The HomeWise Blog

Hiding The Microwave During A Kitchen Remodel

Microwave Cabinets That Keep Microwave Ovens Out Of Sight

For many homeowners seeking a sleek, simple look in the kitchen, one of the biggest challenges can be finding ways to tuck away or hide appliances like toasters, blenders, and the microwave. One of the most frequent requests we’ve been hearing from our customers has been “how can we hide the microwave, so it’s out of the way or completely hidden, but still easily accessible?”

At HomeWise Builders our remodeling team loves a challenge! We’ve reviewed and would like to share some creative ways to meet our customer’s needs for hiding their microwaves (and other appliances) that go beyond the standard practice of placing the microwave in your island cabinets.

Here is a collection of microwave cabinets and strategies that keep the often used appliance accessible but hidden!

Lift shelves

One of the coolest new cabinet add-ons we’ve seen is called a stand-mixer lift. It’s an extendable shelf that fits inside a base cabinet and when needed slides outward and lifts up to match the counter height. While its original design was for a stand mixer, it’s a perfect option for hiding a smaller microwave within the cabinet, out of sight, yet still easily accessible!

Reconfigured cabinets

Consider hanging a tall, narrow cabinet on its side under your uppers. It’s the perfect place to stash your microwave, and there’s plenty of room to stash other small appliances or food alongside. Stick with your current cabinet style or review styles of microwave cabinets that compliment your look.  If you’re already remodeling, include an appliance garage style microwave cabinet in your kitchen design. You can have the door hinged to open up like a garage door, and it’s a great look for a possible upgrade.

Remodeling? Add a double door pantry

If you’re remodeling your kitchen or planning one, a massive double door pantry can serve double duty! Add pull out shelves at the lower level for food and dry goods, and add a couple of sturdy shelves, one at countertop height along with an electrical hookup. It’s the perfect place to hide the microwave and other small appliances out of sight, yet right at hand.

Create an under-the-counter appliance shelf in the island

Your kitchen island is the perfect place to stash the microwave. Have a shelf installed under the island on the hidden side for your microwave. It can be permanently mounted out of the way. You can even include a built in microwave slot in the island with a pull-up door to completely hide your microwave.

Hide it in plain sight!

If you don’t need a large microwave, a compact version can be easily hidden in plain sight! Create an open microwave bay or shelf under your countertop. If your cabinets are white, GE and other manufacturers offer monochrome white microwaves that can perfectly blend in with your cabinets.

Build It In

While it’s not exactly hidden, a built-in microwave can still look sleek and be out of the way freeing up counter space. Many manufacturers offer sleek stylish built in microwaves like Viking, Frigidaire Professional, and others. A built-in microwave keeps the cord hidden, looks just like a built in oven, and still offers the benefits of a microwave with no loss of space!

Custom built microwave cabinets

Create a specific cabinet in your design for “similar” items, for example, combine a microwave niche with a slide out spice rack and a bookshelf hidden by pocket doors. It can blend in with your existing cabinetry and add plenty of function while keeping with your design.

Hide it in an appliance garage

While it does may take up some counter space, an appliance garage with a swing up door is a great way to hide your microwave and other appliances. Add power to the back of the cabinet, and you’ll always be ready to go! Pull-down appliance garages can also be hung under upper cabinets, above the countertop.

These are just a few ideas you can incorporate microwave cabinets into your kitchen. At HomeWise Builders, we have been using these and other strategies to meet the needs of our clients. No matter what your creative vision or aesthetic needs, our specialists can help you to achieve them.  If you’re planning a kitchen remodel in the Shreveport/Bossier and surrounding area, give us a call. We’re always here to help you create the kitchen of your dreams!


Checklist For Hiring a Home Builder or Remodeling Contractor from the Louisiana Home Builders Association

Prior to any construction or remodeling project, it is imperative that you do your homework. By just performing a bit of research on prospective contractors, you may save a lot of time and avoid potential pitfalls associated with hiring a less-than-reputable crew!

Is the building or remodeling contractor reputable? Has he or she had any major complaints about their work or service?

Since “consistently doing a bad job” should be an immediate deal-killer, the first thing you may want to determine is if they have a history of problems. Searching the local Better Business Bureau website in your area is likely the best place to start the evaluation.

Is the builder/remodeler properly licensed to do the work you require? Does he or she have sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance?

If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises. A great place to start is at the Louisiana State Licensing Board’s contractor search tool where you can search by name, company name, license number, and other parameters.

How long has the contractor been in the industry? Will they be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties?

While conventional wisdom says that it takes 3 -5 years to establish a sound business, there are many outstanding upstart contractors who’ve been in business only a short time. So it is important to get a full history of the team during your evaluation.

Have you seen the builder/remodelers work, both completed and in progress?

If you are able to see the work in person, check for quality of workmanship and materials. If not, keep in mind that many contractors feature a portfolio of their work on a website or social media.

What do previous customers think about the work done by the builder/remodeler?

Here’s where you may want to take a deep dive into online reviews of the potential builder/remodeler. Sources to search are Yelp, their Facebook business page, Houzz, a even just a good ol’ Google search of the company which should reveal any online reviews. Also, ask the builder/remodeler to provide you with names of previous customers…and actually contact them to see if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.

Does the company have a permanent business location? Are you able to communicate with them in a timely manner?

Since most builders and remodelers do the majority of work on the construction site, it is very common for their business operations to be run from a home office. So, if they do not have a traditional publicly accessible location, just ensure that they return calls or messages in a time period that suits you, plus they have a regular place to meet with clients. Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home.

Will they provide you with an up-front estimate and then a comprehensive, clearly written contract?

Reputable, responsible contractors are happy to provide a detailed plan of action, along with realistic costs, so that both parties have reasonable expectations. It is your responsibility to review the contract carefully and ask for as much detail as you deem necessary.

Is the total price of the project realistic?

Everyone loves to get a fantastic, money-saving deal. But on the other hand, you get what you pay for. Be very cautious of unusually low-priced bids and below-market costs on labor & materials. This could indicate that the builder/remodeler underbid, and therefore may be unable to pay for the materials and labor once the project begins.

Ways to Verify Contractor Licensure


To research builders and remodeling professionals in your area of Louisiana, find your local Home Builders Association here, then visit their site for a list of reputable contractors.

TEXT-TO-VERIFY: 1-855-999-7896

The Text-to-Verify application is a text messaging service which allows a user (at no charge) to quickly and easily verify licensure of a contractor.

  1. On your mobile device, create a new text message to 855.999.7896.
  2. In the text box, enter ONE of the three following items:
    • License Number (to verify)
    • Company Name
    • Qualifying Party (person) Name
  3. If your search does not find a licensed contractor, you will receive a text back with “No company was found.”


Pay attention to early warning signs that your bathroom isn’t serving your needs, so you won’t be shocked by the sudden realization that you need an immediate intervention. Bathroom shortcomings can sometimes be disguised and minimized with creative solutions, and cosmetic adjustments can alleviate the dowdiness that comes with age.

Years of constant use and wear can take a toll on your bathroom, your budget, and even your sanity. Don’t let it get to that point.

Here are some signs you may need to consider starting a bathroom remodel.

1. Stains, cracked tile, peeling paint, and missing grout. 

Seemingly minor problems can lead to—or be signs of—water leaks, mold and mildew growth, corrosion, and structural damage. Ignoring such warning signs compounds the problems and can prove very costly to repair later.

2. Leaky faucets, toilets that run, mysterious sounds of water running, or unexplained high water bills. 

Not all leaks are visible. Water can be troublesome if it drips, leaks, or causes unsightly buildup. Extremely hard water can damage water lines as well, sometimes slowing flow or leading to pipe failure. Fittings loosen or break, and leaks can be hidden inside walls and floors. Professional investigation and diagnosis is sometimes needed and can often prevent a flood or major damage.

3. Lingering odors and heavy humidity. 

If your bathroom doesn’t pass the sniff test, or if it regularly feels like a sauna, your exhaust fan may not be functioning properly. Every bath should have an efficient way to eliminate odors and humidity.

4. The locker room syndrome. 

You should love your bathroom and want to spend time in it! If you find yourself using the bath primarily as a storage room for dirty socks and wet towels, it probably is due for a makeover. Bathrooms ought to be clean, fresh, and attractive spaces. Not sure where to start? Let our professional bathroom remodelers help you with that concept. Whether you need individualized grooming stations for active teens, a modern bath suitable for guest use, more storage, stylish cabinets, or easy-care materials, we can help you achieve your goals with a bathroom remodel.

5. Outdated or unattractive design. 

Some baths haven’t aged well. Others were attractive in their day, but their prime has passed. HomeWise Builders can help you fast forward to a master retreat that incorporates upscale fixtures and the latest features, or we will suggest ways to take your space from functional to fabulous with a cosmetic redo. It’s your choice. Best of all, we work with you every step of the way, whether your project involves simply updating cabinets and tile or a major expansion and new construction. As full-service specialists, we keep tabs on the latest trends and seek solutions that meet your aesthetic and budgetary requirements.

6. Lack of usable space. 

Even though period bathrooms can be charming, sometimes they don’t mesh with modern lifestyles. If you need more space, better lighting, a separate shower, a garden view, dual vanities, more cabinet space, a soaking tub, or anything else to rekindle your love for your bathroom, call on us for ideas. We’ll try to carve space out of a closet or adjacent room or help you plan an expansion into your yard.

Remodeling a house can be overwhelming, but you don’t want to ignore the warning signs of bathroom dissatisfaction. Visit our website, or call us at 318-626-7829 to start your remodel.

SOURCE: The Kitchen Master


Kitchen Renovation Oakville

When planning a kitchen renovation, one of your fears is spending more than what you’ve budgeted for. The cost of your remodel will depend on many factors including the size of your kitchen, the materials you want and how much work needs to be done to put it all together. In the end, the cost of the project will be driven by whatever you choose.

We know some common kitchen renovation mistakes that can cause you to spend over your original budget. We’ll share them with you and hope you make conscious decisions to spend reasonably on your next remodel.


Custom kitchen cabinets generally cost more than their pre-fab counterparts, but the quality you will get is worth every penny in the long run. However, you can prevent spending over your budget by making sure you know how much the design will cost before you begin to renovate.


Your cabinets need those special features to complement the rest of the kitchen. This may include things like a knife drawer, a spice rack, wine rack or corner cabinets. Adding these special features is going to cost you more.


Kitchen countertops can vary in pricing. When your budget is low and you want to save on new countertops consider options such as plastic laminate. Other options like quartz and granite are ideal if you haven’t changed the countertops for more than 10 years.


Kitchen appliances don’t come cheap. When you choose a different brand, you may end up paying thousands of dollars more. Do adequate research to find out what you are getting and at what cost. Compare the features to determine if they are worth the cost.


When kitchen remodels involve projects such as opening up a wall, you never know what structural issues will be found. For instance, the kitchen flooring can be removed to uncover water leakage issues that have caused extensive rotting of the subfloor. This has to be fixed before a new floor is installed and it adds on to the cost of remodeling.


When you invest in new stuff like kitchen appliances, there could be additional work that needs to be done to ensure the remodel is up to code. For instance, if you get a new gas range that is a high BTU unit, the local regulations require that a larger gas pipe be installed which can significantly increase the cost.


One thing that can make your project cost escalate is when you have the habit of changing your mind. It’s always good to pre-select all the finishes even before the remodel begins. Doing this will avoid spending more money and more time picking out finishes last minute. Avoid changing the material or finishes you had chosen earlier in the middle of the project because it not only messes up the schedule but can also increase the cost.



Reality often doesn’t match the fantasies we carry in our heads. However, if an existing bathroom falls short on style, comfort and convenience, don’t give up all hope. Instead, consider remodeling to increase the luxury quotient in ways you’ve never before considered.

Instead of just wishing for a transformation, take positive steps to assure that your bathroom remodel will give you the kind of space you need, the convenience you desire, and the style you yearn for.

Modern Luxury Transitional Master Bath in Naperville, IL.

Here are the ways to make it happen:


DO Your Initial “Homework.”  Start collecting ideas early on. You’ll be surprised how quickly random photos, colors and design inspirations can help you crystallize your wants and needs. Scroll through online design sites, pull pages from magazines; collect photos, visit showrooms and model homes, ask friends for suggestions. Don’t be shy about cataloguing what you don’t like as well as what you love. It’s an important part of the design process. Houzz and Pinterest are great internet sites to get ideas and organize your bath research.

DO Consult with Experts:  Work with a certified contractor to make sure the design will work, whether you’re revamping a master bath, designing a tiny powder room or “expanding” usable space in a hardworking family bathroom. Your design professional respects budget constraints and is knowledgeable about new products and ideas, helping you add value and maximize available dollars.

DO Prioritize Your Needs.  But, don’t forget to include some “wish list” items. Personalize your space by unleashing your creativity, and pamper yourself when possible. There are very few rules that must be followed. A heated floor may be practical for cold winters and if you love warm towels, opt for a heated towel bar.

DO try to preserve existing plumbing and venting patterns if at all possible.  Rerouting drains and water lines can be problematic, but this is an area where you have to rely on professional judgment and experience and weigh the pros and cons — and the cost — of major changes. Obviously, if you are adding a second vanity, enlarging a shower or installing a steam unit, there is plumbing work to be done. But, if you can work with the existing floor plan, you can also achieve results with simple cosmetic changes.


DON’T Skimp on Quality:  Design expertise is just as important as quality materials and workmanship. Remember that it’s a lot easier — and less expensive — to make changes to the plans than to change your mind in the middle of construction. Rely on experience and professional advice to help you make decisions. Always choose the best quality you can afford.

DON’T Be Too Tempted by Trends.  Many decor trends can become dated quickly. Remember pink and turquoise tile or chocolate brown tubs and vanity sinks? If you cringe at those memories, or if your bathroom is stuck in its own era, then opt for classic lines, durable finishes, and neutral colors. White fixtures are always in vogue. If you love high style, add color and pattern with towels, paint colors and express yourself through art on the walls!

DON’T Take the “Low Bid.”  Seriously, sign a contract with a professional contractor, and don’t be tempted by a low-cost handyman. Bathroom remodeling can be very complicated and since the space is smaller than other rooms, every inch must be carefully designed. HomeWise Builders specializes in design-build baths and kitchens and our satisfied clients consistently give us high marks for both style and execution.

Contact us now to schedule an initial appointment.



It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make your kitchen appear high-end and luxurious. Just leverage your creativity and some of these tricky tips.

Here are 8 tricks to make your kitchen renovation look more luxurious.


If you don’t have the budget to rebuild your kitchen, switching out your lighting fixtures can be inexpensive and make your kitchen look brilliant. Go for a globe style bulb designed for something modern and hip with brass or silver details.


A nice little trick to keep things looking their best in the kitchen is to make sure your nicest stemware and glassware is presented out front. No need for guests to see what lies behind!


Feature your personal style by revamping your backsplash. It’s not very expensive and it brands your kitchen almost as much as your choice of cabinets.


Seems basic and even cliché, however adding real fruit to your kitchen in a stylish way will bring life to your space. Ever wonder why luxury homes always have beautifully bowled fresh fruit on their counters and kitchen islands?


Burning candles or in-scents to add a nice scent in your kitchen costs a lot of money over time and the scents are usually more chemical smelling than nice. Get a $30 diffuser and some essential oils like lavender or clove and fill your kitchen with a light luxurious scent.


Colour and texture can easily be added to your kitchen by simply throwing down a rug if you have the space in your kitchen to do so. Try an oriental style runner in between the island and the counter with a contrasting colour to make it pop.


Wall art can definitely add an element of luxury to your kitchen, but better than wall art is BIG wall art. Nothing says luxury like “over-the-top”. Invest in a painting or a print that fills an entire wall to make a statement.


More natural light makes your kitchen look friendlier, lighter, and more luxurious. Optimize your window light by making sure you’re not always covering the light with curtains or blinds. Keep them wide open in the day and let the light shine in.

It doesn’t have to cost more than a little bit of money and a lot of creativity to add luxurious elements to your kitchen. For help with your kitchen renovation, contact us today and let us help guide you. You can also visit us online to get started


A Fresh Home Trend: Mint as the New Neutral

Move over, beige: this refreshing hue is here to stay

Pale yellow used to be the cheerful go-to color and beige was the sought-after neutral; now, mint is quickly becoming a popular home renovation trend, popping up in newly-renovated kitchens. Mint brings a light and fresh vibe. Here, examples of this kitchen design trend recently completed by Sweeten contractors, that HomeWise Builders would love to re-create for you.

A galley kitchen goes minty-green

Laura and Tim lived in their 1929 brick townhouse in Rego Park, Queens, for many years before deciding to renovate. They loved their home. However, it became what Laura calls “grungy and old.” The kitchen had been damaged by a leaky shower from the bathroom above and needed new cabinets, flooring, and wall treatments.

The couple turn to Sweeten for the overhaul. They enclosed an outdoor patio connecting it to the back of the kitchen. With the introduction of skylights and a new color palette, the kitchen became a cheerful space for the family to gather.

Laura and Tim selected Shaker-style cabinet fronts in mint green. The hue “matches the feel of the old house but is also clean and modern at the same time,” said Laura. Moreover, the brushed bronze hardware and stainless-steel appliances provide a nice contrast. “The kitchen came out beautifully,” Laura said.

The mint home renovation trend brings the outside, inside

Two years after buying their two-bedroom apartment in Queens, Gina and Andrew decided to renovate. The couple wanted to fix the kitchen’s small, awkward layout and create a space that would inspire them to cook. After hiring a general contractor, they were on their way.

The pair was inspired by the lovely mix of greens in their co-op courtyard. To bring this into their design, they chose beautiful lower cabinets in the shade of agave. Warm brass hardware stands out against the more muted green cabinets. “I never used to cook and after our renovation, I’m cooking up a storm,” said Andrew.

A compromise on color becomes a designer kitchen

Design is definitely in this couple’s wheelhouse. A former architect and interior designer, Maggie and Adam knew that they would have to make some concessions when designing their co-op. Their focus: the kitchen.

Their kitchen was small and outdated. Luckily, they were able to make it much larger by removing the surrounding wall, changing the location of the refrigerator, and adding shelves instead of upper cabinets.

According to the couple, the kitchen really reveals the way they communicate. “The kitchen shows the full-scale of compromise between our distinct design ideas,” said Adam. “For instance, the light green lower cabinets add the layer of color that fit her style, but have a gray tone that doesn’t stray from my own style.”

It was important to Maggie to “add a personal touch, warmth, and texture to the kitchen,” which they achieved through the mint-green cabinetry—a style that is classic yet contemporary.

Find more inspiration in the Kitchen Gallery.

SOURCE: written by Kate Marsanico July 1, 2020

Renovate Safely During COVID-19: How to Conduct a Virtual Site Visit

Meeting your contractor over video can help you renovate safely during COVID-19. 

With COVID-19 quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, it can be difficult to move ahead with home improvement and building projects. Social distancing practices are vital to everyone’s health and safety. Luckily, there is an important virtual solution to help homeowners renovate safely during COVID-19. 

At HomeWise Builders, we’ve worked with our community of contractors to create the following guidelines for conducting virtual site visits. HomeWise matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection. We’re in the business of taking the complication and uncertainty out of the renovation process. We utilize a client portal that shares steps along the way that is unique in our local market

What is a virtual site visit?

Homeowners preparing for a renovation or addition must meet with a general contractor for a thorough review of the property. Traditionally, the general contractor may look at the property in-person to understand the existing site conditions, take measurements, review documents, and discuss the project with the homeowner. 

A virtual site visit is the same process, conducted by video call. This allows for both parties to safely review the renovation project virtually, without meeting in person. 

A virtual site visit gives the contractor the same visual information as an in-person visit. It also has similar limitations; don’t expect to resolve everything in one visit. Lingering questions can always be resolved during a later visit, over video, or in-person. Do note that contractors’ estimates will be considered “commercially reasonable” but not ironclad. A physical site visit may need to be done at some point to make their own measurements and account for every detail.

A streaming video conference replaces both the general contractor’s walk-through of the property and the face-to-face conference between contractor and homeowner. 

If done effectively, a virtual site visit usually gives the contractor enough information to begin drawing up an estimate.

“I truly believe a virtual site meeting for most projects will be enough to send an estimate for the labor cost,” says Long Island-based Sweeten general contractor Robi. “The one item that is held up is the material selection process.” However, if you’ve hired a design-build firm that is assisting you with design and materials, “then even the design process can be done virtually in order to get the price of material selections.” 

One important limitation: an estimate based on the virtual site visit will be considered “best-effort” or “commercially reasonable.” It may require adjustments after the contractor makes their own measurements. 

How do I prepare for a virtual site visit? 

Think of it more as a formal interview than as a chat with friends or family. It’s important to be well prepared. Make sure you’ve organized your brief and any supplementary papers, your measurements, and your questions and talking points (see “Post your project + prepare background information,” below). 

Step 1: Prepare your video technology

You and the general contractor must use the same video chat app, which means agreeing on it in advance. HomeWise is a big fan of Zoom or Facetime. If one or both parties use an Android, you won’t be able to use Facetime, however Zoom is a multi-platform system available to any device user.

Download any necessary software ahead of time, and try using it with a friend or family member. Make sure your signal is strong enough to let you chat while walking through the worksite. This will all cut down on time spent fiddling with technology during the virtual visit.

Your video camera cannot be anchored to a desktop computer or laptop. Phones and tablets are the best tools for walk-throughs.

Decide on a backup plan, in case your video quality breaks down during the call. Will you move to a regular phone call? Or, if you think you can resolve the connection problems, will you reschedule a video call? 

Step 2: Post your project + prepare background information

HomeWise will need background information and a thorough project description to supplement the visuals. Post your project through the HomeWise website or client portal where the contractors can review necessary information before the video call. 

Here’s what to include in your project post:

  • A clear description of all work you would like done
  • Length, depth, and height measurements of each room being worked on
  • A simple floor plan. This is optional and can be obtained from a property closing or an online realtor site like StreetEasy.
  • Age of the property
  • Prior renovation work
  • Homeowners association covenants applicable to the project
  • Entry access such as stairs or elevator
  • Parking availability

Take photos: Prepare three or four well-lit still photos of the project area that convey a sense of scale. 

Step 2a: One-page briefs

Create a one-page brief that includes the bullet points above, including the still photos.

To prevent information overload, keep the brief truly brief—ideally, keep it to one page. Share the brief and the photos to the general contractor at least a few days before your virtual site visit. Keep your copies with you during the visit, for reference.

Step 3: Prepare your talking points

Site visits typically begin with a walkthrough, followed by a sit-down discussion of the project. Prepare a list of topics that you would like to discuss. 

Important points to cover:

  • Whether particular spaces will or will not be available for a certain amount of time
  • What materials and fixtures will be recycled and reused
  • How the non-remodel parts of the house will be protected during the renovation

Step 4: Prepare your house

As with an in-person site visit, you need to prepare the area before the virtual walkthrough.

  • Remove any clutter and any furniture that could block important views
  • Maximize the light by uncovering all windows and turning on the lights
  • Prepare to close off the area from wandering pets or children

Tip: you can make your virtual walkthrough more productive by conducting a practice run with a friend. 

What can I expect during my virtual site visit?

A virtual site visit usually has three phases: introduction, walkthrough, and a consultation.


This is your opportunity for a casual hello, and a stand-in for a handshake. You get to see each other’s faces. You may also want to discuss what time you’ll end the call.

Virtual renovation site walkthrough

Let your contractor play an active role. As you move through the space, make sure you’re showing them what they need to see. They may ask you to double back or move in closer to something, and may ask you to pause at certain points so they can take screenshots. 

Unless the general contractor requests otherwise, walk through the space in this order, always moving the camera slowly:

  1. Establish the general environment directly beyond the intended work area. If this is a bathroom remodel, for example, show the rooms and the hallways just outside the bathroom.
  2. Move into the work area through its main entrance.
  3. In the work area itself, stand at the center and turn the camera slowly, 360-degrees.
  4. Standing at various points along the perimeter, pan the camera slowly across the space.
  5. Move the camera from the ceiling to the floor.
  6. Highlight key sections. In the bathroom remodel example, the shower or bathtub would be a section to highlight. Direct the contractor’s attention with a “show-and-tell” technique; hold the phone in one hand and point with the other. Make sure you can see your pointing hand on your own screen, and that it’s clear what you’re pointing to. 
  7. Show a few close-ups. For example, in a bathroom renovation, show a close-up view of the shower walls, open up the vanity doors to show the valves under the sink, and show where the toilet valve is located.
  8. As long as you can maintain a video signal, move to the outermost part of your property such as the exterior door, sidewalk, driveway, and street to give the contractor a sense of access. The contractor doesn’t need to see your face as you’re walking through the home. They just need to see the space.

Sit-down conference

Move to a table or desk. Turn the camera back around to your face. Discuss the walkthrough, the contractor’s questions, and the talking points that you prepared earlier.

What comes after my virtual site visit?

E-mail your contractor. After the formalities of thanking the contractor for the visit, document in writing your common understandings of the project, particularly anything not covered in the brief.

First, clarify the project’s status. Do you want the project to move ahead, which means asking the contractor to submit an estimate? If so, state this clearly. Confirm with the contractor whether they are able to submit an estimate for your review.

Your contractor may come up with more questions while preparing the estimate, known in the industry as “Requests For Information.” Your email establishes a clear channel for these requests.

Be aware that your contractor’s estimate will be considered “commercially reasonable” but not ironclad. Contractors will not be able to account for every detail before they’ve done a physical site visit and made their own measurements.

When you’ve received estimates from the contractors you’ve approached, it will be time to make your choice.

A virtual site visit is a powerful tool for renovating safely during COVID-19. It will let you take important steps on your renovation, including booking a contractor, all while sheltering-in-place. When restrictions lift and the economy recovers, your preferred contractors will be much harder to book. We hope these guidelines will help you get a head start, and help you complete your renovation as quickly and safely as possible.

You Should Love Where You Live!

Assisted SOURCE: written by Lee Wallender April 23, 2020

7 Improvements to Consider for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

renovated bathroom adds value to your home, updates its style, and makes it better adapted to your current needs. Renovations are the best time to introduce improvements that will serve you and your family for years to come.

If you’re spending money for a bathroom remodel this year, consider making one or several of these essential changes to improve the functionality, storage, and comfort of your bathroom.

1. A Low-Flow, Hidden-Tank Toilet

Toilets with hidden tanks—in which the water storage vessel is mounted inside the wall—have several benefits. They are worth considering if you are remodeling a bathroom, especially a smaller bathroom, where the design can save space. Hidden-tank toilets (sometimes called hidden cistern toilets) save you precious space, and low-flow models help save water every time you flush. It’s a smart choice that increases the value of your home after the remodel. These are appropriate for all bathrooms styles, but they fit especially well in modern and contemporary decors. But be aware that routine maintenance can be difficult since there is usually no easy access to the tank if the inner workings need attention. Another style of tankless toilet uses a pressure valve, such as those often found in commercial settings or public bathrooms. These are also options, although such toilets are noisy and tend to give a bathroom a somewhat industrial feel.

2. Small, Textured Tile Shower Floor

You’ll have tons of flooring, wall and tile choices to make during your bathroom remodel. The most important for safety will be the floor tiling of your shower. Choose a small, textured shower tile. The texture and the extra grouting will keep your feet from slipping once the floor gets soapy and wet. Most modern bathroom tiles are easy to clean and they use grouts that resist mold, humidity, and stains. Ceramic and porcelain tiles give you many style and decor possibilities. Mix and match different patterns and colors for maximum visual impact, or do something more understated for a harmonious look. 

3. 2-inch Plumbing Drain Pipes

This is a small, invisible improvement that will make a big difference in the functionality of your bathroom. Typical bathroom drain plumbing is 1 1/2-, or sometimes 1 1/4 inch-diameter pipe, usually PVC plastic. This type of drain pipe can clog easily, especially if you have with several family members using the same shower and/or bath. Installing two-inch-diameter drains costs the same, and will dramatically improve the quality of drainage in your bathroom.

4. Install a Tub ONLY if You Actually Take Baths

 Too many people add a tub to their bathrooms just because they feel like they “should.” But a bathtub is not always a necessity, especially if you never take baths. While there are still real estate professionals who argue that a bathroom with a tub offers greater appeal to prospective buyers than one with just a shower, this is much less true for today’s buyers than it once was. And your major concern should be with how you are going to use the room for the next few years. If you love baths, then, by all means, include it in your remodel. But if you rarely, if ever, take baths, you may be much better off installing just a large shower. A bathtub is indeed more appealing to future buyers who may have children. But if your house includes another family bathroom that does have a tub or tub/shower combination, there is no reason why your master bath can’t omit the bathtub in favor of a luxurious shower. Of course, if you have a large bathroom, you get probably include both without worrying too much about space. But if you have to choose, you should always go with what is most functional for you at this time. And that may mean leaving the bathtub out of your plans.

5. Include a Window in the Shower

One of the biggest enemies of a clean bathroom is the humidity that stays trapped in the space because of bad or insufficient ventilation. Although a good bathroom fan will make a big difference, the best ventilation is always natural ventilation. Adding a window in your shower is going to help keep your bathroom clean and free of mold and mildew. The natural ventilation is effective, especially if you leave the bathroom door open after using it. A window also benefits a shower by letting in natural light, which both an aesthetic and safety consideration. Discuss the appropriate type of window with your architect or contractor, but remember to slope the sill downwards so that water doesn’t get stuck, and use frosted glass for privacy.

6. Add a Recessed Medicine Cabinet

Get more storage space and a sleeker look with a recessed medicine cabinet above the vanity. By installing it a few inches inside the wall, you save yourself some needed space and make your bathroom look sleeker and more modern. The extra wall framing job doesn’t usually cost much in the grand scheme of a full bathroom renovation. This is especially useful when your vanity is on the shallower side: You give yourself extra space to bend over and use the sink by using a recess in the wall. There are fewer worries about banging your head on the edge of the mirror.

7. Improve the Lighting

Bathrooms tend to have little access to natural light, hence the need for excellent lighting. As you plan your bathroom remodel, consider changing or adding to your current lighting to improve the functionality and mood of the space.The first important lighting change should be a dimmer for the main lights. If you like to take baths, you know that a leisurely bath in full artificial light isn’t much fun. A dimmer will let you set just the right mood. Add recessed fixtures around the mirror to give you the best lighting possible when doing your hair, applying make-up, or, shaving—or any other task that requires lots of light. You should also consider adding lighting in the shower, rather than around it. Surprisingly, you’ll find your showers more pleasant (and safer) when they’re lighted properly.

Remodel and improve

A bathroom remodel should make your bathroom more efficient, more functional, and more stylish. When planning what kind of work you want done to improve your space, consider some of these small yet important improvements.

SOURCE: Written by Anabelle Bernard FournierUpdated 10/02/19

19 Backyard Fire Pit Ideas for Romantic Summer Nights

Is there anything better than gathering around a fire with family and close friends? Drinking wine, toasting marshmallows, cozying up in front of a warm, crackling fire—seriously, you can’t beat it. From portable, enclosed outdoor fireplaces (that are still s’mores worthy!) to beautiful, open concrete and steel options, we came up with 19 outdoor fire pit ideas, examples, and shopping tips to help you set the romantic mood for campfire hangs. There are actually a lot of stylish options out there—not to mention, many of them are surprisingly affordable. So get inspired by the gorgeous outdoor spaces and ultra-cool backyard fire pit ideas.

1. Customize with Fabric

contemporary outdoor fire pit sitting area

ETC.etera made this outdoor fire pit stand out even more by adding custom cushions to the built-in bench. Not only does the printed fabric add character, color, and polish, but it also provides somewhere comfy for people to sit around the fire.

2. Consider Shape

rooftop terrace with fire pit

If you already have outdoor furniture for your patio, make sure to take measurements and think about the shapes of yoru preexisting pieces before falling in love with a fire pit. On this roof terrace designed by Heather Hilliard, the long, narrow silhouette of the fire pit complements the sofa perfectly.

3. Create Privacy the Natural Way

To make your fire pit lounge area even more intimate, consider creating privacy with tall hedges instead of fencing. Here, Jenn Feldman kept things grayscale with a concrete fire pit and complementary seating. The high hedges add privacy, drama, and best of all, greenery.

4. Keep it Separate

modern coastal backyard with fire pit

Keep your sitting area away from the splashing zones if your backyard also has a swimming pool. Here, Studio Robert McKinley used different flooring materials to distinguish the separate hangout spots and kept the fire pit area far away from the swimming pool. The concrete flooring under the fire pit sitting area is durable and sturdy while the lawn functions as a nice segue to the pool.

5. Match it to Your Seating

small backyard fire pit ideas

For a a modern yet rustic feel, opt for a concrete basin in the same color family as your seating. The freestanding bowl shape has a nice floating effect. Or, choose something a little more modern, like a stainless steel fire pit with interlocking panels. Then just add a few butterfly chairs and call it a day.

6. Make it Cozy

pictures of fire pits outdoors

A built-in seating nook is inherently cozy no matter where it is—add an outdoor fireplace, and you’ve struck gold. This California backyard designed by Alexander DB is modern, intimate, and down to earth all at once, thanks to the use of raw materials and neutral hues.

7. Hang String Lights

backyard fire pit ideas

It doesn’t take much to make a backyard feel magical, no matter the size. Even a small city patio can transport you elsewhere if you hang romantic string lights. Rustic wooden furniture becomes cozy when surrounding a fire pit and layered with pillows and sheepskin throws. If you have a smaller yard, opt for an enclosed fireplace. You can also take it on the go to a friend’s place—the party goes wherever you are!

8. Stick to the Basics

outdoor fire pit ideas 

If you just want a fire pit that feels low-key and inviting, a classic cast iron bowl will do the trick. These black canvas butterfly chairs are a great alternative to white, too, if you prefer an edgier vibe on the lawn. Case in point? This fire pit hangout area at the Atlantic Byron Bay hotel.

9. Enclose It With Rocks

fire pit design ideas

To make it feel like a special area, set the fire pit apart from the rest of the space by enclosing it with a border of rocks. If you love the rustic look, opt for a round cast iron fire pit bowl in a terra cotta hue.

10. Channel a Campfire

outdoor fire pit storage ideas 

For her Connecticut property, designer Bonnie Edelman created this outdoor feature as a gathering place for friends and family. Designed with storage in mind, the setup features speakers hidden in the walls of local stone and logs stacked under the benches. If stonework is your thing, this round, brown stone fire pit would be a perfect addition to your backyard.

11. Make it Minimalist

backyard fire pit

This open-basin cast iron fire pit is so simple and yet, so stunning — the perfect addition to any backyard. Classic white patio furniture and a minimalist deck designed by Hollander Design allow us to focus on the real stunner: that waterfront view.

12. Lay Tiles Underneath

modern backyard fire pit ideas

A square or rectangular fire pit made of concrete has an industrial edge to it. We love how this area designed by Studio Life.Style speaks to angular shapes throughout the yard, from the pool to the poolhouse, ceramic tiles, and chairs.

13. Give it a Backdrop

fire pit design ideas

Leave it to the Jonathan Adler-designed Parker hotel in Palm Springs, California to offer the perfect outdoor fire pit situation. At the center of the circular tile island in the middle of the lawn, all eyes will be on the roaring fire. The surrounding butterfly chairs introduce a laidback, SoCal vibe, which is further accentuated by the tall palm trees and dreamy pampas grass.

14. Go Multifunctional

backyard fire pit ideas landscaping

Just looking at the incredible view in Thom Filicia’s yard puts you in a more relaxing frame of mind. If you have a large lawn, consider building a fire pit hangout zone in the middle of it. If you’re working with a smaller space, consider a round stone fire pit that also doubles as a surface space to rest your drinks.

15. Build Into the Ground

sunken fire pit

This recessed lounge area designed by Studio Life.Style feels like a romantic, relaxing space to unwind in. Because it’s sunken, it feels private and separate from the rest of the space. A rectangular fire pit is the perfect thing for a square sitting area. Opt for one that doubles as a cocktail table so you don’t have to take up space with side tables when you’re eating and drinking al fresco.

16. Lead Us to it

fire pit landscaping ideas

All eyes are on this fire pit, thanks to the hypnotizing pathway that leads us there in this backyard designed by Janice Parker Design. The shape of the chairs mimic the soft rounded edges of the fireplace and rounded stone enclosure separating the circular patio from the rest of the lawn.

17. Have Fun with it

metal fire pit ideas

Surrounded by comfy, eclectic seating, this fire pit area is the perfect backyard retreat. Add a rocking chair (in a pop of color if you’re feeling bold!) and floor cushions for extra seating. For another fire pit option that strikes the balance between bohemian and formal, try a hammered copper fire pit.

18. Get Graphic

modern fire pit ideas

The Surfrider Hotel roof deck in Malibu is the best outdoor space inspiration we’ve seen in a long time. Take style notes from the sleek and simple matte black fire pit surrounded by spacious sofas with contemporary graphic throw pillows piled on.

19. Forget About Grass

stone fireplace ideas

Now here’s an outdoor fire pit idea we can get behind. For an Ojai vacation home, a laid-back seating area fits the no-hurries, no-worries vibe. The fire bowl warms up the courtyard during cooler weather. And the gravel ground gives it an interesting rustic feel.


Don’t settle for a contractor who disrespects women

Local remodeler, Jeb Breithaupt, shared his message about the importance of respecting women involved in the remodeling process and shares some advice.
WE DEFINITELY AGREE! General contracting and remodeling is an industry that is predominately male, but we have a woman on staff who helps to bring it all together for us at HomeWise Builders.

Read below the article by Jeb, published by the Shreveport Times.

I’m working with a homeowner on a major remodeling project who initially told me she was afraid to hire any contractor because she didn’t want to be disrespected. Her admission stunned me for a minute because I would think any contractor who met with a potential client and hoped for her business would be on his or her best behavior during that interview. But she told me she had worked with remodelers in the past — and so had her friends — who were downright patronizing, rude and dishonest with her. I asked her why, and she said she is sure it’s because she’s a woman.

Her perception of male contractors is they don’t believe women know anything when it comes to remodeling — even when it’s at their own homes. Her experience involved dealing with all kinds of subcontractors whom the general contractor sent to her house without introducing her. Also, he ignored her complaints. They left their lunch wrappers and cigarette butts all over her property at the end of every work day. All of that, she told me, felt like disrespect. She wants her house fixed up, but it would be easier to live with an avocado-green kitchen than endure months of disrespect by workers she was paying and to whom she had been nothing but pleasant and cooperative.

She did hire my firm to renovate her home, but she got me thinking about whether other women feel as she does about contractors and how they might avoid some of the unpleasantness they fear they will face if they hire the wrong contractor.

Jeb came up with a few pieces of advice for women homeowners who want to have a good experience with their remodelers:

• Search for a remodeling company that will assign a project manager to your job. This project manager should be your sole point of contact for progress reports, complaints, change orders and concerns and will be the one to arrange any meetings you need to have with another member of the team. This puts a buffer between you and the subcontractors who don’t have the authority or the knowledge to change something that might cost more or to answer a complaint that did not stem from their part of the job. A project manager will be well-trained in customer service, will treat you with respect and get your questions answered in a timely manner.

• Ask if the firm you hire has any women on the staff.  It can be comforting to know the contractor has women in positions of influence.

• Don’t take “no” for an answer if you feel something is going wrong. If you see sloppy work or you’re being charged more than you agreed to, don’t let a contractor bully you into settling. Go to the project manager or to the company president, if you have to, and work out a resolution. A few years ago, a homeowner told me she complained to a contractor who created deep gashes with a sander gone haywire in the beautiful, new hardwood floor he had just installed. His response: “Cover them with a rug.” Then, he sent her flowers. My advice: Send those flowers back and insist on a repair or replacement until you get what you paid for.

• Be careful about whom you hire. Most homeowners I know are busy and just want to get a guy in the house to start the work. But if you don’t do your due diligence and call the contractor’s references before agreeing to hire him, you’re setting yourself up for an unhappy experience. Ask him for the names of other women he has worked for, then ask those women, “Did you get what you wanted?” That will help you understand if this contractor will do what you ask without railroading you into settling for what he wants to do.

• Observe how the contractor behaves toward you during your initial meeting. If he is late, dismissive, disrespectful or condescending on the day he has to convince you to choose him for a job, imagine how rude he’ll be after you sign the contract.

• Be willing to walk away. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they hire contractors is they sign on with the one who’s available the soonest instead of waiting for the one who will do the best job and treat them with the most respect. Don’t rush into it.

• Don’t go overboard with criticism. It’s fine to point out eyesores or poor workmanship if the contractor really deserves the critique. But nobody is perfect, so expect high quality rather than absolute perfection.

• Realize a lot of contractors don’t have much practice dealing with customers. A lot of people in the remodeling industry come from the homebuilding trades. When they’re working on a brand-new — and empty — house, it doesn’t really matter if they leave their soda cans all over the place because the trash doesn’t bother anybody. Set some ground rules up front. If the contractor can’t agree to what you want, keep shopping.

HomeWise Builders welcomes your call – 318-626-7829 or CLICK HERE to start the consultation process TODAY!

Original Source:

Luxury Kitchen Design Trends

The kitchen is arguably the most important room in the house. 

If budget isn’t an issue for you, you can delve into the world of luxury kitchen design. The possibilities are endless; you’re free to design a beautiful kitchen with high-quality materials and finishes, state-of-the-art appliances, and luxurious accents. 

Minimalism works well in luxury kitchens. You should focus on the quality of the materials and a well-balanced layout instead of overcrowding the kitchen with extravagant pieces. 

Custom cabinets

You can finally splurge on luxurious custom cabinets – hooray! These types of cabinets are typically defined as a combination of high-quality materials, quality workmanship and unique styles. 

Luxury cabinets are not made of particle board. They’re made of solid wood that is mainly used for the cabinet doors and of furniture-grade plywood for the box. 

As for the style of the cabinets, luxury doesn’t necessarily mean Corinthian columns and other detailed carvings (although there is nothing wrong with that). But if you’re looking for a more modern look, you can go for simple shaker cabinets or cabinets with no detail work whatsoever. 

If you opt for a simple design, you can add a bit of glam by choosing beautiful hardware such as brass or marble pulls, quartz knobs, or even leather pulls

High-end countertops

Nothing says luxury kitchen design like a gorgeous stone countertop. Not being restricted by a budget means you can use large slabs of marble, granite and quartz

These materials are long lasting and give any kitchen a luxurious feel. Quartz is the most durable of the three and does not require a coating as it is not porous. Marble and granite, on the other hand, will require some maintenance, which is something you should discuss prior to selecting the countertops. 

If you want to give the kitchen even more of an edge, you can use the same material you’ve chosen for the countertop for the backsplash. This will give the kitchen a sleek and streamlined look.

Sinks and faucets

A trendy kitchen sink is the perfect way to complement a luxurious countertop, wouldn’t you agree? 

There are many materials to choose from, including ceramic, fireclay, stainless steel, natural stone, copper, composite granite, and porcelain-enameled cast iron. Each of these, combined with proper function and a unique style is a great addition to any luxury kitchen design.  

You’ll also want to choose a faucet that matches the sink as well as the rest of the kitchen hardware. Keep in mind technology when choosing one; touch faucets are a must for any high-end kitchen.


As mentioned, using the same material for both the countertop and the backsplash can give your client’s kitchen a beautiful, streamlined look, especially if the backsplash reaches the ceiling. But it’s not the only way to boast luxury. 

You can achieve a luxurious look by choosing materials such as ceramic and porcelain tile (handmade and imported if you want to be really fancy), natural stone slabs, exposed brick, marble, granite, etc. You can even play around with different motifs and textures to give the kitchen a striking look.


Luxury kitchen design goes hand in hand with luxury kitchen lighting. If you’re designing a minimalist kitchen, adding a dazzling light fixture(s) can be a great way to fill the empty space.  

Choosing the right light will depend on the kitchen design style you’ve chosen. For example, an ornate chandelier with crystals might not be the best pick for a contemporary kitchen, and an industrial pendant light might not be the best pick for a traditional kitchen. 

In any case, make sure the lighting makes a statement in the kitchen and is made with high-quality materials. You can even opt for designer lighting that is one of a kind for a unique look.


When designing a luxury kitchen, you want to make sure to consider the latest and greatest in terms of appliances. That means sleek, high-tech and even integrated

High-technology appliances can vary from a smart refrigerator with a touchscreen, camera, transparent doors and built-in recipes to a smart oven with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, temperature control via smartphone, and compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google assistant. 

If you’re not really into technology, consider gorgeous, high-end appliances that stand out as statement pieces, or integrated appliances that blend in with the surrounding cabinetry. 

Healthy design alternatives

Healthy design means you choose materials and finishes that do not contain any toxic chemicals. For example, you can use ultra-compact quartz for the countertops that is both eco-friendly and does not need a topical sealer (which often contains pesticides) to protect it. 

You can also opt for natural oil treatment for the kitchen floors instead of the usual polyurethane that can cause respiratory problems, you can buy a kitchen runner (if you’re planning on incorporating one) made of natural fibers which is free of the harmful chemicals present in pre-treated synthetic rugs, and you can use upcycled cabinet doors to reduce your carbon footprint.  

Built-in wine rack

A built-in wine rack may not be suitable for everyone, but it does convey luxury, especially when it becomes a statement piece in the kitchen. 

If you are a wine enthusiast, you can dedicate an entire wall (or half-wall) to wine storage. This will require custom work, and when done right, it can really add a hyper-luxurious feel to any kitchen. 

You can also opt for a wine rack or a wine cooler that is part of the kitchen island or under a kitchen counter. This option isn’t as impressive as a built-in wine rack, but it’s still a great addition for wine lovers.

2020 Bathroom Trends

The bathroom, just like the kitchen, is one of the rooms in a house that needs a facelift every decade or so to keep up with the times. Here are the top 2020 bathroom trends you can incorporate in your upcoming remodel.

Statement tiles

When shopping for tiles, there are two things that matter most: quality and detail. Whether you’ll be using tiles on the bathroom floor, in the walk-in shower, or as a backsplash, 2020 bathroom trends call for textured tiles in different shades.

There are now gorgeous 3D statement tiles available that will add visual interest to any bathroom without being obnoxious. Geometric forms and other shapes such as hexagonal tiles and triangular tiles will also be trendy in the coming year.

Metallic accents

Although the 2020 trends are moving away from blush and copper accents, metal is still very much in. As there is a rise in earth tones in the design world, metals such as brass, black and white will dominate bathroom designs.

You can use metallic accents on cabinet doors, drawer pulls, sconces, and even plumbing such as faucets and showerheads. Metal provides great texture and a sophisticated feel to a space, and it even adds visual depth if properly contrasted.

Matte black fittings

Black matte fittings have been in style for quite some time now, and they’ll continue to be a popular choice for bathroom designs in 2020. When juxtaposed with clean tiling, black matte faucets, showerheads and other fittings will really stand out.

These black fittings are chic and are often associated with a minimalist design style. They’re a great way to add elegance to any bathroom, and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Biophilic design

One of the biggest 2020 bathroom trends is biophilic design, which focuses mainly on adding touches of nature to a space. Incorporating elements of nature indoors is huge right now and will continue to be so for years to come.

An easy way to add touches of nature to your bathroom design is to include lots of plants (even fake ones will do if there are no windows), bamboo wall panels, wallpaper showcasing greenery, and soothing paint tones such as whites, greys and greens.

Coastal elements

Coastal design doesn’t only have to be reserved for California homes. We’re going to see a lot of coastal elements in bathroom designs in 2020, catering to clients who prefer an airy and fresh look.

You don’t necessarily have to choose a fish-patterned wallpaper to achieve coastal design. You can opt for beige, white or even glass cabinetry, natural stone, pastel wall colors, white wood wall paneling, and light flooring. The airier the space feels, the better.

Industrial chic

Industrial design is not likely to go out of style, and we’ll be seeing even more of it in 2020 bathroom trends. Brass accents, black matte plumbing, subway tiles, the works.

Exposed shower plumbing will also help you achieve an industrial look in the bathroom. Using black matte or brass plumbing pairs beautifully with white, modern marble.

Terrazzo tiles

Terrazzo was a major trend in 2019, and it will continue to be popular in 2020 and beyond. Terrazzo porcelain tiles are suitable for bathroom floors, walls, countertops, and walk-in showers.

Terrazzo is a mix of natural stones, cement and marble which contribute to its timeless and unique look. It’s a durable and high-quality material that will stand the test of time and will endure ever-changing trends.

Minimalist lighting

Light plays a major role in bathroom design. It’s practical and it also creates a certain type of atmosphere depending on where it’s placed and how strong the luminosity is.

Lighting in terms of 2020 bathroom trends is very minimalistic and linear, allowing other elements in the bathroom to stand out. Steer clear of big, statement lights and opt for smaller and simpler lighting such as linear sconces and integrated mirror lighting.


The introduction of technology in living spaces has exploded over the past couple of years, and the bathroom is catching up to this trend. We’re not talking about a wall-mounted telephone beside the toilet or a mini TV screen next to the vanity.

Integrating smart technology in the bathroom consists of smart toilets (integrated bidet, bum dryer, self-cleaning), electronic controls in the shower, voice-activated lighting, built-in fireplaces, and more.

Help your home renovation go smoothly & stay on budget with advice from an expert!

Whether you work with a general contractor or act as one on your own project, getting a glimpse into the mind of a contractor can give you a new perspective into remodeling projects around your home. How do you know if you’re helping or hurting your project? Read on to find out and to see what can help simplify your home remodel.

1. Don’t delay decisions. If you want your remodel to go well, the best thing to do is make every single decision before work starts. A good builder can talk you through the list of situations that might come up on your job, but decisions about situations aren’t usually what cause delays.

Instead, most of the issues are related to decisions about things like paint, trim and faucet selection. These may seem small, but when your faucet is two weeks late, plumbers have to be rescheduled and the medicine cabinet door hits the faucet when it’s installed, you’ll see how something small can balloon into a week’s delay on a five-week project.

2. Don’t change your mind (too much). Even though it’s inevitable that you’ll change your mind about something on your project, know this: Every time you change your mind, it’ll result in a change order. Although the change may seem minor, there are always added costs — even if it’s only the time spent discussing the change.

Scheduling can be affected too. Everyone working on the job needs to be informed of the change so no one’s working on the old plan. Everyone makes changes, and that’s OK — just be aware of the potential to disrupt and delay the job.

3. Don’t buy your own materials. It seems like an obvious way to save money — a builder is going to mark up the cost of materials and pass that added cost on to you. That’s true, but the builder may get a better price than you to begin with, meaning that even after markup, you’ll pay the same price.

If you are a DIYer committed to doing your own shopping, here are 10 tips that can help.

4. Don’t put lipstick on a pig. Though a builder will rarely come right out and say this, some houses should be knocked down rather than have money put into them to fix them up. Though this is a rare situation, it’s common for people to put money into fancy cabinets for a house with a sagging foundation, or into a high-efficiency furnace in a house with no insulation. Listen to the professionals who come to look at your job. Be open to their suggestions.

5. Don’t work without a contingency fund. If you find out that the work you wanted to do costs more than you expected or budgeted, you’re in good company. It’s almost unheard of that a person sets a realistic budget for a project. But don’t eat into your contingency to stretch the budget. If you follow rule number one and make every decision ahead of time, you can probably get away with a 5 percent contingency if you have a good general contractor.

6. Don’t live in the home, well… try to “move” out of the way. Most people ignore this rule, and for good reason. Remodeling is expensive, and moving out just adds to the cost. If you can’t move out for the whole job, try to schedule some time away and set up a clean, comfortable place to retreat to when you can’t handle coming home to a messy and stressful construction site. Don’t let kids and pets get in the way. Though the people working in your home will often try to accommodate your pets and kids, they shouldn’t have to — it’s just not safe to have children or animals around construction.

7. Don’t be a distraction. It may sound harsh, but every minute someone working on your house spends talking to you, they are not working on your house. Is the conversation important and one that will have an impact on the job? That’s one thing, but the electrician on the job isn’t getting paid any more to spend 30 minutes talking about your vacation plans.

8. Don’t ignore what the house wants. Though some people can pull off wearing a pair of high-top sneakers with a tuxedo, it can also go horribly wrong. Houses are the same way. Can an ultramodern kitchen in a Victorian brownstone work? Absolutely, but make sure you can pull it off. This is not to say a house can’t evolve with the times. There are no hard and fast rules — just get to know your house, live in it and do your research before you pull out the sledgehammer.

9. Don’t work without a design. Some projects require an architect, some an interior designer, and sometimes a talented builder will get your aesthetic and help you come up with a good plan.

Whatever you do, don’t start a remodel without a detailed plan. A lot of elements interact in a space — put them all on paper and you’ll catch problems before they are built. You may be able to build a functional space without a plan, but if you want a functional and beautiful space, definitely hire a professional!

The Do’s and Don’ts in Outdoor Living Spaces

We live in a time where our daily lives are flooded with more options than we know with what to do.  From taking 10 minutes each morning to study and make sense of the Starbucks menu to the thread count options for the most comfortable pillow, it seems that we are inundated day in and day out; outdoor living is no exception.  While it is easier to choose our daily cup-o-joe, outdoor decisions are very important and your backyard should be treated with the same respect as inside the home.  What should you do?  What shouldn’t you do?  Great questions.  While some projects are bigger than others, it is always smart to consult a professional who has vision and expertise.  For now, if you are just trying to wrap your mind around what you want to accomplish with your plot of grass, here are some suggestions to consider, and some ideas to leave in the dust.


patio space

The first outdoor living feature that should be considered is a deck or patio.  Hardscaped spaces are an extension of the home, an additional usable living space that can be enjoyed by all.  Whether your property allows for a grand deck or just the right amount of space for a patio and your favorite bistro set, you will find that this will be the most used spot in your plan, it is literally the foundation for the rest of your outdoor design.  A hardscape will make your backyard feel like it has intention, instead of the disconnected plastic banquet table and fold up chairs in the lawn.  The best way to make your company feel comfortable is to provide a space where their heels won’t sink into the grass and they can enjoy the view.


don't clutter your yard

Speaking of view…keep it simple!  There is nothing worse than walking through a beautiful home and stepping outside to a see a backyard full of excessive concrete sculptures, whirligigs and whatever other outdoor clutter one collects.  The phrase “less is more” rings very true when it comes to outdoor living spaces.  Timeless design and good taste are reflected in neutral colors, clean lines, natural materials and open space.  So, if you want a beautiful backyard, leave all of the lawn tchotchke’s in the shed or at the store and opt for one or two simple ornaments that can express your unique tastes just the same.


Low-maintenance materials are worth it.  While you will be initially investing more for low-maintenance materials, the energy, time and money saved in the long run makes up for it.  Take a pressure treated deck for example, the cost of installation may not give sticker shock, but every year you will have to sand, stain and possibly even repair the wood…this means annual dedicated time/energy and money out of your pocket.  Now, build that same deck with composite decking material, and there is no sanding or staining…just enjoyment as soon as the door opens and the fresh air falls upon you.

low maintenance landscaping

The same can be said for your landscaping as well.  Planting low-maintenance plants will keep the shears out of your hand and allow more time to smell the flowers than tend to them.  Don’t get me wrong, tropical flowers are a beautiful addition to any outdoor living space, but just remember that they can be finicky and are annuals in our neck of the woods.  So, if you want a Mandevilla vine present year after year, you will have to plant it, year after year.  If you would rather enjoy time in the yard with the kids rather than fighting through your landscaping, stick to low-maintenance plants like groundcovers and perennials.


landscape lighting

We have written about lighting a lot in throughout our blog posts, but that’s because lighting is important!  For those who opt not to include landscape lighting in their outdoor living spaces, the space may feel only half alive.  When the sun goes down, the picture-perfect property also goes to rest.  With landscape lighting, not only will the property have a beautiful evening ambiance, but walkways are safer for travel and the outdoor living space will feel complete.  Landscape lighting is a way to extend the party into the evening hours rather than having to stop the soiree and retreat indoors.


outdoor kitchen

For entertainers or those who like to spend ample time outside, an outdoor grilling station or kitchen is worth consideration.   Not only is grilling better for your health since an open flame and no unnecessary oils or fats are present, but it is better for the life of the gathering as well.  Without a designated place to prepare food outdoors, the host will need to go inside to prepare the meals, removing themselves from the get-together they painstakingly arranged…talk about a bummer.  With a grilling station or outdoor kitchen, all the amenities are outside where the action is and the feature combinations are only limited by your imagination.  Outdoor kitchens can include refrigerators, ice makers, wet bars, sinks, grills, burners, swim up bars…infinite possibilities! No matter how petite or packed, any outdoor cooking station is better than none at all!


Driving around in an unfamiliar place for an hour because pride gets in the way of stopping to ask for directions is just silly; not everyone knows everything.  When looking to create an outdoor living space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come, it is important to talk to a professional.  Believe it or not, townships and municipalities do care what you are doing with your property.  While they may not see any renovations right away, without the proper setbacks from your property lines, permits and inspections, you may run into many issues down the road.  It should be the job of the professional you hire to account for all of codes and regulations in your area to ensure a flawless construction of your new space.  So before you put that shovel in the ground for your DIY outdoor fireplace, reach out to the pros and save yourself from future headaches and fees!

If you have the drive and desire to turn your outdoor dreams into a reality, reach out to the experts at HomeWise Builders. We love transforming outdoor living spaces into the perfect fit for you and your family.  We help to acquire all permits, schedule all inspections and manage scheduling and installation, so you don’t have to!  So, when you are ready to open the conversation about all of the potential for your property, we would love to welcome you into the HomeWise family.  Serving the Shreveport, Bossier City and surrounding areas; we are only a click or phone call away!


Do’s and Don’ts of Home Improvement

As a homeowner, you must have dabbled with the possibility of remodeling projects for your home. After all, in the long term, any home improvement adds value to the home — whether it is for reselling or just the overall market value.

However, before embarking on a home improvement project, regardless of which room or area you’re considering, it is important to understand the complexity of home improvement. Most homeowners start a project without realizing the actual requirements and end up flustered.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts that you MUST know about before you undertake a remodeling project.

5 Do’s of Home Remodeling Projects

1.    Understand the Resale Value

When it comes to making major changes in your home, a little forethought goes a long way. What may seem like a good decision now, may or may not end up becoming a pain point some years down the line. All home improvements affect the resale value of any home; hence any design decisions should naturally reflect it as well. For instance, average returns on a minor kitchen remodeling project tend to be around 87%, while a bathroom remodel recoups only 67.2%.

Always consider the return on investment and design the house accordingly. While it is tempting to give everything a personal and unique touch to everything, make sure to still keep it marketable and appealing.

2.   Spend Time Researching

Before embarking on any home improvement, take some time to figure out what you want out of it and how to achieve it. A key element is hiring the right contractor to do the improvements.

Your home is an important asset and home improvements are a big commitment — and a contractor is the ultimate bridge between good materials and a decent output. While selecting a contractor, make sure both parties are on the same page and have the same vision in terms of budget, time and design requirements. Disputes at a later stage can delay the project unnecessarily.

3.    Understand Budget Fluctuations

It goes without saying that having a budget plays an important role when it comes to any home improvement project, major or minor. However, more often than not, the actual expenses tend to go well above the budget. This could be because of delays, added expenses, and unforeseen expenses. Hence, you should always keep a buffer for any possible budget fluctuations.

4.    Always Have a Design Plan

Home remodeling isn’t something that can be played by the ear. One needs to have a solid floor plan and design plan in place. An expert interior designer or architect can help you with this as it requires a thorough understanding of various complicated elements and structural knowledge.

5.   Understand Your House

Every house is different and has a different architectural style. While remodeling, it can be very tempting to strip off the interior to the bare bone and give it a whole new look. Before doing that, consider the architectural style of the house. Use that as an inspiration and include cohesiveness and synchronize your design plans accordingly. The overall aesthetic value will be much more and will result in a higher visual and structural appeal.

5 Don’ts of Home Improvement

 1. Don’t DIY Everything

It is very tempting to DIY a remodeling project as a way of cutting costs, but it can quickly become a ‘D-I-WHY’ project.

If you don’t have the expertise or experience, it is best to not embark on a DIY bandwagon. Areas like bathrooms and kitchen have complicated plumbing and electrical requirements that require an expert to work on them.

It is OK to work on small parts of a large project but its best to steer away from major projects.

2. Don’t Hire the Cheapest Contractor

A contractor can make or break your home remodel. As tempting as it is to save money while hiring a contractor, people often neglect to factor in the real value they provide.

The trade-off that comes with hiring the cheapest contractor is often not worth it. It usually involves the use of cheaper materials, less experience and professionalism.

Look out for competitive prices and if you notice a huge gap, its best to stick to the ‘average’ ones rather than opting for the lower end.

3. Don’t Rush the Process

No matter what, do not rush the remodeling process. Home improvements require time, commitment and patience. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to the home improvement process and the timeline is often underestimated.

If your project takes longer, be patient and remember that good things take time to manifest. There are always things out of your and your contractor’s control — and it is a good idea to go in with the mindset of any possible delay before you even begin.

4. Don’t Ignore Home Upkeep

Home maintenance and upkeep are often neglected aspects when it comes to massive home improvement projects. A small repair here and there can have a huge impact on the overall process. Before beginning any remodeling project, make sure to list any minor repairs down and get them done as well. General upkeep is also encouraged while the project is underway.

5. Don’t Get Frustrated

Home improvements are in no way a piece of cake. For those who haven’t done it before can find it extremely frustrating — largely due to small inconveniences that take place on a daily basis. In such circumstances, it is important to be calm and patient.

Even if there is a major hurdle, being frustrated won’t solve the problem at hand. Every problem, no matter how big or small has a solution, provided you approach the problem in a level- headed manner.

Going Through with a Home Improvement Project

The home improvement process is often unfamiliar territory for many, which is why it is all the more important to be informed and be aware of all aspects, positive and negative. Preparation can save you a lot of money, delays and regret later on. Be mindful of these do’s and don’ts, and your home improvement process is likely to be smoother and more pleasant.


Covid-19 is a challenging time for all of us. We are all experiencing terror, panic, and emotions we have rarely felt collectively as a global community at the same time. We are all trying to make sense of what’s happening around us. To add to the woes, the majority of states in the country are in “Shelter in place” order, and we don’t know how long the situation will continue. It’s hard to believe that while the country is trying to revive from the unexpected jolt of Covid-19, there are home remodeling tasks one can undertake.

But it’s true! While one can make calculated stock investments at this time too, this applies, especially to the Home Improvement Industry. 

While the lockdown has impacted many remodeling projects — the truth is, you can actually benefit from the focused attention of your contractors right now. 

We understand that you and your family are just trying to get through each day right now. And it’s totally understandable if you are not up for making decisions about anything else at the moment. It’s fine. But if there’s a chance, you think you can take benefit from this situation, what’s the harm? 

It all depends on the particular stage of remodeling you were at before Covid struck. I know it’s a hard decision, and no one’s rushing you — we are merely pointing out both pros and cons of remodeling right now so that you can make the right call.

We understand the dilemma. That’s why we have a few guidelines, especially to smoothen the road ahead for you. These may help you to find out if it actually makes sense to give substance to your decision right now.



Consider the time you have on hand if you are yet to start your home remodel. I mean, you have a world of options you can consider. And with all the free time you have, you don’t have to leave anything to fate anymore!

You can ask your friends for tips, exhaust the home design magazines tips, and look for home remodeling designs on the internet. You can even plan a trip down the home improvement showrooms to plan ahead. If you’d rather be home — HomeWise Builders is offering virtual consultations too.


At the end of the day, it’s all about money. In other words, how do you plan to finance your remodeling projectIf you’re planning to finance the task by borrowing money via a personal loan, home equity loan, or even a credit card, now is the time to review rates.

What if the already sinking economy has an impact on your job? How will you pay back the loan in that case? Alternatively, if you have enough savings to see you through the upcoming times, it makes sense to do this now as rates are trending to be much cheaper at the moment. 



If you’re already renovating, things are bound to be even more comfortable for you.

By now, you will have cleared the big hurdle of all the needed permits and plans. In other words, you’re in the “just started” stage of your renovation, which is the easiest to handle.

You’ve already given the blueprints to an expert contractor. And it’s up to him and his team to do the labor now. In all probability, you have already purchased every material needed for the job too. Basically, every step is definite after this, and all you have to do is to watch while it happens. This is, without a doubt, a more natural phase than the planning stage.


You might face a few setbacks with the Covid-19 situation at hand.

If you do go short of a product, there’s no guaranteeing if you’re going to get it. The particular state from which you’re procuring the product may be in quarantine, which may delay your project.

One way out of this mess is to let your contractor order all the needed equipment immediately to avoid delays later on.



This is the third stage of your remodeling project and the easiest one to tackle thus far.

You are already halfway and there’s no reason to look back now. Remodeling companies are listed as essential services in the USA, and can continue to work on your home remodeling project with added precautions. In fact, this is the time when your contractor will go out of the way to complete your project. Since there might be cancellations, efforts will be more focused on your project during this time.

In any case, you are already there. So what’s the point of starting to consider and reconsider at this point? You only need to look in one direction — and that’s ahead.


You may have to spend a little extra on saving your home from the infection. Depending on the kind of house you have, you may have to dole out extra cash for protection.

Besides, since at this point your contractor will be trying to finish the job as early as possible, you may have to pay for the fee sooner. If there are any illnesses or injuries among the crew, that may further delay the tasks.

There’s an easy way around it, though. Just check with your remodeling company if they give sanitizing tools to their crews and cover the cost of things like barriers, dust-fan etc. If they do, you don’t have to worry about a thing.


In the end, it all depends on the precautions that your remodeling company takes to combat the issue.

At the job site, you need to make certain that every needed precaution is firmly in its place. Plastic must be used to separate the job site from your home. The crew is expected to wash their hands after entering the worksite, exiting the site and after using the bathroom. Disinfectants must be used in public workplaces as well in the non-shared bathrooms twice a day.

Find out if the remodeling company can provide its workers with Port-a-Jon for sites where there are no extra bathrooms available.


Agreed that the present situation is not in our hands and it may take us a bit longer to get over the damage caused. But as far as remodeling or repairing your home is concerned, there is a lot you can do as per the exact stage you are in. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t go on with your original remodeling plan if all necessary precautions are being taken.

The final decision is ultimately all yours. Whether you want to make the best use of this time or wait for the worst to be over. Choose wisely!

A Guide To Budgeting Your Bathroom Remodel

If a gleaming, spa-inspired bathroom is part of your future, we’d love to help in achieving your vision. With hundreds of successful home remodeling projects in our portfolio, HomeWise Builders’s systematic approach takes the guesswork out of budgeting construction costs for your bathroom remodel.

So, “How do you develop a bathroom remodeling budget?” We’re glad you asked.

As one of the home’s most highly trafficked rooms, the cost of a bathroom remodeling project in Northwest Louisiana can vary wildly based on size, materials, your tastes, and your neighborhood. Don’t forget to factor in the higher cost of living and services in the Southern region too.

According to a 2019 report by Remodeling Magazine, the cost for an upscale bathroom remodel in Northwest Louisiana cost up to 60K+ on average, depending on the range and scale of your bathroom renovation. Now, here’s how that budget pie gets divvied up. Check out our Pricing Guide to learn more.


Bathroom Remodeling Budget

Using our proven Remodeling Process, we begin your bathroom remodel with a consultation. We evaluate the space and determine the scope of your project. Once we’ve assessed the site, a detailed outline of deliverables and construction costs is created based on factors like room size, quality of materials, labor, and types of fixtures and finishes, to name a few.


The Demolition, or “demo” phase of a home remodel, is usually the bit you see on home improvement TV where the crew gets a little overzealous with their sledgehammers. Don’t worry, we won’t. Trust that your home will always be treated with the greatest care throughout the process—even when swinging a sledgehammer.

We factor in waste removal as part of the demolition budget, and employ environmentally-conscious  best practices, including dust management, and proper disposal of all construction debris. 

Once the original bathroom is down to the studs and construction waste is removed, it’s ready for the design vision to become a reality. On average, we recommend allocating 10-15% of your bathroom remodeling budget for demolition.


Recommended Bathroom Demolition Budget Allocation: 10–15%
Actual Cost: 12%


Custom bathroom remodels will most likely involve changes to the room’s original footprint and. Bathroom layout changes usually require removal and replacement of existing plumbing and electrical systems, requiring more budget allocation towards this phase. HomeWise Builders suggests allocating 20–35% of your bathroom remodeling budget to plumbing and fixtures. Bathroom remodels sticking to the original footprint range on the lower end of the budget, however, for bathroom remodels involving relocation of bathtubs, showers, toilets, or sinks, expect to budget on the higher range. 


Recommended Bathroom Mechanicals, Plumbing, & Electrical Budget Allocation: 20–35%
Actual Cost: 22%


The Framing phase of the project is where the space begins to take shape. To the uninitiated, it’s a confusing forest of 2x4s with conduit snaking through it. But to our HomeWise team, this is when the design comes alive. On average, we allocate between 10-20% of your renovation budget towards framing.


Recommended Budget for Framing, Exterior & Interior Walls : 10–20%
Actual Cost: 14%


This is where the vision comes into sharper focus. We introduce the design elements like stone or glass, shower stalls, porcelain fixtures, and beautiful hardware that give the space a sense of purpose.

Depending on your tastes, you could use up to a third of your budget on high-end luxury bath fixtures and finishes. HomeWise Builders can help you choose quality pieces for your bathroom remodel from our trusted vendors, to give your bathroom a luxurious feel, without exhausting your budget. We advise clients to keep these costs between 20–35% of your total budget.


Recommended Budget for Bathroom Shower, Fixtures, & Hardware: 20–35%
Actual cost: 19%


Once your bathroom has reached this phase, our finish carpenters, painters, tile and flooring professionals are called in to bring your bathroom remodeling project to its beautiful conclusion in a well-coordinated dance. While each of these elements may vary due to size and scale of your bathroom remodel, we suggest using these guidelines to determine how much of your budget goes towards these specialists.


Recommended Bathroom Flooring Budget: 5–10%
Actual Cost: 5%


Recommended Bathroom Cabinet Budget: 5–10%
Actual Cost: 9%


Recommended Countertops & Bathroom Backsplash Budget: 5–10%
Actual Cost: 6%


Recommended Bathroom Paint Budget: 5–10%
Actual Cost: 6%


All this magic doesn’t happen with the wave of a hammer. HomeWise Builders is known for our exceptional customer service and on-time, on-budget bathroom remodel projects. When you work with us, you’ll be working with a dedicated Project Manager who acts as a liaison between Team HomeWise, trade professionals, vendors, and suppliers responsible for making your bathroom design a reality. 

Many homeowners think this is where they can save money and do it themselves, but we encourage you to factor a Project Manager into your budget. It might be the best money you’ve ever spent. Your budget for a Project Manager to handle your bathroom renovation scheduling can average 5–10% of your total budget. 


Recommended Bathroom Project Management Budget: 5–10%
Actual cost: 7%

So if it’s past time to bring that funky old bathroom into the 21st-Century, or you’re ready to indulge in a spa-inspired sanctuary, we can help turn your bathroom remodel vision into a beautiful reality.

Contact HomeWise Builders today to schedule your consultation

5 Tips For A Highly Functional Kitchen

A good kitchen design is more than what is aesthetically pleasing or modernized. New appliances, finished countertops, and quality cabinetry, is only half the battle. The other half that most kitchen remodels often overlook is how functional the kitchen is. When redesigning your kitchen space, here are 5 important things to consider in your remodel.


Many older kitchens have a single light source in the kitchen. This can result in glaring, uncomfortable light close to the source, and shadowy poor light in other corners of the kitchen. The newest trends in kitchen remodels include plenty of dimmable recessed lights, also known as can lights, and under cabinet lights with accent pendant lights over the island or peninsula to give your kitchen remodel a sleek look. These light fixtures are also versatile and allows you to focus on each major area in the kitchen. The combination is not only functional, it also takes into consideration the kitchen’s ambiance. With the current energy efficient requirements, you can enjoy more light while also saving money and energy.  


Whether or not your kitchen remodel can accommodate an island depends on floor space. If your kitchen has the room for one, it can be a positive contribution to your kitchen remodel, but in spaces that are too small, a peninsula may be a better option. Removing a wall and building an island is a great way to open up the space. When entertaining guests, it allows you to be involved with your guests while preparing the meal. For optimal efficiency, HomeWise Builders can help with creative island designs that compliment the island’s function.


A functional kitchen space has three major sections to it. An area for prepping, an area for cooking, and an area for cleaning up. For the kitchen to be as efficient as possible, it is best to have a designated amount of counter space for each phase of the process. If you enjoy cooking and cook often, having a pot filler installed at your stove is a convenient feature to have. Appliance garages are also an ideal way to easily access your appliances while avoiding countertop clutter. They can be designed with built-in electrical outlets to make using and storing these appliances a breeze.  

Achieving a functional kitchen space that flows with your cooking process requires a good understanding of how you operate in your kitchen and a well planned kitchen design.


Gone are the days of practically crawling into your cabinet to find those little used items. HomeWise Builders can help you design and build, together with Bench Dog Design Co., storage spaces for your every need. For those who cook often, a pantry may be an essential part of your kitchen storage space. Otherwise, clever use of available space can help get the most out of your cabinet space.

With a wide variety of different types of easy glide pull outs, you can designate certain cabinets and drawers for the way you want to use your kitchen. From pull out pots and pans drawers to knife and utensil drawers, and even pet food bowl drawers, you can make the best use of all your storage space. And let’s not forget the Lazy Susan for those corner cabinets. The modern Lazy Susan makes any item within arm’s reach. The easy pull-out trash and recycling bins are a nice added feature.

Pro Tip: When building kitchen cabinets, extend it all the way to the ceiling. This gives your kitchen a custom feel, creates more storage and eliminates the wasted space gathering dust.


One aspect of a functional kitchen most people don’t take into consideration is adding in a general purpose workstation. This is an area where your kids can do their homework, you can take down notes from a phone call, or you can sit down to work on your grocery list. The kitchen is often central to the home environment, and having a convenient location to allow your family to work out of the way of the cooking process while being in each other’s company can be a priceless addition.  

Include some data ports in a drawer at your kitchen workstation and you have a one-stop charging area for your phones and laptops.  

A kitchen remodel is your opportunity to transform a standard workspace into an area made specifically for you and your family. When you set out to remodel your new kitchen, take some time to discuss these five integral parts of a kitchen design with HomeWise Builders to achieve the most functional kitchen.

Creating A Budget For Your Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen remodel is a beautiful thing, especially if you’ve been cooking in a cramped, outdated, or just plain awful galley for longer than you care to recall. Team HomeWise Builders relishes the opportunity of taking an unlovable space and transforming it into the heartbeat of your home. 

It’s a lovely vision, to be sure, so now, let’s talk about kitchen renovation costs.  Our Pricing Guide can help provide a breakdown.

According to Remodeling Magazine, the average cost of a kitchen remodel in the Northwest Louisiana area is between $66–$131K+. If you’re going for an upscale and elaborate renovation that may include custom cabinets, built-in sliding shelves and other interior accessories, or commercial-grade appliances, prepare your budget accordingly. 

To soften the sticker shock, take the long view. This investment in your home adds significant value—especially if you’re adding square footage. As with any major home remodel, it’s important to understand how to allocate your budget.


Over the years, we’ve developed a streamlined and cost-effective approach to home remodeling projects. HomeWise Builders begins with a consultation within our service area of Shreveport, Bossier City & surround areas. We evaluate the space, get a sense of your vision, and create a plan, with you, to determine the scope of work.

Next, we develop a detailed plan—including timelines, deliverables, and costs, based on kitchen size, materials, labor, and room finishes, to name a few. Finally, we assist you in developing a realistic kitchen remodeling budge



Demolishing a kitchen looks like fun when you see it on the home improvement shows, and you’ll likely experience a bittersweet mix of nostalgia and schadenfreude watching that old kitchen go away, one sledgehammer swing at a time. 

But, never fear that made-for-TV-mayhem. HomeWise Builders ensures your home is treated with care and respect throughout the entire process, with all debris and waste disposed of properly.


Recommended Kitchen Demolition Budget: 10–15%
Actual Cost: 12%


Many older (think South Highlands & Broadmoor) homes have never undergone a kitchen remodel, while others are on their second and third iteration. We won’t know what to expect until the curtain is pulled back. But, for the area’s numerous aging homes, it’s sometimes necessary to replace and upgrade all the mechanical elements, including plumbing, electric, and gas systems. Changes to the kitchen layout including moving the existing layout of major appliances, sinks, and functional islands typically require rerouting plumbing and electrical and will add to your remodeling costs. 


Recommended Kitchen Mechanicals, Plumbing, & Electrical Budget: 10–20%
Actual Cost: 13%

HomeWise Builders suggests allocating up to 20% of your kitchen remodeling budget to plumbing and fixtures. Remodels that stick to the existing footprint can typically range on the lower end of 10% while remodels that involve expanding the kitchen or changing the layout should allocate a higher percentage of the overall budget. The mechanicals are completed before framing and exterior and interior wall construction can begin. 

Custom bathroom remodels will most likely involve changes to the room’s original footprint and. Bathroom layout changes usually require removal and replacement of existing plumbing and electrical systems, requiring more budget allocation towards this phase. HomeWise Builders suggests allocating 20–35% of your bathroom remodeling budget to plumbing and fixtures. Bathroom remodels sticking to the original footprint range on the lower end of the budget, however, for bathroom remodels involving relocation of bathtubs, showers, toilets, or sinks, expect to budget on the higher range. 


If you can see past the forest of 2x4s and snaking conduit, framing is the construction phase that provides the “bones” of the room, and the first visual clues of what your new kitchen will look like. Framing includes building out interior and exterior walls. We’ll often allocate up to 20% of your budget towards framing, however for this project we were able to keep the framing budget close to the minimum, allowing us to shift funds to high-end finishes.


Recommended Kitchen Framing Budget: 10–20%
Actual Cost: 11%


From deceptively simple Shaker or classic raised panel, contemporary slab front, to traditional Mullion designs, your custom cabinetry built by HomeWise Builders in conjunction with Bench Dog Design Co. sets the tone (and personality) of your kitchen remodel. Custom cabinetry makes up the biggest portion of kitchen remodeling budgets. Plan on reserving up to 35% of your construction budget for this fine finish work.


Recommended Kitchen Cabinetry Budget: 25–35%
Actual cost: 29%


The cabinets are in, and your once ugly kitchen duckling is well into its metamorphosis. This is when the artisans and specialists come in to “ice the cake” as it were. Tile and flooring is completed, counters and backsplashes are installed, and the painters literally apply the final touches, all in a well-coordinated dance. We use these guidelines to determine how much of your budget goes towards these craftspeople and specialists.


Recommended Kitchen Flooring Budget: 5–10%
Actual Cost: 8%


Recommended Kitchen Countertop Budget: 10–20%
Actual Cost: 13%


Recommended Kitchen Painting Budget: 5–10%
Actual Cost: 5%


All this choreography doesn’t happen on its own. HomeWise Builders is renowned for our exceptional customer service, quality kitchen remodeling projects, and countless remodels delivered on-time and on-budget. 

When you work with us, you’ll be working with a dedicated Project Manager who acts as a liaison between you and the HomeWise Builders team, trade professionals, vendors, and suppliers, who’s responsible for your project for its duration. 

Many homeowners think this is where they can save money by doing it themselves, but a contractor will help you save time and money as we frequently work with vendors who offer special discounts on labor and materials for our clients. It might be the best money you’ve ever spent.


Recommended Kitchen Remodeling Project Management Budget: 5–10%
Actual cost: 9%

If you’re ready to to unleash your inner chef de cuisine in a cooking-show worthy kitchen, we’d be delighted to help you become Northwest Louisiana’s next big culinary sensation, at least among your friends and family. 

Call HomeWise Builders or send us a message to schedule your consultation and let’s get cooking!

HomeWise Builders Cares about COVID-19

What’s we’re doing to help keep our community healthy & safe!

To Our Valued Clients, Staff, Vendors, and Trade Partners,

Undoubtedly you are aware of the concern in our community and around the world due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. We wanted to take a few moments to let you know how we are responding to the current situation.

We care deeply about our community, clients, staff, and trade partners and are committed to the health and safety of all! Although, cleanliness and safety are top priorities for us at HomeWise Builders daily, we have implemented the following precautionary measures:

Employees and Trade Partners
– Prior to the start of each day all employees and trade partners will be asked to check for fever and confirm that they do not currently have any symptoms associated with this virus including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
– Any individual displaying these symptoms are required to stay home.

Working Locations
– We are taking extra precautions by disinfecting our work locations including; door handles, light switches, faucets, trash receptacles, work surfaces, and company vehicles.- – Gloves are being worn and disposed of properly following material runs, etc.
– We are asking that if anyone in a client’s home is displaying any possible symptoms of the illness that they will notify us immediately. Any work on a home with a possible infection will be suspended until there are no longer any chances of infection.

Office Environment
– Every individual will use hand sanitizer upon entering the office environment.
– All samples in the office are sanitized each time they are touched.
– All frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected at the beginning and end of each day using disposable gloves.
– Anyone displaying symptoms will be asked to immediately leave the office and anything that they have touched will be disinfected.

In addition, we will be offering virtual meetings using FaceTime, Zoom, or other video chat services on your phone, computer, or tablet where we can walk through your project together, answer your questions, and get a few simple measurements. Planning, design work and selection meetings can easily take place with respect to social distancing.
Let us know if you’re interested – no better time than NOW to get a head start on learning how to make the most of your space and Love Where You Live!

We share this information as we care about our community, clients, staff, and trade partners. We will continue to update our policies as the situation changes. Stay safe and healthy!

Cases & Latest Updates

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These Bathroom Ideas will make you GREEN with Envy!

Gorgeous Green Cabinet

Green is a calming, centering color—the color of rejuvenation—so it’s a great choice for bathrooms. Often overlooked, green is a somewhat unexpected, but often stunning shade for nearly any bathroom. From emerald to sage, this color can provide a moment of calm before you start your day or as you get ready for bedtime. Green is an incredibly versatile and flexible color, perfect for modern bathrooms or classic ones. Whether you want to splash a coat of paint on your vanity (like this stunning hunter green version from craven_haven) or you are into a total tile revamp, here’s some inspiration to make you want to go green. 

Hunter Green Paint

One of the easiest and most effective ways to use green in your bathroom is simply by repainting the walls with a rich, glorious shade like this one from kathrynlavin. Green paint comes in a wide variety of shades, but this earthy, moody hue is giving us major inspiration. Plus, when paired with the white fixtures and subway tile, it stays light and airy. 

Shiny Green Tiles

from jonathanbondphotography nearly stopped us in our tracks. The bold chevron-laid tiles surely make a splash (no pun intended) in this guest bathroom. We love the rich jade hue that feels sophisticated but still a little playful, especially when paired with a pop of pink and gold. 

Soft Mint Green

If you want to create a spa-like space in your home, this stunning bathroom from architectseat is the perfect inspiration. The light mint green tiles feel incredibly clean and refreshing, especially when paired with the teak wood details. Pair a light, airy green with bamboo or natural wood in the bathroom for a neutral look that still has a pop of color. 

Deep Green & Dramatic

This stunning green bathroom from divinesavages is incredibly moody and utterly chic. We adore the art deco wallpaper and the gold bamboo mirror. Thought it’s on the darker side of the palette spectrum, this bathroom gives off a luxurious and calming feel. We love this kind of tone for a powder room or a guest bathroom where you can truly impress your family and friends.

Deep Green Soaking Tub

What is more luxurious than a soaking tub? ​A dark green soaking tub, like this one from thehousepotnoodlesbuilt. This bathroom has just enough color to give it plenty of texture and depth, but the contrasting white walls keep it light and open. While black and white will always be a classic combo, consider mixing it up and swapping out black for a dark green instead. 

Wallpaper & Moody Tiles

This lovely bathroom pictured by beckykimball may be small, but it’s big on style. We love the pairing of the dark green tiles with the lighter, fresh, beach-y wallpaper. If you’re worried that a dark green will overpower your bathroom, pairing it with lighter greens, grays and tans will keep it airy and bright while still packing a punch. 

Pink & Green

We think it’s time that pink and green replaced black and white as the best color combo out there. The colors of this fun bathroom from maxmademedoit give off a tropical island vibe we can’t get enough of. The soft, muted pink walls are balanced and grounded by the rich green floors and bathtub in this room. 

Paint the Tub

If you want an easy way to add a pop of green to your bathroom, consider refinishing a tub. A vintage clawfoot tub like this one from postprentisdesign is the perfect canvas for a coat of paint. Plus, this is a fairly easy DIY to do again and again whenever you feel like updating your bathroom space. 

Focus on the Wainscoting

If your bathroom has beautifully detailed wainscoting like this one from Small Stuff Counts consider giving it a mini makeover with a fresh coat of paint. We love how this moody green paint transforms the whole bathroom and makes it feel totally new. The right color can give your bathroom a facelift without needing to spend a lot of money. 

A Classic Bathroom

Many of the green bathrooms so far are modern, but this sweet bathroom from melanielissackinteriors proves that the shade works for nearly any home decor style. We love the muted sage green wainscoting, especially when paired with the lovely floral wallpaper. There are so many shades of green out there that there’s bound to be a version that works for your style. 

Sophisticated Simplicity

Green is such a powerful color that it can make your bathroom look unique and interesting, even in a simply decorated space. This chic bathroom from  karynmillet features a lovely shade of hunter green and a geometric wallpaper that complements it perfectly. 

A Pop of Color

Green is one of those colors where a little goes a long way. This cozy little bathroom from thewhitepeppervintage proves that even a pop of green paint can totally transform a bathroom. Painting the back of a shelf or the interior side of a door is a great way to give your bathroom a mini-makeover without a lot of effort. 

Mermaid Inspired

Now is the time to embrace your inner mermaid and channel the deep seas. As in this beautiful bathroom from theoldpiggery_, green is a great color to create a nautical vibe that’s a bit different from the standard blue and white version. Pick dark greens with blueish undertones for an ocean-inspired look. 

Create Your Own Built-in

We love this bathroom from claire.a.ramshaw, which creates the illusion of a built-in shelving unit with a single coat of paint. This rich green not only makes the whole space appear larger, but by painting the shelf the same shade as the wall, it almost blends into it and becomes invisible. 
We often shy away from dark colors because we’re scared they will make small spaces feel claustrophobic, but the truth is that a deep moody color like green will actually push the walls out and give the room more depth. 



How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Cleanliness is one of the most important parts of our lives and we spend a lot of time and money to clean our homes. We use our showers daily, but how clean is your shower? Does the glass door still look clean & transparent? If not, we’ll guide you through a few ways to clean your glass shower doors and make them sparkle again.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

What is Soap Scum?

The most basic issue with the glass shower doors is the soap scum. It snatches the transparent look of your shower door and makes it look ugly and gross in no time. Soap scum is basically a white colored filmy layer or it sometimes appears as gray which is formed when soap is used in hard water. The hard water contains magnesium and calcium which forms a scaly layer when mixing up with soap, minerals, and dirt present in tap water.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Removing Soap Scum

Soap scum should not be ignored. Soap scum is a substance made up of minerals and dirt which make layers on any surface and if not cleaned in a timely fashion and can become harder like concrete. So it is recommended to clean it on daily basis. There are many ways to remove soap scum.  Here are just a few tested guidelines for removing soap scum efficiently.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Every Day Squeegee

First, a basic and simple way to keep glass shower doors clean and shiny.  Soap scum is a compound/chemical reaction so it gets harder when not cleaned on a regular schedule. To avoid serious problems down the line and avoid having to spend a whole afternoon scrubbing your shower doors, it is necessary to clean glass shower doors on a daily basis and a squeegee can do the task for you.

A squeegee is basically a t-shape blade which is made up of rubber or leather used to spread or wipe liquid over the surface.  A squeegee is the best to clean glass walls after every use, just rub the wet walls and all your cleaning is done. Make sure to rub so that walls are no longer wet. If you don’t have time to perform daily cleaning,  you could try a rain repellent and protect the walls of your glass shower doors.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Cleaning Soap Scum with Vinegar

Vinegar solution contains a small number of acidic solutions (varying from 5%-20%) which are formed by fermentation of ethanol with acids. The solution can dissolve minerals in it so this could serve best to remove soap scum from glass doors. All you need is a spray bottle, vinegar and dish detergent that can fight grease.

Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part dish detergent and spray the liquid on the glass door. Allow the liquid to work on the scum, wait for about 20-30 minutes and rinse with a clean cloth and make sure to completely dry out the surface.  You can also choose to use a dish cleaning scrubbing wand and fill the wand with this solution and keep this in the shower for daily (or almost daily) scrub downs.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Soap Cleaning Scum with Ammonia

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

If you are suffering from severe issues caused by soap scum then use of ammonia is recommended. Ammonia is a pungent compound made up of nitrogen and hydrogen.  This cleaning aid is normally called in to serve serious cleaning problems.

To clean your shower, all you need to do is take a spray bottle, water and of course ammonia. Fill the bottle by mixing 1 part ammonia and 3 parts water and drizzle it on the affected area. After about 5-10 minutes, take a scrubbing brush and scrub the surface to loosen the soap scum. After scrubbing all the scum, wipe it with water and dry it completely. Never ever skip this step.

Precaution: As ammonia is a highly pungent compound do not forget to wear plastic or rubber gloves. Keep your face at a secure distance from the place you are going to apply the solution.  Make sure the area is well-ventilated as well.  Always carefully mix given quantities of ammonia and water.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Cleaning Soap Scum with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a white chalky powder that has a wide range of uses from baking to cleaning. To get the best results for cleaning your shower doors, mix it with borax (another abrasive compound associated with cleaning). Mix equal amount of borax and baking soda and add water to make a paste. Then take a wet sponge, add the mixture and apply it on the area covered with soap scum. Remove all the scum and paste and dry the surface completely.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Safety Measures to Take

Cleaning your glass shower doors can be a big task and also requires a few safety measures to remember.  Always make sure to avoid creating a toxic environment and check before mixing cleaning products–there are many cleaning products that should never be mixed!  Use of both bleach and ammonia at the same time is prohibited. The vapors of ammonia and bleach create a toxic gas called chloramine which causes shortness of breath and chest pain.

How to Clean Soap Scum Off Glass Shower Doors - Sebring Design Build

Tips to Keep your Shower Doors Scum Free

  • The key to keeping your shower doors clean and scum free is to keep it dry. Make it a habit to dry glass shower doors after every use.
  • A lot of the soap scum mess is due to hard water–reduce the chances of soap scum by finding ways to soften hard water.
  • In the designing phase, always select a design which allows airflow properly so that the drying process is easy to accomplish or it will become a headache for you.
  • Shampoos and conditioners with oils are good as hair products but they are not good for the health of your glass shower doors, use less oily products as possible.
  • Soap scum is mainly caused by soap and especially bar soaps–try to use liquid soaps and body washes, as liquid soaps are more easy to dissolve.
  • Last but not least, always keep a towel and spray bottle in or near your shower, do a fast scrub/wipe down after every use and keep the walls dry.


What Would You Prefer?


+ Estimated low price. (what’s not included?)
+ Vague scope of work.
+ Poor workmanship.
+ Unmet expectations.
+ Poor communication.
+ Questions not asked that would improve your project.
+ Lack of best practices.
+ Lack of loyalty to trade partners.
+ No design expertise.
+ Inexpensive, unproven products & materials used.
+ Total chaos during the project.
+ Your home left messy.

= Pain and dissatisfaction from undesired results.


+ Fixed all-included price. (knowing allowances before project is started)
+ Transparency. Clear and documented scope of work.
+ Excellent communication
+ Questions asked that can improve your project.
+ Quality craftsmanship.
+ Quality, proven products & materials used.
+ Best practices
+ Loyalty to trade partners.
+ Design expertise you can see.
+ Clean, organized workspace.
+ Your home left better than it started.
+ Met expectations.

= Pleasure of enjoying your new space for years to come!

The answer seems pretty simple to me, but ask yourself…
“What would you prefer?”

Kitchen trends for 2020

Discover the top design
trends for the new decade

Eager to find out the latest kitchen trends for 2020? Look no further. This year it’s all about making a statement with rich colours, stormy shades and open shelving. We’ve done our research to get the low down on which design trends and kitchen styles the public have been scouring the internet for.

Natural materials and earthy tones are due a comeback, and we wave goodbye to rose gold as we welcome brass accessories back into our kitchen. Read on to find out the latest kitchen design ideas that are set to make an impact in 2020.

1. Midnight blue

kitchen trends 2020

Luxurious and dramatic, midnight blue has been storming the kitchen style charts in recent years – but always with a designer price tag to match. This stylish hue is going mainstream. Marble and brass beautifully complement this popular shade. Brass taps and marble effect worktops finish the look.

2. The stone age

garcinia matt stone kitchen

2020 is all about getting back to nature, with a sharp rise in searches for natural materials – particularly stone. The matt stone finish of this kitchen is extremely versatile and can be perfectly suited to a traditional or a contemporary kitchen. Pair with earthy tones, wooden chopping boards and lots of greenery for a kitchen that’s inspired by mother nature.

3. Merlot magic

pasilla matt carbon kitchen

Rich and indulgent, wine inspired kitchens are having a moment in 2020. Popular looks include pairing charcoal cabinets with deep, plummy tones or adding extra dramatic flair by giving your whole kitchen a bold refresh with cabernet inspired cabinet paint. This carbon kitchen is perfect for hosting decadent dinner parties.

4. Bold as brass

brass kitchen tap

With the increasing demand for dark kitchens, a rise in the popularity of brass accessories is predicted in 2020 across lighting, taps and handles. Brass stands out spectacularly well against a dark background, creating a classy and sophisticated look in your kitchen. Industrial brass taps are an easy way of giving your kitchen a contemporary edge and off-setting stormy shades.

5. Show-off shelving

white artemisia kitchen

Open shelving has had its time in the spotlight, and it’s being taken to the next level as we move into the new decade. Glazed cabinets with integrated lighting allow you to show off your glasses and plates, as well as making a style statement.