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  • Wood paneling is becoming a bit outdated—we removed interior paneling from a few rooms and repainted with sleek new colors.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!

Best Remodeling Projects For Return On Investment And Adding Property Value

People frequently ask, “What are the best remodeling projects for return on investment and adding property value?” And it’s no surprise that the answer identifies the hottest trends in remodeling today.

This topic was proposed by the winner of our recent contest for a good topic for a blog post. So here we go and with some pictures from a few of our projects!

When considering ROI, note that geographical regions vary in cost/value ratios which change over time along with housing trends. Based upon information gleaned from local and national sources, the highest return on investment is currently found in these types of home improvements:

Entry Door and/or Garage Door Replacement
– 70 to 90 percent return on investment

Exterior doors are a key home feature that are often overlooked, yet provide one of the first impressions of your home. We call that Curb Appeal. A door that looks new and complements the house style will contribute to the perception of a quality home. And most doors can be replaced in just a few hours.

Deck Addition
– 70 to 87 percent return on investment

People are tending to spend more time at home, and outdoor living spaces are becoming more desirable for relaxation as well as entertaining. Costs depend upon size of deck, design, materials, and special features.

Attic Bedroom
– 77 to 84 percent return on investment

Remodeling attic space to create a bedroom is an economical approach for “expansion”. It can be done without sacrificing existing high-functional space, such as a kitchen or living room, and does not require adding square footage to the home’s footprint.

Minor Kitchen Remodel
– 80 to 83 percent return on investment

A kitchen remodel can add significant value when you are considering selling your home, especially if it blends with the style of your home in terms of size and finish. On the other hand, an enormous ultra-deluxe kitchen with high-end appliances in a small home that is otherwise conservatively finished will likely result in a lower return on investment – something to keep in mind.

Bathroom Addition or Remodel
– 60 to 70 percent return on investment

Space that is underutilized, such as a closet, small bedroom, or under stairs, may be the perfect place to add a new bathroom. Or there may be an existing bathroom that needs a remodel. In either case, there is a flood of new products for bath design, materials, tiles, and accessories. A full bath includes a tub and/or stand-up shower plus toilet and vanity; a half bath (or powder room) includes toilet and vanity only.

Our thanks to the winner of our blog topic contest for suggesting this. It comes at a good time both economically and seasonally. If you have a suggestion for a blog topic please submit it to us and we’ll get your questions answered and try to publish the information you’re looking for! Thanks for visiting!

2014 ROMA Award Winner

Showcase Renovation Receives Prestigious ROMA Award In 2014!

Showcase Renovation is the recipient of the 2014 Remodeler Of Merit Award in the category for Special: Outdoor Under $150,000!

Our thanks to all who contributed to the beautiful results this project achieved. Especially to Dave Wagner of SALA Architects for his outstanding design and detail work.

Stephen Roche, President of Showcase Renovation, with this year’s ROMA Award. This award honors the professional remodeler for excellence in the work they do, recognizing creativity, design, and the remodeler’s ability to meet the client’s requirements.

This porch renovation has exquisite detail with many unique features. The design includes Corten stairs, a wood floor landing area and timber columns and beams.
Craftsmanship is displayed throughout and is exemplified by beam installation, column connections, flashing details, and period-appropriate clear Fir flooring. Traditional crown moldings flow from the existing roof to the new roof. Innovation is demonstrated throughout this beautiful porch and entry. Visit our project page to learn more about this winning porch renovation!

St. Louis Park Addition Exterior

This St. Louis Park Addition Exterior is close to completion. The garage door and exterior lighting fixtures will be here soon and the deck rail to the back stairs will be installed as well.

An important part of this project was accomplishing the homeowner’s goals while matching the architectural style, colors and materials of the existing home.

When the landscaping and plantings are in, this St. Louis Park addition will blend wonderfully and really look as if it was built as part of the original house. Our sincere thanks and kudos to Bryan Anderson and SALA ARCHITECTS for their design work on this project.

That’s what makes a renovation a Showcase Renovation!

St. Louis Park Addition Framing & Exterior

The framing is complete and even includes a bonus crawl space between the new construction and the existing structure. Some photos during the progress.

— You can see the steel beam (we used a crane to set this one) used to support the deck and framing above the garage. And a shot of the rough framing when complete.

— This is definitely a room with a view! The room above the garage not only provides a great view of nature but there is a wonderful deck for enjoying the view from the outside. This deck will wrap-around the addition and there is an extra wide overhang to provide shade and protection from the elements.