Renovating your kitchen or bathroom?

Begin With The End In Mind

There are two primary reasons to remodel a home: 1) To have a more enjoyable home, and 2) To increase the value of your home. Most of the time it’s a combination of both. For instance, take the case of swimming pools. Generally, a swimming pool actually lowers the resale value of your home. However, this author just loves a pool and spa so the pleasure gained is more valuable than the money involved in a resale  The same is not true with a remodeled kitchen or bath as these remodels invariably lead to significantly increased value.  It’s important to consider these aspects and to consult a real estate expert to determine your return on investment.

Have a Budget

This seems to go without saying but it is, of course, quite vital as nobody likes to get a surprise invoice at the end of a project. Remember to add a significant contingency fund to your project for unexpected changes to plans or prices. Often, a 20% contingency allowances is called for. Also consider incidental costs such as eating out vs. cooking at home. Sometimes, a brief hotel stay might be warranted. If you have a reasonable budget in mind then your contractor can design a project that fits your budget.


Ask your family and friends about their experiences and lessons gained from a project. These people have experienced what you’re about to see!  You can also check the Better Business Bureau , Yelp, and other online sources can be referenced as well.  You can also research the name of the company on the web with searches in quotes like this, “Complaints ABC Contractors” and such.  

References by your contractors customers are, of course, required.

Understanding Who Does What

There are quite a few opportunities to participate in your project if you’d like to. For instance:

  • Who is going to do the daily cleaning?
  • Who will shop and select the needed materials and appliances?
  • Could the homeowner handle the demolition or painting and how does this affect the budget and the schedule?

All reputable contractors will have zero difficulty providing references. Additionally, you can check the internet for compliments and complaints. Just Google “ABZ Renovation Complaints or Problems.” You can also check for reviews on Google Maps or Yelp. Additionally, any good contractor will be able to send you pictures of their projects along with the client’s name.

If your potential contractor doesn’t promptly return calls and emails, look elsewhere!

Packing Up Items

Any remodel requires packing up items and storing them someplace.  If you prepare for this in advance, your remodeling project will proceed more smoothly than if you wait to the last minute.  Make sure you have enough boxes and tape, along with a big fat Sharpie!  You might also need packing material for fragile items.

Daily Routine

Keep in mind that your household routine will need to be adapted. Some folks just plan their remodeling project to coincide with their vacation. What about meal times, homework, laundry and other routine tasks?  Make sure everybody knows their schedule and sticks to it.

Plan For Outages

Your home might be lacking shut-off valves for the particular area you are working on.  If you have to turn off the water to the whole house, you are going to need to plan accordinly with buckets of water to flush the toilet.  Doing the dishes will likely be problematic so pay special attention to this. Likewise, how will turning off the power change your routine?

Do you need a master list?

Yes, if you’re doing some of the project yourself and aiming to make your project as simple and easeful as possible you’re going to need a list of tasks to complete.  For instance, you’ll need:

  • Paint brushes and rollers!
  • Dropcloths
  • Building permit if requeired.
  • Tools (check a pawn choop for deals)
  • Tiles, grout and applicable specialty tools
  • Buckets
  • Rags and sponges.

The list goes on so think through things carefully  otherwise you’ll be making lots of trips to the hardware store.



Make your own preliminary drawings

Get some graph paper and decide how many squares to a foot and get to it.  See if you can find a pencil and eraser.  These are meant to be rough sketches, not architectual blueprints so don’t underestimate your abilities.  If you shop for appliances, you can get exact dimensions and figure out what goes where in your newly renovated kitchen or bathroom.

Look into building permits

Renovations often require building permits the same as houses. This process must be completed accurately otherwise you risk having your new bathroom or kitchen delayed.

Virtually all bathroom and kitchen renovations require work on the eletricity and plumbing and for this a permit is required.  If you don’t have your project properly permitted you take a risk of having part of your project demolished to cure the non-compliance. This can be an expensive process.  

There are many DIY websites and books that cover this process.  For instance, family handyman has a list of items that require building permits. 



Building a custom home on Galveston Island?  Here are ten important questions to ask your builder.

How long does it take to build my custom home?

Of course this is the most important question to ask as it affects so many factors including, financing, movers, vacation time and more.  Additionally, there are many phases to a custom home project; land must be selected and purchased, the basic design of your home must be finalized and imported into a CAD program, blueprints must be made, prices must be set and construction permits obtained.  With this many factors it’s impossible to be precise about the time involved. Eight to twelve months is common.

What's included in the purchase price?

Cutter Sytle Custom Homes will give you the entire cost involved including septic, water, electricity, permits and all inspections.  We don’t have add-on fees and include a contingecny allowance of all of the expenses.  Of course, if there are major changes in finishings or you want to add a pool, pier or dock, the price will be adjusted accourdingly.

Will I be credited with supplying my own fixtures or materials?

This is a common question and of course you will be credited.  However, for almost any fixture or material, we can get a better price.  If one of your family members owns a lumber yard then by all means set up a discount that we can use.  As a custom home builder, we have established contractor prices at all of our suppliers and since we build exclusively on Galveston Island we are able to offer you very competitive material pricing.

Can you help us find the right location?

Yes, we can absolutely assist you in finding the perfect place.  If you want to live in the wilds, then Boliver Penninsual is the place for you.  On Bolivar you have wide open beaches where you can camp out, have bond fires and generally live an old-style life.  If you love to fish or water ski, then you might want to live on the north side where you can have your own private pier and/or boat dock/lift. The classic Gavleston Beach houses are out on the West End and have names like Prirate’s Beach of Indian Beach.

What about hurricaines?

Yes, hurricaines are a fact of life on the island but we always have plenty of notice. The custom homes we build on the Island are equipped with:

  • Armored windows
  • Storm shutters
  • Deep foundations
  • Hurricaine straps to keep the floors and roof intact
  • Elevated AC units
Will there be a home owners' association.


Will you landscape my new custom home?

Yes, we provide you with a custom home that is ready to move in. We will offer you a choice of many landscaping options including ‘zero-scape’ yards that need no watering or pesticides.  There are lots of native grasses that look just terrific when mowed and, of course, palm trees take care of themselves.

Are there zoning laws on Galveston Isalnd?


Galveston has very moderate zoining except the historic districts which are heavily zoned.  The entire Isalnd is incorporated so the building permits apply everywhere and are quite strict, especially when it comes to hurricaine integrity.

We have a thorough knowlege of the zoning law.  If you are interested, here is the complete law in a PDF file.

What can I expect for weather?

The climate in Galveston is very moderate.  In the summer the high temperature is 6-8 degrees cooler in the summer than Houston and quite a bit warmer in the winter. Typicaly, a hot summer day is 89-91 degrees and winter lows are usually in the 40-5o degree range.  Complete details here. It almost never freezes and it is always cooler than Houston in the summer time.