Along with RemodelWest’s brand new webiste (www.remodelwest.com), we would like to introduce the Before and After Gallery to our Portfolio. 

When homeowners are shopping around for a remodeling company, a portfolio of their finished projects is one of the most important qualifying tools. RemodelWest has been building both their online and print portfolios since 1992. We have found that seeing images of the area prior to the commencement of construction helps set the stage for the breathtaking finished project photos. The transformation from “before” to “after” is what enables homeowners to realize that their dreams can become a reality.

Let us WOW you with our Before and After portfolio!




If you would like to discuss a project of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us! You can do so by visiting our website (http://www.remodelwest.com/) or give us a call 408.257.4900!

In a recent completed project, Remodel West Construction designed and built a Family Room, Kitchen, and Master Bath for an existing home in Cupertino, California. Check out our blog detailing the materials and process involved for this particular project including.

Here are a few before and after shots of the Kitchen and Master Bath. For more pictures check out our blog entry. And below is the testimonial from our satisfied customer.

Dear Remodel West Team,

I’ve been in the house less than two weeks, and I haven’t unpacked even half of the boxes, but I wanted to tell you that I love my house.

The kitchen is a delight for me. The cabinets are beautiful. Sarah did a marvelous job of designing the look, including the caning and the corbels. Crystal did just a marvelous a job in the execution. I love the wood and the color.  Of course, the marble counter tops are truly special. I thank Sarah for finding the slabs and persevering to obtain them for our project. All the appliances are such improvements over what I had, it’s a joy to work in the kitchen. We’re still trying to find where we’ve put everything, but there were three cooks in the kitchen on Sunday, and all approved of the new layout and the new look. We had both TV’s going while dinner was being prepared!

The lighting in the kitchen is fabulous. I worried so over it, but Kirk told me he would make sure there was enough light. There certainly is. And everything I cook looks so inviting under those lights. I’m delighted.

The master bath is striking. The wall color wakes me right up in the morning! I love the marble in that room too, and of course, the cabinets. The stones in the shower are not as smooth as I expected them to be, but I love the look.

The maple floors are beautiful. The stained wood, the crown molding, the newly painted walls, are all a treat. And the new doors! I can’t believe I lived so long with the poorly installed closet doors. These are such a pleasure, I stand there opening and closing them just to feel how nicely they move.

I love the paint color and the selection Sarah made for the tone on tone ceiling and wall. It’s perfect.

Moving the door to the other side of the kitchen has made such a difference in space, in workflow, and in sight lines. The way you designed the new doors and openings in the dining room really opened up the room to the rest of the house.

Thanks for completing the project almost on schedule and for the professional job that was done in every aspect of the project. I truly appreciate the attention to detail from the whole team.


RemodelWest Published in California Home + Design Magazine March 2011

Award Winning Bathroom Design by RemodelWest Design Inc.



Look for Remodel West in the March 2011 issue of California Home + Design Magazine.

After winning First and Second Place awards in the 2011 NKBA Design Competition, RemodelWest is recognized for their design in this regional magazine. To learn more about this project, read our detailed Blog entry.

Visit www.RemodelWest.com to learn more about our design work and find out what RemodelWest can do for you!




RemodelWest specializes in design and construction of bathrooms, kitchens, additions and new homes in Saratoga, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Los Gatos and surrounding communities.

Remodel West successfully completed a Kitchen & Bath Remodel in Los Gatos, California last month. A classic painted white style was desired by these homeowners and Remodel West hit the mark. With beautiful marble countertops, Crystal cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a farmhouse style sink this kitchen is perfect for entertaining friends and everyday cooking.

See what our clients had to say about us!

Visit our Flickr site to see more photos of this completed project in Los Gatos!

Yes, it’s true! Remodel West just completed another remodel consisting of two bathrooms, this time in Willow Glen. Floor plans in this area usually consist of an unreasonable 3 bedroom, 1 ¼ bath layout. Fortunately, this particular homeowner sought out a remodeling company that was capable of making significant changes to better meet the needs of this married couple.

Hall Bath – After (with medicine cabinet open)

In May of 2010, RemodelWest went to work redesigning this home. In order to target the homeowner’s goals of transforming this house into a 2 bathroom home, it was necessary to make some changes to the floor plan. Compare the before and after floor plan. When looking at the different floor plans, note the transformation of both Bath 1 and Bath 2 into one large Master Bathroom with walk-in closet. Our design staff utilized space from the Sunroom to create a 5’x10′ Hall Bath.

Hall Bath - Before


This project was completed in two phases allowing for full use of at least one bathroom during the process.

Although redesign of the layout for this home is exciting, the use of materials in this project is what really makes the bathrooms stand out. Take a look at the finished photograph of this emaculate bathroom. One of the first things to catch your eye is the tile detail; we used a colored glass mosaic tile to accent the clean and sleek look that this all white bathroom established.

 The sink cabinet and tall vanity that you see are both products of Keuco, a plumbing fixture manufacturer our of Germany; they are designed to compliment a contemporary design like you see here. The medicine cabinet, hung above the sink is equipped with electrical and lighting on the inside, a neat and convenient feature. We also implemented a wall hung toilet in both the Hall Bath and the Master Bath. These toilets complement the sleek design of this bathroom, but also allow for ease of cleaning underneath and around this space saving toilet. The in wall carrier allows for the mounting of this toilet; in the Master Bath, RemodelWest needed to build out the wall to make room for the in wall carrier.

Another feature implemented in both the Hall and Master Bath was a Warmup flooring system; this application is installed using a sturdy mesh material with a thin heating wire and is installed underneath the tile. Using a thermostat the homeowner can set a specific time for the heated flooring to activate and when they enter the bathroom to start their day, the floor is warm on their feet. RemodelWest also installed a sun tunnel in both bathrooms, as well as in the hallway. This allows for an abundance of natural light to beam through the roof and really illuminate the area without using any energy. Originally, the hallway outside this bathroom was extremely dark and unwelcoming; the new sun tunnel transformed this hallway into a bright and inviting segway to the rest of the home. 

Master Bath - After

When comparing the before and after photos of this striking Master Bath, it is difficult to see how Remodel West made such a transformation. One of the important details to know is that we tore down the wall between the Master Bath and the original 1/4 bath to make room for this extravagent new design. When you first walk into the bathroom, you immediately notice the unique floor tile. We used a ceramic tile designed to resemble a hardwood floor; it covered the bathroom floor, into the shower

Master Bath - Before

 floor and was also used on the ceiling in the shower. The floating vanity and storage cabinets were made from a Mahagony material. A recessed vanity cabinet on either side of the double sinks makes plenty of room for his and her storage. The recessed niche was equipped with glass shelves and a decorative back using recycled glass pebbles to add some color. In this bathroom, a recycled Quartz material was used for countertops and various places throughout. For example, Quartz was used to wrap the post on the left of the storage cabinets and to the right of the shower. In another example,

Pony wall wrapped with Quartz

the Quartz was used to cap off the pony wall in the shower and to build the floating bench (see photo on left). The tile chosen for the walls throughout the bathroom was a slate field tile, very complementary to the other materials involved. Within the Master Bathroom, we incorporated a walk-in closet within the space used. We implemented an entire closet system to help organize the space. In addition

Master Bath (tilted transom window above shower door)

 to the Warmup flooring system, Remodel West also incorporated a steam shower into the design. In the photo to the right, you can see that we designed a tilting transom window above the shower door allowing steam to find its way out of the shower when the spa experience comes to an end.

Visit the RemodelWest Facebook page to receive a notification when these homeowners post their review!  

If you would like to see more photos of this project, please visit our Flickr site!

If you would like to know more about the details of this project or discuss a project of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us! You can do so by visiting our website (http://www.remodelwest.com/) or give us a call 408.257.4900!

First Place - Before & After

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) holds an annual Design Competition for their Northern California Chapter. RemodelWest entered a project into two categories for the 2011 Competition. Lead Designer, Sarah Spiroff and Co-Designer Kirk Goodere worked together on this amazing transformation. The design of this bathroom was entered into both the Before/After Category and the Small Bathroom Category and won First Place in Before/After and Second Place in Small Bathroom! Having never entered her work into a design contest before, Sarah was ecstatic and flattered at the response from her peers. She looks forward to entering more of her work into design competitions. Sarah is both a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), Certified Bath Designer (CBD) and a Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP). She has been a loyal RemodelWest employee for 7 years.  Co-Designer, Kirk Goodere is a Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP) and a GreenPoint Rater and has been with the company for 4 years.

During early stages of design with these homeowners, the husband expressed his desire for the transformation to a black “man cave” bathroom. As progress was made on the design of the bathroom and materials were selected, the wife

First Place - Before & After

and Sarah discussed their interpretations of a black, man cave and put their own twist on it. In the ends, both homeowners were very satisfied with their project. They were excited to hear that we were entering their project into the 2011 NKBA Design Competition.

The transformation of bathtub to shower can really make a difference in a cramped bathroom.  Sarah also designed  the shower with only half width glass door; encouraging the openness of the space.  The curb less shower and designer

drain add to the sleek, clean design. With dark cabinetry, dark tile and a gray countertop and shower wall, Sarah achieved the husband’s “man cave” vision. The decorative tile and accent towels pull out the teal from the wall tile taking away enough of the dark bathroom to keep both husband and wife satisfied.

Click the links below to see our Before Photos:

Before 1 Before 2


If you would like to see more examples of Sarah Spiroff’s design work, check out RemodelWest’s portfolio on Flickr.

If you would like to know more about the details of this project or discuss a project of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us! You can do so by visiting our website (http://www.remodelwest.com/) or give us a call 408.257.4900!

Remodel West just recently completed a project in Sunnyvale involving the redesign and construction of two full bathrooms. In the before photos, you can see the use of outdated materials and poor use of space; Remodel West couldn’t wait to put their heads together to redesign these two bathrooms.

Bath 1 was primarily for the 3 children living in the home; strategic use of space was very important. While keeping the double sinks and bathtub/shower as the homeowner requested, Remodel West’s design staff rearranged the placement of all components in this bathroom and consequently utilizing the space most efficiently. You can check out the before and after floor plans to see the changes our design staff made.

The materials chosen for this project were meant to establish a linear design throughout the bathroom. These materials consisted of a ceramic tile in the shower, a slate tile on the floor, frameless DeWils Mahogany cabinets used for the vanity. We also included vertical lights on either side of the mirror supplied by Keuco, a plumbing supply company located in Germany.  Both the countertop and decorative tile were made from recycled material. We also implemented a recessed niche into one wall of the shower to allow for an efficient use of space. By ordering the cabients without a toe kick, we used stainless steel posts to create a floating effect with the vanity cabinet, this also helps to open up this bathroom. Check out the before and after shots of this hall bathroom.

Before 1

Before 2


The second bathroom on the project was the Master Bathroom, prior to redesign, the homeowners shared with our designers that their goals were to increase the size of the shower, gain more light and increase storage space. The final product included a larger shower with a steam feature, a bench and a whimsical tile design. The same field tile was used in the Master Bath shower as used in the Hall Bath; however, a round glass mosaic was used as the decor in the shower as well as between the sink and upper vanity cabinet. This floating vanity cabinet also came from Keuco and was designed with an electrical outlet on the interior and lighting on both the interior and exterior of this cabinet. In addition to the lighted vanity cabinet, RemodelWest increased the opening of the window to achieve the goal of increasing the amount of light let in. Check out the before and after shots of the Master Bathroom.




If you would like to see more photos of this project, please check out our Flickr site!

Sarah Senior Designer at Remodel West

Recently we finished a large-scale interior kitchen and bath remodel in Cupertino California.  The project involved re-designing the kitchen, hall bath and master bath which included moving walls and intricate design details.  Sarah Spiroff, CKD, CBD and Senior Designer at Remodel West was instrumental in all the design work and details.

Our customer took the time to write the following review to share their experience with our company and we really appreciate it.  If you are a LinkedIn member you may visit our page and see the posting or you may see it below.

As posted in www.linkedin.com Remodel West profile. 

March 31, 2010  

Top qualities: Great Results, High Integrity, Creative  

“Considering this contractor is a must for anyone planning a remodeling project. Having recently completed a major remodel of our home by Remodel West we could not be happier. While they offer separate construction project services, we elected to contract them to handle everything from A to Z. We were so impressed by the professional and thorough approach which they proposed and their job operating rules that we did not even bother to get competitive quotes. Our initial impressions were borne out and even exceeded. The scope of this project included remodeling our kitchen, family room, hall bath and master bath, as well as replacing all interior doors and jams. Interior walls were moved to enlarge the kitchen and master bath, reducing the size of the hall bath and master bedroom (we did not expand the size of the home). The designers were knowledgeable and experienced, as well as patient and good listeners. They helped us immensely with considering several design alternatives, material and feature selections, going shopping with us as needed, and saved us from the bewilderment of choosing from the multitude of options available. For decisions where we were somewhat hesitant, such as room color, tile and granite selections, we trusted their judgment and were very pleased with the end results. The construction crews were without exception a joy with whom to work; before long they were almost like members of our family. The way they interacted with us, among themselves, with the city inspectors and with their subcontractors demonstrated their common commitment to professional behavior, excellence of workmanship and customer satisfaction. We were totally comfortable that the work would be done right whether or not we were present. As the estimated length of the project was 6 months, they used a dual-phased approach which allowed for our continuing to live in our home the entire time. The phase involving our kitchen had us using half of the unheated garage for meals, so planning that during the summer was a must. The actual project length was two months longer than the estimate, mostly due to mid-project changes we requested, some glass supplier quality issues, and an unforeseen new requirement from the Cupertino Sanitary District. Scheduling was well documented with MS Project charts; communication of the few scheduling delays that occurred could have been a little timelier.”  

~Bill Hobdy




It’s no secret that many companies across every industry have been challenged by economic times over the past few years.  As you search for a company to help design and remodel  your home it’s more important than ever to have a real understanding of whom you are about to begin a relatively long relationship with.  Being conservative in your selection and not being blind to those overly aggressive companies with suspiciously low-cost estimates will get you off to a good start.  As a long-standing business owner here in Silicon Valley (since 1992) I’ve seen and been challenged by the ups and downs of the valley.  I recently spoke with a mentor of mine from the late ’80’s and he shed some light on this era and it became crystal clear to me that the instinctive steps I have taken over the past couple years has been exactly what I needed to do.  Here is what I have learned based on my experience, interactions with my customers and observations of competitors that have come and gone.

Stick with companies with long track records.  Companies that have scaled their operations both up and down, survived the cyclical nature of our economy, without compromising the integrity of their service indicates a strong foundation and a safe harbor for homeowners to place their trust.  The reality is it’s easier to react to demand than to have the foresight required to maintain a sustainable company.  Strategically sizing your business in unison with the economic forces actually can uncover opportunities and new benefits resulting in a fresh new vibrant company.  Companies like ours have experienced just that, a “lean and mean” business backed with decades of experience and more than a thousand satisfied customers.  More so than ever it’s important to understand the OWNERS of the business you are about to hire and pay several thousands of dollars to.  Take ones personal experience with a grain a salt and weigh more on how long they have OWNED the business.  Ask to meet with the owner of the business and interview them for your self.  For example:  New business’s, combined with partnerships, where neither has successfully owned AND managed all aspects of a business can be risky. Especially when you are writing large checks to them.  More and more you are seeing business’s unable to meet their obligations to complete a job or worse cut corners to protect their wafer thin margins.  It goes without saying that when hiring a contractor that you should hire a licensed contractor, but don’t assume automatic credibility if the company you are hiring does have license.  Check the status of then license on-line, the higher the number the more recent the license, most often indicating a new company and newly licensed person.  Licenses starting with a 9 are typically very new.  Let them experiment on someone else and search for a firm that can prove their stamina and commitment to the business. 

Be overly cautious to new companies appearing now.  Times like this can foster new opportunities for business start-ups.  Many business have scaled their operation by reducing work forces.  Due to the employment conditions this is resulting in past employees attempting to start their own business because they feel they are left with no other options.  The down side of this is that our industry is filled with many indians and a few chiefs for a good reason.  Most that aspire to be a business owner in our sector fail because they lack the knowledge and/or educational BUSINESS background to pull it off.  In any small business I have said you need to know a little about a lot beyond your core competency and posses foresight, keen instincts and common sense.  It’s amazing to me how many people DO NOT posses this.   A few compounding forces such as the current economy, financing availability and scale of small business’s are likely to increase the risk factor exponentially for a business to be around to complete your job.  Under capitalization is an understatement for business like these and in construction a small business must have a fair amount of working capital to progress through construction.  Pay special attention to the schedule of payments and lien law requirements required by the state of California before signing a contract.

Visit Business Establishments before making a decision.  Now-a-days it’s critical for a homeowner to understand where the business they are considering to spend the LARGEST PURCHASE ever made is located.  Solid remodeling firms should be able to have a commercial location that represents their company and that can be visited.  If you are considering a new company or a company with no location be concerned that your risk factor has been elevated.

Insurance Evidence and History is a good indicator.  As a general contractor in California we are required to carry BOTH liability and Workers Compensation Insurance.  Ask your contractor if they have employees.  If they don’t then this indicates they sub-contract ALL the work.  This leads to insurance exposure and sub-contractors are notorious for inconsistent insurance coverage.  In addition a company with no employees is a sign of weakness in their company structure leading to loss of control over their schedule.  Furthermore if a company claims they have NO employees and claim exempt on their workmens compensation certificate they are not allowed to have ANY persons work on the job unless they are LICENSED subcontractors.  TO PROTECT yourself ask for all the copies of subcontractors insurance certificates with your remodeling contractor listed as ADDITIONALLY INSURED and their license numbers.  Don’t do this and expect to assume ALL responsibility for the numerous people working on your job.  See my previous posting on insurance here http://wp.me/pdUNb-f

Now’s not the time to messing with, likely, your largest and most personal investment and the last thing you want to be is a test dummy for a NEW or questionable company.

Our new sign is completed

Our new sign is completed

As of May 2009 our new studio is open.  It’s been a great experience and rewarding as we have applied sustainable choices within our own environment.  Of course we are not 100% complete with a few things to finish up but it has really come together nice. 

Leather flooring makes a debut in studio

Leather flooring makes a debut in studio

Leather Flooring by Torlys is a feature material in the front of our new space.  More prominent in Europe leather flooring is making a name in the US.  As I understand it during WWII the Germans developed a process to use post industrial waste from leather factories.  This process spurred from a leather shortage for boots and has been used ever since.  This 100% recyled  flooring material has a great feel as you stand on it and is applied exactly like a laminate floor.  Our new studio is the test and so far so good.  No better place to test this material than in a relatively high traffic commercial space.  The color we selected certainly shows footprints but with a weekly cleaning its back to new again.  I encourage you to visit Torlys site to learn more and to view some educational videos they have posted.

Today we are about three weeks from completion.  The studio project has been an interesting project as I balance costs, time, and adhering to green building practices as much as possible.  Our subcontractors and suppliers have been overwhelmingly cooperative and it has been refreshing dealing with them on this very creative project. 

Applying Tung Oil

Applying Tung Oil

tung-oilReclaimed Clear Heart Redwood Put to use in new studio!  Cost ZERO (with some sweat equity).

Somewhat of a pet project for me, reclaiming and using approximately 500 lineal feet of clear heart redwood from one of our projects has been very rewarding.  I haven’t researched what this material might cost if you could even find it but I would estimate $10-12 a foot.  The cost we have into it is $500 to have a local shop re-mill the material for the design I developed.  The material was heavily painted on one side and during demolition I flipped the boards over and was astonished at the quality of the material.  I instantly set the material aside doomed for the landfill and proceeded to find a home for it.  Ultimately I decided to use it for our workstations in the studio.  As a person who is the “anti cubical” I combined the use of redwood, aluminum, and a reclaimed antenna tower to create works spaces for our design staff.  After milling the redwood I decided to use 100% natural tung oil from Milk Paint Company to finish the material.  I applied 2-3 coats which achieved a deep luster finish. 

Real Plaster Finish applied to walls.   At the front of the new studio there was original slump stone that dated the interior of the space to the ’70’s.  Because I am trying to create a contemporary design studio I was challenged to come up with an affordable idea that was practical and aesthetically pleasing.  Our sheet rock contractor proposed using a veneer plaster and I jumped at the opportunity.  Although not an inexpensive solution I felt it was important to conceal the slump stone while at the same time demonstrating to our clients the beauty of plaster.  We went ahead and used a material tinted with a Benjamin Moore color.  It is gorgeous.

Exposed ductwork adds to the contemporary space.  Two roof mount HVAC units provide heat and cooling to the space and I decided to replace these with high efficency energy star units.  Turns out I have a tax credit coming back this year for doing this.

Velux Sun Tunnel

Velux Sun Tunnel

The rear of the space was dark and dingy so a priority from the beginning was to do whatever I could to solve this problem.  The solution came quickly and I decided to install two Velux commerical sun tunnels.  One is placed in the center of our conference room where designers work wiht clients to present designs and select materials and the other is located in a contemporary display at the rear.  These units bring in quite a bit of light which will minimze use of artifical light.

Sheetrock has been completed and painting begins this week.  We decided to use Benjamin Moore paint because of their green product offerings.  BM has come out with a line called “Ben” that is a cost affective solution for those interested in using LOW VOC paints.  The Aura line is their top of the line but at $50.00+ per gallon it can add up real fast on a larger project.  Natura is their Zero VOC.  So we decided to use both the Ben and Natura lines in the new studio to try them out and to stay true to out Eco-Friendly studio.  The sheetrock finish inside the studio will now allow us to show our clients several different styles of texturing.  The interior front wall was constructed of a dated slump stone so I decided to have our drywall contractor plaster over the walls to also show an authentic plaster finish.

Daylighting was also a challenge in the space as my goal has always been to transform a dingy office space into an inspirational fresh and exciting space to be in.  The rear of the space was the biggest challenge.  Sun Tunnels offer a cost affective way to introduce natural light into a space and that’s exactly what we have done.  Installing two Velux Sun Tunnels within the conference room where our designers select materials for our clients and within a kitchen display that also doubles as a functional kitchenette make the space pleasant to be in.

 By Bill Reid, Owner Remodel West


Much discussion goes on about green building but how does one go about applying the principles? Green Building is not just about solar panels and trendy materials but about applying logical responsible building practices that help our health and environment. Remodeling a home provides a multitude of opportunities and it starts with the removal of old materials known as deconstruction.  Here is a real life example of how a homeowner and contractor can put their green building philosophy to work.



This property is located at our home in Lake Almanor California. We will call is out Osprey Project named after a native bird in the area (see our mascot picture that I took on the property).  The property consists of two structures and the one we are working on is the guest house.  In reality it is the original home that was built in the 1940’s. This a 900 square foot two story home that was one of the first built in the area.  The construction was sub-par to say the least and the original intention was to remove the interior and exterior material and leave the shell.  As we dug into it I quickly discovered that I had a larger project than I had planned.  I decided to move ahead and ultimately tore the structure down to the foundation.  As we progressed I decided to use this project as a test to apply the green building principles that I recently learned at my Certified Green Building Professional training. 

Construction waste is a large contributor to landfills.  Diverting and/or re-purposing this material can make a huge difference and this is exactly what I planned to do.  I set out to find a location to take our wood waste debris which equated to several large trailers.  It didn’t take long.  I found a company about ten minutes away in Westwood CA.  Mt. Lassen Power is a power plant that uses wood waste and debris from primarily forest management companies and converts it to power.  This area around Mt. Lassen is largely owned by Collins Lumber who is a renowned for sustainably managing their forests.  Large trucks arrive consistently every day and unload their wood chips from out in the forests.  I stopped in talked with someone and asked if I could dump our wood debris at their facility.  Sure enough they were happy to take it.  I proceeded to become a regular customer and took all our wood debris to them.  This material consisted of wood siding, framing lumber and plywood.  Here is the best part.  The cost was $2.00 per load!

Driving away after our last load left a different feeling.  Knowing that the impact of our project to the environment is far less than what has been traditionally done left an un-expected feeling of contribution rather than a sense of guilt.  This experience has transformed my approach to building and triggered a landslide of other practices I put to work on this project.  Look for future postings as time permits for me to show you how I implemented a multitude of green building principles.

NEXT:  What to do with the foundation?  


Our new studio will accomplish several goals, as mentioned in a previous post allowing our customers to benefit in many ways.  We are looking forward to a fresh exciting change in our working environment while positioning us to present our new green building agenda.  So welcome to our studio project.  I plan to post progress information and photos for those followers.  Keep in mind that a main goal is to create an eco friendly studio by implementing design and construction practices in as many things we do as possible.


So here it goes.



On the property there was an old abandoned antenna tower that was used for a paging company.  It hasn’t been used in years and this spurred my first idea.  I want to create an environment that is contemporary with an industrial flair and “warmed up” with materials.  So naturally I decided to take the tower down, cut it up, and use it for feature elements inside the space.  Who wouldn’t?  This forty foot tower would otherwise rust away or end up at the scrap yard.  The design uses two ten foot triangular sections that will go floor to ceiling while the remaining pieces are modified to function as table stands around the office.  The primary towers will act as dividers between workstations and I plan to obtain reclaimed or re-use materials that will span between the towers and the poles.  It sets a trend for the entire space.  The table bases will support our conference table, plan tables and counters next to the copier fax machine.  I will paint the towers a unique color that will compliment other elements.  Salvaging and re-using materials is has the least impact on our environment and is a component of green building.  Taking this approach invigorates

the design process as your decision are “live on the fly” and, to me, more meaningful.


Stay tuned for more whacky ideas.  I’ll post as significant progress is made.

After much consideration I have decided to move the studio to our building in Saratoga.  The building is a total of 13,000 square feet in an ideal location right in our customers backyard.  There are combination of goals and motivations that have influenced my decision.

  • We would like to create a studio environment that is more conducive to our progress towards sustainable design and construction.
  • We would like the flexibility to grow into adjacent spaces.
  • I would like to position our company to be as competitive as possible while not compromising the quality of our service.
  • We would like to participate in a tight knit community.

I think from the outside looking in many people will think I am crazy to abandon such a nice showroom and studio.  If they had to pay the bill it would probably take one second to jump on board.  The reality is our business has changed from, originally a cabinet showroom in 1992, to a company that provides comprehensive design and construction services.  We need an environment that is creative and houses many products and samples for ALL of the home, not just cabinetry.  Our current location could serve this purpose with major renovation and this is where the threshold arrives.  The unique situation of owning the building was actually a plan back in 2000 as an expansion plan for the future.  As business and economics changed so did our plans.  No with our lease coming due in a few month opportunities present themselves again.  With this change our company will be strongly positioned for the new year.  As we grow and change we know that our home is there to stay and can make it our own.

Relocating to a building that we own really makes sense.

An interview

Bill Reid, owner of RemodelWest aka Cupertino Kitchen Design, is considering relocating his seventeen year old design and construction business to Saratoga California.  Over the years the company has become wise by growing, evolving and adapting to homeowners desires and economic booms and declines.  In fact a large reason why Mr. Reid has been undergoing a name change to Remodel West is that they have out grown the Cupertino Kitchen Design name.  Offering comprehensive design and construction services for any residential remodel project it only made sense to let the public in on the secret.  Furthermore a most recent change in response to client demand the company has been morphed into two separate companies, Remodel West Design Inc. and Remodel West Construction Inc.  Already offering design and construction this recent change has allowed the company to offer a suite of services for clients whom may only need one or the other.  Another progressive step Bill has taken to further grow his company is the advent of Green Building.  “Sustainable design and construction practices make sense and we have discovered an avenue to follow allowing us to make a difference” says Mr . Reid.  This is one factor in the decision to relocate because they would like to create an eco friendly studio/office environment that is good for their staff and will give the ability to demonstrate design and material solutions appropriate for the new Green Buildingagenda that RemodelWest has embarked on.  It’s no secret that current economic times are placing unprecedented pressures on small and large business so I asked Bill, how is this influencing his decisions.  “There is no doubt that we are affected by the downturn in business but I believe times like these offer opportunities just as good times do.  In both scenarios you learn but it times like these I believe you learn more.  We are fortunate that our company has maintained a solid reputation and it is largely because of extremely dedicated employees.  This has led to a very strong referral and repeat customer base that we have come to understand is everything in building a business.  I took advantage of good times in 1999 and purchased a building in Saratoga with my family.  This was a unique situation and today offers a viable option that makes real financial sense.”  With the building not more than a couple miles down the same street and clearly a smart financial move what about the message it sends the community and to your customers?  “I have thought long and hard about this and I am very concerned about what perceptions people might have.  Over the years I have learned no matter how much you communicate your plans there are always presumptions that are made and talked about.  On the other hand when I changed our name to RemodelWest I initiated a year long campaign and I received very positive response from my past customers.” 

In speaking further with Bill the move would likely occur after the first quarter of 2009 and would involve moving out of their current location in Cupertino CA down the street to their new building in Saratoga where many of their customers reside.

Today’s economic climate presents great opportunities for homeowners to receive the best value in remodeling.  It’s not unlike timing the market.  My past experience is people wait to get started when the market is well on it’s way to recovery.  What people don’t realize is that it takes months to plan a project properly  and by the time the project is ready to start prices and schedules are back in full swing.  Smart homeowners start planning NOW, representing a small percentage of the cost, and start construction when their ready.  Professional design and construction companies are motivated to maintain their core strength- their people- during slower times as they weather the storm.  Our company is no different than any other that are feeling the crunch and I’ll be the first to admit it.  We are fortunate that after being in business for seventeen years we have a strong following with referral and repeat clients that keep us pumping along.  That being said we are always looking for opportunities for new clients and cherish these potential relationships more than ever. Because we offer both Design and Construction as separate services Remodel West is positioned best to fulfill this smart approach to remodeling.  

We are seeing extreme desperate measure by competitors to stay afloat and this is where homeowners and business owners can get into trouble.  Many individuals in this industry come from the trades and leave alot to be desired when it comes to managing a business and times like these are the test.  Rising tides float all boats but as it recedes many hit the rocks, don’t be one of the passengers on that boat.

When homeowners are evaluating remodeling companies to build their project price seems to be the most important for many.  Much more so than past years.  In fact recently I had a homeowner tell me that price was more important than quality.  If no value is placed on quality then why improve your home?  When obtaining costs the lower or lowest prices can quickly cloud the mind compromising practical decision making.  Many consciously and sub-consciously overlook blatant signs that there may be trouble.  Even worse I have heard potential customers say “I know it may be a little risky going with XYZ company but their price is the lowest.”  These are smart people being very stupid to say the least.  

Here is what to look out for when accepting the lowest or lower bids over whom your instincts tell you to select.

  • Look out for those companies anxious or able to start immediately without taking the proper time to plan the project. 
  • All work not included in cost, not detailed in contract and then change orders begin.
  • Cost is so low that when the contractor discovers an over sight or mistake in his estimating, material purchases etc. that he is no able to cover the cost.  This commonly leads to change orders and project abandonment.
  • Be prepared to make compromises on your expectations of quality, schedule, and final price.  It’s classic to go in low with the intent to bring cost up as the job progresses.
  • The less detailed you are in your plans and details the more liability YOU assume for cost overruns. 
  • Be sure all the proper insurance is carried by the contractor which is Liability and Workers Comp.  It’s typical for unprofessional companies or individuals to lose their insurance during slower times.  This exposure is a huge risk for both parties to take.  See my insurance posting for further information.
  • Search for those higher profile more reputable firms NOW.  They have likely been through the ups and downs before and know how to maintain a quality level of service while offering a good value.
  • Leverage these companies not the fly by knights because they are the first to go in rougher times and maybe in the middle of the project. 
  • Don’t be afraid to listen to your instincts and discuss the project cost with whom you really prefer to use.  I wouldn’t expect a reputable company to meet all your request but be reasonable and see what happens.

Happy Remodeling…It’s up to you.

Bill Reid



Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)


By Bill Reid, President


Did you know that the paint you use in your home is toxic?  Indoor Air Quality is a primary element of green building and what type of paint you use can help.  That “new paint smell” is a sign of a high level of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the paint.  Inhaling these chemicals such as Formaldehyde can cause numerous respiratory and health issues.  TODAY there is a SOLUTION but be aware. 

To learn more visit http://www.RemodelWest.com/sustainability


(Text below accompanied with paragraph above is included in a “GreenPoint Spec sheet”.)  This will be our first of many sheets on individual items.

The term “LOW VOC” is beginning to be used in many products but it can be similar to “low fat” in food when evaluating paint.  Even many paints that use the term “No VOC’s” could have them in it.  Here’s what you need to know and look for.

§  Low VOC paint is based on a standard white color.  When any tint is added it can dramatically increase the level of VOC’s.  The darker your color the higher the toxins.

§  Using NO or LOW VOC paints on the exterior will no perform as well and could develop mold or fungus due to the elimination of fungicides. 

§  When you use the right product interior LOW VOC wall paints can be as tough if not tougher than regular toxic paints.

§  Using NO or LOW VOC paints on your interior trim may not appear as desirable or wear as well.    

§  Using a standard primer on your walls and painting over it with LOW VOC paint defeats the purpose.  Talk to your painter about alternative primers that conform to LOW VOC standards.  This is a larger obstacle than discovering quality LOW VOC paints.

§  Visit www.benjaminmoore.com and learn about the new Natura and Auroa lines of paint.

Recently I attended the Certified Green Building Professional training put on by the non-profit organization Build It Green.  Anytime I attend educational events like these I often walk away refreshed and inspired.  I came away with some profound thoughts on how this movement ties into our business and my life.  I can see the difference between this event and others is applying a philosophy of sustainability throughout our company and my life will happen and will happen now.  The word Green is clearly “the label” but looking past the outer shell of this label the underlying message is living a sustainable life.  This is the difference.  I first was exposed to the concept at the West Coast Green Conference in San Francisco in 2007.  Realizing that Green was taking a foot hold I attended this conference to become more aware of the direction our industry was going.  I was not prepared for the feeling I got, that this was not just another trade show but the beginnings of a societal movement.  People (not businesses) are converging to form what seems a movement leveraging their business or careers to contribute to a better earth and, surprisingly, a more enlightened life.  I am now aware of opportunities to leverage my business/career in order to achive both business and personal goals.  I may be approaching the deep end here but bare with me as I explain.  MY thoughts are influenced by “a beginners studies” Lao Tzu (via Dyer), Tolle, and Hawken as I connect the dots between my business and my life.  I am intrigued with a realization that the business I am in can actually contribute to the quality of life on earth, that this is a vehicle which will contribute to becoming aware and conscious.  I can’t be sure but don’t believe everyone has this opportunity in what they do over half of their waking hours (if not more).  I truly believe if we all open our eyes and become aware and conscious one may realize an amazing opportunity.  Taking it further, our business has the potential to provide a bridge, crossing over to achieving personal enlightenment. 

The Train is in the Station. We have been on a ride since our company began with just a few stops along the way.  For the most part we have been full steam ahead.  Today’s business climate marks a time when we have pulled into the station.  Different positions can and have been taken from panic and denial to oblivion.  Passengers will have different plans as we pause at the station.  Some will stay on board safe and sound, some will immediately vacate the train never to return, and others will explore the latest stop and investigate the rest of the trip.  Times like this can often pose a “Y” in the tracks which can be interpreted as opportunities.  Before you decide to get back on the smart person will try to understand where the train is headed.  Well, as I see it the Train is still restricted to the tracks.   Looking back I’ll admit I was in somewhat of a panic as we approached the latest station.  Once halted I realized it was a good choice since alternate routes are presenting themselves.  It’s important for you as a passenger to understand where I am coming from and what lies ahead.  I don’t expect everyone to get it now and I won’t be surprised if some decide not to return.  I have decided to take the path that a few have traveled on as opposed to the historic path.  I believe there is opportunity for BOTH personal and professional growth in the new path of which both have been missing.  I feel privileged that our business is beginning to embrace a holistic approach to the solutions desired by our clients.  I can either deny it, ignore it, or embrace it.  I find it especially intriguing that a sustainable philosophy has no boundaries between personal and business.  This was introduced at West Coast Green and re-enforced in continual studies.  This is what has solidified the plan for me.  There is something happening in the world that has taken on it’s own momentum and I find it fascinating.  There are no leaders, no government, no boundaries, yet it is very apparent a shift is taking place.  All are equal and only choose to particpate to better the world.  So If I could draw you a road map I would but the path we are about to take is somewhat uncharted.  What I do know is I won’t be getting back on the train.  I will join the caravan to discover the new territory and you are welcome. 

Waving goodbye.  As the train leaves the station I am quickly and pleasantly caught by surprise.  It’s not clear where the destination is located and while attempting to prepare a travel plan, the next steps, the direction to go it becomes clear that it is not possible.  And it does not matter.  The beauty of this plan is there is no destination but every step of the way matters and as one remains conscious in the choices and new found beliefs IT becomes a progressive experience.  One may think standing in a group at the station while the train dissapears on the horizon leaving us behind may lead to second guessing the decision but it does not.  In fact an overwhleming peaceful energy takes over.  Letting go of the ego with no desire to accumulate THINGS and SUCCESSES and knowing that the conscious choices that are being made HELP, feels FREE.  A humble relinquishing event has begun and being aware is the first and forever step.  It is applying new age thoughts on practicing NOW.  Our business is a vehicle for the journey.  This, is most profound.  

Taking the leap.  This statement alone sends the wrong message and is not accurate.  There is no LEAP.  This is the beauty of the movement.  Pressure does not exist to; conform to anothers set of rules,  “keep up with the Jones’, or follow a leader.  For those genuinely aboard every step counts for there is no destination, no end of the path.  So many of us look for recognition from outside forces, other people, the pat on the back.  When you ponder this does it seem to matter, it might for your ego, does this help? I think not.  Be aware and conscious and then look within for recognition.  Recognizing this alone places you in a world that seems to open up.  I am astounded by the dynamics of what I am experiencing.  The more I think and write the more I realize that the green movement becomes smaller and opportunities for personal enlightenment become larger.  This is why I have been struck.  Either I am learning a new way to approach the world that many already posses or I am discovering something that few have found.  I believe it is the later.  A spiritual side that only resides within, not tied to a structured or organized religion, or one individuals teaching, but being aware and practicing.  My original intention of this writing was to talk about the impact of Green Building to our business and myself.  As I review my writings I am aware that I cross over often to the personal side but then quickly realize this is THE DIFFERENCE and this is why it is significant in my eyes.  As I gravitate toward studying old and new age philosophy I am realizing that this is likely a primary reason why I am more aware of this time in our world and my life.  Becoming educated and then aware of the ego and it’s implications is transforming how I live.  Decisions are governed by a pure force.  Overcoming the ego is difficult but I am aware as I practice.  I am a student accountable to within.  This experience is new for me.  Taking the leap refers more to discovering this as opposed to some large transforming event that one hopes to have.  This is the ego, searching for validation from others, instant gratification.  Pay attention because there is something before us.  A new way to travel this life. 

Not what by how. Not when but NOW.  What defines us?  Being a carpenter, a designer, a manager, or a business owner is merely a label that our minds and ego identify with.  They mean nothing more.  Who you are is how you go about accomplishing the task, interacting with other individuals, and being aware. There have been numerous lessons learned over recent years related to this movement. It is a slow process as energy begins to accumulate.  It feels like a shift in an iceberg or the beginnings of a cattle stampede but in slow motion.  Somewhat odd, residing within the center is a spiritual dimension or component.  This element places the topic in an entirely different and unknown territory for most but is the force that is drawing people to the movement.  Recognizing this, being aware of the momentum and balancing what “just seems right” seems miraculous.  “Not what but how” is what I call a “value phrase” that has made an impact in my thoughts.  In anything we do from skipping a rock along a lakes surface to a complex analysis at your job, the principle of “how” will guide you.  “What” is static, an identifier, a structure with four walls.  “How” is fluid, subjective, strategic, creative, smart, allowing the individual to achieve “What”.  Whomever recognizes this will contribute.  Who does not will bring suffering to themselves and those around.  Think through your daily decisions and let this value guide your choices and your actions.  Take responsibility for “How” and let it be “What” not thinking of the outcome because if one is conscious of “How”, “What” it becomes will not be the significance.   

Quality.  One of the most over used and misunderstood words. Quality is about Responsibility.    As the movement progresses a framework is being built re-defining the label of quality.  Values will be established within the framework related to every segment of business and personal life throughout the world.  New terms will be added while developing a product or performing a service.  Coming out of the egoic mind will bring to light what these responsibilities are as you ponder your job, career, profession, or personal life.  Observing yourself and being aware as specific occurrences unfold can place you in a position to identify opportunities to grow.  Our minds are polluted with attachment to things, ownership, accumulation, and waste.   We have a responsibility as stewards of our world and the people within it.  Determining your values will guide you in the decision making process.  Remember, our careers are nothing compared to what life has to offer.  Consider your job only a vehicle to navigate through life and now consider how you can give and not just take.  If we are to genuinely believe we provide quality to our clients we must first be committed ourselves.  Commitment combined with established values and action comes responsibiity and therefore Quality.  Look inside, how much responsibility have you taken?  What have you done to improve your contribution to whatever you do?  What do you base your decisions off of?  How have you developed?.  As individuals you have the responsibility.  Who are you waiting for?  Are you just taking?  What are you giving?

Values– We are fortunate.  We can contribute to the movement by providing a Quality (Responsible) service to our clients.  It’s not just about being green, this is simply a label that will disolve transforming into something much larger.  Start thinking about our business specifically and what values make a difference.  Remember our values will guide us as every decision is made and these values are our Quality statement. 

Reality-Recognizing this movement has shed light on our company.  Over the past several years we have convinced ourselves that the service our company provides is superior to anyone around us, that we basically are the best, a group of select elite remodeling companies.  My sense over the past years is that we have lost our edge and attending industry events such as “Build it Green” Green Building Professional training brings this forward.  Sitting in a room with progressive companies and individuals is both inspiring and concerning.  We are behind, we are no longer the progressive company we were.  This is evident in the complacency of many of our long time employees and myself.  Choosing a circular path that leads us right back to where we began seems to be more common than not.  Our business and related careers are life choices and paths.  We as individuals are fortunate to have an opportunity as such yet few leverage it to grow.  Most await direction and in affect take on a sedentary career path.  An offering has been made and an opportunity has presented itself and those that accept it, take personal responsibility, and ACT will enjoy personal success.  Those who begin understanding this shift in thinking and realize that our company has decided to use this shift as an opportunity to revitalize will likely survive.  Those who do not come along will not.

Featuring a blog post from 2008 today written by the business owner, Bill Reid. http://ow.ly/h0BHh

Today we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. http://ow.ly/i/1oy2u

RemodelWest attended the 2013 NKBA awards gala this week. This project won 2nd place! http://ow.ly/i/1oxT3