dreams of the perfect renovation project, things often go wrong very quickly. Here are several things to keep in mind and to watch for before you even make the purchase.

Electrical Problems: The home will not be up to code. It is possible that the previous owner had new wiring run, but assume from the start that it will not be up to code and you will have to have all new wiring run throughout the home. Take that idea a step further and mentally budget for a new breaker box as well. It’s always better to be over prepared than under!

Plumbing Problems: Old pipes will likely need to be replaced. Expect to see leaks due to lack of maintenance and TLC. Check the area around leaks for mold and wood rot.

Water Damage: Water damage can be potentially damaging to the entire structure of the home. It can cause mold, dirt erosion, and wood rot if left for an extended period of time. Examine the area thoroughly before you make the decision to purchase the property.

I wrote another blog post about renovating an older home in Atlanta if you’d like to see some other areas of concern. Don’t go into the project expecting all rainbows and butterflies because it’s going to be hard work, even if you hire us to do all of the dirty work.

My advice to you, if you’re on the fence about whether you should or shouldn’t buy the old home you’ve had your eye on for years, is to do it. You’re aware of the risks by now, so just take the plunge and then call us to begin the renovation process!

Kitchen Remodeling Trends to Spice Up Your Atlanta Kitchen

Kitchen design trends got really colorful throughout 2014. Some of these trends have made headlines where others are merely a flash in the pan. How do you distinguish between something enduring vs. a fad that will be over by next year? Here are some of the current trends we are seeing in kitchen design.

Colorful Kitchen
Homeowners have really started showing off their personal tastes in the most recent remodeling projects. They are becoming bold with color choices, like a dark blue kitchen wall with bone cabinets and quartz countertops. Many appliances such as dishwashers, ranges and refrigerators are now available in bright hues.

Streamline the Room
Straight lines, muted tones, and a good combination of dark and bright accent pieces really make a kitchen shine. One of the most popular trends in kitchen design for 2014 is the addition of built-in appliances. The refrigerator is hidden behind a door that looks like a closet door and matches the rest of the room. The microwave follows suit and is no longer a stand-alone piece of countertop space hogging furniture. Some homeowners are even going for a built-in area for the coffee maker. When it comes to custom kitchen design, the sky is the limit!

Kitchen by Renewal Design-Build

New Kitchen Lighting Trends
Under-cabinet LED lighting and over-island LED lighting are very popular this year. LED lighting for the kitchen is very cost effective, and bright enough to really allow you to see what you’re doing. Food prep areas need sufficient lighting in order to prevent mistakes while cooking. And let’s face it; over cabinet and under cabinet lighting is just cool!

New Faucets
Everyone loves the convenience of the pull-out faucet, right? No need to have a faucet and sprayer as two separate entities. It saves space and makes the area look so much cleaner. This year some homeowners also included no-touch electronic faucets in their kitchen design. This seems to work better for a secondary sink where most of the food preparation takes place.

The island is a very popular workspace, and working with a variety of foods requires a lot of hand washing to prevent contamination. The knobs or handles catch a lot of germs each time you turn the water on or off. This risks the very thing you’re trying to avoid – contamination of your food. An electronic faucet prevents that altogether.

Grohe Contemporary Touch Faucet

A Place for Pets
Some homeowners block the kitchen with pet gates while others welcome their pet into every part of the home. This section speaks to the latter group of homeowners. You likely have a designated spot for pet food and water bowls. Let’s take that up a notch and think about actually creating a permanent spot in the kitchen that is out of the way and very convenient for your pets.
The end of a row of cabinets, a lower-tier drawer removal, or the end of an island make fantastic spots for pet food bowls. Modify that idea even further by adding a faucet nearby so it’s even easier and more convenient to fill the water bowl.

Built-in Pet Bowls

What Are Your Thoughts?
What would you consider a kitchen trend for 2014? What do you think about the ones we mentioned here, will they last? Would you like to see more about kitchens or would you prefer we cover other areas of the home in next month’s blog posts? Let us know your thoughts and ideas by commenting in the comments section or emailing us through the Contact Us page on the site!

Why Should You Choose Renewal Design-Build for Your Atlanta Home Remodeling Project?


Remodeling your home can be a very tedious project. You have to take so many factors into consideration. You’ve probably heard several horror stories as well; stories of muddy Georgia clay boots tracking across clean floors, of contractors disappearing in the middle of a project, and many more.

Renewal Design-Build is not like those other companies. We take pride in providing a professional atmosphere for all of our clients, regardless of the size of the job. Take a look at our design-build process and how it will benefit you.

Communication: It all begins with a phone call. Our initial consultation is the foundation for the entire project. We will meet with you at your home to discuss your project in detail. The renovation consultant who meets with you will serve as your point of contact for the duration of the project. We believe that communication is of equal importance as quality. Without good communication, we don’t feel that the quality of the overall job has been met.

Quality: True quality is met as a direct result of the hard work our designers and builders put forth and the quality of communication between the homeowner and designer. Our builders use only the highest quality materials during the building or remodeling phase of the project. High quality materials plus high quality work equals a high quality finished product.

Save Time and Money: The traditional design and build process required that you first speak with a designer to design your project. Then you’d speak with an architect to make sure the home would be structurally sound. Finally you’d coordinate between a general contractor, a plumber, and an electrician to have the home built. That isn’t how we do it here. We house the design and build teams and arrange everything for you. All you have to do is wait for updates, or call anytime to discuss the project with the project manager.

3D Designs: One of the most unique things we offer is 3D designs of your project. We want to make absolutely sure that you know what the end project will look like, so we provide 3D images. This gives you a glimpse of what life will be like in your newly designed home. We can make any changes you wish until the time construction begins.

Easy Home Design and Renovation

It doesn’t get much easier than building or remodeling your home with Renewal Design-Build. Our firm is dedicated to the improvement efforts put forth by all homeowners in the Atlanta metro area. We have had the opportunity to work with homeowners on both large and small projects. We give the same amount of attention to a $35,000 bathroom as we do a $600,000 full home renovation, because the size of the project doesn’t matter.

Give us a call at 404-378-6962 or contact us via our website any time to discuss your project in detail. We would love to make your home renovation dreams come true.

Home Remodeling with Teens

Teenagers are often difficult to understand, but as parents, I don’t think we’re supposed to understand them. Think back to when you were a teenager; did everyone understand you and your needs? Of course not. Children grow into teenagers before we realize it, and their needs and tastes grow along with them. All too often parents are suddenly faced with the fact that their four bedroom two bath home just doesn’t cut it with so many people trying to get ready for work, school, hanging out with friends, and study dates.

Add a Bathroom
Adding a bathroom to your existing home may sound a bit tricky, but it can be done. Your contractor may have to get quite creative depending on the layout of your home, but imagine the convenience the addition of a single small bathroom would add to your family’s lifestyle.
Be careful when adding a full bathroom because you may overstress the hot water heater. No one will want to use the third bathroom shower if everyone is going to finish in cold water. Consider the possibility of installing a tankless hot water heater if you’re going to add a new full bath to your existing home.


Add a Home Addition
A home addition expands the physical size of your home, making space for nearly any type of room you need. Many first-time homeowners purchase a small house and work to pay the mortgage down so they have a good amount of equity in the home. They decide to add additional rooms as their family grows, and they can take out a second mortgage to cover the costs of expansion.

Teens Need Space
Teenagers need space to store all of their stuff. And they need space to invite friends over, play video games without commanding the use of the entire living room, and computer time without fussing with siblings who also need the computer for homework.

The ability to provide teens with the space they need to enjoy life (and make life easier on you) doesn’t necessarily mean you need to build onto the home. Remodeling bedrooms to include built-in storage for things like game consoles, game controllers, and a hide-away desk makes a big difference. Simply creating hidden or multi-operational storage spaces is often all that’s required in order for a teen to feel that they have increased space for stuff.

Ask Around
Discuss your home’s issues with a contractor. A properly designed home should flow easily from room to room and be comfortable enough to easily accommodate its occupants. Call us to discuss your home addition or remodeling options if you feel that your home isn’t adequately addressing the demands placed on it by your family.

Renewal Design + Build is a full service home design and build company located in the Decatur area. We service the Decatur, Intown Atlanta, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs areas. Our designers work closely with our project managers and construction teams to ensure that your home addition or remodel is perfect and exactly what you expect. Call us to schedule a free consultation with regards to remodeling your home during its transition from being a home to children to accommodating teenagers.

A High End Kitchen Renovation that Won’t Leave You Feeling Burned

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I could talk for days about how incredible our designers and builders are here at Renewal Design-Build, but I believe our work speaks for itself. Many of our kitchen remodels have received the Chrysalis Award (2013), the 2012 Silver OBIE Award for Residential Remodeling Best Addition, among other prestigious awards. Our designs have been featured on television shows, and our clients are always thrilled with the completed project. Please view our portfolio to see before and after photos of the amazing remodeling projects we’ve previously done.

Designing an award-winning kitchen takes time, patience, and no small amount of expertise. Our design team is absolutely incredible, and they leave no avenue unexplored. They work with you to ensure that your every wish is fulfilled regarding your new kitchen.

Our kitchen designs wouldn’t be as amazing without our expert team of builders. Our builders take their time to review the 3D renderings and study the plans for each kitchen build before any work begins. They make sure to get all questions and concerns out of the way before the beginning of the project, that way there are no surprises along the way.

Our teams work so well together that the entire project feels seamless. The homeowners we work with report that their experience with us was like no other they’ve ever experienced. They feel as if they are our only client, even when they know they aren’t. Our overall client care approach is designed to put the client first in everything we do.

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Allow us the opportunity to work with you to design your new custom kitchen. You will be responsible for choosing the basic design that our designers will embellish on, the materials that our builders will use, and the finishing touches that will make your kitchen shine. In the end, your kitchen will be award-worthy just as many of the other kitchens in our online portfolio.

We’re very proud to have been able to work with some amazing clients in the Decatur and greater Atlanta area. We’ve met people who know exactly what they want and give us the creative freedom to perfect on their vision. We’ve also met people who have several great ideas, but aren’t quite sure if those ideas can be made into a usable kitchen. We do everything within our power to make sure their kitchen exceeds their expectations.

We enjoy working with homeowners to bring their kitchen dreams to life. If you’re remodeling your existing home, or building a new home, and are interested in hiring us to design and build your custom kitchen, please give us call. We will set up an appointment that works with your schedule and discuss your design and build needs.

Thinking about Remodeling Your Home? Let’s Talk Whole House Redesign!

Before you panic or click away for fear of sticker shock, let me explain that a whole house redesign doesn’t necessarily mean knocking down all walls and starting from scratch. The basic structure of your home will remain intact, but we will redesign certain rooms, remodel the kitchen and bathrooms if you wish, and make whatever other changes you want. Some rooms, the family room for instance, may only require new paint, new windows, or updated flooring. Other rooms may only require paint, or nothing at all.

Build a New Home vs. Redesign and Remodel
One of the primary questions you need to ask your self is – should you remodel your existing home or build a new custom home? That choice is, of course, entirely yours. Several key factors need to be taken into consideration. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones:
Building a new home requires the acquisition of land, footers to be dug, foundation to be poured, and every stage of construction leading up to the completed home. Remodeling your existing home requires none of those additional costs. Your basic structure, the foundation, plumbing, and electric wires are already in place.


Plan for Now and Later
Planning your whole house remodel will take time. You will likely need to consult an architect as well as a contractor. Your existing home has specific support beams and support walls that simply cannot be removed and replaced without ensuring that the support remains in place. Removing areas of support without replacing them all but guarantees that your home will become structurally unsafe.

While planning your remodel, keep in mind that you’re planning for now and for the future as well. Many people live in their homes through their retirement years, and well into their 80s. Mobility issues will likely arise in your later years, so plan ahead and include handrails, grab bars, wide hallways and doorways, and accessible showers and tubs.
Planning your remodel to include your senior years will increase the value of your home and make life much easier on you in the future. Adding a doorway to adjoin your bedroom to your baby’s bedroom may be a great idea for now, but think about what the teen years are going to bring.

Up to Code
This would be the perfect time to make sure all of the wiring and plumbing in your home is up to code. Replace any damaged or worn wiring with new, and replace all light switches and electrical sockets while you’re into it.

Go Solar
The Federal Tax Credit for installing solar panels expires at the end of 2016. Why not take advantage of it before it’s too late? Solar panels are a great investment for the future because they effectively reduce energy bills. The initial investment will be offset by tax credits and they will continue to pay for themselves through reduced energy costs.

Need More Ideas? Ask Us.
Contractors and architects are always full of great remodeling ideas! Feel free to ask questions like, “If it were your house, and you needed this functionality, what would you do?” You may be surprised at some of the answers you receive once you ask the architect, designer, or contractor to use their imagination.