2017 Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Say goodbye to the short and cold days of winter! Today marks the official start of the spring season. Even if you live in an area where the weather might still be a bit variable, take comfort in knowing that warmer weather is on the way. It’s time to start crawling out of winter hibernation and prepping for the sunnier days ahead. Keep reading for a few tasks around the house that are ideal for completing in spring.

Spring Cleaning

Almost everyone has probably heard the phrase “spring cleaning” before. After the cold and doldrums of winter it is nice to give your home a fresh and clean start. Take it a step further this year and instead of trashing things you don’t need or want anymore, try putting together a garage sale, visit one of the many secondhand stores willing to buy gently used belongings, or donate the unwanted items that are still in decent condition.




Inspect and Maintain Garage Door

Proactively inspecting and maintaining a garage door can save on future time and hassle. Plus, a damaged garage door is both a security concern and major safety hazard. Weather can play a factor in how the springs and inner workings of a garage door operate and spring is the ideal time for the functionality and state to be tested. Garage door repairs are a task best performed by a professional. A poorly repaired garage door could fall and cause severe damage to both a home and its occupants.


Fix and Reseal Exterior Woodwork

Maintenance on exterior woodwork should be performed annually to keep it in good condition and extend its life. Winter weather especially can wreak havoc on exterior woodwork. When the weather starts warming up is a good time to inspect and repair any damage that is present. Once all the damage has been addressed apply some fresh paint or stain and reseal the wood so that it is well protected until next spring.


Inspect/Service Sprinkler Systems

Hopefully spring will bring with it plenty of rain so that the sprinkler system can rest until it needs to work extra hard during the hot summer months. Make sure there are no problems with your sprinkler system and get any you find fixed now before you are left scrambling to fix them when you and your lawn most desperately need it to work in the summer to keep your lawn looking beautifully green.


Make Kitchen Remodel Plans

Thinking about making some updates to your kitchen? This is the time to start making those plans in earnest so that everything is done and ready to go when the winter holidays role back around. It may seem a bit early to be thinking about the holidays again, but when you factor in the time needed plan a remodel, order materials, and then have the actual work done then your completion date will end up falling closer to the end of the year than you might originally expect.



Clean Out the Garage

The garage tends to be a place that attracts clutter. If it’s a struggle to fit your car among everything stored in your garage or if you’re uncertain about just what exactly is stored in there then it is time to spend a few days cleaning up and getting organized. Use care when disposing of anything as many common items stored in the garage will require special disposal methods (i.e. old paint and motor oil). Once the cleaning is done, consider adding in some hanging shelves or compact cabinets to help keep everything organized going forward.


Spruce Up Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first impression that your home makes. It’s the first thing that visitors and passerby’s will see. A house and front yard that looks well cared for can leave a strong impression about the people who live there. Some simpler ways to add curb appeal might be new house numbers or a new mailbox. Some basic clean up or additions to your landscaping is also an easier way to spruce things up. More intensive curb appeal projects might include an entire landscape makeover, repainting siding, or a new front door.


Test Run Air Conditioning

The temperatures outside probably don’t require much use from an air conditioning unit yet (unless you live somewhere like Texas where spring weather started in early February). However, if there are any issues with your air conditioning unit it is better to find them and get them resolved now before the significantly warmer summer heat hits and your AC unit is working overtime.

Popular Bathroom Design Trends for 2017

In our last blog post we highlighted the top ten trends that the National Kitchen and Bath Association predicts will be seen in kitchens in 2017. You can read that post here. Now we’re going to switch the focus to the bathroom and the trends that the NKBA predicts will be popular for this coming year.


Design Style

As with the kitchen, the most popular overall design style for the bathroom is transitional. Clean, sleek, and modern are three words that are often showing up when describing current trends in bathroom design. Transitional style exemplifies these traits through the use of clean and simple lines, neutral colors, natural materials, and comfortable style without excessive accents.  

Cabinet Colors

Popular cabinet colors in the bathroom is another category that mirrors similar trends in the kitchen. White, off white, and gray are the top cabinet color choices for the bathroom, likely for many of the same reasons for why they are popular in the kitchen. It is a classic look that can complement many different styles and designs. And by using a neutral color for the cabinets other design elements are better able to shine. Blue is slowly emerging as another popular choice in the bathroom for those who want something with more color.


Storage Options

Wood vanities and linen closets are the popular picks when it comes to storage options. Floating vanities and open shelving have gained recent popularity and are a good option for those who want something a little different. Specialized storage options, such as custom medicine cabinets and drawers for hair dryers and other styling tools with built in electrical outlets, are also popular in the bathroom.







Ceramic tile, the long time bathroom flooring favorite, continues to be the top choice. With a plethora of shapes, sizes, and colors available, ceramic tile offers many possibilities and options. In general, hard surface materials, such as tile and vinyl, tend to be very popular in bathrooms. Hardwood, a product favored in other areas of the house, isn’t as popular in bathrooms because it does not stand up as well against water. However both tile and vinyl have popular options that give the appearance of wood without sacrificing durability.


Sink Type

Undermounted sinks, where the sink is mounted underneath the countertop, is the most popular option currently. This type of sink provides a clean and polished look that has been a long time classic in bathroom design. For those wanting something a bit different but still trendy, trench style sinks are growing in popularity.







Tub vs. No Tub Debate

The most divisive topic when it comes to bathroom remodeling is whether or not a tub should be included in the master bathroom. Most new construction homes are not including bathtubs in the master bath whereas about half of people remodeling existing homes wanted to keep a bathtub in their master. So when it comes down to it, homeowner preference is the deciding factor. For those choosing to include a tub, freestanding is the most popular style. In guest or hall baths, the combined shower/tub remains popular.





Classic white remains the popular finish for plumbing fixtures. Off white colors, such as bone or biscuit, have been steadily trending downward in recent years. For bath hardware, such as cabinet pulls and faucets, chrome and polished nickel are the most popular options.

Safety and Comfort Features

Aging-in-place amenities have steadily grown in popularity recently, even among those who may not have a pressing need for them currently or anytime in the near future. The bathroom is one of the areas of the house where aging-in-place features can be vitally important for those who need them. But they also add a level of convenience for any user of the room. Grab bars, comfort-height toilets, shower seats, and curbless showers can make life easier for everyone with or without a current need for them. Adding more comfort to the bathroom is also a popular trend. Amenities like heated flooring, smart toilets, and low maintenance features are a few of the most common ways to create a more comfortable setting in the bathroom.


Environmentally Friendly Fixtures

Almost all plumbing fixtures on the market include water saving techniques that are friendly to the environment without sacrificing efficiency. Water saving toilets and faucets for the sink and shower are the most prevalent areas where these technologies are employed.



Integrating technology in the bathroom is an emerging trend but it is one that will likely only gain more and more popularity in the years to come as technology continues to advance and be more prevalent. Adding televisions or built in speaker systems are two ways that technology is beginning to be seen more in the bathroom.

Popular Kitchen Design Trends for 2017

Every year the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) surveys design professionals to determine the styles and trends that are expected to be popular in kitchen and bath designs for the coming year. By surveying members from across the nation, the report provides a realistic prediction of design trends worth watching and to consider including in your own kitchen or bath remodel. Check out which trends made the top ten list for kitchen design below, and check back in a few weeks to see what made the list for bathroom trends.


Design Style

When it comes to the overall design style, transitional was found to be the most popular in kitchen design. By integrating the classic sophistication of traditional design with the clean lines and simplicity of contemporary and modern styles, transitional style is like a happy medium between the two extremes. Key design staples in a transitional kitchen include cabinets with simple and clean lines, natural materials used for flooring and countertops, simple accents, neutral colors, and incorporating a mixture of natural and manufactured materials.


Cabinet Colors

White, off-white, and gray are the top choices for cabinet colors. White cabinets have been an emerging trend over the past few years. They have a classic and clean look that can complement any overall kitchen style. White provides a neutral backdrop that will allow other elements of the kitchen to shine. Off white and gray provide a similar neutral backdrop without quite as much upkeep required to keep clean as white. Overall, neutral color cabinets continue to be a popular choice.


Mixing Colors and Finishes

Adding contrast by mixing colors and materials is an emerging trend that is gaining traction in kitchen design. Using two different colors for various sections of cabinets or pairing lighter colored cabinets with darker colored countertops or backsplash are a few ways to add variance in color. Combining multiple countertop materials is also becoming popular. A small section of wood butcher block countertop paired with stone, in particular, is an increasingly popular trend.





Cabinet Material

Wood cabinets have long been the popular choice and continue to remain the top choice in kitchen design. Quality wooden cabinets can last a long time and can be restained or painted a different color as trends or personal tastes change over time. Metal cabinets, gaining in popularity, are well suited for contemporary and transitional style kitchens.


Cabinet Features

Popular cabinet features include furniture like accents, pull/roll outs, and under cabinet lighting. Built in conveniences have seen a surge in popularity recently, and in the kitchen this often equates to things like pull out drawers for trash and recycling, specialty drawers or cabinets for spice and knife storage, and built in storage for small appliances like mixers or coffee makers so that they aren’t cluttering the counter when not in use but are still easy to access when needed.





Countertop Material

Countertop material is an area that is seeing a shift in popularity. Granite used to be the favorite, but quartz is now the go-to stone material. The slightly higher price tag with quartz is more bearable due to the higher durability and color options. Since quartz is not 100% stone it also doesn’t require quite as much care for upkeep when compared with granite.


Turtle Creek.jpg


The popular appliances this year are expected to be ones that incorporate newer technology and contribute to better overall cooking quality. Induction cooktops, which will only heat up the specific cookware used on them instead of the entire cooktop surface, and convection ovens, which use a fan to evenly distribute heat throughout the oven, are both expected to be popular. Microwave drawers versus freestanding or built in microwaves were also noted as a popular appliance.

Barn & Pocket Doors

Both barn doors and pocket doors have the benefit of not having a swing path to contend with. Instead of needing to make sure there is enough space available to swing a door open and closed, barn and pocket doors instead slide to the side or retreat into the wall and out of the way.


Integrating technology into the home continues to grow in popularity. When it comes to the kitchen this is being seen in internet connected appliances, such as ovens that can be set and tracked via a smartphone app. Built in docking and charging stations are also being added into kitchens.

Accessible and Universal Design

Designing a space to be accessible for everyone regardless of age or ability, known as universal design, has been steadily growing in popularity over the years, especially as people age and decide that they want to keep their current home. In the kitchen universal design choices aren’t particularly stand out. Things such as small sections of shorter cabinets, additional lighting, hard flooring, and certain cabinet handles make a kitchen easier for all users.


Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition: From Finishing Touches to Completion

This Dallas family room and outdoor living addition project has come a long way since our first behind the scenes look. What started as an open area of grass is now a beautifully finished family room that connects to a new outdoor patio and pool, perfect for the homeowner’s entertaining needs. Our previous update ended with the installation of flooring, which left us with mainly just the finishing touches to complete in the family room. For this final behind the scenes look we’ll start with those finishing touches in the family room and then highlight the deck and pool construction for a complete look at the final stages of the project.


Family Room Finishes

Our next step in completing the family room was to add stairs connecting the room to the existing house. The house is set on an elevated foundation several feet above ground level. The homeowners wanted the new family level with the new patio and backyard to make the transition between the indoor and outdoor areas easier to navigate. This decision meant that there was a multi-foot drop from the existing house into the family room. The homeowners decided to add wooden floating stairs to bridge the distance. The stairs tie in well with the existing wood floors in the main house and provide a smooth transition between the two rooms. Lighting was installed underneath each step to make them easier to navigate.

Next came the finishing of the fireplace, easily one of the most prevalent design features in the room. The off center setting of the firebox adds visual interest and makes the room appear not quite so cookie cutter perfect. The mantle and hearth have a modern design that reflects the homeowners contemporary leaning tastes. They are both finished with a quartz material that includes bits of metallic and reflective pieces in the material, giving it extra sparkle and shine when the light hits. Both the mantle and hearth extend to the wall in front of the dummy side door, allowing more seating area and continuing to promote the asymmetrical feel of the fireplace. Surrounding the fireplace is round blue mosaic tile with a blue tinted grout which standout well against the other neutral finishes used throughout the room. Wiring was added above the firebox prior to drywall so that a television could eventually be hung there.

While the overall design aesthetic of the room leans towards contemporary, there are some elements that incorporate a more rustic design within the contemporary. The mixture of these two design styles can be best seen in the light fixtures used throughout the room. The overhead chandelier has a tree branch like appearance that translates well to a more rustic feel.  However there is still a distinctly modern feel to it due to its unique design and construction. Two matching over the door light fixtures by the fireplace also have an older look that juxtaposes well against the more contemporary fireplace.


The Deck

Adjacent to the family room is a new deck area. It is sheltered on three sides by the house with the fourth opening up to the new pool. Eventually the deck will be home to the homeowners’ outdoor cooking equipment. The majority of the work on the deck took place towards the end of the overall project’s construction in order to coordinate with similar work taking place in the family room. The pouring of the concrete foundation, addition of doors from the master bedroom to the deck on one side and from the new family room to the deck on the other, and replacing the kitchen window along the back wall with a larger window all took place in conjunction with similar work being done in the family room during earlier stages of the project.

Apart from those items most of the additional work on the deck did not restart until the installation of tile flooring. The homeowners chose a neutral gray colored tile that complimented the exterior color of the home and will allow other outdoor features to shine. A small fire pit, about the size of one of the tile pieces, was built in when the foundation was poured. Filled with red lava rocks, it will allow the homeowners a convenient way to stay warm during cooler months (or be a great place to roast marshmallows for s’mores any time of the year).

As with the family room, accommodations had to be made to account for the height difference between the master bedroom foundation and the deck due to the new doors that were added to transition between the two areas. The solution was to add a wooden stair and bench feature along that side of the deck. The top step was extended towards the house to allow for a small elevated deck for seating. On the other side of the doors the wooden steps were extended to create a bench with built in storage underneath.


The Pool

The family room and deck additions were two parts of a larger outdoor living remodel. And here in Texas a full outdoor living remodel is often incomplete without one key element: a pool. The pool was designed by Randy Angell and built by Pool Environments. While we at Key Residential were not involved with the pool addition, its construction took place alongside our work, and the outdoor living area cannot be fully appreciate without also considering the pool. It features a larger main area with an extended wet deck and a connected smaller lounging section separated by three concrete walking pads that hover just above the water’s surface. The back side of the pool that borders a new fence has a bright green architectural feature and built in flower beds.


What's Next?

At this point the scope of work for the original project has been completed. The deck provides area for additional outdoor cooking options that the homeowners may decide to add at a later time. But with winter over half over and summer fast approaching, the homeowners will be busy enjoying their new outdoor living areas with or without the eventual additional work. Next up for us at Key Residential will be the official completion photos which we will be sharing as soon as they are ready.


Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition Blog Series

Part One: From Site Prep to Framing

Part Two: From Framing to Mechanicals

Part Three: From Drywall to Flooring

Part Four: From Finishing Touches to Completion

Our Outdoor Living Greatest Hits Part I

Trapped in the middle of winter, it may seem cruel to post a blog focused on outdoor living. But time has a way of flying by, and before we know it the heat, long days, and sunshine of summer will return. This is the ideal time to start thinking about how to use your outdoor spaces and making the necessary preparations. With that in mind, we thought this would be a great time to revisit a few of our more popular outdoor living projects and the features that made them so memorable. Perhaps it will provide inspiration for your own outdoor living spaces.

Outdoor Living Features Included: Kitchen, Dining Area, Entertainment Area, Fireplace, Pool

Unique Features: Pizza Oven, Built in Heaters and Fans

This award winning outdoor living addition and remodel took what was a very basic outdoor grill, covered seating area, and outdoor fireplace and upgraded it into a full outdoor retreat. The new outdoor living area features a full service kitchen complete with a built in grill, smoker, refrigerator, and a pizza oven. A sink and under counter dishwasher make clean up a breeze. There is room under the covered portion for a full dining room table and lounge seating. The fireplace received an upgrade to match the stonework in other parts of the addition. The covered area also features outdoor fans and heaters to help control the temperature and make the space usable year round. Rounding out the outdoor living area is a pool with an extended wet deck..

Outdoor Living Features Included: Kitchen, Dining Area, Entertainment Area, Pool

Unique Features: Vintage Fridge, Artificial Turf Grass

Exuding rustic and country charm, it’s hard to imagine that this home is located in the heart of the Dallas metroplex. It is the design and all the associated details with it that really stands out about this outdoor living space. The covered kitchen area includes a built in gas grill and vintage refrigerator. Built in cabinet doors protect the nearby television from the elements. The adjacent patio area has room for a full dining room table and connects with the sunroom, making the transition from indoor to outdoor even easier. A beautiful pool, also with an extended wet deck, is surrounded by artificial turf grass that will stay green all year long.

Outdoor Living Features Included: Kitchen, Entertainment Area, Pool

Unique Feature: Fire Pit, Pool Bathroom

The large pool dominates this outdoor living area. Occupying a large portion of the inside area of the U-shaped house, the pool features a small extended wet deck, hot tub, and built in stone waterfall features. The pool is surrounded by a stone and features a fire pit at one end that is perfect for roasting s’mores or for staying warm when the Texas weather starts to cool. The home also features an outdoor kitchen adjacent to the pool. The covered kitchen area features a built in grill, under counter refrigerator, fireplace with a mounted television above it, and room for seating. Additionally, a small pool bathroom allows for easy clean up before entering into the house.


Outdoor Living Features Included: Kitchen, Entertainment Area, Pool

Unique Feature: Multicolored Pool Lighting, Retractable Screens

Built for a young and growing family, this outdoor living area offers all the standard staples for an enjoyable at home outdoor retreat. The pool features an extended wet deck that allows for both relaxation in the cool pool water and a safer area for younger children to play. Multicolored pool lighting makes it an even more visually appealing area. The covered kitchen and entertainment area features a built in grill, under counter refrigerator, fireplace, television, and plenty of seating. The covered area also features retractable screens to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about too many bugs and mosquitoes getting in the way.

Project Spotlight: In House Bar Area Transforms into a Wine Room

As avid collectors and connoisseurs of wine, the owners of this Dallas home felt limited by their in-house bar set up. Consisted of a cabinet peninsula and a built in shelving unit along the back wall, the bar alcove nestled within the family room did not meet their functional needs and felt dated. The adjacent wine closet, while able to provide additional storage space, was not large enough for the homeowners’ needs and kept the bulk of their wine collection stored in a way that was hidden and out of site. Instead, they wanted their collection to be featured front and center and in ready to serve condition. With these goals in mind, the homeowners partnered with Rachel Edie of AVID Associates to design a space that would better suit their needs while we at Key Residential had the privilege of making those designs a reality.

The first key decision made by the homeowners regarding the scope of their remodel was to use transform the bar alcove into its own room that was entirely separate from the family room in which it is located. Making this change allowed the room to be designed and constructed just for its specific purpose. One of the greatest advantages in enclosing the room was the increased ability to regulate conditions in the space. In this case the primary condition to be regulated was the temperature of the room. A wine cellar cooling unit was installed so that the room could run on its own internal thermostat and be kept at a temperature ideal for the storage and serving of wine.

Adding the cooling unit did require some adjustments to the design of the room. The unit itself needed to be stored close to the room so space had to be found. As the wine room was located in an interior area on the bottom floor of the house there was not any readily available space that could be used, therefore space needed to be created in what was already a relatively small area. The answer came from looking up. With tall ceilings, there was plenty of space in the room to drop down the ceiling a few feet and create the necessary space needed for storing the unit above the room. The new cooling unit can be seen within the framed drop down ceiling in the photo above.

The final step necessary for the addition of the wine room cooling unit was to fully enclose the room. Despite becoming its own separate room it was important to the homeowners that the space still felt like part of the family room. Further, showcasing their wine collection in a visible way was a priority of the remodel. Therefore glass was used to fill in the open spaces between the peninsula cabinets (which were kept from the original bar setup, albeit with a few adjustments) and the now lowered ceiling. The glass would allow clear line of site into the room and not impede its connection with the family room, but the half inch thickness ensured that the cooling power of the room’s thermostat would be contained. A glass door, with dual swinging hinges, in between the end of the cabinets and the wall allows easy access in and out of the room.

The new wine room features several amenities designed to capitalize on wine storage and presentation. To provide additional wine storage, five floor to ceiling wine racks line the back wall of the room. Each rack has an individual LED light above it in order to better illuminate and draw attention to the many unique bottles that the homeowners have collected. New ChillKat quartz countertop was installed on top of the existing bar cabinets. The interior walls of the room as well as the exterior facing parts of the bar cabinet and new drop down ceiling feature a stone façade. The remodeled room fully captures the wants and needs of the homeowners and provides them with a stylish and functional way to indulge in their wine collection.

2016 Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

It may feel like winter has already started where you live well before now, but today marks the official start of that cold weather season. The start of a new season brings with it the perfect opportunity to address a few maintenance and upkeep items around the house. Take a look below for eight things we think should be on your list to get done around the house this winter.


Restock Emergency Supplies

Even in Texas where our winters tend to be on the milder side, inclement weather can hit with little warning. Preparing early can help you avoid the trouble of fighting off the crowds at the store right before bad weather hits. Stock up on things like nonperishable foods, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, and anything else that would make your life a bit easier if you were suddenly stranded at home due to bad weather.

Maintenance Washer and Dryer

The first basic rule of dryer maintenance is to clean out the lint trap after each use. A highly flammable substance, a buildup of lint can quickly lead to disaster. But keeping both your dryer and washer in prime working order requires a bit more than that. For the dryer lint can also build up in the ducts behind the machine and they should be cleaned at least once a year. The water lines for a washer should be inspected as well as they will deteriorate and crack over time.

Declutter the House

Winter is a good time to do some general around the house decluttering. Chances are you’ll spend more time inside your house during the winter months than any other season. As such you’ll have a better idea of what things you actually use and what things are just gathering dust. Make sure to include a closet clean out as well. If you find any clothes that weren’t worn over the past year then plan to donate or get rid of them. Chances are if you didn’t wear it this year you won’t wear it next year.

Organize Your Home Office

The end of the year is an ideal time to get your home office in order. Any filing that has been stacking up should be organized and stored away in an easy to access location so you’re ready come tax season. And if the home office is also the place where kids work on their home work then the winter holidays are a great time to have them organize their things so that they are ready to go when school is back in session.

Plan Major Home Projects for the Next Year

Whether you are ready for it or not, the New Year is almost here. If you’re 2017 includes any major home remodeling or maintenance projects this is the time to start planning and getting ready for them. Most home projects that require hiring a professional will require time on the front end for planning and scheduling. Work out your own schedule for when you want to get things done throughout the year and start contacting companies early.

Deep Clean the Kitchen

With the holiday season upon us, it is likely that the kitchen will be seeing heavier use than normal so it could use a little extra care when it’s all said and done. Once all the big holiday meals and parties are over take the time to do a deep clean of the kitchen to get it put back in order and start the New Year off right. Don’t forget to include the pantry in your cleaning. This is a good time to go through it and clean out anything that has expired or won’t be used.

Break Out the Warm, Comfy Bedding

It might make getting out of bed in the morning a bit harder, but winter is the time to snuggle up under the covers at night to escape the cold and stay warm. Plus, waking up in the middle of the night because you’re too cold is never an enjoyable experience. Save yourself from that trouble by layering on the blankets for your bed.  Just make sure to have a robe or jacket handy in the morning when you have to leave the cocoon of warmth.

Stock up on Firewood

Curling up beside a roaring fire when the weather turns cold is a quintessential winter activity. Prepare early by stocking up on firewood now so that whenever the cold weather or feeling for a warm fire hits you will be ready. If you didn’t have your chimney cleaned already this year now would also be a good time to get that done so that only intended fires are created.

Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition: From Drywall to Flooring

It's time for another update on this ongoing Dallas addition project that includes an enclosed family room, open air patio, and new swimming pool. Our last update ended with the behind the walls mechanical work, such as plumbing and electrical, that needed to be done before the walls could be enclosed. We’ll pick back up there for this update

Insulation and Drywall

With all the detail work behind the walls completed, the next step is to insulate and hang drywall. We used spray foam insulation for this project versus the more traditional fiberglass insulation. As the name implies, insulation works to isolate the home from the outdoors and limits the passage of things like air temperature and sound. Once the insulation was completed the drywall could be hung. The new family room includes a few built in features, such as a bookcase and slightly extended fireplace façade, which are created during the drywall phase of the project.


With drywall complete, installing trim was the next step. Baseboard and window and door trim was installed along with a wooden beam running the length of the room across the ceiling. Crown molding, typically used in more formal settings, was not included in this room. In a way, trim is like the last step in creating the canvas for the room. The bare bones of the room are finished and the room itself is functional, but it does not have any of the pretty finishes, such as paint and flooring.


With the walls up and trim installed, painting is next on the task list. The homeowners chose a neutral color palette for the walls in order to allow other details throughout the room to shine. Neutral colors are very on trend, but luckily if trends change repainting a room is one of the more cost effective ways to keep up with what is popular. The back of the built in bookcase, for example, is painted a rich blue that will complement the tile that will be eventually installed around the fireplace


The function of the room was an important factor in determining the best type of flooring to use. The room’s close proximity to the future outdoor deck and pool as well as the homeowners’ intention to use the room as a transition between the indoors and outdoors meant that a hard surface floor would be the best option. The homeowners decided to use tile as it would be easy to clean up any dirt that made its way indoors and stand up best to any water tracked in from the pool.

What's Next

At this point in the project most of the behind the scenes and grunt work is done. That leaves us mostly with just the finishes and finer details to complete. Our next update will focus more on the design choices and their execution.


Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition Blog Series

Part One: From Site Prep to Framing

Part Two: From Framing to Mechanicals

Part Three: From Drywall to Flooring

Part Four: From Finishing Touches to Completion

Six Memorable Kitchen Remodels

October just over halfway over, so we thought it was time to take a look back on a few kitchen remodels as we continue to celebrate Kitchen and Bath Month. Scroll through the photos and read more about what made each project unique. For more photos from these projects or kitchens in general be sure to check out the kitchen photo gallery here on our website or our project photo galleries on Houzz.

With rustic country charm, this kitchen is a showstopper. It features custom designed cabinetry that was hand painted and distressed in order to give it the rustic look. The center island doubles as work table and eating area. Reclaimed barnwood floors and wooden beams on the ceiling help complete the look. A fireplace and small sitting area completes the cozy, farmhouse feel in the room.

This contemporary style kitchen is located in an uptown Dallas high rise condo, allowing the homeowner’s to enjoy spectacular view of the downtown skyline while cooking. Designed by Poggenpohl, the kitchen incorporates on trend white cabinets and stainless steel appliances (including an induction Cooktop).

Another white kitchen, this one, located in an historical home, features a more traditional style meant to honor the home’s history. The kitchen features custom designed white cabinets with quartzite countertops. Incorporated throughout the room are many elements original to the house, including the windows, crown molding, and wood floors in the breakfast room.

From the clean, sharp lines, to the minimalist design, to the dark and metallic colors used throughout, this kitchen exudes modernity. The room features dark wood cabinets, Absolute Black marble countertops, polished concrete floors, and an appliance garage. Accent LED lighting helps give this already modern room even more of an edge.

This kitchen, part of an entire outdoor living addition, does not lack in function despite being outside. Avid cooks, the homeowners wanted a full functioning outdoor kitchen. Among the appliances included are a refrigerator, ice maker, dishwasher, a grill with a side burner, and a wood fire pizza oven. Adjacent to the kitchen area is a full size dining table for the family to gather around.

One of the most important aspects of this kitchen remodel for the homeowners was taking advantage of the spectacular backyard view. Large picture windows frame one end of this kitchen, allowing natural light to illuminate the space and give it a large feel. The kitchen itself features a mixture of wood and white painted cabinets, a double oven, , microwave and warming drawer, a double drawer dishwasher, and a built in coffee station.

Six Memorable Master Bathroom Remodels

October is Kitchen and Bath Month. To celebrate we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our past kitchen and bath remodels and builds and some of their unique features. We’re kicking it off with bathrooms this week. Stay tuned later this month to take a look back at some of the kitchens we’ve done.

This farmhouse bath is full of both style and charm. A mix of custom designed pieces and flea market finds help to create a truly unique bathroom. The centerpiece of the bathroom, the claw foot metal tub, was salvaged by the homeowners. Special reactive paints were used to create more of a rust look. Custom designed vanities

Wanting a more luxurious master bath with more space than currently available, this master bath project was both a remodel and addition. The back wall of the room was bumped out to create the additional space desired by the homeowners and allowed for the spa like feel and look to the room. The expanded walk in shower features body jets, both a rain head and hand held shower head, built in bench and soap niche, and a towel warming rack.

This homeowner approached the remodel of her master bathroom with the desire to create a room that was aging-in-place compliant without having to sacrifice beauty. The result is an elegant bathroom that will service the homeowner well throughout the years with the wide diameters between fixtures, a curbless walk in shower, and a jet tub.

Sleek and stylish, this master bathroom mixes modern and contemporary styles to create a distinctive and original room. The curved wall shower, featuring square mosaic tiles, is the centerpiece of the room. The floating vanities feature laminated cracked glass countertops. Finally, the bathtub overlooks an outdoor water feature to help create a sense of relaxation and ease.

Spa like amenities are popular in master bathrooms, and this bathroom is no exception. From the design to the amenities it presents a room meant for relaxation. The large walk in shower features multiple body jets, dual shower heads, a rain shower head, built in bench, and built in soap niches. Marble design features throughout the bathroom complete the overall look and feel of a spa experience.

\Prior to the renovation, this bathroom had an outdated look and was not suitable for the aging homeowners. The floor plan of the bathroom did not change but it underwent a major face lift that included replacing most of the room’s amenities. To help make the bathroom more convenient for the owner’s use the old framed in shower was redone to allow for easier access and use. 

Key Residential Project Featured in Country Sampler's Prairie Style Magazine

When you pick up your copy of the summer 2016 edition of Country Sampler's Prairie Style Magazine you may see a familiar project within it's pages. The rustic farmhouse theme of this remodel and detailed craftsmanship has allowed it to become one of Key Residential's most popular projects and we are proud to see it prominently featured. The article also features a behind the scenes look at the remodel and ideas behind the design as well as new photos so it is definitely worth a look if you are a fan of this project. Special thanks to Becci Meier who designed the project and without whose help would not have been as stunning a home.

2016 Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

The long, hot days of summer are fast drawing to a close. School is back in session, summer vacations are over, the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and football is back in season. All of these things mean one thing: fall is here. And with the changing of the seasons means it is again time to knock out a few home maintenance items.

Prep the Fireplace and Chimney

Cozying up by a warm fire on a chilly winter day seems like common sense. While those cold days aren’t quite here yet, this is the time to get the prep work done so that everything is set when that cold weather gets here. Have the chimney interior inspected and cleaned to avoid any nasty surprises, like a smoke filled house or fire in an unintended place. This would also be a good time to stock up on firewood as well. Get it early before everyone else so that it won’t be sold out when you really need it.

Inspect the Roof and Gutters

Clogged gutters can be a problem, especially if they back up water drainage and that water is then allowed to freeze in the colder winter months.  As long as the gutters have been kept relatively clean throughout the year, waiting until after most of the leaves have fallen to clean them again should be alright. Check the roof for damage and get any issues fixed early to ensure the home is sealed and ready to go for the winter months. Plus, holes in the roof are a great way for critters to get when they too are trying to find relief from cold weather.

Seal Windows and Doors

The cold winter air is coming and the last place it belongs is inside the house. While it is impossible to completely stop the coldness from getting in, ensuring that doors and windows are properly sealed will go a long way in sealing off the house and increasing energy efficiency throughout the winter months. Check windows and doors for leaks and get them fixed as soon as possible. Replace any damaged or old weatherstripping as well.

Test Run the Heater

After months of no use, it is likely that the first time the heater gets turned on this season it will not smell so pleasant.  While unavoidable, try to mitigate the worst of it by planning a time to run the heater to clear it out early. Open up windows and doors to allow the house to air out during the process and spend some extra time outside enjoying a little more of the pleasant weather while it runs. Turning the heater on early will also ensure that there is time to get any issues fixed before the cold weather hits.

Check Exterior Lighting

The sun is setting earlier as the days become shorter, so ensuring that a home’s exterior is properly lit to compensate during the darker hours because more important with each passing day. Replace any burnt out light bulbs and add additional lighting in any areas that seem particularly dark, especially around the driveway, front door, and backyard. Consider putting outdoor lights on a timer or motion sensor so that there is no risk of coming home to a completely darkened house.

Trim Back Trees and Shrubbery

With trees shedding their leaves and relatively more pleasant weather coming this is a good time to get outside and inspect landscaping. Get any dead tree branches removed before the winter weather starts. The added weight from snow or ice increases the risk of them falling and causing damage the roof or house. Clean out any outdoor plants that did not survive the summer and start making plans for spring planting based on what did or did not work this past season. Finally, keep an eye on the weather forecast so that plants that can’t be exposed to freezing temperatures can be cut back before it is too late.

Plan Outdoor Living Remodels

It may seem weird to think about outdoor living remodels around the same time those areas are being phased out for the rest of the year, but this is actually the best time to start looking into those projects in earnest. Starting now will ensure that the outdoor living area will be ready just in time for the return of warm weather. 

Project Spotlight: Historical Kitchen Remodel

As the homeowner’s of this historic home approached the remodel of their kitchen and laundry area the importance of preserving the home’s history was at the forefront of their minds. While some changes had been made throughout the home’s lifetime in these rooms, the planned remodel constituted a major update for these rooms and presented the challenge of adding modern day amenities and comfort without sacrificing the home’s important history. The homeowners worked with Pat Ratcliff from The Ratcliff Company to design a high functioning and award winning space that paid tribute to both the home’s history and the homeowner’s own Louisiana roots. The remodeled rooms seek to marry the new with the old, creating a space that feels both fresh and timeless.


The existing floor plan in the remodeled rooms was maintained save for in the laundry room. The old laundry room took up half of a small porch like extension room off the side of the kitchen. Originally this area had served as an exterior access bathroom for the postman to use as the house was the last stop on his route. The area was eventually converted into two rooms: a laundry room and extended pantry area off of the kitchen where the refrigerator and freezer were also kept. By adjusting the location of the appliances in the remodeled kitchen, this entire area was able to be combined into an expanded laundry room that features additional storage and work space.

With the previous pantry space now closed off as part of the laundry room some slight rearranging of the kitchen's layout was required. The stove location was moved to the opposite wall and was replaced with an induction cooktop. The wall that previously housed the stove was expanded to close of the doorframe that had led to the old pantry and now houses the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry cabinet to be placed in the stove's previous location. New custom designed white cabinets were installed in the kitchen (as well as the laundry room and breakfast room). The refrigerator, freezer, and several other appliances feature custom front panels designed to match the new cabinets. The kitchen is completed with Taj Mahel countertops (also featured in the laundry room and breakfast room), a three dimensional tile backsplash, and a small island table built by the homeowner.

Attached to the kitchen is the breakfast room. To improve the flow between the two rooms the old narrow doorway was expanded to span almost the entire width of the wall in between the two rooms. Wallpaper featuring magnolia flowers, an ode to the homeowner’s Louisiana roots, lines the walls of the room. Glass fronts were included for all the upper level cabinets in the room. Also, as this was the only room in the remodel to not undergo any floor plan changes the wood flooring, original to the home, was able to be salvaged, sanded, and stained with a neutral finish. New hardwood floors had to be installed in the kitchen and laundry room but they were stained to match the salvaged floors of the breakfast room.

Honoring the home’s history was an important aspect of the renovation therefore we aimed to salvage and reuse as much of the home’s original features and details as the remodel would allow. Two areas where this was done was with the trim and windows. The original windows, some still featuring the original glass, were removed at the start of the remodel, restored, and then reinstalled with new sashes. Much of the original crown molding about the cabinets was also salvaged. It was carefully removed, stripped, and then reinstalled. New crown molding designed to match the original was used to fill in where needed.


Check out more photos from this project below and on our Houzz page.

Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition: From Framing to Mechanicals

Now a bit further along in the progress of constructing a new enclosed family room and open porch addition to this Dallas home we’re ready to show off the next few steps in the process. You can check out the first edition of this behind the scenes look here. Keep checking back on both our blog and Facebook page as we continue to provide updates as this project takes shape.



The first behind the scenes look at this project ended with framing. However, as the framing process had not yet been completed in our last post, and as it is such an important step in the process of constructing a new structure, we wanted to revisit it as our starting point in this second behind the scenes look. Framing is like the skeleton, it provides the shape and structure upon which the details and pretty parts are built. Framing for this new family room addition took about a week to complete. As can be seen in the progress photos, by the time framing was complete the general structure of the new room was there.


With framing done, the next step was to complete the roof. As one rectangular room, the roofing shape for the new addition itself wasn’t a challenge to construct. However, one of the biggest challenges with the roofing on this project was tying it in with the existing roof of the house and carport. The roof of the home and carport are hip style, meaning that they have inclined ends as well as sides. In order to tie the new roof in with the old the sides of the existing roofs of the home and carport had to be reworked.

Doors and Windows

The last step to completely enclose the new structure was to add in the windows and doors. A glass door was added so that the new structure could be entered into from the existing carport. A matching immobile door was added on the opposite side to allow for more natural light and a balanced look around the future fireplace. Sliding glass patio doors were added to open from the new family room out onto the adjacent new porch. Along the side wall three long and narrow windows were added to increase the amount of natural light while still allowing for the homeowner’s privacy as this wall borders the neighboring house.

Behind the Walls Work AKA Mechanicals

Perhaps not the most glamorous stage in the process, before any insulation or drywall can be added there was some plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work that needed to be added to the new space. It may not seem like much is happening at this stage but the proper installation of these pieces is vital to saving both time and money later in the project.

What's Next?

Once all the mechanical work is finished it will be time for insulation and drywall. The walls will be closed up and the interior of the new room will really start to take shape. Along with the drywall a few built in features, such as bookshelves and ledges around the fireplace will start to take shape. Installation of trim and the fireplace itself will follow. Not much has happened yet with the outdoor patio area beyond the pouring of the foundation, but work will soon start moving forward in this area.

Bonus: Pool Progress

While we at Key Residential have been hard at work with the new family room structure and porch additions to this property, Randy Angell and his talented team at Pool Environments have begun the process of adding a new pool. What started out as just a pile of dirt will soon be a beautiful pool, complete with a built in hot tub, extended wet deck, and a few unique architectural design features.


Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition Blog Series

Part One: From Site Prep to Framing

Part Two: From Framing to Mechanicals

Part Three: From Drywall to Flooring

Part Four: From Finishing Touches to Completion

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

This blog was originally posted on May 11, 2016 on our old blogging platform before we launched our new website. As we are getting ready to post our next edition of our behind the scenes look at this ongoing addition project we wanted to make it as easy as possible to follow along. The original post can still be viewed here.

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


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


Site Prep

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


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


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

What's Next?

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



Behind the Scenes of a Dallas Addition Blog Series

Part One: From Site Prep to Framing

Part Two: From Framing to Mechanicals

Part Three: From Drywall to Flooring

Part Four: From Finishing Touches to Completion

100,000 Photo Saves and Counting...

This week Key Residential surpassed 100,000 photos saves on Houzz! If you haven't had a chance to visit our Houzz page, or if you haven't been back in a while, then this is a great time to give it a look. Houzz is host to our largest library of job photos and we have recently added several new projects. Plus, if you see a project that you like or want more information on feel free to ask us a question on any of our job photos. 


If you're planning your own home renovation then Houzz is a great resource to view and save photos that can help inspire your project. The site also provides interesting blog posts that cover a wide range of topics including design trends, in depth project walkthroughs, landscaping ideas, and guides on what to expect as you get ready to start your own project.


Scroll through a few of our most popular projects photos on Houzz below and then head on over to our Houzz page to see more photos from these projects and others.


Key Residential Named a Finalist in the 2016 ARC Awards

We are excited to announce that Key Residential has been named as a finalist in four categories in the 2016 ARC Awards. The ARC Awards are a yearly event sponsored by the Dallas Builders Association to honor local builders, remodelers, and associates. Key Residential is honored to have won several awards in previous years and are equally honored to again be competing against some of best builders and remodelers in Dallas. This year we will be in consideration for a bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel,  a high rise balcony conversion, and remodeler of the year. The winners will be announced in August and we look forward to sharing the results. Congratulations to our fellow finalists!

Welcome to the New KeyResidential.net

After several weeks of planning and hard work, we are excited to finally debut the new design for the Key Residential website. We hope the new website will allow our visitors to gain an even deeper understanding of who we are at Key Residential and the quality work that we pride ourselves on when it comes to home remodeling and construction. Take a look around to discover more about the types of projects we do, learn more about the individual members of Key Residential’s team, and enjoy our expanded gallery of project photos. If you are interested in starting a project on your own home then visit our Contact Us page to let us know.


In conjunction with the release of our new website design, we are also excited to launch a new blog that can be easily accessed directly through our website. Through our blog we hope to share more in depth looks at our ongoing projects and home remodeling in general, highlight completed projects and the designs and features that make each one unique, provide insights on the latest design trends, and of course share plenty of photos. Older posts can still be accessed through our previous blog, but all new posts will be shared here. We will also link to new posts on our Facebook page.


Lastly, Key Residential is now a member of Instagram. Follow us for up to date photos from job sites as we plan to offer an inside look at the day to day excitement on our job sites. And if you are not already following us on Facebook then be sure to stop by and like our page. Photos from completed projects and ongoing projects, as well as news about Key Residential will be shared their first.


And while you're here, take a sneak peak at three of our latest completed projects. More photos from each will be posted soon!