Diane Feffer



This bland kitchen didn’t fit the homeowners personalities at all, but because of great timing and flawless execution, Bruce Graf was able to transform it into a stylish space perfect for holiday entertaining.

By Diane Feffer
Special Contributor

It’s time to start thinking about the holiday season, and whether your kitchen and living areas are ready to play host. We met up with Bruce Graf, a home remodeler with 30-plus years of experience. He explains why July is the perfect month to start planning your home remodel project, so that you can gather family in your newly renovated kitchen by the holidays. Why is July a great month for planning a remodel?
Bruce Graf: Quite simply because the quality design process takes several weeks. By starting in July, it’s probable that your actual remodel could begin in September and be finished by November.


After a thoughtful and thorough planning stage, the remodel went off without a hitch, and now the homeowners have the perfect kitchen for preparing a holiday feast.

After a thoughtful and thorough planning stage, the remodel went off without a hitch, and now the homeowners have the perfect kitchen for preparing a holiday feast.

CD: What is the typical timeline for a basic remodel?
Graf: The timeline is relative to the size of the project. It could start out at four weeks and go from there just depending on the scope of the project.

CD: Sometimes, just starting is the hardest part. What is the first step for homeowners who want to remodel?
remodThe first thing on your list should be to connect with a good designer. More importantly, find a designer that has a good relationship with a contractor, because it’s a team approach. You have to have a good feeling for the people you are working with during this project.

Wondering what steps you should take to ensure your remodel goes off without a hitch? Graf offered this outline of goals and objectives to guide you to the perfect new space from start to finish:

  1. Contractor and designer consult with homeowner; building the team from the beginning.
  2. Establish a realistic budget. Most people feel like they have exposed themselves or that the contractor will take advantage of them if they reveal their budget. The budget is a key piece of information so that the designer and contractor don’t waste time and money in the design process. You don’t want them to build something on paper that is not realistic or that your budget won’t allow.
  3. Invest planning time in July and August. Put together a file folder with clippings of your favorite colors, rooms, cabinets, styles or anything that speaks to you. We had one client who picked out a large planter that gave us direction on her style. We designed and remodeled a home theatre for another client; with the sole guidance being a swatch of carpet.
  4. Designer starts driving the process; ideas can be formulated and colors can be pulled together so as to fit the homeowners’ personalities. Multiple drawings have been made for the homeowners to choose from. Ultimately the design has to fit the personality of the home. The designer is part of the project from beginning to end and they are worth every penny. If you are going to spend thousands of dollars, why skimp on this one detail? Investing in a designer makes a difference between having a nice or fabulous home remodel.

“Approximately 98 percent of our customers live in their homes during the remodel phase,” Graf added. “A quality contractor puts up a plastic barrier to separate the remodel project from the rest of the house. This ensures that you can survive the process and continue through your daily routine around the makeshift construction site within your home.”

* Article originally ran in Candy's Dirt on July 23, 2015.  Reprinted with permission. 

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