Articles Featuring Creative Design Construction
Our work throughout Bergen County and Rockland County often gets covered in leading publications!
NOT ENTIRELY OUTDOORS
Homeowners look for ways to keep patios, decks away from the elements
SPECIAL TO THE RECORD
EASTERN OUTDOOR FURNISHINGS Outdoor living spaces can include a trellis and an underdeck, bluestone floors and even weatherproof flatscreens.
Homeowners want to bring their living spaces outdoors, but not completely outdoors, according to North Jersey designers and contractors.
As outdoor kitchens and living areas become more sophisticated, with couches, fire pits, fireplaces and more, homeowners are looking for ways to keep their patios and decks away from the sun.
“We’re doing a lot of covered patios,” says Glen Lumia, president and chief executive officer of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling in Northvale. Those patios are either attached to the home, detached or part of a cabana, he says. Clients have been asking for sun protection, too. “We’re looking for different, creative ways to block sun without blocking light to the house,” says Lumia, including powered screens that retract when not needed to block the bugs. “A lot of people will ask for the screened-porch option, but then not want to look at the screens all year,” he notes. Homeowners can press a button or their phone to retract them.
Another option Lumia’s company offers is an underdeck – finishing the underside of a second-story deck so that residents can stay out of the sun or remain dry when it’s raining. A house with a walk-out basement can have a full deck on the first floor.
Lumia, three-time president of the Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey, says he used to get asked for covered porches maybe once a year, but such requests are now much more common. In the last six or seven years, more people are investing money in outdoor projects. Such projects can take between three and seven weeks to finish, he says, and can range from modest to high end, depending on the materials used.
One high-end project in Old Tappan, for instance, featured a bluestone patio and stone fireplace, and was designed to be maintenance-free. A more modestly priced two-story project in Mahwah featured a trellis meant to shade the deck at the hottest point of the day, and an underdeck with a gutter system. The trellis will periodically need water-stain removal, though the aluminum underdeck won’t need maintenance.
“For myself, I did a cabana with a screened area. It really extended the season,” Lumia says. “We open our pool now in early April, sometimes even late March, depending on the weather. But last year, we put the cover on the day before Thanksgiving.” He also uses a fireplace and small heaters similar to those that restaurants use for outdoor dining.
CREATIVE DESIGN CONSTRUCTING & REMODELING IN NORTHVALE Deck with trellis over an underdeck at a home in Mahwah.
Sun exposure is a bigger issue for people now, says Lumia, who’s had firsthand experience: He and his wife have both dealt with skin cancer. “It’s something that’s happening more and more,” he says. “We grew up in the sun, we were sun worshippers. Now we pay the price.”
Residents can always walk out of a covered area and enjoy the sun, “but you’re not obligated to stay in it,” Lumia says.
The furniture and materials used in outdoor spaces have gotten more stylish as well, says George Vallone, president of the Hoboken Brownstone Co. in Jersey City. His company has created a number of multi-unit residences – including Maxwell Place on the Hudson in Hoboken and Van Leer Place in Jersey City – that feature rooftop decks.
“It’s as comfortable as your living room furniture,” Vallone, also chairman of the board of the New Jersey Builders Association, says of current patio sets. And where his company previously used pressurized lumber for the finish on roof decks, the crew now uses more high-end, durable finishes such as ipe wood or composite materials.
Outdoor kitchens are a booming business, according to Will Evertz, president of Eastern Outdoor Furnishings in Totowa. When the company launched in 2008, it designed eight outdoor kitchens. Last year, the company did 562 kitchens for clients nationwide, from Boston to Key West, and about 300 to 400 kitchens in the Bergen County area. “The trend is just exploding,” Evertz says. “We just find people are spending more time in their backyards, not really going out on vacations or renting the Shore houses.”
Another big trend is fire features. Evertz reports getting a lot of requests for fire pits and fireplaces, saying customers are “getting away from your standard dining room table and they’re creating more of a lounge-y kind of area, where it’s couches, big comfortable chairs outside, surrounding a fire pit.” He says many of their designs lately include outdoor fireplaces with weather-resistant, waterproof televisions above them. The flatscreens range from $3,000 to $24,000, depending on size, Evertz says.
Creative Design also creates fire features, and as part of one recent project, added fire bowls to either side of a pool overlooking a reservoir in Woodcliff Lake. The bowls switch on and off by phone, Lumia says.
Though most fire features (which can be either wood or gas) are designed for visual impact and warmth and not meant for, say, roasting marshmallows, Evertz does offer a fire pit that comes with a pizza stone and grill grates.
Eastern Outdoor Furnishings uses drawings from the homeowner or contractor to create a 3-D rendering of the design and build the kitchen, then ships the materials to the job site. This condenses the process “from about three weeks to about three days,” says Evertz, who adds that the kitchens range from $4,000 to $90,000.
Tastes in furniture have changed, Evertz says. “Five years ago, everyone was into that teak furniture, and now we find that it’s just declined rapidly. People just didn’t like the maintenance of it, the wear and tear on it. They constantly have to be sanding it, finishing it, if they don’t want that weathered look.” Cast-aluminum furniture is still the most popular, he says. Evertz says his company uses stainless-steel appliances and natural stone, “so there’s really nothing that can go wrong,” and only granite counter tops. “Granite’s been in the ground for millions of years – nothing’s going to happen to it within the next 30.”
Eastern Outdoor Furnishings is a debut exhibitor this year at the “New Jersey Home Show,” which runs March 10-12 at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison. Evertz says they’re doing the show “to create awareness and get the ball rolling for all the customers.” Now is the time to schedule outdoor projects, he says. “We’re already back-ordered, probably about 35 outdoor kitchens right now. In the height of our season, we can get back-ordered up to 80 or 90 of them.”
At least three exhibitors will be focusing on patios and decks this year, says Eric Udler, producer of the home show. Customer surveys reveal an increased interest in outdoor kitchens, he says, citing an improved economy as a factor. “Everybody wants to dress up their outdoor space,” he says, and these people are looking for ideas.
Udler says vendors book 80 percent of their business for the year because of the show, which is expected to draw more than 20,000 attendees over the course of the weekend. “People are planning now what they’re going to do for their spring projects, summer projects,” he says.
An Old Tappan pool house is a hit all year long, proving that the fun doesn’t end when you leave the water.
A Tennessee flagstone path leads to the covered lounge area of this Old Tappan pool house. Motorized screens are hidden from view but can be lowered to keep unwanted pests from spoiling the party inside.
What happens when the kids outgrow their backyard playhouse and an old shed is underused? For one Old Tappan homeowner, the answer was: Call in the wrecking ball. Well, it wasn’t that dramatic, says Glen Lumia, president and CEO of Northvale-based Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, but replacing those old structures with a one-of-a-kind pool house was a viable solution.
A simple pool house with four walls, windows, roof and a door just wouldn’t cut it for this property, he says. The yard already featured an in-ground pool with tanning shelf, spa, grotto and waterfall, while an outdoor kitchen, firepit area and trampoline dotted other spots on site. “The owner wanted the pool house to fit in with the character of the outdoor space and be an extension of the main house,” says Lumia, whose company oversaw each stage of the project. Their shared vision evolved from the concept of a Japanese pavilion, from its general shape and form to an interior chock full of upscale amenities and comforts. On the wish list: a full bath with indoor and outdoor showers, a changing room with washer and dryer, a bar with refrigeration, an entertaining area with TV and fire features, and plenty of storage for pool equipment and furniture.
Location played a large role in the intricate design of the building. Because direct sunlight literally hits the spot during summer days, “we designed the roof to allow for the natural process of convection,” Lumia says. Stay-cool Tennessee flagstone is used for patio floors, and the open ceiling—constructed of natural cedar—allows rising heat to escape. A roof transom is installed for function and aesthetics; it aids in the release of hot air while allowing views of summer sunsets.
Motorized screens around the cabana’s covered outdoor entertainment lounge provide protection from nature’s elements (including pesky bugs!).
“This space is important because it allows for more family time, Friday night pizza and movie events or just a cozy romantic night by the fire,” Lumia says. Portable decorative space heaters were added to extend the entertaining season. “Now, all the comforts of the inside can be enjoyed outdoors any time of the year,” he says.
A full indoor bathroom with seeded glass offers privacy, but the available outdoor shower is convenient for those needing a quick rinse.
The bar area includes refrigeration, sink and stone countertops with waterfall detail.
The covered entertainment area with free-floating fireplace and fire table makes outdoor gatherings a year-round possibility. Natural cedar lines the cabana ceiling, in keeping with the designer’s “outdoor organic” theme.
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling of Northvale, NJ
Awarded Best of Houzz 2017
Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World
Northvale, NJ – February 9, 2017– Creative Design Construction, Inc. of Northvale, NJ has won “Best of Design” and “Best of Service” on Houzz, the leading platform for home renovation and design.
The Northvale, NJ based Design/Build firm was chosen by more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, home improvement, and design industry professionals. The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service, and Photography.
Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016.
“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Creative Design Construction, Inc.” said Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”
Glen Lumia, President of Creative Design Construction, Inc. said, “We are absolutely over the moon to receive these accolades-especially as we have now been awarded Best of Design four years in a row and the Best of Service for a third year running. At Creative Design, we pride ourselves on providing the highest standards of service and design and so we are extremely grateful to the Houzz community for their recognition and support.”
A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge appears on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals on Houzz. This is a prestigious honor as less than 3% of professionals on Houzz are recognized, let alone for multiple, consecutive years.
Follow Creative Design Construction & Remodeling on Houzz.
About Creative Design
Serving Bergen & Rockland counties, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling houses their award-winning showroom, state-of-the-art design and workshops and executive offices at 204 Livingston Street in Northvale, New Jersey, 07647. Incorporated in 1988, the firm creates long-term relationships through a complete “Design-Build” process, which takes their clients from design concepts to architectural drawing to completion/build all within the same organization. To learn more about their design-build process call (201) 768-5813 in New Jersey or (845) 634-0132 in New York or visit their website at www.creativedesignconstruction.com.
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.
From a 1990s-style foyer to garish bathroom hardware, everything inside this Upper Saddle River home begged for a renovation—and the project was tops on Glen Lumia’s to-do list. Though the homeowners needed a little convincing that a total redo was in order, says Lumia, president and CEO of Northvale-based Creative Design, “they’re thrilled with the outcome and couldn’t imagine their home any other way.”
“The existing foyer wasn’t only outdated, it didn’t allow for open flow or open line of sight,” he recalls. Several obstacles, namely walls, hid the view of the rear yard and the nearby river.
It wasn’t a complete tear-down-this-wall scenario, but Lumia and his team still tinkered with the home’s original layout to create the open floor plan. It was a welcome change, particularly for anyone walking through the front door: upon entry, one’s eyes take in the kitchen and the backyard oasis with just a single glance. To add to the design, extra millwork and wainscoting were installed in the foyer and along the staircase, a feature that Lumia says adds a sense of warmth and directs foot traffic to other areas of the home. A relocated first-floor powder room and reorganized kitchen also improve navigation and sight lines.
The great room was also revamped to live up to its name. Wide-plank white oak flooring—which is found throughout the home—was installed in a diagonal pattern to “create a visual interest without being overpowering,” Lumia says. Detailing along the doors and fireplace “helps bring the eye up” by connecting the floor to the ceiling, he adds, while large windows and two pairs of French glass doors serve multiple purposes.
“The windows give maximum exposure to the landscape outside, and the dual doors give symmetry and a second entrance when hosting large gatherings,” he says.
The second-floor master bedroom also includes a pair of glass doors, which open to a backyard balcony overlooking the yard, an infinity pool and the river. Balcony railings incorporate clear glass panels, giving unobstructed views of the landscape and hardscape below.
Inside, each window is dressed with Roman blackout shades, allowing the homeowners to drift off to sleep at any time of the day. Angles come into play in the master, from the floorboards to the ceiling, which is accented with variations of crown molding.
“We love to take advantage of the ceiling line and add details whenever possible to create a unique look,” Lumia says.
A reconfigured en suite bathroom gave the design team ample space to install his-and-hers walk-in closets, which were much-desired by the homeowner. Silver wood natural stone tiles were used for the bathroom floor and create a soothing “driftwood-type feel” around the soaking tub. The shower stall features the same tile along with a vertical stone/glass mosaic.
“A good trick to give the illusion of height is to install the decorative tiles on a vertical,” Lumia says. “This makes you look up toward the ceiling and doesn’t define the perimeter.”
The low placement of the front window presented one of the biggest challenges, he says. To counter its position, they added a custom design at the top of the window to “give additional height” and complete the renovation.
Page 69: A redesigned millwork package accents the high ceilings and natural light in the great room. Opposite: The entrance foyer and staircase are the “perfect places” for wainscot detail. It makes the space “warm and welcoming,” says Creative Design’s Glen Lumia.
Page 70: A bathroom chandelier combines design and function. It sets the mood of the space and addresses general lighting needs, as do the recessed lights above the luxurious soaking tub. Opposite: Windows in the master bedroom are dressed with dark Roman shades, giving the homeowner the chance for relaxation at any time of day.
THE FACE OF
CONSTRUCTION & REMODELING
204 Livingston St., Northvale, NJ 07647 | 201.768.5813 | creativedesignconstruction.com
Every homeowner would agree that constant and clear communication with their contractor is key to a successful project. But does that actually happen? Yes. There’s a design-build firm that clients trust to put that expectation into practice. “We’ve designed a communication system catering to our clients because they expect exceptional value on their investment,” says Glen Lumia, president of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling. Clients receive ongoing, professional project summaries discussing updates on the daily inner workings of their projects, including inspections, payments, concerns, scheduling issues, all on a weekly basis.
“We have weekly production meetings where we review every project and bring that information to the client,” Glen says about the faces behind Creative Design Construction & Remodeling’s award-winning inhouse design team, build teams, cabinet department and showroom. As one client testimonial says, “They are there for you every step of the way and communication with the team is exceptional.”
Fresh and Focused
Construction & Design: Glen Lumia, CGR, GMB, CAPS
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling
Photography Courtesy of John Martinelli
A major renovation of a traditional Center Hall Colonial in Upper Saddle River gave Glen Lumia, owner of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling in Northvale, the artistic freedom to create an open floor plan that promoted better interaction between all of the rooms on the home’s first floor.
By removing a dark interior hallway, relocating the powder room and altering the staircase, Lumia was able to address several design challenges and create additional storage and wall space. “The additional wall space allowed us to create a range feature wall and a large two-tier island that work both as design elements while also concealing the working side of the island from the family room,” he says.
Wide plank white oak floors, stained dark walnut, unite the rooms and draw attention to the island’s curved Burmese teak breakfast bar. Classic floor-to-ceiling matte white custom cabinetry get a fresh update, thanks to two complementary backsplashes, one in polished dolomite accented by a decorative water jet leaf mosaic in Thassos and Bardiglio marbles above the stove, and shimmery April Showers glass tile mosaic, both from John P. Fischer Tiles in Hawthorne.
Stainless steel, zinc and brushed nickel finishes, including a custom RangeCraft hood, cabinet hardware in four lengths and a pair of transitional orb chandeliers over the island, add an extra dose of glamour to the space.
Addressing The Essentials
Builders and designers: Glen Lumia and Sarah Roy, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, Northvale photographs courtesy of John Martinelli Photography
Passionate about delivering on homeowner expectations, Glen Lumia of Creative Design Construction seized on the opportunity to wow his Old Tappan clients with a bathroom that addressed all their essentials, including a modern-profile freestanding tub and custom oversized doorless shower with a thermostatic valve and rain-head fixture.
“The unique challenge of the space was utilizing current colors, textures and styles in the overall design,” explains Lumia, who opted for matte finishes to achieve a cohesive, modern look. He framed Kohler’s strikingly contemporary Abrazo 66-inch deep-soaking tub in cast acrylic with textured travertine mosaic tiles in shades of cream and soft taupe, paired with silver wood Classico travertine stone, both by Porcelanosa.
“This created a unique focal point surrounding the tub,” he adds. Kohler’s Margaux Collection faucet was the perfect finishing touch, with a brushed nickel finish that allowed the fixture to blend seamlessly into the design.
The deep espresso finish on the double maple vanity, by Crystal Cabinets, wraps around the mirror and recessed lighting, complementing the room’s overall earth tones. “I carried the finish across the room to the tub surround to tie the space together,” Lumia notes.
Gothic beauty meets avant-garde sophistication in this newly renovated kitchen in Old Tappan. Glen Lumia, owner of Creative Design Construction, effortlessly paired principles of ancient architectural design with innovative, modern detailing to create an inviting and user-friendly space for empty-nesters who enjoy cooking.
An expert at scale and dimension, Lumia and colleague Sarah Cassidy played up contrast with a combination of frosty white and espresso cabinets and modern mix of counter materials. Beneath the 48-inch Viking cooktop and the island, darker cabinets are attention-grabbers but it is the island’s striking three-tiered, geometric shape that creates the room’s focal point. Lumia heightened the drama by adding a 2 ½-inch Wenger wood Top with double Roman ogee edge on the tallest tier. The tiers draw the eye upward to the tray ceiling, which mirrors the island’s unique shape. A pair of simple Schonbek glass pendants over the island adds a contemporary touch.
Clean, neutral contrasts and parallels define the theme of the entire kitchen, down to every detail. Satin nickel wire mesh inserts accent the tallest cabinets along two walls of the kitchen, just beneath classic molding that wraps the entire ceiling and tray ceiling. The deep decorative molding complements the ogee-edge of the ice white granite tops.
A picture window just above the sink, with a custom Gothic style grill, echoes the modern metal mesh pattern along the cabinets. Lumia effortlessly pairs old and new by evoking the austerity of Gothic architecture with the opulent sophistication of modern-day design.
Glen Lumia of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, Inc. kicked off a multi-phase update of this classic Old Tappan center hall colonial with the kitchen before moving on to the adjacent family room and laundry room. “The family didn’t move out during construction so we divided the scope of work into different projects to keep the disruption to a minimum,” he explains.
The home owners enjoy entertaining so Lumia designed an open floorplan anchored by a painted maple island with deeply carved corbels by Wellborn with a soft java glaze, topped with polished Cambria New Quay quartz finished with an ogee edge. The graceful custom shape and mix of metals – including oil rubbed bronze, stainless steel, satin nickel, gold and copper – add a decorative element to the kitchen’s more masculine vibe.
The perimeter cherry cabinetry by Wellborn features a charcoal glaze, accented by oil rubbed bronze and satin nickel hardware by Jeffrey Alexander Padua Collection. The counters are topped with the same Cambria quartz. One of the builder’s favorite features is the backsplash, a combination of tumbled Botticinio tiles accented by glass and stone mosaics from Fuda Tile in Ramsey, then paired with an embellished metal resin inset above the 36-inch Viking range. Other must-have appliances included a 30-inch Viking double wall oven, Viking microwave, Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer.
A separate bar features glass display cabinets surrounding a backsplash of the same staggered glass and stone mosaic tiles from Fuda Tile. The Saturnia beige porcelain tile floor in the bar and kitchen unite the two areas while the cabinet color and backsplash subtly mirror the shade of the 18-inch Bluffton hammered copper bar sink. The oil rubbed bronze faucet is by Grohe.
Tuscan Traditional in Mahwah
Builder: Glen Lumia, Creative Design Construction and Remodeling Inc., Northvale
A three phase renovation of this Mahwah home culminated with this beautifully designed kitchen space. Seeking to strike a subtle tone that reads Tuscan-with-a-twist, Northvale-based builder Glen Lumia included such Old World accents as a hammered copper farm sink, travertine limestone, paint glazes and oil0rubbed bronze finishes.
“The overall look is elegant and traditional” Lumia says.
The spacious cherry center island, with seating for four, is the kitchen’s focal point and family command center.
“Its generous space for meal prep that doubles as a place for the homeowners’ son to do homework,” says Lumia, who chose warm St. Cecilia granite with an ogee edge for the island and perimeter countertops. Above this island, a pair of pendant light fixtures is a decorative addition to the room’s recessed and under-cabinet lighting.
Custom, ceiling-height cabinets are painted in maple cream with a mocha glaze, complementing the glass mosaic accents in the travertine limestone backsplash below the corbel-embellished mantel. The kitchens storage capacity is maximized thanks to twin space drawers flanking the Wolf cook top, a drawer beneath the double wall oven and a walk-in pantry.
In the adjacent bar area, Lumia opted for a darker, more dramatic look, pairing cherry cabinets with a Crema Bordeaux granite counter and backsplash. Glass-front display cabinets and an under-counter beverage refrigerator signal the bust family’s affinity for entertaining family and friends.
Winner of Ramapo Wholesaler’s Bathroom Design Contest: Creative Design & Construction in Northvale
Bergen county-based Design & Build firm wins prestigious national industry awards
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling presents to home-owners at Mahwah home show
Both professional Remodeler and Qualified Remodeler magazines recently announced this year’s industry award winners. The award-winning design firm will be exhibiting at the Mahwah Home Show College on March 20-22.
Glen Lumia, president of the firm, will be available to speak one-on-one at his booth and will also be speaking at the show on the topic of “What I Wish I Knew Before My Renovation” on both Saturday & Sunday, March 21 and 22.
Remodeler magazine has awarded their “2008 Best of the Best Design Awards.” Now in their seventh year, “The Best of the Best Design Awards” competition recognizes outstanding design, craftsmanship and functionality of the projects of remodelers across the United States. This year’s “Whole House” award and “Kitchen under $75,000” award was presented to Creative Design Construction & Remodeling.
The Bergen County-based design-and-build firm also won the “Master Design” and the Top 500 in Qualified Remodeler magazine’s 29th annual recognition program. To see the complete list of awards bestowed upon Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, visit creativedesignconstruction.com.
“We are humbled by the recognition we are receiving for our work. We value our industry colleagues’ perspective and are flattered by their kudos,” states Lumia, CEO of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling. “Our design and build team exhibits that the right relationship with our clients results in award-winning work.”
Best Bathroom Over $30,000 + Design
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling
The homeowners wanted to relocate the cluttered fixtures, opening more space for functional movement. Their goal was to have a more relaxing and spectacular bathroom.
Incorporating a new, larger tub and private shower space with a clear surround into the room offers a spa-like feel. Instead of hiding the fixtures down a dark hallway, Creative Design opened the space and designed a complimentary area without having to expand the footprint of the room. The elliptical ceiling detail was recessed into the existing storage space on the finished third floor.
The result, according to the customers, “We feel like we are in a luxurious European hotel!”
Best Showroom Design: National and East Regional Winner
Craved from space previously used as an office, Creative Design Construction and Remodeling’s new, 1,500-sq.-ft. showroom in Northvale, NJ showcases traditional styling and reinforces a home-like atmosphere.
A sitting island offers clients a roomy, relaxing station to enjoy refreshments while reviewing the firm’s presentation materials. “And the working kitchen has proven to be a great tool for hosting cooking demonstrations and other events as part of our marketing plan,” remarks owner Glen Lumia.
Stacked cabinets, a modified corner cabinet and microwave cabinets and a sink base with clipped corners are among the special-order Decora items the showroom included in its design. Decora details include turnings, refrigerator and dishwasher panels, roll-out trays and an English country valance.
Design-build firm leads by example by bringing sustainability to its office
By: Kelsey Higginbotham
Since 1988, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling has been providing customers with quality craftsmanship and unique, comprehensive designs. Recently, the company has been taking a greener look at what it does and how it does it. Inspired by governmental incentives, Creative Design is looking to open a green division. “Our company has really opened its eyes, becoming very conscience that green will be the way of the future- Creative Design future,” Glen Lumia, president of the company.
Creative Design bases itself off its clear-cut business values: treat all individuals with respect and dignity, and have the confidence in the company; enjoy what it does and do what it enjoys; accept accountability, demonstrates leadership, and display integrity; and maintain the belief in excellence. And these values are strengthened by the company’s ever-growing focus on sustainability. “Within the company, we are implementing many ideas for going in a green direction,” say Tracy Gavin, remodeling consultant for Creative Design. “We are all really working to be aware of unnecessary electric usage, so we can eliminate it. That’s just the beginning.”
According to Lumia, Gavin is the green czar in the company. By focusing on green while in the office, not just when it comes to clients, Creative Design is becoming a true green leader in the industry. “The practices we have adopted around the office aren’t about saving money-they are to feel good about doing something for the environment,” Lumia says. “We can’t be hypocrites; we need to be role models.” Green practices within the Creative Design’s office include:
- Recycling cans and plastic bottles;
- Shredding and recycling paper, and purchasing recycled or compostable materials;
- Not printing e-mails;
- Working towards being a paperless company;
- Recycling printer cartridges;
- Utilizing the most energy-efficient lightbulbs and programmable thermostats;
- Switching from plastic to washable utensils.
Creative Design uses its own Design-Build 3-Step Process, and it will continue to follow this course-with a green twist to it. The first step involves conceptual and budget feasibility, and detailed design development. According to Lumia, this step is where the company determines who is truly serious about focusing on green practices and sustainability. Step two is preconstruction, which allows clients to finalize all selections and preorder materials, obtain building permits, meet the company’s build team, and review the project the project schedule. Some of the materials Creative Design orders will help it in its quest to be green. Step three is the build- where it all comes together. Clients are able to enjoy their new space with a five-year warranty.
Some of the materials Creative Design uses for sustainability include: spray-foam insulation, LED lighting, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and windows, Energy Star appliances, and re-circulating pumps to control hot water. Energy-efficient windows play a key role in proper insulation. Creative Design is aware of how important insulation is- pipes, electric outlets, windows, doors- and everything gets the attentions it deserves for each project to be successful.
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling is in its second year of membership with the USGBC. According to Lumia, the USCBC is a great way to educate the company on the ways of going green. “We are trying to be more involved because we haven’t had the opportunity to take full advantage of what the USGBC can do for us,” Lumia says. The company is looking forward toward the future, and it hopes that it will include involvement with LEED accreditations.
“Within the company, we are implementing many ideas for going in a green direction. We are really working to be aware of unnecessary electric usage, so we can eliminate it.” Tracy Gavin, Remodeling Consultant.
LARGE PHOTO: This 450-square-foot, light-filled kitchen in Harrington park is more than triple its original size as a result of an award-winning renovation by Creative Design of Northvale (201-822-1949). The oak floor with mahogany border anchors maple wall cabinets, a suede-finish cherry island, with decorative touches throughout. These rooms – which always served a crucial function – have in recent years become a tableau for the latest décor. And what’s hot right now is the finest materials and the greatest attention to detail. But within that framework, individual tastes differ. From country home style to a more sleek industrial look, here’s sampling of what local designers – have done in the community. Food for thought, and ideas for your own drawing board.
“Decora Just what my client needed for his doubled-in-size, open-design, gourmet superpowered, traditional/transitional, don’t want to blow-his-budget dream kitchen.”
– GLEN LUMIA, Owner
Creative Design Construction, Northvale, NJ
East Region Winner of 2005 Design with Decora Contest
Worth The Two
Experiences In Kitchen Remodeling
By Julia Osellame
Glen Dennis, a homeowner in River Vale, had a pleasant experience remodeling his kitchen with Glen Lumia, president of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling in Northvale. His winter remodeling project was quick and easy, completed in only seven weeks.
“Even my neighbors were surprised about how quick it was,” Dennis says.
Dennis attributes the speedy remodeling to the season. Most people prefer not to do such a project in the winter, but his family was looking forward to getting it done, he says.
The Dennis family was able to use toasters, microwaves and other appliances in their dining room while the kitchen was unusable. The results were certainly worth the slight inconvenience.
“[The kitchen is traditional and functional. It’s extremely user-friendly,” Dennis says.
Dennis adds that his kitchen reminds him of his home state, Massachusetts, with its simple country style. The six-burner Wolf stove and deep Franke stainless steel sink is framed by granite countertops, tile splashguard along the walls and a lighted hood above the stove. The granite countertops extend to the island and table, adding to the kitchen’s flow.
Eastern Kitchens – Timeless and Tasteful
While modern kitchens are often the choice for upscale city loft dwellers, traditional kitchens still dominate in the East, but with a decidedly different look, according to Glen Lumia, Owner of Creative Design Construction and Remodeling. “Customers in the east love to use accent color in their cabinets, especially the combination of white or cream cabinets, and with an island with black, red, or even deep cherry cabinets. When they are going for the all-wood look in cabinets, most customers are still using lighter woods with light glazes,” he says.
Lumia also notes the eastern customers love the look of bead board, wainscoting, and columns, to give the kitchen a timeless feel. “Kitchens in the East also tend to put their emphasis on the kitchen hood or hearth, where all the cooking takes place, as opposed to the island. Wood floors, and stone tiles in very traditional patterns are big for flooring too” Lumia adds.
The Place to Be
What’s your “sweet spot” job?
By: Stacey Freed, Senior Editor
An addition with a kitchen or bath?
A sunroom with a deck? A complicated roof?
Taking on one of these projects might mean a challenge with a good gross profit. Or, it might mean losing your shirt. Knowing beforehand will help increase profitability while decreasing stress.
Your “sweet spot” is “a particular kind of project that you enjoy doing, [and] know you can do efficiently, on time, and on budget with a delighted customer and minimal stress,” says consultant and REMODELING columnist Victoria Downing.
Figuring it out needn’t be left to trial and error. “I looked at my history and at what my most successful projects and leads are,” says an owner of a design/build company in San Diego. “Whenever I have a challenge on a project I look at what I could have done to avoid the challenge. Was my contract not clear enough? Was the plan not clear enough? It’s usually a communications breakdown.” I keep a notebook called “contract wording,” and whenever I have a challenge, he says, “I take note and look at how I can reword my agreements with clients to make them clearer.”
It’s determined that his most successful job is a room addition with a kitchen or a bathroom. He takes into consideration the size of the job and whether it fits his company’s structure — superintendents overseeing jobs done by trade contractors. “Smaller projects aren’t necessarily a sweet spot because my competition for those jobs is greater,” he says. “Larger projects make more sense.”
Look Back to Look Ahead
One way to gather job history is via a job autopsy, a review of a job shortly after it’s completed. (See “Autopsy for Answers,” page 106.) “Make sure you look at trends over time,” says an Intuit Master Builder consultant and software consultant to the remodeling industry. “The data has to be collected over a population large enough to be able to draw a reasonable conclusion.” And it’s not enough to just look at jobs on which you lost money. “It’s equally important to do autopsies of jobs you do well on. You can also learn from those.” Comparing estimates to actual costs, as well as analyzing “non-quantitative information such as what the lead carpenter and production manager say about the job,” and will help you pinpoint problems, discover what you’re good at, and, ultimately, will help you determine which projects will return the highest gross profit. The owner of a Newport, Delaware company does job autopsies every two weeks on every project to adjust over/under reports to show true profitability. Then he does a final autopsy at the end. “You can look at a project in a macro or micro sense,” he says. “To determine a sweet spot, you’d look at projects from a macro standpoint, doing side-by-side comparisons by project type to determine overall gross profit.” One thing your research might tell you is which jobs you shouldn’t pursue, whether because of profitability or because you don’t feel competent doing them. “In my market,” says another owner in Ann Arbor, Mich., “there are some very good remodeling companies that only target kitchens. They niche.” So with our background in roofing, siding, and windows, we stay away from kitchens. “In the past five years I’ve made the transition to a full-service remodeling company with a focus on exteriors,” he says. “I tell clients ‘If you have me build a room for you and you want it to look like it’s always been there, then there’s nobody to hire but us.’”
The Whole Package
It’s not just about profit or about what type of job it is, says Glen Lumia, owner of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, Northvale, N.J., who gears all his systems toward finding what he calls “preferred projects.” “We look at where the lead came from, who the clients are, what they want to spend, why they’re buying from us, and where the job is located.” From the first call, Lumia is finding out whether a job will be right — and profitable — for his company. An office team member answers the phone using a scripted scenario, gathering information from callers and assigning point values to their answers. These are then marked on a “job type” form that Lumia created. (See Good Form, page 58.) A previous customer automatically gets the highest value no matter what the job. We’ve even changed light bulbs,” Lumia says. Sweet spot jobs are highlighted on the sheet. A kitchen addition gets 10 points, while a bathroom alteration gets just five. Which town a potential client lives in has a point value, as does the way in which he or she found out about the company. Leads are then placed in color-coded folders. A red folder is a really hot lead — a sweet spot or a preferred job. “The colors tell us how quickly to respond to the lead,” says Lumia, who, along with one other person, does sales for the company. “And if you get a red folder, you’re expected to close on that lead.” After 18 years, Lumia has learned that the more jobs CDCR can do that are similar, “the more these jobs become systematized. Salespeople will try to sell certain packages, sell the same cabinet line at a certain price range, or the same type of [kitchen] island. This allows our people to get faster at those specific jobs.” And the efficiency leads to higher profits. Lumia says he has also figured out that if his company is reaching its potential, “[budgets for] 80% of our jobs should fall in the middle-of-the-middle to the middle-of-the- high” range. “If it’s a kitchen remodel, we’d want it to fall into an average of $65,000 without appliances. A master bath would be about $40,000. A regular bath would be about $26,000.”
One owner says, he too, looks at more than just the bottom line. “The client — not the project — is the most important thing,” he says. “I’m married to a client for six or nine months, and I don’t want to marry someone I don’t like.” It took seven years of owning his own remodeling business for him to feel comfortable telling a client that their project didn’t fit his company. Now, after 20 years, he says that if he sees a client being rude to his or her spouse or to the children, he knows that’s a client he doesn’t want and will walk away. “With the amount of effort it takes to run a job for bad clients, I can use that energy for five or six other jobs,” he says. “It saps your energy and company morale, and it isn’t worth it.”
Show Me the Money
What kind of profits are you looking for? Another owner says that although he charges the same markup on all his projects, some end up being more profitable than others. “I like a meat-and-potatoes job, such as a room with a kitchen, rather than scrambled eggs — little projects all over the house. [With those little projects] my profitability goes down. They’re more difficult to bid and manage.” A 40% gross profit goal, which nets him 18%. When reviewing clients’ businesses, Downing looks for 36% to 40% on largerjobs, but on smaller jobs she’d like to see 50%. “It’s easier to double a $5,000 job thana $100,000 job,” she says. “When I look at a client’s jobs and see percentages in thelow 20s and 30s in more than one category, it’s a red flag. They’re leaving money on thetable. They need to charge more on smaller jobs to make it worthwhile.” (See “SizedRight,” page 104.) And you don’t have to take every project that falls into your preferred range. “You might have a sweet-spot job that makes a lot of money but is boring,” Downing says. Or requires too much hand-holding. Or too much detail work. That’s all right. Mixing it up can be good for morale as well as for the bottom line.Once you understand your company’s sweet spot, you can focus your marketingand lead conversion efforts on finding those clients and jobs that fit — and that’s a sweetspot to be in.
Remodeling: Big 50
For the 21st consecutive year, the REMODELING editors searched the country for 50 companies that exemplify best practices in business systems, customer service, workmanship, and support of their employees, communities, and the profession as a whole. Measured against their highest-quality competitors, these innovative and dynamic companies stand out as the best in the business and models for the industry as a whole. Join us in saluting the Big 50 class of 2007.
Glen Lumia, CGR, CAPS
Creative Design Construction and Remodeling
Glen Lumia (back row, center) knows his market by ZIP code, home and project type, client profession, and other details. Any way you slice it, the Creative Design Construction and Remodeling owner knows to whom he’s selling, how to wow them, and how to maximize profits.
“We like to know who our clients are, what they want, where they live, and why they are buying from us,” says Lumia, who admits to starting slow in the business — “I didn’t even understand markup and margin,” he notes — nearly two decades ago before he got serious.
Since he moved his office out of his home, put key managers in place, and defined the market, the business has been on an upward trajectory. Now, he says, “We build houses, kitchens, and careers.”
Every employee has an individual education budget and works toward written goals. Lumia says he wants to give his employees a “road map and a destination.” His vision is to have an employee-vested company with stable growth and stable earnings so “we can be the leading design/build company in our target market.” —S.F.
Must Have Spaces
Designers Mix Functionality with a Heaping Helping of “Welcome”
BY LIS KING
Big, bountiful kitchens and luxurious baths are must haves for homeowners in the Pascack Valley area, and understandably so, say designers. Ever-busier lives, traffic jams and a generally crazy world make us long for the hug of home, and nothing warms the heart quite like a welcoming kitchen and pampering bath.
But what makes a kitchen welcoming? When it’s so big, beautiful and functional that it works as an everything room, say our pros from Creative Design Construction & Remodeling (201-822-1949).
As for pampering baths, think oversized tubs and showers with multiple jets and body sprays, generous vanity space, storage to banish clutter and gorgeous one-of-a-kind stone surfaces.
Big and Bold
Professional appliances meet old-world elegance in this Old Tappan kitchen (left and above) designed by Glen Lumia of Creative Design. Part of a great room, it can entertain a crowd in style and yet works beautifully for everyday living. The island seats family members for prepping tasks and informal meals, there’s a built-in home management center and the refrigerator is designed for easy care. Teak, a practically indestructible wood, tops the island and the floor is porcelain tile that mimics slate.
Old-world elements and details abound in this elegant kitchen (facing page) designed by the talented design team at Creative Design Construction & Remodeling. They include double crown moldings, wrought iron pendant lights, turned table legs supporting the island counter extension and custom tile behind the range.
A Kitchen Fit for a King…and a Crowd
So maybe this kitchen wasn’t designed for royalty. But with the sparkling marble floors and rich Decora cabinetry, it may well have been. The owners of this house in Haworth, NJ, have a large extended family and needed an entertaining space where as many as 20 or 30 people could gather comfortably. The Creative Design Construction and Remodeling design team in Northvale, NJ, delivered with one large space that flows from the dining room, to the kitchen to the great room with ease.
A New Jersey couple now enjoys Old-World Europe from the comfort of their master bath
By Stephanie Herzfeld
Looking at the sophisticated layout and elegant materials, it’s hard to believe that this beautiful bath was ever anything but. Yet such was the case when Glen Lumia, president of Creative Design Construction and Remodeling, first set eyes on it. Belonging to a professional couple in Ridgewood, NJ, the space was outdated and gaudy (picture pink patterned wallpaper and you start to get the idea), and in desperate need of a makeover. Fortunately for the doctor and his wife, Lumia was raring to remodel and had a host of inspirations to share with his clients at his showroom to breathe new life into this master bath.
Very visual by nature, Lumia’s clients came in with open minds as to how to transform their space, but needed a bit of direction in developing a design theme. “They gave us free rein,” said Lumia. “The only caveat was that we have to achieve an upscale result that would be functional and attractive and later improve the home’s resale value.” To that end, a design consultant at Lumia’s firm created a hand rendering of what the bath might look like based on the materials and products the clients gravitated toward in the showroom, bringing all the possibilities together. “Many features of this project were pulled from different areas of our showroom,” Lumia explained. As it became apparent that the couple was attracted to a more traditional Old-World style, Lumia and his staff developed different design details to round out the European-inspired theme.
Chief among those details are the trompe l’oeil murals surrounding the tub and a cloud-painted ceiling that conveys a rich, “outdoor” feeling, Lumia noted. Both serve to visually enlarge the roughly 13-ft. x 9-ft. footprint and impart an atmosphere reminiscent of a quaint European village. The wall and ceiling artwork can be enjoyed from all parts of the bathroom, including the glass-clad shower adjacent to the tub and a catty-corner vanity area. Columns flanking the mural on the far side of the tub create “the illusion of supporting the elliptical detailing above,” Lumia noted, and underscore the concept of a European countryside as observed from an opulent, estate-like retreat. “The framed murals really give the effect of windows overlooking a spectacular view,” he added.
Rich materials, such as stone flooring, an onyx tub deck, ornate gold-toned fittings and fixtures (particularly the swan-shaped tub filler), further accentuate the theme of luxe living abroad. In addition, vintage sconces and a dazzling chandelier, suspended in the center of the space, were procured from local antique shops to complement and work in tandem with furniture-inspired bath cabinetry. The cabinetry, a highlight in and of its own right, features grillwork-like wire inserts that were specifically selected for their Old-World appeal.
Not surprisingly, Lumia and his clients love the resulting bath. “I get great satisfaction when my clients truly fall in love with their space,” he said. On that note, the only problem that the doctor and his wife have with their refurbished bathroom is that it’s not for prying eyes. Although it would be nice to share a taste of Europe with family and friends, the homeowners told Lumia, visitors don’t regularly get to see the private master suite. “They told me they wished they could show off the space more,” Lumia said. “Since it is the master bathroom, showing it off is a bit difficult.” One never knows though-we all think the kitchen is the heart of the home, but with a bath like this, perhaps the master suite is the next frontier in entertaining at home.
Designers/Contractor: Creative Design Construction and Remodeling, Northvale, NJ; www.CreativeDesignConstruction.com
Manufacturers: Faucets, tub and sink: Kohler; Tub filler: St Petersburg; Toilet: TOTO USA; Vanity cabinets; Decora; Decorative molding and millwork: Enkeboll, White River Hardwoods Photography: ©Peter Rymwid Photography
Designed for a professional couple in Ridgewood, NJ, this master bathroom draws inspiration from Old-World Europe. In the vanity area (left and bottom left), gold-toned fittings combine with furniture-style cabinets to establish an atmosphere of elegance and refinement. The cabinets are outfitted with wire inserts for extra vintage appeal. On the walls adjacent to the tub, trompe l’oeil murals, a swan-shaped tub filler and decorative columns (bottom right) further reinforce the theme.
A Dash of Contrast
Cinnamon and sugar are the sweet hues that dominate this Englewood kitchen. Glen Lumia and his design team created detailed cabinetry in off-white to complement a cherry hood and center island. The hues are also repeated in the cream stone back-splash and rich granite countertops. “It’s not uncommon nowadays to use multiple colors,” says Lumia, president of Creative Design Construction and Remodeling in Northvale. “It gives us the opportunity to highlight a focal point.”
Here, that focal point is the hood, which Lumia designed to resemble a mantelpiece with rope molding and a center medallion. Besides taking center stage, it cleverly hides the duct work and also houses two pull-out spice racks that sit on each side of the stove top.
Designed By: Creative Design Construction and Remodeling
Modern harmony best describes this Franklin Lakes kitchen, says Glen Lumia of Creative Design Construction and Remodeling. Contemporary with clean lines, the home was built in the early 1980’s, but, with a need to put their own stamp on the kitchen, the current homeowners decided that an overall remodel of the kitchen was a top priority. It lacked “personality,” says Lumia of the room’s basic design scheme and outdated peninsula. Lumia’s client was clear: The design of the kitchen had to be fresh and innovative and invoke the feeling of modern elegance. Central to Lumia’s plan was the creation of a large extended radius island topped in Tropical Brown granite and anchored by a stainless steel pedestal. The result: a perfect spot for family dinners. The addition of the center island gives the homeowners an open and airy room where they can take advantage of their nearby out-door entertaining space, says Lumia. Other special features of the room include the stainless steel Zephyr Firence range hood and glass tile backsplash, glass mullioned door cabinets with frosted glass inserts and disc pendant lighting.
Designed By: Creative Design Construction and Remodeling
Most kitchen designers will admit that often with great challenge comes an even greater creation. Such was the case of this Old Tappan kitchen.
Placing entertaining friends and family on the top of their “must-do” list, the homeowners wanted a well-designed kitchen area that was aesthetically beautiful yet highly functional. In order to create a seamless sense of free-flow in the room, an awkward angled wall was removed, which resulted in more space along the range wall. A special feature of the kitchen is its new 60-inch imported stone hood that now anchors the room. The custom cabinetry features solid cherry mitered doors finished in a black glaze, sporting mullion doors with antique glass. An island of imported granite with prep sink, wine refrigerator and seating for three, allows the homeowners to spend hours in the kitchen with plenty of space to maneuver while preparing for an intimate family meal or a dinner for 12. A marble floor, drop tray ceiling with crown molding and cove and pendant lighting add the finishing touches to this room that the homeowners call “a masterpiece.”
Designed By: Creative Design Construction and Remodeling
Open, airy and palatial…it’s like being in a luxurious hotel in Europe, proclaims the Ridgewood couple of their newly renovated master bath.
Truly a visual feast for the eye, the bath is a picture of timeless Old World elegance. Giving the team at Creative Design “free rein” to create a one-of-a-kind oasis within the existing footprint, the homeowners watched in fascination as fantasy soon became reality. Steeped in European elegance that one would find at a top-notch Relais & Chateaux property, the bath features furniture like cabinetry finished in hues of gold, cream and white. An oversized soaking tub is surrounded by Mark Fowler’s framed trompe l’oeil murals of a bucolic pastoral scene, while an elliptical ceiling, hand-painted with soft billowing clouds, is home to a glittering chandelier. Gold fixtures, including a gorgeous swan-like tub filler, marble countertops and vintage sconces, add classic style to the room that the homeowners feel is truly a work of art.
Workshops prove useful to homeowners
By Eileen Watkins
The design/build firm Creative Design & Construction Remodeling will hold three more free Home Remodeling Workshops this fall at its showroom at 204 Livingston St., Northvale. The workshops will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 17; 9 to 11 a.m. on Sat., Oct. 17; and 6 to 8 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 13.
Homeowners are invited to come and hear from professionals about how to make their remodel or addition a success. Each two-hour session will cover such topics as worksheets, planning guidelines and case studies.
“Many of the guests attending our first series of educational workshops felt that much of the anxiety that can be associated with remodeling was eliminated, simply by (their) being more aware of and more organized with the process”, stated Glen Lumia, President and CEO of the firm. “So we decided to offer three more this fall. This way, consumers know a whole lot more going into it.”
“It was so informative,” said Lynn G. of Mahwah, who attended one of the earlier seminars. “It opened my eyes to all the pitfalls we might have encountered. It gave us great tips and questions to ask before we embark on our renovation.”
“This was exactly what we needed,” stated Mary Jane and Carly B. of New Milford.
Seminar guests will be provided with light dinner and refreshments as well as with additional tips and giveaways. A donation of $20 per household is suggested at registration.
The money will be forwarded to The Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women.
Workshop guests must register to reserve seating, as space is limited. An adult-only audience is suggested so guests can give the workshop their full attention. Those interested can call 201-768-5813 or register online at www.CreativeDesignConstruction.com.
Incorporated in 1988, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling serves Bergen County, N.J., and Rockland County, N.Y. The firm creates long-term relationships through a complete “design/build” process, which takes each client from the design concept through architectural drawings to completion of the project, all within the same organization.
For more information, call 201-822-1949 in New Jersey or 845-445-8987 in New York or visit www.CreativeDesignConstruction.com.
Light-filled and Livable. Equipped for the gourmet cook, this welcoming kitchen is warmed by the glowing Wheatfield finish and Bronze glaze of Avignon maple cabinetry. The Plaza cherry island features a contrasting Teaberry finish.
This winning kitchen, a central island of Plaza maple with a deep Bordeaux Vintage finish forms a focal point against the paler Chantille Espresso finish of Galleria maple cabinetry.
The heart of an active home. Selected for its straightforward style, Decora�s Harmony cherry cabinetry with a Wheatfield finish is a perfect complement to stainless steel appliances and richly textured tile. Glass-fronted doors and oversized contemporary hardware add stylish keynotes.
A center for gourmet cooking and entertaining. Lexington maple cabinetry with a rich Brandywine finish lines the walls and forms a unique two-level angled island, ready to serve as extra work space or to double as a serving buffer for a party.
Remodeling Firms Look for Spark
Worried homeowners delay projects
By Mary Amoroso
SPECIAL TO THE RECORD
Allan and Elizabeth Rosenstein began talking to a remodeling company a year ago about adding a family room to their Old Tappan home.
Work began last month.
“We had originally planned to start the project last fall,” said Allan Rosenstein. “We had been saving for this for quite some time. But, based on what was happening in the financial markets and our general concerns about the economy, we put the project off.”
The Rosensteins’ concerns and delay reflect what’s happening throughout the remodeling industry. Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reports that homeowner spending on improvements has dropped almost 16 percent since the end of 2007 and apparently has not hit bottom.
That number contrasts with the flush period between 2003 and 2007, when homeowner spending on improvements increased by 60 percent.
“There’s no doubt it’s a much different environment,” said Glen Lumia, owner of Creative Design Construction and Remodeling in Northvale and president of the Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey. “It’s more difficult to get financing. People are losing their jobs. People are feeling insecure that they might lose their jobs.”
Plus, as Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies points out new owners of existing homes tend to spend 20 percent to 25 percent more on remodeling when they first move in. When home sales are in the doldrums, so is remodeling activity.
And homeowners are less confident they can recoup the cost of deluxe kitchen and bath remodels when the real estate market is hurting. In fact, in their most recent survey, Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors found that the number of remodeling dollars sellers recouped declined steadily from 87 percent in 2005 – the real estate market high – to 67 percent in 2008.
When home prices are slumping, homeowners tend to think twice – even thrice – about remodeling, and they become very budget-conscious.
Lumia said more homeowners are controlling costs by remodeling within the footprint of the house, foregoing additions. And whereas a couple of years ago an average remodeling job might have been several hundred thousand dollars, today the average job is under $100,000, Lumia said.
Homeowners’ budget-consciousness is driven, in large part, by the difficulty in getting financing. Two years ago, one in five homeowners had a home equity loan, one in five had a home equity line of credit and one out of three consumers reported using them to pay for home improvements, according to an Experian/Gallup poll.
But today, banks have more stringent standards for the loans, people’s net worth has been sapped by the stock market, and the decline in home prices has taken a toll on homeowners’ equity.
The good news is that many manufacturers and retailers are offering incentives and discounts to increase business.
“We have manufactures giving great incentives,” Lumia said. “Free upgrades in wood species on kitchen cabinets. Free upgrades in glazes.”
In addition, there are new federal tax credits for remodeling projects that increase home energy efficiency. Tax credits are available, at 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 and 2010 for installing energy-efficient windows and doors, insulation, roofs, air conditioning, furnaces, non-solar water heaters and biomass stoves in existing homes.
Tax credits also are available at 30 percent of the cost (with no cap) through 2016 for installing geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells in existing homes and new construction.
Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies Predicts that homeowners’ interest in “greening” their homes and improving energy efficiency will help drive the eventual rebound in the remodeling industry.
“With homes built before 1970 [before the first OPEC oil embargo, when energy was relatively inexpensive] responsible for about 40 percent of residential energy use, the stock of older homes provides a prime market for energy-efficient upgrades,” according to the center’s 2009 report, “The Remodeling Market in Transition.”
The Harvard Center also predicts that the current wave of foreclosures will provide a market for the remodeling industry, since foreclosed homes are often poorly maintained and often vandalized.
Back in Old Tappan, the Rosensteins are dealing with the tumult of construction of an addition to the home where they have lived with their two children for more than six years. If all goes according to schedule, the new family room should be done by mid-October.
“We Knew we wanted to do this for a long time,” Allan Rosenstein said. ” We’re making the house more livable for ourselves, not aiming to sell the house in the next few years and recoup the cost. It’s kind of a long-term play for us.”
Striking the Perfect Balance
By Jessica Klarp
In this year alone, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling won five national design awards — Best Remodeled Kitchen over $100,000; Best Remodeled Kitchen under $100,000; Best Remodeled Bathroom; Best Residential Addition; Best Brochure and a Grand Prize for Overall Design Excellence. A quick scroll down the awards page on the company’s website proves that this year was as bountiful as the previous years. It’s the kind of recognition that company owner Glen Lumia never takes for granted. To Lumia, the real award comes every night when he walks in the door of his beautiful home, and his family rushes to greet him. For the past 23 years, Lumia has worked to create the perfect balance between sustaining a thriving business that changes the lives of his clients and being an active participant in the daily life of his family.
In an effort to find that balance, the Northvale-based design-build firm has developed goal-based ethos that is gladly upheld by all 26 employees for whom Lumia believes are equally invested in their own families. “I have a family life that is important to me,” he says, “as do most of our people. Going home happy, not frustrated, is key. I love my work. I believe the rest of the staff feels the same way. We share the same core values — ‘work smart, play hard, family first, and what never gets forgotten is the client is always right. Why? Because they are the client!’ The client signs all of our checks, including mine. Realizing that and treating every project like it’s our own home has helped make the company a success. That is the main reason our clients come back time and time again. The reality is if our staff didn’t care or work exceptionally hard to make
it happen, it wouldn’t! Every business owner, just like a coach in sports, is nothing without a winning team. I most definitely have that winning team, and I know I am nothing without it. We play to win, and when we do, it’s our clients who reap the rewards.”
It shows in the glowing awards. It shows in the superior final product the company produces. It shows in the many satisfied customers who are fast to write a gratified referral letter, which is then shared on the company’s website. It shows in the fact that during an economic downturn that smacked the housing market, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling has not suffered. In fact, it has grown.
Lumia believes that one of the reasons the company has grown is the realistic approach they take to design and remodeling. “We want a client for life,” he says. “We focus on what is important to the client, and then work with realistic goals and budgets.” Over the years, with thousands of homes and projects under its belt, the company has developed systems that streamline the process. From meetings with their in-house architect and design department, which includes a cabinet division and production department, to the company’s CPA who can run the numbers, to the award-winning showroom that helps clients visualize the end product and make selections, each step has been carefully planned to give the client the very best experience possible. “We have our eye on the target,” he says, “and the target is that we want the project buildable. We don’t want to waste the client’s time or money designing something they can’t afford to build.”
On average, the company works on eight to 12 projects at one time, ranging in all sizes and complexity, with different stages of completion in and around Bergen and Rockland Counties with a plan to cross the Hudson into Westchester County, NY. Although the company is skilled at new construction, in this economy, they are perfectly positioned to meet the needs of the many homeowners who are opting to expand with a high level of customization rather than move. Whether it is adding thousands of square feet to a colonial or hundreds of square feet to a split level or ranch, Lumia (who for over 10 years has been active in the Builders & Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey and has served for two terms as its president) observed that potential clients can come in the door already off track, if they are budgeting by focusing on new home square footage multipliers. “If we are adding a second floor and a new kitchen on the back of the house, that means everything on the first floor will also need to be addressed, from wiring to HVAC to moving stairs and windows,” he explains. “The square foot parameters are much different when it comes to remodeling.”
That’s where Creative Design Construction & Remodeling’s experience is a huge advantage to clients. “We use historical job-costing data to establish a budget. We have developed systems over the years that help us be proactive, not reactive.” Clients have the ability to pick and choose from their restaurant-type menu of options. “We don’t spend our clients money — they do. We just help them make educated decisions; we hold their hand through the whole process. That’s what makes our system a success.”
The showroom presents a variety of vignettes that offer clients “good/better/best” options for finish selections Lumia smiles when he says most clients want the best for a good price. “Knowing that, we pick a focal point that makes a statement and design around that. That’s where the extra money goes: into the double tray, elliptical or barrel ceiling or a decorative window or range hood, something unique that identifies the personality of the client. You don’t have to break the bank on everything.”
Customer satisfaction is the end result of anticipating the customer’s future needs. More than 70% of the company’s business comes from repeat and referral sources. Lumia finds that the best clients are the ones who share similar core values, are looking for a high level of craftsmanship and are goal oriented. “We sell service,” he says. “We have been here a long time. That means a lot to people. We offer a five-year warranty, and we provide direct access to the office, the project manager and lead carpenter six days a week. I trust my staff to do the right thing. They are all very good at what they do.”
Lumia sees his staff as an extension of his family. While some construction companies have lost valuable employees due to a slow market, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling used the downturn to focus on retaining its “A” players and hiring equally strong new staff to meet demand. Lumia’s goal to grow the company not only offers him a little more freedom to spend time with his family, but it offers employees an opportunity to play a more substantial role in the management of this thriving company. “We have created an environment where everyone has an opportunity to advance,” he says. “That would not be achievable as a smaller company.”
In Lumia’s desk, he keeps a hand-written definition of success. His goal is to be the best father, husband, son, friend, employer and service provider. “It means making time for the big things that are really the small things: holding the back of my daughter’s bike as she learns to ride, having dinner together every night, not just showing up for every game, but coaching too. It means being in charge of the business, not letting the business be in charge of me. Don’t misunderstand — I love what I do, and I’m planning for success, now and in the future!” It’s all about knowing your values and finding balance.
Despite the slew of awards and the many, many families who have benefited from the streamlined systems developed by Creative Design Construction & Remodeling over the years, finding a balance between the satisfaction of a job well done and the joy of participating actively in his family life clearly means Lumia has found success and balance. He would be the first to remind you that “it can all be taken from you in the blink of an eye,” but optimistically believes, “if you don’t let that scare you, work hard everyday, do what you think is the right thing, and most importantly, surround yourself with winners; it will all take care of itself. That’s how I go home happy every day!”
Home renovations are on the increase
The Builders & Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey (BRANNJ) has released figures that indicate an upward trend for home remodeling in the area. While new home construction permits are down from last year, home-renovation numbers seem to be on the increase.
“The number of permits (for renovations) evident this summer demonstrate that first-time home buyers took advantage of the Federal Government’s $8,000 incentive,” stated Glen Lumia, President of both BRANNJ and of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, Northvale. “They were purchasing foreclosed or lower-priced homes in need of repair.
“(The government tax credit), coupled with the fact that builders are offering pricing incentives, puts the buyer with good credit in the driver’s seat.”
Lumia advised the homeowner buying a “fixer-upper” to keep in mind that some renovations can be costly. “A builder should accompany the prospective buyer to give a ballpark estimate,” he said.
The U.S. Commerce Department also reported that, nationwide, housing permits posted substantial gains through the summer, as home builders responded to improved market conditions and the impending expiration of the first-time buyer tax credit. The Commerce Department found an 8.7 percent gain in permit issuance, to 563,000 units.
Tax Credit Extended
The $8,000 Tax Credit incentive has been extended to April 30, 2010 for purchase agreements and June 30, 2010 to close. For this program, the IRS defines a first-time homebuyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
The credit also has been extended to the non-first-time homebuyers who have lived in their current homes for at least five years, and whose income is limited to $150,000 per single homeowner and less than $225,000 in joint income. The new credit is up to $6,500 for non-first-time buyers.
Existing home sales in the state rose 8.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009, compared to the third quarter of 2008, partially due to the recently extended homebuyers’ tax credit.
The local Builders & Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey (BRANNJ) is a non-profit trade association serving the New Jersey building industry in Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Hudson counties. BRANNJ is the local chapter of both the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA).
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling houses its award-winning showroom, design studio, workshops and executive offices at 204 Livingston St. in Northvale. The firm serves clients in Bergen and Rockland counties through a complete design-build process.
The Heart of an Active Home
Harmony Cherry Wheatfield
Selected for its straight-forward style, Decorá’s Harmony Cherry cabinetry with a Wheatfield finish is a perfect complement to stainless steel appliances and richly textured tile. Glass-fronted doors and oversized contemporary hardware add a bit of whimsy to this hub of the home.
Light-filled and Livable
Natural & Coffee
Island: Plaza Cherry Teaberry
Equipped for the gourmet cook, this welcoming kitchen is warmed by the glowing Wheatfield finish and Bronze glaze of Avignon maple cabinetry. The Plaza cherry island and accent mouldings featured in a contrasting Teaberry finish, creating movement throughout the kitchen.
Coriander & coffee
Island: Plaza Maple
This award-winning kitchen was designed with entertaining in mind. Decorá’s Galleria maple cabinetry with a Coriander finish and a Coffee glaze creates a flowing space. With an elegant wood hood and richly textured tile, this kitchen achieves the ideal setting for accommodating a large extended family.
The owners of the Allendale home had grown weary of their 1980s white formica kitchen. When Glen Lumia, president of Creative Design Construction, suggested drawing inspiration from the natural rear landscape, the kitchen renovation was off and running. Bamboo privacy screens at the pool sparked Lumia�s idea for carbonized bamboo cabinetry throughout the kitchen. Breaking up the expanse of bamboo are uba tuba granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a slate backsplash inspired by hardscaping in the backyard. “The kitchen looks like it was carved into the side of a mountain,” Lumia says. The 14-by-14-foot kitchen was a challenge because it opens to an 8-by-10-foot breakfast area, and the remaining three sides are cut up with doors or windows. To ease traffic flow and create a spot where people can visit with the cook without getting in the way, Lumia angled one end of the island. He also installed pocket doors leading into the mudroom and living room and a swinging door into the dining room. He moved the refrigerator/freezer between the latter two doors, allowing him to extend the cabinetry. Steel shelves beside an enlarged window lend an open look. “The homeowners used to hate going into the kitchen,” Lumia says. “Now it’s their favorite room.”
SOURCES: design, production, cabinetry, oak flooring, Falling Water Slate tile.
Design firm wins prestigious awards
March 12, 2009
Northvale- Professional Remodeler magazine has awarded its 2008 best of the best design awards, recognizing outstanding design, craftsmanship and functionality of remodeling projects across the United States.
This year, the “Whole House” and “Kitchen Under $75,000” award was presented to Creative Design Construction & Remodeling of Northvale.
In Qualified Remodeler magazine, the firm won both the “Master Design” and the “Top 500,” in the publication’s 29th annual recognition program. For the complete list of awards presented to Creative Design, go to www.creativedesignconstruction.com.
The award-winning design firm will exhibit at the Mahwah Home Show at Ramapo College on March 20 to March 22. Glen Lumia, president and CEO of the company will be available to speak one-on-one a the firm’s booth and will also speak at the show, both Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and March 22 on the topic of, “What I Wish I Knew Before My Renovation.”
The judging panels for both national publications consists of remodelers, architects, and kitchen and bath designers nationwide. Contestants’ work is submitted anonymously. The winning projects are being featured in the current issues of both magazines.
“We are humbled by the recognition we are receiving for our work,” Lumia said. “We value our industry colleagues’ perspective and are flattered by their kudos. Our design and build team exhibits that the right relationship with our clients results in award-winning work.”
In 2007, the firm was recognized by leading industry organizations such as Remodeler magazine’s “Big 50,” the “Remodeler of the Year” award from Builders & Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey (BRANNJ), “Outstanding Dealer Award” from Crystal Cabinetry and Qualified Remodeler’s “Top 500.”
Serving Bergen and Rockland counties, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling’s showroom and executive offices ate located at 204 Livingston St. in Northvale. For more information, call 201-822-1949 or visit www.creativedesignconstruction.com.
All in the Family
From guests to kids, meals to homework, this traditional kitchen has room for it all
By Christina Trauthwein
“As in most homes, the kitchen is the heart and soul of our abode,” noted designer Glen Lumia. “And for these clients, this project was no different.” As a result, the homeowners not only wanted their new kitchen to possess great character and to be bright, open and airy—a cheerful environment in which to live—but they also needed it to be highly functional, an easy space in which to work and gather. Furthermore, it was important that the kitchen, which opens onto a great room, flow beautifully into its surrounding spaces. Though perfect for family and entertaining, the setup can be challenging for many designers, as the kitchen and its work centers are suddenly no longer concealed from view but, rather, visible to all. Lumia succeeded in not only satisfying, but exceeding, his clients’ expectations. Upon completion of the project, they said, “It truly achieved all we set out to do…and then some.”
Said Lumia, “An inordinate amount of thought went into creating this project to produce an aesthetically pleasing, timeless and highly functioning space for everyday life, while at the same time, accommodating a sensible traffic flow for entertainment purposes.” Some features of the 16-ft.-wide x 32-ft.-long kitchen include: a buffet server connecting the formal dining room with the kitchen space for holidays and dinner parties, a separate breakfast nook, a large walk-in butler’s pantry, lots of cabinets for storage and multiple appliances to meet every need. Lumia made sure to incorporate enough counter space into the design to accommodate multiple chefs working simultaneously, whether cooking every day meals, preparing large family dinners or gathering on a rainy Sunday afternoon to create homemade pizzas. After all, “everyone loves making their own individual masterpiece,” said Lumia.
And let’s not forget the kids: The kitchen also accommodates three “junior chefs” who enjoy getting their hands dirty. An additional wish included a small space within the island that could be used by the kids as a homework center or for an informal meal or quick snack without their actually sitting at the breakfast table. According to the designer, the young trio relishes sitting at this raised seating area doing their homework, eating a snack or conversing about their school day while evening meals are being prepared. An added benefit? This raised seating area, which has a beautiful tiger wood countertop, also conceals cooking preparation and mess from the great room adjacent to the kitchen.
Designer: Glen Lumia—Creative Design Construction, Northvale, NJ; www.creativedesignconstruction.net Manufacturers: Cabinetry:
Crystal Cabinets; Sink: Franke; Fixtures: Grohe; Hardware: Shaub & Co.; Appliances: Viking, Miele; Dispenser/disposal: InSinkErator
Photography: © Peter Rymwid
Creative Toys – Toys for Tots Collection
Creative Design Construction Remodeling
Glen Lumia — Jobs well done, for everyone.
Story by Paul Clark
Photography by Peter Rymwid
For Glen Lumia, designing and building is all about family, future and doing right by everyone, everywhere he can. It’s an ethic, commitment and deliberate way of doing business that has, in no small measure, made life and living better for people in all reaches of northern Bergen and Rockland counties. It has also earned him a still-rising level of success, several awards for excellence and a well-deserved reputation for improving the image of his industry. But for him, the greatest reward comes from something more important: Helping those who need it most.
His company — Creative Design Construction and Remodeling in Northvale— has come a long way since he first opened his doors 23 years ago. “I started out as a builder,” he says, and did OK. But there came a point where I realized than I needed to learn about business. So I did everything I could to learn more.” He took every applicable class and earned an impressive list of business, remodeling and energy-smart builder certifications from industry associations, institutes and agencies.
And as his business grew, he began adding different divisions to make the remodeling process less stressful and more responsive to clients. It began with a kitchen division, and a design department that included an architect. In time, more divisions were added and solid, strategic alliances with product manufacturers were made. Today, his all-encompassing vision of “Design and Build” have given Creative Design the flexibility and control to conceive, manage and complete projects start to finish.
“We literally put it all under one roof,” he says, “and made the process pretty seamless.” To the relief and delight of clients, it means that everything from a kitchen or deck to an entire home can be designed, built and backed — inside and out — by a single company. “Just as important,” he adds, “it also means that we’re able to closely watch the budget, the schedule, work one-on-one with clients, and keep ourselves available and accountable at each and every phase.”
But what has — and still does — set Creative Design apart and above is its collective talent for working not only within current tastes and trends, but also to anticipate, plan, design and build for future lifestyles and realities. “A lot of people don’t think ahead,” he says. “So right from the start, we ask questions like, Is your job or the size of your family going to change; Is the structure within the family going to change; Are your parents going to live with you; Are your children coming back?’ Multigenerational living,” he says, “is happening more and more. It’s not unusual to have three generations living in the same house.”
Lumia says that the trend today is definitely “smarter, smaller and more efficient.” Compared to the bigger-is-better McMansion-type projects that once doubled the size — and carbon footprint — of many homes, “people are thinking more realistically about the future,” he says. “They’re asking more questions about green materials and energy efficiency. One of the more common questions he gets, he adds with a laugh, is “how can we take advantage of our wireless connections?
People want to spend on things they feel will get real value out of what they already have,” he says. “We’re doing more finished basements, wine cellars, home theatres, attics and making one big room into two rooms.”
Yet despite all his success, happy clients, and award-winning showroom and projects, Lumia knows that there are still a lot of needy people out there, especially nowadays. And he and his staff, which today totals 23, are ready, willing and able to help. Since last fall they’ve been working in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, contributing their time and expertise to building Zoe’s Place in Garfield, NJ. When completed, this nonprofit home will provide a safe environment and services for pregnant teenagers, and teen mothers and their babies. “These are young girls,” he says, “who have no job, no home or supportive families. I have three young daughters and it really hit home with me. It has given all of us a tremendous feeling of satisfaction to help, and we’re posting our progress on our Facebook page.”
Lumia is also helping an Orangeburg family with a child who will, because of progressing condition, be bound to a wheelchair in the future. “It has been extremely rewarding to design and configure a home layout that will make the house totally wheelchair accessible,” he says. “What we’re doing will not only make his life easier, but his entire family’s, too, for a long time come.” At the same time, he believes in the value of education and conducts a popular series of seminars for homeowners on various aspects of home remodeling. A $20 admission fee is donated to the Wounded Warriors Fund.
He also makes regular presentations on green living to elementary school students, stays actively involved in his professional associations and has hosted a lively homeowner-oriented radio show on WRCR.
For Lumia, it all comes down to a job well done for everyone whose homes he improves, and the lives and families he both touches and makes better. “I love what I do, and it’s always rewarding to do something good, to give back everywhere you can,” he says. “It’s not really about why I do it. I don’t understand why more people don’t do it too.” creativedesignconstruction.com.
Creative Toys – Toys for Tots Collection Site in Northvale, NJ
Drop off a new toy to benefit children in your area through the TOYS FOR TOTS program. Stop by any time on Saturday, December 11, between 11 – 4 PM at Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, located at 204 Livingston Street in Northvale, NJ. Santa will distribute special goodies for children of all ages. Light refreshments will be served. For more info call 201.768.5813. Pictured above: Creative Design Staff, family, and friends gather in front of the firm’s studio at last year’s Collection Drive.
Warm Thanks and Holiday Wishes from the family to yours
Creative Design Construction & Remodeling would like to take this time to express our sincere gratitude to our clients for the trust and confidence you have shown us throughout the past 23 years.
Whole House Remodels — Additions
Kitchens — Baths
Rockland Co. License: H06401 A60000 — Westchester Co. License: 20847
Cooking Up Something Green
Simply stunning eco-friendly areas of the home
By Pam Wyne
Creative Design, Northvale
Designer: Glen Lumia
Looking to incorporate the architectural integrity of their Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home with a new and “green” kitchen renovated, an Allendale couple turned to Glen Lumia to take on the challenge. “With this type of home, you want the feeling of the outside coming in,” says Lumia, owner and designer of Creative Design in Northvale. “All I needed to do was walk out the rear door to get inspired,” says Lumia of the home�s natural setting complete with pool, hardscaping and bamboo privacy wall that lay the ground-work fir his kitchen design.
The 14-foot by 24-foot space features many green elements including the stunning cabinetry made of horizontal grain bamboo. The bamboo has a carbonized finish, explains Lumia, and is created by steaming the bamboo under controlled pressure and temperature to give it a soft tan color. The cabinets are made of GreenCore, a soy-based, no added formaldehyde resin. “You can�t get a greener cabinet,” says Lumia. The backsplash is stacked stone made from recycled slate and the existing kitchen flooring was reused. Kitchen design detail include a spacious irregular-shaped island to control traffic and allow for additional seating and state-of-the-art appliances like a Viking cooktop with Zephyr hood and energy-efficient Miele dishwasher.
Prepare meals in the outdoor kitchen
By Karen DeMasters
With the advent of summer, it’s time to move life outside. That includes not only picnics and barbecues, but entire meals prepared in fully stocked outdoor kitchens.
Living Al FrescoEverything you have in an indoor kitchen can now be installed in an outdoor setting with weatherproof fixtures. The family can dine surrounded by a landscaped yard, a pool or other amenities.
“You have to determine what your goal is first,” said Glen Lumia, owner of Creative Design Construction and Remodeling, Northvale. “How often are you going to use the area and for what types of events? Then decide on a budget.”
The days of a simple picnic table and a barbecue are passed. Now the outdoor kitchen is an extension of the lifestyle the family has established indoors. The kitchen, whether indoors or outdoors, is often the focal point of family activity.
“You spend all this money on an indoor kitchen with an island to be the center of the family life,” said Nick Prastos, owner of Platon Design Group, Englewood. “Now families want the same feeling outdoors so they can sit and enjoy company while preparing a meal.”
What can be included:
- a standard grill with a searing area for steaks and fish and burners for boiling water for corn on the cob
- a refrigerator
- a pizza oven
- a wine cellar
- a sink for cooking uses and an outdoor wet bar.
- weatherproof storage cabinets
- a cigar humidor
Be aware, though, that extending your kitchen space beyond the home can become costly.
“A small outdoor kitchen with 6-foot-long counter space, a grill, a refrigerator and storage space can be $10,000,” warned Carolina McCarthy, designer and owner of Outdoor Living of New Jersey, Saddle Brook. “Most homeowners go for 10 to 20 feet of counter space, but you can do up to 70 feet.” “The space needed depends on the number of people you will be entertaining and the amount of times you plan to use the area,” said Prastos.
At a minimum, electricity and water need to be provided to the area. If a homeowner wants to keep it simple, an inexpensive grill can be used as the basis and a few amenities added, but most area designers recommend against cheaper products.
“You can get a grill for $150, but it won’t last,” said Doug Fleischer, owner of Modern Propane of Lodi. “Or you can spend more, plan to put in replacement parts as needed, and your grill will last for years.”
Materials that can be used for kitchen areas:
- brushed granite counters, for a weatherproof surface without the shiny look
- a gazebo setting
- for sun and rain protection, either a permanent roof or a motorized, fabric roof
- stainless steel for appliances and storage areas
Other amenities that can be included:
- game tables
- a pool
- an additional bar area
- access to big-screen TV for watching sports
Ease of UseSeveral factors need to be considered to make the outdoor kitchen an enjoyable living space, the designers noted.
The area should be close to the house and should blend with the landscaping. At the same time, the grill cannot be placed under an overhang, or too close to the house, because of potential smoke problems. Municipal ordinances for setbacks must be met, as well.
The design should take into account the prevailing wind direction, the direction of the sun and the possible need for awnings to protect diners from strong rays.
“You also do not want too many turns between the indoor kitchen and the outdoor eating area – make it easy to navigate,” Prastos said. “And you do not want the cooking area isolated from the dining and lounging area, because you do not want the cook isolated.
“After you and your designer have considered all of this, the only thing to add is ‘Bon appétit’!”
Black and White Beauty
By: Brooke Perry
Striking a perfect balance between glamour and functionality, this Old Tappan kitchen pairs the classic combination of black and white with elegance and ease. “Glass-front cabinets, a crystal chandelier and flamed finished granite give the kitchen a graceful, understated style, without going overboard on the flash’: says designer Glen Lumia, president and CEO of Northvale-based Creative Design Construction & Remodeling.
Among his goals, Lumia sought to create an appealing separation between the great room and spacious kitchen. The homeowners love to entertain, so it was important to create a space that is conducive to that. Our solution was to introduce a second, stepped island that can be used both as the family dining area and as a bar when guests are invited!’ The stepped design and striking arched column feature accomplishes two goals: reducing visible workspace from the great room while further enhancing the sense of separation between the spaces.
Flanking the 48-inch Wolf range from Reno’s Appliances are beautiful glass-front hutch-style cabinets, custom designed to display a collection of heirloom antique pottery. To make up for the lost workspace, Lumia introduced a second island with an under-mounted utility sink topped by Absolute Black granite in a flamed finish. “This one is a workplace island, where multiple cooks can work on meal prep.”
Hand-crafted, painted cabinets by Crystal Cabinet Works feature beaded inset construction and classic hardware in a Vibrant Nickel finish. The dual 36-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, Wolf dishwasher and Wolf beverage center are beautifully concealed by matching cabinetry fronts. Complementing the cabinetry’s designer white finish is backsplash of pillow-style Calcutta Gold marble subway tiles from Wayne Tile. Lumia also made maximum use of the kitchen’s higher ceilings, taking the cabinets and trim detailing to the ceiling at over nine feet. On the floor, he opted for wide plank quarter-sawn white oak with a walnut finish.
Edgy and Contemporary in Edgewater
Kitchen Design: Glen Lumia, Creative Design Construction & Remodeling Inc., Northvale.
Thinking “out of the box” gave this stylish and streamlined Edgewater kitchen a crisp, contemporary point of view, says Glen Lumia, owner of Creative Design Construction & Remodeling, Inc in Northvale.
“Keeping aesthetics and ease of access in mind,” he says, “we eliminated unnecessary upper cabinets, added flip-up doors and introduced a Liebherr 48″ combination refrigerator/wine/freezer appliance that doubles as a major design statement.”
“The homeowner enjoys entertaining and wanted to open up the living space to accommodate all types of gatherings,” Lumia says.
He removed a wall between the living room and kitchen to create a more open and inviting space and improve traffic flow. The resulting L-shaped design includes a generous peninsula that extends into the living space.
Working with a primarily neutral palette, Lumia added dimension with custom Crystal Cabinets by Quest in a dark raisin finish. The homeowner wanted to minimize the use of upper cabinets, leading Lumia to include just four upper cabinets, each with a flip-up access (instead of conventional cabinet doors) and frosted glass to hide everyday dishes and glassware.
A glass tile counter-to-soffit backsplash by Fuda Tile in Ramsey was designed to showcase the contemporary 42-inch stainless steel wall hood by Independent Manhattan and complement Bianco Antico granite countertops and a neutral striated porcelain floor, also by Fuda Tile. Other stylish stainless design elements include Tec track lighting, a Thermador dishwasher, Elkay Avado under-mount sink and a trio of ultra-contemporary counter stools.