Sunday, July 23, 2017  

Turney & Turney: Remodeling Top to Bottom


So you’ve decided to remodel! What could be more exciting? You’ve spent months thumbing through magazines and assembling pages of ideas. You’ve wandered through big box improvement stores, browsed Houzz, and watched HGTV marathons until your eyes crossed. You’ve even drooled over your friends’ latest renovation. Now you’re ready to begin, but where to start?

For most homeowners the hardest part isn’t the pending upheaval, the second guessing of selections, the last minute changes, or possible temporary relocation. It’s finding a competent and reliable building contractor who will lift the burden off your shoulders and onto theirs.

Knocking down walls, installing kitchen cabinets, or replacing a roof are nothing compared to selecting a quality contractor whose design esthetic is a good fit with your own. Try reining back your impatience to get started immediately, keeping in mind the best folks are also the busiest, with a calendar already full of projects.

As home prices continue to stagnate or decline in the region, owners desiring more room or updated spaces are caught in a conundrum—sell at a loss and move on, or remodel. For many, selling is not an option. No one understands this dilemma more than Turney and Turney Designers/Builders Inc.

With more than twenty-five years’ experience in new construction, renovations, and additions, Rick and Susan Turney have formed personal and lasting relationships with hundreds of clients using time-tested methods that deliver quality, a reasonable timetable, and maintain costs in line with their clients’ budgets.

“The most important thing is to communicate frequently with your clients,” says Susan. “The first time we meet, a client is interviewing us, and we are interviewing them. We want a sense that they are going to trust us and that there’s a nice, collegial working relationship with total honesty and realistic expectations.

No one wants to talk about budgets at the first meeting, and neither do we. A lot has to do with personalities and whether we and a client are a good fit with one another. Rick and I like to feel a prospective client could also be our new friend, which they have frequently become. We love that continuity!”

Both builder and client must share similar visions; where they are now and where they want to go.  Budget certainly comes into play, but trust and a shared concept are paramount to a successful project.
“For instance, we worry when folks start to exceed their budget. We’re there to remind them that their choices may not be in line with their pocketbooks.”

If the Turneys are doing the design, they may meet more frequently than if they are handed a blueprint; although with years of design experience, their clients quickly realize no blueprint is ever cast in stone. With a list of carefully selected subcontractors, the Turneys can guarantee a level of quality consistent with their exacting standards.

Renovations are a challenge and a puzzle. What’s behind the walls once demolition begins? What surprises await that may impact the budget? The older the house, the greater the likelihood unexpected issues will arise. “We’ve found older cottages that weren’t built on footings. Some lack adequate support piers. They have little or no insulation, or the wiring no longer meets code.” This is where a quality building contractor is essential.

With a list of clear objectives—style, open or closed concept living spaces, lifestyle, color schemes, priorities, timing, and budget, the Turneys are ready to present their clients with a variety of remodeling options. Many clients have very firm ideas of what they like and what they want. Others require assistance—a bit of handholding and guidance-- through all the bewildering array of choices. “It should be a fun process, not a trip to divorce court!” Susan laughs.

The Turneys have just recently completed renovations on a trio of houses; each one uniquely different and with each owners’ unique design esthetic and budget taken into account.

Tappahannock Cape

The Tappahannock Cape was a modest Cape Cod when the owner approached the Turneys about creating a first floor master bedroom and en suite. She had no plans other than a photo of a feature wall she had downloaded from the website Houzz, and a desire for an open concept design.

Having been given the house by her parents, the client found that the second floor bedrooms and two small bedrooms downstairs did not meet her needs for first floor living, or provide privacy when entertaining houseguests. The new, spacious master bedroom walk-in closet with window seat, and white marble en suite bathroom, are luxurious additions to the first floor that provide ample privacy. 

For a client who also loves to cook, the cramped and dark knotty pine kitchen with red laminate countertops just didn’t inspire epicurean creativity. The kitchen overlooks a sunroom, which only contributed to the gloom. Now, bright white cabinets, granite countertops, and stainless appliances lighten the remodeled space.

Large sliders in the sunroom and a large new kitchen window now flood both spaces with tons of natural light. Walls removed between the kitchen and the dining room were replaced by a bar that accommodates three stools and two large encased openings into the great room.

The striking transformation of the dark and dated great room was inspired by a photo the client found on Houzz. A dramatic refaced fireplace and custom millwork built-ins on either side provide ample storage space for the owner’s library and paperweight collection. The result is a truly livable home. 

Piankatank House

A story-and-a-half fisherman’s cottage with long views of the Piankatank River was extremely small, with just a single bathroom located on the upper floor. The first floor was made up of a great room and a tiny kitchen. Over time, the heavily wooded lot had become overgrown with large trees that blocked the sunlight and the view. Several large trees were removed to make room for the additions. A new design by architect Chris Riddick of Urbanna added 1955 square feet.

Not only did the house require more space, but the existing structure demanded extensive repairs. The roof had rotted from a pair of improperly installed skylights and had to be completely removed and replaced. Sliding glass doors had rot beneath and had to be replaced also.

Two new additions, one on each side of the original structure, add much needed living space, including a new master suite and kitchen, plus two additional bedrooms on the second floor and basement space beneath.

The result is a stunning three-story contemporary, clad in new siding, and filled with light from the many new windows and sliding doors. The old kitchen is now an enclosed laundry room. A new gourmet kitchen, open to the great room, was outfitted with distressed cabinets installed by the owner, who is a cabinet contractor. Extensive Timbertek decking and a screened porch off the master bedroom provide plenty of outdoor living and dining spaces.

Cherokee House

Located in Richmond, this circa 1950s house, located one block from the James River and bordering a green space, was all about location. To provide the owners with the living spaces desired would require an extensive renovation and 1500 square feet of additions. The house was dated, inside and out. A two-story addition, designed by retired architect Sam Nuckols, increased the overall living space from 3000 to 4500 square feet.

The entire exterior of the house was refurbished, with new posts and stonework on the front façade, and new siding. All the windows were replaced with energy efficient ones. The roof was replaced, and the unexpected discovery of low voltage wiring required it to be removed and rewired.

The addition of a new master bedroom suite and gourmet kitchen upstairs allowed for an additional bedroom, full bath, and workshop below. The workshop accommodates the owner’s hobby for making custom made guitars. Beautiful gardens and stonework, designed by Kathy Brooks and installed by Greenfield Landscaping, completes this dramatic transformation.

Turney and Turney Designers/Builders is a member of the Rappahannock Home Builders Association, the Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of commerce, and a proud member of the Green Builders Association. They currently service the Northern neck, Middle Peninsula, Richmond City, and surrounding areas.

For more information, please visit their website at www.turmneyandturney.com or call 804-435-2767 or email them at turneyandturney@gmail.com.