Thursday, February 19, 2009

Home Renovations That Sell

So I work with several local real estate agents on a regular basis prepping their listings prior to putting them on the market. Eric Rojas of Rubiloff in particular and I do a lot of work together. We feel that doing some minor upgrades can really freshen up the look of your house or condo and help eliminate some of the main deterrents to potential buyers. I will give you two examples of listing preps that we have done recently and what we were able to accomplish for the money.

Project #1, 1bedroom/1bath condo, budget $3000

--remove existing shelving and rod and replace with new shelving and closet rod

--remove existing light fixtures, medicine cabinet, mirror, and shower door
--refinish existing tub
--clean all floor and wall grout
--remove old caulk as necessary and re-caulk with matching mildew resistant caulk
--install new ceiling and vanity lights
--install new mirror and medicine cabinet
--patch walls around new mirror and medicine cabinet as necessary
--fill holes in tile with caulk or grout to match as closely as possible

--patch and prep damaged dining room wall
--paint walls in bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining room, hallway, and one hallway closet with 2 coats of Benjamin Moore paint

This place was nice but the only thing that had been updated was the kitchen. Everything else was really dated and hadn't been maintained properly. The closet shelving was ancient--it had some 1960's wallpaper on it--and falling down. There were some very noticeable cracks in the drywall. The paint colors resembled something you would find in a child's coloring book. And then there was the bathroom. It had an old sliding shower door that was ready to fall off the track at any moment, a really discolored tub, and badly stained grout throughout the shower and on the floor. Everything needed to go but the budget didn't allow for it. Fortunately when the owner replaced the kitchen cabinets he also replaced the bathroom vanity cabinet. So we were able to keep that. We did some serious cleaning, painting, and cosmetic work and that bathroom ended up looking great!

Project #2, 3bedroom/1.5bath single family home, budget $1225

--remove and dispose/recycle existing mirror, toilet, vanity light, shower curtain rod, and plastic baseboards
--remove all wall hardware and save for re-use
--re-caulk around tub
--remove, clean, and replace ceiling fan/light and wall heater
--patch walls and ceiling as necessary and prep for paint
--purchase and install new baseboards throughout
--purchase and install new shower curtain rod
--repair cabinet hinges
--purchase and install new framed mirror
--purchase and install new vanity light fixture
--paint walls, ceiling, trim, and doors
--purchase and install new toilet

Since the budget was small, for this project we decided to focus all our efforts on the only full bathroom in the house knowing that potential buyers would be focusing on this as a problem area. We recommended to the seller that we remove the linoleum and replace it with a porcelain tile. This would have cost an extra $550. They decided to pass and stick to their budget. We also proposed to paint the vanity cabinet, install a new granite countertop, and install a new sink and faucet. This would have been an additional $975. They chose to do the minimal and pass on that option as well. By de-cluttering the space we were able to make the bathroom seem much brighter and in turn larger. The new
white toilet looked a lot "cleaner" than the old gray one did. The new mirror and light fixture gave the room the updated look we were going for. The new baseboards and white paint finished it off for a great low budget upgrade.
Email me if you want to upgrade your home or prep it to sell.
Email Eric if you want to buy or sell a home.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Licensed plumbers, electricians, and more

As a general contractor, one of the most challenging things for me is finding and keeping a good team of subcontractors around me that I can count on at short notice. These guys have to be reliable, punctual, trustworthy, and most importantly do high quality work that I'm willing to put my name and my reputation on the line for. Oh yeah-another important detail-I need them to be licensed and insured as well.

As a homeowner looking to have repairs done you are in a tough situation. Who knows if the person you are going hire really knows what he's doing. You probably won't know they have cut corners until you have more problems down the road that require more repairs to the work that they supposedly already did. I'm even hearing more and more stories of problems with Angie's List contractors. Believe me, I'm talking from experience here. GC's don't automatically happen upon the best subcontractors either. It's taken me years to put together the team of subcontractors that I work with now. These guys are good and that's why I use them every day in your homes (and in mine).

Why should you spend valuable time scouring the internet looking for a plumber, an electrician, a roofer, or a cabinet maker. Artistic Construction will handle your project from start to finish, inside and outside, large and small.

Call me @ 773.642.7836 or email me @ to set up a free consultation.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Countertops...Let's Do Concrete

Are you planning to update your kitchen or bath? Or are you in the middle of a full rehab project? When it comes to choosing your countertop material you probably think of granite as the first option, right? After all it's what you see in every new condo or home. It's what you want, right? Because that's what everyone else has? Come on...think a little differently. If you've done your research you'll know there are quite a few good options for countertops--soapstone, silestone, corian, tile. They all have their pros and cons and various price tags. But have you thought about concrete countertops? You've probably heard of them but most likely not seen them here in Chicago. Concrete can be pigmented almost any color you want. It can be custom shaped and inlayed. You can add decorative aggregates to the finish. When designing concrete countertops there is room for a lot of creativity--or you can go with a simple sleek look. If you want to make your kitchen or bath stand out from 95% of the other new places, pigmented concrete countertops are a great option. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions or want to discuss a current project.
Phone: 773.642.7836

Monday, September 10, 2007


With so many people living in multi-unit buildings or high-rises in Chicago, they either find themselves adapting to the noise from their neighbors or getting more and more frustrated by it. This has led to an increase in these people calling me looking for a solution to their noise problem. As a result I've done quite a bit of research to find an effective soundproofing method at a cost that is affordable. The magic solution is a small isolation clip that prevents the transfer of vibrations (sound waves) and literally allows me to build a thin wall (3-4") onto your existing wall that is completely isolated from the original structure. Obviously there's a lot more that goes into it, but for sake of space here, I will leave it at that. If you have any questions or want to discuss this more, please give me a call @ 773.642.7836 or shoot me an email to