Category Archives: Remodeling

Wynstone Kitchen Remodel as seen in Quintessential Barrington

The Cundiff’s in North Barrington, IL wanted a full kitchen design build, which included expanding the kitchen into the adjacent sun room. The renovated space is absolutely beautiful and everything they dreamed it could be.

“Flipped open Quintessential Barrington to see our beautiful kitchen featured in your ad. SO AWESOME! The kitchen looks great in the picture, but I’ve got to say it is even better to actually USE! Thanks again for the great work.” – Lauren

Read More Reviews Here

Remodeling: From Dream to Reality



Finding inspiration in design and styles of other homes gets you one step closer to envisioning what your dream home could look like.

Where can you find inspiration? Our project gallery is a good place to start, then check out our Dream Home Ideas board on Pinterest or our Ideabooks on Houzz.

If you put in the time to research and build a list of what you like — with pictures — you will have a better sense of how Hardin builders, Inc. can help you achieve your goals.

Reasons to remodel:

  • You want to make your home more comfortable and attractive.
  • Your family is expanding, and you need more room.
  • Your home is outdated, and you want to make the style more current.
  • Your home is not functional for your lifestyle.
  • Your home is in need of repair.
  • Whatever the reason, think carefully about you dislike the most about your home, and what improvement to your home will help you overcome those challenges.

Think to the future

Envision your life 5, 10, 20 years from now. Think about:

  • Family dynamics and how they will expand or contract.
  • How you want to address changes to your family’s physical capabilities over time.
  • Your finances and how much you’re comfortable saving to pay for your remodel— and how that will change over time.
  • The impact of the remodel on the environment or your energy usage.
  • Natural disasters and how aspects of your remodel could reduce damage.
  • Your neighborhood and comparable property values.
  • Technology and the role it plays in your everyday life.
  • Needs versus wants; wants versus desires
  • Where to save costs and where extra costs will pay off over the long-term.


Cost of remodeling

One of the most important aspects to remodeling is knowing—and controlling—your budget. There are so many variables that go into determining the cost of a project. Here are a few things that will affect the cost of remodeling:

Size and scope of your project.

Project cost will vary depending on your location, the size of the room, and what features or options you choose. However, square footage alone is not the indicator of cost; kitchens and bathrooms may be smaller but require appliances, plumbing and electrical features.

Structural changes.

Changing the structure of your home typically will cost more because it requires additional design and engineering work.

Product selections.

Your choice in products will determine the cost of the project. There are many different levels of product quality as well as price ranges. Hardin Builders, Inc. can discuss various options with you to help you achieve your overall goal.

Age of the infrastructure.

The age and condition of your home must be considered. Structural issues more than likely will have a great impact on cost.

Houzz has created a new interactive tool that helps you find out what the costs of remodeling are in your area. It’s called the Real Cost Finder. Want to know what the average kitchen remodel costs in your area? Just click on your city, and a sliding-scale graphic will give you information about the average price of various types of home remodeling projects and the average house cost.

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Types of remodeling professionals

There are many types of professionals who can help you accomplish your remodel. And, within those types come variations of specialties, experience, education, certifications, industry knowledge and quality of work.

As a result, finding the right professional can be the most challenging part of the remodeling process. Armed with information about types of professionals and their qualifications, you will be more confident about your hiring decision and more satisfied with the remodeling experience.

The General Contractor: Many home improvement projects do not require professional design services and can be handled by the experienced remodeling contractor whose knowledge of materials and methods has been gained by years on the job. Again, be sure to deal with a professional. Even though the job may be relatively small, its successful completion is important to you. Small jobs also need careful planning and attention to detail. General contractors can be used for your project if you have had your project designed by an architect or designer and you now need someone to manage the construction of those designs.

For design services, your options include:

The Architect: Major remodeling projects require construction drawings for the purposes of defining a contract and procuring permits. In cases where a professional remodeler does not provide design services, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professionally trained architect. It is best to work with an architect experienced in remodeling – he or she will be more sensitive to the special challenges that remodeling presents. Architects are licensed by the state and have formal education and experience. They have overall knowledge of design; however, many architects do not accept smaller projects.

The Designer: Another option to obtain those construction drawings is to hire a certified or licensed designer. Designers may have expertise in specific areas of the home such as kitchens, interiors, baths, space design, etc. They often specialize in particular types of projects and may be the best choice for a targeted remodeling project.

The Design/Build Contractor: If you prefer to hire only one company for design and construction services, your best bet may be to hire a design/build firm, such as Hardin Builders, Inc. Design/build is a concept developed to benefit the remodeling homeowner by providing both quality design and construction services within the same general contracting company. As a design/build contractor we will be able to see your project through from start to finish, keeping design, engineering and budget in mind.


Communication is key for a remodeling project to be successful. Here are some tips to ensure you’re prepared.

  • Before work begins, we’ll communicate to you what inconveniences may occur while the project is under way, that way you can plan for them accordingly.
  • Make us aware of vacations or special events so that we may schedule the job site time appropriately.
  • Consider moving personal property from construction areas and declare all work zones off-limits to children and pets.
  • Keep a job file, including contract, plans, specifications, invoices, change orders and all correspondence with from Hardin Builders, Inc.
  • Most important, keep the lines of communication open. Ask questions. Let us know what your family schedule is and whether you have pets confined somewhere. Make sure you have specified how — via phone, in-person or via e-mail — and how often you wish to communicate with us about your project.

Remodeling a home involves meshing the old with the new to get a seamless result. It is an art to get it right – one that requires experience and ingenuity.

There may be hidden conditions which impact the process. Unforeseen issues can arise- the key is to have the experience to be able to resolve the issue given the existing building conditions and thoughtful consideration of the best options.

We have the experience and we thrive on the challenge of solving issues to help you get the results you desire. We invite you to set up a meeting with us to learn more about the Hardin Builders, Inc. Dreams to Reality process. We’ll take the time to help you understand what’s involved, and how we work to deliver quality, service and value.

Fall in Love Again – With Your House

Do you remember when you fell in love with your house? Everything about the home was a new experience. When you walked into the kitchen, you envisioned yourself cooking for your family and hosting get-togethers with your friends. You also envisioned hosting sleepovers with your kids’ friends in the beautiful living room or basement.

Fast forward 5-10 years later, the kids are older – you’ve also updated your hairstyle 10 different times as well. Your home deserves an update too! Here are some ways you can recreate that original spark and fall in love with your home all over again.

Your Kitchen Leads the Way to the Heart

During parties and everyday living, the kitchen is often the central gathering place for your family and friends. People gravitate wherever the food is. Creating an open floor plan is great for entertaining by having the kitchen open up to the living space. Adding a center island will also increase storage space and functionality of your kitchen. Installing quartz or granite countertops while updating the flooring will also dramatically improve the look of your kitchen.

According to the study, a newly remodeled home can be good for your marriage, too. 84% of those surveyed found themselves choosing to spend more time at home post-remodel.

Make Room for His and Hers in The Master Bath

You’ve had a long day, you’re tired, and a trip to the spa just isn’t feasible. Imagine if you could recreate the spa experience in your very own master bath. Adding a steam shower will allow you and your family to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of steam for a fraction of the cost of building a sauna.


Other design trends include large tiled flooring, multi-head showers, universal design, frameless shower doors, and reconfiguring your cabinets for more storage.

Give Your Home a Facelift With an Addition

Adding an addition to your existing home is as beneficial as it is less expensive than purchasing a new home. Your home is in one of the top school districts so why move, when you can simply improve. Buying a larger house would mean moving farther out of town and having to cope with the city’s daunting traffic. If you have a single story ranch built in the 70’s – 80’s, an addition is the perfect way to transform your home into your true dream home.

Breakfast Room

Create Space for Family

The emergence of the media room has been beneficial to families by increasing family time with movie nights or gathering to watch a weekly show or sporting event.

Install a high end sound system, tiered seating, and wall sconces with dimmers to get that movie theater experience without the smell of old popcorn and the guy in the front row talking on his cell phone. If that’s not your idea of seating for watching the TV, use sofas centered around a big screen with a buffet table in the middle for awesome game day snacking.

Do you have extra family members staying frequently at your home and want your privacy back? Adding a basement in-law suite can eliminate that problem without causing a family feud. You can also turn your basement into a separate apartment with its own kitchen and full bathroom for those long-term house guests or when the kids move back in after college. Then they get to clean their own bathrooms and do their own dishes.

Kitchen Antioch

Remodeling a home can be a very personal experience. After all, no one knows your home better than you. That’s why if you are considering making your home even better by adding convenience and function to your lifestyle while adding value and beauty to your home, Hardin Builders, Inc. can make your remodeling dreams a reality.

The Home Office – A Must-Have Feature

With mobile technology, it’s easy to work in any room of a house. And yet, the home office is becoming one of a home’s must-have features.

Dedicated office space might not always be a full room. In fact, it might be a nook with desk space on the landing of a staircase or a corner of a bedroom or family room. As people do more work away from the office and kids do more work outside of the library, the home office is growing in importance. Some say it is as essential as the family room no matter how large of a home it is, from a small apartment to a large single-family home.

There’s also some evidence that home offices can make a home more attractive to buyers. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost versus Value report, you can recover an average 48.9% of the cost of a home office remodel at resale. A midrange office remodel, as defined by the report, is a $28,000 investment that involves installing custom cabinets that include 20 feet of laminate desktop, a computer workstation and wall cabinet storage, along with rewiring of the room for computer, fax machine, cable and telephone lines.

If you don’t currently have a home office but want to kick off 2015 with your own workspace take a look around your home, it’s possible you have a hint of space here or there that can be transformed with the addition of a desk. You may find the room in a nook under the stairs…

For those of you that have a home office, use these tips make your home office work better for you.

1. Look at nature or water. Looking at green, leafy scenes helps us de-stress and restocks our mental energy, something that gets depleted when we perform knowledge work. No nature to look at? Add a fountain with burbling water outside your window, if possible. Even three or four green, leafy plants in your field of view are better than nothing.

2. Use unpainted wood. Seeing wood grain while working calms us in the same way that nature views do.

3. Stare into the distance. Most people stare at computer screens and cubicle walls all day. But it’s important to look up from your work and stare several yards into the distance. This allows your eyes rest. The 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes stare at something 20 yards away for 20 seconds — can help reduce eye strain.

4. Use reconfigurable furnishings. Control of our environment has been linked to improved professional performance. This means leaving yourself options to rearrange things and move around as you work. A rolling chair and multiple work surfaces will give you the freedom to switch positions and manage tasks more efficiently.

5. Build in options. Go for built-in shelves or drawers, or create a whole new room using extra space for a home office.

6. Paint the walls green. Seeing greens on surfaces has been linked to thinking creatively. The sage color on these walls is pleasant and energizing enough to optimize performance. The red flowers have to go, however. Seeing even a small amount of red, even briefly, diminishes performance on analytical tasks, according to recent psychological research.

7. Show yourself the door. Whenever possible, you should have a view of the door to the room in which you’re working (along with that nature view). We humans tend to get a little on edge if we can’t be sure that someone’s not creeping up on us — and that distracts us from the work at hand. Combining both is tricky, however. When you must choose, choose to look outside.

Adapted from: Houzz and MarketWatch


Housing Satisfaction – Do you have what you want?


The ideal home is elusive to many. In fact, The Demand Institute recently polled more than 10,000 households — both renters and home owners — across income levels to find their top unfulfilled housing needs and desires. Their research reveals a whole range of unmet housing-related desires in America — gaps between what Americans have and what they say they need or want.

They call this the “Satisfaction Gap.”

“The biggest overarching thing is that when it comes to their homes, there are still a lot of things that Americans want to improve,” says Jeremy Burbank, vice president of the The Demand Institute, about its report, “The Housing Satisfaction Gap: What People Want But Don’t Have.” “There’s a desire for things like more space, privacy, and safe neighborhoods that are often attributed to single-family homes and ownership.”

According to the households polled, here’s what they don’t have that they wish they did:

Energy Efficiency:

Most households value energy efficiency; few describe their homes as energy efficient. Average household spending on home electricity has grown 56% since 2000, outpacing other housing-related expenses (which grew at 38%). This has many households looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient — 90% of households have taken some measure in the past five years to consume less energy.

A desire for energy efficiency will drive renovations, maintenance,and new technology use: for instance, 51% of households would consider buying an energy-use monitor.


America’s housing stock needs work. More than three-quarters (78%) of households in the United States say their home requires repairs. The Great Recession led households to delay major improvements and repairs: Home renovation spending decreased each year from 2007 to 2010. Since 2010, however, spending has been steadily increasing.

Top 5 Major Home Improvement Jobs

(% Likely to Do Job in Next Three Years)

1. Painting Walls – 30%
2. Replace Carpeting/Flooring – 25%
3. Remodel Bathroom – 20%
4. Remodel Kitchen – 18%
5. Replace Windows/Doors – 17%

Hinsdale Bath2

Hinsdale Bathroom Remodel – Hardin Builders, Inc.

Consumers plan to increase spending on home improvement in the next few years. A desire for move-in-ready homes will drive a continuing demand for new home construction.

Updated Kitchens and Finishes:

The kitchen remains one of a home’s most important rooms, but many American kitchens are in need of an upgrade, particularly after several years when spending on major appliances and renovations declined. With Americans reporting that they are cooking and eating at home more now compared with five years ago, the kitchen may only grow in importance.

Sixty-two percent of households say an updated kitchen with modern appliances and fixtures is important; only 38 percent are satisfied with their current home’s kitchen.

The kitchen will remain a key driver of home renovation activity. New “smart” appliances could drive continued growth in home appliance spending: 49% of households would consider purchasing a smart appliance.

Kitchen - Copy

Energy Efficient Kitchen – North Shore – Hardin Builders, Inc.

Accessibility – Aging Friendly Homes:

The population is getting older — the number of households headed by someone 65 or older is expected to grow 10 times faster than other households between now and 2020. Most older movers will “age-in-place,” but many are still looking for homes where they can age more comfortably.

Seventy-six percent of Americans surveyed believe a home they can stay in as they get older is important, but only 53 percent think their home meets that criteria. Baby boomers are increasingly interested in single-story homes, but they aren’t necessarily interested in slimming down the home’s square footage, Burbank notes.


One in five Americans surveyed say they are unsatisfied with the cost of their current living situation. Twenty-six percent of owners and 40 percent of renters are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses. Eighty-one percent say it’s important that their housing costs fit their budget without requiring sacrifices. However, 60 percent say they’ve achieved this, while the rest say they do have to make sacrifices to afford their home. Hybrid options between renting and owning, such as lease-to-own arrangements, may provide opportunity for renters who aspire to ownership.


While crime across the country has been consistently falling for more than two decades, many Americans still do not feel safe in their communities. More than one in five households say their neighborhoods have become less safe in recent years. This is no
longer just a big-city sentiment — two-thirds of households claiming their neighborhoods have become less safe are in non-urban areas.

More-affordable wireless, smart home-security systems and public-safety apps will make home and neighborhood security options available to more Americans.


Privacy still matters to Americans, and they regard their homes as a refuge from the outside
world. More than half of all households (54%) report that they are spending more time at home these days. Only 9% say they are spending less time there.

Suburban and single-family homes will continue to appeal to many Americans — in part because they afford more privacy. Outdoor space
is also going to continue to be a priority for many.

Residence - Lakewood, IL

Private Residence – Lakewood, IL – Hardin Builders, Inc.

More Space for More Stuff:

Americans still love to shop, yet lack enough space to store all their acquisitions.
Nearly half (47%) of households have two or more refrigerator/freezers, and 48% have three or more TVs. Indeed, more than half (52%) are “always looking for ways to create enough storage space for their households.”

A home with ample storage space is an important feature households identified, and it’s one of the key reasons they want to renovate, too. Fifty-five percent of households say a home with storage space is important, but only 35 percent are currently satisfied with their home’s storage space.

Lakewood IL 4

Custom Storage Space – North Shore – Hardin Builders, Inc.

Source: “The Housing Satisfaction Gap: What People Want, but Don’t Have,” The Demand Institute (2014) and REALTOR® Magazine

5 Steps to help you hire the right contractor

Building your dream home is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do, but all that excitement comes with a lot of responsibility. Hiring the best general contractor for you and your project is an extremely important decision. That choice will determine the quality of craftsmanship and will minimize emotional stress and unexpected costs. Bringing in the right contractor early in the design process is one of the most important ingredients in staying on budget and on schedule during construction.

Here are five simple steps to help you hire the right contractor for your project.

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. - Lakewood Illinois

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. – Lakewood Illinois

1. Get referrals. Talk with people you know and trust. Your architect is an obvious source, but talk with family, friends, neighbors, lawyers, real estate agents and others who have built projects similar to yours.

Browse professional listings such as Houzz to find general contractors in your area. Check out their reviews and browse photos in their portfolios to see how their work lines up with the scope of your project. You can even message them to get a conversation going.

Are there recently completed or under-construction projects in your area? Ask the owners about their contractor and the working relationship they have with him or her.

It's the details that make the difference.

It’s the details that make the difference.

2. Verify licenses. Make sure your contractor candidates are licensed and in good standing with your state license board. Ask to see the contractor’s pocket license, picture I.D. and certificate of insurance.

Proper licensing demonstrates a company’s best practices management, but hiring a licensed contractor will also protect you. For example, worker’s compensation insurance is a contractor’s responsibility, not a property owner’s, but that’s not the case if a contractor is not licensed or does not carry proper insurance.

3. View recent work. After looking at a contractor’s portfolio, request to visit a few projects similar in size and style to yours. Try to check out one that was recently completed, one that’s under construction and one completed five to 10 years ago. Ask yourself:

  • Does the work carry a warranty, and are problems corrected?
  • How does the construction site look?
  • Did the older finished project stand the test of time?
Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. - Lakewood Illinois

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. – Lakewood Illinois

4. Check references. Ask for a list of references. You can view our Testimonials and our customer reviews on Houzz. In private, discuss with previous clients their experiences working with the contractor. Ask:

  • Was it a pleasant working relationship?
  • Did they and the contractor communicate well?
  • Was the contractor fair and honest?
  • Was the project completed on schedule and within budget?
  • Were there extra costs or surprises?
  • How were problems handled?
  • How was the quality of craftsmanship and follow-up?
Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. - Barrington, Illinois

Custom Home by Hardin Builders, Inc. – Barrington, Illinois

5. Understand the contract. Decide on the contractor you wish to hire and while your plans are in the permit-review process, discuss the different kinds of contracts available and ask for one to review.

Ask for updates to the construction bid if plans change for any reason.

Do not sign the contract until your permits have been approved and all costs have been finalized.

Be aware that there are always unknowns in the construction process that create change orders and additional costs. This is normal. Expect it. Allow 5 to 8 percent of your total budget for these extras. With good planning, design and management, they can be minimized.

With proper planning and research, you will find the perfect contractor for your project. Invest the time and remember that spending a few extra dollars in the beginning could save you thousands of dollars in the end.

Tell us: What are your experiences with hiring a contractor — good or bad?

Source:Dylan Chappell via Houzz

DIY or Hire a Professional?

Reality home improvement shows and publications are making Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects quite popular. For some, a small DIY project can be rewarding and fun – if you are prepared and have the proper skills. For others, the “reality” may be far from entertaining and may lead to frustration and inconvenience.

    Before you start knocking down walls and buying books about wiring, let’s explore the
    following questions:

  • Do you have a clear idea of what you want your project to look like?
  • Do you have the time to complete this project?
  • Do you know everything you will need (materials, tools, etc.) to complete the project?
  • Are you familiar with building codes and the permit process?
  • Do you enjoy physical labor?
  • Do you have all the tools you will need?
  • Do you have the necessary skills for this project? If not, do you have the time and
    resources to learn these skills?
  • Do you know where to purchase the necessary materials?
  • What if the project takes longer than originally expected? Are you (and your family) prepared to handle the resulting inconvenience?
  • Will you need assistance with this project? If so, who will assist you?
  • Do they have the time and skills required for this project?
  • What about safety? Do you understand all the safety issues associated with this project?
  • Are you familiar with the architecture and structural makeup of your home (i.e., which walls are load bearing and how knocking down one wall will affect the rest of the

    • Consider the hidden costs in the time and tools associated with doing it yourself. It is
      possible that you may actually decrease the value of your house if the result isn’t up to
      professional standards.

      It’s easy to look at the cost of hiring a professional remodeler thinking only about labor and materials. But remember that a professional remodeler offers an important service – years of experience, the right tools, a network of suppliers and subcontractors, an in-depth
      understanding of building codes, regulations, cost estimating, scheduling, and the latest
      construction techniques.

      Hardin Builders, Inc. has delighted homeowners who have entrusted us to build or remodel their dream home. Our passion is to create distinctive luxury homes that reflect the
      individual character and lifestyle of each owner. We are committed to making your home-building and remodeling experience rewarding and flawless. It is our goal to be your
      homebuilder for life.

      Have more questions? We’re here to help. Leave a comment or Contact Us.