Though it's never fun to think about in advance, more and more families are now taking care of an elderly parent or relative at some point in time. This phenomenon is often referred to as joining the sandwich generation—caring for both aging parents and boomerang kids.
As a result, granny or mother-in-law suites have now become a common part of the modern home's layout. These suites are very popular for multi-generational homes because they allow older persons to have their own space and independence, while still being able to get assistance from their families when they need it.
Though many newer homes have an area that is easily transformed into a living space for an older relative, there are still some changes that the homeowner will have to make to the space before it is appropriately suited for the safety needs of an older person. Here are some ways to make sure that an in-law suite is accessible for an older relative:
Make Sure Doorways Are Wide
All doorways in the area that the older person will be living in should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or a walker. Even if the person using the mother-in-law suite does not need a wheelchair or walker at the time when they are moving in, it is important to consider that they might need one in the future. It is much easier to update the doorways in the suite prior to a relative needing a medical device to assist them with walking, than trying to do renovations after the relative has already moved in.
Install A Roll-In Shower Or Walk-In Tub
The suite's bathroom should include a tub or a shower that will be able to accommodate someone with limited mobility, while minimizing the risk of falling. The bathtub is one of the most likely places to have an accident and aging seniors are much more likely to have severe injuries following a fall in their mother-in-law suite. Roll-in showers and walk-in tubs are also made to accommodate aging people who are using wheelchairs or walkers and want to be able to bathe without having to ask their family members for assistance.
Use Linoleum Or Vinyl Flooring With Rounded Corners
Though carpet might seem like good idea when deciding on the appropriate flooring for a mother-in-law suite, it can actually have a negative impact on mobility. Shoes, canes and walkers usually cannot grip the floor as well on carpet, which increases the chances of a fall taking place. Furthermore, it is more difficult for people in wheelchairs to get around on carpeted flooring. The less accessible a suite is, the less independence its occupant will have, because they will have to ask for assistance with simple tasks like getting out of bed more often.
Raise The Toilet
In order to improve the accessibility of the bathroom, the toilet should be raised, which will make getting on and off of it less strenuous. This will reduce the chance of falls and make it easier for people using the mother-in-law suite that have to use a walker to use the toilet by themselves. Seniors and caregivers alike benefit from having an environment where the senior can move around independently and see to their needs with minimal dangers to their well-being.
Install Grab Bars In the Bathroom
Every bathroom in a mother-in-law suite should have grab bars in both the tub and next to the toilet. These bars will not only assist with getting in and out of the tub and using the toilet, but will also provide additional security in the event of a fall. Having grab bars in appropriate locations will allow both seniors and caregivers to feel more comfortable with the level of safety provided by the suite.
If you’ve been thinking about building a new home in Connecticut, Meriden is a place you may want to consider. It’s a quaint Connecticut neighborhood with easy access to I-91, 691, I-84, the Merritt Parkway and Route 9. That means you can enjoy quiet neighborhood living and still get to any part of Connecticut quickly and easily.
The Cobblestone Community in Meriden offers a wide range of quality three- and four-bedroom floor plans to meet your specific family needs. You can check out all the floor plans by clicking here.
While looking at a floor plan can be a big help in getting an idea of how a home might be configured to meet your needs, it sometimes isn’t enough. We’ve been building homes in the Wallingford, Meriden and Middleton areas of Connecticut since 1985, and one thing we’ve noticed is that some people have a tough time looking at a floor plan and visualizing what the finished product will look like. They want to know what it will really look like when everything is complete.
We understand that! That’s why we invite you to see for yourself what a fully completed and decorated model of a Cobblestone home looks like. Once you take a virtual tour, you’ll be better able to evaluate if this is the right kind of home for your family. And if the Harrington Colonial featured here isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, there are five other plans from which to choose.
If you’re not familiar with Meridan, check out the official city website for information on real estate, education, economic development and the great parks and recreation available here.
Or, if you’re the kind of person who likes to see things “up close and personal,” we’d be happy to show you the area and let you stroll around for a better feel of what the Cobblestone community is really like. Give us a call at (203) 269-0325 or shoot us a note to set up an appointment. We’d be happy to show you around our neighborhood—and answer any questions you may have about how to build the home of your dreams!
Remodeling the kitchen in your Wallingford or Meriden home can be one of the most fun, exciting and rewarding home projects you’ll ever undertake. If you’re not prepared, however, it can be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do.
You’ve probably heard the horror stories of homeowners who have “survived” a kitchen renovation. But why merely survive when there are things you can do to make the experience more fun and fulfilling? Let’s look at a few tips.
Establish expectations. A huge amount of remodeling stress comes from expectations that aren’t communicated. Before you ever get started with tearing out walls or picking new cabinets, make sure that you and your builder are on the same page. Take time up front to discuss your expectations and make sure you have things written down so that you don’t get into a “he said/she said” situation later. One of the great things about using a seasoned contractor is that your expectations are established from the beginning, and the same company that did the design is executing that design.
Organize ongoing communication. It’s a good idea to have regularly scheduled meetings with your builder to review progress. This also means you need to pay attention to what’s going on so that if you see something that concerns you, you can bring it up to your builder right away. The earlier you catch a potential problem; the easier (and cheaper) it is to correct it.
Tell your builder what you want—not how to do it. This is your home and you have every right to express your wishes about what you want the finished product to look like. But it’s important to recognize that your builder is a professional. Tell him what you want and then let him figure out the best way to get it done. He’s probably done more remodeling than you have and he just may have a good solution.
Clarify responsibilities. There are some things for which you, as the homeowner, will have responsibility. Make sure you clarify with your contractor what you’re supposed to be doing. You don’t want a builder sitting around waiting for you to do what you were supposed to do. For instance, if it’s your responsibility to order cabinets or hardware or some other component, make sure you know when those things need to be delivered. And then make sure they are delivered on time. Your contractor has to schedule work around the availability of materials. If you drop the ball, that can delay the whole process.
Don’t go behind your builder’s back. If your builder uses sub-contractors for parts of the job, let him manage those people. If you get in the middle, it can create stress for the workers and for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t raise concerns. Just make sure you deal with the right person—and that’s your contractor.
Don’t keep changing your mind. Once you decide on a plan and on materials, let your builder work. Constantly changing your mind about how things should look will drive you crazy (and it will take your builder with you!). Take your time up front to make sure you have what you want and then let your builder work his magic. Can you still make small changes? Sure, but don’t reinvent the wheel every few days. It will blow your schedule—and your budget—right out of the water.
Throughout the process, remember that you and your builder are a team. You have certain responsibilities and so does he. Work together to accomplish something great. If you do the things outlined here, not only will you survive the kitchen remodeling process, but you’ll also enjoy it and end up with so much more.
We’ve all been tracking the headlines regarding the economy for a while. And if you’ve been considering building a home in the Connecticut area—or making improvements to your existing home—you may have been watching the headlines with particular interest. While we all welcome good news about the improving economy and the rebounding of the housing market, there is some news hidden behind the headlines that we need to pay attention to.
As increasing numbers of people feel more comfortable about the economy, the demand for housing—especially new housing—increases. That, of course, eventually pushes the prices of housing up. And in our current situation, where existing inventories are low, the demand is even greater.
If you’re thinking about building or remodeling, there’s more than price at stake. We’ve been through housing cycles in Connecticut before and there’s something else that happens. Homeowners who make their decisions at the beginning of the rebound get first pick of available land—and of the best builders. As more and more homeowners and potential homeowners jump back into the market, builders get busier. Homes—particularly custom homes don’t go up over night. You simply can’t rush the process too much without compromising quality. What that means is that the longer a homeowner waits to get started, the longer he or she is likely to have to wait until a home can be built.
Some people are still waiting to see where interest rates will go. While nobody is going to stick their neck out to predict that exactly, it’s unlikely that they’ll go lower. And even if they do, it probably won’t be a big enough drop to make a significant difference in the total cost of a home.
That’s why now may be a good time for you to look at building or remodeling. Interest rates are still low. Prices, while starting to edge up, are still very affordable. The weather is good (and getting better) which means fewer weather-related delays. And right now, quality builders still have availability.
Maybe you’re not sure if building a new home or remodeling your existing home makes the most sense for you. If so, we invite you to download our free 4-page e-book, Should I Build a New Home or Remodel the Home I’m In? This no-obligation book looks at reasons why you might want to build and reasons it might make more sense to stay where you are. And it shows you how to consider the facts of your situation instead of getting swept away by emotion.
Look beyond today’s headlines and get information about what’s best for you.
If it escaped your notice, May is National Remodeling Month! Why not celebrate with a great gift to yourself? And what would be more appropriate than a $250 Williams-Sonoma gift card? In a bit, I’ll share how you can win one, but first, let’s look at the reason for the remodeling celebration season.
By the time May rolls around many homeowners are really ready to tackle some home improvement projects. The unpredictable early spring weather has settled down and after spending a long winter inside, a lot of homeowners are more than ready to make some improvements and updates. Sometimes, however, it’s not clear where to begin.
Home improvement doesn’t have to be overwhelming. As a matter of fact, some data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that it’s often the smarter, more manageable remodeling efforts that can provide the biggest return on investment. A survey that the NAHB conducted in 2012 listed the five following projects as the five most popular remodeling projects.
5. Whole House Remodeling: Sometimes a little change just isn’t enough. Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of repairing or replacing some of the older components in your home—and upgrading your amenities. Maybe you should think about upgrading your entire home. You may be able to repurpose some existing spaces to better suit the needs of your family—and to make more efficient use of the space you already have. It’s a lot less expensive than moving to a new home and taking on a bigger mortgage.
4. Repairing Property Damage: We may not like it, but property damage is a fairly common occurrence. And it’s something we tend to see after a tough winter or an early spring storm. However, you can look at mild misfortune as an opportunity to customize and upgrade your home. If you’re going to be making home repairs anyway, why not use that time to make your home even better than it was before?
3. Replacing Windows and Doors: New, energy-efficient doors and windows will help reduce energy leakage—reducing your heating and cooling bills. Plus, updating your windows can also give you a solid return on your investment (73 percent for wood frames and 71 percent for vinyl).
2. Kitchen Remodeling: Remodeling your kitchen can dramatically improve the look and utility of the “heart of your home.” The payback on a kitchen renovation can be pretty impressive, too—up to a 75 percent return on your investment. You can remodel the whole kitchen or consider replacing backsplashes, cabinet fronts, countertops and flooring. And if you install low-flow faucets and energy-efficient appliances you can significantly reduce water and energy expenses.
1. Bathroom Remodeling: You may be surprised that the bathroom is the most popular home improvement project. It may be because the return on investment when remodeling a bathroom can be 65 percent when new fixtures, tile, toilet, vanity and lighting are included. Add to that the fact that items such as low flow toilets consume less water and can decrease your monthly water bill and it starts to make sense.
Once you decide what you want to do, you still need to figure out whether to do it yourself or to hire a professional. There are a lot of projects you can take on yourself— if you’re handy with tools and have the time and experience to do it properly. If that describes you, we’d encourage you to go for it! But if you’re looking at a project that exceeds your abilities (in terms of skill, tools, time and safety) consider bringing in a pro.
The folks at NAHB cite three benefits for using a professional remodeler for certain projects.
- Creativity: Home remodeling frequently involves complex problem solving, such as maximizing existing space, strategically building additions, or working within limited budgets. A professional remodeler can help you manage challenges and meet your needs while staying within your budget.
- Experience: Do you know what to expect when you take that wall out? A professional remodeler understands the structure of a home and is prepared for surprises behind walls and is familiar with laws and regulation pertaining to home construction.
- Longevity: Anyone can purchase a truck and some tools and work as a “remodeler”—for a while. A professional remodeler has the skills to remain in business for the long haul. If you encounter a problem several years down the road, you want somebody who’s going to be there and stand behind his work.
How will you celebrate National Remodeling Month? Maybe it’s time to take on that home renovation project you’ve been thinking about all winter. If you want to do something, but aren’t sure where to start, you may want to schedule a free design consultation to help you start planning.
How are we celebrating National Remodeling Month? We’re giving away a $250 Williams-Sonoma gift card to a random winner on June 3. Enter here for your chance to win!
If you’re contemplating building a new home in Connecticut you have lots of choices. Some of them have to do with design, style, location and finishes. One of the most important decisions you’ll make in the homebuilding process is: who will actually build your home? Here again, you’ve got plenty of choices. And one of the questions you’ll face is whether it makes more sense for you to choose a national builder or a local builder.
Both choices have their advantages. A national builder can generally rely on the purchasing power of a large organization to keep prices on materials down somewhat. That’s simple economics. National builders are also in touch with popular trends from around the country, rather than just a particular region.
Local builders, however, bring their own set of advantages to the table. Some of those advantages benefit you, the homeowner, directly. Others have an impact on your whole community. Let’s examine a few of these.
National and regional builders use a minimum amount of local materials and services in the building of a home. That means a larger percentage of the money you spend on your home is going out of town—and sometimes out of state. Even the labor for projects by national firms can be from outside. That means less of a positive impact on the local economy.
Local builders are much more concerned with how the construction of a new home impacts the appearance of the community. After all, they live in the community and they know what styles are appropriate. In addition, a local builder will still be around after the job is done. If a homeowner isn’t happy, a local builder has to face the music.
There’s another aspect of using a local builder that works in your favor. Even a well built home can need some “tweaking” or minor repairs once it’s complete. And sometimes the things that need attention don’t surface until after you’ve been in your home for a while. If you need to have a builder take care of post-construction issues, would you rather be dealing with someone from across the country—or someone across town? (And by the way, at Sunwood Development, we offer an industry-leading two-year warranty—something you won’t find with the national builders.)
Are we a little biased when it comes to choosing a local builder over a national chain? Sure. But as a local builder we know the area better than people from the outside. We can advise you about which communities might best suit your lifestyle. On top of that, we’ve been here building custom homes for 25 years—and we’ll be here for you for years after your home is completed.
We’d love to be your builder of choice for your Connecticut home. And if you’re looking for ideas on how to build the best custom home, we invite you to download our free 17-page Custom Home Guide. It’s a great way to get the critical information you need before you start building.
To seniors, the kitchen may hold many memories near and dear. A sense of independence is but one of the many reasons to allow elder citizens to continue to work in their kitchen if they are able. With a few key home renovations, an outdated kitchen can be adapted to accommodate an elder so he or she may continue to enjoy preparing and eating meals at home.
1. Let There Be Light — so seniors can hear what you say
Hearing and eyesight diminish with age, but one may fill in the gap for the other. An elderly person will often face another speaker, because this helps to understand what that person says—through facial cues. For this reason, the dinner table should be well-lit for seniors.
Be sure to choose overhead lighting that’s high enough not to block the line of sight when you’re at the table. While low fixtures may be in style, they can be unsettling to seniors and cause a glare.
Overhead lighting reduces the shadows on people’s faces and it enables older adults to concentrate on the mouth and eyes of the person speaking. Plus, a brightly lit table is ideal for more than just dining. An elderly individual may enjoy working a jigsaw puzzle, hand crafts, card games or other hobbies when a dining table receives sufficient light.
2. Prep area with seating
Physical fitness also declines as we age and may require extra sitting time for comfort. Some seniors need more time sitting down due to impaired balance and reduced stamina.
Home renovations in the kitchen should allow elderly individuals a place to sit while performing prep chores for meals. Chopping vegetables or slicing meat using sharp knives are tasks best completed while seated, if standing might lead to unsteadiness or dizzy sensations.
A senior’s renovated kitchen should be stocked with ergonomic utensils for preparing, cooking and serving food with as little stress on arthritic hands as possible. Another kitchen aid that is important for an elderly person’s health and well-being is a meat thermometer. Food safety is vital to the continuing independence of elders.
3. No-reach, no-bend area
Many seniors find it hard to raise their arms over their head or bend down to retrieve pots and pans under the countertop. For this reason, home renovations should lower top shelves to the shoulder height of the shortest adult living on the premises.
Another option is to replace existing cabinets with overhead pull-down shelves. Specifically intended for individuals who have difficulty reaching, these shelves pull down to the counter so an individual can easily reach whatever he or she needs. Then the shelf is pushed back up into place.
Elderly adults will need to be reminded to pack these shelves lightly, though. If the pull-down shelf is too heavy, it will not move easily. The hardware should also be oiled on a regular basis.
Consider removing overhead microwaves during home renovations. Seniors sometimes find it difficult to raise their eyes, so items above the head are not as easily perceived. A microwave above the stove can be dangerous to elders for this reason, as well as pose a hazard for reaching above the shoulders for a hot item. When remodeling a senior’s kitchen, plan to locate the microwave on a counter for easy everyday use.
Cabinets with pull-out flat shelves under the countertop are another benefit for seniors in the kitchen. These types of shelves eliminate the need for squatting or bending, which can be painful.
In survey after survey, seniors express their desire to remain in their home. They want to stay where it is familiar and they feel comfortable. Helping older adults continue to live in their homes with home renovations to their kitchens will not only make them happy, but keep them safe.
Working from home is an increasingly viable option, as companies realize employees can be extraordinarily productive with a better work-life balance. Businesses can also cut overhead costs by reducing office space.
Who needs the doldrums of a cubicle and the drone of the A/C when you can work from home in the privacy of a basement office? Pets, children and spouses are more accessible from a home office, and many telecommuters have greater flexibility with their work hours.
Working from a home office can allow people the freedom to attend family events and concerts, and control their atmosphere. Office life is not very ergonomic, and workers who want healthier conditions have the option of decking out a basement with a treadmill and décor that is easy on the eyes.
Take a look at some of these ways to turn a basement into an office that yields a rich work life.
1. Clearing out the dream space
Basements can be the perfect place for a home office. They are typically removed from daily life—nowhere near where the children and pets play, and away from social spaces like dining rooms and kitchens. This can cut down on distractions, which creates an excellent barrier between personal and work commitments.
However, before you can build your dream workspace, some home renovations must be completed to create the proper space for the new office. This means cleaning the basement will be the first step.
Depending on how long an individual or family has lived in the house, basements are usually filled with clutter. People use them to store family heirlooms, junk, and appliances they may use “one day.” Having this clutter linger in the basement will create a poor work atmosphere, so get creative with alternative storage options.
Closets, shelves and empty spaces upstairs can provide room for some of these items. Visit storage and hardware stores to find room-saving hangers and containers for additional belongings. Host a garage sale to get rid of sellable junk and put the money toward new office equipment. Consider donating items that are unnecessary.
2. Office equipment and tax savings
Many people who begin to work from home don’t realize they can deduct home office expenses on their taxes. Employees who complete the majority of their work in a basement office, or meet with clients in this space, may be eligible to deduct certain expenses.
Get a measuring tape and calculate the square footage of your home office. This is a key factor in calculating potential deductions. Electricity, water, phone service and Internet bills can be deducted, based on the percentage of your home that you use for work.
Home office workers need to save receipts for all office purchases. This includes desks, chairs, shelves, filing cabinets, paper, books and other miscellaneous supplies like tape and pens. Receipts from business trips and client meetings may also be deducted.
It is very important to check in with a tax specialist during your first year of working at home to maximize eligible deduction credits.
3. Learning a new set of rules
Working from home can be a refreshing experience, especially for those who have never done it before. However, one must develop a very different mindset in order to work effectively at home.
Since hours become more flexible, you have to make sure to set limits. There is no “going home” to separate oneself from work duties, since the office is always there. Work can easily seep into every waking moment.
Set clear boundaries with your family to minimize distractions and make sure to communicate well with your employers. Keep a log of regular office use and receipts for tax filing later. Focus on making the transition smooth and enjoy your new home office!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/circagroup/3303613689/
The tradition of eating dinner as a family is extremely grounding. In addition to promoting good health, studies suggest that it may also support better grades in school, improved college performance and a higher level of success in later life.
Although the busy nature of modern life has made this practice less common than it was a century ago, the family centered kitchen is making a comeback. Part of the credit goes to increased awareness of the health impacts of fast food—the meal of choice for millions of families during the 1990s.
This can be credited, in part, to a growing sense that society is moving too fast and that we should slow down to maintain our integrity. And part of it is certainly due to the stark new dangers that face teenagers and the efforts of parents to build relationships that foster positive behavior.
Whatever the reasons, more family time is good. Eating together is great. Cooking together is even better. Whether or not major home renovations are on the immediate horizon, these five simple design elements will help to encourage and facilitate good, old-fashioned home cooking.
1. The prep island
A major trend in kitchen design toward the end of the 1990s has been to treat the island as a dish-washing station and the rest of the kitchen as prep space. As a result, many islands feature a sink surrounded by a countertop at a higher level, which isolates the cleanup station from the eating area.
Flat islands, however, especially those with a built-in cook top, make it easier for all members of the family to participate in the cooking process.
2. The computer nook
Kitchen designers have begun to include a small computer workstation in kitchen designs. Although this might not immediately present itself as a way to encourage family togetherness, it really can.
First, for many people cookbooks have become a thing of the past: we get more and more of our recipes either online or through recipe apps. Having a nook for the computer (or a safe haven for the tablet) enables quick reference.
Second, anyone with kids knows that however much you might want to cook together every night, homework will often intrude. A computer workspace in the kitchen enables your hardworking student to excel academically without giving up on family time altogether.
3. The kitchen play space
Traditional thinking says to keep small children away from hot and sharp things—and there’s merit to that. But there’s also merit to the idea that the more engaged small children are with the lives of their parents, the more connected they become to everyone. There’s also substantial evidence to suggest involving small children in the cooking has numerous benefits.
So more kitchen designers are opening up kitchens to the little ones, providing room for kiddie tables and play kitchens where toddlers can emulate what the adults do ... and stay a part of the action.
4. Butcher blocks
From Emeril to Martha Stewart, celebrities of the kitchen agree that butcher blocks are a real comer in kitchen design. Most modern butcher blocks don’t look like their old-world cousins; they’re efficient, movable prep centers that can add space to a kitchen without requiring extensive construction. The more surface space you have for chopping, the easier it is for the whole family to join the party.
5. Small appliance cupboards
The average American family is filling its kitchen with more small appliances than ever. Without adequate storage, this can quickly create a cluttered counter space that isn’t useful at all.
Installing cupboards for those small appliances—bread-box type built-ins at the back of the counter—creates convenient, efficient storage. It gets appliances out of the way and frees up the space that gourmet families need.
Remodeling a home isn’t easy. Whether it’s something small like changing the floor and fixtures of a powder room or swapping the carpet and paint in a growing child’s bedroom or something major like a room addition or a kitchen remodel, there are large and small questions that every homeowner will—and must—both ask and answer.
Knowing these questions and being able to answer them correctly will simplify your project and improve the outcome dramatically. What are they? Let’s start with the obvious.
1. Can you afford it?
Every homeowner would like to change something about his or her home. It’s just part of living in a space and the appeal of home renovations is strong. A remodel can convert the irritants of daily life in a home into a blank canvas that can be filled in with anything we desire.
But that costs money and in most cases it costs money we don’t have sitting handy in a Swiss bank account. So before slapping any paint on that seductive blank canvas, do the math and determine an affordable budget. Then stay within it, no matter how difficult that seems.
2. Will it add value?
While it’s likely that many of us plan to stay in our homes a long time, it doesn’t make sense to spend enormous amounts of money on improvements that won’t add value to the place. That being the case, one part of the budget calculation needs to be whether or not a specific project will increase your home’s value—and by how much.
Do your research, look at your renovation as an investment—not just a personal benefit—and when you calculate the cost of that investment, be sure to include whatever you expect to spend in interest on the money you borrow.
3. Do you want it “Good, Better or Best”?
“Good, Better, Best” is the terminology that home improvement retailers have adopted for their product tiers. The terminology roughly translates as “cheap, good and expensive.”
You need to know the level at which you hope to complete your remodel or else you’ll run the risk of falling for upsells and exceeding your budget faster than you can say, “Oh, that’s very nice.”
4. Do you prefer traditional or contemporary?
Most of us remain blissfully ignorant of the technical details that separate one design school from another. But designers, salespeople and contractors will use this terminology liberally when you start talking about your project. Taking some time to familiarize yourself with concepts like “Art Deco” and “modern architecture” will help a lot when it comes time to discuss your preferences.
5. Are you going to do that yourself?
Thanks to the DIY revolution and the rise of big home improvement retailers like The Home Depot, it has become far easier and more common for homeowners with very little construction experience to take on renovation projects themselves.
Doing the job yourself will generally cut your budget by half, but if your answer to the above question is “yes,” then you’d better spend some time in the How-To section of the Internet or your local library so you’ll know what you’re getting into ... and how to get out of it again!
6. Who is your contractor?
If you don’t plan to do the work yourself, then you’ll need someone—or an array of people—to do it for you.
Choosing a contractor might be the single most important decision of the entire remodeling process. A good one will more likely perform the job well and potentially within your budget, while a bad one can cost you thousands of dollars now and down the road.
My advice? Read those Internet reviews. Trust them. And go for the company that the data says will do the best job.