Hot Summer Trend: Specialty Outdoor Grills, Ovens, & More!


In our last blog, we discussed some of the most popular trends we have been seeing throughout the past year. Summer is the perfect time to highlight one of these trends in more detail: outdoor meal preparation appliances and seating space. Gone are the days of small concrete slabs and portable clearance-priced grills—today we are seeing people transform their backyards into a space dedicated to high-end meals and entertaining. Among millennials, the “create your own” meal idea compliments this trend nicely allowing for easy-to-make vegan and gluten-free options such as grilled home-grown vegetables that can be prepared all in your very own yard. Grills have become more advanced than ever with add-ons and custom design options creating a personalized customer experience.


Another product that is experiencing an increase in demand: outdoor wood-fire ovens. These luxury ovens appeal to the 21st century “foodie” because they can add a delicious woody flavor to your food while simultaneously creating a unique dining experience for your guests. Pinterest is exploding with different flatbread and pizza recipes for these ovens from classic margherita to specialty macaroni & cheese pizza. “Healthy” is an option too with lean, wood-fired chicken breast or turkey making a popular meal entrée as well.


So, what is the best part about this backyard trend? We can help you customize the look and feel for your entire space! Sample different brick, stone, wood, and tile to create a space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. Minnesota summers are precious and should be spent outdoors while the weather allows. Create meals and memories by transforming your yard into a place that can accommodate the new “family dinner table.”

Have a few ideas you would like to get started on? Contact us and we will get the ball rolling!


The Hottest Trends in 2016


As we are now well under our way into the heat of summer, we would like to reflect with you on some of the hottest trends that we have seen this year & provide insight for getting your own remodeling dreams started! From tech savvy kitchen appliances, to low maintenance countertop options, 2016 has opened up new doors in the world of remodeling. Let’s take a look:


  • Low maintenance and simplicity proves key—with the switch to paperless, digital, and real-time in the business & banking world, it is no wonder that the same theme of “ease of use” reigns true for home improvement. The rising age of millennials is also a contributing factor to this trend. According to Consumer Reports, when surveying 18 to 35 year olds, “low maintenance” ranked high on the list of most desirable home features. We are slowly seeing a decline in the desire for fancy granite and marble countertops that require tedious upkeep, and instead a new draw toward options such as quartz countertops, which are stunning, yet easy to maintain.


  • The emergence of sleek and intelligent appliances—rapid movement in technology has allowed even more advanced appliances than ever to hit the market. A new niche for “luxury appliances” has expedited the success in this market space. From touch screen refrigerators, to wifi enabled “kitchen concierge” devices, your kitchen space can now be dramatically transformed.


  • Outdoor meal prep, no problem—from grills, to smokers, to pizza ovens, people are interested in enjoying the beauty of the backyard while preparing and eating meals. This is the perfect way to capitalize on the beautiful Minnesota summer and enjoy the sunshine or stars.


  • Going green in 2016—although green energy is not necessarily a new concept, energy-efficient and sustainable home updates are seeing a continued increase in demand. Almost all new appliances now come with special energy-saving features. Water-saving dishwashers, for instance, are red hot this year with more options and brands to choose from than ever.

We love capturing these trends in our remodeling projects; we strive to provide the most up-to-date remodeling advice and ideas when working with you on your home. For more information on these trends or to get started on your own remodeling projects, we encourage you to contact us!

Lake Home Remodel Cultivates Stunning Results

We’ve been working diligently on a project that we’re excited to talk about—a beautiful lake home now has several new features that really bring a unique character to the property. What are some of the updates we made? Let’s take a look:

New rooms, new look—main/entry level rooms are high impact and high traffic areas. That is why we made some meaningful and strategic changes to this home’s kitchen, living area, and dining room. Now both the residents and their guests can enjoy a remarkable new look in a truly transformed home.

Brand new attic, furnace, AC, and ducting—this involved many steps including: vacuuming and removing insulation from the attic; removing an old AC unit and replacing it with a new one; and replacing the existing baseboard heat with a forced air system.

The lake-view never looked better—we added three new patio doors (two six ft. wide and one twelve ft. wide) to this home to give a fabulous view of the lake. This made all of the difference in the world for a lakefront property.

Maple millwork and pre-finished cabinets adds the perfect touch—we put in new engineered, pre-finished rift and quartered white oak 5” wide planks for beautiful flooring and stunning matching cabinets.
Connies kitchen

• Exceptional Zuri decking over a new deck— we made this important update to manage water and keep space under the deck dry. We also added stainless steel cable railings to compliment the structure.

Front yard fun—for curb appeal, we worked on a completely new stoop and garage driveway. And that’s not all; we also utilized maintenance-free Hardi pre-finished siding, soffit, and fascia along with new shingles to enhance the home from both the curb and the lake. Now, the amazing inside matches a new and refreshing outside to create an all-around property metamorphosis.
We had a great time working on this home and continue to love helping families achieve their renovation dreams. If you would like to learn more about this project or maybe start an entirely new one of your own, contact us and we’ll get started!

Summer, Sun, & Showcase Fun!

Summer is right around the corner and we want to ensure that you’re all set to tackle your home improvement to-dos! Looking for a few ideas to spruce up your home while being cost efficient? We’ve provided a few fun ideas to get your wheels turning!

  • Exterior quick fix—something as simple as painting your front door can add huge curb appeal to your home at a very small cost. Looking for a sleek and trending color? Shoot us an email and we will be happy to provide some of the latest and greatest colors we are seeing within the housing market that will fit your motif.
  • Garage sale scavenging—slightly used is sometimes the way to go! Find a table for under $50 and make it your summer art project. Sand down the rough edges, add some paint/stain, and you’re all set with a brand new look in your kitchen.
  • Renovations, of course—for some of the bigger projects that require expertise, we are happy to help! We just finished up some awesome projects with some spectacular families that are showcased in our portfolio. Take a look and shoot us over your ideas.

The point is, home improvement does not need to be stressful. It can actually be fun! Whether it is a DIY project or you need an extra set of hands from us, we want to make your renovation dreams come true. It is the spark in a home owner’s eyes when they see the final product that truly makes us LOVE what we do. We hope you have a fulfilling and checklist crossing summer!

Bath and Bar Photos

Previously (two blog posts and a home show ago) we touched base on the idea that smaller projects can add tremendous value. Not only do smaller projects add monetary value their most important effect can be greatly increased enjoyment and convenience in how you live in your home.

We have two images here. First is the bathroom we updated. The corner cabinet and vanity are beautiful examples of basic areas you can add elegance with function. Including a composite top with vessel sink and fixture. Note that you can see the new shower surround, glass shower door and fixture in the vanity mirror! Quite an improvement in a main floor bath that both guests and families use.

Our second photo from that project is of a wet bar that was once a laundry room! We moved the laundry room upstairs, a much needed event and in its place on the main floor we added this wet bar. All ready for events of its own!

These kinds of changes aren’t major projects but add a great deal to the enjoyment and functionality of living in your home.

Call Showcase when you want to improve how your home works for you!

Home Show Reminder!

Just a friendly reminder to stop by our booth at the Home Improvement and Design Expo on March 19th at the Maple Grove Community Center!

Stop by and say hello to us in Booth #31 in the Lower Level!

This is a great show for the northwest metro area and for any home improvement enthusiasts! This is the premier home show in Maple Grove!

Find out what what’s new and start planning your summer projects. Bring your ideas and blueprints!

Where: 12951 Weaver Lake Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
When: Saturday, March 19, 2016 | 10am until 5pm


Smaller Projects Still Add Tremendous Value

With spring right around the corner it is the perfect time to check off some of the remodeling to-do’s on your list. Even some of our recent smaller projects, made a huge difference for their homeowners. Here are just a few examples:

Recently we kicked off a project on a home right off of Lake Calhoun—this is a beautiful area to stroll around and we wanted the homeowners to be proud of their new updates. Here are some of the items we worked on:

  • We spray foamed the ductwork in one of the crawl spaces to improve energy efficiency. This is a great way to save on utility costs and be environmentally friendly.
  • Wood paneling is becoming a bit outdated—we removed interior paneling from a few rooms and repainted with sleek new colors. Going along with our touch ups, we also painted all of the stained woodwork white to match the new look.
  • Bathrooms are the perfect place to focus your plans—we gave the main level bathroom a serious upgrade with a new vanity and medicine cabinet.
  • Adding to the list, we also replaced the washer dryer area with new cabinetry and a wet bar.
  • An easy way to make big visual impact—we changed some of the rooms by either adding a wall or shrinking an existing opening. The best part? Nothing involved with this was structural, but the results dramatically changed the look and feel.
  • Lastly, we “pickled” the wood siding on the walls in the upstairs loft and repainted the beams. This is a great way to create a warm and modern environment.

Also in Minneapolis, we recently worked on a smaller scale project off of Dean Parkway and were delighted with the results. Here’s a look at what we did:

  • Wood ceiling beams were added to the living room—this was the perfect way to update the appearance of an everyday room.
  • Cabinets are also an effective way to update the look of a kitchen—we added a new pantry cabinet, remodeled a base cabinet into a recycling center, and worked on another cabinet by turning half of the space under the sink into a pull out garbage bin.

Smaller projects in your home can be a great alternative to a total overhaul. We would love to help out with all of your needs—both big and small!

Maple Grove Home Improvement and Design Expo!

March 19, 2016
Maple Grove Community Center, Maple Grove

Attention all home improvement enthusiasts! The Home Improvement and Design Expo returns to Maple Grove Community Center on Saturday, March 19th for the premier home show in Maple Grove!

Spring is the time to start planning your summer projects, so come on down and bring your ideas and blueprints!

Where: 12951 Weaver Lake Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
When: Saturday, March 19, 2016 | 10am until 5pm


St. Louis Park Kitchen Remodel Plus Bedroom And Bath Upstairs Addition

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Young Family/Unique Home
This may be one of the most unique homes we have worked on.

The clients had a few priorities to share with us to define the project scope. Expanding the upper level to provide separate bedrooms and a bathroom for their young boy and girl was number 1.

In no special order they also wanted:
– A fabulous new kitchen and entryway .
– Build a high performance energy package into the project.
– Improve water mitigation at the homes perimeter.
Back to the unique features of this home. The home is a combination earth/two story home. The back half of the home is built into the lot. Not so much a hill but about a 12 ft. rise in the lot from the front to the back. The back half of the house has grass growing on it.
By now you might be wondering what is holding up the yard over the house. Good question. The simple answer is the ceiling consists of concrete panels that are insulated and waterproofed under the soil/grass. The kind of panels you might see in commercial construction. This makes for a challenge to have a functioning mechanical system as it’s a no-no to drill through the planks. The planks run from the back of the house all the way to the front. The whole ceiling in the main level is cement!

To avoid drilling through the concrete planks and to add the necessary space needed for the bedrooms, we extended the upper level three feet. This allowed for a “mechanical chase”.

This home was designed by an architect who works at SALA and who also is the president for MN GreenStar. He insisted on a high performance package along with proper duct sealing. The system would be tested by a blower door. The thermal envelope features staggered stud framing, closed cell, and batt insulation at the walls. The ceiling featured closed cell insulation along with blown cellulose to achieve an R-60 insulation value.

The upper level required around 15,000 BTU’s to supply warmth. This was accomplished with what is known as a “mini-split” system. It uses an air source heat pump to warm and cool the space. Unique to this system is that it is ducted and also features electrical heating elements in the ductwork for back-up heat. They work the same as baseboard heat but have the advantage of being in ductwork which of course allows the heat to be circulated.

Water mitigation was challenging. Most of the home is underground and the existing waterproofing worked well but could be improved with drain tile. We added a tile to the side of the garage along with drainage boards and waterproofing above the tile to the finished landscaping. We also “cut” the back yard to improve water flow away from the building. We will track the water mitigation over time.

This was a great project with great homeowners. The finishes in the home are warm, beautiful, and friendly.

Contact Showcase Renovations if you have questions about this project or need a remodeling contractor in St. Louis Park.

Summer Home Maintenance Tips

Hello and here it comes … another list of things to do instead of dangling your toes in the water at the end of a dock. Or instead of playing golf, visiting local parks, taking day-trips, and anything else that you might find more enjoyable than chores. Just remember, the return you get can be rewarding and add comfort to every day life at home!

So, in no particular order, we have a list of some things to do before relaxing for the summer!

Ceiling Fans –
Reverse the direction not or change the pitch of the blades so that the air moves down from the fan. The leading edge of the blade needs to be higher as it moves in the direction of the turn. You’ll be able to feel the breeze this way which provides the cooling effect. It can also help you save money spent on energy with less use of your air-conditioner.

Dryer Vents –
Clean your dryer vent. Without maintenance these things can cause fires, poor clothes drying, bad air, etc. The U.S. Fire Administration reports over 15,000 dryer fires each year, largely due to clogged dryer vents.

It helps to have a vent-cleaning brush kit, which cleans dryer vent tubing better than a vacuum cleaner can. Cleaning the dryer’s lint trap housing with a smaller brush to start. Then disconnect the dryer duct from for a thorough cleaning. Also clean the vent on the outside of the house keeping both ends clean and free of lint.

Gutters –
Get those gutters clean! The stuff that accumulates in your gutters over the fall and winter can lead to water damage of your soffits, facia, roof edge, and eventually the house. And gutters aren’t a great place to germinate young trees. If the gutter is too high and you can’t do it safely then you might want to call in an expert to do this job.

If you do the work, it’s best not to lean the ladder against the gutter and definitely stay away from electrical wires. Scoop out leaves and debris using a small hand spade if needed. Use a hose to flush the gutters to rinse them and to see if you have any leaks. Then run water down your downspouts to make sure they’re clean.

If you cover your gutters with a wire mesh or other debris guard you still need to inspect them and do some occasional cleaning. And remember: Don’t hang onto your gutters – every time someone in a movie hangs on a gutter the gutter breaks and the person lands in a dumpster three stories down. So if you don’t have a dumpster to land in…

Decks –
Decks are great for hanging out, but still need care to stay in shape. Start with a visual inspection of the boards for cracking, curling, rotting, raised nails, etc. Replace damaged boards and reset any raised nails or screws.

Look under your deck to make sure the supports are in good shape. Check for signs of animal or insect infestation and any chewed or rotting boards. Don’t be shy about calling an expert if needed.

If it’s time to reseal your deck it’s best to power wash it first and then to let it thoroughly dry. Some finishes or seals require complete removal of the existing finish before applying new materials, so follow instructions closely for optimum results.

Outside Paint –
A clean house is a happy house, and it’s worth more! For a quick cleaning, a power washer and mild detergent ae great for your house’s exterior. A couple hours can get rid of dirt, dust, bird splatter, tree sap, etc. And it’s a good time to inspect the paint and caulking for peeling, cracking, voids, etc. Don’t get too close with a power washer as you can do damage if you’re not careful!

Air conditioner –
This is a high priority! An outright tune up by a professional will inspect refrigerant levels, make sure your fan is working correctly and thoroughly clean the coils and also inspect for fire hazards with faulty wiring. If you don’t have a pro tune up the AC make sure to clean the cooling fins, check the fan for obstructions, observe it while it’s running, and change out your furnace’s air filters. If you use the AC daily then change you filters more often.

Roof check –
Inspect your roof to catch existing and potential problems. If you’ve been through a hail storm have a pro inspect it for damage that isn’t easy to see.

Windows –
Keep summer heat stays outside with well maintained windows. It’s important to check exterior caulk and sealants, both outside and inside. Repair as necessary. Check weather-stripping for any faults and replace it immediately if there is an issue. Regular cleaning is really fun too and keeps the outside looking good from within!

Since you vacuumed regularly throughout the winter and spring it’s a good time to get them cleaned! They will hold until late fall. Make sure to use products and services that don’t leave chemical residues in your carpet. A good rug or mat outside, inside, or both sides of the entry is a great way to keep summer fun from tracking into the house. Get one that has bristles for the outside and shuffle those feet!

Toilets and drains –
Carefully inspect your toilets and drains. Look for any small leaks and make sure they are flushing and filling consistently. You can avoid a disaster with a little attention to the connections and the way things flush and drain. Drop a little bleach solution into drains once a month and flush after 5 minutes. Don’t be shy about calling a drain cleaning service every year or two, especially if anything is draining slowly.

Appliances –
Pull all appliances out from their places far enough for a thorough cleaning. Refrigerator coils need vacuuming. You’ve cleaned the dryer vent but there’s still dust under and behind the dryer. And check the fittings on the washing machine hook ups and look for signs of leakage, cracking hoses, etc. Check window unit air conditioners for proper drainage to the outside.

It doesn’t hurt to check outside faucets, hose connections, and other garden and lawn maintenance items all at one time. You can get new washers in all the hose ends before getting sprayed multiple times until, by the end of summer, they all seal well. Of course that’s half the fun if someone else is at the other end and you open the faucet.

If you have maintenance questions or need a contact for a particular task the please consider Showcase Renovations, Inc. a resource. We’re happy to answer your questions or refer you to the best we know!