Choose Your Contractor with Care

It is an interesting, but sobering fact that a sizable percentage of Westside Remodeling’s annual income comes from fixing failed work done by others. As an example, we once fixed a problem where another contractor installed a sliding glass door without a header—believe it or not.

In another instance, we made a shocking discovery while working on a kitchen remodel. The homeowners were completely unaware that, in order to relocate a drain line for the kitchen sink, the previous contractor had cut away all the support studs for the wall. The only thing holding up the house was the stucco!

Examples of Poor Workmanship — Photos Courtesy of This Old House

My most unforgettable situation involved a woman who told us Westside came highly recommended, but she decided to use another remodeler. He had given her a lower price, and by using his services she could afford to remodel her master bath in addition. Six months later, she called us in tears, “Would you come out and look at this disaster!” Nothing in her house was completed; a giant pile of debris stretched from the front entrance through the living room; boxes of plumbing fixtures with missing parts were stacked one on top of the other. Before the framing was completed, the remodeler had been installing cabinets just so he could get another check. He never pulled any permits. He did this to several people and then left the country. Westside agreed to take the job, which involved cleaning up the mess and tearing out the shoddy workmanship. The homeowner ended up paying us more than our original bid.

Examples of Poor Workmanship — Photos Courtesy of This Old House

Examples of Poor Workmanship — Photos Courtesy of This Old House

When it comes time for your remodeling project, you don’t want to worry that someday you’ll be telling your own personal remodeling horror story. From the very beginning, you want assurance that your contractor will do things right the first time and stand behind their work should something go wrong. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has a list of questions on their website that you should ask of potential contractors.

We also recommend that you do the following before hiring:
• Visit the Contractor State Licensing Board to check on the state of the remodeler’s license. Make sure the license is active and valid.
• Check for workman’s compensation insurance.
• Check for liability insurance. Ask the contractor to show you his insurance certificate and look to see that it’s up to date.
• Ask for references, and go look at the finished work. Pay special attention to how the details are handled where different materials intersect—for example, where a tile floor meets a cabinet.
• Know if you will have an on-site supervisor or if the job will be run from an office. Westside uses the Lead Carpenter system, for example.
• Understand how the contractor facilitates communication between the various trades.
• Ask if he gives a guaranteed completion date and lifetime warranty on workmanship
• It is helpful if the contractor is local, so you know he will be there for you, if you have needs.

Remember this: quality and service come at a higher initial price. Low-ball bids are invariably the result of corner-cutting. Choose your contractor with care, and you will save money down the road by avoiding expensive and invasive repairs in the future.

Just like you, I’m also amazed at how much things cost nowadays. The only thing that costs more is when you have to do it again!

Bob Sturgeon

Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Kitchen Remodeling, Remodeling Tips, Westside Remodeling Process | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Home Ready for the Next Stage of Your Life?

A young couple often discovers their home no longer meets their needs, once they begin to have children. Later on, the same couple may find their home needs further updating to accommodate their teenagers’ increased need for independence. When the adult children move out, the empty-nesters may want further modifications made to their home, as they now have time to explore new hobbies and entertain friends. If elderly parents come to stay, it is vital to meet their special needs.

It isn’t necessary to move into a different home, each time your family progresses from one life stage to another. By making periodic modifications as time goes by, your home can continue to function well for you throughout your lifetime. Westside Remodeling can help you plan for the future, thinking through all the details, and creating flexible designs that are easier to modify whenever needs change.other3_1

If your family is growing, you may need to add another bedroom or bathroom. You may decide to remove a wall between your kitchen and family room, making it one large open area where you can keep track of toddlers while you work. A new mudroom at your home’s entry will help organize all the jackets and backpacks for your school-aged children.

If you have teenagers, you may decide to finish off the garage or basement as an entertainment room or media room where they can spend time with their friends. This may also be the perfect time to build an outdoor living space, where you can create memorable moments around fun and food on your new deck or patio.

As the children head off to college or move into their own apartments, you may find other uses for those empty bedrooms. If you enjoy crafts, you could turn a bedroom into a hobby room, complete with all the cabinets, open shelving and countertops you need to keep things well organized. Or you may decide to expand your master bedroom and create a luxury master suite by incorporating an unused bedroom.

If your elderly parents move in, or if you wish to prepare your home to meet your own changing needs as you age, you may need to make some further modifications to your home. Doorways and hallways may need to be widened. Knobs can be replaced with lever handles and light switches changed to the toggle variety to make life easier. Zero-threshold showers and comfort-height toilets, along with attractive grab bars, should be added to your bathrooms.

You will be amazed at how your home can be beautiful, and yet functional, through all the stages of your life. At Westside Remodeling, we want to make it possible for you to stay in your home and enjoy it for years to come.

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Westlake Home Gets Entire Remodeling Makeover

We are very excited to share with you a spectacular whole house remodeling project that our team recently completed. We hope you enjoy these photos, while you are also enjoying the warm summer weather!

Our clients came to Westside with a clear vision for how they wanted their newly purchased home to look. Our team worked hand-in-hand with them to achieve their dream home. Almost all of the rooms in the house were remodeled, including the kitchen, living and family rooms, five bathrooms, and a complete stair remodel. Per our homeowner’s request, we also did a home office addition on the second floor, including its own bathroom. This addition was designed to blend seamlessly with the architecture of the existing home. The extra large windows added to this room give an amazing view of the mountains and city below.

Photography by Virginia Dudasik of VTD Design GroupWestlake Village kitchen

Designers and Remodeling Specialists: Vicki Korniski and Liz Tiffin
Interior Design by: Designs of The Interior
Lead Carpenter and Project Manager: Marty Farrell
Production Manager and President: Bob Sturgeon

Featured below are details of the kitchen remodel, master bathroom and powder room.

High on the family’s list of requirements for the kitchen was a grand view of the sparkling pool. So our team located the sink beneath a sizable new window opening. Another eye-catching feature is the custom ornamental wood hood and decorative tile niche over the range. The island, which provides for multiple seating, is designed with a secondary sink and mini refrigerator. Westside also built a banquette area in the breakfast nook. The rich wood cabinetry is by Omega/Dynasty in cherry wood with a chestnut stain.2215








Master Bathroom:
The layout of this bathroom was completely 29rearranged to create a relaxing and functional bathroom. Two separate vanity areas were created, taking into account specific requests from the homeowners for storage and mirrors. The Dura Supreme cabinetry used in this bathroom has a cocoa brown stain.master

Powder Room:
A wall that separated the toilet area from 45the vanity was removed to give the powder room a more open feel. Omega/Dynasty cabinetry was selected in this room, again using cherry wood with a chestnut stain. Caesarstone countertops complete this gorgeous bathroom.

Careful selections were made throughout this home that resulted in an extraordinary, cohesive home.

A few words from our delighted clients:
“Westside Remodeling handled an enormous project in an extremely professional manner and delivered beautiful results that continue to impress us every day. We are thrilled with our new addition, our gorgeously remodeled bathrooms, and the new layout of our completely rebuilt kitchen. Everyone at Westside worked hard to make the process as painless as possible, and they have helped to give us a home to enjoy for many years to come!”

Kitchen, Master Bathroom, Powder Bathroombefore
Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Creating Space, Featured Remodeling Projects, Kitchen Remodeling, Remodeling Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Converting a Spare Bedroom into a Home Office


If you’re tired of clearing a spot at the kitchen table every time there’s desk work to be done, consider converting a spare bedroom into a home office. You can obtain the peace and privacy that you need to perform well. You also receive the benefit of being able to leave your work set up at your desk. Plus, if you use this part of your home for business, you may be able to receive the home office deduction on your taxes.

Creating a high-functioning office in a spare bedroom takes careful planning. You should think about storage, electrical outlets, lighting, and aesthetics. We’re happy to assist you with drawings that will help give you a better idea of how your new office will look once the conversion is finished.


Westside Remodeling recently completed the attractive home office remodeling project shown below.

The before photos are of the original home office that our client arranged simply by moving his desk and other equipment into his spare bedroom. He was frustrated, however, because his office layout was inefficient and lacked storage space.


We designed a wall of maple cabinetry by Dynasty in their lustrous Pearl painted finish. This included a stained wood veneer desktop, filing cabinets and space for a printer and other equipment. The original bedroom closet now offers a built-in melamine closet organization system for miscellaneous office supplies. The existing bedroom carpet was replaced with engineered, pre-finished hardwood flooring.

To accommodate our client’s needs, we installed new outlets in the desk area, plus four new recessed lights with a dimmer, and a ceiling fan. The cable TV jack and phone jack were relocated to the desk area as well.


During the time that we were working on this client’s home office, we also were remodeling his bedrooms and two bathrooms. Westside’s standard processes for dust control and careful removal of all construction-related debris made it easy for our client to stay in his home while the work was being completed.

Be sure to call us at Westside if you need some help designing your home office: 805-499-4121

— Bob Sturgeon

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Extend Your Living Space to the Outdoors


Giving your family more room to enjoy life can be as simple as extending your living space to the outdoors. Westside Remodeling can create a basic patio by stabilizing the area directly outside your home, and then installing pavers of concrete, slate or other materials for a flooring surface. To complete it, we can build a roof cover overhead to provide some protection from sun and rain. Add comfortable cushioned seating, and you have a wonderful spot for curling up with a favorite book or magazine.


Or you may want to view the outdoor living space as a bona fide addition to your home. Westside can design your outdoor living space to offer the very same amenities as an interior space, but with the added benefit of being out in the fresh air. This outdoor addition can flow seamlessly from indoors through to the outside, with floor to ceiling glass walls that may be fully retracted.  This is one of the easiest ways to create the illusion that your home is larger than it is, along with really maximizing that open feeling. More light is brought into your home as well. In this outdoor lounge area you may want to include a fireplace, a flat screen TV, WiFi and an audio speaker system.


Incorporating seclusion into your extended living space is easily and attractively accomplished by installing a series of trellises with hedge plantings, wooden fences, or tall sculptures intermixed with tall shrubs or trees. The use of full or partial lattice walls provides another option that creates a sense of privacy around your patio.

Lots of options are available to create a welcoming and functional outdoor living space. During the planning stages, think about whether or not you need any of the following: enclosures, awnings, fountains, railings, or built-in seats, tables, and planters. You may want to consider an outdoor living room with a roof top sun lounge, as seen in the photos here of a project completed by Westside.

Patio Cover After 3

Our design team at Westside Remodeling can work with you to integrate this new space into the existing look of your home. The possibilities are endless!

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Alana Shares Photos of New Dura Supreme Product

Alana Busse, Westside’s Designer and Remodeling Specialist, is highly impressed with a new Dura Supreme product featured in one of their recent website blog entries. We are reposting the eye-catching photos and descriptions to help keep you current on the latest product introductions.

You are invited to visit our showroom to see samples of the Dura Supreme cabinetry line, which has a multitude of options in style and can fit most budgets.



As more and more homeowners opt for contemporary styling, Dura Supreme has developed a stainless steel drawer system so that the cabinet interior is as sleek as the cabinet exterior.

This beautiful kitchen showcases minimalist design with high-gloss doors in White Acrylic and Mercury Wired Gloss Foil. Dura-089 MASTER SD

By design, a two-tone edgebanding was selected for the White Acrylic doors to coordinate with the Mercury Wired Foil doors.Dura-179 SDa







The horizontal band of wall cabinets hovers over the sink creating easy access to often-used dishware and glassware.  Lift-up hardware makes access even easier. Dura-053 Master vase SD Dura-128 SD






Cabinet interiors are as sleek as the exterior with Dura Supreme’s new Stainless Steel drawers.  The stainless steel sides lend a contemporary style to our hard-working drawers that glide on full extension, self-closing, soft-close slides.

Dura-179 SD       Dura-175 SD_0           Dura-190 SD














Reposted from a Dura Supreme blog post by Karen Wistrom on May 29, 2014

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Before You Move, Consider the Advantages of Remodeling!

As the years go by and your family grows and changes, your needs for your home also evolve. Does your home no longer offer the functional space and/or the amenities that fit your current lifestyle? If so, you may be wavering between whether to move or improve your home. Many people just assume moving would be the easier choice. Westside would like to help you make an informed decision by outlining some of the advantages remodeling offers that you may not have considered.


First of all, think about the community you live in. You may have developed close ties to your neighbors and your neighborhood and would hate to leave those familiar surroundings. The proximity of your home to your place of employment,  local schools, churches, medical facilities and other services you have come to rely on is another consideration. These are all important connections that need not be disrupted if you remodel. The costs of moving are a big consideration. You will have the pressure of needing to sell your current home, plus paying the 6+/-% commission if you choose to go through a realtor (on a $200,000 home that is $12,000!).  Additional closing costs can be another 2%. Then, when you finally locate the house you want to buy, once again you will have the closing costs and the expenses involved in financing a larger mortgage, plus a possible increase in property taxes. On top of that, there are the moving expenses. One of the biggest attractions of remodeling is that the money spent on moving expenses, closing costs and an agent’s commission will not be required, and you avoid the worry of whether or not your current home will sell.


You may be surprised to learn how adaptable your home is to a renovation. According to Bob Sturgeon, “Sometimes it requires a new addition to give our clients the space they desire in their remodeled home. Other times, by removing interior walls and readjusting the layout, we have totally transformed our clients’ homes, providing them the larger spaces they needed within the existing footprint.”  Remodeling can often increase the future resale value of your home, especially if the improvements increase living space. The biggest resale returns generally come from improvements that bring the house up to the value of other homes in your same area. Westside Remodeling has very detailed process in place to keep the disruptions of remodeling to a minimum. We would love to discuss our process with you and show you why our past clients don’t sell their homes and move. They keep coming back to us whenever their home needs to be updated to fit their ever changing lifestyle.

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What a Home Show!

The weather was wonderful—mild and breezy—and the attendance was fantastic at the 38th Annual Home Remodeling Show in Westlake Village! Many local home improvement vendors were there, displaying their services and products on April 26-27 at the Westlake Hyatt outdoor plaza. This was Westside Remodeling’s 35th year to exhibit at this event. Bob Sturgeon and Westside’s designer, Alana Busse, staffed our booth, with Georgia Sturgeon giving them a well-deserved break towards the end of each day.USE THIS DSC_0037 cropped2

Our double-wide exhibit featured a kitchen vignette created from beautiful Omega Cabinetry, utilizing the Artesia door style in Alder wood with a nutmeg stain and onyx glaze. The hardware was by Soko, and the countertop was tumbled marble travertine. Over the years, as we have transported this kitchen vignette, set it up at events, and then dismantled it again, we have been highly impressed with its longevity. This is an apt demonstration of Omega’s excellent craftsmanship that provides cabinetry durable enough for a busy household.

We enjoyed displaying large photos of some of our best projects, as well as samples of quartz countertops. Visitors to our booth welcomed the opportunity to touch and feel the quartz and get a sense of its quality.USE THIS DSC_0040 cropped

We loved the enthusiasm of the people in attendance! Many people walked right up to us, letting us know they were ready to remodel and wanting to know “where to sign up”. They also were excited to sign up for our quarterly eNewsletter, and at the same time have their names placed in a prize drawing. Congratulations to all three of our winners!

If you were not able to attend this show, please come to the September 2014 home show and check out our brand new kitchen vignette. It will have many innovate features, including a roll-out pantry and a pull-out lazy susan!


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Cabinet Construction Basics

Over the years here at Westside, we’ve found that our clients have a wide variety of preferences when it comes to the interior styling of their homes. It’s our pleasure to work hand-in-hand with all of you to find just the right look that you envision for your home. Cabinets constitute a major portion of the design of any kitchen or bath, thereby greatly influencing the appearance of the room. To help you as you are making decisions regarding your cabinetry, we offer this basic information on cabinet construction.


I. Framed cabinetry (also known as Face Frame) is the traditional construction method used for cabinets in the United States. Framed cabinetry is constructed in much the same manner as traditional furniture. A frame that resembles a flat, empty picture frame is attached to the face of the cabinet box, giving it structural rigidity. The pieces of the frame are usually 3/4″ thick by 1-1/2″ wide. The cabinet doors are hinged to the frame. Drawer width is limited to the dimensions of the face frame opening, so a certain amount of the cabinet box is not accessible.
With framed cabinetry, the cabinet doors or drawer fronts may be inset, or they may overlay the face frame, with varying amounts of the face frame showing, depending on the size of the door or the drawer front.


Inset cabinet doors were the standard for kitchen cabinetry in the 1900s. The doors and drawer faces are flush with the cabinet face frame, fitted in a precisely-sized opening. Hinges are mounted to the face frame and are often visible when the cabinet door is closed. This method produces beautiful cabinetry with a traditional feel, but it tends to be more expensive because of the precision required.

Overlay cabinet doors (also called Reveal) are mounted over the face frame, completely covering the opening, as well as a portion or even all of the frame. Because of the face frame, this method also limits the amount of accessible space inside the cabinet. There are two types:

  • Partial Overlay

    Partial Overlay doors fit over the face frame, covering the cabinet box opening, but revealing part of the frame. This method uses less material, so it tends to be less expensive. For aesthetic reasons, avoid partial overlay construction that includes wide expanses of visible face frame, since the doors and drawers may appear to be dotting the surface, rather than defining it.

  • Full Overlay

    Full Overlay doors are larger and completely cover the face frame, resulting in a sleek look. This construction gives the seamless appearance of a Frameless cabinet, but the face frame still limits cabinet accessibility.



II. Frameless cabinetry (also known as European style or Full Access) consist of 3/4″ thick panels that are doweled, glued, then case-clamped together to form a box. The doors are secured directly to the sides of the cabinet box with hidden hinges. The doors are Full Overlay, which means they cover the entire box. This gives them a smooth look that fits well in a contemporary style kitchen. Special hinges allow the doors to open without hitting adjacent doors and drawers. These cabinets are often called “full access” because there are no obstructions blocking use of the interior. The drawer box is typically wider and deeper than that of a framed cabinet.



Cabinet faces can be made of solid wood, or an engineered sheet material like plywood, MDF or a combination of these. Cabinet faces with raised or flat panels are generally made from milled wood that is pieced together with square or mitered corners around a center panel. With Raised Panels, the center panel of the door or drawer face is raised with a profile or contour, whereas with Flat Panels the center panel is flat. The appearance of a paneled cabinet face may be achieved with an engineered sheet material that is routed.
When the cabinet face is completely flat it is called a Slab door or drawer face. It is usually constructed of a sheet material overlaid with a premium wood veneer, a manufactured veneer like Melamine, or a veneer surface that will be painted, like maple, poplar or MDF. Veneer is a thin material glued under pressure onto a thicker substrate. The high gloss Euro-style cabinets are either painted with a high-gloss lacquer, or are constructed of high-gloss laminates, acrylic or a combination of methods.
We invite you to visit our Westside showroom and view our cabinet displays for the three lines of cabinetry we offer. Our in-house designers will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

(photos courtesy of DuraSupreme)

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Westside’s Warrior Dash

On Saturday, April 5th, Bob Sturgeon and his family had fun participating in the Warrior Dash event in San Dimas, with proceeds from their entry fees helping to support Saint Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital. Known as the world’s largest obstacle race series, the Warrior Dash is held on seriously rugged terrain in more than 50 locations across the globe. Participants at the San Dimas location earned their Warrior helmets by tackling a fierce 3.2 mile course and 12 extreme obstacles.

Bob’s son, Bradley, came in second in their family’s wave and his wife, Georgia, worked hard not to be last, and succeeded by a hair’s breadth. His daughter, Jenna, proved to be quite the warrior for her first race!  Bob managed to skip the mudslide due to a slight cold—maybe next time. After conquering the Battleground, a relaxing time was had sitting on the grass with family friends and munching on turkey legs and sipping a little free beer.

Enjoy the photos! Anyone want to join in next time around?


Check out for additional info.


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