Gizmo Home Craft

Complete Remodeling, Restoration and Repurposing Services

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Details Count

There is a difference between doing a job and doing a job well.   It is easy to do sloppy work, or to complete a job without thinking about aesthetics.  Spending a little more time on a project in the beginning, will yield a more pleasing outcome.

The following photos are from a bathroom remodel in Naperville.  My tiler was careful to mix the tiles to give them an overall organic look.  He is expert in his craft and takes the time to make sure that patterns and colors blend well.  It would be faster to pull one tile after another from the box.  But our customer will have to live with the results for the next 20 plus years.  Details count.

Painting Crown Molding The Professional Way

I’m finishing up a project in Naperville.  Part of that project was to install and paint crown molding.  My trim carpenter put up the molding, but I painted it.

The best way to get a professional finish is to use a paint sprayer.  The best paint sprayer to use is one that is air assisted.  Most painters don’t have this device because it is expensive.  I have one because I think it does the best job in these situations.

However, it is critical to prep before you spray.  Nothing would be worse than to have little paint droplets all over the brand new tile.

The photos below show this process.

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Masking the new shower.

Preparing my air assisted paint pressure pump.

Using a sprayer is the only way to give a smooth finish!

How The Pros Tile

Customers often wonder how we are able to do such perfect tiling.  Of course, much of the results come from years of practice and dedication.  However, there are also some tricks that we use to make sure that each tile is perfectly separated from the next.  Naturally, we use spacers between each tile.  Spacers are made from a soft material that can deform with the weight of heavy tiles. The photo below shows how we prevent this from happening.  The red and yellow pieces are shims made of hard plastic.  They support the framework of the tiles until the mortar is dry.  The end result is perfect spacing.

The red and yellow pieces are shims, the white pieces are spacers.

Creating A Curbless Shower

As the population ages, our needs change.  A customer wanted me to remove the tub from her master bath. In its place she wanted a curbless shower.  This is a shower where there is no lip between the bathroom floor and the shower pan.  To prevent leakage the pan has to gently slope from the floor to the drain.  The photos below show the multi-step process needed when creating such a pan.  I’ll post the completed shower when the job is done.

Adding the shower liner.

Sloped concrete base.

Skim coated base to remove imperfections.

Liquid waterproofing.

Waterproofing finished.


Why does it cost so much?

A customer wanted me to replace his current closet door with a pocket door.  This was a great idea because it would allow for more wall space in his bedroom, and it also made the adjacent bathroom ADA compliant.  However, sometimes a remodel has hidden costs.  Naturally, the pocket door has to go into a pocket.  Unfortunately, that space was already occupied by an electrical switch and the thermostat.

Now a carpentry job also became an electrical job.  The electric had to be moved, which  involved changes in the junction boxes before and after that connection.  This added to the cost.  However, the additional cost was worth it as it gave our customer  more flexibility in a room that he spends a lot of time in.  Over time the cost benefit ratio is low.

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Electric and thermostat are in the way for a new pocket door.

Junction box before the electrical connection.

Junction box after the electrical connection.

Medicine Cabinet Hurdle

I am remodeling a bathroom for a customer in Naperville.  The early 1990s style bathroom was in need of a complete refresh. Beyond the usual replacement of the floor and bathtub surround, my customer wanted a new medicine cabinet.  Her previous cabinet was tiny and located on the side of her vanity.

She wanted a much bigger cabinet, repositioned above the sink.  This would give her more storage and a large mirror.  Initially, I felt that this would be a simple job.  However, I discovered that a vent stack pipe was directly in the way.

The solution was obvious, The vent stack pipe had to be moved.  Using a few PVC elbows and a little ingenuity solved the problem.

The vent stack pipe was in the way.

A few PVC elbows and some time solved the problem!

Electrical Problem Solving

I’m remodeling a bathroom for a nice couple in Naperville.  They had chosen a higher backsplash for their sink area.  Unfortunately, the original outlet box was exactly in-line with the top the backsplash.  To tile around it would give the backsplash an amateurish look.

Instead of moving the outlet box I chose to use an offset ring.  This lowered the outlet enough to allow me to tile above it.  The finished product looks great, and the outlet ring avoided an expensive electrical job.

I love practical solutions to everyday problems!

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Original outlet placement is too high.

The offset ring.

The new outlet placement is perfect!


Replace Or Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets?

It is a common practice to reface old cabinets when remodeling a kitchen.  This can be a very cost-effective solution which yields an updated look. However, there are reasons to replace your cabinets.  Spec cabinets are often put in homes for cost reasons, and may not be of the best construction.  In addition, new cabinets can offer enhancements.  New cabinets can be extended to the ceiling giving the homeowner more storage space. The cabinets themselves can be re-configured to more modern needs.  For instance, new lazy susans are much larger those from 20 years ago.

It is important to remember that you will probably keep your new kitchen for 20 years.  That is 20 years of daily use.  Sometimes it is better to spend a little bit more upfront to gain a lot of practical enjoyment later.

Old cabinets from the 1980s.

All of the old cabinets removed.

Installing the new cabinets.


When Things Go Wrong

I have been a contractor for over 25 years.  The majority of my business has been acquired from former customers, either in the form of repeat business or referrals.  It is important for me personally and professionally to deliver on my promises.

Sometimes things just don’t go the way that I would like them to go.  I’m currently working on a bathroom and kitchen remodel for a very nice couple. It is clear that they have placed their trust in me, and I want them to continue to value my expertise and work.

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go the way I want them to go.  In their case,  a cabinet was delivered and it was not up to an acceptable standard.  In addition, a countertop that would normally take a few days to fabricate is going to take two weeks.  This is upsetting to my client, and naturally upsetting to me.

The only thing that I can do in such situations is to have an open and honest line of communication with my customer.  I know that the job will get done and that it will be done correctly, but sometimes it will just take a little longer than I would like.


Using A Sprayer Equals A Clean Line

Most people know that it is often the little details that take the longest, but yield the best looking finished project.  No one likes to tape before painting, it is tedious and time consuming.  However, it gives you a clean line that that will make your project look crisp and professional.

When you tape and then use a brush to paint you can still get some bleed over.  I have found that the absolute best results come from using a sprayer.  I use a type of sprayer that is called an air assisted airless sprayer.  This device combines the best characteristics of air and airless sprayers, and it offers the best qualities of both types of devices.

Check out the photos below to see how clean and professional the paint edge is when you use this method.


Tape removal. Notice the beautiful crisp paint line.


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