Remodeling my kitchen and powder room with Cardea Construction- an owner’s point of view

We started the process of redoing our kitchen last Spring, talking to Cardea Construction who had worked on our house before—replacing all the windows and redoing our siding.

We talked to Patricia, the owner and she gave us a book with a schedule of things we needed to think about and purchase ahead of time—layout, appliances, light fixtures, cabinets selection, counter tops, sinks, colors, backsplash, matching flooring, and other things.


I had spent the previous few months watching Property Brothers—and saw enough “white” kitchens to last a lifetime and that confirmed for me that I wanted dark cabinets that went with the rest of the woodwork in the house. I also spent a lot of time on Houzz looking at features and ideas for our cabinets. On top of that, we had spent some time with a kitchen designer, who we thought would be able to give us some “out-of-the box” ideas for kitchen configuration. Turns out, we like the U-shaped option best, a version of what we had, though a bit larger; it gave us the most in terms of work space and the flow I liked.

One of the first things we had to do to get ready was to drill holes in our soffits to see if they were essential—if they indeed were holding pipes. We wanted to remove as much of the soffits as possible so our cabinets could go to the ceiling. Turns out the soffits from over the door to the dining room through the inside wall of the kitchen were just there to match the rest of the room. We had the opportunity to remove at least half of what we had. We also decided to remove the cabinets that were over the peninsula to open up the space. Turns out that soffit did hold a little bit of piping, but a plumber was able to shorten the drain from the shower upstairs, and we now have a flush ceiling there.

Once we had the dimensions for the appliances, we went to pick out our cabinets. Lots of styles, suppliers, colors. Turns out there are framed and frameless cabinets, and we had to learn about that. Patricia went with us to Expo Cabinets, which gave us cabinets and with the flexibility we wanted. We went with a Michigan manufacturer; chose cherry wood with a burgundy finish. There was about a 6 week lead time on the production of our cabinets.

We picked out our counter tops (for bathroom also). This was a small problem since gray and white seemed to be the “in” colors, and not what we wanted. We have a Tudor-style home, so the dark cabinets and light bamboo floors did not say “gray” to me. We were thinking colors in the brown range. We finally picked out a slab from Cambria who manufactures a granite surface that requires almost no care (and we did pick out a slab for the powder room that actually was in the gray range).

Back at home, a month later, we started the deconstruction of our kitchen. Cardea Construction Co. was very helpful. We moved some of our old cabinets into our back hallway. We were able to store a lot of our food that we use on a regular basis in those cabinets. Cardea loaned us a two burner stove which went in the back hall on the cabinets, along with our microwave.

We moved the kitchen table and chairs into the family room and the refrigerator also. So the back half of our family room and back hall became our temporary “kitchen.”

Cardea broke down our cabinets, our pantry wall and soffits—and removed everything. They removed the wallpaper from the walls. They painted both kitchen and powder room. Because the layout for our new kitchen was larger than originally, and because our bamboo flooring did not go under the old cabinets, one of the first projects was to interlace the new flooring pieces with the old; luckily we could find similar bamboo pieces. And they did a marvelous job of that. We are just waiting for the sunlight to darken the wood to look like the rest of the floor (darkened over the last 10+ years).

Once the floor was down and the walls painted, the cabinets and appliances arrived and the construction phase started, all according to Cardea’s specifications and plans. Cardea Construction, and especially Phil, worked wonders. Our cabinets have a lot of glass fronts and sides, we have pullout drawers, a large “pantry” cabinet with spice racks, a file drawer, a lazy susan, a small book shelf and some other really neat storage spaces that we specifically asked for.

It took less than 6 weeks for the finished product—both kitchen and bathroom. We are thrilled. We’re keeping our old white refrigerator for a while longer, until it breaks down, but otherwise we are done and loving it.


It’s Spring!!

With spring comes home maintenance projects.  Doing these yearly will help keep you on budget, and could save you a costly repair down the road that you didn’t see coming.

  1. Spring cleaning isn’t just a saying, it’s the time to do a deep house cleaning.  Time to shake out the dust and allergens that have been holed up in your home all winter, and let the fresh air inside.  Sweep and vacuum all floors, vacuum all upholstery, linens, curtains and even lamp shades.  Spring is the time to get off the couch and finally get those cobwebs out of the corners, and off of the ceiling fans.   A when you get a nice sunny day in the spring, think about washing the windows.  A big job, but so worth it to let all the sunshine in.
  2. Perform a roof inspection. Depending on your area of the country, winter can be harsh on roofs. This inspection can be done by a professional.  If you choose to do it yourself, be careful, have someone along with you, and take appropriate care to stay safe.
  3. Your siding needs a good cleaning. Get the power washer out, and give it a good going over.  Once again, the winter will have left dirt and grime behind, and you will be surprised how much better your home will look.   Plus, this will give you’re the opportunity to really take a good look at your siding, and see any issues before they get out of hand.
  4. Don’t forget your gutters and downspouts. Winter can be hard on them, too.
  5. Last but not least, summer will be here before you know it. If you can’t live without your air conditioning, spring is a good time to get it inspected to make sure it is good to go for that first hot spell.


It’s February.

gournd hog

It’s February, and the ground hog has or has not seen his or her shadow. Either way, springs seems far off. So what better time than now to start thinking about home improvement. One of the trends in home improvement and décor today is bringing the outdoors indoors. That doesn’t mean tracking snow and mud into your family room, but rather the use of live plants to give your home the illusion of a lush, green garden. For the adventurous homeowner, consider a wall covered with grass. Not ready to make that big of commitment, try a small indoor garden of herbs on your kitchen sink window. Tuck a succulent plant on your bathroom vanity counter. Live plants come in a wide variety of home friendly types. There is something for every corner of your home. Try it. Not only do they bring in a feeling of the outdoors, but help out your home’s natural ventilation and humidity control.

Fun Fact About Fans

Winter Fan Facts
Did you know that even though it is cold outside, it’s no reason to turn off your ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans come with a switch that will reverse the direction of the blades. In warmer months, you will want to run your fan counterclockwise to push the cool air down, but in colder month, run your fan clockwise to push the warmer air that is settled near the ceiling back down to where you are.

Try it.


Concrete Counters, Who Knew?

Like everything around us, kitchen design is an ever changing thing. Looking back, remember the avocado green appliances in the 1970’s? Today, stainless steel is the popular style. Thinking back to countertops, laminate was very popular in years past, and today, granite is the big thing. But maybe you want something different. Have you considered concrete?

Now, I bet you are thinking, “concrete, like sidewalks?” Well actually, yes, concrete. The same concrete but used in a different. Did you know, that concrete can look like stone, polished or unpolished? By being able to customize the base, you can add almost anything, from bits of metal, to pebbles to seashells. You can truly personalize it to your needs and taste.
In most ways, the actual finished product will look very similar to marble or granite. You will have to deal with stains, such as red wine, as the concrete sealers aren’t totally stain-resistant, yet. Maybe someday.

Your family room…

fam·i·ly room
a living room used by all family members for recreation and relaxation.

Exactly, now look around your family room. What do you see? Is it warm, welcoming relaxing space, or is it more of a disorganized, under-utilized mess that, if truth be told, is only benefitting the dog who seems to think it is his personal lounging area. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, but the room is for the entire family.

First, take a look at all the space. Is it a good size? Walls can come down to give you more of an open floor plan, but keep this in mind, open floor plans leave no room for messes to hide or furniture to be placed! You can’t just close the door, but then again, that could be a good motivating factor to keep the mess down to a manageable level.

Maybe the problem isn’t room size, but the wall color, the flooring, and the lighting. All those can be changed and will give your room a completely different look.

Functionality is key, and it could be that the room doesn’t function for the growing family, or empty nesters. Wet bars, or dry bars can be added to give the space more entertaining options. A big screen tv and comfortable seating will make a room into a theater. A game table can be tucked into a corner so that it’s always game time.

There are no limits to what your family room can be transformed into. Think about it.

A Kitchen with a view

For some, a kitchen is not a kitchen without a large window over the sink area. Whether it is to keep a watchful eye on the children while the dishes are being washed, or to simply just gaze onto nature, a window can bring in the sunshine, while adding imaginary space to a simple kitchen.

Not all kitchen remodels can accommodate a window over the sink. If that is your case, consider a colorful back splash, or even a mirror, to give the illusion of space. Try it, you might love it!

Color Trend for 2016: Off White

off-white paint perks up your kitchen

off-white paint perks up your kitchen

It’s the time of year when paint manufactures get together with color forecasters and come up with the “hot, trendy” colors for the New Year.

For 2016, they have decided that Off White will be the “it color for interiors.” Colors that are considered “off white” are good neutral colors to start your design around. If you love the clean, light look, consider adding a shade or two of either darker or lighter hues to add interest. Will you miss bold, bright colors? The off whites take bold pops of color beautifully, while still looking crisp, fresh and modern.

Not all basements have to be “fancy”

This family wanted extra living space, plus a guest bedroom for guests when they come to visit.
With a minimum of fuss, we have a large, open, flexible room in the basement with an added bedroom.
Egress windows bring in light as well as provide exits if needed.




Cardea Construction was the basement contractor, remodeling the basement and enhancing the living space in this home.
Simple, elegant, inviting….

Need more living space?

Depressed when you look at the cinderblock walls at the bottom of the basement stairs?

Cardea Construction Company, your basement renewal contractor, has been in business in Ann Arbor for over 30 years. We can help make your ideas into a reality.

Looking for ideas? check the pictures at Houzz. Here are some ideas: