Can Your Remodel Be More Sustainable?

Whether you’re hoping to reduce your heating and water bills in your home, to minimize the amount of waste and impact during your remodel, or eliminate allergens and chemicals from your home,  there are many benefits to sustainable building. From kitchens and basements to full home remodels, sustainability is an important consideration both for your wallet and for the planet. In honor of Earth Day, here are a few ways we implement sustainable practices into our remodels.

Energy Efficient Design

From the initial phase of design, a space can be built with sustainability in mind to maximize efficiency and minimize impact on the environment. At Harjo Construction, we take a multifaceted approach that takes form, function, and energy system design into account when designing a space. Whether that means planning new construction to maximize natural light, or incorporating new insulation systems into your basement remodel, by starting with sustainability in mind in the initial phase of design you can proactively reduce your home’s environmental impact.

Think Insulation

When planning a renovation, taking insulation into consideration is another way to foster long term sustainability. Adding insulation to your roofing, an insulating layer to your basement, or installing insulating slabs in various other parts of your home are relatively simple installments to make that will benefit your home for years to come. That way, your home lets less cold air in and you’ll both save money and energy on heating costs.

Choose “Green” Materials

Not all materials are made equal, and some are significantly better for the environment than others. Whether you’re building new or renovating within your home, taking environmental impact of various materials into account is another great way to reduce the environmental impact of your remodel. We implement an analytical process to evaluate materials, and factor in the trade-offs when choosing various building solutions. We’ll also help you navigate the process of finding the best materials if you’re seeking a LEED certification or simply want to have a more sustainable home.

Make Indoor Air Quality a Priority

From allergens to pollutants, indoor air quality should be taken into account when planning a remodel. There are a number of solutions available to improve your indoor air quality, and we can help you choose what’s best for you. Whether that means improving your ventilation or high quality filtration systems, making air quality a priority can help you with maximizing airflow, minimizing future sneezing, and a number of other benefits.  Heat recovery ventilators are also great options for reducing the amount of energy used on heating and cooling. These systems improve the air quality in your home and save energy on climate control costs.

Making sustainable practices a habit

Beyond the initial planning stages, implementing sustainable practices during the project and after remodel is another way to shrink your ecological footprint. Whether you’re planning a commercial remodel for your entire company or a smaller scale upgrade in your home, making sustainable practices a habit in your day-to-day activities is one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact. Whether that means implementing a recycling program in your office, installing low energy appliances, or teaching the kids about composting, there are many easy changes that can have big impact on the environment for years to come.
From kitchens, to bathrooms, to entire office space remodels, there are many ways to make this process less harmful to the environment and more self-sustaining for years to come. To learn more about sustainable practices at Harjo Construction, visit our website today!

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Boston Manor Bathroom

4 Signs Your Bathroom Could Use An Update

You might not realize how much you love your bathroom until it needs repairs and becomes out of service. To avoid fighting over the shower or being late for work because your high schoolers needed your mirror to do their makeup, keep an eye out for these red flags in your bathroom; if you see them, it might be time for an upgrade.

Outgrowing your space

If you have recently moved in with a spouse, now have three kids in a house that was bought when you had one, or simply could use more storage space, that’s a sign your bathroom could use an upgrade. Storage space and comfort in your bathroom is crucial. At Harjo Construction, bathroom upgrades are one of our specialties, and we’ll work with you to meet your needs and create a functional and aesthetically pleasing space.

Energy efficiency

Even if your bathroom appliances are fully functional, many older models do not have the energy saving features available in more modern models. Energy efficient bathrooms can take a lot of money off of your electrical bill, and benefit the planet for years to come. Having a low-flow toilet, energy efficient water heater, and taking other green steps are hugely beneficial both for your home and the earth. Beyond that, we believe in sustainable construction and design, so we build with green materials, strive for the best environmental quality and health, and implement job site sustainability. 

Improve your aesthetics

If your bathroom has been the same since Bush was president, it might be time for an update. While some designs are timeless, making contemporary upgrades to your space can change your home’s look and feel. Updating your bathroom to a more modern design and coloring can add to your home’s value and improve your bathroom’s aesthetics.

Poor configuration

While some bathrooms have elegant and functional layouts, many others do not. If you are unhappy with the layout of your bathroom, constantly bumping into your partner in the morning,  or think it could benefit from a better flow, that’s another sign you’re ready for an upgrade. You shouldn’t have to choose between style and function in your own home, so if you think your bathroom could be configured better, we can help.  

Your bathroom is a crucial part of your home. Whether you need a bigger space, want to lower your energy bill and be more environmentally friendly, or simply want an upgrade, contact us today to learn more about upgrading your bathroom.

5 Tips for Living Through A Kitchen Remodel

Whether you have hungry kids, hungry spouses, or hungry roommates, the kitchen is often the hub of your home. Oftentimes, households outgrow the size of their kitchens and some extra cabinet space, an island, a bar area, or updated countertops are needed. The sky’s the limit for the kitchen of your dreams. It’ll be well worth it in the end, but living with limited kitchen space during a remodel can be difficult. If you’re embarking on a kitchen remodel, consider these easy ways to keep your family full and happy during your home renovations.

Before: Clean out or stock up your freezer

During your kitchen remodel, you may or may not have access to your freezer. If your freezer will be accessible, make a few large meals leading up to the remodel and freeze them for the coming weeks. This way you’ll have access to home cooked meals without the cooking. If you won’t have freezer access, this is a great time thaw your freezer’s contents. This means eating those frozen pizzas and defrosting your backup bag of frozen vegetables. You’ll have a few easy dinners and won’t waste any food when you unplug your refrigerator.  

Before: Stock up the pantry

Taking a trip to Costco or Sam’s Club before your renovation to fill your pantry is another easy way to prepare. Having several non-refrigerated snack options at the ready will keep your kids happy and help them avoid climbing around kitchen construction to get snacks. Getting some disposable, compostable plates and utensils will make it much easier to function without a dishwasher or kitchen sink.

During: Plan menus that don’t require much cooking and pre-prep

During your remodel, planning menus that don’t require much cooking and pre-prep is another easy way to have great meals and avoid spending an arm and a leg on takeout. This can include making salads with pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, picking up fresh pasta salads and deli options, or opting for dinner kits where you just add vegetables or pasta. You can also keep an eye out for local restaurant coupons and weeknight deals, or try new delivery services that offer discounts on your first order.

During: Leverage the Barbecue and the Crock Pot

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere moderately warm during your remodel, this is a great time to break out the barbecue. From salmon, to chicken, to vegetables and more, grilling is an easy, healthy alternative to cooking in the kitchen. From tasty ribs to s’mores for the kids, this is an easy way to have great tasting food with little prep while your kitchen is out of service. If barbecue isn’t an option during your remodel, using a crock pot is another solution for home cooked meals without the kitchen. All the crockpot needs is a few ingredients and an outlet so setting this up in another area of your house can be an additional solution.

After: Enjoy Your New Space with your family

Finding ways around using your kitchen during a remodel can seem daunting, but there are many easy solutions and it will be well worth it in the end. Your kitchen is the hub of your home, and we’re here to help you dream up the perfect space. From minor updates to large scale renovations, Harjo Construction is here for home remodels of all kinds. To learn more about our services or to get a free cost estimate, contact us today!

How to Design Your In-Home Office for Optimal Workflow

Whether you work from home full-time as a remote employee for an outside company or you run your own business from your in-home office, it’s important that your office is a productive space. Depending on the size of the room, the amount of items that are necessary for your work performance and other factors, including whether anyone else will be using or accessing the space, there are a lot of considerations when planning the design of your home office.

One thing’s for certain: If you just put a desk against the wall without any other planning, you could run into issues with your use of the space down the line.

Planning Ahead with Design Saves Time and Frustration

One of the best ways to maximize the potential of your home office space is to spend time thinking about what, exactly, you will need to do in that space to perform your job optimally. Do you need a computer? What about a landline phone or a fax machine or printer? Do you need space for physical file storage, or a work bench, or a space to store tools? You should carefully consider how often you need each item and plan the layout of the space accordingly, with the items you need and use most being given closest proximity to your working space, whether that’s a tabletop or a desk.

Avoid Clutter, But Allow for Personal Touches

While you don’t want your office space overflowing with your craft projects, your kids’ sports equipment, or your exercise machines, you also don’t want an empty, sterile space. The area should be comfortable, with furniture that fits your work style and decorations that make you feel inspired and ready to work.

A few pieces of art, books that are relevant to your work, and perhaps a few other decorations should be enough to make you feel at home while still keeping your mind focused on the tasks at hand when you enter your home office. Try to keep the space open and clean, so that you don’t lose yourself in distractions when you’re trying to work.

Be Willing to Change if Something Doesn’t Work

Maybe you thought that having your desk by the window would keep you alert, as the sunshine would perk you up. Now, however, you’re just staring into your backyard, wishing you could be outside instead. In that case, it’s time to move your desk. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and be willing to change the layout of your space, as well as what’s in it, to help you maximize your productive time in your home office.

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Why Winter Is the Perfect Time to Finish Your Attic or Basement Remodel

With Pacific Northwest winters being as wet and rainy as they are, we end up spending most of our time indoors.  This winter has been predicted to bring snow the 1st quarter of 2017, promising even more time to spend in your humble abode. 

Avoid cabin fever and expand the livable square footage of your home by finishing your basement or attic!  By finishing out these spaces, you’re not only adding more useable space to your home, you’re also increasing the value of your asset.


Convert the basement into a media room, family room, or a swanky speakeasy for entertaining other indoor-bound guests.  To maximize your home’s value, add a guest bedroom and bathroom.  These updates will help you appreciate your asset while it appreciates for you.  Call us with your ideas and we can help make your dream space come to life!

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4 Tips to Achieve a New Home Feeling Without the New Home Price

Want to get a new home feeling without the new home price?  Here are some ideas to make your home feel fresh and updated without taking out another mortgage.

Image courtesy of Houzz

1. Move that wall! 

By removing a separating wall, you’ll open up the room for better flow and accessibility.  Open floor concepts are very popular for multiple reasons, including their tendency to expand views and natural light, make spaces feel larger, and accommodate entertaining.


Image courtesy of Houzz

2. Put a door on it! 

Have a small space?  Try adding a covered or partially covered deck to the exterior of a kitchen or living room, and add sliding doors where the existing wall was.  This option opens up an indoor living space and invites a bit of nature into your current home.  Add exterior heaters to make the space function year round.

Image courtesy of Houzz

3. From floor to ceiling

Freshen up a space by pulling out tired carpets or laminate, and add a timeless surface like hard wood or tile.  This not only makes your space look better, but is also far easier to keep clean and allergen free.  New tile that looks like wood is a great choice for water-prone areas like bathrooms and entryways.  Finish off the room with a new coat of paint.  Maybe when you bought your house, textured paint was all the rage, and you’re ready to part with it.  It’s amazing how new surfaces like flooring and paint can really make the space feel like a whole new house.

Image courtesy of Houzz

4. Lose the closet but not the space

Try expanding a smaller room by removing an oversized closet and adding built-in cabinets.  This style of cabinet is very popular in the coveted craftsman style home, and helps add character while adding functioning storage.  Another way to add storage without clutter is adding built-in cabinets to a stairwell.  Make your space look like it was taken out of a design magazine by arranging books or other focal objects to a plain wall like a staircase.

Investing money into your home is a smart move.  You’ll be able to appreciate living in your asset, while your asset appreciates itself!  For other tips on how to love your home again, please contact us at Harjo Construction Services.  In our complimentary meeting, we’ll learn about your goals with your home, discuss budget and timeline, and work together to make your house a dream home!

Interior Painting Ideas to Lighten Up a Room


No matter how many sunburns or bug bites you may suffer throughout the summer months, it’s never easy to bid the season farewell come September. Before the weather grows semi-permanently grey and wet, you have the power to plan an interior space that serves as a sunny refuge through any season. One of a homeowner’s best weapons to fend off a dark and dreary space is a strategic approach to wall color.

If you’re ready for a room-by-room refresher rather than a whole home overhaul, Harjo Construction offers a wide scope of services including minor renovation work. Our team will devote the professional touch you need to execute your next interior painting project — whether it’s one room, a statement wall or a complete color makeover. No floor or ceiling splashes left behind, no mess, no “you missed a spot.” Get inspired with these on-trend bright paint jobs.

1. Mint

With so many variations of mint paint shades on the market, this color leaves plenty of room for customization. Whether your preferred shade leans heavier toward blue, green or even grey tones, mint is generally subdued enough to paint an entire room and still leave behind a soothing ambiance. If you’re not quite ready to commit to one color, it’s easy to mix and match bolder hues of mint with subtle, barely-there options, freeing you up to pair a statement wall with your all-over paint color.



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2. Lemon

Pale lemon walls can add vibrancy to any space, including the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or nursery. This is perhaps the most literal expression of summer color, as it offers your interior a dose of sunshine.




Image courtesy: The Tao of Dana


3. Cerulean

Whether true cerulean or a play on cobalt, deep and bold blue shades can deliver a pop of color without frazzling your nerves. Go all in by pairing with warm-toned bold decor, or let your walls speak for themselves by keeping the rest of your setting bare-bones.



Image courtesy: Houzz


4. White

Sure, it’s technically a non-color, but crisp white walls can enhance any room’s natural light. A fresh coat of white paint just might be the ideal mood-lifter for the minimalists out there. Best of all, white matches virtually anything, giving you ultimate free reign over decor. Go to town with bold accents and outlandish patterns, or if neutral is the name of your game, stick to white, black or natural furnishings.





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4 Favorite Kitchen Remodeling Trends to Watch in 2016

As a contractor, it is as important to keep abreast of industry trends and new ideas as it is to also know what’s practical, worthwhile, and lasting. There have been a few shifts in the home design world that have been interesting to follow, and we’d like to share with you some of the developments we’re most excited about for 2016 interior design!


Stainless Steel is Over

BSS_mastheadWell, maybe not “over,” but stainless steel appliances certainly don’t have the same death grip on the industry that they have for the last twenty years. Alternative appliance surfaces have been increasingly popular for kitchen remodels, such as paneled fronts for refrigerators or microwaves that match the cabinetry and create a seamless look, or white-or-colored, vintage-styled enameled appliance fronts that are evocative of the 1950s-70s. Major appliance brands have been releasing new looks for old favorites, such as KitchenAid’s much-coveted new line of “black stainless steel.” Though stainless steel will never really go out of style, many competitors have been emerging that are pretty dang cool.


Underlighting is In

If you’re planning a major kitchen remodel, get ready to talk a lot about light—not only is lighting an incredibly powerful (and often underrated) aspect of design, but kitchen lighting has gotten pretty innovative these days. We love the trend of underlighting your cabinetry or countertops. Not only does it provide better ambient and task lighting, but when done well underlighting can make your kitchen look almost ethereal.


New Ideas for Stone

britt-kitchen3Natural stone is pretty much unbeatable in terms of lasting value, durability, and beauty for a high-end kitchen, but the game has changed a little in the last decade. In the past, thick, highly-polished granite countertops with ornate edge profiles were a very popular choice for making a kitchen feel elegant and expensive; today, matte finishes (like leathered or honed granite) are increasingly popular because they look more industrial, and thinner, flat-edged countertops are favored for their modernity. Quartz has also overtaken granite in popularity, likely because of its falling price point as it becomes more common and its virtually nonexistent maintenance.


Decline of the Dining Room

Ruben-Slider2In today’s modern world, families are far less likely to be sitting down together around a dining room table every day for breakfast and dinner. Unlike fifty years ago, it’s very common now that both parents work, and children and adults are busier and more interested in multitasking than ever. Especially as millennials grow older and direct a larger part of remodeling projects, we’re starting to see the traditional formal dining room decline in favor of integrated kitchen-to-living spaces. This means things like smaller tables, bar or counter seating, and much more open, sweeping floor plans.


If you want a contractor who’s on the cutting edge of the industry while still an expert in the timeless fundamentals, contact us at Harjo Construction! We love big-scale kitchen remodels, and also commercial or new construction projects. Contact us about your idea—we’d love to talk about it!

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5 Considerations for Where To Live During Your Remodel

One thing that families need to consider when planning a large remodeling project is where they’ll live during the construction process. Often, families assume that they’ll be able to work around the chaos of the remodel and cohabitate with their contractor and his crew. One thing is certain: it’s better to fairly assess how realistic this is and weigh the cons and pros before you’re several weeks in and need to find some last-minute solution. Here are a few points to consider when you’re determining where to live during your remodel:

1.) Financial Aspects

Yes, it’s true that renting a home for weeks or months can be very expensive, and other solutions like buying an RV or going on a vacation can also add up. However, it’s important to also recognize that a project will be completed more quickly when the crew has the place to themselves, and when it comes to construction, time is money. When a family continues to live in a house, the construction is often hindered by occupants, and slowing down construction makes it more expensive, not to mention they price you might put on your own sanity and convenience.

2.) Bathrooms, Water, Power

Utilities are also a major determinant of whether or not living at home can be feasible. Will you water or power be turned off? For how long? What about your heat or air conditioning? If your bathroom is being remodeled, do you have other bathrooms in your house you can use? Will one bathroom be enough for a four person household accustomed to having two?

3.) It Takes a Village

Many people get through a remodel by leaning a little on their friends and family. If you don’t want to include a hotel or rental in your remodeling costs, but you can’t realistically stay at home, you may want to consider moving in with someone close to you. If you have children and pets, you can also split up these residencies. Often, children will be overjoyed at the prospect of perhaps spending a week or two sleeping over with their friends or cousins, and you might have a friend who would love to host your labrador. It’s natural to worry about imposing on the hospitality of others, but keep in mind you can always repay your debts with a gorgeous dinner or party when your new kitchen or living room is finished.

4.) Pets

Pets can often complicate your housing options during a remodel even more than children. If you choose to stay at home, it can be almost impossible to make your pet understand that they need to stay out of the construction zone during work hours. Further, the last responsibility a work crew wants to deal with is worrying whether an indoor cat might run outside while they have the door open. Pets are also often terrified by the strangers and the noise, and pets with disabilities have a particularly hard time. If you don’t have somewhere you can reliably house your animals during your remodel, don’t forget to budget for a kennel or shelter!

5.) Cleaning

Even if you can endure the noise, strangers, and inconvenience of a remodeling crew, you might not be able to handle the mess. Construction can create a lot of debris, from sawdust to dry wall, and the smell of dust or paint can drive you crazy. Further, it will seriously slow down a crew if they have to tidy up after themselves enough to keep the living space usable at the end of every day, which slows down the project and increases expenses.

So where should you live during your remodel? That completely depends on the duration, your needs, your family, and your finances. We just encourage clients to consider their housing needs before they begin their project, and budget accordingly. We’re also happy to talk to you about your options—contact us at Harjo to learn more about what to expect from your project!

Everything You Need to Know About Condo Remodeling

One of the best things about choosing to live in a condo over an apartment is that you have ownership over everything “from the paint in”—or so you’d think. There are actually many limitations on an owner’s ability to remodel their condominium, but within those limitations there are a lot of exciting possibilities. You contractors at Harjo Construction are excited to help you get started on your condo remodeling project! We’ve done beautiful work for condo owners in the past, and would love to talk you through your plans!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your next condo remodel.

Navigating the HOA

Before you start buying design magazines, give your Homeowner’s Association Rules and Regulations a thorough read. Most condos are part of what’s called a “common interest development,” which includes a document entitled the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). This document will usually describe what you can and cannot do with your property. For example, if you’re hoping to replace your carpet with hardwood or laminate flooring, you might have some problems; if the carpet is necessary for dampening the sound of your footfalls for your downstairs neighborhoods, you’ll probably need to also install all very specific kind of insulated padding. (Luckily, if you’re working with an experienced contractor like Harjo, we’ll be well aware of how to work within these kind of CC&Rs to find a compromise if one is possible).

What’s Up for Grabs?hicks-2

If you can’t even always replace your floor, how can you know what you can change? Every condo and set of CC&Rs is different. We’d be happy to review your CC&Rs with you to determine your possibilities and potential work-arounds. If you want to remove a wall to open up your space or add a partition to create a room or nook, we’ll be able to determine what you can add or take away, and what might be structurally necessary. Kitchen remodels are one of the most popular projects for condominiums—it’s an upgrade that will instantly increase the value of your home by nearly the cost of the project, and replacing cabinetry, countertops, flooring, or appliances will make a huge difference in both your kitchen’s appearance and its functionality.

Working With Contractors

Some condo complexes that have specific limitations set for how often work can be done, during what hours, or how long a project can take. Oftentimes, condominiums will only allow construction work between 9am and 5pm during the weekdays, so as to minimize the effect construction sounds or traffic might have on other residents. So even if you’d like to do the work yourself or think you might be capable, you’re often not going to be able if you work a job with regular hours.  You’ll need to help your contractor with booking parking, the freight elevator, the security system, waste disposal, and project containment, but they’ll be able to handle all job and site supervision.

Working with a professional contractor and their teams is often even more important in a condominium than in a single-family home because the space is limited, finite, and shared. Making the most of the unit requires an understanding not only of how to maximize space, but also how to work within the restrictions of multi-family housing. You’re rarely able to alter major systems (piping, waters or gas lines, ventilation ducts) and you must completely understand the structural support network of your home.

Bellevue-Condo-Remodel-Kitchen-and-DiningWork with Designers and Architects

The scope and difficulty of your project will determine whether you need a designer or architect. The difference between the two is that architects have a much more rigorous procedure for both licensing and education, while designers might just be home renovation experts who have on-the-job experience. It’s possible that for small projects you’ll be able to just work with your contractor, and a decent contractor will be able to give you an honest and thorough summary of what they can do on their own and what they’d recommend design assistance for. Architects can pay off in the long run in a number of ways with condo remodels, such as green specialization or in terms of developing a plan your HOA will be more likely to approve.

We’d love to help turn your dreams for your condominium into a reality. Contact us at Harjo Construction to discuss your project—our first budget we assemble is always complimentary!