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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition: From Site Prep to Framing

We're a few weeks in on this Dallas addition project and it is really starting to take shape. We are adding an enclosed family room and open patio. Pool Environments will finish the project with a brand new pool. We've posted several photo updates on our Facebook page highlighting the progress. So far we have made it through site prep work, foundation prep, and the concrete foundation pour. This week we are finishing up framing and us such we can finally see the new structure start to take shape.

Want more about this project and everything that goes in to building an addition onto your home? Check out some of our side by side progress photos below as we breakdown the stages of this project. And keep checking back for more updates throughout the project. We'll be adding photos to our Facebook on a regular basis and will routinely post more behind the scenes looks of the project's progression on our blog.

Site Prep

Before any work on building the new structure could begin, significant site prep had to take place. For this project both the main water and sewer lines had to be moved in preparation of the new pool and plumbing fixtures that will be included in the patio. Special care was also taken to verify and ensure the accuracy of all measurements before foundation prep and the concrete pour could begin.


The big guns were broken out for the foundation prep work in order to drill the necessary holes in the ground for the foundation piers. Before the concrete could even be poured significant prep work had to be done to prepare the ground for the new foundation. 


With the foundation down framing the new structure could begin. The new enclosed family room will span the area in between the old back door and the carport and will border the new patio on one side. 

What's Next?

Our next step will be installing the roof over the new family room structure, followed by installing brick and siding to further finish enclosing the new structure. Once the room is properly enclosed we will be able to begin work inside the structure.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hiring a Contractor - Five Things You Should Do

Living in Texas, we here at Key Residential know that spring means it is time for some rather temperamental weather. Things like hail, wind, heavy rain, and tornadoes can cause significant damage to the home. And whenever bad weather hits there seems to be a lot of discussion on how to avoid home repair scammers. So what steps can you take to ensure that you are choosing a legitimate company that is not going to take your money and run?

Regardless of whether you're approaching hiring a home professional as the result of unexpected weather damage or because you've been planning on undertaking a home remodel, you need to ensure you're hiring a quality company. Projects with your home are stressful enough, so take the time to make sure you hire someone who will take care of you from start to finish. We've put together a few things to look into when hiring a home processional that will hopefully help you make the right choice.

Whether your project consists of smaller repairs or a substantial remodel
as pictured here, finding a contractor you can trust is an important step.

1. Meet with the Contractor

This one may seem like a no brainer, but it is probably one of the most important things to do when picking a home professional: meet with the contractor in person. Schedule the meeting at your home when all the decision makers can be present. This will allow the contractor time to walk through your property to assess the current conditions, begin to visualize firsthand the scope of the project you want done, and ask any clarifying questions. It will also allow you as the client to ask the contractor your own questions and get a feel for their industry knowledge and capability.

You can read more from this review and others on our Guild Quality
page. This remodel also won awards through the Dallas Builders
Association and the Greater Dallas Chapter of the National Association
of the Remodeling Industry.

2. Read Previous Client Reviews

Reviews from former clients can be a good indicator of a contractor's quality. There are quite a few third party review systems that a contractor can use to survey previous clients (Houzz, Guild Quality, Porch, or even Facebook). The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to check. Read through as many reviews as you can find to get the best idea possible of what working with that contractor is like. And if you can't find any reviews yourself, ask the contractor if they can provide you with references whom you can contact.

3. Industry Associations Membership

Check to see if the contractor is a member of any professional associations within the industry (such as the National Association of Home Builders or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry). Active membership in these associations show a commitment to the industry and maintaining their high standards. Plus, most of these professional associations require members to take continuing education courses and pay yearly dues, so non-reputable contractors are likely to steer clear. Many local chapters of these associations will have an online directory of their members that can be used by consumers looking for companies to use.

Check out our Houzz page for project photos and reviews. And feel free to
ask a question on any of our photos there if you want more information
about the project.

4. Research the Company Online

This one is trickier because mere online presence is not indicative of quality. These days anyone can create an online presence, and as such many would recommend not going online when researching contractors. But going online can be beneficial if you know what to look for. You want to find contractors with an online presence that shows they are both active and knowledgeable within the industry. Is their website/social media accounts updated regularly? What type of information are they sharing? One of the best places to research a contractor is Look for contractors who have built up their profile, who have a well stocked portfolio of projects posted to the site, and who answer the questions posed to them by consumers.

At the end of the day, you want a home that you love. Don't ruin that
with memories of a repair or remodel gone bad. 

5. Ask your Friends, Family, and/or Neighbors for Referrals

Talk to people you know and trust who recently had work done on their home and find out who they used and what they thought of the company. They may also be able to give you names of some other contractors that they spoke with in the estimation process and offer insight into what they thought of them as well. Furthermore, they can provide firsthand experience of what to expect for the projects you have in mind. More upfront knowledge can only help in the decision making process.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist | Key Residential

The weather may still be trying to sort itself out, but spring is officially here. And the start of a new season is the perfect time to get a few things done around the house. The start of spring means it is time to come out of winter hibernation and prepare for the hot days of summer, which in turn lends itself to several projects around the home that are ideal for this time of year. It may seem like work now, but you'll thank yourself in the long run for getting it done early, especially since it will save you from having to do some of this work outside with the blazing summer sun beating down on you.

1. Inspect Your Roof - As the weather starts to heat up and the spring storms start rolling in, this is the perfect time to asses any damage done to your roof throughout the winter months. Winter weather can do a real number on your roof, especially if you live in an area where ice and snow were an issue. You don't want to find out you have a damaged roof when it starts raining water inside your home during a storm.

2. Check Your Gutters - While you're looking at the roof it would be a good idea to also look at your gutters to make sure they are in good condition and not backed up. Blocked gutters will only cause further issues to the roof when it rains and water can't drain properly.

3. Prep Your Closet - It's time to get the warm weather clothes back out and in the front of your closet. Take the time to inspect the items you are adding back in to your wardrobe. If something is out of style or doesn't fit anymore then donate or sell it. Set aside anything that needs mending and plan to get it fixed soon so that you can enjoy the item all season long. And as you put away your winter clothes do the same. Donate/sell anything you didn't wear or don't plan on wearing next season and mend anything that needs it now so that it is ready to go in the fall.

4. Decorate with Fresh Flowers or Plants - Here's a relatively easy task to accomplish - add some plant life to your indoor decorations. It will help bring the feeling of spring freshness inside, even if the outdoor weather is still a little bit chilly and doesn't completely feel like spring yet.

5. Clean Windows - With spring comes blooming plants, the return of wildlife, and that wonderful warmth from the sunshine that was missing during the cold winter months. Don't let yourself miss out on the sights of spring because you can't see it clearly out of dirty windows. Use the changing of the seasons as an excuse to do a good deep clean of your windows, both inside and out. The weather won't be too cold or too hot outside to be working in, and it fits in perfectly with the next item on the checklist.

6. Clean Up Outdoor Living Areas - The weather outside might not be quite what you need in order to commit to long hours spent outside just quite yet, but it will be here before you know it. Get your outdoor living spaces cleaned up now so that you are ready to go the moment the weather is right. Also take stock of just what your outdoor living amenities are and what you might need in the coming months. Stores are already stocking their summer gear and by shopping early you will have more options to pick from.

7. Prep Your Garden and Landscaping - Regardless of what type of plants you plan on using in your garden, spring is a good time to make sure the ground and soil is prepped and ready to go. Find out what nutrients will be needed for your plants to thrive and make sure the ground is stocked with them. Add mulch back into areas where the covering has gotten too thin. Trim back any tree branches that may have died during the winter. And don't neglect your hardscaping. Look for cracks in concrete and get them fixed before they get worse.

8. Declutter Around the House - Chances are you've probably built up some clutter in your home over the winter. Or even if you didn't, it is always good to take some time to go through what you have and weed out anything unwanted, broken, or outdated. A good declutter will also allow you to take stock of what you have and what may be missing. And it will feel like a breath of fresh air to get your home decluttered and cleaned up.

9. Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor - Now that all the hard work is done it is time to sit back, relax, and make plans for how you want to enjoy the coming months of warm and pleasant weather.

See more from these projects and others on our Houzz page.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Look Back at the Remodel Process of a Plano Master Bath and Kitchen | Key Residential

Over the past few months we've been posting quite a few progress photos on our Key Residential Facebook Page of a master bath and kitchen remodel that we've been working on up in Plano. It's been fun keeping everyone up to date with this project as it has progressed in real time, but now that the end is in sight we wanted to take a quick look back and really put the project in perspective. So we put together some photo collages of all the photos we've been posting to highlight the changes that have been made to the master bath and kitchen and show all the work that has gone into the project. Check them out below, and keep an eye on our Facebook page for the official completion photos when the project is done. And if you want to stay up to date on the other projects we've got going on then be sure to follow us on Facebook.


The kitchen didn't undergo too many changes, but it received a nice facelift that we think is going to really modernize the look and feel of the room. Some of the updates included a fresh coat of paint for the cabinets and walls, a new farmhouse sink, and new Italian marble countertops.


The master bathroom went through a major overhaul that included a complete gut of the room, taking out the back wall and expanding it out several feet, and changing the overall layout of the room to allow for a larger walk in shower, a pedestal tub, and more space overall throughout the room.

In the collage to the right you can see the exterior of the house where the bathroom wall was pushed out. A new, large window will allow plenty of natural light into the bath. And a nice side effect of the room expansion is a covered patio underneath just off of the kitchen for the homeowners to enjoy.

The collage below shows the interior of the bathroom where the wall was pushed out. It's can be hard to tell, but yes, the first picture is what was the original back wall of the bath.

The vanities were moved to the wall that is shared with the master bedroom. Prior to the expansion the majority of this wall was an exterior wall in the master bedroom In the collage below and to the left you can see an opening in the first photo where there used to be a window in the master bedroom.

To finish things off, take a look at how the new shower came together. Due to the layout changes involved in the bathroom the shower photos were unable to be taken at a comparable angle to the old shower that would really show the progress and changes. The photo collage to the right shows two shots of the original shower. The old faucet handles and shower head are in the same general area as the soap niche and shower seat in the new shower as shown below. The last collage shows the new entrance to the shower.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Shades of White Shine in 2016

It's hard to think that 2015 will soon be coming to an end and that a new year is waiting just around the corner. But before you know it, the calendar will be ticking forward another year, and with that change comes a whole host of new topics of what will be on trend during the upcoming year. In home design one of the more popular topics regarding what will be trending is color. This year several of the lead opinion makers are all leaning towards a similar color. And what is that color? It's white! Or a shade of off white, depending on where you look. Check out some ideas below on how to incorporate 2016's hot color into your own home.

The use of white in this living room allows the Dallas skyline through the
windows to shine.
Whether you plan to us it sparingly on just a few accent pieces or liberally throughout your house, white is a color that you can use without much fear of it overwhelming or overpowering, fro the walls to the furniture to built ins and so much more. Be warned though, white has a way of showing dirt easily, so up keep will be required. But no one ever said being trendy is always easy. If upkeep is a major concern of yours try going with more of an off white hue, it will hide dirt better than a pure white. And you probably don't want to use it everywhere or else you risk your house coming across as too sterile. But at the same time, don't be afraid to commit to liberal use of the color, just make sure you have some plans to break it up a little bit.

White cabinets, countertops, and backsplash combine together in this
classic white kitchen.
White kitchens are incredibly on trend right now, and the kitchen is probably one of the few rooms where you can get away with using white throughout mostly the entire room without it coming off as exceptionally sterile. White cabinets paired with a white countertop and/or white backsplash tile create a stunning, high end look. However, breaking it up with some stainless steel appliances or wood flooring would help add some depth design wise to the room.

The white walls allow the red accent wall and decorative pieces to
really stand out and be the room's focal point.
Using white for a wall color can be a very sharp and clean look, and it will help in allowing other aspects of the room to really pop, such as an accent wall or an interesting piece of furniture or artwork. It would also be a good color to use if a room has interesting architecture. A bolder color would be distracting, but by using white you will allow the architecture itself to be the focal point. Overall, white is a great color to use if you want something besides the wall color to shine.

With a white exterior, this house looks like the quintessential American
home. And the green grass pops against the white backdrop.
Landscaping is another great area to use white, after all, part of the American Dream is a home with a white picket fence. From fencing, to the house itself, to plant life, or to outdoor furniture, white can be a very classic look for the outside of a home. However, using white outside will require some extra upkeep to make sure things don't get too dirt from the elements.

The white trim stands out against the darker wall color and helps
create a sophisticated look in this master bedroom.
Not a fan of using a lot of white in your home design? Don't worry, there are plenty of smaller ways that you can incorporate the color that can be just as beautiful. Trim, for example, is a great area to use white if you prefer to use it more sparingly. White trim juxtaposed against a bolder colored wall can look very clean and sophisticated. Or you could settle for just a few accent pieces in the color, such as furniture or decorative pieces.

How do you incorporate white into your home design? Or what changes are you thinking about making in your home this next year to add in more white?

Friday, October 23, 2015

What is Your Kitchen Style? | Key Residential

The kitchen can be a tricky room to design. Most likely it is one of the rooms that sees the most use in your house, so function should be high on your list of requirements when remodeling your kitchen. From deciding where to locate the major appliances to finding cabinets that will fit all of your dishes and supplies to ensuring that you will have enough counterspace to work with you will probably have your hands full with creating a high functioning kitchen. But don't get so bogged down in designing the function that you forget about style. The best kitchens are both hardworking and stylish. And luckily, there are plenty of style options out there for you to put your personal stamp on. Not sure what your kitchen style should be? Take this Houzz quiz to find out, and then check oug how we've interpreted some of these styles for our clients below.

The classic look of a traditional inspired kitchen is probably one of the more recognizable design options. It features many natural materials (think wood cabinets and stone countertops) and elegant finishes. Cabinets tend to have raised or inset panels and are often natural wood color or painted in such a way that the grain of the wood is still visible. In general the colors that are used in traditional kitchens tend to be neutral which helps to allow some of the other details to shine.

Modern style can encompass quite an eclectic range of options. The style tends to be very minimalist and often works to highlight interesting architectural features. Features are sleek and have a sense of structure. Harder materials, such as steel, concrete, and glass, are the go to choices. Cabinets are structured and flat and countertops have hard-edges rather than rounded. In keeping with the minimalist design, smaller appliances are often concealed and countertops are kept mostly clear.

Don't get contemporary style confused with modern. They have similar features but are two distinct styles. Clean, sleek lines and solid colors are the mark of the contemporary design style. Features are minimalist and modern, and they often feature more manmade materials than natural materials. Contemporary kitchens tend to have an accent feature of some sort, be it in a fun tile backsplash, a pop of color on the walls or the island cabinets, or an interesting countertop material.

Farmhouse kitchens tend to give off a warm an welcoming feel and are constructed to accommodate large groups of people. One of, if not the, most important element of a farmhouse style kitchen is wood. Use it anywhere from cabinets to the floors to the ceiling. It gives the room a rustic and natural vibe that is inherent in a farmhouse or country style kitchen. A fireplace and farm table are some fun features to include that can help give the kitchen a farmhouse vibe.

See more from these projects and others on our Houzz page.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Key Residential Featured in Texas Builders Magazine

A Key Residential project was recently featured in an issue of Texas Builders Magazine. The featured project is one of our more popular projects: a whole house remodel that transformed the house into a rustic farmhouse oasis in the heart of Dallas. From antique furniture and accessories, to reclaimed barn wood floors and aged finishes, the home has a unique style all its own. To find out more about the project you can check out the article here.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Remodel in Progress: Master Bath Expansion in Plano

Key Residential recently started a remodel in Plano that includes an expansion of the upstairs master bathroom. The original bathroom was gutted and one wall has been pushed back to expand the room (and also create a nice shady patio for the homeowners below). The job has been going on for a few weeks now and is coming along nicely. Framing and roofing was completed this week so you can see where the new wall is now located. Check out some of the progress photos below and be sure to check back later for more updates.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Key Residential Goes International | Key Residential

It is often said that math is the universal language. But at Key Residential, we like to think that good design elements are also a universal language. Sure, different cultures and different people gravitate towards certain design styles, but if the website Houzz is anything to go by, then there are definitely some elements and designs that cross over regardless of overall design style. Check out some of the international Houzz articles that Key Residential has been featured in recently. And don't worry if you don't know the language the articles are written in, we got Google Translate to help us out in trying to figure out what each article features.


Decorating with strings or rope is an easy and unique idea that can be drawn into almost any design aesthetic. The Key Residential project shown in this article features a porch swing hung with rope that helps to complete the rustic aesthetic that the clients desired. Check out the full article here.


This article discusses having a feature color for a room. The article featured this Key Residential project that has a red accent wall. The color is further tied in to the room with the decorative accessories: pillows, bowl, and flowers. Check out the full article here.


Who doesn't enjoy the sounds of nature while relaxing at home? This French article focuses on how to develop an ecosystem around a pool or body of water. The Key Residential project featured includes a water basin surrounded by plant life to create a rustic look that most likely sees its fair share of birds and insect flying by. Check out the full article here.


This Russian article focuses on how to enjoy watching movies outside during the summer. As shown in the Key Residential project featured in the article, a covered terrace allows for a more permanent option for enjoying television or movies outside. It also has the added benefit of not having to move any furniture to set up for an outdoor movie showing. Check out the full article here.

See more from these projects and others on our Houzz page.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Adding Color to your Home | Key Residential

Neutral colors are currently on trend when it comes to home design and decorating, but that doesn't mean you should totally skimp out on adding a few colorful choices to your decorating plans. Check out these ideas to get some ideas on where and how to add color to your home.


One of the first things that comes to mind when wanting to add color to your home would probably be to paint the walls. While neutral colors are currently on trend, there are no shortage of rooms out there painted in blues, greens, or any other color you can think of. Walk into any paint store and you will be bombarded with options from which you should be able to find a hue that is appealing. If you are planning to paint an entire room consider using a muted tone so as to not overwhelm the room. Painting the walls will limit you more in your decorating options as you will need to make choices that match your wall color, but if your tastes change it is relatively easy and inexpensive to just paint the walls a different color.


If you don't want to commit to painting an entire room in a non-neutral color, then consider painting just one wall to make it an accent/focal wall. With just a few coats of paint you can add depth and design to a room. This would also be a great option if you want to go with a wilder color that would be too overwhelming if it was used throughout the entire room. Bright red on every wall would be too much, but if it is strategically used on just one wall then it will fit right in. An accent wall will typically be the focal point of the room, so choose a wall that would make sense in that role.


Most appliances are chosen in one of three colors: white, black, or stainless steel. But if you're feeling a little adventurous and/or brave then consider picking out an appliance in a color that is out of the norm. However, before you fully commit make sure it is something you are ready to live with for a long time. Appliances, especially the larger ones, can be expensive to replace so this is one area that would be best to commit to only if you are absolutely sure you will be satisfied with for years to come.


Most countertop materials come in a wide range of colors. From granite, solid surface, tile, limestone, laminate, marble, or any of the other many options, you will have your pick of various color and pattern options. Whether you want a more neutral stone with flecks of a different color, something with a more solid non-neutral color, or anything in between, you shouldn't have to look too hard to find something in a color that speaks to you. But don't let yourself get caught up completely with just finding the perfect color. Make sure the material that you go with will work well for your needs. If you're more of a low maintenance person then you may not want to pick a material that requires more care regardless of how much you love the color.


If you don't want to commit to anything too permanent, then try adding in some color with how you accessorize the room to decorate it. A colorful painting could add a splash of color and wouldn't be too difficult to swap out with a different painting when your mood changes. Some fresh flowers or house plants would also be a good choice and are easy to move around or swap out. Consider making some of your necessary home accessories do double duty, Towels, bedding, and dishware are good examples of objects found in every home that come in numerous colors.


As with countertop materials, tile comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. Depending on your level of commitment you can use all colorful tiles or just sub in a few colorful ones in place of a neutral tile to create a pattern dotted with occasional colored tiles. Tile also makes a good colorful backsplash to complement your colorful countertop if you go that route.