Remodeling 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.


A Pet Friendly Home

Inspired by this Remodelista post, we have some remodeling suggestions for a more pet friendly home.


A pet door

This creative pet door is not only adorable, but also acts as a place for your pooch to call home when you can’t have him in your home. Perfect for colder climates, your dog can camp out in his little space and go outside when he needs to.


An outdoor shower

Particularly useful in coastal or muddy climates (like Oregon), an outdoor shower is a simple installation that you can make to ensure your pet doesn’t muck up your home’s interior. For pools days, or days at the beach, make the shower human friendly too.

Architect-Kimberly-Peck-converted-barn-living-room-RemodelistaA concrete floor

Concrete is not only an environmentally friendly flooring solution, it is also great for pet-owner’s homes. Incredibly durable and easy to clean, concrete never has to be replaced. Concrete floors also stay cool, much to the pleasure of your pet.

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.

3 Tips for Going Green

Given our  finite environmental and financial resources, going green is an incredibly important lifestyle choice. Green living can mean the clothes that you buy, the food that you eat and, of course, the house you live in. With the right remodeler (us!), you can transform the oldest house into a fiscally responsible, environmentally-conscious home. Here are our 3 tips for going green:


Eco-Friendly Flooring

  • Cork. We know, it seems like an odd choice but cork flooring is great material for eco-friendly floors! Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. These cork trees are the ideal renewable source: the trees are not cut down to harvest the bark and the bark re-grows every three years.  Cork has a anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home, is fire retardant, and acts as a natural insect repellent too. 
  • Bamboo. Bamboo is actually a grass that shares similar characteristics as hardwood.  It is sturdy, easy to maintain and easy to install.  Bamboo grows quickly, re-sprouting in 3-5 years. It is a beautiful, sustainable alternative to the long-growth cycle of trees.
  • Concrete. Concrete is a non-traditional but unusually beautiful option. Pet-owners are particularly fond of it, as it is durable and easy to clean. If it is polished and tinted to the homeowners taste and style there is no need for traditional flooring to be put over it.  What’s more, concrete never needs to be replaced!

Other ec0-friendly options include wool carpet, P.E.T berber carpet, rubber, leather, and reclaimed hardwood.


Solar Panels

The average consumer uses electricity when engaging in daily activities such as heating water, turning on lights and cooking. A local utility company burns fossil fuel to generate electricity, which it then directs to the consumer’s home. Fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are nonrenewable natural resources and once exhausted, cannot be replaced.

Solar power, however, is a renewable resource. According to “The Boston Globe,” the sun produces enough energy every second to meet all of civilization’s energy needs for 500,000 years. The “Globe” reports that by switching to solar power, consumers can help conserve Earth’s remaining natural resources.


45d6533b1557588e6a8a69893576b18aInsulating our homes is an incredibly important part of home construction, and it plays a key role in energy costs. Heat naturally flows from a warm space to a cool space and our comfort suffers in the process! In the winter, warm air from the inside will move to the outside and make us cold. In the summer, hot air moves from the outside to the inside and makes it uncomfortably warm. Insulation is often made from fiberglass, a material harmful to our environment. Eco-conscious homeowners are now transitioning to more environmentally friendly materials, some of which don’t require major deconstruction.

Some eco-friendly materials you can use for insulation:

  • Wool

    Soy-based spray foam

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.

3 Small Bathroom Remodels

A Bathroom remodel is a very popular home improvement these days. But what if you have a small space that cannot be increased?

Older home bathrooms average about 5- by 8-feet. But you can combat that claustrophobic feeling by scaling down physically to save space. There are things you can do to create an illusion of a roomy bathroom. With lighting and the right colors and perhaps a pedestal sink amazing things can be done.
Here are 3 ideas to make your small bathroom appear larger.

A small Bathroom Remodel

Built in Cabinets and river rock make this an attractive small bathroom remodel

1. With this bathroom remodel to create the illusion of a larger room these home owners got rid of two small closets and added task and ambient lighting. A shallow cabinet was incorporated because little space remained after the new tub and toilet. A fun detail of riverbed rock little width remained after incorporating the tub and toilet, so a shallow cabinet was incorporated.
Designer: Erica S. Westeroth, CKD XTC Design Incorporated, Toronto, ON

small bathroom remodel ideas

Retro looking bathroom remodel

2. The goal with This Bathroom remodel was to create a nostalgic style with a contemporary twist. Trumpet-shaped sconces flank an oval mirror that conceals a medicine cabinet. A frameless shower door extends the visual expanse of the space, while allowing unobstructed views of oversized subway and amber glass telework.

Designer: Sheila K. Tilander, CKD, CBD Showplace Design & Remodeling, Redmond, WA

no entry shower

A no entry shower creates an illusion of space in this bathroom remodel

3. In the third bathroom remodel a curbless entry to the shower eliminates the demarcation of a limited footprint. Continuous horizontal lines, a large, frameless mirror, and well-placed task lighting helps to create the illusion of a larger space. The marble-clad dividing wall lends modesty to the toilet area, while creating a recessed storage opportunity.
Designer: Gary Hentges, Hentges Construction, Inc., Urbana, IL

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

Top 5 Predictions for Remodeling in 2013

Top five remodeling trends.

At Portland Remodel we are very optimistic about 2013 in the remodeling industry. Here is what  we predict from all the buzz that we have seen and heard in the industry…


1. Kitchen Remodels – The heart of the home is beating strong once again. Kitchen Remodeling is on the rise. Everything from functional to luxurious remodels that offer the best in quality and a truly high-end look.

2. Room Additions – Many families have spent more time at home these past few years with   tighter budgets. And guess what –there is no place like home. At Portland Remodel we
expect to see    more room additions like that bonus room or expanding the family room.

3. Master Bathroom Upgrade – January tends to bring a rise in bathroom remodeling. These cold winter months remind us how awesome it would be to that Jacuzzi tub, towel warmers, and those heated floors. In other rooms why not have your own indoor spa?  2013 will be a great year for bathroom remodels.

4. Whole House Remodels – After the holidays did you realize yet again that you just don’t have room for all those friends and family members? At Portland Remodel we specialize in repurposing existing spaces and creating new and better storage areas. Just rearranging an existing floor plan can make so much more room.

5. Built – in Cabinetry – Portland Remodel predicts lots of custom cabinet units of all types in 2013. New entertainment units with surround sound will be the top of the list for the great room. We work with the best custom cabinet builders in the Portland metro area.



Creative Storage Ideas from Portland Remodel

creative ways to store wine

Tis the season for parties and wine. Portland Remodel has great ideas for how to store your wine using ‘dead space’ that you already have. An area like under the stairs as shown here is the perfect space to remodel into creative, attractive and most importantly usable space. Portland Remodel has over 20 years of experience and we are full of ideas to help you use the space you have more efficiently. Whether it is a kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel or any other spaces in your home we can help.