Benson Homes Featured in Houzz Pro Spotlight - How To Uncover Your House’s Hidden Potential

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Benson Homes has a new feature article on Houzz and we are excited to share it with you! Jim spoke with Houzz about how he got started in the remodeling business, what he loves most about it, and shared three tips on how our team helps homeowners to uncover the hidden potential in their own home.  The feature highlights how our design team has implemented each of those tips in recent remodels with insights on the projects from Jim as well as links to see more photos and detailed descriptions.

You can read the Houzz Spotlight by clicking the link below. We hope you enjoy it!

Benson Home’s Houzz Pro Spotlight.

How To Prepare To Make Your Remodeling Selections


Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to remodel your home and bring your dream space to life. One of the early steps during the design phase of your remodel will be making your selections.  Many clients find this to be a very fun and exciting part of the journey, and we do too! The selections are all the materials, fixtures, finishes, appliances, and paint colors that will be used to craft your remodel. These are the details that put your unique thumbprint on the space and create your signature style.

Together, with our design team, you will explore the look and feel that you want for your new spaces, working with you every step of the way to provide suggestions and guidance on the choices that lend themselves best to both your functional and aesthetic preferences.  As we consider the options, you will begin to visualize your new space coming to life. Once your selections are complete, we transform your design sketches into 3D readings that give you a virtual view of your home including those selections! 

Before your design meetings begin, you can get a jump-start on discovering your preferences by doing a little brainstorming on your own.  These activities can be lots of fun and completing them will make you feel very prepared and excited to start making your selections.  

Find your inspiration. 

There are many places to go to find inspiration and we encourage you to check out as many as you wish. 

Our first suggestion is to look online at sites like HouzzPinterest, and Instagram.  All three allow you to save your favorite photos; on Houzz you create an Idea book, on Pinterest a Board, and on Instagram you simply click on a heart icon to save a photo you like.  You can also visit Transformations on our website for ideas.  Simply show these to our design team to get things off to a great start. 

Another option is to pick up home and decorating magazines and tear out or earmark pages that inspire you. You can even use a post-it to note what it is about the particular room that you love.  That way, specific selections can be highlighted when working with our design team.

Lastly, we encourage you to find inspiration in your travels and every day life. Perhaps you have a beloved vacation spot where you stayed in an amazing hotel or Airbnb and absolutely fell in love with the bathroom, a tile floor, or light fixture.  Extend that idea to a favorite local restaurant, retail store, or coffee house.  Inspiration can be found all around us! Snap a photo or two or bookmark their website to show to our team.  

Make a Wish List or Must Have List

Many of our clients go into their design meetings with ideas about specific selections that they want to include.  This can be anything from hardwood flooring to a double vanity sink.  Compile a list of your own and identify if they are functional or style (or both) necessities.  

Email your list to our design team. They will discuss each item with you, including the care and maintenance required and the pros and cons of specific material. In some cases, we may have other suggestions that you haven’t even considered and may like even better, so keep an open mind.  We often work with clients who decide to splurge on a must-have material or fixture and balance things out with a more budget-friendly option in another area.  The end goal is to collaborate and find the best options that will bring your vision to life.  

We look forward to working with you on making your selections and creating your dream home. As your remodeling journey continues, the next step will be unveiling your design and selections when we transform your plans into 3D renderings

A Guide To Setting Your Remodeling Budget


Remodeling your home is one of the most rewarding investments you can make! Whether you just purchased a house or you’ve been in the same one for decades, you may find yourself considering renovations to make it more suitable for your family. Setting a budget for your remodel is a practical first step. To make this process a little easier, consider the following:

1.    Your funding options. Consult your financial institution or mortgage broker for your options and advice. Some of the options could include: 

a.    Cash Savings: Perhaps you have been saving for your remodel for years and prefer to use cash savings. 

b.   Cash-out Refinance: If you have equity in your home, you can do a cash-out refinance, which is refinancing your home to cover the existing mortgage balance and utilizing your equity to add in additional funds to cover your remodel. 

c.    Equity Line of Credit: A home equity line of credit allows you to draw funds as needed, up to a maximum based on the amount of equity you have available in your home. 

d.   Equity Loan: A home equity loan is a lump sum loan based again on the amount of equity available in your home. This is often referred to as a second mortgage. 

2.    Your motivations. Make a list of the goals you hope to achieve by renovating your home. This may include things like: expanding your living space for entertaining, opening up a closed floor plan for better flow, preparing for aging in place, or creating a master suite that doubles as a private oasis.

3.    Your home as an investment. Some people go on vacation, take “stay-cations”, or do both. When you go on vacation you don’t look to see what investment every penny you spend will get you. It’s about the experience and the life-long memories created. It’s the same when considering how much money to put in your home. Don’t just consider how long you’ll be in your home and your neighborhood’s worth. Think of the quality of life you’ll get out of it and the memories you’ll make with friends and family. It’s the “I love this space so much” feeling. It’s the “Wow, I am excited to have friends over now” feeling. You’re in your home everyday and you should love it. 

4.    Your wish list items. When you think of your dream space, what are the elements that you feel are must-haves or necessities? These would include things that you find critical to the design such as double vanities, white kitchen cabinets, hardwood flooring, or a bay window.

5.    Your Experience. It can be tempting to go with the cheapest contractor available but be careful to not compromise quality in order to save a few bucks. Remodeling your home is an investment, and investing in a reputable company who will produce the results you want, while creating an enjoyable experience, is priceless. Ben Franklin’s saying, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” rings true for remodeling. 

Benson Homes is one of Coastal Virginia’s premier design-build firms, specializing in residential remodeling and additions. Our business isn’t just about remodeling homes; it’s about creating an exceptional remodeling experience for each and every client. Are you ready to love your home again? We’d love to talk!

What To Expect In Your Design Review Meeting

You have reached the part of the remodeling journey where you get to see your remodeling vision brought to life. This is an exciting time for you and for us! After spending time getting to know you and your family, understanding your functional needs, and your aesthetic preferences, we are ready to present your custom project plans at the Design Review meeting. It’s time for the grand reveal!

During the meeting, we will present you with floor plans, elevations and 3D renderings of your project. Our photo-realistic 3D renderings allow you to visualize your new space with the layout and finishes selected. We will walk you through these renderings, the scope of your remodel, point out architectural details, and answer any questions you may have.

 Here are some questions we’ll make sure to discuss during your meeting 

1.   Does the design resolve the functional challenges of your previous floor plan? We consider everything from traffic flow and storage, to appliance placement and lighting.

2.   Is it reflective of your personal style? You should love the selections and how they fit in with the rest of your home.

3.   Are your must-haves incorporated? If you requested specific materials, architectural details, window placements, etc. we want to make sure they are reflected in the plan.

4.   What is the project time frame? Construction start and completion dates are discussed.

5.   What are the next steps? We will outline what the next steps are and answer any and all questions you may have!

Now that your Design Review is complete, it’s time to bring your dream space to life through construction. We are excited to get started!

Prepare For Your Remodel With These Five Steps


The journey to creating your dream home is an exciting and liberating experience! From design consultations and material selections, to the unveiling of your 3D renderings and the start of construction, the process of seeing your dream project come to life is unforgettable. But before your project crew shows up, you will want to spend some time getting your home and family ready for a smooth transition.


1.     Clean out all rooms and hallways that are being remodeled. Remove furniture, artwork from walls, and any other belongings. We recommend removing items hanging on walls in common traffic areas and walls adjacent to those involved in your remodel project as well. Store these items in an unaffected area of your home or in a storage unit temporarily.

2.     Designate alternate areas for family activities. Identify new locations for activities that typically take place in the room(s) you are remodeling. This will minimize the disruption to your daily routine. Relocate any necessities to the new temporary spaces, such as computers, televisions, homework tables, etc.

3.    Clear your driveway and make room in your garage for deliveries. Remove stationary items from your driveway such as basketball nets, trash receptacles, or storage containers. Ask your remodeler if access to your garage would be helpful for delivering and storing materials. They should be able to provide you with a schedule of deliveries.

4.    Prepare your pets. Pets tend to be more prone to disruption of their regular routine than people. That’s why it’s important to get your pets set up with a place for them to relax and eat that is away from any construction areas. Start this new routine a few days before the remodeling starts to allow them some time to adjust. Be sure to let the crew know how many pets you have and where they are within your home.

5.    Kitchen & Bath Prep. If you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom we recommend the following:

a.    Pack cabinets one by one and label the contents of each box. This will make unpacking so much easier.

b.   Compile essentials and relocate them to your alternate eating space or bathroom.  

c.    Purchase disposable items such as plates, bowls, cups, plastic utensils, and paper towels.

d.   Move your refrigerator and microwave to the garage, basement or other appropriate spot where you can have easy access. Consider purchasing a hot plate.

e.    Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time. 

We hope that these tips will make the transition into construction easy for you and your family. At Benson Homes, we provide you with a detailed project schedule and have weekly on-site meetings to discuss your project’s progress. It’s our goal to make the remodeling process as stress-free as possible for you and your family!

What Do Reputable Remodelers Have In Common?

Making the decision to start the remodeling journey is an exciting one. Whether it’s a kitchen remodel or a home addition, selecting the right company to remodel your home can be a little overwhelming.  How do you navigate the sea of options? It’s important to do a little research to learn more about each of the remodeling firms you are considering. There are a few key attributes that reputable remodeling firms will have in common.  

Longevity in the market.  Remodelers who have around for decades have perfected their craft over the years. They have had time to develop processes that focus simultaneously on building an exceptional project while delivering a satisfying remodeling experience. When you speak with the remodelers you are considering, ask them about their process and listen to see if their response includes not only the end product, but your experience as well.

They have a strong repeat client base. If a firm can tell you that many of their clients have hired them to complete a second, third, or fourth project this is very good sign. This indicates that the firm works hard to establish and maintain relationships with their clients that are built on trust, reliability, and meeting or exceeding expectations.  Some of those repeat clients would likely be happy to speak with you about the firm.

Their clients refer them new business.  If you receive a referral from a friend or family member for a product or service provider, chances are they were happy or satisfied.  When a remodeler can tell you that they get a high percentage of their work from client referrals that is another very good sign.  The referring client is entrusting the remodeling firm to provide their friend with the same level of craftsmanship and service that they received.

Positive reviews. Being able to easily find and access client reviews is a critical part of many buying decisions these days.  A reputable remodeling firm will have reviews or testimonials posted on their own website and on sites like Houzz or Google+. Take some time to read them. You will learn a lot about the firm through the client’s eyes.

Industry memberships. There are two key industry memberships in the remodeling industry: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI).  In order to become and remain members of these organizations a firm must follow a strict code of ethics.  Both organizations offer continuing education and certification on a variety of construction and remodeling practices.

We hope this list of attributes has been helpful to you and we encourage you to use it as a guide in your research and interview process. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, a reputable remodeler will be happy to answer!