It’s been a year since we were all advised to stay at home. Weeks turned into months, and we all started to become more conscious of our spaces. Was the shared bathroom too small? Did the kids need a space away from parents? Who’s new work-from-home situation necessitated a new office?
Our homes are sacred spaces and during the pandemic, as well as before and into the future, we have realized what we do and don’t like about them. Each design detail makes a difference and creates comfort and utility, which Kim and Kyle Smith of North Dallas Renovations know better than anyone. Their backgrounds and practical experience in the residential industry give them insights into what works and what doesn’t.
Kim’s dad was a home builder and she grew up looking at blueprints. Kyle’s foray into the building world took a little longer. While learning about project management during his IT consulting career, Kyle also owned rental properties and got handy with electrical work and plumbing.
At one point, he started to reevaluate his priorities and decided he wanted to be more present at home and do less traveling. “I wanted to figure out what I could do that would actually make an impact,” says Kyle. “You know, make a difference for people. I just kinda got the bug.” This led him to break into the renovation business, and four years ago he saw an opportunity to get into the space. What began as small projects for friends and family quickly grew to one referral after another, moving from small projects to full home remodels.
This began North Dallas Renovations, the family-owned business committed to excellence. Kyle handles the construction work and functions as the general contractor, and Kim has a marketing background that she lends, along with administrative help. Together, they found a key chance to offer a better experience for clients.
“I knew that I could exceed customer expectations.” Kyle says of his differentiator in the industry. “We found our niche in bringing our business backgrounds to the table.”
North Dallas Renovations specializes in high-end kitchens, luxury bathroom remodels, and full home renovations. But education for clients is high up on their list of valuable services. Kim and Kyle are passionate about making sure that their clients are making informed decisions and that they understand all of the factors - rather than just doing what a contractor says to do. Five to ten percent of their work comes from repeat clients, but they mostly depend on word of mouth and hope that their clients share their positive experiences.
As a team, the first step in the renovation process is to fully understand their clients’ vision and design needs through completing an initial walkthrough while discussing the details of the project. The next step is another part of the process that sets North Dallas Renovations apart - their estimates. Every estimate includes a detailed scope of work, so there are no surprises. Kyle and his team collaborate with all the correct stakeholders and experts that will be involved with the project so that they can have an in-depth understanding of the budget with the most accurate information. This minimizes change orders and the stress of additional time and budget during the project.
This attention to detail characterizes Kyle and his work. “I shoot it very straight with people,” he says. “I don’t sugarcoat things.” This means that he has built up relationships that benefit everyone in the process. His team works for North Dallas Renovations 100%, which ensures quality. With no subcontracting bits and pieces out, everything is under Kyle’s no-nonsense eye.
“Overcommunication is so important,” he says. “We really try to be that one stop shop so that there is always the overarching view of the project as the goal.”
The team’s bread and butter are kitchen and bathroom upgrades. People really want their bathrooms to be a place of retreat and to be able to escape the stress of the day in a luxury spa bathroom. This includes things like a new soaker tub, a nicer shower and customized lighting to add some creativity. Kim, Kyle and their team have been exploring all the ideas on what you can do in a bathroom to add fresh designs. For example, they have been doing a lot of chandeliers lately.
In kitchens, the focal point has been waterfall islands, and in general nicer countertops. These islands feature bar seating all around it to create another space for family and friends to gather.
“A lot of our kitchens are full gut remodels,” says Kyle. “But there are both ends of the spectrum. We are very capable of working on a project that makes a great impact on a budget.”
“It’s hard to say what sort of project is my favorite,” says Kim, who loves to be involved in all the design aspects. “I have fun with the ones that have a big impact, regardless of the room that is being renovated. It could be just a repaint or a flooring job - not necessarily a total gut.”
Kim and Kyle have been busy during the pandemic, but one of the projects they have started seeing a lot more of recently are home offices. Typically these are a dining room or closet that isn’t used a lot. With open concept layouts being more prevalent, it can be hard to find a space to turn into an office. But the team loves to get creative and helps clients envision an underutilized space or room becoming their dream work space. Storage space is key for these renovations and Kyle shared that they will add in built-ins, base cabinets or custom shelving, as well as adding in modern outlets and USB ports to make the design of the room sleek.
“The more we stay home, the more the little things become important,” says Kyle of the growing desire to renovate during the past year of quarantining and social distancing. Here’s some advice from Kim and Kyle if you’ve been bitten by the home improvement bug.
Don’t update your bathroom but leave an old floor. If you want to update a room, do the whole thing. Too many times people don’t have the time or money to do a project, but it is totally worth it to save up until you can do the entire thing. You won’t be happy at the end of the project, cause you’ll have a half beautiful room.
Don’t try to DIY some of the work with your contractor. It gets too messy, and most people don’t have the right tools or training to do their own “demo day” - no matter how fun it looks.
It’s not as easy as it looks on TV. Most people still have unrealistic expectations because of the popular shows. Everyone thinks they can have a whole lot more than what they think their budget will get them. But don’t skimp on quality.