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Friday, May 9, 2014

Master Bath Updates in Progress | Key Residential

We are excited to document the process of what promises to be yet another a stunning transformation for repeat clients in their Plano home. Rather than opting for a complete gut for this Master Bath renovation, the homeowners decided upon very specific detail and finish updates to perfectly suit their daily routines. 

The overall footprint remains the same, while the existing cabinets were modified slightly, fitted with new undermount sinks, and given a fresh coat of paint. Walls and trim also received paint updates while the existing tiled floors will soon be deep cleaned and re-sealed. But perhaps the most visually appealing upgrade is the addition of new counters, backsplashes, and tub deck in Cherry Chocolate granite. And while these upgrades may seem simple enough- change the height of this, add a different top on that- there are a few critical details that have to be considered to ensure a flawless end result.

The counter height at Her Vanity sink was raised to a more comfortable height of 38", closer to a kitchen counter height, to prevent unnecessary bending or stooping while getting ready. The make-up and storage areas were left lower to accommodate a small stool within the existing knee space. This seemingly small adjustment requires that the backsplash height vary from the standard 4" on the lower portions of the cabinet to ensure an even alignment along the top edge of the connecting splashes. New slightly shorter mirrors are also necessary to maintain alignment with the existing door frame and the higher backsplash. And let's not forget the craftsmanship and attention to detail required to have a new cabinet installed next to existing, but look as if it has been a part of the space the entire time.

And while His Vanity cabinet didn't receive any changes except those necessary to fit the new undermount bowl, the difference in the material thickness of the new 3 cm granite vs. the original cultured marble requires some adjustments. Mirrors also must be slightly shorter for a slight height difference in the slab material combined with new splash. The existing electrical outlet, which was mounted very close to the edge of the original backsplash had to be moved up and over slightly to be centered vertically within and mounted far enough away from the edge of the backsplash.

The existing tub got a little facelift by removing the cultured marble splash and skirt to install the new granite deck. 
Here, the difference in material thickness is most apparent, as the new material is laid on top of the existing. The portions of the existing tub deck where the faucet/handles are located were cut away, leaving only new slab, to minimize thickness for re-installation of the plumbing hardware. The new cutout was also measured 1/8" inside the outermost rim of the existing tub, to allow for a slight overhang to conceal necessary silicone sealant, much like the installation of an undermount sink bowl, for a clean, finished look. Once the hardware is reconnected, plumbing lines are adjusted for the new configuration, a new skirt can be installed along with coordinating splashes to give this master tub a true spa feel

And while the finish line is so close, there are still many more exciting steps to happen before this Master Bath transformation is complete. Stay tuned for finished photos to follow soon!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Key Residential featured on Best Builders in Dallas List | 2014

We are honored to have been voted one of Dallas' elite home builders and featured on DHome's Best Builders in Dallas List. The peer-based survey is sent out annually to generate a list of the top builders in the area and we are proud to be among such fine company. Pick up a May/June issue of DHome and check out the full list!

And if you see something that inspires a custom home project of your own, contact us today to get started!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bath Inspirations | Key Residential

In creating our Houzz Bathroom Ideabook, featuring spaces from remodels and custom homes constructed by Key Residential over the years, we've come across a few commonalities that make for the perfect bathroom retreat. 

1. A Great Soaking Tub- sit back, relax, and soak away the cares of your day

2. Glass Enclosed Shower- increase the feeling of spaciousness with a glass shower enclosure

3. Lighting at the Mirror- (especially side lighting) provides the perfect illumination for your daily routine 

4. Ample Storage- whether a vanity, tower, or furniture piece, storage for linens and toiletries is a must

Click to see the full collection of  bathrooms in our Houzz ideabook for a little renovation inspiration.

If you found some ideas for a stunning bathroom oasis, contact us to discuss your project today!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Key Ingredients for a Luxury Outdoor Kitchen

At a recent local NKBA chapter meeting, the topic of discussion was Luxury Outdoor Kitchen Design. Trends are leaning towards blended living spaces, which seamlessly transition from indoor to out, expanding your livable area for entertaining or family events. These outdoor spaces need to include space for cooking, cleaning, and food prep as well as sufficient storage and ambient lighting to ensure your outdoor events are a success. A few key points to remember when dreaming of an outdoor oasis- material durability, appliances specifically rated for outdoor use, low maintenance,  and coverage/weather protection. 


If being grill master is on your to-do list for the coming summer, consider Custom Home Online's recently featured fold-away grill, perfect for a modern and compact outdoor kitchen or patio. This grill is designed for either wood or charcoal grilling and the 21-1/2" wall-mounted steel fire bowl folds away into a discreet disk when not in use. The creative Sigmafocus barbecue grill by Focus is easily mounted to the wall  at your desired height with two screw-in anchor points and the ash basin is designed to tip downward for easy cleaning. 

Feel like branching out from the standard grilled fare? Viking has recently updated it's commercial style Wok for outdoor use.  This 27,500 BTU unit allows you to simmer, saute, and stir fry, for outdoor dining events ranging from a traditional Asian stir-fry dinner to hosting a crab boil. The removable, stainless steel pull-out drip tray and grease pan also make clean up a breeze. 


Lack of storage for dishes, party platters, and silverware can result in a stunning outdoor space that is never fully utilized. And as wood cabinetry generally doesn't perform as well outdoors, especially if the space is partially covered or uncovered, Danver's line of outdoor kitchen cabinets can provide the ultimate solution. Made of stainless steel and then powder coated for a paint or wood grain finish, these durable and attractive cabinet solutions will elevate your outdoor kitchen to luxury status. 


Any outdoor gathering worth its salt is going to spill over into the evening hours, which means your space won't be complete without lighting. Task lighting is especially important in cooking/prep areas while ambient lighting will bring an element of drama and sophistication to entertainment and social areas. Bocci's surface mounted Sconce luminaire is part of their 14 series. The 4”-high-by-2”-deep cast-glass hemisphere generates a subtle glow which is enhanced by grouping multiple sconces into clusters along the wall or ceiling surface. 

See other great outdoor living furnishings in a collection of 7 must haves by Residential Architect. 


Have an idea for an outdoor kitchen or living area of your own? Contact us to discuss your designs today.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kitchen Renovation Inspiration | Key Residential

Blomberg 4-Door Refrigerator
Remodeling magazine recently debuted a new product designed for the kitchens of the future but available today. The Blomberg Appliances' Four-Door French Door refrigerator offers a two-door upper refrigerator as well as a lower two-door freezer unit that is divided into 6 drawer compartments. 

A few unique and high-tech features are the Flexi Zone compartment, that can be adjusted from -10 degrees (F) to 50 degrees (F) for flexibility in food/beverage storage, and the Blue Light technology, allowing fruits and veggies to continue the photosynthesis process during refrigeration for increased freshness and higher nutrient retention. 

If this fancy fridge sparks your interest like it did ours, perhaps it's time to consider a kitchen update. Check out our Houzz ideabook with kitchens of all sizes and styles for a little renovation inspiration. 

Click to see our full collection of  kitchens on Houzz.

If you found some ideas for a stunning and functional kitchen, contact us to discuss your project today!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Professional Remodeling Certifications | The ABCs

We've had a few posts lately referencing the CotY Awards and professional remodeling organization, NARI. And while Key Residential did not take home the gold at this year's National CotY Awards for our whole house renovation, we are proud to be NARI members and to have been included for consideration with such great remodelers and quality projects.  
A special congratulations to fellow DFW area remodelers, BRY JO Roofing and Remodeling and Traver Construction, for their nationally award winning projects!
So now that the fun part is over- goodbye Evening of Excellence, fancy dinners, glistening awards- what ever is a remodeler to do with the rest of his/her time? (Because we all know remodelers have LOADS of free time). Luckily NARI offers continuing education and a certification program that recognizes excellence within specific groups of professional remodelers. This is one reason why you can feel extremely confident in a NARI certified professional working on your home. 

Continuing education, code of ethics, certifications- these are all well and good, but when you're looking for a NARI certified professional, you may find yourself asking - "What do all those letters after a person's name actually MEAN?" Well ponder no further, check out the simplified list of acronyms, meanings and some of the requirements below**.

NARI- National Association of the Remodeling Industry (just in case you didn't know)

CLC- Certified Lead Carpenter- must have 5 yrs continuous experience in remodeling, 2 as lead carpenter with hands-on experience, job supervision, written exam, & more
CR- Certified Remodeler - must have 5 yrs continuous experience in remodeling, 16 hrs continuing education, written exam and other requirements
CRACertified Remodeler Associate- must have 5 yrs continuous support of the remodeling industry through professions such as architect, designer, manufacturer, etc., CE, examination, etc.
CRS- Certified Remodeler Specialist- similar to CR, but specializing in a specific area or trade in which they've established technical expertise (ex: masonry)
CKBRCertified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler- must have experience, special training, and work almost exclusively in Kitchen and Bath renovations
CRPM- Certified Remodeling Project Manager- must have experience specific to overseeing every aspect of a project in the field, CE, and more
UDCP- Universal Design Certified Professional- must have experience & training in all aspects of Universal Design including client needs assessment, construction techniques, & project design
GCPCertified Green Professional- must have 5 years continuous experience in remodeling and specific training in building science, indoor air quality, renewable energy, and more
MCR- Master Certified Remodeler - must maintain CR certification for 10 consecutive years, plus another NARI certification and many other requirements

** All contingent upon adhering to NARI's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

Contact NARI Certified Lead Carpenter, Kevin Key, to discuss your upcoming home renovation project. Call 972-755-3045 or email us today!

About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit or contact national headquarters, based in Des PlainesIll., at (847) 298-9200.

Friday, March 28, 2014

NARI Evening of Excellence 2014 | Key Residential

We are excited for tonight's NARI Evening of Excellence hosted at the Marriott New Orleans. Project Manager Evan Ratcliff will be in attendance representing Key Residential for the 2014 National CotY Awards, hoping to take home an award for the Hollow Way Whole Home Renovation 

The awards ceremony is also available via webcast tonight by logging on at

           About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry.  The Association, which represents member companies nationwide—comprised of 63,000 remodeling contractors— is “The Voice of the Remodeling Industry.”™ To learn more about membership, visit or contact national headquarters, based in Des PlainesIll., at (847) 298-9200.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Revisiting A Remodel | Key Residential

One thing we pride ourselves on at Key Residential is our ability to develop long lasting relationships with our clients that result in word-of-mouth referrals, as well as additional projects in their homes for years to come. 

Master Bath Reno 2013
Master Bath Reno 2013
Having completed a Master Bath Remodel (L & R) in 2013 for repeat clients, we've recently been able to revisit other areas of the home that were completed back in 2006 (yes, that's before the advent of the iPhone, gasp!) and get the homeowner's feedback. 

So did the early Key work stand the test of time, or has the seven year itch crept up prompting the homeowners to try something new? 

Keep reading to find out...

Original Kitchen Remodel Process- 2005-2006
Photo by LAIR Architectural + Interior Photography (C) 2014

The original remodel, completed in 2006included a 5' expansion towards the front of the home, creating room for a new built-in display cabinet in the dining portion and a large arched window  with  storage beneath the bench seat.  

The rearranged eat-in kitchen features updated paint (farewell wallpaper), tiled flooring in a pinwheel pattern, custom painted cabinetry centered around a dark stained island, integrated appliances, tiled backsplash, and granite counters. 

The vaulted ceiling is made even more prominent by the addition of beadboard, beams, and molding details, while the operable arched windows and french doors bring in natural light and allow access to the outdoors.

Photo by LAIR Architectural + Interior Photography (C) 2014

And of course the answer to our previous question is YES, the original renovation has aged quite well, looking just as good today (as shown in the recent photos) as it did when first completed over eight years ago.

The carefully chosen, timeless finishes and the great attention to detail that went into the original design, plus regular maintenance and a little TLC from the homeowners, have allowed this kitchen to withstand the test of time and become the true heart of this home. 

They enjoy hosting multi-generational family dinners, with grandkids grabbing games from the bench seat storage, parents gathering around the island to converse, and great-grandma relaxing at the dining table. 

Photo by LAIR Architectural + Interior Photography (C) 2014

So, after revisiting this kitchen remodel quite a few years later, this project will go down in the Key Residential books as a resounding success

And not because the finishes and fixtures have remained intact. It is in fact our unofficial GC duty to help homeowners update/renovate as often as their hearts desire and budget will allow. Let's face it, we'd be out of business if everyone just decided to stick with what they've already got.

Nor is it because the homeowners graciously opted to work with Key Residential on another project in a different area of their home (though we are always appreciative when that happens). 

This project goes in the win column because after all these years, the homeowners are still in love with their kitchen, perhaps more than when it was first completed, and have created many a memory gathered around this very island. And we really can't ask for much more than that!


If you've seen something you like, or have ideas for a home renovation of your own, contact us to discuss your upcoming remodel project!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Landscape & Outdoor Living Trends for 2014

Builder Online recently put together a list of 15 Hot Outdoor Design Trends based on a survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects, who were asked to predict top trends for 2014. Check out the results below!

Gardens/Landscapes were rated to likely be somewhat to very popular by 94% of respondents. 

Key features to include: 
       Low maintenance
       Using native plants
       Fountains or ornamental water features
       Food/veggie gardens (includes vineyards/orchards)
       Xeriscaping or dry gardens 

Left: Synthetic turf reduces the need for costly maintenance. 
    Right: Louisiana Sugar Kettle repurposed as a fountain.

Next on the list were Outdoor Living Spaces (kitchens, entertainment areas) rated by 92% of landscape professionals to be popular for 2014.

Key features to include:
       Seating/dining areas 
       Fire pits/fireplaces
       Installed seating (benches, ledges, etc) 

Left: Lighting adds drama and allows you to enjoy your outdoor space anytime. Right: Multiple seating areas can accommodate dining, lounging and entertainment.

And the third most popular outdoor design element was Outdoor Recreation (pools, spas, tennis courts) with 76% of respondents predicting popularity in 2014. 

Key features to include:
       Decorative water elements (ornamental or 
       splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, etc.)
       Spa features (hot tub, Jacuzzi, whirlpool,  sauna)
       Swimming pools

Top: The outdoor kitchen cabana opens to a stunning poolscape with stone wall and waterfall feature.   Bottom: The existing pool was updated with a new surround, including a ledgestone and glass tile water feature.

Sustainable Elements on the Rise

2014 may also end up being a bit greener (landscape pun- check) with the integration of sustainable planting and design elements, the highest ranked of which are below. 
  • Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants - 88.0% 
  • Drip/water-efficient irrigation - 84.5%
  • Permeable paving - 78.9%
  • Reduced lawn - 72.6%
  • Recycled materials - 65.1%
  • Rainwater/graywater harvesting - 60.6%

Want to know more? 

You can find the source article here on Builder Online or check out the ASLA full survey results here

Friday, February 28, 2014

And the nominees are... | Key Residential Awards of Merit

With Oscar Sunday right around the corner, below is our nod to the oldest entertainment industry awards ceremony with our own version of the Key Residential Awards of Merit nominees. While America (and the world) will be tuning in to see the winners of the 86th Annual Academy Awards, we're taking a look back at the home remodeling and construction equivalents with some of our best spaces from projects over the years.

Best Custom Home

Our version of Best Picture would have to be Best Custom Home (or Whole Home Renovation, which is up next). However, unlike the Oscars, we won't make you wait til the end for the big guys. 

Just as Best Picture is considered the most important of all Academy Awards for encompassing the highest quality in directing, acting, music composition, editing, and all other aspects of film making, these custom homes were carefully designed and constructed, down the smallest detail, to ensure the families that reside within enjoy their home for years to come.

And the nominees are... 
Greenbrier Custom Home 2013  (top) Brookridge Custom Home 2012  (bottom)

Best Whole Home Renovation

And now on to Whole Home Renovations, which are similar to Custom Homes in the amount of detail put into each project, however present very unique challenges as you are dealing with an existing structure and possibly old or damaged systems that must be repaired or updated before you can reveal the stunning final masterpiece.

And the nominees are... 
Joyce Way Renovation 2008, Caruth Remodel 2012/2013, Hollow Way Remodel 2012 (left to right)

Best Kitchen or Bath 

(in a Leading Role)

Especially in the world of remodeling, Kitchens and Baths are the superstarsAnd why not? 

You've got natural stone countertops, tip-top-of-the-line appliances and sparkling fixtures & finishes. These spaces are the most often remodeled because of the high ROI and level of impact the updates make on your daily routine. Don't believe me? Try going a day without setting foot in one of these rooms.

And while we won't even attempt to decide whether the actor or actress best embodies the kitchen or bath, both qualify as the leading role in our review of Key Residential's outstanding projects. 

And the nominees are... 
Edmondson Kitchen 
Greenbrier Master Bath 
Caruth Kitchen 
Edmondson Master Bath 
Greenbrier Kitchen 
Brookridge Powder  
(top to bottom, left to right)

Best Supporting Space

And while K&B may be the leading ladies & gents of the home, they wouldn't be able to pull it all off without a little help from the supporting cast. Whether we're talking a unique specialty room, a custom addition, or an accessory living space with that wow factor, these supporting players give their homes an unmistakable charm

And the nominees are... 
Hollow Way Utility/Exercise, Southcrest Study, Hollow Way Poker Room, Creekridge Pool Cabana, Brookridge Entry,  Caruth Sunroom (left to right, top to bottom)

Best Kids' Space

And now on to spaces dedicated to the fans of the Best Animated Feature Film- KIDS. These rooms include a nursery, teen's room, study nook, boys' bunk room and a shared grandkid guest room, all with just the right amount of color, comfort, and  whimsy!

And the nominees are... 
Greenbrier Girl's Room, Edmondson Girl's Room, Joyce Way Study Nook, Joyce Way Boy's Room, Hollow Way Girls' Room  (clockwise from top left)

Best Interior Furnishings

And lastly on our list, the contractor/builder awards equivalent of Best Costume Design, are our spaces with best furniture, accessory specifications, and interior finish materials. Like the icing on a cake, these accouterments place the perfect finishing touches on each space, elevating them from something beautiful, to something truly memorable.

And the nominees are... 
Greenbrier Dining, Reading Room, Hollow Way Great Room, Brookridge Master Sitting (left to right)

To see more of any of the projects featured above, check out our Houzz profile!

And now the Credits (in order of appearance):

Greenbrier Custom Home, Architect: Roberto Castanheira, RC3D, Interior Design: Pat Ratcliff
Brookridge Custom Home, Architect: Fred Roberts, Interior Design: Joanie Wyll
Caruth Whole Home Renovation, Architectural/Interior Desgin: Becci Meier 
Hollow Way Whole Home Renovation, Interior Design: David Cadwallader, Architect: Bruce Bernbaum
Edmondson Whole Home Remodel, Interior Design: David Cadwallader
Southcrest Study Remodel, Interior Design: Pat Ratcliff
Creekridge Cabana Addition, Architect: Roberto Castanheira, RC3D
Reading Room Renovation, Interior Design: Pat Ratcliff

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bedroom Inspirations | Key Residential

In creating our Houzz Bedroom Ideabook, featuring spaces from remodels and custom homes constructed by Key Residential over the years, we came across a few commonalities that make for the perfect place to lay your head. 

Click to see the full collection of  bedrooms in our Houzz ideabook.

Access to the Outdoors 

Being able to walk out onto a patio, balcony, or even directly into your backyard to get a little fresh air is always a good thing. Having convenient, direct access to nature from your bedroom elevates the space from a sleeping chamber for mere mortals to a relaxing retreat fit for royalty.

Natural Light 

While it may seem counterintuitive to add light to a room generally associated with being dark during sleeping, sources of daylight help regulate the body's internal clock and aid in the development healthy sleep patterns. Of course the light must be able to be be controlled or regulated in some way via shades, shutters, curtains, etc. for those lazy days that you just want to sleep in.

High Ceilings

A vaulted, cathedral, or higher-than-standard ceiling can add a sense of drama and grandeur, especially to a master bedroom. This height and architectural detailing also affords you the opportunity to add visual interest with crown molding, coffers, or custom beams. 

Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans are a classic bedroom favorite. They increase airflow, provide ambient noise, and aid in the regulation of body temperature, all of which are extremely important for a restful night's sleep.

Seating Area

Whether it's a chaise lounge or a built-in window seat, having a comfy place to plop down and read a book or have a chat on the phone will increase the comfort level and functionality of your bedroom.

Neutral or Cool Color Palette

While aesthetic preferences and design trends definitely change over time, and there is no hard fast rule about bedroom color, many of the bedrooms featured in our ideabook lean towards a cool or neutral, less saturated palette. As it is generally accepted in color theory that cooler colors have a calming effect while warmer colors are believed to stimulate mental and even physical activity, it makes sense to go for a blue, green, or neutral as opposed to a bright red in your restful and relaxing space.

Got some ideas for a the ultimate bedroom retreat?  Contact us to discuss your upcoming renovation or custom home project today!