What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A Remodel)

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.”

– Eugene Peterson

Remodeling is not what you see on TV.

There is far more planning, far higher costs, and far more stress involved than what Ty Pennington and his crew on Extreme Home Makeover may convey. The process, when done correctly, takes a long time and having contractors in and out of your home for months is sure to lead to frustration. As exciting as the idea of a remodel is, the actual process can be taxing in more ways than one. That’s why it is so important to find an expert you trust. Trust and wise counsel lightens the burden because it leaves the decision making to you while the experts do the work. Ultimately, a general contractor’s goal should be to make the process as enjoyable as possible (the origin of J&R’s motto “Helping You to Enjoy the Process“) and to take into account the things you may not have thought of. Here are some things you may not have considered:

Your budget may disqualify you from certain contractors.

General contractors wear a lot of hats in the world of remodeling, but not all home remodelers are the same. When it comes to your project, you should expect that certain contractors only work with higher-end homes. That’s just the nature of the business, it is about income for the contractor and often they’ll refer you to someone better suited for your needs so everyone walks away happy.

Your timeline may be unrealistic.

Your home is important and it should be important to your contractor. This means your contractor may have to push deadlines back in order to meet your expectations. At the end of the day, you’d rather your home look and feel like home than to sacrifice that look and feel for expedience. Take your time! It will be worth it when you live in the home of your dreams.

  • Side note: This means you should plan your temporary housing accordingly.

Kids and pets may affect the remodeling process.

Young children and pets can make entering the home difficult. Pets generally don’t like strangers entering the home, especially loud strangers, and even if you trust your teenager to be home alone most company policies will prevent contractors from entering if an adult is not present.

Warranties are super important!

Make sure your contractor provides a warranty on their craftsmanship, otherwise you may be stuck with a mess of a project in a year and no one to hold responsible.


I know, I know. This sounds overwhelming, but I promise you: with the proper guidance by experienced professionals you can enjoy your remodel! Even the tedious parts will be easier. At J&R we put you first in all that we do, so if you are ready to make the leap, we would love to help you Enjoy the Process

Your 2021 Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is slowly approaching. The weather is starting to get warmer, the sun is shining just a little bit longer each day, and it’s time to finally tackle the project we know has been coming… spring cleaning!

However, spring cleaning doesn’t have to feel like a dreaded task. If you’re someone who feels refreshed after de-cluttering and reorganizing your space, this project is perfect for you! Now is the time to toss or donate anything collecting dust in your home, so that you can open it up more and get it ready for the coming months. 

Before you begin your checklist, create a few different boxes or bins and label them based on what you want to do with your unwanted items. One can be trash or recycling, one can be storage, and one can be donations. This will help you to clean out your house in a detailed and organized way. Next, here is the detailed checklist to help you organize each room of your home and make the space feel fresh and new again!


The bedroom: This is a big one to tackle, as there are a lot of smaller spaces within the bedroom – your dressers, closets, nightstand drawers, etc!

  • Wash all sheets, comforters, and pillow cases. Sprinkle your mattress with baking soda for freshness, vacuum it, and flip the mattresses if necessary. This is something that not many people do, but a lot of dust can collect over time underneath your mattress, and flipping it can also give it a new, more comforting feeling. 
  • Vacuum carpets and shampoo them if needed
  • Dust and clean all ceiling fans, lights, tops of shelves, dressers, nightstands, etc.
  • Vacuum lampshades
  • Wipe down any vents and window tracts
  • Clean and wash any curtains, wipe down your window shades that are collecting dust 

Dressers, drawers, and closets: Here are some question to ask yourself when trying to decide what to toss and what to keep:

  • Have I worn this item in the last 6 months?
  • Does it still fit me the way that I want it to?
  • Does this item belong in my dresser or maybe somewhere else in the house?
  • Fold remaining clothes into small rectangles and place them face up. When putting items away in your closet, put your most-worn items in an easily accessible place, so that you don’t forget about them!

The bathrooms

Photo by Mahan Multimedia
  • Sort through your beauty products, hair products, etc. and think about which ones you actively use each day. A lot of them end up sitting around for months or years without use, and this is the main reason for clutter building up in bathrooms.
  • Take stock of your medicine cabinet. Clean it out, toss anything old or expired, wipe down the shelves, and return all currently used medicine in an organized and visible way. What you cannot see usually ends up never being used!
  • Create spaces for storage and places to hold small objects. Attaching something as simple as a magnetic strip to the inside of your cabinet door to hold all of your hair pins, tweezers, and nail clippers is a great trick to keep the space clean and organized. Use mason jars or small vases to hold other items like cotton swabs, tooth brushes, tooth paste, etc.

The living room

  • Sort through your bookshelves. Dust off all the nooks and crannies, check for any unwanted book or books no longer read, magazines, newspapers, and any other miscellaneous papers. You can donate your old books to a local library or school, and magazines and newspapers can easily be recycled.
  • Spot clean any furniture, try to remove stains and blemishes.
  • Wash any pillow cases, throw blankets, rugs, etc. These are items we easily forget about in our living room space!
  • If you have kids, consider donating any toys that are no longer in use, or maybe have too much wear on them
  • Take note of any extra decor. There is nothing wrong with having decorative items in your home! However, pay attention to which ones might be collecting dust on tables or shelves, as those are harder to clean around and are maybe taking up extra space. Think about how you want the room to feel after it’s been cleaned and re-organized. Are there any extra decorative items that you feel maybe you could part with, to help make the space feel more fresh and new?
  • Have permanent storage spots for small, everyday use items. Create a basket or bin that is designated to hold your remotes, chargers, game controllers, etc. and keep it in one spot where it is easily accessible every day. This will help you to avoid losing small items, and it will keep the space looking cleaner from day to day. 


  • Deep clean your oven and stovetop, wipe down the inside and outside of your microwave
  • Consider donating any old mugs, cups, or silverware that you no longer use. We often collect a lot of extra dishware that we do not need, and it sits in our cupboards collecting dust!
  • Sanitize and wipe down your sink, clean out the drain
  • Go through your pantry, organize it, toss any old or expired food, and wipe down shelves and storage bins
  • Clean all kitchen appliances, and clean underneath them too!
  • Scrub down counters, pay attention to all corners and edges that might usually get neglected
  • Dust tops of cabinets, top of fridge, freezer, etc.
  • Remove everything from your fridge, so that all items are visible and can be eaten
  • Defrost your freezer, clean it out in the same way that you did your fridge

Outdoor porches and decks

  • Vacuum or wash all surfaces of your porch or outdoor deck. A lot of debris, dirt, leaves, and other random outdoor clutter can build up throughout the fall and winter months.
  • Wipe down any fans or outdoor lights with cleaning disinfectant wipes
  • Clean the outside and inside of your windows with Windex or any type of glass cleaner 
  • Wash any outdoor curtains
  • Deep clean your grill or outdoor stove
  • Scrub down your doors and door handles
    Photo by Mark Mahan

Whether you’re cleaning your whole house top to bottom, or just trying to clear out one room, make this spring cleaning a time to “redesign” your space and make it feel new again!

Showing “Love” to your Home during the Winter Season

J&R Construction February Blog 2021                               

There are a variety of things that we can do to show “love” and take better care of the interior and exterior parts of our home during the chilly winter months. If you’re looking for new ways to keep your home safe, warm, and cozy this winter, here are a few tips that J&R would like to give you, to take for present and future winter seasons. 


Have your heating system inspected by a licensed professional. Do this to make sure that everything is running smoothly. The last thing that you want is for your heat to go out in the middle of a cold winter night!

In addition to this, you can also have your roofing and gutter inspected, to help prevent ice from building up and potentially damaging any exterior areas of your home.


Check and change the filters of your home, and vacuum and clean out all of your vents. Do this to avoid any debris buildup, and to keep the air that is circulating throughout the house, clean and fresh. Dust and debris is likely to build up during the winter months, so it is important to check and clean the filters to avoid any extra particles flying throughout your home. 


Keep your furnace running to protect your pipes from freezing. This is also to ensure that your home stays warm and insulated at all times. If you plan to leave for a winter vacation, set your temperature to at least 55 degrees or higher, to help keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities above freezing temperatures (since this is most likely the location of your water piping). It is also helpful to keep doors open throughout the house, to help heat circulate and warm all areas of every room. Often, drafts occur when doors shut on their own, and trap heat in individual areas. 


Photo by Mark Mahan Photography

Cover any outdoor seating. This is so that you can avoid potential damage, and increase the lifetime of your furniture! No need to buy any fancy furniture covers. All that you need are large plastic bags, or a roll of Partex Plastic and something (such as string or rubber bands) to tie and seal the bags to the furniture. If you are worried about any metallic items rusting or creating discoloration, cover them with some type of Vaseline or petroleum jelly to avoid this.


Seal any areas that might be letting in a draft. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well-sealed home can be up to 20 percent more energy efficient. Most drafts usually sneak in from your basement or attic. For small leaks, you can use a caulking gun or foaming insulation to keep cold air from coming in. For larger drafts, such as underneath your doorways, something as simple as a towel, blanket, or draftstopper can seal the crack and prevent a drafty room. 


Do you have a fireplace in your home? Are you wondering how to clean it and remove any unwanted soot or build up? Mix a can of coca cola with 3.5 fluid ounces of all purpose household cleaner, and 3.5 quarts of water in a bucket. Scrub it only any sooty bricks with a sponge, and leave it to sit for 15 minutes. After it sits for that time, scrub it with a bristle brush, and sponge it down again with clean water. The more cola that you add, the stronger the solution will be. Try this trick out, and avoid spending too much money on getting your fireplace cleaned this winter!

Photo by Mark Mahan Photography



We at J&R Construction would like to wish you a safe and warm winter season, and hope that you are spending time taking care of your home, and filling it with love this February!

The Perfect Kitchen

The Perfect Kitchen

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, the idea can be scary and overwhelming. There are so many different components that go into the use of your kitchen: the sink, the oven, seating, possible dining, pots and pans, storage, stovetops, the list could go on! And the options to customize every part of your newly-remodeled kitchen are endless, and always changing.

So how do you know where to begin?

Start by thinking first about what you do most in your kitchen. What are you doing every day in this kitchen? How do you work? What are your morning and evening routines like? Are you someone who likes to cook? Regardless of how you choose to use your kitchen, whether you enjoy nightly take-out or homemade dinners, you want it to be a space that is welcoming and comforting, while also punctual. 

Imagine yourself cooking your first meal, or entertaining others in the comfort of your home. When your home kitchen remodeling process is complete, what does the space feel like, look like, smell like, sound like? These are all things to consider and pay attention to when evaluating how you want you newly-remodeled kitchen to feel. 

There are several different components that go into creating and remodeling your “perfect kitchen”:


1. The Layout

If you are someone who spends most of your time in the kitchen cooking and creating new delicious treats for yourself or loved ones, you know the importance of the layout of the foundation. The layout preferences can be different and personal based on each individual needs. A popular setup that many people consider having is a “triangle connection” between the stove, sink, and fridge. These three parts of the kitchen should be in close proximity and easily accessible, as they are the three most used parts of the kitchen. However, more recently, this trend is not as popular. The biggest issue that clients focus on when designing their “dream kitchen”, is prep stations and work areas that are easily accessible and spacious. Prep stations can be personally customized and designed to meet each client’s expectation and vision. The placement of each work area does not necessarily have to match the “triangle connection” that many people assume. Our biggest concern when designing your kitchen is making it as enjoyable and spacious as possible for you.  Consider how your kitchen will flow into other rooms, specifically the dining room or family room. Again, you want your kitchen to feel welcoming and open to all who come into your home.

Photo by Mark Mahan Multimedia
Photo by Mark Mahan
Photo by Mark Mahan Multimedia                                     








2. Lighting

A well-lit kitchen is important, as it allows you to perform all necessary tasks in the space, but also creates a mood to warm and brighten the room. Different types of lighting can easily change the kitchen from a cooking space, to a place of company and entertainment. 

Photo by Mark Mahan
Photo by Mark Mahan Mahan Multimedia
Photo by Mark Mahan Multimedia







3. Storage

Often, when people want to remodel their kitchen, storage is one of the biggest reasons. You can never have enough room or extra space to store items in your kitchen! It’s important to take into consideration how you want your storage to look. There are a variety of different cabinet options, as well as drawers and customizable handles to go on each. This is one of the many ways that you can make your new kitchen look unique, as you are in charge of picking the styles of every detail that goes into your storage units. Have fun with it, and enjoy the process!

Photo by Mark Mahan Mahan Multimedia
Photo by Mark Mahan Multimedia
Photo by Mark Mahan Multimedia

Take a look at some of J&R Construction’s past home remodeling kitchen projects here. We pride ourselves in customizing each space to look comforting and personal to each client’s preference. Our design team makes it their goal to listen to the clients’ visions for their home remodeling projects, and make those come to life. 

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you, for it is your business that is the future of our company. 

Homeowners Insurance & Renovation Projects: Does One Have Anything To Do With The Other?


Homeowners Insurance & Renovation Projects: Does One Have Anything To Do With The Other?

June 14, 2018

Homeowners planning to remodel their home would be well-advised to contact their insurance agent, broker, or insurance company representative early in the project planning process. Why? Homeowners need to ensure that they have all necessary insurance coverages during ̶ and after ̶ their renovation project. Be proactive. Call before the renovation project begins. If you wait until after your home renovation project is underway, you could find yourself dangerously underinsured if the worst-case scenario were to play itself out.


  • Discuss your remodeling plans with your insurance company. Ask if you will need to update your homeowner’s insurance and whether you need other types of insurance to protect your legal and financial interests during the renovation project.


  • If you are planning a simple, do-it-yourself (DIY) renovation project, you should only tackle the work that you are qualified to perform. If friends or family are going to volunteer their labor, make sure that you have sufficient liability protection in the hopefully unlikely event that someone gets injured. Consider raising the amount of no-fault medical protection on your home insurance policy so that if someone is injured, he or she can simply submit the doctor’s bills to your insurance company.


  • If you are planning a larger project, consider a builder’s risk policy (also known as a “course of construction” policy). It may be available as a stand-alone policy, or as an add-on to your existing homeowner’s policy. This coverage generally protects a home from damage incurred during construction, including wind and rain, theft of materials such as carpeting, tile or wood (though not the contractor’s equipment), and vandalism.


  • Why is it important that your insurance company knows about the improvements to your home? Simply put: Ensure that you have adequate coverage(s) to protect your financial interests. That is, after a major renovation, you may need to increase the amount of insurance coverage you carry in order to rebuild your home to the new, improved quality standards.


  • Consider purchasing additional coverage for your personal possessions. If you have purchased art or other expensive items as part of your remodeling project, find out whether you should purchase additional coverage in the form of a floater or an endorsement. This is an individual policy for expensive items that provides a higher level of insurance coverage.


  • Consider purchasing additional liability protection if you added a swimming pool or hot tub as these are considered “attractive nuisances” and could leave you vulnerable to lawsuits from others injured on your property. You may want to ask your insurance agent about getting an excess or umbrella liability policy as a cost-effective way to increase your overall liability protection.


  • Don’t be shy. Inquire about premium discounts. That is, you may qualify for a discount of at least 5 percent if you installed stronger doors, smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks. Some companies may reduce your premiums by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated, monitored sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm system. If you updated the heating, plumbing, or electrical systems, you may qualify for a reduction in your premium, as these reduce the risk of fire and water damage. Adding storm shutters or shatter-proof glass, reinforcing your roof, or purchasing stronger roofing materials may also reduce your insurance premiums.


  • If the alterations and improvements to your home were a result of a major change in your life such as a marriage, the addition of a new child, establishing a home-based business, or an elderly relative moving into your home, you may also need to reevaluate a number of other insurance needs. Now is a good time to discuss these major life events with your insurance professional to see if you should update your life insurance, get business insurance, or secure other coverages.


*CAVEAT(S): J&R Construction does not seek to provide insurance advice, nor does it endorse any insurance product or company. This is not intended as legal or financial advice, nor should it be considered as such. J&R Construction highly suggests homeowners always seek independent, qualified financial, legal, and insurance advice from a licensed, qualified, and reputable professional.

Home Projects With Big Payoffs

J&R remains committed to providing our clients with relevant and timely updates from the home remodeling industry. 

We share a blend of our own professional experience along with relevant industry articles.

In this installment, we share a recent article entitled Home Projects With Big Payoffs

by Angie’s List (click the hyperlink, left).