Architect vs. a Design-Build Firm – 5 Key Factors to Consider

If you’re about to embark on a new home improvement project, you’ve probably been wondering where to begin, and this question has probably crossed your mind: “Should I hire an architect/designer and a general contractor separately, or should I hire a design-build firm to design and build my space in one go?” In this article, we’ll explore the perspectives and approaches of each option to help you make the best decision.

Disclaimer: Not all companies are the same, and in this article, we are describing what we believe to be the most likely scenario. In reality, there are some exceptions and you may find differences within each approach. All our examples illustrate the optimal scenario. Also, please keep in mind that in order to examine this subject objectively, we will analyze and review only the design services provided by both companies, i.e., design services provided by the design-build firm and design services provided by the design firm. Furthermore, all the subjects mentioned in this article apply to both home renovation projects and new construction, so whether you’re planning to build a new kitchen or building a new house from the ground up, this article should hopefully give you a strong foundation of knowledge on the subject. 

Now, let’s first understand the terminology used in the home improvement industry:

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What are design-build firms? This simply means one contract and hiring only one company. Basically, you get both the design and production teams under one roof. One distinct characteristic of the design-build firm is their inability to predict, but the ability to commit. That is to say, most of the time, when you hire a design-build firm for a project, you will first sign a contract with an agreed-upon amount for the job to be completed. However, things may change in the future, such as material costs going up, labor taking longer than expected or even new building regulations that slow down the construction stage. Once your contract has been signed, these changes aren’t likely to affect you at all. You’ll pay only the agreed-upon amount. It is also important to note that every coin has two sides, and these fluctuations can also work in favor of a design-build business. For example, the company might have purchased drywall at a 10 percent discount or saved one week’s worth of labor on a remodeling project that took four weeks instead of the expected five weeks. Regardless of how the process evolves, the price will be the same as agreed upon, and the firm will adapt to the outcome if circumstances change in either direction.

What does an architect do? You likely already know the answer to this question, but just so we’re on the same page, an architect is someone who designs, plans and sometimes oversees the construction of buildings. When we use the term “designer” in this article, it can refer to either an architect, a designer or even someone without formal education who has the knack for home design and the ability and knowledge to draw plans. While we’re at it, a quick word about design to avoid confusion. The term “designer” in this article does not in any way refer to an interior designer. An interior designer is someone who deals with the appearance of the interior (for example, what furniture, rug, drapes or pillows to choose), while the term designer in this article refers to someone who arranges the actual construction, placement of elements, layout and draws the actual building plans.


What is the role of a structural engineer? They ensure that structures can withstand the stresses and pressures imposed by use and the environment. Whether hired by the designer or the homeowner, the engineer has the final say in major structural decisions and is the one who signs off on the plan before it is submitted to the city for inspection. If you want to build a new house and you consult an architect, you will come up with a design you like together. After that, it’s time to consult a structural engineer. The engineer will examine the plan and perform all necessary calculations to ensure that the structure is reinforced to withstand high winds and will remain standing even after major earthquakes. Basically, after all those calculations, the structural engineer will come up with the precise building settings and will answer all structurally related questions, such as what size beams to use, as well as questions about joints, fittings, walls and whether to use steel or concrete as a reinforcement material. This is required to ensure the stability of the structure for many years to come.

So, now that we’ve covered the fundamentals, let’s dive right in and explore both approaches.

Home Remodeling Inspiration - Cosmeyer
1. What is the main interest of the two?

When you hire a design-build firm, their primary interest in the project is usually not the design part, but the building itself. Although they have qualified designers on staff who can assist you in creating a great plan, their primary focus is on the construction phase. As a result, design-build firms have the motivation and capability to collaborate with homeowners to develop a plan that is practical, well-executed and within the homeowner’s budget. The designer, on the other hand, is solely concerned with creating the design. They are well-prepared to create a beautiful design for your space, but sometimes they go above and beyond what you require or request. As a result, it will not necessarily match to the financial/practical aspects of your project. Generally speaking, when you hire a design firm, they will try to leave their mark with their work by featuring your ideas in a more detailed and sophisticated manner. By doing more than what you need, you can end up with a plan that is more expensive and complicated to execute, while a designer at a design-build company often has an overall view of the plan and tends to not overdo it, since at the end, the design-build company committed/will commit to performing the project for the agreed amount.

Additionally, because the design firm is mainly interested in creating the design, once the plan is ready, the designer will no longer be involved in your project and you will need to find a contractor to carry it out. A design-build firm, on the other hand, will continue because they are in charge of all aspects of the work, including handling all permits in between. And since the construction phase is essentially their bread and butter, they will go to great lengths to ensure that the design phase is accurate, practical and within your budget.

2. What about gray areas during construction work?

Gray areas during construction have a significant impact on your renovation experience. To get a better understanding of this delicate topic, let’s take a look at an example. Assuming that you’ve been working separately with a designer to come up with a plan that accommodates your needs and the plan looks great on paper, you’re now ready to begin construction. So, you’ve done your research and decided on a local builder. When the construction team starts working on your new home, they discover that the special windows you’ve chosen and included in the design are no longer available because the window manufacturer discontinued the window collection you intended to use. Things shift all the time in this line of business, and now the window manufacturer has released a new line. This could be really frustrating because you absolutely loved those windows and already spent days searching for them, and now you’re left with an unresolved issue that prevents the builders from continuing with their job until you fix it. This is a classic gray area scenario where no one is to blame, as no one could have predicted that the window manufacturer would phase out the line you liked so early. So, what’s next? 

You may have only one realistic option, which is to find new windows that are compatible with the original design you’ve planned. Even though you may end up with new windows that are more stylish, functional and affordable than your original ones, finding them will most likely be quite a hassle. You will still need to spend hours or even days sending emails, making phone calls and driving around to find the right windows for your home. Suppose you’ve found a new line of windows you like after a few days of hunting, but they’re not the same size as the first ones and the builder has already done the framing according to the size of the prior windows— now what? Now it’s even more complicated. Even if the designer you’ve been working with agrees to revise the plan without charging you extra, you will most likely not be compensated for the time delay, all the energy and effort spent looking for new windows, the expense of the additional work necessary by the builder to adjust the framing, the extra days off from work, and so on.

If the same thing happened while working with a design-build firm, you would be in a different position, as we will explain. Typically, when hiring a design-build firm, you can choose between two options: with or without the finishing materials. This means the homeowner can either provide the finishing materials (doors, windows, tiles, lighting, sinks, faucets, etc.) or the company can provide them for you.

If the situation above occurred while you supply the finishing materialsIn that case, supplying the finishing materials is your agreed-upon responsibility, so it’s obviously your job to supply matching windows and resolve this matter. However, because the design-build firm has already begun the construction work, they are in a position to keep the project moving. As a result, it is most likely that they will help you find new matching windows to minimize the hassle.

If that situation occurred while the design-build firm supplies the finishing materials – A scenario like the one above has a lower chance of happening when a design-build firm provides the finishing materials for your building project, as they run regular inventory checks ahead of time to ensure everything runs smoothly. But if it does happen, the firm will most likely handle this gray area entirely in-house and source new windows that are comparable to what you had in mind. To put it simply, if an event like this occurred during construction, it would be resolved within the design-build firm, and you won’t need to go back and forth between parties to find a solution.

Separating the parties and hiring a designer and builder separately often results in more gray areas, and as we just saw, events like this during the construction phase can be a stumbling block that could result in redoing paperwork, a large amount of extra correspondence between the designer and the builder, submitting the modified plans to the city for approval while the construction workers are on break, and so on. In our opinion, gray areas are important to consider, and you should be mindful of this subject before deciding which road to choose when building or renovating your home.

3. What is the approach for each method?

No two jobs are alike, and every remodeling project has its own set of challenges, so it’s important to first understand the mechanism of each approach. First, let’s examine how a design-build firm works. Most design-build firms can provide three types of designs: pre-selected, custom or any combination of the two.


What exactly is pre-selected design? Since the design-build firm is most likely handling the construction aspect as well, they can easily offer you pre-selected existing design templates to choose from. By using those templates, they can offer the homeowner a finished product that is priced using simple factors. For example, here is a house in style A with finishes in style B at a cost of $250K. If you would like the same style of house but 250sf larger, the cost would be 290K, if you want the same size of house using higher-level finishes in style C then the cost would be $375K, etc.

What is custom home design? The second design approach offered by the design-build firm is a custom design, which entails starting from scratch and selecting your desired layout, interiors, exterior, colors, finishes, appliances, landscape, accessibility, and any other element that comes to mind. This way, you can truly have a one-of-a-kind house designed to your exact specifications.

What does it mean when way say “any combination of the two”? Generally speaking, any design has a wide spectrum and range, and it’s more than just selecting between X and Y. The third design option provided by the design-build firm is a mixture of custom and pre-selected designs. It basically means that the homeowners can look through the company catalog and like a house in style A with finishes in style C, but they would like to make a few changes in order to get their ideal home, such as using different windows, adding a fireplace and different flooring in the kitchen, and the result is a customized home designed for you without the complexity of choosing every single element.

When hiring a separate design firm, you might be able to choose from those three options of pre-selected, custom or combination. However, their most typical course of action is to customize the design and start from scratch. As a result, in order to come up with your ultimate plan. you will have to be involved in many decisions and answer numerous questions, for example what kind of layout, ceiling, stairs, closets, windows, doors, flooring, lighting, and pretty much address all other design decisions. At this stage, the main difference between a design-build firm and a design firm lies in the fact that the design firm may be able to provide you with multiple design options, but without providing you with the cost, or at least an accurate construction cost. Since the design company is not involved with the production aspect of the work, they can only give you a rough idea of what they predict it would take to carry out the plan. In reality, it’s only once your design is complete that you will you be able to contact local contractors to determine the actual cost of implementing your design.

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4.  Is uncompromising design important to you?

If budget is not the most important aspect of your renovation project, working separately with a designer and construction company allows you to achieve a result without compromise. By doing so, you can concentrate purely on designing something that serves your lifestyle and needs perfectly without having to pay too much attention to how much it would actually cost to carry it out, and how complicated or not it is to execute. Therefore, once you’ve created a completely satisfactory design, you will have the option to shop around and hire the most fit contractor for the job, one who will carry out the plan according to your exact specifications.

In the second option, when hiring a design-build firm, since their main focus is on the actual construction work, during the design phase, they may be able to guide you and lead the design towards familiar and comfortable areas where they are confident it can be built without any potential risks or setbacks. Let’s look at an example to better understand it. Suppose you want to build a luxury transparent pool right above your living room on the second floor. It is a project that the design-build firm can create but doesn’t have a previous experience with, so they might lead your design in a different direction and advise you to build that stunning pool outdoors, where they have plenty of experience and are confident it will go smoothly with no unpredicted obstacles. When working with a design firm separately, this would not be an issue since the designers are typically not too concerned about how easy or complicated it would be to build. They are passionate about creating a beautiful design that will leave their mark on your project.

Another point to consider when hiring a design-build firm and opting for a package deal is that the firm may sometimes influence homeowners to select certain products and features. For example, they may tell you that a certain style of kitchen cabinets is a great fit for your new home design, not only because they are stylish and good-looking cabinets, but also because of other unspoken reasons. Perhaps they already have this line of cabinets stocked in their warehouse, or maybe they prefer to buy it at a nearby shop since it is more logistically accessible for them, or maybe they have found a great discount on it with another supplier. As a result, it would be more convenient for them to offer you those kitchen cabinets and guide you towards a place that is driven by economics and convenience. Please be mindful that the design-build firm is a business, and like any other business, they have the financial portion to consider. It’s hard to imagine a company that wouldn’t jump at the chance to clear excess inventory or to make a good profit margin on discounted items. However, you won’t necessarily experience this type of behavior, but it is understandable to be worried that the design-build firm will act in this manner and make decisions about your project that aren’t fully transparent. If you feel that these doubts are preventing you from trusting the company, it might be better for you to split up the parties and have the designer design while the builder builds.

Modern remodeling projects in Scripps Ranch

To summarize this point, if uncompromising design is important to you, you’d probably prefer to be completely in charge of all design decisions. Whether you hire a design firm or design it yourself, make sure your plan is 100 percent authentic to your needs and desires, and once you’ve done that, you’ll have the leverage to take your plan to different construction companies and get different perspectives, prices, timelines and approaches on how to carry it out. On the other hand, if you choose a design-build firm for your project, even though the design may be influenced by factors other your desires and personal preferences, you will have peace of mind knowing that your project is being managed by a company that takes your project from the design to construction stages smoothly and oversees the steps of the plan beforehand.

5. How to plan your budget using each method?
Budget Home Remodeling

Homeowners should plan their budget ahead of time and be realistic about what they can and cannot afford. When hiring a design firm, most designers are unable to accurately predict construction costs during the design phase. As we mentioned previously, the designer’s main interest is providing the best possible design for your home. Thus, when the designer creates plans and then you take it to different builders for bids, the price you pay could be significantly different from what you anticipated (higher or lower). Since designing and rearranging elements of your home’s layout could be as easy as clicking a button on a computer, those modifications are not always correlated with actual market prices. On the other hand, the designer at a design-build firm can almost accurately price each element of the construction work ahead of time. The designer can easily communicate with the company’s project manager and answer all of your cost questions, such as how much it would cost to have the kitchen with or without an island, with quartz or marble countertops, building a sunroom vs. not building a sunroom. Or convert your garage into an ADU or leaving it as is. Furthermore, before the project begins, design-build firms typically provide you with a broad price per unit, leaving you less room for extras later on, as most homeowners place a high value on sticking to their budget.

To sum up.

As the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome.” Yes, both options are excellent, and it all depends on how you approach things in life and your personal preferences. Hence, consider those points before deciding on which path to take and see which route resonates most with you. We hope you have a better understanding of the topic now and are able to make the best decision for your next San Diego home improvement project.

The attached chart illustrates the chain of events using each method:

Hiring an Architect vs. a Design-Build Firm

This article was written and edited by Eddie and Mike from Y9 Construction Inc.

If you have any questions or thoughts about which approach is better for you, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us to set up a free consultation; we’d love to assist you with your next San Diego home improvement project.




Remodel or Move: Which is Best for You?

Are you wondering if you should move to a new home or remodel your current one? Most articles available on the subject suggest that you first weigh the pros and cons of each option. We believe that there is much more to this decision, and before you dive into way too many technical details and charts, you should first think about the bigger picture. Therefore, we have put together a list of essential questions you should ask yourself first to ensure you are making the right decision. 

1. How do you feel about your current living situation? 
Most people have at least one thing they wish was different about their home. You may have been living in the same house for quite a while now, and after residing in the same place for a while, you may feel like your house doesn’t serve you as well as it once did.
It might be the worn-out bathroom, maybe you have a small kitchen that doesn’t leave enough room for storage, or it could be that your family has grown larger over the years and the house no longer meets your needs. You think to yourself, “I’m tired of this. I could use a fresh start.”
In one type of scenario, you may love your outdoor area and you have amazing fruit trees in the backyard but the house itself is too cramped for you. Remodeling and rearranging your living space could have a huge impact on your living situation. For instance, by adding an additional floor to your house, you gain a lot of new space. Furthermore, you could convert your garage into a beautiful home office or a guest room. Another possible change would be a minor room addition, such as a bump-out, which could make a huge difference to your lifestyle as well. A bump-out could add as much as 50 square feet to your kitchen and give you the extra cooking space you’ve always wanted. Sometimes even taking out just one wall in the living room could make you fall in love with your home all over again.
In a different scenario, your current home has significant renovation potential and you’re confident that it could be transformed into the house you’ve always dreamed of with some hard work. However, you have a small backyard and gardening is more than just a hobby for you and you need more space to grow your plants. In this case, you may want to consider moving to a home more suited to your needs both inside and outside.
2. Do you love your neighborhood and its accessibility?

It’s amazing how small things can have large impacts on our daily lives. Maybe your neighbors have changed recently, you don’t live close enough to shopping malls or restaurants, or your area is not family-friendly and there are fewer opportunities for your children to play with others and make lifelong friends. How long does it take you to drop your kids off at school? Finding yourself spending a lot of time in your car rather than at home could also affect your decision about whether to move or stay. Perhaps your neighborhood is wonderful, but your lifestyle has changed throughout the years and you are now seeking a less urban environment to live in. 


San Diego Kitchen Remodeling Cost 2022

If this is the case, even meeting with the “best designer in town” will not convince you to stay in your current house and renovate it because although you may be able to remodel and transform it into your dream home, the neighborhood remains the same and you will not find it more attractive. So, before you answer the big question regarding whether you should move or stay, you need to consider whether or not you still have any positive feelings toward your neighborhood and community. Above all, you should be able to live someplace you genuinely enjoy.

3. What is at the heart of the matter? An upgrade or downgrade?

The first step is letting go of the notion that upgrading is inherently good and downgrading is inherently bad. In some cases, downgrading your lifestyle can actually be more of an upgrade. For example, I really like my old-fashioned kitchen, but I don’t have much stuff to store in all the kitchen cabinets, so “downgrading” it by replacing it with a smaller kitchen with fewer cabinets and more open space wouldn’t feel like a downgrade to me at all. Another way to “downgrade” is to move into a smaller house. That could be an idea worth considering, especially if your children have left the nest and are independent. By downsizing, you can avoid the hassle of cleaning a huge house, enjoy lower bills, and spend more time doing the things you love. In another scenario, if you have the funds and you live in a desirable community, it may be worth considering renovations if the house can be upgraded to its full potential.

The main benefit of upgrading a house, aside from avoiding the high costs of buying and selling, is that you improve your quality of life by making your existing house more practical and suitable for your needs. For example, you may have a gorgeous balcony upstairs overlooking a beautiful park and a well-equipped kitchen downstairs, but you spend a fair amount of your time on that balcony, so going up and down all the time for some food and snacks can be quite a hassle, right? If you intend to renovate your house, adding a small kitchen on the same floor as your balcony will be very helpful and a more budget-friendly choice than moving. The goal is to make your house as functional as possible.

However, if you decide to relocate to a more convenient location, it’s nearly impossible to predict whether the new home will require renovations to tailor it to you and your family’s needs. Most people will have to spend a fair amount of time in their new house before they can make any decisions about how to customize it to their specific needs. So, before you get attached to the words “downgrade” or “upgrade,” make sure you consider your household’s bare necessities.

4. Cost: Is it cheaper to renovate or move?
Remodel Or Move?

Math is a beautiful thing. Once you know how much a project is going to cost, you can determine whether remodeling will be the more cost-effective choice or if you should consider buying a new home. Is it really that simple? 

From our experience, when someone is leaning toward renovating a house, if things are not planned carefully in advance with the right professionals, new issues can easily pop up during the renovation. Then suddenly, what seemed more cost-effective before isn’t as appealing now, but you are already heavily involved in the process, so there is no turning back. 

On the other hand, buying a house can also be quite tricky. Typically, when trying to buy a new house, there’s a sense of urgency since inventory in the market can change quickly, leading you to make a hasty purchase without enough time to evaluate all that comes with the new property, including the amount of remodeling work you’ll have to do.

As a result, many prospective homeowners don’t account for many less obvious expenses that go beyond their mortgage payment, and the unprepared home buyer can be shocked by these hidden costs. 

Here are some examples:

  • Kitchen: when purchasing a home, the kitchen is most likely one of the first projects to be tackled because the kitchen is the focal point of the home. Besides that, homeowners want to make a good first impression when they have guests over. 
  • Bathrooms: almost everyone starts and ends their day in the bathroom, thus homeowners tend to remodel and design it to suit their specific needs.
  • Flooring: nowadays, many people prefer hardwood flooring over tile. If the house you have purchased is relatively old, a flooring update will be also higher on your to-do list than it would be for others. 
  • Windows and doors: updating windows and doors not only ensures a comfortable indoor temperature but can also enhance your home’s appearance.
  • Closets: in order to have enough storage space in your bedrooms, most homeowners think about upgrading their closets as well.
  • One must also consider water heaters, air conditioning, landscaping, irrigation, and the list goes on. 

In any case, moving to a new home can be stressful, and there are many elements that may surface during the process that you were not aware of. Even if you’ve made your budget and put together a meticulous plan, try to consider the less obvious costs of renovating or moving.

5. Which would be faster, moving or remodeling?

In some ways, this question is like asking what the difference is between an apple and a soda. It’s incredibly difficult to compare the two. While some people will search for their dream home for 20 years and never find anything they like, others will find it in one week. On the other hand, one can renovate their home in one month and be completely satisfied with the results, whereas others will renovate their home for 20 years and still be unhappy with the end result, so they go and buy a new house instead.

For some reason, we also seem to find moving to a new home easier. However, in reality, packing and unpacking takes a considerable amount of effort and is really a task that varies from individual to individual. Some people need only two weeks to pack before they move out, while others begin packing a year in advance. The same applies for unpacking. While some people can unpack their last box shortly after moving, others may not unpack it until a year later.

What about staying put and remodeling? You’ll probably wonder how long it takes. Let’s answer this question by saying that the remodeling process requires patience and genuine trust in your contractor, especially if you’re planning on doing some major renovations. This doesn’t mean the process will take forever, but an excellent construction company should provide you with a schedule of when things will be ready. From our experience, every job is unique, as every house and homeowner is different. Some people want to spruce up their home by repainting it over the weekend and that would suffice for them, while others want to turn their home into a replica of Buckingham Palace and in that case, renovations can take quite some time. No two projects are alike and their duration is determined by the various stages and elements of the job. However, a skilled construction manager will break it down into individual tasks and milestones and provide the client with dates and deadlines.

In summary, both remodeling and moving are demanding tasks, and no matter what path you choose, make sure you are mentally prepared. As we discussed previously, renovations may take a while, and it really depends on the scope of the project and your contractor’s level of expertise. Also, moving house can be a stressful event that causes feelings of insecurity for some as an old home is stripped away and a new one starts to take shape.

So, What’s the Bottom Line?

Making life-changing decisions isn’t always easy, but it’s the only way to move forward. So, if you’ve made it this far, the most important piece of advice we can give you is to relax, take your time, trust yourself and ask yourself questions. For example, do I like my neighborhood? What can I do to improve the quality of my life? Which process would I be more at ease with? What is the best course of action for my family? 

Remodel Or Move?

Because, in the end, it all comes down to what you find most important in life. Look toward the future and pursue that which truly makes you happy.

Questions To Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

Renovating one’s kitchen, or building one from scratch, gives homeowners the opportunity to create a space that accommodates their particular needs. As you begin to plan your project, there are important questions to consider before remodeling your kitchen.

Making design decisions without contemplating some important aspects may lead to costly mistakes and frustration. Most importantly, not answering some of these questions will keep you from having the kitchen that you really want and need.

Y9 Construction, your local and friendly general contractor and cabinet shop, has put together a list of important questions to consider before remodeling your kitchen that helped our customers in the past. Also, you can find a free downloadable questionnaire at the bottom of this page to help you keep organized as you think about putting together your kitchen remodeling project.

Questions To Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

Why do I want to renovate the kitchen?

Truth is, homeowners make the decision to renovate their kitchen due to a plethora of reasons. Some will undergo renovation because their forever home is long overdue for a kitchen upgrade. Others are looking for ways to increase their property value to sell the house. 

Homeowners will also decide to renovate because they’ve outgrown the original design as their families increased in numbers. Likewise, some “Master Chef” aficionados don’t count with enough space in their original kitchens to comfortably create lavish meals. Similarly, some kitchens aren’t able to accommodate entertaining as much as the residents would like; hence a bigger kitchen is required. 

Whatever your reason is, it serves you well to know it as you make decisions of what and what not to have in your brand new kitchen. Knowing what your long term needs are will help you navigate through the ocean of options that add up to a completely satisfactory kitchen renovation project.

Who will use the kitchen?

This might sound like a tricky question and that’s because it truly is. While your instinct might throw us off on a tangent thinking only about who will cook in the kitchen, you should also consider who will likely use it for other purposes.

Maybe some enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and read the news or a nightcap over the kitchen counter. The smaller residents might enjoy using the kitchen counter space for school and other leisurely projects. In many cases, the kitchen ends up being the center of reunion for many impromptu gatherings, hence it being nicknamed the heart of your home.

A person with disabilities or an elderly person might also be part of the equation. As a result, they might need additional space to move around and have things reachable to them.

If you are the big entertainer, it also helps to think about how that translates into holiday activity. Is aunt Susie going to be baking her world famous holiday cookies, while you create your signature main course? Will the occasionally hired catering service have enough room to safely maneuver around the kitchen? 

Think about every scenario that your kitchen hosts on the daily and throughout the year to get a true image of what the demands are and what the renovation needs to achieve.

Questions To Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen
kitchen cabinets with glass doors ideas

What MUST I have in my kitchen? What can I get rid of?

Once you understand what the demands are, it will be easier for you to decide what is a definite must-have and what are nice-to-have options. This is particularly true when you are working with a limited budget or limited space. As an example, it is possible that due to physical limitations all drawers must have a pull-out mechanism and corner cabinets require a lazy susan in your kitchen, but it might not be as crucial to have a wine refrigerator. Sure, it would be nice, but not a deal breaker on your list to create a kitchen to suit your needs.

Choosing between other features might not be as easy. An aspect that often poses a more challenging conundrum has to do with durability versus aesthetics. While it’s mostly true that one doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the other, sometimes the trendier looking cabinet might not be the most durable due to material and looks. Trends have a tendency to fade and, if you aren’t looking to remodel your kitchen at the turn of each trend, you can possibly get stuck with an outdated looking kitchen for quite some time.

Before starting the project, It is highly recommended to dispose of everything that won’t stay in the kitchen upon completion. This is the perfect opportunity to create more storage space for kitchen tools and appliances that will be put into use when your new kitchen is ready.

Will I have enough space? 

So, you got rid of everything that you no longer have use for in your kitchen and are looking into acquiring brand new tools and a brand new dining set to match your shiny new kitchen. Do you have plenty of space for everything you envision? This is the part of the project where you need to work closely with your project manager to ensure you have plenty of storage and space for everything you desire in your kitchen.

Is your heart set on a particular fridge and range size? Sometimes, homeowners are very particular in the specific models they would like their kitchens to feature. In this case, a little bit of flexibility may be beneficial as cabinet design comes into play.

When looking at this specific issue, a completely custom kitchen may not pose much difficulty. In this scenario, everything will be tailored to specific needs. On the other hand, prefabricated cabinets are likely to present more limitations to consider when purchasing appliances. In some cases, a semi custom kitchen will be the amicable middle ground to help homeowners to stay within budget and be able to fit that range they always wanted.

Custom Kitchen Design-Build Firm San Diego
Home Renovation a Fun Family Activity

How long will renovation take?

A projected timeline is essential to help you prepare for when renovation is taking place. Most homes only count with one kitchen to prepare meals. Therefore, remodeling this space means that residents won’t have access to a proper kitchen for a period of time. Since dining out every day can be very expensive, a temporary meal prep space at home might be an ideal solution for some families.

Working from home presents another challenge that is often overlooked when planning for home construction. Remodeling can be a noisy process, capable of interrupting the most disciplined of home-based workers. In some cases, professionals use their home office for meetings and appointments with clients. If this is the case, where will you work while construction takes place?

Parents with babies will likely need to make special arrangements to secure uninterrupted naps. Similarly, parents with young children will need to take proper steps to ensure that their curious little ones don’t break into working areas where equipment may pose some danger. Your project manager will be able to guide you through possible solutions for your particular situation.

Get Your Free Download

Now that you know what the essential questions to remodeling your kitchen are, let us give you a bonus to help you get started. Y9 Construction created a checklist so that you can print it out or fill it out on your computer, and answer these questions for your own needs. Click here to download the Important Questions to Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen Questionnaire file.

Condo Remodeling Tips

Is the home you’re looking to remodel a condo? A condo home on the smaller side presents a few different challenges than a traditional home free-standing home does. Y9 Construction has a few condo remodeling tips to get you started with your home improvement project.

condo remodeling ideas


Condo kitchen’s will often be smaller compared to your average home. As a result, design calls for smart space usage and decisions. Y9 Construction covered small kitchen ideas to make the most of the square footage you count with. Click here to read all about small kitchens.


Flooring decisions greatly depend on your condo’s layout. While carpet may be a cozy and comfortable solution for your feet, it will likely be problematic when dealing with an open floor plan. Furthermore, the use of carpet is often restricted to the bedroom areas, where less traffic is expected. As a result, carpet is likely to remain cleaner than if it’s used in other areas in your condo. Hardwood and laminate floors are regularly the more popular option due to maintenance and durability, especially when you share your living quarters with kids and/or pets.

Wall Decor

The general rule is that the less clutter the better. This is particularly true for smaller spaces. A messy environment crowds the area you live in. As a result, a compact condo will appear even smaller. Same is the case with overdone wall decor by affecting visual clutter. Let plenty of space on your walls to breathe to increase the appearance of a larger area. Similarly, mirrors are an old time favorite trick for those who are seeking to make a room appear larger than what it is.


Similar to wall decor, a higher concentration of color will highly delimit a room. Therefore, painting that one wall in a bold color will accentuate the space you count with. This of course can be a good thing or a not so great thing depending on the objective. If your condo is on the smaller side, chances are that a pop of color might make it look even smaller. In which case, lighter colors are what you need to increase the appearance of space.


Some condos count with additional space in the second floor, reachable by an all-wood, traditional set of stairs. In many cases, the space underneath the stairs can serve as a closet or even a bookshelf area. Another popular solution to condo stairs would be a spiral design. The biggest benefit of a spiral staircase is the small amount of space it takes. Likewise, a spiral staircase provides visual appeal without over cluttering your living space.

Make use of these condo remodeling tips and give us a call for a FREE CONSULTATION. Y9 Construction is here to help you with any home renovation questions you may have to help you get started with your project.

Different types of ADUs

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an additional, but separate living space within a single-family residential property. While the name serves to describe this type of construction, there are a variety of ways in which an ADU can be developed. Let us tell you all about the different types of ADUs.

Different Types of ADUs

Detached new construction

Let us start with the most expensive kind of construction by looking at a detached new construction. A separate unit will require new utility lines and adequate room for construction, Furthermore, this type of development is currently required to meet certain parking regulations in the state of California. If homeowners are able to look beyond the extra cost, detached ADU’s offer the most privacy to everyone living in the property.

Garage conversion

Depending on the kind of garage, this type of construction can be either an attached or detached ADU. However, this living space will likely be subject to the garage’s original blueprints. As a result, this type of construction is cheaper than a brand new construction.

DIfferent Types of ADUS

Above a garage

While this option might sound as simple as a garage conversion, it usually presents a few more complications. For instance, most garages do not possess enough support for a second floor. Many times, the cost of reinforcing the garage to hold a second hold is quite significant. As a result, many homeowners opt for a brand new construction in place of the old garage.

Bump out

A bump out ADU is an internal conversion of the main residence. The best way to imagine it is as an extension that shares a wall with the primary house. This ADU choice is common to citations where a garage isn’t available for conversion.

Basement conversion

Basement ADUs are perhaps some of the most effective conversions possible, securing a big addition by investing a small budget. While some have the idea that a basement ADU is likely to miss sunlight due to its nature, it is possible to brighten a conventional basement with full-size windows.

Interior ADUs

While a basement ADU can also be considered an interior conversion, a strictly interior ADU consisting primarily of a section of the primary house besides the basement is converted to a secondary living space. While this might also be a cost effective way to create an ADU, it is also the form that allows for less privacy.

Attic conversion

An attic ADU is another kind of interior conversion that allows for an exterior entrance. As a result, privacy issues are likely not to be a factor in this type of living arrangement. SImilarly, loft spaces can work similarly to attic conversions.

Now that you are inspired by our list of different types of ADUs, it is time to plan your own.

Top Luxury Kitchen Features

Upscale kitchens marvel us with beautiful aesthetics and impressive characteristics. This time around, Y9 Construction will walk you through top luxury kitchen features that are commonly found in the most exclusive homes.

Luxury Kitchens Design San Diego

Open Layout For Cooking and Entertaining

An open space is the current trademark look of an upscale kitchen. Nowadays, it is common for the kitchen and dining areas to be presented without barriers and blend together as a unit. Long gone are the days where the kitchen was left to be unseen. Nowadays, kitchens are perhaps the most popular room in a house and are now revered as the beating heart of our homes.

Hidden Trash and Recycling

Free standing trash cans and recycling bins represent the exact opposite of a luxurious looking kitchen. Moreover, upscale kitchens aim to present a clutter free environment, where anything that isn’t meant to be in display will be tucked away neatly. As a result, garbage bins are now disguised as part of the kitchen’s cabinets.

Top Luxury Kitchen Features

Built-In Fridge

One of the kitchen appliances that is no longer required to exist as a freestanding unit is the refrigerator. While stainless steel refrigerators are commonly found in most homes, upscale kitchens are now camouflaging them as part of the cabinets as well. Along with refrigerators, additional cabinet drawers are dedicated to warming in upscale kitchens. Likewise, dishwashers can now be found in the same modality.

Custom Cabinets

Custom made cabinets will add an extra touch of exclusivity to any upscale kitchen. The obvious benefit of a fully customized kitchen is that, aside from monetary restrictions, there are no limits to what the design a kitchen. If you can imagine it, a skillful cabinetry craftsman will be able to build it for you. Luckily, Y9 Construction counts with a talented team of carpenters ready to create the most luxurious kitchens imaginable.

Top of the Line Appliances

As you may have already guessed, appliances come in all styles and prices. The differences are ample even among top of the line appliances. While some homeowners are content with contemporary appliances that feature minimal and sleek aesthetics, others require professional level equipment to satisfy their needs. From ranges, to cooktops and wine coolers, top of the line appliances are made for every kitchen need.


Quartz is perhaps the number one contender among luxury countertops. The main reason why quartz is so popular is because of its durability due to being non-porous, ranking it as the most hygienic surface to prepare your meals on. Furthermore, granite, marble and other stones continue to lead the way as predominant countertop choices. Likewise, wood seems to be a popular choice among homeowners with expensive taste. Among upscale wood countertop choices you can find African Mahogany, Zebrawood, Teak and Caribbean Rosewood, as well as Butcher Block countertops.


Smart-Home Features

Technology provides maximum comfort to homeowners through smart-home features. Long gone are the days when we had to walk to our doors and peek on the peephole to see who just rang the doorbell. Likewise, current technology now bleeds through every aspect of our homes, from smart appliances, sound and lighting, to kitchen gadgets and other devices. Without a doubt, smart-home technology has arrived to stay.

Rollout Shelves and Racks

Remember the good ol’ days when you had to reach way, way back in a cabinet to reach that serving tray that only makes an appearance during the holidays? If you are the proud owner of a kitchen with upscale features, those days are over. Nowadays, luxury features allow for users to simply rollout every tool in your kitchen for extreme accessibility. Rollout shelves and racks are made for every utensil and devise imaginable.

Top-notch home remodels and construction in Point Loma

Walk-In Pantry

Think of keeping a convenience store in the comfort of your own home. Luxury walk-in pantries usually count with additional refrigerating units to ensure that homeowners are never running low on any perishable items. Upscale walk-in pantries typically feature additional countertop space and storage for additional appliances that may get less action in the kitchen.


Let’s take a moment to shed some light onto what luxury lighting may look in a kitchen. Many times it will be presented in the form of a decadent chandelier or perhaps even sleek polished cage lights. Similarly, luxury lighting will focus on providing a better view for the cook in turn. Other areas that receive extra attention with upscale lighting are beverage stations and kitchen islands.

Now that you are inspired by our list of top luxury kitchen features, it is time to plan your own.

Home Remodeling Trends for 2022

The home remodeling industry is constantly introducing new trends and design ideas to homeowners. While eco-friendly options remain popular, millennial homeowners are looking for cutting-edge smart home technology. Let’s take a look at some of the 2022 Home Remodeling Trends that are worth considering.

2020 Home Remodeling Trends
Exterior renovations and additions are the most popular way in which properties increase value. As a result, anything from BBQ areas, outdoor patios and pools are both amenities that appeal to those who live in the home and perspective buyers.

Similarly, ADUs (Additional Dwelling Units) present a way to generate additional income by renting it out. Lastly, updating windows and exterior facade can provide your home with curve appeal and serve as a token for the future if you ever decide to sell your property.

Money Saving Improvements


These days, saving money is a lifestyle. Therefore, most of us will take necessary steps to ensure that our money isn’t going to waste. Modern home remodeling is a living symbol of it. To this end, eco-friendly lighting, temperature regulating windows, solar panels, and other money saving features are now more common than ever requested features when undergoing home remodeling.

2020 home remodeling trends

“Do it Yourself” is the staple element of 2020, but it is also a delicate endeavor when attempting to self-solve major remodeling. While minor repairs can easily be done by homeowners themselves, others might be more effectively done by trained professionals.

Sometimes DIY projects are likely to be undertaken out of necessity to save money, but end up costing more after a professional team comes in to repair. However, always seek expert advice (We offer FREE consultation. Click here!) before getting started.


Nothing that a fresh coat of paint can’t bring back to life. Nowadays, paint is likely to be seen in subdued, natural hues while incorporating a pop of color. Importantly, keep in mind that paint quality is extremely important and should not be overlooked for durability in response to the elements. 

Smart Technology


From doorbells to temperature regulators and home speakers. Smart Technology is here to stay and continue to make life at home more and more comfortable. Due to Smart Technology, our homes are now equipped with the latest in everything that most couldn’t even dream about a few decades ago. We no longer have to open the door to see who is knocking or turn a knob to set the volume right. Without a doubt, this is one aspect of home renovation that will keep on surprising us.

Now that you know all about 2022 home remodeling trends

7 Bathroom Styles You Should Know

Whether you’re tackling a bathroom remodel on your own or with the assistance of a bathroom designer, architect, or contractor, knowing which style appeals to you can be extremely beneficial. Take a look at the most popular bathroom styles and the main features that set them aside from the rest.

Farmhouse Bathroom San Diego


The best way to describe the Farmhouse style is rustic country meets modern details, while keeping it simple. 


  • Textures: Natural
  • Materials: Wood, galvanized steel
  • Color palette: Natural color
  • Cabinets: Shaker style
  • Lighting: Barn style
  • Bathtub: Claw foot
  • Sink: Farmhouse


When we talk about Rustic style, we are looking for the natural beauty of the great outdoors and rugged details that deliver a cozy living space. 


  • Textures: Rugged
  • Materials: Wood and natural stone
  • Color palette: Natural color
  • Cabinets: Natural wood
  • Hardware: Brass or Antique Copper
  • Bathtub: Claw foot or Copper
  • Sink: Vessel
Bathroom design styles and trends
Custom Home Builder San Diego

Industrial Style

The industrial aesthetic is reminiscent of old factories with utilitarian spaces that feature a juxtaposition of raw materials, like brick, wood and metals, and hardwearing furnishings.


  • Textures: Natural
  • Materials: Wood, brick, metal, concrete, stainless steel
  • Color palette: Raw materials
  • Tile: White
  • Cabinets: Dark Slab Face
  • Lighting: Barn style
  • Shower: Glass and steel
  • Sink: Through and basin

Beach Style

Clean aesthetic that makes use of natural lighting and soft colors that conjure a relaxed and breezy look and feel.


  • Textures: Mother pearl, pebbles, wood
  • Material: Mixed wood
  • Color palette: Sea inspired pastels, white
  • Tile: Vibrant
  • Cabinets: Light shakers
  • Lighting: Natural
  • Tub: White and ample
  • Sink: Through and basin
Mediterranean Bathroom Style and Design


The European Mediterranean style embraces a simple aesthetic, characterized by a romantic touch.


  • Textures: Burnished metals, whitewashed walls
  • Materials: Ceramics, wood, wrought iron and cotton
  • Color palette: Light and warm
  • Tile: Colorful
  • Cabinets: Shaker style
  • Lighting: Ornate
  • Bathtub: Cast Iron
  • Sink: Vessel


This style represents the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary, evenly featuring elements from both styles.


  • Materials: Marble, quartz
  • Color palette: Cool or warm
  • Tile: White
  • Cabinets: Shaker style
  • Lighting: Drum pendants, chandeliers
  • Bathtub: Pedestal
  • Shower: Glass enclosure
  • Sink: Undermount
Transitional Bathroom Renovation
Contemporary Bathroom Design


Think the latest technology, trendy materials, clean and minimal aesthetic. The contemporary style can also be defined as everything that it excludes by steering away from heavy adornments and traditional lines.


  • Textures: Sleek, smooth
  • Color palette: High contrast
  • Tile: Statement
  • Cabinets: Slab face
  • Lighting: Smart
  • Shower: Glass enclosure
  • Sink: Minimal faucets

Ready to get your bathroom remodeling project started or have a bathroom style question for our experts?

Inspirational San Diego Home Remodeling Project  – Cosmeyer Family

Looking to become inspired with ideas to use for your home renovation? Then take a closer look at one of our projects and see what other homeowners have opted for their unique living spaces. This time around we will provide you with home remodeling inspiration from our Cosmeyer project.

Home Remodeling Inspiration - Cosmeyer

While gray shaker cabinets would label this kitchen as transition, the honey blonde accents and romantic tile suggest a touch of country living. The juxtaposition of these two elements evoke a warm shabby chic feeling without overusing statement features.

As a result, the hood ends up playing as a central feature that perfectly matches the wall shelves, while both are placed against a very playful and unique backsplash tile. Similarly, the light countertops do not steal attention away by remaining subtle.

Home Remodeling Inspiration - Cosmeyer
Custom Kitchen Countertop

The honey blonde breakfast counter is a very unique custom made feature included in this kitchen design. This kitchen table option takes very little space, while allowing for a relaxing morning coffee or a quick meal before the kids go off to school and additional countertop space when needed.

The guest bathroom was also remodeled using gray shakers, crisp white tile and silver brushed hardware. Since the bathroom sq. footage wasn’t generous, a strategically placed closet was placed to provide much needed storage for this area of the house.

Guest Bathroom Remodel
Pet Wash Station

Lastly, we would like to include a special feature for your home remodeling inspiration satisfaction.  unique space was created to pamper the furriest four-legged residents of the house. Gray shakers were also used for this area of the house and placed in contrast with brilliant white marble countertops. While we are still unsure if the puppers appreciate the washing station, we are certain that it makes things a lot easier for their loving humans.

Now that you received home remodeling inspiration
from the Cosmeyer project

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8 Ways to Increase Your Home Value

Home remodeling has more than a couple of benefits. While enjoying the results of a newly finished renovation can be satisfying to a homeowner, the investment can also represent an increase in your home’s value. Let Y9 Construction help you explore home renovation strategies by looking at 8 ways to increase your home value.

1. Kitchen

One of the most commonly used tactics, and still the best way to increase your home’s value is by remodeling your kitchen. Similarly, an updated kitchen appears to be the most sought after home feature by millennials.

2. Increasing the amount of living space

ADUs are currently what the craze is all about. Ever since state law changed, homeowners are having an easier time building a second living unit within a property. As a result, homeowners are profiting by this strategy in the short and long run, by either renting the unit out or eventually selling it as a multi-family property.

8 Ways to Increase Home Value - Kitchen Remodeling
Modern Living Room

3. Home energy cost

Utility bills can become a dread, particularly for larger families. Looking at a power bill post holiday season can be a source of anxiety for some. Your home can become energy efficient by implementing a few changes including changing your windows, replacing old furnaces, selecting effective cooling, heating and lighting systems, and other smart design features.

4. Stress-Free home design

Nowadays, interior home design is all about clutter-free, open spaces, that evoke minimalism. Investing in smart cabinet space is a great way to add storage space and keep your home organized. Another way to reduce visual cluttering is by minimizing your color palette and keeping patterns to a minimum.

5. Timeless design

Following the latest home design trends can be tempting, but how long will you be happy with that choice? A better approach will likely involve selecting a style designed to withstand the test of time. Similarly, selecting quality materials will save you money on the long run by preventing a need for replacement in a shorter period of time.

6. Paint

Sometimes a home can improve greatly by applying a coat of paint. Remember that saying about first impressions? A professionally done home exterior paint job can be a showstopper when trying to attract potential home buyers. Investing in quality paint is of utmost importance, since paint is likely to be the first line of defense against eroding agents.

8 Ways to Increase Home Value

7. Outdoors space

Outdoor living spaces are desirable features in any home and even more so when trying to sell one. There are many ways to make the most out of your outside area, including a patio with an extended roof overhang, deck, fire pit, outdoor kitchens, upgrading landscape and even a swimming pool.

8. Smart technology

Smart homes are the way of the future. Don’t believe us? Then take a trip (or an online glance) to your favorite home improvement store and notice entire sections dedicated to smart home technology. Among the many gadgets home owners swear by include smart doorbells, lighting, locks, automated blinds and curtains, built-in speakers with app control, and USB wall outlets.

Now you know about 8 Ways to Increase Your Home Value

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