Category Archives: Remodels

Five Benefits of Basement Remodeling

A remodeled basement is a great addition to any home. The lowest (and often unused) floor in your home has lots of potential.

basement remodeling cumming gaRemodeling your basement can increase the value of your property and square footage of your living space.

Finishing your basement is a great alternative to adding on to your home and doesn’t require as much financial investment.

Here are a few reasons to consider turning your under-utilized storage space into a comfy living area that your family wants to spend time in!

  • Finishing your basement increases the value of your property and adds square footage to your home.
  • The additional living space gives your family breathing room and more room to enjoy for entertaining and guests.
  • You can personalize the additional basement space to your family’s needs. Do you need an entertainment room, kitchen or in-law suite?
  • You have the ability to completely customize your personal basement space whereas in many cases when you purchase a home you just get to choose a small selection of finishes or take it as it is with a built home.
  • Include your family in the planning of the finished basement and they will enjoy being a part of creating the newest space of the home.

See some of CRES Builders’ North Atlanta basement remodeling projects here:

We offer a wide variety of services in North Atlanta so that our clients never have to worry about going through multiple companies to make their homes perfect!
  • Custom Home Building
  • Room & Garage Additions
  • Basement / Kitchen / Bathroom Remodeling
  • Garage Conversions
  • Screened Porches
  • Pavilions
  • Siding & Window Replacement
  • Interior & Exterior Painting
  • Gutter, Down Spouts & Gutter Cover Installations
  • Roof Replacement
  • Hardscape & Landscaping (Retaining walls, Pavers & Walkways)
  • Driveway Replacements
  • Deck Remodels
  • Hardwood Refinishing

To obtain a quote or for additional advice, feel free to contact CRES Builders in Cumming, GA at 770-983-4698 or visit our website at


What You Should Know Before Removing a Wall

Thankfully, most of the newer homes on the market have been designed with open living in mind, which means fewer walls and increased light.  However, whether your floorplan is a bit more closed off than you’d like or you’re looking to expand your surroundings, removing an interior wall is always a decent option.   On the surface, it’s a project that seems simple enough—especially with a sledgehammer and a healthy dose of excitement—but depending upon what’s inside the wall and the extent of its structural importance, removing it may turn out to be somewhat complex.

Therefore, before you make the decision to tackle it on your own, it’s important to think about the following considerations:

What is Your Goal? – If you follow my blogs, then you know that this is a question I ask on a fairly regular basis.  Plain and simple, before starting any remodeling project, it’s worth establishing what your ultimate goal is.  If you’re looking to increase your resale value, your end goal may be very different than if you are simply looking to make your surroundings a bit more comfortable.

With that being said, the goal of most wall removals is to connect rooms or to help better your home’s flow.  Doing this may allow you to increase your seating or counter space, and it may also improve your sight line into other rooms.

Is it Load Bearing? – Removing a wall from a one-story home is much easier than a two-story home since a structural engineer will be needed for the latter—regardless of whether the wall is load bearing or not.  Still, if you’re not a professional, it may be tricky to determine the importance of certain walls since some won’t look the part.

What About the Floor? – When removing a wall, it’s important to plan ahead since something will also need to be done to the floor, as well as the ceiling.  If you already have hardwood floors, it is worth considering the fact that it will be difficult to patch the area and make it blend in.  Carpet is generally an easier fix.

What’s in Your Walls? –  If the wall you are looking to remove contains any form of gas lines, wiring, or HVAC vents, you’ll need to work with professionals who can make sure that they get properly relocated.  You don’t want to get rid of your return vents, only to find out that the functioning of your entire system is impacted.

With that, if your home is older, it’s always wise to be prepared for the possibility of extra expenses since you never know when things like unused gas lines or faulty wiring will be found.

Who to Hire? – While this may vary depending upon what you need done, as well as the location of the wall, you might want to consider working with an architect who can design a new space that won’t completely change the character of your home.  In some instances, keeping portions of the wall may be a better bet than removing the whole thing, so their advice may go a long way towards improving the final project.

Still, depending upon which wall(s) you’d like to remove, a structural engineer may be required, as well as professionals to deal with any plumbing, HVAC, or electrical concerns.  In an effort to streamline this process, it’s worth utilizing the services of a general contractor who can complete your initial consultation, deal with any permit issues, and line up the necessary professionals to finish the work.

If you’d are considering a remodel or would simply like a consultation, please feel free to contact me for more information.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698

Recent Project: Spa Retreat Master Bath Remodel

Picture1 (871x1024)Customer’s Needs:  This customer came to us from a referral and, having waited a year and a half to begin the remodel, was well prepared with several magazine pictures detailing everything they desired.  Their goal was to have a well-lit, spa-like oasis with clean lines that would resemble an ocean retreat.

With this, when it comes to delivering on expectations, we really enjoy working with customers who have a well-thought out understanding of what they want their finished product to look like, so this particular customer made things easy because they had a solid vision in mind.

In regards to a project timeline, the customer requested that we complete the work within two weeks.

Explanation:  To start things off, in order to ensure timely completion, we explained to the customer that it is best to have all of the materials selected and delivered to the job site prior to beginning the actual remodeling process.  Pleased with this approach, as well as our final estimate, the customer chose to move forward with our company.

Process:  To start, we had the customer meet with our vendors in person, where we had them select the granite for their countertops, as well as the specific color for their cabinets.  Since they were looking for a certain hue to accent their marble, we had the cabinets custom made and made sure their plumbing and light fixtures were delivered to the home.

For their tile and tile accents, the customer felt that going to the tile store might be a bit overwhelming due to the abundance of choices available, so we selected three choices for them.

Picture2Conclusion:  In the end, the project went very smoothly and the customer was extremely pleased with both the schedule and budget, as well as the overall quality of the finished product.  The bathroom turned out beautiful.

Having already referred us to their friends and posting a positive review on Angie’s List, we took the liberty of pressure washing their driveway and walkway in an effort to thank them for their kindness.  To the customer’s merit, they were able to make quick decisions throughout the duration of the assignment, which truly lent itself to the success of the overall project.

If you’re thinking about redoing your master bath or have other remodeling needs, please feel free to contact me.  I’d love to help turn your home into something wonderful.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698

woodgrain laminate countertop-resized-600

Easy Steps to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel

If you’re looking to increase the value of your home, chances are good that you’ve considered having some work done on your kitchen.  However, it’s no secret that, no matter how you look at it, most kitchen remodeling projects don’t come cheap.  According to national data, minor updates generally cost about $18,500, while total renovations may reach as high as $54,000.

Still, while either of those numbers may be enough to make you cringe, it’s important to remember that—as with anything in life—if you make a point to control your spending, stay in touch with your priorities, and remain flexible, it’s entirely possible to stick to a reasonable budget.

REMEMBER YOUR BOUNDARIES.  To start, if saving money is your main priority, then stick to design changes that refrain from modifying the actual structure of your home.  Sure, expanding your floorplan or knocking out a spare wall may seem enticing, but it’s worth remembering that these types of changes generally require expensive plumbing and electrical work.

CHOOSE YOUR CABINETS WISELY.  Luckily, cabinets come in a variety of makes, colors, sizes, and materials, which helps customers cut costs when necessary.  Instead of opting for custom cabinetry, consider standard cabinets or a combination of custom and standard to make things more wallet friendly.  Other money-saving alternatives include selecting cabinets without trim molding, single-height wall cabinets, or simply rehabbing what’s already there.  The refacing process is relatively simple and can go a long way towards making your entire kitchen look brand new.

THERE’S MORE TO COUNTERTOPS THAN GRANITE.  Yes, granite and quartz countertops can add a certain sort of elegance to your home but if you’re working with a limited budget, tile, laminate, and concrete can make your space look just as nice.

Plain and simple, today’s tile and laminates have advanced to the point that they can easily mimic granite and stone without the nauseating price tag.  Both come in a wide variety of natural hues that allow you to add your own flair with a variety of patterns, accents, and trim.

FLOORING.  Hardwoods are beautiful and they go a long way towards improving your home’s resale value but again, if your main focus is creating something lovely on a fixed budget, then my advice regarding countertops can apply here as well.

Today’s laminate and vinyl can easily mimic high quality tile or wood, and it’s generally easy to install and even easier to maintain.

OPT FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY APPLIANCES.  Sigh.  New appliances are expensive and there’s really no way to get around the upfront cost if you absolutely have to put them in.  However, when it comes to things like dishwashers and refrigerators, you’ll wind up recouping some of your money if you make a point to select high-efficiency machines.  Over a single appliance’s lifetime, The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that you can save anywhere from $200 to $1,100, which is money worth considering.

In the end, when selecting a contractor to complete your remodel, make sure you choose someone who is fully aware of your budget constraints and is willing to work with you.  A great contractor should understand your goals and make every effort to help you achieve them.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can save money on your kitchen remodel, please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders, Corp. | | 770-983-4698



Kitchen Remodel – How to Select the Perfect Cabinets

Whether you’re embarking upon a total kitchen remodel or you’re simply hoping to replace cabinets that are worn beyond repair, choosing the right style, color, and design for your home can be an overwhelming task.  While having options is generally considered a good thing, cabinets come in a wide variety of materials and finishes, which can become confusing for even the most decisive homeowner.

Therefore, just like purchasing a piece of property or preparing for a large home makeover, it helps to set a bit of groundwork before viewing your options so you don’t wind up with regrets down the road.

SET YOUR BUDGET: At the end of the day, money is the true determiner of the type of cabinets you’ll settle upon, so it’s important to establish a realistic budget in advance.  With those monetary boundaries in place, you won’t have to worry about spending more than you can afford and you’ll be prepared to cover any additional fees—i.e. the cost of any damages, additional work, or changes in the project.

TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION: While many of us assume that cabinets are cabinets, they can actually be constructed in a variety of different ways—custom, semi-custom, and stock.  If you’re looking for the most cost-effective option, stock cabinets are probably the smartest choice since they can be purchased through your local home improvement store.

Semi-custom cabinets, while a bit more pricey, give homeowners more options than stock cabinets since they are made-to-order, but since they are not true custom cabinets, some options may not be available.  Therefore, if you’re someone who has a bit of extra money play with, custom cabinets are always a smart choice because they can be produced with almost any material in a limitless number of finishes.

CABINET STYLES: If you’re not sure what you want your final product to look like or what type of feel you’d like your kitchen to emit, take some time to peruse a few kitchen design and home improvement magazines to get a better handle on what you like.  More often than not, upon closer evaluation of your selected photos, you’ll find that a certain style—country, casual, traditional, modern, etc.—appears more frequently than the rest.  This is the style you should probably go with.

MATERIALS: When selecting your cabinets, you have three materials to choose from—wood, metal, or laminate.  Wood tends to be extremely durable and can be painted or stained in a variety of colors; however, it has a tendency to warp over time due to its natural propensity to expand or contract in varying humidity levels.  To avoid this, metal cabinets are a great choice, but while easy to clean, they generally look best in modern or contemporary kitchens which may limit your design choices.

Thankfully, if you don’t feel right about wood or metal, laminate is always a versatile choice that will keep you within your budget.  However, it’s important to remember that since laminate cabinets are produced by covering multiple layers of wood with a decorative panel, repair may be impossible if they become chipped or damaged.

FINISHES: As with anything, it’s often the finishing touches that create a complete picture, so selecting the right wood stain or finish is important.  For laminate or stainless steel cabinets, nothing is needed past the final color selection; however, wood requires a bit more since staining (or painting) and varnish are often necessary.

From there, it’s time to settle upon the perfect cabinet hardware to complement the overall décor of the space and enhance the look of the cabinets themselves.


Home remodels are not just about going from something drab to something exciting and new—it’s a process that, like any other project involving larger amounts of money, requires organization, patience, and a solid understanding of the possible limitations involved.

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel and would like some assistance or advice, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to help you through the process.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders, Corp. | | 770-983-4698



Recent Project – Driveway and Front Stoop

CUSTOMERS NEEDS: Having already completed several projects for this customer in the past—minor roof and exterior wood wrought replacement, as well as a full kitchen remodel—they made contact with us to replace their front stoop and driveway.

The stoop had pulled away from their house by about 2 inches and the driveway, which was completely cracked throughout, showed signs of sinking about 6 inches and caused water to run across their walkway in the rain; however, many of their neighbors also noted that they were having similar problems with their stoops and driveways.

EXPLANATION: Since I have a strong background working with track builders, I explained to the customer that when her neighborhood was built 20 years ago, it was common practice to use 2000 psi concrete without adding rebar or crushed run underneath the driveway (although this still happens today).  While this type of construction appears structurally sound at first, the only thing supporting the driveway is loosely-graded Georgia clay, dirt, and concrete.

In regards to the stoop, in many cases, builders fail to install a stoop arm that is the same depth as the basement footer; therefore, when the grader backfills the walls with dirt that has not been compacted, the dirt begins to sink over time, which eventually causes the stoop to pull away from the house.

OUR PROCESS: Since re-pouring the concrete presented us with the best opportunity for success, we began by re-grading the dirt so that it would have the proper pitch away from the garage and installed 2 inches of compacted crushed run material, before tying the rebar into the existing garage footer.  From there, we built a 4-foot by 4-foot rebar grid throughout the driveway, and completed the process with properly-cured 4000 psi concrete.

The stoop also required a complete replacement, so after removing the original stoop and discovering that it was not properly tied to the home, we built a new foundation with concrete blocks before drilling rebar into the house and concrete slab.  From there, we filled the block cells with concrete before pouring a 2-inch concrete cap on top.  To finish the project, we installed a selection of beautiful field stone and created a sturdy footer for the perimeter stone to sit on.

To finish, since water control was also a problem due to the fact that the actual home sits lower than the curb, we decided to install a 12-inch by 12-inch landscape drain box at the corner of the walkway to divert all of the water from the driveway into this box.  From there, in an effort to make sure the ground water would not compromise the integrity of the driveway, walkway, and stoop, we also connected the down spout into the underground drain system.

In the end, the customer was very pleased with our work and is already making plans for our next project—a master bathroom remodel.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698



Shopping for a New Front Door? Know Your Options

When it comes to first impressions, the front door of your house plays a huge role since it signifies the transition between the outside world and your home’s representation of who you are.  Aesthetically, a beautiful front door will add value to your property through curb appeal; however, greater value can actually be found through the installation of energy-efficient models that may not only help you save as much as 10% on energy bills, but also qualify you for several tax credits.

Still, like selecting a particular flooring material or wall color, there are a myriad of door options to choose from, so it’s all about determining which one fits your needs.  In general, front doors need to be tough so they can withstand the elements, but that doesn’t mean that visual appeal has to go by the wayside.

Generally, most doors come in three popular materials—wood, steel, and fiberglass composite—but all three materials have a variety of pros and cons which may or may not fit into your life.


Luxurious and beautiful, wood doors are still an incredibly popular option, especially if you’re looking to add a classic touch to your home.  In an effort to minimize the chances of warping, today’s models tend to consist of a wood veneer skin over a wood core, but that doesn’t mean that upkeep isn’t important.  When looking for pre-finished wood doors, selecting something with a high-gloss finish will help preserve the integrity of the wood, but it’s also a good idea to perform a yearly examination of the door to catch signs of wear and tear in advance.

In particular, take note of things like dullness, a dry touch or white shading to the finish, or dark streaks along the bottom of the door (which may be indicative of moisture being pulled into the wood).  If you notice any of these signs, simply sand, clean, and re-prime each spot.


Steel doors tend to be the most popular choice when it comes to replacement doors because, along with the fact that they’re the least expensive option, they also tend to be the most durable.  While wood doors may warp, twist, or crack, steel doors tend to handle rough living a bit better and are filled with an energy-efficient insulating foam that helps with heating and air costs.

Still, while the upfront price may be lower, steel doors tend to have a shorter lifespan than wood or fiberglass, which means you may have to spend a bit more money if rust or general wear-and-tear make a future replacement necessary.


Frequently chosen for their affordable nature and virtually maintenance-free durability, fiberglass composite doors can last an extremely long time and, like steel doors, are also filled with an energy-efficient insulating foam.  Furthermore, since they’re also resistant to an array of issues that ail wood and steel doors—i.e. denting, warping, rot, and rust—they tend to work well with homes that are in extreme climates.

When it comes to visual appeal, fiberglass composite doors can be painted or stained any way you choose; however, they generally need to be painted every five years or so, which actually makes them a bit higher maintenance than steel doors.


It’s amazing the difference that a front door can make in regards to a home’s overall appearance.  Don’t be afraid to play around with different designs and colors, and rest assured that if you’re considering making a few changes to your exterior, upgrading your front door can be a fantastic venture since your return on investment will almost always be positive.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders, Corp | | 770-983-4698

Build or Renovate Your Dream Home: Interesting Ceiling Options

contemporary-ceiling-design-108As a builder, I love helping my customers add both style and function to their homes—especially when it comes in the form of accents and details that aren’t usually found in mass-produced neighborhoods.  While I’ve already touched upon things like skylights, stair cases, and unique fireplace options, I think there’s something to be said about getting creative with ceilings.

While the most familiar, cheap, and easy option is the standard popcorn ceiling, there are an abundance of options available to homeowners who are looking to add a little something extra to their space.


When it comes to either building your dream home or renovating what you already have, my first piece of advice always revolves around making a plan.  When you’re imagining what you want the finished product to look like, it’s important to start by considering the ultimate purpose of the room in question.  For example, if you’re looking to add a bit of luxury and class to a formal dining room, a touch of crown molding may be in order; however, if you’re looking to improve on the functionality of the room, then ceiling lighting or skylights may be a better option.


Just like planning, understanding the type of look you’re hoping to achieve will help move the process along.  If you’re going for a rustic, outdoorsy feeling, then exposed wood beams will make for a beautiful addition, just as exposed pipes may bring a bit of architectural intrigue to a modern, urban home.


Yes, it might seem odd to state that you should consider alternate, interesting ceiling shapes when most rooms are in the square family; however, if you’re looking to make a few large changes, you might want to put some serious thought into going a different direction.  Enhanced ceiling shapes generally include: vaulted ceilings, cathedral ceilings, tray ceilings, cove ceilings, and a shed (which is similar to a half-cathedral ceiling).


If you’re not looking to go all-out by adding natural wood beams or by directly changing the layout of your ceiling, accents are a great option.  One of the easiest ways to achieve a change without making things too complicated is to paint your ceiling in a color that will add a new dimension to the room—i.e. darker paint shades will bring warmth to a high ceiling.  Additionally, never underestimate the effect of molding and trim, or the variety of available texture options such as wood paneling or stucco.


In the end, as you make your plan, don’t forget to set your budget.  While it may seem feasible to pay for the renovation itself, make sure you consider the hidden costs, such as the elevated power bill that may accompany your cathedral ceiling, or the cumbersome task of maintaining a complex lighting system that’s out of your reach.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders, Inc. | | 770-983-4698


DIY Stair Makeover

ombre-stair-rails1In the grand scheme of things, stairs have never the most exciting aspect of any home.  Sure, there’s nothing like entering a beautiful foyer and viewing a luxurious, classically accented double-staircase, but for most of us—stairs are just…stairs.

In general, they tend to take up a good amount of space and regularly become stopping grounds for collections of dust, toys, and laundry baskets; however, truth-be-told, transforming your stairs can actually be relatively easy and incredibly effective.

For the most part, the upgrade possibilities are pretty much endless—decals, paint, carpet runners, etc.—with projects varying by levels of commitment and skill level.  Still, revamping your stairs into a statement piece within your home is an extremely do-able DIY project, which can turn even the most boring entryway into something interesting.

DecalRisersStaircase1.) PAINTED RAILINGS: If you’re looking to add a bit of color but feel that painting the actual stairs might be more than you’re ready for, there’s nothing wrong with giving your railings a makeover instead.  Easily a day project, revitalizing your railings only requires a bit of paint and some extra patience.

2.) DECALS: Perhaps you’ve used them on the walls in one of your children’s bedrooms; however, temporary decals come in a wide array of designs and colors that allow you to get creative without giving the same commitment that’s required from paint.  Consider placing them on the riser of each step, which creates a full picture as you ascend the stairs.

3.) GO GEOMETRIC: If you have the time and knack for painters tape, you can make a fantastic statement by painting geometric patterns on your stairs risers.

4.) CARPET RUNNERS: Yes, you may have seen them in your grandmother’s house; however, carpet runners can be exciting if you opt for something with a bold pattern or bright colors.  Installing them yourself is a relatively quick project, so a few simple tutorials should get you on your way.


5.) OMBRE EFFECT: If you’re up for painting, why not create an ombre effect by painting each stair a slightly different shade of your favorite color from dark (bottom) to light (top).

6.) WALLPAPER: Yes, wallpaper is clearly for walls, but there’s nothing wrong with using it on your stairs!  If the rest of your room is somewhat neutral, utilize a vibrant pattern with bold colors.

In the end, remember that these options are in no way permanent.  Yes, you may have spent an afternoon applying paint, but if it seems that your creative vision isn’t turning out as planned, don’t get too stressed out about it.  The beauty of these projects is that they give you the freedom to change things as you see fit, so have fun!

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698


Improve Your Home’s Natural Light

34152-1f6dd-7fcfd-cde62-7a8afWhen it comes to remodels and home upgrades, many owners with older houses are looking for ways in which they can update their surroundings.  Yes, there’s something to be said for the unique design of many aging homes that boast a certain level of charm; however, one of their largest complaints generally revolves around closed-off floor plans and a general lack of natural light.

If you’re looking for a quick fix to brighten things up, the easiest solution would be to add recessed lights or sconces, or to paint the interior walls in a light color.  Still, since natural lighting tends to be a quick mood booster—which has been shown to make people happier and more productive— adding sources of extra daylight can produce some wonderful benefits as well.

Daylighting, as it’s called, is the process of using window placement to maximize the natural light in a space.  By making rooms appear larger, it not only reduces electricity bills, but reduces eye strain and boosts energy.  However, while a great choice for any dark home, it’s important to remember that there are varying ways to increase natural light which may vary for each particular house.

1.) WINDOWS:  It’s not surprising that windows tend to be the most utilized way to allow the flow of natural light into the home, but it’s important to remember that a myriad of different glasses can be used in the process.  If glare reduction or privacy is something you’re concerned about, your windows can be tinted or installed with a low-transmittance glass which, even on cloudy days, will still fill your entire room with light.

Another glass option, which should be a consideration if you’re looking to reduce heat flow, is to select low-emissivity windows which are layered with an extremely thin, transparent metal coating.  For these types of windows, specifically ones which are rated with the Energy Star logo, homeowners may even be eligible for a government tax credit of up to $500.

2.) SUN TUNNELS:  Not to be confused with skylights, sun tunnels are an easy option which has become a popular choice for homeowners looking to attain a brighter atmosphere.  In short, they consist of metal tubes which are installed through the ceiling and out the roof, which allows light to flow into the room.  With the possibility of installation on different roof pitches, the top part of the tunnel consists of a low profile dome, which allows light to pass without allowing heat in or out.

Much like the different types of energy efficient windows that are perfect for the walls of your home, these may also qualify you for a tax credit; however, it’s important to note that, since sun tunnels do not have shades, they should only be placed in rooms where you always want light to flow in.

3.) SKYLIGHTS:  In the past, many homeowners with skylights found out the hard way that leaks were and all-too-common occurrence; however, their production and installation has come a long way.  With leak-proof flashing that can now fit any type of roof pitch, homeowners also have the option of selecting single or double pane glass, which can help reduce heat loss.  Additionally, while many people assume that skylights have to be closed off—similar to a picture window—some types can actually be opened to allow ventilation.

While they are usually made in either plastic or glass, most of the plastic options tend to become discolored over time, so glass tends to be what most homeowners select.  With this, many people have some concern about whether their skylights will hold up in storm conditions; however, the glass is usually tempered for impact resistance, and in an effort to avoid an abundance of heat transference in the summer, window placement on the south side of the home is generally preferred.

Mirko Attolini | CRES Builders Corp. | | 770-983-4698