How Do I Prepare for My Home Remodel? Read Our Six Tips!

Let’s be honest. Expectations can either make or break many things in life, especially a home remodel. Managing and communicating expectations is a critical success factor for any remodel – including right here in Austin – for both you and your contractor.

In case you haven’t heard, the housing market in Austin, Texas is HOT! Pair that with this wild and crazy world of Covid-induced shipping/manufacturing delays, and we have ourselves a pickle. Navigating a remodel in these times presents all kinds of challenges, but none you can’t handle with the right team! Being prepared is the key to making it through an Austin home remodel, without losing your sanity.

Up next, we have six tips to help you prepare for your upcoming home remodel, so you can actually look forward to the process and the end result.

Prepare Your Budget

Remodels often come with a hefty price tag. They’re a significant investment; however, the return on investment can be much greater. Since you’re the homeowner, you’re ultimately responsible for determining the overall budget. It is, after all, your investment, and the budget has to be a number with which you’re comfortable. But, at the same time, the budget has to allow room for the complete project, with a reasonable cushion for any surprises (i.e., contingencies) that are uncovered along the way.

Thoroughly research home renovation costs in your area to check that the project is financially viable. For those of us here in Austin, Texas experiencing the long-standing BOOM housing market, it’s probably safe to say it’s a good investment to remodel, but always do your own research.

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to move forward with your remodeling project, research and contact a few local contractors to determine who you trust and who has experience doing the work you want done. You need a team that’s going to work with you, while keeping your budget and schedule on track. It’s also important to find a trustworthy team that maintains open lines of communication. Your team should be able to help you manage your expectations, while respecting your overall vision.

“The right contractor thrives on helping their clients navigate a comprehensive, multi-faceted construction project,” says Dylan Martin, owner of Absolute Design Build “Their primary goal is to take the headache out of managing the process, so their clients can just enjoy the results.”

Keep in mind that a true professional isn’t going to be a “yes man.” They’ll be able to tell you “no” if something just isn’t going to work, and suggest alternatives (while still paying attention to your anticipated outcomes.

Image credit: Absolute Design Build

Prepare for Inconvenience

There’s nothing comfortable about getting your home remodeled. Although the end result is absolutely worth it, you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices to get that dream home. Yes, your team will be doing the heavy lifting, but there’s also a significant amount of time investment on your part.

The most obvious disruption will be the fact that your home is a living, breathing, construction zone. The areas being remodeled will be off-limits; so, just consider them out of order completely. Depending on the remodel, you might need to make alternative living arrangements. However, it might also be possible to recreate the area in a different part of your home- such as setting up a mini-kitchen in the garage.

Also, there’s no such thing as quiet time during a remodel. So if your family is noise-sensitive, plan on being out of the house while the remodel is happening. There’s no way for power tools to do their job without making loud noises… it’s just not a thing.

You also need to be ready for lots of new faces in and out of your home. Your team will also have a team… and a big one at that. Each person has a specialty; so, there will be drywallers, plumbers, tile installers, etc. There will be another person installing cabinets, a flooring expert, a countertop specialist… you get the picture. So be ready for a few strangers here and there.

Prepare for Proper Signage and Communication

This is another area where a true professional is needed. Someone with experience will be able to secure the proper signage and obtain the necessary permits. That doesn’t mean your city will always cooperate right away. However, your team will be able to advise you on the necessary steps to making sure the process is as smooth as possible or handle it for you.

It’s also important to notify your neighbors at this point. They’re going to be going on this remodel journey with you, with extra vehicles in front of the house, unfamiliar faces around their property, and excess noise. These are all things that neighbors should be aware of beforehand, to avoid any awkward tension down the road.

In all areas of your remodel, communication is of the utmost importance. Communicating with your team, communicating with your neighbors, and communicating with your family. There’s really no such thing as over-communicating when it comes to a remodel. It is best to have potentially uncomfortable conversations prior to them becoming volatile conversations.

Prepare for a Mess

Construction is messy. If you can, it is highly recommended to close off the construction area from the rest of the house to limit the spread of dust, dirt and debris. But even with this precaution in place, it is possible for a fine layer of dust to gather in areas of your home far from the construction site. Move your valuables to a location far from the remodel to ensure they stay clean and far from the paths of construction workers.

Prepare for Delays

Just having this thought in the back of your mind will help you avoid disappointment more than once during the remodel project! Things always take much longer than expected, and things never go according to plan. There are always issues, what matters is how they are handled.

Today, you must also factor in post-Covid product shortages and higher materials prices. This can, and will, have a huge impact on your overall timeline. What your contractor and supplier can do is typically limited in this regard, so it’s best to just mentally prepare for delays and make decisions more quickly. This will avoid further delays overall, and keep your project on schedule as much as possible.

In some cases, certain materials and appliances aren’t available or on backorder, and there’s no set time frame of when they’ll return. It’s disappointing, to say the least. So keeping this all in mind will help ease some of the frustrations.

“Although the construction industry is still recovering from the supply chain impact of the pandemic, good contractors will find ways to keep your project moving while certain materials and supplies are on backorder, “says Dylan Martin, owner of Absolute Design Build. “Contractors who take a broad view of the project, but keep a firm hold on the budget, can find workarounds for unanticipated interruptions. Proper planning is a key factor.”

Prepare Mentally

Your remodel will be perfectly imperfect. Always remember that your remodeling team is composed of professionals… and humans. Not machines. It’s easy to get discouraged during the process, especially when you see your home torn apart. Maintaining an open mind with room for creative surprises will make your life so much easier during a remodel.

Remodel anxiety just comes with the territory. You’re naturally going to be excited about the finished product, and less enthused about the path to get there. There will come a time when you just want it all to be done and you feel like you might snap if you have to make one more adult decision… but keep your eyes on the prize!

Remember, your team is working hard to ensure you’re pleased with the end result. They want everything to be exactly as you want it, and they’re there to make it happen. So when you’ve reached your breaking point, just remember, your dream team is making magic happen, and this will all be forgotten when you’re soaking in your new master bath tub, or hosting the next Thanksgiving dinner in your beautiful new kitchen.

This sentiment also carries over into your budget. It’s 100% necessary to allow room for bumps in the road and changes, and finding the balance between high end and more affordable options when you’re making decisions. Adjusting your mindset to accept a finished project that’s your perfect vs. someone else’s (i.e. a Pinterest board) will set you up to love your remodel.

Image credit: Absolute Design Build

In conclusion

Be Patient… the end result is worth It. Remodeling is an emotional roller coaster. When your remodel is wrapped up and you’re popping a bottle of champagne to toast your newly remodeled home, you’ll feel satisfaction on a whole new level. It’s a wonderful blend of relief, accomplishment, and a sense of excitement to have a home that perfectly suits you and your family.

Your newly remodeled, cozy, customized space is now more functional and beautiful than you’d ever imagined. Are those fabulous cabinet knobs you had to have, still stuck on a shipping crate in a harbor somewhere? Yes. But are the ones you chose to replace them even better? Absolutely!

Thank you to Austin NARI member, Absolute Design Build for contributing their expertise to this blog.

“Working with Dylan Martin and his team at Absolute Design Build has been an absolute joy! The work was amazing. We enjoyed walking back into the house at the end of a long day to see what magic had occurred while we were gone! We have a busy household that includes pets. Absolute Design Build was courteous and understanding. We also weren’t stuck cleaning up a mess. They took care of everything… down to wiping things down before they left. I love looking at what was done every single day. I would highly recommend this company.” – Happy Customer, Beth C.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is a not-for-profit trade association committed exclusively to serving the professional remodeling industry and to serving as an ally to homeowners. NARI has over 7,000 members nationwide and over 300 in the Austin NARI Chapter. The members of Austin NARI include professional remodeling contractors, product manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, lenders and other professionals.

Trust your home remodel to a professional, experienced and trustworthy home professional. Visit to find a reputable Austin, Texas trade professional for your next home project!

Quartz Countertops are an Austin Favorite, and Here’s Why You Should Care

White quartz countertop

There was a time when most luxury homes featured granite countertops in their kitchen and bathrooms, thanks to its glamorous look and durability. But the countertop decision making process has gotten a little more complex, now that there are many options for countertop materials in the mix.

Enter quartz: an engineered material that offers homeowners an incredible number of benefits, which accounts for its unprecedented popularity. Quartz is one of the most popular materials in Austin home design today, with more and more people choosing to install quartz countertops in new home construction or remodeling projects.

There are multiple countertop surfaces in the market today and truth be told, one specific material isn’t an overall “better” choice than the others. However, there might be a better option for you – either as a homeowner or a builder. If you’re in the market for new countertops, as a contractor or homeowner, then we feel quartz needs to be on your radar. Stick around and keep reading to find out why.

Engineered quartz comprises up to 94% quartz mixed with resin and polymers, topped with pigments for color. Quartz is one of the hardest and most abundant minerals, which makes it an excellent countertop material.

Apart from durable and attractive (a combo that doesn’t happen often, you usually get one or the other), there are many reasons why quartz is increasingly popular among homeowners who are remodeling.

Excellent Durability

As mentioned earlier, quartz is a mixture of natural quartz stone and polymer resins. Investing in a quartz countertop for your bathroom and kitchen design is something that will stand the test of time. Additionally, quartz countertops are available at a variety of price points, therefore there is something for every budget.

Countertops are often exposed to daily wear and tear. Your lifestyle, including whether you have children and/or pets, your cooking style, etc. are all factors that should be considered when selecting your countertop material.

Quartz is highly durable, however it is always recommended to use a hot pad or trivet with pots and pans, to avoid placing hot items directly on your quartz surface. Quartz is not porous, and therefore is resistant to staining. Plus, most quartz countertops (depending on the finish you select) do not require sealing.

If you have an active family or you do a lot of cooking, then you need a countertop that can keep up with your lifestyle. Quartz should definitely be on the list of possibilities for anyone that needs a countertop that sees a lot of action.

Uniform Appearance

Due to the fact that quartz is a man-made product, it is manufactured with tight tolerances; therefore, colors are consistent from slab to slab. Depending on the quartz you choose and its pattern/movement, similar to natural stone countertops, you will see a clear pattern of movement.

While stone countertops have a non-uniform appearance because they are each unique and made by nature, quartz countertops show uniformity. Quartz countertops are more consistent in design, which can be an attractive feature for modern remodeling preferences.

Many colors offer the fabricator open ground to experiment with different cuts to maximize the quartz slab usage. Your kitchen and bathroom countertop can be whatever shape you like. Matching your quartz countertop with the style of your floors and walls creates a uniform appearance throughout the material.

Nobody sets out to remodel or build with the idea of a mediocre outcome, right? When you consider your overall design style, if uniformity is at the top of your list for key elements, then you might want to take a good look at quartz.

Extremely Low Maintenance

Another reason why quartz countertop popularity is growing among Austinites for their residential remodel is that they are non-porous and resistant to stains. With quick and easy spill removal, you don’t have to worry about your countertop getting spoiled with food, wine or oil.

All you need to do is wipe your countertop clean when accidents happen, and restore your sparkling countertop to pristine condition! Polished quartz countertops do not need regular refinishing or sealing. They will retain their appearance for many years. Simple cleaning is all it takes with quartz countertops. The ideal cleaner for quartz is a soft cloth using a gentle soap and water. For general maintenance, use denatured alcohol or a pH-neutral cleaner.

Resistant to Mold and Bacteria

Countertops in your kitchen and bathroom are exposed to moisture and water throughout the day, which is why they can develop unsightly and stubborn mold. Now, that’s something that you can see. But did you know your countertops can also serve as an ideal breeding ground for bacteria that aren’t visible to your naked eye?

Being non-porous in nature, quartz countertops are highly resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria, which means one less thing to worry about (especially when tiny hands are involved).

Endless Design Possibilities

Dark gray quartz countertop

Quartz countertops offer endless design possibilities that have led to their massive popularity in home remodeling projects. Since quartz is an engineered material, you’ll find quartz countertops in a huge variety of designs and colors. Manufacturers have also successfully experimented with various finish techniques on quartz, like honed, polished, brushed or concrete-like finish, making quartz an even more alluring choice for your kitchen and bathroom creativity.

What the Experts Say

“Many homeowners that visit our showroom select quartz for their countertops because it provides a sleek and sophisticated look. Designers and homeowners have been attracted to quartz with cool/grey color tones for several years now, but warm tones are making a comeback. We have plenty of both! With 60+ colors of quartz available, we have something for all color palettes in soft subtle veining or dramatic marble looks. When homeowners first walk into a slab showroom, it can be overwhelming and intimidating. Our wonderful staff is always available to assist in the quartz selection process, whether buyers have questions or need suggestions.”
~Heather Haas (Arizona Tile Austin Branch Manager)

Attractive Cost

As with other countertop materials, quartz comes in a variety of price points making it a cost-effective option at a variety of budget levels.

If you live in Austin, Texas and are building a new home or planning a remodel, quartz is a worthy contender in your overall selections for bathroom and kitchen designs. Get in touch with a local surface specialist, such as Austin NARI Member, Arizona Tile to learn more and select the highest quality and most suitable countertop material for your home project.

Remodeler’s Advice: Art Installations

This guest column is courtesy of Wells Mason, Business Development Manager for Builders FirstSource in Central Texas. Builders FirstSource is proud to be a NARI member. Sponsored by Bes Builder.

As a former gallery owner, I’ve learned there are numerous things to consider if you’re planning to remodel your home with art in mind. For instance, have you thought about lighting? Do you need additional blocking in the walls? Are you locating light switches, receptacles and thermostats so they work in conjunction with your art? With the right assistance from remodeling professionals, you can make art an integral part of your construction plans.


“During our initial programming sessions, we always ask our clients if there are any pieces in their home that we need to pay special attention to — be it furniture or artwork. We then carefully document the pieces and incorporate them into our design solutions,” says Sara Hadden, Design Director, CG&S Design-Build in Austin.


“Colorful (or neutral) artwork often sets the tone for the color scheme of a remodeling project. So, it’s great if we can pull some colors and textures out of the artwork and repeat them again in tile, countertops or flooring,” explains Jana Valdez, Principal Interior Designer and Co-Owner of Haven Design and Construction in San Antonio.


“Ceiling heights can also play a major role. We’ve adjusted tray ceiling heights and placements in order to correctly install chandeliers and ensure that wall art and other focal points are not hindered by low-level ceilings,” says Sunni Seifert, Senior Project Manager with CROSS, a Luxury Remodeling Firm in San Antonio.


“Our premium window manufacturers offer several options that go above and beyond what is required by energy code to accommodate any number of priorities a customer may have for their windows — including aesthetics, acoustics, privacy, heat loss, comfort, visible light transmission and even UV light transmission which can damage art and discolor upholstery,” explains Buck Burnette, Premium Window Specialist for Builders FirstSource in Central Texas.

Whether you want to make sure your art will work in your newly remodeled home, or you’re concerned about protecting your art for the years ahead, a remodeling professional can help.

5 Things You Might Not Be Doing With Your Instagram Right Now

Austin NARI member Cate Black Photography has this useful information to share about using Instagram for your business:

1. Post your IG feed images in three’s.

Projects may vary in style and color palette, so grouping similar photos helps the flow of your profile. Your audience can see 12 images at a time on your feed, so you want each group of 12 to flow – 3 images from left to right, and 4 images down.

Group: 12 images
Micro Groups: 3 images
4 micro groups of 3 images each = a 12 image group

The goal is to create a complete group of 12 images, by creating 4 sets of 3 micro groups that all compliment each other. You can pull similarities with the images to help them flow (ie images are very colorful, similar color palette, have wood detail, large windows, black accents, modern minimalist style, etc.) Feed photos typically need to be limited to professional photos only.

Pro Tip: If you’d like to share content that does not compliment your profile aesthetic, you can post the image and then remove after 48 hours (this allows the image to hit people’s scrolling feed without living on your profile forever).

2. Mirror your feed images on stories.

People hang out two places on Instagram: feed & stories. There are pro’s and con’s to both, but my best recommendation to ensure your audience sees your post, is to use both.Posting to your feed (where your images stay forever), is great because you can curate exactly what your audience sees when they click on your profile. One of the draw backs to feed posts (due to IG algorithms), is that not every follower is going to see every post, and not in moment (and order) you post it.

One of the things I love about stories is that your audience will see exactly what you post, the moment you post it and in chronological order. So try using both! You can mirror the content from your feed right to your stories. If someone misses your feed post, you can try to capture them on stories. Stories is also a good place to post images that are not professionally taken. (ie smartphone photos of ‘before’ shots, construction shots, job sites, behind the scenes, etc.)Remember: story content only stays up for 24 hours, so if you are posting content that you want to live forever, create a ‘highlight’ to capture and preserve that content.

3. Use a highlight album to document & share the progress of your showstopper projects.

Highlights are essentially albums you can save story content to so it can live on your profile forever. In the design + build industry, this is a great place to document construction and design progression. Create a highlight album for each featured project and bring your audience along for the ride as you design/build it. Give the album a title like ‘Tarrytown Remodel’ or ‘Modern Farmhouse’ or ‘Minimalist ADU’.

4. Make sure your IG profile is complete and gives your audience a full scope of who you are:

  • Your name
  • Your business name
  • What you do
  • What area you service
  • A custom hashtag (if you have one)
  • Recognition (Top publications you’ve been featured in or awards you have won)
  • Website
  • Address
  • Call to action (Direct them to your website, landing page, email list etc.)

If you are strategic with your wording & spacing, you can fit quite a bit of information on your profile.

5. Use Linktree to house multiple links within one link on your IG profile.

We only get one link on our profile. You want to make sure you have a strong call to action that directs people to click the link. However, if you have multiple places you’d like to direct people, you can embed one Linktree link on your profile that when clicked, pops up multiple link options they can choose from. This can be used on any of your social media sites.

BONUS TIP: Use Later For Instagram to batch create your IG posts one week or month at a time. (Thank you Click & Co for referring me to this awesome tool I’m able to share!) I like to schedule a repeating time block for IG content creation – I like to create a week at a time so I can integrate reposts and share content my clients have tagged me in throughout the month and brag on their behalf. (Who doesn’t love that?)