Game Rooms to Smile About

Family room, man cave, game room or plain old basement – whatever you call that underground space in your home – it’s a great thing to have.

Sometimes, however, it’s not quite the dream space you want.  Rule4 has renovated a number of basements. The one featured here is leaning towards the games/trophy room idea but we have also worked on the more traditional family room style as well as installations of  gyms and exercise rooms.

Mark Hendricks our professional in house designer can take your ideas and requirements and turn them into a great working space for your home.

New Direction for Whiteboards

Whether you use whiteboards in your office or home, do you always find you run out of space and wish you had the budget for a larger board in the first place.  There is a now a perfect solution – white board paint applied directly to any surface you want and any size you want.

Office walls, family room walls, conference tables – the list is endless.  Paint the entire wall or a custom size area to suit your needs.  Frame the space or leave it plain.  Don’t really want white –  no problem – whiteboard paint is available in a variety of colors.

Check out the IdeaPaint website for more information and lots of exciting ideas of where you can apply the use of whiteboards.

Rule4 is an experienced supplier of IdeaPaint in any office or home application.  Give Don Moran a call to find out more.  443.757.0431

Giving Your Kitchen A Face-Lift

Are your kitchen cabinets perfectly sound, but looking a bit shabby and out of date?  Are you reluctant to payout for a complete new kitchen?  Painting your cabinets and upgrading the cabinetry hardware could be the perfect solution.

$3000 – $4,500 is the typical cost for painting and replacing hardware.

Before                                                                                  After

What is the process?

  1. Rule4 will visit your home and give you a detailed FREE estimate based on your requirements.
  2. Where required, the Client selects new hardware – door knobs, handles and hinges.
  3. Client selects new paint color:
  • Rule4 has experienced interior designers to help when needed.
  • Rule4 typically uses water-based lacquer specifically designed for finishing interior paneling, cabinets and trim.  The product is fast drying and is available in ANY color.
  1. Client and Rule4 determine the appropriate area for the cabinets to be painted – typically the garage or basement, sometimes the kitchen itself.
  2. Minor cabinet repairs are carried out, where required, including sanding and using wood filler to correct any imperfections.
  3. 4 HLVP-sprayed applications are applied– 2 coats of sealing primer, 2 coats of lacquer.  In between each coat fine finish sanding ensures a smooth superior finish.   Rule4 uses an HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) Sprayer.  The advantage with an HVLP is the ability to spray the finest mist finish producing the smoothest finished product, plus minimizing material and overspray.  Standard Airless Sprayers are not able to achieve the superior finish compared to the HVLP.
  4. For an average kitchen the process takes 3 days, 2 days for preparation and painting, 1 day for reinstalling the cabinets, adding hardware and making final adjustments.

This is what the owner of the kitchen featured above said about the process and results of refreshing her cabinets with Rule4.

Ginny, Howard County MD
“I got your voice message and I will be happy to give a recommendation to Rule4. As you can see from Don’s photos, my kitchen renovation turned out beautifully! The work was very professional and the cabinets look as if they were just purchased. There was not a thing I would change about how the job was handled and the results. It gives me much pleasure to have this lovely room.”

Contact Don Moran for your FREE estimate today and make your old kitchen unrecognizable!


Renovating in Tough Economic Climate, Tips For Saving Money

We’re experiencing the tail end of a recession. And now gas prices have risen to ridiculous highs, possibly affecting the economic recovery and slowing it down a bit.  Consumers are still watching their expenses. However,  if you held out and was able to save and tolerate the bare-bones necessities,  now might be the right time to consider renovating those rooms and maybe work out a deal with the contractor.

More and more people are realizing that they could re-do their entire houses for a fraction of the price, it’s just a matter of knowing how to or just hiring the right contractor!

If you want to renovate or remodel your home, there are things you can do in order to squeeze every last penny out of that budget, and some of them are so obvious, you may not even have thought of trying them!

The so-called recession has allowed people to negotiate and acquire  more affordable options, as well as bargain basement prices on services thought previously to be expensive. Many television commercials for well-known local contractors are advertising and promoting lower pricing to attract consumers who have hesitated to invest in any sort of upgrades or renovation to their home, thus creating an equally slow down in the construction business.

We’re living in a don’t- move- up -put- up- with-nation so if we’re sticking with our current homes, why not give them a bit of sprucing up? Renovating your home is becoming increasingly popular among fellow recession suffers, because every one is realizing that if they take advantage of the savings now,  they could be reaping the benefits later.

Starting off with a good plan of action, which includes everything you want to achieve within your home. This is a given with any renovation project, but it is often over-looked.  By creating a plan, you can set reasonable projects and deadlines for completion, so you’ll have something to stick too. Often what occurs in renovations is people forget to do one thing or another and once one rooms complete, they give up. With a plan, you know exactly what to do and when to do it, so you’ll always be motivated to continue.

Another fantastic tip that nobody ever considers, is to check  for state and  federal tax credits for energy improvements.

If you’re just looking to make a change, any change! Then perhaps you should think about smaller cosmetic changes? You’d be surprised at the amount of difference paint can make. It’s a lot cheaper than a full scale renovation, and if you choose the right visual changes, it could really pack a punch. Simple things like re-painting your front door with a brighter color, new door knobs or lamp shades in rooms, hanging baskets, a lot of simple changes can make a big difference, and can often appeal to us a lot more than bigger differences. Remember – you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get an expensive looking outcome.

Rule4 offers kitchen cabinet repainting which can update an out-of-date kitchen in a flash. Add new cabinet hardware and you have an updated kitchen for an average cost of $3000-$4000.  A complete kitchen renovation can run  over $10,000 or more.

Now, if you need  go the whole distance on your renovation, then there’s one thing you need to learn how to do: negotiate! Everyone loves a deal, so don’t be afraid, you’d be surprised how many contractors are up for a bit of friendly negotiation over prices. When it comes to negotiating with contractors, it’s a well known fact that some contractors (and certainly not all) have been known to charge high prices so that they can attain a  maximum income. This gives you some leeway to push the price down a bit in order save yourself some money, without putting them out of business!

Of course, there are loads of different ways you can save money on your renovation, whether you buy second hand, buy from charity shops, or even source your own materials! Whatever you do, you’re sure to save some money, because let’s face it, we’re in tough times right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to have a gorgeous looking house should it? With the right tips, you’re sure to turn your house into the home of your dreams.

Contact the Design Build Team at Rule4 at 443-757-0431

Case Study-How Using Design Build Services Kept Renovation of Old Home Budget Friendly, But Transformed Into Dream Home For New Family..

Scope Of Work – Even though this project’s scope of work was straightforward from the start, a lot of assistance was required from our side to jump-start it. This young couple lived in a row house in Baltimore and decided it was time to start a family, but their old house was too small to even consider adding more space. The best solution was to invest in a new home and to get it prepared for the new arrivals.

Unusual Challenges – Once they set eyes on a 1940s house, they needed a helping hand with all the paperwork required to obtain a loan for their renovation needs. We then moved forward with the design phase which encompassed a full-house interior remodeling to turn the two-unit dwelling into a single family home. Once our clients approved our design proposal, we submitted all construction documents including 3D renderings, material specifications and construction estimates to the lender and soon after the project was fully funded and the construction phase was underway.

Budget wise, we had to keep it as tight as possible but deliver the same quality of work our clients expected from us while meeting their need for a spacious and more suitable environment to raise their children.

One particular goal was to turn a second floor unit into living quarters for the whole family, keeping the privacy of the couple a top priority. Since this was a budget-driven project, we had to focus on the most pressing issue, functionality.

The Challenges – The existing 2nd floor plan had four bed rooms, one bathroom and a kitchen. In order to keep this part of the project well within budget, we had to find ways to make use of the available interior space to avoid any extra expenses related to demolition and/or relocation of windows…, and the kitchen area was particularly problematic, since by law, a single family unit can only have one, so definitely it had to go.

However, as much as we wanted to keep structural elements intact, we had to remove two load-bearing walls in the first floor directly beneath the location for the new Master Bedroom. On the second floor kitchen, another wall had to be moved a few inches to allow more room for the new toilet and tub location. By shifting the load, new beams had to be installed so we had to find a way to maintain an even floor thickness all throughout the second level.

During the design phase, we encountered another problem. Our clients had already purchased a fair amount of tiles, even before they bought the house. They wanted us to incorporate them into their new Master Bathroom design – making sure that all the tile pieces they already had would suffice.

They also wanted to install an original claw-foot tub to go along with their modern-looking master bath, and the search could have easily pushed us back in our schedule since the rough-in could not be completed without having the specifics of the tub in hand.
They also requested a large shower area plus a linen closet – The mechanical duct work had to be relocated and water/waste lines had to be completely removed and replaced with more suitable pipes as well as all electric wiring and features.

Creative Solutions – Once we identified the main problem, the kitchen, we devised several schemes but ended up with the most practical and cost effective solution which would also be as functional as our clients needed it to be. We settled for a Master Suite scheme which would take up fifty percent of the second floor area leaving the other two bedrooms and bathroom for the kids. The new Master Bathroom would replace the existing kitchen and all windows would remain in place.

To keep the thickness of the floor, we reinforced the sub-floor system by sistering all 2×10 joists. We were then able to move one of the kitchen walls a few inches to one side which permitted us enough room to install a large shower area and the toilet isolated by a knee wall along with the linen closet our clients requested. In the remaining space we installed a double vanity with sufficient storage space for his and her individual needs.

We installed a claw-foot tub replica which was custom-made to look like the original piece our clients were not able to find, and even though the rough-in was delayed until we could get the specifications for the new tub, we succeeded on finishing everything else around this particular issue while we waited… Everything remained on schedule after all!

The tile our clients liked and purchased long before they bought this house ultimately became the determining factor for the quality, color and texture of all finish components in this beautiful Master Bathroom. And we even managed to produce a surplus which was carefully stored in case a replacement will be needed in the future.

As for all duct work and plumbing lines, we replaced the old plumbing layout according to building codes and all air ducts were reworked. New vents and registers were installed. The electric box and wiring were updated and many more outlets were added to supply not only this bathroom but the entire house.
Overall Results– Once this project was completed we felt so happy for what we had accomplished. We were able to deliver the results our clients were looking for within their budget. That was our main goal; not to go over what such a cheerful young couple soon to start a new family could afford…,  and now they have more space than they’ll ever need…