West Chester Kitchen Project – Fireplace and Wall Removal

Our West Chester project is moving along very well.  Brian has made a lot of progress since the last time we visited.  The entire center of this home is being remodeled, so right now it looks like a construction site.  Brian was still working when I came to take pictures and clean-up had not taken place yet for the day.  Remodeling isn’t a clean process, but our carpenters do a very good job of trying to reduce the stress that comes along with updating your home.

The fireplace has been completely demolished and he has started to rebuild it with non-combustible material.  Brain ran into a little bit of a surprise when he was deconstructing the brick and hearth.  The fire box wasn’t built exactly the way we anticipated which brought up a few questions about how to place the mantle where the clients wanted it and construct it according to code.  Brain cannot attach the mantle the clients chose directly to the concrete block because it would compromise the fire box structure.  Our options were to choose a larger mantle that would attach to the wall outside the firebox or pad the wall out in front of the fire box so the mantle has something from which to hang.

We have an interior designer on staff, Beth Spegal, who plays a major role in our design process and works very closely with our clients to generate a look and style they love without compromising functionality.  To Beth, a larger mantle was absolutely not an option because it would not look proportionate to the fireplace.  Our best bet was to pad the wall out, which is what you’re seeing in the picture below.  The metal surrounding the box is non-combustible.  The wires you’re seeing are for the TV, speakers, and various AV cables so our client has all the recent technology at his fingertips.

The old carpet has been removed all the way down the hallway in preparation for new.  New carpet won’t be installed until the very end of the project.

Brian has removed the portion of the wall that’s opening up the space.  New can lights are being installed so proper lighting will be available over their new peninsula.


There was quite a bit of electrical wiring placed in the soffits that Brian removed.  A decent amount of time had to be spent reworking those wires to get them out of the way.  When that happens, the insulation tends to become a mess.  All the insulation that has fallen will be reinstalled or replaced after drywall is installed.

Brian was working on removing and widening the doorway from the garage into the kitchen for better wheel chair accessibility.  Again, all the wiring and switches in that wall had to be shifted over to the left to accommodate the new opening.

After the rough electric and framing has been completed, drywall will be the next task on Brian’s list.  There’s a lot of drywall work to be done with the new soffits, new door opening, new fireplace face, and new peninsula wall.  Now it’s time for the rebuilding to begin!


Centerville Lower Level – Framing and Electric

The project here in Centerville is moving along pretty well.  Chad has finished framing the storage room, hallway, and new bathroom door.  Now that the walls have properly spaced studs, he’s ready for drywall starting this week.

In the storage room, Chad framed a wall to create a smaller storage room with access to the water heater, furnace etc., if they ever need to be replaced.  This opens up the rest of the room as a sewing/craft space, or play area for the grandkids.


The fireplace room feels much more spacious and open with the removal of the hallway wall and lower stairwell wall.  The pole you’re seeing that’s wrapped in foam is a plumbing stack.  It will be buried in a column Chad has framed (see the third picture below).


This shows the new wall framed for the hallway/laundry room door and the new door to the bathroom.

The shower insert has been installed.  The lip around the outside of the stall is where the drywall will overlap to finish off the edge shower.  Chad also custom framed a space for a new medicine cabinet.

The client wanted to remove the wall enclosing the stairs to visually open up the entrance to the lower level.  A banister was necessary for safety, so instead of removing the whole wall, we removed half of it to create a knee wall.  It will still make the lower level feel more inviting and spacious coming down the stairs.


The last major change that took place last week was the rough electric.  Our client’s existing electric panel was a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panel.  Federal Pacific Electric panels were common from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, but later discovered they failed to provide protection from overcurrent and short circuits.  The breakers can fail to trip which results in outside power surging to the panel, overheating, and fire hazards.


Another problem with the FPE panels is that Arc Fault Circuit interrupters (AFCI) don’t fit in that particular design.  An Arc Fault Circuit interrupter is designed to detect non-working electrical arcs and prevent fires by disconnecting the power.  When our client learned these two points, they elected to have the entire panel replaced.  It will be a much safer product for their entire home. 

To bring the rest of the house up to electric code, we

As I stated, the next big milestone in this project is drywall.  There is a lot of drywall to be done, but this lower level will look like a whole new place when it’s done!

Beavercreek Master Bedroom/Bathroom Project – Complete

After a few last-minute plumbing fixtures issues, the Beavercreek project has been completed.  The lavatory sink spigots we originally chose didn’t allow enough space between the water stream and the back of the sink to be comfortable.  It was a lesson learned for us, so we replaced them with faucets that reached further out into the sink bowl.  We also wanted the Roman Tub spigot to match as well and that was the item that took the longest to get delivered.

So, here we are in their new, beautiful bathroom with a luxurious shower and tub.  Tile and grouting have been complete.  The grout we use is called Quartz Lock and it’s a polyurethane based grout, which means it’s a water-resistant product.  Another benefit is that it’s stain resistant as well.   That doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean it, but it is a great product that will stand the test of time.



Doors, drawers, mirrors and light fixtures have all been installed in the vanity area to really finish off that look.


The master bedroom built-in furniture is complete with all doors, drawers and hardware.  Talk about storage!  You can store everything from clothes, to shoes, to hats to whatever else your imagination can dream up.  The window seat is a great touch that also provides storage.


The master bedroom, hallway, and three other bedrooms throughout the upstairs have all received plush new carpet.  The carpet they chose is called Parabus Best Tigressa Berber Fleck in the color Pebble, and, from what the clients says, it hides everything.  Nobody wants to feel like they constantly have to clean, so this has been a wonderful addition to their entire second floor.

The hall bathroom was finished much quicker than the master bathroom and turned out very nicely.


Brian and his help did a wonderful job on this project and our client is very happy with the final results. If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to comment on any of the posts and I will respond within 24 hours.  I want to thank our clients for allowing me to report on the progress of their project.  Remodeling is a stressful process, but they were wonderful people to work with. Stay tuned to see other projects by Remodeling Designs!

Centerville Lower Level Project – Finish Demolition

Chad has completed the demolition and is moving right into framing.  The fireplace room has been gutted, the ceiling torn down and the flooring removed.  Framing material for the storage room has been placed in here to allow space to build a new wall.


After the storage room was demolished, Chad discovered that one of the walls did not have proper framing to hold the drywall sufficiently.  Although the existing wall is not structural, the framing was measured at 48″ on center.  This means there is 48″ from the center of each 2″ x 4″ to the 2″ x 4″ next to it.  To do the right thing, meet building codes and support the amount of drywall we’re putting up, Chad will frame the new wall at 16″ on center.  He will build the entire wall on the ground first, then lift it up to stand on-end and put it in place.  You can see he’s started to build the wall in the picture below.


The door location to the bathroom has moved for more convenient access from the hallway.  A small storage area on the right-hand side has been removed to accommodate that new door.

The full bathroom has been gutted and the rough plumbing is taking place.  Plumbing fixtures aren’t moving locations, but valves and pipes need to be replaced.

Chad will also be constructing a new wall and door to enclose the storage space beneath the stairs.  The other wall that will be newly framed is the wall between the hallway and the laundry room area.  Chad had to remove the wall because it wasn’t constructed properly and in order to hang drywall, it needed to be rebuilt.


Chad will be tackling the rough electric and finishing up the framing this week.  Drywall will be the next major task on his list.  Check back to see how and where the walls were framed and how the bathroom is coming along!

West Chester Kitchen Project

Welcome to the beginning of our West Chester Kitchen project!  When we first met with these clients, they expressed their need to open up the kitchen into the adjacent family room to give it more of a “great room” feel.  They wanted to be able to see the TV from the kitchen as well as socialize with guests while the cooking/baking was taking place.

Wheel chair accessibility and ease of maneuverability through the family room and kitchen were critical components to the design of this project.  You will see throughout the project how we have incorporated our Universal Design ideas to help make our client’s life a little easier.  Both Erich, the owner of Remodeling Designs, and Brian, our Project Manager, are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS).

Brian has already started demolition work.  To depict the change that has taken place in the three short days he’s been there, I have placed the “before” and “after” photos side by side.

In the family room, Brian is completely remodeling the face of the fireplace and mantle to give it a whole new look.  We will be lowering the mantle so our clients can mount their TV on the wall above it.


Brian will be removing most of the wall between the family room and kitchen, leaving the bottom for cabinets and countertop space to get a peninsula look.


We have removed what once was an island in the middle of the kitchen to open it up for better flow and more room for our client to get around.


Soffits were removed, and the door to the laundry room will be widened for better wheel chair accessibility.  A tile floor will also be installed.    


Stay tuned for more photo updates to the project as we watch Brian transform a good kitchen into a more functional and beautiful kitchen!

Centerville Lower Level Project

To begin the New Year, Remodeling Designs will be starting a basement project in Centerville. The space has served many purposes in the 20 years that our client has lived in the house; most recently as a rehearsal/recording studio for their son. Now that he’s moved to San Diego to pursue his music career, our client is ready to take a fresh look at opening things up and making better use of the space.  Their goal is to convert it from a cluttered “basement” to a well-planned “lower level”. We’re really excited to see how our Project Manager, Chad, makes this transformation into something spectacular!

There are four main spaces in this basement that will be remodeled: the fireplace room, a storage room, a bedroom, and a full bathroom.  Throughout this project, I will take pictures of the rooms from the same angles in order to best depict the change taking place.  Before we can witness the change, we must view the “before” pictures.

This is the front and back view of the fireplace room.      

This is the view of the storage room.


This is the bedroom.


And last, but not least, the full bathroom.

Normally, we try to post about our projects once a week depending on the progress Chad is making.  This will allow you to see major changes and what’s going on in the four main areas.  Feel free to “subscribe” to our blog, to get notifications when new articles are posted.  Comments and questions are welcome and I’ll try to respond within 24 hours.  Thanks so much for following along!