A good contractor can help a homeowner create a dream home without breaking the bank. In Alaska, there are many fundamentals about picking the right contractor that require consideration; and there are advantages to working with a contractor with a proven history of success that can provide a homeowner with comfort in knowing that they are getting the most out of their investment.
Benjamin Briggs: Good evening and welcome to the show this is Benjamin Briggs with Alaska Business Journal and today we have with us Mr. Darrell waters owner of Kohll’s Design and Remodeling, Anchorage’s Premier home remodeling outlet for businesses and homes. Today we’re going to be talking about his impact on the contracting industry in Alaska.
Tell us a little bit about yourself tell us how long you been Alaska and what led you to starting this store.
Darryl Walters: Thank you for having me Benny. I’ve been in Alaska for 30 years now and I’ve always had a passion for construction and building things, and this latest venture of having a showroom and remodeling operation and operating out of that showroom has always been a dream of mine. Most contractors find that the end game is to be able to have a store front and have the customers come to them.
Benjamin Briggs: Do you just do remodeling for kitchens and bathrooms? Explain to the audience what you do.
Darryl Walters: Primarily we do kitchens and bathrooms and occasionally we will do some whole-house remodeling, flooring, windows and things like that but we try to keep our focus on kitchens and baths; that’s what we specialize in.
Benjamin Briggs: How long does a kitchen remodeling project typically take from start to finish?
Darryl Walters: From start to finish about four weeks. We’ve done them in two weeks. It comes down to how well organized and access to location. That kind of determines how long a project well a project will last.
Benjamin Briggs: That sounds like it can be negotiable at-times, so what do I need to do to prepare my home for a renovation?
Darryl Walters: The first thing you’d want to do is get a reputable contractor and make sure that the contractor is licensed and bonded and that comes with some references. They need to have some background. The last thing you want to do is to place your home and a small fortune in the hands of somebody that is not credible. You want to check those references and make sure this person is going to follow through with what they say they’re going to do. Your home and your happiness are truly are at risk. The next thing you want to do is go into a showroom environment or where the materials are going to be housed and pick out exactly what kind of cabinets, fluorine, countertops, and paint that you’re going to want installed in your a remodel. And at that point, you start putting together a competent design and a flow chart which is a project management chart that says when and what is going to be done.
Benjamin Briggs: You are good, I must say because my next question had to do work-flow but since you answered that question I’ll go to another. Will a Kohll’s designed to help me to choose all of my materials needed?
Darryl Walters: Absolutely, some of our folks are absolute experts in the way of design, creating ambiance in the house, lighting and things like that. A lot of people don’t have experience at this that’s why you need to go to an expert.
Benjamin Briggs: Whatever products I may need, can I buy them from Kohll’s?
Darryl Walters: Absolutely.
Benjamin Briggs: Do I need to have design ideas before I start renovation process?
Darryl Walters: No, you come in there with whatever concepts that you have and we can take it from there and we try to bring out your vision. We do not tell you what we think you should have but what your mind’s eye sees, and then to bring that into reality.
We also can do that with a picture board by showing the client lots of different jobs so that a client can zero in on things that they may not even knew they liked or wanted.
Benjamin Briggs: I understand that Kohll’s has very good prices for the work that your company does. What features should I plan to invest the most in for my new kitchen or bathroom?
Darryl Walters: I would say the cabinets and countertops are really the stars of the show in the kitchen. Heated tile floors are also a nice option and lighting is another big one as well, but the stars of the show truly are the cabinets and the counter tops.
Granite is truly something, when you walk in, it’s a natural stone that is drop-dead gorgeous and makes you proud to go into your kitchen each morning and it’s laced in granite.
Benjamin Briggs: The mark of a good business is great return on investment. what type of return on investment will I have after remodeling my kitchen if I sell my home after you guys work on it?
Darryl Walters: It varies from area to area, but it’s generally a 100% return on investment; meaning that if you put $50,000 into a kitchen remodel and it’s done well, you should be able to raise your price you’re selling price by an equal amount.
Benjamin Briggs: Is refacing a good solution when the budget is tight?
Darryl Walters: Refacing is kind of tricky. Sometimes you can spend as much money refacing versus buying a new top of the line cabinet, but a new cabinet refacing… it’s messy work . You have to find a specialist that really knows what he’s doing. It is a lot of work to take a piece of wood down to its bare natural state and then bring it back.
Benjamin Briggs: Sounds like you know what you are doing. One last question for my audience, I have a popcorn ceiling, is it possible to make a smooth, and if it is possible, is it a good idea?