Home Owner Tips

Traditional vs Modern, the Addition Edition



1b7aa94482ec7c3bf838e98e32778b53A fireplace is a major focal point in any room and can be elegant, simple, opulent, or purely functional. A good place to start is with the sort of material(s) you want your new fireplace to be constructed of. Traditional fireplaces are more often made from stone or brick, and more contemporary fireplaces sometimes incorporate glass and even concrete.  Fuel is also an important factor to consider: decide between woodnatural gasbiomass and propane fuel sources. When thinking about your fireplace, always consider energy efficiency and upkeep. Regardless of what you choose, a fireplace will (literally and figuratively) add warmth to your home.

Wine Cellars


61e46a91047314837839290abf79511dTraditional wine cellars are romantic and opulent. More modern wine cellars are stylish and incorporate glass or steel. Traditionally built under ground, a modern wine cellar might be a better solution if you don’t want to dig into your foundation. No matter what your stylistic decision is, you can now include some incredible technology in your wine cellar, including inventory software and cooling systems.










brammy-kyprianou-residence-glass-top-wine-cellarCan’t decide between a traditional or a modern? Do a mix of both! A combination of traditional and modern elements makes for a unique addition to your home.

Summer Time

Summer is almost here! I know you’re ready (I am) but is your house? Make your patio or yard as comfortable as your living room, and there’s no reason to miss out on any sunshiny minute. I look for any reason to be outside in the summer time, particularly in Portland where cloudless days are so few and far between. Take the inside, outside and get the most out of your summer.


Add a Braai area (or a barbecue pit)

A Braai is a South African barbecue pit (pictured left) constructed of brick.  Roast a delicious meal for few or for many and load up on your vitamin D while you feast and entertain.  As the day cools down, stock the Braai with firewood and light an open fire to keep you and your guests warm. Add walking stones or construct a lounging area for a truly luxurious experience. A brick barbecue pit makes for a beautiful, permanent fixture to any yard.


 Install a pool

Okay, we know, a pool installation is not something to dive into (!) willy-nilly but it’s an incredible investment in your home. Get creative, even at their least expensive, pools are beautiful oasis-like additions. Build a waterfall, add an indoor entrance, or simultaneously invest in your health and your home and opt for a lap pool.

Build a deck


Like a pool, a deck is an investment that raises your home value. Decks expand a living space and can alter your home’s overall architecture in a dynamic way. Plus, you have a lot of options with today’s variety of decking materials.  A deck is a comfortable way for you to engage with your environment: build a place in the treetops, watch the sunset and enjoy the evening cool-down.


Family-Friendly Updates

045The decision to start or grow your family doesn’t have to hinge on your ability to move. Many homeowners are renovating their current home to suit their needs and the needs of their new family. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Utilize Square-Footage

Knock out walls or construct additions to open up your space. Build lofts or bunk beds to accommodate extra sleeping space. Equip living rooms and children’s rooms with savvy storage for play-things.



For entries, hallways and family rooms, look for flooring that cleans up with a damp mop. Recycled, pre-distressed hardwood floors with a matte, nonskid finish are great for young families. If you do want wall-to-wall carpet, purchase it in a medium-to-dark tone and request a stain-protective finish. Nylon and wool-nylon blends feel soft, resist stains and wear well.


Kid-friendly Additions

Surprise your kids with a clubhouse!  Build a beautiful clubhouse in the trees or in your backyard and keep your kids close to home while they play.  You an even use eco-friendly building materials and paint.

Think Small


Per this article and Michael Anderson of Bike Portland, tiny homes (or ADUs, accessory dwelling units) now make up about three percent of new dwellings in the city of Portland. That’s one in ten homes! These tiny and sometimes portable homes are 800 square feet or less, slightly bigger than most one-bedroom apartments. Most of these small homes are newly constructed on empty plots of land, including this 740 square foot beauty by Portland couple Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel.

According to the NY times article about the house, The Copenagle-Kennel home was completed in 2012 and cost about $135,000 to build, including materials and labor. Not a lot for your dream home!

Whether you want to build your own tiny home or want to remodel a current small space to better suit your living needs, here are some ideas to get your started:



Lofts are a great way to utilize vertical space. Rather than building additions to your home for extra sleeping space, build up!


Creative Space

The image to the left is of a one-room London apartment  which, with some creative thinking, feels like three. The kitchen fits a sink, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, oven, and induction range behind a fold out door which, when closed, transforms the kitchen into the living room. Fold-out or rolling doors and clever storage space can make a single space suit your varied needs.

Aging In Place

With over 70 million baby boomers entering their golden years, it’s time to reassess conventional home layouts.  Rather than move to assisted living communities, many boomers are opting to age in place, transforming their long-time homes to suit their changing needs. With a little inspiration and some clever remodeling, you can stay where you love without sacrificing style or safety. Here are some changes you can make:



    • Grab bars and rails. Many manufacturers are producing beautiful, sturdy grab bars and rails. Install one in your shower and next to your toilet for extra help.
    • Threshold-free showers. Low-threshold shower floors mean easy entry, a gentle slope and a wide area for more comfortable, confident movement. Add anti-slip tile for extra safety.
    • Lower toilets and sinks. Toilets can be installed at any height to accommodate seated or standing position. Shorter toilets reduce strain on the body, and make sitting down and standing up easier for people of all ages.



  •  Lower counter tops and customize cabinets. Pull-out cabinetry, slide-out shelves, and other organizational solutions help bring items closer to the homeowner and remove frustrating digging. Smooth cabinet tops make for easier cleaning and bright cabinet lighting makes it easy to see at night. Some homeowners are opting to remove cabinets altogether.
  • Consider space. This is a good rule for all areas of the home, particularly if you need to consider wheelchair space. Remove obstacles, such as kitchen islands and create threshold-free entries between the kitchen and the rest of the house. Add non-slip flooring for a safer area.
  • The right appliances. Once you’ve remodeled your kitchen, be sure to equip it with safe, reliable appliances. Single lever faucets, gas ranges with automatic shutoff, and working smoke detectors are a great place to start.

7 Cool Tech Trends in Remodeling

2014 Top Tech Trends in Remodeling

KITCHEN Remodels
Cook on your counter. Even better… cook on your next tablet.

Induction cook top for your kitchen remodelImagine cooking right on your countertop and the countertop never really getting hot. Induction cooktops can be installed by a competent remodeler to be almost seamless with your countertop. This video shows how induction cooktops control heat better, heat faster, and are safer than electric or gas ranges.
The next trend to watch for is to see your countertop turned into a massive computing tablet. What if you could answer phone calls, texts, and even search for recipes… incorporated into your counter/cooktop? Check out Whirlpool’s new prototype induction super-countertop (here).

Sneak TV & get music in the shower.

High Teck for the bathroo remodelThe Robern brand is producing some great high tech shower, vanity, and mirror accessories for the bathroom. Imagine hidden plugs, MP3 jacks, and a TV hidden in the mirror. Check it out here.
Their SoundTile technology lets you bring high quality audio into the shower through Polk Audio engineered, sleek, shower tile size speakers. Check it out here.

Stop worrying.

IN-HOME HEALTH MONITORINGThe stove was not left on. The front door was closed. Grandma is up and moving this morning. Organizations like SimplyHome can give you and your loved ones peace of mind by installing a variety of monitoring tools to maximize your family’s health and safety. Here is a video by SimplyHome showing some of their in-home health monitoring applications.

Quit fighting with your thermostat!

Nest is a new HVAC automation productNest is a new HVAC automation product that saves money and energy in your home. It is a “learning thermostat” that updates its programming every time you use it. Have your trusted remodeler or HVAC pro install Nest, begin using it as you would your old thermostat, and it immediately starts learning your habits and preferences! There is even an app that lets you control the system when you are not home. Learn more about Nest here. Consult your remodeler as even a smart thermostate will not correct for poor ducting and air flow design.
You can make everyone happy.
It is called Automated Zoning. ZoneFirst’s has plug and play control panels and dampers that can control over 100 zones if necessary! It doesn’t take long to consider the savings when you are not heating or cooling rooms unnecessarily. Here is video describing the system.

You can even have a “appy” house

Automated ZoningThere are many apps available for smartphones and tablets – both iOS and Android based – that offer convenient options that can easily be integrated into your next remodel. Lutron is an app that saves energy by regulating lights, remotely operating blinds and curtains, and sensing lighting needs by movement and time of day. The LiftMaster app allows you to operate your garage door, gate, or landscape lights from your smartphone.
This article here gives a “day in the life” of a “appy” House. Here is a cute video by Revolv of a lady showing up her date with her “appy” house.

Peace of mind has never been easier.

apps available for smartphones and tabletsJust about everyone has a home security system, and Mobotix has taken a leap of ingenuity and combined their systems with seamless wireless integration. You can control cameras, locks, and house alarms from your phone.
If you feel you need to take home security to the next level, here is a fun article sharing bunker rooms, hidden doors, infrared camera set-ups, burglar blaster pepper spray triggers, and more.


Portland Remodel can to  with the technology ideas presented herein. Smart design and smart installation needs to accompany smart technology. Check out our project portfolios here. Call us now for a consultation at 503-244-3525.

More people moving to Oregon

Portland is one of the top cities for people moving

More people are moving into Oregon than moving out

Oregon was the number one destination among people who moved from one state to another last year.

Related: America’s Best Places to Live

Oregon replaced Washington, D.C., which had held the top spot for the previous five years as workers sought out government jobs. The nation’s capital fell to fourth place last year, tying with South Dakota.

Other top destinations for those seeking to relocate included South Carolina, with 60% of moves made for those coming into the state, North Carolina (58%), and Nevada (56%).

“Business incentives, industrial growth and relatively lower costs of living are attracting jobs and people to the Southeastern and Western states, such as South Dakota, Colorado and Texas,” said UCLA economist Michael Stoll.

Lifestyle also plays a part. “We’re seeing continued migration to the Pacific Northwest as young professionals and retirees are drawn to amenities, including public transit, green space and the local arts and entertainment scene,” he said.

Housing costs are an important factor, however, said Stoll. Oregon has many of the same virtues as California — mild winters, an active lifestyle — but home prices are much lower, he said. The median price for a single-family home in Portland, for example, is $285,000 according to Zillow. In San Francisco, it’s $881,000 and in Los Angeles, $481,000.

9 Tips to Keep Pests Away

Here are some tips for homeowners to avoid pest infestations. More than a nuisance you need to protect your family from disease from ants or roaches as well as protecting your property from wood and foundation damage from ants and termites.

Take these steps now and keep your home pest-free.

Inside Your Home

  • • Starve them out — Keep dried food such as flour and sugar in plastic containers with lids instead of their original packaging. Empty trash often and keep a tight lid on the trash can. Clean up spills immediately.
  • • Dry them out —fix leaky faucets, radiators, dishwashers, and washing machines immediately and empty flower pots and plant stands of excess water. Often pests such as cock roaches need water to survive so shut off their supply.
  • • Keep them out —.  Repair holes in door and window screens, seal cracks and openings along baseboards, behind sinks, and around pipes and windows.

Outside Your Home

Pests enter your home from the outside, so you will also need to prepare the exterior of your house to keep pests out.
Look for cracks and holes on the outside of your home and seal them up. Be sure to include points where utility lines enter the house.  Also address damage to the basement foundation and windows.

  • • Clean up your landscaping. Raking the mulch away from the base of your home will help keep it dry to allow for adequate drainage. Trim back tree branches and bushes so they do not make contact with the house. Remove tree stumps from your yard.
  • • Keep firewood piles stacked outside of your home neat, away from the house and off the ground.
  • • It is also important to make sure basements and attics are well ventilated and dry.
  • • Look for any rotted or decaying shingles on your roof
  • • While on your roof also check that your gutters are free of debris.

These simple steps now can save you a lot of headache and money down the road from these unwanted visitors.

Steven Heiteen | Portland RemodelBusiness: Portland Remodel
Author: Steven Heiteen | Owner
General Contractor | CCB# 96511
Phone: 503-244-3525
Email: Link
Our Specialties: Whole House Remodels, Kitchen Remodels, Bathrooms Remodels.


How to Fix a Leaky toilet

fix a leaky toilet
I had an interesting conversation with the Portland Water Bureau today after I got our water bill. It was almost $100 higher then the previous quarter bill. We thought it would be beneficial to all homeowners to read this article.

Toilets use about 26% of all the water in an average American home. They are also one of the likeliest places to find leaks that can waste as much as thousands of gallons per month.
A leaky toilet can be expensive. Save money and water by fixing simple toilet leaks yourself. This will not only reduce your water bill and prevent clean water from being sent to the treatment plant, but will also reduce stress on the larger drinking water system. Follow these easy steps to repair common toilet leaks. Read more…

Portland Remodel can help with all your home improvement and home maintenance needs. 503-244-3525

2013 Color of Year

pantone color for 2013

Green is seen by the human eye more than any other color in the spectrum. It is the most calming color on the color wheel. The Emerald has fascinated us throughout history. It symbolizes a sense of clarity, rejuvenation and renewal, the most abundant hue in nature. Emerald, a vivid verdant green, enhances our sense of well-being and promotes balance and harmony. Consider the endless remodeling possibilities for its infinite range of color.It is a great choice for the Pantone pick as color of the year for 2013. Learn more…

dinng room eating area