Remodel lets homeowners revel in the light and the view

Special to Treasure MagazineMay 18, 2013 

  • NARI of Idaho ninth annual Remodeled Homes Tour

    For anyone considering a home remodel, this tour can be an invaluable tool for seeing completed projects and being able to meet the remodelers who can change the way you live in your own home.

    "It's been great for both us and consumers," said Chad Vincent, owner of Renaissance Remodeling, chairman of the tour and current president of the Idaho chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

    Finding the right fit can sometimes be the hardest part of the remodeling process.

    A remodeling job is a much different animal than a new house. With a "parade home," you're looking at the end result. But a remodel can transform one kind of living space into a living space that works in a whole new - and more effective - way.

    That's why the tour can be a good place to inspire those ideas and to find a remodeler who can take those ideas even further.

    Vincent says people have a hard time visualizing their home's potential "because they live in it." He says he probably would seek some outside advice if he were remodeling his own home, because he has his own everyday traffic patterns firmly planted in his mind, and that kind of thinking can limit the vision of the space's potential.

    The tour can help you select the right remodeling professional for you, as well as provide the opportunity to see real-life examples and the people who live in them.

    This is an industry based almost entirely on reputation. Vincent recalled one job where the client hired him because he remembered his company from a tour five years earlier.

    "You're going to be able to better visualize what your home would look like - or could look like," Vincent said. "It's a great thing."

    WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2

    TOUR TICKETS/INFORMATION: $5, available on the tour; you can also get them online at nariofidaho.org, at the NARI of Idaho office at 5420 W. Franklin, Suite C, Boise, or at 322-8191.

    2013 REMODELERS' TOUR LIST

    CK ROGERS: a master-bathroom project with universal design and spa-like elements.

    GAMMILL CONSTRUCTION: Condo including the kitchen.

    KEILTY REMODELING: a complete kitchen and living area project to take advantage of the view. This project is the Wiedenmann home featured in this story.

    LEVCO BUILDERS: a 350-square-foot entryway addition, plus living room, fireplace and vaulted ceiling.

    RENAISSANCE REMODELING: Challenging kitchen addition to meet the parameters of a historic home in the North End.

    STRITE DESIGN + REMODEL: An addition project that included a dining room and a space over the garage.

    STRITE DESIGN + REMODEL #2: This project is described as an "everything" remodel.

  • REMODELING ADVICE

    Homeowners Kurt and Nancy Wiedenmann and Chris Keilty of Keilty Remodeling have the same basic advice for those contemplating a new project.

    "You have to research it," Nancy Wiedenmann said.

    "Ask around at work. Ask around for recommendations," her husband added.

    "If you can see their work and meet them, that's huge," Nancy said. "Talking to homeowners was nice, too."

    Keilty suggests going to the NARI websites to start your search, then check out some of the companies' websites to get a feel for a remodeler's personality and if you would be comfortable with what he or she does. And then you want to interview the potential candidates and follow up on their references.

    Good remodeling companies stand firmly on established reputations. Keilty Remodeling has seen a rate of about 40 percent repeat customers over the past four years.

    "It's a relationship of trust," Keilty said. "Everybody does it a little bit different. That's why it's important to go through the interview process."

    The other important piece of advice is to have an idea of what you want. Read magazines, check websites, figure out how to communicate your goal.

    "You have to know what you want going in," Nancy said. She knew she didn't want colors that couldn't be found in nature, and they knew they wanted to open up their view.

    "Pick something that's really important to you, and everything else can work around it," she said.

    "And have a budget in mind," Keilty said. "You may not know what you do want to spend, but you do know what you don't want to spend."

    That may bring you back to the research part. Keilty Remodeling, for example, features three different price-point bathroom remodels on its website so potential clients can get a feel for what they can get for a standard, deluxe or premium project.

    There are so many eclectic choices and various materials and amenities to choose from that doing that research is vital. As is choosing a remodeling company that is the right fit for you.

    For more remodeling tips and advice, check out these NARI websites:

    www.nariofidaho.org

    www.nari.org

  • REMODELING TEAM

    Bill Keilty has been in the construction and remodeling industry since 1976, and in 1991 he started his own remodeling company that has continued to grow in reputation over the years. His wife, Chris, has been with Keilty Remodeling full time since 1997. She has been on the board of the Idaho Chapter of NARI since 2006. She was also recently appointed to the seven-member National Certification Board of NARI, the first member from Idaho to be a part of that group. The Certification Board oversees the certification standards, testing and continuing education of NARI members. One of NARI's missions is to educate both those involved in the remodeling industry and consumers looking for remodeling help.

    Keilty Remodeling's production manager is Perry Campbell, who handles many aspects of the construction process.

    Learn more about Keilty Remodeling at www.KeiltyRemodeling.com and

    www.facebook.com/keiltyremodeling

    Here is the rest of the team involved in the Wiedenmann project:

    - Cabinets by Jaymark Cabinetry

    - Windows by Atkinson's Mirror and Glass

    - Hardwood flooring by Mason Flooring

    - Granite countertops by Mesa Tile & Stone

    - Exterior mason work by S & S Builders

    - Tile install by Ceramic Tile Installation

    - Plumbing by Meridian Plumbing

    - Electrical by Miller Electric

    - Drywall work by McKee Drywall

    - Painting by Advantage Painting

Some remodeling projects can completely transform a house. And that's what happened to the home Kurt and Nancy Wiedenmann bought in South Boise.

"There was nothing special about it," Kurt said. It was a closed-in, dark, traditional '80s home along the New York Canal.

They were shopping around for a new or newer home; they wanted a turnkey house. They had done their share of fixing up places in their many years in Baker City and La Grande, Ore., and this time, they just wanted to move in. They wanted to simplify their lives. The kids were grown, it was time to downsize, and they were looking for a single-story home. But when they found this home, they couldn't resist its potential.

"The biggest challenge was how to find a contractor," Nancy said.

They went to a local home show, got on Angie's List, checked the Better Business Bureau, got some leads and then got some references.

Finally, they chose Bill Keilty and Keilty Remodeling, and the transformation was ready to take form.

"Their main goal was to get as many windows as possible to take advantage of the view," said Chris Keilty, Bill's wife. She holds positions on both the Idaho chapter of NARI (the National Association of the Remodeling Industry) and at the national level of the trade organization.

"We knew we wanted the view and worked everything else around it," Nancy said.

The home's original design had a choppiness that needed to be overcome, Chris Keilty said. There were interior walls and closets that blocked the views and constrained the traffic. The kitchen window above the sink felt small and off-center. A sunken living room was more a potential hazard than a stylish feature.

Before the whole project rolled into motion, Keilty Remodeling invited all the chosen subcontractors to the home for a diagnostic conference - more informally called a bid party. Everyone shows up, sizes up the situation and determines the bids for their parts of the project.

"We put a little more effort into it in the beginning, but it's worth it in the end, because it provides a good, solid price for the project, and everyone shares the same vision of what the client wants," Bill Keilty said. "We put a lot of effort up front. There's not a lot of guesswork in it."

"I thought it was a nice touch," Nancy said.

Keilty finalized a timeline of the project so the Wiedenmanns could anticipate the step-by-step process as it progressed.

Fortunately, the structure of the original home was ready for the upgrade. Trusses spanned the exterior walls, so the interior walls blocking the views were all non-load-bearing partitions.

"That made it possible to open up the whole space," Chris said.

Out came the walls. Now it is possible to take advantage of the view "from anywhere in the living area."

The kitchen flows into the dining area toward the fireplace, while also encompassing the living room and opening up access to the extra room.

With the walls gone, it was time to bring the windows down to cabinet level and extend them across the length of the kitchen next to the back sliding doors and dining room windows.

The outer brick wall was modified to make room for the new window design.

"It just opens the whole thing up," Chris said.

The light now pours into the entire home. The stools around the kitchen peninsula all face the backyard and kidney-shaped pool, a canal, farm ground destined to become a city park and then Squaw Butte off on the horizon.

And there's more to the interior remodeling than just a spacious, more-efficient kitchen. Remember that sunken living room? This was the big challenge: They wanted the original wooden flooring to be continuous into this space.

This is where the team's professionalism would need to shine. Kurt is an expert woodworker, and many of the pieces of furniture in the house were built or refurbished by his hand and Nancy's brother is a contractor in Oregon, so they both understand quality considerations with regard to woodwork.

"You never know with colors and stuff how things are going to tie together and, for us, it all tied together and complemented each other and worked for us very nicely," Nancy said.

Today, there is no indication whatsoever that a sunken living room ever existed. There is no clue as to where the old flooring and the new flooring come together.

It even came in under budget.

Knowing that, you can turn back to the view. Maybe step outside to the poolside dining table and take in the summer sunset with a beer and a barbecue dinner.

"It turned out better than we thought it would," Nancy said… turning back to gaze out the windows.

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