RJM Contractors Blog

Starting the #SneadIsleBath Project

The #SneadIsleBath project got under way this past week with the demolition and subcontractors getting started. I figured you might want to see a before picture of this space.

And here is the recently demolished bathroom isn’t it cozy?

 On this day we were finalizing placements for all of the plumbing and electrical fixtures.

 Here is that slipper tub as we found its final resting place. Planning the rough in plumbing for a freestanding tub is extremely important and I’m really pleased with the orientation towards the window that we settled on.


Currently we are finished with rough-in, framing, and drywall. Coming up in the next installment we’ll cover the cabinet set and the tile work starts.

If you missed the first post click HERE

Written by: Jeremy Parcels

The Design Process of the #SneadIsleBath Project

Recently a nice couple contacted us about remodeling their master bathroom. During my initial consultation at their home I learned that they were looking for a contemporary space that more reflected their style than their current bathroom. Knowing that all design aesthetics and preferences vary, I have begun to use the web site Houzz with clients.


Houzz is a web site that contains interior design and decorating ideas. I’ve been using Houzz for over a year now but have only recently started using it with clients. These clients were very design savvy so I asked if they had heard of it and they had not. I asked them to go on the site and create an account to look at some bathroom designs and ideas to get a sense of what they wanted. Within a couple of days I had an email of a new follower on Houzz and a shared ideabook. I thought for this project it would be fun to share the entire process with you all. Here is the ideabook where some of our inspirations came from.

As we worked together through the design phase, our plan started to come together and at some point my client’s wife found this tub from Victoria + Albert and fell in love. (Easy to see why!)



Via Victoria + Albert Amalfi Collection


From that point on most of our design was focused around this freestanding tub. I’m also a fan of Pinterest and made a design board featuring some of the products we’ll be using on project #SneadIsleBath which you can find here.


Over the next few weeks I’ll be keeping you up to date on this project here, but if you follow me on Twitter you’ll catch updates there with the hash tag #SneadIsleBath and if you would like you can also follow me on Pinterest and on Houzz.


Written by: Jeremy Parcels

Sherwin-Williams’ Apps Make Color a Snap

Let's face it, picking a paint color is no easy chore, you start with a huge deck of colors in 1" strips and you hope to find a couple you like. Then back to the paint store to get a bigger swatch or a sample of the
color. Back home to put the sample on the wall and look at it with that new area rug you just bought or next to your bedroom linens. Then if you picked the right color you are headed back to the paint store to buy it. If not, you start this cycle all over again and before you know it you spent $25 on sample colors and still haven’t found the “right one”. There has to be an easier way right?

Well thanks to our favorite paint company, Sherwin-Williams there are now two much better ways to help you locate your perfect color quickly!


First is the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer, which you can find on their web site http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/. Color Visualizer allows you to upload a picture whether it is interior or exterior and try different wall colors in those spaces.  Have you ever wondered what your entry way would look like painted emerald green? You’ll know rather quickly if emerald green is going to be adorning you’re entry way and if not finding the right color is that much easier when you are testing it in the space.


Second is the mobile app ColorSnap which can be found at all of your mobile app stores for free. ColorSnap will allow you to take a picture with your phone and use the color select tool to show you the closest Sherwin Williams color to your desired hue. Have you ever been in a hotel or restaurant and seen that “perfect” color of… Just take a picture select the color and save it to your favorites to check out when you get home!

Sherwin-Williams is our go to paint supplier. They simply have some of the best products on the market, and with innovations like Color Visualizer and ColorSnap they’re making selecting paint easier every day.

All photos were obtained from http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/ or are my own screen shots.

1957 Chevy Bel Air

Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to the second edition of classic Fridays. The last couple weeks I’ve had cars on the brain for one reason or another and thinking about classic cars there are a few that come to mind but being a Chevy guy the first one that stands out for me is the 1957 Chevy Bel Air. The Bel Air was a not an instant classic actually Ford out sold Chevy that model year. But over time the ’57 has become a prized possession by collectors, hot rodders, and on lookers like me it’s truly an American classic.

Here is the original stock ’57 Bel Air convertible in my favorite powder blue. What a looker!

The classic hardtop in black.

Did I mention hot rods? Pure American muscle here!

I’ve always liked the instrument panel on the 1957 Chevy.

The Bel Air’s tail fins and body style have even inspired custom motorcycle builders.

Have a hot rod Friday everyone!

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

On more than one occasion I have been called an old soul. On any given day you might walk in my house and hear classical music or jazz playing, or you might see a black and white movie playing… ok that is mostly my wife’s doing! Yes of course I like current music and movies as well but it’s nice to slow down with the classics or some jazz. Thus I have decided to start a regular installment on the blog called Classic Friday’s. On the second Friday of every month I will post something classic it could be an actor, actress, movie, song, art, architecture… anything really. So please stop by and leave a comment if you see something you like!

I could not think of a better start to Classic Friday’s than Audrey Hepburn! I first fell in love with her when I watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with my grandmother which I still stop and watch it when it happens to be on.  



Since then I have seen quite a few of her movies my favorites are “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holliday”. She was truly a classic beauty and a very classy lady that some current celebrities could take note of. But what I really like about her was her smile and what seemed to be a very playful disposition.










Merillat’s Coreguard Sink Base

Do you know which cabinet is abused the most in a kitchen? If said the sink base you are right! Most of the time this cabinet is where homeowners store their cleaners and of course the plumbing for the sink is there too. With the ins and outs for cleaners and possible plumbing leaks it is easy to see why this cabinet can look like this after years of use.


About 2 years ago Merillat introduced a revolutionary cabinet to help keep problems like small plumbing leaks and cleaner spills from damaging the sink base.  The Coreguard sink base is made of an engineered polymer (similar to a marine grade plastic) making the cabinet superior to traditional wood or particleboard cabinets. The raised groove floor and slight incline move the mess to the front of the cabinet so it is visible by simply opening the door.

The best part is all this technology is behind closed doors the door frame and doors are the same great quality and standards as the rest of your kitchen! When considering your next kitchen project think about how this sink base cabinet could protect your investment after all most people will only remodel there kitchen once a life time.


Coverings 2012 Here I Come

Coverings “The Ultimate Stone + Tile Experience”
Takes over the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on April 17 thru the 20th bringing the best in tile and stone from around the world right here to the U.S.! This will be my first year attending the show and I will be covering all the latest trends from the show in detail with future posts. Coverings looks to be different from other conventions of its kind the exhibitors seem to invite attendees to stay and view their products and ask questions by having lounges and coffee bars in their booths to keep us hanging around. The show’s presence on various Social Media (SoMe) has been engaging possible attendees and giving them a glimpse of what is to come since January through its blog.

You can find the show on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube

My trip will be more than just taking in the show however, I am honored to share with you all that Coverings has asked me to host a 15 minuet informal talk in their social media lounge on Tuesday April 17 at 12:30pm. My planned discussion about “Getting Started on Twitter” in which I plan on covering why a corporation should be on twitter, how to engage in conversation, and  how to make a “twitter plan” and implement it in to your work day without taking away from your current duties. I will be joined by 14 of my peers in leading these discussions and best of all they are FREE as is the rest of the show!! The Social Media pros they have chosen all have a big following and fantastic blogs but a majority of them run their own businesses in the design field. Giving you a firsthand perspective on how to make SoMe work for you on your schedule. The complete list of speakers is here.

If you plan on attending or were considering it stop by their web site and have a look around at all the show has to offer, and don’t let this one pass you by.

Schuler Pierce Project

The first time I walked in to David Schuler and Dennis Pierce’s recently purchased condo in Sarasota, FL about a year ago I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that they were looking to remodel and update the entire two bedroom two bathroom residence and not much else. After introductions were made they showed me the improvements they wanted to make. This included opening up the kitchen, living room, and sitting room to create a large open floor plan and enlarging the master suite. But that isn’t what impressed me. They had a slightly contemporary style in mind with pictures of various designs that they liked and even a gorgeous wood floor chosen. Their enthusiasm made me excited for what this project could be. You don’t always get a customer that has inspiration and a good feel for design but they did and it made for a fun project. They were looking for a kitchen and bath designer and contractor who could pull it all together and make it happen for them. Fortunately for us they liked my designs, trusted us as a contractor and ultimately awarded us the job. With every corner of David and Dennis’s house redone and the interior done by David and Dennis themselves, it is finally time for me to share this project with everyone.

Over the next few posts I will go into further detail about the remodel, but for today I just wanted to post the whole project. Enjoy!

Kitchen, bathrooms, and entertainment center designed by Jeremy Parcels. Interior decorating and colors by owners David Schuler and Dennis Pierce. All photos by Jeremy Parcels.

The Sorpresa Line From Best Range Hoods

Things have been busy here around RJM but I wanted to take a second to give you another product update from our trip to IBS 2012, with at least 2 more to come. Being a kitchen & bath designer shiny things tend to get my attention, like this sitting in the entryway of the show…


Vertigo Double (photo by Jeremy Parcels)

Of course I am very familiar with Best and their parent company Broan, so yes they were already on my list of things to see and the Sorpresa collection was now number one on my list at their booth.

The thing about kitchen ventilation is that it’s 100% necessary but finding ways to hide it or to make it look beautiful is special. Best has certainly reached that goal with the Sorpresa line.


The Vertigo Double (above) and the Gloss (below) look more like sculptures to than range hoods

Modulare is a real treat. It gives you the ability to have your ventilation match your cabinets or maybe even be your accent color with its changeable center panel.

Then there is Secret is that a range hood or a light fixture? Either way it is gorgeous yet not too bulky to define or break up an open kitchen plan.

But my favorite range hood is from Best. You probably would never see it if you walked in to a kitchen unless you are staring at the ceilings.

Cirrus is a flush mount range hood that is sleek powerful and ducted. The big deal about Cirrus is that it can be mounted in ceilings 7’-10’ above the finished floor. Meaning that if you have a working island with a cook top in it then the obtrusive site of a range hood is not necessary giving you a clear view of your lovely kitchen. In kitchens where the view around you is the show stopper, Cirrus is the answer. This range hood will require some additional planning as it does require the proper framing in the ceiling for installation it is 24” wide which allows it to be placed between trusses if they happen to run the proper way in your kitchen.


Best truly had some great products to show and were very helpful and attentive at their booth, be sure and check them out for your next kitchen project. Stay tuned next week as I will be posting my favorite project to date for the first time!

Photos and information Via http://bestsorpresa.com/Best_Sorpresa_Catalog.pdf and http://bestsorpresa.com/ unless otherwise noted

The Customer is Always Right. Right? BUT . . .

Last year you may remember I attended GE June? While there I had the chance to meet some great people and two of them that I spent significant time with was JB Bartkowiak and Barry Morgan the Building Moxie duo. I have done a couple of guest spots on their site and recently asked JB to return the favor enjoy…

By jb Bartkowiak, Editor and MC @ BuildingMoxie.com:  the do-it-together blog dedicated to homeownership,
diy remodeling  and the business of house renovation. 

 “The Client is Always Right.”  Right?  BUT . . .

Really it has been a little while since I’ve worked in the field.  And it was only a little while that I worked in the field . . . for a production home builder.   As much as I was responsible for ordering, scheduling and managing manpower, during that period, I spent an equal amount of time, well, responding to customer concerns.

There was one type of “discussion,” it seemed, that popped up more than any other.  I’ll admit -- it really is not a discussion that is solely limited to the building trade.  It goes on with building new, renovating old, commercial or residential, it’s not even tied wholly to construction – it doesn’t discriminate . . . but it seems to me to happen most frequently between construction clients and the people around the world that serve them. 

No! These discussions do not involve the topic of unfinished work or incorrect selections.  Nope.  Not a nail pop or a settlement crack.  No! Not a door out of adjustment or a running toilet . . . a leaky basement or any of the thousand other common issues you might find near the end of any sort of build. 

Follow me, and these discussions go like this:

The client starts, “Can we . . . ?”  And of course those ellipses there are replaced with this or that and typically presenting an idea, an inspiration, or some type of, well, “solution.”

The business representative then starts a reply with, “Well.  Of course . . . we can, BUT . . . .”  And those ellipses there are replaced with something like 1. An argument that protects the interests of the “organization” OR 2. Some reason why the “Can we . . . ?” . . . really just doesn’t make good practical building, or just plain financial, sense.

Sound familiar? Well maybe it might regardless of the field or position you work in.  It is at risk of occurring of anywhere a customer service interaction is happening.

I mean – beyond poor taste judgments . . . carpet in a bathroom say (Ho . . . Holler Sister @ Carmen Natschke), I’ll suggest that many of these moments might be spawned from and can be credited to something like what my friend Alycia Wicker has called, “DIY Courage in a Blog™"

As she puts it, “Kinda of like Courage in a bottle, but it’s what you get when you read too many DIY blogs and think you have mastered whatever DIY tutorials you’ve seen and I need to totally trademark that”.

Of how ‘bout it’s twin the DIY Goggles maybe.  You know that sudden burst of confidence you get after watching a DIY- or Home-oriented TV program. 

And Okay, it’s not always the case, and it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to any suggestion that the individuals asking the questions would actually consider doing the work.  Instead, and in this case, it extends from a condition I’ll call, for lack of a better phrase, “Momentary Reality Blindness,” which manifests itself from something like a skewed (or lightly formulated) set of expectations.

Maybe not surprisingly, I’d say that more often than not –answers to these types of questions seem to fall under the heading of “Financially Restrictive”.  Anything, after all, is possible

 “. . . we can, BUT . . . maybe you might consider doing it like {different idea}.  I don’t think you are going to be willing to spend {x} for doing it like {original idea}.”

“Sure, we can take all the kitchen cabinets off this wall and move them to that wall, BUT . . . .”

“ Sure!  We can put a vinyl window in your shower for more natural light.  Yeah they do hold up better without regular maintenance, BUT . . . .” (shout to Jane Griswold Radocchia, Architect>> http://www.jgrarchitect.com/)

 “Sure, we can move the toilet rough-in from the front of the basement to the back, BUT . . . .”

. . . and you get the point.

And OK, for me and with the clients I have worked with, it never seemed to approach what I would consider outrageous – the examples above being only dramatizations, of course.

Surprisingly too… and I’d likely say that the “client-proposed version of the project” ends up moving forward probably way more than 50% the time, anyway. 

“The Client is Always Right.”  Right?


Speaking with Barry Morgan (Buildings Moxie’s resident co-host), and he was familiar with what I speak of . . . he said, “My most recent encounter with this I am calling ‘the kitchen ceiling’.   Basically the homeowners removed the drywall from the kitchen ceiling and found that they liked the look of the exposed wood beams on the one side of the room.  BUT there is steel and engineered beams, as well as plumbing, electric, etc running on the other side of the room.

So they brought me in to try to make these new elements look old.   I initially told them that ‘there is no way I can estimate this.’  But they insisted.  So I am in the process of making all the newer elements of this kitchen ceiling look old.  The cost on it is rising and as I am keeping them informed of progress, BUT they seem to be getting nervous.   I warned them.   But really, it is right in my wheelhouse.  It’s like an art project for money.”

While this article is dedicated to client interactions, I’ll choose not to “out” any examples of kooky projects with past clients (Just Barry’s current one).  Instead, I’ll claim my own half-baked misadventures . . . in my very own house.  (*cough*) The series I call --
The Pocketless Door Experiment.  Whew.  Come on -- an articulating pocketless door?! (Half-baked… might as well just drop the “half-“ part.  Ha!)


Despite my tone at the beginning of this article, it is NOT meant in any way to sound like I am considering folks who ask questions -- “crazy clients.”  Rather, I’ll say -- the real crime here would be in these discussions not had. 

You cannot be perfect every time . . . “you live and learn” and you cannot have any real expertise without first stepping outside your comfort zone.   In turn, sometimes making, well, errors in judgment. 

BUT some great ideas and projects (like Barry’s) have come from these types of “exploratory” discussions.  They are all good as long as the end outcome, if set in motion, is a happy customer (even if that customer is you) and a payment for (premium) services rendered is made.

I don’t know.  Let me know what you think about it.  What are you some crazy discussions that turned into projects?  Were they successful?  Give us a shout in the comment section down below.


If you were curious and interested, you can continue to follow Barry’s progress here >> http://www.junctionhomeservices.net/home/category/services/salvage/

Source for some images here >> http://www.creativeenergyexteriors.com/2011/12/creative-energys-top-5-fun-home-improvements



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Recent Posts

  1. Starting the #SneadIsleBath Project
    Tuesday, January 29, 2013
  2. The Design Process of the #SneadIsleBath Project
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013
  3. Sherwin-Williams’ Apps Make Color a Snap
    Tuesday, December 18, 2012
  4. 1957 Chevy Bel Air
    Friday, August 10, 2012
  5. Audrey Hepburn
    Friday, July 13, 2012
  6. Merillat’s Coreguard Sink Base
    Wednesday, May 23, 2012
  7. Coverings 2012 Here I Come
    Wednesday, April 04, 2012
  8. Schuler Pierce Project
    Wednesday, March 21, 2012
  9. The Sorpresa Line From Best Range Hoods
    Wednesday, March 07, 2012
  10. The Customer is Always Right. Right? BUT . . .
    Monday, February 20, 2012

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