Incorporating Wood Into Your Home Renovation

Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 10.15.01 PM.png

Long gone are the days of every house being absolutely covered wall-to-wall with dark, high-gloss wood paneling. We let that drab fad live on for way too long, but wood is making a comeback now, and we’re totally on board with it!

Wood fixtures and features create

a modern look and increase functionality.

Don’t be scared of utilizing wood to create fixtures, focal points, or design aspects in your home. With the right information, you can make selections that enhance the aesthetic and more importantly, the functionality of your space.

Here’s a few of our favorite renovations where wood played a leading role, along with some tips and tricks on what to keep in mind when making choices for your renovation.  

This functional stair-end offers shelving and design (walnut).

TYPES OF WOOD

There are over 60,000 species of trees globally, so choosing which type of wood to use for your home is not always an easy choice. In our renovations, we often use burl, white oak, walnut, or birch because of their durability and longevity. If you want to paint the wood, then go with a paint-grade option such as, maple or birch.


To learn more about different types of wood, here’s a great slideshow from Real Simple.

A dark stain was used on this white oak to create a modern, masculine look.

TYPES OF FINISHES

Your selection for a finish will make a big impact on the final product of your wood. There’s a few points to keep in mind here: appearance, durability, and maintenance.

Stains and oils will create a soft, warm finish with a matte sheen, but they may need to be reapplied monthly or annually depending on wear.

Shellac, varnish, and lacquer will create a durable coating that does not need to be reapplied, but the finish is more noticeable with a semi or high gloss appearance.

The unique grain pattern you see on this beautiful burl wood is actually caused by a disease in the tree. The result is gorgeous, but it makes this wood selection rare.

BUDGET

We recommend deciding on a budget before coming home with 38 beautiful different samples of wood.  Some woods are rare and gorgeous but come at a high cost. And always remember the golden rule of wood, do NOT over-sand the wood. This can ruin the wood and make it unusable.


Take a look below at some of our favorite renovations using wood and please reach out to us if you’re interested in something similar for your home!


Bouldin Beauty--A Whole House Renovation

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 1.46.50 PM.png

Have you ever looked around your house and had the thought, “One day I’d like to make this place look more ‘like me?’”

Our homeowners in the Bouldin Creek area recently contacted us and said that they wanted to do just that. They wanted to create an entirely different (and cohesive!) style in their home on a much grander scale. A renovation from top-to-bottom, inside-out.

Our clients knew that they wanted their home to be redone quickly after they moved to Austin so that they could live in their dream home and enjoy all that Austin has to offer. They did not want to be bogged down by doing things themselves or to be disrupted by different iterations of remodels throughout the years. Finally, our homeowners really wanted one person as the general contractor to manage the work and problem solve in order to complete the work on their behalf. They had zero interest in finding contractors for each individual task or project.  Skelly Home Renovations jumped in as the general contractor our clients were looking for, and together, we began construction of the designer’s plans!

Several surfaces were updated & refreshed in this house, including but not limited to:

  • All new paint

  • Custom floor to ceiling burlwood piece in which the TV hangs

  • Upgraded modern kitchen hardware

  • New bathroom fixtures and countertops

  • New interior and exterior light fixtures

  • New laundry cabinets

  • Bathroom cabinetry lightly sanded and re-stained for a natural wood color

  • New tile in the master bath & laundry

  • Exterior paint

  • Bold wallpaper

Take a peek into the amazing transformation of this property!

 Up first were the bedrooms: fresh paint, a wallpaper accent wall, new bedding and lighting, and layered textures & patterns all helped to create warm, relaxing bedroom spaces.

Up first were the bedrooms: fresh paint, a wallpaper accent wall, new bedding and lighting, and layered textures & patterns all helped to create warm, relaxing bedroom spaces.

 A fresh coat of paint, geometrically patterned wallpaper and new lighting transform the new guest bedroom (above) and corner spaces (below).

A fresh coat of paint, geometrically patterned wallpaper and new lighting transform the new guest bedroom (above) and corner spaces (below).

 New wood flooring was installed throughout the main kitchen and family room. To create warmth and a focal point to the family room, we installed burlwood pieces behind the mounted TV and a rich patterned wallpaper on the sides. Fun lighting, new flooring, fresh paint and much more work together to transform the heart of this home.

New wood flooring was installed throughout the main kitchen and family room. To create warmth and a focal point to the family room, we installed burlwood pieces behind the mounted TV and a rich patterned wallpaper on the sides. Fun lighting, new flooring, fresh paint and much more work together to transform the heart of this home.

 Clockwise L to R: The aerial view from the top floor; a close up of the built in bookshelf storage space; a cle tile patio transformation; a bathroom transformation.

Clockwise L to R: The aerial view from the top floor; a close up of the built in bookshelf storage space; a cle tile patio transformation; a bathroom transformation.

In the end, our clients now have a place to call home that truly looks and feels like them.

According to our clients, their favorite part of the renovation is, “Our entire house! We're living in our dream home! Thanks to Skelly for perfectly executing our designer's plan. We always say that our house is WAY cooler than we are! It's incredibly hard to pick one thing that's our favorite, but it has to be our main room with burlwood center piece that's complete with bold wallpaper and pendant lighting. It's incredibly spectacular and completely unique to our home. We are so lucky to get to enjoy it every day!”

What would you like to renovate in your home to have it reflect more of your needs or personality? Call Skelly Home and we can make it happen!

Renovating Our New Office--A Leap into the World of Commercial Renos

newoffice.png

October 18th was the grand opening of Skelly Home’s new office space on South Congress. Sean and I bought the office space at the bottom of the Public Lofts over a year ago with the hopes of renovating it into a beautiful yet functional home for our business and for our staff. To see our vision for the space become a reality was such a special moment for us and a great reminder of what we do here at Skelly Home Renovations—making owners’ dreams for their spaces come true! First we needed to take into account all of our various needs for storage and work space, and then it was time to create a design plan for our blank office shell. Once the plan was made, it was time for our amazing team at Skelly Home to begin the construction! See below for some of the before and after shots of our inviting new office space.

 Laying out the design of the raised floor space and constructing the walls in our new office space.

Laying out the design of the raised floor space and constructing the walls in our new office space.

 We decided to use clé tile for the raised floor design. (Above) Laying out the floor design and playing with the pattern. (Below) The finished space!

We decided to use clé tile for the raised floor design. (Above) Laying out the floor design and playing with the pattern. (Below) The finished space!

 To create a functional work space + add some architectural interest, we added these wood panels, floating desks and storage units. The angled wood ceiling breaks up the monotony of the square room and the wood paneling in general adds a nice warmth to the office that we love!

To create a functional work space + add some architectural interest, we added these wood panels, floating desks and storage units. The angled wood ceiling breaks up the monotony of the square room and the wood paneling in general adds a nice warmth to the office that we love!

 To create architectural interest in other places, we used a faux white brick wall panel in our lounge area (above) and created a wood design on top of wallpaper in our entryway (below).

To create architectural interest in other places, we used a faux white brick wall panel in our lounge area (above) and created a wood design on top of wallpaper in our entryway (below).

entry wall.png

The finished result is a new office space that we can all be proud of. PLUS, we now have more of an experience base in commercial renovations and have taken on other commercial projects to expand this side of our company. Do you have an office space or commercial building that you are interested in renovating? Let the Skelly team make your dreams a reality today!

finished office.png
finishedoffice2.png

Creating a Pool-Side Bathroom

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 8.45.10 PM.png

Our client wanted a bathroom easily accessible from their backyard pool, which meant taking part of the garage to create a small bathroom that could be accessed by both the outdoor pool and by an indoor laundry room pocket room door.  

Because it is a pool bathroom, one critical design feature was to fully tile the walls all the way up to the ceiling.  This is something to consider when you are redesigning your new bathroom.  Ask yourself, “How much water exposure will this bathroom get?” and then add the appropriate amount of wipeable, washable spaces accordingly!  Due to the heavy volume of WET traffic this pool-side bathroom will get, the client chose to tile all the way up to the ceiling—a smart choice!

 This bathroom look is complete with open shelving, a new mirror, sink, and fixtures, 2 new recessed can lights and a new vanity light. A simple black and white color palette make this bathroom a timeless classic for many generations of pool users to come!

This bathroom look is complete with open shelving, a new mirror, sink, and fixtures, 2 new recessed can lights and a new vanity light. A simple black and white color palette make this bathroom a timeless classic for many generations of pool users to come!

For more bathroom inspired renovations, click here:

Beautifying the Bathrooms

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.22.19 PM.png

The bathroom is one of the most critical rooms in the house.  It is where we prepare ourselves for the day ahead and where we wind down before bed.  It is where we go to get clean, although many times it can be one of the most overlooked, uninspiring, and under-cleaned rooms in the house!

Having a comfortable bathroom space helps us prepare for and navigate our days in a beautiful, fresh, relaxing environment.  The homeowners in this Lewis Mountain house decided they wanted to up their bathroom game, so they enlisted Skelly Home Renovations to remodel both their guest and their master bathrooms.  The results, as you can see below, are fresh, modern, and fantastic!

 In this Kids’ Bathroom, the homeowner wanted to keep the existing vanity but update the countertop. the bold blue paint added to the vanity updated its appearance. This rest of the bathroom was completely gutted and renovated with a new mirror, tub, TIle, fixtures, paint, and tile flooring.

In this Kids’ Bathroom, the homeowner wanted to keep the existing vanity but update the countertop. the bold blue paint added to the vanity updated its appearance. This rest of the bathroom was completely gutted and renovated with a new mirror, tub, TIle, fixtures, paint, and tile flooring.

MASTR BATH CANVA.png

In the master bath above, all walls, tile, cabinetry, shower pan, tub, mirrors, trim and flooring were demolished and rebuilt.  A new Japanese soaking tub with freestanding faucet was installed next to a beautifully remodeled shower using 24 x 48 porcelain shower tile expanded all the way to the window. The glass bricks in the window were replaced with a new custom picture window with privacy film.  Four recessed cans lights were wired and installed for additional lighting.  A floating vanity, all new paint, fixtures, and finishes complete the look!

What design elements would you include in your dream bathroom remodel? When you see an idea you like, begin to make a list. Then, call Skelly Home Renovations, and we will help you make your dream bathroom come to life!

For more inspiration and ideas, please visit our other bathroom remodel projects here:


A Boss Bachelor Pad

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.50.41 PM.png

This bachelor pad in the Zilker neighborhood of Austin, TX, underwent a complete transformation.  The kitchen, master bathroom, and guest bathroom were all completely gutted.  The only item that remained was the existing red oak hardwood floors on the downstairs level.  They were in pretty good condition, so we just bleached and refinished them with a matte top coat.  Join us on a tour of this amazing new space…

Kinney before and after.png

Full floor to ceiling kitchen cabinetry was custom built in a walnut, matte finish to create an appliance garage in the kitchen complete with lots of storage and a walnut banquette.

Kinney Kitchen.png

The island waterfall countertop was built in a walnut, matte finish with a patterned cle tile added on the back of the island for a fun design element.

4 shots of Kinney kitchen:living.png

The inside of the island has double waterfall quartz countertops and caviar colored paint on the cabinetry.  The rooms are tied together with a walnut stair railing, walnut bookshelf and pool table area with matching caviar paint.

guest bath Kinney.png

In the downstairs bathroom, we converted the tub to a shower complete with subway tile and brass fixtures.  The bathroom is surrounded by black, shaker style wainscoting, which contrasts well with the vanity made of white oak cabinetry and marble countertops.  Cle tile was added to the floor for design and interest. 

Kinney master bath.png

The upstairs bathroom was transformed into a beautiful spa retreat complete with a curbless shower, freestanding tub, marble countertops, and white paint.  The vanity was built with walnut cabinetry and push latch hardware.

If you could gut your kitchen or bathroom, what would your dream space look like?  Skelly Home Renovations can help you see your dream realized!  Press the button below to get started on your reno today!

Like to see more projects? 

Curbed vs. Curbless Showers

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.38.55 AM.png

A current trend in home bathroom renovations is the installation of a curbless shower.  But just what exactly is a curbless shower?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a curbless shower for your bathroom reno? 

A curbless shower is very simply a shower that has no barriers for entry or exit.  Curbless showers are a bit tricky to install because the slope of the drainage floor needs to be slightly lower than the level of the floor surrounding the shower in order for all the water to drain and flow to the right place.  Let’s look at some other advantages and disadvantages of curbless showers…

Advantages

1.     Everyone can get in them.   The elderly, small children, and everyone in between can get in and out of a curbless shower with ease.  Simply put, there are no barriers for entry, so curbless showers are functional for any age or range of mobility. 

2.     Easier to clean-Just as it’s easier to get into curbless showers to shower, it also needs to be mentioned that curbless showers are much easier to clean for the same reason—ease of accessibility. 

3.     Curbless showers display a beautiful tile pattern more clearly.  Because curbless showers don’t have to have a door or be fully enclosed, it is much easier to feature a beautiful tile pattern in the wet area of the shower.  In fact, a door can be removed all together in some curbless showers.

Disadvantages

1.     Not as much privacy.   Curbless showers are not for the very modest, as the open concept does increase visibility and reduce privacy.

2.     Curbless showers do not have a curb!  Therefore, it is easier for water to get out and onto the rest of the floor, especially if there is a problem with the drainage.

3.     Again, since the shower is a more open concept, there are more places for heat to escape.  If you tend to be cold in the shower, a curbless shower might not be the best option for you! 

Below is an example of a curbless shower vs a non curbless shower we have recently installed.  Which is your favorite?  Please comment and let us know! 

 Curbless Shower

Curbless Shower

 Curbed Shower

Curbed Shower

Meet Birdie, our soon-to-be rentable RV!

Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 12.33.36 PM.png

If you’ve read my blog or seen my Instagram, you know that two of the things I love the most are renovation and travel.  One day, I had the thought, “How can we combine the two?” and the idea came to me. What if we were to buy and renovate RVs that we could travel in, and that we could rent out to others to travel in? With my entrepreneurial husband, putting that question out there was really all it took.  The concept was born, and the search began for our first RV.

We wanted to make sure that we got an RV that was accessible to all, so we looked for one that could be driven and not towed.  It was important to us that anyone could rent Birdie and experience the RV lifestyle even if they didn’t have a car capable of pulling an RV.

The very next day, we found Birdie up in Fort Worth and by 5 pm, we had driven off the lot with her!  As a side note, this is very much the way that Sean & I operate. We have an idea; we find the right match, and we act on it right away!  We are pretty fast decision makers when we both have the vision and know what we want.

Sean decided that he could do a large part of the renovation work himself, so from November 2017 until now, this has been our weekend side renovation project!  The first step was to gut the entire inside of the RV. Demo day is always rewarding and fun. It feels great to get rid of the old and make way for the new vision to be accomplished. We also wanted to make sure that the mechanics of the RV were renovated and running properly, so BIrdie spent some time in the shop getting all her mechanical systems updated as well.

 From L to R clockwise: The original interior of Birdie; Demo Day; completely gutted; Sean pleased with a long day of hard work

From L to R clockwise: The original interior of Birdie; Demo Day; completely gutted; Sean pleased with a long day of hard work

Next, it was on to the renovation!  Sean installed new flooring, and reconfigured the water tank system that was housed under the bed.  We also epoxied the shower floor and painted the entire interior. Now, Birdie is sitting at the cabinet maker getting some custom cabinets made for the kitchen.  Once the cabinets are in, we will continue with the rest of the kitchen and bedroom install.

 Top L: Prepping for painting;  Bottom L: Spraying paint; Right: All 3 of us (Birdie, me, Sean) covered in paint!

Top L: Prepping for painting;  Bottom L: Spraying paint; Right: All 3 of us (Birdie, me, Sean) covered in paint!

 Top L & R:  Sean installing the floors;  Bottom: Enjoying a job well done!

Top L & R:  Sean installing the floors;  Bottom: Enjoying a job well done!

We are so excited to see progress on Birdie and can’t wait for you to meet her.  Why the name Birdie? Because birds live a carefree lifestyle, and they have everything they need to travel wherever they want to go! We hope you love renting and traveling with Birdie as much as we have loved renovating her! 

 Top:  A man and his machine!  Bottom:  Weekend renovation fun!

Top:  A man and his machine!  Bottom:  Weekend renovation fun!

I can’t wait to put the finishing touches on Birdie in the coming months.  Look for some bird inspired decorations and fun pops of color in my coming posts!  

Interested in following Birdie’s progress?   Click below to be notified when rentals of Birdie and our other RVs are available!  Or you can also follow us @Tinkins on Instagram!

A Tub to Shower Conversion-What Should I Consider?

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 1.38.12 PM.png

Do you have a bathroom tub that you are looking to convert to a shower?  This is one of our most popular bathroom renovation requests; many of our recent bathroom projects have been transformed by tub to shower conversions. However, if you want your tub to shower conversion to go smoothly, you first must consider & plan for the following items:

1. Are you keeping at least one tub in your house? Realtors agree that most homes need at least 1 bathroom for resale value.  The reason?  Too many potential buyers have kids or pets that they would like to wash in a bathtub. Therefore, it really is a smart idea to keep at least one bathtub in your house somewhere.  It will be harder to sell the house without one. Having said that though, it is your house, and you get to do with it what you want!  But it is good to seriously consider your resale value before investing the money into a tub to shower conversion.

2. Take a good look at your tub/shower space and discuss the following items over with your designer and general contractor.

a. Are you looking to keep the same footprint or expand the shower space?

b. What kind of door will this shower have?  If it opens, which way will it swing out? Make sure to account for the swing of the shower door in your planning.

c. Is there any plumbing that needs to be moved? How many/what kind of shower heads do you want? This is important to decide early in the process as new fixture rough ins need to be included in the plumbing plan. 

d. How many (if any) shower nooks do you need?  Think through places for shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, etc.

e. What kind of drain do you want and where will it be installed?  Some drains are tight to the wall while others are placed in the center of the floor. Make sure to plan the rest of your build-out before installing the drain.  If you have not picked your tile yet, hold off on installing the drain until you have.

f. What kind of materials will be used in the rebuild of the shower? Think through durability and cleaning, especially when picking out your tiles, grout lines, fixtures, etc.

g. Would you like a curb or a curbless shower? In other words, will there be a curb to step over to get into the shower or not? There are advantages and disadvantages to each; make sure to discuss these with your general contractor.

h. Are you able to discontinue use of this bathroom during the renovation? The water will need to be cut off for install, and the main/overflow drains will need to be disconnected while the shower is being rebuilt. 

Items to keep in mind:

When planning the layout of your space, the general basic recommendations for a walk in shower are…   

  • At least 30 x 30 inches of floor space
  • At least 80 inches in height
  • At least 15 inches between the side of toilet and the shower wall.
  • At least 21 inches between the front of the toilet and the shower wall.

Check out some of our tub to shower conversion projects below. How would you design your dream shower? Let us know in the comments below! 

norwalk tub to shower.png
Kempson tub to shower.png
Westlake tub to shower.png

For more pictures of our projects, click here!

I can’t wait! How do I get started on my bathroom renovation today?  

Circle C Charmer - A Modern Take on a Blue & White Kitchen

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 2.54.01 PM.png

Many times in the renovation industry, you only see the drab "before" pictures and the fabulous "after" photos.  Rarely do you get to see the process of how those beautiful after photos came to be. What's the secret to a good renovation? The part that is rarely seen--sound construction and a solid plan.

Marden B & A.png

Today we want to give you a more in depth peek into the process of a kitchen renovation right here in Austin, TX.  Our client had a load bearing wall that she wanted to remove in the center of her kitchen. This wall made the kitchen feel closed up, dark and isolated.  Her goal, like most of our goals when renovating, was to open up the space and make it lighter and brighter.  This was a permitted project, and one that we brought an engineer in to consult with us on the load bearing wall.  

 (ABOVE) Full gut of the kitchen to create a blank canvas.  (LEFT & RIGHT) Installation of a beam in place of the load bearing wall.  After installation of this beam, the ceiling is drywalled, taped, floated, and textured--good as new!

(ABOVE) Full gut of the kitchen to create a blank canvas.  (LEFT & RIGHT) Installation of a beam in place of the load bearing wall.  After installation of this beam, the ceiling is drywalled, taped, floated, and textured--good as new!

After the space had been opened up, we had a large template with which to plan and execute a new kitchen space.  We installed a large, waterfall, quartz island with a seamless countertop, and added a desk/study area and much more kitchen storage. In order to accomplish a bigger kitchen plus a study nook, we took space from the garage and laundry area and elongated the kitchen.  The existing garage was long enough that the laundry room could be pushed back and yet both cars can still fit in the garage. 

 (above) extending the laundry room into the garage; (LEft) installing the electrical; (right) dry wall going back up over the beam installed in the kitchen. 

(above) extending the laundry room into the garage; (LEft) installing the electrical; (right) dry wall going back up over the beam installed in the kitchen. 

It was a hard couple of months for this family to live without a proper kitchen.  However, in the end, they ended up with a beautiful space that adds great value to the design and to the value of their home.  We love helping clients see their visions turn into a reality!

 (ABOVE) Three pendant lights complete the look above this spacious island.   (LEFT) A double oven, slide in, and upgraded stovetop make this kitchen prime for some serious cooking.  (RIGHT) The kitchen was extended into the existing laundry area to create room for extra cabinet storage and a study nook.  

(ABOVE) Three pendant lights complete the look above this spacious island.   (LEFT) A double oven, slide in, and upgraded stovetop make this kitchen prime for some serious cooking.  (RIGHT) The kitchen was extended into the existing laundry area to create room for extra cabinet storage and a study nook.  

 In addition to the waterfall countertop and blue and white cabinetry, this kitchen features Newport Brass fixtures, stainless steel appliances, and diamond-shaped, fire clay tiles installed to create a cube patterned backsplash. 

In addition to the waterfall countertop and blue and white cabinetry, this kitchen features Newport Brass fixtures, stainless steel appliances, and diamond-shaped, fire clay tiles installed to create a cube patterned backsplash. 

Do you have a room in your house that feels closed off that you would like to open up? Have you ever wondered if a wall could be removed or is weight bearing?  Schedule a walk through with us today.  We can help answer your questions and get you started on your next home renovation!  

A Guest Bath Renovation

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 10.13.33 AM.png

Construction: Skelly Home Renovations; Design: Maureen Stevens

This Oak Hill couple upped their hosting game quite a bit by taking an outdated, uninteresting bathroom design and transforming it into a vibrant, black and white striped guest bathroom!

This bathroom remodel included a tub to shower conversion with a striking black and white marble vertical tile design (with some additional herringbone tile detail inside the shower), brand new custom shaker cabinets, brass fixtures, engineered quartz countertops and fun patterned wallpaper! All of these elements work together to create an inviting guest bathroom space.

Kempson Before-Canva.png
Kempson During-Canva.png
Kempson After-Canva.png

Are you considering a bathroom remodel?  Did you know that a recent study determined that an average bathroom remodel will pay back at least 70% of your costs when you sell? (read article).

So, if you have that bathroom you have always been wanting to renovate, what are you waiting for?  Create that beautiful space now for you or your guests to enjoy;  don’t wait until you sell!

What would your dream bathroom look like?  Let us know in the comments below!

What's Your Edge?

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 1.22.43 PM.png

Renovating a home involves many small but important decisions that will contribute to the final outcome of your design.  One of these many choices is selecting the right countertop edging for your taste, needs, and style.

1. Square with a waterfall edge. A modern, transitional look that we are installing in many of our homes right now is a square countertop with a waterfall edge. This makes your countertops a focal point in the kitchen because they are not just on top of the cabinetry, but also running vertically down the edge of an island or peninsula.

sophieeptonphotographydianamayshoots-17.jpg
sophieeptonphotographydianatravisheights-95.jpg

A squared and mitered edge. A square and mitered countertop is extra-thick (2 cm or 3 cm) with a mitered edge around the sides, which makes the countertop stand out more because it is thicker. Most of the time when you see an extra-thick countertop, it's a mitered edge. Square and mitered edges can work in either a modern or traditional space, and put the visual emphasis on the countertops as a main feature of the space.

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 10.32.44 AM.png
normal mitered edge.jpg

An eased and mitered edge. This stone top is still mitered, but has softer edges and more rounded corners than a square and mitered edge.

curved and mitered edge*.jpg

A bullnose edge. A bullnose countertop has a rounded edge detail and is a timeless classic, great for traditional kitchens.

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 10.08.13 AM.png

A marine edge. The marine edge has an outside edge that is raised higher than the inside edge and can often be seen used on stainless steel or marble countertops. The term “marine edge” might be describing how this raised edge keeps liquids and spills from running off the countertop. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 11.20.54 AM.png

An ogee edge. An ogee edge is the opposite of a marine edge, where the inside edge is raised higher than the outside edge of the countertop.  An ogee edge works well and is often used in traditional kitchens.

Ogee Edge.png

Although these 6 basic edges are used most often, there are many more variations of countertop edging available to suit your space, material, and style. 

What is your favorite countertop edge?  Let us know in the comments below!

A Condo Renovation

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 9.50.04 AM.png

This Project started out like most renovation projects do…much smaller than it ended up! Our client originally brought us in to install floors and repaint his downtown Austin condominium.  One side note here about renovating in condominiums and other shared space buildings--many contractors do not like to take on condominium work for a couple of reasons:

1.      Condo renos always have to be permitted.

2.    There are restrictions on what hours and days sub-contractors can be in the building.

3.    Sub-contractors have to use certain entrances and service elevators so as not to disturb residents of the building.

4.    Condo renovations require extra communication between the building manager, renovation project manager, and sometimes even with other residents in the building.

Skelly Home Renovations is happy to dive into a project like this.  We excel at communication, and we’re experts at the permitting process. Our sub-contractors all know how to be respectful of building codes and rules, and we try our best to work in the building at times/in ways that will be the  least distracting for the other homeowners. 

But now, back to this beautiful condo renovation!  We started with the floors and painting. 

Austonian floor reno.png

Soon after this, the homeowner decided he would also like to redo the kitchen…and both bathrooms.. and why not build a custom closet as well?  In the construction industry, we call this phenomenon  “scope creep,” or adding additional renovation projects onto the invoice after the initial project has started.  This is a natural part of many renovation jobs.  After all, the house is already a mess, the workers are coming into the home every day, the rest of the house is getting a fresh new look, so why not add those few last items you had previously been debating?  Scope creep happens all the time; it just requires clear communication between the general contractor and the client about how the additional work will change the timeline, materials, and pricing of the project.

Our client worked with the interior design department at Urban Space Interiors in Austin, Texas. Urban Space Interiors created a plan with the client and chose all of the materials for the spaces.  Then, it was Skelly Homes' turn to do what we do best—demolition, clean-up, and new construction!

In the master bathroom, we kept the existing bathtub and added a quartzite tub deck surround.  The shower was completely gutted and rebuilt. It features a bench seat plus rain head, overhead, and hand-held shower fixtures.

Austonian master bath .png
 Materials used in this master bath remodel include: drop in Kohler sinks, 12x24 Carrera Marble Floor Tile,  custom cabinetry, Quartzite countertops,  and Newport Brass Fixtures. 

Materials used in this master bath remodel include: drop in Kohler sinks, 12x24 Carrera Marble Floor Tile,  custom cabinetry, Quartzite countertops,  and Newport Brass Fixtures. 

For the style of the kitchen, the client wanted a more modern, transitional look.  We achieved that by installing stained white oak cabinetry, taj mahal quartzite with a reverse beveled edge, integrated pulls on the cabinetry,  multi-level lighting, waterfall countertops, a wine fridge under double ovens and an air switch disposal. 

Austonian kitchen.png

Most of us only dream about the kind of custom closet organization this client chose for his urban lifestyle.  We built the closet with stained white oak custom cabinetry (including sliding doors!) and a taj mahal quartzite countertop. 

Austonian custom closet.png

Last but not least is the half bath.  This half bath went from gray and drab to completely dreamy!  We installed a floating quartzite vanity with an under mount sink and Newport Brass fixtures.  A one piece toilet and Thassos Stone 12 x 24 floor tile complete this transitional, modern look. 

Austonian half bath.png

Can't get enough of this beautiful renovation?  See more photos on my portfolio page here:

Thinking about renovating your space?   Click here to take your first step!

Lastly, we would love to hear your thoughts about this renovation in the comments below...

Working With Your Spouse

workingwithspouse.png

Working with your spouse is both challenging and rewarding. In the last few years, Sean and I have completed about 2-3 renovations together annually, either for personal properties or working with clients.

Our marriage story has involved real estate & renovation from the very beginning. We got married on 12/12/15, and 3 days later we closed on our first condo. During our rehearsal dinner, we actually signed the final papers to prepare for the closing of our condo! We were at a lobster restaurant with all of our family, and they had to have us print and sign documents during the speeches.

Two days after we closed on the property, we realized in the midst of all of the craziness that we had forgotten to set up the electrical. Typically this wouldn’t be a big deal (as we weren’t moving in yet), but we were beginning filming the very next day for HGTV House Hunters Renovation. Lighting is an important element needed for filming, to say the least!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; doing this renovation together was MUCH more challenging than planning our wedding! We were still learning each other’s styles, and we both have big opinions, so this forced us to compromise on many items. Shockingly, I think I compromised on more things than Sean, which typically isn’t the way I operate. :)  A full house or condo renovation is a really quick way to learn about how well you can work together. Why? Massive amounts of money are being spent; you are displaced; there are delays, and on top of all that, we had the additional stress of having all our emotions displayed on film for HGTV during the renovation!

When we moved in, we had one working toilet and no running water besides that one toilet. We lived like that for 2 weeks, showering at family and friend’s houses. We were stressed, but we also laughed a lot! These are the moments were lots of memories are made. Ultimately we both realized that we chose to have this problem, and we were grateful it was even an option for us to be able to buy and renovate a condo into a beautiful, new space.

The end result from many sleepless nights, a few arguments, lots of laughs and fun was a beautiful, remodeled condo that we enjoyed together...for a little less than a year. Then we decided to sell and invest in other properties!  

More recently we have been working together in a team setting on a more day to day capacity, which has come with different challenges, both good and bad. Sean realized pretty quickly how overwhelmed I had become with the amount of business I had received at Skelly Home, so I asked him to step in as COO of the company. Not only does he manage the company finances, but he also is a great support to myself and my employees.

At Skelly Home, clients + good quality renovations are our mission, so Sean steps in wherever necessary to fulfill that. The first week that Sean became more involved in Skelly Home, we set up a meeting with a business coach and then had 2 or 3 meetings that followed. I’m sure we will continue to do this in some capacity. Originally, we weren’t working well as a team.  It was difficult to separate work and life together. She helped us pretty quickly with this problem, as we were both very willing to listen and implement. She suggested turning our phones off at a certain time at night (while still difficult, we are improving!), having more patience and grace with each other, and listening to each other’s opinions before talking. We laid down these ground rules and started practicing them on a daily basis.

Ultimately, Sean is my better half (no doubt). He supports me in all ways; he helps me work to find solutions; he always answers the phone or will meet with me/help me when I’m facing a challenge or a great opportunity. He celebrates with me in a big way and supports me when I’ve had a bad day. I couldn’t ask for a better spouse through this crazy + fun life.

What is really wonderful about working together is we understand each other’s industries (real estate for Sean, renovations for myself) extremely well. Instead of just being able to listen to a challenge, we can actually help each other create a solution. We are each other’s soundboards, and there is a deeper understanding and connection between us that comes with working together.

Do you work with your spouse?  Are you considering launching your own business and working more closely in the day to day ops with a spouse or partner?  Feel free to comment below with lessons you’re learning along the way!

A Kitchen Transformation

kitchen transformation.png

Construction:  Skelly Home Renovations     Designer:  Allison Jaffe Interior Design LLC

One of our favorite kitchen renos to date was in the Westlake area.  Our client bought the house about a year ago and knew from the beginning that she wanted to redo the kitchen.  However, she first started with her fireplace and bathroom.  When she was ready to get to the kitchen she hired Allison Jaffe Interior Design LLC who brought Skelly Home Renovation into the project for the construction.   

Allison and the homeowner finalized the design plan prior to the work beginning as well as making all of the material selections. When demo day began it was smooth sailing from there, a contractors dream! :) The client’s #1 problem was one that so many of us can relate to: STORAGE.  She was looking to create more storage in her kitchen. Her kitchen wasn’t well laid out.  She had a shelf system above her existing cabinetry and she had a double layer island; neither feature was very functional or useful to the space.  To create more storage space Allison's design plan included removing the shelf system above the upper cabinetry.  Our talented cabinet builder was able to create upper custom cabinetry that mimicked the existing lower cabinetry. 

 Shelf system in the previous picture completely removed and cabinetry/storage extended all the way up to the ceiling.

Shelf system in the previous picture completely removed and cabinetry/storage extended all the way up to the ceiling.

The island dilemma (solved by Allison Jaffe Interior Design LLC) was to lower the island to one height. Now, the island is two full slabs of quartz.—i.e. REALLY BIG, which is great for spreading out, doing homework, setting down appetizers and much more in the kitchen area. The island was finished out with beautiful tile on the back, making that area much more durable. The island has a slate 12 x 24 tile installed with a mitered edge so that you don’t see the seam. Isn’t it beautiful?

Gentry #5.jpg
Gentry #7.jpg

Some other features that were selected by Allison Jaffe Interior Design LLC and executed by Skelly Home Renovation are listed below. 

HARDWARE:  All the hardware in this kitchen was updated.  We filled the holes from the previous 3 inch hardware that is difficult to grab and changed each to 5+ inch hardware, which is much easier and practical to use.

LIGHTING: Recessed cans and pendants were added to brighten up the space.  Added bonus: all of the lights in this kitchen are on dimmer switches and are AV controlled lights that can be controlled on a phone.

ELECTRICAL: All of the outlets were relocated to be hidden under the cabinets, so they don’t interfere with the beautiful pattern of the fun glass mosaic backsplash.  A new vent hood was added to this kitchen, as well as an air switch for the garbage disposal.

PLUMBING: a new sink, new plumbing fixtures, a new bar sink, an Instant Pot hot water sink near the stove, and a new faucet were all installed in this kitchen.

PAINTING:  the whole kitchen, as well as additional areas of the house, were repainted from a yellowy/taupe color to a light gray color that Allison selected. 

Gentry #4.jpg

The timeline for this project was 5 weeks.  We finished on time and came in right on budget ($50-$55k).  This project was very smooth with many pre-conversations + during with both Allison Jaffe, the designer, and the client. 

The BEST part of this reno (other than more storage and much happier lighting)---is that it is a good example of how Allison incorporated existing materials into the design plan like the flooring and the lower cabinetry. 

Gentry #8.jpg

Credits: Allison Jaffe Interior Design LLCSophie Epton Photography.  See more of Allison's work at www.allisonjaffe.com and Sophie's work at www.sophieepton.com

Would you like to see more of this project?  Head over to the portfolio page to see more images! 

Sample, Sample, Sample!

Sample, sample, sample!.png

I cannot reiterate enough the importance of clients (YOU) looking at samples IN PERSON, not through emails, photos or text. When you decide on samples virtually, they just don’t have the same effect online and the colors can look off when you get them into your home.  I’m pretty positive all designers would agree with this, but I think contractors sometimes are so caught up with installing the project pieces that we also need to remember the end result: a satisfied customer who is pleased with how all the materials work together to make a beautiful new space.

Please. Save yourself a catastrophe. Make sure you see the samples in person before you order them. Any company that is worth using will let you sample products in your home for a few days. When you get the sample, touch it!  Imagine how it will feel to use it in the space. Stare at it for multiple days at a time. Don’t rush this process; you want to make sure that you like it. If applicable, have your dogs walk on it, kids walk on it, etc. Put the sample next to all your other materials/samples in that area.  Keep the sample at home for a while and just stare at the sample and its surroundings in all different kinds of light (seriously!).  This is the trial time that can make or break your satisfaction level of your renovation. Another idea is to take a picture of the sample and then make multiple copies of that picture to place all around the space you are looking to renovate. I recently did this with a patterned tile floor sample. I made multiple copies of that floor sample and then placed the tile pattern around on my floor just to make sure that I like the look of the overall pattern.

Take time to sample. This sounds like such a simple request. But renovations are emotional, and many items can pop up (renovation or non-renovation related) that collide with you not being able to use your kitchen for 2 months!  So, choosing your materials while you are getting enough sleep and can take your time to really consider them is majorly important.

Quick tip: Having your dogs walk on your flooring samples may sound crazy but it’s not. Dogs have nails (I know, pretty obvious!), and with soft species of wood they can scratch your floors before they are even entirely installed. Wood is expensive, so don’t make this mistake!  If you do have dogs and want hardwood, I recommend you look at engineered hardwood samples that are more durable and already have some character/markings built into them.

Interviewing a Contractor

Interviewing Contractors.png

There are certain things to look for while interviewing contractors, besides the obvious referrals, website, qualifications and quality of work. I’ve listed a set of questions below that you should ask yourself after your initial walk-through.

  • Are they on time? If they are not, did they call or email you beforehand and let you know why they will be late and when they will arrive? There are things that come up; we do deal with emergencies, but the potential client should be aware. No one likes to wait, and I for one HATE being late. I will always communicate with the client if I am late for any reason. 

  • Did they bring a Ipad/pad of paper; are they taking notes?

  • Are they taking photos? Did they ask you first if they could take photos?

  • Are they taking measurements? I hear this over and over again that contractors don’t take measurements. How can you price out materials and labor accurately if you don’t gather measurements?… beats me. I even confirm measurements from architect or designer plans, just to make sure that we are all operating from and ordering materials off of the same page of measurements.

  • Are they asking you relevant questions? (Examples: Do you have your materials selected? Do you have a start date in mind? Have you ever renovated your home before? Will you be living here through the renovation?)

  • Did they leave a business card for questions you may think of afterwards?

What YOU should be asking your potential contractor during a walk through:

  • Do you have insurance?

  • What is your lead time for this type of job?

  • How long do you anticipate this project to take?

  • Will I be assigned a specific project manager?  How often will the project manager be checking on the job? How many projects will this person have in addition to mine?

  • How do you find and vet your subs?

  • Do you have experience with this type of renovation?

  • What are your thoughts on these materials?

  • What if I want to increase the scope of the project later?  What is your process for that?

The Domino Effect

The DominO Effect.png

It’s the fear that most people have when embarking on a renovation:  “What will we find when we start demo?”

"Is there more hiding beneath the surface?"

"Will this project balloon into something much, much bigger?”  

With renovations there can be many what I like to call “domino effects.” Some of these are predictable and some are not, but none are enjoyable for the client or contractor! These can definitely be categorized under the frustrating part of remodels; and, as contractors, it’s never fun presenting them to your client either. Trust me; I would ALSO rather stick with your original budget. :)

Below are some domino effects to think about when moving forward with a remodel. The list is not intended to discourage you to move forward, but rather to serve as a list of things that could be found so that you can feel prepared about possible pitfalls along the way.  Knowing this now may lessen the blow when/if these problems are found in your renovation. Just know you are not alone; many people are experiencing these budget busters! A good tip is to always keep additional miscellaneous money set aside for these “not fun” items. Remember, a well estimated renovation proposal (that includes miscellaneous expenditures for potential pitfalls) is often better than just looking at cheapest renovation number that comes in.

Potential Pitfalls to consider when estimating your budget:

  • Floor Removal -> another layer of tile -> rotted subfloor -> cracks in the subfloor -> leveling out all the flooring

  • Knocking down walls -> load relocation -> beam vs. post ($$ vs. more $$)

  • Drywall removal -> rotted framing -> termites (ugh) -> improperly installed posts or beams

  • Cabinetry removal -> improperly installed electrical or plumbing -> may result in a new electrical panel for safety

  • Countertop removal -> cabinetry or backsplash damage

I think you get the gist! The list could go on, but I will stop it there for now. One final thought:  a good contractor will present you not only with the problem but also with a workable solution. There are always multiple solutions, and usually a variety of price points, so don’t you worry! Just keep the big picture in mind as you deal with these unexpected snags along the way.  In the end, it is better to do a quality, safe renovation that will last for years to come than to patch up a problem temporarily. Ignoring problems now in order to stay on budget may be much more hazardous to both your safety and your finances in the long run.

Transformation in Travis Heights

transformed in travis heights (2).png

Today I want to share a project with you that was a true labor of love. My initial meeting with the client was about a year ago.  At that point tenants and animals had been living in the client's house for years, & it was wrecked. The drywall was ruined; the landscaping was out of control; the shower upstairs was inoperable, and the whole house needed serious TLC! However, the second I walked into the house, I saw great potential and was excited to have been given the opportunity to transform the space. I knew we could make the house beautiful once again.  

Once we got started on the project, the clients, who live in California, gave us free reign on design and construction. This allowed for a truly dramatic transformation, and for the timeline to continue to move forward quickly. We updated them with photos, emails and phone calls each week until the last month. The clients flew in for the grand reveal at which point they had not seen photos for a month.  They were blown away and absolutely loved the final product!  The budget for this whole house renovation was $150k & the timeline was 4 months. It also required obtaining permits from the city, which is no small feat in Austin, TX! 

It is really hard to choose my favorite part of this renovation! There is so much loveliness in this house. The lighting is fantastic.  We added over 20 lights, brightening the space even on a rainy day. Custom cabinetry throughout adds to the charm of the house. Each space in the house has a different palette, but flows very naturally together. Every room is a bit of a surprise. One of the most important changes we made was removing the pantry which separated the kitchen between the living room. This added so much value to the house and allowed us to create an open concept that is felt from the minute you walk in the door.

Travis Heights B & A_ (3).jpg

The kitchen underwent several transformations to make it warm and inviting.  In addition to relocating the pantry and opening up the space into the dining room, a chestnut beam and white oak engineered hardwood provide warmth and contrast.  Stainless appliances, kitchen paint grade cabinets (we used Gravel by Restoration Hardware), a single basin porcelain under mount sink, vertical shiplap backsplash (painted Right White by Restoration Hardware), can lighting, and a quartz waterfall counter top give this kitchen an organic, fresh, modern look. 

I love all the organic elements throughout the house.  We used many different wood species throughout the house to ensure it was modern but also to make it feel warm, cozy and like you would want to live there. We used: walnut, white oak, pecan and cedar. Natural wood is timeless!

Travis Heights B & A_ (4).jpg

(PICTURED ABOVE): We gave this bathroom a fresh new look with white oak custom cabinetry, black hardware, a caesarstone concrete countertop, and a cle tile floor. 

(PICTURED BELOW): A clay tile surround, an added mantle, and Right White Paint by Restoration Hardware gave this family room a fresh, clean updated look.  Lots of natural light combined with over 20 added lights brighten this space and provide a cheerful, modern palette.

Following the renovation, the house was listed. We knew from the beginning that balancing an investment property with the area (Travis Heights) was important. Presenting a quality product with intentional design and functional features was always at the forefront of our minds. If a house is renovated that will soon be for sale,  it cannot be too personalized.  However, adding small touches to create a unique space also attracts buyers. We were very aware of these facts from demo to completion. The end result is magnificent and one of our favorite projects to date!  

Travis Heights B & A_ (5).jpg

Upper Left:  We modernized the stairs by adding an unusual touch:  wallpaper!  This material is Blue Marble wallpaper for Beginners & can be found at Etsy.com.

Upper Right:  Try vertical shiplap as a backsplash in your kitchen for a fun, modern twist.

Lower Left: This upstairs bath went from drab to fabulous when we added custom walnut cabinetry, a herringbone gray tile floor, brass fixtures and quartz countertops.

Lower Right: This marble shower has a beautiful hexagon pattern marble floor, a rain shower head, brass fixtures, & a frameless shower door, making it both a functional and beautiful space to get ready in the morning.

To see even more pictures of the finished project, click below! 

Living Through a Reno

livingthroughareno (1).png

Renovating your home can be one of the most exciting and gratifying experiences of home ownership. From designing the floor plan, to purchasing materials, there is lots of fun to be had and most clients cannot wait to begin construction. However, choosing to live through a renovation is a big decision that should not be taken lightly.

Once ground breaks, you are living in a full blown construction zone. This means constant noise, mess, and workers in your home. That being said, there are some positives. It is easier to monitor day to day work and to notice small imperfections when you see the home daily. It’s easy to communicate with the contractor on a regular basis when you see them at the home.

Renting a second home is costly. With additions to the scope of work and surprises, you can get into trouble if you plan for a 6 week rental and your timeline doubles. Be sure to consider unforeseen timeline delays when making your decision to move out or stay put. Homeowners who decide to move into temporary homes also need to factor in additional housing expenses above and beyond the cost of remodeling. Having a second home doubles more costs that just your mortgage. Be sure to consider two sets of utility bills as well.

If you decide to stay in your home, be sure to have your contractor set up at least one sealed-off, construction-free zone and make it your go-to place to escape the chaos. Renovations are invasive and you will want to get away. In order to minimize health-related problems, make sure to pack up clothing and bedding that you won’t be using in space-saving, vacuum-sealed bags to keep them clean and dust-free. Cover ducts with plastic. And turn off air conditioning and heating systems during the day, if possible, to keep air from circulating through the house.

Maintaining a somewhat clean home during a renovation is very important. You should insist that contractors clean their workspace at the end of each day and haul away trash daily.

Ultimately, the truth is that living in a construction zone for an extended period of time is grueling. If it becomes too much to bear, you may consider a short getaway or renting a hotel for a week in the middle of the project. Living through a renovation will save you money, but will undoubtedly be invasive, loud and noisy. Make sure to consider all the pros and cons before making the decision to stay or go.  Finally, remember that all the sacrifice will be worth it for your beautiful, new, finished product!

Are you thinking about renovating your home?  Click here for a complimentary estimate on what it would take to get your dream project started!