Normandy Remodeling Named Favorite Home Designer

favorite home designer 2014We are flattered to have been voted ‘FAVORITE HOME DESIGNER Hinsdale’ by the reader’s of Glancer Magazine. You can find the Glancer Reader’s Choice awards in the July issue. Our sincerest thanks to the residents of Hinsdale for such an honor!July 2014 glancer magazine



Kitchen & Bath Design News Features Normandy Designer

July 2014 KBDN coverCongratulations to Normandy Designer Leslie Lee on her recent feature in Kitchen & Bath Designer News Magazine!  This traditional kitchen design, featured on the July 2014 cover, is rustic yet luxurious.  In this article, Leslie reflects on her experience designing an ideal kitchen for a gourmet chef, and all of the requirements to meet those needs. For example: appliances and ventilation, prep space, lighting, plentiful food storage and an easy-to-navigate entertainment layout.



Leslie Lee KBDN Cover


The Best Time of Year to Remodel

Kitchen remodel for summerOne of the most common questions we hear when people are planning their kitchen remodel is “When is the best time to remodel my kitchen?”  While kitchen renovations happen year round, many people have found that planning for the construction to take place during the summer months can make living through the renovation more enjoyable and less stressful.

One of the reasons that living through kitchen remodeling construction can be a bit easier Patio ideasduring the summer months, especially in Chicago and its suburbs, is about meal prep.  “Summer is the season for grilling and outdoor dining on your deck or patio, which gets you out of the house and enjoying the warm weather,” says Normandy Designer Liz Reifschneider.  “This brief respite from the construction going on inside can be quite soothing and can help you cope with the disruption to your normal routine.”

Backyard ideas for summerTaking advantage of the warmer weather for construction requires some advance planning, as do most things for a kitchen remodel.  You will need to allow time to design and plan your new space, and some additional time for blueprints and permitting.  “It’s important not to rush through the planning stages, and to give yourself plenty of time to make sure that you’re creating a space that meets all your needs, without feeling rushed to meet a particular construction timeline,” commented Liz. “If you’re someone who makes decisions quickly, Unfinished kitchenthat planning phase may take a month or two.  But if you really want to delve into the details or make more significant changes, you should allow a few months for working out the design you really want.”

Once your design is complete, there are still several important parts of your remodel that can impact your timeline, one of them being the permitting process.  Some villages are How to begin a kitchen renovationfairly quick and can issue permits in a few weeks, others have long timelines and it can be several months before your permit will be approved.

Cabinetry is another key piece that can have long lead times, and some manufacturers even shut down for a few weeks in the summer months for employee vacations.  “It’s not unheard of to wait 3 months or longer for a custom or semi-custom cabinet to be delivered,” says Liz. “It’s just one more piece of the Ordering kitchen cabinetstiming puzzle to be considered.”

The good news for finding the right time to remodel is that it’s almost never too late to start, because there is always next summer. If you would like to remodel your kitchen during the warm summer months, you probably want to begin meeting with a designer and planning as early as late fall.  An initial October or November meeting gives you plenty of time to work through your design goals andWhite kitchen remodel schedule construction to begin as the weather warms up.  If you happen to finalize your design more quickly than expected, most companies will be able to delay your start date by a few weeks or months to give you an opportunity to soak up the summer sun as your kitchen undergoes its transformation.

“With summer months always seeming to fly by in Chicago, the renovation will seeminglyWhite and gray kitchen be over in no time.” added Liz. And what better way to start the cold weather months in Chicago than with a beautiful new kitchen?


Wicker Park Row House Wins Award

Open shelving kitchen ideasWe are excited to announce that this beautiful Chicago kitchen remodel has been recognized with a 2014 Chrysalis Award for Remodeling Excellence. Normandy Designer Kathryn O’Donovan worked closely with Wicker Park homeowners to create this loft inspired kitchen.

 This is Kathryn’s third Chrysalis Award win since 2011  and her first national Chrysalis Award Win. This particular kitchen also took a Normandy designer wins awardRemodeling Excellence Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Greater Chicagoland in 2013.  The Chrysalis Awards are open to any professional remodeler and design professional in the United States.

Porcelanosa Tile Now at The Normandy Showroom

Normandy remodeling porcelanosa tileWe are excited to announce that the Normandy Hinsdale Showroom now features the unique look of Porcelanosa tiles.  These European tiles are particularly intriguing for fans of Contemporary design, and can create a striking design statement in any room.

The Normandy Design Team is excited to add Porcelanosa to their design arsenal to further expand the Kitchen backsplash ideascreative possibilities for their clients.  Having a display in the showroom allows Normandy clients to interact with the products they are choosing for their remodel, and get a hands-on look at the impact these tiles can make on their project.  Porcelanosa’s reputation for cutting-edge innovation in both design and materials can elevate any space, and can be one of the details to bring a kitchen or bathroom remodel to the next level.

Kitchen and bathroom tile ideas

Porcelanosa contemporary tile

Designer Adds Her Personal “Touch” to First Floor Powder Room

Home exterior ideasNormandy Designer Leslie Molloy, CKD and her husband were first attracted to their home because of the surroundings.  Large trees border the creek and pond in the backyard of the home, giving a sense of distance and serenity.  “The neighborhood was perfect for families and really had the small-town feel we were looking for,” says Leslie, “We knew our family would be able to quickly settle in as well.”

Bathroom remodeling ideasLike many homeowners, they were anxious to make the new home their own.  Being a designer, Leslie knew it would take time to complete, so they prioritized their projects.  They conquered curb appeal first – adding new windows, columns and landscaping to the exterior of the home, then moved on to painting existing walls, railings and doors- giving the home a new look and feel.  By removing old tile and carpet flooring, they were able to start completely fresh.  Feeling accomplished with the progress Powder room updatesthey had made, there was still one room of the house that was always in the back of Leslie’s mind, it was just a matter of getting started.

After attending a new product training session with the KOHLER representative at the Normandy Remodeling showroom here in Hinsdale, she took it as a sign.  It was time to complete the first floor powder room.  “When the KOHLER representative first presented the new touchless toilet, I knew then and there, that I had to have it.” noted Leslie. “It was the inspiration I needed to finally start and finish my first floor powder room.”

The KOHLER Touchless technology was just the beginning of this powder room Mounted vessel sinkrenovation.  Leslie was going for an industrial-chic look and one of the key elements was a repurposed sink base which originated from the legs of an antique sewing table.  The sewing table was painted oil rubbed bronze and accompanied by a rustic spout faucet.  The Italian vessel sink that was mounted atop the iron base of the sewing table was the perfect complement to the white, clean lines of her new KOHLER toilet.

Continuing with her industrial theme, Leslie also added a unique pattern to the walls.  “Given the attention I have to small details, I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle the stress of stenciling the wall, but I tried it anyway,” says Leslie.  Leslie chose a metallic paint and pattern that truly brought the bathroom to the next level.  With Updated powder room ideasthe addition of a few small accessories, Leslie was able to tie the space together and achieve the look she was determined to create.


Turquoise Bathroom Remodel Wins National Award

Ann Stockard 2014 chrysalis awardNormandy is thrilled to announce that our very own Ann Stockard was recently named a 2014 Chrysalis Award Winner for Remodeling Excellence. Ann’s vibrant master bathroom project was judged on overall design, the creative use of space and materials, and the degree to which the project enhanced the original structure, bringing in a National title in the category of Bath Remodel $40,000-60,000.

“It’s always an honor to have your work recognized as one of the best from an esteemed group of peers, but for one of my bathroom renovations to receive National recognition Turquoise mosaic tileamong this year’s Chrysalis Awards is exciting and very flattering,” says Ann.  The national award-winning project was a stunning bathroom remodel where Ann was able to effectively capture the homeowner’s personality by incorporating bright pops of turquoise. “We went with turquoise tile mosaic accents throughout the space to create focal points and a sense of harmony.  The neutral beige walls really set off the turquoise; giving the homeowners the vibrant bathroom they desired.” added Ann.

One of the keys to making this bathroom possible was Display wall in bathroomexpanding into an adjoining space.  The adjacent laundry room was reconfigured and the remaining square footage was used to create a larger shower in the bathroom and relocate the tub.  “The curved ledge behind the bathtub adds movement to the space, but remains functional.” noted Ann. This curved motif was also carried into the shower, with the design of the bench. In order to make the once small space feel bright and open, Ann used plenty of lighting, which reflected beautifully off the turquoise tile mosaic, and a large vanity mirror.  Ann used these methods and other popular bathroom trends in order to give the homeowner’s the updated bathroom they envisioned.

Stone shower floorThe Chrysalis Awards program began in 1994, and recognizes the nation’s best work in sixteen general categories of residential and commercial remodeling. The Chrysalis Awards are open to any professional remodeler and design professional in the United States.

Accent colors in bathroom

Online Reviews are Key to Finding the Best Remodeler

Choosing the right company to help you remodel your home involves a leap of faith.  Unlike many other purchases you make, you can’t buy from 3 different companies, compare the items, and return the ones you don’t like.  So how do you decide which company will be best for you?

One of the most valuable tools available to consumers today are online reviews.  The second best thing to a personal referral from someone who just remodeled, is reading what other customers have said about their experience.  “Remodeling is a tough business, we’re tearing apart your home and interrupting your daily routine,” says Normandy Remodeling Principal Andy Wells. “Ultimately the best relationships come down to trust, and how that trust is maintained throughout the relationship.”

Online reviews provide a window into the daily interactions between the company and the customer. The words that homeowners choose to describe their renovation can tell you a lot about the type of relationship they have with their remodeler. “We believe strongly in the bond that is made between the homeowners and the designer, and your Normandy Designer is your main point of contact for the entire renovation, all the way through to the final inspection,” commented Andy.  “Our job as the company is to provide the experts, the resources, the skill, training and talent to make the ideas envisioned by your Normandy Designer a reality. We don’t believe in handing the customer from one department to the next, but rather maintaining that trusted relationship with the designer throughout the renovation.”

While the actual renovation process is a piece of the puzzle, that experience is only part of the deciding factor when choosing a remodeler.  The quality of the products, the usability of the space, and how well the new space met your expectations are the results of your home remodel that you will enjoy for years.

Many people feel that a warranty offers some measure of security against poor craftsmanship, if an issue should arise in the newly remodeled space a few years down the road.  But not all warranties are created equally, and it pays to read the fine print.   “We feel it’s important to have a warranty that really has some teeth, which is why Normandy warrants the products, the labor, and all the structural elements of a renovation for 5 years,” notes Andy. Online reviews can tell you how the company has responded to any problems that have popped up after the project was complete.  Make special note of repeat customers and the reasons they decided to purchase another project from their previous remodeler.

So if you are on the cusp of choosing a remodeler for your project, where are the best places to find out what current and past customers are saying about your potential remodeler?

Angie’s List is a membership based review service, which means there are no anonymous reviews and very little opportunity for fake reviews.  Membership to Angie’s List costs only a few dollars a year and is money well spent before signing up with a remodeler.
Remodeling and Home Design has become a dominant player in the world of home improvement inspiration, and has reviews from customers who have been active on Houzz throughout their information gathering phases as well as their active construction phases.

Google is another resource for reviews on a company’s Google+ page.  Just type in “company name reviews” and you’ll see a company listing that links to their specific reviews on Google.

Remodelers, home builders, and real estate developers rely on GuildQuality's customer satisfaction surveying to monitor and improve the quality of service they deliver.

Guild Quality is a resource focused on the home improvement industry that allows companies to survey their past customers to make sure that the company is performing to the highest standards.  In addition to the written comments, customers assign a numeric rating to their satisfaction in key areas.

You’ll be well served to look through ALL the review websites for the company you’re considering to see what is said on the various sites. Some review websites seem to skew more positive, others more negative, and by looking through them all you’ll get a balanced view of this remodeler’s past performance. These few minutes of research can be invaluable when you’re about to spend tens of thousands of dollars with a company, to help you ask the right questions or put your mind at ease.

So you’ve read over the reviews, but would really like to talk to a real person about your potential remodeler?  Try calling your local building department. They interact with nearly every company that works in your town and knows which ones abide by the rules and which ones tend to cause trouble.  While some departments are very giving with details of local builders and remodelers, others are less forthcoming.  Virtually all of them will be able to tell you if a particular company has a good reputation in that town, or if you may want to consider another option.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your contractor to talk with past customers and visit current job sites.  You can then get your specific questions answered about how the renovation went and if they felt the remodeler provided a good value for the project that was completed.


No Need to Fret— How to Remodel with Your Pet

How to keep pets safe during remodelWhen beginning your remodeling project, it is important to consider every family member before starting your construction.  As important members of the family, pets need to be on board with the operation, too.  Accommodating pets is a team-effort that needs to be addressed by both the homeowners and the tradesmen to make sure the project runs smoothly.

Remodel with cat“Before you begin any kind of major construction, it’s a good idea to meet with the project manager for your remodel to go over the ins and outs of the upcoming renovation,” says Normandy Designer Ann Stockard. “This meeting is the perfect time to discuss the steps that need to be taken to ensure your pet has a safe remodeling experience.”

One of the most effective ways to Cats during remodelingkeep your cat or dog safe is to keep them in their crate or in a closed off room while workers are actively creating your new space. By removing your pet from the work zone, you not only ensure their safety, you may even be able to reduce their anxiety by keeping the hustle and bustle of the remodel out of sight.

The plastic barriers and doors that help contain dust will also limit your pet’s access to the work area when they are not in the crate, which can be useful in the evenings when you’re at home and relaxing with your pets.

Keeping your pets safe and sound during a remodel is largely a matter of keeping them out of the work zone.  Once the remodel is complete, your pet may even be surprised to find some unique design features created just for him.

French Door or Pocket Door: Which would suit your interior?

Frosted glass pocket doorWhile everyone is familiar with the standard wood interior door found in homes across America, there are two unique styles of door available when a typical door doesn’t work well. When deciding which door to use, it is important to consider its purpose. Privacy, natural light or tight spaces can really influence which type of door is best, and not surprisingly, there are options that address these specific concerns.

If space is your problem, the pocket door is your solution.   Pocket doors are ideal for maximizing space in a small area.  The pocket door slides directly into the French door with frosted glasswall itself, making them perfect for rooms with cramped layouts.  These are commonly used where a typical door would be left open; such as a mudroom, walk in pantry or master closet, and where you would not want the obstruction of a swinging door.    “Pocket doors are also a quick solution for hiding clutter while entertaining, yet still leave these areas easily accessible,” says Normandy Designer Vince Weber.  “However, my general rule of thumb is if you plan on opening or closing the door more than twice a day, the pocket door may not be the best option.  Over time people tend to tire of the unconventional opening and locking methods and may wish they had selected a standard door operation.”

Laundry room ideasIf sharing natural light or achieving modest level of privacy is something you need to accomplish, you may want to consider French doors.  Decorative French doors are most often used as entrances to an office, master bedroom or master bathroom, giving a more aesthetically pleasing look to the space than a typical door.  These glass doors leave plenty of opportunity for light to abundantly shine through allowing the space to feel more open.

 “French doors are used in several different applications,” noted Vince.  “Common elements of the French door include a gridded layout atop a clear, glass door.” French doors have varying French door in bathroomcharacteristics, but are also seen with frosted glass, divided mirrored panes, single or double doors and occasionally even as pocket doors.

French Pocket Doors, such as the ones pictured here, allowed the homeowners to gain the best of both worlds.  Since the office was somewhat confined, a swinging hinged door would have made the room feel too tight.  The glass windows gave Glass office doors interiorthe office a sense of privacy, yet still added an ‘open’ feel.