Category Archives: Exterior Remodel

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!

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.

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!

St. Louis Park Addition Foundation

This stage of the project shows the poured concrete foundation walls and cement block walls where appropriate. These concrete walls will give a finished ceiling of over 10′ for this St. Louis Park attached garage addition when completed.

— On the left is the foundation ready to be capped. On the right is a shot of two poured columns with core filled block on top in anticipation of supporting a wrap-around deck.


— These two images show the cap load – called that because the lumber is used to put the initial cap on the foundation. And a look from the top in the back showing the reinforced concrete wall with insulating drainage board (R value of 5) over watchdog H3 waterproofing.


— And of course none of this happens without some carpenters that are ready to go!

Demolition and Excavation In Corcoran

The demolition has taken place. The first image shows some of the demo in prep for a new exterior finish on the home. It will include siding replacement with new soffit and facia as well as a new front entry deck and bay window treatment. The second shows the beginning of the end for the existing garage.


A brief display of machine against garage.

As you might expect, the machine won handily, resulting in a clean job site for excavation in preparation for the concrete footings and cement block work.


This last shot shows some of the existing cement block and foundation that has been left in place in as part of what will become a very sizable crawl space. We’ll show you a pic of the crawl space in our next post as well as a finished concrete slab!

Corcoran Addition | Kitchen and Bath Remodel

This project incorporates remodeling a kitchen, adding/remodeling a bathroom, adding new space, a crawl space, as well as some exterior updating and improvements. It takes place in Corcoran, a Northwest Twin Cities suburb just west of Maple Grove and Plymouth. Read a homeowner’s summary here.

We’ll cover the project as it goes and try to keep it interesting and informative. We start with demolition and some of the preparation that good contractors employ when starting a project like this.

The porch you see will be re-built, the siding replaced, and the garage removed as well as a 4 season porch and other structure in back.


Notice the removal of windows, doors, and any glass or other items that can present a hazard during and after the demolition – best practice for any demo job where people live and work, especially when there are children around.

Of note in this image is placement of the cuts for separation of the demolished portion:

  • siding
  • wall sheeting
  • gutter
  • shingles
  • roof plywood
  • soffit
    As well as cuts you don’t see that remove interior ties from the garage to house, including termination of any plumbing supply lines or vents and any wiring. Notice the ‘very sticky’ tape covering the shingle cut – a nice detail against water damage should the weather turn on us.
  • A brief video of the roof cut being made – getting through shingle, shingle felt, and the plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).

    NEXT UP: DEMOLITION!