Counter Top Trends

Counter top Trends & Four Questions to ask your contractor

Our talk with Armando Trevino of Stone Crafters!

The most common question about counter tops is ‘What are my options?’ For enjoyment and maximizing home re-sale value, granite and quartz are the most popular options. So, what’s the difference?

Granite ranges in types and price from entry-level to exotic. The difference is in the look. An entry-level granite is more uniform in design. An exotic granite has more variation and may have more intense or distinct colors. Good quality granite has an epoxy resin that is vacuum sealed onto the stone, meaning that there is an actual coating on granite that makes it impenetrable to stains.

Quartz is a non-porous material that consists of 89% granite and 11% resin. The beauty of quartz is that you can get colors that mimic marble in white and greys that are simply not available in granite. You can get quartz with veins (the kind that looks like marble) for about the same cost as exotic granite. Beyond the material, you will need to choose details such as the type of edge on the counter top.

It’s important to do your homework before hiring any contractor. Check state license boards as well as social media sites to start. Here are 4 questions to ask when shopping around for a company to help with your kitchen:

1. How long have you been in the business? What about your employees?

I’m celebrating 21 years of experience in this business. And some of the employees on my team have been working with stone counter tops for over 30. Counter tops are never a one-person job. Ask about the team.

2. What level of detail do you provide?

Some contractors only provide one part of the total project. Ideally, you want a contractor who is responsible for all of the details before, during, and after installation. For example, I tell people, “I come with the job.” When someone signs a contract, I help them source all of the materials that they need — the stone and backsplash. We’ll talk about the faucets, stove top, or other related appliances. It saves time to have everything ready to go before the start date. That is the key – making sure that everything is lined up and that you aren’t waiting for anything.

3. What is the schedule for the work?

The time it takes to install new counter tops varies widely by contractor. For us, the average kitchen remodel is one week from start to finish. Monday is a busy day – demolition to rip out existing tile, take down the bare cabinet, remove old tile, take it to the dump and dispose of it. Then, we make templates using modern technology to recreate your exact kitchen. Tuesday through Thursday is when we create your kitchen in the shop; we don’t need to be in your home. Friday – our team takes care of the installation and the job is complete. Be sure and ask about schedule so that your kitchen isn’t torn up any longer than it has to be.

4. Why are you the best for the job?

It’s always interesting to hear what people have to say about their work, and it helps you understand if this is a person you want to do business with. It’s important to me to help people make decisions that they won’t regret later, and I make sure that they are happy. I also help my clients save money by passing along savings on material in the form of various discounts that I receive from my vendors.

There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do to make a job right – my job is to make you happy. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Finishing Touches Make the Difference

Finishing Touches Make the Difference

Window coverings upgrade and update a home, adding pleasure and practicality. Blinds and More, Inc. is a locally-owned source for a wide variety of custom window coverings.

Their personal service combined with competitive pricing gives them an almost 21-year history of beautifying homes in Bakersfield. Dennis Knittel, owner of Blinds and More, talked with Bakersfield Home Magazine about his experience with window coverings.

What are important considerations when choosing types of window coverings?

Number one, we ask people what’s important to them. Let the light in, or darken a room? Make a statement or blend in with decor? Is saving energy or reducing noise an issue? We also talk about budget and anticipated length of time in the home so that we can help customers get the best value. We want people to understand the different options available.

What mistakes should people avoid when purchasing window coverings?

Going for a low price and sacrificing quality is often disappointing. We also see that sometimes people only think about how the window covering will look from the inside. The exterior view is also important if the windows are on the front of the house. Finally, many people think that a custom service is outside of what they can afford. However, a professional can help get the exact look that a customer wants and will want to live with for many years. It’s important to talk through such an important decision.

How do you work with customers?

My wife Kathy and I have owned and operated Blinds and More, Inc. for close to 21 years in Kern County. These years of experience give us the expertise that benefits our customers in choosing of window coverings – no matter the need.  We have professionally-trained consultants who work one-on-one with customers in their home or office. We know that people typically make their decisions based on the following areas:

1 – Quality of the product;

2 – Economical pricing; and

3 – Experience, especially of the installers.

What products do you provide?

As our name states, we offer more than blinds.  We offer Plantation Shutters, Roman Shades, Honeycomb Shades, Solar Roller Screen Shades, and Verticals.  Every manufacturer has different strengths in each category, and are unique in their own way.  We understand the benefits of each for different types of windows and budgets. One of the newer and more innovative features is motorization, which is now offered in almost every category of window coverings.

What recommendations do you offer to those looking for your services that make a big impact in a home or office?

If you want to make a big impact in the appearance of your property, both inside and out, we recommend Plantation Shutters.  These shutters are a unique window treatment because they create a look that enhances the overall design of your property.  You can use shutters to beautify your property from every vantage point.  Customers say their rooms explode with light and openness during the day, while also allow for privacy in the evening and at night.  Blinds and More, Inc. can help you select the best shutters in the industry for your unique space.

What experience in your industry sets you apart from your competitors?

What sets Blinds and More, Inc. apart from other companies and Large Box stores is the ‘volume discount’ that we receive from our manufacturers.  We also don’t have the overhead that many other companies have.  Our in-home/office approach helps our customers understand not only how the product will look but how it will be installed in their home or office.  We pride ourselves on being knowledgeable in our industry on all of the various products, as well as understanding why certain products will or will not work. What’s most important is taking care of the needs of our customers, and helping them select the best way to cover their windows.

What would you like our readers to know about selecting window coverings?

Selecting window coverings for your home might sound easy, but it can often be a complicated process.  Not all products will work in every space.  But don’t fret! Blinds and More is here to help you with those decisions, and ease you through the process.  Call us to set up a free in-home/office appointment for a time that fits your busy schedule.  A professionally trained consultant will bring samples of our products to you. Color swatches and other necessary materials help you make your decision and put your mind at ease.

We also provide great warranty and service repair work to our customers at no charge.  We are an established company and a licensed California Contractor.  Simply put, you can count on us for quality products and superior service.  Blinds and More makes it possible to pay less for window coverings and still get the best. One of our customers said so nicely what we work hard to do:

Dennis,

We are so pleased with our shutters.  They certainly upgrade our house and make our home more comfortable and inviting. You are lucky to have an employee like Felipe to install the shutters.  He worked constantly for 6 hours without taking a break.  Besides his excellent work ethic, he is a great craftsman.  I am sure that you compensate him well for his loyalty and talent. We are happy to do business with you and will not hesitate to refer to others.

Regards,

Jack and Jeanette C.

Everything you need to know about Gas Inserts for your Fireplace

Everything You Need to Know About Gas Inserts

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We spoke to Gary Flanagan at Econo Air about the benefits of gas inserts, and the rebates and vouchers offered by the Valley Air District.

Please tell us about the benefits of switching from a wood burning fireplace to a gas insert.

Bakersfield has many no burn days due to our poor air quality. That means many homeowners with wood burning fireplaces rarely get to enjoy them. With a gas insert, you can ‘turn on’ a fire any time you feel a chill or want to enjoy the ambiance. Another benefit is that a gas insert heats the living area, providing zone heating. You save money on utility costs when heating your primary living area instead of the entire house.

Most homes have central heating that comes in at the top of the room, and heat goes up, right? With a high efficiency gas insert there is no need to keep a blanket on your legs while reading a book, or watching tv.  You control the fire and heat with your remote thermostat, so that you are always comfortable.

Finally, many people get tired of the cost of buying wood and the hassle of hauling ashes and taking care of a wood burning fireplace.

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Now’s the Time to Think Solar

Now’s the Time to Think Solar

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Bakersfield Home Magazine sat down with Jeff Periera, President, and Scott Ryan, Vice President, of SunPower by Sun Solar to find out what solar can do for you.

California has always been blessed with an abundance of sunshine. So it’s only natural that Californians, Bakersfield residents, in particular, would be interested in solar power.

The perfect place to start your quest for more information on solar power in Bakersfield is SunPower by Sun Solar, a locally owned solar systems provider. Sun Solar was recently ranked 12th out of the Top 100 Residential Solar Contractors in the nation by Solar Power World Magazine. This is the most definitive ranking of solar installers across the country and includes companies both large and small; privately owned, as well as publicly traded.

We sat down with Jeff Periera, President, and Scott Ryan, Vice President, of SunPower by Sun Solar to find out more about their company and how it can help Bakersfield homeowners and businesses save on energy bills.

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Q&A: Experts in AC/Heating, Fireplaces, and Grills

Q&A:  Experts in AC/Heating, Fireplaces, and Grills

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Experience counts, and Econo Air’s owner, Gary Flanagan, talked with Bakersfield Home Magazine about important issues for homeowners

What advice would you give a home owner for maintaining their AC system?

1. Be sure to change the inside filter at least once a month in the summer and every two months in the winter. A dirty air filter restricts air flow back to the system and can cost you more to operate and cause expensive repairs. Summer and winter service is recommended by all manufacturers. If you have an AC system that is still under warranty, and you don’t take care of normal maintenance, your warranty is in jeopardy, just like an automobile.

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Q&A: A+ Customer Service at Carpet Outlet Plus

 

Q&A:  A+ Customer Service at Carpet Outlet Plus

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Home Magazine recently spoke with Carpet Outlet Plus to learn about their award winning service, and get tips on starting your flooring project.

What makes Carpet Outlet Plus different from other resources for flooring?

We are a locally-owned store that is run day-to-day by the owners, Mark and Jennifer. We feel that personal involvement is very important to the customer. Many purchases made today are from a national chain or big box store with little or no interaction between the consumer and the store. With local ownership that cares about the community, Carpet Outlet Plus strives for every transaction to be something we can be proud of. With over 60,000 sales and 12 Reader’s Poll Bakersfield’s Best Flooring Store awards, we want Bakersfield to know that we have been there for your family and friends. We have 22 years in the same location, and we’ll continue to be here for you in the future.

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Q&A: Making Dreams Come True

Q&A:  Making Dreams Come True

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Home Magazine recently sat down with the pros at  DreamMaker, to talk remodeling and how to find a contractor you can count on.

What are all the services that your company provides?

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen is a full-service design/build specialist providing a vast array of options that will fit most budgets from cosmetic upgrades to full-scale design/build.  As a General Contractor, we can also address many other areas outside of the kitchen and bath realm.  Doing room additions or a whole house remodel is definitely within our expertise.  Everett Gray has been licensed since 1983 in California. He has a wealth of knowledge and a portfolio that encompasses all aspects of residential construction.

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BBQ Meets the Digital Age!

 BBQ Meets the Digital Age!

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The Owner of the Bulk Yard, David Geig, talks to The Bakersfield Home Magazine about one the fastest rising stars in BBQ – The Pellet Grill.

Pellet grills are becoming one of the hottest trends in BBQ, even though they’ve been around for several years. The word is out — wood pellets provide convenient, clean grilling, and add great flavor to whatever you’re grilling.

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Home Protection Unleashed

Home Protection Unleashed

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Peace of Mind for Double-Door Homes

Bakersfield Home Magazine talked with  the founders of Security Guard Dog, to learn about their practical product that stops burglars.

What is the Security Guard Dog?

Security Guard Dog is a simple metal bar that fits on double door handles and prevents ‘kick-in’ burglaries.

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How to Create a One-of-a-Kind Home

How to Create a One-of-a-Kind Home

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Bakersfield Home Magazine talked with Brian Sorci, owner of Sorci Construction, to learn about custom remodeling from a 25 Year Perspective.

What services do you provide?

We’re custom remodelers who use master craftsmanship skills to create unique, one-of-a-kind projects. We look at projects as a ‘transformation of transitional spaces.’ It’s not just about remodeling one room; it’s how the remodel works within the context of the whole house. Houses used to be built with all of the rooms separated by walls. But today, people enjoy living areas that connect for flow. Even newer houses have areas that people want to update or refresh.

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