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Old House New House show offers kitchen workshop

Marilyn Olspoints out fish koi pond her grandchildren OliviMatthew Lauren Robinson-Gay Naperville Saturday The Old House New House Home Show

Marilyn Olson points out fish in a koi pond to her grandchildren Olivia, Matthew and Lauren Robinson-Gay of Naperville Saturday at The Old House New House Home Show in St. Charles. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 12, 2013 6:14AM



Since the average kitchen remodel takes about six weeks, communication is the most important thing when choosing the right company for the job, according to Scott Skiermanski of Stoneridge Builders. A workshop presenter at The Old House New House Home Show Feb. 8-10, his one-hour presentation drew almost 200 guests Saturday at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

In “Designing Your Dream Kitchen,” Skiermanski talked about reasons for renovations, budgeting and understanding contractors. He often emphasized the value a good relationship has when home improvement is undertaken.

“(Workers) are going to be invading your home in the most used space in your home,” he said. “So there has to be some trust there.”

At the beginning of the project, it’s a good idea to ask yourself some key questions, according to Skiermanski, whose company Stoneridge Builders is located in Prairie Grove.

“What are you looking to accomplish? What is your end goal? Are you looking for more space, for more money when you sell your home? Are you looking to sell or stay?” he said.

In the Chicago area, kitchen remodels for a 200 square foot space range from approximately $22k for minor renovations, to about $120k for upscale.

Interviewing kitchen remodeling companies is important as the first step, Skiermanski said.

“The most important thing is communication,” he said. “You want to be able to talk about what you want... No matter what you’re doing you have to make sure you know what you’re getting compared to what’s being bid.”

That means having the end in mind throughout all stages, he said, explaining he shows customers the detailed invoices of other projects he’s completed so they can see, line for line, how costs add up.

“Some tile and backsplash can be 40 dollars a square foot,” Skiermanski said. “So let us see a picture of what you like and let us find it at a lower cost.”

Laminates are a viable option for reducing cost in some areas as well, he noted.

“You can get a laminate that looks a lot like a granite, like for laundry rooms, get a white laminate,” he said. “It looks phenomenal and you don’t have to pay the cost of granite.”

On the topic of do-it-yourself initiatives, Skiermanski said experience is a factor in success.

“On the DIY if you’re handy, if you’ve been in the trades, fine, knock it out go ahead,” he said.

Flooring decisions should take into account the timing of the entire kitchen renovation, Skiermanski. Since floor goes in first, other contractors will be working on the new floor, putting it at risk for damage, he said, discussing flooring options.

“Porcelain tile is highly durable. It looks like stone. It is gorgeous and looks beautiful,” he said. “There is even vinyl tile now that looks like wood and feels like wood.”

But for those who prefer hardwood, three types are available; prefinished, prestained wood, or unfinished wood.

Skiermanski said all are good products but he prefers installing an unfinished wood floor and adding the color and seal after the rest of the kitchen is complete. Cherry wood is a less stable wood than other options, he added, because it contracts and expands more.

Other workshops at The Old House New House Home Show focused on landscaping and bathroom remodels. More than 200 exhibitors took part in the three day event. The event is scheduled to return Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29 at Pheasant Run Resort.



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