Kitchen Windows

When designing a kitchen what should you be looking for when choosing a new window(s) in the kitchen?
There are 6 different types of windows available but only 5 can open. The picture window is just that a cased opening with a secured thermo pane glass installed in the opening.

Awning; With this type of window the operating devices are located at the bottom of the window that makes it easy to operate. These windows are hinged at the top and swing outward. The problem is that the kitchen countertop is 36” tall than the window is about 24-36” tall. IE the top of the window is between 5’to 6’ off the floor so when you are looking out the window at the sink all your eyes are looking at the top of the window jamb, you must duck to look out the window.

Glider; With this type of window the operating devices are located half way up the window that makes this window hard to operate when you lean over the sink and faucet.

Casement; This is a great type of window the operating devices are located at the bottom of the window that makes it easy to operate, also if the wind is coming from the left and you want to bring the air in open the right window and it will hook the wind and bring it into the kitchen.

Double Hung; This is a good looking window but it has a draw back you must on unlock the window, the lock is half way up the center of the window opening it from the bottom is adequate again the sink and faucet is the way.

Hopper; A hopper window is a cool design of a window but it swings and tilts into the room in the swing mode the window can not open the faucet is in the way.

Transom; Having a transom window over the regular kitchen window is great unless you have a ceiling under 9’ again the bottom of the transom and the top of the regular is in your line of sight.

Permacast Columns

These are a great way to make a pergola or a front porc.

Low Maintenance
Permacast columns are cast from a proprietary fiber-reinforced polymer composite with exceptional strength-to-weight characteristics and requiring minimum maintenance. They are weatherproof, insect-proof and highly durable. They look best painted, and repainting when the color looks out of date.


Low Maintenance
PermaCast columns are cast from a proprietary fiber-reinforced polymer composite with exceptional strength-to-weight characteristics and requiring minimum maintenance. They are weatherproof, insect-proof and highly durable.

Capitals & Bases
Tuscan style capitals as well as the five differenttypesof ornamental capitals also follow the guidelines of Greek and Roman architects. Attic bases, copied from those of ancient Attica, are also available.

Plain & Fluted
Permacast columns are available plain or fluted in the widest variety of sizes in the industry. Deep, sharp flutes and smooth, easy to finish surfaces set Permacast apart from wood columns.

Dressing up a stairway


There are a lot of poor quality contractors and carpenters out there, when people sign up for having handrails system installed on a stairway. They are surprised as to what was built. A Lot of contractors build a knee-wall 2”-3” above the tread, covered by a wood trim board and then the handrail system on top the trim board, because they don’t know how to install a exposed tread system.

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A cheap exposed tread system looks like this photo. What makes it look cheap is the skirt board. The reason is that it does not match the baseboard joining up with it.


If you have to put in an inexpensive knee wall over a handrail this is a quiet but elegant way of going about it.


If you have a smart carpenter use a 1”x 8” board and a piece of 5” tall base to make a custom make skirt board. Join them to together with a biscuit jointer and glue. Than run it through a surface planer and bring them down to the same thickness. A few minutes of light sanding, and your new skirt board is ready to be custom cut.


Not only can it be custom cut into the base, but you can make it follow up the staircase to the 2nd floor enhancing the look of staircase.

Columns were are they to be used

Installing architectural elements IE columns are a way to bestow grandeur, or an air of formality, reverence, and ha for ones surroundings. If your looking for a quiet place to read, or review documents having columns quiets the room down. When people enter they become respectful of the area. Installing columns in a formal dining room is saying to the guests that bar room manners are not welcome, and this is not a picnic ground, so put on your good behavior.
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If your looking for a light hearted atmosphere to dine with children this is not the room for columns.
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Columns make a person take note of their surroundings that something has in the past, present, and/or near future will be happening in this place.

Going back to theses homes I have installed these columns, It bring me back to the meeting that I had attended in these rooms over the years.

Installing cheap columns or ones that are improperly built cheapens the room, which sends a massage to the people coming in seeing them actually ignore the fact columns are there, even thought they have to step around them as they walk through the house.
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Bathrooms say a lot about the people living in the home.

Are you sending the right message.
Before you remodel your bathroom,
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Think long term 5 ,10, 15 ,or 20 years and/or 2 or 3 different types of jobs or hobbies you might have in the future.
You may spend 10 minutes and up 2 hours a day in this prep room. Doing things right in this room will set your mode for the rest of the days you live in this house.
Thing to think about when you design a bathroom;
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Number of people needing to use this room at the same time; 2 or 3 kids, a couple, 2 or people staying over IE relatives and friends, room mates, etc.
With these things in mind your now ready to start answering questions.

a. Think about cleaning
B. Bathing
C. Midnight strolls
D. Getting your makeup on
1. Lighting
2. Putting on makeup
3. Storage
4. Accessibility to storage, and left or right handed people
5. Accessories- hair driers, curling
6. 6. Room accents

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Attic spaces

Older homes have a large advantage over new homes. The designs of these gracious older homes have large attics with fun ways to convert theses spaces into unique personal rooms.
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In this attic space we converted a trusses roof system to create a personal office for this family.


We had some fun with personal area we installed quarter sawn white oak with accent walnut strips in the corbels, top rail of the panel system and the desktop edging.

Box and Custom Cabinets

Box cabinets come in widths of 3 inch increments (12″, 15″, 18″, 21, 24, etc.) this means if your cabinet length is 5’ 2 1/2” you will need a 2 1/2” filler section on the facing of your cabinets. Custom cabinets are custom fit with no filler sections and more useable storage.

With box cabinets you have face frame of 1 1/2” wide per box, when you join 2 boxes together it becomes 3” wide with a vertical seam between all the boxes. Custom cabinets have face frame of 1 1/2” –2” wide allowing more room for access as well as wider drawers.

Most box cabinets have a 1/8”-1/4” overhang on the face from the cabinet box. This makes it hard to put crown molding around the top of the cabinet, as well as toe shoe around the base cabinet. These box cabinets have no extra material to custom fit the boxes to the wall. There will be a gap between the back wall and the cabinet. If the person installing the cabinet followed the bow of the wall now the front face of the cabinets are no longer straight. Installing a counter top on these boxes will have to custom made to get a big enough overhang on the counter top to make it look good. If there is a bow in the wall this could be hidden with custom cabinets.

The only time a box cabinet looks above average is when it has a full over lay door covering most of the face frame.

All the quality in box cabinets is located in the appearance of the cabinet, not in the operation, structure, or functionality.

Building contractor(s) vs handyman(s)

Building contractor(s) verses handyman(s)

What’s the difference?
The Department of Labor and Industry requires licenses for residential building contractors, remodelers, roofers and manufactured home installers. The department requires certain standards of education and professional conduct be maintained to obtain and retain a license.

Licenses are required for all residential building contractors and residential remodelers who contract with a homeowner to construct or improve dwellings by offering more than one special skill. Owners working on their own property must also be licensed if they build or remodel for the sole purpose of speculation or resale.

Liability insurance with limits of at least $300,000 per occurrence, which must include at least $10,000 property damage coverage.
Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance certificate or a written explanation of why the applicant is exempt from workers’ compensation requirements. Applicants who have no employees and have no intention of hiring employees (other than spouse, parent or child) during the next year should attach a written statement with the license application explaining the specific reason they are exempt. If applicant is uncertain whether workers’ compensation insurance is required for your business, contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry at (651) 284-5005.

A handy man needs none of the above unless he and/or she does more than one of these items concrete, frame, side, sheetrock, trim, tile, hardwood flooring, carpeting, painting

If a handy man gets injured at your house he or his insurance company can sue the home owner. Always Protect Yourself.

A Standard Closet is a Waste of Good Space

A standard closet has one of the following types of doors; bi-fold, sliding, or standard door(s). These doors make it hard to get into the closets as well as being in the way of storing items. Doors also inhibit the movement around the doors.
Standard closet

This closet was designed for more internal storage, but it uses up 18 square foot of floor in front of the closet that cannot be used for storage and or any thing else.

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Installing Lockers in the same place where you would put a closet, it will hold more items as well as being able to organize your items or your kids.

A walk-in closet laid out right yields more and better quality storage as seen in the next 3 pictures.

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Walk-in storage
Small walk-in

Entries always make a statement, what is yours saying?

Entry before trim

The house was built in 1950 on a nice lake. The new owners decided to remodel it before moving in. We updated the whole house from electrical,plumbing, heating, phone, security and millwork.
making pillars

We make our own pillars to fit each house. Buying factory pillars the heights are wrong for the jobs as well as are the fluting. factory flutes are done with a tables saw blade instead of a router giving a shallow look (cheap look).

applying buildups on column bases

On this photo we are building up the bases of the pillars.

Column tops

Applying crown and bed moldings to make up a 6 ply cornice look.

The final look of the front entry with a siting bench.