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!

4 Reasons to Consider Commercial Remodeling

One of our specialties here at Harjo is commercial remodeling. We take great pride in restyling offices and commercial buildings to be more efficient in terms of space and energy and to make a better impression on employees, clients, or customers. Let’s take a look at a few of the motivators many of our clients have to seeking out a commercial remodel.

1.) Going Greener

This is one of the most common reasons businesses consider remodeling. In this climate-conscious day and age, it not only reflects well on your company to keep a green office, but it will end up saving you a bundle in energy costs. If you’re located in an older building, it’s highly likely that you’d benefit from a green remodel or retrofit. Replacing windows and appliances, installing new heating or cooling systems, insulating, or restyling your lighting to use LEDs or timers will all help you cut costs and conserve energy. We can help you with projects large or small, or even to achieve LEED certification!

2.) Better Use of Space

When companies grow, they often find themselves facing the question of whether they should move or remodel to accommodate the new bodies. If you find yourself with more people than desks, the solution might not be moving offices, which is often entails breaking a multiple-year lease, but simply making better use of the space you do have. Harjo is happy to come in and look at your office and let you know what the best solution might be—it’s also possible that you can expand your office to another unit of the building, and remodeling a new wing is certainly easier and less expensive than leasing and customizing an entirely new space.

3.) First Impressions

Making a good impression on potential or existing customers, clients, or investors should be of paramount concern to any business. You want your office to give the impression of a forward-thinking, chic, and successful company. If you have a carpet on your floors from 1992, still use those gray padded cubicle walls, or have dingy fluorescent lighting, you might want to consider investing in your office’s appearance. Your office is part of your brand, and you both want to have a wow factor that will inspire confidence and esteem from your potential partners. Money you spend remodeling an ugly office will come back to you, not only from the improved reputation of your business, but the enjoyment your own employees take in being there.

4.) Increased Productivity

A remodeled office isn’t just a moral boost—it can also boost productivity. For example, you can make your space more efficient for workers by arranging desks to maximize opportunities for concentration or supervision. You can also foster collaboration by creating an open office format or group work spaces. According to a study by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), 90 percent of upper management polled believed that a remodeled office design had a positive effect on worker productivity. Things like improving your overhead or natural lighting or providing updated, more ergonomic furnishings will make a big difference. Furthermore, renovated spaces usually require less maintenance and upkeep, meaning that you’ll even be making building maintenance staff more productive.

If you’re interested in a commercial remodel, call us at Harjo Construction. We are one of the most trusted contractors in Seattle, and will help you achieve exactly the office your business deserves. Get a free estimate today!

Ground-Up Remodel on Lake Sammamish

We are excited to be finishing up our work on a ground-up remodel on the shores of Lake Sammamish. The owners found a property they loved and hired Harjo Construction Services to bring down the existing house, expand the foundation and start over on a new modern design. We partnered with Encore Architects on this beautiful design.Take a look at our pictures of this dramatic remodel!

Here’s what the beginning of the construction looked like in March:

2015-03-09 14.17.352015-03-09 14.15.582015-03-09 14.13.092015-03-09 14.12.46

And here’s what it looked like by August!