Friday, December 27, 2013

Change This Tool in Your Home and Change Your Life

Somebody or maybe even two or three somebodies, spend a lot of time using this tool in your house. 

This tool may be too shallow, too small, made of the wrong materials, or just plain too old and outdated. But unlike a drill or a table saw, this tool gets used every day, usually many times per day, and by almost every member of the family. Yet, you may have never thought about an upgrade that would make everyone's life better for only a minor cash outlay.

Less than $300 plus installation
 We're talking about the kitchen sink. That venerable center of kitchen activity that sometimes gets thrown out along with everything else, but seemingly as a total act of exasperation. If you still only have one, imagine the benefits of two or even three. If you are tired of cleaning enamal, have you investigated stainless steel. Getting a lot of splash from your two shallow or two rounded bottom? How about a flat bottom sink?

Some "experts" are suggesting that the double bowl sink is no longer helpful, as we "don't wash dishes anymore."  I'm not sure what universe these experts live in, but during the past 5 years, my home has been occupied by anywhere from 2 to 6 people, and when we have 4, 5 or 6, we use the dishwasher a lot.  But we also have way more pots, pans and other hand wash items, and way more food preparation.  When we only have two or three, the dish count is so low, we hand wash and need the rinse sink.  I'm suggesting a double sink. 

Enamel is pretty, but wears out and stains.  Solid surface sinks are easy to clean, but chip easily.  So, you may be thinking I'm a big fan of stainless.  That would be a yes.  And in most cases, you are going to want an undermount.  This will eliminate that little food trap under the lip and most problems of leaking into the cabinets below.

Getting a great faucet is another big decision.  There are hundreds of options, but most folks have a clear preference in this case.  Buy quality.  When a faucet is acting up, there is a tendency to not fix or replace, but deal with it.  And that takes away all the benefits of having a great sink.  You might end up spending as much on the faucet as the sink.  That is likely to be money well spent.

Next up on our list of top 11 items.  "The older you get, the more important this one will be."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

11 Fantastic, Inexpensive Ways to Make Life Better - #6

Imagine What A Few Additional Electrical and Other Wall Outlets Would Do for You

Twenty years ago, all you needed was electrical outlets, but one thing for sure, they were never where you needed them to be.  Now we need cable, telephone, WiFi, speakers, and sometimes, computer cable.  I have made a science of this over the years, and I still don't have enough outlets.

My journey began with Christmas lighting and my garage.  I was so tired of trying to find ways to get electrical power to the lights, that one year I just decided to put power everywhere.  I did it myself, but even if I'd had it done, the cost would not have been more than a few hundred dollars.  Now I have years of easy installation of the light display under my belt and many more years to enjoy that little expenditure.

Later I was putting in a kitchen and a sun room.  How many outlets did I want.  LOTS.  I have no idea what the extra expense was, but compared to the $50,000 I was spending on the whole kitchen remodel and sun room addition, the cost for even a dozen extra outlets was negligible.  Now I only require one power strip for the computers in the sun room.  No other extension cords for any other purpose.

Sure, things are getting more and more wireless all the time.  However, my single WiFi outlet is not strong enough for my entire house.  Having a second or third location only costs less than $100 each.  How much am I spending each month for fast internet, only to slow it down again if I don't pay for those satellite WiFi stations?

Surround sound speaker wires and house wide speaker systems.  New wireless speakers are getting better and better, but the ones I can afford aren't ready for prime time. Why not hard wire the obvious spots and not fight with unsightly wires running along molding and such?

Many of these projects are smart, really smart, even when you are not doing other remodeling to your home or room additions.  However, a word to the wise here:  If you are already inside the walls, add way more wire, outlets, and such than you think you'll ever need.  You'll thank me for it over and over.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#5 Life Changing Purchases That Don't Cost that Much

The Best In Class Sells for Under $250.00.  Why Pay Less!!

We encourage you to read the rather surprising stories we've done on our first 4 out of 11 Products that will change your life without breaking your bank:  bath sheetsshower heads, TV chairs
and Tools.  Now we turn our attention to environmental creature comforts.  Why in 2013 would anyone sit in their own home and be too hot or too cold.  Modern thermostats are super smart and seemingly about to get smarter with smartphone app controls. 

There seems to be no second choice when it comes to amazing thermostats.  While there are many with fab stats, one outsells all the rest on Amazon by a mile.  The Nest.

The founders of Nest Labs designed iPods and iPhones for Apple before beginning their own Silicon Valley startup, and they hope their innovations will catch on with the iPod generation. The parallels between Apple products and the Nest thermostat are easy to make. The Nest, which is actually sold in Apple's stores and on its website, has no physical buttons or switches – unless you count the circular thermostat interface itself, which you can twist and press to adjust temperature and navigate menus. This focus on attractive design, intuitive self-programming and simple operation has earned the Nest our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for programmable thermostats.

The Nest's ability to program itself makes it the best programmable thermostat you can install in your home. It quickly learns your preferred temperature and programs itself to your schedule, and it senses motion, light and humidity to constantly fine-tune its settings and create a comfortable living environment, wasting no energy in the process. Nest lets you see how much you are saving and adjust the temperature right from your mobile phone. And while it does only support single-stage cooling, the Nest's advanced learning technology provides convenience and energy savings you won't get from any other thermostat.

Friday, November 15, 2013

#4 Inexpensive Ways to Make Life More Enjoyable, Less Stressful

Whatever Your Responsibilities Are in Your Home, This Advice Will Make A Huge Difference

We build homes and rooms and remodel those rooms.  Generally our clients want to add on or improve a room to make it more useful, modern, and attractive.  Once our job is done, there are inexpensive ways that you can make your life more fun, or comfortable, or reduce strress.

You can read here about the use of bath sheets, and here about shower heads.  We last discussed the TV chair.  If you haven't read those articles yet, we think you'll be surprised at how a better towel, shower head, or TV chair might improve your life.

Next we take on another relatively inexpensive method of making your life better.  Whatever your responsibilities are in the home and/or whatever your hobbies are, invest in a full range of the very best tools for the job.

1.  Make a list of the items that would make the hobby or chore faster, more efficient, or just more fun.  A concentrated research effort is more likely to result in finding new tools or recalling others you need.  With this list you can determine just what it would cost to be fully outfitted.  Then you can choose to buy them all, give out lists for gifts, or set a priority list and budget.

2.  More expensive than the tools themselves in some cases, create a well organized place to store all the tools.  Take into consideration the tools you intend to buy in planning this space.  Similar to planning a kitchen makeover, you want to plan out every possible kitchen tool that you'll ever want, before planning the new cabinet and drawer layout.

3.  In some cases, you may want to build a room around your hobby with built in spaces for the tools.  This is where you call us to come and find the best way accomplish your goals.  For outdoor kitchens, yard and garden tools, and bigger hobbies, you may want to build a shed or outdoor closets. 

Let us know if we can be of any help in planning or building some of these spaces.

Unique Home Construction LLC
11300 N. Central Expy
Dallas, TX 75243

Monday, November 11, 2013

Buffet's Birthday Present to the World: His Top Ten Investment Tips

Warren Buffet's Top Ten Investment Tips Applied to Real Estate

Warren Buffet loves to give tips to his followers and to others who will listen.  Last week CNBC and others posted a top ten list.  I thought it would be fun to apply these tips to real estate instead of businesses or stocks.

1.'It's far better to buy a wonderful home at a fair price than a fair home at a wonderful price.' 
Source: 1989 Letter to shareholders  insert company for home

2.'Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don't forget rule No. 1'
Source: "The Tao of Warren Buffett" (2006)  No change necessary

3.'Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, it's the lack of change that appeals to me. I don't think it is going to be hurt by the Internet. That's the kind of business I like.'   Just add: A 4 bedroom 3 bath home in a good neighborhood is always going to be a good bet.
Source: Businessweek (1999)

4.'I try to buy homes that are so wonderful that an idiot can make money from them. Because sooner or later, one will.'
Source: At a panel discussion after the premier of the documentary "I.O.U.S.A" (2008)  Substituted homes for companies and make money from for run.

5.'The real estate market is a no-called-strike game. You don't have to swing at everything – you can wait for your pitch.
Source: "The Tao of Warren Buffett" (2006)  Substituted real estate market for stock market

6.'Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we're talking about socks or stocks or real estate, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.'
Source: 2008 Letter to shareholders   I just added real estate
7.'Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.'
Source: "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" (1995)  No change necessary

8.'If you understood the real estate market perfectly and the future of the business, you would need very little in the way of a margin of safety.'
Source: 1997 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting  Substituted real estate market for a business

9.'We've long felt that the only value of home price forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good. Even now, Charlie [Munger] and I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison and should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grown-ups who behave in the market like children.'
Source: 1992 letter to shareholders   Simply substituted home price for stock market

10.'We don't get paid for activity, just for being right. As to how long we'll wait, we'll wait indefinitely.'
Source: 1998 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting   No change 

If you'd like to read the original list with commentary, go to

Friday, November 8, 2013

#3 Most Important Way to Improve Your Home Life

The Average American Spends Five Plus Hours PER DAY Watching TV

I'm not here to bust your chops about how long you spend in front of the boob tube.  Rather, in our effort to share wisdom of the ages with you, this fact should effect a major purchase in your home related to all that TV watching.  Next to your bed, and maybe your office chair, you will spend more time in your TV Chair than anywhere else during the course of your life.  Thus, if your TV chair provides you with the most comfort, and maybe some extra perks to boot, it would make sense to be very deliberative in selecting the chair, and a few extra dollars for something attached t
o your body 35 plus hours a week would make sense. 

My personal favorite is cheap, lightweight, and minimalist.  The Poang chair fits my body like a glove and I can sit in for hours without any problem.  You can buy it on ebay or at Ikea for  around $100 or so, and it is available with an ottoman.  

It doesn't have any vibration, refrigerator storage, warmers, motors, tables, cup holders or accessories.  The design makes it springy, but not so much that you turn it into a rocker.  The good news on this one:  Nothing is going to break.  You can wash the fabric.  If you hate it, you're only out $100, and maybe someone else in the family will like it.

Let's head to the other end of the spectrum.  

Ovei (£50,000)

Got £50,000 ($80,000) to spare on a personal entertainment experience? Then you'll need the Ovei. It's a custom made entertainment pod for one offering you an enclosed space to watch, play and relax according to, well, whatever your whim. It's rather hard to argue when you're stumping up with that level of wad.

Designed by Lee McCormack and engineered by McLaren Applied Technologies, those of F1 fame, each capsule is bespoke and hand crafted to client specifications. Users will be able to set it up with any kit they want from a PS3 to Xbox to media server as well as choosing the colour and interior. Oh, and the small screen you can see in the image? That's just the remote. Usually, most people opt for a whacking great TV inside as well. Expect to see them, er, well nowhere, really.

In between, there are 1000's of choices.  Some are designed more for video games than for TV.  Others are so comfy with leather, heat, and vibration that I suspect even Bill O'Reilly yelling at a liberal might not keep me awake.  But I grew up believing  that my Poppy's La-z- Boy was the smartest invention ever (though his automatic garage door was a close second), so what is La-z-Boy doing to help us watch TV today?

So, after checking around, I found this bad boy.  I'm guessing that this could double as a bed and triple as a love seat.  You could maybe get three grand kids and you in this chair.

Just looking at that chair makes me feel good.  And unless the folks at La-Z-Boy have forgotten the craft, this $2200 chair probably has some serious soft and plush leather.  $2200 sounds like a lot, but over the course of one year, that is only a little over a buck an hour.  Your likely to own this thing for 30 years.  Now you're down to 5¢ an hour.  

Here's the critical issue.  After you treat yourself to a bath sheet and the best shower head in the world, find the chair that fits you perfectly for wasting 22% of your life watching sitcoms and football.  (And I'll be sitting in my family room doing the exact same thing).

While your here, please note that if you need a really cool room for this chair and your TV, and you need to remodel or add on to do so, we are as good at building as La-Z-Boy is at leather work.  We'll be more than happy to discuss all your dreams and give you a feeling for what it might cost to get those dreams to come true.  Call and ask for Michael at:

Unique Home Construction LLC
11300 N. Central Expy
Dallas, TX 75243214-533-0716 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Make Life Better with this Inexpensive Home Improvement. #2 Out of 11

Another Item in the Bathroom Makes Our Top 11 Ways to Make Your Life Amazing for Just a Few Dollars.

In our first installment, we talked about the Living Large idea of ending your less-than-satisfying history of using little tiny towels.  Moving up to bath sheets is something you will thank me for every day after your shower or bath. 

Staying with our bathroom theme, I personally feel that the 10 - 20 minutes per day spent under the shower deserves some real thought.  Seriously, we spend something like 60 hours a year taking a shower.  If that 60 hours could be improved dramatically for $100, wouldn't you do it.

I have been a shower head fanatic for decades.  I built my own double headed shower over 30 years ago, then installed two showers in a steam room that I built around 30 years ago.  One in front, one to the side.  Each of those was outfitted with state of the art (at the time) shower heads that would give me anything from a Spring shower to a piercing massage.  And they were, of course, able to be positioned at various heights, pivoted in all kinds of directions, and capable of being hand held.

Here below are a few of my favorite shower heads for 2013.

The shower head at the top of the page is described this way by

The Best Showerheads

Best Massaging

Moen Revolution Massaging Showerhead

Even with repeated use, the Revolution doesn't bore. A spinning disk twirls a pulsating column of water right onto sore muscles with surprising strength; a large dial lets you choose the spinning speed from a wide range of settings. Providing even more variety are small rubberized jet sprays along the edge of the head, which can be activated for a more intense spray.

 To buy: $60 in white with pebble accents, Also available in chrome with green, blue, or pebble accents ($66) or white with green or blue accents ($60).

Best Overall from Consumer Reports and

Both and Consumer Reports picked the Moen Inspire 21777BN.  Here was the report
from Yahoo.

It was kind of difficult to make a choice since there were so many adjustable shower heads to choose from. After spending a considerable amount of time weighing our options and discussing the quality and affordability with a sales associate, we decided on the Moen Inspire. The exact model we chose was the Moen Inspire 21777BN, if you'd like to look it up.

We chose the Moen Inspire because it was very affordable in comparison to some of the other adjustable shower heads with settings. Many of them ranged from $80 - $150. The Moen Inspire we purchased cost us $50. It has seven settings to choose from. The settings are:

  1. Relaxing spray.
  2. Invigorating spray.
  3. Refreshing spray.
  4. Energizing massage.
  5. Targeted massage.
  6. Massaging rinse.
  7. Hydrating spray.

Shower Rails Add Flexibility

If you are really tall and others in the family are really short, or if you like to point the shower head
very precisely at various points on your body for massage or other benefits, you will want to look into a shower rail.  The trade off here is that the shower head may not be as good as the ones described elsewhere on this post.  If that is an issue, you can go for the gusto ... see below.

Going For the Gusto

You may or may not be aware that
you can buy shower systems that heat the water as delivered, have pumps to increase the flow, use thermostats to precisely control the temperature and remember it for next time, and filter the water to provide you with soft water and reduce lime build up.  I can't really tell you if the following shower system is the best of its kind, as there seems to be few reviews.  However, it is the type of system that you might select if you wanted to go all out. 

Product Details
Available in Oil Rubbed Bronze finish. 
Solid brass construction.
Shower system includes wall mount rainfall showerhead, wall mount slide bar with hand shower, handshower water connection, 6 swivel body jets and a thermostatic 2-way in-wall diverter.
Thermostatic technology keeps shower temperature ± 1 degree Celsius.
Wall showerhead measures 7-1/2" diameter and extends 17" from wall.
2-way diverter features 1/2" IPS inlets, and switches water flow between 2 shower outlets.
Diverter includes the valve and metal cross handles.
Two of the three shower functions (showerhead/body jets/handshower) run concurrently off one shower outlet.

Take showering from routine to breathtaking with the Exira Shower System. Made of solid brass, this set comes with a rainfall showerhead, six body jets and a convenient hand shower. It also features thermostatic technology to keep the temperature comfortably consistent.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finding A Cooktop that Works For You

What Are You Looking For In A Cooktop?

You don’t want to go wrong when picking a range for your kitchen. While the refrigerator might be your largest appliance, the range is the workhorse (boiling, baking, broiling, frying, sautéing, grilling), so you need to find one that works for you—and your living situation. Many factors go into choosing the right range or cooking configuration, including the consideration of some new high-tech features that may be worth a splurge.

Which New Kitchen Appliance Is Right For You?

Photo Credit
Remodeling your kitchen involves so much more than choosing new finishes and appliances. More than any other room in the home, it’s an opportunity to tailor a space to truly support your lifestyle. Whether you're striving to create healthy meals for a family on the go, pursuing a passion for gourmet cooking, or hosting holiday celebrations, there is a configuration of appliances that will facilitate your kitchen ambitions.

For the Busy, Health-Conscious Cook

If you feel like you’re constantly racing the clock, and you want healthy meals but don’t always have
the time, then the convection steam oven might be for you! It’s a newly popular choice for busy, health-conscious households across the country. And its advantages over conventional ovens are many. For one, a convection steam oven cooks fish, chicken, and vegetables together without odor transfer, in a third less time than a traditional oven. It also preserves more vitamins, flavors, and texture without overcooking and returns flavor and moisture back to leftovers when re-steamed. For the novice cook, you can adjust cooking time to the type and amount of food being cooked.

For the I-Love-Cooking Cook

Luckily for the savvy home cooks with a strong culinary passion, ranges are now available in many configurations tailored to your preferred style of cooking. With sizes from 30 to 60 inches, a range can literally be sized to kitchens large and small. Customize yours with a preferred mix of burners with a griddle, charbroiler, or a French top, which is the cooktop preferred by professional chefs. On a French cooktop, the position of each pan determines how much heat it will receive. Essentially it is the hottest in the center and then cooler as you move further away—so you could simultaneously warm sauce on low heat and boil shrimp on high. Plus, experienced cooks appreciate the precise control of a gas range that can go from high flame to the lowest flicker of heat with the turn of a knob. A dual fuel range gives you the best of both worlds with dual-stacked, sealed gas burners on the top and the Wolf convection electric oven on the bottom.

KItchen By Unique Home Properties
For the Hostess Cook

You can also choose to separate the range and oven components. An electric, gas or induction cooktop positioned on an island allows you can interact more easily with your family or guests while you're cooking. Single and double built-in ovens are convenient to use, eliminating bending down to remove heavy pans. They also feature ten specialized cooking modes: bake, roast, broil, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, convection, bake stone, dehydrate, and proof.

For the Creative Cook

Configuring a custom cooking space is fun with 15-inch modules for foods requiring specialized preparation. Is fresh fish and vegetables a mainstay of your diet? A steamer helps retain moisture and vitamins. Choose a fryer for crispy Buffalo wings, French fries, crunchy leeks for garnishes, and beignets for dessert. Or grill meats and seafood, regardless of the weather, with an infrared grill. For authentic wok cooking, the burner of the multi-function cooktop sculpts the gas flame into a plume, focusing heat in the center of the wok, then dispersing it outward.

The Bottomline

Many goals and aspirations, from culinary to social, converge in the kitchen. Whether your passion is sauce-making, wok cooking, or turning out fresh breads and pastries, you have the opportunity and the power to configure your space to suit your kitchen agenda. When you select your cooking appliances based on your lifestyle, your kitchen experience is infinitely more satisfying, with the added bonus of even more delicious meals to linger over.

The following inofrmation can be found on 

If you are looking to remodel in the Dallas area Unique Properties will pay attention to every detail from the estimate all the way through the final aesthetic touches. They have the experience help you think of everything you might want out of your kitchen, even when you don't even know what you want. Unique Properties is a full-service home construction company that has served the Dallas metroplex since 1996. Call (214) 533-0716 today for a free detailed estimate, or send us an email at

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Top 11 Cheap Home Improvements that Will Improve Your Life

Sometimes Spending $100 or So Can Dramatically Change Your Life

My first boss was a big man who liked to live "large."  At some point along our few years together, I stayed at his beach home and found something in his bathroom that was so much better, more comfortable and just plain delightful, that I went straight out and bought my own.  Since then I've never used anything else, and have give away several as gifts.  There is a very good chance that you have never used one of these before, and that after one use, you'll leave a comment on this blog post thanking me for such advice.

Thinking about my first experience with a BATH SHEET instead of some crummy little towel, got me thinking that there may be just a very few things around the home that for a small expense in time or treasure might really make life more comfortable, fun, and just plain better.

Over the next few weeks this blog will take a look at the following list, and give you recommendations for products that don't cost much, but do much.
  1. Man Sized Towel
  2. Shower Head
  3. TV Chair
  4. Tools
  5. Temperature Controls
  6. Enough Outlets
  7. Kitchen Sink 
  8. Lighting
  9. Bed covers
  10. Pillows
We would love to have your input on this list.  Is there something I've missed.  You can jump ahead and start your own research on any of these.  Hopefully you'll follow us or subscribe to this blog and check out what we find out.  I promise some more big surprises.

Now what about that Bath Sheet!  If you are 5 foot tall, it might not be as obvious, but I'm just 5/9" and it is significant to me.  From the first minute you just feel the luxury of having all that fluffy cotton (or linen) to warm you and suck up the water.   I have recently learned that you should pay the extra few dollars for a quality product.  I purchased an inexpensive towel and it is big, absorbent, but not comfy.

A quick review of the reviews on Amazon suggests that there is a huge (pun intended) winner among the quality products.  With almost 100% positive reviews, this 40"x80" White, Turkish Spa Bath Sheet, 630 Gram Weight, made in Turkey towel looks like the best choice.

We aren't shilling for this company or for Amazon.  Do your own research, but don't be afraid to spend an extra sawbuck or two to get something quality.  My last bath sheet lasted 20 years.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How To Make Your Kitchen More Functional

You Need A Kitchen With A Well-executed Work Flow

You spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, so having that room look fantastic and provide outstanding functionality is worth every penny you might spend. There are so many things to consider when remodeling a kitchen and experienced contractor can bring important options to light as well as guide you through the decision making process.  We all know we need to be thinking about cupboards, counters and lighting but what about a TV, computer or IPad stand, piped in music, or other electronic items built in. If you are looking to remodel in the Dallas area Unique Properties will pay attention to every detail from the estimate all the way through the final aesthetic touches. They have the experience help you think of everything you might want out of your kitchen, even when you don't even  know what you want. Unique Properties is a full-service home construction company that has served the Dallas metroplex since 1996. Call (214) 533-0716 today for a free detailed estimate, or send us an email at
Read on to get a few kitchen work flow ideas for this article fround on

8 Design Tips to Improve Kitchen Work Flow

by Fran Donegan

Kitchen By Unique Home Builders
We ask so much of our kitchens. They're expected to function as entertainment centers, family gathering places and hangout central—so it's easy to forget that first and foremost the kitchen is a place to prepare food. Whether you're a true gourmet or a master of the microwave, you need a kitchen with a well-executed work flow. Your kitchen needs to be easy to maneuver and well-organized, so here are eight tips for making your cook space more convenient.

Get Real

Think work flow first. "Flow and layout—the bones—come first," says Rhonda Knoche of Rhonda Knoche Design in Portland, Ore. "Many people want to focus on the products as opposed to the floor plan and layout. For me, I would spend money on a spatial change rather than a high-end product. It's all about the movement rather than a shiny object." Be honest with yourself: How often do you cook? What do you cook? Do you cook alone or with someone? The answers will help you create the right workflow for you.

Divert Foot Traffic

Traffic should bypass the cooking area as people travel from room to room. For a major remodel or a new kitchen, you might need to move doors. Islands and peninsulas will deflect traffic in open floor plans, such as kitchens that open up to family rooms. "Every house and every family is different, but an island can help define a work area," says Susan Serra of Susan Serra Associates in Huntington, N.Y. "An island is a popular way to segregate the social areas and work flow."

Design Work Zones

"Among professionals, the work triangle is dead—dead, dead, dead," Knoche says. "It first came out in the '50s, before microwaves, breakfast bars, coffee stations and the like. It was a good starting point, but now the talk is more about zones." Think zones for food preparation, cooking and cleanup, all placed where they make sense for you. To save steps, store needed items within each zone. Two cooks might require two food prep areas and possibly a second sink.

Think Sink First

Most people think range location first. But, "no matter what kind of cook you are, you probably spend twice the amount of time at the sink as you do at the cook top," Knoche says. "So maybe you want to place the sink where it affords the view you want." If that is not possible, consider a second prep sink. "The main sink can be for cleaning, and the prep sink can be placed on an island where you can enjoy a view into a family room," Serra says.

Stash the Trash

Is your trash can under the sink? Move it. True, the sink is the heart of the cleanup zone, but someone working at the sink will be interrupted every time someone else needs to put something in the trash. Talk about inefficient! Pullout bins located nearby are a better option. They hold more, and with multiple bins, the area will pull double-duty as a recycling center. Another idea: Place bins at the end of the cabinet run to store large bags of pet food.

Install Microwave Drawers

A microwave drawer, where the appliance is recessed into a base cabinet, not only places the microwave at a convenient height for everyone's use but also reduces counter clutter. Plus, the drawer eliminates the need for a micro-vent combination where the microwave is mounted over a range. "Micro-vent combinations are unsafe," Knoche says. "Ergonomically, they are tough to read, to use and to reach. The microwave person gets in the way of the cook top person. Microwave drawers are much better for safety, ergonomics and flow."

Create Snack Centers

Place the refrigerator at the end of a cabinet run or near a door to keep snackers and browsers out from underfoot. If that's not possible, consider installing a beverage refrigerator in a base cabinet or in a butler's pantry. If you have an open plan, where an island defines the kitchen edge, install the units on the family room side if possible. "Refrigerator drawers are another option," Serra says. "They can be used to hold fruits and snacks and placed out of the way."

Multitask Appliances

Today's kitchens contain more appliances than ever, but there is a movement to downsize some appliances or choose appliances that can multitask, such as steam/convection ovens and microwave/convection ovens, in order to improve work flow. "I ask my clients: 'Do you really need a double oven for the couple of holidays that you actually use both ovens?'" Knoche says. "If you have a full oven combined with a micro/convection switch hitter, you have an oven-and-a-half for those few times you need it."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Is The Best Kitchen Faucet For You?

What Faucet Options Do I Have When Remodeling My Kitchen?

Remodeling you kitchen can be over whelming, from the cost to the selection of counters, flooring,
appliances, cabinets and plumbing  When you decide to take this big step, you want to have a general contractor coming along side you helping you with every detail of your remodel. One important area you will want to be coached on is the selection of  plumbing fixtures. Your fixtures provide accents, but not all brands or styles will function the same.

Photo Credit
Unique Home Builders is with you every step of the way. We don't overlook anything. By thinking about every detail in advance, we help to insure that your new kitchen remodel will be the talk of Dallas. Contact Unique Home Construction LLC 11300 US 75 Dallas, TX 75243 214-533-0716

Kohler is a top faucet brand and the information below from their website is helpful in learning what you really want our of your plumbing fixtures.   As you design your kitchen, there are several functionality and style options you’ll want to consider to ensure you choose the right faucet for the way you work. We’ve outlined the basic information below.

Faucet Families

Several of our kitchen faucets are available in smaller sizes to accommodate a prep sink in an island application or a bar sink for an entertainment room setting.


Pull-Down Spray

If you prefer a clean sink deck without a sidespray or additional accessories, a pull-down faucet may be the right solution. Pull-down faucets typically feature a generous spout height as well as multiple spray options – stream, spray and pause – for ease of use.


Pullout Spray

Offering the same functionality as pull-down faucets, pullout faucets generally have a larger section of the faucet that pulls away. If you like a larger grip area, a pullout faucet may be more comfortable for you to use.



If you like little to no clutter on your counters, a wall-mount faucet can help you achieve that clutter-free look. Several of our deck-mount faucets, in traditional and contemporary styles, are available as wall-mount faucets.


The volume and temperature are controlled by one lever, located either on the faucet or next to it, on single-handle faucets. If you prefer the simplicity of one control, check out our single-handle models, available in both traditional and contemporary styles.



Many people prefer the familiarity and separate temperature controls of two-handle faucets. We offer a wide range of two-handle faucets with a variety of handle types, including lever, cross or wristblade, that are easy to operate.



Dispensing clean, filtered drinking water, beverage faucets bring a new level of convenience to the kitchen. We offer both cold-water systems and hot-water systems for instant tea or cocoa. A filtration system is required.


Pot Filler

Wonderfully convenient for the home cook, wall- or deck-mount pot fillers are installed next to or above a stovetop, giving you quick access to water without having to transfer pots back and forth to the sink.



We offer accessories in styles and finishes that complement our faucets and add to the functionality of your sink area. Soap/lotion dispensers, sidesprays, drains and strainers, as well as air gap and faucet hole covers are all available.


Other Considerations


A fresh interpretation of a classic faucet design, bridge faucets can be mounted on a sink deck or wall. Bridge faucets feature a two-handle design with a generous swing spout and are available in traditional or contemporary styles.



This small spray nozzle is completely separate from the faucet, connected to a pullout hose for full flexibility and functionality when spraying dishes or cleaning the inside of the sink. Great with bridge or traditional swing-spout faucets.


An escutcheon is a simple ornamental plate that allows you to install a single-handle faucet on a three-hole sink. Most of our single-handle faucets have an escutcheon model available, which is perfect if you’d like to change from a two-handle faucet but still love the look of your sink.

For more information about faucit selection courtsey of Kholer click here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It Costs About $280 per Square Foot to Remodle a Bathroom in Dallas.

What Is My Return Investment on a Remodeled Bathroom?

Bathroom By Unique Properties
What is the most used room in your home?  The Bathroom.  Every guest sees it and every family member uses it.  Remodeling your bathroom will increase the value of your home to buyers but most importantly to you.  But how much will it cost.  Reading this blog will give you an idea of the costs. However, when it comes right down to it you need to talk to a contractor to really know the costs.

Are you  looking for a general contractor in the Dallas Metro area to help with a bathroom remodel?
Unique Properties will sit down with you from the beginning of the project, and take you through the process step-by-step. Large or small, new from the ground up or simple remodel, we can help you with the entire project. And it will be done on time and within budget. Because we have years of experience, we have compiled check lists of approaches and ideas for your bathroom remodel. Unique Properties serves clients throughout the Dallas area. Call (214) 533-0716 today for a free detailed estimate, or send us an email at

The following article was found on  Click here for more information.


How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?

Bathroom remodeling can be extremely simple or quite complex, but for this discussion we will consider the costs and requirements for a bathroom remodel of a previously 40 square foot bathroom into a 120 square foot bathroom. Few such bathroom remodeling projects will be considered a "DIY" project, and several contractors might be necessary for the job (plumbing, installation, electrical, etc.).For the bathroom update, the typical costs include:

  • According to Hanley Wood and their "Remodeling" magazine the average bathroom update in which the room is expanded (estimated cost based on assumption that footprint of the structure remains intact and interior space is consumed for the remodel), windows are added, fixtures are upgraded and relocated, and new cabinetry is added will cost $29,950. The resale value of this update would hold at $27,913. According to Calfinder, 80 to 90 percent of bathroom remodeling costs are recouped upon resale.
  • The above figures place the bathroom update at $250 per square foot. This pricing structure assumes that carpenters charge an average of $70 per hour, electricians between $65 to $85 per hour, painters between $20 and $35 per hour and plumbers between $45 and $65 per hour.

Cost breakout

  • Add another window, bringing total glazing area to 30 square feet - Average price of $300-$700 per window, plus installation time of two to five hours per window;
  • Relocate and replace standard tub with dual shower stall, with full-body-wash shower wall, tile, glass block divider, glass door, and glass panel - Average shower stall of this type will cost $1300. Most jobs are completed in sixteen to twenty-four hours for a $4800-$5400 total including the costs for carpentry, plumbing and masonry work;
  • Relocate and replace standard toilet - Average cost is $270 plus two hours of installation;
  • Add granite stone tops in custom cherry cabinet with twin designer undermount sinks - Average cost is $2550 plus eight hours of installation;
  • Polished nickel faucets - Average cost is $400 each plus four hours of installation;
  • Install ceramic tile floor - Average of 884 tiles to be installed for the 120 square feet. Standard prices for installation are between $11 to $22 per square foot for a total of roughly $1320;
  • A light/fan combination - Averages at $180 and one hour of installation;
  • A recessed medicine cabinet - Averages at $90 and three hours of installation;
  • Insulate and finish ceilings and walls - Fiberglass wall insulation with R-30 value will cost $2.25 per square foot and cost $684. Finish ceilings and walls - Drywall throughout would require 15 panels of 4'x8' for walls and ceiling at $9.80 each (plus screws, nails and finishing compound) for an approximate total of $147 plus approximately 12 hours of installation (this does not include removal and disposal or original paneling and scraping ceiling paint);
  • Provide electrical wiring and lighting to code - This is going to depend upon the amount of work required, but electricians average from $65 to $85 per hour. This project might be priced on a per item basis, or the electrician might simply base it on the square footage;
  • Provide plumbing to code - The average plumber is going to base their pricing on each individual element of the project. For example, the bathroom is going to require plumbing of the new drains, faucets and sink plumbing, at an average cost of $45 to $65 per hour, plus materials;
  • Provide carpentry to code - This is going to depend upon the amount of work required, but carpenters average $70 per hour. This project might be priced on a per item basis, or the carpenter might simply base it on the square footage.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Chair and crown molding, and hardwood trim;
  • Step-in linen/towel storage closet;
  • Canister lighting in ceiling; and
  • Painting of trim and walls.

Additional considerations and costs

If you are going to work with a contractor it is completely acceptable to ask for at least three different bids from three different groups. This is going to give a very accurate idea of the total costs and the level of control you will have over project.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

11 Tips on How To Make Your Kitchen Remodel Perfect

Kitchen By Unique Properties

A Good Contractor Is One Key In A Good Kitchen Remodel

You might only remodel a kitchen once in your life. A really well designed kitchen might last 25 years or longer without needed a major facelift. When you decide to take this big step, you want to have a general contractor coming along side you who has an impeccable reputation for integrity, quality, and completing jobs on time and within budget.

You also want someone who will listen to your dreams and goals for the project without preconceived notions or preferences for certain approaches that might differ from your inclinations.

With Unique Properties there will be no guessing if you got it right, and no second guessing after you've made the decision. We are happy to provide you with as many local Dallas testimonials as you could possibly want that will attest to our reputation for integrity, quality, and delivery. Many of our clients have stayed in touch long after the work is done. And many have given us the greatest compliment of all. They've recommended us to their friends and family.

We will work with you from design to completion, handle all the local government issues, and make sure you are pleased with every part of the finished project. Call us now for a free consultation about your project. 214-533-0716
The following information about homeoners tips for a kitchen remodel was found on  Click here for more cultivate articles about kitchen remodeling.

Kitchen Remodel Tips from Homeowners Who Learned the Hard Way

Kitchen By Unique Properties
When it comes to kitchen remodels, hard lessons are often expensive lessons—and who's got the time or budget for that? The wisest thing you can do when embarking on a kitchen remodel is seek advice from those who completed one already—friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Ask them what mistakes they made and what they wish they did differently. If their shared advice can help you avoid even just one mistake, well, then that's more money that stays in your wallet. To get you started, we talked to Cultivate readers who recently came out of the trenches.


Add Accent Lighting

“We asked for more recessed lighting than the builder proposed because we wanted lots of light, but I wish we went with pendant lights over work areas instead. Not only would they have provided more directed light for food prep, but they would have helped make the overall space feel cozier.”
—Sara Kimball, San Antonio, TX

Don't Skimp on Drawers

“Be sure to use full-extension glides on all your drawers (you’ll want the back of the drawer to pull out beyond the lip of the counter) and insist on the most heavy duty glides possible. The better hardware seems like an investment upfront, but it pays out over the long run. Glides are used daily, and the higher quality makes all the difference in function and durability.”
—Anne-Marie Lamarche, Capitola, CA

Measure Twice, Cut One

“Opt for the best finishes you can afford, and make sure to ‘measure twice, cut once.’ Our cabinets had to be cut down after they were installed to accommodate the refrigerator, which wasn’t happy for anyone involved.”
—Rebecca Watkins, Villa Park, IL

Focus on Details

“I learned that space-saving details, like shelving in unused corners and shallow pantry storage in an adjacent hallway is one of the best things you can do for small kitchens. A combination microwave/oven, an electric cooktop that doubles as a workspace when not in use, and aluminum slatted shelving over the sink to drain dishes makes the most of a small space."
—Shereen Taylor, New York City, NY

Go Picture Shopping

“Look at lots of pictures of kitchens before you begin to find out what you like and don’t like. Then, stay completely away from what you don't like.”
—Chris Okazaki, Greenwood Village, CO

Contractor is Key

“Choosing the right contractor is key to a successful kitchen remodel. I've heard the nightmares. Luickly, our contractor was on the job daily supervising the work. He provided great resources for materials, kept the work on schedule, and patiently dealt with problems as they arose—which they always do. He was available and responsive at all times. If we hadn’t hired the right contractor our remodel would have been a nightmare.”
—Suzanne Evans, Salt Lake City, UT

Fridge First

“Choose a fridge first. It’s the kitchen’s bulkiest item, so once you’ve determined its size and, more importantly, where it will go, the rest of the design flows from there.”
—Christophe Rat, Orinda, CA

Try a Test Run

“Before we started our remodel, my wife and I went to friends’ houses and cooked meals on their ranges to truly understand which appliance we wanted. I even carried my hard-to-fit stemware and large plates to the showroom to do some trial dishwasher loading before finally settling on the one to purchase.”
—Garth Jensen, Denver. CO

Bright Space = Light Surfaces

“There are ways to make a dark kitchen light—without breaking the bank. Choose white painted cabinets and use reflective surfaces, like stainless steel and Vetrazzo, for countertops. Multiple sources of light (including undercounter lighting, recessed lighting and pendants) can turn a dark space into a warm, inviting room.”
—M.J. Pritchett, Piedmont, CA

Check Emotions at the Door

“Don’t let sentimentality compromise your design. I’d always liked the tile backsplash in my kitchen so I kept it when we remodeled, but now it makes the entire project look dated.”
—Jackie Pritchett, Boise, ID

Splurge on Custom Cabinets

“Be sure to include special drawers/cabinets. I have one drawer with two layers for silverware that I love—but I wish I included more!”
—Michelle Loosli, Arlington, VA


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Kitchen Island Can Add Function And Style

Kitchen Islands Are Requested By Home Buyers

A kitchen island is an everything space and natural focal point in the center of your kitchen.  It can be used for storage, eating, food prep, seating, counter space and more.  No matter the size of your kitchen, an island can add function and style, not to mention increrase the value to your home. Unique Home Design can build just what you need for your kitchen. Whether it is just the island or remodeling your entire kitchen. Contact Unique Home Construction LLC 11300 US 75 Dallas, TX 75243 214-533-0716

The following ideas for your kitchen island were found on  Click here to read the full article and for more kitchen ideas.

6 Ideas for Customizing your Kitchen Island

by Rejuvenation, Manufacturer
Kitchen by Unique Home Builders

These days, it seems that no kitchen remodel is complete without an island. Not only are they a must for defining work zones within an open-plan kitchen, but they're also blank canvases for adding personal style and custom details that can help you live, work and cook better. The result? An all-around happier kitchen. So whether you’re fixing up an existing island or planning a new one, consider trying one of these ideas for transforming an island into your personal paradise.

Turn Up the Contrast

Given its centrality in the room, an island makes a natural focal point. Many designers amp up the attention-grabbing factor by choosing a palette for the island separate from the rest of the cabinetry. When the surrounding cabinets are dark, an island painted or stained a light color practically glows. Likewise, a dark island punctuates a pale scheme, drawing the eye and grounding an ethereal space. If you’re a fan of bold hues, give your island a coat of paint in a happy color for visual punch.

Make the Hard(ware) Choices

Drawer pulls and cabinet knobs offer countless ways to bring personality and functionality to your kitchen. With an island, you have the opportunity to use hardware even more creatively. Consider hanging a towel rack or two, pictured here. They’re not just for bathrooms anymore! Add a row of hooks to hold oven mitts, pizza peels and whisks. If your island includes a mini fridge, mount a bottle opener next to it so kids and guests can help themselves to drinks.

Occupy a Niche

Many island designs include open shelves or glass-fronted cabinets. Ideal for storing your culinary library, for sure, but if your kitchen items are less display-worthy, turn to bins and baskets. You can toss just about anything into them—from potatoes to pot lids—while keeping the overall aesthetic clean. They also layer softness into a room that’s predominately composed of hard surfaces.

Top It Off

Another way to give an island extra panache is by topping it with material distinct from the counter tops. Butcher block is a natural choice for an island, turning the entire surface into a prep station; it also complements nearly any décor or color scheme. For those who want high style on a short budget, go with a luxury material on the island—such as a large slab of marble or granite—and use a more affordable option on the rest of the counters.

Look Into the Light

Whether you use your island primarily for cooking or dining, you’ll need proper illumination. Many designers select pendants, because they bring the light closer to the work surface and look good in multiples (helpful if an island is extra long). If you want to dial up the drama, try installing an eye-catching chandelier or expansive multi-arm fixture over your island. Be sure to put your island lights on a dimmer switch: you can raise the lights for meal prep and lower them for mealtime.

Make It Yours

Your home is, above all, yours; it should embody your tastes, interests and aesthetics. In that regard, an island is no different than any other major design element in your space—so go for the gusto! Incorporate a wine rack and fridge if you’re an oenophile; forgo a cabinet in favor of a built-in food and water station for your favorite pup. Or create a pretty mosaic from broken crockery and china. If it makes you happy, it should make it onto your island.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

9 Fantastic Reasons to Remodel Your Kitchen


Remodel by Unique Home Builders
If You Can Dream Your Kitchen Remodel, We Can Build it

A kitchen remodel is the number one way to doll up your house. You spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, so having that room look fantastic and provide outstanding functionality is worth every penny you might spend. As a bonus, a kitchen remodel in Dallas will provide and excellent return on your investment should you ever need to sell.

When Unique Home Builders sits down with you for our first meeting, we go over every aspect of the changes you might want to make.  From appliances, cabinets and countertops to flooring, lighting and plumbing, Unique Home Builders is with you every step of the way. We don't overlook anything. By thinking about every detail in advance, we help to insure that your new kitchen remodel will be the talk of Dallas. Contact Unique Home Construction LLC 11300 US 75 Dallas, TX 75243 214-533-0716


9 Reasons to Remodel Your Kitchen This Year

by Sarah Latta | Jan 08, 2013

This article was found on
Investing in an upgrade for where you live will not only result in an increased resale value, but the final product will leave you feeling happier and more fulfilled for the long-term. If you make one upgrade on your house this year, let it be your kitchen. After all, it’s the most important—not to mention most popular—room in the home, and it offers the biggest bang for your remodel buck.

Need more incentive? Here are 9 reasons we think you should consider remodeling your kitchen this year.
Recent Design Trends – Since the “Kitchen Triangle” theory of the 1940s, a lot has changed in the world of kitchen design. New kitchen design ideas that better serve homeowners are popping up like apps in an iTunes store. Innovations include undercounter refrigerators so children can serve themselves, specialty accommodations for aging-in-place seniors, and enhanced communal areas (example: barstools that disappear into a kitchen island). If your kitchen feels like rush hour around meal times, then chances are it’s time you consider a few of these tricks.
It’s Worth Your Money – According to the National Association of Realtors, a kitchen remodel has
the biggest return on investment when it comes to selling your home—even more than a two-story addition!
Remodel by Unique Home Builders
You’re Not Moving – With the housing market still being more favorable to buyers, it’s safe to say that, if you have the choice, you aren’t selling your house for a few more years. Even if you plan to move, why not fix up your kitchen now so that you can enjoy it for a few more years? If you do end up selling it later, you’ll score a better sale.
A Lower Energy Bill—It comes with an upfront cost, but Earth-friendly products and appliances are the way of the future. Adding skylights, for example, brings in ample sunshine, reducing the need for artificial light. Energy-efficient appliances and solar water heaters cut down the utility bill and place less stress on the environment. A new refrigerator with an Energy Star label, for example, uses 40 percent less energy than conventional models sold in 2001.

A Plan for Your Future – In September of 2010, the government published the updated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design standards—and it was the first time they have been updated in almost 20 years. Compliance with these rules were then made required just last March. Although the new codes are fairly rigorous, if you plan to stay in your home as you age, you'd be wise to incorporate some of the codes into your kitchen design.
You Have Options – Committing to a kitchen remodel doesn’t mean you have to go the whole nine yards. If a full kitchen remodel isn’t in your budget, try a partial or a simple update. With conservative consumer spending still on path for 2013, design professionals will be more inclined to work with your financial situation.
Current Appliance Advancements – Appliance manufacturers are spending lots of money to discover technologies that make cooking easier and healthier. Miele and Sub-Zero &Wolf, for example, sell a steam oven that, in addition to veggies and fish, prepares entire meals like meats, poultry, cakes and breads—all simultaneously. The increasingly popular induction cooktop speeds up cooking and makes it safer for kids and pets too.
Financial Incentives You’re likely to see financial incentives pop up again this year, including sales at home improvement centers, cash rebates for trading in outdated appliances, remodeling grants and low- or no-interest loans.
It's Fun! Yes, you're spending money (which isn't fun), but it's also a chance for you to express your unique personality and tastes. Kitchen design is more innovative, creative, and robust than ever, and you'll truly enjoy sifting through trends and materials to find the combo that speaks to you most. The result? A room that is inherently "you," with the added benefits of better function and form