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Showerheads Galore-Which One Is Right For Your Bathroom!

After a long day at work, one of the first things on my to-do list is to take a nice calming shower. There is just something about the feeling and sound of water pounding down that can relieve stress and pent-up energy. Not all showers or showerheads are created equal though. There are quite a few different showerhead selections out there, each with their own ups and downs. A rejuvenating shower can set the mood for the day and with the right showerhead, your daily ablutions can become a luxurious experience.

So, yes it’s time for a new showerhead but before you go out and just pick one from a store, let’s go into depth of the varieties and styles to choose from. For those of you not familiar with flow rate, it is the number one thing that differentiates the types of showerheads on the market. The flow rate of a showerhead is the measure of gallons per minute that it dispenses. According to the DOE federal regulations, showerheads cannot produce more than 2.5 gpm at 80 psi (pounds per square inch.) which means you can not purchase anything above that number.

 

 

A Good Showerhead….

  • Delivers a good pressure of water. Professional reviews generally find that users are most satisfied with showerheads that produce a powerful stream and plenty of coverage.
  • Reduces water use. Even a standard 2.5-gpm showerhead will save water compared to an old 5-gpm dinosaur, but some showerheads use as little as 1.5 gpm while still providing good water pressure.
  • Keeps hot water hot. Aerating showerheads use air pressure to help increase the sensation of stronger water pressure. However, this can cool the water significantly between the time it leaves the showerhead and the time it reaches your skin. Many manufacturers have newer, proprietary technologies that increase the pressure, without overcooling the water.
  • Installs easily. Most models are simple to install yourself with just an adjustable wrench and some plumber’s tape.
  • It is simple to adjust. Some showerheads have only a single flow pattern, but those that have many should be easy to switch from one to another.
  • Holds up well over time. The showerhead itself should not break or leak, and the finish should not wear off easily.

 

Some Questions to Ask Yourself…….

Do you need a handheld showerhead?

Handheld shower heads are more functional than fixed models. I love them because it makes cleaning the shower so easy and we all know anything to make cleaning easier is a plus. Also washing a pet comes in handy with a handheld. However, fixed showerheads generally fare better in reviews, so it probably isn’t worth choosing a handheld unless you really need it. Another option if remodeling your shower is having the option of both.

What spray pattern do you prefer?

Some users like a firm, invigorating spray, while others prefer the gentle trickle of a rain shower. Some like a traditional wide spray that provides a lot of coverage, while others prefer a pulsating massage jet. Whatever shower style you like best, look for a showerhead that does a good job on that spray setting. If you’re the only one who will use the shower, then you probably don’t have to worry about additional settings; most tend to pick a single spray pattern they like and stick with it. However, if you share a bathroom with someone else who prefers a different spray pattern, then look for a shower head that suits both of you.

How tall are you?

Some showerheads can pose problems for users who are either very tall or very short. A very large showerhead, for instance, may hang down too far for all users to stand under it. Other shower heads are fine for tall users, but they’re so high up that short users can’t reach them to change the settings. If you’re tall or short, measure your shower enclosure before you buy and figure out what the height and angle of the shower head will be once it’s installed.

How strong is the water pressure in your home?

Today’s showerheads, which have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm, can still deliver a strong enough stream to satisfy most users. However, people with low water pressure in their homes often find that standard showerheads produce only a feeble trickle that isn’t strong enough to rinse away soap and shampoo. Many manufacturers are responding to this issue with technologies that help force the water our more strongly or at least make it feel as if the pressure is higher.

Do you need an extension arm?

If you find a shower head you like but it seems as if it’s too far away to be fully effective once it’s installed — or if you have high ceilings — a shower arm pipe extension can be purchased in the plumbing department. It will add to the cost and is an extra installation step. Most manufacturers also have an extension that’s recommended for that specific showerhead, and you can often purchase them at the same time to ensure they’re a good fit. Things can get a little more complicated if you need to completely replace the existing shower head arm, but that’s not that hard of a job in most cases.

 

TYPES OF SHOWER HEADS

 

The Standard-The standard wall-mounted showerhead ranges from simple to elaborate designs depending on your personal preference. It also includes technology to counteract hard water build-up, corrosion, and tarnishing. They have a variety of adjustable angles and spray modes.

Top Mount- This is the type of shower head that creates a rainfall from the ceiling. They are very modern and becoming quite popular in remodeling. There is usually only one angle and one spray mode but this will give your bathroom a stunning look when all finished.

Sliding Bar- This is a great option for height and personal preference of the shower user. This kind of showerhead moves up and down along a wall-mount. This makes the tall and short family members comfortable when showering.

Handheld- This is removable from its mount and acts like a two-in-one combination. This really helps with cleaning the entire shower without using a bucket to rinse the soap on the walls and if you have pets or kids this is a great tool for easy access.

 

 

           

   

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Windows! Everything You Need To Know About The Inside View

There are many reasons to replace the windows on your house: a new set of windows can give your house a subtle facelift; replacing a small window with a larger one makes for more light and a better view; and newer, energy-efficient windows can save you an average 25% on your energy bill. Whatever the reason for replacing your windows, it’s important to have a professional perform the work. Replacing windows isn’t a DIY project, and doing it yourself is unlikely to save you money in the greater scheme of things. When considering new windows it is best to research and do your homework on what’s best for your home and your family. Here are some different options to choose from:

 

Window Frame Materials

Vinyl Frame- They’re typically the least expensive and do not need to be painted or stained, but most are white and usually they can’t be painted. There are also fewer hardware options. Among casement windows, there is a little difference between vinyl and wood frames. Benefits: It is the least expensive and most energy efficient. Disadvantages: weaker material which means a thicker frame, less window to view out of. Does expand, contract and deteriorate over time.

 

 

 

Metal Frame- They are very light-weight, strong and maintenance free but also very affordable. They conduct heat rapidly, which means they have poor insulation. If you have a thermal strip between the frame and sash then it will reduce the thermal load.  Benefits: It is thin, inexpensive, solid & strong.  Disadvantages: Very low energy efficiency and not very durable.

 

 

 

 

Composite Frame (Fibrex)- They have more durable and lasting finishes than traditional wood and are very stable in any weather condition which prevents damage to the finish. Benefits: Thin, doesn’t expand or contract, high energy efficiency and durable material. Disadvantages: expensive.

 

 

 

 

Fiberglass Frame- They’re relatively new. While you won’t have to paint them, they can be painted. Fiberglass needles embed the plastic to make it stronger and stiffer, but there aren’t many brands available. Benefits: Thin and high energy efficiency. Disadvantages: It can deteriorate over time and is on the expensive side.

 

 

 

Wood Frame- Most are solid wood, though some may include composite materials (plastic with wood fibers embedded). You can choose from a variety of hardware finishes, allowing you to pick a style that matches your home. Benefits: It’s beautiful and high-energy efficiency. Disadvantages: High maintenance to preserve durability and the most expensive type of material.

 

 

TYPES OF WINDOWS

Single Hung
Double Hung
Awning-Style
Hopper-Style
Fixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single-Hung Window

They look like double-hung but only the bottom sash moves. They usually cost less as a result. The top sash is sealed to keep out cold air and water.

Awning-Style Window

They’re hinged at the top and open outward allowing for ventilation even during a light rain. Often used in combination with other window styles or placed higher on walls for privacy. Very easy to open and close. Like casements, the sash presses against the frame so they close very tightly.

Hopper-Style Window

They are similar to awning windows but in reverse, they’re hinged at the bottom and can open either inward or outward. These are commonly used in basements. Some hopper windows utilize the compression seal as well. In a lot of cases, they rely on weatherstripping to fill up that space. This decreases the energy-efficiency.

Fixed Windows

Fixed windows are non-operational and designed where lighting but not ventilation is important. They’re airtight and are available with decorative glass accents or in unusual shapes. These are commonly coupled with awning and casement window to add a contemporary look or to add extra natural light.

 

Some other things to look for when window shopping

Casement Style Windows- This type of window is hinged on the side or on the top. They are opened with a crank and the window opens outward. They are excellent for natural ventilation especially here in Arizona. They can be hinged to open outward and angled in order to direct breeze into the building.

Tilt-In Sashes- On single and double hung windows, the sashes (the moving part of a window) can be tilted in for easy cleaning. Nearly all brands have this feature.

Cladding- Wood-framed windows are clad in aluminum vinyl or fiberglass to protect the wood from the elements and eliminating painting. They tend to be the most expensive but are more attractive than other materials. Many brands offer various wood types, such as pine, maple, and oak for the interior. It can either be painted or stained at the factory or do it yourself.

Double or Triple Hung Glazing- Double glazed windows have a sealed space between two panes of glass filled with air or gas. Gas provides better insulation and its standard on many windows, but the energy savings won’t justify paying more for it. Triple-glazing adds a third layer of glass, which reduces noise significantly. Energy savings are improved, but not enough to justify the cost in all but extremely cold climates or where there is a constant and very loud noise (near airports or major freeways).

Low E-Coating- It’s transparent and improves the efficiency of the glass by reflecting heat yet letting light in. The coating is applied to the outside glass in warmer climates to reflect the sun’s heat in. But keep in mind that any coatings applied to glass, no matter how transparent, reduce the visibility.

 

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What “Fixer-Upper” Can’t Teach You About Home Remodeling

remodeling

Fixer-Upper! The show that is the greatest difference between showbiz and what really happens when remodeling your home. Why do they make it look so easy? Why do they make it seem so cheap? The real question is why do we believe the fantasy behind it but not the reality of remodeling a fixer-upper? HGTV implies to the viewer that remodeling is easy and gives a sense of having relief to what is expected during remodeling. It also dampens our moods when we realize that it is nothing like the real world and more issues arise during the process than we even dreamed of. Problems also equal to more money needed in the budget. From permits to inspections, to even product back orders, there are always things causing delays and costing money in the remodeling process. The more prepared you are as a homeowner the smoother things tend to go because you expect it.

 

 

 

 

Remodeling Times Are Often Rushed

Whenever you watch a home renovation show usually they always have a ridiculous turnaround time on a project. If you’re not aware of this when you go to hire someone, you will have a preconceived thought that you are being taken advantage of. On HGTV when you see a large project get finished quickly, you don’t really see all the scrambling that goes on behind the scenes to do the job and get it done on time. It may look like you see 3-5 people working but in reality, there are 30 people working to get things done in a short amount of time and they work around the clock which your normal contractor would never do that. Sometimes even details of the project are left undone for filming and then later finished up.

 

 

Renovation Budgets Aren’t Realistic

A long list of must-haves and a very tight budget doesn’t usually go well together in reality. The budgets made for TV are specifically designed for TV. Networks often partner with advertisers and they usually give materials away because of the free publicity. The contractors may also discount their services because of the publicity, which can cause a lack of workmanship on the project. Homeowners should be prepared when they see an estimate from contractors because some things they don’t tell you on TV. For example, some evaluations need to be done through county laws like testing for lead paint or asbestos which is standard for older homes. Usually, jobs can go from 3-4 wks to 3-4 months depending on how big the job is.

 

Storylines Are Embellished For TV

The stories that just seem so good to be true are usually the case. Not true or embellished enough to make it more interesting. For example, during a fixer-upper episode, they ended up picking the house that was the owner’s grandparent’s house. Well, what they don’t tell you is she had already purchased the house from her parents. So the story doesn’t sound as intriguing as you viewed it on the air but it does intrigue you hearing the made-up version. So the old saying “don’t believe everything you hear,” definitely goes the same for don’t believe everything you see on Tv.

 

Flipping A Fixer-Upper Isn’t As Easy As It Seems

In today’s housing market every dollar counts and lately flipping houses have decreased about 2% compared to 2013. Determining on which investments will sell your home quicker is more important than investing too much into a property just to watch it sit on the market for months. Do your research of your neighborhood, keep an eye on what’s selling and stick to a budget that is affordable. Make sure the updates you do is beneficial for the new homeowner not what you want. Keep everything neutral and create staging to create a more pleasing atmosphere for the future homeowner. Remember it is about selling your home as quickly as possible for the price you want.

 

Buying A House Is Never As Easy As On TV

Many shows make home-buying seem so simple and painless. What may seem like a day on TV most home-buying experiences take a least a few weeks but mostly it can take months depending on circumstances like if you have to sell an existing home or if you want to live in a specific community, can take longer. One of the biggest hurdles is getting approved for a mortgage loan. There is a significant amount of paperwork involved. What you don’t see is someone struggling for 60 days to get approved for a loan, only to be turned down because the criteria changed. When they are on the show they have already gone through this portion of home-buying maybe even already bought the home in some cases. So beware on the look of HGTV because they are just there to entertain you not give you valuable information concerning what your home-buying experience will be like.

 

 

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Retro Pro at the Home show 2018

It’s that time a year again. The Home Show!

Have you heard about the home show this year? Well if you haven’t, it’s one of the top premier home shows in the United States. It features the best that the  Arizona market has to offer for home building, remodeling, interior design, and landscaping. It’s going to be a three-day event at the Arizona State Fairgrounds which is located in Phoenix, AZ. The event starts Friday, January 12th, 2018 and goes until Sunday, January 14th, 2018. Over 350 exhibitors are going to be there including Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath. So if you aren’t planning on attending I would recommend re-thinking your decision and take the family for a fun day at the Home Show!

Steps to get the best out of the Home Show:

  • Make a list of specific goals-Such as checking the latest designs or technology that pertains to your project.
  • Know where you are going-Get a list of exhibitors prior to the show and spend time learning about their company to see if it’s a good fit for you and your project. Then identify which ones that are worth your time visiting the show… you can’t visit every booth and it is a waste of time if you aren’t prepared.
  • Make a list of questions and write down the details of the project-Take a notepad and pen to write any notes to look back on later.
  • Don’t load yourself down-Let the exhibitors send you information via email. Collecting information can be good but usually it just gets tossed and in addition, if the exhibitor doesn’t follow up in a timely fashion, it will provide you with an insight as to how they may handle the rest of their business activities.
  • Take a break-Your legs and mind can become overwhelmed after a couple of hours. Participate in one or more educational sessions to help with preparation.
  • Take full advantage of the experience-Trade shows are hard work, but they can also be a lot of fun and provide a great opportunity to meet and greet with key industry businesses.
  • Take advantage-Of any show specials because they can often be great deals.

 

Take a look at some of our before and after photos! Be sure to stop by our booth and check us out! We will see you at the home show!

http://maricopacountyhomeshows.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Years with Retro Pro

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New Years 2018 Let’s start off the Year with a BANG!

Now that Christmas is over, we all need a rest from the stresses that follow along with celebrating the holiday.  So, that brings me to an interesting holiday that popped up on my radar this week. January 3rd is Festival of Sleep Day. The origins of this national holiday are unknown but I am guessing after Christmas and New Years everyone was looking for a break or better yet extra sleep. This holiday is supposed to encourage people to catch up on sleep after the rush of the holidays.

Sleep is one of the most important and most common human activity. It allows our bodies to rest, heal, develop and can help memory processing and prevention. Lack of this or not getting a good night’s rest can have multiple effects on the body and mind which can hinder performance, decision-making, and positive thinking.

The best way to celebrate this fantastic holiday is to get your pj’s on, crawl into bed and…yes you guessed it….sleep! They say you should wash your bedding every other week to help promote good sleep. If your sheets need some good old washing, start by putting fresh linens on your bed. Fluff up those pillows, and maybe even add a few more for some extra comfort.

 

 

RECIPES

Mexican Pinwheels

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz can diced green chilies, drained
  • 4 oz can chopped black olives, drained
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. chopped green onions
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 8 (10in.) flour tortillas

Instructions

Mix all filling ingredients together, except tortillas. Divide filling and spread evenly over tortillas; roll up tortillas.

Roll each tortilla up in plastic wrap, twisting the ends. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Unwrap; cut into slices. Lay pinwheels flat on glass serving plate.

Sweet n Salty Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Sauce

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Add a wire rack on top if possible.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add oil. When hot, stir in garlic and onions: cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Add honey and soy sauce. Stir together the broth and cornstarch. Pour into pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pat chicken so it is dry. Place onto rack and season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Flip chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Coat chicken with some sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Flip one more time and coat the other side of the chicken. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until chicken reaches 160F and juices run clean.

Serve chicken with rice and steamed veggies if desired (and do not forget to pour on any extra sauce that is remaining!)

 

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) blue cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • Pretzel sticks

Instructions

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, blue cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth. Dampen hands to prevent sticking and form cream cheese mixture into approximately 24 tablespoon-sized balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.

In the meantime, toast the pecans by spreading out on a sheet pan and baking in a preheated 350°F oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, for 7 to 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool and finely chop them.

Roll chilled cheese balls in chopped pecans, pressing nuts so that they adhere. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.

**You can make the cheese balls ahead of time, but don’t insert the pretzels until just before serving or they will become soggy.

Turtle Pretzel Bites

Ingredients

  • small unsalted pretzel twists
  • Rolos candies, unwrapped
  • pecan halves

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350º. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Place pretzel twists in a single layer on parchment paper. Unwrap Rolos candies and place a candy on top of each pretzel. Carefully place the cookie sheet in the oven.

When the Rolos have just barely softened (check often, it doesn’t take long! Maybe 2-3 minutes) carefully pull cookie sheet out of the oven. Press a pecan half on top of each softened candy.

Let pretzels sit on the cookie sheet until completely cooled (or stick it in the fridge to harden some) and then peel the pretzels off the parchment paper. Great to put in gift bags for friends or family or great to eat as a quick treat. Enjoy!!

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Christmas with Retro Pro! Kitchen Remodeling Misconceptions

christmas

It’s time to celebrate Christmas! Here at Retro Pro, the holidays are a time for sharing, giving and spending time with family. Majority of the holiday season we are in our kitchens slaving away with the next new recipe or traditional dish we have made year after year. This is the time of year when you also realize that your outdated kitchen is in need of updating to better suit your lifestyle. When it comes to remodeling we would like to talk about how to make your remodeling experience easy. Here are a few misconceptions about kitchen remodeling……

 

 

Letting The Next Homeowner Take Care Of It

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make with kitchen remodeling is living without certain upgrades or new technology to save money. What many don’t get is this could impact the selling price of the home when you are ready to sell. Deciding not to install things like more organized storage or better lighting system might seem like a great solution to save a little extra on the total bill. This will end up hindering your love for the new remodel plus the new homeowner will feel the same way. It’s also about the little-added details you give your kitchen that makes new home buyers want to buy it. For example, one time I went to this open house in my neighborhood just to see what it was like. The neighborhood was older but since the recession, the neighbors had been updating all over. This particular house was small, about 1,200 sqft. and the seller had decided to update everything. The kitchen was still condensed into a small nook with a tiny living room but what I noticed the most was they took their ordinary 2-car garage and added another double door on the opposite side and added a driveway that an entrance and an exit. The house sold that day for $5,000 more than asking and I know it had to be that reason. It was something unique that added convenience to the house. The house still looks small but the little details are what was noticed. 

Style Over Substance

Choosing the next popular fad isn’t always the best choice either when remodeling your kitchen. You want to base your decision on functionality. First, think of “What do I need for my kitchen?” Do you have a big family? If yes, then lots of storage might be important to think about. Range-of-motion from one appliance to another thing to think about when designing your kitchen. With the newest architectural design concepts, there are tons of options to make when remodeling your kitchen. It is possible to make your dream kitchen with a homey-feel we all love and cherish during the Christmas holiday.

Bigger Is Always Better

You watch the HGTV show and they always show these extravagant homes with huge kitchens that can fit 100’s of people. If your plan is to always have that many people at your house then a large kitchen will fit for you but if not then I would suggest keeping your kitchen a minimum size and focus on the efficiency of it. Choosing quality over quantity can actually make it more luxurious for your everyday homeowner and this is a great selling point.  Space can be made by carefully designing your cabinets and floor space. If you free up your counters and have more storage options then you will have room for more cooking space is another way to make your kitchen feel bigger.

I Don’t Need A Designer

It’s very important to have a designer in mind when you remodel your kitchen. Certain structures and modifications may be necessary to allow for certain ideas to come alive. Having a designer will help to maximize your space and add things you may not be able to if you didn’t have a professional who does it all the time. A contractor is not the same as a designer. They have the capabilities of building what you want but the designer has the knowledge to make the end results cohesive and avoid doing redo’s or corrections to the project.

You Always Make It Fit

Homeowners who don’t ensure that their contractor has taken account of their design elements may later have to make major changes to get the kitchen they want. Another scenario might be a homeowner insists on a walk-in pantry or kitchen island when their available space simply cannot accommodate it. All too often you have drawers that can’t be fully opened if the oven door is open or if the fridge door is open. These small miscalculations or oversights can prove annoying and costly.

But It Looks So Good in My Friend’s Kitchen!

You’re invited to your friend’s house for dinner to celebrate her new kitchen. It is amazing and you now feel like changing yours. You love her kitchen style so much that you want the exact same thing. This is probably not a good idea because of two reasons. Wouldn’t you want to be unique and make yours different than hers? You can play off her style and make your own. Plus your kitchen isn’t like your friends so it may not look the same as your friend’s kitchen when you put it in your space.

You Have To Break The Bank For Your Dream Kitchen

Kitchen renovations can vary quite a bit depending on how much you want to do and the timeframe you want it done. From small improvements such as hardware replacement and color palette changes to a full teardown and rebuild, a new kitchen is really more affordable than you think. On average a home remodel can run from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the size and quality of the project. When it’s time to write out your budget, you want to calculate how much money you have to spend. Cabinets should account for 30-40%, countertops should be about 10-15%, doors, lighting, painting, and windows should be about 21-25% of your budget. This will leave you about 8-14% towards appliances and the rest will be put towards labor.

I’m Sure It Will All Come Out Fine….

Putting your full trust is something we all want when seeking out service. We look to professionals to use their best judgment when we are paying them. This is why it is a good idea to make sure your design vision is completely clear and that your contractor/builder completely understands what you want. Open communication is crucial. When homeowners turn a blind eye or put all their trust in without checking in regularly, they open themselves up to errors, miscalculations and a lot of other challenges can arise during the process of the project. Using companies that have everyone in-house will make sure everything is in order and done in a timely fashion.

    

You can’t end a Christmas Blog without the most important thing that goes with kitchens. FOOD! My favorite part of Christmas besides spending time with family is eating delicious food. Below I have gathered a few non-traditional recipes that will add flavor to your next holiday dinner. Enjoy and don’t forget if your looking for a free estimate give Retro Pro a call today! 480-649-1422

 


Alcohol-Free Sangria  (serves 2)

8oz. raspberry juice

2oz. strawberry daiquiri mix

2oz. lemonade

6 strawberries sliced

3-6 blueberries & raspberries

2-4 cubed watermelon

2-4 balls of cantaloupe or honeydew melon

4 to 6 oz. of lemon-lime soda

Fresh mint for garnish

Sliced limes for garnish

Directions: Fill a glass with ice and add raspberry juice, daiquiri mix, lemonade & mixture of fruit. Top with soda and garnish of mint and limes.

 

 


No-Bake Twix Cookie Bars

1 ½ cup of room temperature salted butter

2 tbsp. Of butter for dish

16oz. Of mini marshmallows

11oz. mini nilla wafers

1 cup of brown sugar

4 tbsp. Light corn syrup

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 cups of milk chocolate chips

Directions: Butter 9×13 baking dish. Dump marshmallows & ½ cup of the butter into microwave safe bowl. Microwave high for 2 minutes. Dump box of Nilla wafers into marshmallow mix and stir really well until cookies are evenly coated. Pack mixture into buttered pan and make sure to get it in the corners of the pan. Stick the pan in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. In a heavy 2 qt. saucepan combine 1 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil at just under medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes while continuing to stir. (Wooden spoons help keep the caramel from burning.)

Remove from heat and continue to stir for 3 minutes. Remove baking dish from fridge and pour caramel sauce on top. (keep a little for reserve to drizzle on top when they are done.) Spread to the corners evenly with a spatula. Place baking dish back in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish and microwave high for 1 ½ minutes. Stir in the 2 tbsp of butter on reserve. Remove your dish from the fridge and spread the chocolate sauce evenly on top with a spatula again make sure to get the corners.Chill again for another 30 minutes to an hour. After, drizzle the rest of the caramel sauce and then slice to serve.

 

 

 


Chex Mix Christmas Crack

2 (12oz.) boxes of Chex cereal (2 different flavors)

1 (16oz.) bag Snyder’s sourdough pretzel nibblers

1 (7.5oz) bag of Bugles

1 bag of Christmas M&M’s

White candy melts (CandiQuik)

1 bag starlight peppermints

Christmas sprinkles

Directions: Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a ziplock bag, crush approximately 30 peppermints and crush them finely. In a very large bowl combine Chex cereal, bugles, and pretzels. Heat the candy melts according to the instructions on the package. In small increments, drizzle the candy melts over the dry mixture and immediately sprinkle the M&M’s, crushed peppermint and sprinkles on the candy. Mix gently with a spoon until all ingredients are evenly coated. Repeat this step until all of the melted candy is mixed in with the dry mixture. Divide the mixture in half and spread in even layers on the baking sheets. Let the candy set either room temp or in the fridge if you are in a rush. Break apart and serve–store in an airtight container.

 


Pull-Apart Christmas Bread

1 lb. refrigerated pizza dough

Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water)

7 mozzarella sticks

¼ cup melted butter

½ cup finely grated parmesan

1 tbsp. Thinly sliced basil

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary

marinara warmed (for serving)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut mozzarella sticks into 1/2 inch pieces. On a floured surface, divide pizza dough into two pieces. Stretch and roll each piece of dough into a long rectangle, then cut dough into 2-inch squares (you’ll need 33 total). Wrap a dough square around each piece of mozzarella, forming a tightly sealed ball. Place balls seam-side down on the baking sheet in the shape of a Christmas tree (they should be touching). Brush egg-wash on dough balls and bake until golden 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together melted butter, parmesan, and herbs. Brush on baked pizza dough balls. Serve warm with marinara for dipping.

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Counter-tops! Which one is right for you

INTRODUCTION:

Home is where the counter-top lies. The most popular spot for the family is the kitchen. A lot of time is spent in the kitchen socializing, working, and prepping. It’s where you gather friends and family for holiday get-togethers. If your kitchen is feeling dated, worn out or inefficient, it is time for a change. Remodeling a kitchen is one of the areas of the house that has the most decisions to make and the most beneficial when you go to resell. This room not only expresses you and your style but it has to have functionality and durability also.

 

Counter-tops are the most important piece aside from cabinets in your remodeling project. When choosing a type of counter-top you must think about your lifestyle over the next 10-15 years. A few things to think about is durability, maintenance, and style. There are so many varieties of counter-tops out there that we have made a list with some pros and cons to help you make a better decision.

 

 

POPULAR CHOICES

GRANITE- Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen and bathroom counter-tops. Adding a granite counter-top can instantly increase the value of your home. If you choose to put a granite counter-top in, it will be cut according to your specific measurements.

 

So depending on the design of your kitchen, if you decide to upgrade another area with granite, later on, you will not be able to match your current stone exactly, because granite is a natural stone, and you will never have 2 identical pieces. Granite stone has its own unique pattern, similar to a fingerprint, which means every piece is different. However, if the granite is mined from the same location, there will be enough similarities to allow for some consistency throughout your project.

 

Granite is a good option in the kitchen as it is great when it comes to withstanding high heat and scratches. This means you don’t have to worry about placing hot pans directly on it and damaging the surface. It is also safe to cut directly on the surface and you do not have to worry about scratching it, so no cutting board is necessary! It is also resistant to UV rays from the sun, unlike quartz, so it’s ok to use in outdoor kitchens and bar tops. Since granite is a natural stone, it is susceptible to damage, but with the proper care, it can resist stains, scratches, and bacteria.

 

In order to properly maintain the granite, it is suggested to seal it once a year. If this step is taken, then the counter-tops can be easily cared for by just cleaning with mild soap and water. You can also purchase special cleaners that have a protective coating in them.

 

 

 

MARBLE- Like granite, each cut of marble is completely unique. It too is cut in one piece from the mine with its own one-of-a-kind fingerprint. It is a stone that will never go out of style and adds a classic look to your kitchen. Also, just like granite, if you decide to add on later, if you do not get a cut from the same mine, you might have a hard time matching the coloring and fingerprint of the stone.

 

If you are on a budget then a basic marble might be the way to go as it is usually the least expensive option of the three. With that being said, it is also the more porous of the three options which means it is more prone to scratches and stains. One thing to keep in mind is the stain factor. Because of the porous nature of this stone, things like juice, wine, and coffee can dull the finish of the stone and ruin your counter-tops.

 

You will also need to be sure to always use a cutting board as sharp objects can scratch the counter surface. There are products made for cleaning stains on marble, however, the best option is to have it sealed to prevent any stains in the first place. Like granite, it is suggested to seal your marble once a year.

 

 

 

 

QUARTZ- Like granite and marble, quartz is also a natural stone, however, quartz countertops are man-made and not cut directly from mines like granite and marble. This means it goes through a manufacturing process before it is put in a home, which can have advantages as well as disadvantages.

 

Something to take note of is the fact that quartz counter-tops use a binding agent during the manufacturing process. This may or may not be a factor when making your decision. Because of the use of the binding agent these countertops may have high Volatile Organic Compound (VOC’s) as compared to granite or marble. If you are concerned about your homes air quality, this is something to take into consideration. While for others it would not be a determining factor. Quartz is also susceptible to UV rays. If your windows do not block out the sun’s harmful UV rays, this could affect the coloring of your counter-tops over time.

 

An upside to quartz is the color selection is much greater than that of granite or marble. Another positive is because it is manufactured, it is easier to get matching pieces and have more consistency if that is something that is important to you, or if you plan on doing more upgrades later on. Another positive is the durability, quartz requires much less maintenance compared to granite and marble as it is more resistant to acids from drinks and stains. It also does not require the annual sealing like the others do and do not harbor bacteria.

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER CHOICES

 

Concrete- This is one of the newest types of counter-tops offered. New innovative ways formulated concrete now to make it light and come in a variety of colors and textures. It is usually a custom material and is often framed and poured right into the space being renovated. It is very durable and hard and doesn’t chip easily. You can even go as far as customizing by embedding shells, tiles, pieces of colored glass or stones. They tend to be expensive and run in the price range with granite and quartz. Concrete counters need to be sealed regularly and can be stained by some liquids like coffee and juice. This is also a specific look giving you a contemporary and somewhat industrial feel to the space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recycled Glass- This is another unique counter. It can look very modern and contemporary. They can also be made to look antique or traditional. These counter-tops tend to not be good with children because they are fairly expensive. Also, can show water spots or fingertips easily. In some cases can crack on installation, so using a professional is highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco-friendly- These counter-tops are growing in popularity because they do as much for your space as they do for the environment. The most common eco-friendly counters are Bamboo, reclaimed wood, recycled HDPE, palm-wood, recycled glass and recycled paper counter-tops. They are all reasonably priced, durable and you are putting your part and giving back to the environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lava- This is a unique counter-top and also highly functional. These counters are made from lava stone quarried from the site of ancient volcano eruptions. Specifically, from Auvergne, France but they are starting to be developed as the demand becomes higher. It is custom cut for each order and then glazed with enamel with heat in excess of 1,300 degrees. The glaze gives it a smooth, non-porous finish that is water-resistant. After it cools small cracks in the glazing appear and give it a unique appearance. They are very expensive exceeding any other counter-top but will last you 50 years plus no maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resin- They are a solid surface that has a seamless finish and is offered in many colors and styles. Crafted from cured epoxy, acrylic or polyester resin which is a synthetic material used in a wide variety of applications. It is cut to order and can be customized and excel in attractive appearance and durability, even red wine! Also, resin counter-tops are non-porous and you can use common household cleaners on them. Another thing to note is they are quite affordable. Be sure to ask the contractor what type of resin is used in the brand. Make sure you know the durability, brittleness, and heat resistance information along with the cost. Corian is the most durable and highly-rated material which is made from acrylic polyester.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stainless Steel- With so many large kitchen appliances now featuring stainless steel finishes, you can select counters that blend seamlessly with your appliances. It looks gorgeous with anything and compliments materials such as wood cabinets and natural stone flooring. It’s very durable and non-porous. The only downside is it’s not affordable and it can make the space feel cold and uninviting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laminate- Even though laminate counters are becoming outdated they still are a popular choice due to affordability. They offer excellent versatility and value. Nowadays you can find colors and patterns that match surfaces like marble or granite to make it look more lavish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

It is important to understand all aspects of each type of stone before making your final selection. It’s hard to say that one is any better than another. It really comes down to personal choice and how it will be utilized. Pricing also varies by class of the stone, each stone type is categorized by a class rating from 1-5. Class 1 would be your more basic color and design. Class 5 would be a higher quality, more detailed “fingerprint”. Retro Pro’s experienced design staff can answer any questions you have and will help guide you through your selection process. Whether your primary concern is durability, cost, or uniformity, there is an option for you!

 

 

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Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling 101

 

    The hardest part of remodeling is the stress of finding a reliable person to do the job that fits your needs. Everyone has heard the horror stories and maybe dealt with someone who wasn’t what you were expecting. Even with a good contractor it can be stressful due to the expense and surprises that can arise during the process. If you’re doing a large project, a general contractor is the route to go. They may hire subcontractors for specialty work but usually the general contractor takes full responsibility of the warranties of the subcontractors. Sometimes you may hear stories of homeowners being their own general contractors and hiring specific tradespeople for each job needed.

 

      This may save money but it can be time-consuming and may add more stress especially if you work full-time or have limited time on your hands to be on top of things. The least stressful route to go is finding a company that does it all for you. This type will have in-house employees that do the whole project including electrical or plumbing. They will also have a standard warranty for the whole job, which is convenient if something breaks or gets damaged, then you only need one phone number on file.  

 

     Choosing the right contractor can be difficult so learning the ins and outs of remodeling can help you make a better decision and know what to expect before, during and after the process. Take a look at the best way to start the process and become an innovative homeowner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out some of these new upgrades that will inspire you for your remodel      

      

Preparing to Remodel:

  • What don’t you like about your space now?
  • Consider your lifestyle with your new space?
  • What do you envision in your new space?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing a contractor/remodeling company:

  • Get recommendations
  • Look for a portfolio of finished projects to find someone that fits with your criteria
  • Call with a list of questions to weed out
  • Meet face to face with companies specifically at your remodel site
  • Investigate the facts, credentials and referrals
  • Make plans and get bids from each company
  • Set a payment schedule
  • Don’t let price be your guide
  • Put everything in writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Are you licensed to work in my state?
  • Do you and your workers carry liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
  • Can you provide insurance certificates?
  • Are you lead-certified?
  • Are you willing to provide financial references?
  • What is the warranty on your work?
  • What services are covered under your contract? May I see a sample contract?
  • Who will be assigned as the project manager? Will the project manager be on site all day?
  • Do you have an architect/engineer on staff? If not, whom do you use?
  • How many design drafts are included in the contract?
  • Do you use your own construction crews?
  • Who are your subcontractors, and how long have they worked with you?
  • What is the time frame for the project? When is an approx. start date? Completion date?
  • When do you need my product selections?
  • Who will walk us through design and selections?
  • How do you handle allowances for products?
  • Which suppliers do you use?
  • Is the contract a fixed price or is it cost of materials and labor plus contractor fees?
  • What payment schedule will you use? (deposit, regular payments, percent of completion payments, other)
  • May I have a list of references for comparable projects you have recently completed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a Timeline:

Keep in mind that creating your dream space can be lengthy. They don’t just take a sledgehammer to everything like they do on the HGTV channel. That’s for a dramatic effect. Your re-modeler should keep you up to date on expected delivery times for your products. A project begins with demo and repairs. Next is plumbing, electric, flooring, cabinets, counter-tops and then lastly installation of appliances, sinks, and/or fixtures.

Here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath we provide a truly cut above the rest when it comes to quality, integrity, and exceptional customer service. We are a full remodeling company; with no subcontractors; all the same workers every time and no separate warranties to worry about. Give us a call today and schedule your free estimate 480-649-1422.

 

Additional resources:

American Institute of Architects: aia.org

National Association of homebuilders:   nahb.org

National Association of the remodeling Industry:  narimetrodc.org

 

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Remodeling during Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving and remodeling there is never enough time to prepare everything in time no matter how much planning goes on prior. There is always something that comes up or delayed or taken off the list completely. We found that having a new warm environment in your home helps reduce Thanksgiving stresses because everyone’s too busy admiring your newly remodeled space to care if there is no cranberry sauce because you forgot to pick it up earlier in the week and now they are sold out. The planning, organizing, and the patience that goes behind remodeling can also increase stress so here we are going to give you a head start to preparing for a newly remodel space during the busiest time of the year.

And when it’s all said and done, you will have a more efficient space with a variety of storage options for all those Thanksgiving goodies. It will create more functionality for not only you and your family but also your guests.

 

Here are some tips to help stay stress-free during remodeling

Organize

Just like planning a vacation or a wedding you don’t want to just go with the flow. It is important to start a binder or folder where you can put anything and everything about your remodel.

Be Patient

This is a long process so I would start the patience right away. You have to research, pick out ideas, check referrals, not to mention demo day and then the anticipation of seeing little by little done each day. When you are among the chaos it seems to drag on forever but if you start with patience it will be easier to get to your end result with little or no stress. Remember it mind over matter.

Plan Ahead

There will always be setbacks, delays, or even the opposite everything going better than planned just keep an open mind and remember anything can happen and just be prepared.

Set ground rules but be flexible

Setting ground rules in the beginning will help keep your contractor on schedule and also keep you organized but remember flexibility is really what will get the project done faster.

Don’t get discouraged

Getting discouraged is the worst way to go about a remodel project but especially during the holidays you want to stay sane for all those guests who will be amazed at your new remodeled kitchen or bath.

Ways to prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving during renovation

The best way to plan is to just set up a temporary kitchen in a different area of the house. Ideally someplace with a sink near by. A couple of great ideas is to take a couple of old cabinets and set them up in your makeshift kitchen to help you prep. Think of it like camping but better; it’s indoors and you still have electricity. Plus you’re not in the wilderness. Maybe a folding table and some chairs to make a dinner table will help it feel more inviting for the family. Get some clear storage containers and keep your most used kitchen items inside labeled to help you find it when you need it. Making some big meals ahead of time and freezing them in small portions will help. Some other ideas to help with the weekly menu is clipping coupons for take out and making different sandwiches for dinner to reduce cooking.

 

Recipes


 

 

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How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

 

Stainless steel appliances are popular for kitchens in millions of homes across the U.S. They look amazing when they are new, so shiny and futuristic looking. Stainless steel can be a pain to keep clean! Everyone has their ideas as to the best way to clean it. There are tons of companies that claim their product is the best to use for the job, but which ones REALLY work! Sometimes the simplest solution is the right one! And it’s not all about the cleaning, it’s about understanding the material you are working with.

Cleaning solutions for your stainless steel appliances

Let’s start with the material, like wood, stainless steel has a grain direction. So when cleaning, it’s important to figure out the direction of the grain and be sure to wipe with the grain and not against the grain. These striations can be very faint, so you might have to look close. It’s possible for one appliance to have more than one grain direction, so be sure to pay attention when cleaning different parts like doors, handles etc. Cleaning with the grain will prevent cleaning residue from collecting in the tiny little crevices, and gives a better shine. Many stainless steel products have a fingerprint-proof finish, or will slowly show less fingerprints over time as the stainless conditions itself.

 

 

Cleaning products don’t always mix well, so try to find a solution that works for you and stick with it. Mixing products can actually make the cleaning harder over time. Try to avoid products that contain chloride, as this can damage the protective finish. Some of the better products are chloride free glass cleaner (this is great for the polished surfaces and mirror like surfaces), and the commercially manufactured pastes made for stainless steel.

 

For natural and DIY cleaners you have a few options. White vinegar is great for cleaning. Use a spray bottle to apply the white vinegar to a microfiber cloth or directly onto surface, allow it to sit for a moment, then wipe in the direction of the grain. You can apply as many times as needed to get the desired results. Vinegar contains a mild acid, called acetic acid.  It cuts through the oil left behind by fingers, rather than smearing it around like a lot of other products.

 

Good ol’ hot water! Yes, just hot water and a microfiber cloth does great for keeping appliances clean and the microfiber cloth won’t leave streaks. If you have stuck-on food or stains on the surface you may need to scrub a little longer. If you don’t feel like hot water is enough to clean, then add a little concentrated dish liquid like Dawn to a soft sponge (DO NOT USE ANYTHING ABRASIVE) or a lint-free cloth and and wipe in the same direction of the grain. Wipe again with hot water and dry immediately to prevent any mineral spots (if using regular tap water).

 

Another option is Windex and a soft cloth or paper towel to remove fingerprints. Glass cleaner works great on stainless steel, and can be a quick and easy fix to those annoying fingerprints and smudges. When using the glass cleaner spray it on to the cloth and then wipe onto the appliance, by doing this you wont have to worry about any drips or the cleaner drying and streaking before you are able to wipe it down.

 

For really tough stains or to get your appliances to really shine, you can always use the commercial stainless steel cleaners. These should be used as a last resort or just on occasion. Non-toxic solutions are always a better option, but commercial cleaners can come in handy! Just like everything else, be sure to always wipe and clean with the grain to prevent any scratching and build up in the tiny crevices.  The two best commercial cleaners are the 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner, and the Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser. Both are non-abrasive and a great option for cleaning and polishing your stainless steel.