How to Determine When to Start Your Remodeling Project

Remodeling your home is a big undertaking. Many people plan home remodels at the wrong times. Most think spring and summer are the best times to do a remodel because the temperature is warm and can be beneficial for the work crew especially if they should work outside.

When you take in to account all the facets of a remodel, the best time is not necessarily when, but what. It’s best to remodel when your budget and hassles will be at a minimum. At Black Oak Renovations, we help you determine the best time of year to start your remodeling projects. We help you determine what to start working on first, especially if you have multiple projects. Next, we will help you determine cost of materials and labor so that you can budget each project efficiently. Finally, we will help you determine the best time to start.

Here are some things to consider when remodeling your home:

– Planning Ahead: To save time and money it’s best to plan ahead with an Interior Design Specialist or Architect. By having the construction and finished work spelled out in detail will help with the frustration of delays and possible changes that may not be what you envisioned. Plus, you will save on labor costs if detail work is known in advance. This will also help alleviate your urge to ask the contractor to do something outside the project which could end up costing you a lot more in time and money.

– Spend Wisely on Materials: By planning your project in advance, you can slowly begin to collect materials at their best rate to ensure the maximum amount of money saved. You can store the materials until you have decided your remodeling start date.

– Contractors Schedules: When hiring a contractor for your next household project, try to make sure they have enough availability to dedicate themselves towards your renovations. If you want to get your project in motion, you should hire your contractor during a “slightly off-season” to receive excellent service and reduced costs.

Many contractors are in demand during August through November, so you might want to consider a home remodel during the holiday season. Contractors are often not busy between Thanksgiving and Christmas and are looking for work. If you feel that you can put up with the stress of home remodeling during the holiday season, it may be well worth it to your pocketbook.

Regardless of when you decide to remodel your home, Black Oak Renovations is happy to help. We are experts at home remodeling, especially the latest in kitchen and bathrooms. We’d be honored to help you get your remodeling project underway. Please call us at 865-805-7544 today for more information.

Winter Weather Items to Have on Hand

Are you ready for snow?  Most of us in the South are not.  We don’t always trust the weather forecasts. Most of the time, they are unpredictable and not accurate.  But, have you rushed to the store at the last minute to get items to stock up on?  I admit it! I have. So, here is a list of some items to prepare a Winter Survival Kit for your home.

  • Bottles of water
  • Flashlights (always keep fresh batteries around)
  • Dry wood for fireplace
  • Fire Extinguisher – If you keep a wood burning fire for the entire time, it’s best to keep one close by.
  • NOAA radio – get up to date information on weather and roads
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags
  • First-Aid kit
  • Food items – Items that don’t require cooking (canned food, bread crackers, dried fruits, snacks, etc.)
  • Baby items – formula, food, diapers/wipes
  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
  • Supply of sand or cat litter for walkways
  • Reading material
  • Paper products – toilet paper, tissue, toweling, etc.
  • Use sand, not a chemical ice-melting product on your home driveway or walkways. Although it works, it can corrode your payments

Other items to consider:

  1. Allow your faucets to drip to avoid freezing
  2. Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes
  3. Use flashlights instead of candles to prevent risk of fire
  4. NEVER use your oven to heat your home
  5. Use of any portable generators must be at least 20 feet away from the house to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

For more tips on home safety, you can go to:

How to Increase Storage in Your Bathroom

When designing a remodel for a bathroom I mostly discuss the layout and style. Believe it or not, I end up bringing up the need for additional storage. We all know that we accumulate more items to store that go in the bathroom than any other room in the house, especially if married with children. We have our toiletries, our linens, our household cleaning products, and for a period of time, we may even have the kid’s stuff in there too.

Here are some things you can do to help create more functional storage.


When you do a remodel of your bathroom, your vanity is the best place to start in thinking about storage. If you currently have a limited number of drawers, upgrade to a larger/taller vanity that can accommodate more storage. Taller vanities are more trendy now than before, so it’s a great upgrade.

Above the Counter Storage

Along with the new vanity, you can increase your storage options by adding an above counter tower. Towers are also very trendy, but add a great deal of function and storage for your bathroom.


Sometimes available wall space is hard to find in a bathroom, so you may have to get a little creative. Floating shelves work the best. But don’t forget that during a remodel we can build in a unique shelving space in a corner or small area of the room to help you with your storage and style needs.

Storage Cabinets

If your bathroom has enough floor space, you can add a nice furniture piece that will act as a storage unit. You can also purchase a prefabricated system that you can put together yourself.  There are many systems out there for you to choose from. If you have an attached master closet you might want to add a new closet system that can take some of the overflow from the bath area. This would be great for your towels and linens.


shelves 2 storage cab 1

Don’t Freak Out, But The Holidays Are Just Around the Corner.

We all know it’s coming! Fall is just around the corner bringing a ton of family and friend events and activities. School is back in session, Football season is just a few weeks away, and then the Holidays. So what can you do right now around your home to help alleviate some the of stress you are bound to encounter?

Here are a few tips to help you get an early start.

Outdoor Area

  • Make it light and bright!Clean light fixture globes and replace burned out bulbs with LED bulbs. Take it up a notch by replacing the fixture with a classy new model.
  • Do a bug inspection.Sweep away cobwebs, mud dauber nests and wasp nests from the corners of the porch or deck areas. (Make sure they’re asleep)
  • Welcome!Replace worn out, faded door mats with better quality ones.
  • Add a fresh coat. Paint, varnish or stain the front or outside doors and replace the hardware/doorknobs. Don’t forget the window shutters!
  • Clean the walkways. You may need to clean your walks with a power washer. You can rent one if needed.
  • Window washing. Windows can get pretty messy from the summer, so give them a shine. Don’t forget the screens.
  • Flower beds. If you haven’t mulched yet, this is a good time to do it. If you have, rake through it to give it new life.

 Indoor Area

  • Area rugs or carpet.Clean or replace worn out faded entry rugs or mats. Don’t forget your carpet. With the kids home for the summer you may have acquired some extra dirt, so get a deep cleaning. It will add life to your wall-to-wall carpeting. Get a company who and touch up your upholstery as well.
  • Take a look at your home fixtures.Your bathrooms and kitchens may need some extra cleaning. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to replace your fixtures. It might be time to look at doing that Bath or Kitchen upgrade you’ve been wanting to do. Waiting until the holidays are here, may be too late.
  • Dust, dust, dust. Dusting is a chore we all hate to do, but getting ready for the holidays will go easier if you dust your ceiling fans, air vents and those bookcases you’ve been putting off.

The list can go on and on, but doing these chores now will help you through the holidays. Enjoy!

outdoor cleaning ceiling fan

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Area in the Evening by Adding Lighting to Your Space

With just a few more months of summer left, it’s a great time to start looking forward to the fall when the nights get shorter.  By adding outdoor lighting to your deck or patio you can take summer into fall. Adding lights will create a pleasant ambiance for you to share with your friends and family.  They will also provide you with safer walking areas around your property.

When planning what lights to use there are many options to choose from, but first consider the type of light with fit your area and how you need them the function.  Plus, don’t forget your neighbors… you don’t want them complaining about keeping them up at night. Here are some options:

String or Rope Lightslights 1

String or rope lights offer versatility and style — they go up in any location, there’s no need to conceal wiring (it’s included), and they come in tons of colors, styles, and sizes. You can choose standard lights that plug directly into an outlet, or low-voltage lights that use 12-volt current. There are also solar powered lights available.



Light Fixtures on Posts

Fixtures on posts offer ambient lighting and signal the railing location. Low-voltage LED light fixtures run on 12-volt current that’s much safer than regular 120-volt household current, making installation DIY-friendly. These can be expensive and do require extra labor if you need to add wire to the decking.  If you are going to remodel or add a new deck, then add the lighting at that time. If this is the case, there are many solar power options for fixtures as well. They are fairly easy to install.


lights 4 lights 3


You can get as creative as you want in adding lighting. Here are some great ideas you might want to check out.

Can Improving or Adding an Outdoor Living Area Increase the Value of Your Home?

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…that’s a dream all have. We all dream about having the perfect deck to sit outside, relax, and hear the birds sing on. We want it to be that outside living / dining room paradise that we can enjoy with our friends and family. But do you need to do to build your outdoor paradise?

detached deck 1 deck-2

When considering adding a new deck, or patio area there are many factors to consider:

Why do you want a deck or patio area?  Is it for you and the family? Do you love to entertain the neighbors and friends? Do you love being outside? Do you love working in the yard?

There are many reasons, but deciding the “WHY” will help you decide before you get too far into a project.

Another important reason to add or renovate patios and decks is to consider the cost return for your investment. Decks and patios are a great cost-effective way to increase your home’s living space without actually adding on. Plus, you could recover 30% to 60% of your investment.  For example, a $2,000 patio would return around $900 at resale. (Data provided from If you are adding or renovating, first decide if you are staying in your home or just making an upgrade before you put it on the market.

Looking to add an outdoor kitchen, gazebo, or pool? Don’t go crazy with high-end amenities, especially if you’d be the only one in your neighborhood with one. Think about resale. You will not get an equal return on your investment, nor will it yield as high a return as you think it should be.

Some wise advice when planning a deck or patio:

  • Check property for slope, sun, and shade patterns.
  • Remember ‘dig alerts’ that utilities provide free of charge.
  • Don’t skimp on lighting. It can make all the difference in functionality and beautification.

Make Your Bathroom Stylish With a New Faucet.

It can be a tough choice when you are designing or remodeling a new bathroom. Most of the time functionality wins out over style, but choosing a new faucet can really reflect your style without breaking your bank.  According to some interior designers, not everything has to match, which makes it great if a husband and wife have different tastes. A bathroom is the best place to mix and match your styles without losing the function of the room.

In today’s design world, you can mix a classic look with vintage or modern.  You can mix the finishes to create contrast and add a bit of color. Brushed, satin, chrome, stainless or oil rubbed finishes provide you with many choices to go with your overall design taste.

At Black Oak Renovations we will walk you through a simple, but effective design process to make sure you not only get the style you want but the functionality you need with all of your renovation projectsContact us today and let’s get you the bathroom you’ve been waiting for.

Read more:

 bathroom 1 contemporary-bathroom

Choosing Hardware for Your Kitchen or Bathroom Renovation

There are so many options to choose from when you are renovating a kitchen or bathroom.  The hardware you choose can be either a statement piece with functionality or just a functional piece.  It’s all up to the preferences of the homeowner and the style that they want.

You can get lost in the finish and color choices of all hardware.  Do you want to be trendy, or traditional?  Will my budget afford it? Is it easy to use? Do I want all the bells and whistles?  Just like with most things, you can do top-of-the-line and break your budget, or you can get a quality piece that makes sense.

A new trend is the resurgence of brass, or gold, fixture.  Particularly popular is the Champagne bronze. Where silver and nickel finishes are very popular and go with everything, a splash of color with champagne bronze can give you a touch of color, without being too “brassy”.

The 2016 HGTV Dream Home sported the new finish in the kitchen.  Check out the site and see if it something you want to freshen up the look of your kitchen or bath.

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Brighten up Your Kitchen Renovation with LED Lighting

With all of the new electronics out there and our need for convenience of use, we often overlook electronic upgrades as part of a kitchen remodel.  As we know, without electricity, none of our gadgets work.  But with a remodel you get the opportunity to increase the functionality of your kitchen by adding more lights, or adding a few more outlets for more convenience when cooking at home or entertaining.  Some of the new lighting upgrades for this year include under-cabinet lighting and recessed lighting.

LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passes through semiconductor material, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. The heat produced is absorbed into a heat sink. LED is more efficient, uses less electricity and emits far less heat. LED’s are also cool to the touch which is great in the kitchen. LED lighting is rate the best kitchen lighting option for under your cabinets.  They may cost more, but their longevity outlasts anything else you can purchase.

A great article to review for Under Cabinet Lighting is Best LED Under Cabinet Lighting 2015.

Time for a Kitchen Renovation – Step 2

At Black Oak Renovations we know that making the decision to begin a renovation is not an easy one.  To help you through the process we follow four easy steps to make your experience as pleasant as possible.

  • Step 1:  Create the plan
  • Step 2:  Finalize the plan and get started
  • Step 3:  Building your dream
  • Step 4:  Complete your project

The most vital step is number two.  Once all plans and budgetary needs are finalized and agreed upon, we develop a timeline that is doable for all parties.  This process provides a chance to iron out any last minute details, or changes to the plans or finishes.  We like to get these decisions and details worked out in advance of construction so that you can sit back and enjoy the transformation of your home. Every project will always have a hiccup, or two.  Knowing that can save time, money and heartburn. To find out more about our process, please visit our website at