Everybody needs a good road map.

A certain delivery company talks about how they love logistics.  In fact, they go to the extreme end of things to make sure their customers appreciate all of the details that their services provide.  A kitchen remodel can become a logistical nightmare.  Planning, shopping, dreaming, and, of course, coordinating, can challenge even the greatest organizational masterminds.

We too, tend to love logistics.  We encourage our potential customers to dream when it comes to their kitchen.  If you recall, our organization is working with Brooke and Andy Thrall with a kitchen make over project.  What you see in the picture to the left is Brooke’s homework assignment.  (We asked her dream a little about what she would like to see changed in her kitchen.)  The sketch that she completed becomes the backbone of our plan for her.  Brooke is extremely limited with her kitchen design as she has structural issues to keep in mind through the remodeling process.  She, however, did an outstanding job of relaying her plans/desires through a very simple sketch.

After our design team spent a little time with Brooke and her plan, we were able to convert those wishes into a workable concept that encompasses most of what Brooke wanted.  We plan on utilizing some new cabinetry, and to help stretch the remodel dollars, we will also incorporate some refacing.  I am confident that Brooke will absolutely fall in love with the pantry unit that we have inserted into the plan.  Her original kitchen was terribly short on storage.  The pantry, with the use of some pull out shelves, will virtually eliminate her storage issues.

Brooke is now in the final stages of her responsibilities.  (A laminate counter-top decision must be made as well as a wood species and hardware.)  Once those issues are resolved, then it is time for our production and installation teams to step into the mix of things, and turn all of the planning and dreaming into reality.


Project an image

Replacement windows not only improve the comfort level of your home, but the windows that you select can also make a big difference in what kind of return you can expect on your initial investment.  Every home is unique, and each setting deserves individual attention as to what type of window should be installed into that opening.  There is no “one size fits all” answer in the replacement window industry….at least not from a professional remodeler. 

When an ordinary window doesn’t do justice to your setting, consider a bay or bow window.  By turning your living room into the focal point of your home, you will be rewarded with the undeniable beauty that is provided with the sweeping panoramic view that a bay or bow provides. 

In a very simple definition, a bay or bow is a combination of windows that project outward from the home.  A bow window sweeps away from the wall in a gentle arching fashion and contains groupings of four, five, or six windows.  A bay window contrasts the look of bow with distinctive angles, and is typically installed in openings that are not as wide as those that are built for a bow.

Installation of a projection window requires the expert, technical skill of a master craftsman.  With a projection window an entirely new cluster of concerns must be addressed at the time of installation.  Water intrusion, thermal transference, and structural support are a few of issues that must be properly dealt with.  A window installation technician at Richard Larson Builders understands the effects that time, gravity, and mother nature throw at a bay or bow window and their careful attention to detail allows for years of worry free enjoyment.

With the experience that 45 years in business provides, it is easy to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors without paying to heat and cool it.  Leave the scenery in the background, and turn an average window into a dazzling focal point of your house with a new bay or bow unit.


Everybody should have some skin in the game

The home improvement industry is plagued by many interesting individuals that really do not have the consumers’ best interests in mind.  From marketing schemes, to inferior products, to questionable business actions; the “here today, gone tomorrow” mentality of some of my industry comrades can be quite embarrassing.

There are many issues that help set the table for this mess.  First and foremost, the consumer must understand that it is fairly simple to get into this business.  For the most part, a person with limited carpentry skills, a pickup, some tools, and a little ambition can start a construction company.  Throw in a cell phone, and a do it yourself website, and you are suddenly anointed with the title of expert.

The window replacement industry has also complicated things with their use of subcontracted installations.  (In this scenario, the homeowner may not even be aware this is happening.)  The process can operate something like this.  The homeowner purchases windows from Big Bob’s Discount Windows.  Big Bob, whose any size double hung is always $189 installed, turns around and “assigns” the install to Dave’s Quality Window Installations.  Dave shows up at Bob’s warehouse to pick up the windows and heads to the job site for the installation.  Dave has never seen the house; all he knows is that he gets $25 per window installed.  Dave, knowing that his compensation from Big Bob is extremely limited, rushes the install, and hurriedly cuts some corners.  Months later (or in some cases only days later) the homeowner has issues with his new windows; and calls Big Bob with a service request.  After a lengthy delay, Bob finally comes out to inspect the problem.  The homeowner is frustrated to learn that Bob claims the windows are fine, BUT that they were installed wrong, and he now must call Dave. Dave eventually arrives and points his finger at Big Bob’s cheap windows….the pattern of irresponsibility is just passed onto another.

Window replacement companies use subcontracted installations because it is simply a cheaper way of getting the windows installed.  No vehicles to provide for employees, no benefits to issue to employees, no installation responsibility…..I think you get the picture. 

With a window installation from Richard Larson Builders, there is no divided responsibility.  Our experienced employees install your windows.  Yes, the initial investment may be more to do it this way, but in a world filled with fast and immediate, after 45 years of service in central Minnesota we prefer accurate and correct.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

The Most Interesting Man in the World is an advertising campaign for the Dos Equis brand of beer.  The ads feature an actor by the name of Johnathan Goldsmith, whose claim, through the ad campaign, is his hilarious and intriguing personality aspects.  The narrator of the commercials explains that The Most Interesting Man in the World, “once taught a German shepherd to bark in Spanish,” or “he once had an awkward moment…just to see how it felt,” or even “his personality is so magnetic, that he is unable to carry credit cards!”  As the commercials end, Goldsmith always finishes with, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

Although some of my friends may want to take the advice literally, I would like to try to apply a different spin on it.  The thirst for knowledge is a never ending challenge, and, that knowledge is key for any successful home improvement, remodeling, or new construction project.  As we enter the remodeling season, your attempt to “stay thirsty” with construction knowledge should always include these issues that need to be addressed with your potential contractor:


Licensed/Insured:  Without a doubt, the most important questions to ask your contractor is about licensing and insurability.  Every contractor should be able to provide you with a copy of his/her license, and also be able to show you a certificate of insurance coverage.  (If either of these are lacking…do not, under any circumstance, allow this contractor to proceed.)

Product Knowledge:  Take the time to research the products that your contractor recommends.  A simple Google search may be adequate, but you also may need to invest the time into your own research.  Look for on-line reviews or forums that discuss each product.  You will be surprised at the vast amount of information you can aquire through these sources.  Education is expensive, however, so is trial and error.

Do Not Make Emotionally Charged Decisions:  Storm season in the upper Midwest has already started.  “Storm Chasers,” contractors that follow storms with damaging winds and large hail make a very good living preying on customers whose world is temporarily turned upside down with storm damage.  It is impossible to make a logical decision when you are emotionally involved.  If you feel rushed, confronted, or intimidated by a potential contractor, continue to look for other alternatives.

Stay Thirsty My Friends is great advice, and that thirst for knowledge will help alleviate many headaches when it comes to your remodeling project.




Best Kitchen Layouts = A Triangle

Beautiful Kitchen RemodelThis winter, at least in south central Minnesota, has been mild.  However, when February rolls around, no matter how severe or mild the winter has been, you can count on cabin fever to kick in.  That semi- claustrophobic feeling of isolation takes over, and the same old, same old just won’t do anymore.  That feeling of un-motivation may simply need some sort of change to create a new look on life; and that change is a solution a professional contractor can bring to the equation.

When it comes to significant change, I suggest starting in the most used room of the house; the kitchen.  From meals to meetings, electronics to ergonomics, this room is the centerpiece of all of the activities that take place in the house.  Whether your household is busy with children, or you are dealing with empty nest syndrome, the “hub” of your world still is built around this room.

An overall design of the kitchen will either accent that hub, or destroy it.  (Some researchers have even gone to the point of listing an efficient kitchen as a key staple to a happy life.  The key to a properly laid out kitchen revolves around a very simple concept; the work triangle.

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